More Government mismanagement

Our State Government is morally and financially bankrupt.  There is a lack of planning and budgets are cut to meet the whims of the day’s thoughts.  One of the recent decisions by the Minister for the Arts, Jack Snelling, to cut more than $1 million (annually over the next three years) from the State Library is just one example to this poor management.  In South Australia our State library is a critical cultural centre for our history and for future generations.

I accept that management has the right to improve efficiencies, modify procedures and introduce change.  That is how we develop and improve.  However, this must be done in a planned and strategic manner, not with the slash of a political pen to cut financial support, in one area, to prop up poor decisions elsewhere in Government.

Yesterday (Wednesday September 8) I was in a doctor’s waiting room and picked up the August 2016 publication of Reader’s Digest.  I haven’t read one of these magazines in years.  On page 66 was an article: Inside the world’s most beautiful libraries.  Under the current circumstances it grabbed my interest.

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Article in the August 2016 publication of The Reader’s Digest.

It listed nine impressive libraries around the world.  None are in Australia, and according to Cornelia Kumfert, the author of this article, the closest one to Australia is in South Korea.  I am not suggesting that our State Library, or even the Bar Smith Library, is of similar standards to those nine listed by Kumfert, but it does say something about how poorly our politicians treat our history, heritage and its value in to the future.

Yes ther are many worthwhile issues to support, health, public transport, the environment are just three.  Yet without a history, the legacies from our past where is our culture, the values we hold dear and the legacy we bequith to our children and their children?

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Respected historian, Brian Samuels, speaking at a recent rally (Sept 2016) to Save our State Library. (used with permission)

This is not a call to open your wallets, but to let your politicians know that our libraries are a vital part of our being and must be maintained.  Change procedures, restructure, or what ever management sees as necessary, but don’t decimate 180 years of our histoy and tens of thousands of years of recorded Aboriginal heritage through poor polictical decisions.

Save our State Library #saveourstatelibrary

Use the Twitter hastag to keep the momentum going.

 

Research is interesting

For the past eighteen months I have been slowly plodding through the background to the death and final resting place of firefighter Albert GREENMAN.  Albert, as I have mentioned in two precious blogs, (The nostalgia of cemeteries and The nostalgia of cemeteries Part 2) was killed in the explosion that ripped through the ship, City of Singapore, in April 1924, at Port Adelaide.  The other two firefighters killed in that explosion have a memorial to their sacrifice at the Cheltenham cemetery.  There is no recognition, for Albert, on the plot at the West Terrace Cemetery (WTC).

Records at the WTC show that there is a third body buried in Albert’s grave and it is likely to have been his mother in law.  Caroline Barbara Lena MARHORANA who, prior to her death resided in Royal Park SA and died on July 2, 1956 (aged 85 years).  Caroline is probably the mother of Laura GREENMAN, Albert’s wife, so it is probable  that Laura’s maiden name was MARHORANA.  However, there are no persons listed with that surname in the White Pages, in South Australia or nationally.

Other spellings of MARHORANA indicate that this is a name with an Indian ancestry however, there is also a strong Italian connection as well.  Indian/Italian heritage could indicate some of the disquiet in the GREENMAN family almost 100 years ago.

So far I have not been able to track down when Laura GREENMAN died, where she was buried, or if there were any surviving children.  There may have been a daughter, an infant at the time of Albert’s death in 1924, but I have not found any details of that as yet.

Copyright cleared with Shayne Greenman 2016

Firefighter, Albert Greenman, C 1920s. Photo supplied by Shayne Greenman, Queensland, and used with permission.

Now the hiccup – nothing can be done with the site of Albert’s (et al) grave regarding its upkeep, or adding a memorial headstone without the written permission of the site licence owner.  All avenues need to be exhausted in attempting to ascertain who is the current holder of the ‘licence’ and either have their permission, or have the licence transferred into someone else’s name before any memorial can be considered.

Blackwell Funerals, according to the WTC records apparently handled the funerals of Albert (snr), Albert (infant) and Caroline MARHORANA.  As luck would have it, I am attending an information session regarding death, as part of my University Students’ course work next Tuesday at Blackwell Funerals.  So I will see what else I can discover whilst I am there.

Also I have discovered another publication on the history of Port Adelaide and it apparently has a significant section on the City of Singapore Fire in 1924 – Triumph, Tragedies and Port Adelaide (2005) by Ron Ritter.  I have that book on order through an Inter-library loan so I will see if it sheds any further information of value for this project.

The research is becoming more interesting.  What started out as a desire to have a memorial on the grave of a firefighter killed in his duty, is now interwoven with World War I history, family genealogy, family history, and the history of South Australia.

A rocky start to this trip

Follow: My Indian experience on this link.

It has been a while since my last post.  Frustrations of finalising the PhD, buying a motor-home, a bit of local travel and of course, teaching and marking assignments.  Today I’m off to India via Dubai to present a paper on a part of my research at the International Oral History Association (IOHA) conference in Bangalore, India.  Getting a conference Visa for India has been an experience.  Three letters of approval, my own university plus an abstract of my paper to start with.  Naturally these things were not coordinated and there were last-minute delays.  The online Visa experience is challenging and the applications form is also a bit of a nightmare.  Then $180 poorer (well $360) as I got double billed the Visa arrived.

Now let’s not get confused over the Visa Card, which is a must for travelling.  On Friday my Visa Card was swallowed by an ATM.  No chance of recovery.  I didn’t realist how much the card was used for regular payment of bills.  NAB could not have been more helpful and arranged a Travel Card for me post-haste.  Then Visa Global has been exceptional.  It has arranged a temporary card for the duration of my travelling and a new card will be sent to my home.  However, the temporary card cannot reach me today, before I fly out tonight.  Not only will the temporary card be delivered to me at my hotel in Dubai, but they have specified the time so that I can sign for it.  Now that is customer service.  Kudos to NAB and Visa.

Oh and my flight was changed, but after all the other challenges, this was just the icing on the cake.  Next stop the Adelaide airport.

Never far from home

When I travel I love meeting people.  Different cultures, languages, places and nationalities.  Let’s put aside the fact that Europe is a melting pot of peoples from all over the world for a moment.  On the flight into Vienna the flight attendant’s girlfriend was on the same flight and she is from Adelaide.  In Vienna I met a tour guide from Sydney (Hop on Hop off) and his girlfriend is from Adelaide.  I’m assuming that they are different girls.  Today walking back from the Salzburg University I bumped into a guy who is studying at Flinders uni in Adelaide.  I was wearing a UniSA top, which got me entrance into some of the older areas of the university here.

Woman at rest – something different for a campus, which had Theology as a department.

Woman at rest – something different for a campus, which has Theology as a department.

Behind the stone walls and cobble stoned plazas is greenery and coolness conducive to learning.

Behind the stone walls and cobble stoned plazas is greenery and coolness conducive to learning.

Tonight I decided to walk into the cultural area of the city.  Wandering around I picked a cafe come restaurant at random for my dinner.  I had a choice of two seats, one next to a rather pretty young woman and the other was next to a young couple.  I have a suspicious nature.  Especially after a big smile.  An older guy, by himself, and a young woman almost too happy to see you.  I chose the couple.

The first twenty minutes or so, I could hear the couple chatting away and obviously they were also from Australia.  After some quick introductions, Skye and John are from Adelaide.  Skye teaches at Grange Primary, where my sister worked for many years.  John’s father is a retired South Australian Police officer.  Feeling creepy yet?  John’s father’s best ‘mate’ from his police days, John calls ‘uncle Alan’, and I trained with Alan for three years in the Police Academy  at Fort Largs.

Naturally things moved onto important issues such as ‘who do you barrack for (Aussie Rules Football)’?  None of us follow the Crows or the Power, so all was good.  What started out as a thirty minute dinner alone, finished with a two hour chat.

And why do I love to travel …. (Follow the link)

Mozart and von Trapp

Food, espresso (double), beer, wine, walking and so much to see and do.  Have I covered it all?  I randomly selected a restaurant and bar for dinner Monday evening – Shrimps.

Dining in the lane outside Shrimps Bar in Salzburg

Dining in the lane outside Shrimps Bar in Salzburg

The South Australian (Adelaide) wine 'Norwood' on the wine list.

The South Australian (Adelaide) wine ‘Norwood’ on the wine list.

Checking the wine list I noticed a red wine called ‘Norwood’, yep, like the suburb back in Adelaide.  It is also an imported wine from, you guessed it, Adelaide.  It turns out that the owner of the bar and restaurant is also from Adelaide.

I have not taken selfies of food and me: me in front of some monument, or similar photographs.  However, I did indulge a little at lunch today and partook of a apricot strudel.  It melted in my mouth – I was good, very good though, no cream on the side. Check out the pic below.  Follow this link to some of my wanderings around the ‘Sound of Music‘ city of Salzburg.

Kicked three goals – but I’m 30 meters out for the fourth and running hard

I have kicked three goals – three abstracts submitted and three acceptances. That is a turn up for me.

The first paper is: Nostalgia and Legacy of the family photographic collection, with the NZ Studies Association conference at the Vienna University in the first week of July. Then in September I will present a paper titled: Vida – a pastor’s wife (an oral history) at the national Oral History Conference in Perth (my former stamping ground). Paper number three, I have just been advised is at the inaugural IABA Conference in the South Pacific, here in Adelaide. That paper is titled: Three Generations – oral history through photographs on display.  

Photos on the Wall

As for goal number four, the thesis, I’m still at the 30 meter mark, but dead in front of the goal.  Keeping up with the Aussie Rules analogy, a good drop punt will sail it through the two big sticks (the two independent examiners).  So between now, plane flights to Austria, a return via the Philippines, and preparing for the Perth National Oral History conference I will have the thesis wrapped up in a nice little bow – soon.

The nostalgia of cemeteries

There are a number of self-guided interpretive walks around the cemetery.

There are a number of self-guided interpretive walks around the cemetery.

I’m making a big assumption here, but I suspect that most people do not visit a cemetery as a general, pleasurable activity.  When we do wander through the grounds it is often at times of sadness, there are the memories of bitter-sweet nostalgia, or to pay our respects to someone who is dead.  I recently visited the West Terrace Cemetery where more than 150,000 bodies are buried.  This was a walking tour and talk run by volunteers with the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority.

Besides the family vaults, grand obelisks and deteriorating head-stones there is a rich history to be discovered.  What is the history behind an urn on a grave, the myths of pointy tops to the monuments, the various renditions of a a marble scroll, or the Celtic cross?  At the West Terrace Cemetery four WW 1 AIF soldiers awarded the Victoria Crass are buried there.  As you wander the rows, names from our colonial past bruise our school-time memories of history lessons, F.H. Faulding, Carl Linger, composer of The Song of Australia, or the Menz family plot are just a few.  The AIF section is Australia’s first dedicated military cemetery.  Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882-1909) was an internationally renowned musician and composer.  He apparently rated himself the fifth best composer in the world.  He was also a tad eccentric as well.  He would make his own clothing – suits, and waist coats – from terry toweling, and in his will he stipulated that the flesh be stripped from his body and his skeleton be exhibited at the Grainger Museum in Melbourne.  The executors respectfully declined to carry out this wish.

City of Singapore – ship fire, heroes, destruction and death

The burial site of firefighter Albert Greenman at the West Terrace Cemetery.

The burial site of firefighter Albert Greenman at the West Terrace Cemetery. The burial site of firefighter Albert Greenman at the West Terrace Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Trevor Pert, volunteer, Adelaide Cemeteries Authority (2015).

Having been a firefighter for thirteen years, I have a strong interest in commemorating and remembering those who died in the line of duty.  There is a grave in the WTC where one of three firefighters who died fighting the City of Singapore ship fire at Port Adelaide, rests.  He was Albert Greenman.

According to Fire Brigade history, from the publication Muscle and Pluck Forever, by Page and Bryant, 1983,  the City of Singapore ship-fire was on the 26th April 1924.  Quoting from page 320 of the publication:

Another body had been taken to the Casualty Hospital: that of Albert Greenman.  But when Dr Percival Cherry examined Greenman he saw there was nothing to be done.  … [He wrote at the police station] ‘This is to certify that I made an inspection of the body of Albert Greenman on a stretcher at the Port Adelaide Hospital last night at approximately 11.20 pm.  The body was dead on admission.  The skull was extensively fractured, the right half of the vault being almost entirely absent.  The brain was also absent.  The death in my opinion was instantaneous.’

According to the State Library website at Fire Brigades Headquarters in Adelaide a bronze plaque was placed commemorating the bravery of the firemen who died: GJA Anderson, James Hickey and Albert Greenman. This plaque was subsequently relocated to the foyer of the new headquarters building of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service in Wakefield Street.

Two of those who died in this horrendous fire, George Anderson and Jim Hickey, are commemorated by a beautiful white marble statue of a firefighter at the Cheltenham cemetery.   Local fire fighters from Woodville, Rosewater and Port Adelaide fire stations in the late 1970s restored this site and is still kept neat and tidy.

Albert Greenman’s grave has no headstone or plaque.  It is only ‘known’ through the records at the cemetery.  Why this is so I have no idea, I can only speculate.  However, it is something I want to correct.  More will come in my blogs on this intriguing and interesting page from our State’s history.