This billboard was situated on Elizabeth Street in Sydney, Australia, advertising Kiwi Shoe Polish, with an image of an unidentified man who coincidentally, bore a strong resemblance to the current president of the United States. Evidently, FDR had not authorized use of his likeness. I can’t imagine that a billboard in the US of an Australia Prime Minister would help sales of shoe polish over here. In fact, I doubt any of us could name one Australian Prime Minister.
I know what you’re thinking.
In fairness, these Aborigines were all gussied up for the corroborree (lively social gathering), where they had plans to perform a “wild duck dance” wearing said grass and feather head ornaments.
They don’t look too thrilled about the pending festivities. Personally, I wouldn’t chance the neck pain or misalignment of the spine that such weight could cause. And that’s why I don’t get invited to corroborrees.
To me, it looks like Spring Break in the French Quarter. But then again, I’m not well-traveled and have never seen a Brisbane Parade before. This image was taken on January 26th, aka Australia Day, clearly a warm day down under. It’s a national holiday, marking the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of Great Britain’s flag by Governor Arthur Phillip. And they celebrate with bikinis and floats, as Governor Phillip would have wanted.
The Herald Sun declared this milk bar in Brunswick (a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria) “a sight unlikely to last much into the 21st century.”
But what is a milk bar? Those two words don’t go together. Perhaps a milk chocolate bar, like a satisfying Snickers (not fun-size please). But when I think of a bar (and I do, often), milk is not included. No dairy, no cream, no White Russians for me. Just the pints, ma’am. And maybe a whiskey sour. But certainly not a glass of milk.
Actually, the USA does have seven bakeries called milk bar, which its own website praises as “a culinary empire and lifestyle brand founded by award-winning pastry chef and masterchef judge christina tosi.” You see how they did that? They used lowercase on her name to balance out the pretentiousness of overpriced dessert. Bad grammar doesn’t fix the fact that a SIX INCH birthday cake is $50.50 online. Holy Mary mother of God, I saw an 8″ fresh fruit tart at Sprouts yesterday for $6.99. Now what’s the better deal? Sorry, it’s just that when I see terms like “lifestyle brand,” I throw up a little in my mouth.
But back to real milk bars. It’s actually quite simple. They were general stores/corner stores, where one could go to pick up groceries such as milk. They are being replaced by more modern convenience stores such as 7-11, and the ones that do exist serve mainly ice cream and milkshakes. Below is said to be the first recorded milk bar in Australia.
Englishman James Meadow Charles opened the first milk bar in 1930 as the “Lake View Milk Bar” at Bangalore, India. The concept spread to the UK, where it became a morally acceptable alternative to the pub–a place to get diabetes instead of alcohol poisoning. By 1936, over 1,000 milk bars had opened nationally. Sounds like a perfect place for teens to gather.
And this one is full of Australian brands of which I’ve never heard: Streets, Peter Jackson, Tarax?
He’s a cute little bugger, no?
At first glance, one might find pity on this older woman at the laundromat (we call it washateria in the lower states), and in Australia (where she was) it’s the laundrette. Note how she has put herself together to visit this place of convenience: heels, floral dress, and cardigan. Nothing like the flip-flops and jean shorts one sees today.
Every American girl who ever saw Grease wanted to be Sandy Olsson, to look like her and speak in her cool Australian accent. Elementary school had taught us about the nation’s indigenous kangaroos and koala bears, so we knew it must be the coolest place on earth.
When Elle McPherson graced the covers of our magazines and Nicole Kidman our movie screens, we wondered if they only churned out attractive people. Even our own celebrities were not immune to their charms. We couldn’t figure out why anyone would ever want to leave happy smiley Dennis Quaid, but Meg Ryan did it for an Aussie. Then Hugh Jackman and Keith Urban showed up on our radar, and that was all she wrote. By the time Take Home Chef debuted on TLC, American women could only respond with, “Yes, please.” Have you not seen Curtis Stone?
So I did what anyone else would do: I Google Mapped the directions to see how far Sydney was from my home. Google gave me 187 steps, #81 being “Sail across the Pacific Ocean,” and the last being “Turn right onto George Street.” It says it would take 503 hours to travel the 15,000 plus miles. The Proclaimers said they would walk 500 miles, but even THEY would not walk 15,000. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that. So it was decided. Australia was no longer my destination nation.
That was, until this morning, when Jack Hanna described the tough armored bum of a Tasmanian wombat, and I melted at the sight of its face. Look at that.
Then I found out wombats viciously maul people, probably because it is in their Australian blood to eliminate humans. What is up with that? But then I saw this picture, and I forgave them. I figured they must have been provoked. He’s clearly not ripping her face off.
However, I read Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country, so I know Australia is chock-full of the world’s deadliest creatures. Bryson made it clear that venomous creatures lurk at every corner, waiting to fell you. No snorkeling at Batt Reef for me.
But then I saw THIS!
I’m so confused. Should I brave the outback and its lethal creatures or just stay home?