On Wog Palaces

Important Note: In Australian English the term ‘Wog’ – while historically a racist slur – has over many decades been reclaimed by the immigrant community and is now a marker of pride for Australians of Greek, Italian and Balkan heritage, and a neutral term for describing said Australians for the rest of us. With that cleared up, read on!

In the wake of World War II Australia found itself in need of workers, and unable to supply that need from traditional English and (slightly less desirable) Irish sources relaxed its horribly racist immigration policies a smidgen to let southern Europeans slip in as if they were proper white people. With Europe in ruins many Greeks and Italians took advantage of this and relocated, bringing with them exotic fruits and vegetables (broccoli? what the hell is broccoli?), proper coffee culture (Starbucks lost $165 million when they tried launching here in 2000) and food preparation techniques beyond ‘aggressively boiling into submission’, enriching the nation beyond all measure.

They also brought the distinctive architectural styling of the Wog Palace.

You are an Italian immigrant and decide to start a new life in Perth, Western Australia (if you were Greek you’d likely go to Melbourne). You arrive in a country where you don’t speak the language, you can’t get a decent coffee anywhere and the locals treat you with scorn and suspicion. Nonetheless you buckle down, work your arse off – likely in the construction industry – twelve or more hours a day, seven days a week and after some years have saved enough money not just to bring your family out from the old country, but to buy a block of land on the edge of the city and build a home for them. Naturally you do the labour yourself (with your kids’ help as soon as they’re old enough to safely pick up a brick) and after several years your luxurious new home is ready to move into. You have a Wog Palace to call your own!

So, what are the distinctive features of a Wog Palace?

Size: You have a large family to accommodate, and you’ve secured a large block of land, so you’re going to have five or six bedrooms, and plenty of entertainment space. It’s common to go double story, particularly if you decide to include an integral garage, and if you do include a garage why not make it a double? Some outbuildings for storage and food/wine production are also a good idea, and why not a swimming pool too?

Verandas and Balconies: What use is a house if you can’t sit outside in comfort and enjoy the view? On a two story Wog Palace you’ll have balconies. On a one story you’ll have a verandah instead.

Brick: The material of choice for a Wog Palace is brick. Preferably dark brown, but lighter shades will do in a pinch. Plastering over the brick for a smooth exterior can be done, but is a bit gauche.

Gardens: A productive garden is a must! Vegetable patches, olive trees, grape vines and fruit trees. These will usually be out the back because the front garden will likely have been concreted over for parking space.

Arches: Anglos may be content with right angles, but a proper Wog Palace will use arches instead. Arched windows, arched doors, arched verandas and balconies. Arches are class!

Pillars and Lions: Need a balustrade or something to stop the kids falling off your balcony? You need white, semi-classical pillars! And why not throw up some statues of lions to guard the place while you’re at it?

Low Pitched Roof: A subtle distinction but an important one. Anglo houses have steeply pitched roofs to prevent snow build up – which is not a threat in Perth’s Mediterranean climate and actually something of a disadvantage as they tend to trap heat in our blazing summers. The architectural tradition of the Wog Palace – developed in an actual Mediterranean climate – uses lower pitched roofs sufficient to shed rain without all that wasted space. The roof may even be flat enough to be used as an additional entertaining space in fine weather.

It is an entertaining game to look for Wog Palaces while driving around Perth. They’re a useful marker for the edge of urban development during periods of heavy immigration – which is why you can spot so many along Morley Drive and up in the Swan Valley. They are, in my opinion, some of the best houses even constructed in the city, and where I even in the position to upgrade from my apartment to a house I would definitely be on the lookout for one.

A few examples of Wog Palaces in their native habitat

Vague Alternative History Ideas

Some vague ideas towards an alternate universe history (and map) of Australia…

1788: The First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay, establishing the the settlement of Port Botany and the Colony of New South Wales.
1825: The Colony of Van Diemen’s Land is separated from New South Wales.
1826: The settlement of Albany is established at King George Sound at the west of the continent.
1825: Founding of Brisbane.
1827: Fort Wellington founded at Raffles Bay on the north coast of the continent.
1829: The Swan River Colony is established.
1832: The Swan River Colony is abandoned.
1834: Albany is proclaimed the capital of the Colony of New Holland.
1835: John Batman founds Batmania on the Yarra river.
1836: The Colony of South Australia is proclaimed. Land east of the Murray River remains part of New South Wales. Settlement of Adelaide.
1840: Colony of New Zealand proclaimed.
1851: New South Wales south of the Murray River is proclaimed as the Colony of Victoria with the capital at Batmania.
1859: New South Wales north of the 29th parallel and east of 141 meridian east is proclaimed as the Colony of Queensland.
1861: The area of New South Wales west of South Australia is transferred to New Holland.
1863: The area of New South Wales north of South Australia is transferred to South Australia.
1901: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Van Diemen’s Land, Victoria and New Zealand form the Commonwealth of Australia. New Holland refuses, but the eastern goldfields declare independence and join the Commonwealth as the state of Auralia with the Capital at Kalgoorlie.
1911: After a decade of acrimonious debate Batmania is declared national capital. The northern portion of South Australia is separated into the Northern Territory with the capital of Raffles Bay.
1927: The Northern Territory is divided along the 20th parallel, creating the Territory of Central Australia, with the capital of Alice Springs.
1933: New Holland votes to join the Commonwealth in a referendum.
1961: Queensland north of the 22nd parallel is separated as the State of Capricornia with the capital of Townsville.

No More

Apparently someone with an axe to grind has been distributing poorly photocopied duplicates of Pauline Hanson’s “No More” Facebook image to mailboxes in the northern suburbs (I won’t link to it, I’m not giving her the page views).

While at first glance one might agree with an image of Pauline and the giant words “NO MORE”, it goes on to clarify that what she wants is no more Mosques, Sharia Law, Halal Certification and Muslim refugees, and then reminds the reader that she’s standing for election to the Senate for Queensland in 2016.

Putting aside the fact that you can’t, logically, have less Sharia law when your country has no Sharia law to begin with, it seems to have escaped the notice of whoever’s distributing these things that people in Darch – and indeed people in the roughly 76% of the country that isn’t Queensland – are completely unable to vote for Queensland’s Senators. But then, anyone who’d consider voting for Pauline is not the sharpest tool in the shed to being with, so maybe we can give them a pass.

Bonus Content! Let’s all take a moment to remember Pauline’s fellow traveler on the loony right Jackie Lambie’s wonderfully incisive definition of Sharia Law…

“Well, I think, um, when it comes to, um, Sharia, Sharia law, um, you know, to me, it’s um, it’s, uhh, it, it, obviously involves terrorism”

Brilliant! Just brilliant!

Sigh

And Here’s Another Thing

In a follow up to yesterday’s surprising Eurovision news, there’s a petition begging TISM to reform and represent Australia in Vienna.

Naturally I have signed it. Can you watch this performance, and dare to claim that TISM would not fit right in in Eurovision?

Of course they couldn’t perform any of their classic tracks, one of the rules being that songs cannot have been commercially released prior to competing, but I’m sure they could whip something appropriate up. In any case a song like I Might be a C**t, But I’m not a F**king C***t would probably give Europe a collective stroke.

We’ll see, we’ll see…

Well, Here’s a Thing

Apparently, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest and the fact that a lot of Aussies (including myself) watch it, Australia is going to compete in this year’s contest!

We get automatic entry into the final (along with all the usual suspects) and – assuming that they can figure out how to do it in a sensible fashion given the time difference – we’ll get to vote! In the event that we win (not entirely impossible given the huge novelty factor) next year’s contest will be held somewhere in Europe with heavy Australian involvement. It’s also the only way we’ll get to compete in 2016 – if we don’t win then it’s a one-off.

This is going to be interesting…

Of course I can hardly mention this without posting the greatest Eurovision song never to be entered in Eurovision.

They really must lose that sax solo.

A Televisual Feast

As inspired by Reddit, some TV shows from my childhood…

The Goodies: Kitten Kong, Frankenfido, Apartheight, Clown Gas, Black Beauty, Timita, The Funky Gibbon, Rolf Harris – back in the 80s every Australian kid watched these guys religiously.

Monkey: If you were an Australian kid in the 80s, then you watched “Monkey Magic”. No exceptions. The nature of monkey was… IRREPRESSIBLE!

Catweazel: Electrickery and Telling-bones! Twelve are they that circle round, if power you seek they must be found, look for where the thirteen lies, mount aloft the one who flies

The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Awesome! Until the Olmecs turned up, anyway. And some of those documentaries at the end were a bit dodgy. But even today I’d kill to have that boat!

Worzel Gummidge: Worzel Gummidge scared the shit out of me! He could take his head off! No!

Secret Valley: Kind of naff, but we still watched it, even while claiming that it sucked. And who didn’t want a cave base like the Spider Gang? The sequel/spin-off on the other hand was an abomination whose name I shall not even repeat. Just note that the theme song (somewhat ironically) used the word ‘poop’ a lot.

You Can’t Do That on Television: Somehow both the origin of Alanis Morrisette and Nickelodeon’s green slime.

Fraggle Rock: I particularly like the episode where they stopped eating the Doozer’s buildings. We had the version with the old inventor and his dog.

Peter Russel Clarke: Cook a shark or make a damper, feed your ego.. pack a hamper.. on a farm or out at sea, learn a recipe or threeeeeeeee… Come and get it! With Peter! G’day! Russel! G’day! Clarke! How ya goin?

Chocky: Weird and creepy! I used to spend hours drawing that picture with the spheres and pyramids.

Astroboy: OK, but more something we watched just because it was on rather than because we loved it.

Grange Hill: We thought this was kind of uncool and boring, but we still watched it because it came on in between other good shows.

Battle of the Planets: Naturally I had a crush on Princess. Nonetheless I really wanted one of those badges the bad guys wore.

Into the Labyrinth: Rothgo… Rothgo… Rothgo… Every episode was filmed in a cave, and looked like it.

Ulysses 31: Anime version of the Greek Myths. I drew picture after picture of that annoying little robot. That said, the Odyssey is one of the best spaceship designs ever!

Watch This Space: Cheaply made and pretty stupid, but they featured some amazing bands.

Kaboodle: Awesome theme music!

I am so old! πŸ˜€