Down South, below the equator, a much uninhabited land mass, Australia, unobtrusively lies in a serene sobriety. Most cities and towns are found in the western coast. Central Australia is a desert, while in the north, we find few settlements and in the east lies Perth. The island of Tasmania lies to the south with a temperate climate. Australia is a land of gold, a treasure house of diamonds, and a storehouse of silver and lead.
Australia is massive in size for a country. The aborigines are heavily built, dark in colour with curly hair and wide bulging eyes. The settlers, mostly from Europe, have a towering personality, with a tallness matched by a broadness. They have a commanding frame and an emphatic walk. The size of the family is also reasonably big, often with four or five children. Mothers walk with two small babies in the twin strollers, another child clinging to the arms, while the eldest one, a four or five-year old, walks beside. The scene provides a lovely sight.
The buildings in the Melbourne and Sydney business districts are magnificently beautiful, and at the same time huge. The Victorian architecture makes us spellbound. Pillars rise up to ornately carved domes. The ceilings are high, with decorative designs that catch the eye. No damage has been done to the buildings through modern expansion.
Trams ply the streets of Melbourne. It is indeed an experience to travel in them. They go up and down the city with great punctuality and order. The bell that rings when the tram arrives at a stop reminds us of periods before 19th century. This mode of transport does not pollute the city’s air, as it is run by electricity. Environmentalists should take note of this and try to introduce such trams in cities where much carbon is carelessly expelled by vehicular traffic.
People in Sydney go about in trains. There are trains to all parts of the city and to its suburbs. They are well maintained and though the use of the word disciplined might sound odd in this context, it is that which comes to my mind when I write about them. They are safe, on time, reliable, comfortable, and cheap.
Sydney’s Darling Harbour buzzes with business activity, with cargo and passengers loading and unloading. The stunning Opera House is alive with entertainment and culture, staging ballet recitals and Shakespearian plays every evening. Ferries sail about in lethargic leisure. Activity, entertainment and leisure are all found in one go.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a stately marvel. The iron bridge shines black with huge supporting columns proportionately spaced. The sea underneath roars, while the traffic over it explodes and the planes fly loudly in the skies.
Up North is the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is bigger than the Great Wall of China, and the only living organism visible from space.
Australia is small for a continent, but big for a country. Its land area is vast, but its population is relatively small. Its mineral wealth is enormous, but its manufacturing strength is minimal. Its flora and fauna are different than those in other parts of the world. The island continent was isolated from the rest of the world for 55 million years, turning it into a sanctuary for marsupials.
The lonely continent is a bundle of contradictions. One has to admire it for its generous beauty and resourceful wealth.