Tuesday, April 27, 2010


All the publicity about the pollution of Darwin Harbour has forced the cancellation of the planned reshoot of the 1933 Hollywood box office hit Tugboat Annie . Little Darwin can , as usual, exclusively reveal that a team of talent scouts has been in town secretly looking for locals to play key parts in the proposed movie. They had already spotted a feisty local woman who they say would make an ideal Tugboat Annie .

While they would no reveal her name, they dropped some tantalizing clues :she reeks of garlic prawns , calls a spade a spade , has put the wind up several prominent port rats , is a champion arm wrestler and intends to stand as an independent at the next NT election .

The original Tugboat Annie movie was about a comical , quarrelsome couple who ran a tugboat. Marie Dressler played Annie Brennan and Wallace Beery , was her husband, Terry, a lazy, bragging drunk who crashed the vessel. Finding a person in Darwin to play Terry is easy because of the many beery blokes on stools.

However, financial backers of the movie pulled out after reading about the pollution of Darwin from ore loading ships and the poo shooter effluent which now not only discharges in technicolour but in putrid 3D as well . American audiences, they say, would be repulsed by such a location for a wholesome family film.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Very much out of pocket , unimpressed by some members of the legal fraternity and dismayed by dealings with local businessmen and the handling of tenders and letting of government contracts , a man has departed Darwin intending to warn off entrepreneurs thinking of starting up in the Territory.

An alarm bell should have rung early in the piece when a person who wanted to do business with his company could not obtain credit from a supplier. The fellow was ,however, closely associated with a prominent Darwin resident.

The disenchanted businessman had travelled overseas and intended importing products for which there is a great demand in the NT. Unfortunately, all his efforts and expenditure have come to nought . The final blow came when a court document filed by his lawyer was incomplete -a page was missing - and he was promptly wound up. His treatment in the Territory has been examined by a southern lawyer .

Sunday, April 25, 2010


According to a strong rumour , a Darwin citizen went green about the gills on hearing that questions were being asked about how he came into possession of a file containing confidential information . He seems to have dropped out of sight for some odd reason. There are other dire ramifications which could flow from this saga . More anon.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


A war memorial in the tiny town of Acland , near Toowomba, has to be moved because a juggernaut coal company, New Hope Coal , Australia, wants to mine the site. On Magnetic Island , a tourist accommodation venue named Centaur , in memory of the 268 who died when the hospital ship of that name was torpedoed off Queensland in May l943 by the Japanese , changed hands and was given a new "brand" name . There were horrific screams as survivors of the Centaur sinking were attacked by sharks . Where would civilization be without wall to wall brand names reducing everything to baked beans ? That weird Woy Woy warrior and goon , Spike Miligan , before he fell in the water and disappeared, warned that Australia would end up a nation pock marked with worked out mine sites and nothing to show for all the wealth extracted. What he saw happening in Australia probably added to his depression.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


In a brilliant example of de Bono’s lateral thinking , Alice Springs is to be renamed ALASKA ! The moose shooting Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin , agreed to the name swap in exchange for a blunderbuss, a mess of salt petre ,a sack of rusty nails and several beads and mirrors. Palin has a bright new political future as a TV provocateur inciting the nation’s multitudinous maddies to plug the president.

Little Darwin can reveal that the Henderson Government and NT tourist industry head , Sylvia Wolf , have been working on this stunning name exchange ever since the temporary ice skating rink was set up in Alice last year and proved such a hit with locals and tourists.

As part of the breathtaking deal, the NT Government has offered Mel Brooks $10 million to stage Hitler on Ice in Alice each Christmas for the next three years . Other planned icy spectaculars will be The Sound of Music , Gone With The Wind , On Frozen Pond , Titanic- on- Todd and the Canadian Mountie musical, Rose Marie I Love You.

Little Darwin has been told another extravaganza, complete with live polar bears,a colony of Emperor penguins and NZ fur seals , has a title like Pollies On Extremely Thin Ice . Ms Wolf had to make several secret flights to Alaska to negotiate the deal with Palin . Unfortunately, the airline service to Alaska is like that in the NT and she often found flights cancelled without notice due to volcanic eruptions, vicious Republican flak and lost luggage or had to share a row of seats with tanked Darwin yobs.

According to an icy pop licking spin doctor , the grand scheme to change Alice to Alaska has been released early to help Centralians get over the deep depression caused by not being visited by the Crusty Demons.

Ice making machines will be flown in from Dubai to coat the MacDonnell Ranges so that Alice-now Alaska- will offer year - round skiing holidays for beautiful people. Standley Chasm will be converted into a glacier made from frozen water extruded from the town sewage treatment plant.

Alice Springs police will wear new uniforms designed by the NT Police Association , similar to that of the Canadian Mounties , with lemon squeezer hats and be given a generous after hours maple syrup allowance . Tennant Creek has not been forgotten in the grand plan to bring back the ice age. As Tennant used to be called Siberia , the government is looking at setting up an enviro- tourism attraction like a high class gulag in the town.
NEWSFLASH: So that residents north of the Berrimah Line do not feel left out in the heat, Norwegian Olympic ice skating champ Sonja Henie will give a demonstration of her skills on a walking frame in a special rink set up in Darwin's convention centre.


WASHINGTON .- A nasty diplomatic incident has developed between Australia and America over the killing of a Yankee black widow spider somewhere on Darwin’s waterfront. Readers will recall our exclusive report in which we said a fisherman said he had seen a nasty looking black widow spider somewhere on the Darwin waterfront.

Instead of bunging the spider in a pickle bottle so that it could be positively identified, he , sadly, stomped on it . Furthermore, he reckons he has seen other creepy crawly critters like it in the port precinct . Alarmingly , he said he would exterminate all further black widows he sees crawling about the place with his long barrel Dirty Harry special.

The powerful American Society for Protection of Spiders (ASPS) was outraged when it read Little Darwin’s account of the black widow slaughter. ASPS spokeswoman, Mary-Lou Funnel -Webb , complained to President Obama about the treatment of black widows Down Under.

Ms. Funnel-Webb demanded the president delay his trip to Australia until the NT Government guarantees the protection of all American exports, including black widows. Diplomatic sources say sensitive President Obama has been asked by ASPS to place a wreath on a special pollution , dust and spin free memorial on the Darwin waterfront as a tribute to the unknown squashed black widow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The straight talking new NT Police Commissioner, John McRoberts, has said he does not intend to have his force made “ punching bags” by miscreanst in society. He made this statement in a well prepared speech delivered at the graduation parade for recruit squad 104/2009. Commissioner McRoberts told the 20 recruits he expected them to faithfully carry out their , at times, difficult duties according to law and the best of their skill . If they did so, they could be assured of his full support.


Gad its tough being a highly paid CEO in Darwin when your grand –hush hush - plans are unexpectedly revealed. The trouble is you can’t fool / cower all of the workers all of the time. Not all serfs are dazzled by the emperor passing by in his finery , handing down life and death edicts to those lower in the food chain. Take the case of a gilded CEO , noted for making the most of all the fringe benefits that go with the job, who is at home, sipping an expensive after dinner port and nibbling a chewy mint , having just polished off a plate of venison and truffles , lolling back listening to classical music. The wretched phone rings and disturbs his reverie. Damn ! Better not be Mumbai !

Instead of an irksome telemarketer , it is a lowly member of his empire , a straight talking woman who has heard he has her on a “hit list” of seven faithful hands to be given the chop. Suddenly, the port tastes like possum piss , he stammers a denial that there is any such Mikado-like list of people to be executed .

The CEO ducks and weaves , but the feisty caller locks horns . She tells him not to come the raw prawn with her as she has an impeccable source for her information - a person she names in his own office- an uppity executive who likes coming the heavy , who let slip the existence of the said list. Sugar and shaving cream !

Continuing the Gilbert and Sullivan theme with an added snatch from a Little Darwin sea shanty , played to the accompaniment of a barnacle encrusted hornpipe , the angry caller, by now giving the CEO dyspepsia and heartburn , promises the rattled mugwump she will fight his underhand plot . After the battle , she warns, he will think he has been worked over by the combined scurvy crew of the Pirates of Penzance and the Caribbean , spearheaded by Bruce Willis , Johnny Depp , Errol Flynn and John Wayne . Did the CEO go to water? Has the list been thrown overboard ? Will he be forced to walk the plank ? The answers to these rhetorical questions are being worked on by our network of earwigs . We do know the CEO attempted to keep a low profile but a recent event has caused him to stammer, stutter and kick the cat-o'-nine tails, a cruel act being investigated by the RSPCA . Feel sure we will keep readers informed about any new development in this ripping yarn.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Expect a sharp rebuke from ALP NT secretary Mark Whittaker . Your report in the NT News , headed LABOR HELPED KATE IN CHAN , in which it was revealed that the said Mark admitted to helping "independent" candidate Kate Worden in the Darwin City Council by-election , twice committed the gross error of calling him Whitaker (sic) . It is not the first time your paper has been guilty of this- it happened before when he was an adviser to the Chief Minister. You can escape being flogged by blaming the error on a sloppy sub editor. Worden, of course, is an adviser to the Chief Minister.

Mark kindly made available the ALP database for mail outs and even handed out how-to- vote cards for Ms Worden.


Some pest exterminators deserve a spray. Strutting about like a little fuhrer , a pest exterminator bombastically ordered a Darwin woman about, demanded things and got the shock of his life when she firmly asked him who the ( expletive deleted ) hell he thought he was.

Deflated , the pompous twit inserted his tail and hose up his fundamental orifice, pulled the trigger and flushed his brain out. Over the years, we have had many experiences with pest exterminators in various states.

In Queensland , a motor mechanic gave a teenager a warrant of fitness for a ute which was an obvious death trap . After getting the bullet, he opened up business as a pest exterminator. Another guy in Adelaide said he gave all homes owned by Italians a really strong spray because they were not happy unless their houses reeked of the chemical, which at the time was linked with cancers.

In South Australia , a landlord rang pest exterminators for quotes ; several gave him a price and indicated they could arrange a , wink wink , lower price through a moonlighting mate at the weekend . There are comboys in the game as well as genuine people.

One ear bashing sprayer we dealt with tried to impress by implying that he and his firm were working hand in glove with researchers at a university on a secret concoction which would terminate all termites.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Little Miss Muffet sat on her executive tuffet / Eating her curds , whey and champers / Down came an annoying Little Darwin spider / Sat on her computer / And frightened her oddball cyberspace entry away.


The staggering disruption to global travel caused by the Icelandic volcanic eruption was illustrated when we received a telephone call from a friend who fluked a plane from Singapore to Germany.Arriving at Frankfurt she was greeted by a tidal wave of humanity , reported to number 180,000, trying to find transport north and south . She was able to board a packed train to Hamburg. Her luggage had gone astray but was assured it would turn up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


While walking through the grounds of the Nightcliff High School to vote in the Chan ward by-election for the Darwin City Council , my wife suddenly announced she was standing on the step where we watched our four children being bussed to the airport for evacuation after Cyclone Tracy. From that same spot , she recalled seeing , for the first time , a police officer pull a gun to order a man to stop trying to force his way into a bus ahead of women and children.

Another unusual first for her that day was that she saw a copy of an odd publication called MAD magazine. It had been found on the ground at the bus mustering point and our children flicked through it. Sitting up in bed this morning, my wife informed me that MAD had contained jokes about US President Richard Nixon.

She subsequently worked in the domestic science kitchen at the school preparing meals for emergency workers, biking from our wrecked home , once stopped by police at night , thinking she may be a looter.

After experiencing a sharp pain in a leg , it was thought she may have developed a thrombosis. Unfortunately, when placed in hospital, the blood thinning drip was not inserted properly and the fluid caused her arm to swell , resulting in pain which is still felt infrequently to this day. Placed in an Army Hercules, she was flown with others to a hospital in NSW and was later reunited with our children.

Friday, April 16, 2010


A longtime journo friend in Sydney has more contacts than life support systems on a NASA moon rocket sitting on the launch pad ready for blast off .He often rings for a lively chat about the state of the nation. In doing so, he passes on interesting scuttlebutt about various shonks , politicians , high flying/ soon to crash businessmen , slick deals and other Emerald City matters.

Just this weekend he called and mentioned the activities of what he called “street rats” - the name for shyster lawyers who use any and every trick in the book while pretending they have respect for rule of law and the well being of society. Some of these individuals, he said, swaggered about like two- bit punks from Underbelly and spent an inordinate amount of time , to use an old legal expression, consorting with known criminals , during and after work hours. They were widely regarded as front men for people engaged in and making vast profits from illegal activities. He opined that the NSW Law Society should rid its temple of these rodents.

It pleased him to see the NSW Fair Trading Commission is now keeping a close watch on the real estate industry to stamp our dummy bidding at auctions , deliberate under / over valuing properties and rorting the system in other ways for their own gain . Little Darwin readers will recall that under the heading REAL ESTATE RORTERS we recently pointed out a scam used by some moonlighting realtors in southern sin cities to line their pockets.

After we posted the RORTERS item we were shocked to learn that something similar has allegedly taken place here in Darwin. Suggest the local media contact the Real Estate Institute of the NT and ask if it knows of any claims of dodgy southern practices having been carried out here in the Territory. REINT , we all know, would not tolerate any unethical activities . It could be fruitful for a cub reporter to ask a string of obvious questions like how many complaints have been made about REINT members and what was the outcome of these in the last few years. This is what is called basic follow up journalism, getting the local angle, being a wee bit worldly.


Over the years, this writer was privileged to meet many of the extraordinary people in that filmic town like Alice . One of them was the late Bernie Kilgariff, an unassuming, straight talking , determined man who next week will be given a state funeral .

In conversations with Bernie , he poured out details of many colourful Centralians who have now all crossed the Styx . They included such people as Mona Minahan , the wild Adelaide flapper sent to Alice by her parents in a vain bid to tame her and soon after arriving was in a car of revellers which hit a tree and killed a man ; the amazing Miss Olive Pink , regarded as an eccentric by many locals , sympathetic to Aboriginals, able to tell the time by flowers, ahead of her time ; the dashing, headstrong Works Department resident engineer , D. D. Smith, a James Cagney type, who showed me a government telegram, in effect, reprimanding him for preparing in advance for the WW11 construction of the Stuart Highway to Darwin ; Reg Harris, like Bernie, a community minded businessman who wrote a book of Alice memoirs ; punchy Lye Underdown ,of the Alice Springs Hotel , clutching a moneybag, who gleefully told me how he pissed over the railing of his pub onto a policeman who was snooping about at night and that he once bought the slab from the Darwin morgue at a war surplus auction to use in an Alice bakery ; wartime pilot ace Sam Calder , unfairly called Silent Sam; pioneering aviator Eddie Connellan ,an educated man , with strong views and political connections ; the frustrated Dutch artist, Henk Guth , who built Panorama Guth from which he sold many paintings of Centralian views to tourists , often producing two copies of Standley Chasm at the same time ; Colonel Rose , dressed in a sheet like the Shiek of Araby , pulled out a fire extinguisher and sprayed it over women in expensive frocks at a Christmas party and hushed an audience during a royal visit by telling them to shut up ; Peg and Jock Nelson who, like Bernie, were unassuming people and contributed much to the town and the broader Territory. Jock, of course, was an ALP politician and a former NT Administrator.
In discussions with Bernie it was only natural that information was sought regarding the crusading editor Jim Bowditch who spent time in Alice , playing a large part in politics , stirring up the police and being branded a "commie" before moving up to the NT News in Darwin.

There were fabulous tales to tell about the early days of Tennant Creek where Mona Minahan , working for Bernie’s uncle, Joe Kilgariff , was present at the shooting death of a man . Joe Kilgariff also tore the roof off Mona’s store when she started up in competition against him. They later resumed their friendship and went into joint business. Other grand people and outback places were covered.

One story he told me concerned the arrival in Alice of the American Caesar, General Douglas MacArthur , who had fled the Philippines , landing at Batchelor, near Darwin ,his party continuing on to Alice. Bernie firmly stated he saw a dog in the general’s party . From Alice the Americans travelled south by rail and at the South Australian station of Terowie there is a plaque which states it was where General MacArthur first made his famous vow to return to the Philippines.

Author Xavier Herbert died in Alice trying to write a novel, the last in a trilogy about the Territory, based on the Centre . Before he set out for Alice he asked me to provide him with background on Alice and some of that distilled info obtained from talking to Bernie and other Alice residents went into the document. After reading the brief, Herbert said,”You should be writing this book.” There is truly an epic novel to be written about the Centre . The Alice saga would also lend itself to a TV series which a strong Northern Territory film industry could produce. Filed away in the Little Darwin archives is a photograph showing the collection of old bottles which formed a window display in the Kilgariff Oasis Motel. The Kilgariff household was a broad church politically ; Bernie , a Catholic, was a founding member of the Country Liberal Party and a daughter, Fran, ran for the Labor Party in the 2005 NT election.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Leaf blowers could be a health risk when it comes to the spread of the potentially deadly bacterium melioidosis Three weeks after a team carrying out garden maintenance used a leaf blower to clear grass cuttings from paths , the resident of retirement village in Darwin came down with the disease.
Subsequent tests of the village discovered that melioidosis is in the soil not far from where the melioidosis victim resides . As the scourge is highly volatile, the widespread use of leaf blowers in gardens could be directing a torrent of infection in and around homes, shopping centres , parks .
No public warning has been issued specifically mentioning leaf blowers. Department of Health and Families Disease Control Director, Vicki Krause , in the past, has warned about the possible danger from using high pressure water hoses blowing the bacterium about , suggesting that covering the mouth or wearing a mask “may” help.
The situation clearly demands close attention . It would seem inadvisable to be using leaf blowers in retirement villages where some occupants suffer from various conditions which make them very vulnerable to this infectious disease.
Incidently , the 6th World Congress on Melioidosis , staged by James Cook University, will be held in Townville from November 30 to December 3.


This Little Darwin scribbler must have looked his age when a friend asked if I had received a letter from the Minister for Senior Territorians, Rob Knight, with the alluring brochure for the Southern Cross retirement resort at Fannie Bay on the Waratah Oval site.

As a matter of fact, I had . I told mon ami that I had found the picture of Bo Derek bouncing along the beach at sunset without her walking frame more than interesting. With the right medication , a gold chain and sunnies, I could enjoy my twilight years at the village . My scoffing mate laughed and advised me to take my waterwings and a noodle . What ? Don’t tell me Esther Williams cavorts in the swimming pool as well as Bo ?

No . The site, he vouchsafed, is in a storm surge zone . But, I stammered , the brochure reassuring says the resort will be “cyclone proof” . Perhaps King Canute will be the resort manager? Killjoy that he is, my irksome friend also advised me not to bare my manly chest or other parts of my David-like profile because the oval area is well know for sandflies.

Minister Knight , who recently survived an attack by Peter Piper pecking parliamentary plovers, wrote that the Territory government is “ proud” to have contributed the land for the “ state of the art” ( a much used spin doctor expression ) stage one of the Southern Cross Care Retirement Lifestyle Resort .

If building a retirement village smack in the middle of a surge zone is now state of the art for Territory seniors , then Marshall Perron should refloat his euthanasia bill. Who dat!


The NT Government subsidises to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars visits by the Crusty Demons and the Super Bikes , says it will give $10 million to the Fannie Bay racecourse, gave the tiny greyhound racing fraternity a cool milion some time ago and has just announced it will spend more than $40 million on a new emergency generator at the Royal Darwin Hospital . Meanwhile, right now, a laser machine used in the treatment of eye complaints at the hospital is not working properly and needs replacing at the piddling cost of $38,000. Its possible replacement is being discussed , letters are being written , time is being wasted , patients are being shuffled back and forth. Patients wanting treatment for macular degeneration and other ophthalmic conditions have been told they may have to - you guessed it - go south .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


(All aboard Samuel Beckett’s magical mystery bus tour of Darwin )

It being war games time in Darwin, jet fighters roared overhead as the bus pulled into a stop … and in bounded a familiar figure, a pony-tailed , religiously inclined woman with a large backpack. She is often seen and heard campaigning and singing for God in supermarkets and other byways where sinners flock , that distinctive backpack , strapped like a parachute, which may well be a dust cover for the wings of a fallen angel.

Sitting down , she beamed about at everybody, no doubt delighted to have a trapped audience, and started talking to a nearby passenger who appeared to be one of those unfortunate creatures, a clean cut youth from south , new to Darwin . She was so intent on getting her message across to him she , sitting side saddle , did not notice that her mysterious backpack was resting on the shoulder of a passenger who adopted the hunched pose of demi-god Atlas holding up the sky.

A jet screamed by , and the young man , slightly puzzled but earnestly listening to what she was saying, raised a finger to indicate he could not hear. She responded by proclaiming : “ Yes ! Isn’t it terrible . This is wrong . We shouldn’t have to put up with this . Babies can’t sleep . People must speak up, protest.” Then she shifted her gaze to encompass the whole bus . “This is terrible , we must speak out. It is wrong having all this noise over the city . People are too scared to speak up . God has said that you must speak what is right, not speak what is wrong .”

At this stage , the youth who had been burdened by her backpack moved across to another seat. “I’m sorry, love ,was it on you ? “ she asked . “ I was going to put it ( the backpack) on the floor.” We made eye contact and she resumed her monologue about the noisy jets, timid Darwinians and God. She has a valid point . Why are ear- splitting joint exercises held over Darwin when the RAAF has a base at Tindal which seems to be mainly used as a wallaby breeding stud? No other capital city would tolerate this frequent ear-splitting assault.

Unfortunately, my stop was next , so I alighted , leaving her to continue the crusade against Satan and the war against Top Guns of America , Australia , Asia and NATO. In another bus encounter with her near the Casuarina interchange , she , accompanied by her bulbous backpack , cornered a spaced out male Aborigine and told him God was the way to salvation.

Soon after , the re-enactment of the Bombing of Darwin – the 30th anniversary of self-government – during which the city went mad with fireworks and a palm oil tree next to our house went up in flames like a fiery Ku Klux Klan cross , my wife was sitting in a bus at the Casuarina interchange when the female bus driver suddenly jumped up and announced she was going for a pee . After explaining that it had been a hectic, busy morning during which she had been unable to take a comfort break , the driver sprinted away. Back in the driver’s seat , she set off and there was a loud explosion under my wife’s seat - just like one of the hundred or so mortars that had rained down about our house on cracker night. Not only did my wife get a fright, the bus driver jumped up and looked startled . God only knows what embarrassing situation could have resulted had the driver not partaken of that pressing pit stop before setting out on the run. A shovel which may have fallen from one of Darwin’s many lead -footed tradesmens utes was found to be the cause of the explosion .


CANBERRA : Bouncing up and down on a squeaky pogo stick, athletic Opposition Leader , Tony Abbott , today announced a brilliant scheme to eradicate CO2 emissions in Australia. He has arranged for a highly regarded British scientist to advise the Coalition on its secret emission control policy.

The genius, Professor Neddy Seagoon , claims to have the solution to global warming. Professor Seagoon miraculously converted London’s notorious peasouper fogs into clean air. Unfortunately, Jack the Ripper immediately lost his night job in Whitechapel as a result of the beautiful moonlit nights , but that is the cost of progress.

From his government sponsored laboratory in London , which has a wonderful view of many statues , including Lord Nelson’s column , Benjamin Disraeli , Eros, , Boadicea and Kylie Minogue, Neddy invents amazing chemical formulae to overcome many of the world’s pressing problems . Just last week he invented the Welsh leak and narrowly escaped being arrested for indecent exposure .

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Police have called for a ban on native pets being allowed into Mitchell Street nightclubs. This follows a wild melee caused by a regular offender - a drunken marsupial known to police as Sippy the lush kangaroo. The trouble is Sippy just cannot hold his liquor. Once he gets a few drinks under his skin , he thinks he is a champion boxing kangaroo and starts brawling.
It takes a dozen long suffering police officers armed with tasers, capsicum spray , nets , tranquiliser guns , tasty gumleaves and free jelly babies to subdue Sippy and the rest of the brawlers . Sippy has been warned by a magistrate that if he does not join Alcoholics Anonymous and change his ways he will be skinned and turned into a coat for the American market.

Lounge lizards in skimpy skirts are another cause of mayhem in Mitchel Street. A member of the police Stock Squad says Mitchell Street now has more stray beasts than cattle on the Barkly Tablelands .

There is so much beastly behaviour in the nightclub precinct that the famous nature expert , David Attenborough , will present the NT episodes in the Channel 7 reality show The Force : Behind the Line.

Monday, April 12, 2010


While doing the rounds in Darwin looking for treasures , oddities and the holy grail , I came across a pile of books dealing with Australian politics, a former owner being a justice of the peace.

On the half title page of Don Watson’s tome, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart-A portrait of Paul Keating , PM, Knopf Books, 2002, was a presentation inscription : Dearest Tony….Enjoy reading about one of the biggest wankers in Oz history . The book came complete with three kisses .

Being an unashamed Keating fan , to see the big picture man , able to distill involved situations into simple language and rotisserieise ( is there such a word?) the Coalition on the parliamentary debating hotbed until they looked like scorched scrub turkeys, described in such a derogatory way caused palpitations as I prepared to see a cardiac specialist at the Darwin private hospital on April Fools’ Day. No wonder my blood pressure reading was 170 over 100. Anyway, the impressive specialist said the Hawkeye ( sounds like an episode of MASH) x-rays taken of me in more positions than in the illustrated , revised and enlarged Kama Sutra , indicated that I was a fine specimen for a decaying geriatric.

Returning from the hospital somewhat jubilant, hopeful of living long enough to see the next leap year, I perused the other political books. The Hawke Memoirs , Heinemann, 1994, had the JP’s stamp on the front free endpaper, and while there was no inscription and nil kisses by mouth , out popped The Third Reich illustrated bookmark and map key. Hmmm . Tories have a penchant for this kind of literature , I am told.

The 2001 inscription in Russell Schneider’s political autobiography of Andrew Peacock -The Colt From Kooyong-wishing Tony all the best for 2001 , cryptically stated , "You are way in front !" As the former owner of the book and Peacock had both attended Scotch College , Melbourne , it may have been a reference to their alma mater or a comparison between their then station in life. On the other hand , Peacock may have just returned , exhausted, from an astral trip with Shirley MacLaine . The book’s blurb said Peacock’s enemies ( guess which Liberals ) described him as a bad loser, spoilt child and a lazy playboy , who at times displayed amazingly poor political judgement –staff appointments including a gay liberationist and a spy . Fancy a true blue liberal mixing with such, such subversives.

Another staffer , former Liberal politician , Barry Simon, was not impressed by the performance of a former Minister for the Northern Territory , Evan Adermann , of the Country Party, when as the Minister for Repatriation he headed a government delegation to a South Pacific Commission meeting and could not answer an important question , saying he would have to ask Canberra when he returned from the island jaunt with a wilting lei and a conch shell in his baggage ; ukulele music still ringing in his ears along with the friendly beat of a headhunter's drum .

Sunday, April 11, 2010

BACK TO THE FUTURE ************

Clearing out the contents of a trunk, we found a quaint 1954 calendar with hand coloured Australian kangaroos and flowering gums . On closer examination it was discovered that the days and dates are the same as for 2010. Life was less hectic all those years ago.


Word is that a person regarded as a strong voice in the Chief Minister’s Department is likely to quit in the near future. Seems this individual has not been seen in the office for some time . The situation was discussed at a recent private enterprise business meeting . As many as three other posts are said to have been offered to the person , we are told by insiders , and all have been rejected .

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A warning issued during WW11 when German U-boat wolf packs were causing havoc with Atlantic convoys and fear in English Channel ports has been drawn to the attention of a Darwin woman who occupies a well remunerated position. That vital message , strongly endorsed by Winnie the War Winner , who emphasized the point by often giving the V-for victory sign with his chubby digits, at the same time promoting lung cancer by constantly puffing on a cigar, proclaimed , LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS. In other words, shut your north and south ( mouth ) when you are on the hops or talking in public places as what you say could help the devilish Hunn.

It seems this loose- tongued individual , after belting back the champers in nightspots and even attending other non- imbibing venues , freely mouths off about her boss . Fifth Columnists in this tiny port town , we all know, are everywhere and have elephantine ears. Her unsolicited remarks about the CEO have been overheard many times and transmitted over the dangerous waters by agents using morse code sets cunningly disguised as slabs of Heineken ice cold beer. We understand her boss , something of a sea-going ox , is himself preparing a torpedo attack of his own , so she should watch her stern and rudder post for any tell-tale signs in the briny of incoming high explosives.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Over the years , many Territorians have had colourful nicknames. Back in the wild old Vestey’s meatworks days there was a pistol - packing lady of the night known as the Shooting Star after one of her mean customers demanded a refund and she fired a volley at him as he scampered out the window.

Ever- Ready Ted , a light fingered gentleman , threw a stick of dynamite through the window of a Darwin shop after the owner’s dog barked at him . From Borroloola to Darwin there have been several Freshwater Admirals . An attractive person who frequented the old Workers’ Club was known as Soupy Lips. The great Alice Springs identity, D.D. Smith, was variously known as Doctor of Divinity or Dashing and Daring

Cowboy Bill , a raconteur with an immense repertoire of jokes , who frequented Darwin pubs, often led the NT News editor, James “ Big Jim ” Bowditch , astray .

Now , we are told , for some unknown reason, a prominent person about town has been nicknamed the Lebanese Dill Pickle. Of course, the Lebanese cucumber is popular in supermarkets, but Lebanese Dill Pickle is new to us. Must have something to do with all these towering celebrity chef TV programmes which show high rise dwellers how to toast tofu, truffles and tripe .
A soupcon of this pickle left to simmer on a serving of tort could really stimulate the palate and result in Darwin being written up in both the Michelin food and tyre guide , we are informed by knowing Darwin gourmets .


The fabulous prices being paid for real estate in the southern sin cities have, according to an informant, resulted in instances of moonlighting by realtors. We have been told that down south some sharp agents , employed by companies, have been secretly buying off plans for themselves , planning on a quick flick to somebody else, sometimes a close friend in on the stunt , at times using their firm’s own letterhead , without them knowing , to enter into agreements. This sharp practice not only leads to a capital gain, it obviates the need to share the commission with the firm for whom they work.

Companies which discover they have been diddled by these staff members are rightly annoyed and legal letters have been flying about or being considered . A number of shonks involved in such deals are likely to lose their licence to act as realtors, we are told . It is to be hoped that this unethical activity does not find its way into the Territory.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Consumer protection advocate Ralph Nader said spineless US legislators fell to their knees when talking to oil company executives . Darwin’s media seems to adopt a golly, gosh attitude to energy and petrochemical company executives when they are in town. Take the recent announcement that Inpex and its “ joint venture partner” Total E & P Australia plan to spend $3 million on the Larrakia Trade Development Centre. The official launch was at the Medina Vibe Hotel and the subject of “ saturation media coverage” and fab social photos , according to a gushing article by Peter Murphy who is on the Larrakia Development Corporation payroll. The signing was attended by Inpex president Naoki Kurodi,from Tokyo, Federal Resources and Energy Minister , Martin Ferguson, Chief Minister , Paul Henderson. Very little mention was made of any Total representatives at the function and it is obvious that the company's global CEO, Christopher de Margerie, was not present . Total seems to be very much a silent and low profile partner in the Inpex proposed project.

While it was good to see Territorians offered this trade training boost, did any of the reporters saturating the bunfight ask what Total , a giant French energy company, the world’s 10th largest , 2008 profits $21 billion , is doing for the oppressed populace of Burma where the company and the US Chevron , with Burmese energy firms , pumps gas from the Andaman Sea across Burma in a pipeline said to have been built with forced labour?

The brutal Burmese military regime reportedly receives " billions'' in revenue . French president Nicolas Sarkosy has expressed concern about Total’s involvement with the Burmese crooks. Time Magazine of January 25 this year said ,” Nothing has caused a bigger public relations headache for Total than its dealings with Burma , where a bloody 2007 military crackdown sparked global outrage .” There is certainly no PR problem here in Darwin where the media‘s attitude to energy companies verges on blind adoration.

Then there is the criminal junta’s treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi , declaring she cannot contest the rigged possible election because she is a criminal!!!! Aung’s political party has announced it will not contest the election.

Did any local reporters notice that our PM’s wife - Therese Rein, Hillary Clinton and other female political leaders staged a rally to draw world attention to the plight of Aung and the outrages in Burma? Apparently not.

Just this morning there was an ABC report that Total has confirmed it has been charged with corruption, complicity to deal in stolen property and influence peddling connected with the UN oil for food regulations during the Saddam Hussein reign in Iraq . Remember the Australian Wheat Board saga? Total has rejected the French charges . Nevertheless ,the fact that a joint venture partner in the “Inpex “ LNG project allegedly dealt with another crazed regime should be hot local news. There are surely grounds for many questions to ask of Total and Inpex. Like : How much is Total contributing to the Darwin project, half , more? Is Burmese blood money contributing to the Darwin project ? How much money has Total donated to projects which train, help , feed average Burmese and what are the details ? Is Total satisfied the money does not go straight into the pockets of the corrupt generals? What does Total think about the treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi ?

Oil and gas journals reported that Total stitched up a deal with about 20 tribes in the Yemen, almost a failed state, an area of growing concern for the US and Saudi Arabia, for a $4.8 billion project to open a gas pipeline and export port last November. The terrorist who failed to blow up the Delta jet over Detroit at Xmas had been trained in Yemen. The Saudis recently intercepted more than 100 armed insurgents , said to include al-Qaeda followers , from across the Yemeni border intent on killing and causing as much damage as possible.

Down in South America where , like just about everywhere else in the world, including the NT, there is a mad rush by mineral , energy, petrochemical companies and speculators , to grab as many properties as possible . There have been reports of indigenous occupants being driven off their land and even shot by corrupt regimes . Companies listed in the rush are well known , including one already in Darwin.


The death of Sonia McMahon , widow of the late PM , "Billy Bigears” McMahon , enabled TV newscasts to run file vision of the time she wore the dazzling dress with the split up the sides to the White House and was escorted up the stairs by US President Tricky Dicky Nixon . At the time , a columnist described the Australian PM and his lady as THE NAKED AND THE DEAD.

An odd cupid in the shape of media mogul Sir Frank Packer played a big part in uniting Sonia and Billy . Packer backed bachelor McMahon and told him he had no chance of becoming PM until he had a better half , so he should get married pronto . Hey presto ! Sonia and Billy were united in holy matrimony. Billy is said to have changed his clothes in a Qantas toilet while coming into land in America at the start of that visit during which Sonia flashed her gams .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Little Darwin was surprised to receive a personal email from Malcolm Turnbull announcing that he is going to withdraw from politics. We had made it clear that we supported Turnbull against the mealy- mouthed , back stabbing drones in the Coalition. A man of his talents was clearly wasting his time in the Liberals .

FOOTLOOSE NOTE: Lucy Turnbull will be appearing on the next ABC TV Q & A show and should have some interesting things to say as she, like Malcolm, is an articulate and spirited person.


Bizarre is the only description to describe some of the antics in a major office . Staff and communications are being watched like hawks. It gives the impression that the hierarchy is deeply afraid about any information becoming public re its operations, performance and expenditure because of the nice little number it has going . An observer has commented that all this talk about whistleblowers legislation has created almost panic in some quarters . Public servants, however , are very dubious about the so -called protection and confidentiality promised whistleblowers

Monday, April 5, 2010


You have to hand it to Late Night Live presenter Phillip Adams for constantly producing interesting shows. Take the March 24 broadcast on psychopaths. It arose out of the documentary film by Ian Walker about a psychopath called Sam . It included comment by Professor Robert Hare , Emeritus Professor of Psychology , University of British Columbia, creator of the 14 point psychopathy checklist .

Covered in the discussion were corporate psychopaths in the corridors of power which was undoubtedly of interest to Darwin listeners as there are obviously some of these weirdos prancing about on the carpets . Also mentioned were criminal psychopaths and narcissists . Exposing oneself to the professor ‘s checklist revealed this writer is troppo , obsessive, outraged by the numerous cases of injustices and bullying in the Top End and undergoing an hormonal change, in other words - your typical cranky (BUT LOVABLE) old bugger.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


We at Little Darwin continue to receive favourable reports about the new NT police chief, Commissioner John McRoberts. A common bouquet is that he is a breath of fresh air both within the force and the Territory community in general with his clear statements and upfront leadership. One act alone which has impressed is that he has made his own email address known to all and sundry and personally peruses all messages coming in, supposedly without anybody else seeing what is in the mailbag .

From Alice to Darwin he has already made his mark . It is no coincidence that there were a record 1400 arrests in Alice during a month . His comments about booze and behavior at Darwin sporting events was spot on despite the reaction of those who live in a delusionary Wally World where , mate, it is a gross infringement of your rights as a Territory knucklehead to freely rampage , drink and drive without respect for anybody else.

Reasonable members of the public have strongly backed his comments, even referring to outspoken dinosaurs who yelped when Commissioner McRoberts said enough is enough. One observer is so impressed by Commissioner McRoberts he told us he would be swept into office as the Chief Minister if he formed and led a new political party with like minded views and attitudes . Nice to have this on your police record. We wish this top gun from the West all the best in his inevitable High Noon showdown with the Territory's notorious paper shufflers and look forward to his decision on the call by the NT Police Association for new mufti .

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Now and again , Japan and New Zealand blame Australia for red back spiders arriving in shipments of timber or some other products. A fisherman friend who makes great use of Darwin port facilities says he spotted a strange looking creepy crawly which he reckons could have been a nasty American black widow spider aggressively prancing about ashore. He bases his claim on a TV documentary which showed a female black widow spider devouring those around her , an act which made the hair stand up on the nape of his neck.

Unfortunately, he stomped on the spider he saw instead of putting it in a jar to be identified His alarming story raises the possibility that there could be a whole colony of these poisonous and repugnant things lurking about the waterfront.

Anyone seeing a vile black widow– like critter anywhere near the port, sinking its fangs into a trough of expensive morsels or spinning an evil web should try and capture it for a French arachnologist to examine and launch an eradication campaign.


Strange that it took reporter Lex Hall in The Weekend Australian to name the Darwin quads – three real estate agents and a property investor - who had been allowed to make anonymous , damaging claims in the NT News about the value of apartments in the 23-storey , $30million Skytower project in the Darwin CBD.

The Australian even ran three of the foursome’s photos.
Now that the local media knows the names of the four , thanks to a southern newspaper , they can fearlessly go forth and ask obvious follow up questions and do a bit of REAL digging around in the interests of balanced and fair reporting.

Even though the Weekend Australian revealed the names , it allowed a “disgruntled buyer” to anonymously make the following cheap shot about Skytower developer , Nik Rigas , a fireman , who has saved the lives of people , “He’s trying to go from being a cowboy fireman to Donald Trump in one development” . Any fair minded person would regard this as an offensive and paltry remark. If the person responsible for this snide comment has any intestinal fortitude and other than bone between the ears, then that person should bravely own up publicly as its author. Could it be that the person who made this inane crack was himself rejected when he applied for a job with the fire service?

Rather than be ridiculed by an anonymous person, Rigas should be the subject of a praiseworthy feature as over the years he has quietly and efficiently been abuilding in various parts of Darwin. There are other fascinating twists to this story which are bound to come to light now that some of the fog has been lifted from about the tower .

Friday, April 2, 2010


Children at Royal Darwin Hospital were traumatised when a diseased Easter Bunny hopped through the wards handing out treats. Shocked parents said the rabbit was obviously suffering from myxomatosis as it had no ears. The RSPCA says the lolloping lapin was caught by a resident pest control officer with the help of a killer ferret and turned into a tasty fricassee treat for patients who don’t like fish.

Health Minister Kon Vatskalis apologised to the children for the mutated Easter Bunny and admits that the sight of a rabbit without ears must have upset the kiddies. He has given strict instructions to RDH staff to begin a rabbit eradication campaign within the hospital. Unless strong measures were taken to rid the hospital of rabbits it could become as big a problem as the feral possum plague in New Zealand, he added. All children still crying over the ugly Easter Bunny , hugging their teddy bears for security and wetting their beds, have been given a free chocolate bilby .

Now for something entirely different -an Easter Bunny type joke from Malaysia . A driver unsuccessfully attempts not to hit a rabbit which runs in front of his car. To his horror, he discovers that he has killed the Easter Bunny.

Upset, he is standing there crying when a blonde woman drives up and stops “I’ve killed the Easter Bunny ,” he tells her. Quick as a flash, she grabs a can from her car and sprays the dead bunny. It comes to life, hops off down the road , stopping every now and again to wave at them.

The astonished man asks what is in the can that the woman sprayed on the rabbit . She shows him the can : HAIR SPRAY –Restores life to dead hair and adds permanent wave.
Sorry about this, Thumper, we'll just disappear down our own odorous burrow and try and not crack any further corny jokes.