Five years too soon
The Ross family’s Australia trip is situated against a past of danger and a near future of more comfortable roads.
The past is represented by a letter from the last century about the tearful farewell of a family leaving Sydney for the Blue Mountains. Ross is baffled “that a journey to the Blue Mountains, deemed a life-threatening adventure a hundred years ago, is today a weekend outing” [p. 172]. Ross uses similar rhetoric for his own trips and repeatedly hints at a near future when traveling will be more effortless than what he experienced: “Once again, we observed that we had come to Australia five years too soon”, he writes apropos a broad, new road being built between Sydney and his destination, Newcastle.
In the case of the Ross family, this route is determined not only by comfort, but also by the likelihood of finding noteworthy places and people to write about and film. In Australia, Ross explains, “everything that is interesting and beautiful, for the quill as for film, is placed along the coast”. [p. 171] Like vacationers on a road trip travelogue manufacturers need to strike a balance between the available budget and a sufficient number of attractions to make the trip worth their (and, in this case, their financiers’) while.
Colin Ross. Von Sydney nach Newcastle. In: Der unvollendete Kontinent. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1930; 171–3, 168 verso.