Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to re-write history so that everyone is happy and sipping at their hot cocoa in silent awe.

Today, boys and girls, we'll have a look at how we can re-write history to be more palatable for those people with weak tum-tums, the ones who turn a sickly shade of green when we mention Indigenous Peoples or Black-birding slavery or missions or convicts or Maori Wars and then claim that "history is boring, change the subject".

1750 Fairytale version...Canadian laborers were hale and hearty tea-totaler menfolk who were soundly recompensed for their hard work and were happy with their wages.
Fact...The first Govt wage fixing in Canada on this day saw laborers' wages cast in concrete at 18 pence per day with a glass of beer and one of rum thrown in to keep them in fine fettle.

1819 Fairytale version....Samuel Marsden was such an affable fellow few guessed he was a minister of the cloth; Samuel treated lesser souls like his own children and blessed NZ soil with the first plantings of fine wine grape vines.
Fact...The Flogging Parson aka Samuel Marsden did plant some grape vine cuttings from Port Jackson but they were far from the first.

1826 Fairytale version... Those naughty convicts were up to mischief on Norfolk Island but the party pooper troops got wind of their plans so the poor convicts were sent to their rooms without any supper and learnt to be well-behaved, did as they were told, were well fed and lived happily ever after.
Fact...Insurrection of the convicts was savagely suppressed.
No ice cream sandwiches for elevenes!

1839 Fairytale version....The British Legislative Council running Canada was such a generous body they offered free holidays to those who loved their country very much and almost 60 lucky souls were bon voyaged to The Fair and Sunny Land of Oz.
Fact...58 Canadian rebels who were agitating for elected Canadian Govts were transported as convicts to That Land of Hell, Tasmania.

1965 Fairytale Version....At Paparua Prison there was a slight misunderstanding and several prisoners and guards had their feelings hurt but it was soon sorted out and everyone played Twister to show they were friends again.
Fact...A whopper of a riot at Paparua Prison saw 40 warders and police injured.

1998 Fairytale version...Loud bangs at a gas plant in Victoria made everyone a little nervy so they thought all gas metres should be turned off 'just in case'.
Fact...Several explosions rocked the main gas supply plant near Sale in Vic; 2 workers were killed, 8 injured, gas supplies just about empty so all gas metres turned off for almost 2 weeks.


  1. Nice work Jayne. Of course our gas did not have to be turned off at all. There was plenty. But Kennett was in his terrorise the people mode.

  2. Hope I have not caused offense by drinking a really strong coffee while reading this. Needed something to fortify me against the naked truth!

    BTW thought of you as soon as I read this -

  3. You should see the FB group that says harsh words about BeyondBlue *ahem* !

    Strong coffee is good, Marita, so long as you're sliding a hot chocolate along the counter :P

  4. Ha Ha, love the fairytale versions.