Visiting Booragoon Rotary Club

Louis de Freycinet and Jacques Arago making first contact with the Malgana Aboriginal people in the Shark Bay area in 1818.

It is not often that I am introduced as ‘a woman who lives with more bottles of wine than you or I would own in a lifetime.’ But this was the case when I visited Booragoon Rotary Club to speak, in particular, about Rose de Freycinet and Black Jack Anderson.

The regular Rotarians were joined by some members of the local Book Club, which not only swelled the numbers but added to the lively and interesting discussions we had after dinner. Most of the guest speakers at this, and every other Rotary Club I have spoken at, are rewarded at the end of the night with a bottle of wine. Naturally this didn’t happen to me. I was given, in stead, a charming pink, green and blue frog. This wooden frog, made by the occupants of a village in Thailand and purchased by the Rotary Club to help the village economy, is really a musical instrument. It has a ridge of corrugations along its back which,  when tapped, stroked or beaten with the specially shaped stick it holds in its mouth, gives out different sounds. Of course I had to try it out. The sound immediately reminded me of Jacques Arago’s castanets. The ones he used to distract both the angry Aboriginals from Shark Bay and the even more dangerous and determined cannibals from the islands in the Straits of Malucca.

I don’t claim to be proficient at ‘playing the frog’, but I think Arago, and Rose, would have approved of me having a go.

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