Saturday, April 30, 2016


Our resident Curlew family contemplate  life behind a  picket fence and gate rather  than the temporary  Berlin  Wall  made up  of  heavy concrete blocks  to  keep the  two chicks inside.  Those  youngsters are  now hungry teenagers , flexing their  wings , about to  fly away  and  join  the  street  and  bush  gang  shown  below .
As this post was being   written , the  repeated plaintive cry of  a Curlew  could be heard. On  investigation  it was  found a chick had somehow made it into  an adjoining  property. A  parent came up  and  peered at  it through the wire  fence . Now  what ? The neighbours are asleep , the chick at home is running about with its tail feathers  spread like  a  turkey  making a  nuisance of itself, demanding  to be fed by parents , who peck at  it firmly , telling it  to go away . After the  long running stress and strain , sleepless nights , cat and dog chasing ,  fearful  of a Murder Bird attack  involved in  trying to  save  chicks , the  Curlews  will   be traded  in for  garden gnomes which can only be stolen and  end  up  in distant  lands .
Pursued  by  the neighbours' friendly, leaping  grey  greyhound, Boyo , and miniature  dachshund , Sadie , because they could smell the  tub of  Curlew  food (chopped up special dog tucker)   I carried  with which  to  trap the errant  chick , I moved in  for  the  catch.  The  dogs had to be locked up as  I made   soothing   broody hen noises  and threw   tempting  pieces of   food  to  the chick. Lured into  a  corner , with  its  watching  parents   screeching at   me  through the fence , their wings outstretched  in  attack mode,  the  chick  was  captured  with    a  towel  and  returned  home .  

Friday, April 29, 2016


Purely in  the interest of  scholarly research into the social history of Australia ,  this  blogger   bought   some  bawdy records  in  a Townsville  op  shop , receiving some  funny  looks  and  nervous  laughter  at  the counter .   One  of them , shown  above , looks as  if  it  was produced  by  Sydney's  saucy   Kings Cross  Whisper conglomerate  in   a  Queensland  Government  provided  factory.

In  his  riotous book  about  the roaring sixties and  the  Kings Cross Whisper paper ,  which  ran  nudes and personal  ads,  and diversified into  mail order marital aids , several  sex shops , a  gardening  magazine and a  fishing newspaper ,  one of  its  founders,  the late  Terry Blake , described how it  got into  the business  of   party  records.  
Interest in records  kicked off  when a   case  of  party records from a Melbourne  mate was  bought  and  , advertised in the Whisper , sold well . Terry picked up the  story thus : 

"It  had  then  decided  to go into  the record  business on our own  It was all pretty harmless, double meaning  stuff , but once again we ran into the wowsers and  maybe something  a  little  more sinister.

"The big record companies  refused outright  to press our records , and when we bought  our own plant , we  found it impossible to get the masters made.The only people in  that side of the business  all had big contracts  with the record companies and, remarkably, had no time  at all to make masters for the outside competition.

"We eventually  had to do that ourselves . Lots of money? A go to woe record production plant? Yes and no . We were learning about O.P.M. (other people's money ).

"We put it on the  Queensland Government  for a grant  to start up a new secondary industry in Southport as part of their decentralization scheme . They came good , even supplied us with a  nice  new factory .What we neglected  to mention was  who actually owned this record  company. And just as well .

"Southport happened to be right in the middle of the electorate of Russ Hinze , noted moralist and  the crazy who wanted to castrate rapists. What with all that blubber ,I doubt  his  heart would  have survived knowing what a big help he'd  been  to Kings Cross Whisper Party Records. " 

The Party Records label appears to be a send  up  of  the  above  painting of  Nipper  the  famous   dog  in the  His  Master's  Voice scene , listening  to his  dead  owner's  voice on  a  phonograph horn.   After  losing the   right to buy   a large  chunk of  Australia , the Chinese will probably lodge a strong protest  about  the  title on  the  Party  Record so , under  plain wrapper, we are sending a copy of  this post and the record   to  Foreign Minister  Julie  Bishop so she can brace  herself  for  the  Chinese long play fireworks.


The quarterly journal of the  Genealogical Society of the Northern  Territory always contains  interesting  articles , book reviews  and  valuable  information  on research  sites far  and  wide . The latest  edition contains information about  Allied prisoners during the  Gallipoli war , with  a  group photograph ,  and details  of  the  only Territorian   captured  there  by  the Turks .

The society's secretary and  public officer, June Tomlinson ,wrote a fascinating article about  Dublin's Glasnevin  Cemetery, which she  visited as part of her extensive research , and  was  taken  on  a tour , shown the last resting places of Daniel O'Connell, the tower in which his lead lined coffin was placed    bombed by loyalist terrorists in 1971,  and that of Charles  Parnell , some 60,000 attending  his  burial.

June included  blood curdling information about 19th century grave robbers   who used large hooks to  place about the necks  of  the dead  to  drag bodies out of graves , the parts  sold , some for a thriving  export  market. These robbers were known as the Resurrectionists . At the cemetery bookshop she bought two volumes  by  a  former  cemetery    guide , Shane MacThomais, who committed suicide by hanging himself on March 20, 2014 in the very cemetery  in which he worked.

There is a  review  in  the earlier volume of A FAR CRY  Town Crying in the Antipodes , which included one in Launceston , named Chequers, who sounded like a  combination of  a crow and a  laughing jackass (kookaburra) . Many were extroverts  displaying degrees of  drunkenness, vagrancy, petty crime, wit  and abilities   that  included   clowning, singing, with a  deep understanding of  their communities.    

Another  article  dealt  with  the isolated Territory  township of  Lake Nash , 600km east of Tennant Creek ,  and the influence of early Irish  in the region .

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Townsville  media  cluster about  Member for  Herbert   Ewen Jones  as he announces on the Townsville waterfront , near the ferry terminal, a special $45,000  Federal Government  grant  to  Sealink . In typical fashion , Jones , a former real  estate auctioneer went  on  and on . The 45 grand, he said ,  would enable huge  things to be  done ... jobs ,   an   expanded  tourist  drive  with such an impact that overseas  visitors  would  want to come back  again , huge opportunities ...  
It  sounded  as   if   this  small cash  offering  would  rival the miracle of  feeding the  hungry  multitude   with   gluten  free  loaves  and   fishes.  The reporters took the bait , went  away  and  dutifully   ran   Ewen's  spiel.

Astonishingly , nobody in the media  raised the fact that  Lucy  Hughes Turnbull  , wife of   the PM, had  been  both a director and  deputy chairman  of  the  Sealink  board and had stepped down in  October 2015  after  Malcolm dethroned  Abbott.

Surely somebody in Canberra , the PM's office and  Ewen Jones himself   realised  that   for the Feds  to make a  grant to a  company to  which  Mrs Turnbull  had  been  closely associated  would not  be a good look just before an election.
And an alert   local media  should  have rightly  raised  this  with  Jones at the seaside  picnic.   In  the case  of  the Townsville Bulletin , it is surprising   it  did not pick up the Turnbull  link as one of its  old hand  reporters , not many left ,  a few months ago  wrote  an interesting  story quoting a well known Magnetic Island  resident ,  the globally famous Toadmaster  no less,  Vern Veitch , who ran  cane  toad  races at  a  pub in Arcadia , as  saying he  had shares  in  Sealink   when   Lucy Turnbull was on the board , had  done  well  with his  investment, and would  like to take her for a tour of  the island .
 Present at the media conference was  Sealink  Queensland  general manager Paul Victory ,  hands on hips in photo ,  quoted   as   saying  the  grant,  from the Industry Skills Fund,  would  have a big  impact .  Sealink staff , which had gone from 80 to 100 in the past  year , would be able to diversify their  skills. This would help  Sealink  present  the  right   product  to  the  right  people .  Great stuff .

One thing  Sealink  might  now be able to do  is make sure the  ferry terminal in Townsville  is open  until  the last run  to Magnetic Island  instead of  closing   and  passengers  having  to   wait  outside , a  great  leap  forward  in  service .

To quote the PM , it pays to be agile and nimble in Townsville.
It would  also be nice if  artwork could be done  on   the above  lopsided   notice  at  the terminal  front door announcing that , when the place is  shut, passengers  wanting to use  the  toilet should scarper  away  to  the quaint ,  powder blue  dunnies ( not red brick with spiders ) near  the Coast Guard, if you  know where that is  . If  you are in a hurry , these  distant  amenities  can  be reached  by  clambering over a  traffic rail , dodging  through  parked cars, sometimes on  wet and  windy  nights. A  memorable  introduction  to Townsville if  you  are  a  newcomer who has just arrived by  plane.  

 The notice is attached to the  door with what appears to be  blue tack . The primitive  sign  and   dunny  arrangements  are  hardly  the right product  for  the right  people from  interstate and  overseas  you want to come back again .

Sealink  , listed on the  stock exchange in October  2013, operates Captain Cook Cruises and   ferry services  on Sydney Harbour , the  Kangaroo Island , South  Australia run , and in Darwin ; it bought the  privately owned Queensland based Transit Systems Marine   with its  33 passenger , vehicle and tourist ferries   for  $125million and raised $40million  through  institutional   investors.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Predicting  the  future it seems is a  dying art  in  Queensland . The   mysterious  and  faded  Parlour of  Prophecy  in  a  distinctive 1929 built Townsville  building , above,  now sports a  FOR LEASE  sign .  And  on Magnetic Island  there was a  strange  public  notice  offering  a crystal ball for sale  , which said the  third  person to view  the object would  buy   it . Wonder how they knew...was it written in the stars ,Tarot  cards , the  entrails of  a  dead , barbecued  Palmer  dinosaur  at  Coolum ? 
The  Parlour of  Prophecy  in  brighter , predictable  days .

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Impecunious journalists with vivid imaginations   throughout Australia are speculating  on  the likely damages  to  be  awarded  to  Townsville scribe and bird lover , Malcolm Weatherup , as a result of his  win  in a  defamation  case  against  The Australian .

The  Murdoch owned Townsville Bulletin carried a  brief mention of the case in  its  April 22 edition under the heading NEWSPAPER DEFAMED EX-JOURNO, SAYS  JURY .
It said the  Supreme Court  found an  article published  in the media section of  The Australian  last year  would have wrongly caused a  reasonable  reader to believe that Malcolm Weatherup  was  an  habitual drunk  who had incurred " the wrath  of judges " during his employment as  a  court  reporter  at  the  Townsville   Bulletin .

It went on to say Nationwide Newspapers Pty Ltd  had  not proven  its allegations  that  Weatherup  was known to be affected  by alcohol at work .

Continuing : However, the jury found that Nationwide News Pty Ltd  had established as " substantially true" that  Weatherup had committed  the crime  of wilful damage  by kicking  a  neighbour's car door  in  a  fit  of anger...

Whoever  wrote this  odd  paragraph, which could be said to give  a reasonable reader the  belief  that  the  said  Weatherup  was some kind of  weird  kung  fu  kicker  of  cars , deserves to  be kicked up  the  derriere.

It omitted, either deliberately , by ignorance ,  sloppy journalism or poor subbing ,  that   Weatherup had  had a long running  dispute ,  over years, with a neighbour  who  parked  poorly.This  resulted in  the reporter scraping the side of his  neighbour's  car , leading  to  the  kicking  episode. 

This was explained fully in  the Townsville court  last year at which it was said  that a few days before  the  incident  Weatherup  had received  confirmation that he had cancer, and it was playing on his  mind. Weatherup had   pleaded guilty  when charged with wilful damage  and   was placed on  a good  behaviour  bond , fully reported in the Townsville  Bulletin at the time with  a  photograph of Malcolm , then  68. 

In the interests  of  fair and balanced reporting, this   vital  piece of  info about why the  auto was abused  surely should have  been included  in the latest Bully story, especially as the magistrate  at the time  took into account Weatherup had no  previous criminal record  and  his  recent health  diagnosis.

In his  distinctive , always  interesting   blog , The Magpie's Nest , which  pecks at  and stirs  up  the  local scene, the  Bulletin  in particular,  and also comments on  national and  global events , with the help  a  talented  cartoonist  ,  Weatherup mentioned  the  verdict  thus :
On Thursday morning, at 11.25, after 4-day trial, a four person jury reached a verdict that I had been defamed in an article in The Australian newspaper. The issue of damages and of costs are yet to be determined, and will be handed down at a date to be set. I will not, pro tem, be making any comment on the matter and no comments will be published on this blog regarding it...However, he did thank his  talented legal  team , which the wise old owl says  is  a  smart  move. 

The learned  legal eagles making  the damages submission  to  His Honour will undoubtedly   point out  the inadequate Townsville Bulletin  report  and  its   impact  on  reasonable  readers  who  did  not  get  the  full story and thus  fear Weatherup  could be a danger  to  the V8s  which  roar about the  city or those humble  vehicles of  mums and  dads  getting  a  great run in  the present  election drive . 

On  a very  serious note, Malcolm is soon to have his larynx  removed .

Sunday, April 24, 2016


From New York comes  news  that  veteran Australian journalist  Peter  Blake  has undergone  treatment for   complications following a  triple bypass . Much to our surprise, Peter, having difficulty breathing , rang  this blog just before  being  wheeled into  theatre .  One  of  the  great  all  round  journalists , Peter  was involved with  his brother , Terry , and a crazy, talented crew    in  production of  the   famous  Kings Cross Whisper  in Sydney .

In  Darwin  he variously worked for  the Northern Territory News,  the  independent Darwin Star, the name of which  he suggested  , based on the  Hong Kong  paper  on which  he  had worked , the Department of the  Northern Territory  and even  fielded at  Fannie Bay Racecourse, known as  Bookie Blake.

His  immense  skill  at writing,  subbing  and  layout  went  into several  satirical  publications    in  Darwin which   ran   some old   photos  of nudes from  the  Kings  Cross Whisper. 

Always great company , he  is  a keen fisherman  and  has  fished in many places in Australia,  down  South America  and  from   ferries that run  fishing trips out of  the Big Apple  to  the Gulf Stream . He and reporter Bob Staines  produced   Sydney's  Fishing News  newspaper and a  fishing  radio talk .

 Peter was a  friend of  journalist Roger East , killed  in  the  Indonesian invasion of  Dili , East Timor .  He worked for  Murdoch  in New York and now lives in Manhattan   with   his wife, Claire , daughter of  a bookie , it jokingly said that if  big  punting Peter  placed his  bets with his wife , he  could not possibly lose. We  wish  him  a  speedy  recovery.


From a  roving  correspondent ,  quiet  scenes  away  from  the  bustling, noisy , polluted  cities .


One  of our  Darwin  runners found  this  collection  of  political tin buttons. The one far left features  what appears to be an Aboriginal art drawing of a frog  ( in a sock ?)  announcing that  the age of  18 is the year you can vote  for the first time.  At the centre , displaying  the  dove on which is superimposed  the outline of Australia, the badge  calls  on workers to unite  on May Day 1985   for peace, disarmament  and friendship. At  the end is  a badge  for another  May Day march  for  peace and  full  employment. 

While on the subject of peace and disarmament, the above surreal photograph of the Pine Gap US-Australia spy  base, near Alice Springs, has gone on  display  at  the  Alice  Prize Exhibition , causing  widespread comment  and raising eyebrows in high places as it is supposed to be illegal to photograph and  show pix of the establishment . It is the work of  Kristian Laemmle-Ruff , of the Nautilus Institute  for  Security .

This  comes after  the incredible act of  the  Northern Territory  CLP  government, approved by sleepy  watchdogs in  Canberra, of leasing the  port of Darwin to the Chinese for  99 years . The Yanks, building up the number of Marines  coming to Darwin  and talk of  basing super bombers there ,  must be wondering  what   next  to  expect  in  the  NT.  In a helpful,  spoofy post  some months ago, this blog suggested approval had been given to build a Chinese dim sim and  fortune  cookie factory overlooking  Pine Gap, which had  annoyed the Pentagon.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Former US president  Gerald " Jerry"  Ford's  lack of  nous  was   attributed  to the fact that he had played  gridiron  without  a helmet, see below. President Lyndon Baines Johnson  , LBJ , who said Bloodhound  dogs  love being swung  about by their ears, derided  Ford  by  saying  he could not fart and chew gum at the same  time . Gridiron has  not yet  been  blamed for  the disastrous presidency of George  Dubya  Bush.

It is , however , no laughing matter. President  Ford and  Secretary of  State  Henry  Kissinger   gave  the Indonesians  the  green light to invade  East Timor  before they  tip-toed out of Jakarta  and  the  tiny  nation on  Australia's doorstep  endured  nearly a quarter century of brutality.

On  reading  the  superb  Niki  Savva  book , The Road to Ruin How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own  Government , published  by Scribe, one wonders how Abbott , a Rhodes Scholar no less  ,  became  a   ferocious   head  kicker   in   opposition   and   in   government ran   a  toxic, dysfunctional  regime, unable to see  the  bus  coming  and  could  not  put  together  a  winning  Budget .

Psychoanalysts, political scientists  and  the chorus of  right wing  commentariat,   miffed  little Vegemites , could advance  why this  was so.  In  the interests  of  healthy, balanced  debate , herein  is  a  brilliant   possible  explanation:

 During   his  Sydney  University  rugger bugger  days Abbott was reportedly  violently beaten at  a university conference ;  he openly admitted   punching  his uni cobber  Joe Hockey , later the Treasurer  and now our gilded  ambassador  in America ,   telling   him  to  get  in  there   and  mix   it with the players.  At Oxford , Abbott  received two Blues  for boxing . Therefore , both obviously may  have suffered  accumulated  trauma   from  all  this   good  clean  boyo  biffing. 

Wielding  the  pen  with   surgical   precision,     Savva  has  indeed produced  an instant classic , so   described  by  veteran  political reporter , Laurie Oakes. The  highly detailed   book , the best  forensic work about Australian  politics this reviewer has read in many a day ,   presents overwhelming  evidence  of  the  bone headed , incompetent  reign  of   Abbott  , the  turmoil  and  despair  within  the  ranks , the  incredible  influence  of   Peta  Credlin . 

After reading  Savva's description  of  the bizarre happenings inside Abbott's  office  after he was voted out , it is absolutely  astounding that  no photos, videos  have yet surfaced of the  event. This was a momentous episode in the political history of Australia  and it seems implausible that  nobody in the room  took stills  or  filmed  the   astonishing  hijinks, akin to a Hollywood wrestling tag team  match  and  a  drunken  footy  club  party .

Savva  quoted  an unnamed person who was there  as  saying the scene resembled  a " debauch" . Phew ; thank  God there is no nuclear attack button in the PM's  den or else our Kiwi cobbers could have been accidentally  reduced to rubble  .  Hockey  danced  on  the famous   marble  topped table  and  it broke ;   male  MPs  tore off  their shirts ;  Abbott himself  stripped  off  his  shirt   and  singlet and revealed his hairy chest and jellyfish bite scars   ;   oaths , not  related  to swearing  allegiance to the Queen and her knighted  consort, rent  the air  ; Credlin  delivered a bitter speech ; Foreign Minister  Julie  Bishop was referred to  as  Lady Macbeth ( Shakespeare would have been impressed )  ; Jamie  Briggs injured his knee when he tried to crash tackle  Abbott  and  ended up  in  a  wheelchair ;  the  boozing went on  until  dawn . 

All  this and  much more...and nobody captured any of  it on  their smart phone ?   It defies  belief  .  Channel 9 would  have been better off  offering a  wad  of  cash  to  those there  for exclusive  fractured  flickers instead  of  engaging  in  the  crazy  Lebanon  stunt .

NEXT : Savva's  next  book  and  other fascinating aspects and  overlooked  follow  up  angles  from  The  Road To Ruin .

**** Umpteen  Koala Bear stamps for  Niki  despite drowning Prime Minister  Harold  Holt two years  early (P80), the correct  date,December 17, 1967 , at the time a mysterious Chinese  submarine was  reportedly seen  dredging  sand  in  the area ,   later  run  in the  text .

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Not only is  it  bad manners to  point, seven  cute  fairies  die  as  well  each  time a digit  is  used  as  a  weapon  in rowdy parliamentary  debates.

CANBERRA :  Badly decimated  during the toxic finger pointing  Abbott government , there are distressing signs  that  surviving  local  fairies  are  fleeing   to  the tropics  to take refuge in  rainforests ahead  of  the  looming  deadly  double dissolution  election .
Unfortunately , up north, in the obesity belt ,  fairy folk are regarded as  vermin  and  tree hugging  Greenies . In addition , widespread  clear felling of trees is taking place in Queensland , aided and abetted by the LNP ,   so the scared ,  exhausted fairies   face  a  Sahara Desert like landscape when they flutter in , resulting  in  further deaths.    
Typical  North  Queensland  armchair  cowboy   shooing   fleeing , exhausted  fairies  away, telling them  to  bugger  off  back  down   south, or  be mowed  down  .
 Still  traumatised  by  the  Abbott   years, the  Fairy Godmother  told our political roundsman  and  fairy fan , Argus Tuft,  that  the  surviving  wee people   are  fleeing  the  capital  to  avoid  being  killed  by   angry   finger pointing  politicians .

 She said seven  harmless fairies  hit the deck when PM Malcolm Turnbull , seen here , pointed his very well  manicured fickle  finger of  fate at  the Leader of  the Opposition, Bill Shorten , and strongly   declared  the  ALP's  plans  for  the nation  amounted  to  Grimm's Fairy Tales .

Furthermore, the PM  warned  kiddies  the ALP's puppet master,  the CFMEU, has  evil plans  to  confiscate all  children's  teddy bears  and  use them to  fire  up barbecues  on  union  picnic days and May Day marches  across the  country.
Another serial   finger pointer , who scares the  bloomers off  the Fairy Godmother, is Treasurer  Scott Morrison  whose   digits, according to her,  are  increasingly  wielded  like a  Gatling  gun , causing  poor fairies  to  drop like bad  dandruff   in  the  House  of  Representatives .
Treasurer  Morrison  attacking  ALP "fairy tales " with  a 60 ton  siege  gun which was installed   at  Fort Largs to  repel  any  Russian  invasion  of  Adelaide .  

Wounded   fairies  are  dragged out  of  parliament by a team  of Panda Bears   to  the  High Court   fountain  and  bathed  in   Sir  Garfield Barwick's  healing recycled  waters.
Another  quick on the draw  Coalition  member  is  Christopher  "The Fixer "Pyne , seen here  brandishing his still  smoking .45  calibre digit , who has shot up  many  Australian  fairies .

The Fairy Godmother  said she expected greater respect for fairies  from Pyne seeing as  he comes from Adelaide, the  City  of  Churches, but he had become one of the  government's worst  gunslingers, with many notches on  his  old school  tie .

However, she said  Minister  Pyne  would need a  Dirty Harry Special to stop the  Greek Ned Kelly , Nick Xenophon , in  South Australia  because   the absolutely horrid  Abbott-Turnbull-Ned Nasty  Government  is  on  the  nose there. 
Terribly sad  exclusive  photograph , supplied by weeping Fairy Godmother, of  mortally wounded   fairy  plummeting   headfirst to the ground in the PM's courtyard   at  parliament  house  after  being  fingered  by  a cigar smoking  Tory  member .

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


PM  Malcolm Turnbull went  to  China as  the  leader of Australia , regarded as the  US  Deputy Sheriff  in Asia  ,  flunked  the  red carpet  walk , upset  rugby league  supporters  and on his return has taken  on  the  surprising   guise of  the  masked  Lone Ranger , helped  by  Tonto , instead of  frog  socker  Barnaby , to  face  the  hostile  tribes   across  Wishy  Washy  Land .
Tonto's  main  task  is  to visit  Pitt Street  bison feedlots and   track  down  and scalp  the  heap  big  leakers who speak  with  forked  tongues  in   backbench   badlands . The PM's faithful Persil white horse, Silver , will  be included  in all media photo opportunities  throughout  the  election  campaign , a welcome change from  hard hats  and  hi-vis  kits. This is a Lone Ranger jokes free  blog 

Monday, April 18, 2016


There is  a  little  known   connection  between  the    popular  television   crime detecting   Father  Brown   and  the  late  Father  Frank  Flynn , an  eye  specialist member of  the  Missionaries  of the Sacred  Coeur  in  the Northern Territory  and   Papua  New  Guinea .
By  Peter  Simon
The  Father  Brown character, originally   the subject of  5l short  stories  by prolific British writer ,  philosopher,  dramatist , orator ,  lay preacher, literary and  art  critic  and Christian apologist ,  Gilbert  Keith  Chesterton   (1874-1938),   gave  rise  to   television  and  radio  series   and   films .

The son of an  Irish  doctor  ,  Frank Flynn (1906-2000) ,  the youngest of  six sons who all  took up medicine ,  was brought up  in Sydney.  Flynn  sailed to England in 1933  aboard the Jervis Bay as ship's surgeon  to   further  his  medical career,  specialising  in ophthalmology  at  the  Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital (Moorfields ) , the world's oldest  eye hospital  of  great renown .

Dr  Flynn  also  studied  in  eye  clinics  on the Continent  and  made a  big impression at Moorfields,   introducing a new drug , Mydricaine,  for the maximum dilation of pupils  ; he also  designed  and patented  a machine used in detached retina operations, becoming  known  as  a  leading  ophthalmic surgeon .

In London he   mixed  with  a  wide  range of medicos and literary luminaries , many of them Catholics,  including   Chesterton  , a  convert  to Catholicism  , and    Hilaire   Belloc (1870-1953), these   two  very  close . Chesterton, below, who  stood 6ft 4 inches  and weighed 20 stone, with a booming voice , usually wore a cape  and  crumpled hat  .

Of  Chesterton ,  Flynn said  he was a  man of genius who  shook with laughter  and  was  a  powerful speaker.  Some of  the  encounters  took place   in  Fleet Street  pubs . While in London Flynn  developed the desire to become a  priest, not  unexpected as  he came from a  devout  family ,  two of  his three sisters entered the  Brigidine Convent in  Sydney.

 In 1934  he  headed  back to Australia, again as a ship's surgeon ,  intent on becoming a priest ;  the  next  year he joined  the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart  and while studying philosophy at the Kensington Monastery in Sydney met  the first resident Catholic Bishop of Darwin Monsignor Francis Xavier  Gsell, known as  "the Bishop with 150 wives" due to him saving the lives of runaway  Aboriginal  girls in  the Territory  who did not want to marry a tribally  appointed  husband by "buying " them with trade goods. Over  18 years  he amassed  this number of  so called wives.  Flynn was deeply influenced by Bishop Gsell and read up on  the NT .

Ordained   a priest in 1942, Flynn was sent to the Northern Territory  where he was attached  to the Army as  a Major  in the dual role of chaplain and ophthalmologist, serving  in various places including  the Darwin Fortress Hospital  at Myilly Point , Berrimah , Katherine  and  Alice Springs .

He came to the aid of  Army convoy drivers  who suffered   eye troubles driving through  the  dust , blazing sun . He told them to wear  goggles , rinse their eyes regularly and  paint a  green strip along  the top of the windscreen ; increasing  the  distance  between  vehicles  in   convoys along the track from Alice to Darwin  also  helped.   Demobilised in 1946 , he continued as a part  time chaplain and  ophthalmologist to the RAAF  with the rank of Wing Commander.

Very early in his time in the Territory  he became aware of the widespread incidence of  the eye disease trachoma  in Territory Aborigines. In 1957 he made a  report on  trachoma  for the Medical Journal of Australia , urging a mass programme to combat  the scourge . He became involved with Professor  Fred  Hollows  in the Australia wide  survey of Australian Aboriginals ; Hollows  described  Flynn, below,  as his mentor and" the man  behind his  fight  for sight ".

In  the late  l950s , when I was  a reporter on the Northern Territory News    , I  had   numerous   dealings  with  Father  Flynn  in Darwin  during which  he spoke of  Chesterton  and  Anglo-French writer and historian  Belloc  in  particular as having   strengthened  his  religious  beliefs.

I spoke to him  before he set out on a 2000 mile outback journey   in a  four wheel drive  through   the  NT  and   Western Australia   conducting weddings, masses, christenings and  confessions,  calling at  Katherine ,Willeroo, Coolibah, Timber Creek, Auvergne , Newry, Ivanhoe , Wyndham , Argyle  Downs, Rosewood, Waterloo, Limbunya, Inverway, Wave Hill, Hooker  Creek,  Monteginnie ,Victoria River  Downs ,  Humbert  River  and  Newcastle  Waters.

He took with  him  a  mass kit  brought  back from  France   after   WWl  by Bishop Gsell .  A golden chalice  used by Father Flynn  had been given to him by his mother  shortly before she died . The Holy Cross on it was made of gold  from  his mother's wedding  ring ,studded with diamonds  from her engagement   ring  and emeralds from the  brooch  worn  by  the  bridesmaid at  her wedding .

When  my  wife , a  New Zealander , spoke to Father Flynn  he told her  that when he had been  at Sydney University, where he was an active  member of the newly   formed Students' Representative  Council ,  he  toured  NZ  with  the Australian Universities' Rugby Union Football  team  in 1929 .

Father Flynn and  the  Bishop of Darwin , J.P.O'Loughlin ,  sailed by lugger   to  the early settlement of  Port Essington  as part of   plans to remove  the remains of the NT's first priest, Father  Angelo Confalonieri   shipwrecked in the Torres Strait in 1846 and taken to the 1838  established , ill- fated  tiny  British settlement  at Port Essington , named Raffles Bay, in the hope it would become another Singapore,    to   St. Mary's Church crypt  in  Darwin .

Father Flynn  reported that  there  was  little  of  the  settlement remaining . They found  the priest's grave  and four others - a woman and her child , the settlement  doctor  and  a  surgeon . Searching the area, Father Flynn found a willow pattern plate  among  the ruins .  Father Flynn  wrote a paper  about Port Essington which was presented at a function in  Darwin  presided  over by the  NT News  editor , Jim Bowditch.
As  I   also   played  for  the Brothers  Rugby League  team , NT News journalist   Keith Willey and I  apparently the only non Catholic members , this brought me into  further  contact with  Father  Flynn . Willey  subsequently collaborated with the priest in the writing of a  book  about the Territory, one of several written by the  cleric. 
In 1967 Father Flynn went to Port Moresby as Administrator of  the Cathedral and Director of  Catholic Health Services  in  Papua New Guinea. During his   busy time there  he was involved with the construction of a new cathedral, as  he had in  Darwin , studied and reported on  eye diseases  there  and  in the Solomons  and  was  deeply  involved   in the  setting up of  a medical faculty at  the University of Papua  New Guinea  where  an early graduate was a  nephew, Father Peter  Flynn,  MSC. 

Back in Darwin in 1977, he was  an early resident at  new  living quarters  for priests , known as The Ranch , on the Nightcliff  foreshore, where he    got about on  a bicycle  with a   distinctive  hat  like Father Brown . In his 90s he devised a cardboard  device  with a slit  that  fitted over  his  face  like  Ned Kelly  to help his vision  reading  in   old  age.

In  the  1988 bicentennial year, Father Flynn was honoured with an Australian Achievers Award  and included in both the Heritage 200 list  and The 200 People Who Made Australia Great ,  a  list of 200 Remarkable Territorians . A book published that year  contained  biographical details of Father Flynn next to a  photograph caption " Frank Flynn  having a morning shave  while on the track with Mrs Flynn." Oops! It was  actually the  Presbyterian minister, John Flynn , known as  Flynn of  the Inland, founder of  the Flying  Doctor  Service .

FOOTNOTE : G. K. Chesterton  loosely based  the Father Brown character  on Father John O'Connor (1870-1952), a parish priest in Bradford , who had been involved in Chesterton's conversion to  Catholicism  in  1922. From a well to  do English family in Ireland ,  Father O'Connor  mixed with writers and artists  and when he died  it was discovered he had left behind  an extremely valuable art collection  consisting of  pictures by  Turner, Constable , Reynolds , Brueghel and Piero Della  Francesco , a situation described by  one writer  as  befitting  a Father Brown mystery.