Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Cape of Good Hope again

Australians are everywhere, even at the lighthouse high above the Cape of Good Hope. Among the forest of signposts pointing through 270 degrees, the one that points due east says “SYDNEY 11,642 KM,” i.e. 7,234 miles. Here it is. Some wit has hastily added in thick black felt-tipped pen “LITHGOW 11,485.” The calculation is based on subtracting the distance of about 93 miles that separates Lithgow, New South Wales, from Sydney, and is therefore pretty accurate. The old coal-mining town of Lithgow (pop. 11,298) was named after William Lithgow, the first auditor-general of New South Wales, and is on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. Lithgow is notable for various other reasons, not least as place where Marjorie Jackson grew up, “the Lithgow flash,” who at the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952 won gold medals for Australia in the women’s 100m and 200m athletic events, and was from 2001 to 2007 Governor of South Australia.

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