holy city and probable source of the Asperital Teachings
Nhill is a small town in Victoria of some 2000 people on the Western Highway, 40 km west of Dimboola and 374 km north-west of Melbourne (halfway to Adelaide). It promotes itself as a centre of merino grazing although it is very much a part of the Wimmera wheatbelt.
In fact the large grain silo in the centre of town is reputedly the largest single-bin silo in the Southern Hemisphere. There is also a poultry farm and a flour mill.
Nhill possesses a pleasant and attractive main street with an enormous median strip which has creatively been transformed into a lovely park. When full (which is not that often) Lake Nhill offers boating, birdlife and a boardwalk.
Squatters Dugald Macpherson and George Belcher were the first white men to venture into the immediate area at the very outset of 1845. They encountered a group of indigenous people camped by a swamp which was their spirit place and corroboree ground. The squatters understood the place to be called 'nhill', although the word probably reflected an
identification between the swamp and the people - the sub-group Nyill of the Tyatyalla tribe. Macpherson thus established the 'Nhill' run and many others followed in his footsteps.
The transformation from grazing to wheat-growing occurred when selectors began to take up land from 1874. The Nhill townsite developed at the intersection of a number of squatters' tracks and by the swamp which was commonly used by travellers as a camping ground and rest area.
A Mill in Nhill
A mill was established in 1879 and a survey was conducted. The first hotel, a general store and drapery were constructed in 1880. A police report indicated 80-100 people at the townsite in July 1880 with another 450-600 people within a radius of about 7 km. 1881 saw the addition of a police station, post office, Wesleyan Church, some shops, two more hotels and a town well. The next few years saw rapid development with the addition of many buildings and amenities.
These included a bank, mechanics' institute, foundry, shire offices, the Nhill Free Press, a cordial factory, more churches and hotels, a state school, a land office, an hospital, an agricultural equipment manufactory, a courthouse, a brewery and many private residences.
Rabbit plagues and wild dogs followed by wheat rust frustrated the efforts of many local pioneers in the 1880s, although Nhill benefited from the arrival of the railway in 1886.
Electric Street Lighting
An 1891 census recorded the town population at 1102. In 1892 Nhill became one of the first Victorian country towns to acquire electric street lighting. Vineyards, a butter factory and related creameries were established as a response to the economic depression and low wheat prices of the early 1890s. Drought also favoured the town in the 1890s and a major
tornado destroyed much of Nhill in 1897. However, matters greatly improved after the turn of the century.
Noted Australian test cricketers J.W. Trumble and Hugh Trumble were local boys. Poet John Shaw Nielson and his family moved to a spot just west of Nhill in 1889. He and his father were employed in various guises and both had poems published in local newspapers during the early 1890s. The family moved briefly to Nhill itself before leaving the area in 1895, no more prosperous than when they arrived.
Many Are CalledMany people are called on the path of enlightenment. Not all of those called can find their way. Of those who do begin the journey of awakened consciousness, many fall by the wayside. Thus, few ever enter the realm of the golden beings wherein resides the company of the chosen. Of this select few, only one has entered the gates of Heaven by means of insult, corruption and threats of physical violence. This one is Asperitus, runemaster, astrologer, enlightened being and misanthropic recluse.
The Early YearsHis earliest years were spent in poverty and disillusion, yet his extraordinary spirit thrived as a precocious master of complaint. Then came his meteoric rise to stardom as a tyro of the tendentious tirade, commenting caustically on the lives of rich and poor, famous and nondescript alike. Here he became known as the "hammer of mediocrity" and gained a fearsome reputation for his exorbitant charges. This early pinnacle of success was followed (predictably for he knew it was coming) by a bitter pratfall from grace amid accusations of bribery and sexual misconduct (none of which were ever proven in court).
The Four Ignoble TruthsDuring the course of his public humiliation and financial ruin, Asperitus retired to a disused public lavatory in Nhill and devoted himself to the practice of meditation. It was here that he found enlightenment (it had fallen out of someone's back pocket when the lavatory was still in use). In a moment of astounding self-realization, Asperitus rejected the gift of inner peace (it was too bloody boring) and took up the path of the four ignoble truths. These state that
- All life is irritating.
- One must acknowledge the irritation.
- Having acknowledged the irritation, one must criticize it correctly.
- One must acknowledge that all irritations are equal and therefore everything is equally irritating.