Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
December 2022
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Matters of scale

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages—for ME, not just the blog—and so, in typical fashion, I have decided to do it right in the middle of 1,001 far more important tasks associated with my impending move.

One of the things that I have struggled with in Melbourne—even after nearly 13 years of living here—is just how big it is. It is a sprawling city of 4 million people, spread across hundreds of suburbs. Coming from little Hobart—with its population of 200,000 or so and a list of suburbs I just about knew by heart and could count on my fingers and toes (well, not exactly, but nearly)—it was a bit of a shock to encounter a metropolis where you could drive for 1.5 hours and still be stuck in it. I just haven’t been able to get my head around the changes in scale, and now I’m going to have to make the reverse adjustment as I return to Hobart, which many have likened to an overgrown country town.

So, for once and for all, I have decided to try to make sense of the change of scale (I love Google maps): the first map below is part of Melbourne (I didn’t include it all, and there’s probably as much again that would be considered part of Melbourne); the second is all of Hobart and its surrounding countryside, presented at the same scale. (I hope the images aren’t too big for those of you with small/low resolution screens).

Yep, this confirms what I suspected: Melbourne is big, and Hobart is small!


5 comments to Matters of scale

  • Linda

    But you can get from one side of the Hobart map to the other much much quicker than you can on the Melbourne one. And we may be small, but we’re beautifully formed and most of those suburbs have wonderful views of mountain/water/bush or all three!

    • Helen

      That’s part of what adds to my sense of disconcertedness. It’s as if there is a weird spatial-temporal warp between the two places: same distances mean different times, same times mean different distances. I still mess up my estimation of both times and distances when I am going anywhere here, because I still keep trying to reconcile everything against my sense-of-Hobart. And … ahh, yes, the views! I’ve missed being able to just glance up at the mountain …

  • 200,000 is about the size of St. John’s/Mt. Pearl, right? That’s a nice size.

    • Helen

      My gut instinct would have put Hobart as being a smidge bigger, although I think I may be picturing only St John’s; Wikipedia suggests you’re right. Definitely a nice size.

  • I’d love to see Hobart–
    Melbourne is TOO HUGE…4 MILLION people huddled into the city? My mind boggles.

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