Filed under Australian history

20,000 Days on Earth

This is a sort-of biography of Nick Cave, ex Brithday Party, Bad Seed, Grinderman and, well, rock icon. It is shaped as if it is a day in his life, but it is far more complex than that. It begins with him lying in bed waiting for the alarm clock to go. He emerges, in … Continue reading

A French Imposter

This is from the British Association meeting, Bristol 1898 Among the subsequent speakers at the above dinner was a person styling himself M. Louise de Rougemont, a Frenchman who had just proclaimed himself to have lived for 28 years among the savages in Australia. He subsequently read a paper before the geographical section of the … Continue reading

GM Poppies versus Prime Beef

Tasmania, the most southern part of Australia was founded as  a dumping ground for the most hardened criminals, but separated from the mainland, it is one of the cleanest places on earth and the only state to be GM free. It has become known for top of the range agriculture, especially prime Aberdeen Angus meat … Continue reading

Only Australia Was Spared

My favourite grave in Bristol is that of the Humpage family, the father an inventor, the grave shows a column with piping and bolts that can be unscrewed. A man I used to know grew up there and he used to play on this grave, pretending it was a ship and when his mother called … Continue reading

Wollongong the Safe

This is a town to the south of Sydney, Australia famous for little note than the fictitious home of  comedy character Aunty Jack & his/her song, Wollongong the brave. But their university has caught the attention of Bill Gates, for their research into a condom that men might actually want to use, so a big … Continue reading

Monkey Grip by Helen Garner

This is the book I chose to write about in my MA degree as the book that changed my life. At the time it felt like I just pulled it out of the air, but it is one of the few books that I keep returning to and seeing something more in it, more layers, … Continue reading

Street Quarries

There are plenty of accounts of 18th century streets in British towns and cities being dangerous places for pedestrians, with people emptying chamber pots, with tiles falling from roofs, open cellar doors, chairmen, runaway animals, and builders’ materials. But this is an example of the huge gap between law enforcement and the lives of ordinary … Continue reading

Victim or Villain?

There are a lot of tragic stories from the past that make me realise how lucky we are not to be there, but the many instances of infanticide are perhaps the most disturbing, because this crime was seen as truly evil, so generally punished with the death sentence. But many instances, the young woman doesn’t … Continue reading

Stories from the Dawn of Oz

I have just discovered a book edited by Michael Connor, Pig Bites Baby! which is a wealth of items from Australia’s first newspaper. It’s a lot of fun. Perhaps my favourite type of story is one showing how stupid people are, hence my fondness for the annual Darwin Awards given to people – sometimes posthumously … Continue reading