I was very puzzled by the editorial A land of hurricanes and heroes – SMH Nov 1. It seemed to suggest that somehow because Australia lacked ice storms, blizzards and tornadoes, we lacked the opportunity to learn coping skills. That because of these natural disasters Americans have learned to be much stronger than we in Australia.
I take issue with this view . Any observer could tell the editorial writer that we may not lack the natural disasters of the USA but what about fire storms such as we experienced on Black Saturday in Victoria; what about the 1000 Km fire-front in 2009 ranging from the sea to the mountains; what about Tracey which decimated a whole city and other cyclones ; what about the dangers of the Outback, the crocodiles, sharks, the most dangerous snakes and spiders in the world; and the pioneers which the writer doesn’t seem to realise have settled the Outback of this vast continent; and even these days there are still many people willing to face the dangers and disadvantages of this dangerous, cruel, wonderful continent.
I suggested to the editorial writer that he/she read about the Durack trek and many others of not many years ago. Read about crossing this continent from Queensland to W.A. with herds of cattle supported by just family – and no biles in the top pocket. Not Rawhide style with numerous crews – just family and dogs. Stop and listen to the tales of the pioneers of Australia: perhaps they have not been eulogised in song and film like American pioneers, but they were truly there and are still there – men and women living tens of miles even hundreds of miles away from any of the benefits of civilisation. Stop and listen and learn.
Check the statistics and find out that Australians volunteer more than any other nation. Read the figures on the tens of millions of dollars donated so quickly to the Black Saturday survivors.
I suggested that the writer take the blinkers off and realise that we cope well, perhaps not so vocally and not with such media attention, after all the USA has 13 times the population of Australia and we do not warrant the same media attention, even from our own media, obviously.