the fortunate few

When I first moved to Queensland from my home city of Melbourne many moons ago I can remember very clearly being assured by my then parents-in-law to be that Brisbane “was a great place to bring up the children”. I’m not saying they were wrong, but I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what it was that my in-laws considered about Brisbane that made it, in their eyes at any rate, a superior place to raise a family. Could it have been the abundance of sunshine, after all there was overwhelming ignorance about the effects of skin cancer in those days? Was it the schooling or perhaps the notion that Brisbane was more like a big country town back then and was not considered as “racy” or “fast” as the more cosmopolitan southern cities of Melbourne or Sydney and therefore less likely to corrupt the little darlings?

I’m not sure what qualified Brisbane for this accolade but I found it a bit disconcerting, on being invited to a suburban barbecue about 2 weeks after arriving back in Oz, to be assured by the hostess that Brisbane “was a great place to bring up the children”. Here I was being confronted by this same statement one gazillion years after I had first puzzled over it. Talk about Deja Vu!

There is no doubt that Brisbane is a far different city now from what it was thirty years ago. In fact Brisbane is far different from how I remember it only two and a bit years ago when we spent our last night here before flying to Viet Nam. Brisbane did used to be a big sleepy hollow and, as any resident of this sunshine city will tell you, it took the Commonwealth Games and then the World Expo to wake Brivegas up from its slumber and “put it on the map”.

Brisbane now is a very pleasant place to live, hundreds of kilometres of well maintained bicycle and walking tracks, alfresco cafes at every street corner and in between, most old pubs have been renovated, there are sporting facilities, parks and shopping centres galore and the whole city has a leafy clean ambience that makes living here a dream. I really can’t believe sometimes that we have been so lucky as to land positions here in a quality university set in such a beautiful location on the banks of the wonderful Brisbane River.

Maybe all of the above are some of the reasons why, if I was raising children right now, this would be a good place to do it. Brisbane people, indeed all Australians should give thanks every day for our good fortune to live where we do and have the things that we do.

But why is it that many Australians seem unhappy with their lot in life and seem driven to want “more”??