A River Somewhere

12 September 2005 at 23:08 (General)

Last night I saw an ad for the DVD collection of A River Somewhere, a two season series on the ABC. It’s about two blokes (Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner, apparently from the panel) going fishing, mainly fly fishing. They visit Victoria, Scotland, New Zealand, WA, Venezuela, Italy, Bhutan, the USA, North Queensland and Belize.

Personally, the only thing I find more boring than fishing is watching other people fish. But fly fishing is fairly different, it’s a hunt. More to the point, this isn’t like any other fishing show. It’s hardly devoted to the fishing, it’s just as much about the bush and the history. It’s funny, informative, distinctly Australian and the poetic commentary is gorgeous. It’s a far cry from Rex Hunt, closer to the bushtucker man.

I wouldn’t normally blow $50 this fast, but it also came with CD’s of the original soundtrack, created by Liam Bradley. Lots of acoustic guitar and harmonica. I was sold, hook, line and sinker.

A quote from Tom Gleisner in the first episode:

Blackberries; they were introduced into the country last century by a guy called Baron Von Muller and unfortunately they’ve taken over the whole river valley up here. One of the two major disasters visited upon Australia by Germany, the other being Adelaide.



  1. nimeton said,

    I’m glad to see you’ve discovered some of Australia’s great entertainers… I love the stuff these guys come up with. Anything similar also floats my boat. I’m having trouble emphasising this point but yeah consider it emphasised. Also the quote you picked out is quite good.

  2. toto said,

    :) The funny thing is I’ve never really ‘got’ the panel. I’ve watched it a few time, I’ve really tried, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I think it’s because I keep expecting them to ‘do something’. Glad you liked the quote, there were many many more to choose from.

  3. Kent said,

    So I spose I’m the one obliged to cry out at the top of my voice… what’s Adelaide got to do with Germany?!!?!

  4. toto said,

    well there were quite a few Germans who came here (I can personally think of a few). “By the mid 1840s there were enough Germans in South Australia to make it worthwhile to have their own newspaper.”

  5. toto said,

    and although I’m fairly sure my ancestors weren’t on the ship this article is talking about, I think they were only two or so years behind:

    “Germans have emigrated to South Australia ever since the first settlements were established in 1836. The best-known group of early German immigrants – Lutherans from Prussia – arrived only two years after the founding of the colony, and, continued throughout the century, several hundred Germans arriving every year.”

  6. Kent said,

    Yeah, a few came. The fact that Adelaide was totally proposed, founded, and settled by Brits doesn’t strike you as making them responsible?

    1836-40 has 12,000 from the British Isles; 65% of whom came from the south of England.

    The first significant number from Germany was in 1838 with 800, and the majority of them, as you know, didn’t settle at Adelaide at all. Most who went to Klemzig moved up into the hills later.

    The article you talk about is, yeah, the German miners. Dare I go off looking for the number of Cornishmen who emigrated at around the same time? No point, you know as well as I do that twenty times more of them came than Germans.

    Anyway, none of this has got to do with Germany being reponsible for ‘visiting’ Adelaide on Australia. Helloooo. The Brits founded Adelaide. Brits populated it. A couple o’ Huns came.

  7. Kent said,

    Oh and your article says 1100 Germans arrived between 1849 and 1854.

    The 1851 census has the population of the state at 63,000.

    So 1100 is really a piddle in the pond. Look here: 5500 Irish orphan girls were sent out in 1854/5. Does that make Ireland responsible for Adelaide? C’mon man look past our own little cocoon of lutheran education.

    all these numbers are from the jubilee atlas by the way.

  8. Kent said,

    And, as for the newspapers, there were nine publishing in 1839, and numerous more (each as short-lived as the German one probably was) in the next few years.

    In the 1880s there were just under fifty. So,…

  9. Kent said,

    and my last finally nauseatingly annoying comment, before I shut up for good, is from your link.

    “Only a small percentage of these hard working German immigrants settled in or around Adelaide”

    That’s what I’m trying to point out. Of course Germans have a big role in SA history, we’ve all been to Hahndorf and the Barossa; so do the Cornish. But more to the point, Gleisner said Adelaide. Germans had just about nothing more to do with Adelaide (Hahndorf and the Barossa aren’t Adelaide, no matter what you want to say) than Irishmen did. To say otherwise is just to trumpet crap. Go interstate to get the truth, which is that Adelaide pre-WW2 (and even post to some extent, thanks to Salisbury and Elizabeth) was overwhelming English.

  10. toto said,

    Maybe, but it’s what we’re known for. It’s comedy, I don’t think Gleisner is required to reference his jubilee atlas. He doesn’t mean it literally, it was tongue in cheek. He wasn’t trying to argue that Adelaide was founded by Germans, he was just having a dig at us.

    There was another quote I was going to include, it went something along the lines of:
    “About an hour and a half north east of Melbourne we enter the high country. Presumably it is named so due to the price of their petrol (the servo sign reads 74.9 cents)”

    Sure there’s no logical connection between petrol and the original naming of the high country, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a joke, it’s not meant to be examined for integrity. In both cases it is safe to assume that they realise they aren’t telling it straight.

    So back to your original question: What does Germany have to do with Adelaide? Perhaps historically it has very little involvement, but, due to the well known German presence in cases such as those highlighted in my links above, there is enough association to make it the butt of a joke or two. Probably wise not to try and reference it in an essay though.

  11. Kent said,

    Perhaps, whatever. In that case I’ll start blaming the Dutch for Tasmania, the Irish for Sydney, and the Aboriginals for Melbourne.

    anyway I don’t spose you know i don’t share sam’s enthusiasm for tom and rob. Well, rob’s funny sometimes.

  12. Kent said,

    On other hand, I’m full of shit because (amongst other no doubt patent reasons) The Castle is hilarious.

  13. little said,

    hang on hang on; germans in sa are … a strong minority. don’t know about stats but german influence is perhaps more of a “cultural ideal/idea”: it is a strong part of sa’s history, in that is it talked about so much, it is our idea of sa, it’s part of folklore…but you know i grew up in the town nextdoor to hahndorf so maybe i’m deluded…still, coming overe here to papua new guinea: 1) i’ve never met so many (white) germans! 2) germany is the next on my must-get-to list 3) every single german person i have met – and this is no exaggeration – knows adelaide. (and no one else does; it’s all about rugby: newcastle blues vs qld maroons. what is that? hm.)

  14. Kent said,

    But surely you expected that. You know as well as I that Papua was a German colony until Wilhelm lost WWI.

    And I maintain that Germany is no more responsible for Adelaide than Cornwall or Afghanistan is for South Australia. You’re right when you say it’s a strong minority, but there you are, it’s a minority, and I’d even argue it’s a revisionist feature. Read the “handbooks of South Australia” published in London at the turn of the century, and Adelaide is as genteel British as you could imagine.

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