Opera House Update

Few images of Australia are more readily recognizable than Sydney’s Opera House. Far more than just an opera house, this iconic structure has long offered both multiple venues—and multiple problems. The problems began when the designer of the structure, Jørn Utzon, was not allowed to complete it. Now, Australia is asking Utzon to return to solve the problems created by that unfortunate decision. In this video, 60 Minutes visits both the Opera House and Utzon, to find out what is hoped for the future.

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Cockatoos

There are many things to love about Australia, not least of which are the birds. And it’s not just that there are a lot of birds—though there are—it’s also that the birds are remarkable. I’ve posted several times about specific birds: lyrebirds, kookaburras, magpies, brolgas, jabirus, and more. But among the feathered denizens of the land Down Under, it is the parrots and the cockatoos that are the attention getters. Because I’ve covered so much of Australia, I’ve seen many varieties of both. Fortunately, there are experts who spend months researching Aussie bird life. I’ve just come across a new YouTube channel where one of these experts shares both images and insights about his favorites among Australia’s birds. In this video, he focuses on Cockatoos—but if you visit his channel, you’ll find others.

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A Treat from 1930s Australia

As a food historian, I always enjoy learning about old recipes. I’ve tasted and tested recipes from a wide range of nations and time periods. Today, I saw a video of a recipe from Australia’s past, and while I haven’t tested this one myself, as is often true of people who cook a lot, I can “taste” it based on what I know of the ingredients. So I’ll add it to my “try soon” folder—but today, as it is from 1930s Australia, I thought I’d share it here. This is a channel created by a Canadian gentleman (which the pronunciation of words such as “about” will make clear) who specializes in dishes from old cookbooks. He also shares a bit of background on the dishes and how foods evolve, which is also fun.

A perfect little something for an afternoon tea. Enjoy.

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Tourism Update

I haven’t been posting about Australia for a while, largely because Australia has been on lockdown to an even greater extent than some places in the U.S. — and not much point in promoting tourism if you can’t go there.

But now that COVID 19 appears to be retreating to a certain extent, places, including Australia, are cautiously reopening. Soon, I’ll try to get back on a regular schedule of posting — but now, I thought I’d at least post this: a chart prepared by Australian tourism on what the current precautions are and which state borders within Australia might require additional care. Hope this helps you plan a trip, if you get to go. And hope to begin sharing about my travels again soon.

Australia Travel Advisory—COVID 19—June 2022

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The Need to Diversify

This video underscores the need to diversify. While we may already understand that from the standpoint of a private investment portfolio, clearly, it also applies to nations. Hope Australia can combat these issues.

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Don’t Go Now

I don’t think anyone could doubt my love of Australia, after all the time I’ve spent there and all the hundreds of posts I’ve written about it. But sadly, if you want to visit, this is not the time. Fear of COVID-19 has led to lockdown rules that are so strict that even the Chinese Communist Party has commented on them.

I’ll be praying that things get back to normal so folks can visit Australia again. But this is definitely not the time to plan a vacation to the Land Downunder. So sad.

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Here Comes the Easter Bilby

Certainly all Australians and probably many who are simply interested in Australia will have heard of the horrific problems created by the introduction of rabbits. With no predators to keep populations under control, rabbits became a genuine plague in Australia, destroying crops and native plants and out-competing indigenous wildlife. So, a few decades ago, an Aussie chocolatier decidesd it was time to step away from chocolate bunnies at Easter and honor a local animal that had suffered because of the rabbit invasion — the bilby. So now, if you’re Down Under for Easter, you can search out a confection that is not just a sweet treat but that also helps preserve indigenous fauna.

Here’s a video to show a bit more of that history — and so you know what a bilby looks like, if you get a chance to find one, either real or confectionary.

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Shark Wall in WA

Shark attacks are part of the reality of enjoying the lure of the ocean. In Australia, as in the U.S., this is more common on the West Coast. A fair number of approaches have been tried to keep swimmers safe. On my first trip to Australia, I swam in a shark cage near Port Hedland, which did the trick but was fairly confining. Efforts to achieve safety have continued. After additional decades of effort, a new option was developed and tested in Western Australia (WA). The good news is, the Eco Shark Barrier works well and the company that invented it is now the world’s leading purveyor of systems that keep both swimmers and marine life safe. Check out the interlocking shark wall in this video.

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Australian English

In my book, Waltzing Australia, I include a fairly lengthy glossary of terms used in Australia. I also at one point discuss the Aussie tendency to make things charmingly diminutive (such as the saltwater crocodile becoming a saltie), which is covered in this video, but I also relate terms that came to Australia from South Africa, as well as Cockney rhyming slang. So there is a lot of information in the book (in addition to grand adventures)—but it doesn’t let you know what the words sound like. A language channel that I regularly watch just solved that problem for me. Here’s a video that relates the sounds of spoken Australian English.

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Gibb River Road

One might think that after three trips to Australia, one of them six months long, I might be running out of things to see. Far from it. There is a fourth trip to report—and still things on my list that have not been checked off. However, before I launch into trip 4, I thought I’d just share a few interesting things I’ve run across online, mostly videos (since I was simply taking photos, which don’t necessarily convey all the drama and adventure).

There are so many wonderful things to see. I just saw a documentary on Australian parrots, so I thought I should focus on birds. Then I read an article about evidence that life on earth may have first emerged in Australia’s Pilbara region, but long research papers don’t lend themselves to blog posts.

So I settled on a video of a couple tackling the Gibb River Road, the road that made up a substantial part of the first part of Trip 3. It is not by any means everything I saw, but then the couple had to cut their trip short due to problems with their vehicle. If nothing else, the video underscores why it’s a good idea to not tackle this unless you really know what you’re doing. But it also underscores how remarkable the remote northwest of Australia is.

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