Your response to this work...
Why not talk back? I will answer.
Your thoughts are welcome and help to shape this site.
Send questions, comments, abuse, photographs...
or even a path with hypertext links like the one on 699
If you don't want you thoughts to be accessible,
then write `private' on the top of your message.
There are also other conversations
Message from Darren Wardlaw December 21, 1999 Subject: Dr H. Wardlaw

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your quick reply!

> In the back of my mind I seem to remember hearing about some tragic event
that touched him or his family.
Are you related ?

No, not related. I don't know much about him or his family.

During the past year I have been doing a bit of research on Wardlaws in Australia and I have found out that H. S. (Henry Sloane) Halcro Wardlaw was born in Queensland in 1889. His parents (Walter Ralph Wardlaw & Katherine Ann Rees) came to Australia from Scotland. If you happen to get any enquiries from anyone tracing his (or other Wardlaw) ancestry, I have quite a lot of information.

Thanks again for your info,


Message from Darren Wardlaw December 20, 1999 Subject: Dr H. Wardlaw

Hi Simon,

I came across your Flight of Ducks site and was wondering who Dr H. Wardlaw was.

Any information would be much appreciated,

with regards,

Darren Wardlaw

Reply Dec 21, 1999

Message from Nicolas Osuna December 16, 1999 Subject: shrimp farm


Message from Bob Smith December 10, 1999 Subject: bull roarer

Dear Mr. Peckley,

I very much enjoyed those pieces of The Flight of Ducks which you have published on the internet. I am currently writing a novel and would like to use the following quote as a preface to a chapter:

The bull-roarer was often used by the central tribes to warn women and children away from totemic ceremonies, particularly during initiation ... women or uninitiated men were forbidden to see. Penalties were severe; blinding by fire-stick or even death.

The title of the fiction I am writing is The Bull Roarers. Please let me know if this agreeable to you.

Sincerely yours, Robert W. Smith

Reply Dec 10, 1999

Message from Stefan Schutt November 11, 1999 Subject: Greetings Simon

Hello Simon.

I'm very pleased to have encountered your project.

I was referred to it by my RMIT teacher, as I'm planning to undertake a post-graduate online project that will involve a mix of personal narrative, travel, history, images and biography.

What I've seen of A Flight of Ducks has proved inspiring - especially your stylish and poetic combination of the project's elements.

My project will revolve around a different personal story of discovery; that of tracing my Sephardic father to Israel two years ago, and the physical, historical and cultural journey that this process entailed (and is entailing). It will also take a parallel journey into my mother's non-Jewish German culture.

I'm looking forward to exploring your site further!


Stefan Schutt

Message from David Kirkby November 3, 1999 Subject: Mt Liebig - a poem

dear Simon

i came across your flight of ducks site today, and found myself fascinated. i have spent some time sampling the site, and gaining a feel for it.

in the end, i decided to accept your frequently stated invitation to your visitors to write. my apologies in advance for the length of my response....

my interest springs from the time i have spent working in and with the Aboriginal communities of central australia and elsewhere in the territory - a bit over ten years - in the course of which i have come to love and be captured by certain places - mount liebig and haast bluff amongst them.

i was a regular visitor to mt liebig community at the time of your own visit, and in fact my liebig poem was written on september 20th 1996 - just the day before your arrival there.

i started writing, in a serious way, about that time. i have had fairly regular publication since, mainly in the literary journals, and have won a few literary competitions. one of the other poems i am sending - Japanangka's Dog, appeared in Overland earlier this year.

i am sending you the work, i suppose, because i feel it relates to your site. the landscapes of the centre are interior as much as exterior. the interface between the two is really meaningless.

if you think of them as a map, they are like multiple overlays built up on transparency, with layer after layer of meaning, for both black and white inhabitants.

the topography itself, the soil, geology and geomorphology which shape that topography; the vegetation mediated by the land; the insects, reptiles, mammals and birds - their nature, locations and habits; the presence and absence of water; the way these patterns of landscape, water, flora and fauna dictate the patterns of human habitation, landuse and travel; the knowledge of those patterns developed by the people; the mythology underlying and welding that knowledge together; the patterns of human travel; the patterns of ancestral travel and landscape creation; the link between these and the very kinship/social organisation and human interaction of the people of the land; the artistic/religious ceremony, art and performance which reinforces and transmits the knowledge of the land and its patterns and history...

taken altogether - land, pattern, performance, art, music, story, social interaction and structure - its the original "multi-media" construct - a complex non linear and non hierarchical web...

into that, over time, our own cultures have arrived - via missionaries, the overland telegraph, visitors such as your father, cattlemen, prospectors, administrators, educators, tourists .........

we have developed our own patterns of meaning, understanding and use of the land, and absorbed, however imperfectly, small amounts of what was there before our arrival. Aboriginal people, for that matter, have absorbed some of ours.

now there are roads, fence lines, bores, communities and outstations, new technologies for and patterns of hunting, webs of communication and telecommunication and the virtual and physical constructs which arrive with those. new forms of knowledge. new patterns of linking people and places. increasingly, those are shared with the original cultures, adopted by and changed by them. ( i note your run in with the Warlpiri media association....)

my poetry, and short stories, are about that interaction. or at least, that interaction is implicit in them. i write as a non-Aboriginal person, who nevertheless knows something of, and is deeply attached to, the land and the people who live there.

i'm not an expert on the land, or the people. i know only what i see and hear and feel myself.

the Watiyawanu/Liebig poem is trying to say something about place, and naming and knowledge. Junga Yimi is directly about black/white interaction - i can see from the journal entries of your 1996 visit that there are issues there of concern to you. Kaltukatjara is about travelling in that land, and the search for meaning.

whether or not you feel any of what i write is relevant to the FOD site, i hope you find it of interest. if so, think of it as a repayment for the interest i have found in FOD.

Attached: Watiyawanu, Junga Yimi (True Story) , Kaltukatjara


David Kirkby

Reply Nov 4, 1999

Question from Kirsten Nijhof October 31, 1999 Subject: communication?

Hi, I'm Kirsten Nijhof from Holland.

I'd like to have some information about the history of the Aboriginals. I have found this link because I was looking for all this sites about Didgeridoos. I have found a lot but there is this one last thing I've got to know..

It's only just one this little question:

'Did the Aborigionals began to play Didgeridoo because this was a sort of way to communicate with other people. Is there any relation between Aboriginals, Didgeridoos and communication? If there isn't, do you know what were the earlier forms of communication between Aboriginals? And what is the form of communication at this moment?'

It would be very helpfull if You can give me an answer. I'd like to thank you a lot.

Maube You'll send your answers to:

Reply Nov 4, 1999

Question from Karen Orr Vered October 27, 1999 Subject: doco conf


I'll be chairing your panel at the upcoming documentary conference. We met at the INFOG conference earlier this year. I've had a look at FOD and am wondering if the warning was an addition to the site or if it was there from the beginning? Has the site caused controversy?

Just trying to get some info for the introductions; I can't stand it when the intros simply reiterate what is already printed in the brochure. The panel should be quite good.

Looking forward.


Karen Orr Vered, PhD Lecturer Screen Studies

Flinders University GPO Box 2100 Adelaide 5001 South Australia

voice 61 8 8201 3198 fax 61 8 8201 3635

Reply Oct 30, 1999

Question from Garnet October 10, 1999 Subject: (none)

I would like to know where my grandmother dora cornelius is burried in ky

deaths in 1972 in harlan ky

archives of 1992


Reply Oct 10, 1999

Question from Emmy October 4, 1999 Subject: Aborigine vote

Hello, my name is Emmy, I go to highschool and I am currently doing an assingnment on voting. I was wondering if you knew the exact date when Aborigionals were allowed to vote? Thankyou for taking time to read this.


Reply Oct 5, 1999

Message from Peter Byrne September 29, 1999 Subject: First Impression

A very poetic and nostalgic journey!

(An amalgam of realities - facts, memories, insights etc)


Reply Sept 29, 1999

Reply from Sheila September 24, 1999 Subject: You did it, you marvel!

Hello there,

Thank you for your wonderfully considered answered, you stun me with your poetic prose. More than that you have given me insight into how you feel about your work and the ways you work (perfect!).

Again, thank you so much for your participation. I will send you a hard copy of your section around November 5th (yuck! hard copy...) If there is anything you find 'out of whack' at that stage, I can work to rectify it. Let's hope there isn't.

I must say I've really enjoyed conversing with you over the last few months,and hope one day that we will meet in person. Perhaps at a documentary conference somewhere one day.

For now, take care of yourself and the family.

Regards, and many thanks.


Reply Sept 24, 1999

Questions from Brenda September 23, 1999 Subject: Pond Life

Dear Sirs,

I'm doing a theme box on pond life. I was wondering if you any information I could use for preschool ages 3-5 years old. If you do could you let me know how I can get it. My E-Mail address is or you could use either one.


Brenda Kathman

Reply Sept 23, 1999

Questions from Sheila September 21, 1999 Subject: The Dirty 13!!

Hello Simon,

Glad to hear you are well my friend, and I think with all of the stuff you are doing you should be tired. I ALMOST feel guilty for taking your time. Again, I thank you for your contribution in advance. I can hardly wait for the answers. Well, here they are, commonly referred to as the dirty 13 . Please let me know if you have any problems whatsoever.

Note: Questions with answeres (in situ) are at: Replies Sept 21, 1999

Reply from James Larnach September 21, 1999 Subject: Larnach

Thank you for your incredibly prompt reply, Im unsure if I am related to Stanely, however I do know that in New Zealand the are only 12 or so Larnach's all of who a decendants of two brothers who came to NZ pre 1900 one of who is very well known in NZ as he was a politician/ banker/ entrepreneur his name was William Larnach and he is my grand .... uncle. I'm unsure of my grandsires name. Thanks again for the mail, any info about the family is appreciated -


Reply Sept 21, 1999

Question from James Larnach September 21, 1999 Subject: Larnach

who is the Larnach involved in the story is it William James Mudgee Larnach?
This is a family question as I am a Larnach

James Larnach

Reply Sept 21, 1999

Reply from Sheila September 20, 1999 Subject: Nearly time for those pesky questions

Dear Simon,

Great to hear from you, I was starting to think you may have been ill. I will email the questions tomorrow for you, and look forward to answers. Again, thank you so much for your contribution in advance, you're a real trooper.

Email you tommorrow.


Message from Fox September 16, 1999 subject: The White Root


I have recently spent some time on your website and believe that I have a item of interest to you and your visitors. I would like to offer you excerpts for your website from the followings book: Seeking the White Root. You can read the excerpt by going to excerpts and clicking on the title: Seeking the White Root..

Let me know if you are interested. I look forward to hearing from you.


LR Fox
content linking for independent publishers

Reply Sept 19, 1999

Remider from Sheila September 11, 1999 Subject: Nearly time for those pesky questions

Hi Simon,

I sent the below message to you late last week, but have not received any reply as yet. I hope you are OK, just busy I hope.


>Hello Simon,

Well, my friend, the time has nearly come to email those honours questions we talked about earlier in the year. I thought I had better drop you a note just to make sure you still have time for them. I'm sending you a hard copy of the consent forms (ethical clearance and all that stuff!) for you to sign, and if you are still raring to go, I will email the questions to you late next week.

Hope all is going well with you, your family, and your work.

I look forward to conversing with you soon.

Take care, regards,


Reply Sept 19, 1999

Reply from Noel Ferry September 7, 1999 subject: that church metaphor


You are referring to the cathedrals as they are, not what they were. I refer to the cathedral as metaphor for encapsulated thought, ethos, or idea that defined an age. Also, with the cathedral, almost everyone in that culture believed in it.kings a=d paupers actually helped to apply motoar to chartres for example. A truely shared experience.

I think the modern equivalent is not so much a shared space as an individual space which is why online will become increasingly popular. the virgin ruled chartres as well as all those great cathedrals. Eleanor of Aquitane and her daughter, Blanche of Castille ruled Europe in the 13th C and what happenned in that most feminine of centuries (the 13th). the Age of the troubodours, legend of the holy grail and courtly love or the start of the love potion that we still hang onto. ythis was the age of the matriarch.

the web is non linear and in a web sits a spider, invariably a matriarch

both cultures articuale connectiveness, both have a feminie ascendant and I believe both are very similar in aspect.

I suppose one of the good things about today is that you are not burnt at the stake for refusing a McDonald's burger....yet

keep in contact


Message from Noel Ferry September 5, 1999 subject: silica bound


I am a fvriend od Dave Richards. He was actually round here toinight having a meal with us and your name came up, as it always does when I see him. I appreciate that you two are mates which is why i will always put you both together.

I have watched a lot of your web story and enjoyed reading the story about the digital archiving aspect as well. There is so much that I want to ask you but that will have to wait till we get to know each other a little better and I am sure that this will happen.

The irony is that Iam now leaving the country to go and live in England for god knows hoe long, but that is the way of the world at present and at least with the internet, distance is not a factor.

I have a story to relate, some advice I want and a proposal to throw up in the air as well.

But first of all a story.

I am currently (for another week), the manager of the Tanami Network, compressed video conferencing satellite company based on the Western desert communities of Kintore, Willowra, lajamanu and Yuendumu. Before this I was a lecturer in literacy to a mens group to aboriginals in remote communities with batchelor college, around the Alice and we have spent a year living at papunya, Santa at Teresa as well as Yuendumu (2 years)..As you can see, we have been around.

Before this I had been an art teacher at high school and uni levels, as well as a photographer professionally and i hold post graduate quals in ceramic sculpture from Syney Uni (1991).I have exhibited artisically for over 20 years.

I have been interested in the link between the medievial and the contemporary, I am iinterested in the visual literacy link in particular bewteen an age that articulated itself through stained glass windows to the populace, to the Internet now and cyber space.

I am interested in the fact that Victor Hugo lamented the demise of the cathedral in the 15th century to the book, yet the situation in many ways is being reversed where the multi literacies element is now overtaking through the computer and internet from the dominance of book culture.

I am interested in the link that silica=sand=clays=glass=fibre optic cable=computer chip=sand painting= makes every culyure has used sand to articyualte and communicate itself. It is a very common material and we all use it and always have.

Anyway, this is part of the glue that hold my theory together.

What I want to do is to put online a story combining visual, oral and written text together and to try to search for a publisher to do this. I cannot imagine anyone in this country, but you never know.

The story will be about a journey or a pilgrimage to Chartres. I was there 13 years ago and hope to be there in Late November this year as well for a short time, and a couple of times at least next year.

It will take in the fact that the cathedral was devoted to the virgin, as the web is also feminine. Both are matriarchial spaces, both are communicating spaces.

It is also about going back to the old world with a bag of tricks. Not coals to Newcastle, no, it is about taking something back again, to a tired old country.

I will stop work here for the Tanami in a week as i have resigned already, and once that is ready, we will spend some time gathering thoughts before we leave, but for me it will mean a couple of weeks time to get some serious reading and writing done.

I will hone down the story more as time goes on, but it really is all about finding a new centre, something a little more home grown. In many ways, it has been my direct involvement with Aboriginal people that now allows me to leave with confidence and look at other peoples searches. Especially as a European I feel this is vital. For too long many of us try to find ourselves through other cultures, but that is another story in itself.

I am writing to you as I feel that you have the visual acuity and intellectual vigor as well as exeperience in mnay ways of putting an idea together, must have built up enough contacts with others as well especially overseas and I would appreciate it if you would share some of these contacts or even just gentle advice with me.

Give me a burl anyhow. I leave Alice SPrings on the 30th of this month but would love to hear from you well before then.

By the way, i am aware of the controversy that you have been involved in, and think it ironic that it is the white fella that once again gets his nose out of joint.The same white fellas who actually have more reason to hide than anything you may have been alleged to have done, but there you go, we live in a pretty facile world sometimes. I suspect that a lot of the crap was stirred up by jealousy.

Your work was, and is good. You know that, I know that, and so do others who can tell the difference between mutton and lamb.

give me a call mate, I'd love to make contact.


Reply Sept 5, 1999

Message 2 from Daphne Palmer September 3, 1999 subject: The Flight of Ducks

Dear Simon:

It was very interesting to talk to you yesterday morning. Last night I tried again on the internet and was able to access the Ntl Library site and also I logged into the references below with photographs of Kurt in 1933 and looked at some of the other photos.

Kurt says he was out at Hermannsburg at that time for studies leading to his confirmation around his 18th birthday.

Kurt says the photo of the new truck (FODO252) was probably Wallis Fogarty's truck which was a six cylinder Dodge Graham, possibly driven by Billy McCoy.

We will look forward to receiving the material you send and hopefully meet you some time soon. I am also sorry that we never received your earlier messages in 1996 or 1997 as we would certainly have responded straight away!



Message from Daphne Palmer September 2, 1999 subject: The Flight of Ducks

Dear Simon:

I was told about this site last week by Ms Alison French, currently documenting aboriginal art etc at Ernabella mission, when visiting the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs, NT but I am unable to access any of the material. My partner, Kurt Johannsen, was born 80 km S of Alice Springs and grew up with aboriginal children as his playmates. He went out into the western desert country with anthropologists in the 1930s and he would be most interested to read this material. He also took Vic Foy's party into the western desert and out to Uluru in 1936.

How do I access it, please? I found the website for The Flight of Ducks, but it only produces an image of a man and ducks passing in flight. No material, and nothing to click on to access material or print anything.

Thanks, Daphne Palmer

Message from Christine Rickard September 1, 1999 subject: aboriginal mission photo

My grandfather wasl a Methodist minister in the Far West Mission. In his memoirs he talks of a photo taken of him - a white man in black cothes and a white collar, and an Aboriginal named Ted Dargin - a black man in white clothes. This was taken at Brindamine? mission - out near White Cliffs. Do you happen to have any knowledge of this, or photos of the area around 1915 onwards?

regards, Christine Rickard.

Message 3 from Mick August 31, 1999 subject: Lasseter's Gold

I travelled to Central Australia in August last year in a Mazda Bravo 4WD I had never been to that part of Australia. The wild flowers near King's Canyon were spectacular and I saw more feral camels than I saw rabbits.I do have a copy of Lasseter's map but did not find it to be of much use.I found that information gathered locally during my trip and the description in his diary to be more useful in establishing where his camels bolted.I obtained a seven day permit to enter and transit aboriginal land from the Central Land Council in Alice Springs and a three day permit for the Central Reserve, W.A.However I still have not been able to establish if the kit bag or the relative sandhill in which it was said to be buried were ever found.


Message 2 from Mick August 31, 1999 subject: Lasseter's Gold

During a recent trip to Central Australia I took the opportunity look for Lasseter's kit bag in an endeavour to either prove or dispel the existence of the mythical "reef".In his diary Lasseter wrote "Darling I've pegged the reef and marked the exact locality on the map which is buried in my kit.... on the sand hill where the camels bolted ...... the East side .....ill."During my search in the middle of the desert many miles from anywhere I found some rusty boot tacks,rusty fish hooks,part of a brass zipper and other metal fragments on a sand hill in the area where his camels were reported to have bolted. I wandered whether these could have been abandoned by Lasseter to lighten his burden and perhaps the kit bag is still buried in the sand hill. It would be great to be able to put the matter to rest after all the conjecture surrounding the existence of the "reef" over the years.


Message from Mick August 27, 1999 subject: Lasseter's Gold

Has the sand dune where Lasseter's camels bolted ever been located?


Message from Stephen Pearson August 23, 1999 subject: Flight of Ducks article

Dear Dr. Pockley,

Chris Brophy at the AFI kindly arranged with you for us to republish your paper from INFOG97 about Flight of Ducks in our Library Association journal Multi-Media Information and Technology.

This article appears in the current edition of MMIT, and we'd like to send you a copy.

Please could you send me your postal address?

Many thanks

Stephen Pearson
Articles Editor
Multi-Media Information and Technology
c/o British Film Institute

Message from Russell White August 21, 1999 subject: webring

Good Morning,

I invite you to submit your site to the new Australian History Webring at

However, I'm not sure that the logos etc would fit in with your masterly design. :)



Russell White
Speed of Light P/L
PO Box 142 Rose Bay NSW 2029 Australia
So what's the speed of dark?

Message from ? August 18, 1999 subject: albert namatjira

i would like to know more about albert namatjira if you have information please send it to me at

Message from Deanne August 13, 1999 subject: aboriginality

Hi, I am looking for information on aboriginality viewed at from an historical context, do you have any information or articles which may help me, or do you know of any writers who write from this angle. This is for a Modern History degree at James Cook University.

Thanks Deanne Archer.

Message from Justine August 10, 1999 subject: help for an assignment!!


I'm doing an essay on the 'effects of colonisation on the health of Aboriginal societies in Australia'.

If you have any ideas or points on how to go about this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time

Justine Elks

Message2 from Ricardo August 9, 1999 subject: Homeric Greek on-line

Dear Sir,

I've been listening to Prof. Nagy's Greek recitations available on his page at The Harvard University courses site. The sound, provided by Apple's Quick Time, is good. There is also a site named Homer's Poetic Justice from the same Prof. Nagy, that contains lessons in audio/video in Real Player format. They are not very reliable and the sound is far from perfect. MP3 seems to be a good option, because they are easy to record with MP3 recorders like RealJukebox from RealMedia and CDEx , both free to download and easy to operate. My personal interest lies in gathering the largest selection of Iliad's recitations for my Iliad self teaching effort. I would like anything you could send me or make available to the general public.

Best wishes, Ricardo

Message from Ricardo August 8, 1999 subject: Homeric Greek on-line

Dear Sir,

I would like to know if there are more parts of Dr. John Antill Pockley's Greek recitations available on the Net.


Ricardo Holanda Brazil

Message from Rachael July 25, 1999 subject: info needed please

Dear Who ever it may concern,

If it is possible could you please send me some information on the Aboriginals in the time of when the Europeans landed and how they were disrupted. Also could you send some information on how they were Hunter/Gatherers and how they got disrupted in that aspect.

Any information would be kindly thanked for,

Rachael ( THANKS

Reply, July 10, 1999

Message from ali July 21, 1999 subject: flight of ducks

Hello Simon,

It's been a while since we met - Brian Pockley's funeral in Albury in fact (I'm Brian's daughter-in-law, married to Jack, and sister-in-law to Clare).

I saw the information on your doctorate in the papers lately- for which many congratulations. I had a quick whizz round the site today and enjoyed it very much. I didn't get much chance to look at the details of your trip, but spent a little time on your father's trip back in the 1970's. Jack and I spent a bit of time up near Leonora/Laverton, WA last year, so know it reasonably well. Your father's writing reminded me very strongly of Brian, they were cousins I think? I suspect they were kindred spirits. I particularly liked your father's shoe-cleaning episodes which were his equivalent of dressing for dinner. I would have liked to have met him, he sounded a fascinating person.

Anyway. This is just a quick congratulatory note. Jack and I get to Melbourne reasonably infrequently, but would love to catch up with you, however briefly, when we're next down there.

Best wishes. ALI POCKLEY

Message from avi Wed Jun 9, 1999 subject: shields and boomerangs

tell me please about the aboriginal spears and boomarang for a project thank you

Reply Wed Jun 9, 1999

Reply from Stephanie Britton Tue Jun 8, 1999 subject: Disintegration

Dear Simon

I found your site absolutely fascinating, printed it out and read it all!

I will have to mull over how if at all I can bring it into this issue of Artlink. However, we are doing a big issue on indigenous art for next March, and maybe if I can get Marcia Langton to do a piece for this on representation she might refer to Flight of Ducks. So leave it with me for the moment.

Many thanks for alerting me to it.

kind regards

Stephanie (

Reply Wed Jun 9, 1999

Message from filmmakers Fri May 28, 1999 subject: Still photographs, Hermannsburg, etc

To Whom It May Concern:

We are three film makers developing a major documentary about Albert Namatjira. We have noticed that you possess (or have access to ) a collection photographs which cover people and places relevant to our film. We are wondering if these might be available for us to peruse. The images we found on the web were not very clear and it would be better for us if we could see them "in the flesh". Is this possible? We are based in Sydney at 9818-4986 (phone) or the email number as listed at the top of this page. We very much look forward to hearing from you.

Lindsay Frazer
Billy Marshall Stoneking
Nigel Roberts

Reply Sun May 30, 1999

Message from Sheila McCarthy Fri May 21, 1999 subject: Honors thesis - Investigation of 3 diverse forms of documentary 'filmmaking'

Hello Simon,

I know you must receive about 150 emails per day, but I feel I have to speak to you about your work 'The Flight of Ducks' . I am about to embark on an Australia. I intend to interview three documentary makers, and I would love it if you were one. One of the other documentary makers is Dennis Tupicoff. Dennis makes animated movies, and his latest "His Mother's Voice" is being hailed as a documentary. As you can imagine, these new forms, including yours, bring about questions of the documentary tradition, hybridity, and diversity among many others. I know you are an academic yourself, and as such may find it difficult to become the subject of another, but I guarantee I will not take much of your valuable time and will endeavour to present you and your work as purely investigative subjects. My thesis is not one that will tend to critisism in the hope of an imaginative or clever conclusion that new forms of documentary are detrimental to the form itself, but plans to be one that celebrates the new hybrid forms as remarkable extensions of inevitable cultural technologies.

So much for emails being brief eh!

I hope I have interested you enough to warrant a reply, again, I think your work is amazing and would love to have the opportunity to investigate it fully. I thank you for your time, and wish you all the best for the future.

Sheila (

Reply Mon May 24, 1999

Message from Di Bingham Thu Apr 8, 1999 subject: Journal 1976

Have just been visiting your page - great evocative writing - have added a link to my Australia page (S)

Di Bingham

Reply Thu Apr 8, 1999

Message from Jesse Huber March 18, 1999 subject: suggestion

I was interested in reading the journal, but I suppose I am not a very patient person. I finished one page. If there is any way possible to speed up the process, I would encourage it. Or if you could have another section that had it typed out in regular script making it easier to read and to rid some of the timely graphics. For those that are patient enough to wait on the downloading the journal is fine, but I'm sure I am not the only one who feels this way.

Regards, Jessi Huber

Reply, July 25, 1999

Message from Chris Holden Tue Mar 2, 1999 subject: Typo?

I happened upon your web site and noticed that the word "their" is misspelled (you have it as "thier"). The URL of the page is:

I hope this helps.

Chris (

Message from Sven Mar 18, 1999 subject: -

Hello ther? Does the Diary in that form as You scanned it still excist, can people buy it somewhere in Austalia? Price? Thank You!


Message from Sung Mar 17, 1999 subject: thank you

can you tell me the main points of the history of didgeridoo? as soon as possible!

Message from Gauri Salokhe Mar 13, 1999 subject: Request for help.

I am a Masters student from India at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. My thesis project involves creating a structure for describing a collection of Buddhist manuscripts. The project involves using RDF, 1:1, and the Relation element to relate the actual manuscripts to the underlying works, whether they be copies of basic Pali texts, commentaries, sub-commentaries, or parts of wholes. My advisor is Thomas Baker and starting in May I will spend three months in Lisbon working with Jose Borbinha at the National Library of Portugal.

I would be grateful for any pointers or advice you could give me on implementation experience with regard to these issues.

Many thanks, Gauri Salokhe (

Reply Tue Mar 2, 1999

Request from Fay Smith Tue Mar 2, 1999 subject: childs school report

Dear Simon

My daughter is in Year 5 and has been given an assignment on Aborigines. We are trying to find information on tools in early use e.g. hunting spear, fishing spear, woomera,nulla nulla, boomerang, skin sling, coolamon, digging stick and dilly bag - plus information on how they were used. Also an explanation of Ceremonies and Dreamtime covering corroborees, didgeridoo, clapping sticks, dances, art, painting stories, decoration and spiritual. Also food and shelter including fire and making fire, huts, fishing, hunting, animals, other food, and water search. We also need to cover the effects of European settlement on the Aborigines e.g. effect of losing tribal lands, diseases, fighting, Aboriginal settlements and the arrival of the first fleet. And finally we need to locate maps showing location of Aboriginal land and people in 1788, 1986 and 1990.

Research material in my computer encyclopaedia is limited - its been formatted in America so is not entirely relevant to Australia. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely Fay Smith (

Reply Sun Feb 28, 1999

Reply from Robert Windsor Sat Feb 27, 1999 subject: FOD


I apologise for my delay in replying. I haven't been to the Warrumbungles, I' ve just been very, very tired.

It pleases me that you're interested in my experiences in central Australia. However, as for -

>Few people would have such insights into the workings of Aboriginal communities

- I wouldn't be so bold. It is my experience that the workings of remote area Aboriginal communities are difficult to comprehend using the faculty of reason - its definitely a 'vibe' thing. My area of knowledge is really confined to children and their mothers, grandmothers and aunties; as an uninitiated male who couldn't play football to save himself, mens business has largely remained a mystery to me. My advice to anyone wishing to make inroads into Aboriginal community life, and win confidence, is to learn to play football very well.

>I would be grateful to know your reactions to Blinding the Duck

Reading "Blinding the Duck" brought to mind Sigmund Freuds comments on the seductive powers of technology. He saw technology as being iatrogenic. He said that the wonder of being able to pick up a telephone and speak to a friend who was a thousand miles away was somewhat tempered by the knowledge that if someone hadn't invented the locomotive his friend wouldn't be a thousand miles away. The story of technology is largely composed of attempts to use technology to solve problems that technology has created. "Blinding the Duck" has its roots in this story. Your commendable attempt to accomodate cultural sensitivities using cybernetics is ultimately a response to problems created by photographics. With or without "white guilt" or "an itinerant industry of non-Aboriginal advisers" the problem you are attempting solve begins with the nature and the power of the mechanical eye.

>I suspect that this incremental method of working is far more in tune with the very local community land based methodologies working against hierarchy and paternalism in central Australia.

There's certainly some truth in this. It seems to me that for Anangu there are very few rules that apply on all days in all cases. Everything depends. This can cause a great deal of confusion for outsiders. I think it needs to be acknowledged that the incrementalism of a community is embodied, and consequently very difficult for an outsider to read. It doesn't simply function as amendments in response to new data but is a constant becoming of intersubjective moods and intuitions. It is a kind of anti-methodology.

> How did you live when you were with the Anangu?

Largely in air conditioned comfort. Sleeping on the ground was the norm when visiting other communities and while on these occasions I always enjoyed sleeping under the stars I'm very much a creature who loves his creature comforts.

>Did you make good friends

I did make some very good friends. I was very fortunate in this regard.

>Did you fall in love?

I fell in love with the country. As you know central Australia has a certain something.

>What did you eat?

Same as Anangu - store bought rubbish and the occasional slow moving rabbit. Also at least once a term the older women would take my class out on trips collecting traditional foods and pituri and red gum for making mingkulpa.Mainly we collected maku(grubs), ili(native fig) and bush banana. These occasions form some of my most precious memories. At these times, more than at any other times, I was able to witness the deep attachment to country that Anangu have, and the grace and power of the old women. There was always a lot of informal storytelling and a wonderful atmosphere of openness and friendliness. I feel these occasions deepened my understanding of what it means to be Australian. I'd always intellectually grasped that Australia had traditions stretching back tens of 1000's of years but at these times I was able to emotionally connect to those traditions.

>I was shocked by what I saw in central Australia when I travelled to Mount Liebig. Shocked!

Yes, much more shocking than any images you'd find on the internet. What would you do to fix it ? (I put this question to everyone suffering the effects of shock).

Anyway, Simon I'm off for a snooze. I'd be genuinely interested in your views on causes and cures of the things that shock you and so many visitors to central Australia. I'd also be interested in your response to my snapshot commentary on Blinding the Duck (I promise I am not a luddite but I suspect this would be sounding less convincing all of the time).

regards, Rob

Reply Sun Feb 28, 1999

Request from Tracy Spencer Sat Feb 27, 1999 subject: UAM...

Thanks very much for your fascinating site.

I am searching for information about a united Aborigines missioner, Jim Page, who served at Nepabunna in the 1930's, the same era as your Dad's trek. I'm also looking for information about a white women living with the community at Nepabunna, Rebecca (Becky) Forbes (nee Hardcastle). If you'e come across information or references to them in your work, I would very much appreciate it if you could contact me with that


Thanks a lot

Tracy Spencer (
PO Box 48 Hawker SA 5434

Reply Sun Feb 28, 1999

Message from Joe Heinrich Fri Feb 19, 1999 subject: Lasseter's diary...

Hi Simon--

How did you get access to the diary? Is it
on public display somewhere? It piqued my interest
because it's similar (in a way) to various
Donner Party diaries famous in
this locale (Silicon Valley).
Also, Hammond Innes wrote a book (The Golden Soak)
based on it, I think.

I forwarded you a pointer to Joe Squire's website because I
liked the neurological feel of both.
Interesting that you use your fathers as a starting point;
but my! the divergence


Reply Sun Feb 21, 1999

Message from Marina Williams Thu Feb 18, 1999 subject: aboriginal history

I am trying to research Aboriginal or Koori History in Eildon Central Victoria. I know that there used to be aborigines living in the area, as they came up here for the Bogong Moths at Mt Bogong, and I know that the government relocated them to Healesville.

Would you be able to help me with any more sources of info that I can find on the net, so that I can continue my research.



P.S Can you email me back privately.

Message from Joe Heinrich Wed Feb 17, 1999 subject: Lasseter's diary..

Hi Simon--

Were there more than 24 pages to Lasseter's diary?

Take a look at each other's sites:

--joe (

Reply Fri Feb 19, 1999

Message from Rob Windsor Tue Feb 16, 1999 subject: FOD

Dear Simon,

thanks for your prompt reply. I'm afraid my diligence and industriousness are no match. The thing that first occurred to me when discovering your web-site was the enormous amount of work that must be involved in assembling and maintaining such a project, and I'm surprised you can find the time to reply to e-mail.

Your reply is most informative. Firstly,while it further highlights my ignorance of the technology it goes some way to addressing the deficiency. Most importantly I got the answer I was looking for, and that is that you welcome any amendments that are technologically possible (am I right?). My interest here is not because I personally have any amendments in mind. My interest is in the process of evolving ethics for the representation of cultural others (often disparagingly referred to as 'political correctness'). It seems to me that the creation of a textual environment in which anyone with a vested interest has authorial powers carries the potential to accelerate this process. Free spaces for the meeting of ideas, no matter how marginal,confronting, controversial or unpopular those ideas may be, must always be welcomed. The question I am in the process of asking is: Does The Flight of Ducks constitute such a space?

Public/Private Communications:
I did not realise when I e-mailed you that my communication would be private. I certainly have no objections to my correspondence being accessible to all vistors and/or contributors to The Flight of Ducks, in fact I would like this to be the case. The problem is that I really don't understand very much about these new technologies. Is there actually a way that I can communicate directly to the site? (I'm genuinely sorry if this question is really stupid). If in your reply you could explain how I can make my correspondence public that would be terrific.

My Research:
Since 1996 I have been working on a PhD thesis which examines commonly circulating representations of Aboriginal people (primarily representations produced by non-Aboriginal people but not exclusively). I commenced this research after a period of teaching junior primary in the Anangu communities of Mimili and Amata. Living and working in Anangu communities was something that I enjoyed very much but due to health problems I had to terminate my employment in 1995 (the Pitjantjatjara Lands are not really suitable for those with frail health). Having always been interested by the commonly circulating understandings and misunderstandings of Aboriginal people shared by non-Aboriginal people, I felt that research into the origins, forms and functions of such (mis)understandings could be fruitful.

The Schooling of Thought:
You mentioned being the recipient of invective. You have my sympathies. I personally have not encountered much, but I live with the fear I assure you. Sometimes it feels like I am treading on eggshells. My work as yet has not being a very public affair, but at the few conferences I have attended I have been made aware of the fact that I am working in a heavily policed environment. I respect demands for sensitive and responsible use of language. This is the very concern of my thesis, and I find it very encouraging that others are equally concerned. However, I do fear the influence of the overzealous.

More About My Research
I am the sort of postgrad who dreads the question "So whats your thesis about? (there seems to be no other kind in Adelaide)". This is partly due to the fact that it seems to be in a perpetual state of maturation and it seems difficult to pinpoint. It also has something to do with the fact that I often feel like I am drowning in a sea of words. However, to plunge into oversimplification I am analysing various categories of popular text that take Aboriginality (Australian) as a primary focus. My analysis is largely conducted in terms of ideas developed by Martin Heidegger and further developed by people such as Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. If there is a central idea it is the belief that Western culture is pervaded by a `will to power': a desire to dominate in order to remake the world to satisfy Western desires. I am interested in the ways this desire operates through language and in the possible ways that entities that are `spoken for' and `spoken of' can be allowed to show themselves. My research is also informed by Heidegger's critique of technology. For Heidegger technology is an attitude or a way of thought that sets no limits to itself. It is infinitely expandable and erodes other modes of thought. Technology conceives of the world in terms of stock or materials that can be stored, manipulated and incorporated into the project of its own unfolding. (I am not a Luddite, or even an anti-modern, I just find this a very useful model for understanding the widespread processes of exploitation and subjection that have characterised western modernity).

I think that we could engage in some very productive online discussions. I am interested in questions such as: Can the new technologies of writing open up a `clearing' for Aboriginal people, providing an easily accessible environment in which they are able to freely show themselves, or is there simply an increased danger of further subjection, even more being spoken for and being spoken of? This is obviously a problem if, as you say, Aboriginal people are reluctant to be identified in the electronic environment. I am also interested in the possible clash of values involved in the production of a site such as The Flight of Ducks, i.e, differing views on the value of the past and its preservation, differing views on the value of public knowledge. It would be invaluable to hear the viewpoints of relatives of the people your father met on his expedition (are they Pintubi and Loritja people?). No doubt you've heard many people speaking for them.

I look forward to your reply. Please forgive my lateness in replying. I always reply to mail but not always promptly.


Rob Windsor

Reply Fri Feb 19, 1999

Question from S. Wilson Mon Feb 8, 1999 subject: none

I'm doing a paper for school its due Monday,
I was wondering if you knew of any poems or sonnets related to "Shall I
compare thee to a summers day", or "How do I love thee"

Thanks S.Wilson (

Reply Mon Feb 8, 1999

Question from Rob Windsor Fri Feb 5, 1999 subject: FOD

Dear Simon,

I am doing research into the representation of Aboriginality and I have been visiting your site from time to time for the past twelve months. I am considering including a discussion of your site in my thesis. Unfortunately my knowledge of the technology is embarassingly inadequate. The thing that interests me most about your site is the potential to overwrite. Does this mean that the material you have gone to the trouble of preserving, such as the journal and the photographs, can be replaced or deleted, or does this just apply to the supporting material?


Rob Windsor (

Reply Mon Feb 8, 1999

Message from Doug Baum Tue Feb 2, 1999 subject: camels

Great story Simon! I know (and own) Tracks. It is a fine account (if not a little heavy on the romance with the photographer) of the crossing, and I truly admire her. Every few months, for inspiration, I get it out and read it.

What you say about the two camels is interesting. Everyone I know and trust in the camel world has said the same thing about the darker camels. In fact, I have two of them that I am selling right now. The 9 month old was bottle raised, but is very aggressive, and the 3 year old is very scrawny. I prefer the lighter colored camels myself. The two dromedaries I own are almost reddish.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to my e-mail, I really enjoy meeting new acquaintances...

Doug Baum

Message from Doug Baum Tue Feb 2, 1999 subject: questions

Simon, thank you so much for the quick reply! Since receiving your e-mail I've revisited your site, and gained a better understanding of an on-line documentary. What an intertesting concept.

I first found you under a search for "images of camels". Wow, was I impressed! I raise and train camels here in Texas, many of them Aussie imports. The photos are invaluable, as they show saddles and headgear for the camels very clearly. Are these photos your father took? They are truly remarkable.

One day, I hope to visit the Outback. I have read many books on the camels and Australia, and each has had considerable emphasis on the Aboriginal people. I applaud your candor on the site and every element included therein.

Doug Baum

Reply Wed Feb 3, 1999

Question from Doug Baum Tue Feb 2, 1999 subject: questions

I briefly looked around your site, and am blown away at the photography! Please give me some background on this site, and the nature of the photos (when, where, by whom).

Thank you

Doug Baum (

Reply Wed Feb 3, 1999

Request from James Kesteven Fri Jan 29, 1999 subject: none


I am running a film study course for the coming autumn semester here at UTS.

Although I have only had one cursory look at it, I can see that there will be a lot of interest by the students and I would like to include your site as one week's topic.

Can you get back to me on this?

many thanks

james kesteven (

Request from Morten Zimmermann Wed Jan 20, 1999 subject: information

Do you have any kind of information about aborigianl history. I need that to a school paper. The history must be before the white if you know what I mean can you mail it to me or give me some hints about internet sites I can visit.

Thank you (

Request from Melissa Valentine Tue Jan 19, 1999 subject: The Flight of the Ducks

Hello sir,

I am an American university student who will be studying the tragedy of the Aboriginal adoption program in Australia during what I beleve to be in the 1950s. I am having a troblesome time finding information on the internet and in my search I came across you interesting albeit dark website. I was really moved by some of the many pictures you have posted and the impoverished conditions they display.

I am writing to request your suggestions on any possible sites that you forsee as helpful to my research. If you are able to offer a suggetion or two, please contact me at However, if you draw a blank, thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I wish you continued success with your website.

Sincerely, Melissa Valentine (

Reply Wed Jan 20, 1999

Message from Alan Golding Mon Jan 18, 1999 subject: strehlow-BBC WALES TV SERIES


I am currently researching a television series for BBC Wales on the History of Australian folk Musics to be shot in March 99, and having read Bruce Chatwin's Songlines came to be informed of the work of Ted Strehlow.

It mentions that he recorded in notebooks, on tape and film the songs and ceremonies of the passing order, encouraged by his Aboriginal friends.

I was hoping that you may know the whereabouts of this archive material. If you have any other thoughts on avenues to discovering the broader picture of Australian Folk Music I would appreciate your suggestions.

Hope to hear from you and thanks for your time,

Best Wishes Alan Golding
BBC Wales (

Reply Tue Jan 19, 1999

Message from Liz Hampton Wed Jan 13, 1999 subject: 1933

Dear SimonP

I have just discovered After three years on the internet this has to be one of the very best sites I have seen - congratulations!

Whilst I have no claim to fame other than being an avid websurfer, I have to say your site has blown me away and I'm emailing all my friends urging them to visit.

I'm no art critic nor have I any training in this area but your site evokes in me all sorts of emotion and excitement, stillness and energy and carries me along on an extraordinary journey.

Please let me know if you have other sites on the web I can visit.

With Admiration Liz Hampton (

Message from Paul Norris Sat Jan 9, 1999 subject: Lasseter's personal profile

I have been reading Idriess's account of Lasseter's Last Ride. I have found it to be a great advantage story. I am now trying to understand some more back ground on Lasseter ie his personal profile. Where was he born, education, family, etc.

A lot of Australians are aware of Lasseter's gold reef from a folk tale background but is there any historical display given to him.

Does the native history of the tribe stick of the sandhill gods around. Idriess talks about it in his book on page 487.

Some did a video of Lasseter a few years ago. I think it may had been John Laws. Do you know how I could view the video, if there is one.

My interest is not from finding his reef, but from a city bound person looking into Central Australia.

If you are unable to assist with this information, do you know of anyone who can?


Paul Norris

Message from Sandra Shrubb Wed Dec 30, 1998 subject: 3 hours of fascination

dear mr pockley

i stumbled across 'The Flight of Ducks' searching for Gosses Bluff and have spent three hours absolutely fascinated by your superb work and i have hardly even touched upon it.

thank you for sharing this artistic masterpiece and i look forward to returning to the site for many more hours of reading. the photographs are excellent, the text, the journal, the poems. i have just graduated from the uni of tas, majoring in photography and printmaking, partially using computer images from scanning my photographs. i was stunned by the beauty of the images on your site. again thank you.

sandra shrubb - from a remote island off antarctica

Reply Wed Jan 20, 1999

Questions from Abby Remer Thu Dec 24, 1998 subject: query

I am a professor at New York University and also writing a book about women artists around the world. I have written a section on aboriginal Women's painting and would like to include a reproduction of a work by Emily Kame Kngwarreye. I have been told by the woman who represents her work that it would be all right to reproduce the work (the book is for students and teachers). However, is it culturally inappropriate because Emily has passed away?

Thanks for your advice.

Reply Wed Jan 20, 1999