Letters to the editor

A voice for the region

Congratulations and thank you, ‘The voice of Lower Eyre Peninsula’ for the service the Port Lincoln Times has provided to the region over the past 90 years.

My favourite moment occurred when Coles opened their Convenience Store in Tasman Terrace, in the building which later became Beers Newsagency.

This was the occasion when the “specials” concept was introduced to Port Lincoln - “save on everything!”

At the time the editor of the Port Lincoln Times was a person by the name of Jock Halbert and from the name and a wee bit of philosophy he passed on to his wife who intended to attend the opening, one could only see him as a Scotchman.

He quoted in his editorial on the day of the store opening that he did not object to his wife attending the event but she was under strict instructions “not to save more than we can afford”.

It is a pity this small piece of philosophy is not more widely disseminated today.

We would see a lot less individuals, companies, families and governments facing financial and economic difficulties.

I have often wondered what the utterings of this sage were when lotteries and the pokies were bestowed upon us.

And a few more words regarding two other editors of the lead type set era.

Can you imagine the ire vented and embarrassment borne by the the owners of the menswear store in Tasman Terrace when they asked the Times to advertise their multi-coloured shirts and somehow the letter “R” went missing in shirts.

I happened to be in second editor’s office when the first two pages of that day’s edition were delivered to him and he asked me to proof read one of them.

There on the top of the front page was the heading “Pubic relations best in Port Lincoln”.

I just wonder how many thousand more persons mayor Bruce Green may have been presiding over today had the editor not seen fit to replace the missing ‘L’ in public.


North Shields

Where is the truth?

I rarely dive into a debate such as the massacre of Waterloo Bay but feel compelled to do so, with such a lot of confusing argument about. Phil Fitzpatrick (Times, July 27) has put the most eloquently constructed letter together, which deserves to have more attention both in the media and by those arguing over “memorial” wording.

I would like to make a few brief points. Before making those points, however, I wish to state my objection to the attitude of Ian Dudley, teacher at Elliston Area School.

I happen to be a “middle aged farmer” but I have been around Australia and the world a fair bit. I don’t consider myself “genuinely unintelligent”, nor a “genuine bigot”, to quote from Mr Dudley’s Facebook post.

Unfortunately, with this sort of comment, and attitude, the children at the school are being educated from only one person’s point of view. I consider it unfortunate when a community member puts such comments in print and doubly so if they are responsible for moulding our children’s minds.

I hope the council will consider these points alongside other arguments.

1) I think there could be much better words used in place of the word “massacre”. Perhaps no word/ing at all would make an even stronger statement. At that time, there were terrible wrongs by both settlers and the Aborigines, so it may be fair to all to find a better word or phrase to properly describe what allegedly occurred. With an overwhelming amount of information available, the vast majority suggests there were (A) not enough settlers to raise the numbers claimed to have chased people over cliffs, and (B) it seems highly unlikely there was any tribe, living as a group, as large as the numbers claimed. I question whether the correct tribe is being recognised as the one who was involved. Although the Wirangu have a strong team of legal advisors, historical evidence would point to the fact that it was the Nauo tribe who lived at Elliston. 

2) In historical documents, there are references to two massacres, one in 1839, and another in 1849. Eyre was travelling through the area in 1839 and no white settlers were living in the district at that time.

3)There is also mention of the hanging of two Aborigines for theft, in Elliston. That was followed by the hanging of the judge as payback. As Elliston did not exist as a town until 1878, this seems a little fanciful. How things change historically over the years is quite interesting.

4) The Wirangu tribe was always the one being persecuted by the Nauo and Kokata, and, as such, were occupying an ever-shrinking territory. It is interesting that, now, they seem to be gaining the upper hand. Further, it would appear the tacit acknowledgement of the Wirangu as the tribe “massacred” would lend weight to their claim to an area which (traditionally) was never theirs.

5) It appears to me that the debate will not have a happy ending. I worry there will be defacing of the monument. I worry the town will be divided, yet again. I worry the council will not have the strength to get it right, for all parties. If this sort of distraction is allowed to continue, we will do nothing for “reconciliation”, just continue to broaden the divide between groups.

There is one final point. The council’s apparent agreement to the use of the word “massacre” appears not to have had full input from sitting councillors. With decisions such as this being brokered by senior staff, consultants, lawyers and the chairman, it would seem the councillors, and community have been kept (deliberately?) uninformed. Indeed, there are at least two sitting members of council who should have declared an interest in the matter.