Author: Catherine Marshall

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The life of a travel writer is all in the story

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 12 September 2017
    3 Comments

    The Nenet and Russian drivers in our convoy surveyed the scene nonchalantly. They smoked cigarettes and conversed. One of them waded into the water, ice-cold even though it was summer. Their jagged, strident Russian dialect swirled around us in an incomprehensible fog. What was going on? Would we make it across? Were we doomed? I wasn't concerned about any of these things. Indeed, I had never felt so relaxed in my life.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A world of majesty and cruelty

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 10 August 2017
    14 Comments

    We have just taken off from Dubai for St Petersburg. My son is marvelling at the immensity of Dubai’s airport—now officially the busiest in the world. We have stood on a bus—stifling, cramped—and boarded our air-conditioned connecting flight with a deep sense of relief. We have watched the planes lining up behind ours on the shimmering tarmac, and have noted the outside temperature flashing on the screen: 44 degrees Celsius. Thank God we’re getting out of here. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Jane Goodall's quest to stem the human plague

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 11 July 2017
    7 Comments

    Revered for her groundbreaking study of chimpanzees in Tanzania's Gombe Stream, Goodall has spent the past three decades travelling the world in an effort to alert its human inhabitants to the alarming news: we are destroying the planet. The message seems to have been lost on those in a position to halt the change, for research scientists have just reported that a mass extinction is currently underway, a biological annihilation in which billions of regional or local populations have already been lost.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The story of the dog who wouldn't be ours

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 14 June 2017
    11 Comments

    It was humiliating, being refused adoption at an animal shelter. But it was worse knowing, in the ensuing months, that there was a little dog out there, and lots more besides him, who was being withheld from a genuinely loving family simply because they had failed to meet unreasonable demands. We tried to find a suitable dog at other shelters, but the pickings were slim. And so we did the very thing the shelter that had refused our application railed against: we bought a puppy from a pet shop.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Anti-Muslim laptop ban won't make us more secure

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 17 May 2017
    13 Comments

    Australia should think carefully about adopting a ban that singles out Muslim majority countries under the guise of keeping its citizens safe. While it might make sense to ban potential bomb-carrying devices on flights from those countries where terrorist groups tend to be based, in reality it negatively profiles these countries and, more oppressively, the people who come from them. This is precisely the kind of dog whistle politics the likes of Trump and Hanson have engaged in.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Citizenship changes make a new enemy of the migrant

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 23 April 2017
    16 Comments

    Australia has long had a successful migration program, and the country's economic success is proof of this. So when Turnbull calls a press conference to impart the news that 'membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia', he is making a redundant point. The vast majority of migrants and new citizens already do this.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The wondrous life and death of Japanese cherry blossoms

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 19 April 2017
    4 Comments

    Cherry blossom season in Japan is anticipated all winter long but when it arrives it is nothing more than a tease. It is a kind of new year, a starting over, a washing clean of the slate and beginning afresh. But these blossoms hold in their being the promise of death. 'With cherry blossoms, we start things over,' translates my guide, from a haiku. 'And we find beauty not only in the cherry blossoms but also in how they flutter to the ground.' It's from that fluttering that we derive the most valuable of lessons.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    People's stories animate the landscapes in which we travel

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 28 March 2017
    6 Comments

    In the past two weeks I've met a man who crossed the Andes on foot, horse, bicycle, car and even rollerblades. I've trekked with a mountain guide to a rocky outcrop upon which he was due to marry his fiancé the following weekend, before abseiling down it with her. I've stood in a forest with a woman who came here in the hope of finding the perfect plot of land. Landscapes have a profound effect on the traveller, but it's their inhabitants who evoke for us the soul of a place far more effectively.

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  • MEDIA

    Sports Illustrated's plus-sized push is deeply sexist

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 23 February 2017
    3 Comments

    Women everywhere are celebrating Sports Illustrated's 2017 Swimsuit Edition for including among the innumerable images of slender young models a picture of a voluptuous woman wearing a bikini which doesn't conceal the stretch-marks on her stomach. This is Denise Bidot - a so-called plus-sized model, though probably average-sized in reality. This response is problematic, for it salutes a publication that objectifies women for widening the definition of those it is willing to objectify.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trump moves against vulnerable women

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 24 January 2017
    30 Comments

    No-one doubted Trump's ascendancy would deeply fracture the world as we know it. But few of us could have anticipated the swiftness with which his orders would impact some of the world's most disadvantaged citizens: vulnerable, impoverished women. With just one signature, the newly-installed president snatched from these women access to services that are essential to their physical and mental wellbeing and their economic prospects - and, in so doing, endangering countless lives.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elderly tourists on border control hit list

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 07 December 2016
    22 Comments

    What does it take to secure room at Australia's inn? For the refugee, it's virtually impossible, with a fraction of the many millions of displaced people in the world granted entry into this privileged country each year. Those who immigrate here, like my own family did, must engage in an expensive and convoluted process. But the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has now subjected a third group of people to its program of suspicion and inhospitality: elderly tourists.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Children are the yardsticks of our mortality

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 10 November 2016
    5 Comments

    One minute you're escorting your five-year-old daughter to the school gate, the next you're popping a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and wondering where the last 17 years went. My grandmother told me children age you. I thought she meant they wore you down, put grey hairs on your head. But I understood after I'd become a parent myself. Children are hour glasses that cannot be laid on their sides for even a moment, but must be turned over as soon as the last grain of sand has fallen through the flue.

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