Life in the Tropics


“Life in the Tropics” is our tagline for tourism and relocation promotion here in the ‘ville. It’s one of those suitably generic lines that is meant to be partly aspirational and partly functional. I don’t like it. I do like life in the tropics. We have water, sunshine and temperate winters. And air conditioning. Suffer in your jocks Melbournians (literally).

There are plenty of bad things that come along with the good. When I moved here an ex-Townsvillian friend from Brisbane warned me of several of them. Lets just call her Donna. That’s her real name. She told me that if the crocodiles, stingers, tropical diseases, cyclones, or sunshine didn’t kill me – I’d probably die due to lack of water. She said “it never rains in Townsville”…

For two many years Townsville was known as Brownsville. See what I did there. Two instead of too. I did that on purpose. Townsville started receiving pretty regular rain, and looking green all round, for a couple of years before the rest of the world caught on. Townsville is actually nice. And we have secured water supply. More than four times the size of Sydney Harbour.

What we no longer have is the 300 days of sunshine we claim in our marketing material. There is no way that’s true. Well, it might be, depending on your definition of “sunshine”… I think it rained on about 90 days in my first full year here. And it has rained pretty regularly since.

But I digress. I can put up with that sort of hyperbolic description of tropical life from a jaded ex-resident trying to scare me. But when the same sort of thing comes from a Channel Ten reporter bundling all of those together in the name of “news” I get upset. It creates work for me for one, and number two – it’s shoddy reporting.

So reporters of the world – you can’t have it both ways. Townsville can’t be “brownsville” on one hand and a flooding tropical metropolis on the other.

I don’t even know why I wrote this post. But it was cathartic.