Mt Martha Lands and People

Anyone who’s read this blog the time will know how much I enjoy and appreciate local history. And, there’s something really satisfying about a well written natural local history. I like the passion that goes into them. I like the appreciation of the local and the specific. I like that, in a time of globalisation, there’s still space for the really personal and regional.

One of my favourite books last year was local history of the Wimmera region and I must admit I thought I’d read everything about my own area, the Mornington Peninsula.

So delighted to find out about a new book I hadn’t seen before. ‘Mt Martha Lands and People’ by Winty Calder. Apart from the ghastly cover, which is probably designed for the local tourist market, it’s a beautifully detailed and comprehensive natural local history.

Sections include the natural environment, the first people, the meetings and clashes of cultures, the early results in coastal development, Federation to World War I, suburbanisation between the wars, and World War II itself and its effect on this area (many marines were stationed here for rest and recreation). Finally, it also charts the changes from role to suburban and importance of keeping some of the open spaces. I never say never for a surprise to find it in the local newsagent. It’s a labour of love, I like that too.

Funnily enough, I couldn’t find one image of the books cover on the Internet, so I scanned one in. It seems not everything, especially the local, is on the web yet.

Oh, also dictated this post aloud using Dragon Express software on my new blue microphone. I’m keen to use a lot more audio this year if I can.

Paperwork Explosion

A bit off-topic perhaps, but this 1967 advertisement for IBM office equipment (I love office equipment) by the Henson Company is connected to writing and thinking. I also like the strangely spooky soundtrack, the Orwellian modernism and the Midwich-Cuckoos(ish) look of all the speakers, like they’ve been hypnotise or something! There’s a rather more considered analysis of all this than mine here

Morning Coffee

Morning. Coffee. This time of year there’s a kind of grey light in the kitchen around 7am with the day struggling to begin. But you don’t turn the light on. It’s a kind of silly challenge to put these pieces together in the half-light. You put the coffee on, and the thin blue flame of the gas cooker licks around the burned looking bottom of the coffee maker. Somewhere outside there’s a bird, or the wind rustling in the oak. A couple of times, a hot air balloon has filled the sky outside. Mostly the sky is empty and you stand looking out at it, trying to make sense of the day, and waiting for that reassuring whoosh as the coffee makes it way from the bottom of the pot into the top. That sound, and then that smell of fresh coffee, is when the day really begins.  There’s a poem there somewhere.


I saw this tick the box rejection slip from the early twentieth century intended for film manuscripts on a blog this week. It doesn’t quite work for poetry although anyone who’s submitted poems or prose to magazines or editors has sometimes  had the feeling that something like this might be working in the background. No rejection slip is good; which one  of these reasons would you be least unhappy about? I’d take ‘Improbable’.

Antique Remington

Now that they’re old technology there’s something quite beautiful about the typewriter. Although, I’ve always had an attraction for them. I’ve got an old (not this old) Remington manual typewriter at home, and for my graduation present I got an electric typewriter. I just finished reading Gunter Grass’s memoir, Peeling the Onion, and he likes his typewriters too, Olivettis not Remingtons.  This picture, and lots of others, is from the Antique Typewriters website.