The Outback, also known as Never-Never for its seemingly endless plains, is located in the central regions of Australia. It is a hard land of unforgiving climate and death to the unprepared passer-by. It has inspired many over the years to write songs, poems, and to become more aware of the vast heritage that set the great land Australia into one of the most unique places in the world.
The Australian Outback makes up nearly 85% of the Australian landmass but hardly any of the population lives there. Most of the population lives around the vast coast of the world’s largest island making it well known for it’s wondrous beaches. The people who do live in the Outback often live in areas called stations, which would be the equivalent of one of the United States’ ranches. The stations were formerly referred to a government run agricultural or pastoral place employing convicts to perform the hard labor. The name was kept as a great reminder of Australia’s convict origins. Today, stations are also known as a great source of employment for back packers and other sojourners who venture across this barren land.
People in the Outback must find ways of carrying on daily life without the close convenience of a major city. School is often conducted over a two-way radio or computer and rarely does the class ever meet together. The Royal Flying Doctor Service was established to serve the communities medical needs. In desperate times they will often give advice and instructions over two-way radios. However, since most stations come with their own airstrips they, the RFDS can often get to the problem when needed.
The Aboriginals of the Outback usually live in formed towns in various locations. The community is usually sustained completely by the people themselves. Every once in a while people such as law enforcement officials and fire fighters will be stationed in these towns. There are also some aboriginal places, which are for the Aboriginals only. Mimicking the Native American tribe lands of the United States, these Indigenous Lands are set aside for those Aboriginals who decided to live as their ancestors did finding their own bush tucker and water.
Some people who live in this savage environment must learn ways to adapt to the harsh and unforgiving heat. Coober Pedy is known for producing the world’s most opals, in fact 90% of the world’s supply. It is also known for some of the worse heat-infected conditions on earth. To compensate for this aridness the whole town has been built underground. The town was originally started in 1915 when the first opal was discovered but know the town’s population thrives at around 2,500 people.
The Outback is also known for its marvellous natural and unnatural phenomena. The man made Indian-Pacific rail line is known as the longest stretch of track in the world. Running from Sydney, Australia to Perth, Australia it covers a 4,500 kilometers stretch that wows its passengers today. The Natural phenomena the Outback boasts is what brings people to the country more than any other phenomenon. Probably the most famous of them is Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. Over 9 kilometers around and 348 meters high it is believed once to be a part of a huge mountain range and a sacred place to the Aboriginals. Devil’s Marbles are massive boulders that are scattered along the Stuart Highway near Alice Springs. The native peoples believe that the Rainbow Serpent left them there during the dreamtime, the Aboriginal time of creation. The Wave Rock is exactly as it sounds appearing as a gigantic wave in the middle of the desert. The Olgas are enormous domes of red rock located about 32 kilometers away from Uluru. The Aboriginal peoples call this place Kata Tjuta and has a great spiritual significance to them.
The Outback is an exciting place with many things to see and do so if you are ever interested in visiting the land of Australia, make sure you pack plenty of water, some ug boots, an Akubra, a copy of “ Waltzing Matilda” and find a very good guide to get you through. Never venture into the Outback alone but enjoy it when you’re there. For more information consult your local kangaroo.