The Pursuit of…

It seems that most people would allow that one of their most common pursuits is of happiness but it seems to me that happiness is, by its nature, and ephemeral thing.  For me the pursuit of contentment makes more sense.  Happiness comes and goes as events occur but the pursuit of contentment may result in the maintenance of real contentment.

I have to admit that contentment has eluded me so far but I may find it one day and if I do I will be able to say to myself that my life has not been wasted.  I have achieved some things in my life that I find highly satisfying and when I exercise the rights and privileges pertaining to those things I an both happy and content.  But there is too much in my life that pushes happiness and contentment away from me.

When I was very much younger I used to find contentment in wandering in the Australian bush.  I always saw kangaroos in their natural state, snakes in theirs, goannas and the occasional echidna.  There were no koalas where I lived back then.  I used to wander at night as well as during the day and way out there where there were no lights of towns and cities the night sky was magnificent and uplifting.  It inspired thoughts without limit.  The Milky Way and the full moon made nights almost like days, there was even some colour to be seen around one.

The bush was is quiet at night, very passive; it seemed to be very content in a way that attracted and influenced me and still does so many years later.

Sundried Politicians

Australia has a excellent record in science, invention and aviation but when it comes to politics it seems that the brains of our politicians just don’t work as an ordinary person would expect.  At least as far as our conservative politicians go.  For starters our major conservative party is named the “Liberal Party of Australia“.  Further, this party can almost never form a government without the support of the “National Party” which is very conservative and has it base in county Australia.  They are now called “the Coalition“.  Theoretically the Liberal party is for free trade and the National party for protection but their intellectual reasoning has become so malformed that neither party really know what it stands for except that they are against whatever the current official opposition party, the “Australian Labor Party” is for.

There are some fringe parties which generally try to gain the balance of power in the Senate but they mostly don’t know what they are for, just what they are against.  The only one of these parties that has a good notion of what it is for in the “Australian Greens” which stands to the left of the ALP.  The other groups and individuals in the Senate are all conservative to some degree and are mostly on the protectionist and racist side of politics.

Consider some of the Coalition’s policies.  They are in favour of something called “clean coal” which is very closely akin to the idea of dehydrated water.  The coalition wants to apply money from a government agency that was created to support renewable energy sources to new coal-fired power stations.  It is very clear that coal generation is rapidly losing the fight against renewables in the free market and the Australian coalition government wants to put billions of dollars into a dying industry.  It is quite possible that even if they manage to get a so-called clean coal powerplant built that it’s owner would not be able to sell electricity to the grid because power from renewables is growing and will continue to grow in the market.

In more insanity the coalition government wants to provide $1 billion in public money to the Adani family to build a railway line from the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine to a new seaport at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef.  It is clear that loading coal at this port would result in coal pollution spreading to the reef and adding to the great threat already being suffered by the reef from global warming and surface run-off.  The Great Barrier Reef provides far more income and employment to Australia than the proposed mine ever could.  Further to this, building renewable power infrastructure in Queensland, where the mine site is located, will provide near enough to four times the number of jobs that the mine and railway.  And the mine is proposed to be built in high quality farming land!  It is madness from every point of view.

There is a lot more to be written under the heading but I am trying to keep my posts reasonably short.

The Outback

The Outback is the majority of the Australian landscape away, mostly, from the coast but some coastal areas can also be genuinely regarded as being ‘outback’. Very few people live in the outback because the climate is harsh and communications, particularly in the internet age, are fairly poor.

Americans like to talk about how everything is big in Texas but in Australia we have a few cattle properties (I guess and American would call them ranches) which are actually bigger than the entire state of Texas.  This is why Australian cattlemen use helicopters to round up and drive cattle when they need attention or are to be sold.

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Helicopters used for cattle (and camel) round up are flown very low and the job can be quite dangerous. To watch a helicopter round up is to experience a rollercoaster of excitement.

Many years ago, in the 1800’s, Australia imported a small number of camels and Afghani cameleers to manage them. They provided transport into the outback before there were roads or any other form of communication. When road trains, railways and aircraft began to be developed the need for the camels ceased and they were allowed to run wild. And they bred! Now the Australian outback is being overrun with camels, very big and very healthy camels, so it came about that some Australians began to round up camels and export them to the Middle East. I know the bloke who started this and he has described to me what it was like when it all began. Of course the business was quite speculative then and has had periods of no activity.

The camels have been exported for use in racing and for slaughtering for their meat. But Australia still has far too many camels in country that was never meant for them.  They muddy water holes and make them unavailable for the animals that would normally use them, so efforts are being made to bring the camel population down to a manageable number.

The Afghani cameleers brought Islam to Australia and as a result we have hundreds of mosques here, many of them much older than most Australians would believe.

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Australian Mosque, built sometime between 1861 and 1882. It has been abandoned for a long time now.

Here is a much more modern and still used mosque in a Sydney suburb:

The interior of this mosque is quite beautiful, spectacular.

Australia is, and has long been, a very culturally diverse country, a fact that I revel in and greatly enjoy. There are quite a few descendants of the original cameleers living in Australia now.