A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

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Another Country Diary

After about a week of these diary entries, they go to the archive.
31 July '04
St Marys Church, BungendoreWhile I've seen lots of weddings in the Bungendore churches, surprisingly this is the first I've photographed. St. Mary's is the local Catholic church and it's been around in Bungendore for a long time. The foundation stone was laid in 1851 and everyone then seemed to get distracted by the local gold rush because it wasn't completed until 1863. It was extended in 1875 and the shingle roof replaced in 1907.
Bridesmaid at wedding in St.Marys church BungendoreThe early Irish settlers in the Bungendore area ensured that there was an active Catholic congregation. There was a church school in the grounds until 1882, when the local convent (see diary entry here) and Mother Mary McKillop's 'Brown Josephites' took over the church schooling in 1888.

Now it's a pretty and popular place for weddings for the region.
Bride and groom, wedding St.Marys BungendoreAs a concession to the winter cold, the women in this bridal party were wearing fake fur wraps, the bride had white, the others as you can see, a lovely two-tone grey and mauve (purple?) to match the gerbera posies.

I overheard someone say "We'll meet you down at The Royal" so I presumed the wedding reception was there, so they're almost certainly a local couple.
Beside the $40 'greenhouse' on the shed verandah is a large much more expensive BMW bike. My mate Doug rode down from Sydney and joined his wife Susan for an overnight stay with us. Susan works for one of the big North Shore hospitals and was working in the Canberra region. Doug had just bought a new set of tailored 'leathers' and wanted to try them, and the handle warmers on a long ride.
Doug arrived (cold) in time for Saturday lunch and we had an afternoon walk around the village and time to sit by the fire, before we headed into Canberra for dinner at The Ottoman. We've had some great meals there and suggested their degustation menu, and with some local wines the meal was considered a success. (The last time we took Doug out it was to Chairman and Yip also one of our favourites but it was a busy Saturday night and the experience wasn't as great as we'd built it up.)
You see, Doug's a foodie (and been mentioned before in the diary) and we've eaten together in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Rome and lots of places in between. He's great to go to dinner with because he has a good wine cellar and does all the right things of sending the wine ahead, letting it rest, having it opened to breathe etc. He couldn't carry any wine on his bike so he was at my mercy this time. I think we got away with it. Nice hat Doug but a touch SS?
Saturday 14 August
Talking about food - Mark Lloyd who along with his brother Paul runs Coriole wineries in South Australia's McLaren Vale, was at Flavours at Fyshwick for a 'tasting' of their wine and farm products. They've created what the Italians call a fattoria, an extended product offering along with wine, locally made cheese, almonds, vinegars, olives, and their quality olive oil.
I've written up the session for the Regional Food site but I wanted to share here something that I found interesting.

One of the white wines was called Lalla Rookh. When I asked about the name. Mark explained that it was the name of the old cottage on their property and came from the title of an early 1800's Thomas Moore book about an Indian princess called Lallah Rookh. He also said that he'd been told that there was a large oil painting painting of aforesaid Lallah Rookh in a Sydney pub, (the Criterion?) and it gave the pub it's nickname. He also said it was the (white) given name of Truganini the last full-blooded Tasmanian aborigine.

That was enough to start me on a web hunt for more information. The late 1700 to early 1800's period of the Romantic poets attracts me (as does the later Victorian period). The clear need for escape from the Industrial Revolution - an upheaval that was changing everyone's lives gave us Goethe, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Keats. Thomas Moore might not have been in that league and his work was..

...criticized by Francis Jeffery, a critic from the Edinburgh Review, as "the most licentious of modern versifiers, and the most poetical of those who, in our time, have devoted their talents to the propagation of immorality" and his book was referred to as a "public nuisance." Moore challenged Jeffery to a duel at Chalk Farm (a popular spot for settling differences between gentlemen). The police interrupted the event, and Jeffery's pistol was found to be unloaded.

(In this period) Orientalism was popular, although there was no distinction made between mid-East, India, and far-Eastern. Moore contracted with (Longman publishers for a 3000 pound advance)  to produce "a metrical romance on an Oriental subject", which was to be at least as long as (sir Walter) Scott's Rokeby. Unfortunately for Moore, he was still researching and writing this epic (Lalla Rookh -An Oriental Romance) when Byron's The Giaour was published in 1813. Other problems delayed Moore's work, and when it finally appeared in 1817 it was successful. Source

I found a fragment of the book here and these lines below gives an idea of the style,

His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;
And, bursting into heart-felt tears,
"Yes, yes," she cried, "my hourly fears
My dreams have boded all too right--
We part--for ever part--to-night!
I knew, I knew it could not last--
'Twas bright, 'twas heav'nly, but 'tis past!


Soppy and fanciful it may be, the long poem must have had an effect on a lot of people at the time, and for years after. Many of the popular artists were seeking to escape the period's repressed sexuality through their painting and writing. The story of an Eastern princess travelling to meet her husband, who gets trapped in a harem, and of passionate love was very exotic. It's hard to imagine anyone in this Mills & Boon era reading a long verse poem for popular entertainment.

The story inspired Tenniel (whose Alice through the Looking Glass illustrations are now our mental images of Alice and friends) to illustrate an edition of the book and this painting by Francis Wyburd. And there's probably still that painting of Lallah Rookh in that Sydney pub (anyone know where?). Melbourne's Young & Jackson nude of 'Chloe' comes to mind of the same period when it was ok to show naked attractive women in the name of art... in a pub.

That same exotic quality must have been why Truganini was given the name. That's her image on a 1975 Australia Post stamp, and there's a portrait in the National Library collection and that's what I know of her appearance, and that is as an older woman (she died in 1876.) The question it poses was why she was given the name? Was it that she was attractive when younger, or was the name just used by the mid 1800's, as an exotic title for lots of 'foreign' things? There were also at least two sailing ships that shared the name and travelled the India routes and the Pacific and Australian waters.

Jack London in his book Mutiny of the Elsinore tells of a ship called Lallah Rookh and its bumbling crew who perished ..

"I remember one time when we sailed from San Francisco with a most hopeless crew. It was in the Lallah Rookh--you remember her, Mr. Pike?"

"Your father's fifth command," he nodded. "Lost on the West Coast afterwards--went ashore in that big earthquake and tidal wave. Parted her anchors, and when she hit under the cliff, the cliff fell on her."

And all that came from reading a label on a bottle of Coriole wine. I hold that it's a perfect example of the positive and intellectually stimulating effect of drinking ...

...now Mark, can I have just another taste of the Sangiovese? I'm not going to spit, and please tell me more about your trial planting of Sagrantino grapes. When Jan and I were in Montefalco on holiday in Umbria, we drank the...

There's a good hyper-linked Romantic period timeline of art and science here.

Fred Harden    
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden