Posts tagged ‘koalas’

Coming to Australia?

I have a large number of American readers and maybe some of you are thinking about visiting the land Down Under. So I thought I would offer you some travel and cultural tips. Firstly, you will need this map of Australia:

I’d advise you to stay well clear of the areas in Australia marked Giant Spiders and Man Eating Koalas. It might also be worth your while to avoid the area of Sharks with Frickin’ Lasers, unless you want to be a shark’s dinner.

Next, I think you should prepare yourself for the gourmet delicacy known as Vegemite, which was created in 1923 by Dr Cyril P Callister of the Fred Walker Cheese Company. It’s made from brewer’s yeast and you’d better start off slowly, spread it thinly on toast. Many people fear or dislike Vegemite. One of my step-kids, when he was very young, muttered ” quell horror!” when he first opened the black, yellow and red jar and took a sniff (well, he is after all French). Open the jar slowly as the fumes from the vegemite could knock you over, that’s true. Once you have it in your mouth, be very, very careful not to spit it out in sight of any Australians. Remember that Vegemite is a national icon and you will be surrounded by angry bogans should you look as though you don’t like the black paste.


Which leads to my next piece of advice. Learn how to spot bogans. Here are some photos to help you identify a bogan. Cut them out and bring them with you to the land of Oz.



To give you some further guidance: a bogan (rhymes with slogan)  is usually identified by the flanno (shirts made from flannelette) usually worn with stubbies (shorts) and a singlet; the mullet hair-style; trucker caps; ugg boots or thongs.  Usually a bogan goes by the name of Shazza, Bazza, Dazza and possibly Charlene. A bogan would also suggest to you that the song Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel is the best song ever written and may have named their kid Barnsey.  Try to think of a bogan as a redneck and you get the idea.

Now using the map above, should you venture into the Man Eating Koala area remember that these creatures are the silent menace of our continent. Your President Bush was looking in the wrong area of the world for weapons of mass destruction because we have them:

Just look at those claws! They may look like harmless, fluffy, cuddly teddy bears but beware the razor-sharp teeth – DO NOT say “oh, how cute” and stick your finger in a koala’s mouth.

And if you spot a koala in this position:


just know that this is the most dangerous of all positions. That fluffy bear looks cute, let’s face it, but note the weapons of mass destruction – poised and ready for the attack!

Also, bear in mind that whilst we speak English here, we don’t speak American, we speak Strine. You might wish to memorise the most popular Strine words as shown below.


Should you not understand what we’re saying or get attacked my man-eating koalas, then we have a selection of good looking Aussie blokes who will come to your rescue. Here’s two of them:

download (1)

This is Curtis Stone, an Aussie chef, so he might be too busy sautéing or flambeing, but it’s worth a shot giving him a rescue call.


You should know who this is – Aussie hunk, Hugh Jackman, whose Wolverine claws I think would give a koala’s weapons of mass destruction a run for their money. Mind you, I think of our Hugh as a weapon of mass seduction but that’s another post.

If all else fails, then give me a call and I’ll help you out. Welcome to Australia!

Sources: map Neuroanthrology; bogans; Strine; Koala claws photo

July 20, 2009 at 2:00 am 9 comments

Love from tragedy

No doubt you have heard about the tragic bushfires that blazed their way through townships in Victoria, Australia – leaving 181 people dead, although officials think the toll could climb to 300. Nine hundred homes have been razed to the ground in these “Hell on Earth” bushfires, which are the deadliest in Australian history. 7000 or so survivors are camping out in tents. All their treasured possessions up in smoke. Loved ones dead. I cannot begin to tell you how this has affected Australians.

There was a perfect storm on February 7 – sky high temperatures, the highest ever recorded in Melbourne (46.4C or 115.5F) and strong winds fanning the inferno, sending it hurtling towards the towns of Kinglake and Marysville. Families were caught with no time to flee because the fires moved with such speed. I’m sure to the people engulfed in these deadly fires it must have seemed like Armageddon. We live in the bush with a national park right behind us and it was about 44C on the same day where we live in New South Wales – so we were a tad nervous.

There’s a suggestion that some of the fires were lit by arsonists. If so, then I hope they are tracked down and prosecuted. Even our Prime Minister has uttered the phrase “mass murder”. You can donate money to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Last I read, donations had exceeded AU$100 million – Australians are at their best when there’s a tragedy like this and we need to pull together. The outpouring of generosity has been great to see.

Anyway, I don’t wish to dwell on all this because out of tragedy touching stories can emerge and ThinkingShift reader, Oohlala from Thailand, has alerted me to a great story.  You can read the full story here but in a nutshell this is what happened.

Two badly-burned koalas have fallen in love and a volunteer firefighter has been privileged to care for one of these koalas in its time of greatest need.  Sam is a female koala burnt in the Victorian blaze and disoriented. David Tree is a volunteer firefighter who came across Sam cowering in a burnt out forest area. From a plastic bottle, he gave Sam water as she placed her burnt paw in his hand. For those who know what koalas are like, this is a rare action for a koala to have such contact with a human. You can watch the video below but warning, it will bring you to tears. As Tree says:

“You can see how she stops and moves forward and looks at me. It was like a look saying “I can’t run, I’m weak and sore, put me out of my misery”.

Sam was then taken to an animal shelter where she fell in love with Bob, another poor koala who had been burnt in the inferno. One of the people at the shelter has said:

“They keep putting their arms around each other and giving each other hugs. They really have made friends and it is quite beautiful to see after all this. It’s been horrific”.

Both koalas are doing well and are a symbol of the courage and spirit of Australia in one of its darkest hours.  Thanks to Oohlala for telling me about this story.

UPDATE: Sam now has her own Facebook page.

February 14, 2009 at 2:00 am 3 comments

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