Search This Blog

Friday, November 21, 2008

Arrested development

Three big-bellied monsters were spotted trespassing on the vacant land that is part of this property. Their illegally parked black four-wheel drives squatted outside as they waddled about making calls and taking photos. Is "developer" the only one-word oxymoron?

How can anyone human look at a 114 year old family home and see an empty section?

How can anyone human look at a 200,000,000 year old geological feature and see it as so much rubble to be carted away?


merc said...

The old rock will see the Developer gone.
Would love to buy that house myself...

Fresh Local said...

me too merc, it's currently listed at $A998,000 - this includes the rock-filled land next door a separate lot on the same title

The formations around Sydney are Triassic, predominantly Hawkesbury Sandstone and Wianamatta Series shales. Good building material, clay earth or pottery body.

The first brickmaker in NZ was an Irish convict, Tully Mathews from Co. Louth - Tully worked for the Church Missionary Society at Oihi/Rangihoua in the BoI in 1816. The ship he was transported on, the 'Boyd', was burned to the waterline in the BoI on its return voyage to the UK in 1809.

There's a good chance Tully died in Glebe in 1847.

merc said...

You have to write a book for me, seriously, I love books like that, with bits of history and outcomes and openings and musings, like the book of the history of nutmeg, but this time round stone.
I used to be a stone trader in South America but i was getting too Rimbaud on it so I caved and returned to NZ to assume my current identity as nobody in particular.
I know that sandstone, but us old stonies, we don't have much time for the clay.
I million for the place, hmmmmm, might need a dreaming site covenant placed on it.

Fresh Local said...

merc six years work was distilled into a four page article in the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Journal, Vol. XXV, No. 4, 2004 'From Castlebellingham to the Bay of Islands: Tully Mathews, New Zealand's First Brickmaker'.

I worked with West Auckland ceramics historian Richard Quinn and my research fed into his recently published biography of the odious Samuel Marsden 'Altar Ego':

Originally RQ had planned a history of fired clay in NZ but was advised that there was no market for it. He was told that the interwoven side story about the CMS and Marsden's unholy activities could be sold.

Already various evangelical Christians are discrediting the book and of course the old school academic historians are resenting seeing some new research being published beyond their control.

An entertaining side show is RQ's colonisation of a thread started by a lazy sloppy review of 'Altar Ego' on Scoop:

merc said...

Heh, a world you have perhaps grown from. A Father at 50 is inspiring for me. I hope to surf into and beyond my 50's.
I thought for you perhaps historical fiction, which I personally love, which is weird because i used to be such a stickler for source.
I go to a Cathedral today, I will not let Marsden intrude.
NZ is at about the age when all the old skeletons are hauled out for some revisioning.
Could be fun.

merc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
merc said...

Deleted due to typo! Corrected.
Oh dear, I read the Scoop review and scanned the thread.
It was painful to do so, physically painful for so many identifiable NZ reasons, not the least wondering about Scoops editorial strength.

Fresh Local said...

I have been alongside Richard on the last part of his journey from researcher and enthusiast to author.

He was the only authoritative source of reliable information on Crown Lynn and the West Auckland fired clay industry for a quarter of a century. He amassed a huge collection supporting or illustrating his research much of which has recently been purchased by the Portage Ceramics Trust.

Along the way he had his property damaged and hidden away by a churl, was beaten by the police and vilified by various petty tyrants. He only ever wanted to do reliable research but for some reason little men took affront at this.

Mayors, self appointed CrownLynn experts, councillors, museologists, heritage consultants, academics etc all found his insistence on reliable sources for information threatening. Ego is a dirty word.

His cancer if not caused by this phalanx of the mediocre striving to be the alpha dog was certainly made worse.

The key research methodology he taught me was: find a source, work out what it means, find a second source to confirm or challenge the first and then put forward an hypothesis. Remain open to new information. The simplest explanation that best fits all the known info is the most likely.

I read that review of 'Altar Ego' on Scoop and didn't recognise the text from the review. Obviously the reviewer had his own agenda but no matter - having a blog doesn't make you Martin Amis or Leavis.

The internet isn't real life but a shadowy simulacrum. A poorly remembered poorly recreated unreliable reflection of reality.

I think once Jeremy Rose decided not to address the points RQ raised he had the choice between shutting the thread down or letting it run wild and free. I think he made the right choice as the resulting thread is now interesting and dynamic if also painful and erratic in places.

merc said...

Thank you for the detailed reply, makes sad perfect sense to me.
I just cannot let the ego thing kill me, transmute, we must attempt to transcend and transmute.
I would rather give my works away now than eat crumbs from the Master's table.
Richard sounds like a wonderfully honourable man.

Fresh Local said...

Thanks merc

Richard operates with a directness that is an affront to many people. It might be the Irishness, or the passion or the tenacity but whatever it is people who are used to more cowed beings find him a challenge.

I first approached him from an apprentice's position. Later I came to regard him as a benevolent father or elder. Then a friend and now my best friend. He is a solid mooring point. At times the world I'll be in when cancer claws out the last of his life saddens and angers me.

Mostly though I feel very privileged to know him. My life is now and always will be better for learned from and about him.

At a family reunion in Rangiwahia not long after I first visited Richard in Auckland I saw a sign on a classroom wall 'Hurt people hurt people'. It could be my family motto and could have been Richard's if he hadn't the strength and moral integrity to be the stopbank that protected his wife and children from the behaviours he grew up with.

When it seemed as if cancer would beat the publishing deadlines I realised that the crucible he and his wife created and the children they raised and are raising are his (their) creative legacy.

Being at the Quinns' home is a privilege. It is a cocoon of positive regard. Conversation runs wild and free and confidence, learning and articulacy are admired.

I strive to create the same in my home.

merc said...

If a man dies with one true friend...I had a friend similar to yours, I remember our conversations as if we were talking yesterday.
My Pop owned the Rangi Hotel (pool hall and barber shop) before it burned down. My Mother's people lived in Ohingaiti.

Fresh Local said...

I don't know the area very well. We pic-niced at the Devil's Elbow and there are lots of family at the cemetery but the reunion was the first time I've seen most of the buildings.

We went through the house, a two storied wooden cottage where the older aunts and uncles had grown up. One uncle has MS and couldn't get his wheelchair over the rutted race. His wife told him that they'd seen the cupboard under the stairs where their mother used to lock then when she wanted or needed to. His brisk "We don't talk about that!" ended the discussion.

My father's mother was a advocate of what was then known as old-fashioned parenting techniques many of which would result in police or social work involvement now. I think she'd be as bewildered as Brian Lochore to be labelled an abuser.

flametree5 said...

Tully Mathews from Co. Louth "There's a good chance Tully died in Glebe in 1847" -am tracing Tully as he is an ancestor. Havent been able to find death record so curious to know where you got this info from or if you have any more?

Fresh Local said...

There is an entry in St Mary's register on 25th October, 1847 for the burial of Terry Mathews of Glebe. This was the closest I as able to get to a death record matching Tully Mathews.