Australia - The Land Down Under

you may hear me speak of "the middle of nowhere".....​

Here it is.

How a determined pub owner transformed Urandangi into a peaceful patch of country Queensland​


Forgotten town​

It's clear why the hamlet is known as a forgotten town; with no houses and no power, locals live in makeshift shanties under tin roofs.

When Ms Forster arrived in 2008, she said anarchy and grog-fuelled violence were rife.

"It was terrible. There were drunks everywhere, cars racing around," she said.

"It was a feral patch in the middle of nowhere."


But the chaos couldn't cloud Ms Forster's vision for a peaceful, connected bush community.

"I'm a person who believes that you're sent to where you're meant to be," she said.
"I felt a calling to this place. I think I was sent there to do something, to tidy it up."

"The first 12 months were pretty hard because they were fairly wild and were allowed to do whatever they wanted," she said.

With the nearest police station located two hours away, Ms Forster took it upon herself to crack down on local ruffians.

If they played up, I closed up (the pub)




The Local swimming pool...

From Anzac Day commemorations to pamper days for the local women, cricket days and sausage cook-offs, it's clear Ms Forster and her pub are the beating heart of the community.
Is that sign a Holden hood?!?

Also, I'm not too sure how many young people, especially Americans, will know what Anzac is, never mind Anzac day.

Our History Channel has Ancient Aliens and Pawn Stars, rather than any history.
In Australia, Emma changed house, jobs and lifestyle at 52 — because she's no longer afraid of making mistakes



The walk to Emma's new work. Coonawarra, South Australia


Emma expected to work in the kitchen, given that's where her experience is a home economics teacher. Instead, they made her front-of-house.

Worth the risk​

Emma realises a lot of people are hesitant to make a change for financial reasons.

"The process might take a little while to get your finances to a point that you can [do something different]."

The key, Emma says, is to honestly work out your priorities.

"Sometimes we say things are important, like health is important; but we never go walking, we never go to the doctor," Emma says.

"The hardest point is making that decision to take the leave or try something different."

Clinical trial shows common drug heparin can be used to improve COVID-19 symptoms​

Researchers have determined that a cheap and widely available blood-thinning drug can be used to treat COVID-19 patients by improving their breathing.

Key points:​

  • Researchers say their clinical trial of 98 patients suggests heparin could be used to improve the condition of COVID-19 patients
  • They will now run a larger randomised trial in hospitals around the world
  • Heparin is already used widely to treat heart and lung conditions and blood clots

The research findings, published today in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and co-authored by scientists from the Australian National University and King's College in London, are based on a clinical trial that used heparin to treat 98 patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

The trial found that breathing and oxygen levels improved in 70 per cent of the patients after they inhaled a course of heparin, and their symptoms improved.

"What we found was that this drug also works against COVID-19 by stopping the virus from entering the cells in the lungs,"
study co-author Professor Frank van Haren from the ANU said.(Australan National University)

Blind shearing shed roustabout moving on to new challenges​

Ashlea Hughes is legally blind, but the 26-year-old won't let it be a barrier to navigating her way around the lanolin-oiled floorboards of shearing sheds across South Australia and Victoria where she has worked for the past five years.

Key points:​

  • Ashlea Hughes has the hereditary condition retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind
  • Ms Hughes has worked as a roustabout in shearing sheds for five years
  • Her next goal is to work as a barista to travel overseas for a dairy conference in the UK in 2024

Ms Hughes works as a roustabout — a remarkable feat in a fast-paced and sometimes dangerous workplace — where she weaves in and out, picking up wool, sorting and sweeping the boards as the shearers drag in their next sheep to shear.

Ms Hughes has retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that affects one in every 3,000 Australians. For her, it means her peripheral vision has deteriorated since her teens.

Both her brothers have the hereditary condition but hers is the most advanced.






Australian research vessel discovers underwater canyon larger than Mt Kosciusko​

An Australian research vessel has made a startling discovery in the Southern Ocean, 22,000 metres beneath the surface.
On her maiden polar voyage, the RSV Nuyina has mapped a never-before-seen underwater canyon - taller than Mt Kosciuszko - which stretches 55 kilometres from the Vanderford Glacier in East Antarctica.
Despite scientists regularly surveying the area, the discovery marks the first time the 2000-metre-wide canyon had been detected.

READ MORE: NSW records deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic
The RSV Nuyina has mapped a never before seen underwater canyon which stretches 55 kilometres. (Australian Government)
"The world-leading acoustic technology on the Nuyina is shedding new light on the secrets of Southern Ocean," Environment Minister Susan Ley said.
"As Nuyina nears the end of her maiden polar voyage, we already gaining an amazing insight into the scientific capabilities of this new ice breaker, which earlier in the voyage became the first to map the summit of an underwater mountain higher than Mt Kosciuszko.
"In this case, Nuyina has turned what would have been a relatively routine journey back from the refuelling Casey station into a voyage of genuine discovery."
The discovery marks the first time the 2000-metre-wide canyon has been detected. (Australian Government )
RSV Nuyina will return to Hobart by January 30 to prepare for a second voyage. (Australian Government )

Ms Ley said the discovery marks the "opening of the door" to new levels of polar research.
"Already the Nuyina is demonstrating that Australia has opened the door to new levels of polar research that will help unlock secrets of Southern Ocean marine ecosystems, strengthen our reach inland and our understanding of the world's climate," she said.
RSV Nuyina will return to Hobart by January 30 to prepare for a second voyage this Antarctic season to Davis and Macquarie Island research stations.


Road trains bound for the Northern Territory and stranded on the flooded Stuart Highway are taking a 3,000-kilometre detour to deliver their cargo.

Key points:​

  • NT-bound trucks on the flooded Stuart Highway have been forced to turn around
  • Their new route is more than 3,000km through outback NSW and Queensland
  • South Australian councils are calling for emergency flood relief

The highway, which connects South Australia and the country's southern states to the Northern Territory, has been closed between the remote outpost of Glendambo and the opal mining town of Coober Pedy.

The manager of the Glendambo BP, Richard Patridge, said about 30 trucks were backed up on Tuesday afternoon waiting for the road to reopen.

"We've got Australia's biggest swamp at the moment and it's not going anywhere in a hurry," he said.
"This could be here for another two or three weeks at this stage, waiting for it to recede, and no-one can do nothing until the water recedes so they can check the road and see how much damage is done to that."

Refugees who fled Syrian war become citizens in emotional Australia Day ceremony​

An Armenian family that fled Syria during the civil war were among the 16,000 people who became Australian citizens in ceremonies around the country.


With two young children, Nayiri Injejikian and her husband Nerses Chuljian fled the war in Syria in 2012 and arrived at a refugee camp in Lebanon.

Six years after being granted humanitarian visas by the Australian government, the Armenian family became citizens on Wednesday in an Australia Day ceremony in Parramatta in Sydney's west.

“We kept [staying] there hoping everything would be finished soon … but the war got worse and we fled the country and went to Lebanon,” Ms Injejikian told SBS News.

“From there we choose Australia to emigrate because it’s a wonderful country, it’s safe and it’s multicultural, we can have all the opportunities for the kids to get educated and having a good future.”


Australia's own Celtic stone circle alive with 'energy' and mystique after 30 years​

Read Here


At 1,100 metres above sea level, the national Celtic monument looks out over the town of Glen Innes

Just as mystery shrouds the origins of some of the world's most famous standing stones, like Stonehenge in England, there are hopes a similar mystique might one day surround the Celtic monument in the northern NSW town of Glen Innes.

"I'd like to think in another couple of hundred years or so, people will be saying, 'Oh, so what was this all about', which would be lovely," the chair of the Australian Standing Stones Management Committee, Judi Toms, said.

But with the monument turning 30 tomorrow, the origins of the stones perched at 1,100 metres above sea level overlooking the town won't fall out of living memory anytime soon.

And the popularity of the television series Outlander, in which a WWII nurse travels back in time to meet a handsome Scot after touching a standing stone, has added to its tourist appeal.

In 2018, Glen Innes hosted an Outlandish festival, capitalising on the Scottish fervour surrounding the series

And while there were no official reports of anyone disappearing after touching the stones, Ms Toms maintained an air of mystery.

"I don't have the final numbers, so I don't know if everyone stayed here or did get relocated," she said.
"But there are really people who have that connection with energy lines and do get a sense of life and energy from our stones."


The 2018 Outlandish festival included a weapons display.


A tug-of-war team used this block-and-tackle method to raise the circle's foundation stone in 1991.

Items representing various Celtic countries were placed among the foundations — topped off by the contents of a bottle of whisky.

The Irish priest is reported have been less than impressed, lamenting: "For shame, for shame to be so wasteful. It should have been filtered through the kidneys first!"


Raelene Watson says Brandubh — a Celtic board game — and a human sundial have been added to the monument site.

"A lot of visitors have commented, and I know I feel it myself, there's like a presence here, especially within the stone, it is very calming."
Also, I'm not too sure how many young people, especially Americans, will know what Anzac is, never mind Anzac day.

Yeah it's a bit like people here or anywhere else knowing what 4th July is. That's why they can Google.

We have 11 November in common, though, albeit under different names.

That's why they can Google.

LOL I suspect most are apathetic or just plain lazy. Me? I'm just a bit of a history buff, and I was educated during a different time.

I'm still not sure why they used a Holden hood to make their business sign up above, but I guess it works and it's distinctly Australian - like the land trains. I don't think those happen anywhere other than Australia. At most, we see tandem towing in much of the world, some only singles.

One of these days, I'll have to get back to Oz.

Hint: There's a Youtube link in the story

What it's like to run a huge outback station​


Growing up, Aticia Grey's backyard was half a million acres.

Covered in red dirt from running around barefoot on a Pilbara station, the 34-year-old says she couldn't have wished for a better childhood.

She's still on the station today, and has been running it for the last five years.

Aticia and her outspoken kelpie Gossip participated in the new ABC series, Muster Dogs. We caught up with her to chat about station life, drought, and of course, dogs.


Read it all ^^
This not an 'Australian only' issue.

The issue of women seeking equal rights, equal pay, an equal heard all over the world.

In the near past a woman, Rosie Batty, was named Australian of the year. (2015)

More recently, the issue has seen two more strong advocates. Two women who have nothing to apologise for.

Grace Tame & Brittany Higgins.

They have, (all 3 ) been attacked with salvos from the likes of Mark Latham and unionist John Setka it matters not how you parse or mask your anger....those who don;'t want to hear it will always find a way to reject it.

The word 'reject'.......rejection figures strongly in this issue.

A well known and much respected Australian Journalist, Virginia Trioli, wrote the piece below.

There's a face that we try not to make too often, a face we can't really risk.

It's an ugly face. It's a frightening face — and it's a face that glowered from every page this week as a woman with nothing to apologise for revealed her unvarnished fury.

It's kind of shocking to realise how shocking it is: the clenched teeth, the thickly bitten bottom lip, the narrowed eyes, the contemptuous, gaping mouth.

We don't mind it when a sportswoman in full flight shows us that face — aggression and competitiveness combining in a glorious glare — but the rest of us don't like looking like that, and we sure as hell don't want you seeing us like that either.

Grace Tame's furious face, Brittany Higgins' high-chinned disdain and unconcealed rage predictably upset all the usual members of the usual commentariat — nothing more confronting than the uncontrolled threat of an angry woman.

Change-making rage​

But you know what was so subversive, so dangerous and so change-making about their rage, about that face? It was because it upset so many of us, so many other women — because we know what that face means and how much rage that face reveals, and its suppression goes to the heart of a deep, unexpressed fear: that once unleashed, we don't know where or how that anger will end.

This week on Q&A the eternally brave Rosie Batty held that position for all of us. Before the show she told us of a dinner party of mostly 70-year old's she attended after that incendiary Press Club event.

Grace's anger had made her feel uncomfortable — and it turned out that it made all the women at that table terribly uncomfortable too.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Duration: 2 minutes 41 seconds2m 41s

Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 41 seconds

Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame take aim at Federal Government
What was it about women being uncomfortable with such anger, she wondered? All those years of social conditioning, never asking for too much, never banging a fist on the table in rage?

"I grew up on a farm," she told us, "and it was made obvious to me that I would never inherit the farm — it would go to my younger brothers. You've got all that conditioning of how to behave as a woman and how you should be behaving as a man. It's given me food for thought."

On the program Rosie, who has earned through gut-wrenching trauma and sorrow the right to be more enraged than most of us, acknowledged that maybe she had been wrong to criticise Grace Tame for her open contempt of the Prime Minister at the Lodge on Australia Day and that maybe there were other ways to advocate, other ways to prosecute your cause rather than the path of the reasonable diplomat. Rosie seemed to be saying that unbridled fury also had its place.

The forgotten echo here is the reaction, now perhaps lost in the mists of recent times, to Rosie Batty's own passionate, unapologetic advocacy, stirring up angry, attacking salvos from blokes like Mark Latham and unionist John Setka. So it might not matter how you parse or mask your fury — those who don't want to hear it will always find a way to reject it.

Unasked-for anger, a by-product of trauma​

I hear from so many angry women on my show: women caring unpaid for elderly parents of disabled children; women who are paid less than a male colleague in the same role, women who have had their child's NDIS package slashed with no explanation. Their voices tremble and sometimes they cry. I often wonder if listeners assume these callers are sad or nervous: I don't think they are. I think they are shedding those hot tears of rage.

After hundreds of years of being raised in the arts of making nice — for safety, for self-preservation, for comfort and for the comfort of others — a new generation of women is stepping into their power fuelled by the unasked-for anger that is the by-product of their trauma. And they want you to see it on their face. And they don't care if it makes you or makes me squirm.

We are going to have to get comfortable with seeing a woman's rage. And if this generation is offering to teach us all the dark arts of refusing to make nice — I want to join their coven.

Food for Thought.

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