This is a good entry about the ending of the book. I would ask that you look at your spelling in the last two paragraphs of your review. I am sure the word should read philosophy. Also the tense of the word haven’t should be past so should read hadn’t. Blessings. Dave
Category Archives: Reading Australia
Perhaps Fergus is watching all from a bush somewhere close. Perhaps Fergus didn’t want to be found. Although we do have an account of his death in the book… but I could imagine him, or some other bushrangers looking on the whole setting, seeing if an ambush were possible for the freeing of a comrade.
Such a well researched and written piece on these two men. I found it interesting ( I shared with you earlier) that these men were a couple, it was well known, but still they were allowed and welcomed into St Paul’s Castle Hill, which is in the conservative Sydney Anglican Diocese. So interesting that you found out about the last years of Manoly’s life being spent in a Nursing home that was indeed Patrick White’s childhood home.
Linda your research and writing into homosexual history is astounding. You never fail to amaze me. Thank you for your continued support, affirmation and interest in the welfare of gay Australians.
Thank you for sharing that you, like me have difficulty understanding what it is Francis was trying to say, to make sense of the words on the page. I think it was Michael who said in class “We know when we have a spiritual experience, we sometimes cannot put it into words, but we know it”. Michael equated it to hearing a Beethoven Symphony or seeing a profound Artwork. It leaves you breathless, awestruck…Leaving you saying to yourself and others “What just happened” . The answer is, I don’t know but it really did happen. You have done well in this course. It is always a pleasure to be in class with you.
The chapter entitled “Growing Up” in Sally Morgan’s biography, “My Place” explains how Sally’s Nan places half onions around the house in order to keep away germs and disease. Sally comes home from High school one day telling her Nan that the science teacher said it was just an old wives tale, and that raw onions don’t do anything to keep disease away.
I decided to research this. It seems that this remedy goes back as far as the 1500’s when many where dying from influenza and the plague. A doctor was doing the rounds of town and each household had members of the family affected by illness…except one. The doctor asked the farmer and his wife what they did differently. The farmers wife explained that she placed onions in the rooms of the house to absorb the germs. When the doctor checked the onions under the microscope, it was found that the onions did in fact absorb the influenza virus. I was amazed.
I looked up other remedies to see what else was being said.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is a product that has recently come under the spotlight as having benefits beyond just being added to salads and other culinary delights. It has been known to have healing properties since as far back as 5,oooBC, The Egyptians were using it as an antiseptic and a weight loss method that long ago.Hippocrates in ancient Greece told his students to prescribe Oxymel, which was a combination of vinegar and honey, to bring up phlegm and make breathing easier. Vinegar is often used as a preservative, It was also used for sterilising wounds and instruments, Apple Cider Vinegar is said to have its healing properties because of its high alkaline properties. Also this product can be used as a preventative. Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermenting apples, to produce the Cider, then fermenting again to produce the Vinegar. It retains all the nutritional properties of apples themselves, so is packed with vitamins and lots of other good chemicals.
Gum leaves are said to have healing properties when crushed in a bowl and boiling water is used to fill the bowl. Put your head over it, with the obligatory tea towel to keep in the vapors and inhale.
While we are on Aussie cures and deterrents, it is said that Detol in a spray bottle can kill Cane Toads. Give it a try Queensland!
Other Bush Remedies
In Warrabri, the Northern territory the cure for earache is squeezing the fatty part of a witchetty grub into the sore ear. While in Uluru, the cure is squeezing rabbit urine into the ear.
Emu bush leaves, which were used by Northern Territory Aboriginal tribes to sterilise sores and cuts. The leaves are now being considered by Australian scientists as a viable steriliser for implants.
Tea tree oil is used for many things including an antiseptic and a mouth wash, it can also be used as a tea to soothe sore throats.
Eucalyptus leaves can be infused for body pains and fevers and chills. Today the oil is used commercially in mouthwash, throat lozenges and cough suppressants.
The list goes on and on. While scientists have found that some of these remedies to be false, many have been adopted into modern day civilisations. Its funny, if we just look back into history, we can find that a lot of what was said and done to be true, but its like when the discovery is made by modern man, we seem to claim it as the latest new thing.
Aboriginals like Sally Morgans Nanna used a great many things for the physical healing, but were aware that its not just the body that needs healing. They place a great emphasis in making sure the whole person is well, including emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Dance and song play an important part in the health of a person and of equal importance to having a good diet and exercise.
So people, don’t forget to dance.
further reading on aboriginal cures: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2011/02/top-10-aboriginal-bush-medicines/
I can relate to the poetry and the life of Francis Webb. He was a poet who was plagued with mental illness, just as I am. He wrote through his depression to produce some amazing work. I too write, and paint, and take photos when I can break through the darkness enough, and get motivated.
This is a story I wrote when I was having some anxious moments on the bus. I am not so bad now, thanks to google maps. I can track my trip the whole way.
THOUGHTS OF A PARANOID PERSON
© Dave McGettigan 19 October 2012
I tried to get a seat facing the front, but there were none available. So now I have to face the back of the bus and I can’t see where we are of if my stop is coming up. It’s ok. Don’t panic. You are getting off at the last stop. The bus won’t go any further than the shopping centre. I relax a little.
Why is that woman looking at me?
She can’t know… can she?
No. Dr Stewart told me that nobody would know if I didn’t tell them.
Then why is she looking at me?
She is reaching for her phone. Is she calling the police? Perhaps she is calling Dr Stewart to tell him I am catching the bus by myself. No escort for me this morning.
She is talking in hushed tones on the phone.
Oh god, now she is laughing! What is she laughing at? I combed my hair. I made sure I washed my face after breakfast. I look down and make sure I had buttoned my shirt correctly and that my tie is straight. My fly is up, so it isn’t that. I don’t know why she is laughing.
She has finished her phone call, put her phone away and now she is looking at me again.
Perhaps she likes me. I sit straighter in the seat at the thought. Perhaps she wants to go out with me. No! She wouldn’t have been laughing at me if she likes me.
Maybe she knew me before…before I got sick; before I did those things to that man. I didn’t mean to do it! She must know… I have to tell her. I didn’t mean to do it lady. I was sick. But I’m better now. I can’t tell her that. She won’t understand. Nobody does. They all think I would do something like that again. But I won’t. I couldn’t do something like that if I take my pills. I am good when I take them. But one day of missing them and BAM! I could change so quickly. I touch my shirt pocket to assure myself that the pack is still in my pocket. I breathe a bit easier.
I have changed a lot physically since then anyway. It’s been ten years after all. I have gotten taller, grown whiskers on my face and filled out; so Nurse Stevens tells me. I don’t think she knows me. Besides, that all happened in Adelaide. This is Sydney.
Perhaps I remind her of someone. I hope that is a good thing. Perhaps the person I remind her of brings back some bad memories. But I think the opposite is true. I think I bring back happy memories. That’s why she laughed on the phone. That’s why she smiled at me.
My god, why won’t she stop looking at me! She looks at her watch, which in turn causes me to look at mine. Are we running late? Nope… right on time. But she looked worried.
Maybe she is worried that the police won’t arrive quick enough to grab me when the bus arrives at the shopping centre. No! You have been through all that. She did not call the police or Dr Stewart. She doesn’t know me, nor do I remind her of somebody. She is looking at me because I am facing the back.
Damn. I wish I could have gotten a seat facing the front. Then at least if people were looking at me I wouldn’t even know about it.
She is standing up. She is walking towards me! What is she going to say? Am I going to be ridiculed in front of all these people? I clench my fists in anticipation of the confrontation.
“I like your tie,” she says “My husband has one just like it.”
“Oh…he he,” I give a nervous laugh “Thanks.” I say as she walks past me to exit the bus.
I realise that we have reached the shopping centre and now I can lose myself in the crowd. I alight from the bus and walk the short distance to the entrance of the centre.
Why is that man looking at me…?
I too have been in a mental facility, following a suicide attempt and not able to leave by my own terms. My term was short, but I think that perhaps if I were unwell at the time of Francis Webb, I may have never known freedom again.
Francis Webb had a spiritual connection and held onto his faith during the time of his suffering. Many of his poems are prayers; crying out for others to be aware of the suffering, and to provide comfort and relief. Jussi Bjorling provided comfort and relief for Francis Webb with his singing of Nessun Dorma.
Hmmm. I just had a thought. There is no mention of wildlife throughout the Tree of Man. I wonder why that is. Perhaps White thought that dealing with the wild bipeds ( so called civilised man) was in itself enough to write about. Perhaps there was enough trouble with floods and fire without having to write about snakes, or falling down wombat holes or the damn rabbits chewing the tops of all the vegetables before they even have a chance.
But you’re right of course, every true blue dinky di aussie cobber battler mate just wants a place to lay his head, where he can listen to the breeze through the trees at night, and the crows, cockies and kookaburras by day. A place were you dont need outside lights to help you to the dunny, cause the stars light the way just fine and where during the day you see more nature than neighbours. That place has smells of fresh air, eucalypt and fresh baked bread, not car exhaust, smoke and a cacophony of cultural cuisine.
Oh give me a home amongst the gumtrees.