Oceania (Health Conditions)

Health conditions vary greatly within the many countries of Oceania. Infant mortality, a good measure of the general health status of a population, ranges from 7 ‰ in Hawaii and below 20 ‰ in New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Guam, Fiji and American Samoa to over 50 ‰ in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Similarly, life expectancy is only about 60 years in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, but over 70 years in Hawaii, New Caledonia, Guam, American Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia and Palau according to Countryaah.

In the most disadvantaged countries in Oceania, the disease pattern is characterized by inadequate nutrition and infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections and intestinal worms. Outside urban areas lacking 2/3 of the population have access to safe drinking water, while 3/4 not have health safe disposal of waste water and latrine.

In other countries, diet and lifestyle have changed in a westerly direction. This has led to a sharp increase in the incidence of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus (diabetes), atherosclerosis and heart disease as well as alcohol and drug abuse. Nauru is a frightening picture of how particularly vulnerable populations exposed to Western abundance can fare. Mainly due to too fat and too plentiful diet and lack of exercise, more than 70% of Nauruan are severely overweight and 40% have diabetes.

Uptake of radioactive iodine compounds from nuclear tests has in some places increased the population’s risk of diseases of the thyroid gland, including cancer.

Australian Architecture

Australia’s indigenous people, the Australians, have been migratory hunters for millennia, building simple screen huts of bark and branches. The continent’s oldest known permanent buildings were created by Europeans, mainly Englishmen, during the colonial period of 1788 – c. 1850. Good access to suitable land and British colonial tradition from other continents were factors that led to the construction of large farms with spacious, single-family dwellings. These were often fitted with stately portico and the characteristic wide porches of Australian architecture under large roofs, usually supported by slender, Doric columns. Preserved examples of such buildings are Elizabeth Farm in Parramatta (1790s) and Fernhill Farm in Mulgoa (1842). The colonial period’s public construction was primarily focused on Australia’s function as a penal colony; it was dominated by barracks, churches, prisons, courthouses, etc., characterized by high technical and aesthetic quality and the English Georgian architectural ideal. The first architect of the period was former prisoner Francis Greenway, primarily active in New South Wales. erected the Hyde Park Barracks prison in central Sydney (1817-19). John Verge designed several large farm buildings. Mortimer W. Lewis designed the Darlinghurst Courthouse (circa 1840) in Sydney, one of Australia’s few new antique buildings. In Tasmania, the Irish architect John Lee Archer, who among other things worked erected Saint George’s Church outside Hobart (1837–38). Nygotics was introduced in Australia by Edmund T. Blacket with his Christ Church in Geelong (1844) and with Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, begun as early as 1837 and completed by Blacket 1845-70.

The gold rush in Australia during the second half of the 19th century stimulated construction. As in Europe, the architecture of Australia during this period was characterized by the language of historicism, mainly neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance. In Melbourne, William W. Wardell erected the government building in the Italian Renaissance (1871–76) and the neo-Gothic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (1858–99, completed in 1927). Wardell also designed Australia’s largest cathedral, Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney (1865–99, completed in 1940).

The close contacts with England meant that a number of buildings were designed by prominent British architects; William Butterfield designed the plan for the Anglican Saint Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne (begun in 1877) and John Loughborough Pearson designed Saint John’s Cathedral in Brisbane, with one of Australia’s most beautiful neo-Gothic interiors (begun in 1887).

Neo-classicalism characterized both Victoria’s parliament building in Melbourne (1856-1930), designed by Peter Kerr and John George Knight, as well as the library building in the same city (begun in 1854), designed by the prolific Joseph Reed. James J. Barnet, the leading neo-Renaissance architect in Australia in the late 19th century, designed the headquarters office in Sydney (begun 1865).

The porch returned during the gold rush in the town’s townhouses. Several residential areas were designed with terrace houses fitted with richly decorated cast iron railings around the veranda. Well-preserved examples are Paddington in Sydney and Parkville in Melbourne.

The abrupt end of the gold rush in the early 1890s dampened construction in Australia. After the federal state formation in 1901, the architects sought expression of a national identity in early colonial construction. Representatives of this national direction were among others. Robin Dods with Tamrookum Church in Beaudesert (1915), Hardy Wilson, Australia’s first architectural historian, with Eryldene House in Sydney (1912-14) and Harold Desbrowe Annear with a couple of villas in Melbourne.

Influences from the United States, especially from Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School, influenced Australian architecture of the 1910s. This not least through Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahony, who after winning the competition for the planning of the new federal capital Canberra emigrated from the United States to Australia. One of Griffin’s works is Newman College in Melbourne (1915-17).

After the Second World War, many Australian architects joined the ideals of modernism. Among the leading architects is Frederick Romberg, German educated and moved to Australia in 1939. designed the Stanhill Flats residential building in southern Melbourne (1942–50), Harry Seidler, pupil of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, who erected several buildings for industry and commerce, including the office tower on Australia Square in Sydney (1961-67), and Roy Grounds, which designed the Victorian Art Center in Melbourne (1965–81).

Scandinavian architecture has also given impetus to modern Australian construction; The Mercy Hospital in Melbourne (1935–38) by Arthur Stephenson was designed with Alvar Aalto’s sanatorium in Pemar as a clear example. Australia’s most famous modern building, the Sydney Opera House (1957-73), was designed by Danish Jørn Utzon, who won the international competition.

1980s Australian architects have drawn inspiration and ideas from older indigenous colleagues such as Robin Dods, Hardy Wilson and Harold Desbrowe Annear. In this nationally oriented architecture, the veranda has gained new importance and popularity. Examples are Short House in Kempsey, New South Wales (1975, 1981) by Glenn Murcutt and Andrews House in Eugowra, New South Wales (1980) by John Andrews. Other prominent architects in Australia are Daryl Jackson. designed the Hyatt Hotel Canberra in the capital Canberra, and Philip Cox, who designed the National Athletics Stadium in Bruce (1981). Australia’s new Parliament House in Canberra (completed in 1988) was designed by the internationally active architectural team Mitchell / Giurgola & Thorp after a contest in 1979.

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