Posted by: jkirkby8712 | June 23, 2011

Monday 20th – Tuesday 21st June, 2011 – Wimbledon underway, and just where should ‘that’ flag belong?

This is becoming a bad habit, combining more than one day into a blog!!  But sometimes [quite often in fact] other tasks of the day get in the way!! Anyway, we are experiencing a cold and Wintry week in this part of Victoria, and if you are a regular or irregular air passenger, more disruptions from Monday onwards as a consequence of a further ‘bout’ of volcanic ash spreading across the oceans from ‘that’ volcano in Chile a couple of weeks ago – in fact, I believe the volcano is ‘still’ spewing out ash and material etc, so the problem, certainly as it affects air flights may continue spasmodically!  For me, that is one aspect of daily life that generally won’t be of concern to me personally.

By Tuesday however, a cloud of volcanic ash had virtually paralysed the Australian east coast operations of most domestic airlines, and basically disrupted the travel plans of up to 60,000 passengers, and costing the tourism industry, an estimated $10 million a day. This is all a repeat of what happened less than two weeks ago.  The comment made by one convention spokesman was ‘We’re now looking at a case of constant shock syndrome in our industry. If it’s not a natural disaster domestically, it’s our two biggest inbound markets hit by tsunamis and earthquakes, and now we have major aviation disruption with more than 500 flights cancelled’.

Meanwhile, over in ‘sunny’ England, Wimbledon was underway on Monday – as far as I can tell, only one Aussie competitor competing on Day 1 [Monday] – another ‘girl’ we always have high hopes for [as do they, I guess] but disappointment usually follows! No exception to that with Jelena Dokic who went down in a hard fought match against the 2010French Open winner, Francesca Schiavone of Italy, 6/4,1/6,6/3.

There is a rather interesting debate going on in Ballarat at present, between the Ballarat Art Gallery, and a newly created Australian Centre for Democracy, at the Eureka Stockade in Ballarat. The Gallery has received a request from the Centre that it lend the latter, the Eureka Flag which has been on display in the Ballarat Art Gallery since 1895, when it was first loaned to the Gallery, and has basically been associated with the Gallery displays for over a century.  The current display was a result of restoration work in the 1970s, on the original flag,  as donated to the Gallery by the King family, who had first placed it on loan in 1895. The story of the ‘Eureka Flag’ can best be summarized as follows

We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.” Beneath the starry flag of rebellion, that oath was taken by hundreds of gold diggers at Ballarat in 1854. The Eureka rebellion led by Peter Lalor was a short lived revolt against petty officialdom and although a military failure, led to political and personal benefits for many Australians. The original Eureka flag, first raised on Bakery Hill and then flown over the Eureka Stockade and torn down by Trooper King during the bloody battle in the early morning of Sunday December 3rd, 1854, is now proudly displayed at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. Australia’s only rebellion is a highlight of history and inspiration for poets, novelists, journalists and filmmakers.

 The most recent edition of ‘Association’, the oddly named title of the quarterly magazine of the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery [of which organisation, I am a Member] has highlighted the nature of this request, and then allowed space for both sides of the ‘debate’ [on whether the ‘loan’ should take place] to present their view. Those views are quite extensive – I’ve selected just one paragraph in each case, as representative of the gist of arguments being presented. In introducing those opposing views, the Gallery Director noted:-  I imagine that most members would have a position on the issue and some would hold those views very passionately. I think it completely appropriate that two well respected members of Ballarat’s arts community present the opposing sides of the debate’.  Incidentally, my reading of the complete views of the Centre’s argument ‘suggest’ that the new organisation is seeking, in the longterm, more than just a loan of the flag! And again, there is much more material included in both arguments, but in noting the event in this daily contribution, I needed to try and find one major aspect of each argument. A closer reading of the entire document in each case will possibly reveal a number of pertinent points, and I await with interest, the outcome and final decision of the Board of the Gallery, which will be presumably partially based on the two arguments.

So for the argument ‘that the Eureka flag should stay at the Art Gallery’, we note that ‘In December 1973,Prime Minister Gough Whitlam came to Ballarat to unveil the restored Eureka Flag above the staircase and made a landmark speech identifying Eureka  with our quest for national identity. Many other political leaders have come here to pay homage. Such a reverential tradition should not be abandoned for the sake of making the new Eureka Centre more commercially viable’……. A repeated argument is that the flag should be at its ‘home’ – the site where it flew over the stockade. Apart from the fact that we have still not settled the question of where exactly was the stockade, I contend that the most important site associated with the flag is indeed Bakery Hill, in the centre of Ballarat, where an estimated people gathered under it at a public meeting at the end of November 1854 and vowed to fight for their democratic rights as citizens. The Gallery is close to Bakery Hill and it is in the very heart of the historic city of Ballarat, in its most important heritage precinct…’

From the other side of ‘Where should the Eureka flag be?’, the writer begins with ‘The answer is…a no- brainer – it’s logical home is the Australian Centre for Democracy at Eureka. Yes, I know many arguments have been mounted in support of the Eureka Flag staying at the Gallery – its long residency there, the emotional bond Gallery friends and Association members have forged with it, a putative visitor pulling power, the free access to it and so on….[but]  now is the ideal time to re-connect it to its original life, to re-invigorate it as an emblem of resistance…the Eureka Centre will be able to achieve what the Gallery hasn’t been able to, providing the Flag with the essential context, weaving it back into the events of the past so that it takes on enhanced meaning in the present…[and]…as the historical icon of the Eureka Rebellion, belongs at the institution built specifically to celebrate this event’.

Certainly, to my mind, the above subject matter added a rather ‘tasty reading morsel’ to this latest edition of  the magazine referred to. My own view – being conservative by nature, I believe the Gallery is entitled to retain the Flag as an essential part of it’s ‘Eureka’ display which was the original purpose and hope of the King family in initially loaning it to the Gallery, and then donating it permanently. It is well protected environmentally where it is currently, and constant moving and relocating of the fragile material must have a detrimental affect on the item itself. I feel that most of the Board will think that way, but then, they may not be as conservative as this writer.

Onto music, and more specifically,  my new Monday night program –  second edition tonight, and while there was no specific direct feedback during the program [which is of 3 hours duration from 9pm until Midnight], I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing, and the variety of music [and comedy] genres that I had programmed into those 3 hours – basically, a mix of folk music, Blues, jazz, some international [world] tracks, a bit of Australian country music [in fact the program is aimed at a high proportion of Australian artistic content, which is also an aim, of the radio station], together with a few selections from past years, and a little comedy segment, which so far, has concentrated on playing some old comedy sketches from many decades ago – tonight a sketch performed in France at the beginning of World War 2 called ‘The Proposal’ by a couple of English comedians  – Arthur Askey and Richard Murdoch. This, and last week’s equivalent sketch [Laughing Gas], I had copied from an old vinyl recording which had been in my possession since the 1960s – I must have played that recording times in that decade, because I notice that my transcribed version to CD did admittedly have it’s share of little background noises which I had been unable to get rid of, however the overall sound and copy was quite good, I felt. Over the months ahead, I do hope to build up a reasonable listening base, because apart from other presenters, most of us don’t generally hear from the general public – I guess a natural inclination not to get on the phone and ring the station you are listening to unless it is one of the talkback stations. We have to therefore [most of us] rely on research and surveys to get some idea of a total audience. However, I present my shows on the basis that there are many people listening, and I attempt to sound as though I am speaking to, and playing the music etc, for each of them individually!

Of course, getting home after midnight, is not much fun for someone of my age, but one soon adjusts to things like that, although I will find it very difficult to achieve a great desire to attempt to sleep for some time afterwards. That should not be a problem once I finish work, but at present of course, a relatively early Tuesday morning start remains necessary!


Meanwhile, Tuesday’s results for Australia at Wimbledon [Day 2] were a bit of a mixed ‘bag’ of outcomes. From my point of view, the big disappointment was the vanquishing of Samantha Stosur – bundled out in the 1st Round two years in a row, after once again, promising so much! She played a girl ranked about 282 [or 262] in the world rankings – and well, quite literally, ought to be ashamed of her performance, it was a very poor effort for someone of her abilities and current world ranking –  defeated by unseeded Hungarian girl, Melinda Czink 6/3, 6/4.  A couple of our men got through to Round 2  –  young Bernard Tomic defeated former world number 3, Nikolay Davydenko 7/5,6/3,7/5 [ a promising result], while the ageing Lleyton Hewitt ‘teased’ us all again win his win against Kei Nishikoro [Japan?] 6/1,7/6,6/3  – in view of the spate of injuries he suffers these days, Hewitt is probably happy to get a win, and we don’t really expect him to progress too much further into the tournament, certainly I doubt he will ever win another Grand Slam tournament to add to his previous Wimbledon and US Open titles! Meanwhile, Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic lost to the Argentinean, Tuan Ignacio Chela 6/4, 6/4, 6/7,6/2, which seems on paper to have been a pretty good effort. Anastasia Rodionovic and Jarmila Gajdosova [Groth] were scheduled to play Tuesday, but their games must have been deferred until Wednesday.

I notice that the recent ban on livestock exports of cattle, etc, to Indonesia, may have some more unexpected outcomes. Australia’s Agriculture has just visited Indonesia, in an attempt to solve the crisis, but on initial reports, his visit has failed, in the interim at least, to resolve the crisis. A warning was given today that the expiry of the June quarter import licences [next week] could put Australian farmers at ‘real risk of a longer term lockout’ from the Indonesian market, for their cattle sales. The June quarter cattle import licences expire in eight days and exporters have run out of time to ship the 10,000 to 12,000 cattle stranded at northern ports, even if the export suspensions were lifted immediately. Importers of Australian cattle cannot apply for third-quarter licences from July 1st without clarity on when and how their supply resumes, and apparently the Indonesian Agriculture Minister has the final say on who gets permits and when. So the consequence of the Australian government ban, could see Jakarta ‘lock out’ Australian cattle exporters!!  Unlikely, but the warning has been given! I don’t think I would like my future family livelihood to be too dependent on that industry in northern Australia at the present time!

Tonight, I was back at the radio station, but just for 2 hours tonight, until 8pm – show music night, as usual for Tuesday. Tonight was Program No. 292, and while it would be nice to reach the 300 mark, I have made it clear to the station management, that I will willingly relinquish that spot as soon as a new presenter for that time slot has been found, or a current presenter wishes to move there.  I would like to place my emphasize on the new Monday night show, so at this stage, barring a replacement, plan to finish up Tuesday in late August [if not earlier].

As soon as I returned home this evening, I had Jodie’s company for over 2 hours – well, she was actually doing some work on Susie’s computer, but nevertheless, it was always good to see her.  Must say however, that I did not like the sound of her cough – she has not been 100% well over recent months, and seems to pick up a few viruses. Working late hours also, a couple of hours a week at a western suburbs gymnasium/leisure centre place.



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