Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Night Chat

Bear with me tonight. This is just a random chat among friends.

I had a full post ready to go yesterday triggered by yet more publicity about Harris Park and Indian students. I wanted to explain a little about modern Australia, but then decided to leave it. I think that it would be interesting to write something in a away that would help international readers understand some of the complexities and nuances of this country, But not now.

I did not know that when Peter Allen and Liza Minelli married that neither knew that Peter Allen was in fact gay. Now I do, thanks to the Armidale Express. Peter Allen's global career began in Armidale, hence the interest.I wrote of him in Peter Allen, Armidale and Claire and Eileen Napier - an attack of nostalgia

Peter was older than me. My only real brush with Allen fame  came when one of my primary school teachers forgot dates and thought that we were in the same class. His song I still call Australia home tugs at heart strings in the country. It begins: 

I've been to cities that never close down,
from New York to Rio and old London town,
but no matter how far or how wide I roam,
I still call Australia home.

Still on Armidale, the University of New England's VC made the point in the Express that Armidale's international students did not experience the same problems. He is right of course, but I am not sure that the Express is the best place to get the story across to a broader audience.

In Armidale, the academic year begins with a formal civic welcome organised by the City Council and held in the town hall. Beyond this and the University's own protocols, there is an entire infrastructure dedicated to involving international students in the local community. It doesn't always work perfectly, but it does give students a richness of experience.

Growing up in Armidale, the predominant colours were white for walls, red or green for roofs. I think that this was largely due to limitations on availa20090515-11-50-40-around-armidale--streets-and-architectureble paint. Today, Armidale is a pastel city.

This photo shows what was the Rural Bank. This is the type of colouring that you will now see across Armidale on the older buildings. It makes for a very pretty city.

Do you ever have one of those periods where what can go wrong does so?

As a family, we seem to be in such a phase at the moment. I won't bore you with the details except to note that our overseas trip has shrunk so far as I am concerned from a month to a week. And that is still a little uncertain.

In NSW, the Premier has announced a major administrative restructure. I will write a proper post on this a little later. At this point I would simply note that it seems to continue the bifurcation of NSW into one entity called Greater Sydney - Wollongong, Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle and the Lower Hunter and what can be called the rest.

More broadly, I am not sure why people should be surprised that interest rates are now on an upward trend and not just in Australia. One of the points that I have tried to make is that heavy Government borrowing has something of a crowding out effect and that this, of itself, puts upwards pressure on interest rates.

Ah well, I had  wanted to give you the story of an 1841 camping expedition in NSW. I feat that this will have to wait.


Kanani said...

A week? So this means you're only going to the conference? Sounds exhausting! Oh well.

Jim Belshaw said...

Yes, just the conference. I agree "oh well". Dee and I get so little time together. Our trip to China last year was wonderful. We have to find another way to compensate.