Australia, you’re a hard dame to get a handle on – a hodgepodge of influences, a land of contradictions. There’s a lot that’s right about you and a hell of a lot we need to work on.
I can’t pinpoint what makes me feel Australian. Being the only member of my immediate family who was born here, I’ve thought about this a lot and haven’t come up with a definitive answer. Is it my accent? How I seamlessly drop the ‘t’ in twenty for it to become tweny? My use of words like whoop whoop, no worries and drongo (no, I am not an old man trapped in a young woman’s body)? Is it memories of a childhood walking barefoot to the beach, duck-diving under waves and eating hot chips in the sand? My obsession with wombats that peaked at the age of nine when I got a life-size stuffed-toy wombat that I appropriately named Bruce? Is it singing the national anthem and fudging the second verse? Or respecting this country’s indigenous culture and wishing we’d learn more about it in school and everyday life? Is it my unquestionable love of vegemite, or a leaning towards sarcastic, dry humour?
How do you sum up what makes you Australian, what this country is about? It’s bloody difficult. But never one to back away from a challenge, we hope our homegrown issue is like a rock skimming across the top of a rippled, patterned surface that is a map of Australia. In it we look at our tricky relationship with sharks, the beauty of native flowers, birds and wildlife and chat to a bunch of interesting Australians. There’s comedian Judith Lucy, playwright and actor Nakkiah Lui, artist Peter Cromer and the bright sparks of the Australian music scene, including cover star Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures. Enjoy, Annie and the Yen team