Until I wrote the title for today, I never realised how much I have wanted to write that word. I even had to chase a spider off the top of my dictionary to make sure that I had the correct nomenclature for a 150th anniversary. Two weeks of intermittent rain and dampness have resulted in a burgeoning of wildlife (as if Queensland wildlife needed any encouragement). Spiders hang everywhere, frogs attach themselves to walls like emerald green spelunkers, snakes slither along tree branches, mosquitoes and flies and freaky insects with odd appendages kamikaze the windows and any exposed flesh. Even the walls are buzzing with hidden inhabitants. The wall behind the computer seems to have some kind of resident – I’ve sprayed behind the desk and checked the computer and it seems clearly to be in the wall.
Somehow, in spite of all this, Queensland has managed to survive as a state for 150 years. I did my occasional duty at the historical society’s open house on Sunday and the place was humming with visitors. Interest in local history seems alive and well. There was my least favourite type of visitor – “my great grandfather lived somewhere near here, I don’t know where or any details of his life but can you tell me everything about him?” And there was my favourite type – a family thrilled to have discovered continuing evidence of their family in the area and delighted with any shred of information that we could tell them.
There are all kinds of events planned for the sesquicentenary and much funding available. I wonder if such generosity would have been forthcoming if the slowing (we try not to use the phrase “collapse” here) of the mining industry and the global financial crisis had been foreseen. Locally there is a competition for school children to write a fictional account of a “day in the life of a settler.” I’m wondering if it would be cheating to let my children loose on my research notes. Or if there is a corresponding competition for adults.
Unrelated to the sesquicentenary (see how I’m trying to use that word as often as possible?) but related to local history, the historical society has agreed to sponsor a grant application to research the history of local small-scale mining. Somehow or rather, obviously through some kind of feeble-mindedness, I have agreed to work on the application and also the project, if the application is successful. Apparently, it’s not just the wildlife that is burgeoning. Insanity is in the air too.