From Ithaki Greece to Victoria Australia - An ithacagreece.com trip
November and December 2006


Up and Away

Ithaca Society

IPS Lunch

City Central

The Shop Drop




Country Victoria




Country Victoria
Cows in the paddock and the farmer on his tractor. Barbed wire fences around hectares of land, dried out and sunburnt after 6 years of drought. It was a tortured earth no matter where the wheels of the car led. From the flatlands to the rolling hills of Gippsland, the mountain ranges to the Western District, the dry earth was cracked and chaffed, choking from thirst. Once lush green fields, have turned brown, leaving cows all over the Victorian countryside to feed on tumbleweed. Victoria is wilting away. The robust spirit that Australias' farming communities are known for, is also beginning to buckle under the pressure of this devastating drought. The long reaching consequences for the countryside of Victoria and for the people who work the land, are now, more than ever before, very evident. Continued dry weather will change the landscape and the ability to farm. Everyone agrees - if there is no significant rainfall in the coming winter, there'll be no turning back the clock.
Historically, farmers, not only in Victoria, but nationally, have had a difficult time facing the challenge of the harsh conditions and the unpredictability of the weather in the Australian countryside. Feast or famine, flood or drought. It's a rare occurrence for life on the land to go smoothly. That anyone still believes in farming is a miracle considering the awesome difficulties this land coughs up on a regular basis. Failing crops can mean foreclosure. Foreclosure means beginning again or moving to the city.
The drought in the Mallee has the birds now flocking to Gippsland. Cockatoos fleeing the drought ridden region are making pests of themselves in Leongatha, eating every green leaf in sight. Thousands go from property to property, waking the dead with their crying squawks each dawn and dusk, decimating foliage wherever their claws clamp down. Residents are reminded of Alfred Hitchcocks' 'The Birds' when the cockies swoop and dive close to their homes without fear of consequence. Very Freaky.
Wanthaggi Leongatha Hamilton Penshurst Dunkeld Casterton Ballarat Castlemain Bacchus Marsh Tabor Korrumburra Koo Wee Rup Baxter Foster Tarwin
The Western District
Many people have asked me why I choose to live on Ithaki and not in Germany where I was born or in Australia where I was raised. My first impressions of Australia were formed in the town below, Penshurst. Is it any wonder I never called Australia home?


Country Churches  
Australias' history is a short one. When looking for culture, you'll be hard pressed to find anything significant other than the gold rush towns, such as Ballarat, and maybe the Big pineapple in Queensland, but there are some great places and buildings to enjoy, wide spaces to travel through and great people to meet. It's still very wild in many respects although the pioneering days are over. Deadly snakes, terras spiders and creatures that seem to have been around since the dinosaurs mark some dangers. There are even toads that spit and make you blind.

Country Victoria is such a small section of Australias' countryside. It's been tamed and contained to be livable and manageable, but get deep into the outback, and one is immediately struck by the isolation and ancient scapes that one imagines date back to the time before man. Australia is massive, pruned around the edges, but wild at heart. Roads go on forever without a sign of life. Country towns usually boast a post office, pub and a Milk Bar. You can find rednecks and escapees, but mostly country people are 'no bull', 'down to earth' folk, who love the land more than they love money. They have the guts to go head to head with the challenging conditions Australia throws at them on a daily basis, and a persistence that is enviable to say the least. City people are city people anywhere, but country people in Australia have a style of their very own.

(C) 2003 - 2006 ithacagreece.com. All rights reserved.