Saturday, July 15, 2017


Veteran Melbourne  journalist, author and eagle-eyed chief sub editor   Kim Lockwood sent a surprising message to Little Darwin acknowledging the fact that our S(h)ipping Reporter  is indeed a  rare old seabird who justifiably  rails  about the failure of modern  North Australian  media to  cover  shipping activities  in  their own ports .  He  based this  apparent  praise  on the odd  treatment  given a possible  great  maritime mystery  in Darwin  which only rated  three paragraphs in  the Murdoch  Northern Territory  News .  It  featured this  supplied photograph of a raft with  a fold out  bed , a  large  esky  and a  canopy, washed up  on  rocks near  Charles Point .  
The report said the raft had been spotted by several vessels before it drifted into the main shipping channel  near  the entrance to Darwin Harbour and became a  hazard . It quoted  an  Acting  Superintendent ( shipping  or  police ? ) as saying it is  essential rafts are  "disposed  of " and  not left  behind to become  a danger to others .   

This write  up  Kim rightly  described as  "three  bland pars " about  shipping lanes , which  missed  the obvious , greater  possible angles.

Was someone trying to get  from  Darwin  to  Timor a la Ian Fairweather  (artist )  aboard a  flimsy  raft  in the early '50s? Or a  similar  attempt   by immigrant  Peter Pedaja who attempted to sail an  oil drum canoe  from Sydney to  New Zealand in  1959 ?

In respect of the mystery  raft , Kim asked  reporter like questions: Did  the passengers get  washed overboard? Or did they survive, and are now living  on  bush  tucker?  Could  a body  have been  washed  overboard , etc., etc. 

Alert readers of this blog will note that there is no mention in the  NT News story  of  the clearly visible SHARK GIRL  name on the canopy  and what appears to  be  the outline  of  substantial   mammaries , perhaps  the  work of a deranged  artist , adrift  at  sea   for a  long time , hallucinating , suffering   various  fantasies ? Other  lettering  appears to be part of  the  word  BOOMERANG . 

As  Kim and Judy  Lockwood  are   soon  to  land  in North Queensland , we  plan to   take  them   to  a  disreputable  waterfront  tavern  and thank him for saying nice things about  the  crusty  old  S(h)ipping  Reporter .