Australia was built on the sheep's back, but now most of what's carried on that back is heading to China.
In the 31 days in May, Australia sent 80 per cent of its export wool to China.
It's a similar percentage for iron ore and even crustaceans.
The May export figures paint a stark picture of just how reliant Australia's economy is on the Chinese boom.
The money involved means if the Asian nation were ever to cut off an industry or two - as it has done to other countries at times - it could severely damage Australia's economy and wipe out the predicted federal budget surplus.
It also opens up Australia's politicians to fears of economic coercion, particularly as China faces international pressure for putting Muslims in internment camps and cracking down on protests in Hong Kong.
Experts say the complex economic situation Australia finds itself in won't change soon.
"Even though we may conclude we're quite dependent on China now, the reality is for many Australian industries they're actually going to become more dependent," University of Technology Sydney Professor James Laurenceson told AAP.
"When you're talking goods like iron ore, China is the indispensable source of demand, it's not going to come from anywhere else. So if we're going to sell iron ore it's got to be to China."
Australia exported $8.8 billion worth of iron ore in May - $7.2 billion of that went to China.
About 40 per cent of exported alcohol went there as well.
China took 40 per cent of the fruit and nuts Australia sent overseas.
A further 32 per cent of medicines, 35 per cent of copper, 54 per cent of "miscellaneous edible products and preparations", 23 per cent of chemicals and 22 per cent of coal also landed in China in May.
"Out to 2030, China is going to add more new purchasing power than India, Indonesia, the US and Japan combined," Prof Laurenceson said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australia exported $33.7 billion worth of goods in May this year, with $13.3 billion going to China.
Marcus Hellyer, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says those figures mean China holds significant economic leverage over Australia's politicians.
"Governments in Australia essentially base their mandate to rule on their ability to deliver budget surpluses as well as tax cuts," Dr Hellyer told AAP.
"It doesn't take much in the way of disturbances in revenue from resource exports to start making that surplus look wafer-thin."
One solution is to find other markets to sell to, with India and Indonesia the favourite emerging options.
But Dr Hellyer said diversifying export markets took a long time and wasn't easy to achieve.
"That's been the holy grail of Australian governments for some time, and it hasn't gotten us very far," he said.
Prof Laurenceson said while the economic relationship seemed skewed towards China, Australia still had leverage.
"They're not buying our stuff because they love us, they're buying it because it's the best price-quality combination," he said.
"Iron ore is the classic example. We think 'oh we're a bit vulnerable to China, 80 per cent of our exports go there', meanwhile if you're sitting in Beijing you're thinking 'Oh my God, 60 per cent of our iron ore supply is coming from Australia, imagine if they cut us off'."
Apart from finding new markets, the other thing Dr Hellyer recommended to Australian leaders trying to avoid economic coercion was a simple "no".
"Even if it does mean that exports will go down, government revenue will go down, budget picture will look worse, likelihood of achieving a surplus will go down," he said.
"As a sovereign state you've kind of got to have resilience and fortitude to say 'we're not playing that game'."
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham went to Beijing on Friday for a meeting about a regional trade deal and he made it clear both countries needed each other.
"Australia is China's seventh largest source of imports. Many of these goods contribute to China's manufacturing base and economic growth," he said in a speech to a think tank.
"Australia wants a good and growing relationship with China. We will have our disagreements from time to time, but throughout, we should cooperate for our mutual benefit."
Prof Laurenceson also said China was fighting a trade war with the United States and it needed to present itself as the "good guy" who follows World Trade Organisation rules.
"China itself is acutely vulnerable and aware that it's vulnerable to coercion from other countries," he said.
Australian Associated Press