Avalook at Australia News

Issue Number 2, 29 October 1999

ISSN 1443-0797

Editors: Eric Lindsay and Jean Weber

In this issue...

Events: The Melbourne Cup
Tours: Camel Treks
Tip: Australian Daily Newspapers
Tip: BRITZ Campervan Olympic Package 2000
Books: Explore Australia 2000, the complete touring companion
Words: What do you call the room with the toilet?
Events: World Solar Challenge follow-up
Correction: Address for looking up Australian time zones
Subscription information

Events: The Melbourne Cup

Last issue I mentioned, in passing, the Melbourne Cup. In case you were wondering what I was talking about, here's a bit more information.

On the first Tuesday in November, Australia's premier horse racing event is held at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne. The Melbourne Cup is known as "the race that stops a nation" because work stops all over Australia during the 3 and 1/2 minute race itself, and many workplaces simply take the afternoon off for a social event (the whole day is a public holiday in Melbourne).

The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861 with 17 starters and attracted 4000 people. The winner took home 170 pounds and a hand beaten gold watch instead of a trophy. 138 years later, 100,000 spectators attend the race itself and it is broadcast worldwide.

Here's two web sites that might interest you:

Racing Victoria http://www.racingvictoria.net.au
(links to all sorts of things related to horseracing in Victoria)

Tabcorp http://www.tabcorp.com.au/
(where to keep track of which horses are running, the odds, and to place bets)


Tours: Camel Treks

For something a bit different, you could try a camel trek or expedition across one of Australia's great deserts, run by the Outback Camel Company. Here's an excerpt from their Web page:

"Our treks & expeditions are not camel riding safaris but more like a total bush experience. Trekking consists of alternate riding and walking. The camels travel in a 'string' or caravan with each animal tied to another in front. Everything is carried by the camel string - there is no vehicle backup. No engines, fumes or noise and no portable generator - a 'back to basics' bush experience.

"Our camel trips can be classed into two types - Easy and Challenging.

"Easy - these treks are suited to anyone who wishes to experience the deserts and outback at a moderate pace. The average distance covered a day is between 15 to 20 kilometres. There are no permanent camps nor any type of vehicle backup.

"Challenging - the expeditions are longer trips covering between 400 to 500 kilometres. The average distance covered per day is approximately 19 km. Again, there are no permanent camps nor any type of vehicle backup.

"Most of our travellers are aged between 18 and 75. Our trips appeal to independent single travellers, couples and small groups. The total expedition party is normally between eight and fifteen, including the crew."

For more information, maps, departure dates and costs, see: http://www.outbackcamel.com.au/ (April 2001 note: website appears to be gone.)

Note: the first page loads verrrrrry slowly and contains no content except a big photo and a logo. As soon as the logo appears in the middle of the screen, you can click on it to go on to the first real page of content, which loads a lot faster. Once you get past that first page, the whole site loads quickly and has a lot of interesting and useful info.


Tip: Australian Daily Newspapers

Most major Australian newspapers, and many regional and local ones, are now on the Web. If you're interested in the latest news, sports, and classified advertisements in a particular city, try these:












(SMH stands for Sydney Morning Herald)

The Australian
(national paper)


Financial Review    


For a much longer list, visit the National Library of Australia's list of Australian Newspapers on the Internet:

You can also check on Australian news through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) site: http://www.abc.net.au/news/default.htm
State news http://www.abc.net.au/news/state/default.htm
Regional and local news http://www.abc.net.au/news/state/default.htm


Tip: BRITZ Campervan Olympic Package 2000

This information is obsolete and has been removed.


Books: Explore Australia 2000, the complete touring companion

The new edition of this title features road maps for every state and territory, 15 inter-city route maps, leisure guides for Australia's principal cities, wildlife-watching opportunities, event listings, climate guides and a classic tour of each state's most scenic drives. Hardcover, 648 pages, Viking, 1999, ISBN 0670883611.

July 2000 update: Amazon.com doesn't list this edition. Amazon.co.uk used to carry it, but no longer lists it. You might be able to find it through another bookseller.

For more books on Australia, click here.


Words: What do you call the room with the toilet?

Moved to our page on Australian language.


Events: World Solar Challenge follow-up

Aurora 101, the Melbourne entrant, won the 1999 World Solar Challenge on 21 October. It used solar cells made or designed at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Described by the 3010-km solar car race's creator, Hans Tholstrup, as the race of "the cars of the future", this year's race was one of changing fortunes as 40 cars left Darwin on 17 October for the sunny dash down the Stuart Highway to Adelaide.

The race presented a contrast to the previous 1996 race, in which Honda's Dream left the field behind it and reached Adelaide in record time. Dream's decisive advantage was the $1 million worth of UNSW solar cells that powered it. At up to 24 per cent efficiency, these cells were the most efficient commercial solar cells ever made.

This year several of the cars used UNSW's solar cells, which have sometimes been a little too successful. After a 1993 solar car race in the United States, in which nine of the first 10 placegetters carried solar cells made by BP Solar under licence from UNSW, the Americans changed the rules to prevent further embarrassment.


Correction: Address for looking up Australian time zones

The address given in last issue's item on time zones included a couple of typos (and later it changed completely). Here's the correct address:

(I've corrected it in the archives.)


© Copyright 1999-2002 Eric Lindsay and Jean Weber. All rights reserved.

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