Backyards and the Aussie dream

Home Free: Apparently loads of Lower Hunter residents think backyards are part of an ideal home. Could have fooled us.
Home Free: Apparently loads of Lower Hunter residents think backyards are part of an ideal home. Could have fooled us.

The Australian dream has to include a backyard, doesn’t it?

In our mind, it does. But we’re not so sure it does in the minds of the countless others who buy houses with tiny backyards in new estates.

This is why we were a bit surprised at research, which came out yesterday, that found 74 per cent of Lower Hunter residents consider “a private garden/backyard is the most common feature in their ideal home”.

We’re all for backyards. To us, there’s nothing like heading out into the backyard, placing bare feet on grass and watching the birds zoom along flight paths between the trees, with a cup of tea in hand.

But when we look at new estates, all we see are poor excuses for backyards.

The research, commissioned by, found that people in the Lower Hunter “still have traditional views of the great Australian dream”.

This was apparently true, “even in the modern age where we have smart devices and gadgets always at our fingertips”.

“We haven’t changed our views on what makes a house a home,” the statement said.

At first, we wondered why a gas company was doing this kind of research. 

Then we noticed that their key findings included that 72 per cent of Lower Hunter residents “consider a natural gas cooktop or range cooker appliances to be essential in their ideal kitchen” and 45 per cent “picture a fully functioning chef’s kitchen in their ideal home”.

Who wouldn’t want a chef’s kitchen? [As long as it’s powered by gas, hey!].

A Rabbit’s Foot

A rabbit's foot in Lake Macquarie.

A rabbit's foot in Lake Macquarie.

Everyone knows a rabbit’s foot is a lucky charm. But what if the rabbit’s foot is spraypainted on a road?

Glen Fredericks, of Empire Coffee Co at Honeysuckle, spotted this painted roadkill in Lake Macquarie.

“Is it the result of an inattentive road-line marking crew, or is it a new art installation?” Glen wondered.

This got us thinking. Why is a rabbit’s foot considered to be lucky anyhow?

Apparently, it’s a belief held by folks in many places, including Europe, China, Africa, and North and South America.

In the book, Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Charles Panati wrote that the luck attributed to a rabbit’s foot stems from a belief that “humankind descended from animals”.

It was also ancient man’s way of protecting himself from a helter-skelter world. 

“It was an attempt to impose human will on chaos. And when one amulet failed, he tried another, then another. In this way, thousands of ordinary objects, expressions and incantations assumed magical significance,” he wrote.

“In fact, there's scarcely a thing in our environment around which some culture has not woven a superstitious claim: mistletoe, garlic, apples, horseshoes, umbrellas, hiccups, crossed fingers and rainbows.” 

And don’t forget four-leaf clovers.