Insight 7: The Mining Industry
Australia is sometimes called ‘the lucky country’. One reason for this is that it has great mineral wealth beneath its soils, and, historically, this has benefited Australia’s economy very much. Mining is still one of the primary industries, but the famous ‘gold rushes’ are long past, and many old ‘mining’ towns are now a shadow of their former selves.
There are still signs of those earlier days, and a few of the former mining towns have opened their old mines are tourists attractions, (right) allowing an insight into those times.
Sometimes, when driving around, you see emotive sights of these past activities. The picture on the left shows an old derelict building which was once part of a coal-mining operation. In the 1960s, the coal eventually proved too expensive to mine, and everything closed. This building remains – but for how long?
Insight 4: The Coast
Australia is an island, and a big one. This means that it has lots of coastline. This also means it has lots of great beaches (See Cultural Insight 2), but there is also some great eroded cliff faces, and rocky headlands and peninsulas. Melbourne, my hometown, is not so well known for beaches [the water can be freezing cold], but it has by far prettier coastlines. My brother recently toured the ‘Bass coastline’ of Victoria, and sent me some pictures. Here are three of them.
When one looks at this photo on the left, one wonders, who built this place? What did it look like? Who lived there? When? How? And what happened to them?
As I said in Cultural Insight 2 (The Beaches), Sydney/NSW has the better beaches, but Melbourne/Victoria has a far more interesting coastline.
Cultural Insight 2: The beaches
Australia is famous for … handsome English teachers? Er, actually, no.
But we are famous for our beaches. The better beaches are on the east coast, in the tropical region, and the weather is warmer there, too. Sydney has some wonderful beaches, the most famous being Bondi (shown below).
Bondi is big, clean, and very easy to get to. Melbourne, my hometown does not have the beaches, but it has a far more picturesque and pretty coastline, and many of the later ‘Cultural Insights’ will examine these places.
Anyhow, when you visit my country, get a taste of the beach life there. But remember, wear a hat, and use some sunscreen, since the sun can be very intense indeed.
Insight 1: Animals
Hi all. I’m from Australia, so I can tell you something about my country. I’d like to start with … something cute and cuddly. Me?
Er, not me, actually. I’m talking about my friend alongside – the koala.
Okay, can you see them in Australia? Yes, in every animal park or zoo. Can you see them in the wild? Hmmm, yes, but they can be difficult to find. They are small, and sit very high in trees, and they sleep for most of the day. Still, in some of the more ‘wilder’ parklands, you may well see them – although those fuzzy blobs sitting high in trees are not that interesting to look at.