Sunday, December 11, 2022

Revisiting the island to the North – a nearby foreign country

Many years ago sitting by a roaring fire in a wintry pub in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, I read that Tasmanians liked to call Australia ‘the Island to the North’. I’m a long-term Tasmanian-in-exile, so it’s interesting to think about Australia in the 21st century, as someone who hails from that tiny Southern island, looking at its much bigger neighbour as an immigrant.

The orange rocks of the Bay of Fires - close to where the island to the North and the island to the South were once joined

Living on the mainland I travel the back lanes of this unusual country, marvelling at the people. They speak a strange language, not all that different to Tasmanian, though I am aware that Tasmania has many languages – as does the island to the North. Deciphering them is the challenge. We are neighbours but sometimes I wonder if I am behind enemy lines.