From the seats of knowledge

Ollie and I were having breakfast at ‘Pantry’ the other Sunday morning. After enjoying a yarn with Greg Hush about music and the latest production at RBCC we were walking out and encountered a table full of wisdom. Well, I think that is what it was full of anyhow. The Mattiske clan were represented by Brian, David and Neil and our Mayor, Graeme Miller made up the quartet.

Reg Baldock called his seat alongside the Post Office ‘The Seat of Knowledge.’

Reg Baldock called his seat alongside the Post Office ‘The Seat of Knowledge.’

It has been rumoured that I am also full of it and whenever I meet Dave Mattiske there is generally an exchange of smart comments.  David is a great bloke and he and Janelle along with the late Barb MacKinnon were of great help with a project we did a few years ago for the National Library and American Embassy on rural resilience. However, I digress.

As a parting shot to the afore mentioned quartet I made comment regarding their respective ‘seats of knowledge’ and reminisced about the other seats of knowledge I had come across in Forbes. The first was the bench at the side of the Post Office upon which elderly resident Reg Baldock would enthrone himself. I ended up recording Reg, whose father came here during the gold rush and indeed he did have an interesting story. 

The other seat was in front of what was Scotty Wallace’s store next to the current Target. A number of wise men utilised this seat and again, referred to it as ‘The Seat of Knowledge’. I don’t think there was any competition between the two.

Now the previously mentioned quartet proceeded to tell me that the two local clubs also had such seats where former stock and station agents and others of the same ilk meet and solve the problems of the world and the local Council.

There are a lot of very wise women in Forbes and I am wondering where, over the decades, they dispensed their wisdom. Goodness knows we blokes need it.

Maybe we should create an official ‘Seat of Knowledge’ in a prominent place in the CBD and share it equally between the sexes?

I often think of those who did share their wisdom with me over the years. My first boss, Merv Hawke, was such a bloke who shared life experiences and also passed on his skills on how to treat people and maintain a sense of humour.  

My Grandmother and Mother were probably the most influential women  in my life, both were ahead of their times with perspectives on life. Of course these days I listen to and absorb wisdom from my wife.

Let me finish with a little verse that I picked up sitting next to the late Stuart Tompkins on his seat of knowledge in Rankin St in 1982.

Dusty Bogan Gate

You have heard of Hell and Booligal, And a place called Dandaloo,

Of Ivanhoe, Wilcannia, Hay and Milparinka too

Of Nyngan, Bourke and Cobar, One time champions of the state,

And you have heard no doubt or soon, Will hear, of Dusty Bogan Gate.

For our dust storms are perpetual, And rain is hardly known,

But when the heat records go up, We come in on our own,

We do 100 in the shade each evening after tea

And in a common canter can put up 123.

The Trundleites one day last week, Tried hard to snare the dust,

But when we’re out for records, We’ll win or die or bust

So we smiled and threw up gravel, And goodness gracious me,

They blushingly acknowledged, They’d no chance with Bogan Gate.

But someday later in the year, No doubt we’ll have some rain

And the blokes will give up skiting, And all will smile again,

But we’re satisfied our records, Are the highest in the state,

And the heat waves of the future, Will start with Bogan Gate.