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Australian Culture
The good oil on the Aussie way of life, and how it's changing out of sight!
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Why Anzac?

Why Anzac? | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

It’s an important question, and one that our adopted Kiwi Sam Neill strives to answer in his new doco.  This write-up on it by Ben Neutze takes seven paragraphs to get to Neill’s film.  And it doesn’t really articulate just what a fine job he does in just 90 minutes of covering the ugly realities of the Gallipoli campaign and how the ANZACs’ struggles have coloured our collective psyche over the subsequent 100 years.  But it gives an interesting answer of its own:

 

“[Immortalising our disastrous Gallipoli campaign] allowed Australia to shift its focus from its ugly colonial past.”  If you’re after a one line answer to this complex question then look no further.

 

As for so many, Gallipoli and the World Wars involved very personal stories for Neill’s family.  More on this here: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/why-anzac-with-sam-neill-the-actor-remembers-his-fallen-family-20150414-1mk11p.html

 

‘Why Anzac with Sam Neill’ is available on iView for another 10 days – highly recommended.  http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/why-anzac-with-sam-neill/DO1308H001S00

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Carly McLaren's curator insight, April 25, 5:54 AM

Anzac day, Australia's defining moment? Sam Neil discusses one of Australia's most important military campaigns. 

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Perth’s white Christmas

Australia is proud of its blue skies and hot summers. For those hailing from the UK, the hail – like the warm beer – is something best forgotten. But Christmas is an exception. Even Christmas In July somehow lacks wintry authenticity. As for Christmas proper, right now Perth is experiencing temperatures in the high thirties.

But Perth’s London Court – the central shopping arcade built in 1937, but aiming to look more 1537 – is not letting that get in the way. In the run up to Christmas there will be daily 15 minute snow showers at midday, complete with carols! It’ll be the perfect spot for all those surfing Santas to pick up their stocking fillers...
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Taking on Big Coal

Taking on Big Coal | Australian Culture | Scoop.it
The great Aussie tradition of the fair go is immediately out the window as soon as the mining juggernaut heads your way, backed by a state government greedy for royalties.

In the case of the small township of Bulga in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, the prospects for halting that juggernaut seemed truly remote. The mining giant was Rio Tinto – arguably in second place for title of the world’s biggest and most ruthless miner – the government was NSW – with an appalling record for abandoning local and environmental interests in favour of a quick buck – and up for grabs was coal valued in the billions.

One man took a stand. John Krey (pictured) rallied community support, and an epic David and Goliath legal battle ensued. This multimedia piece by Bernard Lagan and colleagues at The Global Mail recounts it all. In six parts, it looks at how an entire community can be traumatised – a phenomenon newly identified as ‘solastalgia’, how ‘iron-clad’ legal protection agreements from soulless multinationals can be torn up arbitrarily as soon as a commodity price picks up, and how it’s worth fighting for what really matters – the wellbeing of ourselves and the environment.
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Best jobs in the world

After the success of their 2009 campaign, Tourism Australia has not one but six dream jobs to be won – each lasting a year and paying $100,000.  The video gives a taste of what’s on offer.

 

Ben Southall, the original winner, quit Grey Britain, married a sheila, and still calls Australia home.

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Wide open road

Wide open road | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

It’s the name of this streaming music show from DJRingfinger as well as the Triffids track that inspired it, included on this edition’s playlist.  It’s also the place to be while these rocking Aussie tracks, themed this time around ‘loving, leaving, lying and cheating’, wash over you.  Another link courtesy of Peter Bryant.

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Starry, starry night – outback star trails

Starry, starry night – outback star trails | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

The night sky over the Australian outback is a wonder – 5000 bright specs on a pitch black dome stretching to the horizon in every direction, suspended in eerie silence.  If you had a couple of hundred million years to spare you could watch them make a complete orbit of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.  As you probably don’t, photographer Lincoln Harrison gives you the opportunity to see the star trails caused by our twenty-four hour daily tumble through the cosmos.  New and mesmerising views of a 13.2 billion year old galaxy.

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Cullen's demons trouble him no more [vid]

Cullen's demons trouble him no more [vid] | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Adam Cullen was an artist who liked to shock.  He once chained a festering pig’s head to his leg, and slept with it sticking out of a window due to the stench, or so the story goes.  He shook up the Archibald competition, paving the way for other out-there painters, and his 2000 win was his in for the mainstream art world.  Death was a major inspiration, and now it has claimed him at just 47, his body succumbing to a decades-long onslaught of alcohol and other drugs.

 

This Lateline clip includes some of his works, and touches on his quietness, rage, mental health, infamous associations and legacy.

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Holding the torch for our indie heritage

Holding the torch for our indie heritage | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Thanks to Peter Bryant for suggesting this link to the latest in a multimedia series exploring the journey taken by Australian independent music. This one takes female singer/songwriters of the 80s and early 90s as its jumping-off point before edging into the choppier water of tracks with heavy rock and punk influences.

 

What’s striking about the first track, Cloud Factory by The Clouds, is how fresh and contemporary it sounds. If you skip the inevitably dated YouTube Clip and go instead for the HQ playlist audio you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a big label 2012 offering rather than a debut indie EP from 1990. Australia has a rich pedigree in sound engineering – all part of our passion for good music. And for some thoughts on the X factor of the Melbourne music scene look out for a post of mine coming soon.

 

The Clouds reformed in 2011, and their music can now be found in the cloud...

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The many faces of John Bell

The many faces of John Bell | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Yes, but can he do happy and sad?

 

Daniel Boud's photo sequence of Bell Shakespeare Company director John Bell.

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The Chamberlain saving dingoes

The Chamberlain saving dingoes | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Ausculture’s tagline is ‘In search of Australia 2.0’.  Well, anyone wanting an illustration of the sensationalist, retrograde groupthink we need to move beyond need look no further than the Azaria Chamberlain case.  The tragic loss of the two-month-old to a dingo at Uluru in the Red Centre in 1980 was followed by a frenzied (mis)trial by media and a life sentence for murder for mother Lindy.  In a case drenched in cultural misogyny, father Michael received only a suspended sentence.  Lindy Chamberlain was acquitted in 1986, but it was not until 2012, 32 years after the incident, that a fourth inquest finally confirmed Lindy’s original account.

 

The cultural impact of the case has reached far and wide, Lindy in her large sunnies having her iconic place alongside Harold Holt in his wetsuit and Hoges with his cheeky grin.  And across the pond tasteless jokes about dingoes taking babies are told by people clueless as to what a dingo actually is.

 

The dingo is Australia’s apex predator.  And it’s in trouble.  Classified as Threatened, the canine with the big PR problem has suffered over a century of persecution, as European settlers claimed vast tracts of its territory for farming, aggressively culled it and built a five and a half thousand kilometre Dingo Fence to keep it out of south-eastern Australia.  It is also under threat from cross-breeding with feral dogs.  The publicity around the Azaria Chamberlain incident has hardly helped the dingo’s cause.  But half-sister Zahra is turning that around.  As seen in this video, she has teamed up with the Durong Dingo Sanctuary in south-east Queensland and is quickly becoming an ambassador for the much maligned animal.  So after ending an ugly story with no winners here begins a beautiful one with no losers.

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Aurora tasmanis

Aurora tasmanis | Australian Culture | Scoop.it
Short of venturing to Antarctica, Tasmania is the natural choice for observing the aurora australis. And with this being a solar maximum – the period in the sun’s 11 year cycle of magnetic activity where the most charged particles are sent our way – now is a great time to try and catch this ephemeral and beautiful phenomenon.

An annual Aurora Australis Festival has been established (see below), with viewings, talks and exhibitions. There are also photo galleries on the website – this other-worldly image is by Ricki Eaves. The Mercury article (see above) also includes a montage of time-lapse videos.

But there is no substitute for seeing an aurora live: quite aside from the mesmerising dance of shimmering multicoloured lights, you are reminded that our fragile existence in a hostile universe is only made possible by the natural ‘force field’ of Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere.

http://www.auroraaustralistasmania.org/2013-festival/
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The Skywhale

A hundred years after Canberra’s inception, a curious creature took to its skies for the first time.  Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale is as extraordinary as Canberra is ordinary.  (Sorry, Canberra, but it’s your own fault!)

 

Here, she can be glimpsed floating above the seaweed-like gums of the Victorian bush, singing a brooding song befitting this impossible creature.  (Or it might be a fine track by Luke Howard.)  Go forth, Skywhale – fire those Canberran neurons!

 

For more on this centenary art commission, see http://www.theskywhale.com/.

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Snake on a plane!

Snake on a plane! | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

A life and death struggle at 28,000 feet, involving a packed Qantas passenger plane, a python, blood and 400 kph winds. Sadly, the snake comes to a sticky end. With video/pics.

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Rebel running hot

Rebel running hot | Australian Culture | Scoop.it
The rise and rise of Rebel Wilson in the US has led to the sort of artsy video piece in NYT Mag even Smack The Pony would be in awe of. Here, Aus pop culture site Pedestrian TV enjoys the subtle comedic derailing, while also tipping its hat to Rebel’s skilful cracking of that oh so hard nut – Tinseltown.
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The irrepressible Paul McDermott

The irrepressible Paul McDermott | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Paul McDermott is a phenomenon.  Warm-hearted and heart-warming, he uses his prolific singing, songwriting, comedic and presenting talents for good, and in his progressiveness moves our country forwards towards being that radiant land it so nearly is.  This ‘quadruple threat’ is now touring his new show Paul Sings, which reviewer Anna Locke here gives a resounding thumbs-up.

 

Photo by Anthony Tran – click link below for more: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.467000509999968.112052.152844451415577&type=3

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Australian Olympic trivia

Australian Olympic trivia | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Thanks to Scoop.it user Sydney Expert for this link to a Squidoo lens (topic) on Australian Olympic trivia. There are lots of quick quizzes and some interesting facts. For instance, did you know that, apart from Greece, Australia is the only country to have been in every modern Olympics? Well you do now!

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Dark cabaret lights up Perth’s Astor

Dark cabaret lights up Perth’s Astor | Australian Culture | Scoop.it

Built in 1914, the Astor Theatre’s Art Deco splendour has been lovingly restored, making it an ideal venue for the ‘dark cabaret’ of The Dresden Dolls. This photoset by Anthony Tran captures the quirky vitality of the January 12 event. Pictured above are Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls, Boston), Jen Kingwell (The Jane Austen Argument, Melbourne) and The Bedroom Philosopher (Tasmania). Click through for the full set.

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