Rosie’s Hut.

Coast to Coast – One Single Drop

If you turn off the main road and travel around five furlongs .. in the old money .. down a dirt track called Kruger Road, you will come to Rosie’s Hut.

I first heard of Rosie’s Hut around .. oh .. fifteen year or so ago now … when we first brought this place from my Aunty … old Vera … you see, she had gotten old and was a bit crook, so her doctor advised her … quite strongly .. that she needed to move into the main town in the Barossa for the sake of her health … so she put this property on the market and we just happened to be looking for a dusty little spread out here in the mallee and bango! … Bob’s your uncle … so to speak.

Well, one side of the property backs onto Kruger Road, just a stone’s throw from Rosie’s Hut … so it wasn’t long before my curiosity got the better of me and I wandered over to have a squizz at the place.

“Hut” is probably the wrong description of the place … because it is too large and too well-built to be considered that .. but at the same time, it is just a one roomed building standing by itself without any other sheds or out buildings backing it up. But there, that’s what it is called .. sure an’ I did originally think the name was in relation to a woman’s name and I could let my imagination .. of which I have an over abundance .. conjure up an image of a past age, with a woman living out here in the hut … a woman with rich red hair .. of the Christina Rosetti type … an image of her as depicted by the Pre-Raphaelite painters … throw in a touch of Shirley MacLaine in “Irma la Douce” and you are getting somewhere near me.

Or perhaps as the Inn-keepers daughter in the poem “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes.

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding–
Riding–riding–
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.”

And so on it goes .. a lovely piece worth the read, here .. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43187/the-highwayman

But in truth, there was no long-tressed woman to stand at the hut’s door, no blue-eyed daughter in the moonlight, no simpering eyes in the moonlight, to tempt a young man to share in the moonlight … the local knowledge of why Rosie’s Hut was there or why that name, took a little searching on my part over a span of these near fifteen years … for all those who lived through those early pioneering years have now passed away and have taken with them that knowledge of who, what and why these people and places existed … Except! . . .

Except … there were clues that gave it away .. the first was old Mr. Rosenswieg … he was the “Ted” in my story of “Ted and Edie dance the Rumba” ..https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/ted-and-edie-dance-the-rumba/  … he was born around 1933 .. and he filled in the rest of the name from “Rosie” to Rosenswieg … hence .. : Rosenswieg’s Hut. Evidently another branch of his clan owned land around there but had disposed of it before he was born … But he did give me the next clue to the reason for the hut’s existence .. He told me that back in the early days of cropping here on the flats, in the late nineteenth century, some landholders did not actually live on the blocks, but rather would come down from their hills homesteads, bringing their workers, family and horses and assorted equipment for either sowing or harvesting … depending upon the season and would camp down on the flats paddocks while they did an intensive round of ploughing and seeding or harvesting and bagging the seed or sheathing the hay …

All the family including women and children were brought down to help with the labour-intensive work … the women to cook, the children to clear stones from the paddocks or feed the horses and that is why there was that one solid-built “hut” … to give the women and children shelter at night after doing the cooking and serving for the workmen and family … who slept in the thatched-roofed post and beam outbuildings.

It was a different life back in those days .. this area being known by it’s branded name : “Breakheart Country” … all hard work and muscle for both the men and the women, while the children also were expected to pitch in to help … I know about the children being there in the fields because I have record of one child from my German relatives family dying from burns because of being caught in the burning of the stubble that was practiced in those days before ploughing for the seeding season.

That explained the whys and wherefores, but not the confirming date of the construct and by association, the times of when those families stayed in the hut.

What threw me about the dimensions of the one-roomed hut, was, as a builder myself, the proportions and construct told me that this was no family home … not even in the pioneer sense .. I have experience of those pioneer settler’s houses … they are mostly of stone/post and beam with pug & pine walled infills. Rosie’s Hut was well built, the corner quoins not of local limestone nor a local granite, but layered large pieces of slate … this secured the corners of the building and held it fast for a long time, unlike other early buildings that fell down without the solid corner bondings .. The lime mortar placed the building in the latter part of the nineteenth century, but the machined roof timbers of Oregon and the stamped / branded roofing iron from England gave the date to around the turn of the twentieth century .. The clean walls of solid, lime plaster showed that there was never any room divisions and there was no evidence of wall plugging for cupboards … so the one big room, with a small fireplace with a large German vault-oven behind it showed this hut served as eating place after a hard, long days work and then the private sleeping quarters for the women and children, while the men slept in those thatched shed outbuildings …

It would seem that everything required for the month’s duration needed to seed or harvest the crop was brought down from the hill farm, including the slate building stones as there is no slate of any reasonable quality to be found on the flats .. I wrote of those days and the trials and tribulations here .. https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/soil/

So now, after all these years, I feel I can quietly say with a sense of confidence that Rosie’s Hut had a long and fruitful career as cookhouse/shelter until the days of the horse drawn farming era came to a close .. the end of many things … much back-breaking work, labour intensive farming and all, yet there must also be admitted that alongside those daylight hours of chore and grind, there was also the evenings of no doubt some singing of old folk songs from their homelands along with the weary relief and satisfaction of what they had achieved and the resulting harvest would give claim to the nod of a job well done and payment well deserved .. a thing fast becoming obscure and unfathomable in this age of cynical weariness … https://freefall852.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/letter-to-a-friend/

What did you do on your holiday?

20 Clara Street, Wallaroo, SA 5556 - Property Details

Sure an’ it was a short one..what with the horses to look after and all that, but we did go for a stint over the peninsula to one of those now booming coastal towns where marinas and holiday development enclaves have replaced that “sleepy village” atmosphere and ‘beachfront cafes’ now pepper the foreshore along with the McMansions and other beachfront developments to keep a holiday-happy clientele…..well….happy!

Perhaps it is time here to inject a conundrum into the conversation about the connection between the idea of the “sleepy village”, cultural architecture and the hunger for so many housing developments in these coastal locations…Well how about this:

Why is Art?

Indeed..or rather what has art got to do with the above three discussion points…where does an artistic eye come into the relationship of village, housing and development?…Simple…The once “sleepy village” picture of these coastal towns didn’t just arise out of nothing..they were a result of settlement of one distinct cultural ethnic group..The Cornish, in this instance….and with their migration from their homeland, they transported their own peculiar style of housing size and design…these styles slowly morphed into the turn of the twentieth century cottage we see in the older parts of the towns and give the village that attractive air of settled conformity…

In a sample street of the old part of the towns, you will see limestone constructed houses of similar dimensions, the straight or return verandah, finials and lacework or timber shaped corbels on the posts..similar but never the same..slight variations to mark the individual tastes of the builders..These houses can be considered samples of what has been a long tradition of “timeless buildings” and can be viewed as an example of “quality without a name”…that vision of a “certain something” that holds and delights the viewer.

But these variations only ventured within a kind of perimeter of cultural allowance..to be too extreme was frowned upon..to be too radical was seen as thumbing one’s nose at your fellows…not appreciated nor tolerated..hence we see the evolution of the uniform umbrella of “sleepy village” cultural architecture…that ingredient that made these coastal villages so attractive to the holidaying city dweller and then opened up the surrounding land to speculators and property entrepreneurs..who went on to develop the eyesores we now have to endure in these once lovely coastal locales.

Where we stayed for our short sojourn was in one of those lovely old town streets..in a renovated old house..a pleasant “feel” …next door, an old house was knocked down and a brand-spanking modern unit was built…it was said the knocked down house was in a bad state of repair…I have my doubts of these claims..I have been employed in trade to renovate many older houses and find that when the in-situ structure is reasonably sound, the roof and rooms can be restored within reasonably cost…certainly cheaper than demolition and new build with the incumbent costs of fire, energy and structural engineering requirements now required by law…

In a street of cultural/period-piece dwellings, this new unit is an eyesore…regardless of design material, colour…it stands out like I suspect the bombastic owner wanted…but I see it as a blot on the streetscape..and the fact that it is in the end no more than a “holiday house” more incriminates the owner for its gross intrusion.

In stark contrast across the street stands an old house of the turn of the 20th century…not renovated, but assiduously maintained…it’s walls and roof line along with the footpath aligned wooden balustrade original and complete..certainly the maintenance has been attentative to detail as can be expected to retain the cultural architecture of the street…I have sat and just stared at that house in its balanced beauty for a long time…just absorbing the “art” of balanced construct inherent with the eye of the trades who built it…for certainly the trades of times gone by are reflected in both design and construct…from the burnt lime of the mortar to the size of the limestone chosen and placed to the joinery of the windows and structure…what the ancient Greeks would call ; “Eye sweet”…in contrast : A thing of beauty….a joy forever.

At one point in our holiday, we were taken to the town lookout and our friend pointed to the bay and exclaimed..

“Isn’t it a beautiful view?”

There blotting out most of the bay-view was the backyards of foreshore McMansions and the caravan park with the usual flotsam and jetsam of accompanying residences…I wasn’t wanting to rain on the friend’s parade, so just nodded in reply and when they directed my attention to the “North Shore Beach” in the distance and how wonderful the sands there were, I recalled my visit to those same sands around 40 years before and remember camping behind dunes there and casting a fishing line from that beach…now the dunes are long gone and the foreshore lined with those same McMansions (Is there a design factory somewhere churning out the same designs for these boxes?) and if I turned around at this lookout, I would see similar boxes overlooking even the lookout..like the owners saw it as their right to even steal the view!

I have worked for many spec-builders and I can tell you that few..VERY FEW..have any sort of eye for the Art of the thing they are building…their developments certainly capitalise on the “sleepy village” atmosphere of the locale when selling their ghastly eyesores..and then play upon the “getting away from it all” holiday feeling of the coast…and then proceed to dump their monstrosities onto the landscape until they completely destroy that very essence of the location that first attracted their unwanted attention..

This is where the “Art” is lost and where it badly needs to be restored…restored like those cultural architecture houses…the streetscapes that were not just dropped from a designers sketch-board in one day, one year or one generation..but rather evolved as did those Cornish and other migrants to the vastness of this country…an art that grew from the foundations up rather than dropped from a false God down onto the populace…and this attitude has expanded unwanted and un warranted into every part of our lives, from our workplaces to our politics…we have this demand of the “individual” to both steal our culture and dominate our view of where our lives ought to be heading … there needs to be change and the only way it will change is to once again seek the cultural base of our lives and rebuild from those solid foundations.

The Burden of the Beasts of Civilisation.

The “End of Slavery” With the Fall of the Roman Empire | by Andrei Tapalaga  ✒️ | History of Yesterday | Jun, 2020 | Medium

 

Marcus Cato the Elder : “Di Agricultura”….on the care of beasts of the fields:

“For these are your beasts of the fields, look to them carefully. Litter the cattle and flocks carefully, and see that their hoofs are kept clean. Guard against the scab in flocks and herds; it is usually caused by under-feeding and exposure to wet weather. See that you carry out all farm operations betimes, for this is the way with farming: if you are late in doing one thing you will be late in doing everything. If bedding runs short, gather oak leaves and use them for bedding down sheep and cattle.”

“But mark carefully, these are yet but beasts of the fields, certainly they are to be cared for as any animal deserves. Take care that they are rightfully contained within their paddocks and pens so they do no damage by brute force and actions to your other crops and gardens. Their freedom to wander must be curtailed and their habits contained to do only that as you see fit and proper to good farm management.”

Was having a debate on Twitter with a like “Leftie” but with differing opinions about the tactics of “attack politics”…Their notion of NOT attacking the political “Leader” but rather debating the policies of the party, I disputed on the grounds that in politics…both ancient and modern, the personality of the Leader…(In this instance ; Morrison at the NRL game) was direct representation of the politics of the party…and the portrayal of Morrison as the “daggy-dad”…or the cutsey “Scomo” and the other portrayals of sports enthusiast, family man etc, are but promotional icons used by the party machine to give credibility and validity from Image to application of policy.

Hence, if we rewind back a couple of LNP. PM’s, we have the “Man of Steel” (Howard), the “Conservative Warrior” (Abbott) and the “Cautious Man at the Tiller” (Turnbull)…on to this now useless bum in situ…and with the appellation of the nickname came appropriate policies…I need not spell them out, you saw them…cruel, vicious, lying, devious and blundering incompetence…all the usual actions that one has grown to expect from a LNP govt’…and yet they keep getting voted back in…go figure…well, actually, it’s not rocket science, it’s “personality politics”…aka ; “Popularism”.

But in truth, those above LNP Prime Ministers and their cabinets were/are but beasts of the fields…animals that are used by covert masters who “work” them under a yoke of obligation and dedication…That they owe their “success” to the rabid onslaught of the MSM in both outrageous promotion on one part and vicious denigration of Labor on the other is common knowledge and common practice, with the leaders of either party getting the best or the worst of printed/broadcast copy laid before the feet of a gullible public…the cruellest of slighting or outright accusation saved for those who can display the slightest degree of political honesty or care for the most vulnerable.

These beasts of the field of politics gave carte blanche to Howard when he condemned the “Siev X” passengers of over 300 mainly women and children to death by drowning at sea…allowing him the excuse that he was “protecting our borders”…indeed, I have heard some stupid members of the general public, his supporters, giving credence to such a circumspect excuse by claiming that at least it will deter “others” from trying to “invade” the country…..death by slow hanging would, In my opinion, be sufficient for such people to dissuade them from being so dismissive of innocent lives!

And this is where personality politics has brought us…to the perceived “right” of the incumbent and his lieutenant’s to lay down the most egregious policies that bludgeon and brutalise those citizens who reside or seek life in this once…I repeat for the more obtuse…ONCE (Well..as far as Whites are concerned)  brilliant nation, a life worth living…that now such policies is swiftly making life hardly worth living.

I recently was at table with several other retirees who vehemently repeated the memes and slogans of this LNP sickness with all the confidence and encouragement of aggressive permitted social approval that ; “Homelessness was a life-style choice. The use of guns to shoot-to-kill mentally disturbed citizens was justified as “if you break the law then you must take the consequences”…and finally (but certainly not the last!) “The unemployed aren’t really looking for work as there are jobs ‘out there’ for the taking”…..most of these claims they put forward with the rider that they knew them to be true “because they were told by, saw it themselves ‘every day’ or had a cousin who ‘worked in the dept’ ‘ and knew for a fact…” but in reality and with scant investigation revealed the shadowy world of “Sky News” / “After Dark” to be their main validation/source.

This is why it can be futile to “debate the policy facts”, as the voting public rarely does…they vote on emotive hunches…the most vacuous knowledge…no study of history ever crosses their remote control, save some commercial channel docco’ of the most facile nature…there is no history, no lesson, no intellect, no depth of reason, no logic and certainly no brainpower input….there is only ‘brute force and ignorance’….and such “fossilised knowledge” can only be counteracted by a greater defence of containment and corralling…like you would do to hold and seize any runaway stock…and beast of the fields.

There is only ONE way to contain the right-wing of politics, either they are brought to heel with sound and secure “at arm’s length” authorities to check and control their natural inclination to corrupt and steal governance, or they have to be brought under the “work-boot” of accusation and charge of criminal actions by that “arm’s length” authority and taken to a place of containment and severe retraining….

“But mark carefully, these are yet but beasts of the fields, certainly they are to be cared for as any animal deserves. Take care that they are rightfully contained within their paddocks and pens so they do no damage by brute force and actions to your other crops and gardens. Their freedom to wander must be curtailed and their habits contained to do only that as you see fit and proper to good farm management.”

We currently have the in-situ remnants of civilisation that can and ought to administer for the benefit of all the citizens under duty of care of The State…but we are in grave danger of losing control of that civilisation to a menagerie of beasts and animals passing as human form that will trample and crush those most sensitive environmental gardens that sustain and replenish our very capacity to survive as both a civilisation and a species…it is becoming our sovereign duty to attack…not with lame words, but rather with decisive action, those most determined to destroy our society and our country….and by consequence ; our very lives!

A Teller of Tales.

THE GREEK STORYTELLERS – HISTORY THRILL

 

I admit I am caught in a conundrum…as a tradesman first, who enjoys a smidgen of putting pen to paper, I know I am trespassing on the hollowed ground of  grammatical correctness that demands at least a semblance of structural purity. Trouble is, coming from the rough and tumble world of oral story-telling ; Front-Bar style..ie; jokes or buffoonery anecdotes, the nuances of replacing wild gesticulation and spray of beer with a written word demands a discipline that I often find difficult to embrace, for I love the well told yarn.

Trouble is, and I realise it as much as any academic writing on the subject, the blue-collar multitude does not spend much time sifting through the wordiness of a book. Easier to punch the remote and cheer the team..or listen to the front-bar jokes.

It wasn’t always so..There was a time..in my youth..where many a deep conversation could be had about Lawson, or Marx from the same group…more diverse were the conversations over a pint of the best…from The British Hotel to The Seacliff  (Adelaide) to The Seabreeze in Darwin..indeed, one could get crucified for pretending false knowledge or a slip of the tongue…I remember myself making many a faux pas in mixed company and suffering deserved embarrassment for it ( ah! women can cut a young fellah so cruel!).

A pity, because the strength of a society is in the flexing of it’s cranial muscle rather than it’s biceps..the pen being mightier than the gladis..so to speak!

But without contacts to a publishing network, or the academic cred’ of recognition that opens at least SOME doors, where does one go with a “raw” manuscript?..These days of social media, some people start up their own blog to deliver their work to the reading public.. but the difficulties of maintaining these sites is the thing…someone has to do the hard yards as well as write the contributions in many cases..I know too, as I used to (till just after retirement) run the community blog for the organization I volunteered for..It too is now closed from lack of ..I can’t say interest, there were tens of thousands of hits, but the lack of capacity of others to contribute along with their own work-life meant it was shut down.

There once was an education structure named WEA. : Workers Education Australia. That followed on from the varied philanthropy inspired “Mechanics Institutes” and such, on the principle that an educated worker would be a more inspired worker..and the world would be a better place for it..I presume. I would like to see a structure, much like the Australian Sports Institute, where the Arts and artists are encouraged to work at and hone their skills and talents with a kind of open scholarship system..open to submission of their works and then assessed on those original works to gain funding on the proviso of sincere improvement to their works….why not? ..it seems to work for sport and the arts are just as vital to a society’s health as sport. At least it could give an opening to many from a lower socio-economic group an opportunity to grow their natural skills…to deliver story or work from an undisciplined training but insightful nous of their subject matter.

You can read me rail against the middle class here sometimes, but I could just  as much shake my fist in the direction of an indolent working class for all their lapsing toward a chronic dumbing down ….aaaaaaand …lovin’ it…easier the tele’ than “the telling”! But it is in the telling of tales that we of the progressive side of politics are in vast difference to the rubbish side..In the telling of tales, we get to give witness to a side of life that shows lessons of joy, of pain, of enduring strength that demonstrate the sympathy and acknowledgement of another’s life is the underlying foundation of modern civilization, and when that “there but for the chance of fate go I” realization gets swept aside, we lose our civility..and with the loss of civil security, there is a loss of heart that precipitates a loss of courage…the hunting ground for the opportunists in every society.

The telling of tales is a wonderful sensation..Being in charge of that tiniest piece of personal / family history that ONLY you know and then taking a deep breath, sorting out your approach, clearing the old throat with a “hrumph!” or two and then holding the floor as you relate your experience…it is a good feeling..it is a moment to shine and if you can structure the tale adequately, you can humbly relish in the sharing…and maybe , like Kevin Cotton, (a marvelous story-teller who doubled as a “cook” in one of the many camps I have bunked down in my time as a journeyman carpenter) get shouted a beer on the strength of it.

Hell!..it’s no bloody crime to try..I’ll tell you all about it someday..