Just like Charles and Camilla, Ruth and I will be in Brisbane. The life-long Prince is there this April to open The Commonwealth Games. We’ll be in Brisbane later in 2018 to see if the city has changed. Most great cities do. This is Prince Charles 16th trip Down Under, our tenth. His first was in 1966, when, as a schoolboy, he spent 2 terms at Geelong Grammar School. Our first was in 1995. After the Gold Coast, the royal couple will go to Bundaberg and Cairns. Both are also in Queensland. After Brisbane, we will go to Melbourne.
I recently read an article about cities in the world that will run out of water. Capetown, South Africa, was #1. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was on the list. I mentioned this to our friend John in Canberra and he was alarmed. He did some research and wrote back to inform me that this might occur in about 10 years. Melbourne is my favorite city in the world where its State, Victoria, is experiencing a travel boom. Its tourism industry has now become a $2 billion business employing more than 200,000 people.
Before that we will travel to a town we have never been to in western New South Wales called Broken Hill. From there we will journey to Alice Springs, the only real city in the Outback, and a town I have always wanted to return to.
Australia’s #3 tourist attraction after the Sydney Opera House and The Great Barrier Reef according to planetware.com is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This didn’t surprise me. Uluru, formerly called Ayers Rock, is an unforgettable travel experience that’s about to change. Considered sacred by its Aboriginal owners, it has been climbed by a large number of visitors despite Aboriginal requests not to. That will change in October, 2019, when a ban on climbing to its top goes into effect. This is fine with me. I took one look at the start of the way up and decided it wasn’t for me. In my lifetime almost 40 people have died during this climb. Simple and easy it isn’t.
Unless it is announced very early, we will not be in Australia when and if Gerald Murnane is honored as the 2018 winner of the Nobel Literature Prize. This win is a real possibility. However, the 2017 recipient was announced in October. Murnane leads a quiet, ordinary life in a small town named Goroke in Victoria. Like artist Albert Namatjura, he is not well-known outside Australia. In fact, he’s not especially well-known inside Australia either except among critics and scholars. I hope he wins.