Farewell from Hilda - Part 1

Time flies and the last two weeks of my stay in Adelaide were stable, and I began to miss the city since I have adapted to and enjoyed the life here. The first half of August (1st to 17th) passed in working very hard with my greatest effort on the History Festival research, and I finished writing a detailed report on 17th August. Thank you two of my supervisors, Allison and Karen, for offering me such a precious internship opportunity through a Skype interview held in late March, in which I had my first meeting with them and began to know about the government institution History Trust where I would be working.

I have settled down gradually and adapted to the life in Adelaide well in many aspects, just like living in Hong Kong. About living in Adelaide, an uncomfortable thing for me is to adapt to the weather in winter, I worked here during July and August this year, and experienced an additional winter for two months, to escape from the extremely hot and humid summer in Hong Kong. The cold winter is in a low temperature on average, ranging from 8 degree Celsius (the lowest I experienced) in the morning and evening to 21 degree Celsius (the highest I experienced) in the afternoon. The large temperature difference in day and night is due to the lack of sunshine except the daytime, and Australia is a country located in a widespread geographical area with lowly-built buildings and low-density population. Therefore, it is feeling colder in winter of Adelaide than that of Hong Kong, because Hong Kong is a densely-populated small city with high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, so even in a winter having similar temperatures like Adelaide, it is warmer within such a crowded city. In Adelaide, it is my first time to experience the changing temperature of windy, rainy and sunny weather for six weeks.

During my stay, I lived in Prospect (north of central Adelaide), which is a residential area entirely different from the planning of the city centre. In central Adelaide (the city centre), there are all other kinds of buildings with different architectural purposes. I have learnt in real life that the urban planning is clearly dividing the residential area and the city centre in Australia as well as many foreign countries apart from the small city Hong Kong I grow up and live in. I find it difficult to adapt to this kind of urban planning in the first week, because it is very convenient to find everything and go everywhere in the buildings with mixed functions in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the buildings with mixed functions are residence in upper levels, and people do businesses in lower part, such as shopping centre for commercial function, and garage for industrial function in some old flats having plans of urban renewal. It is the urban planning in Hong Kong, so I have to get used to that in Adelaide for only six weeks. There are both benefits and drawbacks for the two distinct forms of urban planning in Hong Kong and in many foreign countries.

Fortunately, the work I am responsible for is easy to handle, much easier than the researches I have done in past studies during many years of school life, particularly while I was doing the associate degree in cultural studies analysing many abstract and sophisticated cultural theories and phenomena writing essays and take-home exam papers. It is research-based and I am really familiar with the art and cultural sector in Hong Kong developed in the past decade, because the degree in culture and heritage management is practical learning about the field, and I love visiting museums and joining other events of arts and culture in Hong Kong personally.

On 10/8 (Thur), I was asked to take part in a film screening in Centre of Democracy, at 3:15-4pm, with the other 2 volunteers Helen and Jacqui, led by curator Craig Middleton and his filming crew. We were playing 2 interactive games, which are the “Democracy Machine”, and the board knowing about the remarkable people in Australian history of democratic development. I got the card to vote from a machine again. The process was filmed. It enables me to know about some historical facts of the political system and development of Australia, such as referendum, republic Vs monarchy (from Britain), and communism (Vietnam War combat) Vs democracy. I could not clearly answer Helen’s question and curiosity about how the governance works in Hong Kong and China nowadays, but Jacqui and Helen got my point when I mentioned about the term “one country, two systems”. Hong Kong is governed by an executive-led government, having some political influence from Chinese government, and Hong Kong Chief Executive is not elected by people’s voting.

In the evening of 10/8 (Thur), there was a history lecture held in History Trust office, the hall of Torrens Parade Ground. I was interested and welcome to stay after work for one hour more (6-7pm) to attend it. Most of the audience attended are middle-aged people and elderlies, in which I may be the youngest one. The topic is “The Colonial Aboriginal History of Adelaide and Sydney”, and it is the history of Australia I have been told and studied briefly in this internship about the British colonization and ethnic conflicts caused between Aboriginal People and British colonists (European explorers). The history lecture was conducted by two scholars and they showed the audience some paintings about the related part of history in Australia. The paintings are historical documentation recording history in a realistic and figurative way. In those eras when photography was not invented or unpopular to record lives, painting was the major medium to record historical facts, social features, and living culture of people. The paintings talked about in the lecture reflect the history of Aboriginal People in Australia, and in fact they are closely related to ethnic studies. Australian Aboriginal People faced the political persecution from British colonists, and the country nowadays is formed by the free settlers of Britain particularly for South Australia, so the aftermath of colonialism may still have impacts suffered by the indigenous people.

Ethnic problems are complicated because humans are political animals, and they happen in many parts of the world. Most of the people I met in Adelaide have an origin from Britain, and some of them belong to the younger generations building up the country nowadays, so their family members and ancestors are all settlers of Australia related to the colonial history.

On 12/8 (Sat), the second outing arranged by the internship programme is to the wineries in McLaren Vale and the town Glenelg, an entirely new experience for me. On that day, I met two elderly friends from Melbourne and one youngster (a boy), having 4 people in a small tour, led by the tour guide driving a minicoach throughout the whole journey. The guide is very talkative and knowledgeable who kept chatting with us while driving on the way, and he provided a lot of information about the tour and Australia. In that afternoon, we went to 3 wineries in McLaren Vale, the countryside. It is the first time I drank wine and just tasted a little bit of the first cup, but I was worried about getting drunken because of no experience before, so I gave up wine-tasting. The 3 friends I met, the guide and the winery staffs understood my situation without persuading me to taste alcohol beverages, and I drank water and a bottle of apple juice instead. One of the wineries we visited is “Lloyd Brothers Wine and Olive Company”, a family-owned business having three generations of operation in history. The people enjoyed tasting different types of wine made from grapes in the wine-tasting session, and I tried the snacks there. In the tasting room and gift shop, we stayed for a long time where I learned about the wine products and viewed the beautiful landscape of countryside there. Besides tasting wine, there are some interesting places in McLaren Vale when the tour guide brought us to the main street. We went to a chocolate and candy factory “FruChocs”, where the manufacturing process of chocolate and candy is shown to people.

Finally, we went to Glenelg where the guide let us stay there freely ending the tour. Glenelg, a beautiful place, the farthest place I travelled in Adelaide, is a seaside community just 6 miles (10 km) outside of central Adelaide. Since we went there at 5pm, we only walked and enjoyed the beautiful natural scenery. I will definitely remember the sunset watching at 5:30pm in Glenelg, the first time I watched and the most beautiful one. The beautiful pier / landing stage there is rarely seen in Hong Kong and also Australia, where I walked along the whole path, but it was very windy standing in the middle of the sea, and I felt the power of nature. It is really memorable for me.

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