G’day. I’m Tony Robertson Welcome to my collection of sites about us blokes!
By way of introduction, I’m a post-war baby-boomer, White Australian, Gay Christian Male with a commitment to non-violent living. And in all that I find the joys and hopes the grief and anguish of life!!!
I am also a Community Jester and Ritual Maker. Some of my life is lived here in the cyber-world of open speech and free expression which I hope you will share.
The image I use for this intro is dated as you will notice. However, it is a significant image as it was taken at the 2002 NAIDOC Day celebrations at Musgrave Park in Brisbane. I was lining up to get a bit of face painting done by a young Aboriginal lad who was providing the popular images of animals features and the like. Before he started on me we had a bit of a chat and he asked if I would like him to paint a Bora Ring on my face. This was the result and it remains one of my treasured memories of a wonderful encounter across culture and generation.
This site is dedicated to my father, Alexander Robertson who inspired my social awareness and my commitment to social change for those on the edge of our community.
I welcome your visit and your engagement with this site.
I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
On this day in 1992 my father, Alex, died. It was the end of a long period of loss in my life that haunts me still. I really “lost” my father when I was a young teenager. We just stopped talking and I began to learn to live alone without an adult mentor. In August 2012 my mother also passed away. To honour them both I have published this image of my parents holding me at three weeks.
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye
I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say
My father was my hero. I was the eldest son and I cherished that early experience of “first claim” to his love and attention. In the shrine I designed to his memory there are two photos of Dad and me, just the two of us. They are the only photos ever taken of just us two. In one he is holding me as a new babe and gazing down into my eyes. The other is a classic of Dad supporting me on his old “28 inch” bike with me in a baby dress of a typical one year old of the era!!! The bike was a great symbol of those early years. I have so many happy memories of Dad taking me for a “dink” sitting on the bar while he peddled. I still remember the nervous thrill of riding that same bike before I could even reach the seat. Somehow, once I learnt to ride on my own everything changed.
My father gave me inspiration. His faith was a traditional Catholicism with a passion for the poor and the marginalised. He would often take me with him to his voluntary work at the night shelter for the homeless in Geelong. Later in my teens I remember being in awe when I heard a testimonial to Dad and stories I never knew were made public of his commitment to the work of “Vinnies”
Our relationship was a bonding through unspoken words. I was a headstrong adolescent with a fiery temper that must have worried him. I was also an inquisitive young gay boy which I suspect he knew and carried inside with great anxiety and fear. Our religion and our culture didn’t allow us to explore the curiosity and libido inside me.
We shared a love of music and it was his collection of jazz and musicals that I played over and over.He read widely and from his bookcase I discovered the writings of Thomas Merton, Banjo Paterson, Boris Pasternak and so many more.
I miss my Dad, I miss all we could have been for each other. As he lay dying the “Living Years” lyrics were all around me like a spirit calling me to face the loss of so much. His funeral was a great tribute with some music from Bing Crosby as well as a passionate version of “Come to The Water”. as we gave him over on the final journey nearer to his God.
Though like the wanderer, The sun gone down, Darkness be over me, My rest a stone, Yet in my dreams I’d be Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!
I am like my father in many ways. I have his strength and resilience. I have his passion and I suspect I share much of his quiet reserve about his inner life………..yet in a way this writing is a long step from “quiet reserve”!! He served in Borneo and PNG during WWII. He never marched in an ANZAC parade and never really spoke of what happened to him during those frightful years. We both hide much of our lives deep inside where no-one has access, except perhaps the spirit of healing who alone can break through the heavy heart.
The BLOKES Project includes a new dance work (performed on a shipping container, researched with family & community elders in their truck yards, sheds & vehicles) investigating the embodied myths, truths and stereotypes of how to be Australian. Beyond the Beer and the Bullshit.
Dancing to ‘break the cycle’ of damage to self and others without shame or disassociation of our own heritage.
In an age of toxic masculinity, how can we turn the critical lens on ourselves to build a new narrative of how to be a BLOKE?
This Is Oz is an online photo gallery where people can help fight discrimination against Australia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. Part art project, part human rights campaign, This Is Oz is all about making Australia a place where everyone belongs.
We’ll be updating our homepage and photo gallery daily with our favourite images and pics of our celeb friends, so come back and visit soon!
How to Participate: Simply upload a picture of yourself with a message that challenges homophobia and/or celebrates diversity. You’ll then be part of a campaign to improve services and opportunities for all Australians.