Monday, January 30, 2012

30th of January the execution of King Charles the Martyr

On this day in 1649 parliamentary forces executed their rightful King Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. May his soul have eternal peace.

Great, good, and just! could I but rate
My griefs to thy too rigid fate,
I'd weep the world to such a strain,
As it would deluge once again:
But since thy loud-tongued blood demands supplies,
More from Briareus' hands than Argus' eyes,
I'll sing thy obsequies with trumpet sounds,
And write thy epitaph with blood and wounds.

Marquis of Montrose(1612-1650)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sir Douglas Ralph "Doug" Nicholls KCVO, OBE

Over the past few days we have seen many images, and heard many debates rage over fallout of the Australia Day protests in Canberra and the subsequent flag burning. However we must not forget that those who commit such acts are a minority and that we must not allow them to overshadow the deeds of better men and women. So I wish to draw young fogey followers attention s to the life of Sir Douglas Nicholls KCVO, OBE a former Governor of the State of South Australia. Born in Cummeragunja on the 9th of December 1906 an area renowned for producing many fine athletes, he went to work as a shearers tar boy at the age of thirteen and laboured on various stations in the area. As a young man he was a champion sprinter winning the Nyah and Warracknabeal gifts and also boxing in the Jimmy Sharmans boxing troupe in sideshow alley. He later went on to be recruited to play for Carlton Football Club in the VFL but racist attitudes present at the time prevented an appearance. He subsequently joined Fitzroy Football Club where he played form 1932,  and in 1935 was to become the first aboriginal to be selected in the Victorian State side. In 1939 a knee injury forced his retirement from the club.
 Apart from his sporting achievements he become involved with the Church of Christ in 1935 and later went on to become a pastor within the Church. During the early years of world war two he was called up into the army but was quickly discharged at police request due to his mentoring and social work with aboriginal people in the Fitzroy area, during this time he was wedded to his late brothers wife Gladys and in their 39 years together had three children and raising his brothers three children. After the war years Douglas became even  more deeply involved in indigenous issues within his local and broader community and becoming a leader in the calls for reconcilliation between blacks and whites, and a Field Officer in the Aboriginal Advancement League, and the church where he was eventually ordained to the ministry. He also went on to to become a founding member of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In 1962  Douglas was named Victorias Father of the year on Fathers day and 1968 an Officer of the Order of the British Empire(MBE 1957) the year 1972 saw him bacome the first Aboriginal person ever to be knighted, receiving the honour of Knight Bachelor. On the 1st of December 1976 Sir Douglass was appointed to arguably his highest honour becoming the 28th Governor of South Australia but he was forced to retire on the 30th of April the following year due to ill health. As with Sir Douglas's knighthood he was the first Aboriginal to be appointed to such a prestigious office. In the year 1977 Her Majesty the Queen appointed him to be a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, and in 1991 the suburb of Nicholls was named after him in the nations capital in Canberra. He died on the fourth of June 1988 and was interred at the cemeterary in Cummeragunja.
It is not the place of the young fogey to lecture others on who should be their leaders, but as Australians we can all only hope that in the future men of Sir Douglas Nicholls calibre emerge once again to lead us and to become our role models or we risk seeing the images and debates that took place earlier this week repeated in our future.     

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 Australia Day Honours List

The young fogey would like to extend his congratulations to all those who were honoured in the Australia Day Honours List on this day the 26th of January 2012 a full list of all recipients can be viewed here may they all live up to the honour bestowed upon them so graciously by Her Majesty the Queen of Australia.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Australian of the Year Mr Geoffrey Rush

So on the eve of Australia Day in the nations capital Canberra the Prime Minister has announced the 2012 Australian of the year, this time the title was given to award winning actor Mr Geoffrey Rush. Firstly the young fogey would like to state that he is certainly no fan of such an award to begin with, the actions of naming a singular individual( in more recent times also added has been young australian and senior australian and local hero) as the top Australian of the year is in fact unaustralian in this fogey's opinion. One would much prefer to see a larger number of deserving recipients bestowed with a Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia or a similar honour. Be that as it may the selection of Mr Rush and no slight intended towards him(Im actually a fan of many of his films) personally was a very poor choice if one had to be made. Some of the nominees included The Morecombe family who after loosing their son in a horrendous incident became prominent child welfare advocates, ACM Angus Houston AC AFC a man who has served this country for many years retiring as CDF  or Father Chris Riley AM who founded a well known youth charity or Dr John Boffa who has worked for 23 years as an indigenous health campaigner in the remote regions of the Northern Territory. Yet  somehow an actor who is generously remunerated for his work was deemed to be more deserving of the honour. Politics and Labors flattering of the arts is the reason behind this selection in this young fogey's opinion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sir Winston Churchill 30 Nov 1874- 24 Jan 1965

Today marks the passing of the RT Hon Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KG OM CH TD PC DL FRS soldier, statesman, orator and artist may he RIP

Who pays for the Gifts?

Those who have been following the press in recent days would have noticed that there is a continuing story in regard to who covers costs of gifts presented by royals when undertaking duties in Australia. There are claims and confirmed by the PMs office that Her Majesty billed Australian taxpayers almost 15,000 dollars for gifts that she and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh presented during their last visit here in October. However where the story becomes interesting is that today Buckingham Palace has denied the story and stated all gifts are paid for by the Royal Household which brought a reconfirmation from the PMs office that it was the Australian Government who will be covering the cost of the gifts.  Now to the young fogey, who covers the costs for gifts given during a royal tour is not all that important. But it is of concern that under this government the PMs office is continually at odds with the Palace. Recently when summoned to meet with Her Majesty privately in London for the royal wedding, there were quickly claims from journalists citing two sources close to the PM that the meeting concerned Her Majesty giving what amounted to an order to make Australia a republic now even if the story were true(the young fogey suspects highly doubtful) the PM broke the convention of trust where private conversations with the sovereign should not be made public . We now have the PMs office in a war of words with the palace over who is picking up the tab in regard to gifts.  Where will it lead who knows but Im sure of this it wont be the last stunt leading up to Australia Day with republicans trying to grab a headline

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Imperial Order of the Double Dragon

On this, the eve of the Chinese New Year, and 2012 being the year of the dragon, the young fogey thought he would share some information concerning an order little known today that existed during the reign of the Qing dynasty. The first known award of a double dragon was made in 1864. However its not until December 1881 under Emperor Kuangsi that the first documentation concerning regulations were released by the Qing Foreign Ministry, the order then solely the preserve of foreigners, and it was at this time that the order took on the more common aspects in design and structure used in european style orders. This series of awards become known as the first series with the ribbon having the embroidered dragon upon the sash.
 In 1897 the design of the order was changed from the more rounded example to that of a star shape and the ribbon became red, this style came to be referred to as the second type. It wasnt until 1908 that the order could be bestowed upon the Emperors own subjects ceasing to be an honour purely for foreigners.
The Order had rather a complicated structure which was broken down into Three Divisions and within each Division there were three classes. The First Division was primarily for sovereigns, other royals, ministers of state and the most senior of military officials, Second Division was for senior  military officers, consuls general, heads of departments etc and the Thrid Division being for military officers of the rank of colonel and below, attaches, professors and consulate staff.
 With the fall of the Qing dynasty the order it seems ceased to be awarded( I would be interested to hear if anyone can provide information to the contrary) with PuYi as the Kangde Emperor establishing a new series of Orders for the Manchukuo State

Gong Xi Fai Cai

Friday, January 20, 2012

A New Australian Honours System

Once again the time will soon be upon us when the Australia Day Honours List will be announced and while the majority of Australians will pay little interest and the media not much more, those of us with more than a passing interest in such things can only shake our heads at what has evolved to become the Australian Honours System.
 The Order of Australia established in 1975 on the advice of the PM Gough Whitlam consisted of the grades Companion, Officer and Member it being modelled upon the Order of Canada which was established some years earlier in 1967. Upon the advice to Her Majesty  of Whitlams successor as PM Malcom Fraser in 1976 the grade of Knight/Dame was added and the Medal of the Order. In 1983 with the election of the Labor Hawke government the rank of Knight/Dame was abolished with only  fourteen Knights and Dames added in that time. Obviously it had become to exclusive with the majority of the appointees being Vice Regal Representatives, Politicians or Senior Judges and an easy target in the class war.
Whilst the Order was split into two divisions one being the General Division the other the Military Division this Fogey says that the Order of Australia should only consist of a single division with all appointees being equal in grade. 
With those who administer the system continuously opposing calls for Australia to follow other nations examples and create other orders that compliment the Order of Australia, rather than rely on the one size fits all as is currently the case, there truly is such a requirement and there is certainly argument for the return of the grade of Knight/Dame though on a far more equitable basis. However it is suggested by some that honours that bestow a prefix title are somehow foreign or not matching the egalitarian spirit, this Young Fogey argues on the contrary, that what has made this country great from the very beginning is the ability of all no matter their background to harvest the rewards of success. However one accepts that some, for personal reasons, maybe uncomfortable with the  title Sir or Dame, and for that reason they could opt to not be dubbed and simply use the relevant postnominals.
 Below is listed a suggested new list of Orders for Her Majesties Australian subjects in a improved Honours System
*A supreme national order(title yet to be determined) replacing the current orders of the Garter and Thistle, these are primarily national orders of England and Scotland, Australia should have its own equivalent, whilst a regrettable loss due to their prestige etc these orders too were once young and in time our own will gain esteem. It would be  limited to approximately 24 appointees plus extra royal knights/dames with visiting foreign royals eligible as extras. This Order would be within the sovereigns own personal gift and made with the approval  of the Prime Minister

* The Order of Australia would be expanded to consist of the grade of Knight Grand Companion (GCA) and Knight Companion(KCA) then the current Companion, Officer, Member and Medal of the Order. The Grand Companion could be conferred upon visiting Presidential Heads of State. There would be no limit to the number of appointments to the order overall but a limit yet to be determined annually for GCA and KCA perhaps six GCA and twenty KCA

*A new Order would be established with recipients to be known as Companions of the Honourable Order of Excellence(CE) the honour like the Order of Merit and Companion of Honour would bestow no prefix and primarily honour service to the Arts, Science, Politics and Religion with a limit of 42 appointees.

* Her Majesty would still retain the Royal Prerogative to bestow the Order of Merit and Royal Victorian Order and the status of the Order of St John would remain the same.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Queen of Australia

What better way to open this blog than with a picture of, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth. And long may she remain so.