“That’s not a knife. THAT’s a knife.”
For most people outside of Australia the Crocodile Dundee movie would be the first impression of this mysterious continent. The land of leathery, beer-guzzling, croc-wrestling, friendly blokes who drive around in the Australian bush in old rusty cars held together by the dinghy strapped to the roof. Off to their next adventure or simply going fishing. No worries.
This is how many first time visitors picture Australia. A country full of rough bushmen. They half-hope that the minute they are about to walk into their first Australian pub, the local legendary fisherman stumbles out the door wrestling the local croc. Fear not. I will not traumatise your childhood memory even more by saying that, like Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, Crocodile Dundees do not exist either. They do.
Earlier this year a story came out that a local fisherman, Wayne van der Broek (click to read the article and see the video), knows as Vando, jumped in croc-infested waters Mick Dundee-style to save someone’s 4WD being swept away by floodwaters. In true style, the reward for his bravery was paid in beer, or so the story goes. The man must really love cars, and beer.
However, Australian museum curators have to be quick as the Outback bushman, like Vando, is on the verge of extinction. Not due to some disaster but because of evolution. You see, even Vando has a Facebook account.
The Australian man has quite quickly evolved into a city-dwelling yuppie. The local Botanic Gardens are as close to the bush as he will get. Denims have been replaced by a fashionable suit and the Akubra by a coif-style cut. Teeth are no longer worn around the neck but only in the mouth. And the knife has been swapped for pocket-size nail clippers.
Whereas his Outback cousin can survive in the unforgiving bush for weeks on end with very little supplies, the evolved Australian man usually does not make it through the morning without his daily double-shot skinny latte or mochachino. From bush tucker to bruschetta in a generation.
These opposite types show the high adaptability of the Australian male as a species. This is not not just a step in evolution but a leap. As if fish ran ashore. Charles Darwin would be impressed.