Monday, March 31, 2014


Browsing  through  the  interesting   library  of  a  reverend gentleman   who  has   collected   books   for   many   decades and  is  often  encountered   rummaging  about  in  boxes  at  garage  sales ,  a  slim   volume   inside   a   plastic   sleeve   attracted   attention .

On  extraction , at  first  glance , it seemed  to  be   a  worn  World  War 1 book ,  Lights  &  Shadows In WartimeAn Australian Tale , by  S. N . Hogg , the  cover  illustration  showing  soldiers  aboard  a  troop  transport  waving  goodbye  at  Sydney.  

On  opening ,   it  was  found  to  be  the  covers  only , with   battered ,  insected  copy  of  This , My  Son ,  its covers missing , by  Joan  Kinmont , published  in  Hobart  1943 , with  an  illustration  of  a  boy  watching  an  aeroplane.  Originally started as  a  play in verse , it  is  a  collection  of  poems  opening   with a  lament  for  peace  and  then  follows  the  life of  a  first  born  son  eventually   killed  serving  in  the  RAAF.

It proved  incredibly  popular  during the  grim  war  period , ran to several  reprints   and  sold  100,000  copies  .  Republished  in  England  in  l945 ,  it  contained  a  preface  by  Prime  Minister John   Curtin . Another book of  her  poems , Two Little Girls , first  published  in 1945 , also   popular, was  illustrated   with  her  own  photographs. 
Kinmont , born in South Australia , one  of  four  daughters  of  a doctor , attended  Adelaide’s  renowned Wilderness School  , and  was  encouraged  by   her  father  in  her  interest  in  theatre  and writing. 
A  one act  play  of hers  won  first  prize in an Adelaide Repertory  Theatre competition.  In 1937,  a  schoolteacher ,  she  married a  distant cousin, moved  to Melbourne  and  then Tasmania . A widow, she died  from  cancer , aged  77.
In   the  case  of   Lights  and   Shadows  In   Wartime , the  author , Samuel  Nisbet  Hogg , born  in  India  in  1849 , a  bank manager and vegetarian ,  who   contributed   to  colonial  fiction ,  proceeds  from the sale  of  the  book  went  to  the  relief of   Australian soldiers  who had  “suffered  the tragic loss  of sight”  treated   at the  Sydney Industrial Blind Institute  .  It  contained  a  letter   written on  a  Braille typewriter  by  Private W. S. Noland , a  soldier   who had felt  hopeless  due to  his blindness , but   after  two weeks’  tuition at  the  Insitute  a new  world had opened up  for him.

 The  illustrated  novel  told  how a  bank  employee  ,Tom, marries  Maud, another   bank  staffer. The  tune,  Come into the Garden , Maud , gets a run   as   does  The Sun newspaper, in which old Cyclops once  worked.  After  the   sinking   of  the Lusitania  by the Germans , Tom   joins  up , goes into camp at Liverpool , near  Sydney, and  is  placed  in the  famous  Light  Horse  Brigade.

Banks loomed large in author Hogg’s  published works . One was  Lights and Shadows in Banking . Others were  A Banking Tale , Why Some  Bank Managers Should  Retire Early, Some of the  Guidelines   for  Successful  Branch  Bank  Management .   

Other  books dealt with  a  trip to the Solomon Islands ,  Balmain Past and Present   and  Romance  and  Reality , the “ sad tale of Fleurette, a  young  vegetarian lady of  sensitive  disposition , whose life is made  miserable  by  living in a society that  has  no consideration  for  the  plight  of  animals”.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Grim-faced  front  line  troops , several  suspected  republican  sympathisers ,  prepared  to  die   soon  in  the    battle  for  the   Dutchy  of  Westralia in the   struggle  for  the   Plantagenet   Stuffed  and  Plucked   Peacock   Throne . 

Me lords , ladies  and ratfinks , as a  soon  to   be  sacked  public  town crier,  I  draw  your  attention  to  the    London  Dreary  Lane   version   of   the   bloody , 100  year long  Wars of  the  Roses , now  playing  to deranged audiences in  the   penal   colony   of   Canberra .
The key  thespian in  the   House  of   Reps  plays   Bronnie  the   War  Winner , wearing   chain  mail   under  her  jerkin   to  ward   off  slings, arrows  and points of  order ,  proudly   displays  a  red rose  on  her  bosom  as  she  flails about  with  her . 45  calibre  claymore  at  the  serfs  on  her  left.

Such is the  power  of  her  acting ,  like something  out of the Vikings  or Revenge of  the Vampires , she  has  the  Lefties  exiting  the  trenches  faster  than  Irish  line dancers  on  speed .  Her  performance has  been likened  by   some  theatre  critics  to  repetitious  singing of  10 green bottles sitting  on  a  wall.

Braveheart   version  likely   for  Orstralians ?
 At  times Bronnie   wears  a bright   ,  round  brooch which appears  to  be  a female version of  the Sun God . On  her  right , are  those  who claim  to  be  the   true   blue  rulers  of   the Plantagenet   kingdom ,  a  cacophonous   kakistocracy , upon    which  the  sun  sure  does  shine , superior lords , ladies , miners of  white lead and cinnabar for the  China  doll  market  fawn  upon  them , seeking favours .

Rose and  parrot brooch
Instead  of  using  battering  rams  to destroy Opposition castles and ale houses, the stuttering  nay- sayers  employ battology .This is  the  black art  of  continual reiteration of  the same words or phrases ... to smash the revolting  vassals and highly paid , rorting  stone  mason  mates on manor house  building  sites.

 The   huge   cast  includes  a   large number of  fopdoodles , ass- headed  Bottom  from  a Midsummer  Night’s  Dream, Billy  Bunter,  Madonna , a salesman  of  recycled  spring   water  and  massive  doses  of   right  wing  media   Gregory  PowderDuring  interval, a South Australian Fairy  Floss  and suppositories  vendor  provides  a  welcome  break  to the titanic struggle between the   warring houses of  Lancaster and  Yorkeys  Knob  played  out  on  the  blood-soaked  stage . 


As  well  as  cuttings about  the    murder-suicide    in  colonial  Sydney  which  shocked  the  London  theatrical  world  , yet   another  bizarre  story  is  contained   in   the   scrapbook  kept  by  Englishman  Thomas   Anstey   Parkhouse  which  was   found  on  the  floor  of   an old  wares  shop  in  the  Barossa  Valley , South  Australia .  

 There  is  no  indication   that   the  people  involved   were   related  in  any  way  to  him.   However,  as  the  story  appeared   in  the Tiverton   Gazette,    September  10 , l879, a   publication  to    which   he   had  contributed   items  before venturing out  to  Australia ,  it  is  likely  that he  was    aware  of   the   situation.   In   any  case,  reference  to   rare  books   may  have  been   justification   alone   for   snipping   i from  the   paper.   The   extensive  report    dealt   with    a   large   auction   to   be  held   at  a  notorious  place  called   Dulford  House,  near   Cullompton, Devon.   Strange  things   had  gone on  there   over many   years.   An   ugly  house, set  in     30  acres of  land ,  it  had been  “the centre of  curious  interest”  for  years .
By  Peter  Simon
A century  previously,   the  house   had  been   built  for   Lord  Monteith, said  to   have been   deformed,  who   built  a  12ft high , mile long  fence   around   the   abode to  hide  his   afflication   from   public  gaze.  The  house  eventually  became the property  of  Bethel   Walrond , 8th Marques de  Vallado ,  a   classical   scholar  and  linguist who  had spent  many  years   in  the  leading  royal  courts   of    Europe.     Soldierly   in  bearing , it  was  said  he    exhibited   the    hauteur  of   a  Spanish  grandee , a  country  in  which he  had  spent  considerable  time .  
When one of his  daughters  died  she   was   embalmed   and   kept  in  a  coffin   in  his  dressing room .    His   bizarre  bedroom ,  called    the  Blue  Room, was  filled  with  craftsmen  built  furniture . On the   footboard of  his  bed   were  human  skulls and  hearse  plumes  to familiarize  himself   with   the  thought  of  death   

 Much    time was   spent in his  6000  volume library  of   valuable  books  and  newspapers.  A  man of unbending will,  suspicious and   aggressive,  he    engaged  in  numerous   vindictive court  actions  against  people   for  perceived  wrongs.      Legal  disputes were  said to  be  his “enjoyment” during  the   last  l5  years of  life.   Of  him  it was said  he would go to law  about anything   with  anybody , and wouldn’t mind  what  was spent   if  he  could  only  ruin   his  adversary.
One of  his  daughters, Harriet , figured in  an hilarious  1862  court  case  dispute  with a woman over ownership of a dog  , which entertained  readers  of   Punch  and   newspapers of  the  day,  caused  laughter  in  two  courts ,  and  it  was  said  by  a  learned judge  that  he had  seen  gentlemen   followed  by  dogs  but it  did  not  mean  they  intended  to  steal  the  canines . 
The  case  went  from a  magistrate’s   court   to   a   jury hearing  after  the  London  Morning Post made  fun of  the  proceedings, there  being  mention under  the  heading of  Spinsters and Their idols , one  being described as  “ a wee spinster”, which could well  be a line from  a witty ballad .  Miss  Walrond claimed  the  paper had  libelled  her  by  running  a  letter commenting on  the  case.  The term “spinster “ was  taken as  being  demeaning .
It was claimed   Miss Walrond  had sent a most imperious and threatening  letter to  the  Morning  Post.  Write ups  referred to a public  brawl  by  two women  over  a  dog  and  a  judge more puzzled  than  Solomon .  Invoking  the  wisdom of  Solomon, would  he  give   the  women  half   each ?

At  one   time or  another , it was  claimed,  Harriet’s   father   employed  up  to  50  lawyers  .   Eventually  , his  wife  and  a  daughter   left  him  and  he   spent  most of   his time  within  the high  walls  in  solitude.  After incurring   the wrath of   his   father   for   corresponding  with   his  mother ,  Walrond’s   son  eventually   left   Dulford House.    His  father was  so  bitter he  did  his utmost to make his  son’s  life  difficult  and  moved  to  disinherit   him.


 While   the  father   delighted   in persecuting  people,  he  was emotionally attached to his   many   dogs  and    various kinds  of   rabbits  that   over- ran the  estate.   There were  so  many   rabbits   in  the  grounds   that   about  20  acres  were  a  giant  warren,   without  a  blade  of  grass.   Because  of  his  belief   that    humans    were  reborn as  animals,   all  his  pets  were    buried  in a special cemetery   with details   on  individual  gravestones.   The   dog  which  outlasted   its  maste r was  so  well  trained  , Walrond  had  only   to name   the  colour of   the  rabbit   he required  , and  the  dog   chased    one  down   to  meet   the  requirement.  Upon Walrond's  death, his  daughter’s body was removed   and   buried,   as  were  the   skulls  .       

 After  his  death,  it  was discovered  that  Walrond   had   paid close attention  to   newspaper   accounts   of  the   celebrated  case   in  which  a  butcher from  Wagga  Wagga  , Arthur Orton,  claimed   to  be the  lost  heir  of  Sir  Roger  Tichborne.   The   multitudinous   rabbit    colony   was   exterminated before the sale   .  Walrond’s  will   was   disputed   on  the  grounds   that  the  testator  had   been   insane  .    After  a part hearing , the  case    was   terminated   and   the   two   parties ,  widow  Lady  Janet  Walrond  and  her   daughter,   and   the  son ,  came  to  an  agreement on  how  to  dispose  of  the  estate , clearing  the  way  for   the  auction.  

 The  auction  included   a   great deal of “exceedingly  handsome and   elaborately carved furniture ” and   cannon, suits of  armour,  swords,   revolvers  ,a  crossbow,  plate,  paintings  , books,  newspapers  and  a  man  trap  which had  been   used  to  catch   intruders  in  the  grounds  .    There   was   a  large offering  of  old  china    and  glass  .  Of   particular note  were   white  and    gold  Sevres  soup plates  made   for  Louis  Philippe  in  l842;   dishes    manufactured  in  l778   by  Neale and Co., Wedgwood  basket  work   of   l770 ,  old   Worcester   of  about  the  year  l750,  Oriental  dinner services ,  Dresden   and   Derby   tea  and  breakfast sets. 


In the statuary  was  a   bust of  Napoleon  1  in Italian   marble by   Cavona,  a stone bust of   Charles  1   and  an  antique carving of  the Virgin and  Child  and   Eve admiring  the   forbidden fruit . The  write up   said  Eve  would  have been “innocent of clothing”  had not  someone   mischieviously   placed  an  old- fashioned  coal scuttle   bonnet  on  her   handsome   head.  Other   items   of   interest included   a “curious, old huhl”  timepiece  in   lake (pigment)   and gold  of   the Louis    X1V period.   The   valuable   furniture   included    a walnut   Numberg  wardrobe, a  mahogany   secretaire   of   Italian workmanship, a   very old   French   marquetry   lady’s writing   table,   an exquisitely carved   l7th century  Devonshire   wardrobe and Walrond’s massive ,   English oak  ,  carved  ,  four- poster  bed  . 

 The  newspaper  report  ended  by  saying   it   believed   that  Henry Walrond  , the deceased’s  son,  would take  up residence  in   Dulford .   In  a  piece of  understatement , the   newspaper  ventured   the   old  place  would   thus  assume  a  very different  character    from  its   past.    People  in  the  district  would  then   have   the  pleasure of  a      genial   neighbour”.    NEXT :  Anstey’s interesting  life in England before he set  out  for  Australia .

Friday, March 28, 2014


True  to  his  threat , defiant  Queensland Premier , Campbell  Newman, above, has  started inviting overseas doctors to  replace  ones  threatening   to   leave  Queensland   Health .

It  can be   revealed   the  first  replacement  doctor  coming  to Brisbane  is  a  Dr  Martin Ellingham,  from  a  quaint   village  on  the  Cornish  coast ,  Fortified  Port  Wine .   Known  to  the   local yokels as  Doc  Martin , he  wrote  the  Imperial College  bible for  Pommie  medical students - the  illustrated  guide , complete with a long-life ,  lithium battery charged   cattle  prod, on  how  to  handle  insufferable ,   annoying   patients.

In  an  exclusive interview  this morning , Doc  Martin said  he would  like to meet  a  fullblooded ,  suntanned   Surfers Paradise  Meter  Maid  with  a  wonky  grandfather  clock ,with a   desire  to  repeatedly  tinker  with   the   pendulum.
Because  of  his  unfortunate  childhood , due  to   parents who showed  him no love and  affection , Doc Martin   has asked the premier  to supply him with  one of those two-headed Tasmanian  Teddy Bears  to  cuddle  at  night  after  a  hard  day stitching up  the   mouths   of   politicians  to  prevent  them  from  saying  stupid  things .

 Premier  Newman  claims  Doc  Martin  has been  closely associated  with the constabulary  in  Cornwall and  he  will  be  asked  to  assess  the  safety  of   the  obstacle   course   at  the  Brisbane  Police  Academy.  The  Mad  Doctor of  Harley Street  has  also indicated  he  would  like  to  set  up  office  in  Queensland  to  avoid  close  questioning  by  Scotland Yard's Jack  the  Ripper  Squad   and  the  taxation  department .

The  Premier  defended  Health Minister Lawrence  Springborg’s  handling of  the controversial  new  contracts . He  denied that  the minister had  inflamed  the   situation , turning  it  into  an  angry  carbuncle.