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I must get those wedding thank you notes out by the end of the financial year.

Have you ever had the feeling that you have uttered a phrase for the first time in human history? A couple of days ago, I said to my parents that I had to get my wedding thank you notes out by the end of the financial year. I have finally finished most of them, and will post them tomorrow.

For those who don't know already, for our wedding, Rebecca and I asked for a donation to Care Australia in lieu of a gift. A large number of our guests did, and we raised about $4000. A side effect of this, though, is that it also means that we had to send out receipts, preferably by the end of the financial year. So we put them in with the Thank You notes.

And that was how I spent yesterday.

More accurately, that was how I spent part of yesterday, in amongst routine acts such as cooking a curry, buying jeans, doing the washing, fixing up my website etc.

Yesterday evening, Rebecca's parent came to visit us because it had been Rebecca's mother's birthday during the week. I quite like my in-laws. I also quite like making mother-in-law jokes, so if I do make any, I hope you will appreciate that it is not meant personally. On second thoughts, maybe I should just not make any.

Also, if you hear me saying that Rebecca's in-laws are so much better than mine, that is not an insult to her family... It is a pathetic attempt at humour.

We took them out to dinner, and the conversation was that collection of sports, politics, economics and business which I quite enjoy. (Really? You hadn't noticed?) And ended with the familiar battle to pay. Rebecca won this time.

After dinner, we got back home and I got back to work. I wrote a program to try to analyse the masses and masses of data which I had collected for each data point to make sense of it. I managed to have it written and debugged, and I am currently procrastinating from actually analysing the results, but then, it is 12:30 (in the middle of the day) on a Sunday and I think I am quite entitled to a bit of relaxation. Besides, I'm running a virus scan on my computer for the first time in a while, and I don't want to use any serious resources while doing it.

Today I gradually woke up, did a bit of reading before getting up not a long time before noon. I finally finished Patrick White's Voss. I must admit that the beginning bored me and the end was uninteresting, but somewhere in the middle I found it almost worth reading. Apparently it is loosely based on the life of Leichardt, who explored Australia in the 1840s.

Now, as a good young Australian, my knowledge of Australian history goes something like this (I recommend 1066 and all that, for anyone who wants to understand how history works):

  • Before 18th century, Aborigines lived in Australia.
  • Some time before 1788, James Cook discovered Australia. This was a shock to the Aborigines, who thought that they already knew about it.
  • 1788, the First Fleet arrives in Sydney, declaring the country Terra Nullius. This was also a big shock to the Aborigines, who thought that they lived in Australia. This was also undoubtedly a good thing for Australia, because with out it, we wouldn't have Australia Day.
  • Not a lot happened in the 19th century. The only major things were:
  • Chinese, Irish and Jews brought gold to Australia.
  • Miners in Ballarat got sick of paying taxes without representation, so they through a party where they gave a foul tasting drink to government soldiers. This drink was made out of the left over liquid from boiling meats. Because this drink also stank, they called it the "You reek - ugghhh - stock-ade." This drink was only marginally worse than Gatorade.
  • Ned Kelly rode around with a rubbish bin on his head inspiring movie producers.
  • In 1900, a bunch of old blokes with big bushy beards declared that Australia would be a country.
  • Sometime in the first half of the 20th century, a whole bunch of Australian soldiers invaded Gallipoli, which is somewhere far away outside Australia. This was a resounding success, and we get ANZAC day off each year in April so that we can watch Collingwood play Essendon in the footy. Something also happens in November, but because the footy season has finished and the cricket season is just getting going, and because we don't get a day off, this is generally not given the same status.
  • During the middle of the century, Australia was run by Robert Menzies, who later got reincarnated to become John Howard, and Donald Bradman, who John Howard idolises.
  • In 1975, there was a bit of a controversy, because the captain of one team, Malcolm Fraser, bowled what should have been a no-ball, because it was a throw and he over-stepped the line. The captain of the other team, Gough Whitlam, didn't get any bat on the ball, but the umpire, a chap named Kerr, gave him out caught behind. This event is now know simply as "The Dismissal"
  • In 1983 Australia won the America's Cup, which is a prestigious yacht race. It was a big deal at the time, because America had always won it before. It's not a big deal now, because even landlocked Switzerland has won it.
  • In the 80s and 90s, Australia was run by a bloke with a strange name of Hawk Keating. Most people can't remember his real first name. The Hawk Keating Government did a whole lot of stuff, but is remembered for the PM crying a lot and the treasurer telling us that we have to have a recession.
  • Eventually, Hawk Keating lost and John Howard won. The John Howard Government was notable for having many decisions made by Abbott and Costello, who were once a famous American comedy duo.
  • But, of course, Leichardt doesn't appear anywhere in that list of stuff, so he must not have really existed. I'll review Voss in a later post, because otherwise this gets a little long. (Too late). If you know of any other history, feel free to email me, and we can gradually develop a comprehensive list of Australian History.

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