In a way Australia is like Catholicism. The company is sometimes questionable and the landscape is grotesque. But you always come back. Thomas Keneally
We are all terribly tired; so tired Ditz went back to bed yesterday morning & asked me to read to her. I read for about 1/2 an hour before falling asleep in her bed. We didn't get much done except the washing because Liddy works & keeping ahead with her work clothes is a must. I couldn't even get up the energy to blog.
The reason for being so tired is all the travelling we have been doing recently. Obviously I have been going the wrong way. It is shorter to travel anti~clockwise around Australia. Travelling anti~clockwise shaves off a whole 900metres.
Yes, all right, we have only had to travel around Brisbane & I don't think there's any sane way to shave metres of our travelling. Brisbane might be poetically known as *the River City* but there is nothing remotely poetical about Brisbane! The city has so many bridges at least one of them has no official name. True!
Australia has incorporated quite a few Aboriginal words into its vocabulary. The first of them was kangaroo. On the other hand ignorant white men cheerfully named a mining town Coober Pedy, which translates as something like "white fella down a hole". Pretty much sums it up.
Captain James Cook did not discover Australia. Yes, I know what all the history books say. The history books are wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. They credited Columbus with discovering America when it was blatantly obvious it had already been discovered by the Vikings. The Vikings even had colonies before Columbus got anywhere near the place; but I digress. In 1610 William Janz & his ship the Duyfken landed in Western Australia but having been speared by aborigines they departed pronto & the Aborigines were left in peace until 1616 when Dirk Hartog made an appearance & nailed a pewter plate to a tree. Seems an odd sort of a thing to do but the Dutch have reclaimed their plate & it is now in a Dutch museum. The English didn't show up until 1768 but being English they promptly claimed the new land for King & country. That the English then proceeded to use this new land as a prison is one of the stranger quirks of English thinking.
A couple of years ago a replica of the Duyfkin was doing the rounds & Ditz & I went with Sian to see it while it was moored in Brisbane river. It was a tiny little ship that I definitely would not have wanted to sail across any large body of water in. Come rain, hail or high water the crew slept out in the open on the deck. Ditz, naturally, wanted to climb the rigging. The rigging was out of bounds but we saw the hold & the kitchen with its firebox & sniffed the tarry ropes, sawdust & salt; smells that would not quite ever have obliterated the smell of the spices the Duyfkin traded in. What she was doing in the waters of Western Australia is anybody's guess. My guess is she got lost.
I love Australia. I think Australians have a great sense of humour & are capable of laughing at themselves. This is a good thing when among the many names Australia has been known by over the centuries are these choice picks: Eendrachtsland, New Holland, Terra Psittacorum, Terra Australis & Van Dieman's Land. My personal favourites are Terra Australis Incognito & Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. The last was given by the very first explorer to Australia:Pedro Fernandez De Quiros a Spaniard who didn't quite make it to mainland Australia but never~the ~less was convinced of the great southern continent & petitioned endlessly for ships to return & prove that he was right. He was but he didn't get his ships & the great southern continent was left for the Spaniard's lifelong foes. the English, to inhabit. England should have thought twice about what they were doing.
Let's face it; Australia's greatest national hero is a a bushranger named Ned Kelly. Any school child in the country can tell you how Kelly stood at Glenrowan in his tin armour & gunned down the local constabulary. Not a one can name you our very first Prime Minister. Pity. Barton was an man of intellect & humour & mastered in the classics at Sydney Uni. He deserves to be remembered better than as an obscure House name at the local Primary school.