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Community Service Announcement
Cheap theatre & concert tickets
Melbourne Fringe Jazz Festival
Mothers Day at Cruden Farm
Jumps Racing
Melbourne Folk Music Club
Donkey Shelter Open Day
An opera for singles
Last week’s quiz
Into the Woods
La Mama for kids
Save the planet – listen to quiet music
Reader Feedback
Classical Music
Buddha’s Day
Last minute Mothers Day gifts
The White Hat Quiz

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Community Service Announcement

Sunday is Mothers Day. Ring your mother!


Cheap theatre & concert tickets

Even though a show may be ‘sold out’, most major venues keep aside a certain number of tickets until the last minute to cater for visiting dignitaries, ticketing stuff-ups, promotions opportunities (“I’m sorry Mr Rudd, we’re sold out. Ah, Ms Hilton I think we can fit you and your friends in – can we just take a little photograph?”) At around 6pm in Melbourne these tickets start to get released to those in the know at reduced prices.

Now, it is a while since we have bought tickets this way because we have a certain dignity to maintain which precludes us to being seen to queue up for cheap tickets. However, you riff-raff seem to place no store in respectability – I’ve seen your Facebook page – so you might want to check it out.

Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.


Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival

The Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival starts this week. Sometimes the word ‘fringe’ is a warning signal for lots of attitood but not much craft or talent. That’s not the case with the Jazz Fringe Festival. There are numbers of fine musicians and groups performing. Details at The White Hat Guide to Jazz in Melbourne.


Mothers Day at Cruden Farm

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch who recently celebrated her 100th birthday is throwing open her wonderful Cruden Farm Garden on Mothers Day. All proceeds will go to the aid public and private gardens, including those devastated in the recent bushfires. The cost is $10 for adults with children free. No booking is required. Take along mum and a picnic.

Rupert – ring your mum!


Jumps Racing

“You talk of riders on the flat, of nerve and pluck and pace—
Not one in fifty has the nerve to ride a steeplechase.
It’s right enough, while horses pull and take their fences strong,
To rush a flier to the front and bring the field along;
But what about the last half-mile, with horses blown and beat—
When every jump means all you know to keep him on his feet.”

With the spate of recent falls we may have seen the end of jumps racing in Victoria. Over the years it has taken a terrible toll on horse and man. In the early days of European settlement, the horse was key to survival. The horse functioned as car and ute, the draft horse as truck and tractor and the bullock dray was the B-double. Kids rode to school four on the back of a horse. Stock grazed inland Australia kept in check only by the skill of horse and horseman. The Kelly Gang could stay on the run so long and cover vast territories through the skill of the horsemanship, and when riding a horse at speed through the bush you had to be able to jump. No wonder the crowds gathered to watch the horse racing, but especially ‘the jumps’.

“When any slip means sudden death—with wife and child to keep—
It needs some nerve to draw the whip and flog him at the leap—
But Corrigan would ride them out, by danger undismayed,
He never flinched at fence or wall, he never was afraid;
With easy seat and nerve of steel, light hand and smiling face,
He held the rushing horses back, and made the sluggards race.

He gave the shirkers extra heart, he steadied down the rash,
He rode great clumsy boring brutes, and chanced a fatal smash;
He got the rushing Wymlet home that never jumped at all—
But clambered over every fence and clouted every wall.
You should have heard the cheers, my boys, that shook the members’ stand
Whenever Tommy Corrigan weighed out to ride Lone Hand.”

In Australia, the steeplechase and poetry seemed to go together. One of the finest jumps horsemen Australia ever saw was a fellow called Adam Lindsay Gordon. You can find a small monument to him on the highway near Victoria’s oldest jumps track in Coleraine. When he came to Melbourne he held the record for riding the largest number of jumps winners in one day at Flemington. It is not surprising that he turned his attention to poetry, one of his collections should be called Buah Ballada and Galloping Rhymes.

Banjo Paterson (unlike Henry Lawson) was also a fine horseman so it is not surprising that he gave us our most enduring poem about man and horse. It is interesting that many Australians do not know the important role he played in WWI as an officer and organiser of horses and men for the Light Horse. But it is no surprise that he would write a poem in praise of Melbourne’s greatest jumps jockey, Tommy Corrigan, and how those in Ballarat in the height of the 1890s depression would gather together what they had to lay a bet on Tommy and Lone Hand.

“They were, indeed, a glorious pair—the great upstanding horse,
The gamest jockey on his back that ever faced a course.
Though weight was big and pace was hot and fences stiff and tall,
“You follow Tommy Corrigan” was passed to one and all.
And every man on Ballarat raised all he could command
To put on Tommy Corrigan when riding old Lone Hand.”

Tommy died in a fall at the Grand National Steeplechase at Caulfield in 1894. His funeral procession was two miles long and 100 jockeys and trainers preceded his coffin into Melbourne into Melbourne General Cemetery. It was probably the first time any of the jockeys had been in front of Tommy Corrigan.

“But now we’ll keep his memory green while horsemen come and go;
We may not see his like again where silks and satins glow.
We’ll drink to him in silence, boys—he’s followed down the track
Where many a good man went before, but never one came back.
And, let us hope, in that far land where the shades of brave men reign,
The gallant Tommy Corrigan will ride Lone Hand again.”

Adam Lindsay Gordon with vision problems had given up jumps racing and followed his passion of poetry. Next time you listen to the last movement of Elgar’s Sea Pictures which make use of Gordon’s poem The Swimmer note how he compares the exhilaration of swimming far out through the surf with the exhilaration of the jumps jockey.

“Oh great white horses, you gather and gallop . .
I would ride as never man has ridden . . ”

There is a statue in Spring Street of Gordon in his riding boots with saddle underneath his chair. There is also a bust in Westminster Abbey – the only bust to an Australian writer. Next time you are passing Spring Street or Westminster Abbey (and I know that we have several hundred subscribers in London) we suggest you pause for a moment to reflect on the possible end of jumps racing in Victoria and raise a metaphorical glass to Gordon, Paterson, Corrigan and Lone Hand.



A new fashion night market called Style After Dark is running on Thursday nights at South Melbourne Market.

The Yarra Glen Craft Market is to wind up next month with its last market on June 7th. For compact details on what markets are on in each region of Victoria go to our home page and select the appropriate month from the drop down menu called ‘Market Planners’.


Melbourne Folk Music Club

When does folk music become world music? When does folk music become ‘filk’ music? Where have all the flowers gone? Discuss these and similar questions each Saturday at the Melbourne Folk Music Club in Brunswick. Jam along or just listen. Details at The White Hat Guide to Folk & World Music in Melbourne

Ring your mother. She’s already picked up the mail and there’s no card from you.


Donkey Shelter Open Day

This weekend is open day at the Donkey Shelter in Eltham. Take the kids along. Details at The White  Guide to Activities for Children in Melbourne


An opera for singles

This week, Lyric Opera are staging Purcell’s short Opera Dido and Aeneas in Prahran. (Maybe that needs a comma somewhere so it doesn’t sound like Iphigenia in Tauris.) Lyric Opera’s productions are usually contemporary and entertaining. Queen Dido of Carthage enjoys a one night stand with the passing prince Aeneas. This one night stand lasts for several months (things happened slower in the classical era) and in meantime Aeneas does some huntin, shootin and fishin. Then Aeneas announces to his sailors that they’re going to up-anchor and move on and found Rome. The sailors sing:

“Come away fellow sailors, come away,
Your anchors be weighing,
Time and tide will admit no delaying.
Take a boozy short leave of your nymphs on the shore
And silence their yearning with vows of returning
While never intending to visit them.
While never, no never,
Intending to visit them more.”

Does that bring back memories and were you a sailor or a nymph? Meanwhile knows that in opera, as in life, there are only two options. You can either go mad or you can kill yourself in a manner that allows for a lengthy dying aria. If any of you ladies out there have recently had a disappointing short term relationship and are thing of going mad we recommend you study Dame Joan. She has probably gone publicly mad more times than anyone else in Australia. If on the other hand you choose the death and aria route we suggest that like Dido you study the passacaglia. There won’t be a dry eye in the house and he’ll feel really, really stupid that he let you go. Then again, he’ll be alive and you won’t.

You can find details of Lyric Opera’s performance of Dido and Aeneas at The White Hat Guide to Opera in Melbourne.

Aeneas – ring Aphrodite. It’s Mothers Day.


Last week's quiz

Leanne was first in:

Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.


Into The Woods

If you enjoy a musical that makes you hum along but also makes you think, you can’t go past Stephen Sondheim. There are performances of ‘Into the Wodds at Melbourne Uni. Details at The White Hat Guide to Musicals in Melbourne


La Mama For Kids

La Mama – the tiny theatre near Lygon Street – has a special presentation coming up for kids.

Ring your mother. No point sending an email - she only reads them once a week.


Save the planet - listen to quiet music

In our Environmental Sustainability Newsletter last week we wrote: “Recently at Federation Square there was a worthwhile awareness-raising exercise whereby a set of 20-odd bicycles were connected to generators. Over the week, workplace teams were invited to come and compete against each other and in the end the energy would be used to power a one hour popular music concert with its amplification and lighting. What I found interesting was that after a week of sweat and exertion I believe the one hour concert still had an energy deficit. Maybe when our parents and grandparents sat in their turtle neck sweaters in coffee shops listening to acoustic music by candlelight they were doing more for environmental sustainability than those of us who enjoy going to high energy rock concerts.”

Well, this weekend you have your opportunity to do your bit for the planet by going along to the Quiet Music Festival in one of Walter Burley Griffin’s incinerators. A wide range of acoustic music will be on offer. Details at The White Hat Guide to Music Festivals in Melbourne

If you would like to subscribe to our free Environmental Sustainabilty newsletter send an email to: environment@whitehat.com.au

Ring your mother. Use the landline, she never has her mobile turned on.


Reader Feedback

Last week, Julie asked about an installation called the Weather Harp.

“Artist: David Morgan http://www.sounddesign.unimelb.edu.au/web/biogs/P000600b.htm As stated on this webpage, The weather harp has been decommissioned and is now looking for a home.

“great job kids! -happy subscriber!

“The Newsletter is Great Stuff - keep it up !! I'm intrigued by quiz question 4: Where would you find........ 4. A building with a missing dome? If the dome is missing, then the building is "without" a dome, wouldn't you say ? but being "without" a missing dome is a kind of double negative, so perhaps that means it's got one ? I'd better go and have a few more nuts and berries.......
Best wishes Geoff”

“Your weekly news is the highlight of the week as so may have intimated but you have by far done the best Homage to Richard Pratt that anyone could have done "Bravo".


Classical music

This week you could go out and listen to Katia Skanavi plays Schubert & Chopin, the Essendon Choral Society perform Vaughan Williams & Faure, go to Rippon Lea and hear Faure & Brahms. Then again you could just stay home with a good red wine, put on a CD, and get Brahms & Liszt. Details at The White Hat Guide to Classical Music in Melbourne

Make a pre-emptive strike. Ring your mother now. If you leave it until Sunday you’ll hear the whole story of how everyone else has rung her and she was wondering if you would bother and how yours was the hardest labour of them all and it went for 14 hours and . . .


Buddha's Day

Next weekend is Buddha’s Day and there will be celebrations at Fed Square. Details at The White Guide to Ethnic Festivals in Melbourne


Last minute Mothers Day presents

If you haven’t bought a Mothers Day present yet, you can always get her a gift voucher which you can print out from your computer. You will find a number of activities which offer gift vouchers at The White Hat Guide to Romantic Places in Melbourne


The White Hat Quiz


This quiz can now be found at Australian Animals

You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.