Damned Whores and God’s Police

Black-eyed Sue and Sweet Poll say goodbye (by Robert Sayers)

(by Anne Summers) (1975) (updated 1994, to 2000s and beyond) The title is a bit of a howler, for it derives from a statement attributed to someone in partial error. But it is still a great title, and it synthesizes the point of the book, which is to reveal and detail how the bifurcation, by colonial authority, of early Australian females into saints and tramps, has formed the nation’s bedrock and permeated the social fabric ever since. This is a difficult case to make.  For instance, such ‘types’ are considered somewhat one-dimensionally cartoonish now.  And wouldn’t the outlook change with the development of a free…

Continue Reading →

Vietnam / Iraq

South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places, June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The children from left to right are: Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim's cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. Behind them are soldiers of the Vietnam Army 25th Division. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

While recently reviewing The Deer Hunter, we strayed In Country, a tangled thicket where the eternal skirmish over Vietnam carries on. Now it is held-up as a mirror to military madness, and as a parable for the incursion / invasion of Iraq.  But whereas the strategic argument for Gulf War II remains opaque to this day despite inquiry after inquiry, I suggest that the escalation in Vietnam, as at 1965, is different to the events of 2003 by a substantial degree, rendering most modern comparisons between the two erroneous. The late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s formed the middle age of the Cold War (a…

Continue Reading →

Daphne Gum – A Celebration

January 23, 2016 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Australian History, LIFE |

Yesterday, on the eve of her 100th birthday, TVC was honoured to join Daphne Gum MBE OA and family in a sumptuous afternoon tea celebration.  Today, the 24th January 2016, Miss Gum is celebrating this milestone with friends in her care facility. Miss Gum is acknowledged world-wide for her contribution to the welfare and education of children, particularly children with cerebral palsy.  To us she is Auntie Daphne, a staunch, cheerful and purposeful influence in our lives. To read more about this pioneering woman, see Lesley’s updated Wikipedia article, “Daphne Lorraine Gum” go to  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daphne_Lorraine_Gum Note: Sadly, Daphne Gum passed away on 28 February 2017. She touched and enlivened a…

Continue Reading →

The Holt Report

Open water

(by John Larkin and Geoffrey Barker) (1968) Yes, Americans can joke about President Taft being eaten by wolves (particularly greedy wolves) but only in Australia could a serving Prime Minister be taken by a shark.  On Sunday 17 December 1967, Prime Minister Holt went for a swim near his beach house at Cheviot, near the Heads leading from Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, into the Bass Strait, and was never seen again. Though a shark is The Varnished Culture’s preferred theory (and after all this time, chances of finding traces are approximately nil) there are a number of other possible solutions; kelp…

Continue Reading →


March 31, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History |

No soft landing (Painting by George Washington Lambert, 'Anzac, the landing 1915')

About 4.29 am on Sunday, 25 April 1915, Australian troops disembarking from several warships and transports in the Dardanelles, learned the answer to their unspoken question: had their approach been detected?  It had. As the Official History of Australia In the War of 1914-18, by the not always reliable C. E. W. Bean, states: “The first bullets were striking sparks out of the shingle as the first boat-loads reached the shore.” Many, many thousands fell (Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, Englishmen, Turks).  The ANZACs tasted hell.  But Constantinople was the real prize; with the Ottoman Empire crumbling away, the strait was its gate, but as narrow…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.