Defending The Shire: the place, not the trash TV…

This isn’t the real show, or at least I don’t think it is…

It can be hard to know what is parody and what is not in cases like this.


The Shire’s Vernesa and Sophie. Or is it Sophie and Vernesa?

Oh stuff it, even they don’t know.

That’s from The Punch – linked to image. See also Barking mad and howling at the moon in the shire … on Loon Pond. I haven’t watched the show, joining the majority who preferred Australian Story last Monday night, which I was able to see before ABC got cut off here in West Wollongong for the duration of QandA later that night.  Here is the current state of a survey this morning, linked to source:


And here is a Shire image you won’t find anywhere on Channel Ten OR in the frankly self-satisfied, stereotype-driven and snobbish responses that the show has, sadly for the REAL Shire, rather encouraged.


See Sudanese people in the Sutherland Shire – a moving community, oral history project: “records the outstanding combined community efforts of people in the Sutherland Shire to support Sudanese people who settled in the area. Oral histories of people from the Sudanese community and people who have assisted them from Caringbah Anglican Church, Gymea Community Aid Information Service, Sutherland Shire Council and TAFE NSW Sutherland College are recorded. The oral history project not only records community history in Australia but records for posterity recollections of life in Africa, the Dinka language and images.”

Didn’t know that, all you smartarses smirking at The Shire, did you? Not at the show, which probably deserves every brickbat it gets, but the place where I grew up – the actual Shire.

Didn’t know it was a hotbed of socialists and radicals either, did you?

For example:

RECENTLY revealed files show former ALP senator Arthur Gietzelt was an active communist.

THE Communist Party of Australia has played an important but never critical role in the turn of political events.

But what has been little more than a sideshow has become a showstopper. After years of research, an incredible story can now be told.

The nub of it is that the CPA has long tried to infiltrate the Australian Labor Party. Few CPA members have been successful in penetrating at high levels. But one person, over a period of 40 to 50 years, has succeeded to unprecedented levels.

This individual is Arthur Thomas Gietzelt, who, according to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, was a member of the CPA who reached the heights of Labor politics.

Gietzelt rose from local alderman in southern Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to mayor to senator in federal parliament and, finally, minister in the Hawke Labor government….


He would have been a Councillor, by the way (elected first in 1956) and then Shire President. I met him through school debating when I taught at Cronulla High in the late 1960s.

And there’s this:

Sutherland Shire Environment Centre (SSEC) was set up in 1991 by concerned Shire residents. The objects of SSEC are

1. to act to defend the environment of the Sutherland Shire and associated bio-regions,by supporting members and local community organisations in their efforts to protect and improve their local areas
2. to develop and conduct enviornmental education initiatives,to encourage behavioural change to achieve a sustainable enviornment in the Sutherland Shire and its bio-regions.

SSEC is a totally independent,non-government community organisation. It is an incorporated Association guided by a constitutionand governed by a Board elected at an Annual General Meeting by members of the Association.

Our patron is R.D. (Bob) Walshe,AOM

Dear old Bob Walshe: former Communist, great English and History teacher and community activist who loves The Shire to death!

And why not join Tradies, The Sutherland Shire Trade Union Club?

One of Tradies’ core reasons for existence is to provide service and support to the local community. To date Tradies connects and supports over 60 different community organisations and Tradies employees have spent more than 2,400 hours towards local community initiatives. As you may notice from our blog here below, giving back to the community is a part of  Tradies DNA.  Feel free to like, share, comment and spread the LOVE.

Or drop in to Hazelhurst where you could have seen Shen Jiawei: From Mao to Now a couple of years back.


Finally look again at my post The Shire, The Shire! Again… And there’s more! and the excellent essay in The Monthly referred to there.

Mind you, there may be a secret army in training up there in The Shire. How else explain this?