Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Bell Tower and Waltzing Matilda

So guys, I totally have a job! :D In spite of my bum-tendencies, I am now an attendant at the previously mentioned Perth Bell Tower, which involves working the cash register and standing around on the 6th-floor observation deck to answer questions, take pictures for people, and make sure kids don't chuck stuff over the railing. ^_^ Despite the rather funny looking architecture (which has a hilariously detailed description of the symbolism -obviously a product of a bureaucratic committee), the story of the bells is actually pretty interesting. You know that old old nursery rhyme about the bells of London? "Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clemens, you owe me three farthings say the bells of St. Martins..." etc? Well, these are the actual bells of St. Martins! The 12 bells originally housed in St. Martins-of-the-Fields were cast in 1725 (making them a little shy of 300 years old!), but they installed crappy at St. Martins and slowly destroying the building. Also, by the 1980s they needed to re-tuned, so the people of St. Martins decided it was time for a new set of bells. But the bells of St. Martins were the only remaining 16th century Gregorian bells, so they couldn't really just melt them down. In steps a fantastic Perth business man, who arranges to have the bells given to the city of Perth and UWA in exchange for metal from the local mining industries to cast a new set of bells. The St. Martins bells are the only set to have ever left England, and after a re-tuning, sound amazing. ^^ I'm sure I'll be telling you guys more about it as I learn more of the history, but I'm kind of excited to be working at this place. I got to meet the guy who was responsible for getting the bells to Perth, and he's even been to New Mexico to see some of our mission bells! ^^ (Since starting work on Sunday, I've had that song from the Disney movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame stuck in my head.....And looking up that link may or may not have started a gluttony of youtube classic Disney songs. >.>)
The Perth Bell Tower, with the CBD behind it and the Swan River in front of it.

On another "job" front, I met with some geology profs/researchers today about possibly doing some geochemical prepping/sampling/etc for them. They're working on trying to see if Boron in corals can provide a proxy record for pH of the oceans, and thus to figure out this acidification of the oceans problem, so I might do some ICP/wet chem/clean lab work in addition to the lovely grunt jobs of cutting and grinding, etc. The labs themselves are not actually set up yet though, so I have to wait at least a month before they'll call me again. I liked both these researchers though (they took me to the uni club and got me a juice! :D I'm easy to please), and they know of both Zach and Yemani (in whose labs I've done some work), so that was a bonus. ^_^

Sailing continues to be awesome-sauce, though I'll have to skip one week for a geomorph field trip. Crossing my fingers that will be more fun than the lectures have been so far....

I have been very happily devouring books, and am currently working on The Silver Brumby, the Australian equivalent of Misty of Chincoteague. Pro tip #9: Read the children's books that everyone read as a kid. Entertaining and enlightening.

Also, it’s high time I introduced you to the unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda. The lyrics are a poem by Banjo Paterson, written in 1895. I like this version for the vocab lesson and this version for the pretty pictures (plus Slim Dusty was the one who sang Waltzing Matilda at the Sydney Olympics), but this version makes me want to cry too. Though there is a lot of contention about this and other “out-dated” models of what it means to be Australian (or at least what it meant to be poor, white, rural Australian men in the 19th and early 20th centuries), pretty much everyone has to agree that this song is an important part of the historical and cultural identity of Australia. 

On a more recent cultural note, Nicholas linked me this song, because "Apparently in London you can find the Australian expatriates by playing this song loudly, and listening for people singing along." However, it makes me smile hugely because it mentions Santa Fe in the first line! :DDD Also, I'm just a total sucker for shiny lights and cute men in bell-bottoms. ;P

p.s. Whooo, double digits of Followers! ^_^


  1. Wow, I've heard this song many times but this is the first time I've listened to it. You have two links to Andre and the big crowd (it made me cry too) and I missed the vocab lesson. I've been listening to different versions of this song all afternoon. Thanks sweetie, I love you.

  2. I couldn't figure out how to just link you up but the article was in "The New Yorker" April 27, 2009 page 22 -- "The Bells". I goes deeply into what these bells can mean to people. Love you.

  3. Hey, I fixed the first link to the "vocab" lesson video, thanks for pointing that out dad. ^^ Also, APPARENTLY there are better versions than the Andre Rieu rendition, so look for me posting more Waltzing Matilda links later. Good lord, this song is going to be etched into my brain at this rate..... ^^;

  4. Nice. Like the music history... I knew virtually nothing about that song... and I'm a sucker for music. THIS is MY favorite Waltzing Matilda... Definitely makes ME want to cry...