"Troy is only 8, but he knows the words to Yanguna, an Arnhem Land song celebrating kava. He sings in tune with Saltwater Band's anthem to the drug as the car bumps along the dirt track. Kava
came to Arnhem Land 20 years ago as a ray of hope. Aboriginal community leaders believed the calming drink from the Pacific could be a peaceful alternative to alcohol, then raging through Aboriginal communities like a cyclone. But kava became just another abused substance.
posted by jason's_planet
on May 1, 2007 -
Yahoo! Australia introduces a new search engine
that uses OpenSearch and pretty little AJAX tricks to integrate results from Flickr, Wikpedia, YouTube (and so on). You can customize the layout, and even add your own search sources. It’s called Alpha, it’s currently in Beta, and aims to get through the rest of the Greek alphabet by June. (Via podlob
posted by Milkman Dan
on Apr 10, 2007 -
, Australia's national airline carrier that was once refrenced by Dustin Hoffman's character Ray in Rain Man
, is to be taken over by a private consortium called Airline Partners Australia
(APA) after the Federal Government gave approval for the takeover yesterday
. So what better time than to endulge in a little bit of QANTAS history? Founded
in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as 'Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited
' with just one Avro 540k
, QANTAS has played a prominent part in Australia's history, with its fleet being nationalised
and even conscripted for national service during WW2
. And although Ray was wrong when he said that QANTAS had never had a crash (indeed, it had 8
and has had several more
since Rain Man
), the 'flying kangaroo' was still considered an "iconic Australian company" (although there is some debate on that
). Nonetheless, if you're really
interested in checking out some more QANTAS history, head on over to the National Library of Australia's website, where they have plenty of QANTAS ephemera material online
for you to gander at.
posted by Effigy2000
on Mar 6, 2007 -
Australia: the new 51st state
John Howard's servility to the US is even greater than Tony Blair's. "John Pilger," wrote Harold Pinter, "unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth. I salute him." via New Statesman.
posted by adamvasco
on Mar 5, 2007 -
were, in the 1930s, trialling new ideas for their children's range. An employee suggested that as "women and children were afraid of mice," rather than a chocolate mouse, a chocolate frog
would be more popular with children. Three days later, what would become Australia's most popular children's confectionery, the Freddo Frog
, was born. Its supposed creator, Harry Melbourne, died last week
, having never received a cent in royalties. However, to this day there remains confusion as to whether he, or rather the inventor of the Cherry Ripe
, Lesley Atkison, was in fact responsible
. Those that only know him in chocolate form may be surprised to find out that Freddo was also the star of Australia's first cartoon
posted by Mil
on Jan 29, 2007 -
If you thought the video of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon was rather blurry, it might interest you to know that this was never broadcast as well as it could have been. The original video quality was much better. You can't view the original video today, because NASA has lost the bleepin tape
. Nobody seems to care, but the guys who once made the transmission possible are looking for it. An Australian minister
is on their side. If the tape hasn't been accidentally degaussed, there's only one machine left that is able to read it.
posted by Termite
on Jan 11, 2007 -
: See folk tales, myths and legends from around the world, brought to life by twenty Australian animators.
posted by dhruva
on Jan 2, 2007 -
Hey, Mum, look at the hairless monkeys!
A group of hairless monkeys are the latest exhibit at Adelaide Zoo. Some background information on the project is available here
(you may wonder, as I did, why it took a news site to provide the background to the project) and a live stream from the enclosure here
. [more inside]
posted by dg
on Jan 2, 2007 -
(arguably better known as 'The Dreamtime') is more than just the story of how the world was created as told by Aboriginal Australians. It is also the basis for their way of life and death, their source of power in life and it tells of the life and influence of their ancestors on their culture. It was so important to Aboriginal Australians in the time before the white invasion of Australia that it was the one commonly held belief amongst a culture that consisted of over 500 different tribes (discussion of Dreamtime beliefs here
). Thought to be the oldest continuously maintained cultural history on Earth, it is often presented as a series of inter-related stories explaining Aboriginal Australian origins and culture, such as how the Australian landscape was created or how the Mimi spirits taught them how to paint these stories on the walls of caves more than 40,000 years ago
And what better way to learn of several of the many different Dreamtime stories than to listen and watch them being told by Aboriginal Australians elders themselves
? And if that isn't enough Dreamtime mythology for you, here's some links to various sites
which allow you to view Aboriginal rock art to see how these stories were translated into a form of artistic expression which is now five times older than the Egyptian Pyramids themselves.
posted by Effigy2000
on Dec 23, 2006 -
off Queensland’s stunning north coast is one of the most beautiful places on earth, well maybe not if you’re an Australian Aborigine.
, a fit, healthy, 36-year-old man, died in police custody on Palm Island on 19 November 2004 following his arrest by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley on a charge of "public nuisance". Yet Queensland DPP Leanne Clare has described the death
as "a terrible accident’ caused by a ‘complicated fall’. [via crikey.com.au
- subs req’d]
posted by mattoxic
on Dec 14, 2006 -
From far away they came to toil under the scorching Outback sun, and their hardy dispositions and tireless labor helped to create the central Australian railway and telegraph
are the Camels [NPR story w/ audio]
, and today they are free (well, okay, feral
), and they are many (700,000 strong, at least.) While they're no cane toads
, they're becoming a bit of a pest. What to do with all those dromedaries? Well, you can race 'em
, or you can eat 'em
, or maybe you can even try milking 'em
. Just get 'em before they get you
posted by maryh
on Dec 9, 2006 -
The Seventh State.
An Australian federal parliamentary committee
with looking into the harmonisation of the Australian and New Zealand legal systems, has concluded
that the two countries
should work towards a full union, or at least have a single currency and common markets.
NZ's Minister for Foreign Affairs
has rubbished the idea
as "parliamentary adventurism", but the Australian constitution provides
for just such an eventuality.
One of the key hurdles
for any union would
Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand's founding document. Misinterpreted, misunderstood, and hotly debated
Tiriti has long been one of the reasons put for the difficult road facing New Zealand in becoming a republic
. Having abolished appeals to the Privy Council
adopted a new electoral system
, declared itself nuclear free
(.pdf), taken France to court
and opposed the war in Iraq
, New Zealand has
certainly embraced it's 'independence'. But a contracting sharemarket
, muddled coalition building
in government, and an increased
focus on trans-Tasman alignment
has lead some to
support the idea of a less formal separation between the two countries. However a common currency has already been
by New Zealand's Finance Minister.
What hope then
, for ANZAC
union? And does it matter, when the rest of the world can't tell us apart
posted by szechuan
on Dec 6, 2006 -
Sheikh Hilali, the mufti of Australia, has raised more than a few eyebrows when he declared that rape-victims are to blame
for tempting men: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park and the cats come and eat it -- whose fault is it? The cats or the uncovered meat?" Needless to say, the mufti doesn't think the cats are to blame. Australians (including their PM) are not amused and call for the mufti to step down
. Even many Islamic women
think it's the mufti, and not the meat, that stinks. Others argue that at least the mufti (quickly christened the "rape cleric
" by some news outlets) will force Muslims to fess up and take a stand
on whether they really think that women are Satan's agents who incite rape with immodest dress.
The Sheikh himself found it wisest to go on a "self-imposed holiday
" to join the Hajj in Mecca, possibly to pray for attire with larger surface area, and left with the disingenuous remark that he might step down
if someone could "prove" what his *real* intentions were when he made his controversial comments.
posted by sour cream
on Oct 28, 2006 -
The Australian cigarette health warnings
have pretty much filtered down to every retail packet that's bought now. They're pretty gruesome
and some smoking acquaintances cover them up with stickers. I thought I'd have a look around and see what other countries warnings were like. None of them were pulling any punches except for Uruguay.
posted by tellurian
on May 17, 2006 -
15 days ago,
there was a relatively small earthquake near Beaconsfield, Tasmania, which left 3 miners trapped in a gold mine. The situation looked grim after the body of one of the miners
was recovered. But after 5 days, there was elation as the other two were found, still alive
, buried one kilometer underground in a small cage. Australia's major commercial networks immediately sent their top news celebrities to the small mining town, assuming there would be a quick and easy rescue. In hindsight, they were perhaps a bit over enthusiastic. Accusations of a media circus
, and chequebook journalism
soon followed. After a couple of days of nothing happening, the media even started turning on their own
The story took an unexpectedly sad twist this weekend when one of Australia's most well known journalists died at the site
from an apparent heart attack. But tonight, after 15 days underground, it seems the rescuers are finally breaking through
the rock to reach
the unfortunate trapped miners.
posted by Diag
on May 8, 2006 -
A Dramatic New Portrait of Leo Sayer "Leo Sayer is ebullient, passionate, and immensely talented. He is the ultimate people person, enthusiastically embracing life. A neighbour of his who is familiar with both my work and Leo's told me that Leo would be the perfect subject for a portrait. So I wrote and asked, it was as simple as that."
Sadly, Tony Johansen's portrait of Leo Sayer didn't win this year's Archibald Prize
. Then again, neither did this.
posted by Biblio
on Apr 15, 2006 -