Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

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.


Linda said...

Lovely post. I was thinking about Dirk Hartog a couple of days ago, not sure what started up that thought. I had studied about him at some point. Great South Land of the Holy Spirit is a very nice name for a country you live in. Interesting our first Prime Minister had a sense of humour. My town's name means Bandicoot.

Ganeida said...

Hi Linda. I had noticed you'd joined us here but if you've been reading along you will know I am way overstretched just now so not leaving too many comments other places. I love thinking one of the first names for Oz was Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. There is a blessing in the name & not too many people know about it! ☺ When time allows I will comment when I visit your blog again. Meanwhile enjoy your time here. ☺

Diane Shiffer said...

Well, here now I thought your greatest national hero was the Crocodile Hunter! Or maybe the Wiggles;)

Since my oldest was a huge fan of Steve Irwin, and our whole family fervently mourned when he met his untimely end- and since Millen is in a perpetual state of adoration for the Wiggles (specifically Jeff), I hope you will realize that I mean this as a tremendous compliment. We love Australia too♥

Allison said...

I know you've done some traveling to other countries. Would Australia be your first pick of where to live?

(I've done very little traveling, though I sometimes entertain the thought of simply packing up and relocating to someplace completely foreign.)

Ganeida said...

lol Diane. Living somewhere is always different to outsiders' perceptions. Steve Irwin was far more popular in America than here. We found him just too over the top. Internally there is a remnant of admiration for rebels ~ stems from the whole convict thing, socuial injustices, & general antipathy to the English, who held the power while the convicts, on the whole, tended to be Irish, Welsh, Scots or the English lower classes & without power. The Wiggles are cool.

Allison: of those countries I've travelled to outside of Australia I truely loved Fiji & Scotland but would still choose Australia over any country I've visited. The reasons are quite simple. Anywhere in Australia the climate is temperate whether it's tropical, sub~tropical, medeterranian or more English [as in Tasmania]. The standard of living is good for most people & costs reasonable. Europe is terribly, terribly expensive. We have a huge range of fresh fruits & vegetables available all year round. We have a reasonable social support structure in place for those who need it, reasonable health care, a wonderful quality of life; getting snowed in is rare but winter sports are available if you want them & are prepared to travel ~ & lots of people do. We supply the rest of the world with some of the top scientists & innovations yet have a well~developed arts community now we have got over our cultural cringe & our artists stay home. I haven't traveled anywhere in the States so I can't make comparisions there but Europe I found quite claustrophobic, very *staid* & quite cynical in many ways, much as I enjoyed my time there, *grey* [missed our vaste blue skies] & its deep sense of history. I can find just about anywhere *interesting* but Australia will always be home & while I do love to travel & enjoy new places I wouldn't cjoose to migrate.

Jeanne said...

I loved this post. One day I'm going to meet you in real life. If we agree not to discuss which of Melbourne and Sydney is the better city, I think we'll get on like a house on fire!!

Oh yes, recently - when I was in Perth and not commenting - you asked what would be the one 'don't miss' for Singapore. For me it would be a tiffin lunch at Raffles - and a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar one evening. Bliss!!

Ganeida said...

Oh Jeanne! lol The whole Sydney/Melbourne thing is just silly fun as I know you know. I've always been a Queenslander at heart though Brisbane is the pitts.

I think we share a deep love of books, history & travel ~ though I think you have been lucky to do more travelling than I have.

I like your suggestions for Singapore but I don't think slugging back a Singapore Sling is on Ditz's agenda! I do want to be able to take the child somewhere *she* will enjoy for the day as she will be working most of her time there.