Friday, February 17, 2017

Adjusting to reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes

Modern times, modern crimes. The current dysfunctional world of Australian politics is beyond comprehension. It makes you wonder and probably drives you to drink. Unfortunately, unlike the far too many mediocre politicians, we’re not being chauffeur-driven there. It's beyond a joke, so a good way to talk about it is through the language of jokes. It's a world of short attention spans, media grabs and talking points, so I'm responding in kind.

Shooting yourself in the foot
With many of our crazier politicians today, it’s a case of shooting yourself in the foot and then putting that foot in your mouth.

'Fear everything' – sign of the times.

Tail wagging the dog
When I look at the present-day Government and its more wacko extremes, I often wonder if the tail is wagging the dog. But what if the tail actually is the dog?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts

It would be easy to go along with popular prejudice and believe that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. Unfortunately both are efficient and also hopeless in their own way. At least we get to vote about the broad outline of what the public sector does – and laugh at it. With the private sector, all we get is to laugh at it. Or cry.

Closed for maintenance
Travelling on the bus past the Department of Finance and Deregulation some time ago I saw that it was swathed in black for maintenance, since the old heritage building had been falling apart at the seams. I can’t think of a better metaphor for the whole sad and decrepit Commonwealth now the barbarians have stormed the gates and started ransacking the capital.

Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra through rain - on the way to the Parliamentary (or Bermuda) Triangle.

Forget, then repeat
Amongst the recommendations of the late unlamented National Commission of Audit was one to re-establish a new Indigenous Affairs department along the lines of the once mighty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. It seems government allows just enough time to forget what it has done before it begins to repeat it.

Peaks, troughs and snouts
Someone described the history of the public service as being a series of peaks and troughs. Unfortunately, add in many of our elected representatives and all the troughs seemed to have snouts in them.

See also

Adjusting to reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes
‘Modern times, modern crimes. The current dysfunctional world of Australian politics is beyond comprehension. It makes you wonder and probably drives you to drink. Unfortunately, unlike the far too many mediocre politicians, we’re not being chauffeur-driven there. It's beyond a joke, so a good way to talk about it is through the language of jokes. It's a world of short attention spans, media grabs and talking points, so I'm responding in kind’, Adjusting to Reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes.

Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe‘Internet memes seem to appear and disappear on the web, digital visitors swirling around the virtual universe. Where they come from or who created them is hard to tell. There are no secrets or possessions on the Internet. Seeing some of these memes got me thinking. I thought perhaps I could produce my own memes and have some fun. Perhaps it’s the new future for the arts – social media postcards – but with humour and creativity’, Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe.

Bring back the Romans
‘Our political system is having a lot of problems and lately I’ve been thinking that we could do a lot worse than bring back the Romans. Since they were around no-one has managed to do a good job of empire. The Americans had their moment but they seem to be making a real mess of it nowadays. Politically the Senate wouldn’t be much different. The Emperor Caligula made his horse a Senator and we’ve done better than that. So, no change there. No, on reflection it would be a good move. I think we should bring it on and the sooner the better. Now all we need to do is find some Romans and get the ball rolling’, Bring back the Romans.

Wide brown landing
‘Some days you realise suddenly that Canberra was deliberately located in the mountains. Perhaps it was fear of Russian invasion - imperial rather than communist. Perhaps it was to avoid overlap with the two warring imperial powers of the time - NSW and Victoria. Whatever the reason, Canberra sits well up on the top of Australia, on the long road up to the Snowy Mountains, where Australia finally reaches its peak. I've made two unsuccessful attempts to see the National Arboretum, finding the gates locked and no way in. Yesterday on a cold Canberra day I finally found the it open, thanks to Canberra's annual festival of flowers, Floriade. I'd finally made a successful landing at the Arboretum. I was very impressed’, Wide brown landing.

Cures for the common cold
'Even in the heart of the modern world, down in the deep streets of contemporary urban life, folk medicine is still strong. Have you noticed when you mention you have a cold, how everyone within listening distance starts to list off the various fool-proof remedies which are certain to cure you, or at the very least make you feel human again', Cures for the common cold.

Articles in the series ‘The island to the North’

The island to the North – the islands to the North East
‘The awkward relationship between Tasmania and the island to the North is not the only clumsy relationship between islands in this part of the world. The history of the ties between the island to the North and the islands of the Pacific is even more troubled’, The island to the North – the islands to the North East.

The island to the North – turning the map upside down
‘Our geography teacher would turn the map upside down to make the point that we were conditioned to see Asia above Australia, implying that gravity was a factor in human migration patterns and to illustrate the Australian fear of the Yellow Peril, ready to pour down from Asia and inundate the almost empty island to the South’, The island to the Northturning the map upside down.

The island to the North – disappearing worlds
'Islands are easily overlooked – Tasmania is an island that periodically disappears off maps, sometimes there, sometimes not, at the edge of consciousness, at the end of space.' The island to the Northdisappearing worlds

The island to the North – a nearby foreign country
‘Sitting by a roaring fire in a wintry pub in Tarraleah I found Tasmanians liked to call Australia "the island to the North". We are neighbours but sometimes I wonder if I am behind enemy lines’, The island to the Northa nearby foreign country.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The virtual world – research and commentary on Australian arts and culture

When I established my blog ‘indefinite article’, a couple of years back, it was because I wanted to research and comment on Australian arts and culture. This is my main blog that gets most views. It seems to have taken off. I’d always thought that, given the specialist subject matter – after all it’s not a popular culture blog like a cooking one – that it would grow steadily but no more, which all along is what I had wanted. The rate of growth has surprised me. Now, I’m starting to focus on the other blogs that have played second fiddle – about short humour, gardening and cooking and creative writing.

When I first established my blog ‘indefinite article’, a couple of years back, it was because I wanted to research and comment on Australian arts and culture, something I know something about from working for over 35 years in the arts and culture sector. I could have written about other subjects but that would just be me expressing my opinions like every other man, woman and their dog (and cat) on social media. ‘Who cares?’ I thought. ‘indefinite article’ is irreverent articles about contemporary Australian society, popular culture, the creative economy and the digital and online world – life in the trenches and on the beaches of the information age. This is my main blog and it’s the one that gets most views.

Ages ago I used the phrase on this image, thinking that I had very cleverly been the first person to think of. Recently I saw the same phrase, virtually word for word, on an Internet meme. Whether my words just drifted around on their own and were picked up and reused or whether, more likely, it's just a case of a good idea appearing at the same time in many different widely separated places, is hard to tell. There are no secrets or possessions on the Internet. Here's my illustrated take on the meme.

On the morning of 25 February it passed 8,000 views and is now just over 100 views short of the next milestone of 9,000 views. It seems only a short time ago that I was celebrating having passed 7,000 views. That amount represented the total views from when I effectively started the blog, when I left the public service in late February 2014, to 25 February this year, a period of just under two years. My most recent jump of 1,000 views, from 7,000 to 8,000, took just 5.5 weeks. Three days later I was already a quarter of the way to my next thousand, 9,000 views. I seem to have settled around 1,000 views a month.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe

Ages ago in one of my social media posts, I used the phrase ‘why are we looking for intelligent life on other planets when we haven’t found it yet on this one’, thinking that I had very cleverly been the first person to think of. A few days ago I saw the same phrase, virtually word for word, on an Internet meme floating around on Facebook.


Whether my words just drifted around on their own and were picked up and reused or whether, more likely, it's just a case of a good idea appearing at the same time in many different widely separated places, is hard to tell. There are no secrets or possessions on the Internet.


I may have been disappointed to lose my five seconds of Internet fame but it got me thinking. I found some meme sites on the web and they seemed to be half about advertising and pretty lame. 


I thought I could produce my own memes and have some fun. Perhaps it’s the new future for the arts – social media postcards – but with humour and creativity. Here are some of my first ones. I'm still experimenting so the next ones will hopefully get better - but here goes.

See also

Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts
‘It seems government allows just enough time to forget what it has done before it begins to repeat it. It would be easy to go along with popular prejudice and believe that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. Unfortunately both are efficient and also hopeless in their own way. At least we get to vote about the broad outline of what the public sector does – and laugh at it. With the private sector, all we get is to laugh at it. Or cry’, Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts.

Adjusting to reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes 
‘Modern times, modern crimes. The current dysfunctional world of Australian politics is beyond comprehension. It makes you wonder and probably drives you to drink. Unfortunately, unlike the far too many mediocre politicians, we’re not being chauffeur-driven there. It's beyond a joke, so a good way to talk about it is through the language of jokes. It's a world of short attention spans, media grabs and talking points, so I'm responding in kind’, Adjusting to Reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes.

Wide brown landing
‘Some days you realise suddenly that Canberra was deliberately located in the mountains. Perhaps it was fear of Russian invasion - imperial rather than communist. Perhaps it was to avoid overlap with the two warring imperial powers of the time - NSW and Victoria. Whatever the reason, Canberra sits well up on the top of Australia, on the long road up to the Snowy Mountains, where Australia finally reaches its peak. I've made two unsuccessful attempts to see the National Arboretum, finding the gates locked and no way in. Yesterday on a cold Canberra day I finally found the it open, thanks to Canberra's annual festival of flowers, Floriade. I'd finally made a successful landing at the Arboretum. I was very impressed’, Wide brown landing.

Playing Gasworks Red
‘Many decades ago in a land far, far away (well, Adelaide), I used to play basketball. We played against teams like Gasworks Red. Gasworks Red weren’t actually a basketball team. They were a football team keeping in shape in the off season by playing basketball. After Gasworks Red had bounced off you for an hour or so, you needed a drink. Then you needed another one. Then you needed to go home’, Playing Gasworks Red.

Cures for the common cold
'Even in the heart of the modern world, down in the deep streets of contemporary urban life, folk medicine is still strong. Have you noticed when you mention you have a cold, how everyone within listening distance starts to list off the various fool-proof remedies which are certain to cure you, or at the very least make you feel human again', Cures for the common cold.

Articles in the series ‘The island to the North’

The island to the North – the islands to the North East
‘The awkward relationship between Tasmania and the island to the North is not the only clumsy relationship between islands in this part of the world. The history of the ties between the island to the North and the islands of the Pacific is even more troubled’, The island to the North – the islands to the North East.

The island to the North – turning the map upside down
‘Our geography teacher would turn the map upside down to make the point that we were conditioned to see Asia above Australia, implying that gravity was a factor in human migration patterns and to illustrate the Australian fear of the Yellow Peril, ready to pour down from Asia and inundate the almost empty island to the South’, The island to the North – turning the map upside down.

The island to the North – disappearing worlds
'Islands are easily overlooked – Tasmania is an island that periodically disappears off maps, sometimes there, sometimes not, at the edge of consciousness, at the end of space.' The island to the North – disappearing worlds

The island to the North – a nearby foreign country
‘Sitting by a roaring fire in a wintry pub in Tarraleah I found Tasmanians liked to call Australia "the island to the North". We are neighbours but sometimes I wonder if I am behind enemy lines’, The island to the North – a nearby foreign country.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bring back the Romans

Lately I’ve been thinking we should bring back the Romans. Our political system is having a lot of problems of late and we could do a lot worse. Since they were around no-one has managed to do a good job of empire. The Americans had their moment but they seem to be making a real mess of it nowadays.

The Romans got around - Roman foundations, Styria, Austria.

The Romans could build things – I’ve always had admiration for engineers. If they built a bridge or an aquaduct it stayed up. They also applied an even-handed approach to ruling an empire – everyone was oppressed and taxed. If you were a Roman citizen travelling the world you were protected. You weren’t locked up in Guantanamo Bay or the Ecuadorian Embassy for being a bit different.

If we compare it to contemporary times, there would be some bad aspects but how bad could they be? What would be different to now? We’d have a lot of imperial adventures in foreign countries. Check. There would be public spectacles of lions and circuses, with the odd sacrifice or public crucifixion. Check. At times a bit of decimation would be necessary to quiet the troubled ranks of the troops. Check. What could they complain about? There were still nine out of ten left – that’s a pretty good survival rate for mutiny. Nowadays politicians facing election would wish for such good numbers.

Politically the Senate wouldn’t be much different. The Emperor Caligula made his horse a Senator and we’ve done better than that. So, no change there. The Romans had narcissistic, cruel Emperors and we’d be fine with that. We’d enthusiastically recognise the kind of backroom cut and thrust of politics – Brutus assassinating Julius Caesar would be pretty familiar.

On the question of the Christians versus the lions, let me say I’ve always liked animals. The Romans were good at keeping religious minorities, like those irritating Christians, under control – before they got out of control and became religious majorities. It might have involved some mistreatment of lions – ‘no animals were harmed in the suppression of this religious minority’ ­– but I’m sure they saw it as a public service.

At least that was until they sold out and converted. After that they just applied their Roman efficiency to keeping non-Christians under control and stuffing up the Middle Ages – not to mention modern times.

We wouldn’t have too much trouble with the language. Just as flocks of giant birds are a sign that the dinosaurs are still amongst us, we all still speak Latin. Latin is embedded in many languages, including our own. Our biggest ethnic group – the Chinese – who speak a language that isn’t based on Latin, had quite a bit of historical contact with the Romans, so they’d probably find them familiar to deal with and Latin and Roman ways can’t be any more incomprehensible than English and our traditional customs.

No, on reflection it would be a good move. I think we should bring it on and the sooner the better. Now all we need to do is find some Romans and get the ball rolling.

See also

Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts
‘It seems government allows just enough time to forget what it has done before it begins to repeat it. It would be easy to go along with popular prejudice and believe that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. Unfortunately both are efficient and also hopeless in their own way. At least we get to vote about the broad outline of what the public sector does – and laugh at it. With the private sector, all we get is to laugh at it. Or cry’, Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts.

Adjusting to reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes 
‘Modern times, modern crimes. The current dysfunctional world of Australian politics is beyond comprehension. It makes you wonder and probably drives you to drink. Unfortunately, unlike the far too many mediocre politicians, we’re not being chauffeur-driven there. It's beyond a joke, so a good way to talk about it is through the language of jokes. It's a world of short attention spans, media grabs and talking points, so I'm responding in kind’, Adjusting to Reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes.

Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe
‘Internet memes seem to appear and disappear on the web, digital visitors swirling around the virtual universe. Where they come from or who created them is hard to tell. There are no secrets or possessions on the Internet. Seeing some of these memes got me thinking. I thought perhaps I could produce my own memes and have some fun. Perhaps it’s the new future for the arts – social media postcards – but with humour and creativity’, Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe.

Wide brown landing‘Some days you realise suddenly that Canberra was deliberately located in the mountains. Perhaps it was fear of Russian invasion - imperial rather than communist. Perhaps it was to avoid overlap with the two warring imperial powers of the time - NSW and Victoria. Whatever the reason, Canberra sits well up on the top of Australia, on the long road up to the Snowy Mountains, where Australia finally reaches its peak. I've made two unsuccessful attempts to see the National Arboretum, finding the gates locked and no way in. Yesterday on a cold Canberra day I finally found the it open, thanks to Canberra's annual festival of flowers, Floriade. I'd finally made a successful landing at the Arboretum. I was very impressed’, Wide brown landing.

Playing Gasworks Red 
‘Many decades ago in a land far, far away (well, Adelaide), I used to play basketball. We played against teams like Gasworks Red. Gasworks Red weren’t actually a basketball team. They were a football team keeping in shape in the off season by playing basketball. After Gasworks Red had bounced off you for an hour or so, you needed a drink. Then you needed another one. Then you needed to go home’, Playing Gasworks Red.

Cures for the common cold
'Even in the heart of the modern world, down in the deep streets of contemporary urban life, folk medicine is still strong. Have you noticed when you mention you have a cold, how everyone within listening distance starts to list off the various fool-proof remedies which are certain to cure you, or at the very least make you feel human again', Cures for the common cold.

Articles in the series ‘The island to the North’

The island to the North – the islands to the North East
‘The awkward relationship between Tasmania and the island to the North is not the only clumsy relationship between islands in this part of the world. The history of the ties between the island to the North and the islands of the Pacific is even more troubled’, The island to the North – the islands to the North East.

The island to the North – turning the map upside down
‘Our geography teacher would turn the map upside down to make the point that we were conditioned to see Asia above Australia, implying that gravity was a factor in human migration patterns and to illustrate the Australian fear of the Yellow Peril, ready to pour down from Asia and inundate the almost empty island to the South’, The island to the North – turning the map upside down.

The island to the North – disappearing worlds
'Islands are easily overlooked – Tasmania is an island that periodically disappears off maps, sometimes there, sometimes not, at the edge of consciousness, at the end of space.' The island to the North – disappearing worlds

The island to the North – a nearby foreign country
‘Sitting by a roaring fire in a wintry pub in Tarraleah I found Tasmanians liked to call Australia "the island to the North". We are neighbours but sometimes I wonder if I am behind enemy lines’, The island to the North – a nearby foreign country.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The island to the North – rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic

It’s not known widely enough but at the point that Australia finally ceased to be a rabble of competing colonies and instead became a nation comprising a rabble of competing states and territories, New Zealand was almost there at the party.

Travelling eastwards from the Bay of Fires in Tasmania would lead you directly to New Zealand

In 1912, when Walter Burley Griffin was designing Canberra, it still seemed possible that New Zealand might join the new Federation. Reflecting this Griffin envisaged a series of eight major avenues spreading out from Capital Hill, each named after a State capital, the capital of the Northern Territory and the capital of New Zealand.

Each avenue was to end in a park named after a distinctive native plant of the relevant state. After it became clear that New Zealand was not joining after all, the avenue to be called Wellington Avenue was renamed at the last minute as Canberra Avenue. It was an afterthought but someone forgot to tidy up and the area at the end of that forlorn avenue remained as Manuka, named after the New Zealand tree noteworthy for its superior honey.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Playing Gasworks Red

Many decades ago in a land far, far away (well, Adelaide), I used to play basketball. As the most unsporting of children, I find it amazing that I seem to have played (or at least briefly tried to play) rugby, archery, lacrosse, soccer, hockey and basketball – across several states.

I used to make my way to a giant galvanised iron shed in Bowden, or maybe Brompton, near North Adelaide. I never knew because we always used to call the suburb Bowden/Brompton.

It was always hot in this shed – very hot.

Rotunda in Elder Park, Adelaide - either hot or hotter

We used to play basketball, sometimes early, sometimes late and, whatever time we played, we would then sit in the bar at the court until closing time (I can’t even believe that the tin shed had a bar, but then everything in Australia has a bar).

Public drunkenness is a grand Australian tradition. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. For us – young and untried – it was harmless enough. We drank, we cracked bad jokes, we went home. We didn’t abuse anyone, king hit passing strangers or take our tops off. It was all pretty sedate and normal.

In between going to the giant hot tin shed and sitting in the small tin bar we actually played basketball. We played against teams like Gasworks Red. Gasworks Red weren’t actually a basketball team. They were a football team keeping in shape in the off season by playing basketball. They played basketball as though they were playing football. In their capable hands basketball became the contact sport it was meant to be. After Gasworks Red had bounced off you for an hour or so, you needed a drink. Then you needed another one. Then you needed to go home.

See also

Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts
‘It seems government allows just enough time to forget what it has done before it begins to repeat it. It would be easy to go along with popular prejudice and believe that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. Unfortunately both are efficient and also hopeless in their own way. At least we get to vote about the broad outline of what the public sector does – and laugh at it. With the private sector, all we get is to laugh at it. Or cry’, Adjusting to reality #1 – peaks, troughs and snouts.

Adjusting to reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes 
‘Modern times, modern crimes. The current dysfunctional world of Australian politics is beyond comprehension. It makes you wonder and probably drives you to drink. Unfortunately, unlike the far too many mediocre politicians, we’re not being chauffeur-driven there. It's beyond a joke, so a good way to talk about it is through the language of jokes. It's a world of short attention spans, media grabs and talking points, so I'm responding in kind’, Adjusting to Reality #2 – modern times, modern crimes.

Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe
‘Internet memes seem to appear and disappear on the web, digital visitors swirling around the virtual universe. Where they come from or who created them is hard to tell. There are no secrets or possessions on the Internet. Seeing some of these memes got me thinking. I thought perhaps I could produce my own memes and have some fun. Perhaps it’s the new future for the arts – social media postcards – but with humour and creativity’, Internet memes – swirling around the virtual universe.

Bring back the Romans
‘Our political system is having a lot of problems and lately I’ve been thinking that we could do a lot worse than bring back the Romans. Since they were around no-one has managed to do a good job of empire. The Americans had their moment but they seem to be making a real mess of it nowadays. Politically the Senate wouldn’t be much different. The Emperor Caligula made his horse a Senator and we’ve done better than that. So, no change there. No, on reflection it would be a good move. I think we should bring it on and the sooner the better. Now all we need to do is find some Romans and get the ball rolling’, Bring back the Romans.

Wide brown landing
‘Some days you realise suddenly that Canberra was deliberately located in the mountains. Perhaps it was fear of Russian invasion - imperial rather than communist. Perhaps it was to avoid overlap with the two warring imperial powers of the time - NSW and Victoria. Whatever the reason, Canberra sits well up on the top of Australia, on the long road up to the Snowy Mountains, where Australia finally reaches its peak. I've made two unsuccessful attempts to see the National Arboretum, finding the gates locked and no way in. Yesterday on a cold Canberra day I finally found the it open, thanks to Canberra's annual festival of flowers, Floriade. I'd finally made a successful landing at the Arboretum. I was very impressed’, Wide brown landing.

Cures for the common cold
'Even in the heart of the modern world, down in the deep streets of contemporary urban life, folk medicine is still strong. Have you noticed when you mention you have a cold, how everyone within listening distance starts to list off the various fool-proof remedies which are certain to cure you, or at the very least make you feel human again', Cures for the common cold.

Crossing four states
‘To get to Adelaide we crossed the borders of four states (okay, one was a territory). After a while when you step out into the 39 degree Celsius heat you become grateful that cars nowadays have air conditioning. You comment happily that at least we aren't in Adelaide yet, where it's not 39 but 42 - everything is relative’, Crossing four states.

Hiding from the heat
‘In Mildura, like refugees from a bombing raid, we seek shelter from the heat in the wine cellars of the Grand Hotel. I had always admired Stefano de Pieri and the way he championed regional Australia and local produce so I wanted to eat in his restaurant, which as it turned out was below the Grand Hotel in Mildura where we stayed’, Hiding from the heat.

Articles in the series ‘The island to the North’

The island to the North – rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic
‘When Australia finally ceased to be a rabble of competing colonies and instead became a nation comprising a rabble of competing states and territories, it still seemed possible that New Zealand might join the new Federation. Both New Zealand and Tasmania have long been an afterthought for the island to the North. But lots of mountains, clean water, high quality untainted produce, dramatic landscapes and acres of ocean all mark Tasmania as suitable for New Zealandership. It’s a partnership waiting to happen. It’s clear that the future for Tasmania lies with New Zealand, the islands to the East rather than the island to the North. In a form of Federation in reverse, Tasmania should join its neighbouring islands to make New Zealand three islands instead of two – the North Island, the South Island and the West Island. New Tazealand forever’, The island to the North – rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

The island to the North – turning the map upside down
‘Our geography teacher would turn the map upside down to make the point that we were conditioned to see Asia above Australia, implying that gravity was a factor in human migration patterns and to illustrate the Australian fear of the Yellow Peril, ready to pour down from Asia and inundate the almost empty island to the South’, The island to the North – turning the map upside down.

The island to the North – disappearing worlds
'Islands are easily overlooked – Tasmania is an island that periodically disappears off maps, sometimes there, sometimes not, at the edge of consciousness, at the end of space.' The island to the North – disappearing worlds

The island to the North – a nearby foreign country
‘Sitting by a roaring fire in a wintry pub in Tarraleah I found Tasmanians liked to call Australia "the island to the North". We are neighbours but sometimes I wonder if I am behind enemy lines’, The island to the North – a nearby foreign country.