Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another William Charles Wentworth

Remember William Charles Wentworth?

He's the one who was born at sea. His parents were convicts.  Or at least one of them was.

He became a successful lawyer and spoke out about various governors of the time.

That's about all I remember.

Anyway, I had added his grandson to my list. And today is my date with him.

Hello Mr. Wentworth.

We spent two nights at a hotel on Wentworth Avenue. This is the room that smelled like smoke. Besides that, it was an okay place.

I better go chat with Lord Wiki....

Wentworth was born on 7 September 1907.

He's a Virgo.

In numerology, he's a 6.

I was just going to say both of my nieces are 6's. But I double checked and Darcy is a 7 like me! I'm so excited. I can totally picture her being a 7. She is one of the most inquisitive kids I've ever met.

Ellie is a 6.

6 is about family.

That fits Ellie.

I got something wrong. Our Wentworth for today is not the grandson of my past Wentworth victim. He's the great grandson. Oops.

Wentworth was born in Sydney. His father was a barrister. Great Grandpa was into law as well. What about grandpa?

Wentworth went to school at The Armidale School. Lord Wiki says that's in northern New South Wales. I'm looking for it on Google Maps now.

It's six hours north of Sydney. I'm guessing either the family moved there, or Wentworth did the boarding school thing. It seems to me though, being a big city, Sydney would have good enough schools there. Although maybe there's something special about Armidale that Wentworth couldn't find in Sydney.

Lord Wiki says the town is known for big hailstorms. We have those here in Fort Worth too. They're so loud!

For his university studies, Wentworth went to Oxford. Didn't his great-grandpa do this too? I think he left Australia to get an education. I'm too lazy to go back and check that post though.

Anyway, actually....it seems that Australians going to Oxford for their education isn't that rare.

Wentworth returned to Australia when he was twenty-three. I guess that would be 1930.

For a short while, he worked at Lever Brothers Factory in Balmain, Sydney. How short of a while? I don't know. Days? Weeks? Months? A few years?

Lord Wiki says Lever Brothers manufactured soap. They closed in 1988. They were the first ones to have a brand name imprinted on the soap; also the first to be wrapped in paper. First in Australia, or first in the whole wide world? I'm going to assume it's the the latter.

After he worked in the factory, Wentworth became a secretary to the attorney-general of New South Wales. Then he went to work for New South Wales as an economic adviser. He quit in 1937 out of protest. Lord Wiki says Wentworth didn't like the timid economic policies.

Lord Wiki says Wentworth was a fan of Keynesian Economics. I've never heard of that. I guess I shall be learning something new today.

It comes from a British guy with the last name Keynes.

This economic stuff always goes way over my head. From what I'm reading though it seems pertinent to what's going on currently in our little world. Well, it doesn't involve Susan Boyle or the Swine flu; but it does involve stimulating the economy.

I think what it's saying is sometimes you can't depend on the private sector to save the economy. Sometimes the government has to step in.

Is that the right thing to do? I really don't know. I sort of think it is, but I could be wrong. As for the bail-outs, I totally don't understand that. It seems to me that major bail-outs are needed, but does it have to be for big evil corporations? I think the government should bail out all the people with credit card debt instead. I saw a really depressing documentary about that the other day. There were these people who say the only way they can get out of debt is to die. And some of them commit suicide. I don't think all of them are completely innocent. Too many of us buy much more than we can afford. But then the companies are at fault too because they push people to do it. Credit card companies are so aggressive in getting new victims.  And how many commercials have I seen where we're told Buy now! Pay later!

Back to Wentworth.....

He was in the army from 1941 to 1943; mostly administration stuff. I guess this means he wasn't much involved with violent fighting.

In the 1943 election he ran as an independent for the seat of Wentworth. I wonder if he felt he'd win since he had the right name.

I'm actually not sure if he won or not. Lord Wiki says he polled 20% of the vote against the leader of the United Australia Party, Eric Harrison. So, does that mean he lost? I'm guessing it does. Maybe? Did Harrison have 80% of the vote then?

Why do I feel so confused today?

Jack just came to sit on my lap, saw who I was writing about, and asked if I was doing a remake. He remembers me writing about the other Wentworth.

In 1945, Wentworth joined the Liberal Party which Menzies had just started. Then in 1949 he was elected to the House of Representatives. He'd be about thirty-eight by that time. I'm getting close to that age.

Lord Wiki says Wentworth was so anti-communist, even members of his own party called him excessive. He sounds like America's Joseph McCarthy.

He used Parliamentary Privilege to make accusations against people, including the leader of the Labor Party. He believed the Labor Party would bring Communism to Australia.

Wentworth did other things besides seeing red.

He was involved with the Government Members Committee on Rail Gauge Standardization.

I better go look that up.

Okay. I think it's about the tracks; the distance between the two parallel rails. In Australia, there are three types of gauges: Standard, Cape, and Irish.

What I'm getting is Wentworth was the chair of the committee, and they tried to open up more transportation possibilities. But this does cost a lot of money.

In 1961, Wentworth's work led to a single gauge line from Sydney to Melbourne. So before that, you couldn't take a train to Melbourne? I'm confused.

I'm trying to remember the train company in Australia. I just Googled City link Australia and got a Melbourne thing. Maybe it's Country link. Yeah! That's it. It takes about eleven hours to get from Sydney to Melbourne. I'm not sure I could stand doing that after a long plane flight. We have thought about taking one of the long train rides. I'd love to do the Indian-Pacific (Sydney to Perth). Maybe if we're ever in Australia for several months.....

Besides trains and Communists, Wentworth also had an interest in Aboriginal affairs. He supported the constitutional referendum which was supposed to allow the Commonwealth to make legislation that benefits Indigenous Australians.

In 1968, Wentworth became the first Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

He wanted to give Gurindji people, from the Northern Territory, land rights at Wave Hill Station. Aren't these the people the "From Little Things Big Things Grow people?" Let me check....

Yep, it's the people led by Vincent Lingiari.

It wasn't until Whitlam though that the land right thing was achieved. But maybe we can say Wentworth paved the way.

The funny ironic thing is the Cattle Producers Council accused the movement of being Communist. I wonder how Wentworth felt about that.

Wentworth didn't like Sneddon. He led the motion in the Liberal party to replace him with Fraser for party leader. But then once Fraser was leader, Wentworth had grief with him as well. Because he was into the whole Keynesianism thing, he was unhappy with Fraser's budget cuts.

He resigned from the Liberal Party in October 1977. That's the month and year my little sister was born!

Lord Wiki says that Wentworth voted against his own party more than any other representative. It sounds like he was a free-thinker in some ways.

He tried to return to politics in 1995, but I don't think he won the election.

He retired to North Queensland.

He died in 2003.

I'm done with Lord Wiki.

Now I'll see if there's anything else exciting out there. It might be hard with Google because Great Grandpa Wentworth will probably keep showing up. I had the same problem with William McMahon. It's hard to research someone when they have a more famous relative.

The best thing to do is probably Google his name along with words he's associated with. That might work.

First, I'll try Wentworth with Communism.

This ABC website has a thing about various Aussie dynasties including the Wentworth one. They also have one on the Kidman's. Maybe they can finally answer my question about whether Nicole Kidman is part of the dynasty.

Well, I don't see her on here, but maybe she's a distant cousin or something.

There's a woman on the site. Joan Wentworth Weekes. Her great grandfather was William Charles Wentworth, but I'm not sure if she was the sibling of today's topic or a cousin.

Here's an obituary from the UK.

They say Wentworth and his wife did long treks in the Northern Territory, visiting the Indigenous Australians. They also say he was interested in finding ways to combat the Greenhouse Effect. Wow. He sounds more like a Labor politician than a Liberal one. But I think in those days, Liberals were often less to the right than they are today.

The Australian press called him Billy.

He remained anti-Communist even when this sentiment because less popular. When Mao Zedong (AKA Mao Tse-Tung) died, he refused to join others in a moment of remembrance. He considered Tse-Tung to be as bad as Genghis Khan. When I think of Genghis Khan, I think of that movie Night in the Museum. See? In many ways, I AM one of those ignorant Americans.

He established the Canberra Institute for Aboriginal Studies. I can't find it easily via Google so I'm guessing it doesn't exist anymore. Either that or the name has changed.

Now I'm going to google Wentworth with rail gauge.

Here's something. In 1996, The University of Sydney gave Wentworth an honorary doctorate. The website has the chancellor's speech which includes some information about Wentworth.

He graduated from Oxford with a degree in classics. Interesting. I think he's the first person I've researched who got a degree in that.

In 1939, he wrote something called Demand for Defense; warning Australia against the Japanese.

It was poor eyesight that kept him from fighting in the war.

Wentworth still kept active and busy though. He studied Japanese infiltration techniques, then as captain he used techniques to prove Australia wasn't ready for the Japanese. This made some people unhappy and he was asked to leave the army.

Wentworth seems like the kind of guy who speaks out at risk of losing friends, popularity, and prestige. It's hard for me to know how to judge these people. I guess I admire them for speaking their mind. I think it's brave. Right now on Twitter, Dr. Jay Gordon is speaking out against the Swine Flu panic. He says, How do I say this nicely? Allowing people to think they were really in danger was irresponsible and immoral.

I tend to feel he's the voice of reason in a time of ridiculous sensationalism. But then part of me thinks what if the Swine Flu DOES kill it us all? Then we'll see Gordon as a guy who should have shut up.

I think most mainstream movements begin with one or two crazy fanatics. We laugh at them. We criticize them for being irresponsible. And then later they're seen as not being so crazy anymore. Of course Gordon isn't really that crazy or alone in his opinion. I think a lot of people feel this way about the Swine flu. But he is speaking out against the usual big shots of the medical community. 
He says; And the AAP, AMA, AAFP and CDC should have stepped out there long ago to add some science to put brakes on the panic. They did not.

I think that's brave of him.

I like Gordon.

I like Wentworth.

I'm not sure I agree with either of them on everything. But I agree with them on SOME things and I respect them for speaking out for what they believe.

Wentworth promoted the idea of open-cut coal mining. What is that? Well, I'm not sure if I understand this right. Lord Wiki says it involves extracting and removal. I guess it's the mining that's different from the one in which people go underground.

I'm guessing that's hard on the environment, but I don't know enough about all that to have a valid educated opinion.

Here's another UK obituary....

By the way, I know I'm not talking much about the actual subject I'm googling (rail, communist, etc.) I'm just using those terms to get me to articles about the right Wentworth. But it doesn't mean the article says anything that interesting about the rail or communist.

 I hope I'm making sense here.

The obituary says Wentworth
was an Australian MP with a brain that teemed with endless schemes, all meant for his country's good; but he was never a man for half-measures or for guarding his tongue, and these characteristics told against him.

Yeah. I like that kind of person. The only time I don't like them is when they can't handle people having a different opinion. Passionate debate is one thing. Being nasty is another. I've met other bloggers via my blog who I admire for their strong outspoken opinions. They proudly speak their mind. Sometimes I agree with them, and sometimes I greatly admire their independence and brilliance. But then later I find that some of these people become less lovely once you don't agree with them on something. I'm not saying I'm perfect. I sometimes look down at someone because they don't share my opinion. I sometimes think that I'm right and the other people are wrong. But I TRY to look at things with their point of view. Actually honestly, I try NOT to look at things from their point of view because it makes me question my own opinions. Then I'm full of self-doubt and confusion. I become a stressed out emotional mess. Yet despite the turmoil it causes, I'd rather be like this than someone who is overly secure in their opinions. I'd rather be a little too open-minded than closed-minded.

There are a few subjects I'm incredibly closed-minded about. The only one I can think of offhand is gay-marriage and gay adoption. I CAN understand why individuals might be PERSONALLY against this for religious reasons. But I can't in ANY way understand why their opinions and beliefs gets to effect the law and other people's personal liberty. It makes me sick.

What else am I closed-minded about? Let's see..... shaking babies, human genocide, drowning kittens, child molestation, Munchasan by Proxy, drunk-driving...... I don't think anyone could convince me that these things aren't horrible.

I'm totally off on a tangent here. Let me get back on track. But should that be a standard track, a cape one, or Irish. one Ha ha. I'm being so funny. I just felt like my Grandma Goldie for some reason. I can imagine her trying to make a dumb joke like that.

Wentworth didn't get along very well with people on the left since he was constantly accusing them of being Communist. They yelled back at him, calling him a liar and Fascist.

At one time, someone in the Labour party dressed up in a white coast. He tried to make himself look like an asylum doctor. He approached Wentworth, quietly summoning him. They were trying to make Wentworth look as if he had escaped the asylum. I guess it was supposed to be a funny. It kind of reminds me of when The Opposition had a cardboard cut out of Rudd in Parliament.

The obituary says that Wentworth was on the right when it came to foreign affairs, but more on the left when it came to economics. I know from experience that it's hard to be in the middle. You can end up feeling that you don't fit anywhere. I was like this when Jack was a baby. We followed a parenting style that's called attachment parenting. Yes, a ridiculous name because it implies that other parents are not attached to their children. But let's not get into that now. We followed certain aspects of AP parenting that made us weird and different to mainstream parents. We breastfed. We used a sling. We co-slept. This separated us from the many parents in Fort Worth whose babies sleep in a crib, spend most of the time in an infant carrier, and drinks infant formula. I felt different from these people.  A bit alienated. Yet it was hard to find comradeship with other AP parents because they often promoted choices we had not chosen. Jack was born in a hospital. We had him circumcised, and he had all his shots. When you're speaking with tolerant people, none of these differences matter. Tolerant people accept differences even when they disagree with them. But many people aren't accepting of differences.. And when you choose the middle-of-the-road, you get hit by both ends. That's why I avoid parenting message boards online. Those places are full of bitches.

Back to the Wentworth Obituary. It talks about the Japanese invasion thing. In 1942, Wentworth led seventy soldiers in a simulation. They penetrated the beach barriers; seized vehicles; stopped all train movements; threw the local army, police and fire brigade into confusion; made off with Bren gun carriers; and captured the unit headquarters. They then carried out a token demolition of Sydney's main munitions depot. The Army's counter-attack was to transfer Captain Wentworth to the reserve.

Wow. That guy sure had some Chutzpah!

Wentworth missed the big ground-breaking event of the Sydney to Melbourne train. He was in Canberra on business. His wife was mad at this. She held up a sign that said, Where's Wentworth? Who did she blame for him not being there? Her husband himself? Canberra? The people who scheduled the train event?

Wentworth was upset about Aboriginal dialects disappearing. This is one of the reasons he set up the Institute for Aboriginal Studies.

He was struck by a car when he was ninety, but recovered. That's impressive!

Here's something funny. I'm tempted to think it's a joke. He The obituary says he was married in Reno, Nevada. What? Really? I can't find anything else about their wedding. I guess I'll believe it for now. Does anyone know differently?

It seems Wentworth was also supportive of women's rights. He divided his estate evenly between his four children regardless of gender. Before that, the Wentworth's would give their land to make heirs only.

Wentworth might have been a bit to overreative when it comes to Communism, but besides that he seems like a pretty decent guy.