1  A Swift and Violent Event

I hit the ground all right. Not running but barely able to crawl. No soft landing. This had to be for real- ‘It’. Shivering on the brink of the Great Gaping Beyond, just short of too late, as close as you can without getting sucked in completely.

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2 Lord Gym

I have been fortunate to be accepted into a medically screened and fully supervised program at Balmain Hospital.The Strong Centre has helped me keep my mind and body together.

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3 Boom Boom Baby

I was fortunate to grow up in the period after the Japanese military threat towards Australia had been halted. Nine months after one small after explosion, I was one of millions come to replace those who had just died. I quickly learned of life’s complications.

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4 Halcyon Days.

The Matriculant Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes.Ecclesiastes 11:9 It was in the idyllic bush setting of the University of New England where, with a straight bat,…

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5 Talkin’ ’bout their generation

David Evans from his perspective spoke admiringly of Harold Coombs, this powerful banker who loved the theatre, and gave patronage to a range of endeavours towards giving Australia a flourishing art world. ‘Russel Ward knows him from his Canberra days. Let’s hear what he’s got to say.’ ‘We had our doctorates conferred on us in…

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6 The Dinner Party and the Revolution

“Whey Out. What a choice!” I marvelled as David and I scanned the dishes sitting on the hotplates, poised to serve ourselves from the vast selection of foods laid out on the sideboard. This was international students’ night and the main drawcard was the smorgasboard of varied dishes that one could discover. This way of…

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7 Who we are and where we come from.

The Shear Pleasure. At UNE, I attended classes given by Isabel McBryde, lecturer in Prehistory and Ancient History. While developing courses and providing the first formal training of students in archaeology in Australia, this trowelblazer was conducting a pioneering regional study of the New England region of New South Wales based on Australian archaeological fieldwork….

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8 Making the science less dismal.

“Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money.” George Carlin Not surprisingly my preoccupying interest in the dismal science became that of understanding the factors required for a…

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9 Foreign Relations

Perhaps we could have a translation, I could not quite follow. Harold Macmillan, after Khrushchev banged his shoe on the desk at the United Nations A Matter of Principle In studying international relations I reflected on the nature of appeasement, the Cold War, and decolonisation. I considered the experience of Harold Macmillan whose repugnance to…

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10 Over the Moon.

I was awed and amazed by those pioneering ace high expeditions being undertaken into space by astronauts and cosmonauts. This ‘final frontier’ beckoned to the explorer in me and was a launching pad for my interest in cosmology. Space was on the front page of the papers and I relished reading about it. My childhood…

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11 Alarums and Excursions

What did you learn in school today, Dear little boy of mine? What did you learn in school today, Dear little boy of mine? I learned that war is not so bad; I learned about the great ones we have had; We fought in Germany and in France And someday I might get my chance….

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12 Volta Face

“Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.” Peter Ustinov ‘War is a moral contest and they are won in the temples before ever fought.’ Sun Tzu My mistrust for authority deepening, I would navigate a much stonier moral path: the lines between good and evil would appear…

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13 Word from the Big Stage

From ‘Hamlet’ to Global Village My studies in literature, particularly in drama, would lead to me becoming better versed in the ways of the world. They would transport me far beyond the cosy down-home world of familiar settings and nice normal characters, or at least beyond one in which a handful of fellow Caucasians sharing…

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15 Red Thunder Down Under

Holler for a Marshall. Come one, come all to exotic Vietnam. the jewel of Southeast Asia. Meet interesting, stimulating people of an ancient culture—and kill them. Gustav Hasford. When statesmen gravely say, “We must be realistic,” The chances are they’re weak and therefore pacifistic: But when they speak of principles—look out—perhaps Their generals are already…

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16 Towards the principle of Universal Human Rights.

Open to Debate. Having completed my undergraduate degree, I was able to breathe more easily and devote time to the growing anti- war movement. I wanted dissent such as mine to swell from a marginal position into a mass movement, the aim being not to win or lose it but to end it. In 1967…

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14 On the road and off it.

Angkor What? During my years in the groves of academe I developed a strong urge to explore what was on The Other Side, leading me on to discover the excitement of foreign places. I was interested in exploring the interplay of East and West that Pearl Buck wrote about. At the end of my sophomore…

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17 A Letter from the Desert Kingdom.

The term classicist applied to Alan Treloar is far too narrow. As Master of Wright College, he had an astonishing gift for languages and a profound understanding of the way they function and develop.He would admit, when pressed, to direct knowledge of about 80. He had a formidable command of many, such as Sanskrit, Russian,…

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18 The Year of the People

Restless Yearning Oh-so-Hungry Burning. Newly minted, feeling a deep-seated conviction something important was struggling to get out, this bachelor went in for teaching, working in two country high schools in NSW where I cut my professional wisdom teeth. I found it challenging getting teenagers how to pay attention in class. I felt like the latest…

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19 Sticks Hicks Chicks Nix

Norman Whitfield, the producfing and arranging wunderkind, attributed the success of a hit record as much to the listening public as to the composers and multifarious media personnel. It’s us who decide whether it will sink or rise. Taking Norman at his word, as a dedicated gramophile, it’s safe to say I can take some…

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20 Back on the Trail

Flying nonstop across the Eurasian landmass had great appeal at the time although airfares at that time were still awfully steep. As was the excessive appearance of some airline hostesses. You had to make sure to fly Foxy Lady   not her bushy tailed vulpine sister.  So going overland, supplemented by a few student concession…

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21 Up Against the Wall

In 1971 I took a break from London to live in the divided city. Only this time ,unlike Belfast,the division was official. This was the sundered, storied city of Berlin. Because of the historical images I had of this strategic centre- goose-stepping legions parading down Unter den Linden, daring B-1 7 raids giving them a…

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22 East Side Story

While West Berlin was for most the main attraction, I was more interested in what was going on in the East because there, looking to steal away their forbidden fruit, I was more a rare commodity, as rare as a choice sweet banana. Official coldness still being off-putting to many visitors, I found it easy…

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23 Desiderata

Once deciding who he is, he plans for every possibility. All sharp and shiny, he leaves nothing to chance. While being moved from pillar to post, he gets back in the swim of things. Gangway! Blanketing the field, he gets his hopes up. Oscar Wilde once said that the only real tragedy in life is…

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24 Champion of Champions

‘A new world will be won not by those who stand at a distance with their arms folded, but by those who are in the arena.’  Nelson Mandela. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Nelson Mandela In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney…

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25 La Vida Poca Loca

Oye como va? Hey, how’s it going? Have you been longing for the ‘smile’ that you haven’t had for quite a while? If you have, then follow me and Nat Cole and we’ll show the way. Put on your sombrero and your poncho. We’re on our way to Cuba. Via Australia.Our social life and culture…

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26 The Gentle Giant

  “May they not forget to keep pure the great heritage that puts them ahead of the West: the artistic configuration of life, the simplicity and modesty of personal needs, and the purity and serenity of the Japanese soul.” Albert Einstein,1921. I met up again with Tom Uren, Gough Whitlam’s Minister for Housing, in Balmain Hospital…

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27 Safe haven

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Gandhi. “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” Aldous Huxley As for my endeavour in reaching my professional goal,I’ve had to close the books on my…

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28 The Peppertree Café and the Biker Bullies

I attended a discussion day in Bankstown held jointly with the Bankstown Multicultural Youth Service.This was held one fine,sunny day at the not for profit Peppertree Café,  a  project of the  Service.I was met by Nick,my handler from Metro Assist who escorted me inside. The Café,  at Bankstown,is designed to help disadvantaged young people get…

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29 Bringing it all home.Picking up the pieces.

Bringing It All Home. In just one deadly sortie Royal Australian Air Force aircraft killed scores of Syrians. These were government troops. Our  military allies are unable to agree on a common enemy to target . The  question raised in all the confusion is ‘Which ‘Terrorists’ are to be ‘taken out’? The Syrian government is on…

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30 Planet of the Primates:Chimps, champs and chumps.

In early June, 2014, I sat in on a stimulating studio discussion featuring Jane Goodall, and actor and First Nation activist Rosalie Kunoth-MonksI write about the memorable experience of seeing the  groundbreaking  film Jedda in which Rosalie starred. I was taken to it by my nanny from the Kamilorai Tribe.I write about my visit to…

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