25 days left, but I have been told to leave Ayr…

It happened a few weeks back on a Sunday in this very small farming town. Something that changed the mood and even made it onto international news sites, but not a claim to fame Ayr needs. Every little town wants to be placed on the map, but why anyone would want to be seen in a negative light is beyond me.

I was walking to Coles (a major Australian supermarket) from my hostel. A few minutes walk and because there is so little to do in Ayr, it is a trip I make everyday. It’s what we do in the working hostel. Make sure you don’t get enough food in for a couple of days because, well, how would we kill time after work? It sounds crazy, but it’s true.

I was walking down the street to the supermarket, it’s a straight road until you get to the car park. It’s a quick left at a building with blacked out windows, what this building is in not sure. I’m not even sure if it is occupied. 

Area in question. Who new this little area of the world would make headlines?

This is the poster in question. Warning, strong language.

There was in fact another poster a few steps up, however I don’t think it was appropriate to upload here. It was much more racist and I would probably have to blank out the majority of the poster. The funny thing is the choice of wording here. ‘Ayr is a backpacker free-zone.’

It really isn’t.

Ayr is a farming town like many others in rural Australia, heavily relying on backpackers to keep the industry moving. I assume the reason I have to do the 88 days of farm work to obtain a second year visa is due to a shortage of young people willing to work away from the cities. I don’t blame them, it really is something you have to have a passion for. If all the backpackers left Ayr overnight, they would be pretty screwed here. Most locals know this.

You can read a little more about this in articles over here at the relatively local SBS and the UK’s Daily Mail Online

Also, if I’m not of ‘Northern European descent’ I’m not welcome here. Well, I’m a backpacker of Northern European descent. So being British allows me to stay, but being a backpacker cancels it out. Confused? Yeah, me too.

The Mail Online article above is interesting as it talks of the backpackers that hit back at the posters. Also, the locals that disagree with such discrimination. I have to say, the locals have been lovely since I’ve been here. The hatred in the posters is not seen in the town. 

Don’t get me wrong, backpackers can be a troublesome bunch. I see working hostels as like being back at university. Young people working hard and partying hard. We are loud on the weekends when everyone meets for the bars to let off some steam generated by a week of long farm days. I can also see how much money goes into these bars, restaurants and hostels from the backpackers. It is a cycle that cannot afford to have a small minority of people breaking it up.

What are your thoughts on this? are you a backpacker or live in an area that is popular with them? Love them or hate them, they will never be as bad as the people that are capable of creating such hateful posters.

They will be happy I’m sure to know that I only have 25 days left.

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28 thoughts on “25 days left, but I have been told to leave Ayr…”

  1. This is terrible news! It saddens me to know that racism is getting worse even in small towns in Australia. My family who lives in Sydney told me that racism is very common there but mostly in those area where the rich people live. But nevertheless, it’s still unacceptable. I feel bad for my fellow Asian people who live there and maybe some of ’em who could hardly speak English. Just heartbreaking 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wouldn’t be able to comment on whether or not it is getting worse (I’ll leave that to Australians and the locals to consider as I have only been here a year) but yes it is indeed a shame. I have also heard of such posters being aimed at Asian people in Sydney, I try to see both sides of every argument as best I can, but racism is never acceptable in any form!


  2. We have transient people through my town all the time during the spring/summer months & don’t usually have any issue They come through to do the temporary jobs, farm/ranch work, to tree planting in the wilderness, etc. Some come to fight fires.

    I don’t understand why people have to be so hateful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. There isn’t a quick solution to this, but the more we are willing to talk and speak about our differences, the sooner we can remove the conflict from our lives. Posters won’t work!


  3. I’m so sorry about this. I hope you are not actually going to need to leave? I live in a small town with old roots (for the western US) near a large city (Seattle). There’s a very small minority of people that spew hateful things from time to time or drive through town with large flags or banners that stand for what the majority considers racist or hateful things. We live in the mountains, and people with such ideas often form small enclaves away from cities, so they’re nearby and raise their ugly heads occasionally. We also have more generally heard grumbling about the hikers and city people who inundate our town on the weekends and drive and park rudely and drive up the prices and waiting lines for our restaurants etc.
    But the vast majority of our town understand we need these people and their monetary support to have restaurants survive here at all. And most are glad that people from overcrowded areas are living healthier lives and restoring their mental health by enjoying the amazing natural beauty of the foothills and mountains that we’ve chosen to live in full time. We love the beauty and are glad to share it – it doesn’t belong to us, after all.
    The one good thing about when ignorant and hateful ideas are loudly expressed, is it gives opportunity for an outcry and reiteration of love and acceptance from those who do appreciate others in all of humanity’s wondrous and dear diversity. As long as the good majority is speaking up and acting against pettiness and hateful actions, there will be hope of love and justice for all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the benefit, when bigotry is present there is always a counter response. Most people here are great and although the posters showed up, we never feel unwanted here. It seems like it is a thing in small towns, I guess cities are just used to a more diverse population. Your part of the world sounds beautiful though! Thanks for your input on this.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Omg, Sam. I didn’t think Australia was like this. I loved Sydney when I went several years ago and even though I really wasn’t that impressed with Brisbane , folks were friendly. It’s sad that we have come to this in the world and it’s even sadder to see that the rest of the world has caught that United States disease being Stuck On Stupid. You’re giving yourself 25 days to leave this place? I’d be out if I could as soon as I saw some boo crap like that poster. I don’t go or stay where I’m not wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s sad. I never thought of all countries my own country USA would ever get to this point where everyone is disgusted with our policies, especially those countries that we considered allies.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Every country has its problems though, so you’re not alone in that! I know many Americans don’t agree with the policies that are being put in place, so the people shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of a few politicians.


    1. Despite the posters, I’ve never felt unwanted here. I know backpackers can be a pain but I can’t let one or two people that created these posters make me feel unwanted. I’m only staying to do my 88 days of farmwork and when I have done that I’m going to leave. Despite the hard work, I will miss this place. Believe it or not xD


  5. I can’t bring myself to like this post. I’m deeply saddened to hear this. It is an unfortunate ripple effect around the world where people misuse the meaning of ‘freedom of speech’. Some people regard this as carte blanche to express themselves at the basest level. I’ve come across really nice young people from all around the world, working on cattle stations and hospitality in the north of Western Australia. Love hearing their stories. Yes, they work hard and probably party harder, but then, it is their prerogative. Stay well and happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a shame this happened, but I remind myself that it was probably one person that stuck the poster up and it is easy to forget the hundreds of people in this town I have talked to that are lovely down to earth people. I personally love meeting people from all over the world, I’m glad you do too!


  6. I am horrified but not surprised at this behaviour. Ayr was my hometown, and whilst I saw a lot kindness and neighbourliness growing up, racism was always present. Unfortunately, due to lack of exposure, it is engrained in small towns. Know overall, the presence of backpackers is most welcome! I apologise for the small minority that refuses to understand the beauty of difference and I hope, overall, you experienced more kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s cool that you are from Ayr! I grew up in a very similar environment, a small rural town. Like Ayr, the majority of the people are nice and it is important for us to remember that 🙂


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