Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The name of Josef Hochgürtel, literally “Highgirdles,” reminds me of a good story about the late Admiral Sir Brian Murray, who, when serving as Governor of Victoria, was taking some foreign dignitary along a receiving line at Government House in Melbourne, and, for no apparent reason, presented his honorary naval aide-de-camp not correctly as Lieutenant-Commander Warwick Teasdale (above), but as “Captain Bracegirdle” instead. These things happen, I suppose, and usually because of the sudden firing of stray synapses in the brain, but for the subject of the misidentification it can be difficult to repress laughter, or keep a straight face. I am sure Warwick’s demeanour was impeccable, though even now I cannot think of him without wondering who Captain Bracegirdle was, and by what roundabout way His Excellency alighted upon that particularly memorable and unusual name substitution. Presumably he was not thinking of the young German artist who with August Saupé in 1880 conceived the Exhibition Fountain in the Carlton Gardens.