Saturday, December 27, 2008


Two more suggestions from my overactive imagination:

1.  I really think we should return Tasmania to its former name of Van Dieman's Land (V.D.L.) - how much more fun to be a Vandemonian!  (As all men know, Abel Tasman discovered this isle in 1642, on the 24th of November, and he named it in honour of Anthony van Diemen, then Governor of the Dutch East Indies: please, let no one point out the obvious, that there were indigenous inhabitants already - unfortunately, I've never seen that there is any surviving idea of what they called it.  To expunge the shame of this land being treated as a place of exile for convicts in its first half-century of colonization, at the time of it attaining responsible government elected by free settlers, its name was changed to Tasmania on the 1st of January 1856, so that the sesquicentenary of that date has recently been marked.)

2.  Prescinding from the practical impossibilities, it would be nice for Launceston (as seat of the whole north of the State) to be raised to the status of suffragan diocese of Hobart.  Originally, there were two lieutenant-governors of the nascent British settlements in V.D.L., one at Launceston, the other at Hobart, though this division ceased in 1812; however, to institute a like division ecclesiastically would make Hobart a metropolitan see.  Archbishop Murphy had attempted this back in the late 19th C., but seeing as his candidate suffragan was one of his many nephews in Holy Orders, and as a delegation of laymen went to Rome to lobby against it ("We do not want this man to be king over us"), the Holy See squelched the proposal.

Apparently "Launceston" derives from Lannstefan, Cornish for "church of (St) Stephen"; until the 1990's, there was a chapel of St Stephen in the city centre, but unfortunately the St Vincent de Paul Society decided it was surplus to requirements and dismantled it so as to use the space for another purpose - I only entered it once, and was sad to learn of its demise, especially as St Stephen is the saint I chose as my patron at confirmation.  Again, the first of the seminary priests to be martyred was St Cuthbert Mayne, done to death by judicial murder in odium fidei at Launceston in Cornwall on the 29th of November 1577: a relic of him, having been at the Church of the Apostles here in Launceston, Tasmania, for many years, was emplaced in a reliquary beneath the new permanent freestanding altar, but was stolen; so there goes another connexion to the Cornish namesake of this city.  The Tudor church in that Cornish town is St Mary Magdalene's, but so far as I'm aware this dedication has not been used anywhere around here.  So if Launceston ever is made a bishopric, I would suggest St Stephen as principal patron, and St Mary Magdalene and St Cuthbert Mayne as secondary patrons.


Quasi Seminarian said...

I do believe however that you once referred to Tasmania as being able to be run from Melbourne via a fax machine.

Methinks the previous attempt was also done to get a Pallium!

Joshua said...

Yes, true on both counts...

Anonymous said...

"I really think we should return Tasmania to its former name of Van Dieman's Land"

I agree, it sounds so much better!