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Saturday, September 4, 2010


Jane of Marigold Jam fame and Kim from Kimbles at Home have asked me to explain a little about what we Ozzies call  "the Outback " .
So here goes!!!

The term "the Outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush".

It is easier to explain this if I show you a map.

Can you see me there ?
I live in Brisbane which is the capital city of the state of Queensland (Q'l'd )
The little key at the bottom of the map is about the density of population in people per square metre.

As you can see the majority of the population of Australia lives very close to the coastline especially in the Eastern states. That's because if it rains anywhere in this dry old country of ours it usually rains along this coastal belt.
In New South Wales and Victoria this rainfall and therefore population density extends further inland but, as you can see, most of Australia is rather empty...

In your mind draw a line from Adelaide to Brisbane.
Below and to the right of that line (roughly) is where most Australians live. You can see the darker areas in the map. 

Above and to the left is the Outback !!!

There is one more population centre on the west coast, the area around and south of Perth, that whole bulge in the bottom corner there, and a narrow strip along the coast going north, where you will find a few smaller towns.

And that's it !
The rest of Australia is more or less empty!

Everything else on the map is the Australian Outback.

Even the area around Darwin in the north. Darwin is a city, but it's small and isolated. Step outside the city and you find yourself in the Outback.
And places like Katherine or Alice Springs are but mere specks in the middle of nowhere... Definitely Outback.

The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia.

You can't just go and see the Australian Outback, you can only ever go and see a small part of it, unless you visit us for at least several months. Keep in mind that the different parts of  the Outback  do not at all look the same, or even have the same climate....

Some parts are very beautiful. Like the photo above.................

......... and some look like this.

There is often quite a lot of vegetation of sorts but little actual grass.......

... but when it rains the Outback bursts into life with a vast array of beautiful wildflowers like these.

and the bird life is spectacular. 

So there you have it.

A fairly brief explanation of what Ozzies mean when they talk about "the Outback"


PS.  "The Never-Never" is a term referring to remoter parts of the Australian outback. The outback can be also referred to as "back of beyond" or "back o' Bourke" although these terms are more frequently used when referring to something a long way from anywhere, or a long way away.

The well-watered north of the continent is often called the "Top End" and the arid interior "The Red Centre", owing to its vast amounts of red soil and sparse greenery amongst its landscape.


  1. I've just been catching up on your 'Australia' posts Helsie. Thank you so much for teaching me a bit more about a country I don't know enough about.

    I was delighted recently to learn that Aussies call men's speedos 'budgie smugglers' (I think one of your politicians was filmed wearing them) -an absolute hoot and something that strikes me as typically Australian!

  2. That is very interesting, thank you Helsie.

  3. I don't think I can claim any fame but thank you Helsie. I am happy to be learning more about your country and that every "lesson" is making me re-think my previous views. I'll be booking a flight over soon!! My daughter said she is quite surprised to find that she is actually really enjoying herself in the outback when I suggested it must be quite a culture shock after living in Clapham and working in Canary Wharf (London)!! Now I have some idea of what it might be like where she is - thanks.

    Jane x

  4. I enjoyed your posts about your country Helsie! I remember watching Bryan Brown in "Alice Springs" years ago - it probably was my first introduction to your fantastic land. We're home! I'm just relaxing this weekend since it is a holiday here (Labor Day Weekend) with working folks having Monday off.

  5. Thank you soooo much! I really enjoyed this post Helen - you have gone to a lot of trouble to explain it all - it is really appreciated and now I know SO much about Australia! I will be able to impress my family with my knowledge! X

  6. Thanks for my very educational visit today. I've learnt plenty that I little idea about. Thanks! Have a good week. Ros

  7. Hi Helen

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting!

    I love all your photos! It looks like a wonderful part of the world.



  8. Thank you - your post are very interesting. I love the photgraphs too, it makes me want to visit all the more.
    Julie xxxxxx

  9. Beautiful blog and photos, have a nice day Radka.