Monthly Archives: September 2015

Australia for Sale – Sold Out

Australia for Sale – Sold Out




Production Notes

  • Background: Film clip –  Australian Flag flying from the flag pole atop Parliament house – bright blue sky behind.  Running on loop for the duration of the speech.
  • Laney MacGregor’s introduction approved.
  • Sound – National Anthem played softly
  • Cut to PM following journo’s introduction.
  • Dress – PM
    • Make up tanned.
    • Navy suit single breasted
    • Pale blue tie – silk, no monogram
    • No pocket handkerchief
    • Plain white linen shirt
    • Seated at large walnut desk – cleared except for small Australian flag to PM’s right.





‘Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt you viewing to bring you a special bulletin from the Prime Minister, speaking to you from Parliament House. This is Laney MacGregor of the Channel Nine News with ground breaking news from Canberra. The Prime Minister is about to make an address to the nation and there is a small cadre of invited journalists present at this press conference. ‘

The Prime Minister Mr Arthur Fiarson:

‘Good evening, tonight I speak to you, my fellow  Australians and bring news of such great national importance that I wish to deliver it personally.  In doing so I know you will forgive this intrusion into your Sunday night viewing.  I quote from a former Prime Minister;

Fellow Australians, I say this to you never in peacetime has Australia’s future depended so much on a single decision.’

Since you elected my government three years ago we have been working to meet our election promises that we made to you, the voters.

I am pleased to announce that my Government has been successful in negotiating an economic turnaround and, as a result, we are no longer suffering from a $40 billion budget deficit.  We can now embrace a budget surplus.   A surplus, fellow Australians that will allow funding for more public hospitals, roads and education.  We will be able to expand our social welfare and mental health facilities and provide free tertiary education for all.   Aged pensions and disability pensions will be increased. The surplus will enable us to enshrine the 38 hour week and fair work practices and review and implement a more equitable taxation system.

Times have been difficult and members of parliament have done the hard yard for the man in the street in order to keep these promises.   I understand that we as a nation have been doing it tough and that there is no gain without pain.

Members of my cabinet, for example, in May last year had their pay rise frozen for 12months, and the basic pay for a member of parliament is only $195,131:00.per annum.

Rest assured we will never jeopardise Australia’s economic future by making irresponsible statements. Our promise to all Australians when we came into government was that we would turn around the economy and provide those services most needed by the community. Let me assure you that these are the factors that are the driving force behind this government’s decisions. And the news I am about to impart will deliver the surplus that will allow us to deliver the goods and services that this country needs.

Our government has been committed to providing a cleaner, healthier, safer environment for all our citizens. These undertakings are made on the firm basis of feasible, sound, well-reasoned and informed decisions. And let me tell you this, these things are doable and economically desirable. This decision will provide the funds to accomplish these tasks.

The changes we are about to make have been made possible by a bi-partisan agreement.  Both sides of the House have voted in favour of this legislation and the bill passed the Senate this evening, during an emergency session.

The Government is following the lead of the States who have leveraged  debt against the sale of land, for example in Victoria, where of prime natural forest  has been traded to reduce a debt, and the successful sale of  wine producing areas  to various overseas groups, and of prime cattle country to people residing outside Australia.

An area of 1.35 million km2, which   primarily consisting of swamps, mangroves and mudflats has been vended to an overseas Consortium for $60 billion dollars.  We have been assured by the Consortiums public relations officer, speaking on behalf of the stakeholders that under the terms of this substantial agreement there will be little impact on the day to day lives of those who live in this area.  The population of this area being a mere 244,000 individuals.

Under the very generous terms of the agreement if any resident who currently dwells in this place decides they wish to reside elsewhere they will be assisted to relocate. Let me also add they will, if Australian citizens, be welcomed into the greater Australian population.  I am sure that you will all rejoice with me in the news that we are no longer in ‘the recession we had to have,’ and that our budget now shows on paper a surplus of $20 billion dollars.

Fellow Australians thank you for your time and good night.












Production Notes

  • Background: Still clip – Australian Flag for the duration of the speech.
  • Laney MacGregor’s introduction approved.
  • Sound – National Anthem played 5:10 ratio
  • Cut to PM following journo’s introduction.
  • Dress – PM
    • Makeup pale
    • Black suit single breasted
    • Red tie – silk, no monogram
    • Red pocket handkerchief – silk, matches tie
    • Plain cream linen shirt
    • Reading glasses in hand
    • Standing at a polished wooden lectern with green library reading lamp turned on, mounted low – centre, soft glow.
    • Large Australian flag to PM’s right.




‘Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for interrupting your viewing. Tonight we bring you a message of national importance. The Prime Minister is speaking to you direct from Parliament House. This is Laney MacGregor of the Channel Nine News with ground – breaking news from Canberra.’


The Prime Minister Mr Arthur Fiarson:

‘Fellow Australians, it is with a heavy heart I stand here, before you this evening. Exactly twelve months ago our government unveiled a plan that was to place our country in a budgetary surplus, enabling us to provide the goods and services so desperately needed.

To that end we negotiated the sale of a parcel of land to an overseas consortium.

Now one year has passed and it is my solemn and painful duty to inform you that we have been misled.

In fact, I would go so far as to say we were lied to.

Yes, we do have a budget surplus as promised, and the goods and services promised have been delivered.  But at what cost?

It grieves me to admit that my advisors provided incorrect advice and falsified documentation.  In fact let me tell you this; I have been grossly deceived.

Tonight I stand here to tell you the truth.

This vast tract of land, 1.35million km2   of prime Australian soil consists of picturesque wetlands, mangroves and ecologically important everglades which are the habitat of over 209 endangered and threatened species unique to this continent, now lies now lies in enemy hands.

This irreplaceable segment of our precious country supports a significant population of over 244,000 valued Australian citizens.  This land has been completely fenced off from the major land mass of the continent. This immense fence line is now patrolled 24 hours a day by an elite force of heavily armed militia.

All communication with the seat of government in this area has ceased. We have been made aware that all of the elected members and their staff are being held under house arrest. Effectively the area has been ceded from the Commonwealth of States and Territories that comprise our great nation.

Confidential sources have advised that the use of English has been forbidden and all religious practices have been banned, Christian and non-Christian.

Churches, Mosques and Temples have been defiled and are being used as storehouses and brothels.

The University, which supported over 24,000 students and other places of tertiary education have been closed. Secondary Schools have also been closed and many educators have been imprisoned on charges of sedition. Freedom of speech and assembly have been severely curtailed. Public gatherings of groups of more than six individuals is prohibited. All media including access to the internet, broadband and Wi-Fi sources are now controlled by the Consortium.  Those who wished to leave have not been relocated as promised they have been interred and are now working in enforced labour camps.

These are dark days my fellow Australians.  Today my government received a dispatch from the Consortium with an aggressive demand that further land be made available to them as they will be expanding their open cut mining and fracking facilities with or without permission.

We will not bend to their will.

We will not comply with their demands.

As free Australians, we must fight to protect the multi-cultural diversity that has made us a great country. We must fight to protect the Westminster system of justice that has served us so well. We must fight to protect the rights of our Indigenous people, the traditional owners of this country.

We will fight to preserve the freedoms of speech, assembly and religious practice, essential to our way of life.

Tonight I appeal to you all, to stand beside me as we face off against these faceless Corporate Oppressors who care nothing for this great country of ours, except to rape and pillage it of its natural resources and foul the air and sea with effluent while planting GMO enhanced crops.

I appeal to your sense of mateship and fair play to come together to stop this carnage.

Tonight united as one we take our first step to reclaim, the unique and biodiverse area of Australian soil, formerly known as the Northern Territory.




AUSTRALIANS – Your Country Needs You.

It is my grave duty to inform you that …tomorrow morning every Town Hall in Australia will be manned by Centrelink Officers working with the Department of Defence, providing recruitment advice and enlistment services.

Australia has declared WAR on the Consortium.

I know every one will do their  duty.

There are hard times ahead for us all.

Good night Australia and thank you.

Production note voice over

‘Ladies and gentlemen this is Laney MacGregor of the Channel Nine News signing off from Parliament House’

Should you require further information on this broadcast –

Facebook:  @https://arthurfriarsonpm


Twitter: #arthurfriarsonpmNT#



Play national anthem – fade to close on contact message –                                   


return to normal programming.


When Words Are Not Enough

When Words Are Not Enough

This is an expanded version of a piece I wrote some time ago  It has grown and changed with the telling 

It expresses my concern for the planet and they way we are governed 

I hope to leave my grandchildren a better world than is depicted here

I do believe there is hope otherwise I would be so overwhelmed by the misery and destruction that surrounds us 

Within my head the words, thoughts and ideas run riot.

I worry about growing older and where the path will lead me.

But that all fades into nothingness now.

I worry about fracking and open cut mining and deforestation.

And the world I leave to those who will follow.


I worry about the people all over this country

Who can’t drink or bathe in their water,

Because it is polluted and burns their skin and causes illness.

I worry at the rise in still-born births in areas where mining is heaviest.

And corporations who truck in drinking water for their employee’s safety.


I worry about a government that sends its worldlings in the dark of night,

To take families with babies, to camps offshore where there is no help

No protection, only chaos, abuse and misery.

I worry that we have a government that does not care.

That has no compassion for the stateless, the sick or the elderly.


I worry that companies who rape our land and are paid millions in tax refunds.

I worry about media control, centralization and agencies who dictate what we see and hear.

I worry about the ongoing erosion of our personal freedoms

When many don’t even seem to see how our privacy is being invaded.

We post online every minute detail of our life.


We don’t interact one on one anymore but exist in texting

The electronic matrix steals our selfies and they can never be removed,

They will exist forever in some cyberspace collective of information,

I worry why and who has access to this information

It sits waiting to be mined and used, for what?


I worry that no one seems to care that the world is being torn apart,

Not simply by unjust laws, bigotry and discrimination;

But by Nature herself with earthquakes, cyclones and unseasonal weather.

By an act of climate change our government denies even exists.

I worry that the earth’s lubricants are being stripped and the plates are moving.


I worry that the planets lungs are being ravaged and destroyed.

I worry about mega international corporations who spray and pour poison our fields,

In the name of feeding the world.

Fracking where we grow our food and the effluent seeping into the water table.

I worry about those who genetically manipulate crops without understanding the cellular impact.


I worry that we are blind to the damage we are causing.

To the damage, I am causing every day with my throw away lifestyle.

I worry when government blurs the line between personal belief and governance.

I worry about those in boats who have to flee their place of birth,

Those who risk death on the open sea or imprisonment for a chance of freedom.


I worry about the children who face racial hatred because of the colour of their skin,

Or because they pray five times a day, or once a week on Sunday.

Minority groups are easy targets for those who practice genocide.

Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, Jainist, Atheist, Black, White, Brown….

Why does it matter what another believes or the colour of their skin?


“If you prick us, do we not bleed?

If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

If you poison us, do we not die?”

Shakespeare wrote those words around 1597

Nothing has changed.


Be content, be compassionate, be caring, be open minded

Live your life not theirs.

I worry that the most dangerous species on the planet is man.

We become remorseful when we hear of atrocities and say,

“We must not let this happen again.”


But somehow we forget and it all begins again.

Or did it never cease and the inhumanity flows like a poisoned thought.

From country to country, it is always there never really receding

Sitting silent waiting for the next power-hungry mogul

To rise from the dark and begin the cycle again.


I worry when I see hooded protestors on our streets

Who sprout vile obscenities and threaten peaceful protest.

Where is the courage of their belief that they must hide their faces?

I worry when any governments greed for power overrides compassion,

When winning an election is more important than saving a life.


I worry we have no regard for the value of a life.

I worry that power and money are more important than human life or the life of this planet.

I worry that we have lost the understanding of the words, sentient and compassion.

Gandhi once said, “The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one’s opponent.”

Without these words, I worry we have forgotten, what it is to be HUMAN.

AMALIE’S HELL (working title)

AMALIE’S HELL (working title)


She is cold, she shivers, and the darkness surrounds her.  This is an inhumane place!  Or is it? Why are we gathered here in this time and space?  Or are we?  The questioned posed is…Is this real or is it a construct?  Do we move forward or backward in time as we choose or are we set in place, in this chaos?  This is something I will not answer but leave to your imaginings.


I am standing here alone, detached, in the light away from the shadows, and wondering.  Why am I here guarding the frail broken body on the hard metal bed in this cold room?  Her body convulses.  There are two others present, a nurse and a man, who by his dress, I take to be a priest.  They ignore me as if I am invisible.  Tears run down the nurse’s cheeks through the worn channels caused by age and despair.  I feel I know her, as I know the body shivering in the bed.  The priest is bored. He watches the second-hand trail slowly around the huge clock face. He is waiting for the end, the moment he can fulfil his duty and take his leave. He becomes thoughtful. He remembers when he first met her thirty-five years ago when he was a young man commencing his ministry in this place. She has been alone such a long time. He composes himself to wait with patience, he owes her that much.

Perhaps now I should introduce myself, I am Amalie and I am waiting for me to die. That is why I am here in this inhumane place.

I shall start at my beginning. I think it is an unremarkable tale.  Or is it?  Perhaps it is, but none the less, one that needs to be told.   I was born in a small village near Allenstein in Prussia. I do not ever remember knowing the day or the month of my birth, only the year 1866.  We are a close knit family, my father Maximillian, Rebekah my mother, Sisters Laura, Olga and the baby Frederike. I have an Uncle Abraham, he is a Cantor in the synagogue in Loebau, but we never speak of him, for as far as the other villagers know we are Lutherans, it is not safe to admit you are a Jew.

I was a quiet child, not studious but clever and industrious with a needle. Later in life I rely on these skills as I became a milliner, designing and creating beautiful hats for rich, ugly, old women. But I am moving forward too fast through time, so back to my beginning.

The animal -like keening intrudes on my senses and I find it hard to keep the thread of the story moving forward.  What is this place?  Dante’s Inferno?  It is a place of unspeakable horror and dark imaginings.  There is noise, chaos, screaming, hammering and the soft low moaning like an animal in pain.  Again, I pose the question, is this real life, or an over-ambitious writer’s construct and once again I leave the answer for you to resolve.

I am going to jump in time to 1886.  It is becoming too dangerous for us to remain in Prussia.  My father has decided we will leave Allenstein to make our way in a new land.  Papa and I will go first and Mother and my three sisters will follow when we establish ourselves and have the money for their passage. Anti-Semitism is on the rise and we hope for a new start in Australia.  We know so little about the country we are going to, only that we will be free of fear.  We sail from Bremerhaven aboard the Saale, our destination Melbourne, Australia.  This will be the Saale’s first trip to the Antipodes and we will travel through the Suez Cannel, I am longing to see the great pyramids of Giza. The voyage will take somewhere between 110-150 days depending on the weather.

We know it does not snow in Australia and I am having difficulty imagining winters without snow. For the months prior to leaving life was a frenzy of activity. We spend long hours, mending and sewing and packing for the voyage ahead.  Papa had to go to Konigsberg to obtain our travel permits and was gone for several days.  I spend this time with my sketch book capturing scenes I know I will never see again and drawing my mother and my sisters. As excited as I am to be going on such an adventure I know I will miss them.

The trip to Bremerhaven itself was an undertaking, as I have never travelled outside my town and Papa said it was a 500 mile trip to the port.  We travelled firstly by sleigh and then by train.  I have never seen a train. I have seen pictures, but that is never the same.  The day of our departure arrives.  We leave early in the morning and Uncle Abraham arrives with the pony sleigh. . It is snowing and the snow crackles underfoot.  Abraham and Isaac, my cousin, haul the four trunks on to the sleigh and lash them down.  Mama and Papa cling to one another and the younger children cry.  We do not know if we will ever see them again.   Mama kisses me, holding me tight she presses a necklace into my hand, “a memory” she says “a memory.”  I give Mama sketches of Papa and me, for remembrance, then   Isaac hands me into the sleigh, father swings up to sit beside Uncle Abraham and we are off.  The trip to the rail depot was long and took many hours, we are warm under the furs, but the silence is heavy.  I pass my time by trying to take in all the different scenes, so I may capture them in my drawings.

When we reach the rail depot, the noise is overpowering, the smoke makes my eyes run and the heat turns the snow to muddy slush under our feet. Papa tells me that the engines are stoked with coal to provide steam for power.   To me, the engine looks and sounds like a huge red, black and gold fiery dragon belching steam and fire.

It was all so long ago, I wonder looking back how all of this came to happen … why do they hate me so much? What did I ever do to apart from marrying their father? I was a good wife. He was for me the love of my life.  My children, what has happened to them?  What do they know of me? I hear the low animal keening and realise it is me. I am making the noise, at least the me on the bed is.  This is such an unhappy place, a haunted place. I apologise, I am digressing. Shall I return you to the story or have you tired of my reminiscing?  We were at the train depot, let us continue.

It was mayhem, so very busy. Uniformed men were bustling around with papers, all very official, the people looked very important; there was a babble of voices.  I was suddenly aware and conscious of my rustic dress and plain attire, but I smile to myself because there is not a bonnet on any of the women here that is a patch on mine.

There are piles of trunks and boxes. Packages are piled up in heaps and secured with string, ribbons, leather straps and anything else that can be used to secure them. A large woman watches over an even larger woven cane basket that contains four very big, angry, white geese. They hiss and peck at anyone who ventures near them.  I stay well clear. Our permits are finally stamped. Now Papa and Uncle pay a man in uniform to take our trunks for loading.

Opening my purse I finger the light gold chain, Mama’s gift and I slip the chain with the small gold star around my neck and inside my bodice where it would not be seen.  The feel of it gives me great comfort.  I look up to see Papa and Uncle retire to a corner; there with their backs to the crowd they bend their heads together in serious discussion.  Uncle hands Papa a brown package larger and thicker than an envelope sealed with red wax.  I realise then that Uncle is lending Papa the money for our voyage.  But that is Papa’s business not mine and I keep up an idle conversation with Isaac who obviously thinks it should be him travelling with Papa and not me, a mere girl.  Papa and Uncle re-join us and solemnly shake hands. Uncle does not linger and he and Isaac are up on the sleigh and with a brusque wave are off back to Loebau.  He does not wish us, Waren Geschwindigkeit und viel Glück or in English, God’s speed and good luck.

I have told you what brought us to this point perhaps now you would like to know more about me…

In Allenstein my life as a spinster stretched ahead of me.  As there had been no offers of marriage and I am in my twenty first year it is decided I should accompany Papa on this journey.

I am told I have a pleasing visage, being four foot nine inches tall and slender with rich brown hair, fair skin and grey eyes. My nose is a little sharp and my mouth a little thin, but I have a beguiling smile and a good sense of humour. I am rarely ill and really quite healthy.  I am however very conscious of my hands, as I am missing the tips of two fingers on my left hand, a sign of my trade. The milliner’s curse, the pin pricked fingers, injuries that turn into abscesses causing the fingertips to rot away.

A Romany woman sits watching me, she gestures and I walk through the crowd to her quiet corner.

“If you cross my palm with silver little one I will tell you your future.”  Curious I hand over a silver coin and she gestures for me to sit. She takes my hand and mumbles. She looks at me and sighs.  “I see marriage, an older man and many children, but only three are yours and then they are lost. Before I can ask a question the Romany rises and walks away.”

Suddenly the air is alive with whistles and steam hisses from the engines. Papa is calling my name.  He is angry and he chides me for wasting my money. We need to board, he hands me up into the compartment and we find our seats. Our bags are ones I made from old carpets from home and we stow them where we sit. Papa allows me to have the window seat to enable me to better view the scenery as we travel.

Clouds of steam envelope the station and the long drawn out mournful sound of the train whistle signals the movement of the train. It slowly moves forward chugging softly to itself.  Before I can comprehend it, we are moving so fast that all the scenery is blurred. The wheels are clacking on the rails.  I hold Papa’s hand and realise I have tears in my eyes.  We are truly on our way and there is no turning back, the set of Papa’s shoulders and the way he looks straight ahead tells me he is also struggling with his emotions.

It is a long and dreary journey, once all the excitement has worn off. We sleep and eat where we sit, as it takes several days for us to reach Bremerhaven. The meals Mama and I had packed make  welcome breaks in the travel and the cups of hot coffee that are available whenever the engine stopped to take on water were the best I have ever tasted. When we reach the station Papa leaves me for a while to ensure our trunks are taken to the wharf to be taken on board the Saale. We then made our way from the station to an inn near the wharf where we will wait until we have permission to board.

Never have I slept so well, the sheer pleasure of laying on a bed and such delight at being able to have a hot bath and some good hot food.  While we wait at the inn we explore Bremen with some fellow travellers, the Jensen family, who are also undertaking the trip to Australia.  I have never seen such magnificent buildings. We visit the Cathedral and the Synagogue. We explore the art gallery and I am in awe of the wondrous things I see there, the paintings and the sculptures. I come back to the inn after these trips and attempt to capture the images in my sketch book.

We write long letters to Mama and the girls telling them we are safe.  We know once we are at sea it will be four to five months before we can send letters again.  I am resolved to keep a journal and write in it every day and write to Mama and the girls frequently, that way I can post a packet of letters when we touch land and I have purchased some more watercolours and pastels so I will have a plentiful supply on the voyage.

Today we leave. It has dawned bright, sunny and there is a fair wind which is good.  Repacking our bags with clean clothes, we make our way together with the Jensen family to the port to board the Saale.  There are huge crowds of people all milling about and children were running about creating havoc as anxious parents seek to keep families together.  Father presents our papers and we, along with the Jensen family are allowed to board.

We are fortunate not to be travelling steerage but do not have a cabin to ourselves and as we had formed a relationship with the Jensens we were pleased to find they were our cabin mates.  It means there are six of us in the cabin and it feels a little strange to know we will be sharing so intimately with our fellow travellers.  The cabin is reasonably large and the trunks needed on the voyage trunks are secured against the rear wall.

These trunks contain our bedding and food to sustain us on the voyage as well as clothing and personal possessions. Mine also contains hat blocks and materials for hats. We have some larger trunks that were sent on ahead and are now secured in the hold. Checking the trunks contents I am glad to see that none of the stone jars has cracked or leaked and   I feel sure we will have had our fill of pickled vegetables and smoked meats by journeys end. Papa had also thought to secure 2 firkins of water and one of beer. These hang in nets above our heads.  It is cramped and we have agreed to pool our supplies, so it should be bearable. Because we are paying for our passage and not bounty passengers we need to supply most of our own food.  After all it will be only for around four to five months.

Mrs Jensen and I set about making the cabin habitable while the others go up on deck.  We heard the band playing and finishing our housekeeping go up to find the others.  I can see Papa standing at the rails looking out into the crowd below. The gangplank has been raised and the band strikes up Die Kaiserhymne as the Saale begins to ease her way slowly out of the docks, her horn sounding a melancholy note.

People are waving handkerchiefs both on the pier on and the ship and hats are tossed in the air, loud cheers sound on deck and on the shore.  Making my way through the throng I stand beside Papa and holding his hand, I try to image what lies ahead. My stomach is churning and tears are falling and I wonder if I shall ever see my homeland again.

A BRIEF WINDOW IN TIME -Amalie Frankenstein-Menz 1866-1948

A BRIEF WINDOW IN TIME -Amalie Frankenstein-Menz 1866-1948

A brief window in time

Amalie Frankenstein-Menz 1866-1948

Amalie Frankenstein was born circa 1866 near Allenstein, Prussia and died in Beechworth Asylum, Victoria on February 9, 1948.  She was admitted to Beechworth Asylum on November 17, 1913.

Allenstein was a small bailiwick in East Prussia, which boasted its own castle and in 1822 it had a population of around 2000.  The nearest large town was Konigsberg.  Amelie and her father Max arrived in Melbourne in 1886 on board the Saler from Brennen.  The Saler was the first ship to navigate through the Suez Canal. Then in 1892 Max’s wife, Rebekah and three other daughters arrived in the port of Melbourne on the Hohenstauffer.   Very little is known of Amalie’s early life, but it would be reasonable to assume that life would have been difficult in Prussia following the events of 1863 to the 1870s.  Large numbers of Prussian immigrants arrived in Australia at this time driven by the urge to find gold and also to escape from war-torn Europe. Schleswig-Holstein had been carved up once again and the Austro –Prussian and Franco –Prussian wars had decimated the economies of the small duchies.

Max Frankenstein worked as a hawker at the Melbourne and South Melbourne markets and his daughter’s Laura and Amalie worked as dressmakers and milliners.

Abel Menz was a native of Ulbretche, Suhlaria in Saxony and on migration to Australia he had settled in the Daylesford, Victoria. Abel had been a successful miner, businessman and hotelier and in 1983 he became a widow following the death of his wife Elizabeth Beuth, a native of Frankfurt en Main.

Abel desired to be married again. He had eleven children, the youngest Otto was thirteen. In the manner of the day, he placed an advertisement in The Argus newspaper.  The advertisement was by Holt’s Matrimonial Agency.  This was common practice in those times.  All of Holt’s advisements carried a disclaimer by the Agency stating, “Marriages celebrated at Holt’s Matrimonial agency are all carried out by ordained Clergymen of the highest integrity not by Undertakers or ironmongers under the guise of clergymen….’ Holt’s Matrimonial Chambers 422 Queens Street Melbourne.

Both Laura and Amalie responded to Abel’s advertisement however, it was Amalie that won his fancy. And on June 9, 1896, they were married at her parents’ home, 64 Grattan Street Carlton. Amalie was 30 and Abel was in his 60th year.  Abel and Amalie then returned to Hepburn, where Abel was the owner Hepburn Hotel (still operating today).

Family stories relate the young bride was not welcomed with open arms.  Perhaps the reason was her age and the children considered her a ‘gold-digger’.  Abel was Mayor of the Mt. Alexander Shire and a very wealthy man. Her age was probably a factor as Amalie was only three years older than Abel and Elizabeth’s oldest child.

There is little information about Abel and Amalie’s life together and the family stories are quite malicious. Stories abound of Amalie squandering Abel’s hard-earned fortune on going on a grand tour of Europe with her sister Laura.  There is no foundation to this rumour, as there is no record of either Laura or Amalie leaving the country.  In 1925 Laura signed a deposition stating she had not travelled outside the state of Victoria since her arrival in Australia.  It would have been difficult, if not impossible for Amalie to have travelled overseas, as she became pregnant shortly after her marriage and went on to produce a child at regular intervals until Abel’s death on May 4, 1903.

In the best tradition of the Victorian Melodrama, it was hinted that not only did Amalie take the family lawyer as her lover, but that she did on several occasions try to murder her husband by poisoning him and by attempting to throw him down the stairs.  The source of these stories was Abel’s daughter from his first marriage.  It may have been bitterness on Lily’s part as father and daughter had fallen out over her choice of a husband and of her subsequent marriage to a penniless miner, By the time Abel had remarried Lily was widowed. Her husband had died tragically in a mining accident. She was penniless and struggling in dire poverty to raise five children under the age of six.  They may have quarreled, but Able did not exclude Lily from his will.  Perhaps Lily was jealous of the young wife and her new family.

One month following the birth of his son Norman, Abel died. His will which was probated on the first of July 1903 provided equally for the children of both marriages.  Amalie together with his business partner, Michael Bedolla was appointed co-executors and joint guardians of any infant children.

It is now we see Abel’s children in their true light.  Abel left an estate in excess of three thousand pounds, plus large amounts of business and land holdings.  It would seem there was a great deal of friction between Amalie and her stepchildren who were all adults.  This was due to Abel placing a clause in the will that would not allow the estate to be released until Amalie either died or remarried. He also provided for Elizabeth’s grave and headstone to be erected, (this was never done).

Researching this period has been problematic as it has been difficult to find facts that can be validated.  There was much innuendo about her ‘carryings-on’ and dark hints that she was not a fit person to oversee the estate or care for her children.

What can be surmised is that Michael Bedolla failed in his duty as co-executor of the will and joint guardian of the children.

Research has shown that within three years the children were separated including the infant Norman and placed in separate orphanages.  An interview in the 1980’s with the two daughters revealed they knew very little about their background apart from their father’s name and that they had a brother.  The little information they had relating to their mother was all untrue. They had been told she had died in childbirth.

Research has also revealed that three years after Abel’s death, Amalie is revealed living in Hawke Street South Melbourne. At one time she resided in Hall Street in Moonee Ponds.

From The Argus Tuesday 27, 1909, Amalie Menz, of Hall-street, Moonee Ponds, widow. Causes of insolvency–Pressure of creditors, illness, failure of a tenant to pay rent due, and loss incurred through fire. Liabilities. £251/14/1; assets, £5358/; surplus, £283/13/11. Mr. L. A. Cleve-land, assignee.

The next we hear of Amelia is via the records of The Master in Lunacy. These reveal an ‘Emily Manse’ was admitted to Kew Asylum on September 12, 1911. The records are later amended to read Amalie Menz.  She had been admitted to Kew on the recommendations of Doctors Herbert Wollard and D M Embleton of the Melbourne Hospital and her admittance was requested by J M McFayden nurse at the Melbourne hospital.

The admittance records state that the patient was suffering from voices in the head and was of sober habits and unaffected by alcoholism,

She was according to the documents 4’111/2   inches (149cms) tall and weighed 8 stone 4 lb (52 kilos). The records are quite detailed. They describe a scar on her right leg and mention the terminal and middle joints of her left index finger are missing.  In addition, there was bad scarring on her right thumb and scars on her right index finger.  The admission notes also record that on admission she was dirty, neglected and verminous, (the scars and loss of joints were not uncommon amongst seamstresses and milliners).

The notes detail that ‘she has been eccentric for years and that she is suffering from delusions as well as voices in the head.  She appeared to be in possession of £7,000:00 which the nurses were trying to take away from her and that they were trying to poison her.’ She was aged 45 at this time.

There is no record of any person visiting her at Kew Asylum and on May 28th 1912, there is a note on file that any mail Amalie  may try to send to Mrs Franks (her sister, the name has been anglicised) or Mrs Jensen (her other sister) were not to be sent on but to be destroyed.

Amalie’s incarceration in Kew ended in 1913 when she was transferred to Beechworth. During her two years at Kew, there were only 12 entries in the ward book and some of these are as little as five words.

One month after her admittance to Kew, October 1911, Abel’s elder sons moved to have both executors removed from authority and to be granted executors of their father’s estate.  Twelve months following this submission, October 1912, The Honourable Mr Justice Hood ordered this be done.  However despite a notice being served on the Master in Lunacy, Amalie was not represented at this hearing and neither were her children who had been placed in care.  Nor was any document lodged giving notice of her mental capacity.  The Honourable Mr Justice Hood then reversed his decision and ordered that the wishes of the deceased be upheld and the management of the trust was given into the hands of the Public Trustees; with the final distribution to be withheld until after Amelie’s death.  No mention is made of the children of the marriage.  (we now know these children had been separated and adopted).

As the records of the Beechworth Asylum from the period 1913, and   including 1948( at the time of writing this original document in 1991) are sealed under the Victorian Parliamentary Privacy Act  and it was not possible to fill in the details a Amalie’s final years  (a new project to be explored).  It was possible, however, to access the Coroner’s Inquest details following her death on February 9 1948.

The proceeding before the Coroner stated; ‘Amalie Menz met with her death from cardio vascular degeneration … She was admitted to the hospital for the insane at Kew on 12 September 1911 on warrants now produced.  She was suffering from non-systematised delusional insanity and was transferred to the hospital for the insane at Beechworth on 17 November 1913. She gradually became demented.  On 25 July 1947 she tripped on carpet and sustained an injury to her right leg and was transferred to the hospital ward…where she remained weak. She died at 8.00p.m on 9 February 1948.’ Other notations at the Inquest note that although she had not been visited by family, the Church of England Chaplain had attended her an a nurse had been with her when she died.’

She died not knowing what had happened to her children and her children knew nothing of her or their family.  By the time of her death, excessive administration fees by the Public Trustees had severely eroded the substantial fortune left by Abel Menz and it is uncertain if her children received any benefit from their father’s estate or if indeed any attempt were made to find them, (later confirmed this to be true).

The Victorian Gazette, Number 539, May 19, 1948, page 3304, under NOTICE administration of estate records resides the following;

MENZ Amalie, sometimes known as Emily Manse late of Beechworth, widow died 9th February 1948 intestate… C J Gardiner Public Trustee.

She and her children had been abandoned.  Judged insane, Amalie Frankenstein – Menz was dead to the outside world from the moment she entered Kew asylum in 1911.

Whatever her faults real or imagined, whatever her crimes real or imagined, she paid a price that was beyond imagining.  To be incarcerated for 37 years, with no formal committal hearing and no apparent review was cruel and unjust.  It shows both sides of her family in less than a positive light and a disregard for common decency and humanity.





This work is © to Linda Morse and may not be reproduced in any form electronic or otherwise without the permission of the author.

Part of this work was originally published by Linda Morse in The Victorian Genealogy Magazine Ancestor Spring Winter ed. 1991 pps.15-16  

The Case of the Missing Muse

The Case of the Missing Muse

This little piece found its beginnings in a series of quick interchanges one Saturday morning, on linebetween myself and Archie a fellow Inkling.  Thank you  Archie, for being my Muse on that day.

Image is    Calliope  Joseph Fagnani  -Calliope was the muse of epic poetry. She’s believed to be Homer’s muse, inspiring the Odyssey & the Iliad.painted mid 1800’s

The case of the missing Muse.

Dear Calliope,

Page empty – mind blank – keyboard silent. My Muse has flown. Crap!


Frustrated writer

Dear Frustrated Writer

Apologise give her a chance.



Dear Calliope

I will  beg for her return.  Return sweet  Muse and all will be forgiven. Suddenly the words flow from my eager keyboard to fill the empty screen and then my muse starts to yell at me to be quiet as I am disturbing her rest ….sigh. I will wait a while and try again. Alas no luck .It seems our partnership has ended I have been advised to find a new muse


Frustrated writer

Dear Frustrated Writer

Look for a new Muse. I suggest you place an ad in the Daily Writer.  Your previous work place agreement has been voided. Ensure your terms and remuneration are clearly outlined.



Dear Calliope

I shall give this due consideration. I will draft an advertisement, being more specific in my requirements, writing by 8.30 am and with a clause that states minimum of 2500 words a day output. Not too harsh a request I feel. I will post this in the Muse wanted section of the Daily Writer….Now remuneration. What is the going award for a Muse these days? I have by urgent email applied to the Muse’s Union requesting an update on fees and conditions. Do not want to fall foul of the union. I have expressed my distress that my Muse of many years has fallen by the wayside. When last I checked she was reading The Pilo Family Circus. Perhaps she has decided enough is enough. Should I give her another chance or is there no place in my world for this recalcitrant Muse, But, then the thought of breaking in another sends me crying somewhat hysterically searching for the gin bottle to drown my sorrows . Oh stuff it all we are joined at the hip she can stay! Thank you Calliope for your words of counsel and support…I see things more clearly now.


Frustrated Writer


Trials and tribulations of contacting editors

Trials and tribulations of contacting editors

Yesterday I picked up a new magazine and thought ..Wow I have a story that will fit that.  I checked out their web page for editors details and info on how to submit. Crafted my submission email crossed my  fingers and hit send.  Bang! It bounced back. I checked to see I had copied the email address correctly – well yes I had,  so undeterred I looked up the editors private email and sent it again. Alas and alack it bounced back a second time.  At this point, I was wondering if the universe was trying to tell me something. What to do next.  I took myself off to the publication’s Facebook page and sent a message.  By this time it was after 5.00pm.,  and I asked the question, were they having email problems? I was not expecting an answer until sometime today.

I was beginning to feel that this wasn’t meant to be or this was a trial to see if I would persevere and breach their defensive barrier.  This morning a message arrived giving their web address contact sheet info. No other details just the web address.  OK third time LUCK Y  —  for the third and final time I copied the submission details into the upload area, passed the Spybot test confirming that I am a real person not a robot, hit submit and after watching it take forever to upload have received an email saying my contact has been received. Now I feel that I have breached the summit of Olympus and begin the nail biting anxious  wait for a yes please, no thank you or a stony silence…..everything crossed for a positive response.

Shangri- la The Place the world forgot Tibet

Shangri- la  The Place the world forgot Tibet

How can this be happening in the land where my heart will always reside
Have you seen this on your news feed or on SBS or ABC news NO The Free world does not want to know what is happening in Tibet. Genocide Religious Persecution Political Prisoners Executions with out trial Immolations Enforced labour Camps But the $$$’s triumph and the world remains silent.
RANGZEN FREE TIBET _ Cry for Tibet _This was posted on FB 09/09/2015   – photo taken 08//09/2015

65 Top Chinese Government officials are currently in Lhasa celebrating the ‘peaceful liberation of Tibet’, and egregiously claiming that the colonized nation is currently in its golden age symbolizing harmony and joy, where Tibetans are showing steadfast confidence towards building a prosperous society living a happy life.

Standing in front of the Potala Palace, China’s top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng, vowed to “fight a protracted battle” with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and urged the Chinese army, police and judicial staff in Tibet to further crackdown on Tibetans.
Their state media used the anniversary to launch attacks on His Holiness, calling Him a “cheater”, “wolf in monk’s robes,” and a “cruel ruler in exile”.

During a visit to the holy Jokhang Temple, Yu reconfirmed on China managing Tibet’s religious affairs according to law (includes appointing the next Dalai Lama). They further added that His Holiness the Panchen Lama (the world’s longest-serving political prisoner and the second most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism) is “living a normal life” and “does not wish to be disturbed.”

PHOTO: Potala Palace, September 8, 2015. A procession of gaudy floats celebrating the achievements of the Communist Party paraded down the street after the speeches.




I woke this morning from a beautiful dream

You were standing beside me proud and tall

Tears were glistening in your eyes

You lifted the veil from my face  and said;

“if you are not sure or want to walk away  I will walk with you ”

I smiled and squeezed your hand  and said “Come on Dad lets go,

Today is the first day of the rest of my life”

You kissed  me replaced the veil and holding tightly to my hand

You walked me down the aisle to give me away to the young man patiently waiting.

You were always there when I needed you

Your love was unconditional

I am who am I am because of you

And the trust you placed in me allowing me to grow.

Flash forward forty-seven years

I hold your hand I wipe your tears

I love you more deeply than ever before

But I can’t walk this journey with you

I can hold you and comfort you

I sing the songs we loved

But your grip on my hand lessens

Your chest fails to rise

There is no breath

No more heart- beat

I cannot lift the veil of  death that has claimed you

The clocks have stopped

My first love my dearest Dad

I love you

Happy Fathers Day


A Friend

A Friend

I have a young friend who is a very talented writer.  Well actually I have a number of young friends who are very talented writers.  Natalie has her own column in a weekly community newspaper. Our Narangba. Recently she asked me if she could do a story based on my piece When Life Hands You Lemons and I agreed.  Her story was published yesterday …Thank you Natalie Harman.

Making Lemonade

For Linda Morse.

Forgetting her cat eye reading glasses are hanging from her collar, Belinda squints at the writing prompt to jog her memory. Three prompt challenge: 1. Lemons. 2. Keys. 3. Hair Ties. Re-tucking loose strands from her prematurely grey beehive behind her ears, she unearths a brand-new, forgotten notebook from her just-as-patchy bag. Gilded butterflies are entrapped in covers of the foggiest grey. Under the cover of fiction, she writes in fibre-tip pen: ‘When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,’ my Gran always said.

Those days she said some crazy things, though. One time she told me that the car wouldn’t start without hair ties, but what she meant was the car wouldn’t start without the keys. She did crazy things too, like putting her car keys in the freezer – why did she do that?

My Gran had lovely hair, until Mum took her to get it cut because Gran wasn’t well enough to look after it herself. As the hair fell to the floor, I remembered how Gran used to wear it in a plait, which pointed at her tie-dyed pants and leather sandals. Mum said this, coupled with the oceanic shirts, made Gran a hippie.

‘The only free love humankind should practice is that of surviving the ’60s,’ Mum would always declare.

My Mum also got angry when her mum told the same stories over and over again, but I didn’t. I loved how Gran loved to tell me stories of her timeless youth. Marching down the streets of Melbourne to protest against the Vietnam War. Lunching at a coffee shop in Carlton called The Bread Stick during her breaks from working at the local university. Lay-bying treasures for her glory box from a pottery shop next door. How her explanation of all this old stuff became another story altogether.

Obviously, my Gran was super smart and funny, but she also cried a lot. These tears weren’t of laughter, but of loss.

The last time I saw Gran in her new house I asked if she still felt lost. She smiled as though she had even forgotten how to smile, and said, ’When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’

Writing this, I finally understand what Gran meant, and I also know she wasn’t crazy, just sick – she had dementia.

Belinda is breaking the lemony rules of writing to make her own lemonade, but this doesn’t matter. What matters is the actuality behind her artifice: a literary game of hide-and-go-seek in which the hider touches her nose to the dusty, dandelion curtain,  unaware her shadow betrays her whereabouts.