Skip to Content


Mateship is an Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality, loyalty and friendship. There are two types of mateship, the inclusive and the exclusive; the inclusive is in relation to a shared situation (e.g., employment, sports, or hardship), whereas the exclusive type is toward a third party (e.g., a person that you have just met). Russel Ward, in The Australian Legend (1958), saw the concept as a central one to the Australian people. Mateship derives from mate, meaning friend, commonly used in Australia as an amicable form of address. Mateship can also be expressed in such qualities as loyalty to one’s mates in preference to society at large.