Queensland

Queenslanders have always seemed a little different. There is Queensland, and then there is the rest of Australia.

I remember visiting in the early 1980’s and being in a bank. When the teller rang my branch in Victoria, and started by saying, “Good morning, this is Queensland calling!”

On the rugby field their state team still has only one battle cry and it is “Queenslander.”

Queensland has always been a land of milk and honey, a paradise of winter crops, sugar cane, rum and cattle. A place where women can be women, and men are men. Even their unique style of houses built on high stumps are called Queenslanders. Houses are mostly freshly painted, churches full on Sundays, governments conservative, and sin confined to the Gold Coast.

Of course I was completely suspect and tarred as a Mexican from south of the border. My car had Victorian number plates, it was a dead give away. I simply responded to their insults by saying “Yes gringo.” The grin would quickly evaporate from their faces.

For a period of time in the 80’s I had been working my way around Australia and at one point picking tomatoes in Queensland north of Bundaberg. Coming back from a hard day in the fields one afternoon I stopped at a small country pub hoping for an ale. Suddenly the car was surrounded by large dogs snarling and barking. I knew how to deal with this, got out, went into the bar, sat down and demanded a beer. One of the old timers at the bar said simply, “We don’t like foreigners around here.”

Picking tomatoes, the ganger who had been in Vietnam took a dislike to me after he had discovered I had been to a major university which had prominently opposed the war. One morning I arrived early for work, sat on the boot of my car to wait, when suddenly he grabbed the shirt tightly around my neck, and started waving his fist in my face. He told me that he had been in Vietnam and loved killing gooks, but this was just a preamble to the real conversation: “The boss is coming up to talk to everyone this morning. Someone has complained the woman are being underpaid. Now you are going to shut up and not say anything, otherwise I am going to knock your block off.”

A little while later at the meeting with the boss, I decided to accept the ganger’s invitation to speak up and condemn the underpayment, even though I wasn’t one of the original complainants. When the meeting finished the ganger felt compelled to follow up on his threats. Most of his punches missed, I left, and found another picking job up on the Port of Baffle Creek with better pay.

Recently at the end of November, Melody and I visited southern Queensland to attend a workshop on pack saddling near Boonah. The workshop was lead by a speaker from Victoria. Early on the first day, the speaker made a comment on differences between state regulations effecting pack saddling in National Parks along the Bicentennial Trail. The trail runs around over 5000 kilometers down the Great Dividing Range from North Queensland to Victoria. One of the Queenslanders at the workshop declared, “Well aren’t we all one country?”

I turned to Melody and whispered, “Yes, Queensland!”

Nov 2015 BoonahQld 045F1 Shanghai100 Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160) 9

Open paddocks

Nov 2015 BoonahQld 045F1 Shanghai100 Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160) 2

Tidy fields

Nov 2015 BoonahQld 045F1 Shanghai100 Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160) 6

Dam, windmill and tree

Nov 2015 BoonahQld 045F1 Shanghai100 Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160) 8

Abandoned Queenslander

Nov 2015 BoonahQld 045F1 Shanghai100 Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160) 10

Sundown around Mt Moon

Nov 2015 BoonahQld 045F1 Shanghai100 Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160) 4

Red pea flower

Although photos taken around Boonah, Queensland, with Chamonix 045F1 view camera, Rodenstock Ysaron 75mm, Apo-Sironar-S 150mm and Dagor 10 3/4 inch lenses, Shanghai 100 film and developed in a mix of Xtol(1.3)+paRodinal(1.160).

5 thoughts on “Queensland

  1. Pingback: Recommended reading | Down the Road

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