In the 21st century Australia is a very wanted place. Each year, thousands of boat people risk their life to travel thousands of kilometres to reach the shores of the promised land. And I always thought that was the more biblical destination of Israel. Apparently, not this century.
We must not forget the hoards of youngsters from all over the world to come to Australia as backpackers to party and enjoy the beach life style and all other things that Australia has to offer. Yes, Australia is popular, especially under young people. For a country where drugs are still illegal and alcohol is almost unaffordable, that is quite an achievement.
Then there are the millions of tourists that visit each year to get their snapshot with a koala and buy UGG boats at the airport. They enjoy everything their respective countries do not have: space, weird animals and Aussies.
Going to Australia has become so popular that it is interesting enough for the ones who are not going to watch the ones who are going on TV. Even checking into the country has its own show, called “Border Security”.
Let me explain: the people in Border Security make sure that only people who are allowed to get into the country, are let in. That’s right. They are not there to keep you in the country against your will. In fact, they are quite happy for you to leave.
What a contrast going back two hundred years. Then the main duty of Border Security was to keep the visitors in. And you did not need a visa either. The only thing you had to do to get to Australia was actually being “wanted” yourself. Steal a loaf of bread and you are in. It was that easy, and the trip was all-inclusive. Sure, there was hardship, but no different from hardship back in the Mother Country. I am certain today many visitors would welcome that stealing the hotel towels would be enough to secure a stay in God’s country.
In fact, people went at great lengths to escape Australia. Some convicts who lacked very basic topographical knowledge thought they could walk to China from Sydney and simply walked off. A distance that is not very walkable. Others stole a life boat and tried to row back to civilisation. A distance that is clearly not very rowable. Apparently, someone had forgotten to mention that Australia in itself was a prison, a very big prison.
In any case, the more topographically astute convicts stayed and thrived to help build Australia to what it is today.
Who said that crime does not pay?