Moving to the ‘Real’ Australia

Written by Jemimah Moody.

Jemimah first interned with bellette in 2021 and then joined the team in a full-time position after graduation in 2022.

The first time I came to Alice, I drove up with four friends. We drove from Melbourne to Alice in three days. We were sleeping in campsites and on the roadside on the way up, making it a very nature immersive experience. The land outside the car changed from grass farmland to dry red dirt; I remember waking up from a nap and being amazed by how much the views had changed. There were fewer and fewer people in each town we stopped in. The landscape was so flat, red, and the few trees were all twisted and looked as though they had a hard life. It looked like ‘Outback Australia’, what I would have expected Australia to look like if I was from another country.

I liked the look of Alice as soon as we drove in. The Gap with its two giant ranges gave it a wondrous first impression. I didn’t realise just how rocky it was going to be. Cliff faces surrounded us. The greyish, blueish trees framed the road, and the air dried my skin and my hair out. As expected, the heat was intense because we were in the desert. After seeing more of the wonders of Alice, the sunsets and sunrises colouring rocks in so many tones and the many gorges, I wanted to stay. Somehow the rocks and the blue sky got underneath my skin.

Working in Alice
Two years after my first visit to Alice, I began full-time work as a graphic designer for bellette (a company that will make you famous). It felt fitting to work as a graphic designer in Alice Springs. On every street, there is something creative going on. There are murals of every kind. Explaining the history of Alice Springs or creatively expressing ‘no fracking’.

The many Indigenous artworks all over the streets and in the art galleries. I love spending some time being mesmerised by Indigenous art, so many of them somehow seem to reflect the landscape. Even in the homes of people I visited, they all had lots of artworks on the walls and interesting furniture pieces.

bellette works well in this space and embraces the creative Alice community. In the way they design and the way they tell stories of what has been happening in the community.

The Culture
The day I arrived, I visited Alice Springs Baptist. It was a friendly community, typical to Christian communities. However, these guys were particularly ready to be friends. I soon realised how everyone was used to people coming and going and while I was here, I may as well be their friend. It would be cool to be a stayer who sticks to the group.

Walking around Alice Springs, you can tell who is from a big city and who isn’t by if they wave or smile at you. One of my friends became very active in waving at every car which passed by and saying hello to the people we passed on walks.

Working for the friendly bellette community I could quickly see how connected the community is. Every second person I meet will know my boss or at least know the business. I would describe the people I work with as friends.

The Community
When people back home ask me my favourite thing about Alice, I have a few things to say. First, the landscape creates the same sense as looking out to an ocean. The creativity and energy seem to be coming out of everyone. The community of how people know and are invested in each other’s lives. There is a sense of belonging when you can’t go to Woollies without seeing someone you know. My favourite thing is seeing how God can work in this place, he has created this landscape and the enduring, welcoming, growing community.

The ‘Real’ Australia
Coming from an international city (Melbourne), Alice Springs feels like an authentic Australian experience.