“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





28 August 2016


Here are some pictures of the waters around the Fleurieu Peninsula, where I live on the Southern Ocean in South Australia. It is a beautiful place to live.

I snapped most of these in winter. The waters vary from the vast flats and gusty freshwater bodies of the Murray River estuary on the east side to the the generally placid maritime waters of the Gulf St Vincent on the west.

 Immediately south, across the unpredictably choppy Backstairs Passage, lies Kangaroo Island. It forms a leaky but calming protective plug, keeping the Southern Ocean out of the Gulfs St Vincent and Spencer.

Of Backstairs Passage, the pithy Captain Matthew Flinders wrote "It forms a private entrance, as it were, to the two gulphs, and I named it Backstairs Passage." 

A good Navy man of that day would understand the depth of these things. 

Looking north up St Vincent, there are many piles and piers which are lonesome old remnants of great business long washed away. 

Ocean smote them jarrah giants, ocean gonna smite your Colourbond Tupperware seaside villa rash, you old fools. 

This is Encounter Bay, above and below, where the French Baudin encountered the British Flinders in 1802. Not sure whether they were still at war, they managed to avoid firing upon each other and instead swapped intelligence.

And British Admiralty rum for the finest cognac south of Zanzibar.

They were insane distances and time scales from their 'old world' ports. Neither of them made it home. In the meantime, they got on with the job.

One wonders what the original people thought as they stood in these dunes and watched these enormous alien vehicles.

They were soon to learn what the English would coolly, brutally impose.

Trust me, I'm British: discussing spears on Rapid Bay: this is the first cartouche, or official mapping seal of the state of South Australia

The French explorer Baudin named this peninsula after his sponsor Captain Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu, former Minister of Marine and Quartermaster to the emperor  Napoleon's household.

Flinders named Gulf St Vincent after his Admiralty sponsor, Right Honorable John Spencer, Earl St Vincent. Baudin had named the same gulf after Bonaparte's mistress, Josephine, not knowing that Bony had already replaced her with Marie Louise and chose then to call it Louisa's Gulf. The Poms won.

all photos by Philip White

1 comment:

Tony Titheridge said...

Matthew Flinders did indeed make it home to England. After his imprisonment, he made it home in 1810, dying in 1814 before seeing his published works.