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Australia the last Frontier

 

Australia the last Frontier

I  recently finished a photographic tour of inland western and northern New South Wales  my home state.  its  development has been an interest for me for sometime. What I found during this trip was a worrying trend of an’ I’m OK Jack’ culture..

IMGS5913
Australia NSW Condobolin preparing the flock

Australia is a country that offers so much especially from it’s richness in commodities much of which it has a ready market for in China. The issues that worried me were ones of development and management. When I first travelled from Australia 40 years ago the country had a population of around 9 to 10 million, today it is 23 million mainly coastal inhabitants. However much of the wealth is not drawn from the coast but the Outback once the great dividing coastal mountain ranges are crossed. The country has the potential to be commodity self sufficient.

Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep
Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep the finest wool


The potential for self sufficiency is confirmed  by the amount of mines,  farms, cattle ranches and sheep stations. Merino wool  is still the world’s finest.

Images-of-the-Outback-(18-of-60)
Australia NSW Lightning Ridge Black Opal mining

Much of Australia’s manufacturing industry has been lost, the final blows coming with the withdrawal of the car industry manufacturing including the Australian iconic Holden brand.

Union and government inability to see eye to eye and manage this incredible country has been a contributing factor. however having said this the attitude of the coastal Australian is one of ‘ let’s have another barbie and go to the beach’ few even realise that their farmers have failing crops due to lack of rain and many have had their land repossessed by greedy banks who don’t give a damn for the development of the country. The immediate quest for short-term  profit seems to be the goal of many banks the world over. I have always said that ” banks that do not contribute to the management of society are irrelevant to society”.

A major contributor and hinderance to Australia’s development is infrastructure. Bring this up to most Australians and the retort is but we don’t have the money or people and to add we don’t give a damn, Taxing major corporations properly could change this issue. The  only time that the average Australian will give a damn is when food and retail commodity prices hit totally unaffordable levels. Then their will be wailing and gnashing that the prices are too high and still it will take a term for the penny to drop that the farmers and commodity  developers should have been taken care of.

Images-of-the-Outback-(58-of-60)
Australia NSW Dubbo road transport

Infrastructure there are many developing regional centres, you only have to look at the size of the supermarkets that have grown up in regional centres mainly Woolworths and Coles but now challenged by Aldi. These groups are the real business people and see the advantages and potential for growth. If you look at Spain and the infrastructure that is going into place  in a country that has just gone through a major recession you have to ask why not Australia. The average myopic Australian would argue that Spain has a larger Population. The average European will say that Spain has ripped of the Euro Zone for that money – better than  being spent on expenses by corrupt Euro politicians. Spain now has one of the finest high speed rail networks in the world after China. Link Sydney, Dubbo, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and you will develop the interior of those states. Link Perth and you will develop Western Australia. Have the guts and the people will come.   Getting a bus from the national capital Canberra to the major centre of Dubbo is a substantial exercise. Only one goes on Saturday and it goes through half of New South Wales.

Australia gets only 5 million tourists per year, half of those probably Chinese coming in and out to visit family; Spain gets 65 million, France 85 million and the UK 35 million. Now some would say that this is due to Australia’s isolation. I would however argue that the differential is too great and needs a closer look. Australians seem to be in cop-out mode. Promotion of Australia is mainly in English in the UK and yet the cross section of other nationalities in Australia has now become great indeed.

It is almost a no brainer to develop a rich country like Australia if there is a government without vested personal interests.The Australians are so limited in their thinking that unless they take action to manage this great country they will lose it. Already the Chinese own almost everything employing the Australians.   Now I don’t have a problem with the Chinese investment in Australia without it the Australians would have bankrupted the country. The Chinese bring a lot of good things and should be welcomed. However when you own something and sell it you should retain a interest in what you have built especially as it is  your main home.

The-Outback-(4-of-107)
Australia NSW Wilcannia the dry Darling
The-Outback-(1-of-107)
Australia NSW Wilcannia the dry Darling river
Dry river outback NSW
Australia NSW the dryness of the Outback

The damage done to the Darling river and many other rivers adding to the mismanagement of water through the country. Once steamers travelled along the Darling river. Australia’s Artisian Bore covers 23% of the country one of the biggest water basins in the world yet it is not tapped properly in times of distress for farmers. The Snowy river scheme which was one of the engineering wonders of the world is not working properly and generating the irrigation that it should.  Cubby station in Queensland dams off more water  than  Sydney Harbour contains.  The South Australians are plundering the great Murray river without a management system in place

To get the development right you need a government with the will. , Link the great centres  and the people will come; Australia has one of the best living possibilities in the World and could be the leading light in Asia.

Photographer Shane Aurousseau

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Australia’s Unique Character

Clunes-Victoris Time-Warp-Towns The-Pub Sofala-Time-warp Braidwood-Veanda-Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns Australian Outback Towns The-Shearers-and-Classers

Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep
Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep
Australia Molong 'Time Warp' town
Australia Molong ‘Time Warp’ town

From the time of the arrival of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788 Australia has been developing a unique Character that makes Australians who they are today. A greater proportion of the people who came with the first fleet and subsequent fleets were transported and then given land grants. The growth of the colony was of up most importance and transportation key to the colony’s development. The Australian climate dictated the type of living structure that gave the best lifestyle. A climate hotter and dryer than England’s and Europe’s required the development of living structures with broad and low roofs creating a cool internal environment that would also hold heat during winter months.

It was the heat of this dry land that was mostly addressed by early settlers giving  Australia the ‘Veranda Towns’. Towns with homes with broad verandas for enjoying those balmy evenings on, shops with cool shade giving awnings. This type of architecture really started to come into its own in the 1800s as settlers moved inland from Sydney,  much of it still exits on a habitable basis today. All across Australia can be found towns with  architecture straight out of a Western film set and houses with broad verandas. This architecture coupled with the Australian Landscape and the hard working people in the commodity driven industries, mining, wool, cattle and grain farming gives Australia a unique character  that make Australians who they are today. It is the ‘Time Warp’ veranda towns of Australia that i found most interesting from a photographic point of view. Towns like Condobolin NSW, Braidwood NSW, Molong NSW, Wellington NSW, Cowra NSW, Sofala NSW, Bungendore NSW, Boorowa NSW Clunes Victoria, Ballarat Victoria

Shane Aurousseau

http://www.kiamafoto.com

http://www.shaneasite.com

Australian Outback Towns – the Australian Photographer Shane Aurousseau

Australia Molong 'Time Warp' town
Australia Molong ‘Time Warp’ town
Australia NSW Wellington  Lion of Waterloo Pub 1840
Australia NSW Wellington Lion of Waterloo Pub 1840
Australia Clunes Victoria nr Ballarat
Australia Clunes Victoria near Ballarat
Australia Condobolin NSW Indian Pacific Railway
Australia Condobolin NSW Indian Pacific Railway

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.

Australia NSW Condobolin Merino wool
Australia NSW Condobolin Merino wool
Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep
Australia NSW Condobolin Merino Sheep

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.

Australia NSW pub poem
Australia NSW pub poem

I currently live in London for business reasons, working as a photographer, am an Australian citizen and proud to call myself an Australian.

Shane Aurousseau : http://www.kiamafoto.com