Watkin Tench & John Nicol

Watkin Tench & John Nicol

Featured Image: Watkin Tench

Professor Tim Flannery did an excellent job in editing and introducing two original seminal digests dedicated to our earliest colonial settlement and history. Without them our collective ignorance would have been even more profound. Alan Moorehead in ‘The Fatal Impact’ wrote ‘about the terrible legacy of European exploration of the Pacific; a classic study of the impact of European arrival in Tahiti, Australia and to a lesser extent the Antarctic is a tale of death, destruction and ecological distortion.


Watkin Tench stepped ashore at Botany Bay with the First Fleet in January 1788. He was in his late twenties, a captain in the marines, and on the adventure of his life. Insatiably curious, with a natural genius for storytelling, Tench wrote two enthralling accounts of the infant colony: A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson. Tench brings to life the legendary figures of Bennelong, Arabanoo and Governor Phillip, and records the voices of convicts trying to make new lives in their new country. Although not immediate the devastating ‘fatal impact’ of the Small Pox pandemic on the Camerigal and Gadigal tribes in the vicinity of Port Jackson was profound; bordering on genocide. Tench describes in detail the epicurean delight of the ‘light-horseman’; the local fish we know today as the snapper.

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Cockroaches emerge from the dark

Cockroaches emerge from the dark

See also: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/afl/covid-mistake-enough-for-a-racist-attack-on-elijah-taykor/news-story/ae5257351b98c7f5f0d2f8fc1d36c680


Featured Image: Elijah Taylor courtesy of ‘The Australian’

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/the-sewer-of-social-media/

Unusually for him esteemed cricket writer Peter Lalor unleashed a fiercely targeted and furiously vituperative lambaste on the ‘low life’ which emerges when personal controversy emerges on the sporting scene. Peter was commenting on the vile racism accompanying the fall from grace of 19yo Sydney Swans AFL player Elijah Taylor. His crime? He ‘concealed’ his 18yo girlfriend into his hotel room during the COVID19 crisis. How many young men might not try the same trick?

Peter Lalor writes in ‘The Australian’ Thursday 20 August 2020 under the headline ‘One Covid breach enough for cockroaches to emerge from the dark’:

“The lowest Australian life form crept back from under the couch again. Anonymous as usual. Cowardly as ever. Crawling out of the cockroach corners. Spoiling sport. Infecting social fabric. Vomiting the disease that infests their ugly type”.

An anonymous troll with a ‘fake account’ had sent Taylor a message calling him a “dirty coon” and a ‘smelly monkey”, ‘phrases so offensive you hesitate to repeat them’. Both Taylor and his delectable girlfriend Lekhani Pearce expressed genuine contrition and profound remorse although Elijah pointedly commented ‘racism really doesn’t fix anything’. He had been suspended for the rest of the season and his club fined $25,000:00.

I’ve invented my own unbridled definition: Psitacciformes twitterati. Roughly translated = “Squawking parrots”!

Chegwyn Match September 1978

Chegwyn Match September 1978

Featured Image: Acknowledge ‘A History of the Upper Hunter District Cricket Association 1894 – 2013 written by Lindsay Wood OAM

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/jack-chegwyns-xi-scone-1957/

I wrote earlier of the Jack Chegwyn Xi @ Scone in 1957 (see above). There was return visit in 1978 promulgated in part by my very good friend Bruce Shepherd who played in the 1957 match. See featured image.

The Upper Hunter received another visit from a Chegwyn XI prior to the start of the 1978 – 1979 season.

Back in May 1978 the offer of a visit negotiated by Bruce Shepherd had been “regretfully” declined as it was considered that the only available date would have clashed with the Rugby League grand final and it was felt that “very little interest” would be shown in the Chegwyn match.

However, apparently there was a change of opinion and two one day matches were arraged to be played on the 16th and 17th September at Aberdeen.

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The Rise and Rise of Country Racing in NSW

The Rise and Rise of Country Racing in NSW

See: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-13/rise-and-rise-of-horse-racing-in-country-nsw/12540542

Featured Image: Scone Race Club provided by Scone Race Club.

See also: https://sconeraceclub.com.au/brand-heritage/

See also:

NSW government punts $67 million on regional racetrack upgrades – ABC News

Scone Race Track $20 million upgrade – scone.com.au : scone.com.au

Millions of dollars being poured into race tracks including Scone – AM981 Hunter Valley (2nm.com.au)

$67m boost for NSW country racetracks – Racenet

Millions of dollars being poured into race tracks including Scone – 98.1 Power FM (981powerfm.com.au)

My good friend Mike Pritchard put together a very positive cornucopia of commentators on NSW Country Racing for his morning breakfast programme on ABC Radio 1044 Muswellbrook. I was honoured to be the historical ‘starter’. See URL above. My contribution was concatenated to an overall purview about the introduction of TAB betting since the 1960s and its impact on prizemoney. Trainer Brett Cavanaugh, jockey Mikayla Weir and leviathan John Messara improved the programme!

Key points:

  • Country racing has been the launching pad for many of Australia’s top jockeys and trainers
  • Before prize money increases in 2012, many country race clubs in NSW were struggling to survive
  • The money has attracted new trainers and owners, as well as a younger generation of racegoers

A gathering of prominent country racing identities many years ago were told by Bob Dawbarn, an icon of NSW racing, that the sport was all about three things: betting, betting and betting.

Not much has changed, except now there is a greater portion of betting turnover finding its way into the industry.

Annual prize money for country racing in NSW is more than $81 million, an increase of $48 million from 2012.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPnJM3zWfUo

This all happened just over fifty years ago. Noel Coward first articulated the concept and did very well out of it. Me: not quite so well. I’m a Ten Pound Pom. The first week end after I arrived in Australia following an arduous, horrendous, exacting but equally exciting journey I decided to take a walk. It was Sunday. There wasn’t much to do. I hadn’t been to church. I really didn’t know anyone. My hospitable host family needed time to themselves. It was a warm, ‘even-hot-for-a-Pom’ day in mid-October. On rare days like this in the old dart it was an opportunity not to be missed. Late morning I set off for Flat Rock perhaps then and now Scone’s premier look out and best kept secret. I didn’t even wear a hat. I haven’t been without one ever since. Mr and Mrs Bain were bemused but supportive. They were both immigrants themselves. What they knew but I didn’t was that no-one voluntarily ‘went for walks’ in rural Australia; all except parvenu arriviste Poms that is. Worse still I was pallid, fair complexioned and naïve. Hatless but hirsute I determinedly defied the midday sun. I was mildly surprised to have the purview entirely to myself. In those days one didn’t even carry a water bottle. No-one had told me. ‘Cool’ eye shades were a generation away. Florid, panting but triumphant I returned to base. I was fitter then. The Bain family were ostensibly relieved to have me back. Their nine and ten year old daughters must have wondered what sort of odd ball was staying at their house. They were agreeably polite. Little did they know what was later confirmed.

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