Only in Australia

Only in Australia - Australian Coat of Arms

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenges writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “only in…” It can be used to tell a story about a profession, a place or situation. Go were the prompt leads you.

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it. (Composed in the pool this morning.)

Only in Australia

The carollers woke her Christmas morning. After the preparation whirlwind, she’d collapsed into bed, only to continuously toss and turn, re-making each list and checking it twice. She groaned – please, just a few minutes more. The carollers insisted. She tumbled out of bed and stumbled to the door. They eagerly accepted her gifts. Breathing in the day’s freshness, she had to decide – bed? Nah – the pool! As each stroke soothed and each lap refreshed, she welcomed the day’s events. When a cockatoo’s shriek punctuated the chorus, the kookaburras laughed. “Only in Australia,” she thought. “It’s good to be home.”

And now for a little more, if you so choose:

Note: I’ve been kindly shown that some of my ‘only in Australia‘ statements are not quite correct. As I am not one for spreading falsehoods, I have added, in pink, corrections of which I have become aware. Thanks especially to Pauline King and Debby Gies for getting the ball rolling.

Only in Australia do you see people wearing thongs and singlets in winter (“thongs” are flip-flops worn on feet, singlets are sleeveless shirts). (I now know Canadians also refer to flip-flops as thongs.)

Only in Australia are there mammals that lay eggs (the monotremes – echidna and platypus. One species of echidna is found in New Guinea).

Only in Australia are the emblem animals eaten (the meat of kangaroo and emu – both on the Australian Coat of Arms – is available in supermarkets and from restaurant menus). The animals were chosen for the coat of arms as neither can walk backwards – a symbol of a forward-moving nation.

Only in Australia can you see these biggest things:

The world’s largest living organism The Great Barrier Reef. Hopefully it will remain that way for generations to come.

The world’s largest monolith – Uluru.

The world’s longest fence – the dingo fence, built to keep dingoes out of the fertile farming areas on the eastern coast,  over 5 500 km.

Only in Australia will you find the world’s oldest living culture.

Only in Australia could you visit a different beach every day of the year and still have more to see.

Only in Australia could you attend a cockroach race, a cane toad race and a boat race on a dry river bed.

Only in Australia would you not see an active volcano. (Australia, the world’s largest island or smallest continent, is the only continent without an active volcano, though there are many dormant and extinct volcanoes.)

Only in Australia do you have to travel overseas to travel internationally. (This is definitely not true – of course overseas and international travel are synonymous for any island nation, of which there are many, including New Zealand.)

Only in Australia will you hear “Fair dinkum” and “True Blue”.

Only in Australia, do we abbreviate everything, including names (is that why our years pass so fast – we abbreviate them too?) (Apparently, this habit is also prevalent across the ditch in New Zealand.)

 

And if you still want more, check out these 88 Crazy Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Australia.

And watch this video:

Or come for a visit!

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about Australia. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

41 thoughts on “Only in Australia

  1. Hugh's Views and News

    Thanks for the reminders about what the human race is doing to our beautiful world, Norah. I recently watch Blue Planet 2 and there was a whole episode about The Barrier Reef. So sad to see the coral turning a bleached colour and dying. Why do we always seem to destroy the beautiful things?
    Loved the flash fiction. As I think you know, I have a sister who lives in Brisbane and she’s told me about Christmas in the sun. However, it was good to hear about it from you in your piece of flash fiction. Those carol-singers sounded delightful. I do like listening to the dawn chorus in our summer months. I don’t mind being woken up early when it get’s light at 5 in the morning during June and the early part of July. It sets me up for the day ahead, although I’m usually asleep and in bed before it gets dark at 10pm. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Hugh. It is sad that we (collective) seem intent on destroying our beautiful world. I’m so pleased to hear you also enjoy the songbirds in the mornings. Up before 5 – definitely need to be asleep by 10. You have so much daylight in summers over there. We don’t here, but I guess you need to make up for your short winter days. They must be starting to get a bit longer now. Enjoy!

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  2. julespaige

    Being that there are so many dialects in the states… one who is linguistic could tell where you are by how you speak. A Pen you write with…or in the south it’s a safety pin, Pop=soda, bag=grocery sack or just sack. Hotpad = trivit or pot holder… Tons more if you think of all the slang. I remember Thong for flip-flops in the states… somewhere.

    Fun video!

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. floatinggold

    I love my bed, but if I was going to give it up for something it would be the pool. How lucky you are! Also, the carolers need to get a clue and start their rounds later in the day.
    This was a very interesting read all around. Your piece as well as the other facts.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Pingback: Only in… « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  5. Charli Mills

    When the carolers came knocking in the Keweenaw, I could hardly see them through the blowing snow! I love all the birds you described to Ann in your yard. What a gorgeous soundtrack to swim to! I enjoyed your videos, too — so Merry Chrissy Teach!

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      The carollers referred to were actually the birds. Human carollers aren’t common here, though there were three carollers entertaining shoppers at my local mall recently – an unusual sight and sound that made me smile.

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Tina Frisco

    Terrific post, Norah. I’m afraid I got totally sidetracked by Simon Baker’s plea to save the Great Barrier Reef. At times the fight for the Earth and all who dwell upon her seems futile. But I won’t allow the avaricious to steal my hope. Energy follows thought. I’m holding positive visions and sending healing energy to our Mother 💕

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Tina. It’s easy to get sidetracked by Simon Baker. I guess that’s why he was asked to do the video advertisement! 🙂
      I love your wording of this statement: “I won’t allow the avaricious to steal my hope” – beautifully expressed. We all need to create that whirlpool of positive thought and suck the avaricious into it!

      Liked by 2 people

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  7. Jennie

    I absolutely loved this, Norah. Christmas in the summer seems weird for those of us in New England. But, the day after we all want Australia! Love those facts, and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Americans are enamored with your animals. “Crocodile Dundee” was huge for bringing Australia to Americans. Thank goodness we are learning about your wonderful country. My comment is paltry in the hundreds of ways Australia is highlighted and part of what we love to learn.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed reading about our Christmases in the heat, Jennie. It’s funny, it’s only in recent years (though that could be as long ago as the commencement of my adulthood) that we have started to see a proliferation of Christmas cards, songs and stories that portray our Australian Christmas. Previously everything, as much still does, displayed snowy scenes and, mainly, European traditions.
      Crocodile Dundee was a fun movie and I’m pleased it sparked an interest for many about Australia. There is much for all of us to learn about each other. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. Susan Scott

    Enjoyed this Norah thanks! Nothing like a swim in the pool to get those creative juices flowing. Will still check the links .. We have many sayings we believe can be said ‘only in South Africa’ or that such and such could happen only in SA. But right now I cannot remember a single one. It must be because of being at the sea and the torpor it instils in me is hard to shake, for the moment. A swim in the pool (though a bit too cool) or in the sea may do it for me …

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      I love the morning carollers, Anne. It gives me great joy to hear them sing in the morning. There weren’t so many this morning, but yesterday when I was in the pool the chorus was made up of magpies, noisy miners, rainbow lorikeets, sulphur-crested cockatoos, crows, koels, and kookaburras. I’m not certain but there may have been a king parrot in there as well, and who knows what others I may not have identified. They weren’t all in my backyard, but I could hear them all. There is a small amount of bush not far from here. I absolutely love the birds, even the crows and ravens. I could never tire of listening to them.

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  9. robbiesinspiration

    I really enjoyed your post, Norah. I have not been to Australia, only to New Zealand which is not the same, of course. I want to finish my tour of the UK (Scotland and Ireland) and then we can consider longer time zone changes (I do hate jet lag). Sounds like Australia is worth the effort.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Robbie. Australia is definitely worth the effort. It fascinates me that, while you share similar weather to us here in Australia, your times zones are closer to those of the UK and Europe, and your travel time is so much shorter.

      Liked by 2 people

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  10. dgkaye

    Loved this Norah. Lots of new things for me to learn ‘Only in Australia’. We also call flipflops ‘thongs’. But what’s a singlet? LOL And yes, The Great Barrier Reef is a concern as are polar bears in the arctic. People need to stop taking it for granted the environment works fine on its own. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Debby. I didn’t know you called flipflops thongs too. A singlet is a sleeveless shirt. I’ve seen some very distressing footage of polar bears recently, and we’ve been getting warnings about the Great Barrier Reef for sometime now. We need to act!

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. dgkaye

        Yes, we all need to stand tall and stand up for what’s right. I’ve never signed so many petitions as I have this past year and will continue to do so! Oh, and thanks for telling me about the singlet – never had heard of that term. 🙂 But love my thongs! LOL ❤

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        1. Norah Post author

          Lovely work, Debby. We all need to stand together so our voices will be heard and appropriate action will be taken. Thanks for adding yours – we must be getting close to critical mass – surely!

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  11. thecontentedcrafter

    Great story Norah! It’s quite a challenge to get across how very different it is down this end of the world at Christmas time isn’t it – your story helps 🙂 I did enjoy reading more about Australia! didn’t know that about the Kangaroo and emu, that they can’t walk backwards. It’s a great reason to have them as emblems! Here of course we have the kiwi, which is a bird that cannot fly, has hairy feathers and comes out from it’s warren only at night. I have no clue what that says about us! 🙂 We share with you the need to travel overseas to cross borders – hours of flying to go anywhere really. I sometimes wonder if there are any other countries where, when up in a plane, you can see both coastlines at once. Kiwi’s also shorten names uninvited. It’s an odd habit. I once had a student who would get quite upset at the way his name was mangled. He had to learn how to quietly and politely insist on being ‘Christopher’ and in the end he was rewarded. It seems there is a tipping point where suddenly what we want arrives without any further effort on our part, as long as we are at first vigilant and consistent…….. Have you had your name shortened Norah? It’s such a lovely name, I do hope not.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I smiled at your wondering about what the kiwi says about you. You’re unique! Isn’t that enough! You’re right about the international travel. There are no doubt many other countries (all the island nations for a start) that have to travel overseas to travel internationally, too. I got it wrong. Obviously I was just focusing on me and indulging in the ‘poor me’ syndrome. 🙂
      That’s an interesting musing about countries and coastlines too. I’m sure there must be others.
      So I got it wrong about shortening names as well. I got excited about the ‘only in’ and exaggerated. I’d better amend my post! 🙂
      I sometimes get Nor for Norah, but not often and only by a very few. What about you, Pauline? I tend to call people the name by which they were introduced and find it difficult to change. This means, they’d better be introduced by the correct name! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. thecontentedcrafter

        Oh Norah – I didn’t mean you were wrong in saying ‘only in’ you know we use that term interchangeably for lots of things. And we are closely related and swap language as well as all kinds of other stuff all the time. I’d say the Aussies lead the way generally but I don’t want to get lynched….. 😀

        I’m the same about using the name I am introduced to. I find it quite difficult to change once someone is firmly fixed within my mind. I’ve never been anything else but Pauline except for my favourite aunt who would call me Paul or Paulie in tender moments. I always wanted a nickname – or a different name really. Pauline never felt right and still doesn’t. Isn’t that odd! But I’m resigned to it now 🙂

        Don’t amend your post!! xoxo

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        1. Norah Post author

          That’s okay, Pauline. I was wrong. I shared falsehoods and I need to correct it. That’s how myths start.
          Funny. I love the name Pauline. I never liked the name Norah though, and told my Mum so when I was a teenager. She wasn’t too pleased. I have grown to accept it and now quite like the fact that not many others have it, only a few famous ones like Norah Jones and Norah Roberts! 🙂

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