Two weeks ago, I was invited to move to Kangaroo Island by my Daughter and Son-in-law. This was attractive, as I would be more “with family” and so it has been. However, one can’t go more than a day or two without meeting with new friends. I am not sure but is seems they all know each other, over many kilometers. People here say “G’day” (In the words of Crocodile Dundee, now famous because of his movie and other appearances on TV.) Although my memory can’t hold the names of many, I have become known to more than a couple dozen and there is a code of practice here to invite visitors to have a cup of tea or coffee and cookies.
Almost everyone belongs to a group where some activity is the focus of camaraderie, such as scrabble or other games like Bowls on bowling greens, or just meeting acquaintances for coffee. Having worked as a psychologist at the Hospital years ago, I have been invited to meet for coffee at the local cafe’s. One coffee example is a Journalist, whom I met because of her work on Vietnam and with the recent attention focused on Australian former military people who served there in the past. I was curious if she was still a journalist, covering the current activities.
Work in the past on the mainland, with people who were isolated by family differences of opinion, I was aware that isolated people might face health risks. However, here the “Islanders” would not let that happen because it seems to be a duty to visit with newcomers. It is now my understanding that most people would greet others with a wave or a G’day and shopkeepers go beyond “thanks,” to say “have a good day” or “Enjoy the rest of your day.”
Moreover, I notice that news of families going on holidays elsewhere is announced, with a sort of apology for being away. I am aware that elsewhere in rural areas, this practice of caring for others exists, yet this caring about others seems as strong as it would be in a large country town. Moreover, this caring expression applies to others who are in other country towns etc. Another facet of this above style is that a new friend could suggest contact with two or three others. If we fail to follow through, the failure is registered as a disappointment.