LEGENDARY: Barcaldine is the home of the Tree of Knowledge, thought to be the birth place of the oldest political party in Australia, the Australian Labor Party.
LEGENDARY: Barcaldine is the home of the Tree of Knowledge, thought to be the birth place of the oldest political party in Australia, the Australian Labor Party. Erle Levey

Three events that defined Australia's character

MANY towns throughout Australia hang their shingle on aspects of their history to attract tourists to the community for an economic boost.

Ipswich, for example, lays claim to being the Heritage City, although some may debate that claim as being inaccurate given all the heritage building lost to the community. Nevertheless, that's the claim. And we do have many magnificent homes, some of which are opened to the public during open days.

Australians have always considered, rightly or wrongly, that looking after your mates and giving everyone a fair go defines the character of Australians.

But there are three events in Australia's history that one can suggest defines the Australian spirit: The great Shearer's Strike of 1891 which was staged in and around the area of Winton and Barcaldine. Barcaldine is the home of the Tree of Knowledge, thought to be the birth place of the oldest political party in Australia, the Australian Labor Party. Unfortunately, some years ago the tree was poisoned but thankfully the site has been preserved.

The other two events are the birth of the Queensland and Northern Territory Arial Service (QANTAS) and the song that is considered Australia's National song Waltzing Matilda penned by A.B. Banjo' Patterson. This song has been sung by Australians in all theatres of war, sporting events and tourists alike.

The outback town of Winton considers this song so important that they have built a new museum to honour the memory of the song and the author that has built this legend. This new facility replaces the old one which burnt down a few years ago. And it incorporates modern technology with holograms, videos and photographs.

Winton has also found another additional discovery to attract tourists to the town. That discovery has valuable consequences not only for the nation but worldwide and that discovery was the bones of dinosaurs. Two centres now provide tours as well as scientific research are the Dinosaur Stampede some 110km from Winton in the Lark Quarry Conservation Park maintaining many foot prints of dinosaurs and the Australian Age of Dinosaurs located about 24km from Winton off the Matilda Way which is conducting research on bones and much more.

There are two other organisations which define Australia that cannot, and is not possible in any other country in this world and they are the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Outback School of the Air. Both of these services are unique to Australia.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) instigated by John Flynn turns 90 this year, a remarkable achievement for a service that is so important to outback Australians. It gives them access to modern medical services which were denied to them before its inception.

The other unique Australian service, the School of the Air, is providing outback children with access to some of the best education that can be offered utilising modern technology such as the internet and computerised components.

It means that teachers can upload educational material over the internet to each student who can respond directly. Previously teachers and students alike had to rely on the postal service meaning that material took months.

Technology is important to the bush as is its history of Australian characters that have helped shape this country and its people.



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