All the fancy news and cultural magazines that the global intellectuals read periodically hold rankings of countries and cities. This is a fact. We all love rankings and the magazines love them too. Those rankings are all usually based on the “good” stuff--education, infrastructure, social welfare, art and culture, etc.--and at the top of those rankings are always the same names: cities in Scandinavian nations, smaller Western European nations (Switzerland, Holland, Luxembourg, etc.), Canada, and Australia. Every time I set my eyes on these rankings I think to myself, “Wait, Australia? I thought Australia was where they exiled criminals and outlaws during the British Empire??” Yeah, it’s a joke, but it is an interesting case that always catches my mind.
Australia, as an independent state, has been around for 100 years or so (I’m not going to get into the aborigine dilemma). Not really a lot of history there. And the country of Australia is its own continent. Think about this for a minute. The Scandinavian nations have all had their own histories of regulation and governance, going all the way back to when the Vikings were conquering Europe (maybe “governance” isn’t the right word lol). Switzerland, as everybody knows, is and has been eternally neutral. Luxembourg and Lichtenstein are so small you can barely find them on a map. All these highly ranked European nations have a deep history, and are small in both area and population, so it’s understandable that they have the ability to self-regulate. Canada is also an interesting case, being the second biggest country in the world, but when you consider that it borders the United States, and a majority of its economy and culture relies on the US (no matter how much Canadians want to deny this, it’s true), things start making sense. Canada is a smart nation. It takes the good aspects of the United States, and rejects the awful ones. No wonder it’s a great country.
Now let’s look at Australia. Australia doesn’t have a long history of independence, it has the 6th biggest area in the world, it’s located off and away in the southern hemisphere, and its closest neighbors are New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the tiny islands in Oceania, all separated by the Pacific Ocean. How does this work? I mean, it must cost a fortune just importing and exporting daily necessities.
So I will go find out. I chose Melbourne over Sydney because many of my friends who visited said it was amazing. I could have asked them about the mysteries of the Down Under, but seeing is believing, I’ll go check it out myself.