What is it, to see history repeating? I suspect I recently stumbled across a personal example of this phenomenon. You see, I live in a little town called Mackay in North Queensland. Historically, Mackay was like most towns in this region. It relied on primary industry to survive. Cane farms, sugar mills, cattle properties—these were the town’s driving industries.
But by the year 2000, a mighty industry came to town. Mining. It wasn’t entirely new—the gold rush era of the 1800s had seen mining towns pop up, thrive, and die throughout our region. But this time it wasn’t gold that drove a new mining boom. It was coal.
My family and I lived through this coal boom. Housing prices rose sky high, new businesses popped up to support the mines, a mass of people moved into town, and the money rolled in. A lot of other ‘mining town’ elements moved in as well. The long-standing residents, who were mostly multi-generational conservative families, did battle against the establishment of strip joints, brothels, and the town suffered an increase in drug and alcohol related violence.
But like all mining booms, the frenzy eventually subsided, and in the last four years, the boom has become a bust for many. Falling coal prices and an international slowdown in demand has contributed to the downturn. Now the miners and their families have left town, many businesses have closed up shop, and we who were here before are left to make sense of the town once more.
I gained further perspective of this repetition of history when I took my son and step-daughter to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, Victoria. This is a gold mining town reconstructed to 1800s gold rush-era standards. It transports the visitor back in time in an effort to experience what life was like back in the “glory” days of gold.
What I found most strange about our visit to this historic-themed town was that the rise and fall of Sovereign Hill was much like the rise and fall of my town, Mackay. The whiff of riches inspired many to flock to Sovereign Hill and to Mackay. They rode the wave of fortune, and rode the same wave out when the gold dried up. What they left behind were communities with an identity crisis, and residents who needed to develop a new state of normal. The glory days were over, and Sovereign Hill, like Mackay, was a small town again.
But we are a lucky town. There were plenty of towns that didn’t make it, like Mount Britton. In the gold rush era, this town was a big deal. When the gold ran out, the town died. It never recovered, and to this day, it’s nothing more than a flat piece of land, a few headstones, and street signs to nowhere.
History repeating doesn’t just apply to mining towns. As I study my Bible I see the effects of this phenomena of rising and falling. The mighty civilisations that were, then weren’t. I wonder at these great cities. I am sure that those who lived in them had a sense of security. Their money flowed, and their power increased as they won battles and fought wars. Like mining towns, they thrived. The people in them rode the waves of success. They thought themselves invincible, safe, secure.
So the question I ask you, reader, is this: are you living in a civilization in decline? Are you thinking peace, security, safety? Do you think we’ll never end? We have the weapons. We have the power. We have the democracy.
Or, like these towns that profit and fall, are we sitting pretty, waiting for the historic axe to fall? Is the big wheel turning and history simply repeating?
While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NIV)
I don’t want to indulge in doomsday prophecies, but I also can’t help but wonder what it is like to be in decline. What are the signs? Would we know them, even if we were living in the midst of them?
I wonder at our state as the moral fibre of our western culture is tested, stretched, and twisted, and the emphasis on lifestyle, money, and possessions is seen by so many as paramount to our happiness. I look back at history and I can’t help but wonder: are we in a constant state of history repeating?
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (NIV)
First seen in Book Fun Magazine: https://www.bookfun.org/
Rose was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her Resolution series.
Two of the three Resolution novels have won Australian CALEB awards. She has also released The Greenfield Legacy, a collaborative novel highlighting the pain of Australia’s past policy of forced adoption, as well as standalone novel, Ehvah After. Her most recent release is the novella, A Christmas Resolution.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and her desire to produce stories that point readers to Jesus. Rose holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband and son.