Australiana Day

The sands at Birrubi are mottled and damp, victim of La Nina’s vicious temper, her squalling, spitting distaste at life. The coast is drowning, sodden and shivering pathetically, as downed power lines and surging floods cost lives and livelihoods without a moment’s consideration.

But the show must go on. A riot of flags rippling in a strong wind, and people relaxing under a storm-crushed sky, the roaring sea a bruised angry purple, foaming with tormented necessity.

With feet up on the fender, a local hoon proudly extols the virtue of his testosterone-fuelled 4WD, muscly with sand-eating intent, his tattoos stamps of approval in a mulleted, stubby-cooled VB world.

This is Australia. On her day. And this ancient Aboriginal land is flocked with the Union Jack, not a rising sun warming the dark earth red in sight. This is Worimi land, stretching white and wild into the distance, keeper of secrets and lore. Today there is not enough recognition of that.

It’s a beautiful day nevertheless. Plenty of successful bogan-hunting undertaken and a greater appreciation of the bogan family at play: the Laydeez are relaxing beneath a bright blue tarp slung between scarred tropes. They clutch plastic glasses brimming with booze and chatter like birds, squawking and shouting with delight. The males of the species wield long rods and cold beers, knee-deep in the ocean chewing the fat with the fish and discussing the relative value of locking diff locks while the small fry scud along the sands whooping, coated in fine grains of gravelly delight.

Australia Day

In search of Australiana…

My attorney advised me to take a break. Forget about some stuff. Cut loose. Take the baby.

So I did. Packed up, shipped out, left town trailing an 18-month old tin lid, the cowboy and a litany of broken promises, the most significant of which was to return (with the baby).

I taste freedom on the breeze, a salty breath of release, and the smell of unleaded brings on a headache to mark the moment.

Our steed is a 6WD ex-Hammersley Iron fire truck called Black Betty; once rusting disconsolately in Kalgoorlie, she is now 4.8 tonnes of rolling stock, a flatbed loaded high with our travelling home, a growling bitch yip-yipping with the call of the road.

Our journey into the hinterland to prove a point about good coffee only existing in the metropolis starts here. It is the search for Australiana, the hunt for all things bogan and the heart and soul of this wide brown land.

(Note to self. When planning far-reaching escapes in search of bodgy Australiana consider options well. Avoca Beach, it turns out, is not a promising start.)

 Over and out.

Black Betty