Today hardly anyone could forget yesterday

Today hardly anyone could forget yesterday by Cameron Hayes. 1996, oil on linen, 66 x 83 cms.

Memories take a more solid form for Australians in 1788. In fact today hardly anyone could forget yesterday. Newly landed settlers can not be bothered to spend the energy in having to re-establish their social identity in Australia. They go about merely trying to convince people of their past proven trustworthiness and charm rather than actually demonstrating it.

Dean Wallis manages his own board of testimonials clearly written for all to see, but only from the vantage point of the ocean – Europe (yesterday). Countess Beckendorff of Berlin writes “Mr Wallis proved to be most enjoyable company at parties which I attended”. W Dawson-Smith of Forthampton House writes “Mr Wallis was regarded as one of the most desirable and fashionable men of our social group”.

In England in 1788 there were no police. Everybody wanted police but the French had already thought of it and the British Parliament could not bear to be seen to be copying the French. As a result British citizens had to catch those that had stolen from them, collect the evidence against them and then try them in court. A baker who had a dollar’s worth of bread stolen from him could spend up to a week getting justice. More energy was expended in pursuing the past rather than living in the present.

In Australia the transported British legal system perpetuates a need for punishment for personal pain where victims tirelessly pursue their offender. Malnourished settlers chase a mobile court of law encircled with hanging convicts in order to throw their vegetables at them. People busily hang their perceived wrongdoers up everywhere. In Australia in 1788 wood meant for the foundations of buildings were being used to make gallows.

Cameron Hayes: “This is about a world of people who could not deal with things present without using the past to contextualize them.

When the Whites first came to Australia, they couldn’t be bothered having to re-establish their position, character, or personality all over again as they had done in England.

So most of them spent their energy convincing people that they were really charming back home rather than having to start being charming all over again here.

Most new Australians carried testimonials from people back in England, saying that they were really funny and charming, that they were the life of many parties back home, and should automatically be regarded as desirable company by anyone who meets them in Australia.”

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One response to “Today hardly anyone could forget yesterday”

  1. molamdelove says :

    Reblogged this on Museum of Love and Mortality and commented:

    Happy Australia Day folks! Ancient and young, vast and small. I am very happy to be here. Enjoy the holiday!


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