The word means ‘Welcome’ in one of the many aboriginal languages of this land, this continent. And Australians are indeed a welcoming people, friendly, helpful, and engaging as I begin a photographic exploration of this magnificent land.
‘No worries, mate.’

The aboriginal story here is uncannily similar to that in North America. A people with deep respect for the land, a history that disappears in the mist of ancient time, the agony of contact with white settlers, devastation from smallpox, residential schools, and, more recently, a new-found pride in their identity, spirituality, history and culture.

Moving sculpture representing Bunjil, the creation spirit, Melbourne Museum
Wall poem display, Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Today

This is an exciting, thoroughly modern city — diverse, multicultural, cosmopolitan, architecturally daring. At street level, tourists and students mingle to create a lively, young, urban, never-ending scene.

Unlike other cities, Melbourne never tore up its tram tracks;
as a result, it enjoys an efficient and cheap public transport network
Street artist
Melburnians love their java; coffee shops are everywhere; i feel right at home.

The State of Victoria

The State of Victoria with camera facing north

The State of Victoria with camera facing south

The way it once was

Sovereign Hill, a ‘living museum’ in Ballarat, recreates a village circa 1880

I asked this guide if this is really what women wore, day in, day out back then.
‘Yes’, she said, ‘gloves and all’.
The temperature on the day I visited was 39 degrees Celsius.
Luckily, the village pump was a few steps away
Gold fever hit Victoria in the late 1800s, just as it did in the Yukon
Panning is done strictly for the tourists.
no one has seen hide nor hair of a nugget for decades.

Back at the Melbourne Museum, a guide, catching me looking at a large display of the Australian Coat of Arms, complete with taxidermy animals, came up and asked, “Do you know why the Coat of Arms has a kangaroo and an emu?”
“I suppose it’s because they’re indigenous species,” I offered.
“No. It’s because neither a kangaroo nor an emu can back up. They can only go forward. Just like Australia.”

Next post: Kookaburras, koalas and wombats, oh my!