Saturday, June 20, 2020

Killing Horses

The poet Banjo Paterson who wrote Mulga Bill's Bicycle was in part responsible for the culture of the free spirited mountain brumbies and how people still embrace the culture and want to protect the wild horses. They have been in Victoria's and New South Wales' high country since the 19th century.

The brumbies in New South Wales have protection which is totally political. Save our heritage of the horses, they say. It is part of our culture, they say. The Man from Snowy River, another Paterson poem, and all that.

Meanwhile in Victoria they are are not protected and the high plains span both states. Until white man arrived, Australia did not have any animals with hard hooves. The high plain horses, the brumbies, are doing terrible damage to our ecology, right where our rivers start on the high plains in the peat and moss bogs, springs and then creeks.

Cull is one of those softening words for killing. As Parks Victoria planned to cull the pest species brumbies by humane methods on our side of the border at least, someone has delayed the cull in the courts. He won't win. Later edit: He didn't win. The law is clear. Victoria can cull. New South Wales can't.

The brumbies don't respect borders, so it will have to be done again after the prolific breeding New South Wales horses come across the border again. Hmmm, I have a vague recent memory of a wall being built to keep out the unwelcome somewhere.

Job creation for Australians and foreign workers post COVID? Get rid of all wild hooved animals like wild horses, deer, camels, pigs and buffalo. Then we can start on the smaller invasive species.

PS Since I wrote that a while ago, it seems a wild deer cull will happen in my state too. They have become an increasing problem pest.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson

He was a great Australian poet. He wrote poems about inner city and country life.

Mulga Bill's Bicycle was my favourite as a child, simply because it is funny.

I know this well enough to recite, as I did read Australian poetry to my father and step mother and quickly sent them to sleep in their lounge chairs.

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"

"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything, as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."

'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above the Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver streak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.

It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dead Man's Creek.

'Twas Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; It's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

To alleviate the heavier stuff from this morning

It has started. Each time we see the three year twin great nieces, we ask their mother or grandmother which one is which and try to remember their names by what they are wearing. But at times we forget which is which, and the reply is, I am H not W, which is fine. They will at least have a school lifetime of that.

But now, one will say that then the other will say no, I am W not H. No you're not, I am W. Would it be child abuse to brand or tattoo their foreheads with the initial of their first names? Perhaps I could buy some stickers with H and W on them and surreptitiously stick them to their backs.

While even their own mother gets them wrong at times, their grandmother never does and she is the only one who doesn't.

We live our own Patty Duke Show.


I don't believe that old tv shows and films displaying racism should be removed from public gaze. While the Don't Mention the War episode of Fawlty Towers was taken down by the BBC and then reinstated, it was nothing compared to Love Thy Neighbour or Alf Garnett.

Where does it all end? People are defacing or destroying historical statues and I don't like the destruction of our history.

I expect Hels might know about it as in Moscow there is a park full of statues of those who have fallen out of favour with the public or the Russian government for whatever reason.

Maybe that could be a solution to contentious statues in the western world, or as my preference would be, add a plaque to contentious statues to give some context.

Let's face it. You and I as people of certain ages would have been with the status quo 50 years ago, 100 years ago and 500 years ago. None of us would have marching in the streets about Black Lives Matter or even slavery. Our perhaps forgetful Prime Minister Morrison never learnt about black and Kanaka slavery in Australia?  But that is no reason to not stand up for what is right now. Black, white or brindle, we are all humans and entitled to the same lives we all live.

PS I forgot about writing this and saving it for the future. It is relevant to today's post so I will post it at the same time.

Bits and pieces

R had an appointment in Richmond to see if he could have laser surgery for his eyes so that he no longer had to wear contact lenses or glasses. For a couple of reasons he decided to not proceed. We were both going to go on trams but when I learnt his appointment would be over two hours, I said you catch the tram and I will pick you up afterwards. Because of drops in his eyes, he had to be collected. I wasn't particularly busy, so I ended up taking him there too in the car.

We left early with the intention of going to Richmond Plaza, a small shopping centre, for a couple of things. It had been pulled down, about to become a few hundred apartments. City of Yarra I think, gave approval for nine storeys when the developer wanted twelve. The developer went to its friend the Evil VCat and had eleven storeys approved.

He made an optometrist appointment for yesterday but then at the last minute cancelled. I am really not sure why he cancelled. We still ended up going to where we were going to go for brunch in the city but we needed to buy nothing else. We had a decent walk in the city.

It is kind of boring week with an empty calendar. You know it must be boring when we are looking forward to visiting Mother on Thursday. An offer has been made for her house, $100,000 less than the price suggested by the real estate agent, which we always knew was absurd. It seems to me that the offer is getting close to a fair price. But she is no rush to sell and will do what she wants about the house.

I am quite content with my life, reading, internet, blogging, online chats, excessively long hot showers. After a lifetime of of quick showers before work or in the earlier days two showers a day, with an evening shower when I thought I might get lucky, it is luxury and I indulge myself. I am waiting for R to query my long showers and I will respond with 'I am a very dirty boi and I need lots of washing to clean me'. R will roll his eyes. All so predictable.

My Prahran Town Hall post yesterday turned out to be more interesting than I thought, thanks to Lee.

COVID is still a problem here but apparently it is slipping into Trump white voting territory in North America. So blacks being dirty and not washing their hands often enough is not really the reason blacks are over represented in the death toll.

Black Lives Matter! Or course they do. All animal life matters and we human animals come in different colours. George Floyd was certain no angel but did he deserve to be killed by the police? I can't imagine kneeling for eight plus minutes as a mark of respect and being able to get up again easily. What must it be like to have your neck knelt on for for that period of time until you took your last breath.

I don't think it was reported here, but I saw today such a sad video clip of light coloured black (yes, not relevant) people bystanders at a peaceful march with an angelic six year old son and saw their son pepper sprayed by police in a US city. Maybe it was accidental but it sure was not pretty to see.

Statues, tv shows, movies that exhibit racist attitudes are all being queried. I don't want our history destroyed but I do want it to put into context and with some input from those affected, I think it can be done.

I never expect 2020 to be year of nightmares, but so it has turned out to be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Town Hall Tuesday

COVID brought an abrupt end to Town Hall Tuesday, but then when in Prahran last week, ok, here is the Prahran Town Hall and I see it so often I forgot about it. I haven't taken a camera photo since lockdown. All have been phone photos and these are too. It is a ten minute tram trip from here, plus a short walk, or maybe a forty minute walk. The area is strip street shopping but there is Pran (sic) Central. The comments on my 2008 post are fascinating to reread.

The once City of Prahran is now covered by the City of Stonnington after council amalgamation. Prahran Town Hall and Malvern Town Hall are the only town halls within the amalgamated area...I think.

It is not definitive, but Pur-ra-ran was an local Aboriginal tribal name for 'land partially surrounded by water'. It is an odd name to pronounce for those who don't know. Close is Pruran but often the first r is dropped.

Prahran Town Hall was built no doubt with gold boom money in 1861 to a design by architects Crouch and Wilson. Oddly, and I know nothing about this, the Wikipedia entry says the clock tower was truncated in the 1960s. Very strange. Why?

It is located on the corner of Chapel and Greville Streets and is now a community space, with some council offices and a library. It is right on the street without a setback which in my opinion detracts from its grandeur.

A photo with the non truncated clock tower, and in my opinion it looks better. I note the windows below the clock are quite different too. Ok, I am getting out of this rabbit burrow before hours disappear.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Musical Monday

Dedicated to the autistic teenage boy William Callaghan who became lost in bushland early last week and was found after three days and two nights in near freezing night temperature, and also dedicated those volunteers and emergency service workers who tirelessly searched for Will. It was a great outcome, as was the case detailed in the song below by Johnny Ashcroft You can read about Will here.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The birds but no bees

Inspired by a school teacher I became a non financial member of the Gould League of Bird Lovers. I pledged something like to protect Australia's birds and to never collect native bird eggs. I received a nice certificate and a very colourful badge or lapel pin. I can't remember now. It is now known as the Gould League and it has a chequered past back to 1909. It now focuses more on the environment.

During the clean out of Mother's house, we came across Sister's certificate of membership, so she must have taken the pledge too. Who knows what happened to mine. Sister went on to the current times as a protector of the hooded plover on our beaches, as did EC who I came across in the group some time ago.

Sister and myself must have both been interested in birds as we both had these albums whereby we would stick in colourful bird cards collected from packets of Tuckfields' Tiny Tips Tea. The albums were marked out as to where each card would be placed. Note the second album has doesn't have the plural apostrophe. While it seems obvious that the album marked 1 to 96 would be mine, it was the other way around as in that one Sister had noted a couple of bird sightings. Neither albums had publication dates and neither got past being half full in spite of me urging my parents to buy more tea.

Some rekindled memories anyone?