K is for Kangaroo Island

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Yep, there is one though it’s not especially full of those bouncing boxers with the craziest breeding arrangements – there are some for sure. It also has a really nice selection of other marsupials and if you want to catch sight of the notoriously shy koalas here is probaly the best place to start.

The Le Pards toured Australia in 1998 and spent a week on the island so the Vet (aged 5) and the Lawyer (aged 8) could enjoy some close up experience with the weird and wacky (and unusually non fatal) wildlife that Australia has to offer. We fed orphaned joeys, saw the aforesaid Koalas happily stripping the eucalypts, just missed an indifferent echidna as it strolled across the road and saw a variety of wallabies.

It was blissful, the temperatures brisk (we went in July) and the scenery wondrous.

They have an inland desert you can board down and the Remarkable Rocks and sea lion colony that are both stunning.

Kangaroo island is situated off the South Australian coast near Adelaide. Not as well known as Tasmania or as weird as Frazer Island (I mean, an island made of sand that has fabulous inland lakes, how mad is that?) – or as twee as the Whitsundays, it is actually a great gem for the visitor. Because if there’s one thing you have to get your head around as a European visiting Oz is that is it ridiculously bloody enormous and utterly empty.

Enormous as in if you transposed a map of Oz onto Europe and aligned, say, Perth on the west coast with Lisbon, you’d end up with any one of a number of pubs in Sydney sitting on top of Putin’s hunting lodge east of the Urals (and I know who’d I’d back in a bar fight).

And the empty piece isn’t a surprise given Australia is home to the most deadly selection of snakes and spiders and bitey stingy things so why would you hang around and fill it  with loads of people if they are going to get bitten on the bum just for popping to the loo. I know people say ‘I’m dying for the toilet’ but you don’t hear them say ‘I’m dying from the toilet’. Not unless they are Australian.

We stayed in a  B&B with a couple from Melbourne who hadn’t been out of State before (he sold Holden cars and, if prompted, happily explained why they were the car for the discerning driver – you make that mistake once; she did something with nails but we never discovered if that was manicures or ironmongery). The whole place made the Textiliste and I feel like we had gone back in time.

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That was true in another way. Our Melbourner had one other line in conversation – Pauline Hanson. We hadn’t heard of this lady before we arrived in Oz but she was stoking up some real fire at that time around the influx of Asian immigrants and the, in her view, overly generous benefits given to the Aboriginal population. We listened with polite interest but, if I’m honest, in a rather smug way. You see, at the time, with the new sense of regeneration under Tony Blair and his New Labour, issues of excessive immigration felt rather old school. Weren’t we beyond all that Rivers of Blood stuff of the 1960s? How bloody wrong we were. Now every European nation has its Pauline Hanson – and they are all creeping into the mainstream. Farage here, Le Pen in France, Mussolini in Italy. America has its Tea Party with loonies on the fringes who will creep into the centre, change their suits and hairstyles and soften their images to make them electable.

Back then, in 1998, the press ridiculed Hanson as a chip shop owner and for not knowing what Xenophobia meant. Her ‘Please explain’ became something of a catch phrase. As maybe with the likes of Sarah Palin in the US and Nigel Farage here, a figure of fun can turn to something more substantial.

These people are dangerous and we had no idea how Australia was foreshadowing their emergence, not, as we smugly assumed reflecting a past world.

This little post has become something of an opinion piece. So let’s lighten it with Ze Frank and the true facts about marsupials.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in A to Z blogging challenge, Australia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to K is for Kangaroo Island

  1. Annecdotist says:

    How great the kids to get to touch the kangaroos but, yeah, so disturbing when you visit a country on holiday and unexpectedly get exposed to unsavoury politics. It reminds me of staying at a lovely farm B&B in Namibia and suddenly realising that the kindly farmer was actually quite racist. I think we have trouble accepting these things even at home, but on holiday it’s like you really don’t want reality imposing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      My sentiments. You don’t want to either be rude or engage in a debate that may well lead to an argument. With the children around we kept our heads down. Took a lot to bite my tongue though….

      Like

  2. lucciagray says:

    Sounds like a great trip! I still haven’t been to Australia, almost made it this year, but will have to postpone another year:( Fortunately one of my best friends from uni, who lives in Sydney, will be coming to visit in September.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. roweeee says:

    Well done, Geoff. Not only have you come to visit us in Oz but you made a great choice writing about Kangaroo Island. I went there in my 20s when I stopped off in Adelaide for a week on my way to visit my aunt in Perth onboard the Indian Pacific.
    The whole immigration debate here does get quite heated up and I personally subscribe to an environmental view which says this place aint got much water and we need to have an environmentally sustainable population.
    My recommendation for culling the Australian population could well start with Pauline Hansen and then we could add Dame Edna and we’ve shared Neighbours and Home & Away.
    Don’t know if you have ever watched Home & Away but it is filmed here in Palm Beach. Anyway, I’m involved in a project to raise awareness of my auto-immune disease which has seen a wombat called Wally travel to Australia from the UK and he goes roundf the group and we post photos on FB.
    Well, Wally has been staying with us through the Easter holidays and today I drove him down to get the Palm Beach lighthouse in the background and stumbled across this blight on the landscape called Alf’s Bait Shop and there’s a photo of Alf inside and souvenir’s from Summer Bay. Wishing I had some kind of Dame Edna type disguise, I photographed the wombat in front of all these signs. I have watched the show at times but it’s been years!
    I have spent the last hours reading an A-Z blog on Africa and going from A-K in one sitting was fascinating but took forever. Well past time for bed….ZZZZZ!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Wonderful video great post… What no dickhead tour high lights? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Well, yes there were, but not the Kangaroo island part of the trip. Getting onto Fraser Island was a different matter. Then there was Brisbane airport and the failure to anticipate how difficult a fifteen minute gap between connections might be, and not forgetting the 7am and 7 pm cockup for a coach tour…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rachel M says:

    Pauline Hansen has pretty much disappeared. I haven’t heard anything of her for years now although that could also be because I’m not as up-to-date with Aussie news as I once was. You could argue that Tony Abbott is almost a male version of Pauline Hansen 🙂

    Funny movie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Sadly she and her One Nation party still exist, or so my spies tell me. But you’re right, when the centre parties steals extremist’s clothes we do have problems and Abbott’s policies towards the ‘camps’ on PNG are a disgrace and one I fear that could easily be repeated here (and some might argue the disturbing scenes in Calais have echoes of that already).

      Like

  6. Charli Mills says:

    I can see the “future” Vet in that pose with the kangaroo. Good exposure, though politics probably taint every place that has a population. I mean, Sarah Palin came from Alaska! I didn’t see that one coming. I’m sure our Tea Party is choking on tea leaves today with the Clinton announcement to continue seeking presidency. In northern Idaho we’re a bunch of separatists, libertarians and three-to-five-yearers (as in the wealthy set moving in by the droves investing in remote mountain homes off the grid with bunkers because the economy is going to collapse in three to five years). Mention Obama in a pub here and you’ll get enough conspiracy theories to plot at least three thrillers. We tend to keep the conversation focused on beer, gardening and guns. Safe topics.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Autism Mom says:

    Great post! The “Us and Them” soapbox is an easy premise to gain meaningless attention, fodder for the foolish no matter where one lives, apparently.

    This is my favorite line: “he sold Holden cars and, if prompted, happily explained why they were the car for the discerning driver – you make that mistake once; she did something with nails but we never discovered if that was manicures or ironmongery” – lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sacha Black says:

    Love Ze frank. Brain too fried to comment on the political stuff on any other day you would have me jumping on my soap box!

    Liked by 1 person

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