England had a problem—small in area and densely populated, there just wasn’t room enough for those who ran afoul of the law, to use an old phrase. What to do with those convicted of stealing horses, stealing food, highway robbery, etc. English leaders looked around and found the ideal spot—thousands of watery miles from the green, rich land that was England. Australia.
Sent via ship, suffering terrible care and quarters, the male and female convicts still alive after a journey halfway around the world were dumped on Australia’s unwelcoming shore. Generally unskilled, uneducated, and unwell, these men and women survived by pure grit and guts, and ultimately formed a nation with patriotic ties to England.
A land of strange animals, equally strange natives living there, and a depressing difference in climate, soil, and at a serious distance from markets in England, these convicts (often just guilty of not paying a “head tax,” or of fighting) set to work—where everything was so new and different. “Vive la difference” sounds easy to say; but it was hard work for these transplanted English. To be wrenched from your small, settled homeland to a gigantic land miles and miles from anywhere: must have been discouraging.
But, today’s blokes are a happy lot. There were enough women criminals to help them establish homes, hire workers who were used to the weather—the aborigines—and set about replicating what they could of green, lush, rainy England in this large expanse of untamed land. Today, Aussies drive and walk on the “wrong side” just as the English do. They treasure old recipes of familiar puddings, and they celebrate the periodic visits by the British royal family. Australia’s national flag is red, white, and blue. (Sound familiar?)
Wine-making, sheep raising (wool), and tourism are three of the staples of Australia’s economy. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination. Just remember that the “wrong side” of a street or sidewalk is the “right side” to the locals.