Made in Australia
Made in Australia

  

Chapter 11 - The Whitest Bread in the Southern Hemisphere

Every country has its own peculiarities. Australia is no exemption… After a stroll through the supermarket and puzzling over a phenomenon that can be best described as supermarketpatriotism, I move on to another interesting oddity »Made in Australia«...

 

 

The Australian fondness for buying things made, produced, designed, grown, assembled or bottled in Australia is only surpassed by one other cultural oddity, namely their almost childish affection for superlatives. In a way they have every reason to do so because Australia is doubtlessly a continent of extremes. Of all the inhabited continents in the world it is the smallest, flattest, driest, the most sparsely populated, the latest discovered and the ONLY one that is an ISLAND. Australia is home to the highest number of marsupial species, the deadliest snakes, the biggest monolith, the largest reef, the largest sand island, the largest cattle stations, the highest number of sheep and the longest roadtrains. But that’s not all. Everybody, who travels across Australia, will soon notice that there is more to it and, even more intriguing, that the Australians have turned their obsession for superlatives into an art – the art of wording.

 

If something is not the biggest, smallest, oldest, youngest, deepest or whatever in the world, then it is SURELY the biggest, smallest, oldest, youngest, deepest or whatever in the southern hemisphere; and if this doesn’t work out either the southern hemisphere is narrowed down to just the borders of Australia, then to state borders, then to regions or sometimes simply to vague cardinal points such as »of the north« or »in the south«. In this way everyone in Australia, every shire, every settlement can claim their own superlatives – no matter how bizarre they are.

 

Let’s focus on Western Australia because it IS the biggest of all Australian states and it boasts some amazing superlatives. Esperance on the south coast claims to have the deepest harbour in southern Australia; the tiny museum »Lace Place« at Hyden (Wave Rock) reputedly shows the largest lace collection in the southern hemisphere (how many more places dedicated to lace do you think there ARE in the southern hemisphere?); Australind, north of Bunbury, has the smallest church in Western Australia and Derby in the Kimberley has the longest trough in the southern hemisphere. Yes, you read right the longest TROUGH… But it’s getting better. Wagin, a small settlement in the wheat belt claims to have the largest replica of a ram in the southern hemisphere; Northam, just east of Perth, is the largest inland town in the state NOT founded on mining (an important appendix because the mining town Kalgoorlie, also inland, is MUCH bigger) and Merredin, this is really something you will enjoy, has the largest HORIZONTAL wheat storage in the southern hemisphere. Wow, that IS something worth travelling 15,000 km for, isn’t it?

 

For the grain fetishists among my readers and because Australia IS the southern hemisphere's largest wheat exporter, I will add a few more wheaty records. Mingenew in the wheat belt of Western Australia has the largest grain depot in the southern hemisphere (it is probably not horizontal…) and Goomalling, also in the wheat belt, was the first town in the southern hemisphere to install DOME wheat bins (whatever they are). Beyond the state borders are many more remarkable wheat superlatives of which I will only name two: Walgett in New South Wales which has the largest TEMPORARY wheat storage in the southern hemisphere and Gladstone in South Australia which has the largest INLAND grain storage facility in the southern hemisphere...