A sheepish story on the news…Shocking photo…Three days and counting…

An overgrown sheep found by the RSPCA outside of Canberra on September 2 2015
This is a photo (not ours) of previously long lost sheep, now named Chris, who was lost for years to be found in this dreadful condition. With the help of professional shearers, Chris has been relieved of his mass of wool and is doing well. Stories such as this are newsworthy in Australia. See a portion of the story below and a link to the full story.

With a population of over 23 million throughout the entirety of the massive continent of Australia (as large as the US), there if often news broadcast via TV that is horrific and heartbreaking. Sadly, we watch this news along with the lighter versions presented on the many news broadcasting TV stations.

The passion of its people for “footy,” Australia’s version of football and other sports news occupies a portion of each day’s broadcasts as does local and political news.

An important element in the news in this country is surrounding the indigenous people’s lives, programs including both government and volunteer involvement in the betterment of the Aboriginals who occupy 3% of the entire population. 

Aboriginal selected statistics

“3%  Percentage of Aboriginal people in Australia’s population
93,200  Approximate Aboriginal population in 1900
670,000  Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2011
721,000  Estimated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia in 2021
2.2%  Annual growth rate of the Aboriginal population. Same rate for non-Aboriginal population: 1.2 to 1.7%

Aboriginal population figures

Experts estimate the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at 700,000 at the time of the invasion in 1788 [3]. It fell to its low of around 93,000 people in 1900, a decrease of almost 87%.

At present, 3% of Australia’s population identify as Aboriginal.

It will take until 2021 for population figures to recover. If the current annual growth rate of 2.2% remains stable Aboriginal people can be as many as 721,000 by 2021 and more than 900,000 by 2026.

The faster growth in the Aboriginal population (compared to 1.6% for the general Australian population) is the result of higher levels of fertility and better life expectancy. More Aboriginal people move into peak child-bearing age between now and 2026.

The median age for Aboriginal people, currently 22, is projected to reach 25 by 2026. But this remains much younger than the median age in the general population, which is currently 37 and is expected to rise above 40 by 2026.

A problem is though how many people identify themselves as Aboriginal. “There are a large number of people who don’t answer the Indigenous question in the Census,” explains Patrick Corr, Director of Demography with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“We have approximately 1.1 million people whose Indigenous status, we don’t know, so we have made some assumptions.” This uncertainty lets the ABS tag some figures as experimental estimates.”

Along with the above ongoing news, updates on local, national, and international affairs, crime stories, accidents, injuries, shark encounters, including any natural disasters, a substantial portion of Australian news centers around human interest stories. 

Tongue-in-cheek, Australians share many newsworthy stories with a sense of humor that is unstoppable. The news commentators spend little time hiding their perceptions and holding back comments they feel appropriate to express. In doing so, many human interest stories precipitate fits of laughter by them and by those watching, often including ourselves

We’ve loved their news. Knowing we won’t be able to watch the news in Fiji for four months without a TV, we’ll be reliant upon online news with apps we’ve already been using made into tiles on our Windows 8  laptops. A single click and we’re updated.

With Australia’s extensive animal population, we often watch stories regarding farm animals, wild animals, and domesticated animals, all of which appear to hold a special place in the hearts of most Aussies.

Yesterday, a story caught our attention, repeated again this morning that found us smiling from ear to ear from a great outcome about a stray Merino sheep lost in the wild near Canberra for years who suddenly appeared desperately needing to be shorn.

(Click here for full story)

Very woolly sheep before and after shearing
Chris, before and after his shearing (not our photo). The pink stain is not blood. It’s an antiseptic. He’s doing well now.

See a portion of the story here:

“Wool shorn off an overgrown sheep found near Canberra on Wednesday has set an “unofficial” world record for the heaviest fleece removed in one shearing, the RSPCA says.  The sheep, dubbed Chris, underwent a risky shearing operation to remove 40.45 kilograms of wool.

It smashed the previous world record held by a sheep in New Zealand called Shrek, whose fleece weighed 27 kilograms. ”  Click here for the balance of the story.

It is these types of stories that we’ve found clearly illustrate the compassion and love for animals so typical in Australia. That’s not to say that other country’s people are less compassionate. However, in Australia, we’ve found a greater focus on the love of animals frequently expressed in detail on the news.

We’ll miss these types of stories. From time to time, we’ll check on Australian news and those human interest stories will surely bring a smile to our faces. Most likely, while living in Fiji, we’ll seek and discover heartwarming stories as once again we embrace our surroundings.

This morning we headed to the Trinity Beach post office sending two packages; one to our mailing service with my boots, medical paperwork, and receipts which won’t arrive for up to three months (lowest rate), and two, a 16 kilo (35 pound) box of food and supplies to Fiji, which should arrive within 10 days. Total cost for both packages: AUD $269.70, USD $188.97.

With the flight to Sydney at 5:30 pm on Monday, we’ll wrap up the final packing during the day, heading to the airport by around 3:30 pm. It’s a domestic flight and all we’ll have to do is pay for the extra bag and check-in. 

As we wind down over the next few days, we’ll be preparing and posting the final expenses for the time we spent in Australia, almost 90 days. You just may be surprised!

Photo from one year ago today, September 4, 2014:
Tom at Stonehenge.  Story and photos here.


Me, at Stonehenge.  We were both wearing headsets for listening to the history of this renowned site.  For details and more photos, please click here.