If you asked an ANZAC returning from the Western Front in France in 1918 what a ‘telling a furphy’ was, he’d tell you it was the kind of yarn you heard being swapped when the soldiers gathered around the watercart behind the front lines.
The news was always supposed to have come from reliable sources, but when received second or third hand, it was usually drained of truth. So, the Furphy family name eased into Australian slang as a way of describing suspect information being passed on by dodgy people.
Oddly enough, the Furphy watercart itself is linked with a couple of brothers fiercely dedicated to speaking truth and encouraging people to live at their best.
On Friday 1st August 1980, a simple three-word message broadcast on 6000 Flying Doctor transceivers sent a ripple of sadness across inland Australia. ‘Traeger is dead.’ Alfred Hermann Traeger died as he had lived - with quiet dignity behind the scenes. He shunned praise, but he has as many memorials as Nobel Prize winner and inventor of wireless telegraph, Guglielmo Marconi.
He was a revolutionary, but just didn’t know it.
Painfully shy electrical mechanic Alf Traeger was working at his bench in an Adelaide workshop in June 1925, when a thin, bespectacled man burst in and asked, ‘Have you still got that generator?’ The surprised ham radio enthusiast sold his homebuilt machine to the preacher, who immediately strapped it to the side of his heavily-loaded Dodge Buckboard and set off on a rugged 2400km trek to Alice Springs. That startling moment launched of one of the most important partnerships in Australian history.
Last weekend Cornerstone members and friends met in Orange. Listen in here to three stimulating conversations I had with some teacher-mates that showed how inspiring faith-stories have been breathing fresh air into Australian classrooms.
Les Follent has been a comrade who has taught me many things. Mates like that are rare and I owe him big time for his shared wisdom and insight. Not bad for a Queenslander!
Mick Kennedy and Ben Johnson have been strong team members who have loaned me their strength. Authentic community gathered under the Cook Park canopy.
Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.