The last book Michael read was ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Nicole buys ‘Women’s Weekly’ most months and passes it on to her mother……..More than half the families in Australia are a bit like this

Posted on February 3, 2012


What follows is a portrait of a representative Australian family, based on a mixture of medians, means and most frequents. It's probable that more than half the families in Australia are a bit like this...

From The Little Book of Australia: A snapshot of who we are, by David Dale

published by Allen and Unwin. David Dale's blog is at

Meet Nicole and Michael Smith. He's 39, she's 37. The got married in 1995 after living together for a year, and they have two kids – Matthew, 11 and Emily, 8. Michael is 175cm tall and 82kg but if asked will estimate that he weights 80kg. Nicole is 161cm and weighs 67kgs, but would say 65kg.

Michael earns $1200 a week in an administrative job, while Nicole earns $600 working 3 days a weeks in a shop. They are paying off a three bedroom home with a small backyard in a suburb 25km from the sea. The house cost $500, 000 and they still owe $113,000 on their mortgage, which they pay off at $110 a week. But they'll sell up and move to a new house within 6 years.

They still owe $2700 on their white Holden Commodore and right now they have a total credit card debt of $2000. Between them, they lose $6 a week on gambling, a couple of scratchies at the newsagents and the occasional pull on the pokies when they go to the pub for dinner.

All four Smiths were born in Australia, but Nicole's parents were born in Britain. The Smiths wrote 'no religion' on their census form, while Michael's parents wrote 'Catholic' and Nicole's parents wrote 'Anglican'. Michael's father Ron died of a heart attack at the age 69, Nicole's mother Margaret is recovering from breast cancer. They are starting the think Michael's mother Shirley may need to move to a nursing home.

Before she was married, Nicole had a four week trip to London. Before he was married, Michael had a two week trip to Thailand. Each year they drive for three hours, up or down the coast, and take a five day beach holiday. The family spent a week in New Zealand last year and is planning a trip to California next year.

The last book Michael read was 'The Da Vinci Code'. Nicole buys 'Women's Weekly' most months and passes it on to her mother. Each of the Smiths goes to the movies 5 times a year (together mostly). They rent a DVD every two weeks to watch on Saturday or Sunday night. In addition to the DVD player they installed last year, their home contains 2 TV sets, 3 mobile phones a VCR, washing machine, microwave, fridge, dishwasher and computer, which is used mainly by Matthew.

They spend $25 a week on fast food and takeaway- McDonalds, pizza and Thai mostly – and eat out in a restaurant once a month spending $80. Michael and Nicole spend $25 a week on alcohol, each drinking five glasses (three white, two red) and two cans of beer. They each drink 5 cups of coffee a week and 2 cups of tea.

The Smiths have had two encounters with crime in their lives; once when their car was stolen and once when they came home to discover a break-in with their VCR and some cash missing.

Nicole takes the pill and as to how often they have sex, the information is unreliable. They would tell researchers it's about six times a month.