I Love a Services Country; a Land of Sweeping, and Flying Planes

There’s an idea out there, that Australia is built on primary industries and manufacturing. That we are first and foremost a country that “makes things.” And that we should be proud of it.

This view of history must not stand.

This is a country that depends on services. Always has, always will.

People who go on and on about how we are about to turn into a nation of burger-flippers and/or door openers reveal themselves to have bugger-all understanding of the true history of Australia.

Services, mate. Since day dot. Each one building on the last, to make this great nation you see before you:


1. Pre- European Australia.

Story-telling services, decorating services, etc. [no photos available, sorry]

2. Cpt J.Cook

Captain Cook
Exploration and mapping consultant.

 3. Arthur Phillip

Arthur Phillip
Colony commencement consultant.

4. Burke and Wills.

Burke and Wills
Checking out what’s up there and failing to come back consultants

5. Governor Macquarie:  

Governor Lachlan Macquarie
Governance consultant with a sideline in financial services innovation.

6. Banjo Patterson

Banjo Paterson
Poetry and myth-making consultant.

 7. The Man From Snowy River

The man from Snowy River
Horse retrieval consultant. 

8. Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly
Funds liberation consultant / flamboyant headwear designer. 

9. Simpson and his Donkey. 

Simpson and his Donkey
Casualty retrieval consultant.

10. Royal Flying Doctors Service. 

Royal Flying Doctor's Service
They don’t call it the Royal Flying Doctors Manufacturing Industry.

11. Don Bradman.

Sir Donald Bradman
English despair and dismay consultant.

 12.  John Bradfield. 

John Bradfield
Water crossing/tourism icon construction consultant. 

13. Sidney Myer

Sidney Myer
Retail services guru

14. Dennis Lillee. 

Dennis Lillee
Moustache consultant with a sideline in high-speed leather propulsion services

15. Road train drivers.

Logistics consultants

 16. Bob Hawke.

Bob Hawke
Worker organisation/national leadership specialist

17. Professor Peter Doherty

Peter Doherty
Cure guru

18. Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett
Pretending to be someone else professional

This nation is not just about things.

It’s about people and the things they do for one another. If the Colt from Old Regret had got away and the owner went and bought another one, while the Man from Snowy River worked in a factory, it wouldn’t be much of a story, would it?

Next time you hear a politician say they don’t want to live in a country that doesn’t make things, remember that living in a country that didn’t do things would be even worse.

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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

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