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Veterans Golf Club of Victoria

We were golfing again!!
But, back to waiting!!

Webmasters Preamble

Remembering that our Club is a Social and Golf Club I added these pages to the web site to help us through the Corona Virus shutdown and to maintain the Club in our lives.

These pages cover 1st September to 15th September. They include several contributions by Ron Wells.

15th Sept. 2020 - Respect the environment Click here to signify agreement.

An important Statement on the Environment

In 1854, President Franklin Pierce of the USA, made an offer for a large area of Indian land and promised a reservation for the Indian People. A translation of Chief Seattle's reply, presented here in full has been described as the most beautiful and profound statement on the environment ever made. There are many translations around. Look to the theme here even if the translation does not reflect the Chief's actual words.

The only known photograph of Chief Seattle in 1864.

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man's dead forgot the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horses the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crest, the juices in the meadows the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.

So when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes buy our land, be asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us. This shining water that moves in the streams and the rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghastly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.  The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land you must remember and teach your children that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must from now on give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers' graves and his children birthright is forgotten. He treats his mother the earth and his brother the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insects wings. But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleansed by rain or scented with the pine cone.

The air is precious to the red man. For all things share the same breath: the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The white men, they all share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land you must remember that the air is precious to us. That the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers. So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept I will make one condition. The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am savage and I do not understand any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive. What is a man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die of a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know which the white man may one day discover - our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land but you cannot. He is the God of man and his compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt upon its Creator. The Whites, too, shall pass; perhaps sooner than other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted out by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone.

A further thought

It is not hard to relate this respect for the earth expressed by Chief Seattle and the relationship with the earth expressed by the Australian Aboriginals. Jared Diamond in the 'Guns, Germs and Steel' book reviewed here two weeks ago describes a 'survival of the fittest' mechanism which explains this co-incidence of understanding of the environment. Depressingly Diamond's explanation also leads to the disastrous USA (and Australian) lack of care for the environment.

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14th Sept. 2020 - Calculated revenge Click here to order a meal.

Revenge is easy

A guy walks into the bar of a restaurant and goes to the bartender and asks "How much for a beer?"

The bartender replies "$1".

The customer, happily surprised, doesn't hesitate to order a beer then asks the bartender "Well then how much for a NY sirloin, with side of mashed potatoes and salad, and an entire cheesecake for desert?"

The Bartender answers, "$1, at the moment all our products are a $1". The guy is even more surprised and so orders the whole meal. Sometime later having eaten more than his fill, says "Wow, this place is amazing, I really wish I could meet and thank the owner".

The bartender says, "Oh well, he's upstairs in his office with my wife".

The guy looks all confused and asks "What is he doing upstairs in his office with your wife?"

The bartender then says "The same thing I'm doing to his business.".

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13th Sept. 2020 - Democracy in action Click here to respect other's rights.

Demosthenes' Third Philippic speech

This long speech by Demosthenes is unlikely to be be in your knowledge set unless you are a historian. It was delivered on the Pnyx Hill, Athens, ancient Greece - in late spring or early summer of 341 BC

Historical background

Phillip II of Macedonia had started on his campaign to rule all of Greece and was making good progress at the time of this speech. Demesthenes saw the threat to Athens and tried to get the Athenians to start an effective resistance to Phillip.

His effort proved in vain and some 2 years later Phillip defeated Athens and its allies at the Battle of Chaeronea. Phillip was murdered two years later and was succeeded by his son, Alexander the Great.

It's interesting to speculate on the history of the world if Demethenes' proposals had been effective and Phillip had not conquered enough of Greece to provide the base for Alexander's successes.

A sculpter thought Demosthenses looked like this.

Many speeches are made, men of Athens, at almost every meeting of the Assembly, with reference to the aggressions which Philip has been committing, ever since he concluded the Peace, not only against yourselves but against all other peoples.

And I am sure that all would agree, however little they may act on their belief, that our aim, both in speech and in action, should be to cause him to cease from his insolence and to pay the penalty for it. And yet I see that in fact the treacherous sacrifice of our interests has gone on, until what seems an ill-omened saying may, I fear, be really true - that if all who came forward desired to propose, and you desired to carry, the measures which would make your position as pitiful as it could possibly be, it could not, so I believe, be made worse than it is now.

It may be that there are many reasons for this, and that our affairs did not reach their present condition from any one or two causes. But if you examine the matter aright, you will find that the chief responsibility rests with those whose aim is to win your favor, not to propose what is best. Some of them, men of Athens, so long as they can maintain the conditions which bring them reputation and influence, take no thought for the future and therefore think that you also should take none, while others, by accusing and slandering those who are actively at work, are simply trying to make the city spend its energies in punishing the members of its own body, and so leave Philip free to say and do what he likes.

Such political methods as these, familiar to you as they are, are the real causes of the evil. And I beg you, men of Athens, if I tell you certain truths outspokenly, to let no resentment on your part fall upon me on this account. Consider the matter in this light. In every other sphere of life, you believe that the right of free speech ought to be so universally shared by all who are in the city, that you have extended it both to foreigners and to slaves; and one may see many a servant in Athens speaking his mind with greater liberty than is granted to citizens in some other states: but from the sphere of political counsel you have utterly banished this liberty.

The result is that in your meetings you give yourselves airs and enjoy their flattery, listening to nothing but what is meant to please you, while in the world of facts and events, you are in the last extremity of peril. If then you are still in this mood to-day, I do not know what I can say; but if you are willing to listen while I tell you, without flattery, what your interest requires, I am prepared to speak. For though our position is very bad indeed, and much has been sacrificed, it is still possible, even now, if you will do your duty, to set all right once more.

It is a strange thing, perhaps, that I am about to say, but it is true. The worst feature in the past is that in which lies our best hope for the future. And what is this? It is that you are in your present plight because you do not do any part of your duty, small or great; for of course, if you were doing all that you should do, and were still in this evil case, you could not even hope for any improvement. As it is, Philip has conquered your indolence and your indifference; but he has not conquered Athens. You have not been vanquished, you have never even stirred.

Now if it was admitted by us all that Philip was at war with Athens, and was transgressing the Peace, a speaker would have to do nothing but to advise you as to the safest and easiest method of resistance to him. But since there are some who are in so extraordinary a frame of mind that, though he is capturing cities, though many of your possessions are in his hands, and though he is committing aggressions against all men, they still tolerate certain speakers, who constantly assert at your meetings that it is some of us who are provoking the war, it is necessary to be on our guard and come to a right understanding on the matter.

For there is a danger lest any one who proposes or advises resistance should find himself accused of having brought about the war. Well, I say this first of all, and lay it down as a principle, that if it is open to us to deliberate whether we should remain at peace or should go to war ...

Now if it is possible for the city to remain at peace, if the decision rests with us that I may make this my starting-point, then I say that we ought to do so, and I call upon any one who says that it is so to move his motion, and to act and not to defraud us. But if another with weapons in his hands and a large force about him holds out to you the name of peace while his own acts are acts of war what course remains open to us but that of resistance?

Though if you wish to profess peace in the same manner as he, I have no quarrel with you. But if any man's conception of peace is that it is a state in which Philip can master all that intervenes till at last he comes to attack ourselves, such a conception, in the first place, is madness; and, in the second place, this peace that he speaks of is a peace which you are to observe towards Philip, while he does not observe it towards you: and this it is, this power to carry on war against you, without being met by any hostilities on your part, that Philip is purchasing with all the money that he is spending.

Indeed, if we intend to wait till the time comes when he admits that he is at war with us, we are surely the most innocent persons in the world. Why, even if he comes to Attica itself, to the very Peiraeus, he will never make such an admission, if we are to judge by his dealings with others.

For, to take one instance, he told the Olynthians, when he was five miles from the city, that there were only two alternatives, either they must cease to live in Olynthus, or he to live in Macedonia: but during the whole time before that, whenever any one accused him of any such sentiments, he was indignant and sent envoys to answer the charge. Again, he marched into the Phocians' country, as though visiting his allies. It was by Phocian envoys that he was escorted on the march; and most people in Athens contended strongly that his crossing the Pass would bring no good to Thebes.

Worse still, he has lately seized Pherae and still holds it, though he went to Thessaly as a friend and an ally. And, latest of all, he told those unhappy citizens of Oreus that he had sent his soldiers to visit them and to make kind inquiries; he had heard that they were sick, and suffering from faction, and it was right for an ally and a true friend to be present at such a time.  Now if, instead of giving them warning and using open force, he deliberately chose to deceive these men, who could have done him no harm, though they might have taken precautions against suffering any themselves, do you imagine that he will make a formal declaration of war upon you before he commences hostilities, and that, so long as you are content to be deceived? Impossible 1 For so long as you, though you are the injured party, make no complaint against him, but accuse some of your own body, he would be the most fatuous man on earth if he were to interrupt your strife and contentions with one another, to bid you turn upon himself, and so to cut away the ground from the arguments by which his hirelings put you off, when they tell you that he is not at war with Athens.

In God's name, is there a man in his senses who would judge by words, and not by facts, whether another was at peace or at war with him? Of course there is not. Why, from the very first, when the Peace had only just been made, before those who are now in the Chersonese had been sent out, Philip was taking Serrhium and Doriscus, and expelling the soldiers who were in the castle of Serrhium and the Sacred Mountain, where they had been placed by your general. But what was he doing, in acting thus? For he had sworn to a Peace. And let no one ask, What do these things amount to? What do they matter to Athens?

For whether these acts were trifles which could have no interest for you is another matter; but the principles of religion and justice, whether a man transgress them in small things or great, have always the same force. What? When he is sending mercenaries into the Chersonese, which the king and all the Hellenes have acknowledged to be yours; when he openly avows that he is going to the rescue, and states it in his letter, what is it that he is doing?  He tells you, indeed, that he is not making war upon you. But so far am I from admitting that one who acts in this manner is observing the Peace which he made with you, that I hold that in grasping at Megara, in setting up tyrants in Euboea, in advancing against Thrace at the present moment, in pursuing his machinations in the Peloponnese, and in carrying out his entire policy with the help of his army, he is violating the Peace and is making war against you. Unless you mean to say that even to bring up engines to besiege you is no breach of the Peace, until they are actually planted against your walls. But you will not say this; for the man who is taking the steps and contriving the means which will lead to my capture is at war with me, even though he has not yet thrown a missile or shot an arrow.

Now what are the things which would imperil your safety, if anything should happen? The alienation of the Hellespont, the placing of Megara and Euboea in the power of the enemy, and the attraction of Peloponnesian sympathy to his cause. Can I then say that one who is erecting such engines of war as these against the city is at peace with you?

Far from it 1 For from the very day when he annihilated the Phocians, from that very day, I say, I date the beginning of his hostilities against you. And for your part, I think that you will be wise if you resist him at once; but that if you let him be, you will find that, when you wish to resist, resistance itself is impossible. Indeed, so widely do I differ, men of Athens, from all your other advisers, that I do not think there is any room for discussion to-day in regard to the Chersonese or Byzantium.

We must go to their defense and take every care that they do not suffer and we must send all that they need to the soldiers who are at present there. But we have to take counsel for the good of all the Hellenes, in view of the grave peril in which they stand. And I wish to tell you on what grounds I am so alarmed at the situation, in order that if my reasoning is correct, you may share my conclusions, and exercise some forethought for yourselves at least, if you are actually unwilling to do so for the Hellenes as a whole; but that if you think that I am talking nonsense, and am out of my senses, you may both now and hereafter decline to attend to me as though I were a sane man.

The rise of Philip to greatness from such small and humble beginnings; the mistrustful and quarrelsome attitude of the Hellenes towards one another; the fact that his growth out of what he was into what he is was a far more extraordinary thing than would be his subjugation of all that remains, when he has already secured so much. All this and all similar themes, upon which I might speak at length, I will pass over.

But I see that all men, beginning with yourselves, have conceded to him the very thing which has been at issue in every Hellenic war during the whole of the past. And what is this? It is the right to act as he pleases, to mutilate and to strip the Hellenic peoples, one by one, to attack and to enslave their cities.

For seventy-three years you were the leading people of Hellas, and the Spartans for thirty years save one; and in these last times, after the battle of Leuctra, the Thebans too acquired some power: yet neither to you nor to Thebes nor to Sparta was such a right ever conceded by the Hellenes, as the right to do whatever you pleased. Far from it!

First of all it was your own behavior, or rather that of the Athenians of that day, which some thought immoderate; and all, even those who had no grievance against Athens, felt bound to join the injured parties, and to make war upon you. Then, in their turn, the Spartans, when they had acquired an empire and succeeded to a supremacy like your own, attempted to go beyond all bounds and to disturb the established order to an unjustifiable extent; and once more, all, even those who had no grievance against them, had recourse to war.

Why mention the others? For we ourselves and the Spartans, though we could originally allege no injury done by the one people to the other, nevertheless felt bound to go to war on account of the wrongs which we saw the rest suffering. And yet all the offences of the Spartans in those thirty years of power, and of your ancestors in their seventy years, were less, men of Athens, than the wrongs inflicted upon the Greeks by Philip, in the thirteen years, not yet completed, during which he has been to the fore. Less do I say?  They are not a fraction of them. A few words will easily prove this. I say nothing of Olynthus, and Methone, and Apollonia, and thirty-two cities in the Thracian region, all annihilated by him with such savagery, that a visitor to the spot would find it difficult to tell that they had ever been inhabited. I remain silent in regard to the extirpation of the great Phocian race. But what is the condition of Thessaly? Has he not robbed their very cities of their governments and set up tetrarchies, that they may be enslaved, not merely by whole cities, but by whole tribes at a time?

Are not the cities of Euboea even now ruled by tyrants, and that in an island that is neighbor to Thebes and Athens? Does he not write expressly in his letters, "I am at peace with those who choose to obey me"? And what he thus writes he does not fail to act upon; for he is gone to invade the Hellespont; he previously went to attack Ambracia; the great city of Elis in the Peloponnese is his; he has recently intrigued against Megara; and neither Hellas nor the world beyond it is large enough to contain the man's ambition.  But though all of us, the Hellenes, see and hear these things, we send no representatives to one another to discuss the matter; we show no indignation; we are in so evil a mood, so deep have the lines been dug which sever city from city, that up to this very day we are unable to act as either our interest or our duty require.

We cannot unite; we can form no combination for mutual support or friendship; but we look on while the man grows greater, because every one has made up his mind, as it seems to me, to profit by the time during which his neighbor is being ruined, and no one cares or acts for the safety of the Hellenes. For we all know that Philip is like the recurrence or the attack of a fever or other illness, in his descent upon those who fancy themselves for the present well out of his reach.

And further, you must surely realize that all the wrongs that the Hellenes suffered from the Spartans or ourselves they at least suffered at the hands of true-born sons of Hellas; and, one might conceive, it was as though a lawful son, born to a great estate, managed his affairs in some wrong or improper way. His conduct would in itself deserve blame and denunciation, but at least it could not be said that he was not one of the family, or was not the heir to the property.

But had it been a slave or a supposititious son that was thus ruining and spoiling an inheritance to which he had no title, why, good Heavens 1 how infinitely more scandalous and reprehensible all would have declared it to be. And yet they show no such feeling in regard to Philip, although not only is he no Hellene, not only has he no kinship with Hellenes, but he is not even a barbarian from a country that one could acknowledge with credit. He is a pestilent Macedonian, from whose country it used not to be possible to buy even a slave of any value.

And in spite of this, is there any degree of insolence to which he does not proceed? Not content with annihilating cities, does he not manage the Pythian games, the common meeting of the Hellenes, and send his slaves to preside over the competition in his absence? Is he not master of Thermopylae, and of the passes which lead into Hellenic territory? Does he not hold that district with garrisons and mercenaries? Has he not taken the precedence in consulting the oracle, and thrust aside ourselves and the Thessalians and Dorians and the rest of the Amphictyons, though the right is not one which is given even to all of the Hellenes?

Does he not write to the Thessalians to prescribe the constitution under which they are to live? Does he not send one body of mercenaries to Porthmus, to expel the popular party of Eretria, and another to Oreus, to set up Philistides as tyrant? And yet the Hellenes see these things and endure them, gazing, it seems to me, as they would gaze at a hailstorm, each people praying that it may not come their way, but no one trying to prevent it. Nor is it only his outrages upon Hellas that go unresisted.

No one resists even the aggressions which are committed against himself. Ambracia and Leucas belong to the Corinthians. He has attacked them: Naupactus to the Achaeans. He has sworn to hand it over to the Aetolians: Echinus to the Thebans. He has taken it from them, and is now marching against their allies the Byzantines, is it not so? And of our own possessions, to pass by all the rest, is not Cardia, the greatest city in the Chersonese, in his hands? Thus are we treated. And we are all hesitating and torpid, with our eyes upon our neighbours, distrusting one another, rather than the man whose victims we all are.

But if he treats us collectively in this outrageous fashion, what do you think he will do, when he has become master of each of us separately? What then is the cause of these things? For as it was not without reason and just cause that the Hellenes in old days were so prompt for freedom, so it is not without reason or cause that they are now so prompt to be slaves. There was a spirit, men of Athens, a spirit in the minds of the people in those days, which is absent to-day, the spirit which vanquished the wealth of Persia, which led Hellas in the path of freedom, and never gave way in face of battle by sea or by land; a spirit whose extinction to-day has brought universal ruin and turned Hellas upside down. What was this spirit? It was nothing subtle nor clever.

It meant that men who took money from those who aimed at dominion or at the ruin of Hellas were execrated by all; that it was then a very grave thing to be convicted of bribery; that the punishment for the guilty man was the heaviest that could be inflicted; that for him there could be no plea for mercy, nor hope of pardon.

No orator, no general, would then sell the critical opportunity whenever it arose--the opportunity so often offered to men by fortune, even when they are careless and their foes are on their guard. They did not barter away the harmony between people and people, nor their own mistrust of the tyrant and the foreigner, nor any of these high sentiments.

Where are such sentiments now? They have been sold in the market and are gone; and those have been imported in their stead, through which the nation lies ruined and plague-stricken, the envy of the man who has received his hire; the amusement which accompanies his avowal, the pardon granted to those whose guilt is proved, the hatred of one who censures the crime; and all the appurtenances of corruption.

For as to ships, numerical strength, unstinting abundance of funds and all other material of war, and all the things by which the strength of cities is estimated, every people can command these in greater plenty and on a larger scale by far than in old days. But all these resources are rendered unserviceable, ineffectual, unprofitable, by those who traffic in them.

That these things are so to-day, you doubtless see, and need no testimony of mine: and that in times gone by the opposite was true, I will prove to you, not by any words of my own, but by the record inscribed by your ancestors on a pillar of bronze, and placed on the Acropolis, not to be a lesson to themselves, they needed no such record to put them in a right mind, but to be a reminder and an example to you of the zeal that you ought to display in such a cause.

What then is the record? "Arthmius, son of Pythonax, of Zeleia, is an outlaw, and is the enemy of the Athenian people and their allies, he and his house." Then follows the reason for which this step was taken, "because he brought the gold from the Medes into the Peloponnese." Such is the record.  Consider, in Heaven's name, what must have been the mind of the Athenians of that day, when they did this, and their conception of their position. They set up a record, that because a man of Zeleia, Arthmius by name, a slave of the King of Persia, for Zeleia is in Asia, as part of his service to the king, had brought gold, not to Athens, but to the Peloponnese, he should be an enemy of Athens and her allies, he and his house, and that they should be outlaws.  And this outlawry is no such disfranchisement as we ordinarily mean by the word. For what would it matter to a man of Zeleia, that he might have no share in the public life of Athens? But there is a clause in the Law of Murder, dealing with those in connection with whose death the law does not allow a prosecution for murder but the slaying of them is to be a holy act: "And let him die an outlaw," it runs. The meaning, accordingly, is this that the slayer of such a man is to be pure from all guilt.

They thought, therefore, that the safety of all the Hellenes was a matter which concerned themselves, apart from this belief, it could not have mattered to them whether any one bought or corrupted men in the Peloponnese; and whenever they detected such offenders, they carried their punishment and their vengeance so far as to pillory their names for ever. As the natural consequence, the Hellenes were a terror to the foreigner, not the foreigner to the Hellenes. It is not so now. Such is not your attitude in these or in other matters.

But what is it? You know it yourselves; for why should I accuse you explicitly on every point? And that of the rest of the Hellenes is like your own, and no better; and so I say that the present situation demands our utmost earnestness and good counsel. And what counsel? Do you bid me tell you, and will you not be angry if I do so?

[He reads from the document.]

Now there is an ingenuous argument, which is used by those who would reassure the city, to the effect that, after all, Philip is not yet in the position once held by the Spartans, who ruled everywhere over sea and land, with the king for their ally, and nothing to withstand them; and that, none the less, Athens defended herself even against them, and was not swept away. Since that time the progress in every direction, one may say, has been great, and has made the world to-day very different from what it was then; but I believe that in no respect has there been greater progress or development than in the art of war.

In the first place, I am told that in those days the Spartans and all our other enemies would invade us for four or five months during, that is, the actual summer, and would damage Attica with infantry and citizen-troops, and then return home again. And so old-fashioned were the men of that day, nay rather, such true citizens, that no one ever purchased any object from another for money, but their warfare was of a legitimate and open kind.

But now, as I am sure you see, most of our losses are the result of treachery, and no issue is decided by open conflict or battle; while you are told that it is not because he leads a column of heavy infantry that Philip can march wherever he chooses, but because he has attached to himself a force of light infantry, cavalry, archers, mercenaries, and similar troops.

And whenever, with such advantages, he falls upon a State which is disordered within, and in their distrust of one another no one goes out in defense of its territory, he brings up his engines and besieges them. I pass over the fact that summer and winter are alike to him, that there is no close season during which he suspends operations.

But if you all know these things and take due account of them, you surely must not let the war pass into Attica, nor be dashed from your seat through looking back to the simplicity of those old hostilities with Sparta. You must guard against him, at the greatest possible distance, both by political measures and by preparations; you must prevent his stirring from home, instead of grappling with him at close quarters in a struggle to the death.

For, men of Athens, we have many natural advantages for a war, if we are willing to do our duty. There is the character of his country, much of which we can harry and damage, and a thousand other things. But for a pitched battle he is in better training than we.

Nor have you only to recognize these facts, and to resist him by actual operations of war. You must also by reasoned judgment and of set purpose come to execrate those who address you in his interest, remembering that it is impossible to master the enemies of the city, until you punish those who are serving them in the city itself.

And this, before God and every Heavenly Power, this you will not be able to do. For you have reached such a pitch of folly or distraction or, I know not what to call it, for often has the fear actually entered my mind that some more than mortal power may be driving our fortunes to ruin, that to enjoy their abuse, or their malice, or their jests, or whatever your motive may chance to be, you call upon men to speak who are hirelings, and some of whom would not even deny it; and you laugh to hear their abuse of others.  And terrible as this is, there is yet worse to be told. For you have actually made political life safer for these men, than for those who uphold your own cause. And yet observe what calamities the willingness to listen to such men lays up in store. I will mention facts known to you all.

In Olynthus, among those who were engaged in public affairs, there was one party who were on the side of Philip, and served his interests in everything; and another whose aim was their city's real good, and the preservation of their fellow citizens from bondage. Which were the destroyers of their country? Which betrayed the cavalry, through whose betrayal Olynthus perished? Those whose sympathies were with Philip's cause; those who, while the city still existed brought such dishonest and slanderous charges against the speakers whose advice was for the best, that, in the case of Apollonides at least, the people of Olynthus was even induced to banish the accused.

Nor is this instance of the unmixed evil wrought by these practices in the case of the Olynthians an exceptional one, or without parallel elsewhere. For in Eretria, when Plutarchus and the mercenaries had been got rid of, and the people had control of the city and of Porthmus, one party wished to entrust the State to you, the other to entrust it to Philip. And through listening mainly, or rather entirely, to the latter, these poor luckless Eretrians were at last persuaded to banish the advocates of their own interests.

For, as you know, Philip, their ally, sent Hipponicus with a thousand mercenaries, stripped Porthmus of its walls, and set up three tyrants - Hipparchus, Automedon, and Cleitarchus. And since then he has already twice expelled them from the country when they wished to recover their position sending on the first occasion the mercenaries commanded by Eurylochus, on the second, those under Parmenio.

And why go through the mass of the instances? Enough to mention how in Oreus Philip had, as his agents, Philistides, Menippus, Socrates, Thoas, and Agapaeus - the very men who are now in possession of the city - and every one knew the fact; while a certain Euphraeus, who once lived here in Athens, acted in the interests of freedom, to save his country from bondage.

To describe the insults and the contumely with which he met would require a long story; but a year before the capture of the town he laid an information of treason against Philistides and his party, having perceived the nature of their plans. A number of men joined forces, with Philip for their paymaster and director, and hauled Euphraeus off to prison as a disturber of the peace.  Seeing this, the democratic party in Oreus, instead of coming to the rescue of Euphraeus, and beating the other party to death, displayed no anger at all against them, and agreed with a malicious pleasure that Euphraeus deserved his fate. After this the conspirators worked with all the freedom they desired for the capture of the city, and made arrangements for the execution of the scheme; while any of the democratic party, who perceived what was going on, maintained a panic-stricken silence, remembering the fate of Euphraeus. So wretched was their condition, that though this dreadful calamity was confronting them, no one dared open his lips, until all was ready and the enemy was advancing up to the walls. Then the one party set about the defense, the other about the betrayal of the city.

And when the city had been captured in this base and shameful manner, the successful party governed despotically: and of those who had been their own protectors, and had been ready to treat Euphraeus with all possible harshness, they expelled some and murdered others; while the good Euphraeus killed himself, thus testifying to the righteousness and purity of his motives in opposing Philip on behalf of his countrymen.

Now for what reason, you may be wondering, were the peoples of Olynthus and Eretria and Oreus more agreeably disposed towards Philip's advocates than towards their own? The reason was the same as it is with you, that those who speak for your true good can never, even if they would, speak to win popularity with you. They are constrained to inquire how the State may be saved: while their opponents, in the very act of seeking popularity, are co-operating with Philip.

The one party said, "You must pay taxes." The other, "There is no need to do so." The one said, "Go to war, and do not trust him." The other, "Remain at peace." - until they were in the toils. And, not to mention each separately, I believe that the same thing was true of all. The one side said what would enable them to win favor; the other, what would secure the safety of their State. And at last the main body of the people accepted much that they proposed, not now from any such desire for gratification, nor from ignorance, but as a concession to circumstances, thinking that their cause was now wholly lost.

It is this fate, I solemnly assure you, that I dread for you, when the time comes that you make your reckoning, and realize that there is no longer anything that can be done. May you never find yourselves, men of Athens, in such a position 1 Yet in any case, it were better to die ten thousand deaths, than to do anything out of servility towards Philip or to sacrifice any of those who speak for your good. A noble recompense did the people in Oreus receive, for entrusting themselves to Philip's friends, and thrusting Euphraeus aside 1 And a noble recompense the democracy of Eretria, for driving away your envoys, and surrendering to Cleitarchus 1 They are slaves, scourged and butchered 1 A noble clemency did he show to the Olynthians, who elected Lasthenes to command the cavalry, and banished Apollonides!

It is folly, and it is cowardice, to cherish hopes like these, to give way to evil counsels, to refuse to do anything that you should do, to listen to the advocates of the enemy's cause, and to fancy that you dwell in so great a city that, whatever happens, you will not suffer any harm.

Aye, and it is shameful to exclaim after the event, "Why, who would have expected this? Of course, we ought to have done, or not to have done, such and such things!" The Olynthians could tell you of many things, to have foreseen which in time would have saved them from destruction. So too could the people of Oreus, and the Phocians, and every other people that has been destroyed.  But how does that help them now? So long as the vessel is safe, be it great or small, so long must the sailor and the pilot and every man in his place exert himself and take care that no one may capsize it by design or by accident: but when the seas have overwhelmed it, all their efforts are in vain.

So it is, men of Athens, with us. While we are still safe, with our great city, our vast resources, our noble name, what are we to do? Perhaps some one sitting here has long been wishing to ask this question. Aye, and I will answer it, and will move my motion; and you shall carry it, if you wish. We ourselves, in the first place, must conduct the resistance and make preparation for it with ships, that is, and money, and soldiers. For though all but ourselves give way and become slaves, we at least must contend for freedom.

And when we have made all these preparations ourselves, and let them be seen, then let us call upon the other states for aid, and send envoys to carry our message in all directions, to the Peloponnese, to Rhodes, to Chios, to the king. For it is not unimportant for his interests either that Philip should be prevented from subjugating the world, that so, if you persuade them, you may have partners to share the danger and the expense, in case of need; and if you do not, you may at least delay the march of events.

For since the war is with a single man, and not against the strength of a united state, even delay is not without its value, any more than were those embassies of protest which last year went round the Peloponnese, when I and Polyeuctus, that best of men, and Hegesippus and the other envoys went on our tour, and forced him to halt, so that he neither went to attack Acarnania, nor set out for the Peloponnese.

But I do not mean that we should call upon the other states, if we are not willing to take any of the necessary steps ourselves. It is folly to sacrifice what is our own, and then pretend to be anxious for the interests of others, to neglect the present, and alarm others in regard to the future. I do not propose this. I say that we must send money to the forces in the Chersonese, and do all that they ask of us. That we must make preparation ourselves, while we summon, convene, instruct, and warn the rest of the Hellenes.

That is the policy for a city with a reputation such as yours. But if you fancy that the people of Chalcis or of Megara will save Hellas, while you run away from the task, you are mistaken. They may well be content if they can each save themselves. The task is yours. It is the prerogative that your forefathers won, and through many a great peril bequeathed to you.

But if each of you is to sit and consult his inclinations, looking for some way by which he may escape any personal action, the first consequence will be that you will never find any one who will act; and the second, I fear, that the day will come when we shall be forced to do, at one and the same time, all the things we wish to avoid.

This then is my proposal, and this I move. If the proposal is carried out, I think that even now the state of our affairs may be remedied. But if any one has a better proposal to make, let him make it, and give us his advice. And I pray to all the gods that whatever be the decision that you are about to make, it may be for your good.

My missus left me for another bloke. All that lies ahead now is a miserable, pointless life, with suicide seemingly the only way out. And while the poor bugger's going through all that, I'll be down at the pub with my mates every night!.

The Wells Collection - Snippet 7

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12th Sept. 2020 - The Texan cowboy Click here to rent a horse.

The Texan cowboy

An out of town cowboy rode into town and stopped at a saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on strangers such as him. After finishing his drink and leaving the bar, he found his horse was missing.

He went back into the bar, handily flipped his gun into the air, caught it above his head without even looking and fired a shot into the ceiling. "Which one of you sidewinders stole my horse?!" he yelled with surprising forcefulness.

No one answered. "Alright, I'm gonna have another beer, and if my horse ain't back outside by the time I finish, I'm gonna do what I dun in Texas! And I don't like to have to do what I dun in Texas!"

Some of the locals shifted restlessly. The cowboy, true to his word, had another beer, walked outside, and found his horse has been returned to the post.

As he saddled up the bartender wandered out of the bar and asked, "Say partner, before you go... what happened in Texas?"

The cowboy turned back and said, "I had to walk home."

My missus said I need to be more in touch with my feminine side, so I crashed the car, burnt the dinner and ignored her all day, for no reason..

The Wells Collection - Snippet 6

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11th Sept. 2020 - The sorry speech Click here to respect all people.

The 'Sorry' speech

The speech itself was actually the words used by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to move a motion in the Australian House of Representatives. The motion was as follows:

Mr Speaker, I move:

Kevin Rudd delivering the apology speech on 13th Feb 2008

That today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement, and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

The missus said she's leaving me because I invade her privacy too often.

At least that's what it says in her diary..

The Wells Collection - Snippet 5

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10th Sept. 2020 - The duck hunter Click here to roast the duck.

The duck hunter

A typical self-aggrandising lawyer went duck hunting near Darwin. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a paddock on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.

The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell in this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."

The old farmer Peter replied, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."

The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial lawyers in the Territory and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we settle disputes here. We settle small disagreements like this with the 'Three Kick Rule.'"

The lawyer asked, "What is the 'Three Kick Rule'?"

The Farmer replied, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and so on back and forth until someone gives up."

The lawyer quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy steel-toed work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees! His second kick to the midriff sent the lawyer's last meal gushing from his mouth. The lawyer was on all fours when the farmer's third kick to his rear end, sent him face-first into a fresh cow pie.

Summoning every bit of his will and remaining strength the lawyer very slowly managed to get to his feet. Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, "Okay, you old fart. Now it's my turn."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Nah, I give up. You can have the duck."

My missus left a note on the fridge: "It's not working. I can't take it anymore, I'm going to live with my mum." I opened the fridge door, the light came on, the beer was cold.

What the hell is she on about?".

The Wells Collection - Snippet 4

Golf Australia

Golf Australia has released a video showing ways of enjoying golf as a relaxant in the Corona Virus era. There is a link to it here

Warning: The whole video is over three hours long and the sound track is designed to relax you (i.e. put you to sleep).

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9th September 2020 - I have a dream Click here to support equality

I have a dream

Last month ended up being strongly devoted to music. This month I'm away from my computer with all my music, so thought I'd add another theme which is famous speeches.

There is little doubt that the existence of the majority of these speeches will be familiar to you, but the full speeches are generally bypassed by the media and thus the whole content is unfamiliar.

Last week had the full content of Ned Kelly's Jerilderie letter and today Martin Luther King takes the stage.

I have a dream - the whole speech by Martin Luther King in 1963.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men -- yes, black men as well as white men -- would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds.

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For whites only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends -- so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.  Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi -- from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring -- when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children -- black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics -- will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sadly nearly 60 years later,the dream is still unfulfilled and in the midst of the Corona epidemic we are still seeing protests against police brutality which is not always in response to poor behaviour.

My mate is thinking about asking his ex-missus to re-marry him, but he's worried she’ll think he is just after her for his money.

The Wells Collection - Snippet 5

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8th September 2020 - The City of dreadful thirst Click here to skoll a beer

Banjo Patterson graces us again with this description of life in Narromine.

The city of dreadful thirst

The stranger came from Narromine and made his little joke--
They say we folks in Narromine are narrow-minded folk.
But all the smartest men down here are puzzled to define
A kind of new phenomenon that came to Narromine.

Last summer up in Narromine 'twas gettin' rather warm--
Two hundred in the water bag, and lookin' like a storm--
We all were in the private bar, the coolest place in town,
When out across the stretch of plain a cloud came rollin' down,

We don't respect the clouds up there, they fill us with disgust,
They mostly bring a Bogan shower -- three raindrops and some dust;
But each man, simultaneous-like, to each man said, "I think
That cloud suggests it's up to us to have another drink!"

There's clouds of rain and clouds of dust -- we've heard of them before,
And sometimes in the daily press we read of 'clouds of war':
But -- if this ain't the Gospel truth I hope that I may burst--
That cloud that came to Narromine was just a cloud of thirst.

It wasn't like a common cloud, 'twas more a sort of haze;
It settled down about the streets, and stopped for days and days,
And now a drop of dew could fall and not a sunbeam shine
To pierce that dismal sort of mist that hung on Narromine.

Oh, Lord! we had a dreadful time beneath that cloud of thirst!
We all chucked up our daily work and went upon the burst.
The very blacks about the town that used to cadge for grub,
They made an organised attack and tried to loot the pub.

We couldn't leave the private bar no matter how we tried;
Shearers and squatters, union men and blacklegs side by side
Were drinkin' there and dursn't move, for each was sure, he said,
Before he'd get a half a mile the thirst would strike him dead!

We drank until the drink gave out, we searched from room to room,
And round the pub, like drunken ghosts, went howling through the gloom.
The shearers found some kerosene and settled down again,
But all the squatter chaps and I, we staggered to the train.

And, once outside the cloud of thirst, we felt as right as pie,
But while we stopped about the town we had to drink or die.
But now I hear it's safe enough, I'm going back to work
Because they say the cloud of thirst has shifted on to Bourke.

But when you see these clouds about -- like this one over here--
All white and frothy at the top, just like a pint of beer,
It's time to go and have a drink, for if that cloud should burst
You'd find the drink would all be gone, for that's a cloud of thirst!"

We stood the man from Narromine a pint of half-and-half;
He drank it off without a gasp in one tremendous quaff;
"I joined some friends last night," he said, "in what they called a spree;
But after Narromine 'twas just a holiday to me."

And now beyond the Western Range, where sunset skies are red,
And clouds of dust, and clouds of thirst, go drifting overhead,
The railway train is taking back, along the Western Line,
That narrow-minded person on his road to Narromine.

The missus isn't talking to me. She said I ruined her birthday. I'm not sure how,
I didn't even know it was her birthday!.

The Wells Collection - Snippet 2

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7th Sept. 2020 - Religious fantasy Click here to return to reality.

The literate donkey

Have you the faith to believe?

The devout cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later, a donkey walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn't believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the donkey's mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!"

"Not really," said the donkey, "Your name is written inside the cover."

Ron Wells has not only supplied the videos we've been seeing over the last several days, but also a range of snippets. These will be appended to the main theme of each page for some time. Scroll to the bottom to see them.

As me and the missus headed off on a romantic holiday, we talked about what kinky things we'd like to do to each other. She said, "I've always wanted to be handcuffed." So I planted a kilo of cocaine in her suitcase.

The Wells Collection - Snippet 1

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6th Sept. 2020 - Learning the bible Click here to re-assign the facts.

A child's understanding

A teacher asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favourite Bible stories. She was puzzled by a boy's picture which showed four people on an aircraft, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent. "The flight from Egypt", he replied.

"I see... And that must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus," she said.

"But who's the fourth person?"

"Oh, that's Pontius – the Pilot!"

A snippet: Flying - a world view prior to the impact of the 747

Our first ever University lecture was by Professor Francis, Dean of Engineering at Melbourne University. Francis was a classic upper class English gentleman with high levels of intelligence and knowledge.

He advised us that:

After graduating we would be in the elite of society and that there was a possibility that up to 5% of us would have the privilege of travelling overseas. In fact, maybe some of us would even get to work overseas!

I don't have any specific knowledge, but I'd be surprised if less than 90% of those who graduated didn't travel overseas and more than 50% of them didn't work overseas at some time. I know of at least 10% of my final year of Civil Engineering who worked overseas immediately after graduating.

The Wells Collection - The false mask

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5th Sept. 2020 - Rules of war Click here to sign peace treaty.

Rules of war

In order to improve life for humans on Earth the following rules of war are needed.

Rule 1 Application of Rules

These rules shall apply to the conduct of all future wars.

Rule 2 Location of wars(i)

All parts of the Earth with the exception of the Ross Ice Shelf shall be free from all forms of war.

Rule 3 Location of wars(ii)

As a corollary of Rule 2, all wars shall be conducted on the Ross Ice Shelf.

Rule 4 Participants

No wars shall be conducted without the active participation in the fighting of all of the following:

  •  a) Persons who stand to profit from the design/manufacture/distribution of the weapons used in any other war whether conducted under these rules, or previously;
  •  b) Persons who advocate that any individual person should take part in the fighting;
  •  c) Persons who advocate Nationalism, Racism, Religion, or other socially manipulative means of encouraging others to fight in any war;
  •  d) Politicians who vote for allocation of funds for military purposes outside of the expenditure required to run the war authorised herein;
  •  e) Persons who in any way glorify war - inclusive of participating in the creation and issue of awards/medals etc. based on activities during a war;
  •  f) Volunteers who wish to participate in the war. Volunteers will be subject to the special volunteers rule which allows them to withdraw from the war and be repatriated at no cost to themselves.

Rule 5 Equipment

  • No equipment issued to or used by participants shall be capable of launching any form of missile;
  • Participants may use any form of knife, sword and/or mace to suit their individual whims;
  • No shields or armour of any sort may be used unless manufactured from banana leaves;
  • No form of explosive shall be used;
  • No form of remote acting weapons such as mines/germs/chemicals/radio-active materials etc shall be used until their efficiency has been fully established on their inventor and manufacturer inclusive of all persons who had a decision making role in authorising the invention/manufacture of the weapon. In cases of doubt as to responsibility it shall be sufficient proof of eligibility for the war by noting whether the mention of the words "Armaments Industry" makes the accused feel disgusted.

Rule 6 Conduct of war

  • The war shall be fought between two sides - to be labelled the Orange and Blue sides respectively;
  • Prior to the start of fighting each day participants shall be allocated to a side by lottery;
  • A Director of War shall be appointed with a primary role to see to the evenness of the armies participating each day. The Director shall conduct the lottery and have over-ruling options to ignore the lottery results in the interest of having evenly balanced sides;
  • The Director shall be responsible for storage and issue of equipment before each day's fighting and for recovery of equipment from the battle field;
  • Participants may organise to cooperate during the fighting as they see fit. However, if the Director observes that this cooperation has led to a severe imbalance in the fighting on any day, the organised group may be split up such that half of the group fight on each side.

Rule 7 Times of fighting

The war will for fought in the month of February which gives the best chance of viable weather for fighting.

All fighting shall occur between 9am and 10am each day and volunteer participants may use the facilities at the war base camp for the rest of the day.

Other participants may occupy their tents during the non-fighting times

Rule 8 Medical Treatment

The director may budget up to 1000 Zimbabwean Dollars each day per participant for medical treatment.

The money shall be spent at his whim and any monies unspent will be credited to his personal account.

Rule 9 Food Supply

Persons of classes 4a, 4b, 4c and 4d shall be responsible for supply and distribution of all food and drink at the Ross Ice Shelf. Each day they will be permitted to eat after at least 90% of the volunteer participants have expressed satisfaction with the supplied food quality and quantity.

Rule 10 Clothing

During the fighting all participants shall wear cotton based clothing coloured either Orange or Blue to distinguish between the sides each day.

Outside the hours of fighting participants may wear any clothing which suits their needs.

Rule 11 Disposal of Dead personnel

Persons killed during the war will be buried at sea as near to the Ross Ice Shelf as is practicable in the circumstances. To obviate dangers to fish performing the ultimate cleanup of the bodies, the bodies shall buried without clothes or other potentially dangerous coverings or attachments.

Rule 12 Allocation of costs of war

The costs of the war as defined herein can be covered by the military budget of New Zealand. All other saved expenditure relative to current military budgets can be applied to education and/or research and action on means of reducing green house gas emissions, fair means of population reduction and fair distributions of wealth.

Rule 13 Special condition for volunteer female participants

Rape of volunteer female participants is not permitted.

Rule 14 Spectators

Spectators will be permitted, but will be required to take active part in cleaning up the battle field each day.

Editor's note:

Assuming there are some 10 million persons of classes 4a, 4b, 4c and 4d and probably a billion of class 4e it would be reasonable to allow the 4e people a season to recant.

If we assume the average daily survival rate of 50% in the first season and allow for days of severely inclement weather, there should be very few survivors by the end of the month. Theoretically about 23 days would be required.

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4th Sept. 2020 - Computing tools Click here if not interested.

As I know computers will be boring to most of our members, Ron Wells contribution appears here rather than at the bottom.

The Wells Collection - The joy of receiving the mail

Some useful computing tools

Just to go back to computers again, I wanted to refresh my practices of writing the web page documents. But before starting here is some context of using computers.


Computers (including tablets and smart phones) can be used in two ways:

  1. To view content inclusive of games playing
  2. To create content

The first of these is largely the task of the vast majority of the users of computers and if we ignore content creation for completing forms on the Internet nearly everything which follows relates to the second item - creation of content.

Simple content creation

Taking photos with smart phones/tablets

This is so straightforward that it will be ignored here

Texting with smart phones/tablets

It would be hard to imagine a more inefficient way of creating text than by typing it on a tablet, except that for the existence of smart phones which are even worse. At least with modern ones you can dictate the content.

Password managers

If you use the Internet sooner of later you will be asked to enter data on a web page. For this task password managers are extremely useful as they can not only deal with the issue of logging onto sites where that is required, but can fill in other details commonly required by web sites, such as name and address.

I have used two password managers, "Dashlane" and "Roboform".

Both have free and paid versions and are updated regularly. I'm a free version user, but if purchasing I would go for Dashlane as it's operation requires less user assistance.

More work intensive content creation

Content creation on a computer can cover several areas:

  1. Creation and editing of text content.
  2. Creation and editing of program code content.
  3. Creation and editing of graphic content. Graphic content is of two major types: Raster graphics where the created file holds the content of each pixel (the smallest item a computer screen can display. Vector graphics where the file contains a mathematical formula to describe the content of a series of pixels such as a line or circle.
  4. Creation of and population of databases.
  5. Creation and display of reports of items from a database.
  6. Creation and display of arithmetic data in spreadsheets.
  7. Creation and display of presentation data.

Content creation at this level is so much more efficient on a computer that non-one attempts to do it with smart phones or tablets.

Lastly before some guidelines to useful free programs for content creation I should point out auto-typing programs such as Tagkeys. A user can set up typing shortcuts to regularly typed content as a single example, by typing a full stop to initiate Tagkeys followed by the code dx and a space to complete the input the following is typed into my document:

Q: "What is the burning question on the mind of every dyslexic existentialist?"
A: "Is there a dog?"

Programs to create textual documents such as notes, plain letters, documents, program code etc.

In this class of software I am not including word processors such as Microsoft's Word program, but only text editors like Microsoft's Notepad and the more sophisticated versions.

Over the years I have used several text editors the following and will show what the editor looks like when producing the following appearance on the page:

How the html lines below appear in the web browser Firefox
  • Notepad

    The ancient Microsoft text editor which comes with all versions of Windows and even had earlier implementations in the days of DOS.

    The typed code in Notepad
  • Notepad++

    Probably the most popular of the free text editing programs, Notepad++ is being used to create this web page.

    The typed code in Notepad++
  • PSPad

    Another longterm favourite of text editors, PSPad has excellent search and replace in other files capability,

    The typed code in PSPad
  • KompoZer

    One of the early what you see is what you get (wysiwyg) editors. Ex-President Donald used it to write his President's reports.

    The typed code in KompoZer
  • Seamonkey

    A later wysiwyg editor.  Based on the same beginnings and similar to use it is less buggy than KompoZer.  Secretary Jeff is starting to use it for the Committee Minutes.

    The typed code in Seamonkey

As you can see the two wysiwyg editors are far easier to use as you don't need to type the html descriptors. However, they have less functionality than Notepad++ or PSPad. Both these programs can change the appearance of the html descriptors in their settings area. I've just shown the default values.

One day, I'll show some similar thoughts on image editors.

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3rd Sept 2020 - The Jerilderie letter Click here to avoid further verbal abuse

The Jerilderie letter

Australia's most famous criminal, Ned Kelly, with help from his colleague, Joe Byrne wrote a famous letter which has been interpreted to suit the agendas of various social groups. When I first read it in the 1970's my impression was of nothing more than an expression of hatred for the police. Reading it again to get it ready for this page and with the knowledge of its use by Republicans to advance their cause I came to the conclusion we were both partially right, but more of it is self-aggrandisement and self-serving excuses for his behaviour. See what you think.


  1. The letter is quite long and was written on 39 pages.
  2. The addressee of the letter was Samuel Gill, editor and printer of the Jerilderie Herald.
  3. Another view of the content from Germaine Greer can be found here.

Dear Sir

I wish to acquaint you with some of the occurrences of the present, past and future. In or about the Spring of 1870 the ground was very soft. A Hawker named Mr Gould got his waggon bogged between Greta and my mother’s place house on the eleven mile creek. The ground was that rotten it would bog a duck in places so Mr Gould had to abandon his waggon for fear of losing his horses in the spewy ground. He was stopping at my mother’s awaiting finer or dryer weather.

Mr McCormack and his wife (Hawkers’ also) were camped in Greta and the mosquitoes were very bad which they generally are in a wet spring, and to help them Mr Johns had a horse called Ruita Cruta. Although a gelding was as clever as old Wombat or any other Stallion at running horses away and taking them on his beat, which was from Greta swamp to the seven mile creek, consequently he enticed McCormack’s horse away from Greta. Mr Gould was up early finding his horses, heard a bell and seen McCormack’s horse for he knew the horse well. He sent his boy to take him back to Greta, when McCormack’s got the horse, they came straight out to Gould and accused him of working the horse. This was false and Gould was amazed at the idea. I could not help laughing to hear Mrs McCormack accusing him of using the horse after him being so kind as to send his boy to take him from the Ruita Cruta and take him back to him.

I pleaded Gould’s innocence and Mrs McCormack turned on me and accused me of bringing the horse from Greta to Gould’s waggon to pull him out of the bog. I did not say much to the woman as my mother was present, but that same day me and my uncle was cutting calves. Gould wrapped up a note and a pair of the calves testicles and gave them to me to give them to Mrs McCormack. I did not see her and I gave the parcel to a boy to give to her when she would come. Instead of giving it to her he gave it to her husband. Consequently McCormack said he would summons me. I told him neither me or Gould used their horse. He said I was a liar and he could welt me or any of my breed. I was about 14 years of age but accepted the challenge and dismounting when Mrs McCormack struck my horse in the flank with a bullocks shin it jumped forward and my fist came in collision with McCormack’s nose and caused him to lose his equilibrium and fall prostrate. I tied up my horse to finish the battle but McCormack got up and ran to the police camp.

Constable Hall asked me what the row was about. I told him they accused me and Gould of using their horse and I hit him and I would do the same to him if he challenged me. McCormack pulled me and swore their lives against me. I was sentenced to three months for hitting him and three months for the parcel and bound to keep the peace for 12 months. Mrs McCormack gave good substantial evidence as she is well acquainted with that place called Tasmania better known as the Dervon or Van Dieman’s land. And McCormack being a policeman over the convicts and women being scarce released her from that land of bondage and tyranny.

And they came to Victoria and are at present, residents of Greta and on the 29th of March I was released from prison and came home. Wild Wright came to the eleven mile to see Mr Gunn, stopped all night and lost his mare. Both him and me looked all day for her and could not get her. Wright who was a stranger to me was in a hurry to get back to Mansfield and I gave him another mare and he told me if I found his mare to keep her until he brought mine back. I was going to Wangaratta and seen the mare I caught her and took her with me. All the police and Detective Berrill seen her as Martain’s girls used to ride her about the town during several days that I stopped at Peter Martain’s Star Hotel in Wangaratta. She was a chestnut mare, white face, docked tail, very remarkable. Branded as plain as the hands on a town clock. The property of a Telegraph master in Mansfield, he lost her on the 6th, gazetted her on the 12th of March and I was a prisoner in Beechworth Goal until the 29th March. Therefore I could not have stole the mare.

I was riding the mare through Greta. Constable Hall came to me and said he wanted me to sign some papers that I did not sign at Beechworth concerning my bail bonds. I thought it was the truth. He said the papers was at the Barracks and I had no idea he wanted to arrest me or I would have quietly rode away instead of going to the Barracks. I was getting off when Hall caught hold of me and thought to throw me but made a mistake and came on the broad of his back, himself in the dust. The mare galloped away and instead of me putting my foot on Hall’s neck and taking his revolver and putting him in the lockup, I tried to catch the mare. Hall got up and snapped three or four caps at me and would have shot me but the Colts patent refused. This is well known in Greta.

Hall never told me he wanted to arrest me until after he tried to shoot me. When I heard the caps snapping, I stood until Hall came close. He had me covered and was shaking with fear and I knew he would pull the trigger before he would be game to put his hand on me so I duped and jumped at him, caught the revolver with one hand and Hall by the collar with the other. I dare not strike him or my sureties would loose the bond money. I used to trip and let him take a mouthful of dust now and again as he was as helpless as a big guano after leaving a dead horse or bullock. I kept throwing him in the dust until I got him across the street, the very spot where Mrs O’Brien’s hotel stands now. The cellar was just dug then. There was some brush fencing where the post and rail was taking down and on this I threw big cowardly Hall on his belly. I straddled him and rolled both spurs into his thighs. He roared like a big calf attacked by dogs and shifted several yards of the fence. I got his hands at the back of his neck and tried to make him let the revolver go but he stuck to it like grim death to a dead volunteer.

He called for assistance to a man named Cohan and Barnett Lewis, Thompson Jewell, two blacksmiths who was looking on. I dare not strike any of them as I was bound to keep the peace or I could have spread those curs like dung in a paddock. They got ropes, tied my hands and feet and Hall beat me over the head with his six chambered colts revolver. nine stitches were put in some of the cuts by Dr Hastings And when Wild Wright and my Mother came they could trace us across the street by the blood in the dust and which spoiled the lustre of the paint on the gate post of the Barracks. Hall sent for more police and Dr Hastings next morning.

I was handcuffed, a rope tied from them to my legs and to the seat of the cart and taken to Wangaratta Hall. He was frightened I would throw him out of the cart so he tied me whilst Constable Arthur laughed at his cowardice for it was he who escorted me and Hall to Wangaratta. I was tried and committed as Hall swore I claimed the mare the octor died or he would have proved Hall a perjurer. Hall has been tried several times for perjury but got clear. As this is no crime in the police force it is a credit to a policeman to convict an innocent man but any muff can pot a guilty one.

Hall’s character is well known about El Dorado and Snowy Creek and Hall was considerably in debt to Mr L O’Brien and as he was going to leave Greta, Mr O’Brien seen no other chance of getting his money so there was a subscription collected for Hall and with the aid of this money he got James Murdock who was recently hung in Wagga Wagga to give false evidence against me. But I was acquitted on the charge of horse stealing and on Hall and Murdock’s evidence, I was found guilty of receiving and got 3 years experience in Beechworth Pentridges dungeons. This is the only charge ever proved against me. Therefore I can say I never was convicted of horse or cattle stealing.

My Brother Dan was never charged with assaulting a woman but he was sentenced to three months without the option of a fine and one month and two pounds fine for damaging property by Mr Butler PM, a sentence that there is no law to uphold. Therefore the Minister of Justice neglected his duty in that case but there never was such a thing as justice in the English laws. But any amount of injustice to be had. Out of over thirty head of the very best horses the land could produce, I could only find one when I got my liberty. Constable Flood stole and sold the most of them to the navvies on the railway line. One bay cob he stole and sold four different times, the line was completed and the men all gone when I came out and Flood was shifted to Oxley. He carried on the same game, there all the stray horses that was any time without an owner and not in the police Gazette Flood used to claim. He was doing a good trade at Oxley until Mr Brown of the Laceby Station got him shifted as he was always running his horses about.

Flood is different to Sergeant Steel. Strachan Hall and the most of police as they have to hire cads and if they fail they,the police are quite helpless but Flood can make a cheque single handed he is the greatest horse stealer with the exception of myself and George King I know of. I never worked on a farm. A horse and saddle was never traced to me after leaving employment since February 1873. I worked as a faller at Mr J Saunders and K. Rules Sawmills then for Heach and Dochendorf. I never worked for less than two pounds ten a week since I left Pentridge and in 1875 or 1876 I was overseer for Saunders and Rules. Bourke’s water holes sawmills in Victoria since then I was on the King River during my stay there I ran in a wild bull which I gave to Lydicher, a farmer. He sold him to Carr, a publican and butcher who killed him for beef some time afterwards.

I was blamed for stealing this bull from James Whitty Boggy Creek. I asked Whitty Oxley racecourse why he blamed me for stealing his bull. He said he had found his bull and never blamed me but his son-in-law Farrell told him he heard I sold the bull to Carr. Not long afterwards I heard again I was blamed for stealing a mob of calves from Whitty and Farrell which I knew nothing about. I began to think they wanted me to give them something to talk about. Therefore I started wholesale and retail horse and cattle dealing. Whitty and Burns not being satisfied with all the picked land on the Boggy Creek and King river and the run of their stock on the certificate ground free and no one interfering with them paid heavy rent to the Banks for all the open ground so as a poor man could keep no stock. And impounded every beast they could get even off Government roads.

If a poor man happened to leave his horse or a bit of poddy calf outside his paddock they would be impounded. I have known over 60 head of horses impounded in one day by Whitty and Burns all belonging to poor farmers. They would have to leave their ploughing or harvest or other employment to go to Oxley. When they would get there perhaps not have money enough to release them and have to give a bill of sale or borrow the money which is no easy matter. And along with all this sort of work, Farrell the policeman stole a horse from George King and had him in Whitty and Farrell’s paddock until he left the force and all this was the cause of me and my stepfather George King taking their horses and selling them to Baumgarten and Kennedy.

The pick of them was taken to a good market and the culls were kept in Peterson’s paddock and their brands altered by me two was sold to Kennedy and the rest to Baumgarten who were strangers to me and I believe honest men. They paid me full value for the horses and could not have known they were stolen. No person had anything to do with the stealing and selling of the horses but me and George King. William Cooke who was convicted for Whitty’s horses was innocent. He was not in my company at Peterson’s. But it is not the place of the police to convict guilty men, as it is by them they get their living. Had the right parties been convicted it would have been a bad job for the police as Berry would have sacked a great many of them, only I came to their aid and kept them in their billets and good employment and got them double pay. And yet the ungrateful articles my mother and an infant, my brother-in-law and another man who was innocent, and still annoy my brothers and sisters and the ignorant unicorns, even threaten to shoot myself.

But as soon as I am dead they will be heels up in the muroo, there will be no more police required. They will be sacked and supplanted by soldiers on low pay in the towns and special constables made of some of the farmers to make up for this double pay and expense. It will pay Government to give those people who are suffering innocence justice and liberty. If not I will be compelled to show some colonial stratagem which will open the eyes of not only the Victorian police and inhabitants but also the whole British army, and no doubt they will acknowledge their hounds were barking at the wrong stump, and that Fitzpatrick will be the cause of greater slaughter to the Union Jack than Saint Patrick was to the snakes and toads in Ireland.

The Queen of England was as guilty as Baumgarten and Kennedy, Williamson and Skillion of what they were convicted for. When the horses were found on the Murray River I wrote a letter to Mr Swanhill of Lake Rowan to acquaint the auctioneer and to advertize my horses for sale, brought some of them to that place but did not sell. I sold some of them in Benalla, Melbourne and other places and left the colony and became a rambling gambler soon after I left - there was a warrant for me and the police searched the place and watched night and day for two or three weeks and they could not snare me. They got a warrant against my brother Dan and on the 15 April, Fitzpatrick came to the Eleven Mile Creek to arrest him.

He had some conversation with a horse dealer whom he swore was William Skillion, this man was not called in Beechworth. Besides several other witnesses who alone could have proved Fitzpatrick’s falsehood after leaving this man he went to the house asked was Dan in. Dan came out. I hear previous to this Fitzpatrick had some conversation with Williamsons on the hill he asked Dan to come to Greta with him as he had a warrant for him for stealing Whitty’s horses. Dan said all right, they both went inside. Dan was having something to eat. His mother asked Fitzpatrick what he wanted Dan for. The Trooper said he had a warrant for him. Dan then asked him to produce it. He said it was only a telegram sent from Chiltern but Sergeant Whelan ordered him to relieve Steel at Greta and call and arrest Dan and take him into Wangaratta next morning and get him remanded.

Dan’s mother said Dan need not go without a warrant unless he liked and that the trooper had no business on her premises without some authority besides his own word. The trooper pulled out his revolver and said he would blow her brains out if she interfered in the arrest. She told him it was a good job for him Ned was not there or he would ram the revolver down his throat. Dan looked out and said Ned is coming now. The trooper being off his guard looked out and when Dan got his attention drawn, he dropped the knife and fork which showed he had he had no murderous intent and slapped Leenan’s hug on him, took his revolver and kept him there until Skillion and Ryan came with horses which Dan sold that night. The trooper left and invented some scheme to say that he got shot which any man can see is false. He told Dan to clear out that Sergeant Steel and Detective Brown and Strachan would be there before morning.

Strachan had been over the Murray trying to get up a case against him and they would convict him if they caught him as the stock society offered an enticement for witnesses to swear anything and the Germans over the Murray would swear to the wrong man as well as the right. Next day Williamson and my mother were arrested and Skillion the day after who was not there at all at the time of the row which can be proved by 8 or 9 witnesses. And the police got credit and praise in the papers for arresting the mother of 12 children, one an infant on her breast and those two quiet hardworking innocent men who would not know the difference in a revolver and a saucepan handle, and kept them six months awaiting trial and then convicted them on the evidence of the meanest article that ever the sun shone on.

It seems that the jury were well chosen by the police as there was a discharged sergeant amongst them which is contrary to law. They thought it impossible for a policeman to swear a lie but I can assure them it is by that means and hiring cads they get promotion. I have heard from a trooper that he never knew Fitzpatrick to be one night sober and that he sold his sister to a China man. But he looks a young strapping (fellow), rather genteel, more fit to be a starcher to a laundress than policeman for to a keen observer he has the wrong appearance or a manly heart. The deceit and cowardice is too plain to be seen in the puny cabbage hearted looking face. I heard nothing of this transaction until very close on the trial. I being then over 400 miles from Greta when I heard I was outlawed and a hundred pounds reward for me for shooting at a trooper in Victoria and a hundred pound reward for any man that could prove a conviction of horse stealing against me. So I came back to Victoria, knew I would get no justice if I gave myself up. I enquired after my brother Dan and found him digging on Bullock Creek, heard how the police used to be blowing that they would not ask me to stand, they would shoot me first and then cry surrender and how they used to rush into the house upset all the milk dishes break tins of eggs, empty the flour out of the bags on to the ground and even the meat out of the cask and destroy all the provisions, and shove the girls in front of them into the rooms like dogs so as if any one was there they would shoot the girls first.

But they knew well I was not there or I would have scattered their blood and brains like rain. I would manure the Eleven Mile with their bloated carcasses and yet remember there is not one drop of murderous blood in my veins. Superintendent Smith used to say to my sisters, see all the men I have out today, I will have as many more tomorrow and we will blow him into pieces as small as paper that is in our guns. Detective Ward and Constable Hays took out their revolvers and threatened to shoot the girls and Children in Mrs Skillion’s absence the greatest ruffians and murderers no matter how depraved would not be guilty of such a cowardly action, and this sort of cruelty and disgraceful and cowardly conduct to my brothers and sisters who had no protection coupled with the conviction of my mother.

And those men certainly made my blood boil as I don’t think there is a man born could have the patience to suffer it as long as I did or ever allow his blood to get cold cold while such insults as these were unavenged. And yet in every paper that is printed I am called the blackest and coldest blooded murderer ever on record. But if I hear any more of it I will not exactly show them what cold blooded murder is but wholesale and retail slaughter something different to shooting three troopers in self defence and robbing a bank. I would have been rather hot blooded to throw down my rifle and let them shoot me and my innocent brother. They were not satisfied with frightening my sisters night and day and destroying their provisions and lagging my mother and infant and those innocent men but should follow me and my brother into the wilds where he had been quietly digging neither molesting or interfering with any one he was making good wages as the creek is very rich within half a mile from where I shot Kennedy.

I was not there long and on the 25 October, I came on police tracks between Tabletop and the bogs. I crossed them and returning in the evening I came on a different lot of tracks making for the shingle hut. I went to our camp and told my brother and his two mates and my brother went and found their camp at the shingle hut, about a mile from my brother’s house, saw they carried long firearms and we knew our doom was sealed if we could not beat those before the others would come as I knew the other party of police would soon join them. And if they came on us at our camp they would shoot us down like dogs at our work as we had only two guns. We thought if best to try and bail those up, take their firearms and ammunition and horses and we could stand a chance with the rest.

We approached the spring as close as we could get to the camp, as the intervening space being clear ground and no battery we saw two men at the logs. They got up and one took a double barrelled fowling piece and fetched a horse down and hobbled him at the tent, and we thought there were more men in the tent asleep, those being on sentry. We could have shot those two men without speaking but not wishing to take their lives we waited. McIntyre laid the gun against a stump and Lonigan sat on the log. I advanced, my brother Dan keeping McIntyre covered which he took to be Constable Flood. And had he not obeyed my orders or attempted to reach for the gun or draw his revolver, he would have been shot dead. But when I called on them to throw up their hands, McIntyre obeyed and Lonigan ran some six or seven yards to a battery of logs instead of dropping behind the one he was sitting on. He had just got to the logs and put his head up to take aim when I shot him that instant, or he would have shot me as I took him to be Strachan, the man who said he would not ask me to stand, he would shoot me first like a dog.

But it happened to be Lonigan the man who in company with Sergeant Whelan Fitzpatrick and King, the boot maker and Constable O’Day that tried to put a pair of handcuffs on me in Benalla, but could not and had to allow McInnes the Miller to put them on. Previous to Fitzpatrick swearing, he was shot. I was fined two pounds for not allowing five curs like Sergeant Whelan, O’Day, Fitzpatrick, King and Lonigan, and would have sent me to kingdom come. Only I was not ready and he is the man that blowed before he left Violet Town. If Ned Kelly was to be shot, he was the man that would shoot him and no doubt he would shoot me even if I threw up my arms and laid down as he knew four of them could not arrest me single handed, not to talk of the rest of my mates. Also either him or me would have to die, this he knew well therefore he had a right to keep out of my road.

Fitzpatrick is the only one I hit out of the five in Benalla. This shows my feelings towards him as he said we were good friends and even swore it. But he was the biggest enemy I had in the country with the exception of Lonigan, and he can be thankful I was not there when he took a revolver and threatened to shoot my mother in her own house. It is not fire three shots and miss him at a yard and a half. I don’t think I would use a revolver to shoot a man like him when I was within a yard and a half of him or attempt to fire into a house where my mother, brothers and sisters was. And according to Fitzpatrick’s statement, all around him a man that is such a bad shot as to miss a man three times at a yard and a half would never attempt to fire into a house where my mother brothers among a houseful of women and children while I had a pair of arms and a bunch of fives on the end of them that never failed to peg at anything they came in contact with.

And Fitzpatrick knew the weight of one of them only too well as it run against him once in Benalla and cost me two pound odd as he is very subject to fainting. As soon as I shot Lonigan he jumped up and staggered some distance from the logs with his hands raised and then fell. He surrendered but too late I asked McIntyre who was in the tent. He replied no one. I advanced and took possession of their two revolvers and fowling piece which I loaded with bullets instead of shot. I asked McIntyre where his mates was. He said they had gone down the creek and he did not expect them that night. He asked me was I going to shoot him and his mates. I told him no I would shoot no man if he gave up his arms and leave the force.

He said the police all knew Fitzpatrick had wronged us and he intended to leave the force as he had bad health and his life was insured. He told me he intended going home and that Kennedy and Scanlon were out looking for our camp and also about the other police he told me the New South Wales police had shot a man for shooting Sergeant Walling. I told him if they did, they had shot the wrong man and I expect your gang came to do the same with me. He said no they did not come to shoot me, they came to apprehend me. I asked him what they carried, spencer rifles and breech loading, fowling places, and so much ammunition for, as the police was only supposed to carry one revolver and six cartridges in the revolver but they had eighteen rounds of revolver cartridges, each three dozen for the fowling piece and twenty one spencer rifle cartridges. And God knows how many they had away with the rifle this looked as if they meant not only to shoot me, only to riddle me. but I don’t know either Kennedy, Scanlan or him and had nothing against them.

He said he would get them to give up their arms if I would not shoot them as I could not blame them, they had to do their duty. I said I did not blame them for doing honest duty but I could not suffer them blowing me to pieces in my own native land and they knew Fitzpatrick wronged us and why not make it public and convict him. But no, they would rather riddle poor unfortunate creoles. But they will rue the day ever Fitzpatrick got among them. Our two mates came over when they heard the shots fired but went back again for fear the police might come to our camp while we were all away, and manure bullock flat with us. On our arrival, I stopped at the logs and Dan went back to the spring, for the troopers would come in that way. But I soon heard them coming up the creek. I told McIntyre to tell them to give up their arms. He spoke to Kennedy who was some distance in front of Scanlan he reached for his revolver and jumped off on the off side of his horse and got behind a tree when I called on them to surrender, throw up their arms, and Scanlon who carried the rifle slewed his horse around to gallop away. But the horse would not go and as quick as thought fired at me with the rifle without unslinging it, and was in the act of firing again when I had to shoot him and he fell from his horse.

I could have shot them without speaking but their lives was no good to me. McIntyre jumped on Kennedy’s horse and I allowed him to go as I did not like to shoot him after he surrendered or I would have shot him as he was between me and Kennedy. Therefore I could not shoot Kennedy without shooting him first. Kennedy kept firing from behind a tree. My brother Dan advanced and Kennedy ran I followed him, he stopped behind another tree and fired again. I shot him in the armpit and he dropped his revolver and ran. I fired again with the gun as he slewed around to surrender.

I did not know he had dropped his revolver the bullet passed through the right side of his chest and he could not live or I would have let him go. Had they been my own brothers, I could not help shooting them or else let them shoot me which they would have done had their bullets been directed as they intended them. But as for handcuffing Kennedy to a tree or cutting his ear off or brutally treating any of them is a falsehood. If Kennedy’s ear was cut off, it was not done by me, and none of my mates was near him after he was shot. I put his cloak over him and left him as well as I could. And were they my own brothers, I could not have been more sorry for them.

This cannot be called wilful murder for I was compelled to shoot them or lie down and let them shoot me, it would not be wilful murder if they packed our remains in shattered into a mass of animated gore to Mansfield. They would have got great praise and credit as well as promotion but I am recorded a horrid brute because I had not been cowardly enough to lie down for them under such trying circumstances, and insults to my people. Certainly their wives and children are to be pitied but they must remember those men came into the bush with the intention of scattering pieces of me and my brother all over the bush and yet they know and acknowledge I have been wronged.

And my mother and four or five men lagged innocent, and is my brothers and sisters and my mother not to be pitied also who was has no alternative only to put up with the brutal and cowardly conduct of a parcel of big ugly, fat necked, wombat headed, big bellied, magpie legged, narrow hipped splaw-footed sons of Irish bailiffs or English landlords which is better known as officers of justice or Victorian police who some calls honest gentlemen. But I would like to know what business an honest man would have in the police as it is an old saying, ’it takes a rogue to catch a rogue’ and a man that knows nothing about roguery would never enter the force and take an oath to arrest brother, sister, father or mother if required. And to have a case and conviction if possible, any man knows it is possible to swear a lie. And if a policeman looses a conviction for the sake of swearing a lie he has broke his oath, therefore he is a perjurer. Either ways a policeman is a disgrace to his country and ancestors and religion, as they were all Catholics before the Saxons and Cranmore yoke held sway since then they were persecuted massacred, thrown into martyrdom and tortured beyond the ideas of the present generation.

What would people say if they saw a strapping big lump of an Irishman shepparding sheep for fifteen bob a week or tailing turkeys in Tallarook ranges for a smile from Julia or even begging his tucker. They would say he ought to be ashamed of himself and tar and feather him. But he would be a king to a policeman who for a lazy loafing cowardly billet left the ash corner, deserted the Shamrock, the emblem of true wit and beauty to serve under a flag and nation that has destroyed, massacred and murdered their forefathers by the greatest of torture as rolling them down hill in spiked barrels, pulling their toes and finger nails, and on the wheel and every torture imaginable. More was transported to Van Dieman’s Land to pine their young lives away in starvation and misery among tyrants worse than the promised hell itself.

All of true blood, bone and beauty that was not murdered on their own soil or had fled to America or other countries to bloom again another day, were doomed to Port McQuarie, Toweringabbie and Norfolk Island and Emu Plain. And in those places of tyranny and condemnation, many a blooming Irishman rather than subdue to the Saxon yoke were flogged to death and bravely died in servile chains, but true to the Shamrock and a credit to Paddy’s land. What would people say if I became a policeman and took an oath to arrest my brothers, sisters and relations, and convict them by fair or foul means after the conviction of my mother, and the persecutions and insults offered to myself. And people would they say I was a decent gentleman and yet a policeman is still in worse and guilty of meaner actions than that the Queen must surely be proud of such heroic men as the police and Irish soldiers. As it takes eight or eleven of the biggest mud crushers in Melbourne to take one poor little half starved larrikin to a watch house.

I have seen as many as eleven big and ugly enough to lift Mount Macedon out of a crab hole, move like the species of a baboon or guerrilla than a man actually come into a court house and swear they could not arrest one eight stone larrikin. And them, armed with battens and neddies without some civilian’s assistance and some of them going to the hospital from the effects of hits from the fists of the larrikin. And the magistrate could send the poor little larrikin into a dungeon for being a better man than such a parcel of armed curs. What would England do if America declared war and hoisted a green flag as it is all Irishmen that has got command army forts of her batterys, even her very life guards and beef tasters are Irish. Would they not slew round and fight her with their own arms for the sake of the color they dare not wear for years and to reinstate it and rise old Erin’s isle once more from the pressure and tyrannism of the English yoke, and which has kept in poverty and starvation and caused them to wear the enemy’s coat.

What else can England expect, is there not big fat necked unicorns enough paid to torment and drive me to do things which I don’t wish to do without the public assisting them. I have never interfered with any person unless they deserved it and yet there are civilians who take firearms against me for what reason I do not know. Unless they want me to turn on them and exterminate them. Without medicine I shall be compelled to make an example of some of them if they cannot find no other employment. If I had robbed and plundered, ravished and murdered everything I met, young and old, rich and poor, the public could not do anymore than take firearms and assisting the police as they have done. But by the light that shines pegged on an ant bed with their bellies opened, their fat taken out, rendered and poured down their throat boiling hot, will be fool to what pleasure I will give some of them.

And any person aiding or harbouring or assisting the police in any way whatever or employing any person whom they know to be a detective, or cad or those who would be so depraved as to take blood money, will be outlawed and declared unfit to be allowed human burial. Their property either consumed or confiscated and them and theirs and all belonging to them exterminated of the face of the earth, the enemy I cannot catch myself. I shall give a payable reward for I would like to know who put that article that reminds me of a poodle dog half clipped in the lion fashion called Brooker Smith superintendent of police he knows as much about commanding police as Captain Standing does about mustering mosquitoes and boiling them down for their fat on the back blocks of the Lachlan, for he has a head like a turnip, a stiff neck as big as his shoulders, narrow hipped and pointed towards the feet like a vine stake.

And if there is any one to be called a murderer regarding Kennedy, Scanlan and Lonigan it is that misplaced poodle he gets as much pay as a doz good troopers, if there is any good in them. And what does he do for it he cannot look behind him without turning his whole frame. It take three or four police to keep sentry while he sleep in Wangaratta for fear of body snatchers. Do they think he is a superior animal to the men that has to guard them him. If so why not send the men that gets big pay and rec k oned superior to the common police after me and you shall soon save the country of high salaries to men that is fit for nothing else but getting better men than himself shot, and sending orphan children to the industrial school to make prostitutes for the detectives, and other evil disposed persons send the high paid men that receive big salaries for years in a gang by themselves after me, as it will make no difference to them but it will give the public a chance of showing whether they are worth more pay than a common trooper or not.

The reward was finally set at £4,000

And I think the public will soon find out they are only in the road of good men. That is if there is any good men among them and obtaining money under false pretences. I do not call McIntyre a coward as he is as good a man, as wears the jacket he had the presence of mind to know his position directly he was spoken to, it is only foolishness to disobey an outlaw, it was cowardice and foolhardiness , made Lonigan fight, it was is foolhardiness to disobey an outlaw as it means a speedy dispatch to kingdom come. I would advise all those who joined the Stock Protection to withdraw their money and give it to the poor of Greta where I have spent and will again spend many happy days fearless free and bold. As it only aids the police to procure false witnesses to lag innocent men. I would advise them to subscribe a sum and give it to the poor of their district, as no man could steal their horse or cattle without the knowledge of the poor, and they would rise as one man and find it if it was on the face of the earth.

The police can’t protect you, all those that have reason to fear me had better sell out and give £10 out of every hundred to the widow and orphan fund. And do not attempt to reside in Victoria but as short a time as possible after reading this notice, neglect this and abide by the consequence which shall be worse than rust in wheat in Victoria or the drought of a dry season to the grasshoppers in New South Wales. I do not wish to give the order full force without giving timely warning but I am a Widow’s Son, outlawed and my orders must be obeyed.

The Wells Collection - Please, please throw the stick

As you will have seen, many of Ron's videos are dog related. This led to Ron and I sharing a few dog stories by email. Clearly Ron's uncle's dog must have been a character.

I was just sitting here looking at your paragraph on your memories of going to your uncle's farm and yes these do bring back those sort of memories.

My uncle had a dog called Bluey, yep a cattle dog that I was scared of as a kid. He couldn't hurt you if he caught you, he had no teeth from biting car tyres while in motion.

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2nd Sept. 2020 - Guns, germs and steel Click here if not interested.

Guns, germs and steel

A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts on 'Collapse' by Jared Diamond. I was so impressed by his writing that I've now read two more of his books: 'Why is sex fun?' in which he never really provides the answer and his most famous book 'Guns, germs and steel' (1997) which is the subject of this review.

In this as well as the other two, Diamond assembles information from a wide range of scientific disciplines and provides such a range of historical information that it's hard to see how any one could do this without lots of professional help.

The book's theme

A core theme of the book is that all human races are equally intelligent, but that some groups of people lived in an environment which enabled them to generate more food from a given area and per worker. Hence they could increase the population density. With increased food production and population density, there was opportunity for some members of the society to specialise in non-food creative activities.

Hence these societies were able to advance technologically in ways which were impossible for the original hunter-gatherer societies.

The book gets underway with dramatic conquest of the Aztecs by Pizarro and his small band of mounted and armoured troops. The conquest was made easier by the previous death of the Aztec ruler from European based disease and the major war within the Aztecs to see who would become the new ruler.

After that there is very little reference to the guns side of the book but rather across each of the large land masses (Eurasia, America, Africa and Australia with side references to New Guinea and the Pacific Islands) he describes how the local climate and local existence of domesticable plants and animals allowed the population to grow surplus food.

Once surplus food was available there was opportunity to create fixed communities, undertake new activities and generally move from hunter-gatherers through tribes, to local kingdoms and to nations with the specialists and hence even stronger ability to move forward.

Diamond assembles archaeological and linguistic evidence - in particular the content of middens showing the diets of the various societies and also the times when domesticated animal signs are found with human activity to paint a general picture of when and where the various societies developed.


Diamond sees the development of writing as probably to most non-intuitive invention in human history and finds only two absolutely distinct inventions of writing; in the Fertile Crescent and by the Mayas. A plausible third is China, but he sees it as possible that the idea of writing was transmitted to China from the Fertile Crescent area. He is quite strong on the thought that Egyptian writing was derived from the Fertile Crescent.

On the other hand, he does not mention is the use of "Message sticks" by Australian Aboriginals. It is doubtful if they could be classified as writing, but certainly the idea could be a pre-cursor to writing. There are more thoughts on this here.

Needless to say there is a lot of criticism of the book on the web, but the bits that I read were things like "he is wrong" without any specifics, with the one exception that it was argued he had ignored "Moveable type" as an invention.

The Wells Collection - tell the truth

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1st September 2020 - Hay, Hell and Booligal Click here to continue in peace

Hay, Hell and Booligal

Banjo Patterson graces us again with his description of life in Booligal.

"You come and see me, boys," he said;
"You'll find a welcome and a bed
And whisky any time you call;
Although our township hasn't got
The name of quite a lively spot --
You see, I live in Booligal.
And people have an awful down
Upon the district and the town --
Which worse than hell itself the call;
In fact, the saying far and wide
Along the Riverina side
Is 'Hay and Hell and Booligal'.

Booligal in a good season

No doubt it suits 'em very well
To say its worse than Hay or Hell,
But don't you heed their talk at all;
Of course, there's heat --no one denies --
And sand and dust and stacks of flies,
And rabbits, too, at Booligal.

But such a pleasant, quiet place --
You never see a stranger's face;
They hardly ever care to call;
The drovers mostly pass it by --
They reckon that they'd rather die
Than spend the night in Booligal.

The big mosquitoes frighten some --
You'll lie awake to hear 'em hum --
And snakes about the township crawl;
But shearers, when they get their cheque,
They never come along and wreck
The blessed town of Booligal.

But down to Hay the shearers come
And fill themselves with fighting-rum,
And chase blue devils up the wall,
And fight the snaggers every day,
Until there is the deuce to pay --
There's none of that in Booligal.

Of course, there isn't much to see --
The billiard-table used to be
The great attraction for us all,
Until some careless, drunken curs
Got sleeping on it in their spurs,
And ruined it, in Booligal.

Just now there is a howling drought
That pretty near has starved us out --
It never seems to rain at all;
But, if there should come any rain,
You couldn't cross the black-soil plain --
You'd have to stop in Booligal.

Booligal in a dust storm

We'd have to stop!" With bated breath
We prayed that both in life and death
Our fate in other lines might fall;
"Oh, send us to our just reward
In Hay or Hell, but, gracious Lord,
Deliver us from Booligal!"

The Wells Collection - almost

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