Our climate seems to be made up of tiny ecosystems, with fixed boundaries between each that rarely change. Going home from work to the small country townlet where I lived, I could sometimes drive through pouring, blinding rain on the south bound side of the highway, while the north bound lane was tinder dry.
There is even a corner of one back road between two towns that everyone knew as ‘the corner where the twisters cross”. We don’t have huge twisters in Oz, but little ‘willy-willys’ about a metre [one yard] wide would sometimes build and head in a predictable path through this particular spot.
Australia’s latest bad drought cycle lasted 12 years, from 1995-2007.
[I guess your opinion about how long depends which part of the country you live in, or how many different articles you Google. But I think most of us agree it was exceptionally dry for a very long time.]
During those drought years that I was living in NE Vic, I could see, time after time, low, heavy, filthy black rain crowds approach my house, suddenly skirt the townlet, and then move on to dump their load 8 kilometres away.
It was an area that still has a reasonable amount of the right eucalypts to support koala colonies. It’s one thing to see Australian fauna in a zoo, and quite another to get into a car and drive 3 kms up into some hills where one could always spot a koala or two snoozing in the forks of trees.
Like most of Australia’s “cuties”, koalas are nocturnal. I can be fairly tolerant of outsiders having no idea, but it always ticked me off to see tourists excitedly pulling and rocking on branches hoping a koala would “perform” for them so they could get some good pictures.
The “factory” where I worked in a larger town consisted of a series of huge old corrugated iron sheds [with asbestos sheet roofing, of course]. Some of the sheds had entire walls of louvre windows, for which we were grateful about 3 months of the year.
We were supposed to leave work if the temperature reached 40 degrees [104 F] outside, but when you are working at the end of a foam injection moulding line, the temperature inside might be 45  before the manager even bothered to hand out lemon flavoured icypoles [popsicles] to keep up morale.
Even without the heat, half the poor workers were exhausted because male koalas during the mating season make incredibly loud grunting noises – often outside bedroom windows.
It’s long been disappointing that one day, when a male koala was seen outside the front door of the factory office, no one had a camera. Unusual enough it was there in the day time, but the poor thing looked like it had been through the dryer at the local laundrette – is just sat on the ground swaying. Somebody provided a bowl of water which he gratefully guzzled down, before wandering off like a drunk to find a comfortable looking tree.
The first clip above was Uploaded by mmajor123 on 27 Feb 2009
with the following story attached:
South Australia has had a three-year drought and as a result eucalypt leaves lose much of their moisture. Koalas normally get enough water from eating leaves but lately it's been too hot so koalas have been coming to homes looking for water. This wild koala first came to our house during an extreme heat wave (see A Thirsty Koala). Three weeks later it got hot again and he came back looking much more lively.