Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 6, 2011

Saturday, 5th November 2011 – a hint of Summer, and the story of two ‘Blacks’!

Today was perhaps a sample of what was ahead of us this summer, as thousands flocked to the beaches,  and the patrons at Flemington Race Course was able to enjoy a beautiful day for the last day of the Flemington Spring Racing Carnival..  I decided to spend my day with tasks in the house, after a brief walk in the morning, and a little amount of  work in the garden. Susie away most of the day  – at her part time job at Bakers’ Delight, and then she headed off again late afternoon, noted that she not be back until tomorrow. As usual, no indication as to where she was going, although I suspected that perhaps this was her final trip to Bendigo to collect her belongings that remained up there in the accommodation she had barely used over recent months.  That ‘assumption’ would be confirmed through another Face Book exchange between her and James  – she was in Bendigo.  I just feel it would be ‘nice’ to be told of trips like that occasionally!

One of the highlights of today’s racing, was the running of ‘Black Caviar’  –  going for her 16th win in 16 races, that  target was reached in a canter, as the horse sprinted  away from a small field of opposition over the last 200  metres. – as one report would later describe the performance – “Black Caviar rakes in another $600,000 with a 68.34 sec stroll” As she coasted to victory in front of a record Stakes Day crowd of 85,112, Black Caviar kept the milestones turning over, and her unbeaten winning spree of 16 in a row, now places her equal 5th for all-time unbeaten winning streaks [a long way behind the Hungarian mare ‘Kinesem’s’ 54 wins!]. Now in her sights is ‘Mainbrace’s’ unbeaten record of 17 races straight in the 1940s in Australia and New Zealand, while her prizemoney currently sits at $4.4 million! Jockey Luke Nolan [supported by trainer Peterf Moody] said todayt that the pressure associated with riding Black Caviar was the weight of people’s expectations. Just like me tuning in to particularly watch this horse run, so too have the crowds at the  meetings where she competes been vastly increased, simply because people are coming along  to watch this horse win. Nolan said “You don’t want to disappoint anyone who has come to see her. She has a faultless record and we very much want to keep it intact”.  Moody commented in an interview, when asked how disappointed he will be when she eventually loses a race with the reply that he loses races every day, and the real disappointment will be felt by the fans out there!


Unstoppable: Luke Nolen onboard Black Caviar will take on the world. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: The Sunday Telegraph


Watched a bit of television tonight, including one of those family history shows that are all the rage these days  – this one of particular interest, as it featured one of my favourite athletes, runner Cathy Freeman, as she traced the stories of her ancestors, most of the details of which she had not previously been aware. As one reviewer wrote in one of this week’s TV guides about the program ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’  ‘Family histories are like car races and opening ceremonies – they get much more interesting when things go wrong. There was certainly plenty wrong in the back story of Cathy Freeman’s family, starting with the fact that her parents, Cecilia and Norman, met a Woorabinda, an Aboriginal settlement in central Queensland, where every aspect of the residents’ lives was strictly controlled. Cecilia was even obliged to write seeking permission for her and Norman to visit their families for Christmas [it was refused]. Through a visit to her aunt in Cherbourg [Queensland], Freeman discovers more about her paternal grandfather and local rugby league legend Frank ‘Big Shot’ Fisher, together with her great-grandfather Frank Fisher, Snr., who served in the Australian Light Horse during World War I. As a ‘half caste’, however, his pay was withheld because he ‘could not be trusted to spend it wisely’’  I must say that I liked Cathy’s ‘genuine’ reactions to many of the findings being presented to her – such a refreshing change from the ‘acted and over exaggerated responses of some of the celebrities that appear on this program, especially if they are an actor anyway. They put me off the show – that, and the fact, that the availability of the research and family information is made to appear so easily and inexpensively obtained, when of course those of us who are genuine genealogists, know a completely different story!


Following my visit and participation [as a Volunteer] in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, at which event Cathy Freeman won Gold in the Women’s 400 Metres race, I wrote my memoirs of the occasion, and after Cathy’s race, I wrote: “There was no sudden self-congratulatory chest thumping, jumping up and down, waving of arms, pointing of the solitary finger to the sky, no immediate outpouring of exuberant emotion, screams of unbounded joy [all of that came from the 112,000 spectators at the Park, and millions around the country]. Cathy Freeman simply sat down on the track, beyond the finishing line, humble in victory, silently contemplating what had gone before, what she had just achieved, , the fulfilment of a dream that turned her world upside down and around. “I just had to sit down”. Her opponents, one by one, quietly approached her, a congratulatory touch on her shoulders, a private word of praise, as Cathy sat there, for what to those of us watching, seemed like ages, as she fought to control her emotions. And then she asked the officials if she could run a lap of honour!!’ ‘I am very relieved it’s over, I made a lot of people happy tonight, especially my family……”  Later that October, at a welcome back to her home town, in Mackay, North Queensland,  Cathy would say “Part of being who I am is knowing where I came from, so it was not really just me who won the gold medal, it was you”. Well in tonight’s program, she learnt a lot more about where she had come from, and immediately ‘shared’ her gold medal with those ancestors who had contributed to her being what she was. Quite a moving program tonight, which added to my admiration of this wonderful Australian ambassador.


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