2012-01-01 to Today–double-posted

Good heavens! That’s the first quarter of 2012 done with! As I said in February: I have reached an age when the decades slide and blur and rush onwards. And for reasons that may become apparent if you follow that link I now add:

Posts most visited in the first quarter of 2012

  1. Home page 2,601 views since 1.1.2012
  2. A very personal Australia Day 26 January – my family 543
  3. Being Australian 16: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 9 – my tribes 440
  4. Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta Episode 3–SBS last night 327
  5. Nostalgia and the globalising world — from Thomas Hardy to 2010 207
  6. Being Australian 11: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 4 167
  7. Being Australian 20: poem and song, images, dreams, nostalgia, England 128
  8. Jack Vidgen–Australia’s Got Talent last night 127
  9. The Rainbow Warrior 127
  10. About 120
  11. Niggling example of political short-sightedness: Maldon-Dombarton rail link 116
  12. This may well be the best Australian history book I have EVER read! 99
  13. Being Australian 97
  14. Wollongong pioneers, Sydney High Rugby, HSC results, Jimi Hendrix’s underpants 92
  15. Australia’s Got Talent 2011 Grand Final 92
  16. Best documentary on climate change so far… 90
  17. “…the most truthful and disturbing image one can find of Australia in literature.”–Simon Leys 86
  18. Has school bullying increased? 86
  19. Wollongong local history 73
  20. Family history and mystery–the Indigenous connection 70

And on the photo blog:

  1. Home page 1,033
  2. Small Buddhist temple 3 30
  3. The ultimate old photos post 28
  4. 2009 Mardi Gras Fair Day 4 – Mad Hatter’s Tea Party 27
  5. Shellharbour 2 – Beverley Whitfield Pool 25
  6. The amazing Surry Hills Library 1 23
  7. Corner of Goulburn and George Streets, Sydney 21
  8. Last night was a touch wet… 17
  9. Illawarra Flame Tree — Brachychiton acerifolius 17
  10. Lunch at The Hellenic Club, Figtree 16
  11. St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, Wollongong — 1 15
  12. Pioneers: Wollongong’s Old Roman Catholic Cemetery — 2 15
  13. Waiting for Jack Vidgen — 1 14
  14. Revisiting Surry Hills: The Shakespeare Hotel and Devonshire Street 13
  15. Unanderra: Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception 13
  16. This place is SO beautiful! — 6 – Stuart Park and Puckeys — 2 12
  17. Wollongong Mall 12
  18. North Wollongong Beach in winter — 4 12
  19. Paddy’s Market to Ultimo 2 – the markets 12
  20. Loving Surry Hills 24: mosque 11


#14 Revisiting Surry Hills…

Apparent demise of http://www.citydailyphoto.com/

Such a shame. I joined quite late: 2009 in fact.  I had been drawn to the site by Sydney by Sally, Australia. Once there I found so many other great photo blogs, quite a few of them far better than my own – indeed as good as you could possibly get. Yorkshire Daily Photo has listed those still active at the end of 2011. Here’s a sample:

Enjoy! I do miss the parent site though, and hope that perhaps it will return – but it’s not looking good.


Julie from Sydney has apparently created CDPB Theme Day – a temporary substitute for City Daily Photo. The theme for April is Cobblestones.

As you may be aware, the server that hosted the City Daily Photo Blog portal was hacked in the middle of March 2012. The CDPB technical team has been working feverishly to re-establish the entire portal. A massive undertaking.

In case they are not back and running in time for the April Theme Day, and to take the pressure off them, we are providing this linking tool to enable you to join in with the Theme Day as much as possible…

From my week’s reading: Edmund Gosse, “Father and Son” — 1907

Still relevant after all those years.

My holidays, however, and all my personal relations with my Father were poisoned by this insistency. I was never at my ease in his company; I never knew when I might not be subjected to a series of searching questions which I should not be allowed to evade. Meanwhile, on every other stage of experience I was gaining the reliance upon self and the respect for the opinion of others which come naturally to a young man of sober habits who earns his own living and lives his own life. For this kind of independence my Father had no respect or consideration, when questions of religion were introduced, although he handsomely conceded it on other points. And now first there occurred to me the reflection, which in years to come I was to repeat over and over, with an ever sadder emphasis,—what a charming companion, what a delightful parent, what a courteous and engaging friend my Father would have been, and would pre-eminently have been to me, if it had not been for this stringent piety which ruined it all.

Let me speak plainly. After my long experience, after my patience and forbearance, I have surely the right to protest against the untruth (would that I could apply to it any other word!) that evangelical religion, or any religion in a violent form, is a wholesome or valuable or desirable adjunct to human life. It divides heart from heart. It sets up a vain, chimerical ideal, in the barren pursuit of which all the tender, indulgent affections, all the genial play of life, all the exquisite pleasures and soft resignations of the body, all that enlarges and calms the soul are exchanged for what is harsh and void and negative. It encourages a stern and ignorant spirit of condemnation; it throws altogether out of gear the healthy movement of the conscience; it invents virtues which are sterile and cruel; it invents sins which are no sins at all, but which darken the heaven of innocent joy with futile clouds of remorse. There is something horrible, if we will bring ourselves to face it, in the fanaticism that can do nothing with this pathetic and fugitive existence of ours but treat it as if it were the uncomfortable ante-chamber to a palace which no one has explored and of the plan of which we know absolutely nothing. My Father, it is true, believed that he was intimately acquainted with the form and furniture of this habitation, and he wished me to think of nothing else but of the advantages of an eternal residence in it.

Then came a moment when my self-sufficiency revolted against the police-inspection to which my ‘views’ were incessantly subjected. There was a morning, in the hot-house at home, among the gorgeous waxen orchids which reminded my Father of the tropics in his youth, when my forbearance or my timidity gave way. The enervated air, soaked with the intoxicating perfumes of all those voluptuous flowers, may have been partly responsible for my outburst. My Father had once more put to me the customary interrogatory. Was I ‘walking closely with God’? Was my sense of the efficacy of the Atonement clear and sound? Had the Holy Scriptures still their full authority with me? My replies on this occasion were violent and hysterical. I have no clear recollection what it was that I said,—I desire not to recall the whimpering sentences in which I begged to be let alone, in which I demanded the right to think for myself, in which I repudiated the idea that my Father was responsible to God for my secret thoughts and my most intimate convictions.

He made no answer; I broke from the odorous furnace of the conservatory, and buried my face in the cold grass upon the lawn. My visit to Devonshire, already near its close, was hurried to an end. …

“Gosse’s Father and Son is a superb and sometimes quite beautiful book…” — Brian A. Oard

Is my dongle spying on me?

I do know that it is a temperamental little beast and suffers from some kind of cyber-constipation rather too often…


It is made in China – what isn’t these days? – and furthermore made by Huawei.

Huawei a security risk by any gauge

Huawei Australia board member Alexander Downer says the government’s decision to deny the Chinese telco supplier Huawei a major role in the construction of the national broadband network is absurd, but it looks logical to me.

There is obviously no official register of China’s telecommunications surveillance activities, but they are generally considered to be extensive and sophisticated inside and outside the country.

China believes it also gets hacked by the US, and it’s odds-on to be right. China’s surveillance culture is so pervasive, however, that friction with Western governments is inevitable as its economic reach expands.

There is no doubt that corporate and government interests intermingle in China, and Huawei’s private ownership does not materially alter that fact.

The group is becoming more transparent as it grows, but its ownership and management structures are still opaque by Western standards, making matters such as chairwoman Sun Yafang’s past role as an executive in China’s top security agency, the Ministry of State Security, difficult to assess. It also operates within a tightly regulated industry that is nominated as strategic by the Chinese government…

I haven’t really been following the story, but apparently our government has baulked at letting Huawei into our National Broadband Network – now alive and working just south of here, by the way.

See also

See also this report from India (May 2010).

NEW DELHI: It’s not without reason that the security agencies continue to eye Huawei with suspicion. For, the Chinese firm’s R&D facility inBangalore operates with a secrecy so intense that a larger part of its premises are completely out of bounds for Indians.

At Huawei Technologies’ R&D facility in Bangalore, only the ground and first floors are reportedly accessible to Indian staff. The floors beyond can be accessed only by the Chinese executives and managers, a top intelligence official told ET.

Though Chinese form only a minuscule percentage of Huawei India’s staff at the Bangalore facility, it is they who enjoy exclusive and unrestricted access to R&D office’s top floors. There is not much information on what equipment is tested and what goes on in the ‘Chinese-only’ parts of the building. But intelligence agencies have noticed how Chinese employees of Huawei often have an extended stay in Bangalore for months together.

Though attempts were made by security agencies a few months ago to probe the purpose behind these long-drawn business trips by the Chinese staff of Huawei to Bangalore, they were told curtly that the Chinese were staying on to learn and master English!

I have nothing against a good belly button…


Don’t know them, but they are Aussies…

But this guy elevated the belly button to cosmic heights…


Wikipedia: “Philip Henry Gosse (6 April 1810 – 23 August 1888) was an English naturalist and popularizer of natural science, virtually the inventor of the seawater aquarium, and a painstaking innovator in the study of marine biology. Gosse is perhaps best known today as the author of Omphalos, an attempt to reconcile the immense geological ages presupposed by Charles Lyell with the biblical account of creation.

After his death, Gosse was portrayed as a despotic and fanatically religious father in Father and Son (1907), the literary masterpiece of his son, poet and critic Edmund Gosse"

The gist of the Omphalos theory is that just as Adam. though not “born”, would have had a false history stamped on him via his belly button – think about it – so the fossil record etc represents a false history preloaded, as we might say today, by God at the time of creation. Ingenious, except that there is nothing to say the false history began two seconds ago and this entry was preloaded by God….

At the moment I am reading Father and Son. Just how true it is people have disputed, but whatever the case the book is a real treasure. Thanks to Project Gutenberg and my Kobo.

Meanwhile, capable as I was of reading, I found my greatest pleasure in the pages of books. The range of these was limited, for story-books of every description were sternly excluded. No fiction of any kind, religious or secular, was admitted into the house. In this it was to my Mother, not to my Father, that the prohibition was due. She had a remarkable, I confess to me still somewhat unaccountable impression that to ‘tell a story’, that is, to compose fictitious narrative of any kind, was a sin. She carried this conviction to extreme lengths. My Father, in later years, gave me some interesting examples of her firmness. As a young man in America, he had been deeply impressed by ‘Salathiel’, a pious prose romance by that then popular writer, the Rev. George Croly. When he first met my Mother, he recommended it to her, but she would not consent to open it. Nor would she read the chivalrous tales in verse of Sir Walter Scott, obstinately alleging that they were not ‘true’. She would read none but lyrical and subjective poetry. Her secret diary reveals the history of this singular aversion to the fictitious, although it cannot be said to explain the cause of it. As a child, however, she had possessed a passion for making up stories, and so considerable a skill in it that she was constantly being begged to indulge others with its exercise. But I will, on so curious a point, leave her to speak for herself:

‘When I was a very little child, I used to amuse myself and my brothers with inventing stories, such as I read. Having, as I suppose, naturally a restless mind and busy imagination, this soon became the chief pleasure of my life. Unfortunately, my brothers were always fond of encouraging this propensity, and I found in Taylor, my maid, a still greater tempter. I had not known there was any harm in it, until Miss Shore [a Calvinist governess], finding it out, lectured me severely, and told me it was wicked. From that time forth I considered that to invent a story of any kind was a sin. But the desire to do so was too deeply rooted in my affections to be resisted in my own strength [she was at that time nine years of age], and unfortunately I knew neither my corruption nor my weakness, nor did I know where to gain strength. The longing to invent stories grew with violence; everything I heard or read became food for my distemper. The simplicity of truth was not sufficient for me; I must needs embroider imagination upon it, and the folly, vanity and wickedness which disgraced my heart are more than I am able to express. Even now [at the age of twenty-nine], tho’ watched, prayed and striven against, this is still the sin that most easily besets me. It has hindered my prayers and prevented my improvement, and therefore, has humbled me very much.’

This is, surely, a very painful instance of the repression of an instinct. There seems to have been, in this case, a vocation such as is rarely heard, and still less often wilfully disregarded and silenced. Was my Mother intended by nature to be a novelist? I have often thought so, and her talents and vigour of purpose, directed along the line which was ready to form ‘the chief pleasure of her life’, could hardly have failed to conduct her to great success. She was a little younger than Bulwer Lytton, a little older than Mrs. Gaskell—but these are vain and trivial speculations!

The party’s over


Well may Julia be cracking hardy in that image from the ABC.

Some Labor MPs are convinced Saturday’s landslide LNP win in Queensland is an ominous warning ahead of next year’s federal election.

Forty-three Labor MPs lost their seats as the LNP swept to power on the back of an unprecedented wave of public support.

Queensland Labor is expected to have just seven MPs in the new parliament, while outgoing premier Anna Bligh fell on her sword yesterday and announced she was retiring from politics.

Outwardly the Federal Government argues the Queensland drubbing is a local phenomenon, but privately there is a lot of soul-searching going on…

In the state of its origin the ALP now has barely enough seats to retain its status as a party…

See Peter Hartcher’s analysis with a headline very many of us would agree with: Federal ALP needs to stand for something.

I do feel for Anna Bligh: I thought she was magnificent during the natural disasters that struck Queensland in the last year or two.

As a non-resident of Queensland, I find it hard to understand why that state has punished the Labor Party to the brink of possible extinction (”Bligh quits Parliament”, smh.com.au, March 25).

My observation of the former premier, Anna Bligh, is that she, unlike many of her contemporaries – both male and female – presented a warm interest in and empathy with those in need.

Her replacement will have big shoes to fill and Queensland is worse off for her resignation.

Karen Eldridge Leichhardt

That letter to the Sydney Morning Herald I rather agree with.

But once upon a time…