» art
» history
» introduction
» landscape
» media
» personality
» music
» politics
» social issues
» travel guide

Pictures of the Carnavon Gorge, Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia
Pictures of the Carnavon Gorge, Central Highlands, Queensland, Australia

Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and Surrounding Towns
Pictures of Roma, Queensland, and surrounding towns


» Inspire the Planet (Peter Furst)

CROWDED WORLD - the australian personality
Monday, January 16, 2012 Cattle Station Hopping, in Cape York Peninsula, Queensland

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cape York Peninsula: One Last Refuge of the Classic Australian

I just got back from a six-day jaunt through Cape York peninsula in far north Queensland, and was amazed to discover a refuge where the traditional Australian still lived on. Going up there is like taking a trip back in time, to the pioneer days of the 1800s, where nature and man lived side by side. Granted, these days the inhabitants of the Cape have satellite phones and air-conditioning and high-powered cars, but in many ways they live the oldfashioned way. The Nanny State hasn't penetrated that far north, and probably never will. White folk there will scoff at concepts like racism and multiculturalism, yet they have more Aboriginal friends than any "politically correct" southerner does. Spending time in the Cape confirmed my suspicions that political correctness was just another, more ultimate form of racism. One won't talk about the disappearance of the Aborigine from modern life, to absolve oneself of guilt for his extermination - that for me is political correctness. Cape York offers a glimpse of Australia when black and white lived together, not exactly in harmony but at least in daily contact. The way both races interact reveals how the modern white Australian evolved, away from his British/Irish roots. My guide around the Cape, for example, frequently made deragatory remarks about Murris (the native Queensland peoples), the kind that would earn you instant censure in Sydney in Melbourne. On the other hand, he claimed to have spent years working in remote regions with Murris, "all of them good men." Listening to him talk, I could not help but notice the strange Aboriginal cadences in his speech, the rolling rrrrr's, the Murri rythyms. It occurred to me that if he had spent much of his life living with black people, he couldn't have helped pick up some of their culture and lingo. If it happened to him, it probably happened to all of the pioneer Australians.

Writer and feminist Germaine Greer claims in her book, Whitefella Jump Up: The Shortest Way to Nationhood, that the Australian personality owes much to the Aboriginal. "Australians cannot be confused with any other Commonwealth peoples, " she writes. "They behave differently from Canadians, South Africans and even New Zealanders. It is my contention, diffidently offered, that the Australian national character derives from the influence of the Aborigines whose dogged resistance to an imported and inappropriate culture has affected our culture more deeply than is usually recognised. From the beginning of colonisation, the authorities' deepest fear was that settlers would degenerate and go native. In many subtle and largely unexplored ways, they did just that. Indeed, they may already partake in more Aboriginality than they know."

Road train!

SUSHI WITH NAMES LIKE VOLCANO ROLL, SPIDER ROLL AND DYNAMITE ROLL (THE LATTER BOASTING PIECES OF TENDER RAW TUNA AND A SMEAR OF CHILI SAUCE (according to a review of the Kobe Jones restaurant in Sydney by Not Quite Nigella)). Wagyu beef which isn't actually wagyu and never could be. Sashimi in shot glasses. Wagyu beef paddies on hamburgers (this was reported by Chocolate Suze.) Mayo in sushi restaurants. I know the Japanese have an abusive relationship with mayonaise, but they would never mix it up with sushi! Nor would they ever put sashimi in a shot glass. In the Japanese scheme of things, shot glasses are for shots and sashimi is supposed to be served on a plate! Why is it that when Australians try to show how sophisticated they have become, they usually overreach? The Cultural Cringe 2.0.

SO, WHAT ARE AUSTRALIANS LIKE? Australians have typically been described as laconic, egalitarian, rugged, no-nonsense, down-to-earth types obsessed with sport but uneducated in the more refined arts of civilization. There may be truth to the cliche, but as with any cliche, it can only describe one layer of the truth. And the whole idea of the UNCLONED WORLD website is to show that there are many layers to reality, each piled on top of another onion-style. In order to understand the Australians, you have to understand where they can from. As I wrote on the previous page, there have been four principal migrations of humans into Australia. The first three were Aboriginal waves, and the fourth, which continues today, began with the European colonization of 1788. It is important to note that, unlike the colonists who flocked to America, the early immigrants to Australia didn't go by choice, in a vast number of cases. Early Australia was a prison for the trash of the British Empire -- or at least a dumping ground for dangerous elements of British society. White Australia began as a convict nation -- a land settled by criminals. There was never a sense that this was a Promised Land, to be developed and built into a new Paradise on Earth, as was the case with America. Rather, Australia was a place to be hated and despised by the people who were sent there. On the Convict Creations website, it is mentioned that the "typical Australian ethos was developed by the convict, working-class, Irish and native born peoples". It goes on to add:

Why do so many Australians have tattoo's? America, the dream came true. The land was green and fertile. The British were expelled and politicians declared equality for all regardless of race or class. In Australia, the dream failed. The top soil was thin and droughts common. The Convict uprising at Vinegar Hill was ruthlessly crushed as was the Eureka rebellion 50 years later. Ned Kelly led a independence movement only to be captured and hung. Australia's politicians never preached the virtues of being Australian nor did they preach equality of race or class. Just when Gallipoli war hero, John Simpson, seemed to have built an aura of someone with divine protection, he was shot dead. Don Bradman needed only 4 runs in his last innings to achieve the magical average of 100 but was bowled first ball. Pharlap, the loser horse that became a champion, left Australia to prove his worth in America. He easily won his first race, and then died."

Writes The Guardian newspaper from England: "It is a compilation of every Australian cliche you could imagine - dusty outback scenes, exaggerated accents, blackfellas, boomerangs, even Rolf Harris and his idiosyncratic wobble board. Baz Luhrmann's anxiously awaited romantic epic Australia, the most expensive film in the country's history, had its world premiere today, receiving mixed reviews amid concerns it might not be the international box-office hit everybody had hoped for.

privacy policy

THE CROWDED WORLD IDEOLOGY: Walking through the bush one morning in Cape York, on the hunt for the elusive red goshawk, I had a revelation into the seven worlds that we inhabit. I consider them the Seven Crowded Worlds, because they are all teeming with lifeforms. This is the age of the Lonely Planet adventurer, journeying out with his/her guidebook, trying to capture an experience of the alien and the exotic. People complain these days that the world is becoming uniform, that there are McDonalds and Starbucks Coffee Houses on every corner, the world is becoming smaller and less interesting. This may be true on the surface level, since the capitalists have only ever been interested in surface details. Scratch a little deeper, however, wherever you are, and you find a deeper world still exists, everywhere. UNCLONED WORLD is aimed at raising your consciousness enough to locate the hidden exoticness of space, buried beneath the McDonalds and all the Starbucks. Travel can still be as exhilarating today as it was in the time of Marco Polo. You just need an open mind -- to peer beneath the surface veneer of samenes, the surface veneer of capitalism. You would be surprised what exists down there, not destroyed but merely resting, waiting for its resurrection into the light!