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Smith Journal

Smith Journal Spring 2018

Smith Journal is a quarterly publication for discerning gents (and ladies who like reading about discerning gents). It’s heads-up and hands-on. A friendly guide to all things creative, intriguing, genuine and funny – full of stories, people, adventures, interesting conversations and gentlemanly style. The people behind Smith wanted to create something they’d be happy to read themselves. That smart, creative guys could peruse without shame, slap down on the coffee table, whack in their favourite old satchel or display proudly on the toilet reading rack. Something that looked good, but had substance, wit and inspiration. At a time when everything seems like it’s speeding up, Smith is a call to slow down. It’s about remembering, reviving and revamping forgotten traditions, skills and technologies. And backpedalling just enough to appreciate the good stuff in life. Like our readers, we’re not particularly obsessed with being the coolest, the biggest or the first in line. But we are interested in making things that last.

Nextmedia Pty Ltd
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2 min.
the saturday mornings of my early tweens were often spent cooking sausages in the car park of our local supermarket.

This was not by choice – or at least, not by my choice. Looking to render themselves childless for a few hours a week, my parents had enrolled me in Scouts: an organisation whose knot-tying and tent-erecting lessons I would one day come to appreciate, but which at the time as I considered a distraction from playing video games. I had assumed that folding flags and reeling off the Scout Promise every Monday night was payment enough to the good lord Baden-Powell. (If anything, he owed me for my time.) But apparently there was fundraising to do – those flags don’t come cheap – and as one bean-counting Scout leader had clearly noticed, plenty of free child labour to do it. Which is how I came to spend those early Saturday…

16 min.
smith stuff

FOLLOW THE PAPER TRAIL It’s hard to think of a tool that has taken to digitisation more readily than the map. But while cartography’s future seems decidedly digital, there’s at least one place where paper reigns supreme: the great outdoors. “You hear horror stories about people’s phones running out of battery or the app crashing,” Emily Macaulay says. “And suddenly they’re lost.” Macaulay is one half of This Way, a U.K. outfit specialising in mapping with ink. Where digital cartographers seek to document the world in its entirety, This Way’s focus is narrower, charting off-the-beaten-path places that even locals may not have noticed. The idea took shape when Macaulay met Felicity Rowley while binding books at Macaulay’s design firm, Stanley James Press. They bonded over their mutual love of “time-consuming and fiddly…

7 min.
a grain of truth

IF YOU’RE A WHITE AUSTRALIAN, THERE’S A CERTAIN STORY YOU’VE LIKELY BEEN TOLD ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF OUR COUNTRY, AND IT’S ALMOST ENTIRELY FALSE. The story goes something like this: somewhere around 65,000 years ago, the first modern humans arrived in Australia. They spread all over the country and split into innumerable tribes, living a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle, where all they took from the land was what it already provided them. When white settlers arrived in 1788, they found the land essentially untouched; this was a fundamental strut of the terra nullius legal doctrine that they used to justify their dispossession of Indigenous people. If the land wasn’t being tilled, then how could anyone own it? While terra nullius as a defence of colonisation is no more, the assumptions behind it remain…

1 min.
know your edible australian plants

PANICUM DECOMPOSITUM A species of grass endemic to inland Australia. Also known as native millet, it produces a mild-tasting seed that can be turned into damper when ground and baked. SEMECARPUS AUSTRALIENSIS Found in the monsoon forests of Queensland and the Northern Territory. Its seeds taste similar to the occidental cashew, though its sap can be irritating to the skin. BILLARDIERA SCANDENS Commonly known as the apple berry, for its taste. Flowers from September to January, when the summer flush produces oblong green berries covered in fine hairs. THEMEDA TRIANDRA Also known as kangaroo grass, it is found in every Australian state and territory. Seeds can be ground into flour. Indigenous Australians used the plant’s stems to craft fishing nets. MICROSERIS LANCEOLATA The edible tuber of a dandelion-like herb, also known as murnong. Starchy in texture with a coconut-like…

5 min.
the well of death

CARNIVAL NIGHT IN SOLAPUR, INDIA. IT’S HOT AND HUMID, AS IT ALWAYS IS. SWEAT AND GRIT FORM ON YOUR FOREHEAD LIKE A SECOND SKIN, TRICKLE SLOWLY DOWN YOUR SPINE, STICK TO YOUR T-SHIRT. The city officials have staked out an area on the outskirts of town: a flat and dusty fairground surrounded by pomegranate fields, now covered in multicoloured tents, carts hawking roasted peanuts, giant Meccano-like Ferris wheels and jackal-eyed carnies. On the whole, Indian fairs are pretty much like fairs everywhere. Been there, done that, bought the sari. But there’s one building here that stands out as wholly and completely unique. It looks like a low-budget Colosseum, about six storeys high, built from rough timber planks with a metal gantry running around the top. Hundreds of steel girders sprout from the…

7 min.
things i know

MAKE SPACE FOR YOUR PLACE I grew up in Rosebery, a tiny mining town of less than a thousand people in the midst of what was the southern Tarkine on the remote west coast of Tasmania. A great, ancient wild land. Just up on Mount Black was one of the oldest living things on the planet: a 10,500-year-old Huon pine. One night in 1965, as we were driving on a lonely road through rainforest, a Tasmanian tiger, supposedly extinct since 1936, ran out in front of us and then disappeared back into myth. At a time when everything that I would become was being shaped, I glimpsed another world and its magic, its grace, its terror, and its infinite, indifferent tenderness. Only when I grew up did I realise how strange…