Wednesday, July 24, 2024


 Believe  it or not,  the lightweight  pumpkin  agronomist  Robert Wesley-Smith grew , hoping to win the monster melon  section  at  the   Darwin Show , could  actually come  out  on  top.

The  about 80 kg  melon  is  shown   above  having just been loaded into Wes's  little Honda Jazz  sedan, with the help  of  Ted  Whiteaker , despite him  having recently  had a  hernia operation.  

Whiteaker  then drove  Wes and  the pumpkin  to the showground  to   make  a  late  entry .

Upon arrival at the  busy  showground  ,it was hard to find a  spot to unload  because   there  apparently were no other   pumpkins  entered  so far ! This  could  result  in  Wes , at  long  last , taking  out  the equivalent of an  Olympic  Games  gold  medal. 

A show official  said  people  had  experienced  difficulty  growing  melons  this  year , 

It took two men to  place  the pumpkin on  a  bale of hay.  

As reported in an earlier  post, Wes had become   downcast because  a  240 kg pumpkin had  won   the  recent  Katherine  Show.

Unless there is  a sudden rush of  people  descending on the  showground  with melons  at this late stage, Wes could  become  the  default  king  of  the Top  End  pumpkin  patch . 

Tuesday, July 23, 2024


 This sensational  prediction is backed up  by  the following   postcard  of  a   cute  Australian  Green Tree  Frog  in  a  White House  dunny !!! 

In  an exclusive French  retirement village  interview  with  Nostradamus  , the wise old gentleman  warned , "God  help and  defend  America  if  Trump  gets the  keys  to  the  White  House  ablution  block ."     

However,  he  hastily  added  that  due to the  new  beaut  Maggie Beer  catering service at the  retirement home, which does not include tasteless  croissants, he   keeps on  getting  vivid  visions  of  Trump croaking  hysterically and  clapping ( repeat clapping )  madly   as  he  is  sucked  down  the  tubes  in   the   presidential election. 

Nostradamus kindly  revealed  the   following  battered and dessicated  torso  of  Trump  as  he  will  look  after  the  vital  election .  

The  exclusive  postcard   shown  at the top of  this report , from the   Paul Arnold Bush Photos  series, proudly published by Coleman Printing , Darwin , was  discovered  in  Townsville  by our  Shipping Reporter,   who   flushes out  many  oddities . 

He  has  had many close encounters  with  green  tree  frogs in  Darwin conveniences, going back as far as  1958 . On one occasion  he did  battle with a  deadly brown snake which slithered into his  toilet  and  began eating  the  loudly  protesting  frogs  that   lived  under the lip of  the  toilet bowl . 

This literary gem  is  dedicated to the memory of Sydney's high class   King's  Cross  Whisper  team , especially  Peter and Terry Blake , Jim Ramsay , Jim Oram,  Maori Barry , Max Cullen  and  others .   

(Spoof, Trump , Nostradamus .)


Possibly a  Striated  Heron .  Abra  photo.


 Northern Territory  postcards  recently captured  by  our snap-happy Shipping  Reporter.  

The top  dramatic  photo came from the Northern Territory News , the caption opening , Snapped! It shows a startled and agile backpacker on a South Alligator River fishing trip discovering that  teasing a four metre crocodile  has explosive  results.  

The  crocs in the following two postcards are from the  Paul Arnold  Bush  Photos series , Coleman's  Printing, Darwin . 

Monday, July 22, 2024


 A  passenger  on   the  Empress  of   Tasmania, above ,  possibly a  tourist  from  North  Queensland with  an apparent interest  in cooking and baking , in  October  l966  had   a  nice cruise up the Tamar  River . However,  she  was not  impressed by the "ghastly"  cakes   displayed  at  the  Launceston  Show.  A  message on the back of a postcard sent to her mother and  father contained the following  critical comments :

The 10,000 ton  passenger and  vehicle liner Empress of Tasmania was the largest passenger ship to have been built in Australia and was on the   Sydney to  Tasmania run, carrying 250 passengers  in cabins, space for 91 cars  in  the  vehicle deck . 

Another postcard  sent  October 10, l972  by a  traveller, after a  trip to Magnetic Island , Queensland ,  said a  bakery had  been visited  which made 41,000 loaves of bread , 18,000 dozen  rolls  and   buns  every  week .  


 The  above  ornamental   fan ,  on sale for $12,000,  made  in Australia in  the l880s  from  the red tail feathers of  Black Cockatoos, with a carved  ivory handle , may  have   been  produced  and  sold  in   Darwin's  Chinatown .  

It is one of  the unusual  items  that  will be offered  by  Douglas Stewart Fine  Books  at the weekend's  Melbourne  Rare  Books Fair .

The  fan  , with  a maximum diameter of 622mm  open  , has an original camphor wood box , a hinged  lid with  relief  carved decorations, the interior  lined  with  blue  silk  and  red  paper . 

The  bookshop says the  fan was made in Australia in the 1880s by Chinese artisans, probably produced and sold by a Chinese commercial enterprise in the Chinatown district of Palmerston (Darwin), the cockatoo feathers being traded from local Indigenous people.

It is described as  a rare survivor that interweaves Chinese artisanal and social  traditions , indigenous culture and European cultural  taste .  

Another unusual  offering  in the bookshop list  is a  water colour portrait and snuff box  of  Midshipman William  Harvey , a  sailor   on all three  voyages  of  Captain Cook,   $48,000. 

Other important  maritime  items   are   a First  Fleet  manuscript  map showing  the  route  of Scarborough on its  return  1788  voyage  from  Port  Jackson , $275,000 ; an autographed  letter  by  First  Fleet  Midshipman  Newton Powell, at sea, off  Rio  de Janiero , August 6, 1787, sent to his father , $150,000 ; William Bligh  ( of  the  Bounty ) 1754-1817, his  personal  copy , $95,000.

One of only three extremely rare known publisher's  copies  of   Patrick White's  The  Ploughman and other poems is  priced  at  $35,000..

Sunday, July 21, 2024


Although  agronomist  Robert Wesley-Smith has a  calloused  green  thumb,  knows a lot about fertiizers and the nutritional value of cycads ,  don't  expect  him to  win  the   giant   pumpkin  section  at   the  looming  Darwin Show .  He  is  despondent  after hearing a  woman  recently  won  the  Katherine  Show   melon  event  with  one  that  weighed   a  whopping  240kgs.  

Wes is  shown above seemingly  putting  the  boot   into  his "puny pumpkin"- which  he admits  is  only about 70-80 kilos. As  he  can no longer  drive  because  of   the  disputed  loss of his licence  , he recently bought  an  Ebike, not   designed  for   transporting  farm  produce . 

Needing to  get a  lift  to the   showground,  Wes  asked a  friend   with  a station wagon  to   come  to  his rural  property  and  help  load   the  awkward  pumpkin   aboard.  It seems  the  request  for  the  two-way  lift  date   got  mixed  up  as  his  friend responded  by  saying  he  was to have a hernia  operation  on  or  about  that  day.

Therefore it  would not be advisable  to  go rolling  and  lifting  the  blessed  pumpkin all over Darwin .  Wes  informed  his  mate operation pumpkin uplift  would not  clash  with his  hernia op .   In any case ,the mediocre melon  will end up being donated  to  an organisation  which  supplies  meals  for   locals   in  need  of   tucker.

On  display above  is a variety of  motley melons Wes grew in the past. Needless to say, none of them won a prize at the show .