Australia

This is going to be a long entry. 

Before I start, I would like to acknowledge that I am writing this in the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and I would like to pay my respect to the traditional custodians of this land. 

Australia Atlas: Maps and Online Resources

Yes, Oz it is. The current homeland, the birthplace of my second child A and a vast, vast continent of its own. Australia, where constellations are different from the northern sky and the flushing toilet water swirls in a different direction. The place we now call home. 

So much to say about Australia. As an immigrant, I admire many things and then there are things that I am not crazy about. But this is not about me. This is about approaching Australia as an experience – there is so much, so it’s hard to decide where to start. 

Everyone knows where Australia is. It is down under, far from everywhere. Australia has 10,000 beaches, more than any other country in the world. That makes a lot of beaches. When visitors come to visit us, we would like to remind them of the charming Australian wildlife

Kangaroo meat and bush food 

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Australian cuisine is not famous. Even the kids look at me puzzled and say: “So we will have a barbie [barbecue] and tim tams for dessert?” They omit vegemite, the Australian culinary gift to the world. A black yeast paste that has an indescribable taste – you have to be born to it to like it. There are also Anzac cookies, pavlova but no, there is not really such a thing as an Australian cuisine. 

We should not forget that Australia hosts the oldest living culture, over 60 000 years old. So this is where we turn for an ‘Australian’ cuisine experience. Bush food, also called bush tucker. Bush tucker has been the source of nutrition and medicine for First Nations people in Australia. Bush food consists of animal meat, seafood, vegetables, plants, fruits and spices. 

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For the bush tucker lunch, it is just the three of us – my children L (15), A (9) and me. We find an Indigenous-owned café in Glebe that serves bush food from Far North Queensland and has a very good reputation. It is called Lillipad Café, after another Lillipad Café in Cairns.   

We head to the café one busy Saturday morning and pass by the wonderful Glebe markets. The café is full but the incredibly friendly staff finds us a table at the back. We walk past many groups of people and others waiting outside to be seated. The lovely back area is charming, as is the whole restaurant. There is a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait symbolism. The atmosphere is wonderful, accepting and inclusive. 

The food is delicious. L takes a Wild Country Platter (that has kangaroo salami, chorizo, roasted cauliflower, spices, vegetables and halloumi) and I have a vegetarian plate (that I share with A) with bush vegetables and halloumi, and A has a pancake with berries. The taste is rich, delicious and fresh. Lillipad gets 10/10 from us for food, service and atmosphere – and we are very likely to be back. 

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The world’s oldest living culture 

Australia is a country of many nations and immigrants. More than half of all Australians are first or second-generation migrants. SBS states: “The results of the 2021 Census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), showed 48.2 per cent of Australians have a parent born overseas, and 27.6 per cent were born outside Australia

Australia is also a country of nations. There are many different nations of Australian First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait), each with their own unique language. The 2021 Census recorded 167 Aboriginal or Torres Strait languages used at home. The First Nations people form around 3.3% of the current population in Australia. AJATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) has a map of Indigenous Australia that cannot be reproduced without permission. 

As for history…

The story is well known. Australia hosts the most ancient living culture, shared by different nations, clans and around 250 different language groups. These people are thought to have come from East Asia around 60,000 years ago. The Aboriginal storytelling, art and understanding of the environment was developed during thousands of years. The different groups did not always coexist peacefully and clashes were common. 

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Image Art by Mirree

The Spanish and Portuguese did some exploration of the northern coast but did not see much of interest and retreated. The Dutch went a bit further and a fellow named Abel Janszoon Tasman ‘discovered’ Tasmania, and called it Van Diemen’s Land after his superior.  

The ones to come with force were of course the Brits. Captain Cook and company did three expeditions, claiming New South Wales for Britain in 1770. Colonisation followed with the First Fleet arriving in 1788. As with colonizers everywhere, many awful things followed. The treatment of the First Nations was atrocious and well documented, and some of that carries on to this day.  

Matthew Flinders gave the vast land a name ‘Australia’ and undertook several expeditions, including circumnavigation. The Brits established several colonies and claimed the land. Wool was a major industry product and in the 1850s gold was found. The colonies united to form a Federation in 1901 with Edmund Barton as the first Prime Minister. Aboriginal people were excluded from different civil and constitutional rights such as vote, maternity allowance, pensions and employment in different institutions such as the post office and Armed Forces. 

The Australian government established in 1901 a charming initiative called the White Australia Policy to keep the country primarily British while expecting the First Nations to slowly die out. The Stolen Generations refers to a policy of forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait descent children from their families to state care between approximately 1869 and 1969. The exact number of removed children is not known but the impact of the forced removals and the intergenerational trauma is still visible today. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gained the right to vote in 1962. The following decades brought acknowledgement of other rights related to things such as land, native title and deaths in custody. The National Sorry Day to commemorate the Stolen Generations was launched in 1998 (26 May) and has been celebrated ever since. Following events such as Cathy Freeman’s historic Olympic Gold, a formal apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait people – long refused by the conservative party in power – was finally delivered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (Labor party) on 13 February 2008.  

Australia is a country of immigrants and multiculturalism. In 2020, nearly 30% of Australia’s population had been born overseas, representing 7.6 million people. The largest groups are English, Indian and Chinese. Australia is the country with the largest Chinese population outside China (5.5%). The median age of the English immigrant group (58 years) is more than 20 years older than the Indian immigrant group (35 years). The oldest median age is from Latvia (78 years) and the youngest the Cayman Islands (14 years). Western Australia has the highest proportion of overseas born immigrants (35%), whereas Tasmania has the lowest (13%).

Australia has a compulsory voting system and the political landscape has long been dominated by two ruling parties (Liberal and Labor). The current government is a Labor Government (since 2022), headed by Anthony Albanese. Australia has a federal system of government with eight states and territories (New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania.)

A young rapper from Redfern 

So much to say about Australian music. Everyone seems to have an opinion about it, with favourites including Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave, AC/DC, Midnight Oil, INXS, Keith Urban, Archie Roach, Savage Garden, Natalia Imbruglia, 5 Seconds of Summer, Sia or the recently passed Olivia Newton-John. These are global Australian imports. Rolling Stone magazine has had its take on the greatest Australian musicians.

There are also other musicians that are very popular in Australia but less known elsewhere – at least in Europe – such as Jimmy Barnes, Yothu YindiNo Fixed AddressGeoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu and Christine Anu. Some of these artists make a distinctly Australian contributions to world music.

But, this time I will focus on one artist only, the one that has been on A’s playlist for months.

In May 2022, I took A to his very first real concert at the Qudos Arena in Sydney Olympic Park to see the Australian superstar The Kid Laroi. He is an 18 year old from Waterloo/Redfern (inner-city neighbourhood in Sydney famous for flourishing Aboriginal culture) and the first Australian-born male singer to hit the number 1 spot on US Albums Chart and Billboard Hot 100 in 40 years. 

The day we attended the concert was the National Sorry Day and The Kid Laroi – a Kamilaroi man – acknowledged this when he took the stage and shared that his family are members of the stolen generation. The 18 year old sang for a sold-out arena and commanded the stage. He has incredible talent, stage presence and charisma. He also is quite young and that shows in his language with the prolific use of the word  f**k, to the point that the word loses its power. 

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It was a wonderful concert and a wonderful experience. People around us were into the music as much as we were. The public was delightfully varied. We sat next to three young men of South-East Asian background and in front of us were a group of six young people – all of different ethnicities; next to us were a young couple of differing skin tones, and behind us a Polynesian dad with his two young kids. Around us, mums and dads were with boys like A – boys that got up and sang their lungs out with The Kid Laroi. He is an incredible stage performer with palpable charisma. The concert was short – just over an hour – but I was not complaining (A did) as it was a good duration for a first concert. 

We make lists of our favourite songs by The Kid Laroi. So Done is our shared favourite but I also love Where Does Your Spirit Go, that he made for the fallen Juice Wrld, who had taken him under his wing. I asked A to put his favourite The Kid Laroi songs on my playlist. I find there are now 179 of them. It would be an understatement to say that I have heard this artist a lot. The importance of the Kid Laroi in my household (and on long drives with the 9-year-old A) is demonstrated by the fact that out of the 621 artists that I listened to on spotify in 2022, the Kid Laroi was number 1 and ‘So Done’ the number one song. 

“The silences are as powerful as the words”

Larissa Behrendt is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman from her father’s side. She is the Director of the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney. She is also the first Aboriginal woman to have graduated from Harvard Law School with a Doctorate in Juridical Science. She is an accomplished scholar (Laureate in 2022 – the highest academic distinction in Australia), highly awarded (Order of Australia 2021, NSW Person of the Year 2011). She is a lawyer, academic, activist, film maker, author and so many other things. She is, in simple terms, an incredibly impressive human. 

What really makes Larissa rise above so many other important people is her connection to people – her connection to country, to community, to people around her. She brims with intelligence, warmth, presence, wisdom, style and knowledge. She is eloquent, charming, incredibly bright and approachable.  She has a palpable charisma that affects everyone around her. I have been in the same room with Larissa, grateful to be able to enjoy the effect she has on those around her. 

I know Larissa through work, so when L wanted to do a school project about Larissa, I asked if she would be available. Despite being incredibly busy, Larissa found time to be interviewed by a 15-year old. She squeezed in time between important engagements to sit and answer all of L’s questions. She listened attentively and responded with commitment, respect and warmth. These are human attributes you cannot fake. Larissa was probably unaware of the impact that she had on my 15 year old, who has since then embarked on a journey to champion for justice, equality and girls’ right to education. 

For all these reasons and more, I decided to read Larissa’s latest book of fiction, After life. The book is about a difficult relationship between a mother and a daughter, and the phantoms of the past. In the story, a mother (Della) and a daughter (Jasmine) embark on an organised literature trip around England. They not only learn about the heavy weight of English literature but also reflect (each in their own way) on their relationship with each other, their community, the past and the disappearance of Jasmine’s sister Brittany thirty years prior. It is a fascinating book that moves on two levels – the past and present and everything between. What makes it rich is the relationship between the two, the weight of grief, loss and trauma and also the life of the Aboriginal community in a small town.

It takes me a while to get into the book but when it happens, the book crawled under my skin and swallowed me with force. The stories of the past (Della and Jasmine’s) are fascinating from the start but the interaction between the literary tour participants is less engaging. At first, I find myself wanting to skip over the dialogue between the different people taking the tour and the long explanations of the life and creative process of some of the English writers but it all starts to make more sense half way through. In the end I found myself weeping. 

Larissa’s book talks about the strength of being open about trauma. Jasmine says to her mother Della “I guess it made me realise that things happen in families and trauma impacts on one generation to the next. And even if it’s not spoken, it’s still there and it has repercussions. I’m just saying people don’t need to talk about it unless they’re ready, I just mean – we shouldn’t be ashamed. There’s strength in saying things.” I think about how, in recent times, I have coincidently come across people – some very close – who have disclosed traumatic elements from their past, and been brave and courageous by telling their story. This is the strength of saying things.  

Larissa’s book should be sufficient for the Virtual Nomad Australia entry but several people have recommended for me to read Why warriors lie down and die, so I do. 

This is a very different book written by Richard Trudgen. The book focuses on the history of the Yolŋu people in Arnhem Land and the challenges First Nations people face in modern Australia. From the devastating histories of first contact and the loss of land, life and culture to the challenges of poor health, unemployment, low life expectancy and other obstacles to living a fulfilling life with equal opportunities and the chance to prosper (not only in economic terms). This book ties in brilliantly with a movie, Charlie’s country (see below), that is also set in Arnhem Land with the same themes. 

The book talks about the same issue of communication that Larissa’s book does – how things do not translate from one language to another, and that is one of the causes of the Aboriginal health crises. When English is used, a patient might understand the words but not the real meaning behind them. I have always wondered why more Aboriginal languages are not taught at school. I once asked this and got the answer that it is not useful. Hmmm. I have never come across a language that is not useful. The book says: “For readers who don’t speak a second language, it must be said that there is no such thing as literal translation of languages. In other words, a word in one language does not always have a different equivalent in another language.” 

Because – through work – I have been exposed to much material on Indigenous research and culture – a lot of the things in the book do not surprise me. I also find myself longing for a more Indigenous voice – not Indigenous stories told by others. But I do recognise the merits of the book and do understand why it is considered essential reading. But it should not be the only entry to understanding Indigenous realities. There is so much material that is equally important. A good place to start is Jumbunna or AJATSIS

Caught in between two realities 

One of my dearest friends in Sydney is SA, a woman in her late 70s who has worked in film all her life and is very well read. SA knows Australian film and literature inside out, she and her husband NH, love film, art, food and travel. They are people with curious, young and adventurous spirits, and a never-ending thirst for knowing, learning and experience. I have learned so much from SA about Sydney through her childhood and the vivid life of independent media in the 60s and 70s. Her life itself is a book that I would love to read. 

I had a glass of wine with SA and NH and asked them for their opinion of what other book I should read in addition to these two. She promises to reflect on it and come back to me. In a day or two she provides a list of suggestions that I reproduce here with her permission, but have removed her comments. Many of these have been made into movies. 

  1. Careful He Might Hear You, by Sumner Locke Eliot.  
  2. The Women in Black, Madeleine St John. 
  3. My Brilliant Career, Miles Franklin
  4. The Harp in the South, Ruth Park
  5. Picnic at Hanging RockJoan Lindsey
  6. Looking for Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta. 
  7. Tracks, Robin Dalton
  8. Come In Spinner (term used in two-up games), Dymphna Cusack and Florence James
  9. Dirt Music, Tim Winton
  10. The Potato Factory, Bruce Courtenay 

I cannot read them all (or the Virtual Nomad journey would be even longer) so I place them on my books to read list and choose to go for number 1 on this list, just because SA made it number 1. 

Sumner Locke Eliot was an Australian novelist and playwright and Careful He Might Hear You is his most famous book, bringing him the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The book is based on his childhood where he was the object of a bitter custody battle between his aunts. 

The book is lovely, and very long. It is a story of a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings within a family, and the conviction of knowing what is the best for others. The main character is a  six year old boy caught in between two aunts fighting for custody. The aunts are the sisters of his mother, who died in childbirth, and both seem to think they know what is best for him. Set in Sydney during the Great Depression, it is a study of family dynamics and urban life through the eyes of the child. I find it very lovely but slow at times.  

An Australian Movie Marathon 

One night I have dinner with some friends and we realise that there are several quintessential Australian movies my eldest child L (15) has not seen. I feel like a bad mother and decide to proceed to correct this error immediately. We draw up a list of some of the heavy weights of Australian cinema – most I have seen, some I have not. Many of the movies are not suitable for my younger child A (9) but some are. I also realise that there are classic movies that I have not seen. That makes me also a bad citizen. 

I also discuss this with SA and NH who have worked in media and Australian film all their life. They approve of my list and give me a couple of other titles. I also check with GdS, my young colleague who is of Garrwa, Barunggam and Māori  descent and gives me a fresh perspective of a First Nations man. After all this consultation, I feel pretty confident the list of movies includes the must-see ones. 

All this leads us to embark on an Australian movie marathon

We start with the most essential. 

The Adventures of Priscilla, the Queen of Desert is the first on the list. This is the movie that everyone I know in Europe, if asked to name an Australian movie, would come up with. I have seen it several times but this is the first time for L. L loves it. It’s colourful, it’s hilarious, it’s thought provoking, it’s inclusive and it is a must see. Apparently, when it came out, people overseas saw it as an important representation of the LGBTIQ+ community in cinema, whereas in Australia it was seen as another movie about the Australian way of life. It is a wonderful movie about tolerance, belonging and community. It also gives homage to the Australian outback, the red centre and the breathtaking scenery. And it of course has Hugo Weaving in drag. Very suitable for L (15), not yet for A (9) – not because of the drag but for the (very occasional) violence. 

Next on the list is Picnic at Hanging Rock. It was my first Australian movie ever and it had an enduring effect – to the point that I still have the ‘Hanging Rock’ where the movie was filmed on my list of places to visit. It is some 80k north of Melbourne and I intend to finally go there in January 2023. 

This time around, it was less impactful and less haunting than I had expected. A generation Z person (L) finds it slow and without a satisfactory resolution. It is a story – mistakenly thought to be based on a true story – of schoolgirls that disappeared on a school picnic trip in 1900s Victoria. It is still considered to be one of the best Australian movies and is one of the first directed by Peter Weir. 

Rabbit Proof Fence (available on Netflix and Youtube) is a difficult but important movie to watch. Set in 1931 Australia, the child removal policy (in use until approximately 1967) authorised the removal of ‘half-caste’ First Nations children from their families into the custody of the state and to ‘educational facilities’.

These people are known as the Stolen Generations. The movie follows the story of three girls removed from their mothers who escape from the Moore River Native Settlement and start a long journey back home (2,400 kilometres) by foot along the rabbit-proof fence to their home in Jigalong. It is based on the true story of the mother of author Doris Pilkington Garimara, Molly Craig, whose real life story is tragic and hard to read. “In spite of himself, the native must be helped”, says the white officer in the movie, the Chief  Protector of Aborigines who becomes the custodian of the stolen children. I first watch it with L, and then again with A. A cannot believe that anyone would ever take a child from their mother, and he holds onto me a bit tighter for the rest of the day. 

Walkabout is a 1971 movie about two English siblings lost in the Australian outback where they are found by a young Indigenous man on a ‘walkabout’ (an initiation ritual and rite of passage for some young First Nations men, when they might  travel for several months). The movie is strong in symbolism, hidden emotions and suffocated desire, as well as strong repressed sexual longing. David Gulpilil plays the Indigenous boy. His bio states that this is the first time in film that an Aboriginal person was portrayed in film as sexually attractive. It is incredibly multilayered, mesmerizing and effective in its stillness, silence and atmosphere. 

Another important movie that I have not seen yet is Samson and Delilah. I watch it by myself. An amazing, disturbing, visually stunning movie that is very difficult to watch. The lighting in the movie is astonishing, all stills are like photographs but the shattering story is unsettling, almost in a good way. The movie deservedly won the first Feature Award Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It is an amazing piece of moviemaking and even if the acting is clearly amateur, the movie is a winner. The strong themes include alienation, isolation, discrimination and racism, but also hope, connection and resilience. It is directed by Warwick Thornton who is also famous for his 2017 movie, Sweet Country. Thornton is currently filming ‘The New Boy’ with Cate Blanchett

Charlie’s country is my third David Gulpilil movie on this marathon. It brought him the best actor award in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It is an amazing movie about the loss of culture and feeling disconnected between the past and the present. Filmed in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, the movie is worth watching. Gulpilil is exceptional in it, 44 years after he starred in Walkabout. The movie is loosely based on his life which is a series of challenges, including when he is treated as a child by the white police officers. Dominated by a melancholy undertone and sense of devastating, gripping loss of culture and purpose, it is a powerful message of the value of diversity and deep listening. 

Muriel’s wedding is considered an iconic and high-quality film. I vaguely remember seeing it and I recall it as being a comedy. This time it feels quite remote from a comedy and unfortunately, both L and I are turned off by it. The movie made us uncomfortable and unable to see the much-hyped value of the story. This is, of course, only our personal opinion and some people I talk to tell me that there might be something wrong with me that I don’t like it. Therefore, no one should take our opinion as a review. Even if we did not like the movie, we still loved Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths

Strictly ballroom is a sentimental favourite. This movie is suitable for both kids. We actually already watched it during the lockdown but it is still a wonderful pastime. It’s Baz Luhrmann at his best. It razzles and dazzles, is corny, sweet and funny. This movie is for the feel good moments. Lotsa’ dancing, lotsa’ glitter, lotsa’ funny characters, lotsa’ fun. A great family film to watch.

Another feel-good movie is the Sapphires – a highly fictionalised story of an Aboriginal girl band in the 1960s. It has Jessica Mauboy and Deborah Mailman and is a lovely, light romantic comedy.  

Red dog is a movie that I have seen once. A (9) has seen it at least three times and loves it. A story about the importance of a dog in a mining town in Western Australia. Loosely based on a true story of a dog in the 1970s who searched for his owner around WA. In the movie, the dog is adopted by the miners and forms a special relationship with one of them. It is an emotional movie about loyalty and connection between people and animals.

L has not seen Moulin Rouge so we proceed to watch it as well. What makes the movie Australian is the director, Baz Luhrmann, and the fact that it was filmed in Fox Studios in Sydney. Nicole Kidman is one of Australia’s biggest movie star exports and she shines in this one. It is brilliant, unconventional and an explosion of colour. One critic once described the movie as like being in an elevator with a circus. I have seen it several times but L has not so we embark on the incredibly jam packed sensorial experience that is Moulin Rouge. L loved it and later said that she has never seen anything like it. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor both are insanely beautiful, and good in it. Come what may! 

Baz Luhrmann has another Australian movie called Australia which, despite powerhouse names such as Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and David Gulpilil, is basically quite a bad movie. The scenery is stunning and the movie could easily work as advertising material for the breathtakingly beautiful Northern Australia but the story, the plot and the uneven work of everyone involved makes it inelegant.  

An Australian movie marathon without fallen hero Heath Ledger would feel incomplete so I proceed to watch, by myself once the kids are at sleep, Candy. This is a movie about addiction – specifically the addiction of a pretty, young couple in love. Addiction seems to be more glamourous and compelling when people are beautiful and maintain their perfect teeth while on heroin. The movie is not compelling enough to be credible and not harsh enough to be compelling. I struggle to be interested until the end and I congratulate myself for sitting through it. Oh, and it has Geoffrey Rush too in a weird gay professor role that introduces the young lovers to heroin. Duh! 

I include Penguin Bloom on the list. It has been a while since we saw it, but it is a great family movie. The main character – played by the always so wonderful Naomi Watts – has an accident and is paralysed from waist down. The family adopts an injured magpie that becomes a symbol of healing for the whole family. It is a lovely movie with a sad undertone but a good film for talking about difficult issues with younger children. 

We watched the Dish a few months ago, before the adventures of the Virtual Nomad began so we can easily add it to the list. It is very loosely based on actual events and the role of the Parkes Observatory in relaying live television footage of the moon landing in 1969. It is sweet and heart-warming – a small movie that is nothing remarkable but still a lovely thing to watch. Fact checking shows the differences between the movie and the real story but it’s still fun to watch.  

At first, I do not know what to think about Jedda, the first Australian film shot in colour by director and scriptwriter Charles Chauvel (1955). This movie was recommended to me by my colleague GdS, a young man of Garrwa, Barunggam and Māori descent. The movie tells the story of a young Aboriginal woman in the Northern Territory whose mother dies in childbirth. She is adopted by a white mother who just lost her baby. The girl finds herself in the crossroads of being educated as a white girl but longing to belong to and know more about her Aboriginal culture. I still don’t know what to think about the movie. I acknowledge the merits of it and that it clearly is a product of its time, but ultimately it is less a movie about understanding identity and cultural belonging and more about the possession and coercive, abusive control of a 16-year-old, as Jedda gets abducted by a man obsessed with her. Her abductor exercises control over her to the point that he feels the right to decide whether she lives or dies. There is nothing romantic, nothing tender, nothing wonderful in their relationship. For me it is not a movie about Jedda’s struggle with cultural identity but a movie about violence against women. 

(the photo says To cast this picture the producer went to the primitive Aborigine race of Australia and now introduces NARLA KUNOTH as JEDDA, a girl of the Abunta Tribe and ROBERT TUDEWALLI, a man of the Tiwi Tribe as Marbuk. In this film many people of the Northern Territory of Australia are reliving their roles. The story of Jedda is founded on fact”.

To finish the Australian movie marathon, we decide on the Castle. None of us (except JK, who fully supports the inclusion of this movie as the final one) has seen it so we organise a movie night on a very rainy night. Takeaway food and a cosy sofa for five people. The movie is hilarious. It is one of the most loved Australian movies of all time – people start to smile and make references (“This is going straight to the pool room.”) when talking about the movie. It really does serve as a lovely, hilarious way to finish the movie marathon. 

There are a few movies still on the watchlist that were not available for streaming; Ten Canoes (another David Gulpilik); Sweetie (by Jane Campion), the Dressmaker, Bad Boy Bubby (well, this one is available but I don’t have the stomach to watch it just yet) and the very highly rated Animal Kingdom that I still have not managed to see. 

This is probably enough or we will never get to the next stop. 

The sculptures and the colour world 

The colour world of Digby 

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My favourite Australian artist is by far Digby Webster. I used to work in the same building as Digby and he would come around every morning to chat with all of us. His art is colourful, emotional and distinctive. When discussing Digby’s art, it is often mentioned that he has a disability but that has nothing to do with his art, that is vibrant and lively. 

Digby is an accomplished visual artist who has exhibited solo and group works in many galleries and events. He is part of the Front Up group – a disability-led Arts and Cultural group. He has also worked in production design and as a performer.

Image: digbywebster.com

Sculpture by the sea

I have lived in Sydney for many years and one of the things I love most is the annual Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition that takes place around November (except during lockdown years). Sculptures are placed by the walking path from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach.  

I walk it with A (9), my very astute and clever art critic. When we start walking, the first sculpture we find is a woman trying to stay in balance. We learn this because we happen to meet the artist, Sue Corbet. She tells us about her sculpture and she takes pictures of people reacting to her art. She also tells us that this year, the organisation has commissioned four sculptures from artists from Ukraine. Those sculptures have already been sold and the money given to Ukraine (without commission). 

This is the sculpture by the lovely Sue Corbet (with the artist in the background)

And these are the favourite sculptures according to A this year, with  the lobster being the absolute favourite. The cherry pie piece is one of the Ukrainian art works.

It has been quite a long visit for Virtual Nomad in Australia. I thank you, the very wonderful JK, for editing this long entry. Thank you for being part of the journey. 

Next stop: Austria