Life and work goes on around us as we travel. We might be on holiday but the people who live in the places we visit are usually hard at work, going about their normal days.
And while we usually plan our travels to see the scenic spots, wonderful landscapes and tourist attractions, often we are confronted by that “real life” in which industrial landmarks – chimneys, factories and other big infrastructure – play important roles.
I was having a drink in the small town of South Johnstone in north Queensland last November when I stepped outside to take this photo of a sugar cane train hauling through the main street on its way to the mill. This is not an uncommon sight in the sugar towns that dot Australia’s north-eastern coast; the locals barely blink.
Sugar cane was brought to Australia in 1788 on the ships that brought the first convict settlers to Australia from England. Raw sugar is now Australia’s second largest export crop, earning around $2 billion each year, and about 95 per cent of Australia’s sugar cane is grown in Queensland.
Driving through sugar-growing country, the mills are hard to miss. They are always close to the farms which supply them and the towns which serve their workers, and they operate around the clock during the cane season (June to November in far north Queensland). They produce a strong and distinctive syrupy smell (think burnt molasses).
When Ailsa announced this week’s travel theme of “industry”, this shot of the sugar train was the first thing I thought of. But I also remembered my trip to Thailand last year, when I visited a rubber factory. If you ever want to see hard work, this is the place! More images are on my blog post about it.