From Mal T on a possible subject for Bytes:
I have a number of clients in Honiara in the Solomon Islands and because I was training the locals, I had to learn a little of the local Pigin English. As the Solomons is made up of many, many islands and there are numerous language groups onetoks (one talk), the only effective way to communicate with a group from different islands, is by using Pigin.
This spurred my interest in the history of the use of Pigin in the Solomons as well as Vanuatu where they use a different version of Pigin (bislama) which is the official language of Vanuatu – many of the terms in Bislama can be amusing such as:Godfella cum mixmaster – Helicopter
Pis blo – toiletTittybasket – braBugarup – broken or not working
Anyway, I digress, I was fascinated to find the extent to which Queensland cane farmers recruited Melanesians from the Pacific Islands – mostly by force so this Black birding as it was called was legalized slavery in Australia. You may well have covered this in past bytes but if so I missed it.
Pigin was developed by the cane farmers so they could communicate with Melanesians who spoke no English and often couldn’t even speak to each other as they come from different islands or language groups.
This is not a very proud part of Australia’s history but important.
It will be a future Bytes topic, too detailed and complex to cover now.
Some communications in response to the mention of Villawood Migrant Hostel in the post on the death of George Young (Easybeats) . . .
From Robyn T:
I'm battling to keep up with your Bytes (heaven knows where you find the time to compose them) but enjoyed the one on the Easybeats as it pertained to the Villawood Hostel. So sometime you must relate the story about your Dad's efforts to extricate you therefrom. The photos of old Sydney are always winners too.
My parents, brothers and I ended up in Scheyville (pronounced Skyville) Migrant Hostel), not Villawood, in a heatwave in December. We lived in Nissen corrugated iron huts that were unbearably hot, airconditioning being the opening of a window. My parents found used sticking plasters on the walls and began by thoroughly washing the entire place. It was located about 60 kilometres outside of Sydney and was in the middle of the bush, in those days bush beginning not far out of Sydney. My dad obtained a job and a pushbike, cycling a great distance to work in the morning and back again in the evening. One day I will tell the full story.
Some of the Nissen huts remain as part of the National Park.
From Rosie J:
Great Bytes. My parents’ address on my birth certificate is shown as Villawood Hostel (1971).
Villawood Migrant Hostel, 1950's
From Steve M about Waltzing Matilda:
Really enjoyed Waltzing Matilda today Otto. I know it is far from politically correct to say this as the song has nothing ‘regal’ or ‘stately’ about it, but I have always felt it would make a wonderful National Anthem. It’s the story of the foundation of this country, of the people who carved the path towards the future that we now share with so many diverse cultures. We are all so privileged to call Australia home today, and it would be nice to see us embrace the mistakes and misgivings of the past, and recognise the hardships of those who came before us.
I always want to stand and join in the singing when it plays anywhere. Marvellous lyrics, great tune. God Bless Australia!
Unable to agree that a song about a man who dies after stealing a sheep should be our national anthem. And did he suicide or did he drown in attempting to get away?
The Jolly Swagman statue in Winton, the place where the song was written.