There is something much more exciting that I wanted to write about but I have forgotten what it was and I told Todd I’d write about Backpacker cars, so here we are.
Yesterday I discovered the concept of backpacker cars; cars that have been passed down through generations of travellers, cars that are often written off and damaged, that are cheap and probably won’t ever be sold back into the mainstream Australian world. And I realised that this isn’t the only instance of seperation between the natives and the travellers. Backpacker jobs are very much a thing, and a thing that was very well hidden from me before arriving here, under a shower of “It’s just the same as finding a job back at home!” and “Everyone else does it so it can’t be that hard!”. Despite the encouraging words of the sneaky travel agent, it is pretty much unheard of for a traveller to get into a serious job in Australia; we are generally seen as just free-willed and irresponsible party types with no desire to make a meaningful impact on the country at all, and are therefor kept at arms length, put on absolute minimum wage and given the casual construction, fundraising, fruit picking jobs that the locals simply don’t want to do. Australia as a country holds, and apparently still actively nurtures, a great divide; between locals and backpackers, and also locals and the indigenous people.
It is jarring to see the prejudice against the people of aboriginal descent, and strange being in a country that is so new. I think sometimes I get caught up in the whole “it’s 2018 surely everyone is progressive and empathetic to everyone else by now” I am just becoming more and more ignorant to the racism and sexism, and apparently prejudice towards any kind of person, that is still going on in the countries I am choosing to live in. Australia only has 200 years of Western civilisation, only three generations of people; which adds up to very little in contrast to the 70,000 years of indigenous population, including the Aborigines and the Torres Strait Islanders. In fact, a huge population of 1.6 million people lived in Australia before the British even set foot on their Austalia-bound fleets; and yet these days it seems the Western population has entirely taken over and cast out the indigenous people.
Honestly this isn’t something I was expecting to face when I got here, I truly don’t remember being taught anything about the indigenous people in school except that they lived thousands of years ago and made a lot of art. I really didn’t even know they were still around; and maybe this is just my blind ignorance but I really think there is a global effort to stunt the education of these communities to Western people and there’s something really wrong with that. I’m just not sure what to do with this information, as a European travelling around Australia it seems I am unintentionally adding to the problem, and I am yet to decide what I can do to make any kind of positive impact, but I am aiming towards something; here’s hoping an opportunity arises soon.