Country life was so simple
There were drunken aborigines who lived in squalors and there were hard-working aborigines. I don't recall much racism per se. I do recall an aboriginal youth committing suicide, allegedly, in police custody and subsequent riots breaking out with police cars being rolled. A great community atmosphere.
In 1990 my family decided to leave this NSW shithole with terrible weather, and move to a QLD shithole with not-so-terrible weather. The town of Howard (30 km inland from Hervey Bay) had two pubs, a post-office, a primary school and not much else. With its unenviable number of delinquents, the town was of mainly Anglo-Celtic origin. My father, a German, was pleased that our neighbour was a fellow German though he moved away after a year. A year later another German moved next door. My father didn't agree with either of them.
In 1995 I attend high-school in the nearby town of Childers. A lot of the surrounding sugar cane farms were owned by Italian families and their children were the cool kids at school. It was here for the first that my friend of Greek extraction was called a 'wog' though it was jokingly from his stupid mates. I had never heard the term before. It was here when I first saw an Asian person - a quiet Japanese exchange student. For some reason my school friend didn't like Asians at all. I think there was also an Australian-born Indian kid.
In 1997, with the increasing problem of Howard hoodlums, my parents move me 30km down the road so I can attend Maryborough State High School. During this time I first read about Muslims. Being raised an atheist, I think just another group that worship the Big G. I meet for the the first time an Australian Chinese kid.
In 2000 I move to Brisbane to attend university. In college I meet a half Lebanese person. A bit of tosser at times but harmless enough - typical private school boy. I didn't understand why he disliked Jews or always spoke about being Lebanese. I was amazed at the number of Asians and Indians in Brisbane. It seemed to me Sunnybank had more Chinese than Kowloon. Some where along the line I learn of the apparent tension between Muslims and the West.
In 2004 I travel around the world with a friend. We speak to our first Jewish person. I live with Polish people in Ireland. Friendly enough. In 2005 I return to uni to complete my honours year. While tutoring, I speak to my first Australian Jew.
Life used to be so simple. I'm moving to Melbourne in less than three weeks. I think life is just going to get more and more complicated.