Editorial: Summer Daze

12 January 2017 Amy Hetherington

Editorial: Summer Daze

So many of my childhood memories are seared by the Australian summer.   The long hot stretch of holidays meant freedom. Every year, we’d visit my cousins in Leitchville – a town of
400-odd people, one pub, a public pool, a fish’n’chip shop and no street numbers – in northern Victoria.

The land out there is flat and cracked and the colour of straw, the horizon a shimmering blur. You can dig up the melting tar with sticks, burn your bum on the slide in the park. The sun was so blistering, you’d feel the freckles forming on your face as you’d scream through the front-yard sprinkler or swim in the channel. We’d go yabbying by day, chase frogs around town at night. One year, Dad made us wade through Kow Swamp on a quest to find the remnants (perhaps aliens) from a giant fireball we’d witness fall out of that huge, open sky the night before.

We’d live on icy poles, watermelon and sandwiches made with the “plastic cheese” from the now defunct Kraft factory at the end of the street. It closed in 2010, and I feared the town would disappear. But it hasn’t. Young families have arrived in town, doing up old houses.

As Dr Merrilee Moss writes (‘CreekChange’, p18), this part of country has also attracted retirees: city-dwellers like herself escaping oppressive real-estate prices in the suburbs and setting up home among the gum trees.

In this edition, we also celebrate Australia’s favourite bush-dweller: the koala. With new land-clearing laws threatening their territory and numbers, Rhianna Boyle (‘How Much Can A Koala Bear?’, p14) goes behind the battlelines in the fight to protect our koalas. And, for a bit of holiday fun, you can get your craft on, and fold your own koalas thanks to our koala-gami designs (p17).

Amy Hetherington, Editor

Read all of this in the latest edition of The Big Issue!