POSITIONED IN DISTANT SOUTHERN CLIMES, far from the perceived centres of human civilisation – the thin coastal belt, broad plains and scorched deserts of Australia offer an enticing laboratory for the sciences of experimentation and herd manipulation.
Wrenched from the hands of its native population through a bloody series of wars and oppression, the modern nation of Australia was established as a British penal colony in 1788. Doubtlessly much has changed and developed since then, but still it’s difficult to shake the image of Australia as contiguous and eternal penal colony.
Since federation in 1901, examples of Australia as anything but felicitous imperial servant are few and far between. The nation cheerfully delivered its young to be blood sacrifices in the imperial territorial jousts of the twentieth century and various Anglo-American imperial intrigues throughout the latter twentieth century and early twenty-first.
Beginning in the 1950’s, Australia had the dubious pleasure of being Great Britain’s nuclear sandpit. All manner of outrageous and unforgivable atomic ‘experiments’ were conducted across West and South Australia, as unrelenting clouds of nuclear fallout drifted over the largest populations centres on the eastern Australian seaboard (the effects of which were covertly studied by the ‘mother country’ for decades thereafter). Like a serially abused child, this nation of ‘Larrikins’ and ‘Eureka Rebels’ barely raised a mute whimper.