American country music singer-songwriter Tom T Hall is an unlikely fan of our Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson.
Tom T, who has written 11 number one hit songs with 26 more reaching the top 10 including the number one international pop crossover smash Harper Valley PTA, told John Laws in a radio interview from his US home he knew all about both Aussie poets.
Known to fans as The Storyteller because of his storytelling skills in his songwriting, Tom T said he was a great admirer of their work.
It's unusual for an American to know anything about our history.
Banjo, as most would know, was born at Narrambla, just out of Orange, on February 17, 1864, to Andrew Bogle Paterson, a grazier of Buckinbar station at Obley, near Yeoval, and Rose Isabella Paterson, formerly Barton, of Boree.
He was born at the home of his great uncle J A Templer and baptised there by Reverend Robert Mayne, the rector of Holy Trinity Church at Orange, who had married his parents at Boree on April 8 the previous year.
His birth was registered at Orange Court House.
Banjo spent his early years on the family property at Obley but later moved to Illalong, Yass, and then Sydney.
His role in Australian culture has been recognised on our $10 note and his more notable poems include Waltzing Matilda, The Man from Snowy River and Clancy of the Overflow.
Henry Lawson was born at Grenfell, lived briefly at Gulgong and went to school at Mudgee.
He was also on our $10 note and a twopence halfpenny postage stamp.
Bush not in the picture
WHY do politicians and Sydney-based bureaucrats have a cock-eyed view of the country?
In the far west councils still have to close roads in wet weather because they can’t afford maintenance costs, resulting in people being isolated.
Most government services have been withdrawn and hospitals and health facilities downgraded or closed while there’s a chronic shortage of doctors in many of the smaller towns.
The latest medical farce by the state government to apparently save money is a trial for doctors miles away to use Skype or some similar TV link to diagnose emergency patients taken at night to Mullumbimby Hospital on the north coast.
Can you imagine a patient being told: “Look at the camera and take a deep breath ...”
Or, “Point to where it hurts ...”
Let’s hope this trial doesn't become the norm for other towns where patients want to be seen by a doctor rather than posing in front of a camera.
Fire station closures and ambulance cutbacks through rostering changes are another worry for the bush, which could put all communities, even Orange, at serious risk.
The changes are part of a broader plan to cut 10,000 public service jobs from the state government’s payroll, including the Rural Fire service.
So when is someone in high places going to realise civilisation doesn’t end at Penrith?
Train of thought
DAVE got a job working the signals on the western rail line near Blayney and after several days on the job a CountryLink inspector turns up to see how he’s going.
“What would you do if you had two trains heading towards each other on the same line?” he asks Dave.
“I'd put the lights on red and stop them,” Dave says.
“What if the lights were out of action,” says the inspector.
“I'd fire the flares,” says Dave.
“What if they're damp and won't work,” says the inspector. “And now the trains are really close.”
“Well, I’d rush out and get Mabel,” says Dave.
“What could she do?” says the inspector.
“Nothing,” says Dave. “But she’s never seen a train crash before.”
Words fail me
NOW Neil Armstrong has gone to that great resting place in space, how long will it be before those painfull word police rewrite his memorable words ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind ...’
Before we know it they’ll have it changed to the so-called non-sexist terms of person and personkind or humankind, euphemisms for mankind.
These crazies have already rewritten the public servant’s dictionary along with lots of nursery rhymes and Christmas carols and even poor old Santa hasn’t escaped.
Santa recruitment people Westaff, an international company with offices in Penrith, told its trainees that ‘ho ho ho’ could frighten children and be derogatory to women because it was too close to the American, not Australian, slang for prostitute.
Instead, the Santas were instructed to lower their voices and say ‘ha ha ha’.
There’s lots of other ‘politically correct’ gems like domestic engineer for housewife, maintenance hole rather than manhole, letter carrier for postmen, motivationally deficient for lazy people and sanitation engineer for cleaners.
Men don’t have beer guts, they develop a liquid grain storage facility and those thin on the top have follicle regression.
Women who hate sport on TV are athletically biased and serial shoppers are overly susceptible to marketing ploys.
Bad women drivers are automotively challenged.
Who’s going to save us from these dills?