Ed Petrie

All Under The Place – 5 Oct, Ceduna, Australia

If you want to get some idea of Australia’s scale, today we drove west through the state of South Australia from Adelaide to the small coastal town of Ceduna. We only passed through 2 other small towns along the way. TWO! The landscape only changed twice as well, from huge rolling fields resembling a dry and empty South Downs, to parched Outback scrub and back again. Points of interest included a bay of water that was bright pink (think it’s some sort of algae they have out here), a sign stating that we’d reached the halfway point of Australia , and a statue of a Giant galah. Apart from that there was basically a whole lot of nothing.

On first impressions Ceduna reminded me of South Africa when I was there in the 1990s. Rather sad, lost looking Aboriginals drift up and down the town’s only shopping street, and signs are dotted around constantly reminding passers-by about the ban on drinking in public. The entrance to our hotel bar was guarded by 3 bouncers, and once inside there were yet more signs informing you that they’ll throw you out if you don’t watch yourself.

The kids of the Aboriginals seem sparky and full of life. I went for a run along the jetty as the sun was going down and they were showing off fish they’d caught and racing me to the end of the pier. Something seems to go wrong somewhere along the line for a lot of them, although you have to remember that the bottleshop is in town, so there may be a lot of perfectly content people out in the sticks who aren’t drawn to that particular magnet. It’s probably extremely ignorant of me to draw conclusions about an entire race of people from the few I’ve encountered, but I can’t help feeling that these people are suffering a loss of some sort. A white local was saying that sometimes they still get told to “go back to your own country” by some of the Aboriginals, and you have to wonder what white British people would feel like if in 1788 a bunch of Aboriginals had turned up in boats, “discovered” the UK and then gone about taking the place over. I imagine there’d still be a great deal of resentment festering away…

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