Haunted by History

Today’s guest post is by Jaycee, who assures me he will return sometime in the new year, even more passionately eloquent than before. Thank you, Jaycee.

(Image Credit: Almost Italian)

So I drive to the town, pick up a few groceries, check the mail, chat a while … a bit of goss … a bit of this an’ that, and then hit the road to home again … and that is where the haunting starts.

You’ve seen them, as you drive along the main roads and the back roads … sunlight slanting off white sepulchres. You catch fleeting glimpses of them through the trees … deep in the scrub, sometimes almost complete, sometimes but a shadow of their former glory ……. you can sometimes drive past them for years before you suddenly realise they are there and then you get a shock at their “sudden appearance”: ruins of old cottages and huts … scattered, crumbling ruins … sad testament to optimistic aspirations.

Mostly we drive on, just giving an acknowledged glance to these pieces of jaded history … someone else’s tribulations, another’s history. I have stopped at several of these sites … joined in a pagan-like offering to another’s story … tossed a pebble or two into the underground tank out the back. I’ve stood for a moment in the remains of a back door opening, silent, wondering on the view they must have seen from that same place, another time … a time which may move inexorably on, yet the human condition remains.

Who were these intrepid builders? What singular ambition drove them to sculpture out of rough earth and stone, from memory and trial and error these testaments to a hopeful dream? They haunt me, these vacant souls … shuffling through sad ruins, backing onto abandoned fields that once must have swayed wave-like with fronds of wheat or oats. Now, scavenging crows pick nastily at an obscure morsel and a cruel sun rakes its talons over old wounds.

(Image Credit: Travel Outback Australia

There are stories out there, hovering around these ghosts of the past. An entire population of early settlers with their children and animals; gone now, the only memory in some cases being a headstone or two marking a seriously foreshortened life and along with such disaster the presumed tragedy for the rest of the family, having to absorb the sadness into their hearts. When one scans the landscape of those long-ago years, the inevitable hardship and difficulties faced, one gets the feeling their lives were dominated by the practical demands of weights and measures, time and distance. The burden of necessity always the prime consideration of their immediate attention.

Strangely, the history of these ruins seem to be shrouded in mystery … few if any people living now have knowledge of the folk who built and lived in many of these ruins. Their short moments of occupation at odds to the effort it must have taken to erect such structures. It is as if strangers to us all had swept fleetingly through the land, leaving no word or lasting deed of their presence save these crumbling hovels. One wonders what the indigenous peoples would have made of these pioneers, struggling with stone and beast, fire and plough to make a meal for their family when food was in abundance all around! ……. madness, surely!

But it is the history that haunts me, for it is there, fixed in stone as solid as any Roman effigy, though perhaps not as romantic! But then THAT would depend on the story and the rumour of salacious intrigues! It seems a pity we can stand where they once stood, feel the heat and wind which they once felt and imagine the sweat and toil they once gave to a land and ambition that both their ghosts and our living spirit still share, yet not know their name.

Quo vadis?

(Image Credit: Flickr)

535 thoughts on “Haunted by History

  1. Thanks for the feedback Aguirre and PJF

    Perth has had a free transit zone for many years now and it’s probably better for the office worker types than for us plebs, lunchtimes are full of people zooming around the city for whatever reason. I just like the idea of the free transit areas, I believe many studies have been done that conclude that it is cheaper to run free public transport than paid for.

    It just feels like a step in the right direction and I applaud it although it comes with the usual grumbles from the msm I suppose “oh how can we afford it” etc. When if the libs had done it, it would be shouted from the rooftops as a great idea and so forth.

  2. Fiona

    Well remembered. I had forgotten about that. Chillies from the sub continent were at the time THE hottest but now it is Trinidad bred buggers that are the go.

    Harsha Bhogle, Kerry O’Keeffe and Naga chillies

  3. CK,

    There are several reasons why public transport in urban areas (that includes suburbs and rural/regional towns) should be free.

    1. Saving on time – especially for buses.

    2. Saving on compliance – no need for inspectors, no need for all the admin costs of sending out fines, reminders etc., no need for court costs, no need for – ultimately – imprisoning defaulters.

    3. Saving on social security – if people aren’t bankrupted because of fines, they don’t lose their homes, their jobs etc etc etc.

    No brainer, really.

  4. Julia Gillard.

    “I was Prime Minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience…”

    Such go the words on the back cover of “My Story”…three years and three days..yet it needed to be at least two terms of governance..two terms of governance by an honest, intelligent woman, to break the macho-mechanics of Australian politics…Julia Gillard was that woman…and she could well have done it, if not for treachery from both sides of politics…from many factions of the main stream media…from commercial media and, surprisingly, from even the ABC…why?..there is no accounting for a scoundrel’s actions…for the Murdoch media journo’s and commentators..well, they were bought..pure and simple..paid to write what their overlord dictated..AND no doubt given bonus’s for “extra base hits” on good days.

    Some were fed rumour and innuendo from Gillard’s own party..for this there is no excuse..no redemption..no mercy. We know their names, from the highest to the most mealy-mouthed…but Fitzgibbon I single out, for his appearance on Ch 7’s “Sunrise” program, where he proceeded to mock both his own party and leadership to the whooping laughter of the compere ; Kochy..it was both a disgrace and a most sordid betrayal.

    Of the ABC. journos’ and commentators, Uhlmann was to me the most oily..the most insidious..many an interview would contain the expression ; “shambolic Labor…” and who could forget his obnoxious “clinging to the trouser-cuffs”of then leader of the opp’n , even to the point of ,literally, sitting at the feet of his idol, in the sand of Alice Springs, while lapping up the “sage wisdom” of his oracle like Lazarus’ dog at the pustulant sores of his master…a disgusting sight…and Tony Jones, on HIS tv. show..a direct insult to the PM. Gillard to paraphrase ; “at least I didn’t stick a knife in the back”…low specimen.. vulgar animal.

    Even Barrie Cassidy spent many Sunday morning shows delivering the “breaking news” of an imminent leadership spill…such pronouncements went on month after month so that even after three challenges, one of them a breath-taking no-show by the “challenger” that ought to have put paid once and for all to such eager prognostications..but NO!…there they were, the very next day , almost..trundling out the same old, same old….fools!

    For that’s what they were..fools…even worse, and this is the crux of this piece..where we, the public have really been wronged..badly wronged by those that manage the imagery of the MSM. “super-stars”. These media commentators are not smart, not in an intellectual way..they are not astute, not in a political way..they are “blunt instruments” to be “honed” with cue-cards and formulae questions…groomed and made up and lit up to appear and sound like they know what they are talking about..”suits with gravitas”. But in truth they are the dumbest bastards you could come across. So dumb, they spent three years at the beck and call of political manipulators, three years being the “Barbie and Ken” marionettes of more cunning masters..they were so fuckin’ D-U-M-B , they stood, sat , groveled in studio or in-situ , mouthing word-structures for a more cunning species than they would ever be..THREE YEARS betraying their country, betraying half the population of this country…betraying themselves..three years..and they didn’t even have half a clue they were doing it!
    The Murdoch journos’ ? what can you expect from a sewer?..the smell of roses?..we know all Mrdoch journos’ are traitors.

    We have been wronged, we died-in-the-wool Lefties, because with the dismissal of Julia Gillard, it was not just the end of a decent , capable politician’s career, it was the discarding of us!..For Julia Gillard, like Gough Whitlam, represented more than good policy, Julia Gillard was more than “the woman in The Lodge”…Julia AND Tim being there was , to my mind at least, US being there…Julia and Tim were no bogans any more than the most relaxed, confident Aussie, migrant, indigenous, local born, reffo are..they were a reflection of “everyone citizen”; show, not show-off..Plain, but not boor..ambitious, but not opportunist…and always looking forward to the weekend break at the beach, the peaceful bush or if you preferred.;the footy.

    We have been wronged, badly wronged…all of us..and now it is time to reclaim that which is ours by right…So I say we ‘calm’ our anger, but maintain our rage. We ‘know’ our enemies, but restrain our vengeance till the time comes for the vote..and THEN…with the seething ferocity of a violated innocent, we wreak the most comprehensive defeat on the most vile conglomerate of foul beasts that ever crawled under the name of “Liberal / National Party “ politicians that make up the worst government this country has seen in a hundred and fourteen years of Parliament.


  5. Jaycee,

    To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered one iota to me if Julia and Tim (and, presumably, Reuben) had preferred opera and ballet to footie, the bush shack, or the beach. (It is, after all, possible to enjoy all five of those varied aspects of life.)

    What mattered is that FPM Julia Gillard cared seriously about Australia, cared seriously about the imperative of equality of educational opportunity, and about SO much more.

    Our loss.

    At this stage – the philistines’ gain.

    I hope, for not too long.

    btw, for me, philistine doesn’t just mean a dissing of the yarts, but of all forms of intellectual activity.

  6. Our Dear Leader would have to be the ultimate philistine. Has anyone ever heard him mention anything about having an interest in the arts or any other intellectual activity? He blathers on all the time about his sporting pursuits, especially whatever he did at Oxford, but we never hear about anything else.

    There was that one time he almost admitted he did have non-sporting interests when he attempted to endear himself to female voters by claiming to be a fan of Downton Abbey. He said he and Margie used to argue over whether he got to watch it or she got to watch the football on Sunday nights. It took about five seconds for us online subversives to work out Downton was never on TV at the same time as the football. As usual, he lied. He has never watched the thing. Probably too challenging for him.

    To make sure it’s not just my anti-Abbott bias colouring my views I did a quick Google for ‘Tony Abbott philistine’ and the first on the list was this, from 2006 –

  7. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/colin-barnett-claws-back-from-brink-newspoll/story-e6frgczx-1227172186453

    Colin Barnett claws back from brink: Newspoll
    Andrew Burrell WA Chief Reporter Perth

    COLIN Barnett has begun to turn around his deep unpopularity in the electorate, boosting his chances of leading the West Australian Liberal Party to the next election despite a year of ministerial scandals and fiscal controversies.

    The latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows that while the Premier remains one of the nation’s least ­popular political leaders, his personal approval ratings have improved markedly over the past three months.

    If a state election were held today, the result would be too close to call, with the major parties locked on 50 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

    The Newpoll, conducted between October and last month, may be an early indicator that Mr Barnett made the right call in announcing in late October that he planned to contest the next election in March 2017.

    The percentage of voters satisfied with the way Mr Barnett is doing his job has increased to 37 per cent — from a record low of 32 per cent three months ago. At the same time, the number of voters dissatisfied with the Premier has dropped by seven points to 49 per cent. Mr Barnett’s net satisfaction level of minus 12 is the best he has recorded since being re-elected in March 2013.

    Labor leader Mark McGowan’s satisfaction levels remain high at 48 per cent, with only 27 per cent dissatisfied.

    On the question of who would make the better premier, 40 per cent chose Mr McGowan and 39 per cent picked Mr Barnett. The remaining 21 per cent were uncommitted.

    Support for Mr Barnett’s Liberal-Nationals alliance is little changed on 42 per cent of the ­primary vote, ahead of Labor, which has moved up from 31 per cent to 33 per cent.

    The Greens are steady on 15 per cent, as are other minor parties and independents on 10 per cent.

    On a two-party-preferred basis, the Liberal-Nationals and Labor are locked on 50 per cent for the third consecutive quarterly Newspoll survey.

    Click to access 164066-150102newspoll.pdf

  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Some early indications on the fate of the Indonesian plane crash.
    The perils of Uber taxis.
    This “job creation” scheme of Abbott and Abetz is an abject failure.
    A Medicare copayment wouldn’t affect this crisis will it?
    Scott Morrison is all class!
    As these actions show!
    They certainly are if you’ve got the help of Photoshop!
    The Coalition walks away from the UN Security Council with a typical vote.
    Only in the US – A Georgia police chief “accidentally shoots” his wife.
    The three worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    Will subdued lending stall our economy?
    Alan Moir indicates that Abbott will moderate his approach in 2015. Or will he?

    David Pope impersonated Senator X for this contribution.
    A few more cartoons.

  9. Gravel & BK,

    I’m here too – just being lazy and contemplating a thread-starter for later today.

  10. Gravel
    Cooooeeeee I’m here too Hi B.K & while I’m here & not swinging from the rafters lurking, I would like to wish all Pubsters a very Happy New Year & look forward to fighting the good fight with all of you to get these bastards out!!!

    Cheers 😉

  11. Hoo boy, just put the hose to the peach tree when I noticed the plum tree was full of fruit! Hmmm will get some red wine yeast and what home winemakers incorrectly call “champagne yeast” (ECCC118) and ferment as much as the red wine yeast will handle and finish the ferment with the EC1118.

    Will make plum mead (plum melomel) and maybe plum wine and maybe some plum wine will get distilled so will have to peel all the plums—the pectin just under the skin will give too much methanol.

    Depending on HM plums there are will make brandied plums, plum and cinnamon jam etc.

    Have apricots too but apparently they are to be turned into jam.

  12. BK, Fiona, Razz

    That’s better. A person goes to the doc, gets half the leg chopped out, well, may a quarter of the leg, or would you believe a half size of the 1c piece, with stitches, gets told to put leg up for the rest of the day, come home, go to The Pub, and expected to be entertained for the rest of the afternoon and no one was there, but you were all hiding, buggers.

    Keep cool, good luck to any in the fire areas.

  13. Pol Animal,

    I don’t envy your having to peel the plums.

    When I was a child, my mum used to bottle fruit every summer. Back then we usually spent Christmas/New Year with my grandfather at North Bondi. On the drive home, we would stop at the little fruit stalls in then-outlying rural parts of Sydney such as Yagoona, and buy crates of apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums.

    The day after returning to Canberra we would be at it: stoning the fruit, cutting it into appropriate sizes, and then packing the jars.

    I particularly remember one hot day, so hot that all the fruit had to be dealt with that day before it spoiled.

    We worked in the garage under the house, with my father’s workbench as the kitchen bench. Fruit juice ran down our arms, splashed onto our bare and sweaty feet, and my dog had the best time licking our toes.

    Definitely a ticklish situation.

  14. I’m back after a few days offline and in Nelson. Much better New Year’s Eve this year, after coming down with cellulitus last year. Catching up in leisurely fashion, but it sadly seems to be same old, same old in political events.

    Fiona, if you’re struggling to find a lead, there’s probably a story or two from my case study memoir series which you can use if you want.

    In fact, Jaeger did mention earlier the possibilities of E-publishing. Jaeger may be willing to run a piece on that. It’s something I’ll look at with the case series.

    Happy New Year to all, as I adjourn briefly for a cool shower and then a read of Dot Parker.

  15. Blimey, BK, to pinch Scorp’s exclamation.

    Not a very good day at all to have a fire in the Hills. Take care.

  16. dunny
    With what’s been going on at home recently I have taken myself ofline from active firefirghting duties.

  17. I think that’s a prudent step, BK. You still of great value to them, but maybe the active part needs others to step up. I faced the same decision a few years back with Lifeline, and have had no regrets since opting out.

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