'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

14 March 2011

Preserving Australia

click images to enlarge or play videos
Genuine History
Australian history with original music by a good friend Terry Bourke to old, rare and wonderful photographs taken by his father.
A Koala
In the horrendous 2009 Victorian Bush Fires a symbol of hope arose when a small Koala was photographed taking a drink of water from a fire fighter. The story and the photograph took off throughout the world and featured in newspapers here and as far as the New York Times. Sam The Kola as she became known suffered burns,and was looked after in a reserve, but later that year she was put down because of an illness. Sam appeared on a charity CD and trade mark disputes soon arose. Sam was stuffed and is now on display in the Melbourne Museum.
A Horse
The great race horse Phar Lap. After winning 36 races here during the Depression he was a symbol of hope for the people. However he went to the US and won North America's richest race, the Agua Caliente Handicap, in 1932. Two weeks later he died mysteriously and many suspected he was killed by mobsters. He now resides in the Melbourne Museum.

A Bushranger
The armour belonged to the Bushranger Ned Kelly one of the most historically significant cultural heroes of Australian folk lore. Below is the Skeleton of Ned Kelly just discovered at Pentridge Prison  and scientifically confirmed in 2011. Originally interred in Old Melbourne Gaol in 1880, but rumoured to have been moved to a mass grave at Pentridge in 1929
 A criminal perhaps by circumstance, he stood up to the police and he is much admired in this country. On display at the State Library of Victoria. Below is an extract from the 1906 film on The Kelly Gang made 26 years after he was hung and the first feature film in the world and made outside of Melbourne.

A Flag
Known as the Eureka Flag this tattered remnant is the southern cross which flew over a group of gold miners at the Eureka Stockade. Objecting to the imposition of a mining Tax of 30 shillings per month, they revolted on the 3rd. December 1854. It ended in less then 30 minutes and 33 miners and 5 soldiers lay dead. It is considered a defining moment in Australian  history and democracy. Held at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. It is huge.
Rock Art
Stretching across 50,000 sq km of northern Australia at around 100,000 sites are what are known as the Bradshaw Paintings. Due to the pigment being so old and becoming part of the rock they can not be carbon dated, but  one of the paintings is covered by a 17,000 + year old wasp nest. It is believed they are 50 -60,000 years old and could pre-date the migration to Australia of the people known as the Aborigines. This is much older than the oldest in Europe which date back 30,000 Years. The even greater significance is that they depict highly decorated humans and relatively advanced technology. They show people with tassels, hair adornments, and possibly clothing similar to ancient Egyptian paintings and relative to agricultural hierarchical societies. Such body adornments are usually only found in agricultural societies that have developed hierarchical systems of status not in hunter gatherer peoples. There is aslo a scene of a boat holding 29 people and another with a rudder.
Link to Australian Rock Art Archives - Bradshaw Foundation.
A Rock
In 1873 surveyor William Gosse named this phenomenon Ayres Rock after the -Chief Secretary of South AustraliaSir Henry AyersOn 26 October 1985, the Australian government returned ownership to the local Pitjantjatjara Aborigines. It's name has returned to the original 'Uluru". Most of the rock is beneath the surface as it is on its end and extends five and a half kilometres down. The piece of sandstone stands 348 m. high, is 863 m. above sea level, and measures 9.4 km. in circumference. Set in the centre of Australia it is the symbolic spiritual heart of the nation. Around 400,000 people visit the Rock each year and the numbers allowed to make the assent has been reduced to 20% of visitors.
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