OT. Do we still get romantic about the bush?

Submitted: Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:27
ThreadID: 56387 Views:3089 Replies:19 FollowUps:18
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I'm closer to 70 than 60. I was in a discussion with a Canadian. She had just driven Cairns/Broome, with plenty of detours, alone. The wife and I guessed she was Canadian, not American, and told her so. She verified this and asked how we knew. We have previously noted that Canadians seem much more at home with big open spaces than Americans (now that is a generalization and doesn't apply to all Americans).

I discussed it with some 20-30 year olds and it dawned on me that perspectives seemed to have changed. At that age, I wanted to go bush, I wanted to see mountains and red dirt and waterholes and where Burke and Wills went etc etc. I wanted to see those miles (it was miles then) clicking over and I wanted to drive between places to see the land. This drew completely blank responses from the youngies I was talking to. Going somewhere meant hopping on a plane, preferably going overseas or the Goldcoast.. There was little interest in seeing the bush.
We were raised on stories that romanticized the bush and outback experience was part of our image of ourselves. We just had to go there as well.
And the point of this? I dunno, but I do note that 4wding seems to be more of an older persons hobby. Time? Money? Changing attitudes. I am talking about 4wders for whom the vehicle is a tool to get out there rather than the end in itself.
It all left me feeling a bit old and sad.
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Reply By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:41

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:41

one of my biggest fears is that my kids would not want to go bush. It may happen one day but I must be doing it right now because they can't get away often enough, the youngest two always have their goodie bags ready. If we don't get away, they want to camp in the back yard. But we have cook on the fire in the back yard almost weekly, eat around it then finish off with marshmallow, so the gig is a regular one. Bush craft can be good for kids as well as researching we they are going or have been. We carry Lawson and Patterson with us on every trip too, but generally, I just let them be kids out there, finding their own fun and naming each camp we go to, and that is what seems to make it so memorable for them. I just hope to God that it never dies.
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Follow Up By: furph - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:25

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:25
I note with delight you carry Lawson & Patterson with you.
Are you familiar with the compilation "A thousand campfires" edited by RASV.
An anthology of 20th. century bush ballads and poetry.
My wife bought it for me in 2000 (year of publication) to celebrate our 2000 campfires together.
Since then we have added more than another 500 campfires under the night sky.
cheers furph
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:41

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:41
G'day Furph,

had not come across this one, not much on the net about it but i thought i would go and check dymocks at lunchtime. then i found a second hand copy, in paperback for $163.75!!!!!!!!

that's a lovely gift, especially to have come from your Wife.

good on you mate.

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Follow Up By: KSV. - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 15:16

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 15:16
Sorry BushFix if I disappoint you, but your happiness going bush with your kids is very temporary indeed. So I can advise from my own experience – make most of it, those day will be unforgettable. Mine was happily follow us whenever we going and was loving camping a lot. But when older turn 18 or so he became look for fun somewhere else. Younger one (4 y.o younger) follows him next year. “Not so interesting to go alone”. Now they (17 & 21) follow us only now and then, say 1-2 times per year. I am still value any such opportunity very much and only hope that I will not be too old when (again only my hope) they regain their interest in camping. But in reality it not going happens in another 5-10 years (i.e. they makes their own families).

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Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:38

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:38
And hopefully Serg you will have given them enough memories that they will want to do it with their kids.

They might even still drag you along if they can jam the wheelchair in the back of the 4by ;-)

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Follow Up By: KSV. - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:49

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:49
"They might even still drag you along if they can jam the wheelchair in the back of the 4by ;-)"

Or tided to towing hook by rope LOL!

Actually our camping always been family, 3 generation affairs because SWMBO's parents who live locally always happily join us. Not so often anymore – unfortunately it is getting difficult for them with age. So for next 5-10 years I am looking to travel only with SWMBO – probably not that bad considering that for so many years together we been traveling duo only in very few occasions.

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Follow Up By: Member - Borgy.. (SA) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 18:26

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 18:26
G'day K.S.V

"Sorry BushFix if I disappoint you, but your happiness going bush with your kids is very temporary indeed."

Sorry KSV , but not all kids are the same....Just ask my 4 sons, 2 of wich are members of this forum.

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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:11

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:11
G'day Serg,

yes they may go away, but my aim was always to get bush into them early, and in doing so, instill a spirit into them and give them good memories of childhood and the love of parents, friends and country. I hope that some of that rubs off them to others in turn. The main thing is that they never stop loving you I guess. Now I'm off topic perhaps......

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Reply By: Member - Footloose - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:44

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:44
I'm afraid that your suspicions may be correct. Younger people seem to want to leave it until they get older. Until then, they'll hop on a flight overseas.
Not all of them, of course, just the majority.
Why tour Ausatralia when you can tour the world for a fraction of the price?
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:56

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 09:56
Contiki tours?

welcome to the new member :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Footloose - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:17

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:17
Thanks :))
Son and two mates left on Sat on a 2 year round the world trip. Cost of airfares was around $4000.
For 4 grand I couldn't get to Broome and back, because of the cost of diesel!
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Reply By: robak (QLD) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:05

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:05
I think you will find that advertising has a lot to answer for. Overseas travel and the gold coast is continually drummed into people (young and old) as place you go to relax; while a lot of the bush that was once a relaxing place to visit can too often be an overcrowded mess.

Footloose aslo has a good point though. A few years ago we travelled for 6 weeks through vietnam, Lao and Cambodia. At the end of our trip we worked out that it cost us $25 each per day. Now try travelling in Aus on that sort of budget.

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Reply By: Member - David P (VIC) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:23

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:23
My kids are the same, but I put it down to the current sophisticated lifestyle that city raised youth are exposed to, unlike mine of FJ/FFE Holdens, holidays on the uncles farm near Blighty on the Mooney Swamp road,impassable after rain,roaring log fire on arrival after long drive up from Melbourne with the full moon Easter Thursday night. Doing the 200 mile trip at 35mph to run-in uncles new Chev flat bed truck with the FJ on the back. Bleak winter hols, ferociously hot summer hols,the Mulwala canal and the irrigation bays (gumboots and shovel). "Party calls" when the phone arrived..
The silence....and the sounds....ah, I'm getting all misty eyed....silverback
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Follow Up By: Member - David P (VIC) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:33

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:33
It was never the same when TV arrived..in the bush!!! I much preferred to listen to listen to Paul McLeod read the ABC news, such nostalgia...silverback
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Reply By: Member - RFLundgren (WA) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:24

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:24

Im afraid that the comments here are all too correct. Its a shame really as the young ones are really missing something magical. You just dont get nor can get the same feeling going OS or to the Gold Coast as sitting around a camp fire with a like minded group of people having a few ales and telling stories.

Maybe it is the cost, who knows....... I know that our trip in July / August this year is going to be around $3500 for diesel alone, let alone anything else, but we wouldnt miss it for anything.

Our two oldest no longer come with us as teenagers camping with mum and dad just isnt cool, nor is their mobile signal, internet access or foxtel and I absolutely refuse to put DVD in the car, totally defeats the purpose of getting away in my opinion.

Luckily though the two youngest do look forward to the trips, yes that may carry on a little when we are planning, however once out there thay forget about TV, internet and all the trappings of our technological lifestyle, turn into real kids again and have a ball.

We just hope that some of this magic stays with them so that they can share it with their own kids in time. As I keep saying to them, they are getting to see many many places that their friends will probably never see.



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AnswerID: 297136

Reply By: Member - Sheepie (NSW) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:33

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:33
You'll be encouraged to find that this dis-association (?) with the bush is not true for all 'younger' people (can I include myself in that category? - I'm 'only' 37 ;) ). Then again, I'm a misplaced Kiwi who was brought up on the stories of the Oz bush as my Father is an Aussie - so my feeling towards the place may be a little different to most. I've always felt a connection with the vast emptiness and this was only confirmed with our trip to the Flinders, and others since.
The good thing is my 12 year-old seems to love the longer trips we've been doing over the last few years, and is always looking forward to the next one. Don't get me wrong, he also loves the Gold Coast and all the evil theme parks that means - but what you say about wanting to drive between places and actually see and experience the land is at least true for the two of us.
Now his mother - she's a different story (that's why she doesn't come along on these trips ;) ).
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Reply By: timothy - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:39

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:39
I agree that young Australians are generally less interested in seeing the outback. It seems like they are brought up with all the conveniences of electricity and running water and so going without while travelling is an annoyance more than a holiday. It probably also has something to do with the pressure of having a career, a house and financial security.
This being said it was my dream throughout high school to buy a 4x4 and head out into the great unknown to explore, so I finished uni, worked for a couple of years (and got married) and then packed up and went. My wife and I did a complete lap of the mainland and then up through the centre, and had the time of our lives. We met mostly older people and overseas backpackers and wondered why there weren't more Australians our age doing the same thing. I am 25 now and my wife is 23, and we're planning our next trip, overseas, but only to Tasmania.
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:40

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:40
Even St Kev loves the Bush...........
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 21:54

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 21:54
come over to the dark side John,,
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:27

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 22:27
I am not particularly fond of that Bush, Richard. The way St Kev has alligned himself though with Bush policies has surprised even me. I reckon George has a new found friend, just that he hasn't professed to be closer then JH, he pretty well is.

Dark side, Richard? I thought you believed I was already there. Ex-NFF people amongst my friends..... LOL
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Reply By: Mark & Jo, S/side, Bris - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:45

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:45
Mark and I have always preferred being out bush than the city, even when young. We are only 34 and 36 now but more and more grows a detest for the city and suburbs and a craving to want to be out of here and just get out in the country away from it all when ever the opportunity arises. If circumstances were different I am more than happy to live in a tent away from the world!
I've noticed that most younguns who like camping and getting out there seem to be the ones grown up with it, There is the odd exception like ourselves, I only ever got taken camping once when I was a child, but would spend a lot of time on a friends farm, generally we were a boating family, and Mark being from England, your house can be cold enough let alone going bloody camping!
You see alot of younger ones camping and 4wding with there mates and then there will always be a major bleep up, music and rowdiness at the end of the day, they love it but I reckon it isn't till they will get a bit older that the real appreciation of it all starts to sink in and that is when the start of the growing grey haired nomads start to emerge.

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Reply By: equinox - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 11:28

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 11:28
This post is certainly "On-topic" and aligns well with the main theme of the site.

I have noticed the same, and said as much in a post when I came back from my bush trip last year. There are very few younger people out there.

I'm almost middle aged (38) but have absolutly no interest in abandoning my love for the bush, made even more interesting by reading about the history of bush places. I agree with the comment that people who "grew up with camping etc", keep the hobby as the old man used to take us kids camping quite frequently.

I also agree with the point that the 4WD is really just a means to an end, just a vehicle to get from A to B.

I'll keep waving the flag at the people in the city I meet, whether they are interested or not, thats another question.


Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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AnswerID: 297148

Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:15

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:15
agreed on all points Alan.

38, what a great age, you're in great shape mate! ;)
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Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 11:38

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 11:38
Can we dump some of these teenagers in the Outback? ;-)

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Follow Up By: mfewster - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 11:49

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 11:49
Nope. I like the outback in pristine condition.
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Reply By: Moose - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 13:24

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 13:24
Interesting topic mfewster.
I'm a bit over 50 and love it out bush. Didn't grow up with it as my family never went camping. But somehow the bush and I were meant for each other. Unfortunately I live in a city (well in a suburb anyway) but I certainly look forward to holidays away from the place.
My kids (boy 19 & girl 17) still come with us - both started when just a few months old. Son now also goes off with some mates on a reasonably regular basis (usually chasing bunnies). Last time they took a couple of girls, one of whom had never been camping and never shooting. And she had a ball and can't wait to go again.
But I do notice that of the others here at work, most of whom are significantly younger than I, very few have any concept of what lies beyond the Gold Coast or North Coast (Noosa etc).
Don't feel old and sad - just continue to enjoy the bush while you can.
Cheers from the Moose
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Reply By: The Geriatric Gypsies - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 14:11

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 14:11
we are currently camped on the beach near potato head what a beautiful spot (dont really want to move on but we will tomorrow)
anyway we dont have to worry our young bloke has just bought his 1st 4b an old mq we will get on the road in the next few weeks and our eldest grand kids all but cry when we cant take them bush

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Follow Up By: The Landy - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 15:52

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 15:52
So it isn't just the younguns wanting the modcons out and about in the bush? I mean you're chatting online....

Mind you here I am drooling over wanting to be where you are.....enjoy!
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Reply By: V8Diesel - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 15:16

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 15:16
Just returned from a three day weekend camping trip and 4x4 expedition with two other couples and their kids including a 5 year old, a 3 and half y/o, 18 months and 10 months and the handbrake's now 8 month pregnant just to add a bit of spice into the equation.

Where we went there were no facilities at all, no mobile coverage, no radio to hear the forecast even. It rained ferociously and we only have a cheap tent, however everyone had a ball (as usual) and all we want to do is head off again for our next adventure.

The kids ate roast dinner for tea cooked in the camp ovens, saw roos, birds, even a scorpion, climbed muddy hills in L4, drove through puddles, explored the river, floated stuff down the rapids, stayed up late with the 'grown ups', talked to each other on the UHF's etc etc etc............those kids had the time of their lives.

Even with sullen teenagers, let them drive the 4x4, shoot some cans with a .22, be in charge of the fire, stay up with the blokes etc......they will love it.

Cost me a tank of juice, some snags, vegies, bread, beer, three bags of ice, a coule of kilo's of gas, some tea bags and milk. A bargain!
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:14

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:14
too right Klaus.
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Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:09

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:09
Realistically many young families are time poor and this is due, in part, to the cost of living. With two parents working co-ordinating holidays anywhere becomes a difficult thing and gone are the days of cheap holidays in the bush.

Also, with greater access to the world, via the web, our kids are looking more and more to travel and experience other cultures. What we might find is others will do the same and find themselves travelling the Australian outback. Make them welcome!!

Mind you, our 8 year old has been travelling with us from day one and loves it. He may not be the smartest kid in school, but he certainly knows a lot about our country and recent and indigenous history. Just yesterday we took an English relative into Yengo NP and the 8 year old was the running commentary…the visitor was enthralled. But when he grows up I guess he’ll make his own decisions on how he spends his time.
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:50

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 16:50
Hi All
Up here on the Gold Coast in the Theme Park Area of the M1
they have what they call The Out Back Spectacular, for $95-00
or so, they give you a Straw Hat, a BBQ Meal , a few Beers, you
sit around the arena on grand stand seating, your meal is served
to you were you sit, and the show begins, with horse riding and
a few stunts ect. apparently its under the R.M Williams banner.
the Japanese Tourists come in the bus loads, the poor buggers
think that is the only Out Back there is. and I think a lot of
Australians have the same thoughts to.

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 17:04

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 17:04
Do they provide the flies for free? :-)

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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Yalgoo) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 17:20

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 17:20
Whenever I come accross someon telling of their overseas exploits I just ask them "so what do you tell the guys over there when they ask what Australias like?"
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:23

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:23

beautiful beaches, stunning sheilas!

we've got the harbour bridge, opera house, three sisters, the lot!

Davoe, just think though, it is an accelerating process, more and more accessible to especially with the arm of the development dollar. Just as well it is a big country.
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Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 21:49

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 21:49
Well I'm at the half way mark between and 70. As a younger family, we camped at every opportunity. Ordinary weekends, long weekends,Easter and School holidays. Still have the old Turka Tent. But not in use. As a boy I dreamt of visiting Cape York and the Kimberley, but with a young family, couldn't manage it. Did them both before turning 60 though, and wasn't disappointed. As others have said, the kids,,all adults, don't seem to be interested any more. We upgraded from the tent to an old, 1978, Dove campervan, in 1999, and go away as often as possible, and normally for three months every southern Winter.We still have the bug. Cheers All.

Roger B.
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Reply By: mfewster - Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 19:12

Wednesday, Apr 09, 2008 at 19:12
Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I have mulled over the responses for a day or two and discussed them further with youngies. Must say they have to work longer hours than we did at the same age. Also have far less job security. We could toss in jobs in the 60's early 70's (years, not age that is) and travel and come back and pick up jobs easily. The cost of houses and rent and the number working long hours seems to be having an impact on travel plans. My eldest says they just want to grab a quick break and a plane to somewhere is the best way to do it rather than a long car drive. Makes me fear for lots of little country towns though.
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