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Etiquette in Outback Queensland

Or Does Anyone Know if I Should Order Dinner for My Children from the Seat of an Outback Toilet?

I’m sitting here watching a series on Netflix called Very British Problems.  The episode in question is discussing how to deal with other human beings.  What is and isn’t acceptable and how discomfiting any interaction with other members of the human race is.  Thankfully I was born in Australia and am not nearly British enough to have had all of this social awkwardness passed down to me through genetics, I do harbour enough of this Very British Problem that anything outside of the social norm is a veritable nightmare for me.

Listening to these droll, British comedians navigate the minefield of social niceties sparked a memory of living in Outback Queensland for me.  About twelve years or so ago, give or take, I spent a short time living on a station out past Adavale in Queensland.  Not sure where Adavale is?  You know The Gold Coast?  It’s not there.  Head to the middle of nowhere in Queensland, open the gate, turn left and keep going.  Or, if you’re in Brisbane, point your car towards the Northern Territory and drive for over fourteen hours.  Once you get to Adavale, it is only a two hour drive north to the station we lived on.  I like to call it a working holiday.  My (then) husband worked, I holidayed.

When you live that far out in the Outback, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is something you rely upon heavily.  If something goes wrong, that is the only ambulance you have access to.  So every month at the Adavale Pub there is a pot luck fundraising dinner for the RFDS.  Now, I’m using the term Pub loosely.  Think place where you can buy booze and a can of beans in the same place.  The Outback is a wondrous place, and if you ever have a chance to visit the Adavale Pub, I highly recommend it.  The people are friendly, the beer is cold and there is a surfboard hanging out on the front verandah emblazoned ‘Adavale SLSC’.  Only in Outback Australia will you see a sign for a Surf Life Saving Club 900 km from the beach and not think it out of place.  But I digress.  Back to the Pot Luck Dinner.

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