Friday, February 24, 2017


Sporting  the  sox  of  the  Essendon  Australian  Rules   team , the  above  unusual  work of  art ,  inspired  by  Essendon champion  Michael   Long's  trek from  Melbourne  to  Canberra as a  protest against  Prime Minister John Howard's refusal to make an apology to the Stolen Generation ,   has been  offered  to  the  Museum  and  Art  Gallery Board  of the  Northern Territory, Darwin . It  was  created   by   agronomist  Robert  Wesley-Smith , founding member of the NT Council for Civil Liberties , keen  footballer , involved  in  numerous  indigenous  issues .

In  1993 Michael Long , a  top Northern Territory footballer, playing for  Essendon ,  was  named  the  Norm  Smith  Medalist .  After  10 days into his walk to  Canberra  , PM  Howard  agreed to  see  Long  and  discuss  the  issue .
The  above  photograph  was  taken  at  the   Bullocky  Point gallery  , minus  a   hat   marked M. Long , stolen  while   on  display  at a Northern Territory Library Timor Leste  function  where  Wesley-Smith  spoke   several  days  previously .  Over  the years ,  the  artwork   has   changed  somewhat  in   appearance .  
  On  display   at  an early  public function , the  object , made  from  an inverted   tree  ,  had  different  footwear and   non  Essendon   sox   , a  hat  clearly marked  M. Long  .
Inside the Wesley-Smith  residence, in a commanding  position , above ,   this  is another  view  of  the  figure  , with   an  explanation  strip .  Each  time  the  figure is  put  on    display it  attracts  much   attention and  comment  , people  taking  photos  of   and   with  it . 
 Impressed by  the object  , in   another slightly different  configuration , was  renowned  AFL player and  coach ,  Kevin  Sheedy , centre , with  Wesley-Smith , right,  and Wanderers  Football  Club  official  Darryl Window , at  the 100th anniversary of the  club  in  the  Northern Territory Football League ,  Darwin , last month .  At the  function , attended by  400,  the  object  received much  attention.  Sheedy has been  deeply  involved with Aboriginal  communities in the  north , urging   them to  become involved in  football, and   supported  anti-vilification laws in  the  game . 
At night, Wesley-Smith  does a lot of   walking  about his rural property - killing large numbers  of cane  toads , their croaking deafening ,  brought out  by  the  heavy  rain which  has  lashed  the Top End .  

Thursday, February 23, 2017


In association with the  Edinburgh Military Tattoo , Australia's International  Military Tattoo was held  at Hobart  on March 10-31 , l976 , the above  illustration  from the  sleeve  of  the LP record , designed by Snape and Gallaher Graphics, Sydney ,  recently   found   in  Townsville ,  played  loudly, causing  perturbation in  nearby  Sassenachs, which subsided on hearing Waltzing  Matilda  and  Amazing  Grace. 
Military bands that   participated were from  the Royal Australian Navy (HMAS Cerberus ) ; Royal Military College ,Duntroon ; 4th Military  District , Australian Army, Adelaide; Royal Australian Air Force ,Headquarters Operational Command , under direction of Captain C. Fischer , Royal Australian  Band Corps   ;  Members of the  lst Armoured Regiment .
Pipe bands  were  the  3rd Battalion , the Royal Australian Regiment ; Pipes and Drums  2/4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment ; New South Wales  and  Tasmania Police; Members of the   Royal Scots   Division ; Hewisi  Band of the Sri Lanka Police , including   dancing police women , under  the  direction of  Sergeant   Major  Wilson  Olabadur .  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


An item in Fran Kelly's  breakfast show  on ABC Radio Nation contained the  disturbing news that more and more children are  being  encouraged to  take an  interest in politics  and  watch parliament  in  action  in  Canberra . Heaven  only  knows   what  this  exposure  will  do  to  their  minds .

 Fran  revealed   that  one  kid  whose  life took a  dramatic   turn   after a  school trip  to parliament   was  none  other  than   Joe Hockey , now our  gilded ambassador in  America   ,  a  former  Treasurer   and  a sock-it-to-me  friend of ousted  PM   Tony Abbott  .   Joe  , we  were  told ,   said   he  poked  his  nose  over the  balcony, saw  the  politicians  in  action ,   and   made  the   fateful  decision  that  he wanted  to  become  one  of   them .  
Hands up  all  those  smart  politically  minded children  who  know that one of the   world's last cavalry charges ,  in which the  4th Australian Light Horse Brigade  played a big part ,  on  the Turks ,  at   Beersheba ,  in 1917 ,  subsequently  involved  Joe Hockey's "mysterious " grandfather, Joseph Hokeidonian.

He was an Armenian Catholic ,  said  to have been a  "spy "  sent  by the Catholic Church in  Jerusalem  to  keep  a  watch  on  Ottoman  Palestine  during the war . 
After capture of  Beersheba ,  the British sent in  one eyed  Hokeidonian as   deputy  town clerk  to  help rebuild  the  badly  war  damaged   town.   In  1927 he moved  to  Jerusalem where   his   Palestinian wife  gave birth to a son , Richard. 
According to Paul Daley's  book, Beersheba * , Victory Books , Hokeidonian was a less than  perfect  father and  disappeared after the birth of  the child. Many years later, Richard , who had never met his father , was informed  that he had  been  killed  in  a  road  accident in  Egypt . 

After serving with the British Army in Palestine in  WWll , Richard   came to Australia with his mother and  a  brother , where they  anglicised  their name to Hockey . Here they ran a successful  continental deli at  Bondi .  Richard   married   an  Australian  and they had  four children , the  youngest  named  Joseph   after  the  " mysterious " paternal grandfather .   

On winning the safe Liberal seat of North Sydney in  1996, Joe Hockey mentioned the  charge on  Beersheba  in his maiden speech , describing his grandfather as   the  deputy  district  commissioner  .     
 ***Daley's  book, surprisingly , does not mention  Charles  Aubrey  " Strawberry " Abbott , who  took part in  the charge  on Beersheba ,  became a  politician , Administrator  of   the Northern  Territory  at the time of  the bombing of  Darwin by the  Japanese . Abbott said he only ever  fired  one  shot during the charge on Beersheba and almost reluctantly asked a Turkish general to hand  over his sword ,  kept   and   hung on  a   wall   of  the  garage he and his wife, Hilda,   lived in late  in life  at  the back of  their son-in-law's house in  Point  Piper , Sydney .  


Cairns , North Queensland . Abra photograph .

Monday, February 20, 2017


Occasional  items of  interest  from  James  Cook University , Townsville , Australia .
Carving in Mackay cedar  by  Ben (Gerhard )  Trupperbaumer , of  Atherton , North  Queensland . He came  to Australia   from West Germany in 1976,  becoming  a  leading artist  in the Cairns and Port Douglas area, using recycled  timber  to  make statements  about   the  Australian  landscape .


The  longtime activist , journalist and author, Jill Jolliffe , shown here  in  1969 in the  Melbourne magazine , Broadside , edited by Pete  Steedman ,  has  been   enfeebled . Apparently the tragic development   took  place  about  a  year ago in  Melbourne , news of the situation only received here  in recent  weeks. This  courageous  woman  relentlessly   covered  the  US approved  Indonesian invasion of   East Timor and its aftermath   ,  wrote  Cover Up :The Inside Story of the  Balibo Five , the  Australian news team murdered by the Indonesians ,  from     which  the  movie  Balibo, starring  Australian actor  Anthony LaPaglia in  the  part  of  veteran   journalist    Roger  East,  who had worked  in  Darwin  and  was shot and  thrown  into  the  harbour  at  the  East Timor  capital,  Dili .

As a  result of  her  tireless campaigning , the Yale University  magazine  Globalist  named  her  the 2006  Journalist of  the  Year  for  her extensive writing on  important  matters .

In her 2008  memoir , Run For Your Life , Jill revealed her  birth mother had adopted  her  out , she  had been  brought up in  a  violent  household  and  ran away as a teenager , going to Monash University  and  becoming involved with activists . She lobbed in  East Timor  in  April   1975  as a Reuter's freelance  correspondent with  a  student  delegation  ,  evacuated  on  the last  flight out  of  Dili  in  December ,  Roger  East  refusing   to   leave . 
From 1978 to 1999 she was based in Portugal where she  interviewed refugees  from  East Timor , covered   the war  in the former   Portuguese  colony of  Angola   and  reported on  matters  in  other colonies . Documentaries she  was   involved in   included   European  prostitution  rackets  which enslaved Portuguese , Spanish and  Third World women  , the East Timor  guerrilla   war  which involved  a highly  dangerous journey  inside  the occupied country seeking the Revolutionary  Front  commander Nino  Konis  Santana  , the subject of  a  book  she wrote  ,  and  a   Foreign Correspondent    special   with  Jonathan Holmes   about  the  Balibo  Five.   When  East Timor  achieved  its   freedom ,  Jill  ,who had been banned from entering the country  by  the Indonesians , came to  Darwin and  resided  , went  to East Timor where she launched the Living Memory Project , a video  archive  of  testimony by  East Timor   former  political prisoners . In 2010,  she was   a  Northern Territory  finalist   for   the   Australian  of   the  Year  Award .   
While in Darwin , Jolliffe   came to this  writer's residence and  discussed a  wide  range of  subjects  and  people , including   Roger East  and   prominent    Darwin  reporter  John  Loizou   who   started   the  online  South East Asian Times ,  still  running  . Now  this  relentless  fighter   is  suffering   from  loss  of  memory .  

Sunday, February 19, 2017


The  syncopated  beat  of   Cairns  . Abra photographs .


The  replica dwelling  of   Shakespeare spouting, rum swilling  eccentric , Otto Bottiger,  in the grounds of the   Magnetic Island History and  Craft Centre at   Picnic  Bay, is  undergoing a  makeover  to  repair  the  ravages of   time . Bottiger , a  retired  Burns Philp  Shipping   officer,  lobbed on the island  in 1890  and lived in a crude hut on poles  under  which  at very high tides he could dangle his  feet in the  water .  It was built  from  corrugated iron sheets , palm  fronds  and  grass . 
In  a  box  shaped boat  in which  he kept books , he would drift about the bay  reading, sipping either  rum or mango wine , an  umbrella protecting him from the sun .  

Despite being  called  the    Hermit of Nelly Bay , he became the island's  first postmaster ,  mixed  with  residents , shared and  sold  his rum  to people , recited  poems and  Shakespeare to groups . He regularly attended  School  Board  functions  in  tattered clothing  , barefooted , unshaven .The 3/4 replica  of  his airy  abode,  built by artist Tony Cuthbertson  , is  in the grounds of  the old  Magnetic  Island  School . It  is  being  rethatched  by  David  Ede , a volunteer member   of the Magnetic Island History and Craft Centre  and Magnetic Museum .   
Bottiger , right ,  at the  entrance to his  house, which seems to be roughly in the shape of The Globe  theatre . 

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Wide  ranging information   is  being sought  about  the  Australian  coastal   vessel  Zealandia  which  was  bombed  and sank with  the loss of three lives  when  the  Japanese  attacked    Darwin  on  February  19, 1942. An article in   Progenitor , quarterly journal of the Genealogical Society of the  Northern Territory ,  contains   the  request  and  mentions   the  contents of   boxes   which  had  not  been looked at  for more than 100 years , outlining  the life of shipping engineer   William Cumming  who died in Glasgow in 1914, involved in construction of  the vessel .

Cumming,  a draughtsman , manager, engineer  and  naval architect, built up a wonderful  shipping  archive  which accompanied him  back and forwards between  Melbourne  and  the UK  between  1894  and  1914. During this time he was  responsible for overseeing  construction of many vessels for the  Huddart  Parker  line  as  the  superintendent  engineer  .

The  SS  Zealandia  ( 1910-1942) , the article states, was  perhaps the most advanced and  the largest ocean going  ship , more than  400 feet  , which  Cumming built , reputedly  the  first Australian steamer  fitted    with wireless . Cumming  also  had  10 years  with the  Adelaide Steamship Company  during which time  he  refitted  many ships on  the South Australian and Western Australia / Nor'West trade  .  He was  also on the UK to New York  run for a year on the SS Bolivia .

His grandson , Bruce Cumming ,  who lives in  Victoria , wants  to hear  from anyone who has  any  information or personal stories about the  Zealandia  or William Cumming , no matter how small . Bruce, a writer  and maker of community documentaries, grew up  hearing family stories  about   Australian history , lighthouses , ships.

His father , Bill ,  who  died last year,  was  in Darwin during the war  with the RAAF Catalinas. Together  they  had  intended   to   write   a  book about  William   Cumming . The journal article includes  a photograph of a SS Zealandia  serviette  ring .     

 Bruce  can be contacted : .  On Youtube  search for  Bruce Cumming , or Bruce  Cumming videodocs.    


From  within the   Liberal  Broad  Church , with  its  Golden Lobby  on  the Hill  filled  with  soothsayers  , the word went out that  there  was  a  new  meaning and  future   for   sophistication . And  lo ,  there was a   flow of  sophistication  like a burst water main  throughout  the   warring  Coalition tribes  as  their  members   miraculously   paid    homage  to  the  One  Nation   Party ,  having  previously  treated   its  leader like   Joan  of  Arc  . 
 In  Western Australia , the   Liberals  were so  overcome by  the new  One  Nation    sophistication  they  decided  to share  the  fatted  calf   with it ahead  of  the  straw  chewing camp  followers, the   Nationals. The    sudden change in the  accepted   meaning of sophistication -except for "artificial" -  means   that 200,000  copies of the   Macquarie  Dictionary   will  have to be  pulped  to accommodate   the  new  interpretation .
The  stunning  sophistication of  One  Nation is  revealed by overwhelming  empirical evidence in  such  statements by  Queensland  candidate Shan Ju Lin , disendorsed  after  saying  gay people  need "conversion therapy "; Peter  Rogers  , axed, after  claiming  photos  of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi , and the  Port  Arthur massacre ,  were  faked ; John Cox asserting  the 9/ll  attacks were staged  ; David  Archibald   attacking " lazy " single mothers .
In  Queensland , a  large number of  joined at the hip  Liberal National  sodbusters indicate/threaten   they might / will    defect and  become   sophisticated   One  Nation  members , partners . It  has produced   a  situation in the  Sunshine State  noisier  and  dustier ,  with  much bellowing  in the canefields ,  than  the  Calgary  Stampede .

Resurrected ,  due   to  a  large extent  because of the  failure of  Malcolm Turnbull   as  Prime Minister, he is  now completely emasculated by his own Coalition  factions and  sidekicks  ,  Pauline Hanson  expressed  admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and shrugged  off  criticism of Russia's alleged role in the death of 38 Australians on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by commenting that "everyone has done something," which  sounds like something dingbat   Donald  Trump  uttered . 

Meanwhile , there is an unconfirmed report  that  during his recent   trip to New Zealand desperate  Malcolm  Turnbull made a secret  deal with the Mongrel  Mob  to  paddle  across  the  Tasman  and give troublemakers in  the  Coalition a  greenstone   mere  massage .  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


TOKYO : Japanese Prime Minister  Shinzo  Abe has been admitted  to hospital suffering  from  extensive Chinese  burns to his wrist  following his  visit to the White House   where   President  Donald  Trump  established a world record for   the   longest  and most painful   handshake .
Poor Mr  Abe is the latest  friendly  leader  to  suffer an injury  caused  by Trump -the  Australian Prime Minister , Malcolm  Apple-Crumble , experienced  painful  ear damage   during  a  session on  the blower  with Donald ,  which  caused loss of balance , resulting in  him  waving his arms about  in Question Time  like a  wind  turbine  generator  with  missing   ball   bearings  in  a  gale force   South Australian  storm . 
It is not known if  the Israeli leader  Benjamin "L.J.Hooker"  Netanyahu  escaped  his  visit  to Washington   without  being  circumcised  by the  host who is known to always  carry  a   sharp  deal  up  his   sleeve .  


Odd   observations  in  Wally  World

The  cruise  ship  Azamara  Journey, said to be  "180 meters long " , carrying  641 passengers  and  a crew  of  407  shown approaching   Townsville on its maiden visit ,  given the  usual cargo cult  coverage  upon arrival , the Townsville Bulletin  reporting  that , based on  studies , each cruise ship  passenger spends  up to $350.  During the  stay ,  152  explored  the   CBD, with  its  many empty  offices , three op shops .   Somehow , the   large car carrier  Florida  Highway   failed  to  rate  a  mention , but then  such vessels come and go without being noticed .   On  the same day,  people  waiting for  buses   at  the Castle Town  shopping  centre  received  the  following  warning,  the  measurement  in  meters  ,  about  smoking  :

While on the subject of shopping centres , there are  many changes  going on in  these places which  go unnoticed by the local media . In the case of  Castle Town , this blogger made a  bee line for   the Angus   and Robertson book shop , only to find that it was no longer there  , although  some of its   racks were  visible , pushed up against the wall . A notice   said   the space  was  going to be taken over  by  Key Motors    which handles  Mazda    and Subaru  cars . No info about  any   new location of   A and  R , if  any ... another bookshop unfortunately driven to the wall ? However,  on  checking  the  Angus and Robertson  website , there was a  strange message   saying it was  permanently closed . It  went on to  impart the   following puzzling  information...Angus  and  Robertson is recorded closed at  this  location . If  it's incorrectly  closed  , please  report   it .

Recent  business  news  in  the southern press   about  takeovers of   clothing  chains, including  some  with outlets in  Townsville  and beyond , received no  local media  coverage .  This  is a  situation observed several  times , in Darwin as well , as  if the  local media  are  oblivious of   events   happening  elsewhere in the   world   which   have  a   local  angle , possible  drastic   impact, closure   for example .  

More than  half a century ago , there was  a popular  Sydney reporter  , Cliff Ryan , known as the Housewives  Friend  ,  who   wrote about  vegetables , meat and other  consumables   after    going  to  the markets , squeezing tomatoes  despite  being implored not to do so ,  speaking to butchers and  others in the   tucker trade . If   there  was a  similar   reporter  in  Townsville  he would   learn   that   due  to  the  heatwave ,  cauliflowers    suffering from obvious sunburn are  being offered for  sale  , and  Big  Al  is  full of  interesting information   about   local   produce  and   market  conditions .  

Monday, February 13, 2017


Evil cartoonist  David Rowe , soon to be  flogged  by  Coalition  Funk Bunker  enforcers   for constantly   taking  liberties  with  the Ship  Of  Fools ; Corby shown rowing away  from  the  sinking ,  ratty  hulk . 
During the  current  heat wave  in North Queensland and the  meltdown in the Canberra   Coalition , the   MHR  for  Herbert, Cathy O'Toole ,   helped  cool down   gasping  Curlews  and  caused  the  tap dancing Foreign Minister , Julie Bishop , to  get her  nickers in a knot  (again )  and  boil  over .

When nesting  Curlews were  seen panting   in  the heat ,  a sandwich  board made out of  Cathy's election  corflutes  was  retrieved   and  placed over  a  distressed bird  sitting on  two eggs .  Not  only  did the  makeshift tent  (a  structure much favoured  by  the  Liberal  Party , Red  Indians on the warpath ,  Boy Scouts  and  kids on  church  picnics  )  shield   birds  from  the  blazing  sun  at high noon ,  it  stopped  a  large   palm  frond   from   falling on  top  of  one  sitter . 

During the  week , Ms Bishop  lost  her cool  during Question Time and shrieked  that  O'Toole and   two  other  Labor  politicians    had   been elected because of   One Nation preferences , trying  to hose down the fact  that the Liberals in WA  had   put  One Nation  ahead of the Nationals. Then  she  went  on  about  the  Labor Party  making  vile  deals with the  unholy Greens , forgetting that  the Coalition had recently relied on the  same  Greens  to  pass  a  few  bills . The  twitterpated   Christopher  Pyne   also  trumpeted   that   the Member for  Herbert  and  two other  ALP members  had  been elected because of    One  Nation  preferences.  

The manager of  Opposition Business  ,Tony Burke ,  pointed out that all three ALP members had  put One  Nation last on  their how to  vote  cards  ,  vital  information  which the Coalition   refused  to  have  tabled   and  included  in Hansard .  Let's not have the  facts ... the  crumbling  Coalition  crew  has  the  repetitive alternative  facts from  the Donald Trump  Handbook on how   to  hoodwink, to use  a  now fashionable  expression , hard  working  Australians .


Former Melbourne and  Adelaide  antique dealer , Alan Jones , second from left in  back row , with hand  on  Irish wife  Pat, both armed with  a deadly weapon  , regularly takes  part  in  battles  reliving the   upheavals  of 1798 and  1916, which requires a   change in  dress  and weaponry  .  In  an  email to  this blog , Alan , who ran  the high class shop, The  Junkery ,  in  the  Golden  Mile  at seaside Largs , Adelaide , said the  day before this  photo was taken  they  had a battle with  the  Redcoats  at  Bunratty Castle  (" we  won "). Alan and  Pat  bought and restored  a   former  nunnery  at  Enniscorthy .

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Darwin activist Robert  Wesley-Smith  is on  an  unusual , relentless  mission-to track down Uma Lulik , a  Timorese sacred house ,  built on his  property at  Howard  Springs    and  displayed in  Canberra  and   Sydney, where it  disappeared  after  going on  show at the  Powerhouse Museum  .   Even though  a Timorese project ,  Wesley-Smith , a  supporter of  the East Timor  struggle , as far back as   1975,  put  a lot of   effort  into   construction  of the   sacred building  and  dearly  wants to  know  what  happened  to it . 
 He produced these  1996  photographs   showing  Uma Lulik  in various  stages of  construction  on  his   rural  block,  named   Kdalalak  , coming together of the waters,  from  a  line in a  poem  by Timorese musician and  poet , Francisco Borja da Costa, killed by invading Indonesians in 1975.   Wes's  contribution to  the project  included  providing  materials,  tools,  food , accommodation  and  he supervised   placing  it  into  a  shipping  container  to  be  sent  south .   

Recent research   has revealed   the sacred  house was put back in  the container  after being  displayed at  the Powerhouse  Museum  and placed in a council storage area . After that , the trail goes  cold. However, Wes   says he was  told that  there was a   fire in the  council area  and  the  container  could have  been   caught  up  in  the  blaze. He cannot get  answers  as  to the whereabouts of the  container, if  anybody  looked  inside  it  after the   fire . He  wonders  if  somebody  has  the sacred  house  in their   exotic  garden  somewhere  in   Sydney .  
As an indication of  Wesley-Smith's deep involvement with the Timorese, he has been invited to speak  at   a  special function  in two days  time at the Northern Territory Centre for Contemporary Art  for the launch of  the above   publication ,involving The Cross Art Projects , Sydney ,   showcasing   artwork  of  Timorese , some living in Darwin . The  building of the   sacred  house  is included in the  publication  and  one  of  the artists  featured   is  Victor De Sousa  who  produced  a  video  on  Uma  Lulik . 
This blog has been made privy to  a most  unusual  art  object Wesley-Smith  made that  he will  take along  to  the  evening , which will be revealed   after  the  event .   

Saturday, February 11, 2017


An  outline  of  the  action  packed  life of  a New Zealand  born  man   who in  1895 built the Commercial Hotel  in the early days of the Kalgoorlie, WA, goldfield , then ran  hotels  at  Wyndham  ,   Cossack  and  Roebourne  in  the boom days of the pearling industry, arriving in  Darwin  in 1915  to manage the   famous  Victoria Hotel , deeply  involved  in   union  , political and   town  council  affairs ...A  letter reacting to criticism of   Xavier Herbert's  novel  about the Territory, Capricornia , which  won  the  1938  Sesqui-Centenary  Award  for   Australian literature ... A   fund  which   raised   money  to  send  an ailing,  elderly  Chinese  man  back  to his  homeland after  50  years  in  the Territory .

These   are   just  some of  the  interesting   subjects  covered  in  the latest edition of  Progenitor , quarterly journal of  the Genealogical Society of the Northern  Territory .    

In  dealing with  the  history of the Darwin Town  Council , the journal  has  an extensively researched  article   about  New Zealander   Patrick Brennan  ( 1869-1940) , the  person mentioned in the  intro   , once described in  a  WA newspaper  as a man  who always  wore a  boiled shirt ,  no collar and  a boater.

In yet another   dramatic moment  in  the history of Darwin , Brennan was in a deputation  which  called   at  Government House  on October  14,  1919  and demanded  that three top people, the Government  Director   H. E. Carey , Judge   Bevan   and      the Government Secretary  R. J. Evans  resign and leave on  the  next ship  in the  interest of  community peace , which   they   did . 

Earlier that  year, in what  was  described as the Darwin Rebellion ,  the Administrator , Dr Gilruth ,  had been forced to  leave   on the gunboat HMAS Encounter.     

The journal coverage of Brennan   includes  the Capricornia  letter , run in the union owned  Northern Standard ,  which  seems to  have been written by him , signed  P. Brennan , although  it is suggested  it could have  been  penned by his son .  In  it ,   the writer   said  he  got the greatest  of  pleasure out  of  reading  the  book and  dismissed the claim  it contained  the  filthiest of language  as pure hyperbole . It was a robust book for  robust  people , the squeamish should not read it ..."It isn't  to be seen  at  a Darwin cocktail party ." In congratulating  Xavier  Herbert  on the publication   of  this powerful and realistic   saga of  the Territory , he  trusted that  his next  novel  would be even more robust  and true  to life  than his first ...    

Brennan  subscribed  to  a  fund  in  1931  to  help  send  a  miner , Mee Wah , back  to  China.

Friday, February 10, 2017


The  first  book by  prominent  Melbourne Herald   journalist  Douglas Lockwood -Crocodiles  and  Other People -published  by  Cassell , 1959 , is about to  be republished in  an  updated  version by Westprint  Lockwood , a  Nhill , Victoria , based outback  retailer and  Kim Lockwood , the author's  son.  The end of each  chapter carries information on what happened to the people mentioned within  .  It will be published in  a  quarter  leather  bound edition  and  also a  soft  quality  version  to  suit  book lovers with  different pockets. Our copy ,  above ,   published  by   Rigby , 1963, the  dust  jacket designed  by  Gloria Brown .  

 Depending on the success of  this launch , Kim says  most of  the  other popular  books  his father  wrote   may   also  be   published.   Kim points out  that  Doug's   Australia's  Pearl  Harbour  , mentioned recently in  this blog  in  connection with the  looming  75th  anniversary of the  bombing of  Darwin by the Japanese , is still selling moderately well under the title  Australia Under  Attack , published by New Holland , which  also  produces  I, the Aboriginal .  
Lockwood   was  in  Darwin  the  day of  the  Japanese  attack and  while based there he travelled  far and wide   in the  Northern  Territory  , just one of his excellent  stories  winning  the  London Evening News  1250 pound  prize for the  World's  Strangest Story .

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Lockhart  River .   Abra  Photograph 


When  brave Captain Cook sailed along the  Australian coast an island caused  his  primitive  compass  to gyrate, so he called it Magnetical Isle , now known  as Magnetic Island , off   Townsville . In the case of  Townsville's  modern media, with all  its  electronic  devices   and  networks ,  Magnetic  Island  seems to  be  off  or  under  its  radar .

What media  coverage there is  of  Magnetic Island   leaves a lot to be  desired .   In  the case of the Murdoch owned Townsville  Bulletin  it  does   give  occasional   space to  typical  real  estate  articles  at   holiday periods  and gave front page treatment   to  a yarn about    Tiger Sharks  caught  off  the island  ;  not much can  be  said  about  the  Townsville TV stations .  Channel 7 ends  its  daily  broadcast with a  round up of fuel prices in the  viewer  area  which  never  includes   the  much  higher  prices on   Magnetic  Island, a  subject which  needs  investigation , as  does  the   fuel  price  impact on the cost of  living  and  building materials  on  Palm  Island .    

There  is  a  weekly  publication, Community News , which claims to be Magnetic Island's   local  newspaper  since 1989 that  contains a  regular  column  headed POLICE REPORT   in which crime  reports  give the impression of  being  highly  sanitised .   You  have to wonder  who compiles  the  column  as  it   is  obviously  not  written  by   an  inquiring reporter. Apart  from regularly opening with  a   statement   saying  it has been a busy week for  police , it  usually  then runs  extremely  brief   paragraphs  about   incidents,  hence  the  feeling  that it  has  been  compiled  from  a  New York  police  charge sheet of  yesteryear  . Some examples :

* Over the recent  festive  season  the  community  sheet  dutifully recorded that  police had  on December  29  "attended a  sudden  death  in Nelly  Bay "  and a report was being prepared for the coroner . No  name , no age , no  gender  - a local ? a  holidaying  southerner ?   No   follow up.  Not  picked up  by   Townsville  media . 
However,  while  the  death  on the island   may  have been  sudden ,  the  word is it was  not  detected  for  some  time .  Holidaymakers   complained  about  a  terrible  smell  and   were  told it  was a   problem   with   the  sewerage  system . From  time  to  time in  national  media there are  reports about  how  shocking  it is  that  somebody  died  alone  and  nobody knew  for  ages , this could have been a similar  situation .   

* Numerous  people  assaulted  on the roadway  near  old helipad  between  1am-1.30am  January  22 , another  small  island  item .   Surprisingly , no  follow up, no  further details.    Not  picked up  by Townsville  media .  Imagine  if  " numerous  people " were  assaulted  somewhere  in  Townsville,  Cairns , Sydney,  Brisbane , Washington , Bourke  there  would be  extensive  media  coverage , follow  ups . What  is  the  story  here ??????

*  At a time when  domestic  violence is receiving much attention throughout the nation , there are  not  infrequent ,  brief  mentions of  such events on the  island in  the police reports .  Not published  anywhere   was  the  recent   episode  where  a  woman , carrying a six weeks old  baby ,  another  young  child  alongside  her , ran  screaming  down  a street  calling for  somebody to call  the police .  Another  hearsay  report of  a man  regularly seen  "punching the shit out  of  a woman"in  a  residence.  A former editor of the Townsville Bulletin   was made  a member of  a  Queensland   domestic  violence advisory panel so you would think  that the paper would  have an interest in the  island situation , the facilities  and  services , if any , for women the victims of violence  on  the  island .  

* Not  covered   in  any  way was an episode  in which  an area was   rocked by shouting , screaming , and  a  person emerged  from a house  armed with a star picket  and  was  seen running down a street   shouting  at  a   man  that  he  only came  round  for  a  bong . Nearby residents were  told  by police following  day  to  lock  their  houses   like  fortresses  because  of  thefts , people  roaming about .

*Island  talk  is about  ice dealers ,  concerns that children are being exposed to drugs , trespassing on  properties ,  shoplifting , gas  bottles   being stolen , CCTV  being   installed  in   houses and  business premises , a vehicle fire bombed, a  couple leaving the  island  in  fear   over  an alleged  drug involvement , a  house  widely  regarded   as   containing  a  large number of  " druggies ."
 *  While police   carry out  what are   described as   "drug raids " in   the  Townsville  area   and  elsewhere,  sometimes with TV  coverage  and  full details ,  an  event such as  this  is  likely to be  described  in the  brief   island  publication  style  as  police  executed  a search  warrant on a house  and  people  were  charged  with   being  in   possession  of  dangerous  drugs .  
*  During a  break and  enter , a  snake was  stolen from an  enclosure. Not  picked up  by  mainland  media .  Imagine what the Northern Territory  News  in  Darwin , another Murdoch publication ,  would have done with  this  story...SNAKENAPPER  ON   ISLAND ! 
What is abundantly clear is that  the  Townsville  media  does not  read  the   Magnetic Island  Community News  otherwise  it would find   a  constant  stream   of   interesting   and   important  community  stories  to  flesh   out .