Australian Karaoke plays the Nordic stars

Jorgen Jorgenson

In 1828, Jorgenson wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor of
Tasmania proposing a Zen-like solution to racial conflict.
He suggested that a hut be constructed west of the river Ouse,
a thoroughfare for local tribes. This hut would house a small
group of whites who would act in a way that might break the
cycle of suspicion:

The apparel of the inmates of this remote habitation should
be different from that of other whites ever seen by the
natives, in order to excite veneration, and induce to a
belief of peaceable and friendly intentions toward them.
The white men should be taught to traverse the country without
endeavouring too early to promote any intercourse with the
blacks: go to and fro seemingly inattentive to what was
passing around them.

N.J.B. Plomley Jorgen Jorgenson
And The Aborigines Of Van Diemen’s Land
Hobart: Blubber
Head Press, 1991, pp. 35-36

Marie Bjelke-Petersen

While the brothers developed regimens for the healthy body,
their sister Marie aimed to encourage healthy minds. Her first
novel, The Captive Singer, contrasted the vigorous
and devout life of Tasmania with the decadent world of Europe.

Greg Norman

Greg Norman has crowned his golfing life in the USA, amassing a fortune
and epitomising the ruthless individualism that is celebrated
in the American pantheon. While Finnish socialists have foundered
in Queensland, Norman has managed to rise to the top, exuding
‘the smell of money’.


Grieg’s behaviour to me was flawlessly fatherly,
tender and sweet from the first to the last. It just shows
what close ties bind one Nordic composer to another, and
it also shows the strange affinity that links Australia
to Scandinavia. Their people like ours are a Colonial people.
They are still colonizing their own great waste lands—in
parts as sparsely populated as Australia—and the percentage
of Scandinavians that colonize abroad, in the USA. for instance,
is a higher percentage of the home population than that
ever sent out by Britain. It seems as if the Australian
type in so far as it differs from its British forefathers
is largely reverting to Scandinavianism …

John Bird Percy Grainger London:
Macmillan, 1976, p. 124

Augustin Lodewyckx

The story begins as you open the front gate. In the middle of the
garden is a large oak tree, with swings and ropes hanging from
its sturdy arms. Unlike a normal oak tree, these arms are splayed
out horizontally. It is still possible to see the marks where
bricks were hung from branches to warp their growth. Up the
steps to the verandah, you’ll find the name of the household
embossed on a brass plaque—Huize Eikenbosch (House of
Oaks). The house and garden are legacies of a fanciful campaign
to wilfully impose European standards on southern soils.

Manning Clark

Clark’s approach was to fight rather than follow the
Nordic ideal. But this revolt can itself be seen as part of
Nordic culture.

Justus Jorgenson

To the public, the most scandalous aspect of life in Montsalvat
was Jorgenson’s transparent sexual life. While continuing
to profess allegiance to his wife, Jorgenson openly acknowledged
his mistress; equal respect was shown to offspring on both sides
of the law. The patriarch of Montsalvat subscribed to a higher
morality than public decency, just as Grainger saw flagellation
as a creative inspiration that transcended existing mores.

Jørn Utzon

For Utzon, the effect of sunlight burning on its white
surface is comparable to the alpengluhen, or radiance of snow-capped
mountains at sunset. For critic Philip Drew, the exterior
contains a reticent majesty:

The tiles are a parable with a fairytale message that
exalts ordinary things by showing us how they are really
extraordinary if we can only discover their true nature.
The tiles have their own rhetoric, rustic to be sure—countrified,
rough on the surface, robust—yet inwardly, they posses
magic hidden fire. They are also possibly one of the most
perfect things Utzon realised in the Opera House.

Philip Drew The Masterpiece:
Jorn Utzon: A Secret Life
South Yarra: Hardie Grant Books,
1999, p. 289


piece combines a Scandinavian holistic sensibility with the
coarser elements native to Australia. Ousback has since had
requests to re-make this setting but, like Lasseter who could
never find his once-sighted reef of gold, he has been unable
to locate the original source of his clay. Like Utzon’s
Opera House, Ousback’s breakfast setting is a singular
expression of how Australia might be if designed by Scandinavians.

Bill Kelty

During the first term of government, the ACTU organised an
overseas study for a group including Bill Kelty, Laurie Carmicheal
and Simon Crean. The group went beyond the normal ports of call
in Britain and spent most of its time in Sweden and Norway.
Organised by Olle Hammarstrom, their Swedish tour included trips
to the Uddevalla Volvo factory, legendary in its enlightened
approach to the worker as craftsman responsible for the whole
car. The result of their travels was the 1987 report Australia
Reconstructed, which underpinned the prices and incomes accord
with the ACTU.

Closing Ceremony

A sublime Nordic moment in Australian iconography occurred
during the climax of the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony, when
Cathy Freeman stood with the flame aloft, about to set a surrounding
ring of water alight in a moment of Wagnerian alchemy. But the
mechanism stuttered…

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