Augustus Writes a Poem!

I have never written a poem before. Cecily, unfortunately, has written thousands, and has been pestering me to let her post one. I refused. Instead I decided to write my own poem, which adheres to certain grammatical and style rules which Cecily’s does not.

The topic is, of course, river life. I have no knowledge of any other kind of life, so I am sticking to the wise old adage to write what you know. Unlike Cecily, who writes poems about countless impossible things, like flying to the moon! Or my secretary Zoe Urquhart who has a whole blog dedicated to ridiculous poems on ridiculous subjects!

So like some of my other posts, this poem shall be sensible, and realistic.

Read on!

I am but a fish, but a fish will live and learn,

As long as there is a river, and a sun to burn.

Here am I, nestled in the sand of the river,

Waiting for whatever the day will deliver.

Let there be sun, rain, wind or worse,

I would not leave for the whole universe.

~ Augustus The Fish

I am not one to boast, however for one such as myself who has never written a poem before, I would say I did better than anyone could have imagined! Especially some like Cecily, who burst into laughter at the thought of my writing poetry. I leave it to you all now to make your own judgments on this!

If anyone has suggestions as to what other topics or themes I could write about, leave a comment below! I always enjoy reading your wonderful comments!

Thank you for reading!

~Augustus The Fish

You can also send me an email if you wish!

 

 

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What Do You Do When Someone Takes Over Your Blog?

So some of you may have noticed that my little cousin Cecily took the liberty of publishing her own little blog post on my blog.

This did not escape my notice. In fact to start with I was extremely annoyed. Extremely annoyed. And perhaps I may have been more forceful in expressing this to her than need be. But never let it be said that Augustus The Fish is not fair or just.

After all, Cecily is also a fish who is interested, in however a mild a way, in the issue facing all fish today. Of course she may not be the most serious minded fish, but perhaps some humans may be able to relate to her.

So this is just a short notice to say that I have decided to allow her impudent post to remain for the time being. Will you see her write anymore in the future? That remains to be seen.

However from now on, all blog posts will be severely monitored by me, and on no account will we see any tutorials for flower crowns.

Sincerely Augustus The Fish. 

Cecily Discovers Augustus’s Blog!

Hiiiii everyone! I am SO excited! I have finally found Augustus’ blog! He talks about it ALL the time! But he would never let me see it, and that was SO frustrating! I thought it sounded so cool, actually interacting with humans! I mean, you are all humans reading this, right? That’s so amazing; I can’t believe that humans are actually going to read what I’ve written. But it’s very important as well.
At first I just wanted to read Augustus’ blog, but now that I have, it’s so BORING! Obviously Augustus needs my help, although he would never admit it. So that is why I am writing this, to bring a little flair to What a Fish Thinks. Although now that I’ve started to write on it too I guess it should be called What Fish think, or What Two Fish Think. I wonder if I changed it, would Augustus notice? Probably. He may be a fish but he has eagle eyes. It’s very annoying sometimes.
Oh wait! I’m so forgetful; you have no idea who I am!!! My name is Cecily, and I’m Augustus’ cousin. I see he actually mentioned me in a previous blog post, fancy calling me frivolous, frivolous my fin! I can be very serious! I know about serious issues facing fish today! Humans can be very scary! But how bad can you all be if you are taking the time to read this blog? You must be very interested in what fish think and I think that’s wonderful. Honestly! I’d like to high-fin you all!
Oh and by the way! Remember how in that blog post about me being frivolous Augustus mentioned me wearing flower crowns? Well I do, I think they’re really pretty, I saw two human girls walking across the bridge one day wearing them and I just HAD to have one! So I made one out of wild flowers growing on the banks of the river, it was very difficult, but SO worth it. Here’s a picture of me wearing it:
You see, fish aren’t that different from humans! We have likes and dislikes, we are all different. For example, Augustus is serious and likes learning and dislikes having fun while I am fun-loving and I love pretty things and hate boring things! Although, ok, I’ll admit it, Augustus can be fun sometimes, we love to go current surfing together, and he even does it when there’s a flood coming! I mean really!
Wow, so this is really awesome, I can talk as much as I want on here! But I better stop now or Augustus might catch me writing on his blog. I really, really want to get to know you all, I’d love to find out ALL about you, so how about in the comments you write one thing you like and one you dislike, that would be so AWESOME! Please do, I’m really looking forward to it!!!

Lot of love from Cecily!!!!

P.S You can also email me at cecilythefish@gmail.com!!! Please do, I’d love to hear from you!! 🙂

What a River is.


 I have lived in The River for my whole life. I have swum against current and with it. I have sheltered beneath tree roots as water from the sky has pelted the surface water of the river churning it into froth. I have floated in the river as the sunshine warmed it.
Many humans often enjoy some kind of relaxation involving water, whether it is sitting beside a body of water, swimming in it or some other kind of activity on it. I have often heard it said by humans that the constant ebb and flow of water is relaxing.
But no human can really understand a river.
Water is one of the least peaceful things on earth. Something that is constantly moving is the complete opposite of peaceful and calm.
Of course there are peaceful moments in The River; I’m not denying that in some circumstances water can make you feel peaceful, only that as a substance, water is not peaceful. I defy anyone to be constantly around water and not be inspired to do something.
Sometimes if you take the time to just listen to the sound The River makes as it filters through your gills it almost sounds as if The River is telling stories of all the things it has seen and will see.
Relaxing? Bah! Never let them tell you that water is restful, listen to what I have to say, I, a fish who has never been out of The River! Anyone who says The River is peaceful must be deaf, or simply not able to understand how restless a river really is.
The River is always moving. The slightest breath of air and it trembles and ripples. Even the water atoms of The River pulsate, their opposite charges attracting, able to rise through a tree, float through the air, busy sustaining life. How can you call that peaceful? A river which never rests.
Perhaps a dry riverbed is peaceful, in a stagnate kind of way, deep murky puddles rest. But it is not very comfortable; give me the intensity and restlessness of a full river any day! A dry riverbed is nothing more than a promise that the river will flow again and until that promise is fulfilled all of us in The River are unhappy. In a dry riverbed you will find an underlying urgent expectation, waiting for the water. And over The River bugs and birds get impatient and the reeds are never still.
The happiest time at a river, is when it is late afternoon. Golden light sings and the river urgently tells its best stories, spinning tales you have never heard. Birds slow down to listen, and we fish that swim down below awaken and dart through the stories that the river tells, making sure not to miss a single word.

This is what a river is.

~ Sincerely Augustus The Fish.

COMMENT BELOW WITH YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHETHER A RIVER IS PEACEFUL!

What a Lot of Questions for a Fish!

Welcome once again to my informative blog, I hope you have been enjoying our journey together so far, there is much more to come!

Today I have some great questions that have been left in my questions box at the Age of Fishes Museum that I will share the answers to here and now. There is also one email.

Don’t forget, if you want to ask me questions you can email me at age.of.fishes@gmail.com send me a letter or post card at PO Box 360 Canowindra NSW 2804 or even put a question in my box on the front desk at the Museum. 

Here is a picture of my new Ask Augustus box, if you’re in the neighbourhood, I would be overjoyed if you’d drop me a line, if you’re not in the neighbourhood you can contact me as seen above.

The four questions I have received so far have been excellent, and they are from children and adults which is superb, keep the questions coming!
The first question is from Minus, who asks: 
“Hello Fish, is it cold in the water?”  

My answer: Dear Minus, 
it is becoming increasingly cold in my river as summer disappears, it wasn’t too bad up until last Friday when it started to rain and now it is getting very cool.
Sincerely Augustus The Fish.
The next question comes from Minu:
“Hello Fishy, what do you eat?”
My answer: Dear Minu,  

I enjoy lots of different foods, such as shrimps and small yabbies. I enjoy the occasional soft aquatic insect larvae. However I would have to say that my absolute favourite food is frogs.

Sincerely Augustus The Fish.


Next we have a lovely question from Kim:
“Dear Augustus, Do you have al kinds of different fish friends or do you just play with your own species?” 
My answer: Dear Kim, 
interesting question. Unfortunately it has been an extremely long time since I have ‘played’. However I still enjoy stimulating conversation with all my friends in and around The River, no matter what species. In fact I would say that a reluctance to associate with those who are not of your species or race seems to be isolated to humans, fish have never been so snobbish. Well, except to species such as some vulgar species of bird whose eating habits are disgraceful. But that is the exception to the rule and in general I will always talk to anybody. I have even managed to overcome my natural reluctance to talk to humans and now even enjoy it! 
Sincerely Augustus The Fish.
And the last question in my ask box is from John:
“Dear Augustus, Do fish see things in colour?”
My answer: Dear John, 
may I say how refreshing it is to get such a remarkable question, this is very thought-provoking! I have always thought of myself as thinking in colour but how do any of us know whether or not what I see in colour is the same as what you see? This is one of the great mysteries of the universe. However, as a direct answer to your question, yes I see in colour, as do most fish. Some fish can even see in ultraviolet and some are sensitive to polarized light.

Sincerely Augustus The Fish.
So thank you very much for all these great questions from visitors to the Age of Fishes Museum!
Lastly we have another email from Tilly who asks some questions that I am sure everyone will find interesting.
Dear Augustus,

In the holidays, are there any activities at the museum that I could participate in?
Also, I haven’t received any newsletters since your first one, have you done a newsletter? If not, can you please do one?

Thank you,
Tilly

My answer: Dear Tilly,

It is so good to hear about your interest in the museum, and thank you for your continued emails, keep them coming!

In answer to your question, this school holidays the visitor information center that is associated with the museum is helping with the Canowindra Balloon Festival, and everyone will be very busy with that. So no there will not be any official activities at the museum this school holidays, but there will be some in the next newsletter that is being sent out soon, which brings me to your next question!

The newsletter comes out every three months to coincide with the school holidays, so you should receive one in the next couple of weeks or so. On page 4 you will find some awesome activities for in the school holidays, so keep your eyes out for that! Once you have completed some of those activities you can email some of the completed ones and they may be featured on the blog.

Hope you enjoy the school holidays!

Sincerely yours,
Augustus The Fish
The newsletter for kids is lots of fun and great for any kids 4-14 years old. The cost is only $10 and is available world-wide. It is educational and features some activities and projects of my own so I would highly recommend anyone who wants their children to have this once in a life time opportunity to sign up for it! Just email aof@colourcity.com for a form to sign up! 
Once again thanks so much for all the amazing questions, I look forward to answering more in the future!
~ Sincerely Augustus The Fish.

Email Augustus!

Recently I have had several emails from different people asking me questions. It is most enjoyable to be able to answer well thought out questions. If you would like to email me you can do so at age.of.fishes@gmail.com. Some of the emails I have replied to are below:
From Andy: Augustus what do you do to prepare for a flood coming down the river?
To which I replied: Dear Andy,
Thank you for your question, I enjoy answering questions immensely.
I had to think about this one for a little while because it has been so long since my River flooded. 
You see generally life in the river floats along in an easy sort of way, and a flood changes all that. As a fish I don’t have access to all the warning systems that humans do, but to a certain extent I can tell in advance what The River is going to do. This mainly comes from living so long with The River. 
So in a few days before a flood, I feel the rhythm of the river shift slightly, it becomes fuller and stronger, until soon from the very beginning of the river it starts to roar. You can hear it thundering down the riverbed, feel the water ahead of the flood trembling because of the rush that’s coming. The last few minutes before the flood reaches where we are, from in the river it seems like the whole world is shaking. At this point most fish will hide. Myself I like to wait, I will swim against the ever increasing current and right when I can see that huge frothing surge of floodwater heading down on me, then I will dart into my home among the tree roots and bunker down as the muddy brown water rushes past.
The last time it flooded The River was in August, last year, but that was only a baby flood, still it was fun to ride out. The most recent big one was in 2010, and that was a big one! I know floods can do a lot of damage, and I am always mindful of the dangers of a flood, but I do enjoy a good flood.
I really enjoyed answering your question Andy, please ask me any other questions you may want to, now or later. And I would like to ask you the same question, how do humans prepare for a flood coming? I must say I have never considered how it might affect you, and I am interested to know.
Yours sincerely,
Augustus The Fish
From Jennifer: Hi Augustus,
I would really like to come and visit you one day.  What days and times do you think would be the best. I have a two hour drive to reach you.
What type of fish are you?  Should I bring you anything? I’m not sure what a fish like you would enjoy.  I have a large outdoor goldfish pond and they like dry fish food and the occasional grass hopper.  They have had numerous offspring over some years now and I can no longer remember which one is which.  Names are impossible. You must be a special fish to have such an auspicious name.
Regards, Jennifer
My reply: Dear Jennifer,
I am most flattered that you would like to come and visit me. If you would like to visit me personally I live in The River and am available at any time. If you would like to visit the Age of Fishes Museum while you are there to talk to my colleagues they are open from 10 am to 4 pm every day!
I am a Golden Perch Fish, there is more about me on my blog, whatafishthinks.com!
I do not need you to bring anything at all if you would be pleased to visit me, there is more than sufficient for me in my River. I have never actually received a present so I don’t know what I would like. Thank you for asking however.
Your goldfish sound like they live a pleasant life, for a goldfish that is. They are not fish that are very well known for their mental abilities. I have never eaten this thing you call ‘dry fish food’ but I also enjoy the occasional grasshopper. My favourite food however is frogs.
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me, please feel free to email me at any time you like.
Also thank you for the lovely compliment about my auspicious name, I’ve always liked it.
Yours sincerely,
Augustus The Fish
From Emma and Katelyn: Dear Augustus
I didn’t know you were an actor Augustus?? Very well played I could feel your fear! But I have to ask you… Did you really bite that poor man or was it just acting??
PS… Katelyn (my little sister that breathing down my neck right now) said to say it’s nice to meet you Augustus!
Sincerely Emma J
My Reply: Dear Emma and Katelyn,
Thank you for your amusing message, I had not previously seen that video, but to that fish who made a stand for its rights I say “Well done!”
Thank you for contacting me, it’s nice to meet you both as well. Please feel free to ask me any questions you want and I will be happy to answer.
Yours sincerely,
Augustus The Fish.
I really enjoyed receiving and replying to all these emails, I hope I will continue to receive many more emails and letters in the future.
Don’t forget you can email me at age.of.fishes@gmail.com, write to me at:
Augustus
PO Box 360
c/o Age of Fishes Museum
Canowindra NSW 2804
~Sincerely, Augustus The Fish.

Reach out

One of the best parts of taking on this blog has been, I must admit, the contact I am able to receive from people who can, through this medium, reach out to talk to a fish.

So far I have had the postcards which have been featured on this blog and last week I received this email from a young lady named Tilly: 

Hello Augustus and everyone else!

My name is Tilly and I am 9.
I love geology and palaeontology and that is how I got here.
My great grandpa kindly signed me up and I am loving your newsletter!
In the next newsletter, can you show us around the museum with a few images?
Lots of love,
Tilly❤

To which I replied;


Dear Tilly,
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me, I am highly flattered!
It is praise-worthy indeed that a young person like you is interested in things like geology and palaeontology. I myself am also highly interested in learning more about the science of things that I see around me. Never stop learning Tilly and never stop being interested in things around you, for that is how wonderful things are discovered!
I am extremely glad you are enjoying the newsletter, thank you for your excellent suggestion about a tour of the Museum in pictures. I will personally make sure that it is put in the next newsletter, so keep your eye out for that!
Have you been to the Museum yourself? I think you would enjoy it. Unfortunately I have not been able to make the trip up there to see the fossils of my ancestors but I am hoping to soon.
All the best Tilly, and don’t forget to continue to enjoy learning all the incredible things there are to learn!
Augustus The Fish

Like I said, emails and postcards are the best part of having this blog and I really appreciate those who have been brave enough to reach across the gap separating humans and fish. 

However I must note that the adults of the human species have been holding back from this kind of contact, and this makes me very annoyed. This is one of the most important things that has been done between humans and fish and it is being neglected. 

I don’t know how many people out there read this blog, but I would like to urge all to reach out and contact me, the representative for all fish to humans. I am sure that all of you have interesting insights that you could share if you were brave enough. 

Therefore if you have any comments or questions at all, humorous, serious, curious, controversial, or otherwise, please, drop me a line at;


Augustus
PO Box 360
c/o Age of Fishes Museum
Canowindra NSW 2804


OR email at;

Now is the time!

I really look forward hearing from you all, I know we will have some interesting conversations. Thank you again to Tilly and the others who have taken time to contact me!

~ Sincerely Augustus The Fish.

Interviewing Augustus

Last week I had the stupendous honor of being interviewed by Warren Keedle, Manager of the Age of Fishes Museum, for this blog. You can read this interview, transcribed by Zoe Urquhart, below:

Warren: Thank you for letting me come down to your river for this interview.

AugustusI’m sure it will be interesting.

Warren: My first question is who else lives in this part of the river?

AugustusI have many friends and acquaintances with the river. Nearby me live Dan and Nelly the platypuses and their family. They live just up the river from the swinging bridge; the names of their numerous offspring are Perry, Noah, Lindsay, Robert, Spencer, Billy, Harry, Bobby, Sono, Boots, Nelly, Penny and Chuck. I find them to be friendly agreeable animals.
Of course there are other fish, such as myself. One of my closest relatives is Cecily; she is my cousin and lives quite near me in the river. I find her to be somewhat frivolous and overly cheerful.
There are also a family of Carp who live nearby, by the name of Beringer. They are a quiet family, but not unintelligent. I have frequently had many stimulating conversations with Hastings Beringer, the father. They are of course descendants of the immigrant carp who came here many years ago, and have retained much of their fascinating history. Hastings tells me that he often feels that he would like to return to the homeland for a visit but he and his family agree that they would not like to leave their lovely home in The River.

Warren: We look forward to getting to know all of them too. Now not trying to be rude but how do you hold things with your fins?

AugustusI’m not trying to be rude either, but only a human would arrogantly assume that you need hands to be efficient.

Warren: Fair point. So how do fish communicate through the generations to pass down knowledge and history?

AugustusIt’s mostly an oral history. Stories of long past decades filter down throughout families, many of the same stories are told somewhat differently depending on which family you are in. In this respect it is similar to human history, changing depending on who is telling it.

Warren: Are there fish artists?

AugustusFish have learnt to appreciate beauty in everyday, without having to record it. Occasionally we sketch in the sand at the bottom of the river, perhaps to illustrate a point in a story or just for amusement, but of course it washes away very quickly leaving only a memory. In a way the transient nature of our art is a reflection of how transient our lives are in this river.

Warren: Are you superstitious?

AugustusNot in the least.

Warren: How far have you traveled in your lifetime?

AugustusAs far up stream as I can, before I reach that natural wall like object and then back. I have never really had a desire to travel any further, or perhaps it is because I have accepted that I cannot.

Warren: Natural wall like object , you mean the dam?

AugustusDam? Dam did you say? You mean to tell me that there is a dam in my river!?

Warren: Yes, I believe it would have been built before you were born.

AugustusThat’s no excuse! Well for goodness sake, so you humans are again the reason for hopes and dreams being crushed. Never being able to explore my natural habit because of a dam!

Warren: Well I really had nothing to do with it, but perhaps one day the museum can find a way for you to travel further upstream and find out what’s beyond that wall.

AugustusWell perhaps. It is very kind of you to offer.

Warren: So the next question. Have you ever had other close encounters with humans?

AugustusNaturally I have seen humans many times down near The River, I have actually evaded capture by humans bent on fishing many times by my sharp wit and natural instincts. However the most frightening experience I ever had was once when I was quite young my older brother Marcus was taken by a human who was fishing.

Warren: I’m very sorry to hear that.

AugustusThank you.

Warren: If you could give one message to the humans around your area what would it be?

AugustusFirst of all I would like to express that I have been surprised by the amount of good will shown to fish by humans through the Age of Fishes Museum and this blog. Also I would like to thank the humans around my river for not polluting it overly with much rubbish. I suppose there will always be some humans who pollute. The dam wall seems to be one instance of this, which you so kindly pointed out. 
However although humans seem to fairly good in this respect I would wish, more than anything for humans and fish to be able to live peacefully together without one killing the other.

Warren: Great message. If you could give one message to all humans worldwide what would it be?

AugustusI think that although not happening in my area, a lot of the atrocities being carried out against fish by humans such as the mass genocide happening on a regular basis in most oceans, must stop. I cannot expect that humans will give up killing fish altogether, such a thing is too deeply entrenched in human history, but that would be a wonderful achievement. However that is too much to expect, so I would just like to ask for a better feeling between fish and humans

Warren: Finally what’s the next big thing you hope to achieve in life?

AugustusLike I mentioned before, life in the river is very transient. Therefore most fish will not have huge goals and plans in life. I think the biggest thing I have ever tried to do is this blog as it is a way for fish to reach out to humans and get our message across.

So I hope my answers were illuminating. Thank you Warren for your support of this project. 
Keep watching here for more fascinating articles and posts!

Who’s Sending Postcards to Augustus?

I was very flattered to receive some postcards from some children visiting the Age of Fishes Museum. Two were given to me by Warren when I interviewed him and the others came later.

Today I will reply to these postcards here on this blog.

The first is from Tiare:

Thank you Tiare for your lovely postcard, I am a Golden Perch fish. Some people call us Yellow Bellies or Goldens. It’s a good name for us because we are all a beautiful golden colour and I am the goldest of them all.

Here’s one from Hugo:

I am doing very well, thank you Hugo. I sincerely hope you are well too. Your question about ‘scientific pollution problems’ is very insightful. My river is generally very clean and pleasant, occasionally there is a little bit of rubbish in it, which is very annoying, but generally the humans are considerate. This may seem surprising, but it is true.

As I mentioned before I am a Golden Perch, there are many of us in the River and in other rivers around Australia.

I am a relatively young fish, 15 years old. Many Golden Perch live to be about 26 years old!

I am not sure exactly how long and wide I am because I have never measured myself, however I know that I am bigger in stature than most other fish my age.

Thank you for your message Hugo!

For these next ones I have included the original artwork on the front of the post cards by the children.

This first whimsical one is from Dhayne:

Dear Dhayne, thank you for taking the time to write to me.

Yours is altogether the most interesting question I have ever been asked.

I have never ridden a scooter. However sometimes I like to ride the current in the middle of the River for a while, but I don’t do that very often because although it is fun, it takes lots of effort to swim back home afterwards. So I suppose I would like riding a scooter, if I had legs.

Also I have never put a shirt on, fish don’t wear clothes, although I have a cousin who occasionally likes to wear flowers. She is very frivolous.

Preston sent in the next postcard and designed the great front artwork:

Thank you for your question Preston, I am not a tuna fish, I am a Golden Perch. I have met some tuna fish once or twice, they were tourists and needed directions.

I am not familiar with the fish and rods game, on your recommendation I may go up to the museum one day and try it for myself.

This next postcard and fantastic artwork comes from James:

Dear James, I am not sure if you are talking about the game Preston was talking about, or fishing rods used for fishing. If you mean the second one, I am not very fond of them. If you mean the first, I will have to let you know.

Thank you for your question. I am glad you enjoyed learning about the fossils at the museum, did you know they are all my ancestors?

Guurramali sends in the next great postcard:

Thank you Guurramali for your interesting message. I think you will be very surprised to learn just how many brothers and sisters I have. I was very surprised to learn how few children humans have in my interview with Warren earlier.

Golden Perch lay about half a million eggs at one time. Unfortunately not all of my siblings survived to adulthood, but a good many did. I don’t get to see them all as much as I would like, they are widely dispersed through the River. I would say I have at least 75 000 000 siblings. I also have many cousins.

The last amazing postcard is from Yiri:

Thank you for your question, Yiri. I enjoy lots of different foods, such as shrimps and small yabbies. I enjoy the occasional soft aquatic insect larvae. However I would have to say that my absolute favorite food is frogs.

I would like to heartily thank all the children for sending in their beautiful postcards and engaging questions. I must say I never expected it from humans, it is very nice to see that some humans at least, have an interest in fish. I know without a doubt that not all do, some even are supremely cruel towards us, but perhaps I was wrong in lumping all humans in the same boat together. It would seem that some even wish to swim in the river, inasmuch co-existing peacefully with fish. There is nothing I would wish for more.

For anyone else, of any age, who would like to send me a postcard please address it to:
Augustus
PO Box 360
c/o Age of Fishes Museum
Canowindra NSW 2804

Once again, thank you very much for your kind postcards! Comment below with what you thought about this post and any postcard stories you may have!

~ Sincerely Augustus The Fish.

Interviewing Warren Keedle, Manager of the Age of Fishes Museum.

I am a humble fish. 

I am willing to acknowledge when I do not know all the facts and recently I realized that I may not know all the facts about humans. 

Indeed in the last few weeks my interactions with them and the Age of Fishes museum I have come to see that they may not be ruthless fish killing machines as I and many other fish have been taught to believe.

Because of this I invited Warren Keedle, the manager of the museum to come down to my river for an interview. We met by the swinging bridge over the Belubula river with Zoe Urquhart there as transcriber and photographer. Below is the transcript of our conversation. 

Augustus: Thank you for coming down here for my interview.

Warren: You’re very welcome. Thank you for inviting me.

Augustus: Shall we get right to it? My first question is what exactly do you hope to achieve with the Age of Fishes Museum?

Warren: I suppose the whole idea is to showcase the fossil history and show how important the Devonian fish are to life on earth today.

Augustus: You’ve got a lot of ancient fish at the museum, I’m curious to know what you’ve learnt about fish so far.

Warren: I’ve learnt that the diversity of fish on the planet is much greater, in history too, over past and present,  much greater than I had known. The adaptability of fish to mold to their environment is really, really strong, and also their ability to fit into their ecosystem. For example the antiarchs, the armored fish that used to be here, they don’t exist anymore, that branch of fish has died out, so you gotta ask the questions, why did they die out? Why aren’t they still here? And these are the things that the fossil record and the people who interpret them are trying to answer. But there is no definitive answer because no one knows for sure. Also wherever there is water there is a species of fish specifically suited to that kind of water. So if there’s a tiny little river there’s a fish suited to that ecosystem, if there’s a massive river they live in that one, they manage to fit in everywhere, coral reef, deep sea, really deep, on the surface, the whole lot, there’s fish everywhere. Humans can’t do that. We’re not as diverse. The difference is we don’t change ourselves to suit the environment; we change the environment to suit us. That’s a big one. Fish don’t do that. Not many animals do that, but humans do, and that’s to our detriment I suppose.

Augustus: It would seem so. It would appear you have learnt many facts and figures about fish, but what have you learnt about fishes’ thoughts and feelings?

Warren: I suppose we’ve learnt that we should consider it from your point of view as well, and we don’t, we didn’t. We are prepared to find out what you want, what you would like us to do, to answer your questions and to make things work from your point of view as well. Because we both have different points of view, you’re looking up from in the river and we’re standing on the banks looking down, so to have better communication is the aim.

Augustus: A laudable aim. I would like now to get to know you and all humans a little better. Do you have a family or are humans individually independent?

Warren: I have a family, we have five kids.

Augustus: In comparison to the average fish, that’s not very many.

Warren: Human kids are hard work.

Augustus: In what way?

Warren: We tend to keep them close to us for a long time, up to 20 years or longer.

Augustus: And why is that?

Warren: They’re not as adaptable as fish, they don’t know how to do things, we have to look after them for a lot longer, and teach them how to survive for a lot longer than fish do.

Augustus: Are you saying that humans are not able to walk or feed themselves from birth, I find that very strange. 

Warren: No totally helpless for quite a long time.

Augustus: Do they at least know how to eat by themselves?

Warren: No you have to teach them that as well.

Augustus: So on average how long would it take a human to learn to do these things?

Warren: It depends on the individual. From a scientific point of view the human brain is large, yet the human body cannot sustain the growth of that brain beyond 9 months. What happens in the animal kingdom, is that an animal’s brain develops in the womb, it’s much more developed than a human baby when it’s born, so when an animal is born it knows how to walk, it knows how to run, those sort of things, already. But with humans, we spend a long time, because of the size of the brain. Because it’s all about the brain size, because if the head gets too big, it’s impossible to give birth, that’s our physical structure. So our physical structure limitation is balanced with the size of our brain. We have to get the baby out and then let the brain develop. Which is the opposite with fish, fish and most animals come out with a very highly developed brain, humans do not. For instance, how smart where you when you were born?

Augustus: I was a lot smarter than most fish my age; I suppose you could say I was a genius.

Warren: See, that doesn’t happen with humans.

Augustus: I see. So where do you live with your family, at the museum?

Warren: No. we live in a house, about 20 kilometers from the museum, which is about 400 laps between the two bridges in Canowindra. And I drive to work every day, in a car. 

Augustus: I have never understood that, if you have legs and are able to walk around so easily, why persist in packing yourselves into cars?

Warren: Because humans are impatient and it would take too long to walk, about four hours, spend eight hours at work and then another four hours to get back. 

Augustus: Four hours to spend in contemplative silence admiring the nature around you doesn’t sound unbearable. 

Warren: See I can understand that, but I have five children, and it doesn’t happen very often, I would like it to.

Augustus: Perhaps that is something most humans should do more of. On to the next question. Do you have any plans for world domination?

Warren: No. no the megalomaniac side of me is gone. 

Augustus: I would assume that you would say that even if you did.

Warren: Oh, I see, so what you’re saying is that you believe I have plans for world domination, and all humans do. 

Augustus: It seems reasonable to assume. 

Warren: No I think most humans are happy if they can control their surroundings, immediate surroundings, not the whole thing. It’s too complicated.

Augustus: I assumed humans felt in control at all times.

Warren: No, definitely not, humans make lots of mistakes. 

Augustus: Really? (Like fishing…) 

Warren: Well there’s a saying which is that, ‘you’re only human’ and that means you make mistakes. 

Augustus: Fascinating. I don’t think there is a fish equivalent of that saying. I have never heard anyone say ‘you’re only a fish’. My next question has to do with the atrocity of mass fish genocide by humans in many oceans. What is your stand on that?

Warren: Disgusting. There was a show on TV that I was watching, and it was just sickening. They were looking for prawns and they were pulling up trawler loads of fish and just letting them die on deck and then shoveling them back into the water. I turned it off, I couldn’t’ watch it. So not all humans think that way. 

Augustus: What then makes some humans feel that way, surely they must see how wrong it is? 

Warren: Money. Money is an abstract concept of worth and a difficult argument to discuss. It’s a difficult concept to understand.

Augustus: Indeed, I have never really understood the benefit of money. Well after our conversation I seem to feel that there are a lot of problems here that this blog is going to help.  

Warren: Yes, because this will make people think about your point of view, all fishes’ point of view and take that into consideration when making their decisions. I’m sure if a trawler pulled up a load of fish and one of them started talking to them saying, ‘that’s not very nice, I don’t think you should be doing that,’ I think that would make a big difference. And this is a way to do that. 

Augustus: Yes I feel it will be most beneficial. And I daresay that it will inform fish more on humans as well, I am not too proud to admit that I have learned many things I had not previously known in our conversation. 

Warren: Well there you go; if it can enlighten fish and humans at the same time then it’s doing a good thing.

Augustus: Thank you for taking the time to come down to the river for this little chat, I look forward to our future interactions.

Warren: Thank you for having me! If it’s ok with you next time I would like to conduct an interview with you, I am sure your opinions will be very interesting.

Augustus: Thank sounds like a very good idea.

Warren: Great! By the way, these postcards came for you from some of the kids visiting the AoF Museum.

Augustus: For me? How strange, thank you very much.

Receiving the postcards
Receiving the postcards from Warren after the interview,
if I look surprised it’s because I am!
The postcards were indeed for me, and the children who wrote them seem to be very intelligent, judging by the questions written in them, I will answer them in my next blog post.

In the meantime you may write in the comments what you thought of my interview and also what you would like Warren to ask me, when he interviews me in the near future.