101 things about me

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Being in the hot seat on a double decker bus...

I'm not one for history. Not of the 'old' type of history where I have to remember dates at least.

Which is pretty sad for someone travelling in a country brimming, positively overflowing and steeped in the stuff.

So much here is just so bloody old. There's just no avoiding it... Buildings, monuments, artwork, wars, traditions, victories and tragedies. This was all being created, invented, built and discovered here many generations before white man even set foot on Australian shores. Centuries.

And whilst I've just said it doesn't really interest me, as a person who resides in a country where buildings have a use by date, it's hard not to be impressed in a place like this. Just a little bit. And perhaps also (just a little bit) embarrassed about my historical ignorance.

I got talking to a guy on the bus the other day who started asking me all these questions about Australia and it's history, it's politics, it's literary and geographical details. It was hard not to start hyperventilating. It was like school exams all over again, but worse, because I have no doubt my answers were being scored by others on the bus too, not just by my seat-mate.

When he asked me who I considered was the greatest Australian, I didn't have an answer.

I responded (as one does when one is cornered) by turning it back on him, by asking him who he thought was Britain's greatest person. It silenced him for a moment, but he considered it as his exam questions continued, and managed to come up with a selection of responses during our remaining conversation.

It was an impressive group that included Shakespeare, Elizabeth I, Dickens, Darwin. Undoubtedly (historically at least) great people. And not a sportsman amongst them.

And so the question remains. Who IS the greatest Australian? Maybe we haven't got one yet. Maybe Australia hasn't had enough history yet. Or maybe I haven't.

So, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

Tim Minchin

Nicky Parry said...

Hehe! I can empathise with your hyperventilating! Living over here in the US, I constantly get bombarded with those "exams". It's unbearable sometimes when I just want to sit quiet and enjoy my surroundings!

Tim said...

Oh, Steve Erwin gets the nod from me. Goofy but loveable.

cybersnas said...

Walter Mikac