This is your story. Or perhaps it's mine. It's probably ours. You used to imagine "it", Australia, as a red center surrounded by lush green edges. You thought of this austral continent as an abstract entity, a surface on a map, a red stretch of land surrounded by the blue eternity of the southern seas. But this was a dream, an illusion. It collapsed when you first stepped on it. The well-delineated surface shattered when it took you in. You saw it with your eyes, smelt it with your nose. It was a bitter taste of the end of the world. Nothing was like you had imagined it. You were upset. And then you knew... You realised that you had to make Australia yours. It became more than just an idea. It became your life. It became your home. This was an exhilarating moment. And you would never forget it. It would stay with you for ever.
This paragraph was written on 27 May 2014 during a session of the Environmental History Workshop entitled "Writing the Environment". The workshop was organised by the Centre for Environmental History in Canberra.