Lest we forget.

She spent part of the afternoon just looking through the old box in which she kept those special things.  Little memories tied up inside the clipping from The Land newspaper. There was the browned paper with the copy of Walter’s description of Winton: “The district in which I live.”

DistrictStoryWalterGenerally speaking, the district in which I live is a farming district. One may find a dairy farm here and there; sheep farming is indulged in to a small extent.  Nearly every farmer has a few sheep, cattle, and a good many horses. It is a splendid wheat growing district, and with plenty of rain, the wheat yields well.  I should deem it a pleasure to be able to tell you about it sometime.  We have a Methodist church, public school, and post office, all about a half a mile apart. We have plenty of amusement, such as picnics, tennis matches etc. We have a tennis club at our place, and on Saturday afternoons, the members have much fun.  I am 14 years 7 months of age, and hope this short essay will meet with your approval.
WALTER PRYOR Robertdale, Winton, via Tamworth.

Robertdale, Winton: the farm she’d had to buy back from the estate of her husband Robert who’d been killed in an accident loading the big, rammed, four bushel bags of wheat at a rail siding 12 years ago in 1904. Left with a dozen children, she had plenty ahead of her; the hollowness at the loss of thirteen year old Stanley, dying down in Newcastle in 1912, barely over a year since Walter had written his description: proud and optimistic as one born just ahead of the new nation.

The glint of a smile was there for a moment and then gone; chased away by the emptiness she felt at the imminent farewell for the boys.  The members of the tennis club and other guests were to be on hand to say goodbye and good wishes to Walter and his elder brother Robert Oliver, who were now, just like the trees that dotted their wheat paddocks: Kurrajongs. The Kurrajongs was the name the 33rd Battalion had chosen for itself as it drew on the farms, towns and villages of the New England and North West. There was the fresh photograph of Walter in his new uniform, nineteen years old.

Fine speeches were given and entertainments from local amateurs. Farewell gifts were presented, with Robert being given a fountain pen, and Walter and the other boys were given money belts and ‘soldiers comforts.’

It seems the thing to do; she knew that everybody was sending their men off to be part of the great struggle they by now, as 1916 ended, were imagining in much more real terms as the lists of dead and maimed grew on the pages of the newspapers.

WalterJust as he was barely twenty, the telegram arrived. Walter Pryor, killed in action in France; February 8, 1917.

His elder brother Robert Oliver was wounded in France and then passed away in England of pneumonia while being treated.

While the bulk of young Australian men enlisting in the army during World War One, the ‘Great War,’ came from cities and urban areas, there is still a romantic notion of the adventurous spirit and strong, larrikinism with a willingness to thumb a nose at convention.  It was expected that the young country boys would demonstrate the resourcefulness, marksmanship and horsemanship held in high regard by their  families and be great warriors for their country’s pride and, most particularly, to the protection of the Empire.

There is rarely a town or village  where there is no sad memorial to the dreams and nightmares of great loss. The little crosses, benign beside names yet potent in the sadness they can evoke.

As we move toward the remembrance of ANZAC Day and its place in our history, let us never forget the very human faces that can be there; frozen in time.

They shall grow not old;

nor will my Great Uncle Walter.

And for my Great Grandmother, twenty years to carry on.

Capture3

MONA

In Hobart for a post Christmas getaway.

Today we were planning to hire bikes and ride up the cycleway which uses the space beside the rail line to visit MONA; the Museum of Old and New Art.

We woke to a day of gale force winds which led to the cancellation of a sailing race on the Derwent and delayed the opening of the Taste of Tasmania for the day, until the safety of the marquees could be assured.

So, we drove there instead.

It seemed like every tourist in Tasmania had chosen to visit too, but this didn’t stop the fascination of a plethora of imagery and installations which had me reaching for the notebook to scribble.

MONA

Creeping through shaped spaces of light and dark

Where sometimes the message

Speaks clearly and yetScreen Shot 2014-01-02 at 10.38.37 PM,

In others,

There is the knowledge that the language used

May be known to others but

The translation,

(via the O device dangling on its lanyard around my neck,)

Misses the nuance of idiom.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 10.39.32 PMThe wonder is,

however,

worth it.

 

 

Where do the children play?

Up the Creek

Looking for a full belly one way or another.

 

 

On Broadway

In Sydney tonight ready to speak at a conference tomorrow. Reflecting on some of the key themes of human endeavour.

Sultry Sydney spring evening.

The urban drama of the Broadway lights

Ebbs and flows at Harris Street.

Green.

Slish, slash, roar and swerve

The scooters and bikes spring from the maw of the pack where,

Behind them:

All manner of vehicular animals rush

In series

Eyes alight; glaring

All intent on going somewhere:

They want to go.

I’m sure I once read that it’s

The busiest corner in town.

 

Vale Joe. Thanks for the lift Mate!

One of the things I was really looking forward to; now that

the house is finished, the trip’s over and the knees have been done;

was to have Joe over for a jam.

 

That won’t happen now.

 

I met Joe, like many of us did:

virtually; then: In Real Life.

Coffee and Lunaticks and bright idea bubbles clinging to a web at dawn

we’re drawn, to whom we respect, and who we

Know

Care about us, and them; and those.

 

Joe was one of these people.

 

It may be Twitter

It may be twee to some

 

But for one reason and another,

There’s a big mob of tweeps in Newy this week

Reflecting on what we knew of Joe

And how we knew

 

Gossamer webs, connecting

those bits of us that assist the creation of

synergies of humanity:

not the wedging of it apart.

 

Vale Joe Grgas

 

Pre Christmas moon

Wagga Wagga nightfall

Late afternoon in Wagga Wagga; looking toward the river.

The grandstand at the racecourse stares out across the track and flat while, behind it, sweep the gums which reach down deep into the life giving force which is the Murrumbidgee.

It is so nice to see it full and alive.

The glow of the grandstand gable fades as the sun sinks. Galahs fly their sunset sorties; setting off to remind others that this is their place.

Night will descend swiftly soon.  I hope that some of the ideas traded today add value to tomorrow’s dawn.

Newcastle 10.10

One day after Siobhan Curran had such great contributions to the Newcastle 10.10.10 project, I happened to be out for a late afternoon ride with Lynette across to the dyke edge at Carrington.

Some ‘phonography’ images later, and some music

Music: Free mp3, Polaroid Flame – We live your life

We’re only trying to find
And we only wanna feel alive
We’re only trying to find
And we only wanna feel alive

You gotta know that some things will find you
Can you see the right and the wrong
Breath some life into the numbers
We live your life

We’re only trying to find
And we only wanna feel alive
We’re only trying to find
And we only wanna feel alive

Do you dream with your eyes wide open
Did you purpose with fighting for
Led the romance from the loved ones
We live your life

We’re only trying to find
And we only wanna feel alive
We’re only trying to find
And we only wanna feel alive