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Sitting around money

Sitting around money“. Aboriginal English expression for State handouts. Telling. But, for the work shy, at least a refreshing ring of honesty. Wander around the centre of Cairns and you can’t but notice mostly small groups of people laying about. Doing nothing. Appearing to be strangers. Aliens. Ironic. For almost – but not quite all are Aborigines. Indigenous.

I’d made the mistake – at least I hope it is – of seeing these people as Aborigines. Before realising that this is, strictly speaking, coincidental. Whether they be best described as unemployed, dispossessed, or plain lost depends as much on your generosity and their point of view. There are a few characters of European descent to be found drifting around. And they’re the ones to watch. Especially around the ATMs.

[Author’s note: I’d love to have included a photo of the malingers laying about in the centre of Cairns. But no. Not because I fear it may steal souls from the indigenous ones amongst them. Besides, seems to be used as an excuse to demand money. Rather, a much more practical and humane reason. Given a couple of unprovoked verbal altercations, don’t fancy running the risk of what Aussies terms a ’bashing’. Which, as a particularly descriptive term, is up there with their use of ’home invasion’ for burglary]


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One response to “Sitting around money”

  1. Mike Harcup says:

    This piece brings back so many memories of birding on Cairns Esplanade.The joy of watching the Great Knots feeding inthe bay when they are such rare visitors to the UK.At the same time the melodic call of the native Aussie in my ears.Those of you familiar with Richard Priors Mudbone will know exactly what I mean and how memorable it made the experience.
    I’ll never get that job as a Sky football commentator now.

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