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. Florence
    I think you have a very good point there. It will be interesting to see where and when these parades take place.

  2. leonetwo

    Yes a good pick up by Florence. From what I read I got the impression that there will be parades in all the state capitals .

  3. Funny, isn’t it. We hold parades so a grateful nation can thank our defence people for doing their job. Fighting other people’s wars in far away places, wars that see thiusands of innocent lives lost, wars that cost us billions with no benefit to us at all. A job which they are paid to do. A job they take on freely, most likely with an eye on the future opportunities a few years in the services will offer.

    But we don’t hold parades so a grateful nation can thank doctors, nurses, teachers, police, fire fighters, ambos or anyone else who does vital and worthwhile work which directly benefits us all.

    Something is wrong here.

  4. It makes no difference what mesma looks like, plenty of butt ugly men have been good parliamentarians and ministers, but as an object of beauty, Bishop is as a rose is to caltrope.

  5. Last night after abandoning the ABC’s. “Carousing by fireworks-light”, we watched a DVD. of “Francesco’s Italy..Top to Toe”..an old ABC. program…where this “swarvo” ; Francesco goes swanning about the country in his Alfa-Romeo Spyder….a pretty car…and I’m now thinking, as I look at the cover of that DVD. Hey!…How come we don’t build things like that car here?…there are a heap of fantastic looking cars and machinery built in Italy…and it has very few natural resources….how come we can’t build these things?
    Well, you know why?…because our dumb, stupid, short-sighted big-business bullshit artists and shit-for-brains LNP. govt’ won’t invest in our young people’s creativity!
    They’re no smarter in Italy, or anywhere else for that matter..They don’t have some magical, singular design gene..It’s just that they respect the imaginative mind of the creative-design person…their young are surrounded by art and appreciative history…not ground into the dirt by “bottom-line” opportunists and turd-eating LNP. dullards whose only obedience is to a foreign national or foreign corp’ that milks the young of this country and discards the creative spirit like it was an empty cardboard cup!
    Damn!!…we have to get rid of them..and keep them out for ever!

  6. So Mr. Morrison cannot respect citizenship ceremonies withy out politicalising them. I suspect Dutton would be in full agreement.

  7. Now here’s a thought for any mayors being heavied into reading government propaganda at citizenship ceremonies.

  8. “It makes no difference what mesma looks like,”

    No different at all. her problem is, she is not a women’s women. That cannot be glossed over. Also, Ms Bishop the younger has said on more that one occasion that she is in consistent communication with Rudd, Has been for years. If, so, I am sure he is advising her.


  9. The act does not say it has to be read. No Mr Morrison, it is not your prerogative to make directions as you like. It is your job to administer the act. If you want your orders obeyed, take the act back to Parliament. Make they necessary changes.

  10. What the fcuk was it with Abbott and the cricket peasants doing “hands on hips” man poses ? Trivia bonus. In NZ it would look like someone had called out “hope” . Maori word , pronounced “hoe pay”, a signal to put hands on hips in prep for starting a dance.Oh and good to see Abbott now working on a paunch belt overhang.

  11. Lord of the Fridge

    Either “Resistance is futile” or “All your base are belong to us”.

  12. Looking at the poses, it looks like a manhood display going on, who started the ‘my tackle is bigger than yours’ standoff we cannot tell. My biaised mind thinks it was Abbott. Aging feather-duster is being challenged by fit young roosters.

  13. “I couldn’t bat, I couldn’t bowl, I couldn’t field, but I could sledge, and I think I held my place in the team on this basis and I promise there’ll be none of that today,” said the former captain of Oxford’s Middle Common Room team of the Queen’s College.

    Looking at it that way, his cricketing qualifications are not that different to his political qualifications.

  14. Leonetwo

    Your comment at 4:48 re parades and such has said in so many words what my OH and I both think and say, thanks for putting it so succinctly.

    My OH would like to copy the whole comment and post it on her facebook page with your permission we will of course attribute it to you here.

    Will that be OK?

  15. On the ABC Julia Z show last night. OH and I turned on the TV at 10 to 12 to see the fireworks. Ten minutes of Ms Zero and her motley crew was more than enough.

    We thought the fireworks a random mess with no theme and totally irrelevant “music” with it.

  16. ” captain of Oxford’s Middle Common Room team of the Queen’s College. “. A posh way of saying captain of the z grade left overs.

  17. Just done a quick check. Abbott said the same thing at the launch of the PM’s XI match late in 2013. I think he’s rather proud of that line. It’s an inappropriate and stupid thing to say this time around, in light of the tensions already there between the two teams. But then Abbott is an idiot.

  18. Abbott’s minders really, really need to get him to wear bigger shirts. The straining at the buttons look he has favoured for years is not flattering. Especially not on an oldish bloke who is developing a paunch.

  19. BK

    You need not have corrected “yhings” = “things” . Would have been none the wiser as I thought yhings sounded just the sort of word Les would have used 🙂

  20. Re: the timing of the marches, March 21 is Harmony Day:

    “Harmony Day 21 March is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owners of this land to those who have come from many countries around the world. By participating in Harmony Day activities, we can learn and understand how all Australians from diverse backgrounds equally belong to this nation and enrich it.”


    Once a wrecker, always a wrecker.

  21. Cheers and happy new year to all!

    TLBD – did the same at 11.55 last night and agree wholeheartedly about the fireworks. While on principle I think they are a waste of money, whatever happened to fireworks choreographed to appropriate music like we used to have in here with skyfire for canberra day?

    With regard to military parades etc in March and April next year, I think we’ll have to accept that the idiot will (probably) get a small bump in the polls from these events – provided he doesn’t say something inappropriate or political at the ANZAC address (and that’s a distinct possibility!) Libs usually excel at milking military events for all they’re worth. However, remember that a few short weeks after ANZAC centenary, sloppy joe has to deliver his 2nd budget, and I think it will take more than scrott’s families and child care package and the idiots ‘reset’ to make up for the all the damage this govt has done so far, and will unfortunately continue to do in many areas.

    So any positives the govt gets from ANZAC etc should be temporary…

  22. Pinched from comments from ‘Loon Pond”…I’m sure they won’t mind…it backs up what I was lamenting earlier.

    “Anonymous Jan 1, 2015, 10:56:00 AM

    He has used that lottery win line before. What rubbish! Ask a French person, a Swiss, a German if they think they are also rans. It is such a small town thing to say. So embarrassing.

    I was spooning out Bonne Maman strawberry jam this morning and it got me thinking. The jam was ruby-lustrous with whole fruit. The jar was beautifully shaped with a simple, elegant red and white gingham patterned lid. It had been produced by people who value quality and design. The French, the Germans, the Italians, the Dutch, the Swiss run rings around us there.

    So Tony Abbott until this country has a government which values more than holes in the ground, chopping down trees, freeways, ugly buildings, then I will blow raspberries at your lottery win remarks.

    I stagger into 2015 heartened that many Australians want more than the paltry offerings of Team Abbott. I suspect the ALP has received the message too but that remains to be seen.

    The old saying about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing fits our government well.

    Best wishes Dorothy and thank you.

    Happy New Year to all loons.

    Miss Pitty Pat “

  23. jaycee

    Adding to the pukeness of it is that he pinched the line straight from super racist Cecil Rhodes who reckoned.

    “Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life.”

  24. It’s not a bad idea, CK. My first thought about the Free Tram Zone was addressed in the article – most people travel to the city, and therefore already have paid for a daily ticket. So probably not much of a saving there. But even if it’s just a symbolic act it’s worthwhile, as it indicates a government actually taking an interest in its people. Makes a nice change from the last few years in Victoria. And abolishing Zone 2 and making everything Zone 1 represents a real saving for a lot of people.

  25. A bit Goodwin’s Law but with Abbott and his man love for uniforms ya never know. He got his scholarship from him , he plagiarised him,not for the first time ,with his raffle of life comment and is a self described “incorrigible Anglophile” . So it is a bit of a worry that Adolph said of Cecil.

    BBC unveils a Victorian hero – a money-mad, racist, closet gay

    Hitler described him as the only Englishman who truly understood Anglo- Saxon ideals and destiny.


  26. Dear me, I’ve just seen Adelaide’s / South Australia’s forecast for tomorrow.

    Keep cool, well-hydrated, and off the roads, everyone.

  27. Fiona

    Perth , although having perfect weather at the mo’ , is looking at 39-40 on Monday so the Crow Eaters may be in for even worse after that.

  28. Kaffeeklatscher,

    Melbourne will be copping 39C tomorrow, 41C Saturday, then a cool change. We tend to get Perth’s weather three days later, but Thursday next week is – at this stage – only 34C.

    The household (i.e., OH) has already received strict instructions to keep all closed doors closed (except when going through them). And the kitchen blind stays DOWN until the afternoon.

    After many years of experience, I know that if three upstairs doors are kept closed in the morning, and two downstairs doors are kept closed all day (except when … obviously) this house withstands a couple of really hot days without much difficulty.

  29. Fiona

    So far Perth has had a weird (In a good way) summer. Weird as in being back to normal. After about 5 years of saying “worst season EVER !” when it comes to the chillies I grow it is most welcome. If the Monday prediction comes true then there has only been 2 or 3 hot days in summer. On each occasion immediately followed by a 9-10 degree drop.

  30. Kaffeeklatscher,

    Fingers crossed for you.

    Melbourne’s problem is that it gets its weather from the north, the west, and the south – and very occasionally from the east, which can be quite strange and sometimes disastrous – think 1998.

  31. CK,
    I’m an outer suburbanite, so I’m (marginally) disadvantaged by the rationalisation of the two zones. My voluntary work involves three return trips each week within the old zone 2. So with the new fare structure, I’ll be paying the same amount as if I was travelling to the city or beyond. That said, it’s obviously a good idea.

    My wish is that we had a system like I experienced in Stockholm (mid 1970s), where a cheap monthly card was available to all comers. If you travelled more than ten days in the month, you were ahead. Because nearly all users had a monthly card, people entered and exited turnstiles and bus doors quickly.
    I recall being very impressed on the way to the Nobel Prize speeches (a public event), the trains were crowded and among the passengers were people (both genders) in formal evening dress, because the overwhelming majority of Stockholm citizens used public transport, irrespective of social class..

  32. Fiona

    I have been doing my very best version of this laugh at the sight of pods of the current Guinness Book of Records’ hottest chillie, the Carolina Reaper being eaten. Tabasco sauce about 3,500 Scovilles heat units these babies scoring up to 2,000,000, plus. Muy too hot for me but my inner sadist lurves watching wanna be tough guys (always guys) trying chillies like this..
    My Larf

    Dumb bastards eating one.

  33. Kaffeeklatscher,

    I don’t often tune in to the radio broadcasts of cricket (once upon a time, it was compulsory listening for me in summer) – but I did hear live to air Harsha Bhogle’s consumption of an extremely powerful chilli, and its breathtaking consequences.

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