OPINION: Bridging the gap between city and country
WANDER of the West icon Edwina Robertson has broken the internet countless times with her stunning rural photography.
But a recent post about the divide between city and country has received over 1000 likes and 200 shares overnight with many people agreeing with her thoughts.
Her post below:
"Personal Thought- "Country people are Rednecks"
I will be the first to confess, I still haven't concreted the exact outcome of what Wander of the West will bring me. I do however, know the 'why' I am doing it, with 110% conviction and 110% passion.
I believe there's a huge segregation in our society, that we're really not discussing so much. The divide between the city and the bush.
I've thought about this on my travels lots. Why is this so? Why is it that city folk are becoming more and more uneducated about where their food comes from, what life on the land is like and why they choose to travel internationally instead of in their own wonderful, diverse backyard? Now this is not a direct stab or an intention to offend the good folk that live in urban regions, but a reflection of what I see within the media and personal opinions on topics of the bush.
"Country people are rednecks", "Farmers taking more money from the Australian Tax payer", "Farmers are cruel to animals".
These are some things I've read online in the last month that have absolutely infuriated me. Opinions of people who I dare say, haven't travelled further west than the Great Divide. And do you know what, this actually isn't any fault of their own?! This is why I feel that this is the view of the bush and its residents...
Go back one generation. Everyone had an uncle, some cousins, a family friend or even grandparents that lived in the bush. School holidays consisted of visits to these family members or friends and it was a real treat to go out, feed the stock, shoot some rabbits, watch a calf be born, ride the bikes and experience the full Milky Way. Although these visits weren't substantially long, they were enough of an insight to get a feel of life on the land and share those holiday adventure stories back in the big smoke.
Fast forward to the current generation. Many stations that have sold within the last 20 years have been purchased by larger corporates, removing the founding families of the land from the picture. Privately owned properties are becoming scarcer which means those uncles, cousins and family friend connections to the bush are inherently drying up.
Less and less people have personal connections to Bushies and I dare say this is only going to grow as land becomes more unaffordable for individuals and families to purchase.
So as times change, so too must the way that we keep the connection between the bush and the city.
With over 85% of Australia's population living in urban areas*, it's a big task to establish a connection and I don't believe there's just one way to do it.
My brain explodes with potential ideas of how to bridge the gap, yet it's an intimidating thought to even try to contemplate reaching over 20 million people and encourage them to learn about, explore and keep an open mind about rural and regional Australia and it's surely not a job I can do solely or possibly within my lifetime. But while I believe with 110% conviction and 110% passion that there is a huge divide in our own backyard, I'll do all I can to make a difference.
* Statistics gathered from http://www.population.net.au/"
Stay up to date with Edwina's adventure around Australia here.