Australia's natural beauty captures an Indian heart

Australia's natural beauty captures an Indian heart

Australia's natural beauty captures an Indian heart

Updated 31 January 2014, 15:19 AEDT

On Australia Day and India’s Republic Day, an Indian wildlife filmmaker shares his impressions of the people, places, plants and animals of Australia.

Amoghavarsha J S arrived in Australia in January 2013 with an inquisitive mind, an open heart and an optimistic attitude. He was determined to experience everything the island-continent had to offer.
 
Amogh is a wildlife photographer and filmmaker. He was one of fifteen young Indian leaders who were selected to attend the 2013 Australia India Youth Dialogue, an annual conference that provides an opportunity to a diverse group of young people from both countries to engage in a formal dialogue and discussions with influential leaders in Australia and India.
 
At the end of the conference, Amogh decided to backpack and travel across the country to experience life in Australia - meet people, connect with communities and explore the landscape and scenery.
 
“I wanted to experience the country and tell the story of what I saw. It has been a dream of mine for a very long time to go to the Great Barrier Reef so I was fortunate enough to experience it."
 
Amogh says another highlight was visiting the pristine cool-temperate Tarkine rainforest in the island state of Tasmania. While there he worked with Greg Irons, a wildlife rescuer and director of the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Greg was Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year 2012.  
 
Amogh says his experience travelling across the country defied some of the common perceptions of Australia in India. 
 
“One of the myths is about the attitude of Australians towards Indians. I did not have any negative experience and in fact I could connect with the people and loved their sense of humour. In my opinion racism is hyped to an extent.
 
“Secondly, Australia is often considered to be a luxury holiday destination but I feel backpacking is a real possibility. There are cheap travel options if you plan it in advance.”
 
Amogh was impressed by the Australian coastline, marine life and biodiversity.  He discovered India and Australia have a lot in common. The two countries share a national day; India’s Republic Day and Australia Day are both celebrated on the same day, 26th January.
 
He also observed that while Republic Day celebrations in India are a formal and solemn affair, Australia Day celebrations are much more informal and relaxed with a festive atmosphere all-around. But the sense of national pride that marks the day is same across the two countries. 
 
Australia and India also face shared challenges in environmental conservation including habitat loss and increasing pressure from the mining industry. In both countries enormous efforts are being made to protect their biodiversity. 
 
A year later Amogh has put together a montage of his journey through Australia to tell his story called One Australia
 
“Through my video I have tried to express the cross cultural connect between the two countries. This is my personal experience of Australia – how I saw Australia as a tourist.”
 
Amogh says he can sum up his journey and experiences through Australia in a single word  - ‘spectacular’. Clearly, Australia has left an impression on this young Indian filmmaker, who plans to continue his engagement with Australia in the area of environmental conservation.