Friday, July 31, 2015


CAMOUFLAGED  KILLERS : Barking Owls aka  Murder Birds . 
In a secret  jungle location on Magnetic Island, these  Barking Owls ,part of a family of six , were snapped high up in a tree. A resident called Little Darwin to come and see the  birds  which have a bad name because  they eat baby birds, Curlews a  common target  at  night .  However, they are only doing what comes  naturally. Much loved Kookaburras  also munch  babes .
The  owls   were in  a  difficult  position . Our photographer  tottered about on large  granite boulders on  top of a  drop  trying to  get an unobscured  line of vision on the birds, who responded  with a  friendly bark , which we returned,  and a distinctive  wise  old owl  blinking stare. After clambering down  into the jungle  litter with  dangling vines and   trees  blocking  passage , we were told  that it was Death Adder  country .


A day later , Little Darwin  received  an urgent telephone call to come quickly to  the Queen of  the Jungle's  house  as  a  Koala   was  perambulating about the garden  .  Grabbing  the camera , we obeyed  the  royal command   and  captured  the  cute   peekaboo Koala  up  a  tree , not  of  the  gum  kind .

Scratchy  Koala 

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Townsville  Shipping  Reporter  Scoops  the  Pool

In one day, alert  waterfront scribe  , Barnacle Bill,  uncovered  at  least three  major stories  missed by local  media which  devotes much attention to  mind numbing  Kardashian  handbags ,  celebrities and  other  trivial subjects... handbag  items on  consecutive days  in  the  Townsville  Bulletin, for example , aint real   local  news  and  makes one want  to upchuck.
Scoop 1 
Circular devices  supposed to  prevent rats  from   coming  ashore on lines attached  to wharves appear  not  fitted  properly to  some  vessels, some just  flapping in the breeze. Could  this  lead to  the plague , Black Death , foot  and  mouth , Blue  Tongue ,  more  port  babble ?
Scoop 2
With Queensland media  preoccupied with  Johnny Depp  and his  dogs showing that animal  quarantine  and biosecurity  checks in the Sunshine State leave a lot to be desired ( much more on this subject  later, including the Northern Territory) and  shooting  of  the latest  Pirates of  the  Caribbean  there , how come a  galleon, sails into Townsville and nobody in the shrinking Fourth  Estate  fails to notice ?
It was the  bulk carrier  MV  Galleon  which could  be the subject of a  newspaper  do up about a Spanish Galleon  , perhaps a bit  corny, but what isn't in the blats  and TV  nowadays? And there could have been an angle about  Depp  and his scurvy  rats rushing  to sack  the treasure ship,  said to be  loaded  to the scuppers with  golden Kardashian  handbags .

It is too late  for  a  churnalist  to  leave the  desk  and   dash down to the  wharf   and  board  the  fairly new is  at sea heading for South Korea .

Newspapers used  to  have a  SHIPPING NEWS   column  in  bygone days   in which  information  about all  vessels arriving and departing  port were listed.  Little Darwin raised the  fact that in Darwin  reporters did not keep  a  close  shipping  watch  and as a  result all kinds of  interesting vessels were coming and  going without coverage ;  it also seemed that vessels entering port were being escorted by  naval vessels , surely a   news  story. In  Darwin  the  ABC  started  to  keep  a waterfront  watch  after  Little Darwin's  post but so much  more of maritime news of the Top End  still  goes unreported , as  it does in Townsville today .
Scoop 3

The  almost completely submerged vessel which has  been in  Townsville Harbour  for more than a year  appears to have been removed  or  is  now resting in Davy Jones's locker , without  any  mention in the  local media  machines . Would make an interesting  story.  Another  possible  Scoop , with free steak knives  thrown in  for an alert   scribe  , is  what  is  going on  below  in the   action shot  in  the  channel ?
All  this  in one day in Townsville ... and  many more exclusives  to  come, including the ship which sailed from Townsville  and  disappeared without mention  along with  its crew  who   claimed  to  be  top  basketball  players .


Research  into  capture of  German New Guinea turns up  quirky  photograph
In a recent post in this blog about Palm Island , near Townsville,  a photograph from the above publication in the Little Darwin Collection  showed  Australian  troops on  the island  on their way north to  seize  the  colony in 1914.
Our attention has been  drawn to  a modern facsimile of  the original publication in the  library of  an esteemed  northern  education facility  in which  a  high flying student  had  tampered with the same   photograph of  the historic event , see below .
Apart from inserting a flying  saucer , the fiend added to the caption and said  the object on the top right  had not yet been identified. If  identified,the student responsible for this outrage  should  be  launched  into  an  elliptical orbit about the sun and  repeatedly  roasted  to  a  crisp  .

Sunday, July 26, 2015


TOKYO : Japan’s  leading  submarine factory  is  rocking round   the  clock   building  top secret , uncomfortable  Nippon  slip-on cricket box-like  devices  to  prevent a rapidly growing number  of Australian  politicians  from  painful  depth  charge   attacks .

This  follows the latest explosive verbal  threat  by  the    Speaker of the Northern Territory  Legislative Assembly , Kezia Dorcas Tibisay Purick , not only to  castrate  Defence Minister Kevin Andrews  with a  green rubber ring ,   but  Treasurer  Joe  Hockey , the  latter forced to  moonlight  as  a  weekend  real  estate  agent  to  pay off  his   huge  defamation case legal  expenses.

In Canberra this morning , Liberal spin doctor Fritz von Waffleburger , out for his early goosestep, admitted the  government is deeply concerned that two of  its frontbenchers could  be reduced to squeaky voiced  eunuchs.  On top of  this, the PM, George Dubya Abbott, seems  headed for the nackery   in  the  public   opinion  polls .

The Coalition, whispered  von Waffleburger in a hard to understand guttural twang ,  was  filling up with  a growing number of   shrill-voiced   members . Hockey stupidly laughed his head off at the suggestion that the Northern Territory should  become  a state  in the near future. Purick was  out  rescuing her  Japanese  silkies  from a  giant Anaconda snake when she   first  heard  his  response and was  furious ... obviously  intending  to  tighten up a bit more of  Hockey’s alimentary canal  and   nearby  attachment .  

Little  Darwin understands the Nippon slip-ons   are designed to  protect   the  ministers  from  Purick’s painful  guided   green  rubber  rings and  incoming angry voter  torpedoes and rockets  .  Purick recently  made  the  Territory Chief Minister’s eyes water when she  resigned   from  the Country Liberal Party because of all  the party  shenanigans, including embarrassing River Dancing  and failed musical chairs  acts in the Administrator's office , meaning the CLP is  now a ramshackle  minority government-emasculated-certain to be reduced to an unsightly  pig's whistle  at  the  next  election .   

PURICK DISCLAIMER : Speaker  Purick,    a  dog lover ,   wishes it   known that she is in no way connected  with  the  Chinese company  which  produces  the Purich brand of  pure alcohol  pet  food ,  probably very  popular with  Darwin’s legion of  yapping  mutts and their  glassy eyed  owners  in  the  rural  area .

Saturday, July 25, 2015


In his epic, illustrated  Bulldust Diaries , about a  road safari  across the  top of North Australia, taking  in our own  Bermuda Triangle in  the search for the  golden boomerang and very elusive barramundi , our roving correspondent , Peter Burleigh, drew  the  above  wondrous map   for  that  unforgettable  series . 
 The dusty account  ran to many parts, in the process sticking it  up Telstra , awful outback roads, imported  staff  in wayside inns  and  incurred  the  wrath of  Grey Nomads across the  nation  by  taking the  mickey out of  them and  their  all mod cons mobile  homes. 
Burleigh's depiction of fearless Grey Nomads pioneering in their  portable suburban homes 
In  this latest undiplomatic  dispatch  from  his  gifted roasted duck  quill, he tells how the  swarms of  Grey Nomads  of  Europe  cornered  him and  wife  Judi  in  a deceptively   named   part   of   France .

On  the  Canal de Vosges south of Nancy is the town of Charmes. It is small and ordinary, and like all small towns in France a little run down, but it displays flowers in window boxes, is clean and has a sprinkling of vaguely-interesting historical buildings. Is this why it is called ‘Charmes’?

My geography studies as a Melbourne schoolboy barely acknowledged the existence of France, let alone a town named Charmes. As a responsible journalist I now turn to our source of all things historical: Book 9, ‘La Meuse et son canal, la Sambre Belge, and Le Canal des Vosges’, published by Fluviacarte at 20 Euros.

This book is an entire University of Life in paperback, all in only 100 or so pages! OK, it leaves out all the unimportant stuff about life like birth, death, marriage and the universe and presents canals and rivers as a blue ribbon running up or down each page depending on which way you’re travelling (right now we’re going ‘up’).

On several pages there are notes in French, German and English which list the features of selected canalside towns. Unfortunately the translations are not reliable, nor are the ‘facts’ presented, making otherwise interesting towns into something resembling a Martian Baroque nightmare.

Within these limitations, here is the story of Charmes: 

In the 11th Century, the  Counts of  Toul (another town near Nancy) built a castle and fortifications on the Meuse River. This was their first mistake, as centuries of misery were about to fall on the unhappy inhabitants, none of whom are alive today but who are represented by 5500 contemporary citizens, who are equally unhappy about everything. But I am getting ahead of myself...


In 1301, Charmes was annexed by the Duchy of Lorraine. During the 14th Century, plague and famine decimated the inhabitants. Clearly the name ‘Charmes’ should have been dropped; ‘Doomville’ would have been more appropriate. In the 16th Century, the apocalypse continued as plague and famine ran riot once again.

Surely ill fortune of this magnitude happens for a reason.In modern times, it’s usually our choices of political leaders which drop us in the shit. Today we simply open another bottle of good wine and forget our troubles, but in those far-off days all you could do was pray. Of course once you were massacred or Black Death’d you couldn’t protest. Not only that, no one would listen to you. OK, you might have had time to question the name of your town.

Sure enough, in 1475 Charles the Bold burned and pillaged the town and massacred most of its population. In 1633, after a long period of holding its breath, the Charmes population were relieved when Cardinal Richelieu and Charles IV of Lorraine signed the Treaty of Charmes. Predictably it wasn’t long before misery again fell like an anvil on a cartoon rabbit. In 1636 the town was taken by the French and their Swedish allies and again it was looted and burned.

In 1766 it stopped complaining about its undersized cemeteries and celebrated its incorporation into France. Charmes celebrated too soon. The Prussians arrived uninvited and killed the majority of the population, then burned the town. Insurance rates, even then at a 250-year high, were increased. The town was liberated in 1873 and almost immediately devastated by the First World War forty years later. Nevertheless, the ‘Trouee of Charmes’ battle saved the town and continued the lives of Charmes’ 200 citizens. It seemed like a week went by, then the town was destroyed by the retreating Germans in September 1944. As usual, the inhabitants suffered. 

After all this, you’d expect people would have learned to keep well clear of Charmes, but the remaining inhabitants rebuilt the town in just five years, reopening for business in 1952. The inmates running the asylum? The zombies in charge of the blood bank?

Since the 50’s it’s been hard to contribute further impressive death and destruction statistics since refrigeration, free medical care and Pasteurization became common in France, but the Charmelions, shall we call them, have finally discovered a new plague to put the town back on the map.

On the July 14 Bastille Day holiday we arrived in Charmes to study the phenomenon that has finally returned  Charmes to  lying on  its back with its legs in the air : camper vans. Ever wonder what happens to the lemmings who run over the cliff edge? That’s right, they end up here in Charmes.  There are two huge campervan parks in town. The first and biggest is strung out along the canal through the centre of town. Canal boats like ours also moor along the same stretch, but we don’t stay long. We see ourselves as cultural leaders and disdain the proletariat campervan scum who….sorry, I’m raving.

Tomorrow morning we will be among the lucky ones who have escaped. “You can checkout but you can never leave” was a song written about Charmes, the unreality capital of Lorraine.
Indeed, as I write I am looking along a long line of vans – at least 40 of them – parked exactly in line, nose to canal, like a line-up of professional nightclub dancers (minus the nudity). It’s impressive. Each van is of similar design, sort of lumpy and hippo-like, and each has a satellite dish on the roof. The dishes are folded flat to avoid being scraped off on the underside of bridges. Around 8pm, the TVs are switched on, the dishes whirr and heave themselves erect with a graceful movement that would put Pavlova in her grave from jealousy if she wasn’t already dead.

In the morning you notice other fine points of choreography. At 8am the dishes shake themselves then articulately withdraw back into their shells. Soon after, forty doors open at exactly the same moment. Women campers – stolid wives with thighs similar in scale to the camper vans – emerge with a small garbage bag and three or four empty wine bottles.  In France there are bottle bins everywhere. The women slide their empty Burgundy Rose bottles through a round slot. They make very loud, sustained smashing sounds and wake up everybody who is trying to snatch some extra sleep. 
After a short pause the doors open again and the men emerge. In most cases their bellies emerge first. They carry fishing rods, buckets, nets and comfy folding chairs. A brave few have open cans of cheap Kronenberg beer in their left hands.

Predictably they catch nothing, not least because the intensity of the pollution in the canal has killed all the fish the whole way down the food chain, including single cell amoebae. This doesn’t seem to be the point, especially as the canal is more opaque than the Yarra and the only thing (apart from Ebola) you can catch is a bad case of fishermans’ optimism.

What started out as an optimistic and progressive community a few centuries ago has now occupied a level of hell that even Dante didn’t dream of: the campervan level. So the charms of Charmes lie pretty much in the thin puns you can make about it while you’re there. You soon tire of saying ‘I’m dying to get out of Charmes’. So many have gone before you, but still they come. Your correspondent, clearly afflicted with Charmes syndrome, can only warn his readers to avoid it like the plague.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Another  Townsville  Shipping Reporter Scoop
Docked in Townsville, North Queensland , the vessel now said to be the largest vessel of its kind in the world  with 29,000 square metres of  livestock space , owned by Middle East investors with a long history in supplying livestock  from Australia and other  ports to  the Middle East and  international  markets .  
The  Panamanian flagged   livestock  carrier MV NADA, which  last month carried  the single  largest  number of stock  from New Zealand to  Mexico -53,000 head- is shown yesterday in Townsville . Strangely, the arrival of the  large vessel  has  gone  unnoticed by the local media  despite the fact that there has been a lively  local   debate   for and against export of live cattle, added  to  by  the  likelihood of a  looming large market in China .

Our New Zealand contacts  report that the arrival of the carrier off  that country last month  was "shrouded in mystery " with livestock brokers and shipping agents  refusing to  discuss the  shipment. It docked to load 50,000 sheep and 3000 cattle for breeding  purposes .The shipment was  not confirmed until the Ministry of Primary Industries was asked for details .
Aerial view of stock carrier in New Zealand.
New Zealand  has  not exported livestock for  slaughter  since 2007.  Livestock can only be exported for breeding. The New Zealand  Meat and  Related Trade Workers' Union  Canterbury branch  said it was disappointing that  the sheep, which represented a week's kill at one  meatworks , were  going out of the country-exporting jobs. 

In other NZ media reports, which included  several photographs,  it was stated that voyage to Mexico  had taken 16 days , during which the cattle pens had been cleaned out every three days , while the sheep were left standing in  their  feces  throughout. The comment was made that under these circumstances Mexico would  be aware of the ship before it reached port, presumably referring to the smell .
A report said in Mexico the  animals were  loaded onto trucks and/or trains and transported for an additional 10-15 hours. The temperature at Mazatlan, the port where the cattle and pregnant sheep were  unloaded, approximately 90°F (32° C), reaching up to 120°F (49° C).
Animal rights activists in New Zealand and Australia expressed grave concerns about the welfare of the animals, who can suffer from malnutrition, starvation, heatstroke, respiratory disease, blindness from seawater spray and stress from 16 days of intensive confinement. Unloading 50,000 pregnant  sheep and 3,000 cattle  was expected to take several more days.
The  company exporting the animals, Livestock and Agricultural Products New Zealand,said the  animals were  treated humanely, there being a Mexican veterinarian and three experienced stockmen onboard . The government said  that the animals shipped to Mexico would  be used for breeding. Activists, however,  said  animals were reported to have been killed upon arrival during the last live export shipment to Mexico in 2007, when the government gave the same assurance.
NADA is said to have been a  former container ship built in  l974, converted in China into  the second largest livestock carrier in the world  , capable of carrying 20,000 cattle and  110,000 sheep. In June 2012, nine Pakistani crewmen walked off  the ship  in Fremantle  and sought political asylum.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


During the artic vortex which swept through the  nation , this reviewer snuggled under a blanket on a recliner in the tropics  and  watched  on  TV  the  warming  1959  Americanised   film version of  the  highly successful Australian  play Summer of the  Seventeenth  Doll, by  Ray  Lawler , starring   Ernest  Borgnine, Anne Baxter, John Mills and Angela Lansbury, the latter with a  confected Aussie  nasally voice, sounding  like Madge the friendly manicurist in the old Palmolive dishwashing  liquid television  advertisement .

 In  fact, Lansbury is shown , below,  a widow named Pearl , giving a manicure in a barber  shop...not sure if she used  dishwashing liquid... but was  advised  to use a  blowtorch  on  the  hardened  canecutter's nails.
While  Lawler's  play was set in Carlton, Melbourne , the  film  switched it to Sydney, with shots of Bondi, the  Harbour Bridge and  Luna  Park . It seems Melbourne  is  more suited for movies about the end of the  world, such as On The Beach ,starring  Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner,Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins .

 American actor Ernest Borgnine played the lead role  of "Roo", a  tough itinerant Queensland  canecutter who,  during  the  off  season , comes south  with his mate, Barny, and  teams up with his  girlfriend of 17 years ,  Olive, a barmaid , each year presenting her with a  Kewpie Doll.

The Yanks  sexed  up  the story, inserted a dash of Disneyland  by  placing some of the action inside  a toy factory, where Kangaroos are being mass produced for the Christmas market , instead of  a  dreary  Victorian  paint factory, as written by Lawler.

 Roo  is a  handyman in  the factory and gets about in a dustcoat bearing  ROO in large letters . In one part  he is seen  loading boxes of  kangas , below, onto the back of a truck ,  a neon sign for the national airline  TAA  and  the Harbour  Bridge in  the  background.     
This writer  was overcome  with  nostalgia  and nearly fell out of his rocker  in the  part dealing with  a  romp at  Luna Park   with  its  river caves,  Coney Island  mirror maze  and  the   Big Dipper , as I  had  disported myself  there  with  a considerable number  of   young  journalists  back  in  the 1950s , on  one  occasion  proudly  winning  a   plaster Collie or German Shepherd  dog for a  nurse called Geraldine  with my incredible  skill  at  hoopla . Those were the  days.

Anyway, The Doll play was  a smash hit in Australia, made a   big impression in the UK, where  Lawler played  Barny, Roo's offsider, and an aspiring actor Richard Pratt  also trod the boards , later becoming  the Melbourne  millionaire paper products company  chief  who, with his wife,  supported the  arts in a big way .
London theatre programme in Little Darwin Collection .
While the play received a poor response in America , mainly because the audiences had  trouble understanding the Australian vernacular , it did  result in the  film version, which upset  many, but was seen  as a  great aid to our immigration  drive to  populate or  perish to prevent being  over-run by marsupials . In America the film was released under the steamy title , Season of Passion.

In Lawler's final  dramatic scene in  the play he had  Roo smashing the doll in rage when tearful  Olive turns down his proposal of marriage.  The Yanks, however, made a happy ending to the film  with  Olive and Roo smiling  and laughing loving  at each other  over  the bar   in  a pub  which sells  Bex  headache  powders  and  cut  sandwiches ,  no sheilas  seen breasting  the  bar with the boys in  those brave  days  when  real  Aussie men  drank  with each other  and  were  interested  in   Kewpie  dolls .   

Monday, July 20, 2015

ASIAN NEWS BEAT:Volcanic eruption,President Sukarno's overthrow, Jolly Green Giants

Postcard  view of  very peaceful looking  Nakom  Phanom,Thailand,above, prompts author  Ian Mackay , a  Magnetic Island resident, to  recall  hectic life  covering  major events .

I first went to Thailand in 1962 when I was working for Channel  7 in Adelaide to make a film about SEATO,the South East Asia Treaty  Organisation ,of which Australia was a member and which had its HQ in Bangkok. Cameraman Brian Taylor and I travelled a fair bit around the place including trips to Mukdahan and Nakom Phanom, both on the Mekong, and each with large air bases.  

In 1965 Taylor and I left Channel 7 to become a freelance news crew in SE Asia. We were employed by ITN London to help set up its new Far East Bureau in Singapore, and to work with its reporter Gerald Seymour throughout the region, nominally from India to Japan and wherever else events might take us.
When we were in the Philippines covering the September 1965 eruption of the Taal volcano we heard of the military coup in Indonesia in which President  Sukarno was overthrown by the generals. It was pretty big news, but from bitter experience ITN knew Seymour couldn’t get into Djakarta because of his British passport. Taylor and I, however, were Aussies, so London told us to get in there, virtually at any cost. 
We went to the Indonesian  embassy in Manila where a bloke told us we could get visas, but it would cost 20,000 quid. London didn’t blink, and the money turned up next day in the Chartered Bank. However, I refused to part with the dough until the visa stamps were in our passports, by which time the Indonesian Ambassador admitted he didn’t have a clue what was happening in Djakers and that it would be better if we applied to the Indonesian  Embassy in Bangkok. 
Taylor and I cooled our heels (if nothing else) in Bangkers for about a week before we made a few trips around the place in desperate search of a story which might justify the enormous amount of expenses we were running through and we found ourselves back in Nakom Phanom. The base we had seen three years before had grown dramatically, and was now the home of a flight of the giant Sikorsky HH-3E helicopters known as Jolly Green Giants which were being used to fly across the Laos panhandle to rescue pilots who had been shot down over North Vietnam.The Thai Government maintained that there were no US bases on its soil, but our film told a different story of course.The long and the short of it was that we never got into Djakarta, but had a good time trying.
*The postcard  was  given  to  Little Darwin along with  two naturally dyed , hand  woven  rugs from Uban Ratchatani, Thailand , birthday presents from  two great friends.  


Exclusive photograph of a new look probationer in chauffeur driven  pink Rolls Royce on  the road to a  Geelong sausage and caviar sizzle  followed by a wedding for  a  dateless and  desperate  bloke who has only ever kissed  a  fish.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Normally hot-blooded Plovers , fluffed up in Queensland's cold snap . When nesting, these birds are very defensive and dive bomb people who come near . A member of  the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly was attacked by a plover outside parliament. Plovers have an unfortunate habit of laying eggs on grass  next to busy roads  , their tiny, fluffy chicks often run over . A regular tragic  nesting spot has been  the  Port Adelaide Road - North Terrace intersection.  


Putin  threatens to  shirtfront  Brandis
MOSCOW : The ruthless treatment of artists in Australia is hot news in the Kremlin . Our man there , Beria Humphivich , says Moscovites have been shocked by  a  secret   signed   document  from  dozens of Australian artists, writers and  intellectuals smuggled out of the country outlining  the suppression of  the  State  Down Under . 
The document reveals that under the new government edict  many writers and  artists  who refuse to wear the official lapel badge "I AM A LONG-HAIRED POOFDAH"are being subjected  to a  crippling  artist  tax .
It cites the case of a brilliant sculptor who  lived for 15 years on  bread and water chiselling away at his masterpiece ,finally selling it for $100. He immediately  went to the People's Opportunity Shop and purchased a new suit, a tin of heating fuel and other small items.
But because he could not then afford  the special Australian Artist Tax  of $90, within the statutory  10 minutes , the State seized his  suit and kerosene , thus effectively  preventing him from  turning himself into  a human torch, see photo above .
An Aboriginal wrestler and intellectual who managed to elude customs officials set out to swim to Siberia but was washed up on the Bulgarian coast, groaning and bleeding. Unable to speak, he could only point to his bloodstained  badge still pinned to his briefs. It read: I AM A FRIZZY HAIRED, OVERPAID BLACK, POOFDAH. He then expired at the feet of his rescuers .
This and hundreds of stories like it are pouring into the Soviet union exposing the reign of terror  . Shocked readers are  told that  many  writers are being forced to bury their manuscripts and bank statements underground...but these are rapidly dug up and examined by specially  trained  seeing-eye police  kangaroos.  
NOTE: : This post plagiarised from September 18,1969, national news magazine,Broadside,edited by Pete Steedman, patron of the dark arts and wearer of black  leather  jackets and sunnies, once even during  a  nasty experience  in the Black Hole of Calcutta . 

 Apologies to Dame Edna , long distance  swimmers , sculptors  , Confucius  and the Chinese Secret Service , which monitors this blog, and  anybody  else who may have  been offended .

NEXT: Arts  Minister George  Brandis  responds. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Another Townsville News Beat Scoop
Tired of being shot/shat at  from all angles, the Red Baron has installed a new  heavy calibre weapon :  a bird  frightener . It sits on the wing above the cockpit to  scare off  the  main  enemy , a Cormorant , which  delights  in sunning itself  on  the  plane when it  is on  the mooring  ,  doing  what  comes naturally : splat.  
Cheeky Cormorant on pontoon loading up for another bombing raid on the Red  Baron. In the past pilot Paul Mills has  tried dangling  reflecting   CD disks on the plane to divert incoming  flak  from  the  laughing  bird. The last thing he wants to happen is  for an  Albatross  flock   to  take  a  liking  to  the seaplane and turn it into an extension of  the Nauru phosphate deposits.


Our resident backyard Curlews have, somehow, produced  another  egg  and we  are bracing ourselves  for  the  night  and  day  requirement to protect any chick  from marauders. As we had thought the male mate of the female  had  been killed  months  ago , it  has  come as a  surprise to see  an  egg.   Already  the  sound of  a  Barking  Owl  which feeds on baby Curlews  has  been  heard in the distance . Progress  reports will  be posted. It is clearly breeding time and the continued  disappearance of Dracula, the cheese eating Coucal,  recently  seen loitering near a Thai restaurant , could be due to the fact that he is out in the bush fanging  nubile  flappers . UPDATE: There are now two eggs .  

Thursday, July 16, 2015


BEIJING :  Confucius, a  wise old gentleman with a huge portfolio of Sydney real estate , today advised  the Australian House of Representatives  Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop,  to give up  stunt  flying . As she had already shot down  in flames nearly 400  members of the Australian  Red Army in Canberra, it was about time she   gave up aerial combat and  became  an exhibit in the War Museum , next to  Horrie the (stuffed)   Wog Dog hero, said Confucius , curling  his  mo  and  anxiously checking the Shanghai stockmarket  gyrations. It was  a  well known fact, he said, that ladies who flew biscuit bombers upside  down  developed  runny  mascara which could lead  to nasty  clack up on landing. In her  younger days, Ms Bishop used to hang out with the famous aviator  Biggles  in an Angel Place coffee lounge, near the NSW Liberal Party ammunition dump, Sydney,and  plot daring  air adventures in Geelong , even planning to  audaciously seize  the Australian throne . The above exclusive  photograph shows her flying , without oxygen , a fearsome, screaming  German Stuka , short for Sturzkampfflugzeug, ideal for her Blitzkrieg on  those on her left  in the parliamentary  hangar , during a Battle of  Britain  re-enactment air show.