Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Soon after Cyclone Tracy , a large part of the Australian naval fleet , including the aircraft  carrier  HMAS  Melbourne  , top , right , steamed into Darwin to  help  the recovery. While  it  was in  the  harbour I  went aboard to see  a naval photographer and in  an all hands on deck  scenario was  engaged to help  move  refrigerators with a trolley  inside the  cavernous  vessel.  One  of  the most  spectacular  photographs I accumulated  was  a  panoramic view  of Darwin  looking  as if it had been hit by a nuclear bomb , taken by  a hand held camera  from  a jet  fighter  ,  the photographer in  a  helicopter .   

Memories of  the post cyclone period came to mind when  one of the several special 40th TV anniversary reports  showed former Northern Territory  News  editor Big Jim Bowditch  tucking into   a meal  at the Darwin High School which  dispensed  food  to  large numbers of  people .   Also  seen serving   choice tucker there was jovial Ronnie Yip   from  The  Vic Hotel .
In my capacity as the government press officer  in Darwin ,  I compiled the  regular Government Newsletter  which was  run off  in  large numbers and  handed  out at  all  the  emergency  food  and    help  centres  in  the city.

My wife , Judith ,worked at  the Nightcliff  High School , another   centre   which   fed  people , workmen; she commuted  by bike from our  torn apart house .  From  the  school   people were bussed to the airport to be flown south,  some in a US  Starlifter  .  My  wife  saw  police  pull  guns on  men  dressed  as women trying to force  their way into  a  bus at Nightcliff.  When  she  developed what was  thought to be  thrombosis in a leg , she was admitted  to hospital  where   blood  thinner  was  incorrectly injected  and  both her  arms blew up ,  resulting  in   her  being  evacuated  to  Sydney  in  a  Hercules.

NEXT :  How  Santa   was  punched in  the nose  and  defending PM Gough Whitlam .  Peter  Simon

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Some  interesting  railway photographs from Africa, Taiwan ,  Sabah and America  were  discovered  by one of our runners in the  Coin  Bear Collectables  cave  in  Darwin  . On the  left , above, is  a July 1981  gorge  derailment  in  Sabah State Railways . The  other train , somewhat like   The Sandfly , which  ran about  the  Darwin waterfront in early days, is described as Nyasaland  Railways  No.1 "Thistle ", at the Malawi Railways Ltd,  Limbe Station  headquarters ,October 1969.
Pictured above, left , is  New Haven locomotive 1008, at Needham Junction , Massachusetts, March 25,1948 (stamped Arthur B. Johnson,1072 E. Commercial, Springfield , Missouri ). The other  snap ,taken in 1980,  is of  a Taiwan Railway  762 centimetre  gauge train , approaching  Haulien , a  popular beach  resort .

Monday, December 29, 2014


During the  Christmas - New Year period strenuous efforts are always   made to try and get the filing  cabinets , numerous in  and out baskets , bundles of  envelopes  containing a miscellany of  forgotten items , cascading  books- some under the bed in  overflowing boxes ,   into some  kind   of  order. While  rummaging through stuffed cupboards  and jammed  bottom drawers , various DVDs of   old favourite  songs and artists   surfaced.  Way back ,  Jose Feliciano was all the rage  and  Light  My Fire  and California  Dreamin'  reverberated  throughout  the  house and  district . Almost got me eating Mexican  food.

And  the  Beach, Good Vibrations  sent me  jiving .  Young (then)  looking Glen Campbell got inside my head with Wichita Lineman , played over and over .Who can forget  Bill Haley and the Comets and  the  stunning Rock Around The Clock ? Cry Guy Johnnie  Ray , who came out to the  Sydney Stadium  in my time ,  also appealed . I  now  have  something  in common   with the  late   Johnnie Ray- a hearing aid , which  my  exasperated  wife  and eldest  daughter rudely tell me to stick in my ears.

Other  great songs  come to  mind ...San Francisco  , Baker Street.Dare I mention Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade and Chattanooga Choo Choo ?  Dusty Springfield  wowed me  with songs like  You Don't Have to Say You Love Me and Son of  a Preacher Man . A  friend ran me off a copy of  Kinky Friedman and  Little  Jewford in Australia  and I played it over and over  because of the  song   about    Ol' Ben  Lucas  , who had so much  mucus  it was often seen running off the end of his nose  ,  that   it became scratchy and  inaudible. Still , it inspired  a  skit  about Lucas being banned  from all Qantas flights because of  his  excessive expectorating . Alas, they  don't  write   and  perform   great songs  like  these  anymore.

 PS: Winchester Cathedral,Wimmaway (The Lion Sleeps Tonight ) and the haunting theme  music  from the documentary about  radical  British PM David  Lloyd  George .


Michael Johnson Photograph

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Double trouble chicks
Walking  outside late at  night  to lock up the car , a limping  Curlew , which looks like one of the two  adventurous chicks is seen disappearing into shrubbery. The chicks should not  be outside because  the Berlin Wall was erected to keep them in the  backyard  in comparative safety .  Run inside  to get  torch , when emerge the hurt  bird is seen  limping after  adult birds into vacant  allotment across the  road.  

Apprehensively  jump  out of bed early next morning  and  see the limping chick is in the  backyard. The Berlin Wall is examined and it seems a  potplant  inserted in the wall may have been responsible for the Curlew getting over the  barrier and hurting  its  leg in the process .
Wife scatters  food, and while  the chick is distracted, grab it and examine   its legs. It squawks , the parents  screech  and  with  wings  extended in attack mode dance about  me .What  could  be  a  bruise or  a  scuff  is detected on a leg. Also noticed are black fly  like  insects  which  had  previously been seen on  the birds  over the years. These  seem  to blend  into the  feather markings  of  Curlews. The Berlin Wall is readjusted  and  the  chicks  do not escape . Over  the  weeks  the  injured  Curlew  mends . 

There  was  another crisis yesterday when one of the chicks got caught in  netting,   above, placed over  the  lemon  tree to  protect it  from  Cockatoos .  Run to get a  pair of  scissors   and  cut  the  squawking bird  free .  Its parents were  again in full attack  mode ,  tails  fanned  out , wings  extended , running  about  my  feet . 

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Once a  throbbing  part of  Darwin, the Heritage listed  Vic Hotel , where pioneer aviators  stayed  , was  again  forced to close  its  doors   this year due  to cash flow problems.  This writer , who spent his  first night in  Darwin in 1958  in  a room  at  The Vic ,  recently  made a  slow,  melancholy inspection  of  the  building  and  its  arcade constructed in later  years . Glancing out  the door of that  room , believed to be one of  those upstairs in  the photograph below ,  the  next  morning all those years ago ,  Kite  Hawks could  be  seen  flying overhead , spicy odours assailed  the nostrils similar to  those experienced a t the Taiping Chinese CafĂ©  at the  Haymarket in  Sydney .
Closed,  as   quiet  as Tut's  tomb , full  of  treasured  memories .


The recent post about steps being taken to  save an ancient  Baobab  in a  Darwin car park  prompted  Melbourne  journalist  Kim Lockwood  to send us  his  pictorial file on the  self  same  tree  which  is  located in  what used to be the Darwin High School grounds .

 His sister , Dale , attended the  school and  is photographed  above right   hugging the Baobab   at  the school's  50th  anniversary  reunion  in 2006 .

During her childhood  days in Darwin  where  her father , Douglas, was the Melbourne Herald representative , and mother, Ruth , involved in running the North Australian Eisteddfod ,  Dale  had  the painful experience of  treading  on  a  stonefish and was piggy backed home by  Kim  and  taken  to  hospital .
Darwin High School in  1950s , the Baobab  a central feature , and old Sydney Williams huts  used as  classrooms .
The  Baobab  in  the 1930s. Over the years  the tree has survived cyclones , the Japanese bombing  raids and is thought to be  150-200 years old . 
Darwin agronomist  Rob Wesley-Smith was recently shown in this blog affectionately patting a  Milkwood tree, a survivor of Cyclone Tracy , which he had  Heritage listed .

Friday, December 26, 2014


The  Egg  and Us :Unreal Curlews eye  off royal gift.
We at this often cracked blog  literally fell  off  our perch  when Santa delivered   an unexpected parcel from  none  other  than  Her Most Germanic Majesty, The  Queen of  the  Jungle , still  nursing  a  wonky knee, in colour and shape  looking like  a hunk of  Black Forest  cake   way  past  its  use by date . The present  came  with  a  personal  handwritten instruction   to  open  the  package  with  care .   Whatever could it be ?  There  were  flights of  wild  imagination.  Like  Inspector Clouseau  dealing with  a " bombe", the elongated cardboard container was  carefully  opened at one end , a soft white  (toilet? )  paper  wrapped  object   withdrawn ,  unwrapped - to reveal  a blown , infertile Curlew  egg !!! We bet  nobody else in this  land received such a  Chrissy present.  And further  down  the surprise package  was  a  silver mount in which  to insert and display the  egg.  It joins   our  computer  generated  Curlew figurines mounted on a wooden base   made by  another  German  bird lover on Magnetic Island, North  Queensland . The Queen later explained  the egg is a reward  for helping  to drag out and  harpoon  her water bed while she was  in  hospital.  Had we discovered the other surprise in the package, she asked. No-what?...German Chancellor Angela Merkel , extra  padding in the container had  included pages  from   a September issue  of The Guardian Weekly highlighting  an address by Merkel at a rally against anti-Semitism  entitled Stand Up! Jew Hatred-Never Again ! Hastily searching through the  Christmas present  wrappings, we guiltily  retrieved  Ms Merkel .  

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Another sign of the Silly Season : Vallis Photograph .

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


The new Johnston Class inflatable attack submarine , armed with radar  controlled deadly   Adelaide  pie  floater launchers , fighting off  a simulated attack by the Red Baron and an angry nesting West Australian  Black Swan . Luxurious  fittings  for  the submariners include a home entertainment cinema which  screens  hilarious North Korean movies and  comes with several popcorn  and  fairy  floss  machines. Australian Submarine Corporation member  Sophie Mirabella, a victim of an enemy depth charge attack in the seat of  Indi  at the last Federal election, kindly designed   the   curtains  and cushion covers  for the sub,run off on her new Janome , making use of  true blue  colours . No name  has yet been decided  for  the submarine but those being considered   are  Yellow  Ducky , Gone Goose and  Sushi Express .

Monday, December 22, 2014


Right wing political lobbyist Grahame Morris, who once said Australian people should kick PM Julia Gillard to death, says  the new super-duper Social Services Minister , Scott Morrison,  has  the  capacity to jump  down the  TV   and  grab  the  attention  of  the  viewer .
CANBERRA : Exclusive first photograph of main new  frontline members of the enhanced government  rehearsing  the  swearing in ceremony  by  the Governor-General. A government spin doctor  said  tough talking Scott Morrison, nicknamed  Mr Muscles , is really a  lovable character like Aunty Jack , who wore a golden boxing glove and   had the quaint habit of solving problems  by  threatening to  come round   and  tear  the  bloody arms off  people .This approach , he said, could be  handy  dealing with the Senate . New  Sporting Health Minister Sussan Ley  will  surely stun the  crowd when she poses for the cameras and the Australian Women's Weekly  in her Super Girl  costume,which Bronwyn Bishop planned to wear had she achieved her long held  ambition to be the Prime Minister .  It is not certain which  of the other two dandies  is the new Defence Minister.  It could be  the one in the Aunty Jack ABC  TV  hit  called Thin Arthur, with a starched  dickie and a field marshal's swagger stick .  The top  hatted gent is believed  to be the master of ceremonies  and  fibs , Tony Abbott .
UPDATE ON MANDATE : Dynamic, revamped  Cabinet  members  prepare community  hit  list ,one  displaying another  small , stupid  thought  bubble .   

Sunday, December 21, 2014


American  artist , bead  expert  and  Little Darwin  reader ,  Bucklee  Bell , recently exhibited at  a  No Borders  cultural  evening sponsored by the  US Embassy in  Bangkok,  featuring   three Thai  and three  American  artists . Over  the year  he followed  the   serialised   biography of  Northern Territory   crusading  editor, Jim  Bowditch , and  remarked he seemed  one   helluva   guy . Bucklee  falls into the same  category  and  he and  his art will be the subject of  several  further  posts  in  the  New  Year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


The controversial   Irish  dramatist , poet  and  novelist,  Oscar  Wilde , was well scrubbed  and  dressed   with   flair.  His  parents , however , presented a  most bizarre spectacle  in  dress  and personal appearance .  This  comes  through  in  a  recently acquired  foxed , bumped , wormed and  soiled   1923 copy  of  SOME VICTORIAN WOMEN Good,  Bad and Indifferent, by  artist, illustrator  and cartoonist ,  Harry  Furniss (1854-1925), a  delightful read .
Sir William and Lady Wilde
An   unflattering  rear   end  caricature, a wormed part deleted  ,  right  ,  of  Sir  William  and Lady Wilde . The  brilliant  text  which covers   them , in part , is most unusual , entertaining   and  harsh :

Lady Wilde , described by  her son  while  she was still alive... “ A very tall woman-she looked over  six feet high-she wore a long crimson silk gown which swept the floor ...round what had been a waist  an Oriental scarf embroidered with gold was  twisted. The long, massive , handsome face was  plastered with powder . Over her  blue –black ,glossy hair was a  gilt  crown of laurels . Her throat  was bare , so were her arms , but they were covered with quaint jewellery. On her broad chest was festooned a series of large miniature brooches,evidently family portraits...this  gave her the appearance of a walking  family mausoleum. She wore  white kid gloves , held  a  scent bottle , a lace handkerchief, and a fan .”
It goes on to say that had Lady Wilde been cleaned up and plainly and rationally dressed, she would have made  a  remarkably fine model of the grande dame , but  with all her paint and tinsel  and tawdry  tragedy queen  get up was a  walking burlesque  of motherhood.
Lady Wilde at home.  
Dealing with Wilde’s daddy, it  said he “resembled a monkey, a miserable looking  little creature,who, apparently  unshorn and  unkempt, looked as if he had  been rolling in  the  dust." In those days, it continues, monkeys were  dressed up  and  accompanied organ  grinders of  the oily type . 

Wee Sir William Wilde  rebuked a  woman in a Dublin square who was   seeking alms   and  told  her  beggars were a  perfect nuisance . She replied with a  perfect  squelcher , “Beggar indade! Beggar! an’ what are y’self when out with your I-talian master wid  a  chain on ye? ” Opposite the Wilde mansion  in Dublin were Turkish baths , but  going  on the  appearance  of  Ma and Pa  Wilde  , neither of  them  went  in  for  a  dip  and  scrub.

The book , picked up at an ALP branch meeting , more literate and wide ranging than  the Tuesday Book Club on  ABC TV ,   describes  Sir William Wilde as ''a wicked  old man"  and  says there had been no  attempt to  disguise the fact he had  many  illegitimate children...Furniss  commented , With all the queer ways  of this eccentric couple , it is no wonder  that Oscar , their genius of a son, grew into an eccentric  unnatural being . 

Furniss Worked for the London Illustrated News , Punch ,  produced a series on Life In Parliament  for  The Graphic and illustrated Lewis Carroll books  . After his own humorous magazine , Lika Joko, failed, he went to America , working as a writer  and  actor in the fledgling  film industry. There he pioneered  the  first  animated cartoon   for  Thomas  Edison . His daughter Dorothy co-illustrated some of  her  father’s books . Furniss also wrote and illustrated 29 of his own books ,including  Some Victorian Men. With  his prolific output, he illustrated 34 other books  for authors , including  the complete works of Charles Dickens  and William  Makepeace Thackeray , the latter satirising  society.


Friday, December 19, 2014


Pandemonium party .
Cunningly disguised  as  a  cargo  vessel , the  Panamanian  registered  luxury  yacht ,   Pan  Harmony , right ,  which during the Silly Seaon  will  be  the soothing  venue   for   top secret  love ins organised by Minister  Kevin Andrews   to   heal obvious internal  spats  in the  government and  prevent  effluvium  from  the  pan hitting the   fan  in  2015.  The yacht was photographed entering the  polluted  port of  Townsville  to  take on  supplies of  truffles ,Cuban cigars  and  crates  of Grange  Hermitage  before  heading  to  Dunk  Island . Reports  have come through  that  a Chinese submarine  has  been  seen doing wheelies  near  Dunk  and PM Abbott has  been advised  not to go in  swimming  as he  may  disappear ( to cheers ) like  Harold Holt and be strung up by his thumbs until he   reveals  details of  the new trade  agreement with  Japan.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


What about the Barrier Reef?
While desperate  last  minute moves are afoot by many, including  the action group  Avaaz ,  to  try and  prevent  Australian Environment  Minister  Greg  Hunt   from  giving the okay  for dredging to go  head on  the Great Barrier  Reef, a   Townsville- Magnetic Island ferry  this week   is strangely carrying  posters to  help  the  beautiful Bay of  Islands , in the north island   of New Zealand , live again??? Avaaz has sent out the  following call to action :

Dear friends across Australia.

In  days Greg Hunt could fast-track dredging of the Great Barrier Reef-and if he does , bulldozer's could be ready to roll on New Year's Day! By law he's been forced  to hold a public consultation,but it closes in two days -let's overwhelm it with messages  to stop the  dredging  and save the reef!

Right now the Abbott  government is under fire  from every direction, and the last thing the coalition back benchers  want is another unpopular project costing them more political support. If we flood the consultation and backbenchers' inboxes ,with messages opposing the plan to dredge the  waters of our national icon, Hunt will be under huge  pressure by  colleagues  to walk away from fast- track approval.The consulation closes tomorrow - click below to send an urgent message now so we can stop the dredging and save the incredible Great Barrier Reef:

Furthermore  it  is feared the Sydney siege has undoubtedly distracted the nation's attention from this  looming  threat to the Barrier Reef. Avaaz  goes on to say:-

This rushed approval process makes no sense - the coal mines that the port is being built for aren’t even financed yet. In fact, economists say the project is a huge economic risk, not least due to the plummeting price of coal. A growing list of the world’s biggest banks have publicly ruled out investing and the State Bank of India - the only bank that has put up its hand to invest- is facing huge opposition  in  India  and  around  the  world. 

The government claims it is taking all necessary environmental precautions, but Greg  Hunt’s attempt to fast-track approval suggests quite the opposite. When a similar approval was fast-tracked at Gladstone Harbour, environmental regulations were circumvented and fish were poisoned, devastating the local industry. We can’t let that  happen again.



Inspired Crocodile  Dundee ?  
A little Darwin reader in Hanoi , Vietnam , has expressed shock and  dismay at the Sydney siege , having  watched the terrible event  on CNN .While on the subject, Andrew West of  the ABC  Religion and  Ethics  Report deserves credit for  the way he  expertly  probed  the  sad affair with  experts.    
The special by  Shawtodds about  the   Great White Hunter , Allan Stewart  , and the rough holiday  at  Nourlangie in the Northern  Territory  , prompted  the  suggestion  that the situation there  could have  inspired  the  film  Crocodile  Dundee  which made Paul Hogan such  a huge international celebrity .  Interesting possibility. On the  right  is the cover of  Allan Stewart's book about  Nourlangie . 


Steps are being taken to save this Heritage listed   Baobab, thought to be 150-200 years old,  in a  Darwin  carpark.  A tree  protection plot has been  constructed about the  tree   in  a   major  reconstruction of  the  area  by  the Darwin City Council, near  the  Cavenagh  Street  Post Office.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Drastic  action required  to  remove barnacles and  boofheads  from  the  body  politic  ?
In the  reign of  Prime Minister  Jolly  John  Gorton, during which it was claimed  somebody  chundered  in the swimming pool at The Lodge in Canberra,  his Principal Private Secretary  was the  highly  efficient  Ainsley  Gotto, railed against  by  some members of the Conservatives.  She was too close to the PM , wielded  too much power , they complained . When former Minister for Air, Dudley Erwin, was dropped  in a cabinet reshuffle, he explained his removal thus...."It wiggles, its shapely and its name is Ainsley Gotto  ."  This  clearly indicated  there  was  a strong  streak of   misogyny in  the fractious  Coalition at  the  time . 

Sheilas  with   brains  running the  nation - what next!!! They  should be  at home emulating  Queen Victoria,  making  sure not  to entertain sly  Mr Brown, the man who  delivers  the  farm  fresh  lactose  to  the doorstep. 

Knowing  more  than  what the butler saw  and heard  in Canberra,  journalist Pete Steedman , editor  of  the  then  new  publication    Broadside , in 1969 launched the raunchy  comic  strip, Fabula , drawn by Gerald Carr.  The  said  skimpily  clad  Fabula  wielded  a  whip and  ran the office  of   a   leader in  a great  southern   land in which there were many sheep  that   Asians and others  wanted to snaffle .   Fabula  even confronted  Tricky  Dicky  in a country which was a  great and  powerful  ally .  Thinly  disguised   leading politicians  appeared  in  the  strip.  Not  long  after it was launched  out came the  bitching  about  poor Ainsley  Gotto .  Gotto went  on to carve out a   successful  career  in  international  business.  She  married a lawyer and in 2008 returned to parliament as chief of  staff to Shadow Finance Minister, Senator Helen  Coonan. Coincidently, Coonan's former chief  of  staff  had been  one  Peta Credlin .

Now the same situation has surfaced  over  the performance of  Tony Abbott’s  head of  the  Prime Minister’s Office , Peta Credlin. If any bunch of politicians needs  whipping  by  a   Madam Lash  type  it  is surely  the present bumbling  Coalition . Speaker  Bronwyn  Bishop  is doing  her  bit on  the  rowdy  Opposition.  Going on  the squeaky voices of  some  anxious born to rule types , Ms. Purick's  painful  green  round  rubber ring   is  also being  applied.   

Pete  Steedman ,  still unpacking  boxes of  books and  files  after moving from his bushy retreat  to  suburbia , has  made  some typically  pungent  comments  about  Fabula  and  the   situation  in  which  Peta  is  placed.  He firmly believes the time is ripe for  a modern day  Fabula  comic  strip.  Any takers out  there in media  land ? 

Sunday, December 14, 2014


As a  result of  always  interesting  conversations  with  93- year- old  Vane Lindesay , who lives in  Melbourne ,  following  up  events ,  people , bookshops  , magazines   and   literary  publications    mentioned   in   his   part   autobiography , with  leads   and  additional  information  from    him ,  Little  Darwin  has  been   working  on  a series of  new  posts .  Following  is   one   dealing with  past   prominent   writers  who  had   a   strong    Northern   Territory   involvement .
FRANK HARDY :  As  mentioned  previously  in  this   blog  , Vane,  in  Darwin  the   day  of   the Japanese  bombing ,   came  into  contact  with   Communist  author  Frank  Hardy  during  WWll  when  they   worked   on   the  Army Education   publication  SALT  in  Melbourne .    Also   there  was  the   artist   Ambrose  Dyson , nephew  of internationally known   satirical artist  Will Dyson ,  close  to  Hardy,  who  drew   scraperboard  illustrations  for  Hardy’s  controversial   novel   POWER  WITHOUT GLORY which  saw Hardy  acquitted  on a  charge  of  criminal  libel . Hardy gave Vane  one  of   those  scraperboard   works   which   graced  chapter  six  of  the  book   and  is  still  in  his  possession.  

Vane   later  did   illustrations  for   Hardy’s  Billy  Borker   yarns   , first  made popular  in an  ABC  television series ,  some of   which  were  written   in  the  Northern  Territory .  Hardy  also  became   involved   with  the  Gurindjis  and  wrote  a  book about  their  struggle for  land rights , The Unlucky Australians .

XAVIER  HERBERT :  Famous   for   his  1938  novel   Capricornia , about the  Northern Territory .   One   of  the   many  book  jackets    Vane   designed  while working  for   the publisher F.W. Cheshire    was     for    Herbert’s    1963  part autobiography  , DISTURBING ELEMENT  .The  cover  had  been  discussed with   Herbert   and  he  seemed pleased  with   the   finished  work.

BILL  HARNEY: Author, poet ,  caretaker of Ayers Rock (Uluru ).  Vane did illustrations   for   the  literary magazine  Australian Letters , started in Adelaide  by   Max Harris,    Geoffrey Dutton  and Bryn Davies , which ran for  10 years and commissioned  drawings  and  paintings  by  Clifton Pugh, Russell Drysdale, Lawrence Daws, Arthur Boyd , Tom Cleghorn , Eric  Smith, John  Perceval and Sidney Nolan.

One of the many writers associated  with the magazine was  Harney . An  early anonymous   piece   heaped   enormous    praise  on   Harney  and  his   book   Life Among  the  Aborigines ,  despite  saying  it   was  a model of abominable writing 
The  author of the extraordinary  Harney  write up,  almost  certainly  Max  Harris , according to  Vane Lindesay , opens     with  the  sweeping statement  that  Bill  Harney   is  one  of the most important human beings  in Australia, “ for  he  belongs  to  a  species  that  is  dying  out  almost as  rapidly as  the  platypus.”  
It  has to be one of the most unusual  book reviews ever published in Australia. Harney, it  said,  was a national myth, a national " character", whose importance consisted  more in the yarns  that are told about him  than the yarns he spins so  magnificently . It continued :-
In the stale little flats of King's Cross, in the coffee shops of Collins Street  urbanised  Australians like myself  who  scarcely could  distinguish  a bull roarer  from a yam, tell the latest about old Bill Harney as if we'd known him for years... with something  of the same kind of self-delusion that can give such an air  of authenticity to the racecourse tout's inside knowledge of "stable plans for the autumn  handicaps ."
 Did you hear about old  Bill  Harney  in London last year ... he  went over about that new book of  his  they're  publishing  there. It seems Bill was  having his  first look at Park Lane. As you know these days  the  Mayfair aristocracy and the French whores  from Wardour Street compete for  footpath space  in Park Lane to exercise the ubiquitous French  poodles that all  seem to own . Bill took one quick look at the dog faeces  fouling  the  pavements, the aimless millings of dogs  and elegance, and commented ,"Cripes! We've walked  in on a black's camp!"
It went on to explore why Australia had made a  Davy Crockett image myth out of the  gravel voiced  corpulent poet ...
There is a simple sociological  explanation which is not quite enough. The age of the real Territorian  is  passing.  Bond's chalets, tourism, U.S.A. scientists, a great army of white-collar workers, air transport, all these  things are rapidly de-tribalising  the Territory, as it were . And the  Territory yesterday is  the urban Australian's dream of escape , a  vast and  timeless Walden . If  any  evidence  this  dream  is needed, one has  only to point  to the insatiable  postwar demand  for outback literature , a demand  for the  indigenous  which has  never developed on such a scale in the history  of the country . This is simply a  very likely consequence  of  industrialisation  and urbanisation , and  the individual's sense  of loss of mental freedom.
So far as I know Harney  is  the only  man who can genuinely articulate the quality of living  we  associate with the Territory. He's the real thing .When he comes  to write  a  book  unlike literary blokes  he  just can't lose , because he is  what he is .  
 The  writer  went  on to say that  Harney, with the known  gift of  the   gab, had used every embarrassing clichĂ©  in his book. It had to be regarded as a mammoth monologue, to be  heard not  read, then  the  full charm emerged . He trembled  to  think  what "the thin blooded litterateur critics of the English book world  would do to our Ayers Rock ranger."
In  his  autobiography, Vane  Lindesay said  the second edition of  Australian letters carried  a  first class article , Camels and Afghans ,   written by a genuine bushman ,  H.M. Barker. Another  article, circa  l958 , covering     Professor A.P. Elkin's  recording   of Arnhem Land music  on   HMV ,  a photograph showing  a bearded   Aborigine  with  music sticks  in a studio  being recorded  for ethnologist Norman   Tindale.
Vane Lindesay  illustrated , above ,  a  short story  by Finke, NT , teacher  Marie Healey. Kadaitja  men  were   killers who wore   boots made  from  feathers held together  by  dried blood  to  hide  their tracks  and  killed   those  who  broke  tribal law . The sub editor  of  the story should have been speared because the artist's surname  was  incorrectly  given  as  Lindsay. Healey ,  a graduate of Perth university,  had done freelance journalism and was  Mrs  Marie  Mahood, wife of  a stock inspector and  artist.