Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive


Now there’s a word to look up! It describes this entry perfectly.

Shire nostalgia

On Occasional rambles of a retired teacher, that excellent new blog of mine on Blogspot on the old Floating Life address which more of you should visit, I am about to write* the next in the inspiring teachers series based on Teachers Who Change Lives by Andrew Metcalfe and Ann Game. That took me back to Sutherland fifty-three years ago, and I am sorry to report that memory does tend to fade after all. Odd things stay sharp though.

Forty years ago my mother wrote down some memories of her own — yes, they are on this site now — and I am truly amazed by their detail and by her style. She used under stress to dream about her New England, Braefield, and sometimes about life on the Hawkesbury before that. To her that was back in time about the same as Sutherland is to me. Incredible — to me, that is. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled… Denys will get that one.

bobIn the present there is a great website from Sutherland: Sutherland Shire Environment Centre. There is so much to look at there. One of the founding fathers of that Centre is Bob Walshe (right), writer, historian, community activist, former Communist, who would have been teaching at Sutherland Intermediate High School when I was in Year Six at the Boys Primary School down the hill. Later on Bob, as chair of the NSW English Teachers Association Writers Group, became a good friend of mine, though I haven’t seen him lately. He’s well into his eighties but still active.

I was amazed to learn here that “in 1958 enrolments of 1790 students were recorded across the four departments” (Infants, Girls, Boys, High School) at Sutherland Public School, which is, by the way, 120 years old this year. “Sutherland School opened on this site in 1887. The one room classroom served a community of children who were drawn from huts and tents. At that time, apart from the railway station and level crossing keepers’ houses there was only 1 other permanent building in the Sutherland settlement. The nearest neighbouring schools were at Hurstville and Heathcote.” I was enrolled in 1949! Sutherland then was still semi-rural. There were about 50,000 people in the whole Shire, and in our street a population that included many chooks, several ducks, at least one goat, one or two horses, and one cow, with the occasional snake and bandicoot thrown in. Not to mention an amazing number of spiders, some venomous. And ticks. Today the Shire has over 200,000 people, some of whom I am related to.

* Done! Go there for even more nostalgia! [Now a page on Ninglun’s Personal Papers — April 2008. Link corrected.]

Thomas on US politics

Thomas reports much success for his recent post Ron Paul: The only Republican you could get behind, and he deserves this. It is an interesting piece. He probably saw today’s top post on WordPress too: Ron Paul: Fundraiser Extraordinaire on The Van Der Galiën Gazette, a blog I have commended before. One point that interests me in Thomas’s post is this:

However, with Ron Paul, he looks exactly like the founders of the GOP. He’s a conservative, in favour of the free market and lower taxes (in fact, he has never voted once to raise taxes in his Representative career beginning in 1997). He opposes the war in Iraq (which already puts him offside) and has regularly spoken out [against] a war with Iran (which puts him further offside) in which America is the aggressor. In fact, Ron Paul hearkens so far back to the early Republican Party that he espouses the non-interventionist foreign policy that President Washington so fondly loved…

The worst part is that for Ron Paul, being such a stalwart and ‘Founding Fathers’-based candidate, he has bee marginalized and deemed a fringe member. What has happened to the GOP when someone so closely aligned in policy to George Washington, to the Founding Fathers, to the policies that built America, can be deemed ‘fringe’. I thought the Republican Party stood up for what America was, and what it should be. Shouldn’t it be a country that continues what it was built upon?…

Now I agree with much of that, noting too that Thomas has studied Ron Paul much more than I have. However, referring partly at a tangent to the last sentence, I would hate it if our own current Labor Party tried to revive its early 20th century platform. In that case the orientation and spirit is what is carried forward into the present, not the specifics, much of which is now hopelessly out-dated. A conundrum though. On the other hand the Liberal Party probably does need to go back to its roots a touch more, if only to justify its still using the name…

Stat attack imminent

Yes, this is the last day of the month, so tomorrow I will explain how September broke all my earlier records — because it already has. I will look too at which posts and pages have scored more than 200 visits during that time. Last month, you may recall, I did a survey of the 100+ posts and pages. This month there are too many!

This morning’s Sitemeter visit pattern for that last 100 visits here and on the Big Archive (with a tiny representation from the new blog too) is really quite odd in its internationalism:



Now I have to get out of here because the house over the road is on fire! I’m not kidding…

OK, sorted. The people next door to the burning house have been allowed back in. The fire engines are still just outside my balcony though. Smells a bit smoky in here. The fire was in the roof space, always a problem with terrace housing…

No, the people in No 20 have been evacuated again, and 24 as well, though the fire in 22 seems under control. Conjoined roof spaces, you see, with no fire walls between… 19th century building.


This evening at the Captain Cook Hotel is M’s au revoir party. He leaves Tuesday morning for Buenos Aires via Auckland. Sirdan is coming along to the Captain Cook.

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  1. This entry was visited on 18 November by visitor #100,000 to this blog.


    October 18, 2007 at 8:15 am

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