Image: Channel 7
Schapelle Corby is expected to fly back to Australia any day now, after spending nearly 13 years in Indonesia, serving time as a convicted drug smuggler. Her parole period officially ends on May 27th.
However, the Australia she's returning to is a very different place to the Australia she left on October 8th 2004.
There was no such thing as the iPhone, that was still 3 years away. Everyone carried a Nokia, and they were only used for talking and texting (plus a cheeky game of snake). As for Facebook, that didn't exist either. The term "social media" was barely whispered, and everyone cared about their friends ranking on MySpace.
WHO WERE THE BIG NAMES?
2004 was the year Aussie model Jennifer Hawkins was crowned Miss Universe, and Steve Irwin was still alive! He made headlines by feeding a crocodile at Australia Zoo while holding his newborn son Bob. John Howard was still our Prime Minister back then. Canberra has seen 5 leadership changes in the meantime.
WHAT WERE WE WATCHING AND LISTENING TO?
No one had a clue who Justin Bieber was and Taylor Swift was just starting out. If Schapelle had an iPod with her when she left Australia, she might have taken these two big singles which just hit the ARIA Charts that week: "These Kids" by Joel Turner & The Modern Day Poets, and "Out With My Baby" by Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian.
Speaking of Australian Idol, 2004 was the year we met Casey Donovan, who won the 2nd season of the show. That show was scrapped in 2009. Maybe in a perfect twist of fate, Casey made headlines winning her second reality show in the year Schappelle comes home, taking out the 3rd series of I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. And Friends was still on our TV screens, airing every Monday night on Channel 9.
WHO WAS RULING SPORT?
In the world of sport, the Brisbane Lions were still a powerhouse in the AFL, until their run of three consecutive Grand Final wins was dashed by Port Adelaide. The Gold Coast didn't even have their own team when Schapelle left, the Suns founded in 2009. While in the NRL State of Origin series, NSW had been dominant in the years leading up to 2004, but from 2006 the Maroons have only been denied the title once, in 2014.
And while Schapelle was dealing with her own drug troubles overseas, so were her home NRL club, the Gold Coast Titans. Eight current and ex high-profile players were caught up in a cocaine scandal in 2015 that brought the club to it's knees.
WHAT'S CHANGED ON THE GOLD COAST?
Corby's from Tugun on the southern end of the Gold Coast and was working as a beauty therapist before being locked up in Bali. Her family still lives in the sunshine state and it's had one hell of a makeover since she left. She hasn't checked out the views from the southern hemisphere's tallest skyscraper, the Q1 tower wasn't completed until 2005.
We wonder how Schapelle will go tackling the new light rail lines that run from Southport to Broadbeach. Not only did its lengthy construction infuriate local motorists, but dozens of drivers have had run-ins with the trams, even pedestrians have been run over by them. (In case you didn't know, getting hit by one of them is the equivalent of getting smashed by a rhino!)
The region's famous theme parks look very different as well. Movie World closed its iconic Lethal Weapon ride in 2008, Outback Spectacular wasn't created until 2008 and of course Dreamworld will never be the same after the deaths of four people on the Thunder River Rapids Ride in 2016.
And there's no more Big Day Out at Southport Parklands. The festival moved to the new Metricon Stadium in 2014 but was canned completely after that. Headlining the event back in 2004 was Metallica, Slipknot and Muse.
SCHAPELLE’s TO DO LIST
Queensland's driver licenses are issued for a period of up to 5 years, so Schapelle will definitely have to line up for a new one.
And when it comes to filling the petrol tank, she's going to baulk at the price! The average petrol price in Queensland back in 2004 was 91.5 cents a liter, last year it was $1.20!