How proudly Un-Australian I am

The story of my forbears speak heaps of how un-Australian I am.

On my father's side, both my great great grandparents were transported from Dublin in the 1840s to Port Arthur in Tasmania. She earnt the voyage for stealing a set of spoons, and he for pinching a pair of pants.

On my mother's side, the Mildrens came as free settlers from Cornwall in 1856 to settle in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains. They ran horses just like in the Banjo Patterson poem, The Man fromSnowy River, and my great grandfather , Jimmy, a wrangler and horse broker, use to try to catch the famous Silver Brumby -- of which Russel Crowe has had a passing acquaintance. *

So I come from such stock as transported Irish Catholics and true blue mountain men and women. I've got seniority over and above most of the population of this continent -- including the John Howards et al.

And I am proudly un-Australian because I don't much care for what being Australian is supposed to stand for.

* The Silver Brumby is the source of a major feature film and a series of novels by Elyne Mitchell. Family lore would also have it that my great grandmother, Alice, met Ned Kelly when he droppped by the farm one day to feed his horse. When my grandmother married she and her new husband moved to Sunshine in Melbourne to work with H.V.McKay's International Harvester. He, having later volunteered for service in the Great War, promptly got himself killed in France. My grandmother was widowed again with her second husband who died when my mother was 18 months old. Then during the Great Depression, because of the family's poverty, my mother and her sister were sent off to my grandmother's sister's farm in this same country so that the girls couldn't be seized and made a ward of the state.

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