In a changing and progressive Australia the towns small and large of the outback have retained the Aussie character. The large sloping roofs to protect against extreme heat, the verandas to sit out those warm evenings on. The pubs with their great beer and rustic 1800’s charm. You can almost feel the miners and drovers of old drinking in the bars.
Yet towns with young residents attracted by the money to be made in the wealthy commodities industries, a country rich in minerals wool, cattle and grain. Australia is a country driven by the land and a new breed of hunter gatherers. Towns with architecture stuck in the 1800s to 1950s, Architecture that shrouds the delicatessens and coffee shops selling panini with Mediterranean vegetables..
When I first left Australia to travel to Europe the country had a population of 8-9 million today it is 23 million and growing. In those days through a feeling of isolation it was the ambition of most young Australians to travel especially to Europe. Not so now the preference is to see Asia and not be too far from home. The country has grown sophisticated in communications and offers one of the highest lifestyles in the world. As a Chinese resident said to me “once Australia was a backwater but not so now”.
Most people know Australia by the traditional icons, Sydney harbour Bridge, Opera House, Uluru/Ayers Rock, long beaches with surfers, the Barrier Reef. There is another Australia that I grew up in travelling west inland from the east coast and northern Victoria. This region is where Australia began as people moved inland from Sydney and Melbourne in order to work and mine the land and is where much of the current exciting development is today.
When I first left Australia it was a country of 8 to 9 million people, today it is a nation of 23 million. A country rich in commodities, gold, tin, copper, bauxite, sheep, cattle (beef and dairy) and fine wines. I found large numbers of prosperous small towns, looking like something out of the wild west with their typical awning and veranda architecture stuck in a ‘time warp’ from the 1800s to 1950s, towns with young populations. Driving into a town full of period history and finding a delicatessen selling food products from all over the world and a coffee shop promoting panini with Mediterranean vegetables and of course the inevitable Chinese restaurant. Small towns with massive Cole’s or Woolworth’s supermarkets servicing the outlying sheep stations, farms, mines and now vineyards spread out over 1000s of kilometers from South Australia across NSW and into Queensland. Towns full of young people working in the the lucrative world of physical commodities. Australia is a country of growing importance and influence in Asia, a country that has become of great importance to the development of China.
The Chinese the greatest of trading people have seen the importance of this commodity rich country and have in great numbers began to call it home. While sitting in Condobolin a small sheep and mining town inland NSW, I was asked by a cousin what we should do tonight, “do you want a Chinese” he asked. Of course three shops in town, coffee shop, supermarket and Chinese restaurant. i should add there is always a pub selling great old and new beer. Most pubs in this region have a history dating from the 1800s. The Chinese are bringing real wealth to the country and are living alongside the Australians and easily integrating. Australia is a country in transition a country that is creating a new race of people who are developing and promoting its exciting commodity wealth. Sales of Merino wool are on the increase again. Merino wool the world’s finest wool in the past too expensive for the Chines market, however many sheep stations have lowered the micron quality and can now put this fine wool into a cost bracket that suits the Chinese market, allowing them to still brand products Merino.
There is so much life in the Australian outback its commodity wealth and its vast beauty from red ochre laced dust to the never ending cobalt blue skies. The wealth of this region is now attracting the young. I have added a quote I found on the the front of a pub in an outback town.
I currently live in London for business reasons, working as a photographer, am an Australian citizen and proud to call myself an Australian.