[The following is a short story I wrote for the National Portrait Gallery's The Big Chill: Fireside Tales short story and poetry competition. The prompt was the photo below, which was taken in Sydney by Dr Julian Smith some time in the 1940s. Nothing is known about the subject, so entrants were asked to use … Continue reading Winter time ::
Lead the people with governmental measures and regulate them by law and punishment, and they will avoid wrongdoing but have no sense of honour and shame. Lead them with virtue and regulate them by the rules of propriety, and they will have a sense of shame and, moreover, set themselves right.
When the sea hisses, it speaks, and speech breaks the spell of terror; when it is inert, heaving noiselessly, it is dumb, and seems to brood over mischief. The ocean in a calm is like a sulky giant; one dreads that it may be meditating evil. Moreover, an angry sea looks less vast in extent … Continue reading Marcus Clarke (1846-1881), on the Ocean ::
My grandfather served in the Second World War as an engineer. I thought, all my young life, that he observed the passage of Anzac Day with some solemnity. Turns out he didn’t observe it at all. Abhorred the thing, actually. His chief critique was similar to one Wilfred Owen leveled at war propaganda in his … Continue reading Anzac Day: forgetting lest and going undercover ::
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9w6FKYfcu4 An unhappy, perfect, Australian classic.
It was the middle of summer, a twenty five degree night, and the air was thick and sweet. I was walking home from the local cinema and I cut through a carpark. Rain must have drifted through the area while the movie was on. It wasn’t any cooler but the smell was there, like the … Continue reading The Fight ::
The train station was deserted. It was a country rail station with Victorian style lampposts casting pools of light up and down the platform. I smoked a joint and paced in front of one of the benches on the platform. I had an eight-hour overnight train ride ahead of me and needed to use my … Continue reading 24 hours in Melbourne — Part one ::