Friday, May 30, 2008

Fortrose Academy article in Ross-shire Journal 30 May 2008,_far_from_home.html

And hello everyone else from Fortrose Academy -- all good wishes round the world.. Janette and Les are off round the Top End with their camper at the moment.. enjoying that 'big sandy playground across the ditch'.

As for us -- this is the weekend when half a million dairy cows get trucked to their winter playground for about ten weeks' holiday - we have 1000 or so on our sandhills by the sea.. 'Club Med for Cows'. They do seem to enjoy the change, have an occasional gallop, just like m'self. XX CJM

PS reminds me of fav silly joke “What do you get if you cross an elephant with a kangaroo?”

Ans: Holes all over Australia.

1 comment:

christine said...

Janette's article in Ross shire Journal 30 May 2008:

MORE than half a century ago Janette Goodall, a nine-year-old from Fortrose, first heard about a village with the same name half a world away in New Zealand.

Since then it has been an ambition of hers to travel to the South Island to visit the Kiwi Fortrose, and despite emigrating to Australia in the 1970s she never made it, until this year. Janette now Mrs Embrey, a retired primary teacher finally made the trip for a special Easter reunion when she visited her old school friend Christine McKenzie, nee Mackay, who settled there 30 years ago.

She found much to remind her of her childhood home. Janette explores the similarities of the two Fortrose villages and explains why keeping in touch with home means so much.


AT the time of the 1955 quincentenary celebrations for the royal burgh of Fortrose and Rosemarkie, in the company of so many others, I stood in Cathedral Square listening to our provost, Dr John Anderson, read out a telegram of congratulation from the Mayor of Fortrose, New Zealand.

At nine years of age this 'divit' decided to one day find a way to this only other Fortrose in the world.

At Easter I did just that, and it was made all the more special by the fact that it was actually Christine, someone who knew 'my' Fortrose and its surrounds in the Black Isle, who was there to show me around.

She and her husband, Colin, made me and my Australian husband so very welcome, and thanks to them we learned much more about the locality than if we'd landed up there by ourselves.

There are striking similarities between the two places. The name is spelled the same, Fortrose NZ was named in the 1800s by an unknown drover who remarked on the similarity of situation and land form to Fortrose, Scotland.

Farming is the predominant way of life, the lie of the land resembling greatly the gentle undulating farming countryside of the Black Isle. Take a wander through the cemetery and read old familiar family names like McKenzie and Chisholm on many of the stones.

Visit nearby Curio Bay with its forest of trees which, in my mind, translate as the Southland's ancient treasures of Hugh Miller's Eathie, and look out for dolphins in the waters. Or take time to enjoy a most pleasant meal at Fortrose's local restaurant, which may not have the menu or whisky selection of 'The Anderson' but you are guaranteed to receive one of the best meals in all the Southland area of NZ, and the view, especially with a sunset over the water, is hard to beat, just, like Fortrose, Scotland. There exists the best of both worlds the rural and the water.

Just as there are similarities, so too are there differences. Pronunciation would be number one. Fortrose NZ is most clearly pronounced as two words Fort Rose. Clearly there are no cathedral ruins or even now a school, sea lions replace seals on the nearby beaches, and Fortrose Scotland's population has expanded tremendously over the years, not so with Fortrose NZ.

However, the latter like our Fortrose has tremendous pride in its past, and there are signs that the area will soon be "discovered" to give hope for a more prosperous future.

There is an excellent local arts and crafts shop where, as at the restaurant, I was asked to sign the visitors' book and to make sure I made reference to to my "divit" origins.

It was suggested to me that Fortrose, Scotland ought to twin with Fortrose, New Zealand.

Of our reunion, I have said nothing to date.

Fortrose Academy was the common bond between Christine and I.

Much was the reminiscing and reflection upon those years and the personalities who were our teachers, and the lifelong friendships we formed with our peers, of whom so many have scattered to all four corners of the world. Consequently I was delighted to be able to talk with another "divit" whilst at Christine's, John Sutherland, who, like me, lives in The Sunshine State of Queensland, Australia.

No matter where we are born or where we go to school, the ties of childhood and growing up cannot be replaced, and it's fascinating to hear another's person's "spin" and make comparisons with your own feelings and recollections, as well as to learn where and how life's journey has brought them to the present day.

From Colin, Christine's husband and native of Fortrose NZ, I learned that he is as proud of his small corner of the world as I am of mine, Fortrose, Scotland. May there be more and more communication and visiting between the two.

I am one of a rare breed, ie a true "divit", actually born in Fortrose. I ultimately lived there until after completion of fifth year at the academy, I took myself off to the dizzy heights of Aberdeen to train as a primary school teacher.

I wouldn't be recalled by all that many but my dad, John Goodall, certainly would.

He was teacher of science at the academy from 1946 to his retirement in the mid 60s.

His face will be well remembered as he played the fiddle at so many local dances and parties and for his lifelong dedication to the Church of Scotland.

I came to Australia in 1974 on a scheme implemented by Education Queensland. I actually saw it a minimum contract of one-year and fare paid on the outward trip as my way to "my grass is greener" New Zealand but things have a way of not exactly turning out as anticipated.

I married Les, a Queenslander, in 1975 and today we live, both retired, on a 25-acre block in central Queenslnd near Rockhampton, and this we share with a family of pretty-faced wallabies by day and, more often than not, howling dingoes at night.

Being in the subtropics means we can grow everything from citrus of all sorts to mangoes, pawpaws, pineapples, figs, lychees with some more exotics like dragon fruit and jaboticabas thrown in for some fun.

But how I miss raspberries, crab apples and I won't even tell you the price of rhubarb here!