Once every so often, I fly to Australia to visit my family. I love seeing them. But the flight on both legs always leaves me exhausted. Twenty hours across time zones, in all weathers, takes its toll. Our capacity to cross space may be faster than ever. But distance still exerts its depleting effects. Geography, it seems, always finds a way to get its revenge. Historian Geoffrey Blainey was so taken by distance that he organised his interpretation of Australian history around it – the Tyranny of Distance.