Towns I’ve stayed in 6 — Wellington NSW

locality map It’s been a while since I was there, but being a relative of two local families — the Wests and Pickfords — I stayed in Wellington on quite a number of occasions. It was there that I first saw Aboriginal people in any numbers too. It’s quite an old town, overshadowed now by the nearby city of Dubbo.

The second oldest town west of the Blue Mountains, it was first settled in 1823 and has an array of historic buildings and homes. It was the site of the first hotel west of the mountains and that establishment, licensed in 1842, is still operating today. Believe it or not, opposite that hotel is the site of the last known duel fought in Australia in 1854.


Continue reading

Towns I’ve stayed in 5 — Gilgandra

I was an honorary member of the Gilgandra RSL for a few days. Why? I was, along with my much-esteemed old friend and colleague R D Walshe, a visiting speaker at an in-service series at Gilgandra High School in the mid to late 70s dealing with “new” approaches to HSC English. I also took the opportunity to visit the parents of a young woman with whom I had been briefly associated in Wollongong who hailed from Gilgandra. They had a typical property – sheep and wheat — out of town. It was a good couple of days.

Like so many country towns, Gil has had its problems so far this century:


Continue reading

Homage to John Flynn

john_flynn Radio National’s Encounter this week commemorated Flynn of the Inland and the Australian Inland Mission. There is a full transcript there.

The Presbyterian Australian Inland Mission played a significant role in the nation building that went on at the turn of the 20th Century. An ambitious health, communication and support network for remote desert dwelling Australians, it was deliberately non-evangelical. Founded by the Right Reverend John Flynn, the AIM gave birth to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air. The Flying Doctors are 80 years old this year, and the AIM is now 96, and a $30 million operation, albeit with a name change – the Uniting Church in Australia’s Frontier Services.

This Encounter explores the history and legacy of the AIM using in part, a significant archival interview with the Reverend Fred McKay, a former patrol padre and superintendent of the AIM.


Continue reading

Chinese art 3 — modern traditional landscapes

These are representative of traditional concerns; I find them beautiful, if lacking the subtlety of some of the works of centuries past. The first is linked to its source.


“Pines, bamboo and plum blossoms are ‘bosom friends in winter.’ The three plants are upright and show rectitude. They become favorite objects for Chinese painters.”

Continue reading

Redfern visions 3: plus part of Surry Hills

Here’s the overview:


1: Elizabeth Street Surry Hills


I realised that the fig tree in the front courtyard by the Juice and Java Bar is big, but just how big is almost scary. Note the overhang on Elizabeth Street! The white building top right is the Belvoir Theatre. The strange patterning on the tiles is the legacy of the big hail storm of 1999 which devastated almost every tiled roof in Surry Hills.

2. Little Eveleigh Street Redfern

Continue reading