Sea change: New Zealanders take to the water as Covid restricts holiday horizons

Boating boom hits as closed borders force New Zealanders to explore closer to home Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Before the pandemic Bruce Goodchild split his time between Australia, his home country, and New Zealand’s far north, where his work and family are based. When travel restrictions stopped him from skipping […]

‘A spoilt brat country’: the Australians overseas who decided not to come home

While hundreds of thousands of Australians returned in 2020, and thousands more struggled to, most expatriates stayed put – here some share why Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the foreign affairs department estimated there were about one million Australians living overseas at any given time. This year, between March and October about 398,000 Australians forked out […]

Liveblogging the pandemic: ‘The heroes of our blog are the readers’

After almost 12 months of charting developments as Covid sweeps the world, I look forward to better news next year Join the million-plus people supporting independent Guardian journalism In February this year, when I was offered the job of liveblogger and reporter on the Guardian’s foreign desk in Australia, my boss told me to read […]

Northern lights photographer of the year – in pictures

The northern lights season runs from September to April in the northern hemisphere and the southern lights put on a show between March and September in the southern hemisphere. A selection of the best images of the natural phenomena has been curated by Capture the Atlas photography blog, featuring photographers from Finland, Norway, Iceland and […]

Deported to danger and death: Australia returns people to violence and persecution

Asylum seekers forcibly returned to their home countries have faced arrest and threats. Some have died Interactive timeline: what happened to every person caught up in Australia’s offshore processing regime Revealed: 1,500 people in limbo under Australia’s ‘bizarre and cruel’ refugee deterrence policy They came for him, as he had said they would. They came […]

Cutting waste: how a salon recycles 67 bags of hair

Australia’s hairdressers are getting serious about recycling, using clippings for compost, turning bottles into eyewear, and keeping bleach out of the drain I’m at the salon and the hairdresser is talking rubbish. To be precise, she’s telling me exactly how much waste her salon recycles: last year it was 1.25 tonnes, the weight of a […]

Sleeping on the job: how a quick nap makes us more efficient

While working from home have you had a cheeky nap? Don’t feel guilty. Research shows a brief kip boosts productivity. But will it catch on in the office? Naps need to hire a publicist. Not in China, where desk-side snoozes are a constitutional right; Japan, where inemuri (“sleeping while present”) is a sign you’ve been […]

Michel Faber: ‘Under the Skin changed my life for good’

The author reflects on the sense of alienation that informed his first novel, and the book’s lasting message of moral responsibility In 1993, I emigrated from a big, thriving, multicultural city in Australia to a failing farm in the tranquil isolation of the Scottish Highlands. The culture shock made me feel as if I’d landed […]

‘Heartbreaking end to a life’: alleged domestic violence deaths in Australia in 2020

This is a list of women who have died in Australia this year in a domestic setting or allegedly at the hands of someone they knew. The deaths of some of the victims identified below are still under investigation and many of the cases are the subject of active criminal proceedings which means we cannot […]

Australia’s delivery deaths: the riders who never made it and the families left behind

Three food delivery riders recently died on the job, and their families are left with uncertain futures, and many questions Chow Khai Shien died three days before the Melbourne lockdown lifted, holding someone else’s food. He had been in Australia for five years, having arrived from Malaysia at the age of 31. First he was […]

‘I ache for Australia – no internet connection on earth can replace my connection to country’

Facing down nostalgia and other pandemic demons, Kate Guest is learning to make peace with her identity I was visiting my boyfriend in country Victoria for the weekend. We’d been to the footy and the pub, and now we were in his parents’ living room watching 60 Minutes, like they always did on Sunday nights. […]

Green giants: the massive projects that could make Australia a clean energy superpower

The Asian Renewable Energy Hub would have an energy content equivalent to 40% of Australia’s overall electricity generation The world’s largest power station is planned for a vast piece of desert about half the size of greater suburban Sydney in Australia’s remote north-west. Called the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, its size is difficult to conceptualise. […]

A shoo-in for Shane Ritchie? The 2020 I’m a Celebrity contestants – ranked

Beverley Callard! Victoria Derbyshire! And, er, Jordan North! As I’m a Celebrity returns, this time to Wales, here are the campmates in order of probable success This year’s series of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! will be the most unusual yet, with Covid restrictions preventing the show from taking place in […]

In plain sight: how an alleged Chinese spy tried to build an Australian business empire

When Chunsheng Chen departed Australia last year after being publicly outed as a suspected Communist party operative, he left several threads behind that have baffled authorities As the private plane circled western New South Wales, where Australia’s lush seaboard makes way for its dusty heart, the men on board were keen to make a deal. […]

How doughnuts became Australia’s symbol of Covid hope

The sweet treat has become shorthand for no new cases and no new deaths from coronavirus – creating a hunger for the real thing Australia news live: Victoria reports sixth day with no Covid cases In March daily images of empty supermarket shelves conjured dread as toilet paper and pantry supplies were stockpiled across the […]

Wombats’ deadly bums: how they use their ‘skull-crushing’ rumps to fight, play and flirt

Research offers insights into marsupial’s rearguard defences and ‘brutal’ mating rituals Australia is known for its strange and deadly wildlife, with plenty of attention given to venomous snakes and bird-eating spiders. But it seems one terrifying aspect of outback fauna has been thoroughly ignored: the wombat’s deadly bum. The rump of the wombat is hard […]

‘A totally different way of dressing’: Carla Zampatti on her three most useful objects

A less-intense schedule has had some surprising upsides for one of Australia’s most respected fashion designers This year Carla Zampatti is celebrating her 55th year in the fashion industry. Though the doyenne of Australian fashion has spent far more time at home than is typical lately, she has been busy designing collections for the label […]

Global survey shows widespread disapproval of Covid response

People in most of 25 countries think governments failed to act well or quickly Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage People in most of 25 countries around the world think governments and leaders failed to respond either well or fast enough to the coronavirus crisis, a new global survey shows. YouGov’s globalism […]

A double edged sword: hopes and fears for children as fast internet reaches Pacific

New fibre-optic cables to Pacific islands have been cautiously welcomed amid warnings over harassment and violence linked to online platforms From the narrow bay of Sydney’s Tamarama Beach, a cable twice as thick as garden hose, carrying optic fibre thinner than human hair, stretches along the ocean floor linking Australia to Papua New Guinea and […]

Getting out of town: Australians rush to rent in the regions

Australia’s housing market is being turned on its head by Covid-19, with fierce competition for regional rentals as city properties stand empty A “no vacancy sign” has been hung over regional Australia, as the coronavirus crisis sparks an exodus of city dwellers seeking lower-cost housing or a lifestyle change in the country or on the […]

Viv Albertine: ‘I’ve done everything bad I wanted to do. There’s only boring stuff left’

The musician and writer on body hair, DIY shows and what she wishes she’d told her mother Born in Australia, Viv Albertine, 65, was guitarist and songwriter in the all-female punk band the Slits from 1977 to 1982. She went on to become a film and TV director. In 2012, she released a solo album, […]

‘Brain fog’: the people struggling to think clearly months after Covid

Doctors grapple for answers as more patients report post-coronavirus cognitive impairment Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage For Mirabai Nicholson-McKellar, Covid-19 brought an onslaught of symptoms from chest pains to an 11-day migraine, three positive test results, and a period in hospital. Seven months later, the rollercoaster is far from over: the […]

Sun, sand and coronavirus: Australia aims to enforce a Covid-safe summer

Surf lifesavers will minimise contact with beachgoers but authorities worry about repeated scenes of overcrowding As temperatures rise and state borders ease, Australians are looking forward to getting back to the beach for daily swimming and domestic holidays. Warmer weather in the autumn was a pressure test of the public’s ability to adhere to Covid-19 […]

From boom to despair: Sydney’s west to suffer Covid symptoms ‘for generations’

Before the pandemic the region was looking up but the weak local jobs market will ensure it faces tough times for decades Before the coronavirus outbreak, there was a sense that western Sydney – despite its challenges – was on the up. With a booming population, it had become the third biggest economy in Australia, […]

Pasta and cream may be an Australian classic – but it has no place in a proper carbonara

Perhaps Australia’s most hybridised pasta dish, the secret to a properly rich and glossy carbonara lies in really good eggs Creamy pasta dishes are an elemental feature of Australia’s regrettable food history. Once, we did not know there was any other sort. They usually featured mushrooms and ham or bacon, sometimes chicken or smoked salmon, […]

Welcome to my nightmare: researchers to investigate the strange world of Covid dreams

Vivid and more frequent dreams during the pandemic are not just a topic of idle chatter – cognitive neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers are also interested How Covid-19 is impacting people’s dreams is the subject of a study being run by a cross-disciplinary team of academics from Australia, the UK and Finland. “Pandemic dreams” are already […]

Chilling out: cold-water surfers in Australia – in pictures

Victoria’s coronavirus travel restrictions have meant the surfing community on Phillip Island have had the local beaches to themselves this past winter. While temperatures will rise with the onset of spring, these surfers brave chilly waters that plummet to 11C to find their own piece of isolation in the water. Photographer Alexandra Nielsen captured the […]

Experience: I thought I’d never meet my newborn son

Our baby was on the way when Thailand banned commercial surrogacy. Clinics were raided. Calls and emails went unanswered My husband and I were on holiday in Greece when the email arrived to tell us we were having a baby. Our surrogate was pregnant after the first embryo transfer. This was the news Bill and […]

Up to half of world’s water supply stolen annually, study finds

As water scarcity increases from factors including climate change, so do drivers of water theft, an ongoing problem in Australia Between 30% and 50% of the world’s water supply is stolen each year, mainly by agricultural interests and farmers, yet the crime itself is not well understood, a new international study led by the University […]