Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 18 August 2008

Romance and the art of wooing, Australian outback style

The mayor of a remote town in northern Queensland has a novel way of trying to restore the severe gender imbalance in the local population. No doubt there will be thousands, and if not thousands then hundreds, and if not hundreds then tens - OK, perhaps there'll be a few lovelies from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth and other points south who will flock to the town in the hope of finding a husband. Which among them could resist this sales-pitch?



Mayor of Mount Isa (Queensland), John Molony:

"Quite often you will see walking down the street a lass who is not so attractive with a wide smile on her face. Whether it is recollection of something previous or anticipation for the next evening, there is a degree of happiness. Some, in other places in Australia, need to proceed to Mount Isa where happiness awaits. Really, beauty is only skin deep. Isn't there a fairy tale about an ugly duckling that evolves into a beautiful swan."

I'm sure you'll agree this is pretty heroic stuff! Perhaps poorly expressed, but the gender imbalance does seem pretty extreme (819 females aged 20-24 out of a total population of 21,421) and poverty is obviously not the problem, as the place sits above "one of the world's biggest underground mines", but I daresay the remoteness and harsh climate is a difficulty. All joking apart though, maybe someone needs to help the mayor refine his ideas, rather than simply laugh him down - he's obviously only trying to improve the local situation for young men in the area, not to mention the long-term viability of settlement there.

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