Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tourists in the Outback

Although the local communities in the Outback of these days can see some benefits of the tourist trade, there are still the 'your in my space' attitudes.

In my time in Queensland, tourists were treated with disdain, and made fun of at every opportunity; however this was because of the lack of understanding that the travellers had, and lack of respect that the tourists showed for our country.

The Outback, of course, is not clearly defined, and sometimes is considered "A bit further out than the Black Stump".  The Black Stump being of dubious location itself, but claimed by the township of Blackall in Queensland.

Anything beyond the Black Stump is further out into the dry harsh Outback.  If you are travelling in the Outback you are on "The wallaby"  taken from wallaby track.  But again, with the influx of the 'Grey Nomads' in their fully self contained RVs, this phrase is used by them to describe what they are doing; "We are on the wallaby" they say, as they sit at the beach side in Coffs harbour, or Noosa, or Surfers Paradise....So another good old Aussie phrase has been downgraded by 'bloody tourists'.

I can remember from way back, when  discussing a couple of tourists that had bogged both vehicle and caravan to the axles, how one bloke said "Bloody tourists...They come out here with a white shirt and a twenty pound note in the pocket, and don't change either of them."

You could be out near the main road, working on the boundary fence, and you know that the road has been impassable for three days, and you look up to see a bloke in shorts to his knees, a floral shirt and a straw hat, heading your way.

"I say old chap, I wonder if you could lend a hand?"

Now, what he would expect one bloke to do to get him out of the black soil quagmire of the wet season, one could never fathom.  But you would climb into your four wheel drive work vehicle, allocate the passenger to the back so that your dog doesn’t have to give up its favoured position, and go have a 'decko' at the bogged tourists accommodation.

"Sorry for laughing, mate, " you say, not feeling the least sorry, "But this looks like a job for bloody Superman."

You would not be the least surprised if the man said "Does he live near here?"
But he doesn't so you ask, "Didn't you see the sign "Road impassable...four wheel drive only."

"Well, yes we did...but we thought...."  And that was always the problem, they hardly never thought.

It got better over the years, and a good number of the tourists were prepared for what lay ahead of them, and the more prepared they become the more the numbers of tourists came...So the towns built more motels, more fancy pubs, more places to extract the tourist cash as much as possible that could be extracted.  a tube for a trailer tyre could cost up to twelve pounds, which would normally retail at three pounds....But take it or leave it.

Even now, after the tourists in the Outback have contributed to fading local rural economies, and have become much more "Bush Smart" we still stand  on the side of the road and mutter...."Bloody tourists."  But we know this ain't gunna stop the flow, hey?

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