Sunday, June 24, 2007

Intermission - the HSC, New England and the Tiwi Islands

Looking back, this has been a rather good month for comments, not just because of number (some 40 including my own responses) but also quality.

My post, NSW HSC and Kitchen Conversations, where I mused about our experiences with the HSC system drew a very thoughtful response from Thomas, reflecting on his own relatively recent experiences.

In response, I asked Thomas if he would mind if I ran the comment as a full guest post on this blog because I think it deserves broader exposure. Subject to his views, I will do so soon.

As an aside, another thing that I like about this small evolving collective blogging community is the age range that now seems to span from university through to the opposite end of the age spectrum.

Mind you, small is a relative term. Before plunging into exam marking, Legal Eagle remarked that she had had 10,000 hits in the month and a half since she moved to wordpress. Neil, too, has seen significant traffic growth.

In both cases it is the combination of the quality and variety in the posts that underpins the growth. I continue to stand in awe.

Mind you, I do get to bask to some degree in the glory shared by others.

My stats system will not allow me to track referrals properly, but there is a consistent pattern of visitors from other blogs. Of the last ten visitors, for example, one came from View Italy, one from Neil's blog, one direct. That's 30 per cent that I would classify as community.

Just as well I do get these referrals since Technorati still fails to recognise this blog. Back on 20 May I ran a post, Technorati Sucks - Day 342. At that stage I had intended to run a post with a similar title until I finally got recognised, but then decided that life was just too short to bother. For the record, it is now 376 days since T. last checked this blog.

As an aside, I have just noticed that with blog visits now at 13,991, visitor 14,000 should arrive some time today. I wonder who it will be? For the record, visitor 13,000 arrived on 19 May.

Back on 17 June in Howard Hinton, Philanthropy and the New England Sense of Identity, I said that I was going to limit posts on this blog until I had finished the New England piece I was working on.

I have been making some progress, but the Commonwealth Government's move on Northern Territory Aborigines side tracked me. My first post here, Mr Howard, Mr Brough and Australia's Aborigines - 1, drew a very thoughtful comment from Tiwidownlands. I commend this to you.

For those who do not know the Tiwi Islands, the beautiful Tiwi Islands are situated 80 km north of Darwin in the Arafura Sea. There are two islands, Bathurst Island and Melville Island with a total land mass of 8320 sq km.

The accompanying map may be a little hard to read, but if you click on it you should see it in bigger scale.

You can find out more about the Islands from the Tiwi Islands' Local Government site.

Tiwidownlands comment led me to the Tiwidownlands blog. This blog is designed to keep the Tiwi Islands community in touch with Tiwi students attending Downlands College in Toowoomba.

There are not a lot of entries. For those who are interested I suggest that you do as I did, start at the bottom and read up to the top.

Now I can really empathise with those Tiwi kids.

Those who read this blog regularly will know that I went to school in Armidale, a very similar climate, and found initial difficulty in fitting in. We also played football against the Toowoomba schools. Coming from Armidale, I was at least used to the climate. But I can imagine what it is like to be very cold in a strange new environment a long way from home.

Tiwidownlands reminded me that a girl from Wallace Rockhole, another of the Northern Territory communities that will be affected by the Howard/Brough plan went to my daughters' school as a boarder like the Tiwi kids at Downlands.

The Wallace Rockhole community hosted a school visit including Clare, youngest, something that Clare really enjoyed. They took a video camera with them, and on return put on a show for the parents. I wonder what the Wallace Rockhole community thinks of all this.

I will try to finish the second part of the post today.


I finished this and then had to leave to take Clare to hockey. While school hockey has finished, the other competition continues. Here Clare is playing as goalie for two of the University of NSW teams and today had to back up for a third. So that made three hockey games in one day!

Clare really loves playing goalie. It's a position, I think, that exactly fits her personality. Longish periods of doing nothing followed by centre stage! She will probably kill me for saying this, mind you, if she ever reads this entry. But there I am pretty safe.

I think that the goalie choice has been a blessing in keeping her interested. It's a position that few want, allowing her to build up specialist skills.

While I was out, visitor 14,000 did arrive. A direct hit - this means that they came to the blog direct - from a big pond user in Queensland. Welcome, and thank you for visiting.

It's now evening and the usual tea round. I also have all sorts of house keeping things to do. But I will try to finish the series on Howard, Brough and the Australian Aborigines before I go to bed. The first post is clearly attracting traffic.

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