For decades climate change was confined to gloomy prognoses and apocalyptic warnings, but in Australia’s drought-stricken east it has become a brutal reality threatening the much-mythologised Outback way of life.
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As Australians head to the polls this week after the country’s hottest-ever summer, outback farmers — walloped by epic fires, floods and heatwaves — are leading the fight against climate change, making it one of the election’s key issues.
Fred Brophy runs a boxing troupe — the last in Australia and one of the few left worldwide — travelling to outback towns where someone’s always up for a fight. Back in the 1930s to 1950s, such tents were a fixture at country fairs and agricultural shows in the major cities but health and safety concerns led most states and territories to ban the travelling show, apart from Queensland and the Northern Territory.