Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Regional Living Australia end month review - August 2007

Another month and now the start of spring!

August was a bit of a messy month. Having got behind in posting, I struggled a little to catch up. Still, after just five posts in July, August saw me get back to my target of 2-3 posts per week, with 10 posts in the month. Not all very profound perhaps, a bit over the place in fact, but a start.

Four of the ten posts dealt in some way with Australian culture. This reflects my long standing interest in teasing out the patterns in Australian culture and especially the way these vary across Regional Australia.

In The Differing Cultures of Regional Australia - Polyculturalism, I was really trying to construct a framework that would allow me to better understand and present cultural variation across Australia.

Here I suggested that there was a core Australian culture that itself varied to some degree across Australia. Then there were the various migrant cultures co-existing with the core culture.

Australia is a land of migrants. Each new migrant group has contributed to the core culture in some way. So the core culture itself has shifted over time as a consequence. Because patterns of life and and of migration have varied across Australia, so has the cultural mix.

I extended this argument in Australia's Regional Differences - Melbourne vs Sydney. Examining some of the differences between Sydney and Melbourne, I concluded:

When we extend this analysis across Australia, we are left with a smorgasbord of different life styles, cultures and attractions. Sometimes it can be difficult for those of us living here to see it. We actually have to leave the country to see the differences.

To re-emphasize this point, compare Melbourne's European cafe society with elements of life in Darwin (and here) or the Kimberley. Or, again, with another post I put up during the month, Judith Wright's The Hawthorn Hedge - Regional Australia writers.

Especially in her earlier writing, Judith Wright is very much a New England writer, although Queensland also tries to claim her on the grounds that she lived there for thirty years! One thing I achieved during the month was the creation of an entry page on the New England Australia blog for the writing I have started to do on Judith Wright.

Because I am now writing so much on the cultures of Regional Australia, I have turned one post, The Differing Cultures of Regional Australia - Introduction, into an entry page for all my posts in this area. With time, and it is going to take time just to reference past posts, I hope that this will turn into a useful resource.

There were two posts during August dealing with Regional Australia's universities.

The first, University of New England acts to stamp out cheating by overseas students, dealt with the problems that UNE had experienced in this area. One point that I tried to make is that overseas students, and especially those who are looking to gain Australian permanent residency, must comply with Australian standards.

Because this story might cast doubts on UNE, I followed it with a second story on that university's continued high rankings in the student satisfaction surveys. This links to a point that I make regularly to both metro and overseas students, the way that all the universities in Regional Australia rank high on key student indicators as compared to their metro cousins.

I also carried a number of individual stories in August. One was a personal note on Aboriginal art, giving a very useful link through to a very good blog on this topic. A second, Going bush for city slickers - introduction, marked the start of a new series on the pleasures and pitfalls involved in acquiring that bush retreat.

Turning now to the most popular entry pages, by far the most popular post after the front page was the post on the differences between Melbourne and Sydney. This was followed, if with a substantial gap, by Australia's Indigenous Heritage - Big Sky Country, then by Kimberley Region WA 2 - The Romance of Pearls and Pearling.

These posts were followed by four with roughly equal ranking: Australian Regional Food - Bush Tucker and the Australian Aborigines, Aboriginal Art - a personal note, Regional Australia - Population and Residential Building Hotspots and Judith Wright's The Hawthorn Hedge - Regional Australia writers.

Then came a handful with two visits each.

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