For so long as I can remember, Darwin has been a cosmopolitan small city. Of Australia’s capital cities it has the highest fraction of people born overseas. In particular there are large contingents of Darwinites from south east asia.
I saw this item in on the NT News website about Darwin’s burgeoning Indian community getting called by their relatives in the old country. This part struck me first:
Territory residents have had to explain how Darwin is actually a long way from Melbourne, where a series of attacks on people of Indian heritage has led to threats of reprisals from extremists in India.
I was tempted to make a snide comment, but in fairness I don’t know any Indian geography. I know that they have cities called Mumbai and Dehli, but I wouldn’t know where to point to on a map of India. So I can understand the confusion about Darwin and Melbourne.
This part rang true:
While Indian media has been attacking Australia over the bashings, Dr Sharma saw positives in the situation for the Territory – particularly for attracting Indian students to Charles Darwin University, where he works.
“I guess there will be positive spinoffs if Darwin is seen as a safe place,” he said.
He’s right. Charles Darwin University is still a small underachiever in Australia’s education market. Part of this is the simple realities of being in a remote capital and having a poor reputation. It doesn’t help that the administration is so Kafkaesque at times. But it already attracts a lot of students from overseas and a bit of carefully targeted advertising in India might attract some more. Perhaps they could link up with the local Indian community to work out how best to go about it.