When it comes to legendary figures in the Australian culture, few can lay claim to the same level of influence as Paul Hogan. As the man who famously portrayed Crocodile Dundee, Paul Hogan became the face of the Australia stereotype that fascinated the world, particularly Americans. Indeed, there was a brief period in American pop culture during the mid-80s where Australia was a fascinating place complete with rough and charismatic bush characters and dangerous wild animals.
The 1986 film ‘Crocodile Dundee’, in which Paul Hogan played the role of an Australian bushman who introduced a sheltered New York reporter to the outback (and was, in turn, introduced the too big city by her), is no doubt part of what set up the Australian image in pop culture.
Paul Hogan was a recognisable face that famously said the ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’ line in an Australian advertising campaign. Hogan worked up to creating his Crocodile Dundee character who was a stereotype of an Australian everyman who was tough, noble, and constantly making jokes.
Paul Hogan successfully created a pop culture fantasy romanticisation of what Australian life is like that has persisted over the decades. Even in recent years, Americans who have never been to Australian think of it as one big rural town where people casually wrestle with crocodiles on their way to work.
Paul Hogan’s work also opened up more of Australia to Australians as well. The Dundee movies showed more of the Australian outback than many had seen and shown that there was a beauty to be found in all corners of the country’s bushland, not just around the major tourist attractions.
All in all, Paul Hogan has had a massive impact on Australian culture and how it is perceived both within and outside of the country.