Tag Archives: Tangentially political

Missing William II

we sit on gift seats
watch kangaroos bounding by
brought to town by drought

Ten years back, drought brought lots of kangaroos to the outskirts of Melbourne Australia. There are still a few kangaroos in this Dandenong park, but most have returned to the country, now it is lush again.
Back then, we found two fancy kitchen chairs perched on top of a hill. Someone had carried them through the bush and left them there, overlooking what was once native land.
We watched about thirty kangaroos bound up the hill and race by us to the cover of the bush. Wonderful.
Back in 1842, a Native Police Corps was established here, ostensibly to deal with disputes between Aboriginal and European people across Victoria. The area included a camp for Aboriginal people wanting to escape ‘loss’ of land to settlers and severe harassment. In exchange for meagre rations and very rugged shelter, they had to do manual labour, attend school classes and religious services. The ‘Port Phillip Aboriginal Protectorate’ ran that camp from 1840 to 1844.

Today I managed to snap this pic from a distance before this lovely fellow bounded over the hill to disappear.


Forward ho!

gumtrees stand in line
with clear light blue sky above
the perfect frontier

Charles Harpur, Australian author of ‘Forward ho!’, may have inadvertently encouraged the gung ho destruction of indigenous land and culture with his c1865 poem, despite its theme of fighting for liberty and fraternity. When prompted, ChatGPT3 suggested that its message of persistence might be relevant to those seeking to redress remaining inequities and injustices today.

I’m Charles Harpur and I’m voting for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the forthcoming referendum.


Free transport to another state

bush is flung my way
a bit of Queensland in Vic
obverse odyssey

The Roth Hetherington Botanical Native Garden in Keysborough Victoria curates native bushland from each state in Australia, plus the Northern Territory.
Thank you City of Greater Dandenong

Culture cliff notes:
The word ‘transport’ is an historical reference to the transportation of criminals to Australia that laid a foundation for colonising the country. For me, that places a question mark over how we impose our will on the natural world.
The words ‘another state’ are used to imply the physical and metaphysical, and these remnant bushlands move me, speak to my spirit. A conflict? Nevermind.
Vic is short for Victoria, which is in the South and is temperate; Queensland is in the North and tropical/ sub-tropical.


this once naked tract
stripped to feed growth of our town
restored to heaven

Painting by Fred Williams

Fires ravaged the Dandenong ranges in 1967, including One Tree Hill.
One Tree Hill had been stripped of all but one tree in the nineteenth century to fuel European settlement.
(That single tree was used as a survey marker).
Fortunately the area was restored to native forest and has recovered from periodic bushfires.

Photo by DD today.

In praise of polyester

jacketed in black
invisible poly-clad
dee assumes new guise

I took a black double-breasted polyester/wool jacket with me to New Zealand. I bought it twenty five years ago when I was driving to work and realised that I was in jeans and T-shirt but heading into a management meeting.  It was only ever meant for a single use but it is seemingly indestructible and I respect that even if corporate livery consultants revile polyester.

I also love the way it confers the kind of anonymity that gets me in just about anywhere.
This photo shows my face reflected in the glass protecting a display of work at Auckland Art Gallery. It is by Maori designer Tuhirangi Blair who uses recycled materials to make unique pieces.

Sing ta na na na

poverty bay first
next tramp around mission bay
shiny soles singing

Culture cliff note: Poverty Bay apparently got its European name after Captain James Cook failed to obtain provisions for his voyage of discovery after violent conflict with the local people in 1769. Mission Bay is named after a school established in the late 1840s to give ‘Melanesian boys’ a Christian education.

According to genius.com, ‘Diamonds on the soles of her shoes’ (Sing ta na na … ) is an allegory of when two extremes start to blend together.

Poverty Bay is in fact hundreds of kilometres south – the location of ‘the’ wedding in Gisborne last weekend.
Mission Bay (above) is in Auckland NZ.

I’m the boss of ‘Dandy’

donald's in charge here
anti-sheriff of dandy
clear off do-gooder
I don’t care if you are from Community Care. Get outta here. Now, buster!

A very stroppy white duck came rushing down the street when I exited a client’s house. Its rapid, aggressive quacking told me that I wasn’t wanted in this part of Dandenong. I’m sure it would have bitten me if I had not gotten in my car.