I was in Canberra again over the weekend and visited the War Memorial for the first time since I was 12.
It’s a sobering experience to wander through the miles and miles of exhibits that meticulously catalogued every conflict Australia’s been involved in since the Boer War. However, the most interesting fact was a little display detailing the WWII massacre at Bangka Island, the place where my grandparents came from, and from which they had fled from probably just weeks before this took place.
The two long corridors that made up the Roll of Honour was a reminder of how many people were lost.
Some people in my group were surprised to see so many Japanese tourists at the Memorial, but I wasn’t surprised at all. After all, I have been to the Japanese musuems when I visited the Tokyo and Hiroshima. Hiroshima in particular was heartbreaking. It brought home to me that neither side got through unscathed.
War is crap whichever way you look at it.
Blogging about Karekare has made me think of Crowded House and their wonderful album Together Alone which they recorded in a makeshift studio at the back of the beach. It is my favourite CH album because it is so atmospheric.
I went in search of live performances of songs from the album, and while doing so I discovered this gem:
It must be the one of the most poignant versions of Throw Your Arms Around Me I’ve heard, and certainly the most unique.
The kids also did this fantastic version of another CH favourite, Private Universe.
Black as mud
Sea spray wisps
From pummelling sea
Into majestic cliffs
Like dinosaur bones
Bleached against black
Smell, feel, taste
My soul to soar
Drawfed as am I
By such magnificence
In a secluded corner of Northland, far, far away from the tourist hordes of Bay of Islands, lies the jewel-like harbour of Hokianga. There are no buses – a battered old car is all you need – and no harbour bridges – you can only cross by car ferry.
It is tropical. The bush is actually sub-tropical rainforest, and they can grow macadamias and avocados and papayas and all other manner of tropical fruits there. It is coastal, with a massive dune system that stretches out into the ether.
It is also a very old place. Western civilisation may only be 150 years young there, but the forests themselves are thousands of years old. The trees there can be incredibly old, and when you look at the massive Tane Mahuta, you’re seeing history.
Hokianga has definitely left a mark on my memory.
Explore the Hokianga