Wednesday, March 31, 2010


In a typically brilliant announcement, the Coalition’s shadow spokesman for flour and water , Barnaby " Dough-Boy" Joyce , says that the world’s longest pipeline will be built from the mouth of India’s horribly polluted River Ganges to join up with Darwin Harbour’s poo shooter.

Down this gargantuan pipe will flow the carcasses of holy cows, corpses, rodents , vast quantities of toxic heavy metals , recycled Productivity Commission reports and the ingredients for health-giving sennapod tea. On connecting with the Larrakeyah poo shooter the pipeline will create a multi –coloured continuous geyser higher than the latest Dubai skyscraper.

Barnaby says some of the torrent of muck could be siphoned off to run two Rolls-Royce turbines at the Channel Island power station. Another advantage of this grand scheme is that it will add to the harbour’s growing petro-chemical tourism attractions .

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


[Being occasional commentary on parliamentary matters ]
A community minded woman who held down a tough job for years regularly attends Legislative Assembly sessions and then goes home and prays to God to help guide the parliament and the government. It is sincerely hoped that God is listening . **** When Nelsen independent Gerry Wood expressed a basic human emotion and cried there was a great to do in the media. When Fong Lim MLA David Tollner said he had cried over the tragic death of a desperate young woman it did not rate a mention .

Sunday, March 28, 2010


As from today, the Coalition has a new dynamic leader: “Iron Bar ” Tony Abbott- Tuckey . In a strange twist , the Coalition’s troublesome WA uncle , Iron Bar Wilson Tuckey , has claimed Tony Abbott is the reincarnation of a pioneering member of the Tuckey clan who disappeared on what would have been a history making bicycle ride.

He was Tiny Tim Tuckey , also known as Pig Iron Bob, who vanished in an attempt to make the first circumnavigation of Australia on a primitive bike as part of the 1901 Federation celebrations. A health fanatic , Tiny Tim set off from Perth on the epic ride with only a spare inner tube, a bottle of grandma’s kickapoo juice brewed in the family's illegal still and a sack of sago. There were suggestions that he was captured by a flying saucer while crossing the Nullarbor and his valve rubber subjected to painful scrutiny by evil aliens.

Wilson Tuckey says that now Tony Abbott wants to be dubbed Iron Man Abbott , he should change his surname by deed poll to the hyphenated Abbott –Tuckey and honour the demon Tuckey family road hog at the same time.


As if it is not annoying enough to be bombarded by telemarketers , from within and without the nation, at any time of night and day, now it is real estate agents and TV spruikers going from house to house streaming through the gates in Darwin.

It is no use telling these hucksters you are not interested in what they are flogging. They continue reading from their screens or parroting the familiar spiel.. A Darwin woman takes a call from a south east Queensland property investment outfit and politely states that she is a lady of advanced years with not the slightest interest in property investment.

Never mind, a few days later , another call from the same company .This time her husband takes the call and firmly tells the male, who does not know the meaning of “spruiking” , not to make any further calls.

A real estate agent “just happens to be in the district ” . Not interested, he is told. He continues with his spiel. Still not interested . Babbling like a brook, he says there are valuable free books . He finally desists when asked if he understands English –not interested !

Two bods turn up at the backdoor . How are you today ? When asked what they want , the leader says he is from a TV provider organisation.. Not interested . “ Only $8 a week !” is the reply . Not interested – leave the premises . “We ” have the right to enter these premises , is the annoying response. Very firmly , the dynamic duo are asked if they understand English and told to quit the premises. They depart, leaving the gate open .

Some of the telephone calls are strange , one being a garbled message from Davy Jones locker about “your free government insulation ”. What ? The line suddenly drops out when an attempt is made to quiz the mermaid as the call comes after the controversial scheme was axed. No wonder some Darwin residents do not answer calls around tea time because they are fed up receiving calls from telemarketers. Now the buggers are coming through the skylights, down the chimneys , through the gates , even in the wheelie bins after Cleanaway has done the rounds.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Without public mention, another Darwin high flyer has been shunted aside in a major business. There seems to be a growing number of departures of late and some people in the public service and private enterprise have crossed fingers and made offerings to the Chung Wah Temple gods in the hope that certain others will catch a fast train out of town.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


During the 1960s Indonesian Konfrontasi crisis , Darwin had air raid sirens which would be sounded in the event of an attack. Those sirens , tested each month, were operating right up until Cyclone Tracy . One of the sirens was mounted on a pole outside a hardware store in Oleander Street, Nightcliff, opposite the Sandalwood Street intersection.

The sighting of 10 high flying Indonesian TU-16 Badger jet bombers over northern Australian in September 1964 caused a wild flap. No 17 Squadron RAAF Sabre jet fighters flew in from Williamtown , NSW, on September 8 , and it was announced they would stay here indefinitely

It was stated that this was the first time since WW11 that the RAAF had stationed a fighter squadron in Darwin. It was designed to ease anxiety about the lack of air defences in the north . Several years previously , a Sabre here on an exercise had crashed into Darwin Harbour and the pilot was killed.

Just how serious the situation became was illustrated when British Vulcan bombers, which looked like huge bats, said to be armed with nuclear bombs , operated out of Darwin, flying between here and Singapore. If I remember correctly ,the bombers did not have ejector seats for the crew .

Little Darwin was told that a V -bomber crew , consisting of some lively Irish gents, had a dispute with a pompous RAAF official and when leaving here for good , stood the powerful bomber on its tail, applied full thrust and shattered every window in the officer’s residence or some other building , perhaps the mess, on the base .

That brilliant novel, Merdeka Square,by Kerry B. Collison, Sid Harta Publishers, 1997, has a map of South East Asia which shows the flight path of the V- bombers from Darwin during 1962-65, the US submarine route through the Ombai-Wetar Trench and covert flights from the US Clarke Field Airforce Base , Manila ,over Indonesia.

The book is dedicated to the memory of Adik Irma Surjani Nasution , the five year old daughter of General Nasution who was shot dead during the failed assassination attempt on her father and other members of the Council of Generals... "When she lost her life, so too did Indonesia lose its innocence ."

Collison , a member of the Australian Embassy Air Attache Corps in Indonesia , was granted citizenship by President Suharto. His first novel The Tim-Tam Man covered the period after the fall of President Soekarno. A third in the trilogy, unsighted, is Jakarta.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The gaseous Federal Coalition is the biggest customer for Darwin’s new $49 million helium plant . Instead of taking a daily whiff of laughing gas, the Liberals and the Nationals now get high on lighter than air helium . One Tory has snorted so much hydrogen he resembles the Hindenburg pie in the sky air ship before it crashed and burned.

Pumped up , Barnacle Bill from Bandywallop , has been pushed into a jetstream by his colleagues and circumnavigates the world every 24 hours. With any luck, they hope he will not plummet to earth until after the next Federal election.

Out west, another member overdosed on helium, sprung a leak and rocketed away like a kid’s balloon at a party. He was last sighted by Douglas Mawson streaking through the Aurora Australis and is thought to have crashed into a colony of unfortunate fairy penguins at the height of the mating season, leading to a drastic reduction in the number of fairies available for decorating Christmas trees.

By sticking a helium hose up his cassock, the Mad Monk has been able to give the impression he regularly ascends into Heaven to get instructions from B.A.Santamaria, Sir Robert Menzies and the Opus Dei cheer leader, General Franco.


In the interests of fairness, natural justice and balanced reporting, the names of those anonymous real estate agents and property investor/s making damaging claims against Skytower developer Nic Rigas in respect of the valuation of apartments should be made public.

In two major stories, the NT News has allowed these individuals , under the cloak of anonymity, to make their claims. Real estate people usually love to be named and photographed, but not in this case.

The latest News story , running the same line as the first, says: “ The buyers are believed to include two real estate agents and a property speculator.” The News surely must know for certain who the shy ones are, so why have they not been named ? We know who they are, so does a large section of the business community , surely the Real Estate Institute , bankers and other agencies who keep a close eye on various deals . The rest of the community should be told the identity of these persons.

The conclusion is being drawn by some that the News has not named the coy coterie because the real estate industry here and in other parts of Australia, as revealed by Media Watch, and our own observations, gets preferential treatment from newspapers because they do a lot of advertising .

The action of the threesome / foursome has even been commented on in letters to the News editor. A little bit of basic follow up journalism would undoubtedly turn up some interesting information for the community at large to better understand the situation in which there are many unaswered questions, ones which automatically come to mind.


Colourful -described as evergreen – ALP politician, Vini Ciccarello, came a bummer in the recent South Australian election . A well known identity in trendy Norwood where she got about on a bicycle before going into politics, she was well known to people in Don Dunstan’s old stamping ground .
It was reported that her initial winning election campaign included a friendly pinch on the derriere of her many friends . It was even suggested that “ Bomber ” Beazley should have incorporated Vini's bottom pinching in his desperate , unsuccessful campaign to become the PM. That Jane Lomax –Smith , the Education Minister , also got the axe with what at first was said to be a massive 20 percent swing, was most surprising.
Another woman to be swept away by the political tide was the National Party's , Karlene Maywald ,a cabinet member in the Rann Government, with responsibility for the River Murray .

Monday, March 22, 2010


A TV news report showing the rundown state of the Hornsby Public Hospital , Sydney, surprised this writer . Over many decades I have been associated with Hornsby , seeing it change from a pleasant, leafy suburb on the North Shore railway line to one overrun by cars, jammed with dreary units . My contact with Hornsby included covering bushfires as a reporter half a century ago, transitting to and from beautiful Bobbin Head on the Hawkesbury River as a weekend worker at Halvorsen’s boatshed , selling and buying books and oddities , visiting my half - brother and his family who lived there in a quiet cul- de - sac and gaining insights into the development and economic health of the state and the nation.

On one trip from Adelaide to Sydney for an auction , I had a haircut at Hornsby and the young woman who ran the salon said she was shutting down and moving to Melbourne because rents – commercial and residential- were high , rising all the time , alternative premises hard to find . Sydney, she said, was now a place where it was extremely difficult for a person with limited capital , prepared to work hard, to survive. Other friends were being driven out of Sydney by the relentless economic pressures.

At the time, empty shop after shop was visible along main corridors in various parts of the city, the sites bought up for redevelopment . As a result,numerous small businesses , providing a wide range of goods and services,had been turfed out. On subsequent trips back to Sydney, increasing numbers of monotonous office blocks had risen in their place. Even my grandmother’s humble terrace house with its brave Australian Christmas Bush had disappeared beneath a concrete pile , the ground floor boasting market research .

From time to time now you read or hear people say they are leaving Darwin because it has become too expensive a place in which to live. It is hard to get off the gravy train which eventually grinds our bones into dust.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Thou couldst knocketh me down with a proverbial feather on reading the NT News editorial of March 20 which said it was a shame somebody like MLA Alison Anderson was not in power to pull SIHIP into line. It was hard to reconcile that this was the same newspaper which had been critical of her from the time of her original outrage over SIHIP, then withdrawal from government and resignation from the ALP.
The editorial went on to say Ms Anderson , if in government , could demand action, rather than sitting in the wings , powerless , a fringe player , whistling in the wind.
Anyone who thinks Ms Anderson is sitting meekly in the wings, whistling Dixie and feeling impotent, has no understanding of the woman , her determination, talents and still very strong influence in politics , particularly in Central Australia .
As this piece is written there is an ABC radio report about further SIHIP trouble with refurbishment work carried out at another settlement; a team is being sent in to investigate. The responsible minister , Chris Burns, who said Earth Connect was being transitioned -not sacked -from Groote Eylandt , is quoted as saying he knows nothing about the the latest problems.
It would seem that , even if you are a minister in the now NT government , you are not being kept up to speed about problems , which is incredible under the circumstances as this continues to be an embarrassing issue for the NT government and Canberra and will impact on the Federal NT seats held by Labor,first off, and later the NT elections.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


An astute political observer we know says the provisional outcome of the Tasmanian election , a swing of 12 percent against the Labor government, is likely to be mirrored in the NT . Strange that he should make this Territory linkage with the Apple Isle as there has been a strong Taswegian influence in the NT government spin department until recent times. Remember former Tasmanian premier Michael Field came to Darwin after the last Territory election to find out why the ALP had done so badly . Now there seems to be a swing to Queensland Lady Fingers in the spin machine. ****Don’t be surprised if there is another insurance industry crash like that of HIH which was placed into liquidation in 2001 owing billions of dollars, causing an economic crisis in Australia This was the advice given when talking to a contact in the industry down south . Sharp practices and operators were evident , he said, and one outfit in particular was performing like HIH .**** It is not only some Territory schoolkids who are lacking in numeracy skills . A supposed hotshot who does property valuations did his sums and under- valued a place by more than $200,000. Even though he should stand in the corner like a dunce, bet he hands in a hefty account for professional services rendered .**** It was like a scene from Are You Being Served ? when the Woolworths second in charge from south visited Darwin stores in the chain during the week . Everything was made shipshape and polished for his tour of inspection, and he responded, we are informed , like Mr Grace in the British comedy show by telling everyone to carry on, they were all doing a wonderful job.


Bring back Napoleon Bonaparte . That was the message in an email from a normally sober Darwin businessman who clearly wanted to have a therapeutic “rant” about the NT Government, bureaucrats, non-sticking car registration stickers , the new Smith Street walkway -just for starters.

He was particularly outraged by the Alice Springs building company collapse which has left tradesmen, suppliers and home owners in the lurch . Because of the government’s failure to act on warnings, he said home owners left with partly built structures were not protected by builders indemnity because successive NT governments for some 30 years had failed to make it compulsory .

By contrast, he said, it had been revealed at the inquiry into the Timor Sea Oil well blow out that the NT Department of Resources – in a mere half an hour - had given approval for a pressure cap rather than a cement plug in the well, thereby probably contributing to the West Atlas oil rig fire and 10 weeks of pollution.

SIHIP really wound him up. His comments came just before the announced sacking of Earth Connect from the deeply troubled program.He said it was a case of bureaucrats and others going mad with a fistful of dollars. In his 40 years in the Territory there had always been problems with housing in Aboriginal communities and small towns. Why , he asked, had not the bureaucrats or political masters of the day thought outside of the square for once and bought 50 or 100 transportable homes and put them in communities to ease the immediate problems and then build the permanent homes.

The transportables could then be relocated to the next community requiring assistance. Instead of this, consortiums were growing rich and providing very little. Sure, houses would be built under the present scheme , but at a rate so slow that by the time they were finished the housing problems would have grown exponentially.

The current crop of political leaders appeared to have no business acumen and few leadership skills, he continued. They seemed content to let a moribund public service call the shots and do nothing.
Surprisingly, this longtime ALP supporter said the Territory needed another Paul Everingham (CLP) who had a vision and went for it. Former NT Chief Minister, Paul ”Porky” Everingham , was nicknamed “ Little Napoleon” by critics , hence our opening sentence, and took a strong hold on government. Once told by public servants that a certain project could not be done, Everingham is said to have told the bureaucrats they could sign resignation notices on the way out . This unexpected cannonade by our Little Corporal immediately resulted in a can do response.

Whether or not Napoleon could knock this outfit into shape is hard to tell. There are ominous signs of an uprising in Bastille territory : peasants, as usual , are restless south of the Berrimah Line and Spotlight reports sales of wool have skyrocketed because many warty crones have taken up knitting .

Friday, March 19, 2010


Heartbroken cricketer , Michael Clarke , is to undergo a secret, very painful operation in New Zealand . With the help of a laser gun , the tattooed initials of his ex fiancĂ©e -LB - on his shoulder will be changed to LBW …Leg Before Wicket or Leg-over Before Walkout .

Shane Warne kindly told Little Darwin’s Kiwi cricket correspondent,Keith Holyoake, of a less painful way to remove Lara Bingle from Clarke's body. Through the fast acting hair restorer process that Warnie promotes, Clarke's shoulder, covered in bite marks, could become as hairy as a yeti’s armpit. In this way Clarke could sob on his own soft, soothing shoulder at night and not be reminded of the expensive plumbers’ bill.

Being a man of the world, Warnie told our reporter that Clarke should pull up his socks, pull up a freebie pair of Warnie's designer label jocks and dial- a - date.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


You have to wonder if the laundering of money obtained from illegal activities is playing a part in Darwin’s real estate boom . We are aware of occasions , in recent years, in which individuals have arrived in Darwin from overseas and then , with cases “filled with money”, gone about buying real estate. Whether that money was legit or not is unknown.

If you talk to people in the Darwin building industry today they will tell you of certain individuals who seem to have large amounts of money to invest, the source of which is unclear.

Going on police seizures in the Territory’s main centres and far flung Aboriginal communities, there is ample evidence that there is a large amount of drug money floating about. With real estate prices here higher than Sydney and extravagant claims about “ the boom” likely to be caused by oil and gas projects, parking hot money in real estate would seem to be attractive.

Darwin has a long history of illegal betting shops, knock shops and sly grog dens , some of the proceeds from which were used to buy up land and invest in properties. In the car boot of one well known business man a large bag of moolah , which Santa would have had trouble lifting , regularly bounced about .

Globally , vast amounts of hot money circulates . In the 1990s , the Christmas Island casino was one of the world’s most profitable with Asian gamblers pushing “ billions of dollars ”through its tables. A television documentary left no doubt that vast amounts of hot money was laundered through the casino .

Its Indonesian owners went bankrupt in 1998 during the Asian financial crisis. The Federal government in 2004 refused to allow the casino to reopen despite a plan by KFL Star Resort, a South Korean consortium based in Perth , to spend $30million refurbishing the decaying casino and tourist hotel. The direct airline link between Bali and the island ceased.

At the time, NT Labor MP Warren Snowdon, whose electorate took in Christmas Island , was reported as saying the government’s decision was “ an act of bastardry” that had damaged the island’s economy. He indicated a Labor government would allow a casino to operate on the island. With so many refugee packed into Christmas Island today , there is hardly enough room to set up a two-up ring.



You have to wonder what is going on at Charles Darwin University when it allows its "community radio station " to give Sydney’s Alan Jones, The Parrot, the chance to spruik for an hour a day. Station general manager , Peter Perrin, is quoted as saying having Jones on air is a coup for the station . The station obviously needs new blood, new ideas, but Jones ... groan. Prepare to enter the strange world where you watch the radio with the TV turned off .


Darwin suffers from a number of dorks who throw their weight about and swagger around like two bit punks. One such cowboy , with a police record, seemingly labouring under the delusion in front of his mirror that he is another Arnie Schwarzenegger, is the source of hysterical laughter for a growing number of people when they hear what he did when caught red handed by the gendarmes. At first he gave a lot of cheek, flexed his artificial biceps - then suddenly fell down on the ground , began crying like a baby and wet his pants! So much for mister tough guy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


First introduced on the MacRobertson Miller Aviation Perth to Darwin run in the 1930s , a Lockheed L-10A Electra, has been placed in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola ,Florida, USA.

It arrived in Australia in 1938 and was named RMA Gascoyne. In 1953, after having flown 20,000 hours, the plane was sold and shipped to America where it was struck off the US register in 1980. In 1987 it was restored to the register with Valiant Air Command of Titusville, Florida. It eventually found its way into the Naval Aviation Museum representing a US Navy L-10E/R20-1, its tailplane bearing US Navy titles on the fuselage .

Monday, March 15, 2010


After enduring the endless, colourless , political speak, spin, posturing and blarney ,what a joy it is to hear Paul Keating on the airwaves. While being interviewed by Fran Kelly on the ABC's Radio National about the shortcomings in the national superannuation scheme, his big picture view, ability to explain complicated issues and delightful jibes were refreshing. As usual, his scorn for Little Johnny Howard was evident – variously calling him a tart, driving Australia forward looking in the rear vision mirror, his conservative government being strangely against thrift by cutting back on super .

Dealing with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, he described him as Little Johnny’s Little Johnny , an intellectual nothing , with no thought out policies. God help Australia, he continued, if the Coalition got in as they could not be trusted with a jam jar full of five cent pieces. Barnaby Joyce he dubbed the son of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
The Rudd government, he declared, deserved to be re-elected just for the one fact alone that it had saved Australia from the economic holocaust that had engulfed so much of the world. Now it was turning its attention to the structural changes , neglected for so long, which had to be faced for the nation to progress.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


When we recently highlighted the fact that after 30 years the government has failed to establish a film industry in the Territory, we also advised readers that we would be running unusual items from our Fractured Flickers File.

Well, run this across your plasma screen. While doing some research , we punched into Google the name of the late Harry Giese , he being the powerful former NT Director of Welfare, official member of the Legislative Council , Interim Ombudsman , oral history chief,etc. Eventually we were led to a site seemingly offering no less than 208 photos of him. This seemed to be an inordinate number of photos of one person, perhaps more than those taken of the Queen in the NT. Was he that photogenic? Then we discovered it was his photo collection , not hundreds taken of his best profile.

The photos included a large number of landscapes taken by another Welfare officer, the late Ted Evans. We are like bloodhounds, leave no stone unturned, so viewed each and every photo . Near the end , we came across a shot of Harry on the film set of the TV series Whiplash at French’s Forest, Sydney . In the group, with a Cobb and Co building in the background, was the American star , Peter Graves, It must be said the Harry, tall, dark haired, with sunnies and a sportscoat , looked more like a film star than the Yank. But for the fact that he was clean shaven, Harry could have been taken for the swashbuckling Errol Flynn .

Whiplash, loosely based on the Cobb and Co stagecoach company, with Graves playing Chris Cobb , produced 34 half hour episodes and was first screened in Britain , then in Australia in 1961.

Darwin’s Aboriginal actor, the tragic Robert Tudawali , appeared in several episodes. Other Australian actors to play parts in the gun- slinging, boomerang throwing western type film were Reg Livermore, Chuck Faulkner ( Canadian ?), Leonard Teale, Queenie Ashton , Stuart Wagstaff (Brit. ), Chips Rafferty and Lionel Long. Frank Ifield sang the theme songs.

Most of the scripts were written by Americans, including Rene Roddenberry , creator of Star Trek . Conflict arose when one script called for “a herd of stampeding sheep.” Apparently the Americans were not happy about the size of loincloths on Aboriginal actors , and asked for “more gumleaves” to be added.

There is no information to explain why Harry Giese was on the film set in Sydney. Was he , like a Hollywood agent and Welfare wallah , looking after the interests of Tudawali or in charge of the gumleaf modesty wardrobe ?
STOP PRESS : Soon after posting this item news came through that American actor Peter Graves had died .


In yet another major political scoop, we can reveal that Opposition Leader ,Tony Abbott ,was not lost in the NT desert : he was rustling all of our feral camels as part of an audacious plan to overthrow the NSW Labor government.

Our troublesome one million camels are on their way to Sydney where the state Liberal Party will use them to overcome NSW's immense public transport problem. Each commuter will be given a free camel and an Afghan refugee from the Villawood Detention Centre as a private chauffeur so that they can get to work on time.

While the nation’s media was stumbling about in Central Australia , lost and thirsty with a Mad Monk look alike, Abbott, disguised as the Sheik of Araby, armed with a cattle jigger and a whip , was supervising the loading of camels aboard the Ghan , telling onlookers that they were to be taken away and shot to protect the environment,including the proposed nuclear waste dump site.
He even produced a forged certificate from Peter Garratt- written on a pink batt- authorising the mass movement of camels.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Residents of the tiny Territory community of Rabbit Flat in Central Australia believe the gods are annoyed that US President, Barack Obama , has not been invited to visit the outpost.

Apart from chucking live fish out of the heavens , the grumpy gods have hurled many empty Coca –Cola bottles at the locals .This has been interpreted as a sign that the gods are furious with the lazy ratepayers for not asking the most powerful man on earth to drop in and say howdy . Every other fly - blown town in the Territory, including Darwin, Alice and Pussycat Billabong ,have been clamouring for poor Obama to drop in with his magic wand during the forthcoming visit to Australia .

The NT News has so far listed no less than 15 places in the Territory that Obama might visit. Why not Rabbit Flat where the local yokels could give him some bright ideas on how to restart the US economy , like a refundable deposit on empties ? The Rabbit Flat international airport is big enough to handle Air Force 1 , although the runway may have to be lit by recycled cigarette butts for night flights.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Liberal Party heavyweight, Joe “Jawbone” Hockey-Sticks , has been appointed patron of the Australian Limp Fallers’ Club after his spectacular backflip on the footie field in a fierce match against the Canberra Ratpack .

Limp fallers throughout the nation were impressed by the expert way in which he went down like a wet bag of yak droppings when crash - tackled by Channel 9’s demon pig, Laurie Oakes.

Earlier in the grudge match, jolly Hockey -Sticks seemed groggy after a tough encounter with Michelle Grattan , of the Age, who caught him off balance with a deadly up and under bomb.

Then Oakes, moving like a Sherman tank, flattened Hockey-Sticks , causing onlookers to fear the worst. However, after emergency treatment from a bogus NT doctor who happened to be on the sideline, a chocolate- flavoured enema and a jump start using the battery of a passing Wimpy Burger van , Hockey-Sticks was up on his feet smiling for the camera, his eyes rolling about like numbers in a xlotto draw

Obviously suffering concussion, he babbled , “ Didn’t hurt…Did we hit an iceberg ? –Re-arrange the deckchairs …Women, children and Christopher first …Rudd’s great big new taxidermist … I am the man for the shadow boxing treasurer’s job… Please tell me Barnaby is missing in the Queensland floods… ”. Then he collapsed and was dragged from the field on a sled by a team of struggling huskies, the episode later the subject of a complaint to the RSPCA.

Monday, March 8, 2010


When the mace, the symbol of the authority of the Speaker, parliament and the link with Westminster, the Mother of Parliaments, was presented to the NT Legislative Assembly , flowery speeches were made all round on May 17, 1979.

Our mace was given us by a Commonwealth Parliament delegation consisting of the Speaker of the Senate, Condor Laucke, and House of Representatives Speaker, Billy Snedden, to acknowledge self government in 1978.

The then Opposition (ALP) Leader, Jon Isaacs, a champion orator , injected an unexpected historical note of levity into the mace proceedings . In the Victorian parliament , he said, the mace had once disappeared and featured in an outrageous romp in a Little Lonsdale Street house of ill fame.

Isaacs bravely vowed that no member of his side of the House would partake in any such dishonourable act with the NT mace. What the other side did was entirely up to them .

At a function that evening , part of the mace celebrations, Snedden entertained the audience with a good yarn. The Liberals, he said, were campaigning door- to -door when a little boy opened the door and told them both his parents were out. The Lib door-knocker gave him a clip about the ears and said , "Tell your parents that the Labor candidate called".

Apart from a failed attempt to throttle an ABC reporter with a cord and some alleged shenanigans on an Assembly desk which could have led to splinters in a disadvantageous position, there seems not to have been any ( known ) incidents similar to the one involving the Victorian mace. (Sir Billy Snedden , however, apparently came to an embarrassing end ).

The Territory mace presentation was recalled when the 1979 NT Cabinet records CD was recently released containing a photo of Chief Minister, Paul Everingham, the Legislative Assembly Speaker, Les McFarlane , and Isaacs, posing –smiling or leering? - with the Legislative Assembly mace , crafted from gold and silver gilt, weighing 4.2 kilos, in the open sunlight of Little Mitchell Street , an unusual locale for such a treasure.

Also in the CD slideshow is a group photo of all the honourable members , and not one male is in a suit , unlike today . ( Isaacs attracted media attention when he wore a cool safari suit to the Assembly ). Dawn Lawrie, as usual, stands out as a refreshing jingly –jangly fashion plate in the photograph . At first glance, a small schoolgirl seems to have gate –crashed the photo at the end of the back row, but on closer examination turns out to be wee June D’Rosario . Rolf Harris looks overdressed in trousers and sportscoat as is Mayor Dr Ella Stack in her sweaty robes of office. Some other subjects covered : the demise of the whopper croc Sweetheart, the arrival of a Vietnamese refugee boat, the welcome arrival of a Viking boat made from beer cans, the start of construction on the Smith Street Mall.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


While there was justifiable outcry over the proposal to shut down the national Archives branch in Darwin, the city repeatedly shows it has forgotten its past or could not care less. Some time ago, a longtime Darwin resident highlighted the issue when he said he heard an ABC presenter ask a colleague who was Dick Ward , the person after whom Dick Ward Drive is named.

Now , for the second time, a large display advertisement appeared in the NT News of March 5, 2010 , accompanied by a blurred map with a proposal to change the zoning of conservation land to light industrial near the Totem Road intersection, twice spelling Dickward(sic) Drive .

A crusading lawyer who became a judge, Ward , an eloquent speaker, first married the court official with whom he dived into a ditch the day Darwin was bombed. He played a major part in the political,social and sporting life of Alice Springs and Darwin and was deeply involved in setting up the NT Housing Commission. With Jim Bowditch , editor of the NT News, he fought many crusades, often pro bono . A key figure in the history of the NT ALP, he has been reduced to DICKWARD on a buckled road sign pointing in the wrong direction and now, in a newspaper advert is Dickward, seemingly without a whimper from party heads. When first constructed, there were ongoing problems with the surface of Dick Ward Drive and the ALP urged the government to quickly remedy the situation so that a highly regarded ALP warrior 's name was not besmirched.

Little Darwin recently drew attention to the fact that further down Dick Ward Drive the road sign for Fitzer Drive had been tampered with so that it reads FITZ DR and had been in this state for a long time without anyone apparently noticing or caring . Policeman Tas Fitzer and his wife, a nurse, were great Territorians .

Out in the Litchfield Shire , another outstanding police officer, Superintendent Wilson Coleridge Littlejohn , his surname, in telephone street directory maps and a street sign , was presented as two words- Little John, a la Sherwood Forest . Littlejohn , an RAF pilot in WW1 , was in charge of the police who rescued Mrs Petrov from her Russian guards at Darwin Airport. The Retired Police Association of the NT, part of the thinning ranks of the limping but alert old guard , sprang into action to rectify the Littlejohn snafu. Modern Darwin, seemingly increasingly oblivious of its past , was unaware of this and other errors .

When these above mistakes are added to the gross spelling errors in Darwin’s war memorial and clangers in the text of various websites relating to war sites, allowed to continue for years , it projects an image of a place which has forgotten its past and certainly does not protect visible signs of great people and major events.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It has just been revealed that Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, alias the Mad Monk, has secretly changed his religion in a clever move to lead sinners into the Promised Land where Sir Robert Menzies rules the silted up Cinque Ports.

A former devoted Catholic, he has become an obvious follower of a Hare Krishna-like sect. His skimpy budgie smugglers have been swapped for modest board shorts in the colours worn by chanting Hare Krishna adherents who, like him, give up sex and Barnaby’s gross domestic grope for Lent.

Hare Krishna followers repeat the name of their god over and over . Opposition leader Abbott is well versed in repetitive chanting as are his conservative mates. Over and over , to the accompaniment of drums, gongs and tin whistles, they chant ad nauseam : Rudd’s great big new tax .

Abbott recently ventured into the Central Australian wilderness in a stretch limo -carrying a celebrity picnic hamper from Harrod's and Leunig's direction finding duck - to seek guidance from the Lord Krishna in a bid to find the Holy Grail: a miraculous new drug with which to stupefy Australian voters.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The recently released 1979 Cabinet documents revealed details of a plan to set up a Territory based film industry , a proposal which still has not come to fruition. Cabinet , headed by Chief Minister, Paul Everingham, decided to engage Film Australia , for an initial outlay of $32,000, to get some camera action rolling . It also okayed the establishment of a steering committee to coordinate and rationalise NT government film and audio-visual production.

That committee would be responsible for deciding priorities among requirements submitted annually by individual departments and authorities and have responsibility for all NT government film and audo- visual production.

In the long term, the goal would be to encourage and support a private enterprise film industry in the NT. Everingham said it was hoped to get the burgeoning film industry to a stage where it could stand on its own feet and get work from the private sector as well as government.

Both the South Australian Film Corporation and Film Australia put up proposals . Films could be made on a wide range of subjects, such as : NT history , a series ; the workings of government; Aboriginal affairs; drugs and alcohol; VD; trachoma ; education; police and , in the case of tourism , promote an image of the Territory other than “beer bloated bellies and rusty beer cans.”

Film Australia offered to place a director in the Territory for an extended period to handle productions locally and to assist Darwin based film-makers. It would be an open ended commitment, with Film Australia phasing itself out in favour of the local industry. An old train carriage situated behind Block 8 , it suggested, could be refurbished and set up as an audio-visual centre.

The government was advised that the steering committee , going on experience elsewhere, should be small, otherwise it could be bogged down with bureaucrats . One of those suggested for membership of the committee was journalist, Lindsay Ellis, Director of Information in the Chief Minister’s Department .

Elis ,an enterprising photo- journalist ,had worked on the Centralian Advocate in Alice Springs where he became a legend over his performance covering a Royal visit. As he dashed about diligently taking photos and notes , not only did he cut into the Royal procession in his car , he, horror of horrors, showered the entourage with dust. In olden days, when monarchy had absolute power , an act of les –majeste such as casting dirt of the realm at Royals and their courtiers would see you hung, drawn and quartered . In more civilised times you were merely flogged , then sent to Botany Bay or Van Diemen’s Land

Organisers, police , flunkies and the establishment were gobsmacked - long before anybody knew the meaning of the expression. A film of that event , capturing his crimes and the expressions on the faces of all those connected with the Royal visit, would have won an Oscar or two and have pride of place in the archives tracing the history of the campaign for an Australian republic.

Despite the stated aim of setting up a private enterprise film industry in the NT, today the Territory has a considerable number of departmental public service film units doing their own thing,which undermines private enterprise by constantly luring staff away with higher salaries . Furthermore, there is no real central government oversight and control. {NOTE : Unusual items from our FRACTURED FLICKERS FILE will be posted in the near future . }

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Our Little Darwin masthead cartoon (above) which includes a female, sporting a five o’clock shadow, a hairy armpit and a moustache , holding up a placard which reads VOTE CLP , has been interpreted by some humourless drones as being endorsement for the Country Liberal Party. For the record , Little Darwin was inspired, in part, by that outrageously brilliant TV show , Little Britain , which contained follicly endowed , demure ladies who enjoyed drinking out of fine bone china and nibbling cucumber sandwiches while warding off the attention of male admirers with wandering hands in waterfront cafes.

So we invented the NT’s Curvaceous Lip Party –the CLP – which called on all hairy women to come to the aid of the Territory and stand for election because male voters have a secret fantasy about women who can curl the mo. Then we threw in another CLP – the Crocodile Liberation Party – with the motto: Let My Crocodiles Go Loose, Bruce ! At this stage, the Country Liberal Party protested bitterly, saying having three CLPs to choose from would baffle Darwin donkey voters .

For those unfortunate beings who have no understanding of spoof, satire and sock –it-to-me , be warned : a replacement cartoon will soon hit cyberspace in a major revamp of Little Darwin.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Imaginations have been running riot here at Little Darwin. For some time we have been helping compile a dossier on a dashing mystery man , said to have been in the Royal Air Force but no record has so far been found, who at first glance seems to have been a conman who flitted about the world in places like Russia, Canada, America , South Africa , Switzerland , Britain and Australia , living on his wits and indulging in the high life.

During his time in America, his got his young daughter to hop up on a table at a Las Vegas casino and do a Shirley Temple - tap dance for the gamblers- who showered her with money. That daughter is doggedly trying to track down every possible avenue to try and find out more about her family, including a one -eyed Irish Quaker !!!!! grannie who went through five husbands. Interesting emails and telephone conversations have taken place between us and the daughter who lives overseas.

At one stage, daddy was deported from Australia to Britain to face a charge, details of which are expected soon. Our resident genealogical sleuth has dug up an earlier bigamy case .

Very puzzling indeed is the way the legitimate wife ???, herself a colourful, thirsty damsel, was treated in her final years. She was placed in a Melbourne retirement village with instructions from an anonymous person to be given whatever she wanted . The nursing home would not tell her daughter the name of the benefactor.

On her death, all letters , personal documents , receipts or anything which contained her name disappeared . Her residence was unusually tidy , giving the impression that it had been “swept clean ” by a team which looked in every nook and cranny.

Little Darwin was verbally told of this nursing home puzzle soon after the recent interview by the ABC Late Night Live presenter , Phillip Adams , of author / journalist, Chapman Pincher, the British expert on espionage . During the interview , which revealed spies in MI5 and elsewhere, Pincher mentioned the Australian Spy Catcher book court case in which Malcolm Turnbull beat Maggie Thatcher and the British intelligence fraternity. (It is now history that Turnbull was overthrown by an Argentinian junta backed by the malevolent Teletubbies ). Makes you wonder who' s who and if our nursing homes are the last resting place for worn out Mata Haris who can no longer perform seductive belly dances for generals and rear admirals .