Tuesday 11 March 2008

Historic launch

Cairns Historian Dr Timothy Bottoms, was the guest speaker at last evening's launch of candidate Janine Aitken, who is standing for Division 9.

This was held at James Cook University's Stinger's Bar.

PHOTO: Dr Timothy Bottoms; Janine Aitken Div 9 candidate; Val Schier Mayoral candidate; Ross Parisi, former City Councillor 1976-1989,1994/95

  • I was quite surprised when Janine Aitken asked me to talk at this evening’s launch.

    She has had the opportunity of carefully perusing my last major work A History of Cairns – City of the South Pacific 1770-1995.

    Her enthusiasm for the work has rather taken me off guard, for, as you are no doubt aware, the current tired incumbent, and autocratic Council, having inherited me as the commissioned writer; they then incredibly denied you – the ratepayers, access to the work. It is truly refreshing to meet an intelligent young person who has the breadth of understanding and knowledge-base that Janine offers as a candidate for Division 9.

    She has readily agreed that there is a crying need for such a cosmopolitan, contextualised history of our region. For History is our story; it puts our world in its perspective. It is precisely because it tells us who we are, and where we, as a community fit together, and have developed down through the ages. This is what is important.

    In the hurly-burly of day to day life, it is often very hard for us to gain perspective and to see where we fit into things, and to understand where our community has come from – and from that understanding, perhaps to gain some sense of where we might go in the future, and how we might avoid the mistakes of the past. This is what makes history important. It is precisely because human beings generally fail to understand or take into account their past; and have a nasty habit of living only in the immediate present, that each generation has a tendency to repeat idiocies of the past.

    If one looks at the past, particularly with regard to creative and advanced civilisations, the question always arises as to why the majority of them suddenly disappeared. The current council is hell-bent on development at all costs and refuses to listen to concerned local citizenry. This one area alone will, in the long run, lead to disaster for our local population.

    The history of Cairns tells quite clearly of the destructive natural occurrences that have mauled the far north. Indigenous Storywaters or ‘Dreamings’ also tell of the rise of sea levels along the Cairns coastline. These correspond with other Indigenous Stories told around the rest of Australia and the world. The failure of ancient civilisations such as those of the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley of modern Iran, or the Indus Valley of modern Pakistan and a myriad of others, as well as in modern times, here in our own region, the Soldier-Settler Scheme from the First World War, inevitably stem from their failure to address environmental issues.

    We are aware of climate change and the need to factor in environmentally sensitive approaches to our lifestyles and our local communities. Janine and the Cairns 1st Team have that sensitivity and ability to listen to you their constituents. I might just remind you of the old expression that seems particularly pertinent to the current council: “A fish rots from the head down”.

    I therefore heartily recommend you / to a positive change for a better, more caring group of ‘people-candidates’ for the new Cairns Regional Council. Janine Aitken and Cairns 1st on Saturday 15th March.


Anonymous said...

Tim is absolutely correct, unless we know our true history we are like a ship at sea without a compass ... it is vital to know the answer to our question "who are we ?" - at a physical DNA level we are our ancestors ... our true history thus allows us to learn from their mistakes.

Whilst Tims book is True history, lets become aware of false history that is written for hidden agendas.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful speech by Tim, succinct and to the point. Go Janine!

Anonymous said...

Did you know that Electris Sno Ant tried to muscle his way with the University...the place where the launch took place.

He wanted the University to withdraw permission to use their facilities unless his double posters were put on display as well so that the audience could see his '2 faces have I' slogan.

He just doesn't get it....does he!!!