Sea- kayaking in Fiji: Type 2 Fun.

At the start and end of each day, our long-haired, whippet thin guide Elijah would announce it was time for a “Map Chat” and we’d gather around to learn where we had paddled or where we going to paddle as we wended our way around a couple of the northern-most Yasawa Islands. If you don’t […]

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Truganini’s Necklace

Pictured above is the bust made in Truganini’s likeness that is held in the Australian Museum in Sydney. It is a copy of an earlier one made by Benjamin Law but there is an obvious difference between it and the original. In the copy the sculpted shell necklace, a prominent feature of the original, has […]

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Harry Onsman Eulogy

Harry Julian Onsman On her 32nd birthday in 1951, Elisabeth Onsman gave birth to her second son, naming him after her parents. Grandfather Harmen Visser was an introverted realist; grandmother Jeltje Heerema was a socialist activist. On the paternal side, grandfather Edzer was a football fanatic and grandmother Geertruida was a non-nonsense individualist. Inevitably Harmen […]

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Bigamy and Shiny Buttons

“He was the most beautiful man,” my Aunt Dora told me wistfully, more than sixty years later. She was thirteen when she first met her new brother-in-law. Her sister Elizabeth, known as Lieske, had left the rural north of the Netherlands the previous year to work as a doctor’s receptionist in Amsterdam, where she had […]

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The Love Song Richard Wagner’s The Valkyrie

The Love Song of Richard Wagner’s The Valkyrie.Good evening and welcome to this chat about this evening’s program. My name is Andrys Onsman and I am an adjunct at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music at Monash University. Before I begin, I must firstly acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are […]

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On Christian Names

I was born a Frisian – a statement that usually causes snorts, sniggers and hilarious comments about cows. I have no idea how the cows feel about the jokes but I’m over it. It’s not that I can’t take a joke; it’s just that they’re not funny. But of course, it’s not really about cows. […]

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Humility in translation.

After a year teaching in China, one of my colleagues gave me two beautiful scrolls. One was a calligraphy alphabet she had drawn herself on gold-coloured paper and the other was a scroll of a famous poem, hand made by her calligraphy teacher at art school. At more than a meter and a half in […]

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Tasmania’s Stolen Generation

I wrote this essay quite a few years ago but it still seems relevant today. Few people know that Tasmanian Aboriginal people were part of the “Stolen Generations”, forcibly removed from the Bass Strait islands and placed with white families in the cities. I first met Gus ages ago and his story emerged over time. […]

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