Posts Tagged ‘abc.’

The scroll of etchings and all things nude and nature.

July 7, 2020

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-06/my-brain-on-nature-healing-sarah-allely/12266522

We all know the healing effects of nature and that being away from nature can be very damaging. But, how damaged can we get being away from art? Of course, almost everything that give one a feeling of wonderment or surprises, delights or gives us new insight probably can be accepted as art. The dictionary describes art as the creation of works of beauty but then also adds making works of great or special significance. Perhaps things that are frightening or cruel can also include as being art. Dante’s inferno or some images of Botticelli can be very confronting even though we know him more as the creator of beauty and goddesses of love seated on giant sea shells. He also painted some rather gruesome scenes of murder and incitements to wars.

After moving to the new place I discovered a forgotten large roll of butcher paper that has moved a few times without getting a look at. This time my daughter unrolled some of it and it turned out to be a large roll of etchings that I did sometime during the 1990 when I did a certificate course in printmaking. Of course, I have many etchings and I often invite friends to come over and look at my etchings.
During those 1990’s I had set up an etching press in our garage in Balmain and I loved making etchings. The copper plates on which I did the engravings and the use of acid in the baths in which to dip the plates were all part of the Technical college equipment. All I did was to actually print at home the etchings from the finished plates on my own printing press, which was a converted mangle use for mangling clothes… It was simple but not perfect but good enough for my etchings. The works I did were not to achieve technical excellence in printmaking but more as a way in expressing, rather impatiently, images in a more spontaneous way using copper. The fertile mind seemed to express mainly nude women and flowers, but that’s a different story better told at some next time. There is a lot here!
After rediscovering this roll I decided to hang it on my stairs which has a wall with at least a few metres of space to suspend it from. The first thing to do was to get a ladder onto the stairs.
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Ladder
After getting the ladder in an upright position I had to get my legs onto the rungs and somehow with hammer, nails and the scroll of butchers paper all under one arm with the other arm holding onto the rungs of the ladder while climbing right to the top. Not such an easy task. Mind you, I did work for some time hanging outside multi story building swinging from bosun’s chairs. I do not fear ladders or heights. The next photo shows my legs (both of them) getting ready to ascend the ladder.
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Legs, both of them.
At some stage after having climbed past the widow and as high as possible with my head against the stair’s ceiling I had to let go of the ladder’s rungs in order to place the scroll of etchings against the wall suspended by a bamboo rod (all in keeping with the oriental meme of the scroll). It is impossible to screw something single handed. One can imagine doing all this on my own. However, the results speak for themselves. A wonderful position to, after all those decades, have found a way to show this forgotten scroll of etchings.
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The scroll of etchings
In order to try and restore this butcher’s paper scroll of thirty years of age I had to somehow fix the paper’s fragile condition with a good preservative and restore its strength. I gave it about ten coats of varnish, hence the sheen on the surface.
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Etchings
The only problem still to solve is that the scroll now overhangs the entrance to the stairs whereby anyone going up or down has to duck past this scroll. The scroll is longer than the wall.
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overhanging scroll
Nothing is easy but I am overjoyed that my etchings are hanging so nicely.
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Stopping Morrison, not the Boats.

November 30, 2019

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Who would have thought that the now well worn mantra of ‘stopping the boats’ still holds Australia up to ridicule in the rest of the world? Those three words meant hell for several thousands of refugees held in off-shore detention for many years now. Australia is flaunting international law that give a right to people seeking refugee status escaping from wars.

How has it been possible for Scott Morrison, and his henchman Peter Dutton, to have hijacked a nation’s conscience and soul for such nasty political point scoring, and for so long! Surely we can’t allow this government (lower case) continue to ignore the public opinion that have shifted to what we once were; a humane nation who cared for others, especially those from war torn countries, especially the refugee, especially those who came by boats.

This coming week the government will again vote on the medevac bill allowing doctors to decide on  refugees in need of medical treatment to be evacuated to mainland Australia to get the  medical care instead of Peter Dutton who seems to get a special type of pleasure in unhinging refugees to the point of suicide…More than twenty refugees on Manus have attempted or have committed suicide so far.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-29/growing-surge-in-refugee-self-harm-since-australian-election/11156064

Schizophrenia; Care or jail-time?

June 11, 2019

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Left to Right; Frank and Gerard about 1942!

Last night’s 4 Corners program on the ABC featured the story of a young man who after many years of abhorrent behaviour ended up killing 6 people. It traced his days as a young boy who went through school whereby according to the friends and teachers he already showed up as a boy who was different, with strange behaviours who was increasingly becoming more and more erratic and dangerous. At 14 years of age the school went into lock-down as he had taken detonators to school. He gave as reason;  to blow up the school and get even with his fellow students for picking on him.

https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/time-bomb/11196092

James Gargasoulas was a troubled young man. The ABC decided to spend seven months on the story in order to point out that the tragedy not only could have been, but should have been avoided. It was clear that his spree of crime and violence was well known to the police and for some years. Nothing was done about him and one wonders why when the signs were so overwhelming and his behaviour so unpredictable that nothing was done to try and find out why his behaviour was so unpredictable. Why did it not get picked up that his mental state was in need of serious diagnoses and given some kind of mental examination and care? The only thing sure was the continuation and repeat of his unpredictable behaviour. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia but none-the- less sent to life-time jail. He killed 6 people. It seems that the only place for mentally ill people who commit violence in Australia is jail.

This whole episode brought back the story of my own brother, Frank. He too was unpredictable and given to bouts of rage and violence. His behaviour too started well before adulthood. He too stood out and was different. His behaviour became unmanageable for my parents and at one stage after have stabbed one of my brothers with scissors was taken in and put in a mental hospital. This was back around 1958 or so, when Frank was just 19, and I was one year younger. His stay in that mental institution was something out of the middle ages or Bedlam. He would be wrapped in wet blankets to try and subdue him! Wardens would walk around with keys dangling from belts. I am just regaling memories of a period when I too was still a young man.

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(Right) My dear brother Frank in Holland, a few month before he passed away.

It was a horrible situation.  Our family suffered badly during that period. There was (as so often) a Royal Commission in the affairs of that Mental Hospital, Callan Park, but nothing improved. I am not sure if mental health has improved in the intervening decades! I doubt it. The episode of James  Gargasoulas is proof that mentally ill people remain undiagnosed and not given due care, no matter what happens, and what terrible deeds result from their unpredictable nature due to that illness.

At one stage my brother Frank jumped from a bridge and badly mangled his foot. After many years of bureaucratic battles my parents managed to get him back to Holland where conditions for mentally sick people already then were much better. For the rest of his life he was given good care and was no danger to others or himself. He spent a lifetime in a care institution where he would be managed  and looked after as well as possible. He would be given good care for his physical well being. He had an income for his cigarettes, clothes, or whatever he wanted. He had his own room with TV and suitable mobility equipment towards his latter years. He died almost two years ago aged 79. Below is a photo taken a few moths before he passed away. His life was not wonderful but he was given good care.

Frank could easily have ended up like the poor boy from Coober Pedy, James Gargasoulas now in jail. He killed six innocent people. It could have been avoided!

Balm for the saddened heart.

March 21, 2019

 

We thought of looking at some TV again. I mean we generally watch the news but not much else. Thank goodness for SBS’ ‘On Demand’ and the ‘ABC I-view’ which allows one to see almost anything that has been filmed. We have taken to foreign movies and serials as never before. Anything with a foreign language and we will most likely watch it. Sometimes an English language movie pops up but with both our hearings failing we loved the subtitled foreign ones. For an unknown reason English language serials on the ‘Smart TV’, don’t show subtitles.

But back to out latest attempt to watch the normal TV programs. We watched two documentaries on the one night. Number 1. was Foreign Correspondent exposing the dreadful plight of how the multinational drug companies have managed to wreak havoc on millions of US citizens with a drug called Oxycontin. It belongs to the opioid class of pain killers and apparently this drug was sold in the US without warnings of risks of dependency. The camera on Foreign Correspondent took us through the streets of San Francisco showing us the sights of dozens of people, young and old, nodding off on heroin or meth.  A few sober enough to answer questions all spoke of how Oxycontin started them off on heavier drugs. Millions of US citizens’ lives are ruined by this scourge. And the blame squarely put on the Medical corporations responsible for their plight. It was a most depressing documentary.

Nr 2. was even worse. It was a documentary made by Louis Theroux on Milwaukee. It showed us the frightening casualness and acceptance of mindless shootings and killings in that city. It is called ‘Murder in Milwaukie’.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09c4ppc

A loving grandmother is shown watching TV with a gun tucked under her cushion next to her, ‘just in case.’ Her grandson had been shot dead the week before. A group of young men interviewed by Paul Theroux on the cheerless looking street did not throw much light on this violence. They were seen smiling and joking. A man drove by and one could hear a shot being fired from the car. They did not even look up. It is that normal. The mother of her son shot dead the week before was showing her gun with a rapid motion ejecting life bullets on the bathroom floor. How utterly depressing. The despair and weariness of the police trying to bring the shooters to justice was included with an attempt to bring some balance to the footage.

I think we will go back to our Skandia Noir serials. At least the murders are fictitious.

Rather Cloudy and warm with a chance of Rain and Cyclone Oma.

February 22, 2019
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Cyclone ‘Oma.’

Australia must be desperate for news when half the TV News-time is taken up by dire warnings of a hurricane bearing down on the East Australian Coast. Nothing is sure yet. A man with a small face wearing glasses is brought to the camera to explain the latest about this hurricane that has now been ‘bearing’ down for at least a week. Warnings about giant waves are interspersed with footage of surfers happily riding those big waves. Drone shots are shown of Gold Coast skyscrapers perilously close to the breaking waves. The BOM ( Bureau of Metereology)  man on TV tries to spin it as long as possible and now shows maps of large circles and a red centre. It shows New Caledonia on its right and the Australian coast on the left. Cyclone Oma is still 1200 kilometres from Australia but large waves have already arrived.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-22/cyclone-oma-weakens-to-stay-off-queensland-coast/10834820

We normally pay the weather little attention and know it roughly behaves as it does. Why it is part of the News is a mystery. I remember that in the past, farmers used to study the sky and figure out what the weather was likely to do. Even so, we too take some notice of the weather that is yet to come. The map on TV shows the name of towns and have either a sun, cloud or rain droplets displayed above them. The weatherman rattles off the future chances of wind, sun, rain or even snow and does it with an air of someone announcing the upcoming marriage of the Pope. One ABC weatherman has a curious way of lifting his left foot up on its heel while pivoting around back to his map. When he is finished he is curtly thanked by the News reader and that’s that.

I suppose with the impending tornado, nature is forcing us to become more attentive. A flood, a tsunami, blizzards or any other localized  apocalypse, the forecasters do get our attention more than the average weather forecast or news of a baby that is held upside down by its feet for alternative spinal manipulation.. The trouble when a tornado goes on too long, it wears us out and we slip away again. It is when a Prime minister arrives on the screen, wearing rubber boots and a face mask that we get to sit upright again. The TV screen shows us the wrinkled face of a farmer, hoisting by the help of his tractor, a cow’s carcass out of the mud.  Our PM, Mr Morrison, all puckered by concern mumbles a few inanities feigning concern but fully concentrated on future votes. I fear, with the resignation of M/s Bishop, chances of the party holding on to power has now slipped away altogether. However, don’t underestimate the anti refugee mob! The pot of hatred is being stirred again.

The weather is so much kinder, isn’t?

1864 Denmark. ABC, SBS and Coen Brothers.

November 19, 2018

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A hair-raising selfie around 1942 in Rotterdam

The Australian Broadcasting Commission or better known as ABC together with SBS are under threat by our Government. We all know they are obsessed by selling and privatising everything that’s not bolted to the floor. We know that since electricity was considered a saleable commodity and privatised, costs have blown out. Paying the electricity bill for many people is now a nightmare and fear driven. Many switch off power unable to afford it. Yet, we all use the same electricity coming down from all those poles and wires. The advice lately is for consumers to ‘negotiate’ the best deal with the myriad of companies that are re-selling electricity. The mind boggles. It is possible to save hundreds of dollars by doing that. How ridiculous a proposal that is! Are we supposed to ring around to get a good deal? What next? Negotiate our water, garbage disposal. Have you ever tried contacting an AGL or other electricity provider? You get a call centre from Shri-Lanka!

I can’t think of a single utility that the Governments has sold that actually brought better and cheaper services. The holy grail of ‘let the markets decide all’ works marvellously for shareholders and big end of town, but not for the consumers. Aged care, hospitals, education, post services, un-employment services, child-care, you name it. All are now inferior in their service delivery. Australia has one of the most unequal education systems in the world. The copying of England’s private school method has proven to have had disastrous consequences. Our education system is called a ‘A national calamity’.

https://www.theeducatoronline.com/au/breaking-news/a-national-calamity-australia-2nd-most-unequal-education-system-in-the-world–report/257471

The people of Australia at present own ABC and SBS radio and TV and are the last of the Mohicans that give pleasure to millions, and it is free from commercialisation. True, SBS does have advertising but it also provides all those programs available on Smart TVs and ‘On Demand’. This is what we now look forward to. However, our present ‘Market and US’ copying driven Government is getting increasingly stroppy with the ABC, which is seen by the present Liberal Government as biased and critical. Both the Chairman and Managing Director have been sacked. The fear now is that the position will be filled with Pro- Government stooges. Funding is being cut and all is set to sell the ABC and get the Murdoch’s News Media with Bolt and Alan Jones.

But, as I started this piece. SBS ‘On Demand’ has give us many evenings of great TV watching. We have seen 4 episodes of the 8 series of a marvellous TV series named; 1864 Denmark War.

https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/1864-denmarks-war

What I like about most of the Scandinavian series is the naturalness of their actors. They  look like normal people. None of that made up perfect looking actors so often featured on English/American speaking TV drama series. The American Coen brothers have made another movie. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6412452/

I can’t wait to see it. They are one of our most favourite film makers. One of their previous movie, ‘No country for old men’ is superb. But, on TV the foreign mainly Scandic series are my favourite with English subtitles. It’s so much better than studying power bills.

 

Moleskins, Aged care and Alzheimer.

September 25, 2018

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It had to happen. A small tear in my moleskin trousers rapidly spread into a big one. From below the knee up to my thighs. This pair of moleskins lasted for more than twenty years. Helvi remembers buying them from the RM Williams store in Bowral in 1995. It was the year before we moved to the farm. The Australian RM Williams moleskins are the quintessential for farmwear. They are snake proof, even shark-proof. I never heard a shark taking someone wearing those moleskins. They are warm in winter and once worn- in, very comfortable during summer. The moleskin, like their boots, are not cheap but they last. I am still wearing the boots. I did send them away to their factory in Adelaide to get the bottom part renewed.

I promptly bought another identical pair of moleskins yesterday. Helvi said; ‘they will see you out!’ It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption! I combined the buying of the moleskins with an appointment with the audiologist and a thorough hearing test. I have become deaf. The latest movie we saw ‘The ladies in Black’ was beyond my hearing and most of it had to be guessed with the missing bits filled in by Helvi. Within my indoor-bowling groups I am not following conversation anymore. I am not too bothered by that with most of conversation by talk of football and Roosters. When they laugh so do I. I thought Rooster was a male chicken and as I was feeding the chickens next door tried to join in and enter the talk. It turned out a Rooster is a football club. I told the audiologist I don’t mind spending big money if it eases the situation when with Helvi. It is a bummer for her to keep repeating herself.  She doesn’t deserve that. As you can see, ageing has its problems.

We watched the second episode of the ABC’s ‘Aged- Care’.  One reason for feeling a bit sombre today. Dear, oh dear!  More bashings of the elderly and frail, all caught on cameras. It turns out that installing cameras in aged care facilities is a legal minefield.  The main problem is lack of qualified staff and understaffing. Even so, where is the empathy and understanding by our health minister who seemed to want to make light of it. Is this why we also don’t really mind the keeping in detention of over a hundred children, now in its fifth year on Nauru? We have a PM who is religious, yet he was the architect of detention of children with his ‘stop the boats’ policy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-25/secret-surveillance-cameras-in-grandmas-nursing-home-legal/10298834

And finally a news item on Alzheimer whereby it is suggested that the plaque on braincells is a result of Alzheimer but not necessarily the cause. They are looking for volunteers to take part in trials. I was glad to read that testosterone and oestrogen boosting  fish oil might well be preventing Alzheimer. I always thought that eating herrings, sardines and anchovies was the way forward. I might well take a tin of sardines to the cinema next time.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-25/alzheimers-disease-research-questions-plaque-as-cause-of-disease/10299514

I am so happy with my new moleskins!

 

 

The round-trip to the clinic.

April 24, 2018
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Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

 

Today we drove for the 7th time to a special clinic for radiation. There and back is around 140KM. We drive at around 100km an hour. The car has speed control. However, the use of it gives my foot a cramp. I prefer to keep working the pedal. There is also something frightening of a car going on its own volution. I am not sure about sitting in a self-drive vehicle. In any case we will be driving for many days yet, with a total of 25-35 radiation treatments.

The clinic itself is a jolly experience. This is surprising. Most or all of the patients have some kind of cancer. Perhaps the fear of getting cancer has at least been relieved by the certainty of the patients’ diagnoses. There is no more doubt. Still, jolliness and having cancer seems an oxymoron. The clinic has two waiting rooms. One has a TV which is always on, droning on a commercial channel most of the time.  The inane dribble on channel 7 by incessantly smirking presenters will do no good to any patient, not even those that are jolly and in remission. I change it over to the National Broadcaster’s news, ABC, channel 24. This gives News. Even there, the announcers seem to be laughing all the time too. I wonder what do they suffer from? Is the news from the Trump’s US or Syria so hilarious? Perhaps the TV bosses tell the announcers to be cheerful despite the carnage shown.  It surprises me that no one protests when I change the channel. Mind you, no one watches it much. They prefer to talk.

The other waiting room is a better place. They have bookshelves with many books to either read while waiting or take home in exchange for books patients might like to swap with. In any case, both rooms have patients waiting for treatment. Most have a specific given time and as the treatment only lasts a few minutes, many are in and out quickly. The undressing and re-dressing takes more time. The atmosphere is of geniality. I suppose there is a solid common bond. They all have cancer. The radiation perhaps also aids with a kind of warming glow. Shared problems together is a great binder and the laughter in the waiting rooms reflects this very well. Each time we leave the clinic we are both in great spirits.

Maarten is one of the patients whose time of treatment coincides of that of Helvi. He is Dutch born and 82 years old. He arrived here with his parents in 1953. I did in 1956. His Dutch language is still fluent and so is his brain. His parents settled in Wollongong with his father building a house there. He told me he created a Dutch choir in Wollongong which is still ongoing. Maarten also plays a recorder  and when well enough attends courses run by U3A. http://sohiu3a.org.au/   I think he likes classical music. I will ask him next time.  I am a sucker for classical music.

We meet each day at the clinic together with many others. Many arrive by Community buses with carers. Some are in wheel-chairs. We met a couple. The wife gets her nose radiated. She suffers a melanoma and hopes the treatment will prevent losing her nose. Perhaps in total, we spend at the most 45 minutes at this clinic.  We drive home and sometimes take a lunch at the Sushi take away in Mittagong or the Thai place back home in Bowral.  The daily trip means we have to put travel on hold. But, the experience each day at the clinic is a good compromise. Perhaps not a holiday but a good unexpected bonus of joy with strong people on the edge. The snippets of social exchanges between other patients is very exhilarating.

We  like the daily visits.

Does Australia attract ‘hard-line’ diplomats now?

February 11, 2018
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The appointment by America of Harry Harris as the ambassador for Australia is hardly something I would normally pay much attention to. Of late, community nurses and lymphatic drainage has been much more part of our world. Not a day goes by without a medical event. Even so, we try and keep up with the ‘real’ world. This morning we discovered through Barry Cassidy Insider program,  that the appointment of the Ambassador was welcomed with open arms by both the Libs and Labor. A warm bosom awaits Harry in ‘hard-line’ Australia.

Harry is known for his ‘hard-line’ approach to China. I would have thought that a ‘diplomat’ and ‘hard-line’ were a bit of a contradiction. But, not anymore it seems.  ‘Hard-line’ is very much in and with the Jim Molan as a new senator, also known for fondness of ‘hard-line’, many politicians are scrambling to be at the forefront of ‘hard-liners’. I fear the day both Harry and Jim will meet up. Can we expect more wars and pyrotechnical devices raining down on hapless populations in sandy regions? I think Harry had something to say about China’s sandy diplomacy referring to islands being used by China to build airfields. Not an unreasonable response seeing Asia is surrounded by the US military might.

I don’t know where this fondness for allowing extremism into our political arena comes from. I do admit not knowing anything about both those men. They might well be very nice and honourable. On our ABC ‘The Drum’ I once experienced Jim Molan giving vent to his rather harsh opinion of refugees, especially the survivors of boat people now locked in indefinite detention on Manus and Nauru. He seemed to have a very ruthless and, in my mind, a cold and heartless view, on how to deal with refugees. Recently he posted extreme right anti Islam videos on his blog. It all went through without too much upheaval. I reckon Dutton was heartened by it all. He too is a hard liner.

I so wish Australia would be kinder to China. I don’t notice the Chinese are trying to culturally impose on us. I don’t see the Chinese equivalent of KFC, or Big Quarter Pounder MacDonald’s plastered all over the place. Instead I notice that sometimes the top HSC students often feature students from Eastern backgrounds.

On top of that, I prefer a nice Chop Suey over a foot long Subway.

Read here about Harry. China’s Foe, Australia’s friend.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-s-friend-china-s-foe-new-us-ambassador-harry-harris

 

 

The annual obsession with School uniforms raises its ugly head.

February 7, 2018

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“Students in NSW, Victoria and the ACT are not required to study maths at all in Years 11 and 12”.

Australian schools continue to fall behind in maths and science – ABC .”

“Maths should be compulsory at school: our future jobs depend on it”
With those alarming headlines one would hope that educational information would be at the forefront of all schools that are touting for students.  Lofty statements would be made at all schools, that maths was already compulsory. (together with a language apart from English as well).
But what do we get?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5355581/Hundreds-Brisbane-students-detention-shoes.html
Over a hundred students were send home because their shoes did not fit the regimented size thickness of sole or heel, perhaps both. The head-master was seen to take the tape out and measure students shoes. A few millimetres out, and the students was marched outside the gate. It is a surprise the head-master had the skill in measuring seeing he probably also went without the compulsory maths. I am gobsmacked.
Maths in Australian schools is not compulsory but uniforms are?
Where does all this originate from?
If education is meant to take a young person to its full potential, surely letting them dress freely ought to be the norm. Isn’t the expression of the individual not at the forefront of the unfolding of a growing person? Why do parents put up with that? It is so stifling.
And while we are at uniforms ,why do we show our love of such blatant inequality when we have high fee charging Posh private schools and Bog public schools.
All schools should be equal and no divisions. All schools have both boys and girls. All teachers have minimal Masters Degrees and be well-paid.
Here another link to a good article by Jane Caro.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-07/school-catchments-best-public-schools-best-private/9381942
No compulsory math?