Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm just popping in to say that over the next couple of weeks I will not be posting as I have a stack of things to do before Christmas, and am going camping for a week after Christmas and over New Years.

So I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas and New Years! Have fun, enjoy the company of your family and friends and remember why we celebrate Christmas at all...


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tas Lit Tues: Tasmanian Authors

When I wrote my thesis in my honours year at university, I wanted to write on Tasmanian literature. It fascinated me. But I hardly knew of any Tasmanian authors, except for a few I had studied in a unit all about Tasmanian Literature. So today, instead of posting a poem or an excerpt from a book (they take ages to type up!) I thought I would list a few Tassie authors, with a note or two about each one.

Nan Chauncy - (28 May 1900 – 1 May 1970) an author of novels for ages 10 -16, very popular in her time (approximately 1960-1970). However, not even her award winning books have ever been republished. Go to this post for more.

Marcus Clarke - (24 April 1846 – 2 August 1881) born in London, later emigrated to Australia. He visited Tasmania in 1870, for first hand experience of the place he was writing about in articles on the convict period. He is most famous for The Term of His Natural Life. I've not yet read it, partly because it is a very think book, and partly because my mum says it is depressing.

Marcus Clarke

Richard Flanagan - (born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961) maybe one of the best known of Tasmania's authors, his latest book, Wanting, only came out in 2008. The Sound of One Hand Clapping was made into a film in 1998. He has written five novels in total, besides non-fiction (he is a historian) and political articles. His first novel was Death of a River Guide.

Christopher Koch - (born in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1932) author of eight books. I have only read his first one, The Boys in the Island (1958), which I loved. The Year of Living Dangerously (1978) has been made into a movie, starring Sigourney Weaver and Mel Gibson. He is a beautiful writer. I don't think I will ever forget The Boys in the Island.

Allan Smith - Okay, not famous (yet!) but I had to put him in because he is my old high school science and physics teacher. He used to read it to us during homeroom (and occasionally during science), often making changes as he read it. I still remember it well, and that was in 2003. All profit from the sale of the goes to the Fistula hospital in Ethiopia, run by an Australian doctor, Catherine Hamlin. Go here for more - you can even read the first seven chapters. (There is also a sequel, but I can't remember what it is called.)

The cover of Allan Smiths novel, designed by his son.

Margaret Scott - (1934 - 29 August 2005) best known for being a poet, she was also an educator  and public intellectual, working at the University of Tasmania for several years. After retiring she lived on the Tasman Peninsular (where Port Arthur is located). After the Port Arthur Massacre, she wrote a book that goes through the events of the day and those surrounding it: Port Arthur : a story of strength and courage (1997). I have read this book, and it really honours all the emergency workers that played important roles that day, as well as remembering those who died and those who lost family members. I cried a lot while reading it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tas Lit Tues: You've Got Buckley's

Today's spotlight isn't quite on Tasmanian Literature, but it is on something that has passed into popular expression, so I think it counts!

On Sandy Bay Road, just where Battery Point turns into Sandy Bay, is a little triangle of green.

See the sign? That explains the story behind the popular saying "You've got Buckley's", or "Buckley's chance".

Here is what the sign says:

Buckley's Rest
This reserve takes its name from William Buckley, who escaped from the convict camp at Port Phillip in November 1803, lived with indigenous inhabitants for 32 years. His remarkable story of survival is said to be the basis of the colloquial expression "Buckley's chance". He spent his later years living in Arthur Circus, Battery Point. Following his death in 1856 he was buried in St George's Burial Ground (est.1841) which was located to the rear of this small reserve.

So there you go! When you tell someone they've got Buckley's, your NOT telling them that they have absolutely no chance of succeeding/surviving/getting something/whatever, but that they have a good chance of soon having a fantastic story to tell!