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Today's quote:

Tuesday, March 23, 2021


It’s a remote paradise between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Only a few thousand people live on the islands in the Torres Strait. They depend on a supply ship that sails to their isolated archipelago once a week. There are 274 islands in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, their white coral-sand beaches rising from warm, shallow waters. Around 20 of the islands are inhabited, with many several kilometers apart. The main island, Thursday Island, sounds like it could have been lifted from the pages of Robinson Crusoe. Residents who want to visit family or friends must do so by boat, having to deal with unpredictable tidal currents. Cargo ships from the mainland supply the islands with everything from food and medicine to cars and spare parts - and they don't always arrive on schedule. But Torres Strait Islanders have always used their great ingenuity to cope with the scarcity of resources. They include Ken, who’s currently working on a sculpture for the reopening of a local church, Paula, a midwife, and Sylvia, who reads the weather reports on local radio.

The house I used to live in - area highlighted in yellow - has been replaced by something much larger, but the one to the left of it which was my then neighbour's house, "Bluey" Douglas, skipper of MV Melbidir, is still standing. My office was a short walk away to the left of the red roof at the waterfront (which is, also conveniently, the FEDERAL HOTEL).


My serendipitous discovery of this excellent documentary by DEUTSCHE WELLE brought back many memories of a quaint place I lived and worked in for less than a year in 1977 but which I shall never forget: Thursday Island!

There are two little words I don't want to find myself uttering as an old man, and they are "If only ...". If only! We all have our own "if onlys". If only we had studied harder; if only we had stuck with that job ..."

And so, in early 2005, I travelled back to Thursday Island, if only to eliminate one "if only" and to confirm in my own mind that I couldn't have stayed much longer on the island even if my then boss, Cec Burgess, had been less of a crotchety old bastard - click here.

Socrates said that the unexamined life isn't worth living - what he actually said looked something like this ...

ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi

... to which Plato is said to have replied, "Keep it in the jar with the lid on or it will all dry up!"

Well, before it all dried up, and following Socrates' advice, I undertook that trip to T.I. for another examination of my own past: click here.

Googlemap Riverbend


P.S. You may also wish to read
"In search for meaninglessness"
"Who was German Harry?"
"Another flashback to Thursday Island"
"The World of Charmian Clift
"French Joe"
"Every boy's dream come true"
"The Thirsty Island"