Tag Archives: Australian

Skewed View

via Daily Prompt: Skewed


The gorge at Tjukurla last July. A precious water hole for the community here since time began, for the white explorers like Ernest Giles an age ago, and now more a wonderful place to visit, as we all did.

When white settlers arrived on the shores of Australia, they immediately began to move into the interior, exploring for possible farm lands, minerals, and for building community. Immediate impressions were bleak, explorers often commenting on the harshness of the bush, the lack of water, the heat in summer, overall, the bush was perceived as harsh and dangerous. Some, like the Burke and Wills expedition (1860) from Melbourne to Carpentaria, saw all but one of the seven team members perish.

But if you read Australia’s expedition history you quickly discover that, though Australia’s bush is indeed a harsh environ, human error accounts for most of the deaths of exploreers. Their perception of the bush skewed the reality. The proof of this is that for milennia Australia’s indigenous people thrived in these very inerior spaces. Spaces like Tjukurla where water, wildlife and vegetation, were available, and so it was possible to live in these spaces, if you but understood the how of these spaces. Australian Aboriginal people knew how, over centuries of experience they knew what to do and how to do it. For them the land was not hostile but friend, not harsh, but purposeful. Theirs was a life living in seasonal rhythm, in harmony with the elements, with respect for all life, with intimate knowledge. They understood the feel of the land, its formation and power. They only took what was necessary for all, their ethic was shared space.

If only we’d bothered to look with their eyes and heart, if only we’d taken time to understand. A perception of harshness leads to negative response, distrust leads to disrespect, a disregard for the vast yet fragile environ. Ownership individualises every experience and leads to conquest, even of each other, and nothing is shared, only despair.

Aboriginal life is testimony to how skewed white understanding of the land and community has been.

Fortunately the tide has begun to turn and we are learning from our indigenous their ways of valuing nature and community, ways that will enable us to battle global warming, climate change and all that is ill in our land. They lived without us for milenia, they didn’t need us, but we sure do need them.

The gorge at Tjurkula is proof that the bush is tough, but yet yielding, in the midst of hard granite, sandstone, and dry earth lies precious and life-giving water. The water sustains wildlife and plants, and gives life to all.

I sometimes see that that is how we are meant to be, life giving into our world.







Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature


via Daily Prompt: Genius


When I got up close to this I could only think of The Robinson family and Dr. Smith, and the cry goes up “Warning, Warning, Warning!” Lost in Space began in 1965 on US TV, the item in the photo began life in 1964 as part of British/Australian exercise on behalf of the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO),  out of Woomera to test rockets.

This is the remnant of the first (de Havilland Propellers) Blue Streak Rocket launched at Woomera. Originally Blue Streak began life as an independent British program to develop an anti-nuclear missile. Some genius in Whitehall believed that a nuclear deterrent was needed to protect against Soviet threat. To cut a very long story short, the program was discontinued due to cost. It was then picked up between the British and several European countries in parnership with Australia, to be developed instead as a rocket base for launching missiles.

This remnant of the first was one of only ten trial rockets. The first failed and the last five also failed (echoes of Monty Python’s ‘The Holy Grail’ and the interchange between The King of the Swamp and his son Prince Herbert), so maybe not so genius afterall. The program was moved to French Guiana in South America for better positioning, but again, cost and design problems ended the project.

It’s been a long time since the last attempt to launch Blue streak in 1971. ELDO was then merged with the European Space Research Organisation to become the European Space Agency. Only this year it was announced that Australia was going to have its own Space Agency.

This remnant from 64 was only found in 1980, 50 kms south of Giles Weather Station, which is where it is now housed for all to see. I see it more as an abstract sculpture, that’s genius.




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Filed under life, Space