Michael Batson

Travel Writer





Kalgoorlie - Didyabringabeer - 29 June 2022

Once upon a time way out west, I went to Kalgoorlie by bus to work. Later I went back by rail for a visit. The town of about 30,000 is an isolated stop on the line across Western Australia where one stretch of railway runs completely straight for 478km – the longest straight stretch of rail line anywhere in the world. Kal’ to the locals, is over 600kms from the world’s most isolated city, Perth. From there to Adelaide, it’s 2700km – like travelling from London to Moscow with almost nothing in between. Tourists in Kalgoorlie are thin on the ground. People come from all over seeking the highly paid mining jobs. They work hard and play harder before moving on. Australia is making a fortune supplying raw materials to fuel Asia’s continued industrialisation and is home to half of the world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton. Kalgoorlie itself is a grid of broad, tree-lined streets. The main street, Hannan Street, was designed wide enough to turn an entire camel train around, once a requirement in outback Australia. Kalgoorlie and its twin town, Boulder, boast an interesting collection of architectural styles, many unconventional. Expect to see curious blends of Victorian gold boom, Edwardian, Moorish, and Art Nouveau styles.  The turn-of-the-20th century styles have melded to produce a bizarre mix of ornate facades, colonnaded footpaths, recessed verandas, stuccoed walls, and general overstatement.   Camel train - back in the dayOn

Port Arthur and the Vandemonians of Tasmania - 28 May 2022

Tasmania was once called Van Diemen’s Land and is the world’s 26th largest island and Australia’s least populated state. From 1803 Britain settled the island as a penal colony, and almost wiped out the indigenous population in the process. Today Tasmania, or “Tassie” to use the colloquialism, is the most Anglophile Australian state, also having

Football and the Teams at Mexico 1970 - 4 December 2021

The 1970 World Cup in Mexico is widely thought of as the tournament against which all others are measured – a celebration of free-wheeling football where the winners Brazil triumphed with a team of sublime artists over the more disciplined, physically tactical Europeans who were represented in the Final by Italy with their pincer defensive

Mexico World Cup 1970 - 6 November 2021

Someone once said watching football is about bold, primary-colour emotions: the pursuit of joy and the endurance of pain. The ninth FIFA World Cup held in Mexico (31 May 1970 – 21 Jun 1970) had all these factors and is widely thought of as a seminal sporting event for lots of reasons; a World cup against which all others are measured. In many

Gérson and the 1970 Brazilians - 25 September 2021

Great football teams have many elements in common. They have timing, and the right balance of dedication, organisation, and a commitment to a common cause. Great teams like great players can marry inspiration with industry—they work hard. They also usually have an ability to make the difficult seem easy, like no effort at all because they always

Fla-Flu at the Maracanã - 8 July 2021

I once criss-crossed swathes of South America for four months by road, rail, and on water, with some flights in-between travelling from place-to-place, city-to-city, and country-to-country. The overwhelming impression you get of South America is one of diversity followed by its scale, it’s huge; Argentina is the eight-largest country in the