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“For your eyes only”

There’s a phenomenon perhaps not unique to Australia, but is particularly noticeable in regional Oz … especially around these parts of the Mallee where you can see the material progression of the process toward the almost inevitable “Third Generation Syndrome”, where you see the original pioneers pine and daub shanty, followed some years later after some modicum of farming success in “The New House” and then finally to the much later triple-fronted brick-veneer showpiece of the farm’s success story …

Then comes the next generation … the third generation syndrome where all that hard work gets “pissed against the wall”.

This breakdown with the family structure is jeaulously guarded from outside eyes and sometimes only the most intimate members of the family, even right up to the one parent knows of the inevitable collapse … I have heard of wives continuing on their merry way, involved in this or that community group; the bowls club, the local op-shop, even the choir group … totally unaware of the stalking of Nemisis until the fatal blow falls and then the shock of total destitution stares them and the family in the face. Some never recover their equilibrium and go on in a kind of continuous methodology of habit … like the setting of one foot in front of the other as in walking.

Many times it is not anyone’s particular fault: The produce market might collapse just when they are most vulnerable with a loan, or an accident may befall a family member or members plural … or health issues etc … But in the saddest cases, it can be gambling (perhaps even “pre-selling” of a crop) or the drink that does the most damage … and when that is the cause of the family breakdown, then truly within the group, it really is; “For your eyes only”.

It was booze that done for the next generation of some of my family, booze mixed with the stagnation of life progress in a dying district. A district that was once a booming area with all the bountiful residuals of a virgin-land cleared and cropped for several generations until … until the ground water started disappearing or becoming too saline … before the top-soil, held together for many millennia of Mallee bio-forest was clear-felled to every fence-line and then grazed almost to bedrock and the dirt-farmers became chemical farmers and that was alright while the rain was predictable and of a certain measurement … until …

Then … then we see the breaking spirit, the breaking health, the closing businesses and the loss of population drifting away from these “sad shires” … friends, family, networks, transport capabilities and the final straw; the ”free-market” that destroyed many agricultural boards and guaranteed buyers. Then comes the drink.

I saw it here when we purchased this property from an obscure Aunt (obscure to me, because I had only heard of her mentioned in vague conversations as “Aunt..X”). I never met her till we came to inspect the property that was on the market. I didn’t even know it was her property … and when we did purchase it, we were pressed by those who bought our own property to move out and yet my Aunt had made no move at all to vacate her place. I had to recruit my other relatives up here to please intercede to assist the aged Aunty (their aunt as well!) to move her to her new unit in the Barossa. It was curious that there did not seem to be much enthusiasm on their part, until after I moved here and discovered some awful truths I was not supposed to know.

I won’t reveal those “truths”, as I suspect many regional families have lived their own situations that have for a short time at least wrought havoc onto their lives. Sufficient to say that it was a third generation syndrome moment that resulted in extreme trauma for the family of my Aunty … may they rest in peace.

But sadly, this generational thing is exactly identifiable in the behaviour of the right-wing governments of this nation these last decade or so. We are … what? … three generations from WW2, where militaristic discipline shaped social structure and obedience to such a degree that the imposed impossibilities placed on society caused the social upheaval that resulted in the huge changes in social welfare and health commitments of the preceding Labor governments. But the Liberal/National parties still cling to those perceived halcyon days of the Menzies era as the yardstick for measuring industrial, social, financial and status capacity in a world that is ploughing forward at a pace they completely fail to comprehend … and so the resulting chaos we see in day to day running of the nation could very easily be recognised as that same “Third Generation Syndrome” collapse that is going to leave the nation so vulnerable to what is akin to a family collapse.

With the by-election in New England, we are seeing a person totally incapable of viewing the big picture of the national needs and totally unsympathetic to any other electorate outside his own … If he is re-elected and given back the water portfolio, it will be akin to the naer-do-well son making his way to the front-bar of the local until in a drunken stupor he writes himself and the family’s future off in a wreck of his own making. The voters of New England would be wise to consider if they wish to be joined with or cast adrift from many of their “near relatives” with such selfish representation. They would be wise to consider this risk, for; joined with a country-wide community, they could contribute with others to build the next “house”, while on their own they will, for a time flourish, but it will be by spending their accrued assets and good-will capital … a capital that is heavily invested in a person and a party that has in the recent past squandered resources and capital investments to what could be a criminal conglomerate. Look to your “house”, New England … because we further down the river catchment are looking at you!

So the nation must soon consider if these people now in government have the honesty, the capacity and the integrity to lift the nation from one level to the next to promote community growth and prosperity, or will they do as has been done so many times in a once hard-won successful family and piss it against the wall? … And if they set about doing the latter, will we be satisfied with standing by and witnessing the sad, long, debauching of our nation and our children’s future with the pathetic explanation to those inheritors that it was done in the interests of …

“For your eyes only”.


  1. Phil

    Never thought of it that way Joseph – the idea of a third generation syndrome at the family and national levels.

    I don’t understand why rural voters in places like the New England region continue to vote for Joyce when it is so obviously evident he’s on the make at their ultimate expense – with the exception of a minority of big ag businesses. Perhaps it is wilful blindness applied to avoid facing the ugly truth and hoping that long past good times will return with another shot of good ‘ol Barnaby.

    Joyce sports the obligatory RM Williams uniform from hat to boots (but with never a stain or even hint of physical work) and swills beer in true blue style so he must be ‘one of us’ they seem to think, and perhaps he is one of them – but if that is so then that makes them all on the take in New England and I don’t believe that for a minute.

    What is so sad for New England is that Joyce will most likely march back into parliament and resume his rorting ways, and the NE voters will feed temporarily from his pork barrels until the pork runs out and they realise their mistake.

  2. Joseph Carli

    There were once numerous springs along the foothills here until the owners upstream dammed the creeks and the feed-in was lost..there was also large wet-lands until they drained them away and those dams stopped water coming down…now you would be lucky VERY LUCKY to find potable water between Cambrai and oonawhoop-whoop north in an aquifer..all water comes from the Murray system..and we know what Barnaby is doing to THAT resource.
    He came down here a couple of years ago to see the mouth of The Murray and walked around with his wrinkled nose in the air..useless f#ckwit he effing idea!

  3. diannaart

    War have nothing to do with the decimation of families? Booze was used to take the edge off those times in WW1 and WW2 too fraught to mention.

    Not only war, but impact of incarceration, sexual abuse or other impacts on families with no control over the events surrounding them.

    Generational impact of war and other trauma on families:

    Intergenerational Trauma
    Intergenerational trauma affects one family. While each generation of that family may experience its own form of trauma, the first experience can be traced back decades.

    “The people at the highest risk of trauma and those with the most difficulty working through it have experienced their own trauma but also have come from a family where there was a trauma in their parents and often in their parents’ parents,” says Stephanie Swann, PhD, LCSW, a private practitioner who owns and operates the Atlanta Mindfulness Institute. “Where trauma has been untreated, what is fairly common is that the untreated trauma in the parent is transmitted through the child through the attachment bond and through the messaging about self and the world, safety, and danger.”

    Sarah Gardner, LCSW-C, director of clinical services for the Family Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, agrees: “What I focus on in the family is what happened in the grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generation and how that affected the parenting in the next generation and how that affected the next generation and on and on down the line.”

  4. Joseph Carli

    Yes, the war did mess so many families about..but a line was drawn after the war and Aust’ started out on a new social experiment with many immigrants flooding in to kick off new industries..the whole industrial scene changed almost overnight…added to that the recovering veterans and those who couldn’t recover and we had a volatile mix that’s for sure…But as a child of 1951, I grew up in a new industrial era…We boomer kids were the “fresh start” of a new age…

  5. diannaart

    I did not suggest that war was the only generational impact. Please reread my comments.

    Nor was any “line” was drawn after WW2, apart from Australia aiding the USA in its many infiltrations into other sovereign natrions, sexual predation has continued – particularly among organisations where trust was a given; such as religious or other social entities. Refugee immigrants are also harmed by both from whence they fled and how they were treated in host nations.

    Violence and other destructive behaviour is international and endemic.

    As for boomer kids being a “Fresh Start” – many had fathers from WW2 and carried the invisible scars. I would posit that most of our leaders are still baby boomers and many of them are capitalistic sell-outs in rejection of the common good.

    Baby boomers may well have embraced all that ‘sex, love and rock ‘n roll’ in reaction to the stultifying and narrow mindedness of the 1950’s, however they also carried the burden of previous generations’ experiences from their silent parents.

  6. Joseph Carli

    Well, diannaart..your comments were a tad sketchy and vague..and I will differ from your definate opinion on the”fresh start principle..I well remember the liberated freedoms we young and pre-teens had to roam wide and far from our home in the outer suburbs of the city..there was little communication with our parents in regard to summer holidays..we formed groups down the beaches and made our own little society..;
    My father was a refugee from Mussolini’s Italy and he arrived here in Oz in 1938, just in time to be interned..My mother’s side of the family was from the poorest of the poor, living in bag-tents up and down the Murray through the depression and the war years..Neither gave us kids anymore than an appreciation of the absurd as we grew older..
    Sure..violence is amongst us..and it has been and will be for all time..but it is like those scattered rain-drops out here…you gotta learn to dodge ’em!

  7. Michael Holdcroft

    Thank you

  8. Kyran

    Mr Carli, please correct me if I’m wrong.
    The current Packer is the third generation of the Packer empire. He has been pissing all over the place.
    The current Murdoch’s, Lachlan and James (females not allowed) are third generation.
    Privileged brat’s, squandering the inheritance. It’s a bit like that Trump bloke in America.
    Small town. Big town. That third generation.
    We gotta a ways to go. An inheritance doesn’t define you. What you do with it defines you.
    There was a story about a Sheik in the Middle East who said his grand-father rode a camel. His grand-father found oil, and sold it. His father was wealthy, as a result. He was the beneficiary.
    His prediction? His Grand-kids will be riding camels
    They never get it. If you only look at today, with no regard for yesterday or tomorrow, you become the very definition of third generation.
    Thank you Mr Carli and commenters. Take care

  9. David Bruce

    Thank for for the flash back Joseph. I had similar experiences and it is a while since I read about the third generation. The first time was a story about a Chinese family growing up in Australia. Older societies seem to understand the process well. In the political context, it does make a lot of sense and helps to explain the current batch of best politicians money can buy. What is going through my mind now is how does the third generation affect Australian and International Intelligence Agencies? So much of human history has been hidden from the masses, and similarly we see the same happening with new technologies. “Eyes only” is a security level permitting only certain countries gaining access to this information level. The 5 eyes (+1 now) include UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (+ Israel). Is it a third generation thing that all these countries seem to have transformed into right-wing societies, regardless of the colour of their governments? Does this explain why predator companies such as Goldman Sachs, Serco and a few other non banking organizations are controlling essential services in public-private partnerships and effectively running countries on contract and independent of the elected governments in these countries?

  10. Joseph Carli

    David and others…I think what happens by the third generation, is that the original driving force of survival that unites both family and objectives..if successful and substantial..becomes forgotten in its very success..and a kind of corporate memory failing comes into play..How many times do we tire of hearing the oldies lament how hard they struggled…”Lookshery Lad!”..

  11. lawrencewinder

    …aint’ that the truth….lovely writing.

  12. diannaart


    I find your idea of a “third generation” break down rather limited. From where does one pick the start of the family tree? Why just a third generation? Are we not the product of many thousands of years of evolution? Many, many generations?

    Nor can you simply dismiss my point of view as sketchy and vague – there exists great deal of solid information regarding generational trauma and I provided links to a site for social workers actually dealing with the results of generational trauma.

    For the record, my grandfather fought in WW1 and my father in WW2 in North Africa and New Guinea – he did not return unscathed, either physically or mentally. I guess that makes me the third generation by way of your logic – I am not an alcoholic nor compulsive gambler like my father. I live quietly due to a chronic illness and neither drink nor smoke. Given my family arrived as settlers in South Australia and Victoria I am about sixth generation Australian. Surely the health and well-being of my great+ grandparents have contributed to the DNA of my sister and I.

    Do you have evidence of this “third generation” syndrome”?

    There is a plethora of evidence for epigenetics (generational trauma):

    Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest.

    Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations.

    In regards to human development, one is as important as the other. We know that negative behaviors like smoking cigarettes, poor diet, or drinking access amounts of alcohol shortens our lifespan, but now epigenetics is confirming that these behaviors can predispose our children, and even our grandchildren, to similar diseases and decrease their longevity too. Research in epigenetics reveals that both paternal and maternal toxic environmental exposures play a role in the development of disease in their offspring and future generations. Parental exposure to the popular herbicide Roundup has been linked to birth defects in their offspring. Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the herbicide agent orange, like my father was, pass on an increased risk for spina bifida and other diseases to their children. The prenatal nutrition of mothers has been shown to have an impact on an offspring’s risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

    A study on the eating habits of multiple generations of families in Sweden revealed that grandfathers who went from a normal diet to regularly overeating had grandsons who died an average of six years earlier than the grandsons of those who didn’t. The bottom line is this: your grandparents’ and parents’ behaviors, and any toxins or trauma they were exposed to, affects your health directly. Likewise, your behaviors and any toxins or trauma you’re exposed to could affect the health of your children and grandchildren.

    Have you considered that we are more easily able to note the changes in family structure over three generations? It is more difficult to look back further into family history for most people.

    I am not trying to have a go at you, Joseph, merely questioning your point of view. Nor am I dismissing you as you have me – I would simply like you to consider a far bigger picture than you have thus far.

  13. Joseph Carli

    My, diannaart…you certainly are a tetchy so-and-so!..I recall you burst out of the barrier on my “Corporatization of women” with equal passion..and antagonism..both nostrils flared and chomping at the bit…no worries, I love a good challenge!

    On the 3rd gen’ thingy…I base it upon a starting point from a life-changing event in the family ..or in the national picture ; a country changing event. The second world war was the event that coincided with both and drew a line under past patterns and expectations because of the huge technological changes brought in by the mechanics of that war..even more so than the first WW…which in reality turned out to be a “warm-up” event to the military method of “Blitzkrieg” and the practice of ethnic cleansing.

    That war more than the first used strategic planning in the maneuver of equipment and troops so that a more mobile battlefield was the method of operations..a war of new technologies that flowed on into the peace that followed and allowed the perfection of mass production and transport capabilities to improve agriculture and manufacturing…the old world was swept away..Hence the line drawn under tradition and habitual expectations.

    Secondly, while you may have a point on the continuance of trauma effecting the next generation in the family…I do not totally adhere to the Pavlov’s Dog theory of predictable results from such predicated behaviour. My humble reminisce about Mrs. Fookes fish shop showed how the continuety was broken with the boomer generation..and was proven by their behaviour in their late teens in the sixties and seventies…there WAS a revolution both global and local..the line of expected habit was shattered..I got to Darwin in the early seventies and believe me, there was NO serious adult control or order in our was one continuous debauchery and bacchanalian feast without apparent end unti that bloody cyclone Tracy came down on the joint like a judgement of Jehovah on Sodom and Gomorrah…and ruined the city, the mood and the party.

    That there is inter-generational trauma is a fact..but that it has to tyrannise our lives to the extent of beating us down into a sodden mess is not a fact..I lived through that time when corporal punishment in schools was the norm, along with regular singling out for a particular teacher’s humiliation in front of the class that was used against many kids..I still can describe with unshakeable accuracy , Sister Mary Lawrence’s length of jarrah that she used on the calves of (mainly) boys to enforce her discipline..

    I have to apologise for not consulting many of your links, as I don’t always like other people to do my thinking for me…Having reached the ripe old age of 66yrs, I am of the opinion that if I have not the capacity to come to a rational, sensible conclusion on the back of my own experience, then I might just as well give the game away..

    You say your family arrived as settlers in SA. and Victoria…were they from Silesia or eastern Germany..and were they Wends?

  14. diannaart


    Tetchy? Looking in the mirror again for adjectives?

    I see you are not at all interested in discussing intergenerational trauma – why? It is evident that your chat about the ‘dodgy’ third generational has relevance to such a discussion.

    Oh, you don’t like me posting evidential links because that means I am doing your thinking for you? I thought I was being informative and adding proof of my point of view.

    I have never claimed that intergenerational trauma has to beat us down into a sodden mess – you putting words in my mouth?

    FYI, I have personally experienced corporal punishment – and for something I didn’t do – which provided a life-long distrust of any sort of authority. BTW I am old enough to form well thought opinion wrought from hard learned experience, daddio.

    As for my ancestry, Scottish on the SA side and Irish on the Victorian. Not everyone in SA is a German, Joe.

    I don’t know why my comments seem to be a red flag to you. So I’ll leave us to disagree and won’t both you any more, you poor dear… well until I feel like I have something to contribute – just as I did here.



  15. Joseph Carli

    Onya, Di’…you’re a real trooper..

  16. diannaart





  17. Joseph Carli

    Righto, Dianna..but do you mind me nicknaming you ; “Spinner” ?

  18. diannaart


    I don’t have a problem with nicknames, but if the reason for “Spinner” is what I think it is, Then I politely decline.

  19. Joseph Carli

    diannaart…it was meant as in : “Come in spinner”…a two-up term and a tease for someone who “bites” at every offence meant at all..just a tease..regards…Joe.

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