Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

What an interesting paper you have; I learnt about Eric Bean, who sounds like he and his wife did a remarkable job. I read a beaut story by Don Pike (my maiden name), saw how C&D Excavations are community minded, laughed at young photos of Out of the Woodwork and with the car photos, was delighted with the piece on the Asylum Seekers, not because they moved but because of the author’s view point and kindness. Good to read about Rita and Ian; David Brewster has a nice way of talking but the teeth business was not a good subject for lunch time eaters! I hate a model or anyone being paid $42  million. The woman who successfully sued re the auto cruise makes the mind boggle oh silly of silliest judgements!!!  I’m grateful for the historical writings and research behind the scenes.

Peggy Bogar, Scamander.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

Re: Half of all Tasmanians are functionally illiterate and innumerate: VV 12 October 2013

Mr Jensen’s suggestion of moving students into better, larger schools “to afford specialist literacy and numeracy teachers that would benefit all students” does not address any of the root causes of this serious, complex and societal problem.

Firstly, education begins at home long before children commence school. Parents have a responsibility to help their children to learn and grow and function in the world they brought them into. You can have all the specialist

teachers in the world but if that child does not have a home where parents support and assist their learning, as I have seen first hand in my experience as a school executive officer, that child remains illiterate, innumerate and condemned to lifelong poverty, not only financially but mentally, spiritually and emotionally – condemned to a life of “low expectation” that they in turn pass on to their children and their children’s children.

That “the education system in Tasmania has a history of low expectations” is not only a condemnation of the system but a tragic reflection on Tasmanian society as a whole.  Where have these “low expectations” come from and what has created them?

Systems do not create themselves, they are created by people, so successive Tasmanian governments must share the blame as must we, the people who voted for them. Statistics show that Tasmania has the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in Australia – the first being the Northern Territory. Statistics also show that a high    number of children in this state are classified as being disadvantaged – is this a result of “low expectations?”

It is a sad fact that literacy and its teaching all over Australia has suffered from the so called “literacy wars” where states and academics have fought over how literacy

should be taught since the seventies. No national curriculum has meant that standards varied from state to state, impacting both teachers and children.

In 2008 when attending an orientation course at UTAS, I was asked not to answer the simple grammatical questions the facilitator put to the class because she was aware that I had been taught these things and that many of these young men and women who had just finished high school and were entering university did not know the difference between “its” and “it’s”.  A sad indictment indeed.

Literacy is more than learning to read or simply functioning in this world we inhabit – it is the key to learning,  growing, opportunity, understanding, tolerance and compassion, to a world of wonder, innovation, technology and many other things that enrich our lives as a person and a society. It is the key to the future.

Elizabeth Elliott, St Marys.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

Re: Article by Lynne Dawes ‘Inquest and Hearing of the Death of Mary Connolly continued’, Valley Voice Volume 46 No. 11 of 26/9/13, penultimate and last paragraphs, page 25, referring to a ‘Dr Story’.

I am the Story family historian of the Storys who settled at the ‘House of Chimneys’, ‘Henbury’, Lena Road via Avoca, and were prominent in the Fingal Valley from 1837-1952. They gave their name to Storys Creek (via Rossarden), Storys Creek Road (via Avoca), Story Street (St Marys), Storys Road (Lebrina), Storys Road (central Castra) and also Groom and Harefield Streets St Marys (through the related family the Grooms of Harefield, 1872).

The Dr Story referred to by Lynne Dawes is most likely Dr George Fordyce Storey (with an ‘e’) of ‘Dr Storyes’ Baby’ notoriety, from a foetus in a jar still at the Tasmanian University Medical Faculty. Dr Storey, according to a Peter Mercer, was a lifelong friend of  Francis and Anna Maria Cotton who lived with them, possibly at ‘Kelvedon’, and who is buried beside them at the Swansea cemetery, although I could not find their headstones and have not yet researched his information.

This Dr George Fordyce Storey is probably the same  doctor, a Quaker, who did some work with our aboriginal brothers and sisters at Wybalena in 1823, at age 23,  concerning infertility caused by venereal disease. He gave his name to Mount Storey on Schouten  Island and is  related to the probably Scottish and Catholic Storeys   related to a J.W. Storey from Colebrook and Oatlands, though initially from North-Eastern Tasmania, who gave their name to Storey Street of Oatlands.

This Dr G.F. Storey is also distinct from another Dr Story, also a ‘much loved pioneer doctor from the East Coast’ who leased ‘Highfield’ in the North-West c.1880s, i.e. Dr William Story.

In contrast, my mob of Storys from ‘Henbury’ are,  although well-connected Anglicans and Royalists, only descended from a long line of dairy farmers (re: John Storys’ famous Double Gloucester Best Cheese 13/4/1867 Launceston Show).

Whilst my Storys are probably related to Dr William Story through business and familial associates the Ford family, they are not directly related to the Dr G.F. Storeys and J.W. Storeys – even though one of us was, in fact, a J.W. Story (without the ‘e’, of course).

Confused? I certainly still am, and doubly so given the profusion of John and Thomas Storys thus far researched back consecutively to 1665 in Somerset.

Of course, if I were to complete the research further back I would find that all Storys, Storeys, Storrs and Stories are, in fact, related prior to 1200 in Northumberland and Yorkshire: the name Story being a Viking word meaning ‘big, strong man’.

I hope my historical account has been of some interest, particularly concerning the Cottons, and all the  coincidences concerning early gynaecological research.

N.B. Fungus Ergot of Rye is, of course, the base substance for making D-Lysergic acid Thalidomide -25 or L.S.D. and formerly known as ‘St Anthonys’ Fire’ (c.c.claviceps purpurea).

A full list of sources can be found at the Avoca Post Office and the Avoca History Museum in ‘The Story Family of “Henbury” in Avoca, St Pauls Plains’ © 23/4/2012 or by contacting me, the author.

© 2013 Tony Story

‘Lewis Hill’, Royal George.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

I reply to Councillor Johns’  answer to Frank Giles in the Valley Voice 11/9/2013.

I find that your broad consensus of the community was of little value as you did not consult the farming community as seen at the Council meeting farmers attended.

You stated that you wanted the farming sector to pay the same as the commercial sector  (9¢ in the rateable dollar), too bad this is an  untruth as the commercial rate was dropped from 7.5¢ in the dollar to 6.8¢ in the dollar.

The commercial rateable value is less than the farming rateable value by about $605,535.00 (amounts quoted from freedom of information request). By dropping the commercial rate to 6.8¢ in the dollar the Council dropped its revenue by nearly $38,000.00; by raising the farming rate to 12.6¢ in the dollar Council would have gained $309,699.00 extra revenue.

You seem to think that the commercial and residential ratepayers pay 85% of the bill towards Council spending, why don’t you quote the amounts that  Council gets from grants and assistance throughout the year – people may like to know that.  There are farming sectors still paying 12.5¢ in the dollar today – why is this so?

You should also know that DIER is not responsible for lighting, Council pays the bill for street lighting.

You have been in Council long enough to know that very seldom or never does a rate increase ever get reduced in following years.

The last paragraph in your letter is nothing more than pie in the sky, nothing to do with the matter being referred to and a slur on people’s intelligence.

Remember one thing, there is a limit to what people of all walks in life can pay. I was under the impression that the Council was trying to get people to come to this Municipality not drive them away.

Robert Legge   St Marys

Letter to the Editor

Open letter to the residents and Councillors of Break O’Day Region

It was with great interest on returning home recently from overseas that I read the letter from our Mayor Sarah Schmerl to various politicians openly advocating for a better deal for the Break O’Day area. At last I thought someone is prepared to openly advocate for our  municipality. Continue reading

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

What can you do in St Marys in two minutes (that’s 120 seconds), without any effort on your part, that will change your life forever?

Die in a building fire! Two minutes is all it takes from ignition to flashover occurring, that is when the smoke in the room ignites, engulfing the room in flames.

If you do not have a WORKING smoke alarm and you are asleep when a fire starts you will not wake up, I say you will NOT wake up ever again.

This is fact, not fiction. The fire that occurred in the  garage in the Main Street of St Marys could have easily spread to the adjoining buildings, up to and including the Post Office. Thankfully due to good fortune, combined with the efforts of our volunteer fire fighters, it did not – this time.

If this fire was deliberately lit, people in this community will be aware and you need to speak out; lives could have been lost.

David Watkins, St Marys.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Sunday the 18th August is the 47th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan; it is also the date set as Vietnam Veterans Day.  Two years ago on the 45th anniversary, after 15 years of battling the Australian government for justice and due recognition, veterans of D Company, 6th Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), were awarded an Australian Unit Citation for Gallantry (the highest award a unit can  receive). The unit had been recognised by the American and  South Vietnamese governments in 1968, with their equivalent citations. Individual medals were also presented due to a reversal of a quota system  employed by Australia at the time the battle was fought.

“The Vietnam war was mis-reported and is mis-remembered,”  President Nixon said. Probably not the soundest person to quote but I believe the sentiment is very true.

A matter I feel I need to address is the issue of Conscription (National Service Scheme), whether you agreed or disagreed with it.  It was NOT originally started for the Vietnam war but enacted due to the Malaya and Indonesia conflagration, which Australia believed would spill into New Guinea, an Australian territory at that time. The Australian government believed the army was undermanned to handle such an eventuality. Between 1964 and December 1972, 20 year old males were required to register and 804,286 young men complied.

The voting age was 21, this was reduced to the current age 18 in 1973, after the Scheme had been revoked.  The legal drinking age (more important to many) during this time varied from state to state, along with the conditions that applied, but was generally regarded as 21 until 1974, then reduced in all states to 18.

The selection ballot resembled a lottery draw and was performed bi-annually to determine who would be called up to serve in the Army; exemptions were granted after call-up. 63,735 men served in the army – 15,381 actively served in Vietnam.

Service requirements were two years in the regular army, followed by three years part-time in the army reserve. Men who failed to comply, misled the medical board (standards were the same as for regular soldiers) or who made false or misleading statements were prosecuted.  Fourteen men were prosecuted and served the equivalent of their national service in prison.

Some 200 national servicemen lost their lives in Vietnam.

The ratio of national servicemen to regular soldiers in the regiments that served in Vietnam was generally 50/50 and no distinction was made by the soldiers that served.

‘We should not mourn the loss of these men, but be   grateful that they lived’ said Gen. Patton. A different war, but still relevant.

I hope to see you at the St Marys Cenotaph at 11 a.m. – inside if the weather is foul.

David Watkins

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor

I would like to say thank you to Rita Summers for her story about the Jestrimski family.

(Valley Voice, Vol 46, No. 6.)  The Jestrimski family  pictured in the photo with Rita’s story are my grandparents and Clara on the right of the photo was my mother.

Rita wrote about the accident which took the life of my grandfather Jakob, after being thrown from a ‘Jinker’. I was only five years old at the time, but I remember it so well. The horse he was using in the jinker was renowned for being frisky, and I remember driving past him in our first car, an Overland, on that day, waving to him as we passed. The theory later was that the horse was spooked by the car and they never made it around the next corner.

Our family had gone to visit our Uncle Ralph ( third from left in photo) and Auntie Mathilda at  “Anchor Vale”. We loved to get together with our cousins. Ralph and Mathilda had a large family, 14 all told.

Uncle Ralph was blind, losing his eyesight at the age of twenty-five. Despite this disability he did all his own work.

His vegie garden was a sight to behold, rows and rows in such straight lines. He had sticks cut to the sizes he required to measure distances, and his garden would put many in the shade today.

We lived at the time in the hills above Pyengana, about 5 miles away. Uncle Ralph never missed my mother’s birthday which was on Boxing Day. He walked from   Anchor Vale to our home, about 10 miles, on his own, using only a walking stick.

This remarkable man, on the way to our house, would call into the Pyengana Post Office and local shop, doing all this unattended. He would then arrive at our  home in time for breakfast at around 8am.

I have very fond memories of Uncle Ralph’s visits, he always had sweets in his pockets, which was most important to a young child. When it came time for him to leave, I was allowed to go a short way with him, to a place called “where the water goes over the road’, and the last thing he did was to give me a sweet.

In the early days when the pioneers were beginning to settle at Pyengana, the first thing they did was to plant an orchard, usually apples, pears, plums and cherries.  My dad did the same thing and I remember what a lovely orchard it was, the cherries in particular doing very well. Most settlers did not stop at one tree of each, but had many of all  varieties in a well fenced garden, also  including a lovely vegetable garden.

Although we don’t see them today, gooseberries were another popular fruit, which tasted like the Chinese  gooseberry or Kiwi fruit we have today.

Here is my mother’s recipe for gooseberry pie:- Top and tail the gooseberries and place in a large pie dish. Make a very rich custard using 4 beaten eggs, 2 cups cream, ½ cup sugar and pour over gooseberries. Sprinkle top with nutmeg. Cook in medium oven and ENJOY (if you can find gooseberries).

(As I said before, gooseberries had to be topped and tailed ready for use and using a pair of scissors to do this job, I managed to give myself my first hair cut – a lovely fringe!)

Maisie Finney, aged 98½. St Marys