I was 6, too young for the grandparents to explain to me who was in the photo in the hall and why he was wearing a funny hat they called a slouch hat. Mum said simply: “He is just someone who died in the war. Now go outside and play”. His story had to remain a mystery because my Grandies both died that year, but I do remember the bomb shelter that the neighbours had built and the gas masks that hung in the shed.
That photo remained a mystery but it prompted the penning of some lines many years later…………
I gaze down the hall At that picture on the wall, I seem to do so many times a day.
Their battle’s now been won, As they sing in the sun Silent odes to peace that’s come their way.
Aware not of the living, but the dead, I wear furrows ’bout my head, And nightmares are the stuff of my sleep.
Had I but predicted What my fears had depicted, My mates may not be buried now so deep.
I wish that I could go To be with them, for I know I am merely waiting for my time to cease.
But I craved for the fight. Now that picture oft in sight, Shows my loss and their fate: Rest In Peace.
FROM LEFT: Pte Nick Namnik, 2/7th batt. [my father] Pte. Antonio Namnik. Cook. [wounded twice in PNG and returned to serve both times after rehab.] Maj. Dr. Kevin Fagan. [Assisted Weary Dunlop at Changi POW Camp. Brother of Roy Fagan, Deputy Premier of Tasmania. ] [my second cousin]. Pte. Tom Riley and brother Lt. Les Riley of 4th Field Regt. served together from Tobruk to Damascus. [my mother’s brothers].
BLESS ‘EM ALL, BLESS ‘EM ALL, THE LONG AND THE SHORT AND THE TALL ……………….
Andrej Yakovlavitch Namnek, farmer businessman from Riga, Latvia, traveled by rail to the Great Rus for the purpose of negotiating the best price for his latest milled stand of birtch and reindeer pelts that his workers had amassed over spring.
Top left: Archpriest Ivan Namnek [martyred by Communists for not divulging the confession of the local mayor]. Top centre: One of many documents attesting to work in Siberia. Top right: Map of Andrej’s & Marie”s journey. Bottom left: cover of my novel on their life. Bottom right: Andrej Yakovlavitch Namnek.
He loved St. Petersberg for its culture and modernity, although he was not so enamoured of the palatial excesses of the ruling classes, nor was he a Russophile since his own country was occupied by Russians – not to mention the Germans. What he did love though was the Bohemian harpist and soprano he had met backstage of the Cyrilian Palace Hall following her performance with the Prague Ensemble. Naturally enough, she was the reason he delayed his return to Riga.
Of the Orthodox Faith, Andrej was not so immersed in it to let any religious difference stand in the way of courting this Catholic girl, Marie Subrtova, from the village of Hradec Kralove in Bohemia,the daughter of Vaclav Subrt and Anna Hampl, stable managers and basket weavers. Nevertheless, he was proud of his second cousin, Ivan Ivanovitch Namnek who had just become an Archpriest in the local diocese, [and was later martyred by the Communists].
Turmoil was becoming common in those final years of the 19th. century; what with that young Lenin addressing rallies about St. Petersberg having just left the Jesuit seminary. He and Trotsky, revolutionaries both, and bound to cause trouble. Of course my grandparents could not have foretold the Bolshevik Revolution just twenty years away, but still there were skirmishes – usually put down with Cossack swords.
It was at one such melee that Andrej became caught up and found it necessary to shoot one of Czar Alexander’s constabulary for which he was sentenced to Labour Camp in Siberia. Fortunately there was no death penalty in Russia. Andrej found himself assigned to working on the telegraph which was being constructed concurrently along with the Great Siberian Railway, engineered by that great engineer Witte but which in practice was beset by short supplies, faulty equipment and hellish living conditions. For 10 years Andrej worked with fellow prisoners but was often free to mix with the indigenous peoples, descendants of the American Indians, the Shamans and other exotic aborigines.
The Sino-Russo war was the catalyst for his freedom as his enlistment in the militia gained some freedom under an indenture of service. While he had survived the bears, wolves and weather that had taken many of his friends, he found himself in Mukden on the day that the Japanese invaded through Manchuria and routed the Russians. Andrej survived that attack too and so came to marry the beauty who had waited for him to be released from servitude. Their firstborn was named Albert after the Archbishop Crusader who had bought civilization to Latvia, 900 years earlier.
Marie and Andrej would have five children whom they would name with the letter A, Albert, Andrew, Antonio, Amelia and Adolph [my father]. They determined to settle in a land of peace – Australia, but their travels there took some time for the giving of births and for Marie to play to audiences. Adolph, the last born was born in Singapore. [Amelia died as an infant, and Andrew returned to Bohemia and was never seen again].
The family of five arrived in Melbourne in 1912 and it wasn’t long before the neighbours in North Melbourne would gather outside Marie’s window at night to listen to her rehearsing for her upcoming performance in Surabaya, Indonesia, along with the troupe she was part of in Singapore.
At that time, Islamic terrorists were active in Indonesia, driven largely by a Muslim Cell operating out of the Dental Faculty of the Aceh Medical College. They were determined to bring Sharia and Islam to dominance, following the invasion of Muslims from Middle East and the Sub Continent some 800 years earlier. [Today Aceh Province is under Sharia rule and Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world].
Marie Namnek, my grandmother, was killed by an Islamic bomb attack in early 1913 in Surabaya.
Andrej Namnik [spelled now with an “i” since handwritten records were easily mis-recorded], was no sooner a widower than Child Welfare came a’knocking and whisked his 3 young boys away to Daylesford to be fostered. Adolph was fostered at age 4 by the Vanzetti family who still run the local bakery. By 18 he had won the B&F in the Ballarat Football League.
Andrej worked for the Robertson Timber Co., mainly from Warburton and throughout Gippsland. Just 2 years after his arrival at age 58, he enlisted in the A.I.F. for the 1st World War – but was rejected on medical grounds. He passed away while Adolph and Antonio were serving in PNG, at the Little Sisters Of The Poor in Northcote.
[The Novel: The Bear and The Diva is available on smashwords,com].
Now, dear reader, that you have fallen for the clickbait headline, let me say that it is quite true, mostly.
For 40 years Catholic priests were not permitted entry to Australia from settlement in 1778 until 1820 when Frs. Therry and Conolly arrived. Let me qualify this.
A Catholic priest, Fr. Dixon, had come to the country around 1802, but he came as a convict having been sentenced for collusion in the Irish rebellion. He did eventually become a freeman and said a public mass. The Governor relented too in 1817 by allowing a Fr. O’Flynn into the country; alas, he was sent packing after a year. Finally, in 1820, 42 years after the First Landing, the first two permanent priests were permitted entry. Thus, for almost half a century tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of left-footers suffered religious persecution. “Persecution” is not too strong-a-word since the practice of that brand of faith centred around the Sacraments which only priests could perform.
Why was it so?
THUMBNAIL VERSION: Simply, the Micks in England and Ireland had been suppressed ever since Fat Henry; and Cromwell had done a job on killing off lots of Micks in the fair isle. Those feisty Irish though wouldn’t go down without kicking up a stink and priests were viewed as leaders or potential leaders of rebellions and sedition. Moreover, they were viewed as loyalists to the Vatican before they would give loyalty to the Crown. To be sure, to be sure, they would surely cause trouble in the new colony.
PERSONAL ASIDE: Cromwell’s genocide necessitated Irish ancestors, such as my own, to adopt the survival measure of having half the family convert to protestantism while the other half remained Catholic. From ancestral enquiries, this occurred in both my and my wife’s family – although my ancestors were Irish gentry, while hers were Scottish criminals deported to the Great Southern Prison [earning their title as Australian Royalty]. As both sets of ancestors wound up in Van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania], they were deprived of the ability to practice their faith fully, having their offspring baptised, married or buried by a Methodist minister, of which there was just one in them there wilds of Northern Tassie. It is a matter of record that through the descendency the true faith returned to this amalgam of allegiances; none ever took up arms against the colonial gummint, while plenty of them fought – and plenty died – in both World Wars.
The first Christian Brothers – Bodkin, Lynch and Tracey – didn’t arrive until 1868 to offer Catholic education to young men, 90 years after settlement. They founded CBC Parade in Melbourne, my alma mater.
But the persecution was not quite over. Enter Archbishop Mannix [Melbourne, 1913-1963].
Manic Mannix was a fly in the Gummint ointment throughout, mainly due to his conflicting views of conscription. At one point, due to return to Ireland for a vacation, he was advised that his return would be refused re-entry, – so he didn’t go. In true Irish spirit he found a way to present the Gummint with a middle-finger salute. St. Patrick’s Day Parade was Melbourne’s biggest public event by far and was usually led by the Arch in an open car – as per the picture above. On said occasion, to show the great civic powers that it was He who had the support of the soldiery, not them, his vehicle was preceded by a dozen VC winners on white chargers – again, as this picture shows. That was tellin’ ’em!
There we have it. No Great March on the Sydney Harbour for a Reconcilliation with the Micks. No apology for the suppression and persecution of one religion. No compensation or reverse discrimination. No special benefits. No Sorry Day.
No – we descendants would not even think of it. Demeaning. Perish the thought. FECK OFF THEN AND LET’S GET ON WITH LIFE.
Meet Shen Narayanasamy, Human Rights CEO at Get Up. Shen has made this video criticizing Senator Pauline Hanson’s [Australian Parliament] rhetoric and policy against Muslim immigration and calls for debate and a Royal Commission on the issue.
Shen does not critique Hanson’s stance; rather she indulges in an ad hominem attack via the implication of the ‘damages’ that Hanson is responsible for. Her presentation can be summarized thus:
- when Hanson is on TV you don’t feel safe
- she opens the door to bullying at school
- invites racial discrimination in the workplace
- incites violence on the streets
- Muslim women will be put in danger on the streets
- she is a Liberal [Party] Right tool for divisive debate
- indulges in rhetoric that is hurtful and dangerous
- is racist [by virtue that Shen calls for leaders who will stand up to racism.] . …..
Without addressing each of her accusations, suffice to say this is quite typical of the Snowflake tactic of self-projection – indulge in the rhetoric of the one you accuse. No, Shen, Hanson’s call for a debate and her argument to support her platform has supportive weight by virtue of Islamic terrorism, gang thuggery, no-go zones, non-assimilation, human rights abuses against women and so on. These are what you should be refuting, not indulging in scare tactics of your own. The Conquest mentality of various Australian Islamic groups should be questioned by you if you really care about the promulgation of Quranic hatred, rather than insult the multitude of populist voters who are concerned about the repurcussions of unfettered Muslim migration.
Aussies by and large, right or left, appreciate where the Senator [love her or loathe her] is coming from; and the motivation of simplistic racism can be easily refuted. But what about Shen? What is her angle?
Shen is an attractive 35 year old lawyer into multiculti; of immigrant Hindu Tamil parents; has two young children by her partner, Robbie Russo; and has become the prominent face of refugee advocacy and defender of children’s rights. All admiral stuff, and I particularly like her colorful Indian garb of sari and turban-like head-dress……. and I have no issue that her cultural appearance is Northern Indian rather than Tamil Nadu based. I don’t care if this is an affectation or a xenophilic trait. She can wear what she likes in my book [so long as she is prepared to shake my hand and reveal her face]. But I do care that she is using fear tactics and emotive argument. I do care that she forgoes reason, logic and argument. I do care that she promotes open borders that endanger our ultimate freedom of movement and speech. I do care that she uses hyperbole to the point of lying when she argues immigration statistics.
I also care, with great concern, that she has come out in support of the Gaby Baby program and presumably other like programs instituted by the Cultural Marxists which are an abuse of our children.
So, anyway, perhaps the most salient question is: Who is Shen’s boss?
That would be George Soros!… perhaps by proxy, but Doctor Evil it is nonetheless, as he funds Get Up which is instituted to carry out the Soros Agenda of the destruction of Western society and National Sovereignty. [He funds too the refugee hijra crisis in Europe, the Black Lives Matter movement, and so on].
This opinion piece is not digressing into a Soros thesis, so I will leave readers who may not be familiar with this ideologue a link giving his plans from his own mouth. [Have the smelling salts close by]…….
- In three days we will know. We already know what the Abbott-haters detest about the PM. The swagger, the ears, the volunteering firie, that his female associations show that he is no mysoginist, his climate denial, his bike-riding and, maybe his religious brand. How could anyone with such baggage be a good PM. Personally, I think his fellow party-members will retain him…showing that pollies are not the fickle public, but that cool leather-jacketed, urbane populist is ready to pounce. As of Wednesday, let’s hope the govt. gets on with the job!