Recently, it was headline news that Australia welcomed Aussie number 23 million. This is up from 19 million in 2000.
In terms of population growth Australia ranks among the highest developed countries in the world. Just behind Ghana, but beating idyllic holiday destinations such as the Central African Republic and Republic of the Congo.
Most authors would not start their work with statistics, as it would turn off readers to even read beyond the first paragraph. Hope you are still with me.
Now you would not expect a growing population to be headline news, would you? But hold on. If we were talking about the UK or France, that would hardly be an achievement, would it? Sure, you might get rained to death in the UK, or overdose on Bordeaux wine in France, but dangers are few and actually not very dangerous at all. This masse survival is celebrated daily by the people of the UK and France by long parades of cars on their freeways around their capital cities.
But what about Australia? Well, do you know how many things here can actually get you killed? I actually looked it up. The first thing I found was the Top 30 deadliest animals in Australia. That’s right there are more than 30. And that is the surprising paradox; it is a miracle that people are alive in Australia at all, let alone increasing in numbers.
Even leisurely activities are quite perilous. For example, for most people a day at the beach would be a time of relaxation, a place to unwind after a tough week at the office. Not so here. Let me elaborate.
When you go for a swim you might want to avoid the frightening jaws of a Great White Shark that strike at any time out of the blue abyss. When you have managed that you should keep an eye of for any riptide that could get you washed up on one of Galápagos Island in about a month or two. If you can make it back to shore, look out for any, almost invisible, box jellyfish as brushing against one will cause such excruciating pain it will make you wish you had gone for one of the two previous dangers.
Back on shore avoid any rock pools as they hold looming deadly Blue-ring octopus that could cause almost instant death. Do not start high-fiving yourself yet when you made it safely off the beach. The dangers do not end there. After a sigh of relief you are still alive after your encounter with the local fauna, you notice you are sunburnt by the blistering sun. This is caused by the off the scale UV-index due to the Ozone layer that is no more. A good chance you will end up with skin cancer at some point, as 50% of Australians. A tan at a cost.
Back in your car, the next challenge is staying alive on the road. Here will come across the biggest killer of them all: the Australian motorist. For such a big country with relatively little traffic, they are very skilled overall to fold their Holden Commodore around the local tree, especially during long weekends. Often this is the result of overpowered cars, very little skill in actually operating such a vehicle, mixed with a false sense of invincible, stupidity and large quantities of alcoholic refreshments. This is so common that in the media they actually keep scores of the States with the most fatalities over the long weekend. Not sure how they choose the winner of this bizarre competition.
With all these dangers do not think for a minute that Australians are a scared bunch though. They love their country, their beloved Australia, beautiful but deadly. They flock to their pristine and idyllic local beaches where sharks are abundant. They enjoy bush walks in beautiful and lush, but snake infested parks. They enjoy being out and about in the ever shining and warm, but deadly, sun.
And so should you. Come to Australia, but you might accidentally get killed. Read the disclaimer upon arrival.