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We want to hear from Australian letter readers


The Australian letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australian office. Register to receive it by email. This week’s issue is written by Natasha Frost, a journalist in Melbourne.

The Australia Letter recently celebrated its sixth anniversary. In more than 300 issues, we’ve shared stories from our reporting trips, offered local recommendations and served up slices of life down under.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about writing this newsletter is hearing from you – Aussies in Australia; Australians are no longer in Australia; New Zealanders at home or away; and the many Times readers who are curious about a different way of life, or who may have had the pleasure of spending time in Australia or New Zealand.

We try to write for all of you. (We use American English. Sorry about that.) And you usually let us know what you think we got right or where you disagree, often with the characteristic candor of the antipodes. We read each of these emails.

Today we look inward and call on you, all of you! — again, to tell us: What would you like to see more of in this newsletter? Are there any stories from Australia and New Zealand that you think the world should know about?

For newcomers to the Australian letter, or people who want to refresh their memory, a few introductions.

Damien Cave, our office manager since 2017, is based in Sydney. This newsletter is now primarily written by me – Natasha Frost, in Melbourne – and Yan Zhuang, a journalist in Sydney. Between us, we form the office. From time to time, you can expect guests from other Times contributors from across the region.

Damien has been in Sydney for so long that his children are now explaining cricket to him and sounding Australian. Yan is a longtime Sydneysider who recently returned from Melbourne. And I grew up in New Zealand and have lived in Melbourne since 2021.

Because Australia and New Zealand are our home, it can be nice to remember things about the region that surprise newcomers.

Earlier this year, I caught up with Times sports writer Matthew Futterman while covering the Australian Open. He was struck, he told me, by two things: that no one seems to pay for the tram and that locals seem to take the wealth of clean, beautiful, cheap public swimming pools for granted.

My brother-in-law, who has been visiting from Britain for a month, made a different observation: Aussies just seem happier than his friends back home. (For what it’s worth, Australia ranks 12th among the most satisfied countries in the world, while Britain is 19th.)

These thoughts stopped me in my tracks. We hope the newsletter can do something similar for Australians and New Zealanders, and serve as a window into how the world sees you and where you live. Our goal is to do what many readers have been asking us to do since we opened the desktop: add perspective.

Australia and New Zealand are relatively peaceful, stable and wealthy countries. That doesn’t mean they’re simple or unimportant, or that they don’t have their own share of difficulties. But that means we sometimes have more room for the good news – stories about the quirks of Australian English; custom showers for Melbourne bats; or a quest to save a rare turtle, to name three recent examples.

You can expect more of those in this newsletter. But what else would you like to see? And what have you liked so far?

We know, for example, that you would like to read more stories outside of Melbourne and Sydney. We are working on it and welcome specific suggestions. But would you like to hear about books, TV, movies or other local content? Explanations on how we report the stories we make? Q&A with leading Australian thinkers? Or something else entirely?

Ideally, we’d like the Aussie letter to be something you look forward to – the Friday dessert at the end of the working week meal. For this reason, we try to keep it short and conversational, and reserve our in-depth analysis or more rigorous investigations for articles that end up appearing in the newspaper. (You can sign up here, if you haven’t already.)

Let us know what we miss and send your thoughts to NYTAustralia@nytimes.com. And thank you to those who have been reading this newsletter for a long time, and to those who have just subscribed. It’s great to have you with us.

Now on to the stories of the week.

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