Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16 All over Aussie History

I have a minor vent to get off my chest.Heard, very briefly before the land of Nod claimed me, the book review of Girt by Clare Calvet on ABC radio the other night.
I was more than a little miffed to hear her describe the author as having 'exaggerated' Australian history to make it funny.
She said this several times, that he 'exaggerated' throughout the book to make it more entertaining.
I have an issue with this; because it is not couched in traditional historical, literary terms, because the author (or myself on this blog for that matter!) has used current-day expressions and analogies to impart the facts does not make it an 'exaggeration' of the facts.
Now either the woman has no sense of humour or NFI of the extraordinary events that make up Aussie history but the fact remains that as I am in the midst of reading this same book I have found no suggestion of 'exaggeration' in any detail.

1929 - Something for you Aussie Rules nutters - the Victorian Football League (VFL as it was before their bid to take over the nation then the world) shifted their carcasses into Spring Street today and named it Harrison House.
They named it after an early talented player and administrator Henry Harrison who was also Tom Wills' cousin and who had helped frame the rules of the game with him.
Harrison House went the way of oh so many heritage homes in the 1980s...under the bulldozer.

1835 - The first permanent settlers of European persuasion rocked up to Kangaroo Island on a series of ships, the last of which dropped them off on this day.

1947 - Ben Chifley, Aussie PM and engine driver who saw a Light On The Hill,  announced his plan of nationalising the banks.
It ended in tears.

2011 - The Australian Dress Register was launched online.
Go have a gander and enjoy those sumptuous garments that are all pre-1975 but don't let your heads get turned, girls, when you sight the laddies underpants!

1928 - The Coniston Massacre began; raids and killings on Indigenous camps in retribution for the murder of a white dingo trapper, Fred Brooks, a week earlier.
At a time when it was illegal to kill cattle but seemingly legal to kill Aboriginal People you can guess the results.
Two articles on the prejudiced outcome HERE and HERE.

1975 - On a happier note, today marks the 38th anniversary of PM Gough Whitlam handing the leasehold title of Daguragu to Vincent Lingiari.


That was the story of Vincent Lingiari 
But this is the story of something much more 
How power and privilege can not move a people 
Who know where they stand and stand in the law


  1. People like Clare Calvet are the reason that history was taught as dates and wars and boredom while I was at school. Something I badly regret.

  2. Ahh, EC, it seems to be the unwritten rule that one can only be taken seriously as a 'real' historian if one uses dull, bland, regurgitated historical phrases to send students/readers to sleep.

  3. Not having read 'Girt' I could hardly comment on exaggeration, but EC's point is a good one.
    History as a litany of dates and wars is history for the aristocracy. Praise be, we've moved beyond giving a rat's about their needs or wants.

    In any case, it's not possible for any version of history to be devoid of opinion. Humour in history can only be a good thing, and nothing is ever funny without a kernel of truth in it.

  4. Paragraph one; the woman has no sense of humour and should be made to attend comedy festivals for the next ten years.
    Everything else? Ignore it. August 16th is MY day.
    Happy Birthday to me....

  5. Indeed, FC, all of history is about people and the human race has a need to laugh at itself, sometime.