Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alfred Deakin

Alfred Deakin.

He's the second Prime Minister, I believe. I learned that yesterday.

There's a university named after him.

I know two things. That's about it.

I guess I shall go and learn more.

Lord Wiki says that baby Alfred was born on 3 August 1856.

He would have been a Leo like Jack. Jack's birthday is in a few days. Actually, by the time I post this, he will already be eight-years-old.

The birthday website says Deakin is a 4 in numerology. That's something else he has in common with Jack. Although the calculator doesn't count the master numbers (11, 22, 33), so I have to check with my own calculator to make sure Deakin is a 4 and not a 22.

Okay. I just checked. Deakin is indeed a 4.

So, he has two things in common with my son.

Maybe Jack will end up being the second Prime Minister of a country. That would be cool.

Baby Alfred was born in Melbourne. His parents were both from the UK. They came to Australia in 1850.

The Melbourne suburb they lived in was Collingwood. I'm wondering if I wrote about it before. Lord Wiki mentions that it has a gay bar that bans straight people. I talked about this in a past post. I guess that was Collingwood, or maybe it was another gay-oriented suburb?

Daddy Deakin was the manager of something called Cobb and Co. Lord Wiki says it was a transportation company. I'm getting that it was kind of like taxi cabs, but with horses and carriages instead of cars.

Lord Wiki gives Deakin's exact address of birth. It's at 90 George Street. Fitzroy Melbourne. Is that in Collingwood, or did the Deakins move before giving birth?

Well, looking at Google seems to be in, or at least near, Collingwood.

I don't know if I'm reading this right, but Lord Wiki seems to be saying that Deakin went to boarding school when he was four. That's pretty young.

In 1864, he became a day student at Melbourne Grammar School. He would have been about eight-years-old.

Lord Wiki says he didn't study well at first. But then he was later influenced by the school's headmaster, John Edward Bromby. Bromby inspired Deakin to be a better student.

For university studies, Deakin went to evening classes at the University of Melbourne. During the day, he worked as a teacher and tutor.

He also did some debating.

He did some writing.

And he got into spiritualism.

Okay, THAT has perked me up a bit.

I'm in a bit of a funk. We had a major family drama this weekend. Yeah, what else is new. I'm stressed about that. I'm sleepy. I feel I'm not in the mood to tackle difficult history and politics.

But now I can go off on a tangent and talk about spiritualism.

The problem is my mind is blank.

I guess I'll read about spiritualists. I think they're the people who do seances and/or use Ouija boards. But there's probably more to it than that.

Lord Wiki says it is basically people like me. We believe in life after death. And we believe the dead can communicate with the living.

I think it's cool that a Prime Minister was into that. I think it was popular at the time though, so more accepted. I can't imagine what would happen if a politician today confessed to believing in stuff like that. It's so ridiculous though, because the public is perfectly okay with a president believing that God was born from a virgin, died, and then rose from the dead. Why is the mythology from one religion so readily accepted, and others are not?

It seems Deakin didn't just dabble in Spiritualism. He was actually the president of the Victorian Spiritualist Union. It looks like this group is still around.

By 1877, Deakin was a Barrister. Lord Wiki said he had trouble obtaining briefs. What's that? Maybe cases?

It seemed he started writing instead. He started writing for The Age. David Styme, the owner of the newspaper, brainwashed Deakin into becoming a Protectionist rather than supporting free trade.

Lord Wiki says Deakin became vegetarian! Wow. I'm really impressed with this guy. Or maybe I should say I'm happy to find a Prime Minister who is similar to me in these ways.

I bet vegetarianism was pretty rare back then. Although maybe it was common with spiritualists?

Deakin was involved with a group called Australian Natives' Association. I have to read what Lord Wiki has to say about that.

They supported Federation. One had to be born in Australia to join, yet indigenous Australians were not included.

They supported the White Australia Policy.

So yeah. No one can be perfect. No one can fulfill all my ideals. Deakin loves ghosts and animals. He was not so nice to all his fellow human beings.

In the late 1870's, Deakin tried to get into Victorian politics. That didn't work out so well.

In 1882, Deakin married the daughter of a spiritualist. The lovely couple lived with Deakin's parents for a few years. Then they moved to Walsh Street in South Yarra.

I love when Lord Wiki gets so specific with the location of houses.

I'm looking at Google Maps again. It looks like their home was very close to the Royal Botanical Gardens; not the Sydney one that I love so much, but the Melbourne one. Hopefully, one day I'll love the Melbourne one as well.

Deakin and his wife ended up having three daughters.

In the 1880's, Deakin had various (or some) involving irrigation. Deakin traveled to the United States to get some irrigation information. I wonder how long it took to travel from Australia to the United States in those days. I'm guessing it would take weeks...maybe months? No, probably just weeks.

There's so much information here, and I'm not in the mood to wade through it.

So, just be warned....I might be skipping important stuff.

In 1893, Deakin's family lost a lot of money. Deakin had to return to his law job to get money. He had the job of defending a mass murderer. He lost the case. I can't be too upset about that--well, unless the guy was innocent.

The murderer was named Frederick Bailey Deeming. He was born in England. There's rumors that he might have been Jack the Ripper. That's far from boring. I'll have to add him to my list.

I personally don't love true crime stuff. It scares me too much. But for some reason, I'm more okay with it if it happened a LONG time ago.

In the 1890's, Deakin got really into the whole Federation thing.

Henry Parkes held a big Federation conference. Deakin was the delegate from Victoria.

In 1900, Deakin joined Edmund Barton on his trip to London. I talked about that yesterday, so I'll skip it today.

Lord Wiki says that Deakin wanted Australia to be self-governing. But he still wanted to keep some British ties. He wanted Australia to have loyalty to the British Empire. He didn't want the same independence that America had achieved.

In 1901, Deakin joined Parliament via the seat of Ballarat. It looks like the seat has not been dominated by either Liberal or Labor. Currently though, the person in the seat is Labor. Her name is Catherine King, and she's had her position since 2001.

In Barton's Ministry, Deakin became Attorney-General. That's the job that Robert McClelland has now.

Deakin pushed for the White Australia Policy. Lord Wiki says he tried to present his viewpoints in a nonracist way. He argued that the Japanese needed to be kept out because they had superior qualities that would give them advantages over European-Australians.

I sometimes have racism like that. I see so many stories about Asians being so smart. It's hard not to believe they may have superior intelligence. Jack is half Asian and super smart. I assumed Tim's mysterious ancestors gave Jack the smart gene. BUT my new nephew is starting to show signs of that freaky intelligence. He's not half Asian. He's half Latino. I'm wondering if the super brainy stuff might come from MY family. Although I guess it's possible that both my sister and I married men with super brain genes in their family. My dad is super smart though--and some of his siblings as well. So the smartness MIGHT come from our side.

Maybe it's a combination.

But yeah. I am racist in that way. It's probably not as bad as believing another race is INFERIOR to you, but it can still be foolish and hurtful.

I've had people say things to me like Oh! I love Jews. Jews are wonderful people. They care so much about education.

I feel like saying. Yeah. Well, then you must not have met some of the Jews I know.

Then there's. I love gay people! They're so nice.

No, they're not.

Some of them are bastards.

I think most stereotypes have SOME truth behind them. We just have to remember that there are exceptions. Sometimes there's huge exceptions.

In 1903, Deakin became Australia's second Prime Minister.

I almost just wrote OUR Prime Minister.

I'm becoming quite delusional. Sometimes I forget that I'm actually not Australian.

Deakin had difficulties because he was pressured by the Labor Party. They wanted to pass Legislation that was too radical for Deakin. What happened was Deakin was part of the Protectionist Party. They didn't have the majority though. The Labor Party did. There was conflicts because of that. I'm not sure if I'm understanding that right, or explaining it right. Just pretend I am.

Deakin resigned in 1904. Chris Watson took his place.

Then in 1905, Deakin got back into the game. He became the Prime Minister again.

He also resigned again.

This is going around in circles.

He was actually Prime Minister three times. The final term lasted from 1909 until 1910.

In his second term, he did bring about some legislation. One of these dealt with compulsory military service. Some folks in the Labor Party weren't pleased with that.

In 1913, Deakin retired from politics.

During his elder years, he suffered some memory loss. Lord Wiki guesses that perhaps he had Alzheimer's.

In 1963 he died from Meningoecephalitis. That's some kind of awful brain thing. Yuck.

Oh, Lord Wiki has more about his Spiritualism. Cool.

Apparently, he did try to hide it a bit from the public. I guess he wasn't a loud and proud spiritualist. I wonder if any modern politicians are secretly into such stuff. Is Kevin Rudd chatting on the Ouija board when we're not looking?

Deakin believed in destiny and all that....just like I do.

Lord Wiki lists stuff that is named after Deakin.

There's the University. That's in Victoria.

There's an electoral division called Deakin. It encompasses some of the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

In Canberra, there's an Alfred Deakin High School. That's located in a suburb called Deakin.

I like that there are places in Australia named after a vegetarian spiritualist.

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki.

I shall look elsewhere now.

Here's the government Prime Minister site.

Deakin was the second, fifth, and seventh Prime Minister.

He was known for being a good speaker.

He was handsome and intelligent.

I love handsome and intelligent people--well, unless they're evil.

Here's some biography stuff.

He had an older sister named Catherine.

He didn't just write newspaper stuff. He wrote a play. He also wrote a book.

I have so much in common with this guy.

We're both spiritualists.

We're both vegetarian.

We both wrote plays. Well, I wrote screenplays. I have written one or two regular plays though.

We both think Asians might be somewhat superior to white people. But I don't try to get them kicked out of my country. I just marry and breed with them.

According to this website, Deakin wasn't just handsome. He was tall, dark and handsome. You can't beat that!

I'm reading all this political stuff, and I'm totally bored by it. See, now I just want to read about him talking to ghosts. That has TOTALLY distracted me.

Deakin seems to have had an enemy. George Reed. The two weren't fond of each other.

George Reed was a free trade guy. Deakin was not. They had trouble accepting each other's differences.

It's hard to do that sometimes, isn't it?

The website says he died from a stroke. But maybe it came about from the Meningoecephalitis. I'll refrain from accusing Lord Wiki of lying...for now.

Deakin's wife died fifteen years after her husband. He was interred in his grave. What does that mean? Did they open it up and put her inside? Can you do that? I had no idea.

I might like that. When I die, maybe I'll go with one of my grandparents. It seems less lonely that way. Although I don't believe the soul sticks around the graveyard or anything.

The problem is what grandparent do I choose? The ones I don't choose might be offended. Their ghost might fight with my ghost.

Deakin refused honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. Wow. Really? I've never known someone to reject an honorary degree. Although the honorary degree thing always seems a bit silly to me.

It seems it's not necessarily a permanent honor. The University of Massachusetts recently took away Robert Mugabe's Honorary Degree. And they're not the first ones to take the honor back.

Meryl Streep recently got a honorary degree from Princeton. I can't imagine her ever having to give it back. She's awesome. I think she's one of my favorite famous humans.

Now I'm going to look at that biography dictionary.

His parents came to Australia via the ship Samuel Boddinton. Why is that important? I don't know. I just like knowing it.

I'm reading Helen Reddy's autobiography now. She REALLY goes into details about her family history. She's a huge fan of genealogy. It's fascinating stuff, but I have to admit....she lost me a bit. There's so many details, and I had trouble keeping it all straight.

Her family has Tasmanian history though. And she had ancestors on the First Fleet. I think that's cool. I couldn't easily follow the rest of the information.

Plus, she's into reincarnation and started tying all that into it. I believe in reincarnation also, but I'm probably less secure in my beliefs than Reddy.

I'm loving her though. It's one of those delusional-causing autobiographies. I read these books and want the celebrity to be my best friend. Fortunately, I'm fickle and my love fades before I can start stalking anyone.

Back to Deakin.....

Ah! Here's a passenger list for Samuel Boddington. How cool is that?

I'm pretty sure it was Mommy and Daddy Deakins journey.

The ship left September 1848. It arrived in Adelaide in January 1849. I remember Lord Wiki saying that the Deakins had come to Melbourne later. I had wondered where they were before that. Now I know.

Why did they leave Adelaide for Melbourne?

Well, maybe it was not their ship. I don't see their names on the list. Did they use fake names? Maybe they went on the ship's next journey?

Yep. I guess they did. They arrived in 1850, not 1849.

In Adelaide, they met up with Daddy Deakin's married sister. Then they gave birth to their first daughter.

In 1851, Daddy Deakin did the gold thing. That makes sense. I think searching for gold was a popular occupation and hobby at the time.

He did that in Victoria. His family soon followed.

They moved to Collingwood.

Young Deakin read a lot, and he daydreamed.

Is this guy my soulmate?

Or MAYBE I AM Deakin. Maybe I'm Deakin reincarnated.

That would totally explain my Australia obsession.

I can't imagine any of my past selves being a Prime Minister though. I don't think I'd ever be a politician.

The website says he didn't excel at games. I'm guessing they mean sports. I'm horrible at sports too! We really have SO much in common.

The website says, Later he looked back upon his schooldays as a time of wasted opportunities.

If that guy was reincarnated, might he become a crazy American woman who homeschools her child?

He was a teacher too. I forgot about that.

I was a teacher.

Oh! And Helen Reddy says that when people reincarnate, they often choose names that sound like their old names. DEAkin and Dina. There are similar sounds there.

I'm freaking myself out here.

I'm NOT good at making speeches though....horrible actually. Deakin was very good at it. So we don't have everything in common.

The parents of Deakin's wife were not happy with the marriage. They didn't approve. I think it was a wealth issue. The wife's family was wealthy. Deakin's family was not.


There's more I should say.

There's more I need to say.

But I'm not feeling too well.

I'm stressed.

My nose was just bleeding.

I mean I'm not stressed because of my nosebleed. I mean my nose started bleeding because I'm stressed.

Deakin (my possible past self) please forgive me for quitting on you early.

Don't haunt me. Okay?

Although if he's my past self, he can't be a ghost anymore. Can he?

I'm safe.

I think.

P.S-The day I post this will be Jack's 8th birthday. So happy birthday to my adorable, sweet, hilarious, and brilliant child.


  1. Hi Deakin, i mean Dina, and Happy Birthday Jack!! hope you have a good day.
    I really like Deakin (except the whole White Australia policy) , i think he stood up for his convictions. Deakin really had a lasting affect on Australian Politics and a lot of his policies were the cornerstone of Australian politics until the 70's and 80's.
    The reason he had so many go at P.M was because in those days you really didn't have party politics execpt for the Labor Party (which was only just starting out) so it was really every man for himself. So it was like the Labor versus non-labor (as Labor voted in a block) which eventually formed into the present day Liberal party.
    I had no idea he was into Spiritualism and was a Vegetarian, so that was really interesting to learn.

  2. Matt,

    lol. Thanks. I'll pass on the birthday wishes to Jack.

    I always love how you explain things. You would be a good teacher. Or maybe I should hire you as my private tutor.

  3. Happy Birthday Jack!

    A brief is lawyer talk for taking on a case. Barristers generally obtain their clients through referal from Solicitors. The document prepared by the solicitor explaining the case is called a brief.

  4. Stephen Moore,

    Hi! I'm so glad to see you back!

    I'm wondering if we have the brief thing in America--probably.

    I guess I need to be more observant when I watch my lawyer TV shows.

  5. Best wishes to Jack.

    Collingwood used to be a much larger area and covered Fitzroy. Explains the suburb confusion I think.

    The infamous Walsh Street is five minutes walk from us. Put Walsh Street Police into google to find out why.

    'But I don't try to get them kicked out of my country. I just marry and breed with them.' lol

  6. Happy Birthday Jack! Love your cousins in Australia!!!

  7. Andrew: Yeah. I think that explains the suburb confusion. I could have gone back and looked it up, but I was LAZY....

    Yikes about the Walsh Street...weird that they were acquitted. It doesn't really sound like they were innocent. But what do I know.

    Deidre: Thank you! : )

    Laura: Thank you so much!! We love you guys.

  8. Happy Birthday, Jack. Hoping you have a really awesome day :)

  9. MissyBoo,

    Thank you : )

    We ended up having a very nice day!

  10. I worked for a year in Collingwood. The football club is pretty gay, but not the suburb.

    Our nearest watering hole was a lesbian pub, but they never made straight blokes feel unwelcome.

    Fitzroy and Collingwood used to have an intense rivalry. They were both working class suburbs, divided by Smith Street.

    One side of Smith Street is in Fitzroy and the other side is in Collingwood. Every time it rained, Fitzroy's sewerage used to spill into Collingwood.

    You might like to research John Wren to get a taste for what those areas were like before WW2, or Frank Hardy's "Power Without Glory".

  11. Michael,

    So is the rivalry still there? I would love to know more about the area. Maybe I'll research it.


  12. The rivalry has mostly faded.

    Along with the territorial conflict the two suburbs used to have separate councils. They're both now in the City of Yarra, I believe.

    And more significantly, the Fitzroy Football Club (which I used to follow) folded in 1996.

  13. Michael,

    So the rivals got together and became one.

    Sorry about the loss of your football team!