Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mosman and Taronga Zoo

First of all.....I have a hard time spelling Taronga.   I spell it all kinds of ways.  Toronga.   Torongo.  Tarango.  

I just looked up the word Taronga.  I assumed it was an Aboriginal name and I'm right.  It means "water view".   

On our last trip to Australia, we arrived in Sydney and went to the zoo pretty early on in the trip.  I was a very Australian-obsessed girl and had no interest in looking at giraffes or other African animals.  I remember being much more interested in the fact that I could look past the giraffes and see the harbor and Opera House.

The Water View zoo.  When you get tired of looking at the animals, ignore them and look at the water.

Taronga Zoo is located in the Mosman suburb.  We didn't see much of Mosman in 2007.  We went on the ferry,  got off the ferry, and headed right to the sky lift thing.   I guess really the only parts of Mosman we saw were the ferry station and zoo.

Looking at Google Maps Now......

Mosman is located northeast of the Sydney CBD and slightly southeast of Manly.

Time to talk to Lord Wiki.

Mosman is named after a pair of twins--Archibald and George Mosman.  

They were granted four acres of land in 1831 and got themselves into whaling.   

You know, I have been hearing about this land grant thing a lot lately.   I really have no idea what it means.  

I think I shall look it up.  

Lord Wiki says a land grant is a gift of real estate.   Free land!   It's usually given by government to an individual as a reward.   In Australia, Britain gave land grands to released convicts.    Males received thirty acres if they were single.   They got fifty acres if they had a wife; and for each child they got an additional ten acres.  

Marines and other military people got more than that.

What about the women?  Huh?   I guess it wouldn't pay to be a single woman back in those days.   The Sex and the City days hadn't arrived yet. 

Lord Wiki says the land grants ended in 1831.  Wow.   I guess the Mosman brothers were one of the last to get such a lovely generous gift.  

The Eora tribe that inhabited Mosman before all these British land  grants were the Borogegal people.

One famous Borogelgal man was Bungaree.   Like Bennelong, he straddled between the Eoras and Europeans.  It does seem like Bungaree was more successful though.  From what I'm reading, it seems that maybe he was more respected than Bennelong.  Or maybe I'm imagining it.

Bungaree was both funny and intelligent--played the fool sometimes, but really wasn't a fool.  I guess he's kind of like Stephen Colbert.   He would greet ships as they came into Sydney Harbor and also made significant contributions to Australian navigation by accompanying Matthew Flinders on his explorations.  

Well, well well..... this website here conflicts with what Lord Wiki says.    Or at least I think it does.  Maybe I'm reading it wrong.   But I THINK it's saying that Bungaree wasn't a Borogelgal. He was brought over from the Broken Bay area and the white people gave him the role as the Borogelgal chief.

Isn't it nice when other people intrude and decide who your leader should be?  Actually, I wouldn't mind that.  I really enjoyed voting the other day.  I like picking a country's leader.   It would be awesome if I could just go around and pick the leaders of ALL the countries.   I can control the world!!!


Right now I need to stay at my desk and talk about Mosman.

The website says before the land grants happened, Governor Macquarie used the Mosman area for an experiment in trying to get the Eora people to be more like the white people.  Convicts were given the job of teaching them how to farm.   The farm experiment failed and that's when they decided to grant the land to the white people.    

Some of you may be learning all of this while watching the current SBS program The First Australians.   Consider yourself lucky because I can't access it!   When I get to the video, it says Geoblocked: This video is not available in your region.   That's really not fair.

Back to Mosman....

East of the zoo is a place called Chowder Bay.   It has some American influence.   The name came from American whalers who would make Chowder out of the abundant Oysters and Pipis.

I have no idea what a Pipi is.   Lord Wiki says it's shellfish.  AND it's also the name of a little red-headed girl.

Anyway, one American whaler named Captain Cliffe bought land there in 1832.  He wasn't GRANTED land because as we recall that all ended in 1831.   Cliffe named his property after himself.  Cliffeton.   And then that later become Clifton Gardens.    The area used to have a fancy hotel and now it's where rich people live.

Another person who had a strong influence on Mosman history was Richard Hayes Harnett.  He bought the land from the Mosman brothers and got all into the whole tourism thing.   He brought in more visitors, which brought in more money, which allowed them to make Mosman more pretty, which in term brought more tourists.

Could they do that with Redfern?  But it would have to be done in a way that the current residents could still live there.   I guess the best way to do this is have all the tourist venues be owned and/or operated by the Kooris.   Maybe they could have an interactive Indigenous history museum--aimed at children.  An art gallery?   A bush tucker restaurant.  Craft shops.  A performance hall.  They just need someone with the money and the heart to do this.    It would have to provide well-paying jobs for the locals and at the same time be interesting enough to bring in tons of tourists.  

Back to Clifton Gardens.  The Theosophical Society bought a mansion there in 1922.  They still own and run the place today.  

 Their Australian website  names their motto as being  There is no religion higher than truth.  I like that.

Lord Wiki lists their ideals as being

1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.

I like those.   Maybe this group is for me.   I should move to Mosman and join them.  Or should I move to Dulwich Hills which is a good numerology match for me?  

They're into Reincarnation and Karma.   Totally me!

The society is open to people of all religions.  You don't have to give up your old religion to join them.  
Like all things in the universe, Theosophy aint all lollipops and rainbows.  It has a dark side.  In a somewhat indirect way, it has connections to Nazism.   This website explains it pretty well.

I guess you can kind of compare it to Al-Queda having roots in Islam.    

It's all about people twisting ideas to turn them into excuses to dominate, abuse, and kill others.

I'm getting conflicting information now about the Manor.   The Australian Theosophical Society website lists their headquarters as being on Kent Street.   Lord Wiki says the Manor is still used by the society.   I'm going to believe the society's own website over Lord Wiki.  BUT if the society isn't using the manor, who IS using it?   Do they use it sometimes?   Is it empty?  

The manor is on Illuka Road if anyone wants to go and investigate for me.   Just knock on the door and say Hi!  Just wondering who lives here now.    Okay?   Or if not, I'll just stop by after we visit the zoo.

Speaking of the zoo, I've been rambling on and on and haven't really given much info about the zoo.

I'll try to talk about it as briefly as possible.  

It has animals.

There you go.