A blog where families who love and live the Catholic Faith can share, encourage and support each other.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Curious about the world around us

written by Kari
I am not sure how it first came up but my children have been wondering for months what side of the road Australians drive on.  They have asked me over and over to find out for them.  Finally, I remembered at the right time and I asked Sue Elvis via her blog post on Neenish Tarts.  I read the answer to my children this morning and now they are just bursting with more questions about life on the other side of the world.   

I had not planned to learn about geography this summer but it seems a lesson on Australian culture is in order.  And since my children are fascinated with their new-found knowledge and itchy for more, I thought I would go right to the source.  Perhaps through the wonder of blogging, my children and I, and others as well, can learn more about the big, beautiful world God created....The internet allows us such a beautiful way to connect with others and to share our knowledge, our faith, and our lives. 

So, here are a few of our my children’s questions—

  1. Do your dogs chase kangaroos or do the kangaroos chase dogs?
  2. Do you have kangaroos in your zoo?  How about raccoons or squirrels?
  3. Do you ever see koalas in your backyard?
  4. Do you have double decker buses? 
  5. Does it snow in Australia?
  6. Is it really winter down there right now?
  7. What kind of trees do you have? (Palm trees?  Evergreen trees? Apple trees? Grapefruit trees?)
  8. What time is it right now? What date is it?
  9. What kind of desserts do you like (besides the neenish tarts, that is)?
  10. What games do you enjoy playing in Australia?
  11. Do you call soccer, soccer or football?
  12. Who is the patron saint of Australia?
 I write about my children, their curiosity, and our busy life on my blog Overflow.


  1. Kari,

    What a great post idea! I will have a go at answering the questions. People living in different parts of Australia might have different answers to mine.

    1: I've never seen a dog chase a kangaroo though I suppose it might happen. Kangaroos usually hop away when anyone approaches so I can't see them chasing a dog.

    2: Yes, most zoos have kangaroos. Overseas tourists like to see them. We like them too!

    3: We've never seen a koala in our backyard trees. They like only a certain kind of gum leaf so their habitat is specialised. I imagine they are hard to spot in the wild. I've only ever seen them in zoos and nature parks.

    4: Our local buses are single decker. The only double decker ones I've seen are open topped tourist buses in Sydney.

    5: We live south of Sydney in an area called the Southern Highlands. Because of our higher elevation we might get a sprinkling of snow if it is a very cold winter. I can only remember snow settling two or three times. And then it melted after a few hours. The Blue Mountains (fairly close to us)receive more snow than us. Australia does have snowfields but some years the snow has to be supplemented with machine made snow.

    6: Yes, it's winter at the moment. It might get down to freezing overnight but our days have been quite mild. The forecast for where we live is 11 degrees C for tomorrow.

    7: We live right next to the National Park which is bushland so we have lots of eucalypts. We have a lot of exotic species too, especially in gardens like maples, oaks, birches... Lots of conifers too. Fruit trees such as apple and banana grow in some parts of Australia. Our local farming land is mainly for cattle. We have vineyards too.

    8: The time right now is 9.18 pm on Friday 22nd June.

    9: Pavlova, Anzac biscuits, and lamingtons are all considered Australian but we eat lots of different desserts. We make home-made ice cream.

    10: The most popular team sports are cricket and rugby league. Aussie rules is another football game but it isn't so popular in NSW where we live. Netball is also popular for women.

    11: I'm not a football fan particularly so I hope I get this one right. Soccer is called soccer. Football refers to Rugby League and Union. Someone else can correct me if that's wrong!

    12: The patron saint of Australia is Our Lady Help of Christians.

    I hope that helps! Maybe other readers can add their own answers.

    1. Sue-

      Thank you so much for your thorough answers! My children are so fascinated by the idea of kangaroos hopping around the yard and seeing people drive on the "wrong" side of the road. They want to visit now and see what eucalypts look like and try to spot koalas hiding in them.

      We are going to see if we can find out exactly what Anzac biscuits are and maybe try some of those, or maybe try lamingtons. It all sounds so exotic.

      Thanks again for sharing customs and culture of your home with us, it really does make the world seem a little smaller. There is no better way to learn than through sharing with good friends.

      :) God Bless, Kari

    2. Kari, I laughed when I saw this post, Australia must seem so foreign! As sue said, the answers to questions will vary in different parts of Australia. I live in Ballarat, Victoria which is a city of around 100,000 people at the bottom of Australia.

      1. I’ve never seen a Kangaroo chase a dog either. Kangaroos are very large and can be quite dangerous in the wild if you are not too careful. Wallabies are smaller but I haven’t seen a dog chase one of those either.
      2. Yes our zoos are full of Kangaroos and Wallabies. I live near a wildlife park where we are allowed to buy special food and feed the wallabies. It’s a lot of fun! We don’t have any raccoons or squirrels in Australia but we do have possums. They live in the trees in the neighbourhood and come out at night and can be very noisy!
      3. I have never seen a Koala in my backyard because I don’t live in the bush. But if I drove out of town a little I would probably find some if I looked carefully in the Gum trees.
      4. Our regular public transport busses are single deck busses. Generally only tourist busses are double decked but I have seen the occasional double Decker bus driving around.
      5. It does snow in Australia depending on where you live. It usually snows once a year in Ballarat where I live because we are very elevated and it gets extremely cold! But it doesn’t build up at all and melts away very quickly with all of the rain. Although in other parts of Australia in the mountains it does snow a lot.
      6. Yes it is winter here now and it’s very cold too! It rains just about every day and gets very windy and icy cold. It is usually between 2 and 10 degrees Celsius at the moment.
      7. Our native Australian trees are eucalyptus or “Gum” trees and they are the ones you will find Koalas in. We have lots of other trees like apple trees and Banana trees, but they have been introduced to Australia.
      8. Right now it is 4:42pm on Monday the 25th of June 2012.
      9. Some typical Australian deserts are Pavlovas which are marsh-mellowy cakes with fruit and cream on top. Lamingons which is sponge cake cut into little squares and rolled in chocolatey sauce and shredded coconut. And then there are A.N.Z.A.C. (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits which are essentially made of oats and lots of other yummy things. They were invented during the war because they last a long time and people could cook them and send them to the soldiers. Oh and we also love vanilla slice which is custard in the middle of two sheets of pastry with icing on top.
      10. I live in Victoria where Australian Rules Football (or Aussie Rules) originated so this game is extremely popular where I live. Cricket is another very popular Australian game alongside netball, basketball and rugby.
      11. Soccer is called soccer in Australia. Football refers to Aussie Rules footy and also rugby.
      12. The Patron Saint of Australia is Our Lady Help of Christians.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Emma-

    Thank you SO much for all your answers. The funny thing is, I think because of our shared language, we thought Australia was a lot like America. In fact, when I told my children it was winter there, they looked at me incredulous and demanded I double check that! They were just sure it was summer everywhere. The more we learn, the more we realize our cultures and traditions really are quite different. Also the more we learn, the more fascinated we become about your beautiful country.

    I looked up a recipe for ANZAC biscuits, thinking maybe we could make some to try and even some of the ingredients were foreign to me. Do you think "golden syrup" is what we call corn syrup?

    Hope you are all having a wonderful day "down under", and thank you again, for teaching us a little about your part of the world!

    Blessings, Kari

  3. Kari
    We live further north than Sue and Emma, therefore my answers reflect that. If your children are looking on their maps, have them look for the Far North Coast of NSW, not far below the Queensland border, close to the beaches.

    1.Do your dogs chase kangaroos or do the kangaroos chase dogs?
    Our dog would chase kangaroos, very dangerous to do so though as they could have ripped her up. Kangaroos can be aggressive, they have been known to attack people in our town. (Lots up in our golf course, these gardens back onto the golf course). We have lots of kangaroos in our paddock, we life rurally. pics her for your children

    2.Do you have kangaroos in your zoo? How about raccoons or squirrels?
    Yes kangaroos are in the zoos, but we don't have raccoons or squirrels in Aust. Though we do have possums on our property. (we have 140acres)

    3.Do you ever see koalas in your backyard?
    I haven't seen koalas in our neighbourhood since childhood, a disease (wet bottom wiped many out)

    4.Do you have double decker buses?
    Single decker ones here in the country.

    5.Does it snow in Australia?
    In some places but we have never seen snow.

    6.Is it really winter down there right now?
    It is but my children are still running around in shorts and tshirts with bare feet.
    here is a friend's post of a day we enjoyed this week, note the sunshine and bare feet. mind you the day started very cold, but we shed as we went

    7.What kind of trees do you have? (Palm trees? Evergreen trees? Apple trees? Grapefruit trees?)
    Lots of gums, mostly evergreen in this area. we do have some fruit trees in the yard, lemon, orange and mandarins.

    8.What time is it right now? What date is it?
    I'm writing at 7.30am on 28th June.

    9.What kind of desserts do you like (besides the neenish tarts, that is)?
    not neenish here?? Pavlova, ice-cream, golden syrup pudding, jelly and trifle are favourite requests here.

    10.What games do you enjoy playing in Australia?
    Soccer, hockey, cricket, netball, rugby league, tennis and swimming are really popular in this town.

    11.Do you call soccer, soccer or football?
    Always was soccer as a child but we are told we are meant to call in football now. Still see football as rugby league.

    12. Who is the patron saint of Australia?
    Our Lady Help of Christians.

  4. Erin- Thank you SO much for responding to our questions, and thank you especially for the links to pictures.

    We had no idea kangaroos were aggressive. They look so innocent and so cuddly in pictures. Except, of course, not in the pictures on your blog. That kangaroo fight looked pretty exciting!

    Your winter looks similar to the winters we experience here in Florida where we live, with lots of sunshine and nice warm temperatures. It is currently summer where we live and our days right now are VERY hot and humid. Your pictures made us miss our beautiful winter days! :)

    God Bless, Kari and family!

  5. I was just following links and came upon this post. I lived in Australia for 2 years (89-91) in Woomera (American military). the NICEST people. These comments brought back lots of found memories. I loved playing netball!!!

    1. It's lovely to hear you have good memories of the time you lived in our country. Thank you for stopping by! God bless.