Readers, in our little black and white photograph, who is the small boy in that big white hat? He is destined to be a giant of Australian public life. Already, even though he is only two, perhaps there is a certain urchin grandeur about him? Give up?
On this very day 100 years ago (July 11, 1916) Gough Whitlam was born and his cousin Judy Ingle of Farrer has sent us this history-packed little black and white photograph with which to mark the day.
She tell us: "I was one of Gough's cousins, my mother being one of his aunts. She was his loved Aunt Jess, the seventh child of the Maddocks family. His mother, Martha Maddocks, was the third child. "I have an unusual photo which no doubt will be of current interest to many folk. It is of the home in Kew [ it is 'Ngara', 46 Rowland Street] where Gough was born. The photograph features the house with young Gough, just over two years old in the front garden with his parents.
"The house has been in the news over the past year or two as the recent purchaser of the old property proposed to demolish the building. Many supporters joined the Heritage Council of Victoria to fight for it to be listed as a heritage building. The home was built by our grandfather, Edward Maddocks on the marriage of [Gough's parents] Fred Whitlam and Martha and, in fact, Gough was born on 11 July 1916, on the kitchen table there. "After a very long battle, the judgment went against the heritage group and [recently] we heard that the building had been demolished."
What is to become of us, of short-sighted Australia, if we have so little sense of our history that we demolish homes that were significant in the lives of our nation's giants?
Ms Ingle owns to being a little biased, Gough having been her cousin, but she says she is always meeting people who remember him and his towering legacy with fondness. "They're often people who never voted for him but who say with gratitude 'I wouldn't be doing this job today if Gough hadn't given me free university education'."
Our mountains' fresh upholsterings of snow coincide with the publication this week of a book of olde postcards including this charming, pastel-toned 1910 one, Tobogganing At Mount Kosciusko, Australia.
"Just as postcards were gaining in popularity," Jim Davidson explains in his Moments in Time – A Book of Australian Postcards (published by the National Library of Australia), "the New South Wales Tourist Bureau was developing the snowfields.
"The Hotel Kosciusko was opened in 1909 ... Tobogganing was popular in those early days but skiing gradually took over ... the big surge coming after WW 11 ... partly pioneered by 'New Australians'."
And from one precipitation, snow, we run (unfurling our umbrellas as we go) to another, rain, and to artist Julie Spencer's preoccupation with it.
This is the third (and alas it has to be the last) of paintings from her series Painting The Town By Night to impart some much-needed colour, some gaiety, to this often drab and morose column. Today's painting, as Impressionistic as the great Impressionists' impressions of their Paris, is her Rainy Night In Canberra.
Her paintings of Canberra have brought great joy to this columnist after all the years I have spent in the saddle of the hobbyhorse of trying to get Canberrans to paint the city as it is, teeming with people, people doing things, going places. When I come to power, those of you who only ever paint Canberra as a kind of Chernobyl, bereft of people and taken over by trees and parrots, will have your easels, brushes and paints confiscated until you promise to do better.
In Spencer's paintings of Canberra, her champions at M16 Artspace trill: "Night falls and the city comes to life in a cacophony of sounds, smells, colours and lights, forcing the evening sky to recede behind its synthetic glow. Rain falls and the luminosity of night in the city intensifies. In Painting the Town by Night Spencer explores her fascination with the urban experience, seeking to capture the sense of atmosphere and intrigue it inspires in her. Her paintings ask: who are these people? Where are they going? And why?"
Spencer herself adds: "The excitement of city life, artificial light and people en mass has always captivated me."
In today's painting, who is the woman with the umbrella? Where is she going? And why? We sense that in her naivety (for she is not blessed with a university education) she is on her way to the July 14 show at the Woden Hellenic Club of the "international psychic medium" (and charlatan) Suzie the Ghost Whisperer.
Spencer's Painting The Town By Night continues at the M16 Artspace http://www.m16artspace.com.au until July 24.