Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Every pub in Australia has a resident  bush lawyer  who  regularly holds court , proffering   dubious  advice on  legal matters  over a  foaming pot. In  Townsville , North  Queensland ,  a  whopping  big sign  for the  legal firm  Kemp Law  has  gone up over  part of  the Herbert Hotel  in the CBD, dwarfing  the grog signs, establishing a precedent ?  Our shipping  reporter  spotted the sign  while  doing a  pub crawl  on  his   blog  expense  account, soon to be adjusted downwards,  which explains why the photo  is slightly out  of  focus. A growth industry in Townsville seems to  be   the legal profession , with   listings  filling seven  pages  in  the  phone  directory. 

One firm , LHD Lawyers, has been running   regular advertisements  in  the paper ; smiling  lawyers not in need of dental care  often   pop  up  on  commercial TV.  A sign has  gone up  not  far from the renovated Cowboys  headquarters  in Flinders  Street announcing  another longtime  firm  will  soon  be  moving  in .


Much attention is currently   being given to  border security , but  little   to the frequent Australian  home invasions  being carried  out over the  phone by  scumbags  preying  on  people ,  endless  calls  from  telemarketers ,  spam  emails.  
A  recent  female telephone caller  opened  the conversation  with  this blogger by saying  she  was from the Tax Office . Really ? Being an  old journo who was  involved in consumer protection before Australia  had  an  Ombudsman and consumer protection departments  in  states and  territories, I  instantly sensed  a scam . When I challenged  the claim that she had  introduced herself as  being from  the Tax office  and expressed  my  belief that  Taxation  does not ring  up  people,  she  denied having  said  she was  from Tax...No, Dun and Bradstreet , who  happen to be  the  large debt collecting , credit reporting  and  business info company . She asked  if  this  was  a certain  company-no.

There are  important issues here : claiming it was Tax, then invoking the name  Dun  and  Bradstreet, surely of  concern  to  both organisations .
 Some days  later  the Townsville  ABC  ran   a  story about  local  people having   an elderly, distressed woman , a  neighbour, coming  to  their house   trying to  borrow  $5000  from  them  because the Taxation Department had rung saying she owed the money . The  claim  was  that  her  phone  was  being monitored   and  they were on  the way to  arrest her.  Television  subsequently  reported a   businessman  receiving  a  similar  call  and  a  demand  for  $8000.
Police confirmed   this type of   scam  was  being worked in the Townsville area  and people should not respond to such calls   and never  ever give  any information  about  themselves  to  anybody  wanting   details  over   the  phone . Townsville  has  been subjected  to various telephone  caller scams, one claiming  unpaid  power  bills .   


PM  Abbott and  Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong  sport rainbow hued balloon  hats  at  bumper  barbecue .

In  what  was  probably the  biggest  invasion of Asia since World War ll , Australian politicians  galore, public  servants , support staff ,  diplomats , businessmen  and  carpetbaggers  have been flooding  the region with  promotional  balloons and  hot air.   Leading the huffing and puffing in Singapore was    Prime Minister Tony   Abbott, aided  by the  jossling premiers of  Western Australia  and   Queensland ,  the  Northern Territory  Chief  Minister , Uncle  Tom  Cobley  et   al.  
Yet again indicating he will use any party  trick  to promote  his cause , Abbott staged a smoky   ALP  charcoalburger   barbecue  in  the Lion City  for  the  locals in  the  above  dorky  inflatable  headgear.
In all the fun and spruiking , feasting   and  back slapping , no  mention was  made about the fact that Singapore  helps transnational corporations who  dodge  paying tax  in  Australia  to onpass  the  loot to  places like Ireland and  the  Caribbean .    

The two day beano  was   an   opportunity to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Singapore , hold an investment  round table and  encourage  investors to come on down for the North Australian  development  sale of the century outlined in a recent  blowing in the wind  White  Paper .  The PM took  time out  from blowing up  balloons  to open a new pad for Townsville’s James Cook  University . 

Then it was on to China for a beaut  silly  season photo opportunity with Trade Minister Andrew Robb (the greatest trade chief since the importation of duty free  sliced salami, according to some Tory delicatessens and spin merchants )  and  Treasurer  Joe Hockey against  a background of multi coloured  balloons.  Incidently,  some of the  promotion bubbles  for the  recent  trade agreements between Australia, China and Japan burst  when  angry, struggling  North  Queensland canefarmers, some unhappy with the way they are treated by overseas owners of mills ,  loudly complained   that  once again  sugar  has  been  left  out  of  the  deals and the proposed  controversial  American  Trans Pacific  Partners .  

Sunday, June 28, 2015


 Pike in office against  one of  his  magazines.
At long last , journalist , author , historian , publisher and  battler  Glenville Pike  has received national  recognition  through a  feature  article by Nicolas  Rothwell in the  Weekend Australian's  Review  magazine of June 27-28, which billed him as Yesterday's Hero .
By Peter Simon

Over the years, I spread  the  same  message , in this blog and in several publications , even   Citation,  journal of the Northern  Territory  Police   Museum and  Historical Society .  I  knew  Glenville  in  Darwin  from the l950s  when he  lived, frugally, with his Kiwi  mother, Effie, a writer and poet , and  auntie, actually his  mother's   cousin, Dorothy.

 He  would  come into the  Northern Territory News office   from  time to time  to sell his  magazine, the  North Australian Monthly, printed in Townsville by Willmett's , publication of which  was  originally bankrolled by  journalist and  author Jessie Litchfield who ran the Roberta Library in  Darwin . With  correspondents , poets  and contributors  across North Australia,  including  former  mounted   policemen , the magazine  folded  after 12 years when  the  Murdoch organisation  started a  similar  publication  in  Darwin .

Northern Territory News editor  Jim  Bowditch once urged me to help" old  Glenville" out  by buying  what I could from him because  he  said  the  trio lived  like "church mice ." I  wrote several articles   for the North Australian Monthly and renewed  contact with Glenville when I returned to Darwin  in 1972.

Intending to leave Darwin and return to Machan's Beach, Cairns , he offered to sell me  their  five acre  property down  the  Stuart Highway at the 23 mile  . My  wife took one  look at the basic  tin  building-"shack"- with a wood burning stove  and  packed  earth floor,  flashed  the  no way Jose  meaningful  glare.

When Lord Snowdon, husband of Princess Margaret , was intending to visit the Territory to make a  film  , Glenville was lined up to  be interviewed on  camera.To prepare   himself  for  the film , Glenville  had  much needed , expensive  dental  work carried  out ...but  Snowdon  cancelled the venture .

Over the years, I  helped  Glenville  out  with  photographs,photocopying ,   information and arranged for him to be paid for articles written for a government  publication I edited  . In turn , he provided  me with photographs from his  large photographic collection built up over decades , including one showing Darwin  men marching off to World War l in a procession  in  which  the Japanese flag flew .  The family left Darwin   after  Cyclone  Tracy  for  Machan's  Beach , his  mother  dying  soon after in Cairns . His "second mother", Auntie Dorothy, died in Mareeba Hospital in 1979 at the age of 91.
Pike at  entrance  to his Mareeba property.
The next year ,Glenville, aged 55,   married an American woman, Carolyne Kuri , whose previous  husband had been  a New York plastic surgeon who gave her a new Cadillac each birthday . The newlyweds   lived  on  Cypress  Park , a rural property out of   Mareeba . I spoke to  her over  the telephone and she   was delighted  to talk  to somebody  who had  known Glenville  way back in  Darwin.

The marriage broke  up   and  Glenville later  married a jovial Chinese Malay-English woman , Helen Hasluck ,who had spent part of her early life in Singapore .  My wife and  I visited  the couple at Mareeba  and  Glenville showed me about his office , woodwork ravaged by white ants , in which he kept a tin trunk  containing  all the  books ( see graphic at top of post)  he  had written  or  had  published  for  others .

When they  went shopping  in  Mareeba , his wife  headed  to a place which served Chinese  meals , while Glenville , who  did not like Chinese, ate  the staple Aussie meal, steak and  eggs,  at  another eatery.    

His wife became weak and  unsteady on her feet, at times falling out of bed. Of slight build, Glenville was  unable to pick her up  and  rang the Mareeba ambulance to come and  put  her back in  bed . Pike illustrated  books , Christmas cards  and made paintings of  the outback  like the  one  below .

Coming to Townsville for medical treatment , he was unsteady on his feet and stayed overnight with us on Magnetic Island , thoughtfully bringing with him a  tin can so that he would not  have to  get up and go to the toilet  during the night . Over the phone , he told me he had water on the brain  and a hole had to be drilled in his head. He died in May 2011, aged 86, while still working on his record breaking  regular column  Around the Campfire by the  Sundowner   for the North Queensland Register . 


Hardly  noticed   in Australia, this  recent  low key  demonstration opposite the   State  Legislative Assembly, Kuching ,was   the  subject of a  report in the Borneo  Post , the largest English  news  online  site in  that country. The group wants the government to pass a law or hold a referendum on the subject of returning  the  rights  of   people  to express  their  views .

A  spokesman for the group , which was  visited  by the Kuching police chief, said it is planned to hold  a  large march  on July 22  with  5000  taking  part,  made up  of  locals and  Sarawakians  from  Singapore, Kualu Lumpur and  Australia . Stickers like the one below,  obtained by  Little Darwin , have been appearing on taxi cabs, cars , motorbikes  and included in  T-shirt design . Authorities have said  there is no  concern  as  long as the group  does not  advocate  secession  from the Malaysian federation  or  overthrowal  of   the  government .
Public servants , including police and firemen  , have been warned they should  not  display the stickers  in  any way.

Over the years Sarawak experienced the Portuguese traders ,   100 years of rule by  the British  White Rajahs, the troubled period when it became  part of  the Malaysian federation which  sparked the confrontation with Indonesia.Most of its  lush rainforests have been logged  and  palm oil  plantations  set  up ; a huge  Chinese  hydroelectric dam also impacted  on  flora  and  fauna . Tourists are  taken  for fast boat trips  down waterways  which  seem   flanked by  rainforest. However, a closer  examination reveals  that it is a  narrow strip of remnant forest , clear felling as far as the eye can see  having  taken place .  
In 1992 the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) financed setting up the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sactuary in which there are  4000 orangutans . There are  moves to protect dugong and the Irrawaddy dolphin, both endangered  species.  Attempts are being made  to protect and rehabilitate Sarawak's ocean ecosystem , damaged  by  runoff ,   by  placing  artificial  reef  modules to  form new  habitats. NEXT:The Wikileaks of Sarawak  fights deforestation  of the country  and  numerous   allegations  of  massive  corruption involving  people in high  places  and  several countries,Swiss bank accounts..

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Dracula  with  empty cheese  bowl.
A report  came through to the Queen of the Jungle  that Dracula, the missing Dutch cheese eating  Coucal  on Magnetic Island , had  been seen sitting in the middle of a busy road and could have a wonky wing.  The informant  had  chased  Dracula into a nearby vacant allotment ...came home and  got  the bird  some cheese ! 
On hearing this , the  Queen of the Jungle  and  a  Kiwi neighbour  then  went looking for   the wayward  bird armed with a blanket in which to wrap him  should he be injured. They called his  name, peered  up trees and stumbled about  in long  grass . Cyclops  joined  the hunt  and uttered  seductive Whoop! Whoop! calls   which  in the  past   had  brought  Dracula running to investigate .    
No  response , so Cyclops left the search party  and  went  home to take his  afternoon medication and talk  to  Curlews  . The women  eventually spotted Dracula  high up in  an overgrown  ficus , but he   refused to come down. As the tree is not far  from a Thai  cafe  it  was  thought  Dracula  may  have tired of  cheese  and  taken  to  Asian  tucker.   

Late  one   afternoon , a week or so later , there was a  sudden  flutter in the palms at the front of  our  residence  and  there  was  Dracula .When  I addressed  him by  name  and uttered a few hearty   Whoop! Whoops!, he  moved closer and peered at me .  Wretched  Currawongs  dive  bombed  Dracula and  chased  him  away . Some cheese was  placed near the  tree in which he was  last seen . The following morning  all the cheddar had  gone...probably eaten by a stray  dog , possums  or some  other  marauding  critter .  Come  home  Dracula; the Queen and the  kind lady from the bespoke  Mexican restaurant who saved   you  in the first  place when you were a defenceless kinder   are  both concerned about  your safety .   

Friday, June 26, 2015


One of the few  sober members of Little Darwin’s reporting team has just  returned  from a fact  finding tour of Asia with  China’s  latest  fabulous  device  for  fighting  bibulousness  on  the  homefront .  It  is a well known  fact  that many Australian housewives  are  highly  bibulous ;  some are so  bibulous   they turn  pink and end up  with  hair like Judy Garland in the Wizard of  Oz. 

This new generation product , copied  from the  Germans , not only spells  fibre in  the American  and  English way , it guarantees not to go “moldy.”

One of this blog’s mature  scribes in a southern capital  is in need  of a rub down with a black velvet glove  and a washcloth  to overcome  his  bibulousness  which  saw him trip, bang his head in the gutter and  be dragged home  by elderly  members of  the  CFMEU  who  are  likely to appear before  a certain royal  commission and  inquisition  in  the near future .

During an extremely bibulous  evening  one Christmas  in  Darwin decades ago ,  silly Cyclops was involved in  an incident in the  Darwin Hotel in which he was king hit  and slid down one of  the  pillars in the Green Room and cut open his  nose on  a smokers please  metal  container .  In  the mad moments that followed,  a high ranking police officer , who bent  Cyclop’s arm up his back  and applied a painful masonic hold on a middle finger,  was  thrown  into a  cane  lounge.  Looking in  the  bathroom mirror  the next morning , Cyclops  found  a  strange person with  a  black eye,  a  nose like a warthog  and  a  swollen  lip  staring back at  him and was prepared to sign the pledge. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Media  services   in  Queensland  and  the Northern Territory  have  been subjected  to   seemingly endless  cutbacks  and staff reductions  , which  is  detrimental  in many ways  to  the  communities they  serve .  Due  to Fairfax  Media merging with  Macquarie Radio , about 18 jobs went  at  4BC in  Brisbane  in  April.

In addition , Fairfax  has restructured its operations in  rural and regional areas of Australia  . This includes the  Mount  Isa daily , North West Star, Queensland , now produced  three times a week.  Changes have also been made  at the North Queensland Register ,Townsville,  and  Brisbane's Queensland Country  Life. The  Katherine , Northern Territory , newspaper  is  also caught up in the  Fairfax slashing .
From June 30, the Murdoch owned  Townsville Bulletin  will  include its free Townsville  Sun, the  first Sun freebie started  in Darwin  to stifle competition,the name Darwin Sun  then  belonging  to  nudists after a  free beach . It seems an agreement  was  made  between  the   unclad   and  Rupert  to let him use  the name . 
The Murdoch  empire continued to  gobble up any new independent  paper  which started  in  the  Darwin  area. There is  an interesting ABC interview with the people involved in a  new Top End rural publication  in which they almost fell over themselves to  say  it was not  intended to take on the NT News  and Murdoch . 
 Today  the  only  publication  not  to have  succumbed to the Murdoch might in the Darwin area  is  produced at  Mandorah , across  the  harbour .

The Townsville  Bulletin's circulation  has not been flash and its  digital  issue  attracts  a small number of  readers. There  were ominous signs early last year  when  the  shop  selling  the News papers at the   ferry terminal  , through which large numbers of  people pass, no longer wanted  to  do so.  Looking about the  town, bundles of  unwrapped  Townsville  Sun were  often  seen   near display stands .  
By contrast,  Murdoch's Northern Territory News  in Darwin , recently the subject of a Sydney Morning Herald article highlighting , yet again, the bizarre  headings, posters and stories  in the paper, has strong sales and its weird  yarns often  go  viral  online . It helps when visiting  prime ministers , addicted to flattery ,  say  the  front page of  the  paper  is  the  first  thing  they look  for  each  day .  
In Brisbane , News Corporation   closed down its free afternoon newspaper handed out to  commuters, mainly at railway stations.  Similar papers were  axed in Melbourne and  Sydney, resulting  in  the  loss  of  30  jobs.

There has been  speculation about a reduction of media  news staff and bulletins   in  Queensland  regional   television  stations.


TOKYO: Further  furious   claims  have  been made    that  Australia's next   submarines  will  be  made in Japan , not  Port Adelaide ,  after obviously distressed looking   Education  Minister Christopher  Pyne  was  snapped , above , in a  Ginza  karaoke  bar singing  God  Save  the  Queen  and  Bronwyn  Bishop   to   a stunned  audience . The minister  later claimed he  became ill and disorientated after  eating  sushi.

He maintained   he  was   in  Japan  to  promote  the teaching of  Japanese in  Australian schools, not  in  connection with  the  open  secret plan to  make Nippon-Aussie  clipon   submarines.

His  Japanese  hosts, he said , had taken  him to a nightspot in the entertainment district  to unwind  and he  thought  it was  going  to  be  a cross cultural   sake and  Adelaide pie floater evening .  Instead ,  a sushi dish with an  odd looking live  fish   was placed before  him . Rather than  offend  the Japanese, he downed  the cute  Nemo looking  tiddler and  immediately  came over   strange ,  feeling spikey and feverish,  just  as  he  often does in  the  House of  Reps  fishbowl ,  and  burst  into  a lusty  song  like Joan Sutherland  . Two prominent North Queensland  Irish doctors   think  he ingested  a  highly dangerous type of  puffer  fish  which  causes  a fish called Wanda syndrome  , the  ill effects removed by a  depth  charge  or  three  each  day  for  at  least a  leap year . 

Monday, June 22, 2015


After having been harassed and pushed about  by authorities in Spain and France  for  many years, anarchist  Salvador Torrents  and his  friend , Juan Jordana , were pleasantly surprised  to be  treated  respectfully as  passengers aboard the  SS Osterley  which left Marseilles for Australia in 1915.    Torrents compiled  a  detailed  account of the trip  and sent  back  details   to   family and  friends  in Spain , including  his wife and  daughter he  had  been   forced   to   leave behind. Torrents's  ideology  gave  him  further  insight  into  the  gross inequalities and  injustices of  the  world.

At each  port of call Torrents  went  ashore   and bought  postcards , some of which  are  in the Special Collections at  the Eddie Mabo Koiki Library, James Cook University, Townsville . Sent   from   Port  Said ,   the  postcard  below contained critical  comment about  the slave like treatment of  workers in  Egypt. 
In Colombo ,Ceylon,  he was extremely critical of  the  British and deplored the sight of  skinny rickshaw men  pulling well-fed and well-dressed people about .
By Peter Simon
Through  their  Spanish  friends in  Melbourne ,Torrents  and Jordana   obtained work on a market garden in North Essendon . Torrents had  expected  the old world's harsh ways to  have less sway in  far away Australia  but   found it gripped by  the distant war which had extracted a terrible toll . He deplored  the heavy  drinking in Melbourne , which had also  been noticed among  Australians  aboard  ship . Nevertheless  the modernness  of Melbourne   found favour.    The  French p , below, was  sent  to  Torrents at  Essenden.
After paying  back  the ship fare  advance ,  the  two close friends made  their  way to North  Queensland seeking  work  as  canecutters, postcards  bought along the way included  views of  Mosman  Bay ,Sydney, and  Hamilton, Brisbane .

During  the war ,  in an attempt to start new  local industries, the Australian government offered  new settlers cheap  land  for sugar plantations in Queensland . Hard working Torrents and  Jordana  pooled  their money and  took up 60 acres of rainforest at Mena Creek, near Innisfail, which they converted  into  a  farm  to which  they  brought  their  families in 1920.

Found by this writer  inserted  in  a  book at the university   is  the above 1944  receipt, one of  two  for sugarcane crushed for  Jordana  and Torrents at  the  South Johnstone co-operative  mill.
Among the many other surprises in the Salvador Torrents collection at  James Cook University  are a number of  early  Northern Territory Edward Reichenbach  Ryko  real photo postcards. Born in Australia of German descent, Ryko, 21, rode a bicycle from Adelaide to Darwin  in  1915 and travelled about the Top End taking thousands of photographs , a small number surviving , of  the  isolated  part of the nation .  Some  of  the  postcards  are shown below . 
East Arnhem Land tribesmen.
With competition from pigs, gathering "famous" red lily roots , Daly River. 
Armed  Coburg warriors.
Ryko opened a shop in Darwin but left the Territory in 1917 because the military wrongly regarded him  as a German spy. Later he worked in the railways and became a noted botanist  and student of natural history. The Northern Territory Library ran Ryko. A Wild Life exhibition to mark  the centenary of his epic bicycle   ride across the  continent . Ryko's reconstructed bicycle was  used  in the celebration.  
A staged photograph showing Ryko  under  attack
There are  other early  postcards , some taken in Queensland , not indicated as having  been taken by Ryko , including  the  following 1905 posed  shot  of subjects carrying  shields and  wearing   nameplates.

In the interesting Torrents's book collection  is  a copy of  In Australian Tropics , by Alfred Searcy , an early Territory  Customs officer  based  in  Darwin  for 14  years from  1882, later a South Australian parliamentary clerk. NEXT: Researching   Torrents's  strong interest in  the Northern Territory , a Spanish connection   is   found  during  a  tumultuous  time  in  Darwin . 


Australia's  only registered  and  certified one-eyed political commentator, Cyclops , a slave labourer in the  Little Darwin gulag,   has a whole new outlook on life  following a  medical  first operation. His  tiny peeper   was replaced  with  an  all – seeing  eye, above ,  which  is  the envy  of  Lobsang Rampa.  It   was made from unwanted  piston  parts   from the  General Motors  Holden plant at  Elizabeth , South Australia , which  makes  Cyclops look somewhat like  a Dr  Who  Dalek  emerging from  a  bushfire , a spooky  monster  from the movie Return of the Mummies or a modern Australian version of Big  Brother 1984   . Certified readers of  this   blog will  recall the scruffy and scabby  looking  Cyclops of old , below, who used to make small  children  cry, horses bolt  and  dogs  bark hysterically  whenever they  saw  him . 

Saturday, June 20, 2015


From time to time , old  bottles turn up in   waters around  Magnetic Island , the latest one  being  the  above  small Schweppes Limited  container , showing signs of  having long  been   tumbled about  in the  sea ,  found  by a  Darwin diver near  a  reef   a  short distance  offshore .  Old  American  glass  Coca-Cola bottles were recently  found  in  a  popular bay.  This   blogger  found  an  early Townsville  softdrink  bottle  inside  a  stinger  net  area .  Other  finds have included  beer  and  rum   bottles,thought to  be  from  the  WWll  period.
Encrusted J.Phillips ,Townsville , bottle. 


Magnetic Island journalist  and author Ian Mackay has  discovered  an  unusual copy of Frank  Hardy’s  explosive   Australian political   novel   Power Without  Glory  which  saw  him charged  with  criminal  defamation.

The   book   contains  a  sticker  stating it was  bound in  leather at the  Johore  Area  Rehabilitation  Area (JARO) ,  on the Malaysian  southern peninsula, just across  the causeway to  Singapore. JARO specialises  in   selling  handmade items  by  people with  disabilities.   Its  current  website  does not mention bookbinding ;  basketry offered  is   limited  because of cane  shortage  due  to  deforestation.
Mackay  recently  found  the  1975 Panther  edition of  the book, with an  introduction by  Jack Lindsay  that  mentions Hardy's time  in  the Northern Territory  in  WWll, which  has  gilt  lettering on  the  raised  spine , in a  Port  Douglas  bookshop . It  is not known what  the  letters  F.M.M. at the  foot  of  the spine  signify...the  book's owner?, the binder ?, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers?

Little Darwin recently ran a post dealing with  the close relationship between the late Hardy and  Greek  singer  Nana  Mouskouri , a former member of the European Union Parliament and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador,   who recently visited  Australia.   Radio National also replayed   an item on Recollections about Frank Hardy approaching folksinger Gary Shearson  at  The Troubadour , Sydney ,with a    calypso tune , Sydney Town , which ended up in the top 10.    

UPCOMING : An  unforgettable  evening  with   Frank  Hardy .

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Williams, a  Larrakia woman  who has worked extensively on Larrakia sites as a Heritage Monitor  and with  many archaeologists  in  the  Darwin Harbour region  will  on July 8  discuss  shell middens, spear points, edge ground axes and other  important  objects  and  sites. 


Despite  the  claims  of  the  Abbott Government that the  budget  has  turbo-charged  small  business ,  all  over North Australia  the  lights are going out ,  shutters  coming  down  on   many  businesses .

In Darwin, old  hands tell you  that business  is   tough and   that there  is   a   growing number  of  empty  shops.  It  is  widely  rumoured that  some  developers  are  in financial   trouble.     Houses  are  becoming  slow  to   sell , prices  coming down . With  the  new Paspaley Pearls  tower  soon to open in the CBD  it  is anticipated much of the space  will be taken up  by  government   departments  who  will move out of  existing buildings , resulting in  an  oversupply of  commercial  space .  

Several  Territory iron  ore  mines  have  closed  and   Rio Tinto’s  “ bombshell”  announcement that it   would not  put   any  more money  into  the ERA proposed  Ranger  3 Deeps ore body  underground  uranium mine  added to the uncertainty , causing ERA shares to  plunge  48 per cent .

The   Territory’s  unpopular  CLP  Chief  Minister ,  Adam   Giles  , now hanging on by  the  skin of  his  teeth , has   stirred  up  the workforce  by  wanting  to  bring in specialist  workers  from  overseas .    

In  Western Australia ,  houses   in  Karratha , which  were  selling for  $1million  during the  mining boom, are now being  offered  for $500,000 ,  with  next to  no takers and many  untenanted.

In   Queensland    the    media often  seems to have an unquestioning  cargo cult mentality when  reporting  proposed  mining and  other , often contentious ,  major projects.  The  ABC Media Watch   highlighted  errors  in the Murdoch   Brisbane  Courier Mail effusive  coverage  of   the  proposed  Adani  coal  project . A major  blue pointed out   being  that  the paper said the project would   result in 10,000  jobs. Not so, Adani  itself  said  1400. Nevertheless , the Townsville  Bulletin, another Murdoch  blat , ran  with  the 10,000  figure .

 In respect  of  small business  media  coverage  in  Townsville, this blog opined that  reporters  don’t seem to walk  about the   city and  see  obvious signs  of  stress and other  things happening on their patch , on  the  waterfront , not the subject of a hand out or  mentioned on vaporous social media  .  We  pointed  out  that  in  the  Castletown  shopping centre a number of  shops  had closed, one Heavenly Fragrance , the space  taken   over   by a  fishing tackle  venture...now  cleared  out   hook  line  and  sinker , empty .     

At  another  major  Townsville shopping centre , Stockland , Mathers  Shoes , part of  the  Fusion Retail  Brands  Pty. Ltd.  chain  ,  is  having a Townsville  closing   down sale . A  Mathers outlet  closed  in  Mount  Isa some time ago .
The collapse of another major firm , Carmichael Builders , in Townsville on an $18million aged care centre for Queensland Baptists   has    once again seen  subcontractors  left in the  lurch , owed  hundreds of  thousands.
Apart   from  many empty  shops and  workshops  up  for sale or lease in Townsville, there  are  many  other  going businesses  on  offer.   The ousted   former LNP Minister for Local Government  ,  Recovery  and  Resilience in the Newman  Government ,  David Crisafulli ,  is leaving   Townsville    for  Brisbane .      He  denied  that he would seek    preselection for  the federal seat of Herbert held  by his tubby , soft shoe shuffler  LNP colleague ,  Ewen  Jones  .     Jones   once  described  Crisafulli  as  Chicken Little , a pullet who  thought the  world was  coming  to an end . 

 Before  packing up  his  kitbag  and  heading  off  for BrisVegas, Crisafulli , whose electorate office in Aitkenvale  was  just  round  the  corner  from the adult shop ,  Cupid’s  Cabin,  vibrated  with  anger  when   he  spoke  about  the “ Labor hacks”.