Season's greetings to one and all, this issue brings the heart back home with the Classics. Doyenne of Insurance Winnie Tay shares her life lessons and try some gift wrapping tips in our Dark & Decadent section. Joyeux Noelle~!
THE SWING HOLE 4: WOMBAT HOLE the Southern Ocean pounds an elemental beat upon the rocks. Further along at Eucla, chimneys and brick arches emerge from giant sand dunes as nature reclaims what was once Australia’s busiest telegraph station. Like the barely-changing scenery, the holes on the golf course begin to blend together. I hack my way down craterous fairways and out of unyielding scrub, all the while taking an eternity to get the measure of the synthetic greens. The game ends in Kalgoorlie, a boomtown where gold mining has long made this a place where people come to seek their fortune. While the downturn in Australia’s mining industry has brought an end to the days when the city had more millionaires per square metre than any other place in Oz, it is still a palpably prosperous place. The temporary mine workers who roll in for a few months to boost their bank accounts create a particularly lively atmosphere. The city is blessed with a roughhewn, Wild West charm. Local bars are famous for their ‘skimpies’ – waitresses who work in their underwear – and the main drag (road) could easily serve as a shoot-out scene in a classic cowboy movie. After completing my round, I enjoy a steak dinner fit for a sheriff on the cantilevered balcony at the Palace Hotel, a classic from the early days of the gold rush. The temporary mine workers who roll in for a few months to boost their bank accounts create a particularly lively atmosphere. The city is blessed with a roughhewn, Wild West charm. Local bars are famous for their ‘skimpies’ Perth, in contrast, is the epitome of a modern Australian city. After four days of petrified landscapes and otherworldly emptiness, it’s a relief to see healthy trees and people. But over dinner and drinks that night, my thoughts can’t help but return to the Nullarbor. Could the contours of the land have been put to better use? Would draining less cold beer between holes have made a difference to my game? Perhaps I’ll be back to test these theories out one day. But 1000-plus kilometres is a lot of ground to cover – especially when you are playing badly. So for now, I’m happy to be back in the sanctity of civilisation and well out of range of death adder country. 63 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 | TM