5 Jan 2020
An old friend reminded me recently that I had never put anything up about my time as a soapbox orator. It was only ever an amusing pastime but here goes anyway:
In both Brisbane and Sydney I was during my student days a "soapbox orator". Soap is rather heavy stuff so boxes in which soap was once sold must have been sturdy wooden ones -- solid enough for people to stand on.
The term "soapbox orator" means a public speaker on eccentric subjects holding forth at a place set aside for that purpose to whatever audience he can attract -- generally on a Sunday afternoon. Centennial park used to be such a place in Brisbane and the Domain in Sydney has long been such a place. cf. Hyde Park Corner in London.
I started to go to Centennial Park on Sunday afternoons in Brisbane to listen, heckle and argue as there was so little else to do in Brisbane at that time in those days.
Doing some heckling on my way home from Army parade
As I had a loud voice and was verbally fluent I decided eventually to do a bit of speaking myself from time to time and I generally had a lot of fun with it for a couple of years. I spoke on a variety of subjects -- not usually seriously.
Speaking at Centennial prk
Webster was the soapbox star in those days but older Brisbane people might remember soapbox orator Ted Wixted (1927-2001) and his arguments against the Virgin Birth. Ted had a good day job as a museum curator -- mainly concerned with Early aviators -- but did admit that angels appeared to him. He used to call me "Jeremy".
When I moved to Sydney I also spoke a few times at the Domain but that was only in my first year in Sydney and was mostly in the company of Martyn Harper