Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Stunning  new  look  National  Party Leader and  Deputy Prime Minister ,  Warren Truss ,  appearing for  the first time  on   the scurrilous   ABC   series , Mad As  Hell.

CANBERRA : The   National  Party  is undergoing   a  major ,  secret   makeover to differentiate itself  from  the  Liberal  Party–the latter’s    popularity  under  Tony Abbott   disappearing  faster  than   a   rabbit   being  chased by  a  ferret  down  a   burrow.   The  NP  head honcho , Warren  Truss , strutted  his   dashing  new  look , above ,  before  Shaun  Micallef .   Readers will  note  the minister   looks  like a    cuddly   critter out  of   the   Magic  Pudding . He is also sporting   a  full length Merino coat and a Crimea  Russian  footie  club  scarf.  

Instead of  wearing  a    Bob Katter autographed  cowboy  hat  like  NP Minister  for   Agriculture and Multi- Grain Numbers  , accountant  Barnaby  Joyce ,   Truss  has  chosen  a  jaunty  chapeau  similar to   that   worn  by   Robin Hood  in  Sherwood Forest  to  improve  his   and  the  party’s  public  image .       

Jerry  Lewis  111 ,  spokesman for  the American  consulting firm -- Hollywood  Hopefuls  Recycling  Inc. –is responsible  for  the NP massive    makeover .  In an exclusive interview ,  Lewis , frankly speaking, said a group photo of the   old National Party  team  looked like a bunch of  characters   out  of the  American  hillbilly  series ,   Ma and  Pa Kettle.  The NP  did not  present  as  a  bunch of  beautiful   people .

 Because  there  were   fewer  people in  the bush  due to  doughts , lousy  prices for their  produce, ruthless  banks   , rapidly rising  costs  , a  shortage of farm labour  and  hordes of FIFO  visiting politicians  with unkept promises   trampling the  crops , the  National Party   had  to appeal to  a new  niche  group of  city slicker  voters – Metrosexuals, cafe latte  drinkers , penthouse  pot  growers – otherwise it would be eradicated   like   prickly  pear .

Dressing like  bushies with your sleeves  rolled up , red faced  and talking in  astronomical  numbers, no longer  cut any mustard  in rapidly  thinning bush communities , he added.

Lewis  revealed that  he arranged for the upswept   Warren Truss, carrying a sandwich from My Kitchen Rules , when he appeared  on  Mad As Hell  because  a market survey showed that  the average   man and  woman  in  a  haystack on the  land   are so oppressed  they are avid watchers of  the show because they are  badly  in need of  a pork  belly  laugh .  The  response , in his words, had  been incredible , many  people in  the  nation’s  concrete jungles  wanted to  join the National   Party  , dress  like  a  Truss , and strut about   King’s Cross , Sydney ,   Lygon Street , Melbourne ,   Fortitude  Valley, Brisbane ,   and   Mitchell  Street, Darwin,  on  the weekends .

Looking  a sharp dude, Truss , above, wore  a trendy  Spotted Dick tie, instead of a true blue one like  Liberals, when he addressed  the National Press Club , which resulted in veteran journo Ken Randall  being  sin binned  for a month. This was  due to the fact that  in  answer to  a question from  Ken , Truss  said he would be  happy to come back  soon  and address the club  about infrastructure. For some strange reason , several members of  the  audience  groaned  and  fell  to  the  floor . 

Monday, April 28, 2014


Taken  after  cyclonic  rain. Vallis Photograph 

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Australia's chief  Parrot Head  aboard  the  Nyeki .
Attracted   by   the   warmth  and  the  lush  tropical  growth , a  teenage  girl  left  cold   Melbourne   and   headed  for   North  Queensland .  Over   the  decades    the   North  has   provided   Jenn   Payne ,  above ,  in  the main  cabin  of the 43ft      catamaran,  Nyeki,  with   rare  adventures   and   experiences
 It   has  even  led to  her  being  named  the  number one  Parrot Head in  Australia  by  American  singer, songwriter , author  and actor , Jimmy Buffett , whose  music   extols   a relaxed island lifestyle.  Buffett   made    the   declaration    himself   on stage during  a   Brisbane    concert  at   which   Jenn  presented  him  with  a  painted   coconut.   She   reportedly  stole  the  show  when she turned up  in a hand- painted  outfit , including  the special  Parrot Head  hat ,  below,  which  has  flashing  lights .

At a Buffett   concert in Sydney  two years previously , Jenn  presented Buffett with a  copy  of Confessions   of  a   Beachcomber , by  E. J.  Banfield , the   writer and  naturalist , buried  on  Dunk  Island.   Buffett  responded   by  presenting  her  with  an autographed   flip flop , now  one   of   her  treasured  possessions .    She attended  the gathering of wildly enthusiastic   fans    carrying  a  helium filled  balloon  in  the shape  of  a  Margarita  glass . 

Frequently pouring  a  Margarita  cocktail  down  the   hatch   after   sunset  is  espoused  by   Buffett in  song  and  books.  

After Jenn  left Melbourne  for  the  alluring  North , she  eventually lobbed  in  Mission  Beach , near  Cairns ,    and   got  a  job on  nearby   Dunk Island , where she  lived , serving  coffee ,  waitressing. Later on , she commuted   from   Mission  Beach to  Dunk in a  tinny .  On  the  way  to  the island each  morning  she  saw  flocks of  Torres  Strait  Pigeons  heading  for  the  mainland  to  feed  ;  as she returned in  the  afternoon, the  birds  were  seen  streaming  back  to   the  island  to  roost .
Her enthusiasm for sailing about the Barrier Reef  was such that  she  obtained  a coxswain's  licence  and  later   a  commercial   Skipper's  Master  Class  5  qualification  which enabled her to command  boats up to  24 metres in length and  take  up  to  200 miles out  to  sea.  A  charter sail boat she  ran  was  the  52ft monohull, Neptunius .


With  Cyclone  Rona  bearing  down  in  February 1999,  she was at  the helm of  the  23 metre  catamaran , MV Quick Cat  ,  with    93  petrified , worried   passengers aboard  ,  taking  them  to  safety   from  Dunk Island .   There  was  an  eight    metre   swell   as   they  entered   Mourilyan  Harbour .

“ It  was  a   character  building experience, ”  said  Jenn ,  during  a  recent  interview in  the  Magnetic  Island  marina .The cyclone  made landfall near the mouth of the Daintree  River , caused  $150million   in  damages  , later reformed  into  Cyclone  Frank  and   impacted   New   Caledonia .

In  2006 ,  Cyclone  Larry  battered  her   dwelling , Coconut Cottage , at Wongaling  , Mission Beach , and   she ended up  with  an  unusual  souvenir   of   the  blow... an injured Lorikeet  named   after   the  cyclone . Involved with wildife carers , she was  asked to  look after the  Lorikeet  which , because  of  injuries  to  a  leg and wing , could not fly. Thus  Jenn  became  known  as  Larry  the  Lorikeet’s  mother.   
Jenn and  husband  John  had  spent  much  time  cruising  the  Pacific in Nyeki  when  it was  owned  by their  best  friend , John Harry , of  Rockhampton.   When he  developed  an   incurable disease, he  sold  them  the   catamaran  in  2010.   

As category  5 Cyclone Yasi swept in from the Coral Sea   in  2011 , Jenn was  deeply concerned about   the safety  of  the catamaran on a  shared  mooring with  a  yacht  on a floating  pontoon in the duck pond  behind   Port  Hinchinbrook marina.   With the  cyclone  hurtling  towards  the mainland,  Jennie  telephoned   her husband , who was  in Darwin working  on  barges ,  and  discussed  what  action  should  be  taken to  try  and  save  their   cottage   and  Nyeki   from destruction .
She  decided  to  first   move  the vessel   from  Hinchinbrook  to  a  place south of  Dunk  Island  where  she  spent  the  wild  night .  Then she  motored   across  to  the Hull River, behind South Mission Beach ,   dropped anchor  and   tied  up  in mangroves. Then she went to  her residence ,  one street back from the beach, which had to be evacuated because of  the possibility of it  being swept away  by  a  tidal surge , and   packed  a  bag .
The tense night was spent with  friends in  a house which  threatened  to  blow  apart  .  In  the  morning , Jenn  saw ,  in  the distance , through   stripped  trees ,  the  mast of  Nyeki, but did not know how it had  faired   .  Coconut Cottage   had   survived , though surrounded by  a tangle of  trees  . A   friend  took  her  in  a  runabout and  they found  Nyeki was stranded  on  a bank with  her port   hull high and dry .

 Fortunately , there was  no major  structural damage , no water inside ,  although  it  required $100,000  worth of repairs to  externals . Cyclone Yasi  caused  millions  of  dollars worth of   damage at  Port  Hinchinbrook, throwing   scores of   yachts  about  like  toys;  the  yacht  which  had  shared  the  buoy  that   Nyeki  vacated  was  upside  down .  The cyclone caused damage estimated  at  $3.5 billion .  Even today, Hinchinbrook  is   a  tragic economic  and  legal  mess  . 

Jenn , who  works for  Pacific Marine , regularly  takes  work  boats   to  distant  parts -  200 miles  south  of  New   zealand  ,  Port  Hedland ,  WA ,   near  Christmas Island -   with   teams    that   insert / repair  buoys    for    shipping    and    for   tsunami   warning . 
 Apart from  having her own outrigger ,  Jenn is  also  an artist, with her work  featuring  on the cover  and in  the  Artist’s  Palette  magazine ,  sold in galleries, billed as the Cruising  Yachty  Artist  .  The above painting shows  her  in  the outrigger  , against   Dunk Island,  with  a famous  Buffett  song title on  a  painted  and  mounted  coconut  nearby. Some of her artistic output reflects the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle message .

See her  website www. coconutcottage .com.au.
In the  studio situated in  the cockpit  of  Nyeki  is  the  special  coconut  portrait ,  below ,   of  Larry  the  Lorikeet  sipping  a  Margarita , with   the  message   to  wind  and   wine  down ,  enjoy  life .
Seagoing  artist's model ,  Larry , captured saying cheers.
Talkative Larry is holiday on Magnetic Island  with a wildlife carer  known as  The Queen of the Jungle  and  his nose is slightly  out of  joint  because of   the arrival  of  an  injured Torres Strait Pigeon,  subsequently  named  Miss  Wong On a recent  visit  back  to  the  island from working in  Western Australia ,  Jenn  was  snapped, below,  with  Larry  and  Miss Wong.

When Larry  is one of the crew aboard Nyeki , he likes  joining in  when  the boat  comes  into  range of  other vessels  to   participate in  a  smart  phone  squawk  session  to get the latest  news and  gossip.  He runs  his beak around the phone  , repeatedly says  hello  , uses his wide vocabulary  and , probably ,  invites everybody  in  the  armada  over for  a  Margarita , Jenn and John  to  pick up  the  tab.

During an appearance  on Channel 7   after Cyclone Larry, Larry   bit  the  hostess . During  his  stay on  Magnetic Island  he has developed a taste for yoghurt , likes  Vita Brits , sips coffee , not  infrequently  mutters  a  salty  bugger , bugger, bugger!

One  day  he  and  Miss  Wong  will  sail  into a  romantic  sunset aboard  Nyeki  and she  will be free to join the  flocks  of  Torres Strait  Pigeons  heading  towards   Papua New Guinea .  It  is Jenn's  intention  to  eventually turn  Nyeki  into  a  floating  art  gallery and  sail  the  Pacific .

WHAT'S IN A NAME ? :  Nyeki had once been known as  Champagne Charlie  ;  another   owner, whose wife   disliked  sailing ,  played   Africa   drums   and   selected  a new name ,   Nyeki - African for  Second  Wife , which she  said  aptly  explained  her  status .   

Friday, April 25, 2014


A   circa  1960s  Greetings  from Albany ,Western Australia , souvenir  wall hanging  incorporates   dried  WA  wildflowers pressed  against a photograph of the city . Albany intends to  open  a  National  Anzacs  Centre in November of  this  year to  mark  the  fact that   convoys  carrying   troops   off   to  World War 1  gathered  in  King  George Sound  .

In October 1914  ships  carrying the AIF and NZEF, which were later to become collectively known as the Anzacs  hove to  .  Merchant  ships carrying troops from New Zealand, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria departed from Albany on 1 November 1914, together with  three cruisers – HMA Ships Melbourne and Sydney and the HMS Minotaur

They were joined at sea two days later by two ships carrying troops  from South Australia and Western Australia, along with the Japanese cruiser, HIJMS Ibuki.  [As previously  pointed out by  Little  Darwin  , the  Japanese - to the surprise of many readers- were  our allies in  that conflict and  actually protected  North Australia . The  late historian  Glenville Pike  provided this blog with the  rare April 1915  photograph of  Darwin volunteers  marching  to the  wharf  ,  a  Japanese   flag  flying , near the rear , in the  procession .]    A second convoy  departed in late December 1914.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


CANBERRA: The kind-hearted Abbott  Government intends to  supply "Mums and Dads" with  a free  made- in- China  paddle in the May  horror  budget. Many people not  yet  eligible for  the aged  pension  and recipients of the Disability  Support Pension  are expected to band together  and   start  dragon  boat  racing  clubs.   All   this  paddling will  tone  up their   muscles  and   give  them   dignity as  they live on a healthy  diet of  boiled cane toads and  bread and  dripping . A   spokesman  for  Treasurer  Joe   Hockey  , economist  Ned Waffleburger,  defended  the  looming   government   cuts .
 Because  major  international corporations  and  local  companies   and   individuals  pay   so   little tax , the  average  Aussie  shit- kicker    naturally   had  to  cough  up ,  he  explained .  Local  and international  billionaires   had to be given incentives and  tax breaks   to  make more  loot in  Australia , he added . Waffleburger  said it  was  stupid to believe that the G7 and  the  expensive G20 meeting in Brisbane  would take any action  to  stop  the  monumental  tax  dodging  industry which runs into trillions of dollars  by  large corporations  who   regard  themselves as masters of  the universe  and control   the timid / gutless political  system , undermined  by corporate  media  moguls.    
The  above cartoon  sent  by one of  the many  battlers with a sense of humour  who , through her  skills  and   involvement , contributes much  to  the  community ... for  gratis . 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


To   get  young  Prince  George used  to  the  Australian way  of life , he  is  sucking  wombat  milk   through  a   made-– in – China  teat  attached  to  a  former  $3000  bottle of   Grange . After a  game of footie using his  presentation  toy  Bilby  as  a ball  and   also  using  his   presentation  cricket  bat   to   repeatedly   belt   it   for  six   while  his  parents  are away  , Georgie  has  a  right  royal  thirst   and  slurps  away on  the  bottle at  Government  House .  His gin and tonic  sipping  nanny   refers  to   the  stay  in Yarralumla  as  the  Down Under  Home  on  the  Grange. George  comes  from  a long  line  of   blue blood  tipplers .  A  former  thirsty Prince of  Wales  had  a special  drop  of  port , above ,  named in his  honour in Australia . No doubt  some enterprising  vintner  will  name  a  low  alcohol  drop  after  wee  George . At  some stage in his  life, should he become  the  monarch , there will be an opportunity  for  George  to endorse  whisky as did  King  George  IV.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Forsaking  the  opportunity  to  celebrate  Easter  and  consume  or  give   eggs  made   from    child  slave  cocoa, Cyclops   went   hunting   oddities   in   garage   sales .        Obsessed  by   books   and   ephemera , he  stumbled  across  a   veritable   pirate’s   treasure  trove   of   gold   sovereigns ,   silver  ,  gold  bars    and   gemstones , with   links to  early  Australian  jewellers . All  this from  one   box  of   books , some volumes    broken , attacked  by   worm , sunned , foxed ,  the  remains of  a  wasp  nest  attached  to  one .
Of   particular  interest  were   two   1890s  books  which had  obviously  belonged  to  a  person or  persons   involved  in  the  precious  metals  and   jewellery  trade .
In  the  above   1892 volume ,The Jeweller’s Assistant in the Art of Working in  Gold , by George.  E. Gee , were    two  interesting  inserts   and  several   trade  stamps .

An account  ,  which appears   to be  for   setting   gold  sovereigns  , circa  1916 ,  was  from  the  Melbourne  firm of   W . Davis .   William  Davis  was  a   founding  member  of   the  Manufacturing  Jewellers’  Association  of  Victoria ,  formed in  1889,  his  mark  being  a  Leopard’s head .

According  to   the   W. Davis & Son  website ,  gold and silver  dealers, the seventh oldest  remaining  jewellery  business in Australia ,  William Davis   first set  up shop in  119 Chapel Street, Windsor, in 1880, transferred to  137 Chapel Street in 1882 and  to 114  Elisabeth Street , Melbourne,  in 1892. He was  then  trading  as  a jeweller , diamond setter  and   gold chain  maker . By  1916 , the  business was  located  in 340 Little  Collins  Street .

The  second  document ,  a  January  1932   bill –three shillings  (30 cents ) - from   the  Mount Gambier , South Australia , office of  The Colonial Gas Association Limited,   is  for  a   shop  run by  a  Mr  A. G. Everitt .

Alfred George  Everitt , a jeweller with a colourful background in Victoria , had  died a month  later . An obituary in the Mount Gambier newspaper , The Border  Watch  said he had been  resident in the town for   47  years , having  been born at South Yarra , Victoria, 71  years ago. After following   his  father  in  the   bookbinding  trading , he  had been apprenticed to the "celebrated Bourke Street jeweller, "  Mr  T. Gaunt . At the time , Gaunt  was  making  railway station and town hall clocks , Mount  Gambier’s Town Hall clock one  of  them .
Everitt  later  joined the firm of  Stevenson Bros . , another prominent  Adelaide jeweller , with spectacular window  displays  and  a large   gold clock  outside in Rundle Street from which people  checked  their  watches . Everitt  then   moved  to  Mount Gambier, where he opened a  jeweller's shop in  Caledonian House. A few years later, he moved  further down  the   street  to  a  shop occupied until he  died .

It  appears  that  the  1892 book almost certainly belonged  to Everitt  as it includes the Everitt  trade   stamp  on many pages , along with extensive handwritten notes , in ink and  pencil,    about  alloys , gold solder  , other aspects of  the jewellery trade.    The title page  bears  the  stamp of  Grundy Bros., Grenfell Street, Adelaide , a wholesale  jeweller  and   general  importer, which  made a submission to the  Tariff Commission  in  1905,when it was stated  that  there   about  150 working  jewellers in  South Australia .
 During  the hearing  it was said  that working out  the  involved  tariff  on imported jewellery , if  applied   to   the importer   of  toys ,  would  send   him  to  a lunatic  asylum . The famous Adelaide firm of  Wendt’s,  which  made  spectacular  pieces of  colonial silver , also  made a submission . Grundy Bros   was  taken  over  in 1928  and  became  Dean and  Keen , jewellers  and opticians .

There was also a copy of 1967 book,  The Australian Amateur  Lapidary by  K. J. Buchester , with  a loosely inserted 1966 price list  for  lapidary  supplies  from E. Tinsley , Bourke Street  Melbourne , and  a  sheet for the  Robilt  grinding  and polishing  machine .