Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Differing Cultures of Regional Australia - Introduction

Note to readers: I am now using this introductory post as an entry point to the various posts that I have written on or around this topic.

Back at the start of June in a comment on one of my posts, an American set out this challenge.

Hi, I'm an American. I was surfing the Internet, trying to learn something about Australia's diverse regions from a cultural perspective as opposed to a merely geographical one. All I turned up was information on Aborigines. Where's the Australian Paul Bunyan? Where's the Johnny Appleseed? Where are the pictures of Eskimos contrasted with lumberjacks, miners, farmers and fishermen? You are right. I almost had to conclude that Australia has no regional flavor at all. (Search for "regional flavor" and you will turn up many websites on wine, but none that pay more than lipservice to culture.)

Now this challenge, one that reflected one of my own complaints about the failure of our regions to present their unique features, actually hurt. Since then I have begun to tease out some of the cultural differences between Australia's regions.

This is no easy task. Australians think of themselves first as Australians. Then they assume that the way they think is in fact simply Australian. In reality, it's not for all areas have their own unique style.

The problem is that to understand and present these differences you actually have to live in an area, submerging yourself in the local culture. Then you have to retain sufficient objectivity to analyse and understand what is in fact local. This is far from easy.

I have neither the time nor the money to travel across Australia submerging myself. But what I can do is to point to some of the more obvious differences, hoping that someone else will come behind to do the more detailed work.

This series:

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Related Material

I will be adding links to related material in due course.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Graduate Starting Salaries in Regional Australia

Graphic: Sydney Morning Herald, graduate starting salaries.

I was interested to learn from the Graduate Careers Australia annual survey of Australian graduates that new graduates employed in regional areas earn on average $2,000 more than those in the capital cities ($42,000 as compared to $40,000).

Salaries in regional areas were considerably higher in earth sciences (by $15,000), optometry ($11,500), physical sciences ($5,000) architecture and building ($4,500) and engineering ($4,000).

Salaries in regional areas were lower in dentistry (by $3,000), economics and business ($4,000) and accounting ($3,000).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

NSW Real Estate - rental and sale data by area

For those interested in housing in NSW whether for rental, home purchase or investment purposes, the NSW Department of Housing publishes some very useful statistics giving rental and sales data for different areas across the state.

You can find the latest statistics here as well as previous sales and rental reports.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Circuit - World Class Top End Drama

Photo: Drew Ellis, the latest lawyer to join the chaotic and challenging world of the Kimberley Circuit Court.

The Circuit follows a magistrate and an entourage of court officers and lawyers on a regular five-day 2000 kilometre round-trip to dispense justice to the remote communities of north Western Australia.

It’s a tough gig for anyone, but for Drew Ellis, a city blackfella, it’s a rude awakening as he quickly comes to realise that one law for two cultures does not always equal a fair go.

The Circuit is a marvellous show for anyone who wants to see just how different and varied Australian life can be. For overseas readers who really do want to see a different world, the series is coming out on DVD.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Top End Theatre

Photo: Tracks Theatre Company, Darwin

One of the things that I know far too little about is the emergence of new theatrical styles in Australia's top end.

The top end has always been very different from the south of the country, certainly very different from the New England world in which I grew up with its squatters; mansions and stylised manners.

It's not just the indigenous presence, although that is very important. Rather, the top end has always been close to Asia and has been a unique melting pot. This is now reflected in the emergence of new theatrical forms combining a range of very different influences.

Sydney has long provided itself on being multicultural, and indeed that's true in the sense of different cultures living together while remaining separate. Darwin is polycultural in that the cultures are melding to create a new form.