Dick Smith is one of Australia’s most recognised individuals. After a successful business career in retailing and publishing, Dick has become well known as a restless adventurer, making many pioneering and record breaking flights by helicopter, aeroplane and balloon.
It’s official – the Flat White coffee is an Australian invention. Well, at least according to Wikipedia. This came as no surprise because a request for a Flat White coffee during a recent visit to the UK was generally met with a blank look. And even those who claimed to know how to make it, failed miserably – with a couple of notable exceptions. Continue reading
It came as both a surprise and delight to discover that the Corka brand of bathers/swimmers/togs/budgie smugglers -or whatever you prefer to call them – are actually made here in Australia. Continue reading
Ugg Boots – though now a popular fashion accessory world-wide, are very much an Aussie icon. Made from sheepskin, with the white, fluffy fleece on the inside for cosy toes and the more practical smooth suede on the outside – they are they epitome of both comfort and “daggyness”.
Uggs were popularised during the 60’s and 70’s by surfers who took them with them to the USA on the surfing circuit. Ugg boots in Australia are a generic term for any flat soled, pull-on sheepskin boot as described above but USA company, Deckers had different ideas and have trademarked their Ugg brand. Continue reading
Every dog-loving Aussie bloke aspires to be “master” of a Blue Dog or Blue Heeler – the quintessential Australian Cattle Dog. The Blue Heeler is a serious working dog and not designed for living in small back yards or urban apartments, sleeping on beds and in front of fires.
Bred to work cattle in the harsh Australian environment, the name comes from its colouring and ability to control cattle by nipping at their heels. This is a courageous, powerful, intelligent, loyal, no compromises, get-out-of-my-face kind of dog. Continue reading
Often referred to as a “Koala Bear”, this cute and loveable Aussie icon is, in fact, a marsupial and not a member of the bear family. They raise their young in a pouch, live on the leaves of eucalyptus (gum) trees and sleep an awful lot. They are the hippies of the animal world and creatures of the night.
I saw my first wild koala on Magnetic Island off the north Queensland coast nearly two decades ago and since then have had the privilege of volunteering with the Central Queensland Koala Volunteers and helping them fund-raise, record koala sightings, catch them and, on occasion, rehabilitate them back into the bush. Continue reading
Whilst the rest of the world celebrates Easter by eating too many chocolate bunnies, Australians have the option of eating bunny or bilby – our indigenous, cute, furry, burrowing, nocturnal marsupial.
The bilby is a bandicoot with pale grey fur, a long black tail with a white tip, a pointed nose and huge ears. Like kangaroos and koalas, the female has a pouch and can produce several litters of up to three baby bilbies each year. Continue reading
To Sydneysiders, Byron Bay is in the far north of their state in the Northern Rivers District. To residents of Brisbane in Queensland, it’s a couple of hours drive south and just over the border into New South Wales.
For decades now, Byron Bay has held a certain cachet and conjures a sense of the distant and exotic. Frequented by a heady mix of backpackers, hinterland “ferals”, surfers and glamorous celebrities, it is an exciting place to see, be seen and experience. Continue reading
Vegemite is what I would call “an acquired taste” and not being raised on the stuff, I’ve never liked it much. But, although no longer Australian-owned, it is still very much an Aussie icon – along with kangaroos, meat pies and Holden cars.
The vegemite story began in 1922 when a young chemist was hired by the Fred Walker Company to develop a spread from brewer’s yeast – one of the richest known natural sources of the Vitamin B group. The company launched a national competition in 1923 to give the new spread a name and Vegemite was chosen from the hundreds of entries. It was marketed as being “delicious on sandwiches and toast” and for improving the flavour of soups and gravy. Continue reading
I often wonder what the marketing team at Speedo think about the Australian Leader of the Opposition, “Action Man” Tony Abbott, parading in their “flagship” togs during his morning swims and surf lifesaving duties. He’s not in bad shape for a man of his age but he’s no poster boy and his appearances on TV and in newspapers wearing just a little lycra have created howls of derision. Continue reading