Sunday, August 19, 2018

Two weeks in Tasmania

Daughter Helen and husband James are in Hobart, Tasmania.  Today they pick up their hired camper van and meet up with Pete and Lynda from Queensland, who are also collecting their van for a combined tour of Tassie.  I noticed that the high temperatures over the last two weeks down there average about 5c.   Back here in Perth, W.A. we are enjoying a few days of warm sunny weather with my thermometer telling me it is a nice 19c at the moment.
They will be touring the island for a couple of weeks.  I have the task of feeding the fish and maintaining the fish tank.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Being Old Aint no picnic!

My GP has referred me to a Nephrologist to investigate my low kidney function.  I told  the specialist of a possible cause I had read about (didn’t mention Mr Google*) concerning Malaria.  Some 12 years ago I was a regular blood donor but my donation was declined because Malaria was found in a previous donation.   The doc didn’t think Malaria was a serious threat to my kidneys, but he rang me last night after consulting with another specialist and has given me three lab request forms for tests over the next six days. The details of the blood tests are....Thick Film Blood Smear for Malarial Parasites.
I had an attack of Malaria in Papua New Guinea in 1962 and another attack in Western Australia in 1964.  

* Doctors don’t like being told anything from Google.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

NBN worries

I signed up for an NBN* connection last week and the modem arrived by courier.   The instructions seemed reasonably simple and I followed the directions, but nothing.  A friend signed up with the same company, iinet, and he had a lot of trouble getting it started and ended up hiring a computer guru to get online.
I asked my cousin Ted to have a look at what I was doing wrong and after three hours and him talking with iinet teckos in South Africa and New Zealand, I am still not online.  Ted has had experience setting up family and friends and we were confident he would have me online in no time.
The last chap we talked to asked us to wait until Monday when iinet could take a look at my connection to the node which is some 400 metres from my house.  The modem tells us that we are connected and that wifi is working; but zilch!

Hope to get connected some time Monday.  Meantime I have kept on line with a wireless connection.

* National Broadband Network

Monday, June 18, 2018

Past and Present

Our daughter Helen teaches a Pre-Primary class at a school near Rockingham.  She has a unit in the HASS  (History and Social Science)  part of the curriculum and I have been collecting objects which have to be classified by her pupils under the project name of Past and Present.
I guess I am about half way through the collection and hope to have about 30 articles which have examples of the past and the present ready for her next week.  The kids will try and work out what some of the old stuff is for and later arrange them in groups of past and present.
Here’s what I have at present.....Click to enlarge

See how many things you recognise

Thursday, May 17, 2018

You are a good man Daniel.

Yesterday I collected 13 nice iMacs and a large box of peripherals including ipads and iphones and a couple of Mac Minis etc etc. My kind donor was Daniel Kerr who runs an Apple sales and service business. Daniel has helped me out several times before with nice equipment for my project of 20 years supplying free computers to needy folks. You are a good man Daniel.   Click image to enlarge

Thursday, May 10, 2018

bush races and nostalgia trip

Weekend before last, my cousin Ted talked me into a road trip to the Western Australian wheatbelt where our families farmed in the early 1900s.  As well as the family odyssey, his son-in Law Kevin was driving his massive motor home and race car to a meet at a small town near Narrogin named Cuballing.   It all sounded good and I agreed to accompany cousin Ted on a three day car race/trace the family homesteads trip.  We arrived at Narrogin and then on to ‘Cubie’ and set up home in Kevin’s monster mobile home on a farm which had been set up as a race track.
Kevin’s mobile images to enlarge

Inside Kevin's van
It would seem that these track races are held all over Australia and the next scheduled race is in Darwin.    I estimate that there were probably 30 race cars there and Kevin was a designated race controller which meant that his race car had to test the 15 kilometre race circuit before the races began.   This was where I was invited to be a passenger in his CanAm rocket machine.  Well, just getting strapped in was a major.

part of the course
We headed out on the track quite gently which I perceived to be a ‘treat the old fella easily’ move, then it started.....very fast jumps over small hills with 90 degree right and left turns at speed which was close to messing
my pants.  I loved it! 

In the afternoon Ted and I drove through several country towns having a look at our relatives’ old farms. Of course, these days, none of our families live on these farms and it was interesting to see what changes had taken place over the last 50 or so years.  We visited the site of my grand parents’ farm which was my annual holiday place from when I was around 10 years of age.  During the second world war my cousin Val and I were sent to the Toolibin farm when it was likely that the Japanese would bomb Fremantle where we lived.
Baby Kev and cousin Val with Nanna Lee at Toolibin 

  The Lee home at Toolibin is a bit decrepit now, with parts of the roof collapsing and showing the mud bricks the three Lee children; my mother and her two brothers, made after school on sunny days. 

Mud bricks and Lathe and plaster ceilings

 I had annual trips to ‘the farm’ every school holiday up until around 1960 when the Lees ran out of farmers and shifted to the city.  I had completed an apprenticeship as a turner machinist at a large government engineering company near Leighton on the Swan River.    After I finished my apprenticeship I spent a year studying for my Leaving Certificate and was selected to go to Papua New Guinea to train as a teacher in 1961.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Papuan eharo mask

Three weeks ago I was  interviewed by the West Australian Museum’s Assistant Curator of Anthropology and his assistant regarding my  donation of a rare Papuan head- dress called an eharo.  I had donated it to the museum whilst on leave from Papua New Guinea in 1963.   The language group of villages where my school was, was the Elema.  I was HT of their primary school in the village of Arehava for almost three years.  I had heard about their 7 year dance cycle, which at the end of the cycle, all the head dresses were destroyed and a new 7 year cycle commenced.   Unfortunately the Christian missionaries disapproved of this as definitely non-Christian and in my time in Arehava village no dancing of that type was practised.  I read of an anthropolgist’s book, The Drama of Orokolo (F E Williams 1940) and on my first leave back to Western Australia found a copy of the book at the W.A. state library. 
Upon returning to Arehava after leave, I searched out an old mask maker and we agreed on a price to recreate an eharo for me.  The agreed price was, I believe, 12 pounds Australian.  My part in the construction was to shoot a number of Sulphur Crested cockatoos for the feathers surrounding the top of the mask.     As I remember, it took a couple of months and at completion the entire village accompanied a male dancer with the eharo delivering it to me.  I was a bit concerned that a nearby mission station might think ill of me encouraging the dancing and the eharo mask, but I didn’t hear any complaints.   I had the eharo boxed in a wooden crate made by a tame carpenter at the Government Station at Ihu and took it by plane back home next leave.

The recent interview by Xavier and his assistant Karen was thorough and interesting. Some of the questions about the villagers and their traditions and indeed, how I decided to start a career in teaching in PNG were among things I had forgotten but pleased to recall.

Xavier and Karen are working to set up an exhibition of anthropological artefacts with background stories in the soon to be opened new W.A. Museum.  Hope I am still around for that.

                                        click images to enlarge