If you were asked what some of the significant contributions of Croatia to the world of science, and technology were, would you know about inventor Nikola Tesla who contributed to the invention of the AC (alternating current) electricity supply system? I’m rather fond of him for another reason, when my story about the play Room 207: Nikola Tesla, caused an flurry of phone calls when I wrote he was born in Smijlan in the Balkans which was subsequently changed by a sub-editor to something else I wont mention for fear of another flurry. But on good authority, the Ambassador of Croatia Damir Kusena actually, says he was Croatian born of Serbian origin.
In today’s parlance that’s probably a ‘whatever’ to most but to know that the “mother country of the necktie and the cravat is Croatia” was among a formidable list of interesting discoveries from Croatia or Croatians that Ambassador Kusen wanted us to know. There’s the parachute in 1617 just before the army started wearing those cravats, the ball point pen, the torpedo and the art of dactyloscopy, the classification of fingerprints invented by Ivan Vucetic, among some very interesting things. And Marco Polo came from a beautiful Croatian Island called Korcula! Did he?
I’m not game to argue that one but I’d always believed he was a Venice merchant with a penchant for travel which is what Kresimir Spelic - fabulous Croatian name and with a broad Aussie accent – was encouraging me to do with his clutch of brochures and intimate knowledge of the land of his parents. I was nibbling happily on some tiny bite sized macaron style Croatian sweets made by the Ambassador’s wife Loreta Bertosa-Kusen that started a discussion about whether they were apricot or peach flavoured, I didn’t care they were delicious
Of course this discourse took place at the National Day of Croatia reception on the highest spot in O’Malley where local Croatians built this Embassy as a gift to their country and as a formidable example of Croatians abroad making their mark. Seems like they’ve made quite a few.