Tag Archives: Rolf Harris

Fair dinkum great Australian Inventions

Australia. Where women glow and men plunder or chunder, depending on the verse.

To butcher the Monty Python line, “What has Australia ever done for us?”
Glad you asked. Here are just a handful of some fair dinkum great Australian inventions.

A great Australian invention

In no particular order:

• Kylie Minogue – From spanner-wielding soap opera mechanic to global chanteuse.

• Google Maps – Okay, there were also a couple of Danish blokes in the team, but we’re claiming it.

• Spray-on skin – developed by Professor Fiona Wood in 1999 to treat second-degree burns. Incredible.

• The stump-jump plough. I’m not actually sure what this is, but as officially decreed in the Australian Constitution, it must be included in every list of Australian inventions.

• Ultrasound – so you can see baby Trevor before you meet him.

• Cathy Freeman – rather quick.

• Powered flight – In 1894, Lawrence Hargraves whacked a couple of box kites together
and strapped on a compressed air engine. He wasn’t to know about dickhead seat-recliners.

• AC/DC – I still can’t get used to that new lead singer.

• The fridge – In 1855, James Harrison was granted a patent for an ether vapour-compression refrigeration system to keep his cans of Foster’s Lager* cold. (*nobody in Australia drinks Foster’s)

• Nicole Kidman – I know she was born in Hawaii, but we’re claiming her.

• The electronic pacemaker – Mark Lidwill and Edgar Booth burst out of the shed brandishing
the world’s first artificial pacemaker in the 1920s. Heart emoji to them.

• Home and Away – introduced “flamin’” to the universe.

• Don Bradman – rather handy with a cricket bat.

• The power board – say g’day the next time you plug something in.

• Feature film – The Story of the Kelly Gang was released in 1906, and it’s all been downhill
to Fifty Shades Darker.

• The Splayd – you know, that spoon / fork / knife cutlery thing. Some heathens call it a “spork”.

• Albert Namatjira – To see the real Australia, immerse yourself in his paintings.

• Black box flight recorder – I hope you will never be featured in one.

• Barry Humphries – Thrust gladiolas on an unsuspecting world stage.

• Cask wine – aka goon, space bag or Chateau Cardboard.

• Wi-Fi – CSIRO researcher John O’Sullivan apparently stumbled across Wi-Fi in 1977 while hunting exploding black holes. As one does.

• Dual flush toilet – To differentiate your number ones from your number twos.

• Hugh Jackman – Talented bastard.


PS, There are a few Australian inventions we are not proud of – Rolf Harris and the Aussie Flu.

©Steve Williams 2018

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Rolf Harris: guilty of cultural cringe

I never liked Rolf Harris.

“When was the last time Rolf Harris actually went out here?”

Not quite true — as a young kid I liked his song The Court of King Caractacus. I’d enjoy the silly word play, giggling as the song sped up to its climax until I got the hiccups.

Now using the words “climax” and “Rolf Harris” in the same sentence conjures up disgust.

Many words have been written about his trial and conviction on indecent assault charges.
I’m not going to add to them, other than I hope his pathetically weak sentence is increased and the man rots in jail.

My dislike of Harris started long before his name was even linked to any wrongdoing.

Rolf Harris was too Australian, while simultaneously not Australian enough.
By that I mean he cashed in on and exploited his “Australian-ness”, though was too serious about it. He didn’t “take the piss out of himself” which would have endeared himself to the country he left, rarely returned to, yet made millions of pounds out of.

He was jingoistic at its worst — which didn’t go down too well with my fellow Australians.

It was so fake and as we say in Australia, “bunged on”. He was guilty of cultural cringe. I used to watch Harris painting his bog-standard landscape scenes of the Australian outback and the bush and wonder, “when was the last time you actually went out there?”

The Poms (and many Australians) lapped it up — this simple act of the misplaced Aussie overseas. Harris stuck to that act for over sixty years.

It turned out we couldn’t trust Harris, unlike British Paints that he flogged for years.

The sense of betrayal felt by English and Australian fans of Harris is quite palpable. Though this betrayal is obviously nothing compared to what his victims have and continue to endure.

©Steve Williams 2014

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