A modern-day (Tasmanian) parable

Easter Sunday dawned in Tassy and the natives awoke to three main news stories.


Firstly the Easter Bunny had arrived and I’d consumed the ears out of three chocolate rabbits before arising.


Secondly we met with a word unfamiliar to us in the southern outpost, Ominium. The nearest I’d heard of it was the prefix “omni” during trigonometry at high school. Then in later years the local Federal Member, Michael Hodgman QC OAM was often described as omnipresent. I recall one local grand final day he was guest speaker at two breakfasts at local hostelries. He then tossed the coin for the reserve grade grand final at North Hobart before heading to the Elwick racecourse for lunch, and suitable imbibitions at the Tasmanian Racing Club. By mid afternoon Hodgman, a long-serving committeeman, had presented the trophy to the winner of the Show Cup before exiting the track. Reports were that he then adjourned back to North Hobart oval to present the Tasmanian Football League premiership cup and mingle with patrons. I myself later partook of an evening meal and liquid refreshment at Peter Hudson’s well known Granada Tavern only to witness, in late evening, Hodgman refereeing a boxing tournament which was held in the entertainment area of the aforementioned tavern. Never short of a superlative, Hodgman was in later life more often than not described as ubiquitous.


Finally the North Melbourne circus was in town but the Greater Western Sydney Giants were, according to reports in the local press, here to win!


Lezzy and I had kindly received invitations to the corporate area at Blundstone Arena (Bellerive Oval) compliments of the new owners of our local tote, The Tatts Group. We thought it only fitting that we recover something out of the wreck considering how much we’ve pumped through the joint in a lifetime. The punt: curable only by death they say. We were resplendent in the latest early-season football supporter fashion: open necked shirts worn outside jeans and black dress shoes. We felt important.


Inside the ground we are met with spruikers, ticket sellers, merchandise stalls and the usual throng of important people. They looked important anyway. The local radio station 7HO FM had a broadcast point and were appropriately named “The Waterboys.” A news flash informed us that Mathew Newton had been arrested for resisting arrest somewhere. A nearby kid, upon hearing the news enquired of his father, “Well how did they arrest him, then, Dad?”


Adjacent to the main gate we meandered past the bronze statue of one of our many local idols, David Clarence Boon or Boonie as he is universally known. He looks like Victor Trumper but he cuts a dashing figure just the same. A quick look at our tickets revealed we were headed to the Pip Boon room. “That’s Boonie’s wife,” commented Les. “How would she have a room named after her, here? Isn’t this a cricket and footy ground?” Suddenly we felt less important.


The game got underway right on time as they do these days. Ours was scheduled for1:10pm EST and it soon took on a seasonal image. Like most things at Easter there is a processional slant to them and this was no exception. In fact the order of things went Bastinac, Edwards, Edwards, Edwards, Harvey, Petrie, McIntosh. The second quarter went McIntosh, Petrie, Adams, Bastinac, Anthony. I think you understand.


Half time arrived and the Giants hadn’t troubled anyone much, least of all the goal umpires. Just a few one-handed waves were all that was necessary


That left us not much to do except eat, drink and people watch. No sooner and James Brayshaw came out if his bunker for a half-time stroll around the boundary. He signed autographs, posed for happy snaps and soaked up almost all the limelight. It was suggested he was incandescent.


I turned to the bible. I often carry a bible these days and find it not only a great comfort but also very enlightening. And what a revelation it was.


Genesis: In the beginning God created the AFL. And the Lord (Demertiou) said let there be light (and there was James Brayshaw).


Numbers 1: “And the Lord (Demertiou) spoke unto Moses (Sheeds) in the wilderness of Sinai (Western Suburbs) and asked he take all the people from 20 (18) years of age and upward that are able to go forth to war (play) in Israel (AFL). Thou and Aaron (Choco) shall number them.


Judges: It came to pass that the children of Israel (GWS) asked the Lord (Demertiou) “Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites (Roos) first to fight against them. And the Lord said Judah (No. 26 Giles).


With that the third quarter commenced and it was more of the same. As the day progressed the Easter theme became more pronounced with a crucifixion the best assimilation, well and truly on the cards.


Meanwhile in the Pip Boon room a few well-known Hobartians continued to proceed back and forth to the fridge – a little bar fridge that always seemed full; fishes and loaves maybe. What had been a predominantly orderly day disintegrated somewhat. Another great leveler is drink. They drink anything at the finish. Winner there was local race-caller cum journo, “Seato”. His tally was 9 Pure Blondes, 3 Cascade Draught, 2 glasses of red, a half a glass of unfinished chardonnay and a gutful of goulash. Some said it was Hungarian I had doubts. I was hopeful that someone would call time both on and off the field and again I reached for the scriptures. Almost simultaneously the siren sounded. It was reminiscent of the knock off siren (bird) at Slate Rock & Gravel in the Flintstones. And, as they always do, the scriptures again provided guidance.


Joel: Awake, ye drunkards and weep; and howl, all you drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.


Basically they called time; “Time gentlemen. Time gentlemen PLEASE!”


Alone upon the Hill of Gareb (Jeremiah 31:19) stood Chad Cornes.


Unfortunately for the Children of Sinai (GWS), Moses (Sheeds) and Aaron (Choco) there is unlikely to be any form of resurrection soon, let alone in three days.




Daryl Sharpen


12 Apr 2012


  1. Love the diversity of cross cultural references in your work, Daryl. You’ve got the sacred and the profane well covered.
    I remember M Hodgman MHR in Canberra in the ’80’s. There is a striking physical resemblance between MH MHR and FFlintstone. But I doubt that MH would last long at Slate Rock and Gravel.
    Tassie politicians were a colourful lot in the Senate – the laid back (bordering comatose) Don Grimes (ALP) and the belligerent Shirley Walters (Lib). I remember Grimes calling out that Shirley was not as ‘Creamy’ at home – because she was thick and rich.
    He naturally withdrew this as unparliamentary language.

  2. s.b. known as ‘Creamy’. Cheers.

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