Thursday, August 29, 2019

Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson on The Breakfast Club, 8/29/19


Related Off-site Links:
An Open Letter from Transformational Leaders about Why We Support Marianne Williamson for President – Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield, Marie Forleo, et al (Evolving Wisdom, August 21, 2019).
I’ve Worked Closely with Marianne Williamson for Over 20 Years and There’s a Big Missing Story About Her Background in Grassroots Organizing – Matthew Albracht (Medium, August 29, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Calls Out DNC for Breaking Polling Promises, Keeping Her Out of Third Debate – Chrissy Clark (The Federalist, August 28, 2019).
Why Marianne Williamson Belongs Center Stage – CK Sanders (Medium, August 18, 2019).
The Meaning of the Marianne Williamson Moment – David French (National Review, July 31, 2019).
Author Marianne Williamson on 2020 Run: “The Best Thing I Can Do Is Be Myself” – Miranda Bryant (The Guardian, July 27, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Is the Only True Anti-Trump
– Megan McArdle (The Washington Post, July 17, 2019).
The Meaning of Marianne WilliamsonThe New York Times (July 9, 2019).
Williamson Says Election About “the Love of Democracy” – Karen Dandurant (Sea Coast Online, July 6, 2019).

For more coverage at The Wild Reed of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, see:
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
Jacob Weindling: Quote of the Day – November 19, 2018
Something to Think About – February 19, 2019
Quotes(s) of the Day – February 26, 2019
Bernie Sanders: Quote of the Day – March 2, 2019
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Pete Buttigieg: Quote of the Day – April 17, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
Progressive Perspectives on Joe Biden's Presidential Run
Beto, Biden and Buttigieg: “Empty Suits and Poll-Tested Brands”
Pete Buttigieg, White Privilege, and Identity Politics
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Bernie Sanders: Quote of the Day – June 12, 2019
Sometimes You Just Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands . . .
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Pete Buttigieg: Quote of the Day – June 27, 2019
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “Today Is a Day of Shame”
Brian Geving: Quote of the Day – July 20, 2019
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”: Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

An Unexpected Visitor

On one of our mornings during our recent time in Gunnedah, my nephew Brendan and I encountered an unexpected visitor in the front yard of my aunt's home.

It was a neighbor's steer which had somehow managed to get out of its nearby paddock!

Apparently, this has happened before, and it resulted in much damage to my aunt's lawn and garden. As Mum, Brendan, and I headed out to visit family and friends, Mum phoned her sister (who had left earlier that morning to take her grandson to daycare) and alerted her to the unwanted visitor in her yard. My aunt then contacted the steer's owner who came and returned it to its paddock.

NEXT: Family Time in Gunnedah

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Across the Mountains . . . from Guruk to Gunnedah
Journey to Gunnedah (2011)
A Visit to Gunnedah (2014)
A Visit to Gunnedah (2017)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Five Powerful Responses to the Amazon Fires

– Artwork: Giovana Medeiros

As I mentioned in my previous post, a wildfire has been burning west of Guruk (aka Port Macquarie) for over a month. Called the Lindfield Park Road bushfire, the blaze, writes Robert Dougherty, has been responsible for a “thick blanket of choking gray smoke [that] rolls across the hills and highways. . . . edg[ing] silently forward [and] consuming Port Macquarie like something out of a Stephen King horror novel.”

The "horror," however, is not confined to Port Macquarie. All around the world there are wildfires burning – in Indonesia (right), Siberia, the Canary Islands, Alaska, Greenland, parts of Africa, including Angola and Congo, and throughout South America.

In Brazil, as I'm sure everyone reading this would know, the Amazon rainforest is currently burning at a record rate. In fact, Brazil has experienced more than 76,000 fires this year; last year’s total was about 40,000. About 10,000 of this year’s fires have started in the past two weeks, and most have been deliberately lit as part of the Brazilian government's deforestation agenda. Many other parts of South America are burning too, including Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, and Venezuela. The map below, created by Global Forest Watch using satellite data, shows every fire that has started burning since August 13 across central South America.

How does one even begin to respond to such a nightmare scenario?

The first thing I always try to do when confronted with a seemingly overwhelming situation like the one occurring in Brazil and elsewhere is to ground and center myself in an awareness of Sacred Presence, both within and beyond me. What I find helps me most in doing this is spending time in nature.

So, yes, I've been doing exactly that a lot lately, mostly down by the ocean at places that as I've noted previously, I experience as “sacred ground.”

Second, I turn to thinkers, writers, activists, and artists whom I've come to trust. I trust them because they give me hope;. I trust them because I recognize that their words, art and actions provide the tools and strategies and insights needed to move forward in positive and proactive ways.

Tonight I share the responses of five such people to the crisis in the Amazon and beyond. These people are artists Giovana Medeiros and Eduardo Sanabria; spiritual author, activist and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson; activist Christian Poirier; and my friend, Kurt Seaberg, who is a Minneapolis-based artist and activist. I hope the responses of these five people inspire you as much as they inspire me.

The Amazon burning is a reminder of humanity’s pathological irreverence toward the earth, a self-destructive dysfunction from which we will either heal or possibly not even survive as a species. This is more than a climate crisis; it is a survival crisis and it should be seen as such. Our ability to take in both the horror of what is happening environmentally, as well as summon up the courage to do something about it, will define the most critical moment in humanity’s history: whether we choose to continue the journey of evolution, or rather through our own selfishness and greed and recklessness elect to end it.

Marianne Williamson
via Facebook
August 22, 2019

– Artwork: Eduardo Sanabria

This is the twilight of the capitalist system, the religion of western “civilization,” which views nature as a “resource” and consumes her at an ever accelerating rate. That system rests upon the delusion of never ending growth and development, as it consumes the world like a metastasizing cancer. What we haven’t learned yet is that we are setting fire to our own house and to the next generation that lives in it. Our survival, and perhaps the survival of all living things, depends upon our recognition, in the final hours, that everything is connected, and what we do to the living earth we do to ourselves.

Kurt Seaberg
via Facebook
August 22, 2019

We are witnessing [in Brazil is] a government that denies its responsibility for this tragedy while it dismantles [the country]'s environmental protections and rejects its duty to uphold human rights. A president so desperate to deflect culpability that he concocts pathetic theories that the very organizations dedicated to defending the rainforest are themselves responsible for this disaster. We are witnessing a perfect storm, with no end in sight.

Amazon Watch is working around the clock to ensure that the world understands both the causes and the solutions to this crisis. These fires were set deliberately and those who are resisting need our urgent support. A global solidarity movement must rise to directly oppose [President] Bolsonaro, and as a solidarity organization Amazon Watch aims to spearhead these critical efforts.

Our recent Complicity in Destruction II report exposes the global corporate financiers of Amazon destruction, but the power to force them to change their actions comes from organizing and raising our collective voice. Today's massive outcry over the Amazon fires and the outpouring of support toward solutions is magnifying our ability to shift these actors and ultimately the Bolsonaro regime. We will channel this support to our allies on the ground to amplify their messages and their struggles, empowering acts of resistance from all quarters.

. . . We are heartened by today's global backlash to Bolsonaro's assault. Protests are mounting around the world targeting Brazilian embassies and consulates as well as some of the companies complicit with Bolsonaro's agenda, and heads of state are calling for multilateral action to curb this disaster, given its implications for us all. We are joining with other allies to call for an International Day of Action for the Amazon on Thursday, September 5th. We hope many around the globe will join a march or organize their own actions to send a unified message to Brazil that it must defend the Amazon and support indigenous rights.

– Christian Poirier
Excerpted from “With the Brazilian Amazon in Flames,
We Must All Be the Resistance

Amazon Watch
August 23, 2019

Above: This is an image I've filter-treated with the Prisma app and which I found a while back on the Internet. I find it incredibly powerful, and although I've attempted to find information about it, I have not have much success. What I do know is that it's from a 2013 action in support of the environment and indigenous rights that took place somewhere in South America, but I'm not sure where exactly. If anyone can find or has more information about it, please feel free to share it in the comments section of this post. Thanks.

UPDATE: What Can We Do?

Note: The following is excerpted from Jonathan Watts's August 24, 2019 Guardian article, “Amazon Fires: What Is Happening and Is There Anything We Can Do?

The most important actions are political and collective. Join a party or campaign group that makes the Amazon a priority. Through these groups, urge your elected representatives to block trade deals with countries that destroy their forests and to provide more support for countries that expand tree cover.

Apart from this, donate to organisations that support the forest, forest dwellers and biodiversity, including Instituto Socioambiental, Amazon Watch, WWF, Greenpeace, Imazon, International Rivers and Friends of the Earth.

As consumers, think twice before buying Brazilian beef or other products unless certified by groups such as Rainforest Alliance. The Amazon connection is not always obvious.

Related Off-site Links:
Major Wildfires Have Ignited Across Europe, Asia, and Latin America – Umair Irfan and Kainaz Amaria (Vox, August 22, 2019).
The Amazon in Brazil Is On Fire – How Bad Is It? – The Visual and Data Journalism Team (BBC News, August 23, 2019).
Fires in the Amazon Could Be Part of a Doomsday Scenario That Sees the Rainforest Spewing Carbon Into the Atmosphere and Speeding Up Climate Change Even More – Sinéad Baker (Business Insider, August 22, 2019).
Record Wildfires Raging Through the Amazon Can Now Be Seen From Space – Claire Knox (ABC News, August 20, 2019).
Smoke From the Burning Amazon Rainforest Plunged Brazil's Largest City Into Darkness in the Middle of the Day – Stephanie K. Baer (BuzzFeed News, August 20, 2019).
The Only Three Things You Need to Know About the Amazon Rainforest Fires – Vrutika Shah (GQ, August 22, 2019).
Tens of Thousands of Fires Ravage Brazilian Amazon, Where Deforestation Has Spiked – Colin Dwyer (NPR News, August 21, 2019).
Leaked Documents Show Brazil’s Bolsonaro Has Grave Plans for Amazon Rainforest – Manuella Libardi (Common Dreams, August 22, 2019).
Amazon Rainforest Fire: How Artists (August 23, 2019).
Brazil's Indigenous People: “We Fight for the Right to Exist”BBC News (April 25, 2019).
“He Wants to Destroy Us”: Bolsonaro Poses Gravest Threat in Decades, Amazon Tribes Say – Tom Phillips (The Guardian, July 26, 2019).
Indigenous Movement Calls for International Support to Prevent Genocide in BrazilMorning Star for Peace and Socialism (February 7, 2019).
The Amazon Cannot Be Recovered Once It’s Gone – Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic, August 24, 2019).
Bolsonaro and the Apocalypse: The Most Dangerous Man on Earth – George Monbiot (via YouTube, May 30, 2019).

UPDATES: Brazil Isn’t the Only Far-Right Government Destroying the Planet – Basav Sen (Common Dreams, August 26, 2019).
The Complexity of the Amazon Fires – Sean McShee (The Wild Hunt: Modern Pagan News and Commentary, August 28, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
As the World Burns, Calls for a "Green New Deal"
Quote of the Day – March 16, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 19, 2018
Let Us Be “Energized by the Beauty That Is All Around Us”: Jane Goodall's New Year Message
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – August 29, 2017
The People's Climate Solidarity March – Minneapolis, 4/29/17
Prayer of the Week – April 24, 2017
"It Is All Connected"
Standing in Prayer and Solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock
Standing Together
Discerning and Embodying Sacred Presence in Times of Violence and Strife

Image 1: Giovana Medeiros.
Image 2: Photographer unknown.
Image 3: Getty Images.
Image 4: Global Forest Watch.
Image 5: Photographer unknown.
Image 6: Brendan Bayly.
Image 7: Eduardo Sanabria.
Image 8: Photographer unknown.
Image 9: Artist unknown.

Friday, August 23, 2019

“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”


Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa

Following, with added images and links, is an excerpt from Matt Taibbi's July 29, 2019 Rolling Stone article, “The Iowa Circus.”

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a Sunday morning, just after services at the Unity Center, an alternative church that preaches a “practical approach to Christianity.” It’s a place you might expect to buy healing salts or take hypnotism lessons. The crowd is younger and more female than at most campaign stops.

Marianne Williamson, the self-help author made famous by Oprah Winfrey, is speaking to about 50 people. “When we get bad news, when we learn that something really terrible is going on, so many superficial concerns drop away. And we become very intelligent,” she says, glaring and pausing for emphasis.

Williamson is a small, almost ethereal figure with silver-streaked hair and intense eyes that 19th-century authors would have described as being “like coals.” Her superficial eccentricities and occasional incautious statements (she once said “there’s a skepticism which is actually healthy” on the issue of vaccines) have caused reporters to chortle at her run.

But her speech is not a lifeless collection of policy positions. It’s an interesting, tightly written diagnosis of the American problem. Precisely because socio-economic stresses have pushed them into heightened awareness, she says, the American public sees what she calls “a transition from democracy to aristocracy,” and the corporate sector’s “insatiable appetite” for money that dominates American life.

Williamson is not a traditional orator, with a voice that fills the room. You can barely hear her without a microphone. But she grabs crowds. Nobody is checking sports scores or Twitter. They’re in.

Williamson goes on to say that most Americans are aware that their government is now little more than a handmaiden to sociopathic forces. She describes a two-party system that, at its worst, operates in perfect harmony with the darkest impulses of corporate capitalism, and at best — presumably she refers more to Democrats here — sounds like institutionalized beggary.

“‘Pretty please, can I maybe have a hundred-thousand-dollar grant here?’ ” she says. “ ‘Pretty please, can we maybe have a million dollars in the budget for all this?’”

Heads are nodding all over the place.

“They say, ‘I can get you a cookie.’”

This elicits a few yeahs from the crowd.

Christ, I think. This woman is going to win the nomination.

Trump, she says, can’t be beaten by conventional thinking. “[He is] not just a politician,” she says. “This man is a phenomenon. . . . The only way we are going to defeat a phenomenon at the polls in 2020 is by creating a phenomenon.”

She stumbles a bit in Q&A, especially when a woman asks what she would do about the credit-score system. Williamson frowns, seeming genuinely perplexed. She clearly doesn’t know what having bad credit is like, and promises to look into it, in the tone of voice of a person who promises gamely to try a jellied-eel appetizer.

Still, she gets a rousing ovation at the end of her speech. After, she takes a few minutes to talk.

“The political establishment has the veneer of a deep conversation,” she says. “They think their political dialogue is so sophisticated. But it’s not sophisticated. It’s very unsophisticated.”

That lack of sophistication, she says, is what made Trump possible. Young people, in particular, have no more patience for the phoniness. “I see it especially in people who were born this century,” she says. “They’re tired of the nonsense.”

Williamson belongs to a category of candidate you might call the Ignored. They’re candidates blown off by national political wizards who don’t believe, or don’t want to believe, they can win. How anyone can think this way after 2016 is mind-boggling.

The list includes Williamson, entrepreneur and Universal Basic Income proponent Andrew Yang, Hawaii congresswoman and regime-change opponent Tulsi Gabbard, and, most conspicuously, Bernie Sanders.

It’s unseemly, the degree to which the press is rooting for Sanders to get his socialist tuchis out of the race. This is an actual headline from Politico after the first set of debates: “Harris, Warren Tie for Third in New Poll, But Biden Still Leads.”

The Washington Post/ABC poll showed Biden dropping to 25 percent nationally, with Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren jousting for third at nine percent. Where’s Waldo? The missing data point is that Sanders doubled both Harris and Warren in said poll at 18 percent. He also has the highest number of unique donors, and is the leading fundraiser overall in the race.

– Matt Taibbi
Excerpted from “The Iowa Circus
Rolling Stone
July 29, 2019

For more of Marianne Williamson at the Wild Reed, see:
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Sometimes You Just Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands . . .
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “Today Is a Day of Shame”
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump

Related Off-site Links:
Marianne Williamson Goes for the Gut – Elaine Godfrey (The Atlantic, August 11, 2019).
Can Self-Help Heal the Body Politic? – Why Marianne Williamson Has Found a Political Audience – Natalia Mehlman Petrzela (The Atlantic, August 10, 2019).
Outsider Candidate Williamson Brings “Radical Love” to the Iowa State Fair – James Oliphant (Reuters, August 9, 2019).
What Is It About Marianne Williamson? – Dylan Palmer (71 Republic via, August 7, 2019).
The Strange Appeal of Marianne Williamson – Matthew Boose (The Ohio Star, August 7, 2019).
You Don't Have to Vote for Marianne Williamson – Just Don't Call Her Crazy – Kerry Pieri (Harper's Bazaar, August 2, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Knows How to Beat Trump – David Brooks (The New York Times, August 1, 2019).
The Meaning of the Marianne Williamson Moment – David French (National Review, July 31, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Is the Only True Anti-Trump – Megan McArdle (The Washington Post, July 17, 2019).
Author Marianne Williamson on 2020 Run: “The Best Thing I Can Do Is Be Myself” – Miranda Bryant (The Guardian, July 27, 2019).
When Everyone Else Stepped Back, Marianne Williamson Stepped Forward – David Kessler (Medium, July 26, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Wants to Win the Presidency With the Power of Love and Miracles – Jesse Walker (Reason, July 13, 2019).
The Meaning of Marianne WilliamsonThe New York Times (July 9, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Is Just What the Democratic Party Needs – Tyler Cowen (Pioneer Press, July 5, 2019).
We Must Hear Marianne Williamson’s Message About the Overuse of Anti-Depressants – Kenneth F. McCallion (Mad in America, August 11, 2019).
Why Marianne Williamson Belongs Center Stage – CK Sanders (Medium, August 18, 2019).

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Across the Mountains

. . . from Guruk to Gunnedah

This time last week I journeyed with my mother and youngest nephew Brendan (left) from Guruk (Port Macquarie) to Gunnedah.

For Mum and I, Gunnedah is our hometown. I moved away at 18 when I started college in 1984, while Mum left when she and my late father relocated to Port Macquarie in 2002. Since 1994 I've made a number of visits to Gunnedah to see relatives and friends when I've made trips home to Australia from the U.S.

As a very young child, Brendan visited Gunnedah with his family a few times in the late 1990s and early 2000s. (He's pictured at right with his Grandpa Bayly, my Dad, in Gunnedah in December 2000.)

Of the family members who returned to Port Macquarie for Dad's funeral, Brendan stayed on the longest with Mum and I. So when the idea surfaced early last week to visit relatives and friends in Gunnedah, Brendan, having only a few distant memories of his previous visits there, was excited to come along.

We started off on our road trip in the smoke haze of the Lindfield Park Road bushfire, which has been burning west of Port Macquarie for over a month. With an eclectic musical accompaniment that included Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Drifters, Roy Orbison, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Carl Anderson and Kiki Dee, we drove west on the Oxley Highway, which the motoring club describes as a "sinuous ribbon of tarmac linking the Pacific Highway with the New England Highway, snaking its way in spectacular fashion over the Great Dividing Range."

Interestingly, just days before our journey, parts of the Oxley Highway were closed due to snow and ice. Thankfully that had all melted away by the time we set off, with only a few patches of snow remaining high on the ridges around Walcha.

Following is more of Shannons motoring club's description of the Oxley Highway from Port Macquarie to Bendemeer. This colorful description is accompanied by photos of Mum and Brendan and I on our trip across the mountains last Wednesday, August 14, 2019.

As far as top runs go, the Oxley really does have the lot – from fast sweepers to tight hairpins, flat farmland to mountain ridges. On top of that, the scenery is pretty damn good too – although you'll need to keep your focus firmly on the road ahead on many testing sections over the mountains.

[Twenty minutes west of Port Macquarie is] Wauchope, an old timber community, where if time isn't of the essence you can always drop in on Timbertown and get a feel for what life must have been like back in the pioneer days.

Pushing further west you'll find the road winds its way pleasantly through the surrounding bush and farmland, passing through the odd small community like Long Flat, where you'll find a good pub that's a popular gathering point for weekend bikers.

A bit after Long Flat the Oxley begins its ascent into the mountains, the road clawing the hillsides as you climb up and away from the farmlands and into the bush-covered mountains. There are some pretty impressive views at this point, but don't relax too much because there's the odd sharp corner too.

You'll know when you've begun the Oxley proper [as the] road continues to climb through thick bush and impressive forests, linking a seemingly never-ending chain of medium, tight and even tighter corners.

Best of all, because the nearest capital city (Sydney) is some four or five hours away, the amount of traffic here never seems to be too annoying. You do get the odd truck or caravan, but then when you're still heading uphill, you won't need too much of straight to blast past – use your head; in most places there's very little runoff should things go awry.

Just when you start to think that you can't take another 35km/h corner, and about an hour after Port Macquarie, an oasis of calm swings into view. The Gingers Creek roadhouse has drinks, snacks and petrol, accommodation and even a licensed a la carte restaurant.

Above & below: Mum, Brendan and I at Gingers Creek
– Wednesday, August 14, 2019.

[Continuing west, you'll proceed] through Cottanbimbang National Park, and then the countryside opens out as you reach the New England tablelands. From this point on you've got [sweeping turns] and long country straights through undulating countryside that's simply bliss to rocket through on a bike [or, in our case, drive through in a car!].

Walcha signifies the end of the really fun stuff for the Oxley, although the Oxley itself continues on for another 50km to Bendemeer.


Above & below: Lunch at the Walcha Royal Cafe.

About Walcha, Wikipedia notes the following.

Located at the south-eastern edge of the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia, Walcha serves as the seat of Walcha Shire. Walcha is located 425 kilometres (264 mi) by road from Sydney at the intersection of the Oxley Highway and Thunderbolts Way. The Apsley River passes through the town to tumble over the Apsley Falls before joining the Macleay River further on. Originally the river caused flooding in the town prior to a levee bank being constructed and saving the town from more floods. At the 2016 census, Walcha had a population of 1,451 people.

The area is thought to have been occupied by the Djangadi Aborigines for 6000 years prior to European settlement. The tablelands had places for ceremonies and trade of goods, and there are traces of bora grounds near Walcha. In the colder months, tribes retreated to the gorge country to the east, where fish and animals were plentiful. In 1818, John Oxley was the first European person to discover the area and the falls which were later to be named Apsley Falls.

Hamilton Collins Sempill was the first settler in the New England area when he took up the ‘Wolka’ run in 1832, establishing slab huts where Langford House now stands. . . . A ‘wool’ road to Port Macquarie (the Oxley Highway) was under construction in 1842 for the transportation of wool from New England to the coast. Walcha Post Office opened on July 1, 1850. The mail arrived from Macdonald River (now Bendemeer). Walcha was gazetted as a village site in 1852. . . . On April 5, 1878 Walcha was proclaimed a town, when it was gazetted, the boundaries defined and a courthouse was built. A rail link to Sydney and Uralla opened at Walcha Road in 1882. The town became a municipality in 1889.

. . . [Today] Walcha has an Open Air Gallery where local, national and international artists have combined to create a unique streetscape with about 41 sculptures and artworks, plus 30 sculptured verandah posts in front of local businesses. There is approximately one artwork per every 85 citizens in the Open Air Gallery, along with a large collection of works in the town's gallery, making Walcha a very cultural and artistic community for its size.

From Walcha we continued west to Tamworth via Bendemeer, and then on to Gunnedah (below).

NEXT: An Unexpected Visitor

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Journey to Gunnedah (2011)
A Visit to Gunnedah (2014)
A Visit to Gunnedah (2017)

Images: Michael and Brendan Bayly.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Remembering and Celebrating Dad

My Dad, Gordon Bayly, died last Monday morning, August 5, 2019.

Although I did not make it back to Australia from the U.S. in time to be with Dad before he passed, I am incredibly thankful for the five weeks I spent with him and Mum just two months ago, at a time when Dad's health was really starting to deteriorate. We had a very meaningful time together, and I remember thinking as I returned to the U.S. at the end of May that if Dad were to “go tomorrow,” it would be okay; there was no unfinished business or nothing left unsaid. So, yes, I feel blessed in this awareness and reality.

Upon arrival in Port Macquarie on August 6, my Mum asked if I would write and deliver Dad’s eulogy. The thought of the delivery part was, I admit, rather daunting. Accordingly, I extended an invitation to my family to join me in delivering Dad’s eulogy at his funeral. My older brother Chris, my niece Sami, and my nephews Ryan and Brendan (pictured with me below) accepted my invitation. From feedback I received afterwards, people found the eulogy informative, moving and meaningful. Fr. Joe D’Souza, who celebrated Dad’s Requiem Mass, told me it was one of the best eulogies he had ever heard. I definitely appreciated hearing that.

Below is the text of Dad/Grandpa’s eulogy, accompanied by photos from the family archives. It’s followed by photos from the my Dad’s Requiem Mass that was held on Thursday, August 8 at St. Teresa of Kolkata Chapel, Emmaus Nursing Home, Port Macquarie.


Chris: On behalf of the family I’d like to thank you for being here this morning to remember and celebrate the life of Gordon James Bayly. I’m Gordon’s eldest son, Chris, and along with my brother Michael, sons Ryan and Brendan, and niece Sami, we’ll be delivering Dad’s eulogy.

Sami: Grandpa was born in Coonabarabran on April 21, 1937. The son of Aubrey and Isabel Bayly [right], Gordon’s early years were spent at “Flodden,” his maternal grandmother Emily Simmons’ farm in the Purlewaugh district of New South Wales.

Ryan: During the Second World War Grandpa lived with his mother’s sister Phyllis, first in Sydney [below] and then in the New South Wales town of Wellington. Grandpa and his aunt formed a close bond that lasted until Phyllis’ death in 1996. Grandpa’s father, Aub, sadly died much earlier. He was one of 268 people lost at sea when the Australian hospital ship Centaur was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on May 14, 1943. Grandpa was just six years old when he lost his dad.

Michael: In the years after the war, Dad lived with his widowed mum and grandmother in the village of Tambar Springs, about 60 kilometres south-west of Gunnedah. His cousins, Joyce, Clare, and Trevor, along with their parents, also lived in Tambar – and from the photos of that time, it looks as though Dad and his equally larikkin-looking mates enjoyed a very carefree and happy childhood in this sleepy little country village.

Brendan: In 1949, Grandpa’s mum, Belle, remarried and relocated to Gunnedah. Grandpa’s step-dad, Bill Smith [pictured at right with Belle], was a farmer from the Curlewis area and a gifted horseman. He was also a very loving and caring father-figure to Grandpa, who by then was attending De LaSalle High School in Armidale.

Chris: Returning to Gunnedah to complete his schooling, Dad involved himself in – and excelled at – a number of interests, including brass band (above), model planes (left), T.Q. car racing, squash, basketball, golf, and a number of other sports. In 1954 he met the love of his life, Margaret Sparkes. Both were students at Gunnedah High School.

Ryan: Grandpa and Grandma were married in Gunnedah on November 7, 1959 and made their home at 23 Beulah St., next door to their enduring lifelong friends, John and Heather Sills. To look through the family photo albums from that time is to glimpse a by-gone era, complete with men and women dressed to the nines while attending balls, weddings, and picnic races. At many of these events, Grandma and Grandpa liked nothing more than to dance the night away, something they both were very good at!

Above: Mum and Dad (at right) with their good friends Keith and Judy Moore at the 1962 Catholic Ball in Gunnedah.

Above: Dad (center) with his good friends Don Bruce (my Mum's cousin) and John Sills. Because of their close friendship (and no doubt their fresh-faced looks), an older friend, Mavis Grace, used to refer to the three young men as Huey, Dewey and Louie!

Above: Mum and Dad pictured at a social event in Gunnedah in the late 1960s.

Michael: Mum and Dad created a very loving and supportive home for my two brothers and I (right). Our home was also a bit of a magnet for the neighborhood kids, whom Dad always made feel welcome, including them in trips in the ute to collect rocks for the garden (below) and in lively table-tennis matches in “the back room.”

Brendan: Grandpa was always very good with numbers. His first job as a young man was with a Gunnedah accountant before he moved into the stock and station business. Grandpa’s specialty in this line of work was that of a grain merchant. He worked first with Farmers and Graziers and then as a partner with Gordon Barry & Co. That Grandpa and the founder of Gordon Barry and Co shared the same first name and a similar sounding last name was often a source of confusion. But Grandpa never considered replacing Gordon Barry’s name with his own, even after Mr. Barry’s passing, and Grandpa becoming the primary owner and operator. This speaks volumes of Grandpa’s humility and generosity. He didn’t need to be identified as being front-and-center, even when, more often than not, he was.

Chris: My brothers and I well remember as kids Dad working late into the night on the phone at his big roll-top desk, talking to farmers and carriers, and arranging the transportation of grain from farm to silo and mill. He was well-organized, with notes and figures meticulously handwritten in large ledgers (remember, this was well before the days of computers!) and he was always courteous and respectful to all with whom he did business. Indeed, many of his business associates, clients, and employees were (or soon became) steadfast friends – not only to Dad but to our family as well. My brothers and I remember, for instance, the many happy times we spent with the family of Ray and Gwen Riordan on their Kelvin property of “Fairview,” playing tennis, riding our mini-bikes, and hiking through the nearby Kelvin Hills.

Sami: Without doubt, Grandpa, over the decades, established himself as a greatly respected community figure and a much-valued friend and colleague to many. The words and phrases that have become synonymous with Grandpa include “great bloke,” “hard worker,” “dedicated community volunteer,” “respected business man,” and “avid tennis player.” He was also a skilled auctioneer and housie caller! He did the latter every Friday night for many years, first in the smoky St. Joseph parish hall and then in the smoke-free auditorium of the Gunnedah Servicemen’s Club.

Brendan: Grandpa was involved in a number of organizations, serving tirelessly on the board of the Gunnedah Tennis Club, St. Mary’s College, the Gunnedah Show Society, and Alkira Hostel. On these boards he often served as chairman or treasurer. He speedily got to and from all these meetings and his work in his purple souped-up Ford Fairmont, which was just as well-known around town as Grandpa was!

Above: Dad with tennis coach, television commentator, and former professional tennis player Wally Masur in 1998.

Ryan: Grandpa received many awards during his lifetime, though you would never have heard about them from him. He was far too humble to let others know of his many accomplishments. So you might be hearing for the first time that Grandpa was an Australia Day Citizen Award recipient, as well as a recipient of the Service Above Self Award from the Gunnedah Rotary Club. There were also many other accolades and awards over the years.

Chris: Dad started having health problems in his late 40’s and had his first bypass operation at 49. Over the years there were a number of other operations, a broken hip (playing tennis), and gout (which some of us inherited). But Dad kept in good spirits and didn’t complain – making the most of what he was able to do.

Michael: Dad valued his Catholic Christian faith and very much lived it through his actions. For my brothers and I, and for his six grandchildren whom he loved so much, Dad was a role model of integrity, compassion and selfless service to others.

Sami: Two generations of our family were blessed to experience and witness these qualities, and we know that they have inspired and guided us well as we have made (and continue to make) our own journeys into adulthood. In this way, our Dad and Grandpa very much lives on in us. And for that we are deeply grateful.

Michael: It was mentioned at the very beginning that Dad was born in 1937. That was also the year that his favorite adventure strip, Prince Valiant, was first published. “Prince Valiant wasn’t a superhero,” Dad told me a few years back, “but he was a hero.” . . . And when you stop to think about it, that’s also a pretty good description of our Dad.


Above: Standing at left with Mum and my brothers, Chris and Tim, and two family friends, Denise and Wendy – Thursday, August 8, 2019.

NEXT: Family Time in Guruk
. . . and Glimpses of Somaliland

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Australian Sojourn – April-May 2019
Happy Birthday, Dad (2018)
In Coogee, a Very Special Birthday Celebration
Happy Birthday, Dad – 2017 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
Congratulations, Mum and Dad
Catholic Rainbow (Australian) Parents
A Visit to Gunnedah (2017)
A Visit to Gunnedah (2014)
Journey to Gunnedah (2011)

Related Off-site Link:
“He Wasn't a Superhero But He Was a Hero”A Prince Named Valiant (February 21, 2011).