Wednesday, June 30, 2010


One of the most controversial medicos of modern times recently spent several weeks in Darwin and did not raise the slightest interest . He is Dr “Archie” Kalokerinos whose views were backed by two- time Nobel Prize winner , for chemistry and peace ,Professor Linus Pauling . Praised by some in the medical profession and reviled by others, a Melbourne Greek newspaper named Dr Kalokerinos the most influential Greek Australian of the 20th century

The doctor was not in Darwin in the flesh –there was a photo of him in the splendid National Museum of Australia touring exhibition on the subject of Greek cafes covered in an earlier Little Darwin post. The caption merely said he had been born in 1927 and his parents had run the Paragon Café in Glenn Innes , NSW.

While medical superintendent at Collarenebri, north western NSW, he became concerned about the high mortality rate among Aboriginal infants who had scurvy like symptoms. He advocated the use of high doses of vitamin C to counter the deaths , about which he wrote extensively and lectured . Forthright and open in his views like eye expert , Fred Hollows, who was appalled at the extent of eye diseases among NT Aborigines , he undoubtedly upset some of the medical establishment, some of whom scoffed at his vitamin C belief.

However , Nobel laureate Professor Pauling , who believed many diseases were caused by over production of free radicals and low vitamin C body content , heartily endorsed Dr Kalokerinos. Profesor Pauling maintained that vitamin C was beneficial in fighting flu, cancer ,cardiovascular disease , infections and degenerative problems in the aging process. As a result , he attracted criticism from members of the medical profession and his ideas were dismissed as quakery . Professor Pauling wrote the foreword to the doctor’s widely read 1981 book , Every Second Child, in which he spoke of the reluctance of many doctors to accept new ideas.

The book’s title was based on the fact that at Collarenebri he had been able to reduce the Aboriginal infant death rate from virtually every second child who presented with some risk factor to zero through intravenous vitamin C injections.

Many moons ago, this writer had contact with Dr Kalokerinos when he was still in Collarenebri in connection with his advocacy of vitamin C to reduce Aboriginal infant deaths and another of his interests, opals, about which he wrote a book in 1973,
Australia’s Precious Opal .

As the years went by , he expressed strong and controversial views about the likely cause of some Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( Cot Deaths) being sub clinical scurvy and Shaken Baby Syndrome cases in which parents were charged with murder when in fact their baby had died as a result of mandated vaccination.

In 2000, a 500 page book was published -Medical Pioneer of the 20th Century - covering his time opal mining, Aboriginal health, vaccinations, SIDS and included 30 pages regarded as the bible on the subject of Shaken Death Syndrome.

Both he and Professor Pauling shared the controversial proposition that , at times, mass immunisation of children could be a health hazard. Pauling caused an uproar when he said mass immunisation of African children in the early days had been a disaster, leading to the death of many . Dr Kalokerinos has lectured widely in the UK and America

The late former Queensland physician, Lady Cilento , wrote a book entitled You Can’t Live Without Vitamin C , and it is said she gave Premier Joh Bjelke –Petersen large doses , the obvious noticeable result being that he could express himself more clearly instead of rambling on to his media chooks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Looking like an old style Russian anarchist, bushy- bearded journalist, commentator and author , Mungo MacCallum, hurled entertaining verbal bombs at the media during his Darwin talk about the lousy reporting of politics in Australia . He also proffered wise advice which Noel Coward would have given the many Mrs Worthingtons of Darwin who might like to see their daughters’ bylines on the page of a newspaper.

In answer to a question from a female who stated many people wanting to enter university journalism courses were found to be illiterate, Mungo said he was no great fan of such courses.

They just taught the technical aspects which could be picked up in spare time . To become a journalist, you needed two things : an insatiable, always sceptical sense of curiosity about what is going on around you , and be able to perform under pressure. ( As an aside, which drew laughs, he said it also helped to learn not to become an alcoholic .)

If a person wanted to take a uni course it should be something useful like politics, law, arts , science , not journalism . Perhaps a sign of the political times , there was a strong representation of women in the audience, including NT Legislative Assembly Speaker , Jane Aagaard .

Assorted spin doctors in the gathering may have winced when Mungo spoke of the deleterious influence of these people PR flacks and immature youngsters running ministerial offices in Canberra. ( Second part with coverage of other subjects raised will be posted soon ).

Monday, June 28, 2010


( Chronometer does not fugit in Samuel Beckett’s Darwin .)

Time used to stand still for bus travellers in Coconut Grove. It was exactly 6.30 for yonks. This was alright if you were aware of the phenomenon , but alarming if you were one of those busy, busy southerners up here on a trip wanting to make the most of every minute. Or locals not aware of the time warp .

The latter was the case when five Aboriginals travelling on a bus one afternoon wanted to know the time and looked at the large dial at the Clock Tower Shopping Centre . Clock says 6.30 . Eh!!! “ Scuse me, mate , what time is it ?” Displaying my watch , I showed them that it was 4pm . But the clock on the tower says 6.30 ? I pointed out it was not working and had been in this state for light years. One of the group , with a degree in horology , explained the situation , “It’s buggered.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010


As the Dry season wanes and the build up begins, people tend to be apprehensive about the future. One such person who will be doubly concerned this year is a high flying mugwump whose contract will be up for review. Round about the commencement of the sticky weather he will get an indication about whether or not he will be kept on or told to catch a slow boat to China.


Here is some advice for Kevin Rudd . Forget your worship of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Christian invocation to turn the other cheek . For Alexander Downer to turn upon you after you okayed a job for him in Cyprus , and now say he did not think much of you all along must be galling in the extreme .

So, with your vast knowledge of Chinese culture , including the ancient art of inserting bamboo slivers under finger nails, suggest you do the following. One dark night , when Alexander is lining up in Adelaide for a ghastly pie floater , you emerge , dressed like Inspector Clouseau’s crazed Asian manservant , a fully paid up member of the AWU’s brutal Tong Hit Brigade, and go berserk like a delinquent Karate Kid . Work him over properly and tripe will be on the menu for a month .

The new dragon lady in charge of the Forbidding City would also be advised to clear out all the other Coalition hasbeens given jobs by the former PM if , as it seems, they think it is their God given right to be given a sinecure and make disparaging remarks about their benefactor .

Saturday, June 26, 2010


By a stroke of good luck , Little Darwin discovered the stunning National Museum of Australia travelling photographic exhibition revealing the influence of Greek cafes on Australian culture on its last day in Darwin. What a delight . It included the "golden age " of Greek cafes from 1930 to the 1960s when they introduced American style milk bars and associated food to the nation along with soda, sundaes and jukeboxes. Many of the cafes adopted American names- New York , California, Monterey, Grand Junction , Hollywood, Astoria .

Of particular interest were the photographs of Greek oyster saloons in the early l900s which sold the succulent seafood in bottles and shell . In various digs for old bottles and remnants from yesteryear , Cyclops often turned up oyster shells and wondered why people were so fond of crustaceans , putting it down to the popular belief that oysters add oomph to your libido, conjuring up a picture of lusty forebears.

On one dig at a century old post office site in South Australia numerous oyster shells and beer bottles were unearthed . Fittingly , in another extensive excavation on an adjoining old bank site , where chastity and self control should have reigned as it had been a Catholic manse in more recent times, there were no oyster shells , but plenty of wine bottles , more than could possibly have been involved in blessing wine and wafer in a tiny country town .

A familiar name jumped from the photograph of the Capitol Refreshment Rooms ,Canberra , 1929 : NOTARAS , Jack , Emanuel and Theo . The caption said Theo had been born on the Greek island of Kythera in 1908 and brought out to Australia by his uncle. Wonder if Dr Len Notaras of the special trauma unit at Royal Darwin Hospital is a descendent ? If so, he might consider opening an oyster bar , using Paspaley Pearls meat as part of the healing therapy .

Another Greek café picture , the Niagra , Gundagai, 1938 , advertised as Australia’s Wonder Café , with an art deco interior, still operating today , had been initially started by Strati Notaras in 1902. Interestingly, the café was frequented by film stars and politicians. In 1942 , Prime Minister, John Curtin, held a wartime midnight cabinet meeting in the café at which steak and eggs were served. Is it possible that the bombing of Darwin was discussed during the meal ?

( Subsequent research revealed that in the 1916 NSW Greek census there were 12 people from Kythera with the Notaras surname , all involved in cafes , ranging from an oyster saloon in Redfern , Sydney, to a miners’ eatery at Broken Hill and several fish shops .)

Darwin businesses included in the pictorial coverage are Zero In The Tropics, with which author Xavier Herbert had close contact and the Star Milk Bar with the Canaris girls. Mentioned also were the Rendezvous and the Purple People Eatery .

Rules for staff in the Belle Vue Café ,Warwick ,Queensland, contained these instructions: No Gum Chewing , Be Civil , No Loud Talking, No Loafing, Don’t Fix Hair or Face in Shop.

To be accepted by the business community and Australian society in general , many Greek proprietors joined masonic lodges , thus there is a picture of David Andronico in Freemasons' regalia of the 1930s in Queensland.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The reason for Malcolm Turnbull’s surprise announcement that he will stand again at the next election , despite having firmly said he would quit the arena , has never been clearly explained . In the context of the ALP’s surgical and brutal removal of PM Kevin Rudd , the reason for Turnbull’s backflip is crystal clear. A faction within the Coalition , small l liberals, as distinct from the ruling Spanish Inquisition mob who are eagerly burning the atmosphere, tax reformers and refugees , convinced Malcolm that he will rise from the dead and head the party when Tony Abbott leads the Tories and clodhoppers to a well deserved defeat .

It was hypocritical in extremus , but typical, for the great big , old , now dud, Mad Monk to talk of bloody assassination squads, Uncle Joe Stalin midnight door knockers , the Sussex Street Marauders- it all sounded like the promo for the latest vampire and werewolf movie.

RUDD’S FUTURE: The obvious post for Rudd is that of Special Minister for China Trade and Cultural Relations.
He is admirably qualified for such an important role.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


The Commonwealth is said to be looking for 200 more permanent spaces in Darwin to accommodate refugees from Christmas Island. It is suggested the RAAF houses being vacated at the airport are being considered . So far , 105 RAAF families have reportedly been moved out because the Defence Department claims the new Joint Strike Force fighters , due in four years , will be much noisier ,


We at Little Darwin have informed Prime Minister Julia Gillard how to make her political honeymoon longer and more satisfying than she could possibly imagine in her wildest fantasy. In a FOR YOUR EYES ONLY email , delivered under plain wrapper by giggling Green Senator , Sarah Hanson-Young, an expert on first time earth moving events, we revealed an important fact of life regarding the Australian media : it has a collective shoe fetish, as Madame Lash knows only too well.

We strongly recommended the PM discard her old fashioned Welsh winkle picker shoes for clunky Doc Martens , which are regarded as really sexy by the weirdo Aussie media pack.

As proof of our claim , we cited the case of another South Australian female politician, Natasha Whatshername , who was the media flavour of the month for years when she wore Doc Martens to Canberra . The parliamentary gallery journos wildly tipped she would become PM, the first female Astronaut and Queen of the Bushing Festival, during which people suffering from tinia , some reporters, remove their Don Dunstan boots and crush grapes with their unwashed feet in the Rundle Mall .

Taking our footwear advice, we guarantee the PM will mesmerise the media for at least a year , giving Ms Gillard one of the longest political honeymoons in the Guinness Book of Records, just ahead of demure Mae West who had more Roman sandals than Imelda Marcos .

Meanwhile, we understand Fran Kelly , of the ABC , is frantically working on a TV series exposing how Ms Gillard cobbled together support to become Australia’s first female PM . Background music throughout the powerful doco will be Nancy Sinatra’s pulsating hit song about her boots with which she threatened to walk all over Mr Banana Split.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


( After boasting that the Coalition is on the verge of a momentous election victory – equivalent to conquering Mount Everest- Tony Abbott hastily adopted the underdog and missionary position , saying he was just at the base camp, a long way from the summit. )

KATHMANDU : Worried authorities here are attempting to stop an Australian fitness freak from attempting to conquer Mount Everest on a bicycle. It is feared that his gizonkas will be frozen to the bicycle seat as he pedals madly towards the summit ,whistling Ave Maria . Boiling water will then have to be used to prevent the gizonkas , normally covered in Bondi blue-green algae , from shattering into pieces like ice cubes.

A Tibetan monk told Little Darwin that the foolhardy attempt should be aborted because the cyclist will frighten the vast herds of timid yaks which will stampede, plunge down ravines,cause widespread starvation and the yak butter market to crash.

There has already been a terrible event at the base camp. One of the cyclist’s support party , a comely wench , known as Bronnie , was carried off by a near-sighted yeti .The unfortunate yeti was heard howling in horror once he got a good squizz at her, after brushing the hair out of his eyes. Still suffering post traumatic shock, the trembling yeti is in an induced coma.

An Australian mining company digging up half of Mongolia has kindly offered to build a three lane highway from the base camp to the top of the dangerous mountain to help the cyclist succeed.

Acting on advice from a South Australian mentor, the cyclist, Antoine Crap -Injected has had his elephantine ears removed to streamline his body for the relentless upward thrust to the top of the world. Local SP bookie, Edmund Hillary , will not take any bets on Crap-Injected because he reckons he has been given performance enhancing racing camel dags from Central Australia .


About to hit the sack , the breaking news of the challenge to PM Rudd came through. Off to bed with the political situation and , as usual ,ideas for blogs spinning about in my head, fell asleep … and woke up at a packed media scrum being held by PM Rudd!

In my dream , there I was ,standing behind the PM, me clad in a suit, but wearing only one shoe . As the PM passionately put the case justifying his hold on office, I was more interested in finding my shoe. At one stage, I patted him on the back and told him to keep on speaking , while I gazed about for the errant piece of footwear.

Suddenly, all the reporters rushed away , followed soon after by the PM. Still I looked for the shoe and came upon a trail of delightful old sporting medals , some enamel and gold, which I picked up , examined, polished and pocketed.

What an odd dream . Wonder what a shrink would make of this? My subconscious mind may have envisaged stayput Rudd attending the ALP caucus meeting and beating the rostrum with his shoe like angry Nikita Kruschev when he addressed the UN. Of course the missing shoe could also have meant that Kevin 07 would get the boot soon after the cock crowed in the morn.

I did not need Freud to interpret that part of the vision in which the entire media pack dashed off and left the PM behind . Cleary , this symbolised the fickleness of the scribes who love you with all the passion of a kerbside knee- trembler and very quickly leave you for a cosmetic injection. Still cannot fathom the meaning for that trail of sporting medals .


Trust Wilson “Iron Bar ” Tuckey to offensively link the death of the Sundance Resources Limited mining party in the Congo to the Rudd government’s mining tax on super profits. He said the tragedy was a clear sign that miners were being forced offshore. The truth of the matter is that Sundance had been working on the $3.4billion Mbalam iron ore project , in the Republic of Cameroon , with reserves of 2.45 billion tonnes of ore , for some years ,planning to come on stream in 2012.

His ill- timed , incorrect outburst is illustrative of the Coalition’s current extreme badmouthing and misrepresentation of anything and everything connected with the government

Our mining contacts informed us that the former chairman of Sundance , George Jones , now running the company in the vacuum caused by the loss of the top executives , booked out of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, eight hours before the murderous terrorists launched their attack. The hotel is owned by the powerful Indian Tata Group, which has numerous business interests , including the steel industry.

Monday, June 21, 2010


There is much justifiable concern about the pollution of Darwin Harbour and other Territory ports . The situation revealed just how inadequate are the monitoring and testing facilities as what passes for a system –clearly- is not working and has not been for a long time. During the ongoing closure of Darwin beaches announcements were made which seemed to indicate that nobody in authority had a modicum of understanding about the causes and types of algal blooms, except the mayor .

I am still baffled why Health / Fisheries / Mining minister , Kon Vatskalis , appeared on TV during the harbour stink brandishing a hogtied mudcrab . Please explain , Miss Xenophobia .

Why did samples have to be sent south for analysis ? If we want to be a state, we should be capable of carrying out basic marine science tests on our own shore. Charles Darwin University , it seems, does not have research labs which can determine the origin of man -made pollution in our own nest. Perhaps there is a bigger demand for fun courses like shaping balloons into animals ?

With mooted major development of the port, including dredging to take bigger ships , the powers that be , with illustrious titles and well remunerated , had better get their acts together to protect the environment , humanoids and crustaceans, the latter from being used as props in over-cooked photo opportunities .

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The current war being waged against the Australian Government over the super tax on mineral resources will reveal whether or not the Anzac-Kokoda Track spirit is still alive in the nation or a self deluding notion which has no meaning today. This is not an extreme statement because if the Rudd government is rolled at the ballot box over this issue then the country will be taken over by forces so emboldened they will grind down and browbeat the nation and its workforce. Nominally running the country will be a Coalition government strongly obligated to and directed by mining boardrooms.

In an obvious statement, Treasurer Wayne Swan said that certain mining companies were using standover tactics on other mining companies and others in the campaign against the Rudd government over the proposed tax .

During the June 20 ABC Insiders TV show , Australian Financial Review reporter, Laura Tingle, backed Swan’s claim. She had picked up from the business community outside mining that they were getting “friendly phone calls” from miners saying they would not like their close relationship of the past to be compromised by them coming out in support of the government tax package . “ It is quite savage what has been going on ,” she added.

During the same programme, disjointed utterances by the Lygon Street Lip, right wing commentator Andrew Bolt, let slip why the mining juggernaut , backed up to the hilt by the Coalition, is going for the jugular.

The mining industry, he intimated , would not compromise over the supertax because if the Rudd government were ousted it would save them “ billions.” ( Therefore, spending $100 million on an advertising campaign is a piddling amount.). Bolt almost salivated with glee when he raised the possibility of the ALP “ brand ” being “trashed " in a “Whitlamesque” way .

Believe it or not, he spoke favourably about Julia Gillard, saying that as leader of the government she would be collegiate in her approach, skilful , talented . Hello ? Not so long ago, the Coalition forces were ridiculing her for everything from her dress and hair style , being a union puppet , producing no fruit of the womb and dismissively called her the Red Terror and the Orange Roughy , the latter a fish in danger of being overfished in southern waters . This flattery was no backflip by Bolt, it was artifice designed to add fuel to the bogus suggestion that Rudd should be replaced by Gillard. If the voters, including the ALP, fall for the thuggery , threats and s tandover tactics , expect the deluge .

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It is no hoax – the bearded skull of political journalist and commentator Mungo MacCallum will speak at an interesting evening in Darwin on Tuesday , June 29. His topic will be " Current Politics and Deplorable Media Coverage " at a function organized by the NT Library .

This Little Darwin fossil had the opportunity to dust down the counter at the grand Non Members’ Bar in old parliament house in Canberra with Mungo and swap anecdotes , including one about a certain ambitious journo who had served time in the Territory.

The laws of defamation prevent any further details of the exchange , punctuated by mad laughing, which made others stare questioningly at us , and some unseemly , not politically correct language passed my lips. I can only let slip that a prominent right wing identity , a garrulous pain in the archaeological pit, was involved in one tale. An inquisitive person later asked me what Mungo and I had been raucously laughing about in the bar. Like George Washington, unable to tell a fib, I told him the subjects involved national security and thus were covered by a D-notice, so my lips were sealed .

It was a time of much younger looking political reporters such as Michelle Grattan, Paul Kelly and Mike Steketee . Like the Phantom of the Opera , Gareth Evans was often seen dashing about the corridors from photo copier to copier, with a tome about the size of Webster’s Dictionary , bemoaning the fact that the machines were out of paper.

Mungo’s enlightened prose and commentaries entertain and inform the nation and his journo colleagues. What a shame the Darwin University radio station does not run his political commentary instead of The Parrot, the cash for mush chap. Mungo’s free talk kicks off at 5.15pm, presumably in the parliamentary library ( the leaflet does not say ) , and bookings are preferred by ringing 1800 019 155 or Roll up for what will undoubtedly be more edifying than the predictable outpourings of the right wing commentariat, which includes in its number one who bears a striking resemblance to one of the many feral Northern Territory pygmy hippopotamuses in Darwin Harbour, causing algal blooms and destroying the great floating islands of African water hyacinth that form a Keep Australia Beautiful award winning walkway from Cullen Bay to Mandorah .

Friday, June 18, 2010


A variety of businesses in the Darwin area report a slow down in trade. While some of this could be attributed to the end of the financial year , big ticket entertainment events , school expenses , political tensions and uncertainties, the shopkeepers say people are keeping a tighter grip on the purse.

On the other hand, Op shops appear to be experiencing increased sales, especially in clothing , which is interpreted as an indication of what is going on in the economy. High real estate prices , interest rate increases and high rents are contributing to the situation. With talk of 3000 defence personnel being shifted from Darwin to the Edinburgh base in South Australia, starting later this year, this is expected to have a considerable impact on the economy, hopefully on the availability and cost of accommodation .

The fact that Jetstar is reducing its service through Darwin is being read in some business circles as an indication that some of the oil and gas boom expectations and associated pressures could be diminishing.

A Queensland source in the real estate business says the market there is tough , with cautious buyers , some seeking bargains , lots of properties for sale and only reasonably priced ones selling. In Sydney, where real estate prices were rising before Easter , the market has turned down to a degree.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


( Samuel Beckett's study tour of Darwin's public transport .)
All travel on the bus was free one day because there were no tickets. On being told this, an Italian man, who had proffered his fare , said he had travelled on the bus for 20 years and this was the first time there was no charge. In a theatrical way , he spread his hands like one of the three great tenors and sang Arrivederci Roma .

There he was again , the harmless , but obviously troubled soul in the Buso # 1 trip who thought Germany had been the best role model before the Sudetenland annexation , the invasion of Poland and the subsequent outbreak of general hostilities. Pointing at the two tower blocks on the Daly Street end of the Esplanade , he chortled , exclaimed , “ Accommodation for the people.” Plucking two cigarettes from his pocket , he passed them to a startled Aboriginal sitting behind him and said,” Happy New Year .”

Three elderly Aboriginal women, the front one unsteady on her thin legs , probably due to hip displaysia , shuffled down the aisle. Gallantly, the man pointed to the seat next to him and twice told her to be careful and not fall as she slowly lowered herself down, finally sitting slightly hunched.

Then , noticing that an A4 size brown envelope carried by one of the other women had rainwater on it, he took it from her , wiped it with his hanky , placed it a plastic bag , twirled it several times until it was completely water tight , and handed it back. The worn woman sitting next to him looked about with a smile on her face . In his peculiar way , this gent has warned against the folly of war, treated women in general with respect and spread goodwill among bus travellers . He may get to see Godot, unlike so many other sinful commuters who are clearly destined for the fire and brimstone depot .

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


If it is okay for the tabloid NT News to hire a clairvoyant, it is only fitting that Darwin’s most respected broadsheet , the Cullen Bay Cock Up , winner of five Walkley Awards for dodgy journalism, should engage a crystal ball gazer as part of the vicious circulation war .

Known as Madam Magic Balls, the highly regarded seer has an international reputation for predicting future events. For example, she told countless dateless and desperate women that a tall , dark man , with the IQ of a warthog , and a crazed soccer fan , would come into their lves .
As a result , nunneries throughout Europe now have house full signs .

In an exclusive interview with Little Darwin , we crossed Madam Balls’s palm with an IOU and a bottle of gin under plain wrapper for a spooky view into the future . Her ball clouded over after the first swig and she had to apply Mr Sheen before she could get an unobstructed line of sight.

According to her , she could see a muscle- bound boofhead , surrounded by corporate lifestyle gnomes , headed for a crash. Another person could clearly be seen injecting large amounts of equine growth hormone , strangely jumping in and out of boxes , and braying like an ass or Mr Ed the talking horse.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Few people know that an uncrowned king came a cropper in Darwin when he took on media magnate Rupert Murdoch. Little Darwin was reminded of this clash while attending the auction of a Nightcliff property which went for under $1million . At the sale was a woman who came from Mount Gambier, South Australia, where the “king”- forceful and acquisitive trucking tycoon and media owner , Allan Scott, owner of the town’s local newspaper and TV station ,with interests in several other SA newspapers, reigned .

In 1980 Scott hit the Territory in a big way, buying two independent newspapers, both called The Star, in Darwin and Alice, owned by separate companies . He also offered to buy the Alice commercial radio station 8HA and said he would like to build a commercial TV station in the Centre . In Darwin he attempted to buy the commercial TV station NTD-8 and with a bit of spare cash bought Gulf Transport .

On buying the Darwin newspaper, in which Kerry Byrnes, now of Arnhem Nursery, Humpty Doo ,was a co-founder, Scott announced he would install a web-offset press and turn the newspaper from a weekly to a bi-weekly , then a tri-weekly. This was clearly throwing down the gauntlet to Murdoch’s daily NT News .One of Scott’s executives was a close friend of the SA Premier, Don Dunstan

A free newspaper -The Sun- was launched by the News to counter Scott’s challenge . The Star went from a tri-weekly back to a weekly in early 1982, staff left after a dispute and the paper eventually folded.

The uncrowned king , who at one stage was said to own 15 percent of the Bank of Adelaide, withdrew to Mt Gambier . Scott erupted with anger when he read an article in the Australian Business Monthly headed MURDOCH SENDS A KING INTO EXILE.

Because of his tough talking and media influence , South Australian politicians deferred to him and when Port Power Australian Rules team, which he sponsored , had a bad run , he said the coach, Mark Williams , should be removed. Port went on to win the premiership and Williams, in effect, thumbed his nose at Scott as he held the trophy aloft.

In Mt Gambier Scott was so powerful that when one of his trucks rolled and blocked the main road leading into the town, he ordered the editor of his paper, Border Watch , not to report the matter. Town residents observed that Scott , small in stature , was invariably dressed in black like a member of the mafia when he attended race meetings; over the years he donated large amounts to SA race tracks.

In Darwin , he had the disconcerting habit of driving about the city , often disregarding red lights , pointing out businesses that were up for sale which he could buy if he so wished. Scott clearly had big ideas . He expressed a desire to buy the Adelaide Advertiser and on several occasions said he would buy Ansett airlines if it came up for sale, mentioning WA businessman Robert Holmes a Court as a member of a possible consortium. News Limited had a half share in the airline at the time and it was common knowledge that Scott disliked the late Sir Peter Abeles because of competition in the transport business. Scott’s dislike of Sir Peter was such that he would never travel in an Ansett plane and was known to drive to Alice and catch a TAA flight rather than take an Ansett plane. Aged 85, Scott died in 2008.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


LONDON : The Queen has ordered that the editor of the Northern Territory News be lodged in the dreaded Tower of London for allowing her photograph to be run in the newspaper with details for lodging advertisements over the Queen’s birthday weekend.

It is just not the done thing to use the Queen in common advertisements . While it is okay for a gin company to boast that , by royal appointment, it is a supplier of its product to the Queen Mother, it is the worst kind of lese-majesty to run a photograph of the monach in a tiara drawing attention to classified advertisements. Furthermore, the outrageous advertisement was on a page of public notices dealing with bingo nights, abandoned cars and a footie club called The Bulldogs , which sounds suspiciously British, not Orstralian .

A Buckingham Palace spokesman told Little Darwin that Her Majesty , Queen Elizabeth 11 , affectionately called Lizzie Two Stroke by staff , has ordered a team of Beefeaters be flown to Darwin to arrest the offending editor. If Jetstar has not cancelled the Singapore connection, the Beefeaters could arrive on Friday . Getting through airport safety checks with their razor sharp halberds which are long handled weapons with a head consisting of an axe and a spear could be a problem.

The editor would almost certainly be hung, drawn and quartered , the spokesman chuckled. Australia’s most avid supporter of the monarchy, Professor Fred Flintstone, recently made a member of the Order of the Garter and Rusty Suspender, was outraged when Little Darwin informed him of the newspaper’s dastardly offence. “The editor is a cad , a bounder , a bally idiot , probably a Garibaldi-ite and a despicable republican,” Professor Flintstone shouted, losing his normal academic cool. There was no way in the world that media magnate Rupert Murdoch would ever get a knighthood now that one of his papers turned the Queen into a commoner flogging advertising space, Flintstone thundered. He volunteered to personally flog the editor in the Smith Street Mall stocks , finishing off the initial punishment and entertainment with a fireworks display arranged by Guy Fawkes .

In the interests of balanced reporting, Little Darwin attempted to contact the newspaper’s editor to get his side of the story , but we were told that he is hiding in a WW11 underground bunker disguised as a chain smoking Princess Margaret . The Duchess of Pork told us , for a small fee, she could arrange a meeting with Princes Margaret and a cute financial advisor .

Friday, June 11, 2010


There is something of a mystery surrounding the spelling of the surname of Darwin’s energetic businesswoman , community worker and fund raiser , the late “ Auntie Billie.” The NT Dictionary of Biography has her surname , from a second marriage , as PITCHENEDER .

In the Australia Day News issued on January 26 this year one of the highlights was presentation by the Darwin North Rotary Club of the Aunty Billie Christening Cup to the first child born at the Royal Darwin Hospital on Australia Day . The cup , it said, honoured Auntie Billie PITSCHENEDER , a tireless worker for many charities.

The History Society of the NT in a 2008 newsletter apologized for incorrectly spelling Auntie Billie’s name , stating it should be PITSCHENEDER. Part of the Parap Housing Commission complex ,where she lived late in life , was named PITSCHENEDER COURT, a plaque honouring her continuing contribution to the Darwin community and work for charities.

Big in stature , energy and drive, she ran a catering business in Darwin , was an active participant in many community organizations and raised large amounts of money for worthy causes, including the rebuilding of the Chinese temple after Cyclone Tracy . A frequent visitor to the NT News in the days when it was situated in the “ tin bank” in Smith Street , she threw an annual birthday party for the newspaper. In fact, she called so often at the newspaper with cakes and sandwiches , editor “Big Jim” Bowditch, really a slight fellow, feared he would end up looking like Billy Bunter or Fatty Arbuckle , so politely asked her to desist. At times she unburdened problems on Bowditch and literally cried on his shoulder, engulfing the startled editor with her shaking , ample bossom.

When in 1961 she married Peter Pit(s) cheneder , a ship’s cook, she swept her beloved up in her arms at the reception . For him to have recipricated may have risked a double hernia, she being such a large bundle of charms. When Peter died ,The Star newspaper reported he was PITCHENEDER . Governor-General ,Sir Zelman Cowen, presented Billie with the BEM and she also received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. In 1980 she was named Citizen of the Year by the Darwin Australia Day Committee.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


From Spain comes a surprising email from an adventurous one- legged grey nomad friend who once plied up and down the Queensland coast in a well fitted out yacht which even boasted a herb garden. I once went snorkelling with him at John Brewer Reef, 70kms off Townsville, journeying there in his son’s outboard . A flipper attached to the stump of his leg , and he was the first into the water ; after some time , we lost track of him and discovered him a long way along the reef , merrily exploring , armed with a speargun.

Some time later, he turned up in the yacht which he, being one of those people able to turn their hand to just about everything , had fitted out . With him was his partner, an intelligent, delightful woman , with a grown up family and a desire to write.

They told of their enjoyable trips and the sea- going nomad fraternity who regularly went north up Cape York with the south east trade winds and reluctantly returned to become landlubbers with the approach of the monsoons. On one of those trips north , some regulars gathered on a beach for the Melbourne Cup and ran a sweep.

Now comes this email informing us that he sold the yacht in December 2008 , split with his sailing partner and last year stripped and fitted out a 22- seater Toyota Coaster bus in which he plans to spend five years travelling around Australia. We expect to see a Spanish galleon in our drive way in the near future.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


( Samuel Beckett's whip-lashed tour of Darwin's bus routes .)
It was the time of the Catholic World Youth Day celebrations in Sydney and a blessed event took place in a Darwin bus . An Aborigine entered, saw a woman , who looked like one of those strange beings , a tourist , and asked , “ Are you seeing the Pope ?” With an accent , she responded by saying she did not understand English. He then announced he was black . “So what ? ” she replied . Resuming his opening religious gambit , the man said , “ I saw the Pope , and I cried .” In a confessional frame of mind , he admitted he had been a police officer in Western Australia and had children who were not black like him , “ half-castes ”, a situation which made him feel sorry .

After almost missing the bus , a gabby geezer about my age , wearing a baseball cap, stumbled down the aisle and sat down, asking me if it was the Number 4 . Waving an envelope , he informed me that he has just taken delivery of a ticket for a trip to Adelaide on the Ghan train , a journey he would make with his repaired bicycle at an extra cost of $40 .
Perhaps because I was carrying a cloth bag with a message to save the curlews of Magnetic Island , sported a scruffy beard , wore a floppy hat and suspicious Pommie - looking sandals , giving the impression of a nomadic , visiting , geriatric hippie , he asked me from whence I came. Darwin . When did I first come to Darwin ? 1958 . Oh . He volunteered that when he first came to Darwin , 1997, it was a “ cowboy town ”, everybody wearing cowboy hats. Then he told me that there is so much work available in the Territory that even he had been able to get a job.

The day before had been his birthday , and he was off to the casino to celebrate . On alighting , he made a bee- line for the casino , but stopped to speak to a young bloke sitting on the kerb , a T-shirt worn like a hat on his head, sunning his back . The Ghan ticket was being waved before his face.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A brief history of Territory mine rehabilitation , an extract from the Environment Centre , Northern Territory, website.

Since mining began in the Northern Territory with the 1870s gold rush, there has been little in the way of rehabilitation requirements. The small scale of early mining operations and the speed with which operators moved on to other areas led to the abandonment of many mine sites. Dangerous pits and shafts, waste rock dumps and poisonous tailings deposits can be found at many former mining sites in the Northern Territory.

In some areas there has been an effort to rehabilitate sites. For instance in the South Alligator Valley within Kakadu National Park the Federal Government is currently undertaking an expensive rehabilitation program to remove the hazards of abandoned uranium mines at El Sherana, South Alligator, Coronation Hill and other sites. These rehabilitation efforts have been publicly funded as many of the companies involved in mining efforts no longer exist and in some cases the Commonwealth was one of the proponents.
"The Rum Jungle Mine in the Northern Territory, for example, released 130 tonnes of copper, 100 tonnes of manganese, 40 tonnes of zinc and 13,000 tonnes of sulfate into the Finnis River in one year." (Australia, State of the Environment, 1996, Department of Environment, Sport and Territories, 4-22)
Rum Jungle uranium mine near Batchelor provided the impetus for public concern about the impacts of abandoned mines. Rum Jungle was mined between 1954 and 1971 by CRA (Rio Tinto's predecessor) and the Commonwealth. For much of the mine's life tailings were deposited directly into the Finnis River system. On completion of mining no rehabilitation efforts were conducted. CRA and RTZ (now Rio Tinto) consistently refused to contribute any funds towards rehabilitation of the Rum Jungle site.
An initial attempt to clean up Rum Jungle was made in 1977, which led to the setting up of a working group to examine more comprehensive rehabilitation. A $16.2 million Commonwealth-funded program got under way in 1983 to remove heavy metals and neutralise the tailings. A supplementary $1.8 million program to improve Rum Jungle Creek South waste dumps was undertaken in 1990.
Major environmental problems remain on site at Rum Jungle with serious acid drainage problems emerging. In 2001 the lease area is yet to be returned to traditional owners. Rum Jungle prompted regulators to at least publicly state the need for mining companies to meet their rehabilitation responsibilities if not ensuring that these responsibilities were met via legislation.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Instead of pussyfooting about with a piddling $38million information campaign , the Rudd government should acquaint the nation with the track record of the mining giants lining up against Australia, willingly aided and abetted by the Coalition hand maidens who are being showered with moolah. For example, Rio Tinto -

In the book Plunder , by Roger Moody, he described Rio Tinto’s activities as ranging from “brow-beating opponents, leaning on governments and price-fixing , to violating international law , union-busting and management of one of the world’s biggest commodity cartels”.

The company was founded in 1873 to mine the Rio Tinto copper deposits in the Spanish province of Andalusia , several hundred miners dying from lung diseases between l877 and l877. In 1920 many left wing miners were sacked after a strike which lasted four months over mass sackings and being paid with food. In the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, Andalusia was a stronghold of the Republicans against the fascist Nationalist forces of General Franco. Rio-Tinto’s chairman , Sir Auckland Geddes told the 1937 annual general meeting in London :”Since the mining region was occupied by General Franco’s forces, there have been no further labour problems…Miners found guilty of troublemaking are court-martialled and shot.”

In the 1950s and 1960s the company underwent massive expansion. Two thirds of its Spanish mine was sold and it extended is operations into “safe” countries like Canada, Australia, the US , New Guinea and South Africa..

At the time of the apartheid regime in South Africa the company exported uranium to England , under both Conservative and Labour governments, in defiance of UN sanctions . In 1962 Rio Tinto merged with Consolidated Zinc , the new corporation called Rio Tinto –Zinc (RTZ), mining uranium, gold, iron ore, bauxite and zinc and running several smelting companies.

The Weipa bauxite mine -67 percent owned by Conzinc Riotinto of Australia- saw the forced removal of two Aboriginal communities from their land at Weipa and Mapoon .Pre-issue shares were offered to select Australians , including the Queensland treasurer and acting premier, Gordon Chalk, and his family, and the then Minister for Aboriginal Affairs , the soon to be premier, Joh-Bjelke-Petersen .

In the 1980s, Rio-Tinto smashed unions at the Robe River iron ore mine , pioneering the introduction of individual contracts in Australia . The same action was taken in NZ at the Tiwai aluminium smelter.

A Rio Tinto subsidiary, Coal and Allied , was involved in action against unionists in the Hunter Valley of NSW which is being torn asunder by mining, impacting on the health of locals, the NSW Labor government turning a blind eye to the situation , one more reason why it will be booted out at the next state election.


One of RTZ’s partners in a New Guinea goldmine was the “Ugly Canadian”, Robert Friedland , also known as “Toxic Bob” after the Galactic Resources Summitville mine figured in what was said to be the worst US cyanide release , in Colorado , and mine bankruptcy . The mine closed in 1990 and it was estimated it would take $120million to clean up the bankrupt mine site .The former environmental manager was indicted for intentionallyy dumping lead and cyanide directly into streams. Friedland nimbly stepped aside from the company shortly before the EPA came charging in and he blamed others for a situation described as the Exxon Valdez of the mining industry.

Author Moody had this to say : “One might conclude that no respectable miner would now touch the wily Canadian with a dragline. But over the past 18 months, as the full extent of the Summitville Horror has registered and Friedland has plundered ever southwards, one company has cordially negotiated with the pariah. Britain's RTZ, corporate mining's leading power and self- appointed advocate, will team up with Vengold to hold 40 percent of Papua New Guinea's massive Lihir project – the biggest untapped gold deposit outside of South Africa. "
PNG soldiers revolted when it was revealed that Executive Outcomes, a mercenary force , had been engaged by the government to invade Bougainville and reopen the Panguna mine, controlled by Friedland.

There is a massive , coordinated economic war going on in Australia right now and it is up to the voters to disregard the dire threats of the mining juggernauts .

Sunday, June 6, 2010


A Darwin couple openly boast that they unsuccessfully spent in excess of $200,000 trying to win a Legislative Assembly seat for the CLP. After the strange suggestion that rowdy Dave Tollner ,who, unlike Canute , scoffs at the real dangers of tidal surges, would strike fear in the ALP should he become the CLP leader, would anybody be willing to risk a brass razoo trying to secure a seat in such an outfit . Once more the inappropriate use of the adjective “charismatic” has been used to describe a Darwin politician, this time Tollner . The vox pop conducted by the NT News ( June 5 ) showed that not one of the five people quoted had been overwhelmed by Tollner's supposed charisma when asked if he should be the next CM.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Scenario : A CEO is instructed not to carry out an hysterical witchhunt for the source of imagined leaks to the media in Cloud Cuckoo Land (CCL). Despite this firm direction, the uppity CEO surreptitiously orders a full email audit of a substantial number of his staff going back to November. Then he scurries about hiding his email request for a Big Brother email probe . Panel , please say what you would do on being given this information .

Pretend government leader : Dunno .
Pretend Ombudsman : Dunno
Pretend Attorney-General : Dunno .
Pretend union leaders : Dunno .
Pretend normally outspoken legal organisations: Dunno
Assorted other pretenders in human resources ,etc : Dunno

Pretend Geoffrey Robertson , after experiencing hot flushes normally associated with puberty blues : This uniformity of dynamic thought and action bodes well for laissez faire Cloud Cuckoo Land . By the way , did any of you consider sacking the CEO , demanding his removal or sending him a protest, rocket or a please explain?

: Good God , man , that would be doing our job - for which we are handsomely remunerated - which is not the done thing here in CCL !

FOOTNOTE: A hypothetical member of the studio audience jumped to his feet and said he would insert the CEO's feet into a barrel of wet concrete and push it into the harbour .

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


While Malcolm Fraser should have some beaut photographs of places he visited in the Territory when he was PM , it is doubtful that he has many fond memories of the north. We recently posted the account about the riotous occasion when Fraser, in regal pose, sat on a dais in Mitchell Street outside the Legislative Assembly while eggs were thrown, outrageous things were shouted at the Governor- General, Sir Zelman Cowen, and Queensland Premier , Joh Bjelke –Petersen, held a media dunny stop to predict Aboriginal land rights would ruin the Territory.

Sir Zelman , while observing legal and social niceties, does have a sense of humour and a republican streak , despite having been Lizzie Two-Stroke's Australian representative ensconced in Yarralumla . This writer was present at a civic gathering in North Queensland when Cowen, running the Queensland University at the time , delivered an amusing , off the cuff speech.

In it he recalled how one Queensland civic leader, renowned for long, boring speeches , got to his feet and his knowing audience inwardly winced and prepared for a lengthy earbashing. The situation, however, was saved when somebody passed a note to the speaker which said , Sit down –your fly is undone.

The same year as the hootin’ and a-hollering outside the Legislative Assembly , PM Fraser found himself charged on summons with fish poaching at the Dreamtime Lagoon, in the Woolwonga Wildlife Sanctuary, contrary to the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Ordinance. The person who took out the summons was Roy James Wright , of Darwin, described as one of the Territory’s most colourful fishermen, serving nine months in Fannie Bay for taking fish with a gill net , in the same area the PM fished during his Territory visit .

Wright had claimed, in his own defence , that he had fished at the invitation of an Aboriginal born in the sactuary. When the PM went fishing on April 27 , he did so at the invitation of the Northern Land Council chairman, Galarrwuy Yunupingu, and caught some fish. Fraser had a 35mm camera with him and took many happy snaps during the fishing safari . Included in the 20 strong party were Chief Minister Paul Everingham, Fraser’s Press Secretary , David Barnett, and ex- Sydney Morning Herald journalist , Brian Johns , in the PM’s Department at the time , later a Penguin publisher and head of the ABC.

Local lawyer John Waters , then the NT ALP secretary, appearing for Wright, played the PM like a hooked Marlin or a Long Tom . He told Darwin magistrate , Tom Pauling , now the NT Administrator , that Mr Fraser had committed the offence on the high handed assumption that he was above the law. The defendant had not been under the influence of alcohol which might have diminished his responsibility. Furthermore, the PM was well known to police and had , in the past, demonstrated his disregard for the conventions of Australia and its law

The irritated, huffy QC representing the PM said Waters’ speech had been a political address delivered under the guise of heavy handed humour. It was made by a man who was willing to wound and afraid to strike. A plea of not guilty was entered , but the facts were admitted. Magistrate Pauling found the offence proven but dismissed the charge .
Is this episode the reason why you never see Big Mal casting a line in Territory tourism TV advertising campaigns?