The other day I suddenly realised that this is the first time in four years that I have been home for a full spring and summer. I’m thoroughly enjoying it: the days have that almost indescribable feel of the first heat of summer; the beaches are some of the best in the world in an unpretentious working town; swimming every day in the ocean; and reading Hegel’s Philosophy of Right and Marx’s critique. What more could you possibly want? There’s no other place quite like it.

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2012 June 045 (Newcastle)b

Some more pictures from our hike yesterday on a section of the Great North Walk - the last part that runs along some of the beaches around here.

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A 0.2 position (1 day a week) is available for the rest of 2013.


General Information

The Humanities Research Institute is coordinating a research program on Religion in Political Life in 2013. The outcomes of this project include six edited books and special edition journal volumes, which will require the assistance of a highly qualified copy editor.  The Editorial Assistant will work under senior editors, and perform a variety of proofreading, copy writing and general office duties.

This position is available on a fixed term, part-time basis of 7 hours per week (0.2 FTE) for the period 11 March 2013 to 6 December 2013.

HEW Level  6: $36.43 to $40.20 per hour, plus a generous employer superannuation contribution of 9%.

Applications close:  Wednesday 13 February 2013$VAC.QueryView?P_VACANCY_REF_NO=2102


FACULTY/DIVISION: Faculty of Education
SCHOOL/UNIT: Humanities Research Institute

Role Statement:

Provide professional editorial support to the Humanities Research Institute’s Religion in Political Life Research Program in order to produce final edition publications to the publishers of its six edited book and journal volumes. The editorial assistant will work under senior editors, and perform a variety of proofreading, copy writing and general office duties.

Training level or qualifications

Persons employed at Level 6 will typically perform duties at a skill level which assumes and requires knowledge or training equivalent to a humanities bachelors degree with subsequent specialist experience in copy editing.

Level of supervision

The editorial assistant will work under the direction of senior editors.

Task level

Perform work assignments guided by policy, precedent, professional standards and technical expertise. Staff members would have the latitude to develop or redefine procedure and interpret policy so long as other work areas are not affected. In technical and administrative areas, have a depth or breadth of expertise developed through extensive relevant experience and application.

Organisational knowledge

Perform tasks/assignments, which require proficiency in the work area’s existing rules, regulations, processes and techniques and how they interact with other related functions, and to adapt those procedures and techniques as required to achieve objectives without impacting on other areas.

Judgement, independence and problem solving

Discretion to innovate within own function and take responsibility for outcomes; undertake planning involving resources use and develop proposals for resource allocation; exercise high level of written and critical editing skills for complex collections in humanities literature.

Typical activities

• work as part of a research team and undertake a range of editorial tasks

• provide a range of library services, including bibliographic assistance, original cataloguing and reader education in library and reference services;

• supporting editorial staff in all activities leading to a publication, including acting as a personal assistant to commissioning and other editors at different levels

• liaising with other in-house teams, writers, photographers, printers, designers and production staff to negotiate and monitor timescales for stages in the publishing process;

• organising and researching multiple projects to tight deadlines;

• summarising written material into abstract form;

• correcting manuscripts to final editorial form according to author guidelines and in some cases camera ready production;

• obtaining rights to use materials from other publications;

• using computers for word processing, desktop publishing and email;

• filing, photocopying and other routine administrative tasks.

Selection Criteria

Please note: In accordance with the University’s Staff Selection Guidelines, your application will be assessed based on the following selection criteria. It is essential that you address each criteria to enable the selection committee to properly assess your application and suitability for interview.

• A degree with significant relevant experience; or extensive experience in technical editorial fields; or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and/or education/training.

• Demonstrated knowledge of modes of communication typical of humanities research scholarship.

• Strong project management and copywriting skills, with a demonstrated track record in planning and/or delivery of camera ready publications to editors under tight deadlines

Excellent analytical and problem solving skills with experience of complex research documents

• Excellent interpersonal communication skills.

• High level of computer literacy and familiarity with standard applications and project management tools (e.g. MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, Endnote bibliographic management software).

What a homecoming: on the usually cooler east coast stretches the mercury was hitting over 40 degrees and catastrophic fire warnings were in force. Not many hours before I had been decked out in winter woolens (merino wool and possum fur); now it was shorts and a sweat. The day before I arrived, the national average pushed through to the highest point since recordings began more than a century ago: 40.33 degrees on Monday, before it really warmed up on Tuesday. That’s a national average, mind you. Individual places were regularly recording mid 40s to a little under 50. And that’s in the shade. Apparently, it’s been stinking hot for weeks, but the ‘dome of heat’ over the country hasn’t finished yet, cranking up temperatures day by day (with the occasional cool change providing temporary relief for a few hours).

temperature map


Once you hit the purple, you’re in the 50s. Perversely, I enjoy a good heatwave, since summer isn’t summer without one. Sleep is a sweaty experience, full of vivid dreams. Merely sitting quietly makes you sweat. But it’s never ever been this hot.


Despite my policy of avoiding posts about the University of Newcastle on this blog, and even though I do my best not to advertise higher degree research in this place, for some reason we seem have gathered a rather scintillating number of students – from China, Russia, Iran, South Africa, and even Australia. Their research topics all deal in one way or another with religion and politics, often of a distinctly leftward bent:

Joel Kelsey:

Zionism with a Human Face?: Humanitarian Ethics and Being-for-the-other in an Israeli Human Rights Movement

Sergey Kozin:

Religion of Labour, Democracy, and Satan: The Socialist Gospel according to Anatoly Lunacharsky

Yazhi Li:

The Role of Religious Criticism in Marx’s Theory

Niall McKay:

Liberation Hermeneutics: An Intertextual Analysis of the Interpretation of the Gospel of Mark in Liberation Movements

Amir Rezapourmoghadammiyandabi

Political Myth: Tabari’s Narration of the Foundation of Society in the History

Fiona (Fang) Yuan:

Marx’s Critique of Modernity: Labour and Religion

So the Theology and Treason conference is over, with all of its reflections on the role of religion within radicalism. A few pictures for now. Entirely appropriate for a gathering concerning treason, we met in the exercise yard of the former Newcastle lockup (closed to the usual prisoners in 1986):

A goodly number came from China (and the UK and USA):

Alas, no-one availed themselves of the very private toilet up the back (the only one for the former inmates):

Nor did we give in to the invitation of the luxurious bath and its wonders:

Which is probably why we enjoyed ourselves so much:

One of the many advantages of plotting world domination on our radicals’ walk are the close encounters with ships entering and leaving Newcastle harbour.

When the ships enter the harbour, we are but a few metres away:

Of course, it had to be a Chinese coal tanker:

Our regular ‘Radicals Walk’ is not for the faint-hearted. Apart from wild seas threatening to wash us away, we now have an added thrill:

It all comes from a desire to rehabilitate the dunes, grow some vegetation, all of which our legless friends find ever so inviting.

And why wouldn’t you? If I were a snake, I’d reckon this was a pretty good place to settle down.

(ht: ts)

Over the last couple of days the weather has been gloriously rough, with massive swells crashing onto rocks and beaches. And we have had some impressive rainbows:

The usual thing with rainbows, of course, is that they end just over the horizon. The pot of gold is always out of reach, the elusive home is always elsewhere, so we keep chasing the rainbow’s end.

But the other day I climbed the hill, back up from the beach and the end of the rainbow moved … first to hover over my beach, then over my town. A couple of days later we were out on the ‘radicals walk’ and I was telling Tim, ‘hey, the rainbow ends here!’ He looked sceptical, until we stumbled across this:

Now that comes right down into our beach, which is in the midst of our town. The rainbow’s end is here.

It’s becoming a bit of a tradition: the ‘Radicals’ Walk’, during which we walk out to the north breakwater of the harbour, engage in deep political and philosophical discussion, plot world domination … Usually it’s Tim and I, but we may invite the occasional visiting comrade to join us from time to time. At the tail end of a massive storm, I slipped down for a reconnaissance, just to make sure the ‘coast’ was clear. But this is what I found. The small watchtower marks the end of the northern breakwater:

But just when I thought it might be fine for a stroll tomorrow … the first one hit:

And then another:

Matters became a little more ominous:

Even if you are a radical, a little wisdom never goes astray.

Back home and one of my favourite spots in town beckons again, the obelisk on the top of ‘The Hill’. It is still used as a a navigation device, having replaced a windmill pulled down a few years before 1850.

These ‘Directions for Entering the Port of Newcastle’ come from the Government Gazette of 1850.

When the Obelisk is in with the tower by the light you are nearly off the rocks east-southerly of the Nobby’s; and when the Nobby’s is in with the same you are off the rocks north-west of the same.

The Obelisk open to the west of the Queen’s Wharf will head you clear off the rock on the port land going in.

The Obelisk open to the eastward of the Wesleyan Chapel will clear the Oyster Bank and the North Bank, and will lead in from twenty-four to fourteen feet of water as you approach the Oyster Bank on the starboard side going in, and from eighteen to twelve feet as you approach the North Bank, also on the starboard side.

Merion Moriaty, Port Master.

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