The Past is a Different Country

Celebrating 100 Years of Lifesaving at Brisbane Girls Grammar School  Mr Stephen Fogarty, Director of Health Studies Faculty The past is a different country.  They do things differently there. So begins L.P. Hartley’s 1953 novel, The Go-Between.  The novel’s protagonist reflects on past events in an attempt to better understand his current circumstances.  In this, the year in which the School celebrates 100 years of Royal Life Saving involvement, it is worth us doing the same. As outlined in Pauline Harvey-Short’s history of health, physical education and sport at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, To become fine sportswomen (2011, p. 26), In 1912 three students, Lottie Bond, Olga Hertzberg and Mary Lilley, were successful in achieving the Royal Lifesaving Society’s medal, as was their instructor, Miss Hunt.  Five other students achieved their elementary certificates.  These girls were Ena Eden, N. Hamilton (possibly Helena M. Hamilton), Irene Manning, Doris Park and Joan Quinlan.  The three medallists, Lottie, Olga…

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Associate Professor John Armstrong,  Visiting Philosopher Often we feel obliged to be in favour of change.  In Annie Hall, the Woody Allen character and Annie are talking about the problems of their relationship: ‘you never believed in change’ she complains; ‘change is death’ he pleads—to which she responds with a fulsome Manhattan expletive. The point? Annie’s thesis can be expressed as follows:  If you are a good modern, lively person you will automatically be into ‘change’. If you are suspicious of change your attractive partner will leave you. She does not argue—this is not a carefully reasoned attitude. But we get the message: pro-change is good; suspicion of change is bad. Was Churchill funny? It’s striking that this positive evaluation of change is relatively recent. There’s a saying attributed to Winston Churchill, reflecting moodily on a cabinet discussion: ‘they keep talking about the need for change...  Aren’t things bad enough already?’ I find this quietly hilarious,…

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