Monday, October 31, 2016


It is not surprising that the  day  after  the exciting  inaugural open day at the Special Collections ,  Eddie Koiki  Mabo  Library , James Cook University,  Townsville , our bug-eyed correspondent , Cyclops, was found to have  high blood pressure and  his pulse was  racing  like a  noisy Yamaha . 

The mere thought of a normal  visit  to  the quiet  Special Collections  reading room  to peruse  some  of  its  many treasures  is  enough  to  cause  Cyclops to  develop double  vision.  But a special  shivoo like this  open day , part of the  university's celebration of  Townsville's 150th anniversary , made  him  hot  and  sweaty .

On the well attended  day , our man, with  notebook and camera at the ready ,  was  twitching with anticipation  as  he elbowed   aside  annoying   people  who  were  examining  the  many  items  of  interest  in display cases .

Across a crowded  room , he spotted   the  president of the Magnetic Island History and Craft Centre  , Zanita  Davies , who  had  led  a  party of  five  enthusiasts   from  the island for the  big day . She   quickly  drew his  attention  to an 1899 illustration of Townsville Harbour  , with  the island in the background  , by watercolourist  Bradshaw Barker ,   about whom  little was  known .  Did Cyclops know anything about  the artist? she asked. No-but he scribbled  the  mystery man's name into the notebook and would add it to his extensive  list , which  seems to  double  in  length week  by  week .

 Before  Cyclops  darted away to  continue his  inspection , Ms Davies informed him she was  on  the  track of  a  shipping  artefact .  This  info was quickly jotted  down   in  almost  legible  scribble , to  be followed up with her  later .

Cyclops was accompanied by his carer , a lady who had  recently had a cataract operation ,  so they were a  dynamic  team , their three eyes quickly picking the eyes out  of  the exhibits .

In the  crowded  reading  room , Cyclops kept  bumping into women  and  felt  like Donald  Trump  at a  Miss Universe  beauty contest.   It was  so  packed  he  did not get a chance  to speak to or wave  at a lady  connected  with the Northern Territory  author   Tom  Ronan who  once lived  at Springvale Station,with a radioactive well  , near  Katherine .

Cyclops , unfortunately,  could  not  stay for two  talks , one   about how to protect  ephemera , of  which he is a fan , his  den knee  deep in items that seem to have  been looted from  council dumps  scattered about the  nation .  Before  departing,  he was able to have a  quick talk with  the  librarian , Bronwyn McBurnie , and  promise to  return, like  a certain American general to disturb  the  peace .   If  he can decipher his  notes , the  visit  to Special Collections open day  will  result  in  a  swag  of   feature  articles.