GIRT BY SEA by Chris Charstone  To images 

Australia, a land “girt by sea” as says the national anthem. Sometimes called the largest island in the world, Australia is nevertheless the driest country on earth.

For migrants who decide to immigrate to Australia (such as my parents did from England) Australia seems a mythical land of Promise. The Promise is of the “good life”, epitomized by a lifestyle of beaches and sun and sand.

Most Australians live in one the 6 state cities situated not far from the edge of the sea; on the fragile coastal edge of Australia that can support the expectations of a modern lifestyle.

Melbourne is one such city.

Despite the myth of Australia that lures the migrants, an estimated 89% of Melbournians spend the majority of their life working an ordinary working week, in an urban environment.

For the most part, life in Melbourne city is in fact little different from any other urban dweller's in other cities in countries around the world. Nevertheless, Melbournians carry through their urbanized everyday lives the consciousness of their proximity to the coast, which is the embodiment of the life they aspire to.

Melbournians, at the end of each working week, use that well known Australian phrase “have a good weekend”, which encompasses their idealized image of themselves - as beach going Australians.

For like all Australians, Melbournians see the quintessential image of “a good weekend” (or indeed family holidays and, finally, retirement) as one spent at the coastal edge with its sparkling sea, endless beaches and iconic Luna Park funfair.