2010 was a revolutionary year for Australia, I’ve already wrote about how we elected our first ever female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, into office – see my previous entry Australia’s First Female Prime Minister. And it wasn’t just that she was a female that had the media buzzing, but also the fact that she’s a redhead – woah, right!? I mean, when we get down to business, it’s not the platforms of the political parties running that people REALLY want to know about is it? Of course not, it’s the fact that she’s an atheist ranga living in sin with her hairdresser boyfriend that has the viewers tune in and sees magazine sales sky rocket. But while Julia Gillard (and her hair) truly did cause a lot of buzz in the land down under, when I think of this past year in retrospect it’s not her that comes to mind…
Unfortunately it’s the horrific floods that have destroyed countless homes and caused grief for many many families on both sides of the continent. They began in December and devastation was mainly isolated to Queensland, including the complete destruction of an artificial beach in the city centre of the state capital, Brisbane. The floods forced the evacuation of thousands of people from their homes and at least seventy towns and over 200,000 people were affected. Three-quarters of the state was declared a disaster zone and damage was initially estimated at around $A 1 billion. I’ve heard that sharks were swimming down the city streets and the floods were labelled inland tsunamis!
You can see some pretty awesome pictures here:
(the fourth is one of a koala!)
In January of this year high rainfall caused flooding in Victoria too. A total of over 1,730 properties experienced flooding and over 17, 000 homes lost their electricity supply and these floods are estimated to have caused a damage bill of up to $2 billion.
But it’s not just been floods that have ravaged the country, we’ve had a few nasty cyclones too. In early February Queensland was hit by Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi which originated from a tropical low near Fiji and was classified category 5 when it hit, causing even more destruction to a state just recovering from flood devastation.
Western Australia (WA) was also hit by category 3 Severe Tropical Cyclone Bianca days before Yasi landed over East. And to cap it all off, it’s bushfire season as the Southern Hemisphere is currently in summer and WA experienced some nasty blazes in early February which saw around a thousand homes evacuated.
But to leave with the most devastating news, remember the awesomely hilarious comedy duo I was telling you all about in Hamish & Andy; informing the nation? Well forget everything I said about tuning into 92.9 when you visit Oz – yes folks, they resigned. So put away your Australian Lonely Planet guides, close your expedia browsers and cancel your travel plans down under, it’s just all doom and gloom right now. I hear New Zealand’s nice though.