If you live anywhere in the world other than Australia, and you have never visited this land, your impressions will in all probability be something akin to a Mackellar poem:
... a sunburnt country A land of sweeping plains Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains.
Her language is beautiful and the poem in full, unlike Tourism Australia adverts, is poignant in its honesty. Extolling the glory, while not shying away from the trials of this great land (‘flood and fire and famine’). Yet for all her soaring verse, I think a trick was missed: the freezing cold.
True, to those who endure minus temperatures descending to double digits, Australia won’t seem cold. But to a man who was weened on ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’ descriptions of his adoptive land, it still comes as a shock when out and about, in the few minutes remaining before the red sun sinks and the pale moon rises, to find it so chilly a dull earache begins.
This evening was one such time that I found myself desirous of another stanza in the Mackellar classic. Dropping a friend off at a pier, the boat ride back tested even the 850 loft down of my jacket. Hands numb, it was with much gladness I clambered back on-board the mother ship and into the warmth of the saloon. The unsung reality of an Australian winter.
What weather in your local area bucks the widely received assumptions?
Good night, and good luck.
Image Credit: Halaina Winter – Own work.