Answering Vancouver Visions, and more on Dr Spurr

You will see from the comment here that Vancouver Visions has nominated me for:

onelovelyaward Linked to source

Of course I am pleased, so thank you dbp49, but I will stand aside as not all the conditions really suit me at this point in my now rather long blogging life. However, in lieu of one of those I refer you to something now quite old: My 2008 Interview with the Pakistani Spectator.

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?

I was born in Sydney Australia 65 years ago into a very different world. That was after all in the midst of World War II. Not much to tell, except that I eventually graduated in Arts from Sydney University, becoming a teacher of English and History in secondary schools, with a then fairly rare qualification in Asian and Indian/Pakistani history. My teaching career began in 1966 and ran, with a few diversions, until 1995, continuing part time now. From 1990 I moved towards English as a Second Language teaching, adding a Graduate Certificate in TESOL to my qualifications in 1998.

I came to the internet quite late, in 2000, having earlier been something of a computerphobe. I have several blogs in two divisions. One, English, ESL — and more, began as a site for my own students but has since taken on a life of its own; the other is more personal — Floating Life, with a Gateway blog [2014: a very short-lived experiment, this!] and some archives and a more pictorial blog where there are also pages detailing my family history back to a convict ancestor who arrived in Sydney in the early 1820s, and further back than that to Australia’s first people.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

I think I do, despite my advanced years. This is partly a matter of becoming used to the situation of writing online, partly through feedback from others, partly through reading others and seeing what they do that I like. It is important because I do seek to communicate rather than to alienate, if at all possible.

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

There have been some memorable bad moments, but among the more memorable good experiences have been finding out through contacts made on the blog even more about my own family, and meeting up with a colleague I hadn’t seen for thirty years. There have also been so many precious examples of communicating with people from cultures and backgrounds I may have never encountered otherwise…

See also Blogging the Noughties.

Next, a November 2012 Flame Tree photo:

And about our very local, iconic Wollongong tree:

Common Name: Illawarra flame tree

Derivation of Name: Brachychiton…from Greek, brachys, short and chiton, a tunic, a reference to the coating on the seed. acerifolius…having foliage like the genus Acer (maple)….

B.acerifolius is a small to medium sized tree which may reach 30-35 metres in height although it is usually much smaller in cultivation in cooler areas. Leaves are about 250 mm long and may have entire margins or be deeply lobed. The bell-shaped flowers occur in clusters at the ends of the branches. The flowers are followed by large, leathery seed capsules which contain many corn-like seeds.

B.acerifolius is generally deciduous before flowers are seen in early summer. However, the deciduous nature of the plant is variable; in some seasons foliage will be retained on all or part of the tree. In a “good year” the Illawarra flame tree is arguably the most spectacular of all Australia’s native trees. Flowering may take around 5-8 years from seed. The tree is hardy in a wide range of soils and is suited for temperate to tropical areas.

And now Barry Spurr again

As you may know I posted earlier on the embattled Dr Spurr. I do so again because a letter in today’s Sydney Morning Herald really did get my attention. [That was because of an erroneous identification of its author. See below.]

Spurr is no bigot

I was a colleague of Professor Barry Spurr in the English Department at Sydney University (“Academics ask unis to review policies on gender, equality“, November 1). I knew him professionally for about 28 years, and have known him for about 38 years. We often shared teaching and administrative duties. He is not a bigot of any kind, but a humane and dedicated teacher and scholar. No evidence will be found to show he has not treated colleagues and students with integrity and kindness.

I was not a recipient of any of the emails New Matilda published, which seem to me to be private in-group expressions of exasperation from a conservative point of view. Derogatory language in this context is to be expected. This is true of both the left and the right. As someone on the left, I can testify to the derogatory language used to describe police, capitalists and political opponents. No one can cast the first stone.

To wreck an individual’s career to score a point against the government of the day by exposing private communications is hypocritical and despicable, and dishonours the cause of social equality that New Matilda would promote.

DB Goulburn

NOTE: I originally attributed the above letter to another person of the same name who also had associations with English at Sydney University. I now remove that erroneous attribution. Readers can make up their own minds about the content of the letter.

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One thought on “Answering Vancouver Visions, and more on Dr Spurr

  1. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my earlier post, and I totally respect the answers I received. I especially thank you for the information regarding the Illawarra flame tree as I was very impressed with the photos I came across in your earlier post. It is certainly a beautiful tree. So thank you once again, and I shall be back in the future to see just what new offerings you have in store for us.

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