I have to wonder why I started a blog when life is so nuts! No posts makes for a boring blog! Oh well, here’s some waffle to fill the page… 🙂
I was pleased to see this on the local paper’s website tonight – some happy news for a change –
Roger Federer has about 31.4 million social media followers (almost as many as my blog!). It is great that he has promoted Perth, and particularly the beautiful Rottnest Island, to the world.
Rottnest Island (known as Wadjemup to the local Noongar people, and otherwise colloquially known as ‘Rotto‘) is an island off the coast of Western Australia, located 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Fremantle. Dutch sailors landed there on several occasions during the 17th century. The island was named by Willem de Vlamingh in 1696, who called it Rotte nest (“rat’s nest”) after the quokka population (he thought the quokkas looked like big rats).
Rottnest island is a stunning place, with world class natural beauty. Quokkas are absolutely adorable little animals. I recall that as a child living in Scotland, when we found out we had been accepted to emigrate to Australia, my Mum started giving my brother and I ‘lessons’ on what our new life down under would be like. She was somewhat misguided as we were instructed that we would have acres of fruit trees, and possibly our own aeroplane! I don’t know what she had been reading / viewing to form that sort of idea! We have always lived a normal suburban life here, wonderful though it has been 🙂
I digress… one of the ‘lessons’ was about quokkas. I remember when we went to Australia House in Edinburgh for our final interview / visa collection, the official asked me (I was 7) what I was looking forward to the most about our new life in Australia. I replied ‘seeing a quokka’. His reply? ‘What the hell is a quokka?’…
We flew to Australia on my brother’s 6th birthday, and as a birthday treat we were allowed into the cockpit. I still remember being amazed by all the dials and buttons, and remember the pilot pointing out the window and saying “That’s Sri Lanka”.
Back to Rottnest Island… I can’t finish this post without acknowledging its sad past as an Aboriginal prison. Between 1838 and 1931 (except for the period from 1849 to 1855) Rottnest was used as an Aboriginal prison. Some 3,700 Aboriginal men and boys were imprisoned there during the life of the establishment. There may be as many as 369 inmates’ graves on the island. Work is currently in progress to acknowledge this and build a memorial.
If you ever get a chance to watch Martin Clunes’ “Islands of Australia”, one of the episodes is about Rottnest Island.
Last but not least, related to the topic of European / Aboriginal relations, I am only a few pages into my new book ‘The Lieutenant’ by Kate Grenville, and I can already tell it is going to be an amazing book… I am looking forward to having a chance to settle down with it. It’s a short book and once I get the opportunity to relax with it, I think I’ll make short work of it. I’ll let you know!