Sunday, May 22, 2016


As  part of   renovations  to  various buildings  along  the foreshore  at Horseshoe  Bay, Magnetic Island , a   diverse  range of  improvised  yacht  nameplates, some on driftwood , have been  removed . Numerous  yachts  from  all  over  have called  into picturesque  Horseshoe  over  the years , and many left a  reminder of  their visit  , as shown  by the  above  view   .
A  Maori  greeting  from  2006 .
In memory of  a  young beach runner .
Red Baron taking off  at Horseshoe .
It is firmly  understood that all the yachting relics  will  be placed back in their original position by the Townsville City Council .

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Internationally  known  Sydney electropop  musician, singer , songwriter , music-mixer  and  producer , Paul McDermott ,  who performs under the name Paul Mac , is  considering  making  a  theatrical  production  of  the extraordinary life of  bushranger " Captain Moonlite" , Andrew George Scott ,  below ,  as  either  a contemporary opera or a narrative  musical.
Magnetic Island  muso , filmmaker and history buff , Gary Hunn has been discussing   with  McDermott   details  of  the Irish  born   bushranger's  life   and is    planning  a  trip  to  Sydney to carry out further  research  in  the Mitchell Library.

As pointed  out earlier in  this blog , Hunn  has been following in the footsteps of  bushrangers  with  his   film crew  to  show  Australia  how  these  individuals and  the  conditions of  early settlement  here  and  the  oppressive regimes  overseas   shaped   our   nation . 
He   is currently  studying  the fascinating  death cell letters of  Captain Moonlite   who  was  hanged  in   Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, in  1880. A document   being scrutinised  line  by  line  by  Gary  was written when Scott , a former   preacher  who  had  fought in the Maori Wars  , was  "within   thirteen  hours  of  death  and  fifty  feet  of  the  gallows. "

UPCOMING : A detailed account of  the  bushranger's  incredible  life,  including  a  claim  that Ned  Kelly  threatened to shoot  him  and  a  married  woman   who  did  not want known  her  association  with   Scott  the  night of  a  bizarre   Victorian  bank robbery   for  which  he strongly  asserted  right  up  to  his   death   he  had   been  framed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


A  pleasing read  has been RARE  A life among antiquarian books , by Stuart Kells, foreworded by Geoffrey  Blainey , published by Folio, Sydney ,  2011  which  deals with the  humble Melbourne  beginnings   and rise to fame  of   the renowned  Kay  Craddock Antiquarian Bookshop .Craddock   became the   first  woman to preside over the International League  of Antiquarian Booksellers.
 By  Peter Simon
A champion  Australian archer in  her   day , she was trained by both her father and Hans Wright , a  world and Olympic Games record holder in the l960s and 70s   who became the first Australian to  win American  national  events.

 Kay left school at 16  and at one stage   worked  in  an advertising agency and  during lunch used to go to the State Library of Victoria  and borrow books , one being  Gold in Your Attic:  A Guide to Valuable Rare Books , by Van Allen Bradley.

Journalist Bradley, literary editor of the Chicago Daily News for 23  years and a rare book  dealer  , wrote a syndicated column about gold in your attic . I suspect Bradley inspired a South Australian  wheeler  dealer  to  letterbox  a  large part of Adelaide  urging residents  to empty out their  attics and sheds of  newspapers, unwanted  books and  other items  and they  would be taken away free of charge  and  receive  a "mystery   gift"  in return .  He told me he  got the idea after reading a book by  a "Yank"  who  did  something  similar  and  became  a "millionaire".

As a result , he  said  piles of  newspapers , books  magazines and ephemera and   just plain junk  appeared  at   front  gates, on footpaths . With a hired truck  he spent  a hectic time  gathering the offerings  which  were  take home and  dumped in  his garage to be sorted out . 

 Some  of  the  old  newspapers and magazines  were  kept along with  the many books  , including  pulp fiction .  Apart  from  the cost of  hiring the  truck  , he  bought  boxes  of  made in China  soft  toys-the "mystery gift ",  which  popped up like mushrooms  at the  entrances of  many  homes,  and many may have  instantaneously  been  dumped  in  garbage  bins . 

Soon after , he  came into my old wares shop , spotted  some Toby jugs , which he collected, and  said would I  like to swap them  for a  shed  full  of books, old newspapers  and  magazines . Done . The  mystery mountain was transferred to my garage , sprayed  ,  and  slowly  sorted  out . Over the years he offered me  40 spinning wheels,  shipping containers   full  of  remainder  books , rare penny black stamps.  I regret not having  bought  from him a  chapeau  Nancy Wake  , the  famous   WWll French resistance  fighter known as  The White Mouse by the Gestapo,  supposedly wore  on  a visit   to  South Australia late  in  life.Wake was born in New Zealand  but raised  in  Sydney.


In  1983, during my two years in The Australian's Melbourne bureau, I went down to St Kilda to do a story on a burgeoning antiquarian bookshop.  While there the owner, none other than Kay Craddock, sold me a first edition W.B. Yeats -- Stories of Red Hanrahan: The Secret Rose: Rosa Alchemica, A.H. Bullen, London, 1913. 228pp. 8vo. Original cloth backed boards, corners lightly bumped. Offsetting to endpapers. A very good copy. First edition thus I paid $90.

I have been collecting Yeats firsts ever since. (I have more than 100.) I was introduced to Yeats by Bill Harney (born in Charters Towers!) when I was in high school in Darwin. Over dinner one night Bill quoted, from memory He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, which enthralled me. Quite a few of my  firsts I bought  from  Kay. Quite accidentally our fortnight in Ireland in 2008 coincided with a special Yeats exhibition at the National Library -- original MSS, ephemera, films etc. (My other collection is Australian exploration. Cook, Burke and Wills, Stuart .)

***During  this  blogger's recent  trip to Charters Towers  a 1963 reprint of Bill Harney's  Grief, Gaiety and Aborigines was snaffled . If memory serves me  right, while staying overnight  in the Lockwood  residence  in  Darwin , Bill, who had been the ranger at Ayers Rock, now Uluru , somehow got himself  locked  in the lavatory and remained there until the morning  because he did not want to disturb  the household ... I was wrong, Kim put me right . Harney  remained in solitary confinement   because his loud shouts were not heard above the  airconditioning  and  a  boisterous  party going on at nearby Mareenah  House , formerly the hostel for  female public servants ,  which by then  was  the police barracks .  The noise and  mosquitoes  kept  Bill  awake  until he used  a toilet  roll  for a pillow and snatched  some slumber, curled up on the floor, wrapped  around the  toilet bowl . When he became  thirsty, he made use of the  cistern .

 I  met Bill  in  the Northern Territory News , in what must have been during his visit  in which  he  was locked in  the loo , when  he  came in  to  see   the  editor , Jim  Bowditch , the two having  been friends over  the years ; Harney spoke of  a  camp  he once had in Darwin at Two Fella Creek .  Bill died  at the end of  l962  in  Mooloolaba, Queensland.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


With the ALP undoubtedly going to be subjected to  a mountain  of  attack adverts  during  the   run  up to  the election , a  unique  video  showing the NSW  ALP senator  Sam Dastyari   giving  his  daughters  " the cutest guide to  tax avoidance "  using lollies as currency , deserves  to  be  a smash  hit , bigger than Toy Story , Madagascar , Happy Feet . The unscripted  performance of  the children and their  comments would  have  made  the   most  hardened  political  cynic  smile .

The  video was posted  the  day PM Malcolm Turnbull's involvement with a mining company  which  intended to  search for  gold in Siberia  was  revealed   in  the  Panama  Papers.

 Dastyari  went to Townsville  during  Opposition Leader  Bill  Shorten's  stay    and   attended  an ALP barbecue on  the picturesque  waterfront , most of the time  with  a  smart phone attached / glued to his lobe . It  may well   have been  Disney Land  offering  him a  career  as   a children's  film   producer  after  seeing  the  most unusual  tax  guide . 

He walked  round and round about  a  garden  plot  like a  Teddy Bear , upsetting a foraging  Magpie in  the process ,  which could have been covering the ALP  conclave  for   local   journalist  Malcolm  Weatherup.   At   the  end of  a lengthy telephone  session , Sam  managed  to  join the group , and  it was possible to have  a very short conversation  with  him  about  multi national companies  dodging tax  in Australia  and  the  need for  a  royal  commission into banking, before  he  was  on  the  phone  again  and  disappeared .


Syndicated  British   astrologer Jonathan Cainer   who   provided  columns  for  the London  Daily Mail    and   Murdoch  newspapers  in Australia   died early this month... yet   his  star  talk  continues  ,  and  you can actually  phone  him for  a  personal  message . How is this so ?

News Corp papers gave differing  explanations . In the case of the May 10  edition of the Northern Miner , Charters Towers, Queensland , it said he had "passed away "  early last week. Fortunately, he  had prepared his astrological readings well ahead of  publication and the Miner  would continue to publish  these ; the paper would  also like to share  "in this space" some  of " Jonathan's inspiring quotes."

Under each sign of the  zodiac write up  , the  reader was invited  by the now  dear departed  astrologer , to  ring  a number  for    details about the mystic power of the Transit of  Mercury .

The Townsville Bulletin handled the  death  a little differently in the May 13  edition, each star  gazing reader of  the Zodiac Forecasts  given the  heartening  news that  you could "hear  Jonathan's wisdom in  your latest prediction by ringing  1900 959 005" .

Eager to find out what the stars have to say today, this blogger bought the May 16 edition of the Townsville Bulletin , checked the page 2 index    to see Stars and Sudoku were on  page 34. Shock, horror . On the said page 34  there was  weather  and comics. How  could  I  plan my day without knowing what is written in  the stars   according to  Jonathan ?

Hastily leafing  through the paper , he was  found under  Lifestyle ( not very apt for a guy who has  recently died  ) next  to puzzles and wretched   sudoku . However, you can  still  receive his  wisdom  on  1900 959 005.  

News of his death naturally  received  much publicity in the UK, where he also appeared on television,  which  may soon  drop out of the EU orbit .  The Daily Mail   said  the astrologer  was  so popular   with its readers  that many of them  would  not venture out  of their house without   first reading his predictions, which does not say much for the  IQ of the  readers.

No reflection on the dear departed  Cainer  and his   columns, said to be read by 12 million , including some  through the Botswana Echo , but many years ago this blogger was present in a Sydney   pub when the late  , highly talented  journalist  and  author , Jim "Flasher" Oram , who once went on a bender with Irish dramatist Brendan Behan resulting  in the pride of Ireland,  famously saying  he was a drinker with  writing  problems, collapsing and being  admitted to hospital,    gave some advice to  a budding  astrologer    about how  to  write  a  column  for  the  media . 

This  rather  odd , scruffy   fellow looked as if he had  been living in a lunar  crater most of his life.  Oram   firmly told   him  the  star column he wrote for a magazine was  deadly dull  and that he should , in effect, sex it up  with all kinds of  mystical  verbiage .

The  shocked   astrologer did indeed  sex  things up  and became something of a shooting star in the entertainment/showbiz world . In  next to no time he was being interviewed  on  radio and  TV and  appeared   salubrious.  

Britishers  who  believe in the stars have been  told that Cainer's nephew  just happens  to be an astrologer and he will carry on the  work .  It will be interesting to see how long  Australian newspapers continue  to run his uncle's  columns  and what  they  do to fill the  gap on  the weather / lifestyle  pages .

And if you still believe your fate is written in the stars and  kindly printed  in  the tabloids , let me inform you  that  the man who wrote  the stars in  the Northern Territory  News , Darwin , light years ago, was  Jim Kelly, above,  the sports  reporter, who could often  be  seen sitting at his desk, shirtless ,  long socks rolled down , a fag in  his mouth (Temple Bar )  ,   beer nearby , pounding out  Heaven's secrets.  While imbibing in the Workers'  Club  one   thirsty day  , he overheard  a  customer say he had   put off a light plane flight over a long weekend  because of   a warning in  The  Stars   column  in  the  NT News . 


Peta  Credlin  added to the long list of nicknames  bestowed  upon our nation's prime ministers when  she  called  PM  Malcolm  Turnbull "Mr Harbourside Mansion ", a jibe described by former ALP  NSW premier and   Foreign Minister   Bob    Carr   as   a   vengeful 101 act.

The deaf  PM  Billy  Hughes  glorified in the title  The Little Digger in WWl. Billy Big Ears  was   William  McMahon ; Jolly John  was  John Gorton ; Malcolm Fraser  was  known  in  irreverent  circles  as  the Crazy Grazier , Gough Whitlam,  The Big Fellah . 

Not to  be forgotten was  Robert  Menzies- called Pig Iron Bob  over  the  export of  ore  to  Japan , who  also received  the exotic title , Ming the Merciless .

Credlin's utterances so far  as a so-called election commentator  have many Liberals  saying  she  is more like  a Turnbull  Government wrecking ball , acting for  her  former  boss , Tony "Mad Monk" Abbott.

Abbott  was  shown on a  wet day  during  the week , a   miserable   figure  standing like a shag on a rock  at Manly wharf, a place said to be seven miles  from Sydney but a thousand miles from care , handing out  election  bumf , avoided by passers- by , one calling  him  a dinosaur, which upset the Society for the Protection of Dinosaurs.
In Darwin,  the  Country Liberal  Party  incumbent in the narrowly held  Federal seat of Solomon , Natasha Griggs,  nicknamed  " Abbott's Handbag"", after she was  seen walking  next  to  then  PM Abbott , before and after  the    spill which saw him ousted , on  the exit cake walk  placing  a  pacifying  hand  on  him several times , hence the handbag  nickname , is facing   a  big battle . Griggs is shown above  with PM Abbott  at Darwin Airport  when sabres were  flashing in a military exercise , now  being wielded  by various  warring  sections within  the  Coalition.  That  tall  figure hovering  in  the  background  is  Peta Credlin.  
A Darwin  political  animal  this week said he could hardly wait for  PM Turnbull to lob in town  and stage  a  Kardashian and Cartier-type  media promo for the Coalition  with  Natasha present , the media reptiles  sure to  ask her  how she   voted  in  the  spill , and is it true she has 11 or more  negatively geared   properties ,  as  is  widely  bruited  about   the  town. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016


In  the wild  early days of the Queensland   goldrush   town of  Ravenswood   you could shack up  with  an obliging  lady of the night . This cut out, which enables tourists to take a souvenir  photograph of their visit  ,  has a sign which says there were 10 prostitutes  in  the  town and  600 men .    Nowadays , Ravenswood, population 191 in 2006,  described  as a  wonderful  true  ghost town , offers a range of  shacks , two  grand old hotels , and  a flock of wandering   peacocks  devoid of  their  fine  tailfeathers . Driving into town is like entering a fascinating  time warp , relics of  the  past  everywhere .
One of the stand outs is the Railway Hotel, below, which  during WWll was  taken  over  and turned into a school  for  girls  from St. Anne's , Townsville , evacuated inland  so the city could be turned over to the defence forces. While there the  girls also  knitted  items  for  troops .
Through  the    window  of  an old shop, below,  sporting what looked like a bullet hole in the glass, were  painted and decorated cattle  skulls . Inside the building more skulls could  be seen lined up  on  the floor . And what looked like dresses, apparently made from plastic bags ,  that seemed  to be cast offs  by  Dami Im  in the  Eurovision Song  Contest   were   displayed  on   dummies  .
Gold was  first  discovered in 1868  and the population grew to  5000 by 1900, there being 40 pubs . The  only other surviving pub from  those thirsty days  is the Imperial , below,  built in 1902  ,  little changed   since   then ,with spectacular stained glass  windows  and reported sightings of  ghosts, in room 12A, not 13,  one said to be a woman in  period dress , perhaps like the ladies of the night across the road . Ringers were also known to ride horses  up to the bar .
Goldmining is carried out  today by Resolute Mining through a subsidiary,  Carpentaria Gold , which was bought  from Xstrata  in 2006. There was a  recent staff reduction at the mine .   Still  there is  the  imposing  1880 built  School of Arts , below, used   for  many  community  functions .
There were many Chinese in Ravenswood and the cemetery is the last resting place of  a considerable  number .The Ravenswood Cemetery Records  compiled by Carmel Whitton and Janetta Halvorsen is a handy and informative guide .  A reminder of the Chinese involvement in the town in the early days is this  metal silhouette , below ,  near  the   information centre . 
Ravenswood  is  tailor made  for  a  Tony  Robinson  Time Walk. From Townsville there is a  bus tour which  takes in the ghosts, gals and  pubs of Ravenswood.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Sometimes you  strike it  lucky when  you are  doing the rounds in the never ending hunt  for  interesting books ,  ephemera  and  oddities  . Trawling through one of  the  op shops in the  Queensland  town of  Charters Towers , a  90 minute drive from Townsville,  this blogger, twitching  with nervous  expectation ,  came across a  stack of  books  which  had only just come in  and  had  not yet  been  priced .
Discovered in the pile was  a specially autographed 1962  copy  of  I,The Aboriginal , by   journalist  Douglas Lockwood, who was  the Darwin based   Melbourne  Herald  reporter  over   many  years , actually there   the  day it was  bombed   by  the  Japanese.

Specially presented to a  Mrs D. Sanders in 1963 , it was a  rarity not only because it was  signed  by Lockwood   but  because  the Aboriginal subject of  the award  winning   book, Phillip Roberts , who worked for the Health Department ,  had  signed  his  Aboriginal  name  in   full .

Back home with  a  backpack  heavy with  finds after the trip , each volume was  examined  closely. Mrs  Sanders-wonder who she was? At first there was  a strong feeling that she may have been the wife of  the  ABC manager in Darwin , Don Sanders , whose voice was  heard issuing warnings the night of  Cyclone Tracy and emerged in the morning to say Darwin looked like Hiroshima after the  atomic  bomb  had  been  dropped .

 However, loosely  inserted  in the book   was   a May  1963  folded  newsletter   from the United  Service  Institution , Swan Barracks , Perth , Western Australia .

Could Mrs  Sanders have  been connected  with  the military , her husband a Serviceman  perhaps  ? On  a  wild  hunch , another book bought  in Charters Towers , a  hefty volume entitled  CHURCHILL  AND AUSTRALIA  by  Graham  Freudenberg,   deeply involved with the Australian Labor Party as an adviser and  speechwriter   for   two prime ministers  and three NSW  premiers, was  examined for  possible clues.

Glancing through the index, there was SANDERS , Bruce . Could  he have been related to the   mystery  woman ? Sanders  was present when the  famous   cigar smoking British  wartime leader  Winston Churchill ," Winnie the War Winner" , came out to the Middle East  and, dressed in a pale lilac suit and  wearing  a topee , inspected  Allied  troops   at  Alamein.

Going on the book , he got a  mixed reception , a military historian  noting that , to  great amusement , an Australian gunner called out :"When are you going  to  send us  home , you  fat old  bastard ? " 
After discussing the book  with Kim Lockwood , Doug's son, in Melbourne , we came to the conclusion that  it was likely to have been   presented  to  Mrs  Don  Sanders, wife of  the  Darwin ABC  chief  . If  I remember correctly ,  she may have  conducted  an  early  children's radio  show  in  Darwin . 

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Clancy of  the  Overflow   sucked   into  a  threatening  economic black  hole  along   the  cosmic  way .

To escape  the  tyranny of  being  hunched over  a  computer  for  hours, day after day , this blogger joined  a  star trek  flight to  Charters Towers , an early  Australian   goldrush  boomtown   which   was  so  fabulously rich   it  was  called  The World.
During its heyday , the   Queensland town  had its own stock exchange, above, now converted  and  containing a  cafĂ© , bookshop, gallery , mining museum  and the  electorate office  of  the Queensland  Katter's Australia Party  Shane Knuth  ,   which  made three  calls a day,  fortunes  made and  lost , a resident rode a horse  on  which  its  shoes  were  made   of   gold  , there  were 92 pubs  catering  for  thirsty  miners  and this wild west town was the second largest in Queensland .

Gold  was  first found in 1871  by Aborigine  Jupiter Mosman   , the  area  so  rich that  1600 ounces of gold were picked up on the surface of the Washington Reef , the  biggest  nugget  found, The Prince of Wales , 143 ounces. 

Our  trip  from  Townsville was  aboard  the space  transporter  Yaris piloted by seasoned  long  distance  Darwin traveller   Sara   who  provided  a  survival kit which included  several  packs  of  her famous  curried egg  sandwiches, muffins  and  a  thermos .
 Dodging  gravitational  waves, stray cattle and marsupials , we landed  in  Charters Towers  as   the  chain store  Overflow , recently placed into  administration, was  selling  all  stock  at half price, bargain hunters streaming  into the shop  ,  in Townsville , Cairns  and  elsewhere  as well ,  another  blow to the  North  Queensland  economy. 
A must see attraction  , the Zara Clark Museum , is  jam packed with items from the   town's  golden  past , including  a large section dealing  with WWl  and the many miners who went off  and were killed , the battle of the Somme the subject of  a  current special  display .

Poking about the superb  museum , Little Darwin    found a  crate of old bottles from the area  which  had been loaned  in 1981 by Alan Isherwood  of the Northern  Territory.
The helpful volunteer staff  turned  up information in their  archives   about  the Morcom family, a member of which , Albert , born in Charters Towers , later   went to Alice Springs and  then became one of the "Borroloola Hermits" in the Gulf country of  the Northern  Territory .

There he wrote  colourful stories about the area  for Glenville   Pike's North Australian Monthly magazine and  the  Northern Territory News  in  Darwin .  Journalist, author  Keith Willey  mentioned  Morcom   in   his   book , Eaters of the Lotus
Shortly before he died in 1964 , Morcom  was  visited  in   Darwin  Hospital  by Pike  and complained that  the nurses  had  shaved  off  his beard .
A  museum member   said  she had recently  been reading  some  of  Pike's books, again showing how popular his works  are ,  despite  the fact that the Territory neglected  his  great  contribution  to the spread of knowledge about the history and daily  life  of the  entire  north  of  Australia. 
There  is  an impressive display of  donated  Toby jugs and associated  items in the museum and Little Darwin was  surprised to find that  an unusual teapot  of ours  was  in the collection , identified  as  Darby and  Joan , unfortunately fitting for  our stage in  life.  
A new  " golden" era  is expected in Charters Towers as  work is expected to start next month  on  a 43MW solar farm.
   NEXT: Unexpected  landing on  another  planet-the old gold mining town of  Ravenswood  with  welcoming  ladies  of  the  night , weird  decorated  skulls and the  pub taken over  by schoolgirls .

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Symbolic of  poor Wet season across  much of Australia . Vallis


CANBERRA: The Coalition Funk Bunker Dirty Tricks Department  has called in a team of elocution  experts  to  train  candidates  how to pronounce Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's   name  as  if  it is  Satan , which will scare the pants  off  voters .
This name distortion was used by America's disastrous   president George Dubya Bush  when  he spat out the name of Iraqi  president  Saddam Hussein before launching the  second Gulf  War on totally  spurious  intelligence about  weapons of mass  destruction , leading to the current   ghastly   situations in  the Middle  East  and  the growing  chaos  in  Europe.
Whether it was  deliberate , on  advice  from  his  dingbat inner   circle of  advisers about whom  Colin Powell  spoke disparagingly  , or  just a case of  Bush  suffering a speech impediment , it came out as SATAN  Hussein. Several  pundits  noticed  the president's  tactic  of turning  Saddam into  the  Devil  hisself .
Lordy, Lordy . Iraq was  invaded , Saddam was   tracked down and  hanged  in 2006 . Now  Iraq  is a basket case , billions of dollars having been  plundered by  truly  evil corrupt politicians,  officials and companies, huge amounts of  American money   paid  for  training  large numbers of  Iraqi troops  which turned out to be "paper  phantoms "   disappearing into the overseas accounts of  crooks . Along comes  a clash   with  ISIL and  the  Iraqi  army fled , adding  to the  blood  soaked  imbroglio  in the  region  .

And an   increasing number  of  Australian troops are placed in danger on the  ground   training  the  Iraqi  troops, in a situation where the populace has invaded  its  own parliament because  of   the  corruption and  incompetence  . 
Our  Canberra   political  reporter, Argus  Tuft,  says the  Coalition's  elocution squad  will teach conservatives  to  give  Bill Shorten  the  full Hades  treatment  when  they  say  his  name  in  public  : BEELZEBUB  SATAN . 

The  elocution classes have started  just as Liberal  Queensland senator James McGrath , assistant to PM Turnbull and campaign director of the Country Liberal  Party  2012  election in the Northern Territory   ,  said the four scariest  words in the English language are  Prime Minister  Bill Shorten ,  a jibe  echoed  by the  Queensland  University  Liberal   National  Club  when  calling for volunteers to  help  Malcolm  Turnbull  in  Brisbane .

 It will be remembered that offensive  Queensland Liberal National Party young operatives and supporters planned   to mock  the aged , grand former ALP  PM  Gough Whitlam  with  a  birthday  party. 

A Facebook entry for the planned event  said  Whitlam had been Australia's worst  PM, was "old and nearly dead", had  been sacked  and  was "shit."

Among the reported planned attendees were Phillip Pease, who had done volunteer and some paid work for Opposition front bencher Peter Dutton ( now a Turnbull minister who recently  made the extreme statement that a  Shorten government would cause  the economy to crash ), and Zach Davis-Hancock, who was  a part-time employee of Liberal  backbencher Dr Andrew  Laming, involved in Northern Territory  eye  and  other  health  matters in  the past, who played a leading  part  in the subsequent  first  spill move against his own   PM , Tony Abbott .

Unfortunately, the Painters and  Dockers  and   the CFMEU were attending deportment and  social  graces  classes   run by   Mrs  Bucket  so were unable to  call  on  those  Queensland twerps  who  made the outrageous  statements  about a truly  great  Australian.

  Barnaby Joyce was  one of  those  who  apologised for  this  outrage.

Monday, May 9, 2016


Townsville  on a  Monday night. Vallis Photograph  

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Queen's sporting  man  on  the  run  in  chariot  without  gongs,  tie and  mansion trained  pet Timor pony from  Dili  .
There were  ominous signs for the Turnbull Government  on the day before   the   dissolution  of both Houses  and the eight week  long election campaign .  Treasurer  Scott  Morrison early in the day seemed to lose   the plot  on the  ABC  TV  Insiders  when asked  if  he  felt he should apologise after  the Immigration  Department  had  offered secret compensation to 10 Save the Children workers  ordered off  Nauru , and offensive  claims made against them  proven  to be false.
Morrison tried to talk over weathered  presenter  Barrie  Cassidy  about the episode , denied  statements he  had allegedly made , and  slipped  into a robotic  stick  to the  message election spiel  attacking  Opposition Leader  Bill Shorten  and  the ALP  policies.

A memorable   part   of  the  media coverage of  the  Canberra  drama were  the  extensive shots  from  helicopters  of   the  vehicle chase  from  Fairburn  at the  Canberra Airport  to The Lodge and  Yarralumla , the Governor-General's  residence, through bleak autumnal  weather in the capital .

The  ABC  TV coverage  eased  the tension when it announced that the  Governor-General's plane   had  just arrived  from  Sydney - and out stepped Malcolm  Turnbull  and  entourage , including  Artie  Sinodinos who no doubt remembered  his mother-in-law on Mothers' Day.

 Sir  Peter  Cosgrove actually  arrived  on  another  VIP  flight from Sydney,   picked up  and loaded  his  own  luggage  into  the boot of his  limo, the royal   standard fluttering ,  and  waved  as   he   approached  the guarded  front  gate  of Yarralumla where  a woman under an umbrella  held a  sign that invoked the royal we to   declare    the  PM's party  would  be rained on or  rooned , said  Hanrahan .  
Looking forward  to a cuppa , scones and  a Kit Kat, Deputy PM  Barnaby Joyce , on the media  Wombat Trail,  gave an  interview  before  jumping on another  VIP   plane  to  fly  to  Canberra  and  join  in  the chase .  

PM's car after close encounter with scrub turkey .
As  the  nation waited breathlessly  for the PM to emerge   from the vice - regal   pile, orange  footed scrub  turkeys, agile and nimble critters , were seen  running across the  manicured lawns . A brace of  twitchy  peewees was  also spotted flitting about , unconcerned   that  history was  being  made on  their patch .  
The knight , now  apparently wearing a bag of  fruit , ushered   the  PM out the door and  gave   another  hearty wave ,  possibly to chase  those accursed  turkeys away  because  they  dig  up   the  garden and will ruin the tulips  display .

As  the  PM's bullet proof  BMW  emerged  from Yarralumla ,  reporters  remarked   the  visit  had  been  SHORT AND SWEET .  Repeat this phrase  quickly  three times  , and you get  the worrying subliminal message for the    Coalition : SHORTEN SWEET.

In fact  it  took  just  18 minutes before the PM  was off the premises and on the road again . No  doubt , if  thirsty  Sir John Kerr had been in residence  he would have insisted  the PM  linger  longer  over a bottle  or two  of  John Barleycorn  to   warm  the cockles of  his heart before  venturing out into  the bleak weather  to face the  media reptiles.

In  the resumed  car chase,  Turnbull  was driven back to parliament house  where he later delivered  an  animated  , familiar speech in the Blue Room, at  the end of  which he  took  a small number of  questions, the large media party clearly wanting to  ask  a  lot more ,  and  headed for the exit door, to pack his kitbag for  Queensland  to  pose  with  a  seedless watermelon .

Minus  his Akubra  and appearing  a bit  flustered , obviously in need of another  Kit Kat hit ,  Barnaby Joyce, accompanied by his whisperer , Fiona  Nash ,  delivered a  rambling speech  in the Blue Room along similar  lines , making  what seemed to be a claim that he/ the Nationals  / the Coalition , take your pick , were not "completely scripted" and advice  to go West young man ,   then  announced  he would allow  two  questions ,  and  bolted for the bush  to  join  the election  fight. 

Talking turkey,  a  prominent  political reporter was heard  comment on television  that  the Turnbull  Government had  been   flat  footed  all  year. If this kind  of  attitude persists, there  could  be many dead ducks in conservative  ponds  at  the  end  of  the  marathon.