Monday, 28 July 2014

Borders

[What this is:  this is a research stub containing ideas around the concept of borders.  I will add to it as occasion allows.]


I imagine borders to be substantial things. Political borders conjure pictures of barbed wire and checkpoints maintained by guards. The reality in Australia is different. Borders delineate the ambit of laws and the reach of central state governments. 

Separately, this land is cut by natural boundaries that, originally, proved difficult or impossible to cross.  Today, road and air routes create the illusion that these boundaries no longer exist - but it is just an illusion.  No highway reliably crosses the mountains West of Canberra - the road through Miles Franklin's Brindabella Valley is still a dirt track.

Snowy Mountains - looking East from Albury

Imaginary borders

While they appear to be substantial, political boundaries are variable. Borders in political subdivisions (electorates) constantly change.  Borders in regional government areas are under increasing challenge as cities grow or state governments seek to consolidate council areas.

Within this scheme, many borders have been designed but later moved - some planned but never built.  

During the early competition of the National Capital, a number of towns vied with each other to separate from the state of New South Wales, creating elaborate plans for massive cities, some with ports.

Fence line - Lake George
I imagine this fence line across the massive Lake George to be representative of these imaginary borders.  Ordinarily the fence is submerged and the border invisible to all but the fishes.  It is presently high and dry - although the water level is climbing slowly.  

In the absence of water, a wave of wild grasses spills over the border.

Borders built for commerce

The Bethanga Bridge crosses Lake Hume on the River Murray.  It marks the border between two Australian states - New South Wales on the left and Victoria on the right.  It is not the main border crossing in the region - that is at the River Murray between the New South Wales city of Albury and the Victorian city of Wadonga.

Built in the 1930s, the bridge does not serve the traditional purposes of a border.  There are no guards here.  Instead of controlling crossings, the bridge provides unrestricted access to a couple of Victorian towns directly to the New South Wales city of Albury.  


Bethanga Bridge - east of Albury/Wadonga



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