Friday, March 30, 2018


Welcome to Magnetic Island .Oppenheimer  mushroom  snap.


Magnetic Island  Marina.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


The Murdoch Townsville  Bulletin today, March 29, produced what it called a special Easter  edition . It sure is , containing  the ultimate   Easter   weekend  guide, a  Catholic news  lift out, grog  advertisements , some full page, gambling  adverts and form guide ,  a preview of the night's tense  match between the Cowboys  and  the Panthers.

A surprising inclusion  was   an opinion  piece   by  the  former  deputy editor  Julian Thompson . Some time ago , JT (not  the Cowboys JT ), wrote  what he  said was  his  last  weekly  op  ed  for  the paper ,which included another shot at them  thar  southerners.

At the time he  announced  he was  going south , to Brisbane . Readers were  invited to   drop in  for a cuppa if  they  ventured  down that way , but  not   for  latte  with  soy  milk . Naturally. 
Then, mysteriously , after some time ,   there  he was   again   sounding  off  about  something else . Was it a  subbing stuff  up  or  a  situation similar   to   Mark Twain  , who entertainingly said  reports  about his demise  had been  premature , perhaps   fake  news ? 

But then , here   is  JT  again, a week later  , Thursday, March  29 , without  any explanation as to why  he   has   been resurrected  ,   apparently alive and  kicking , having a go at   "city centric, green clad , bureaucratic  buffoonery." Sounds  familiar .  If  the paper  runs another of  his   weekly columns  , he will surely be  regarded as  doing a  Dame Nellie  Melba, making  a  final  performance  over  and  over .  
It is hard keeping track of  the comings  and  goings  of  staff at  The Bulletin. There have been three editors in  the space of  a  few  years.  A  recent   new  hand , senior reporter  Chris Lees, was  deputy editor of the  Gladstone Observer. At least it is safe for him to eat  Townsville   fish and chips  at Easter , not  like Gladstone , where  fish  died grotesquely and it was never really explained properly why,  the   Queensland   way in  so  many environment and  conservation issues.
Somebody  else  departed  from  the Bulletin recently to  supposedly  take  up  a  media  job   with   the   Northern Territory  government  .
Meanwhile , somebody who will not  be jumping for  joy  throughout  and  after  Easter is this  poor ,  definitely dead ,   Wallaby  , unable to pen a letter of outrage to the editor of the paper, which  has  been floating about   Magnetic Island's safe  harbour  with   logs   and   other   rubbish . Townsville is once more in the  throes   of being tarted up, following the  Queen's baton run,  for a festival  to be  held  in conjunction with  the   Commonwealth   Games,  basketball matches being  played  there . The festival entertainment  will be staged at Queen's Park , The Strand Park and  Jazzine Barracks ; apparently somebody forgot that  Magnetic Island is supposed to be Townsville's  Jewel in the Crown.

Thoughts of the resurrection  came to mind shortly after 2am on Good Friday upon jumping out of bed  to see what was  upsetting the Curlews and discovering a Wallaby  hopping  about. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


More  anecdotes  from  the  life  of   Margaret Vine
Deeply   concerned about the  care  and  protection of  Magnetic Island's wildlife, Margaret Vine   fed  a large  number of  Wallabies, Kookaburras and Curlews, all of which had  names  drawn  from  opera , Shakespeare  and  the  classics. 
By Peter Simon
Hanging  on her  wall  was  a  Clifton Pugh  painting  of a  Wombat, perhaps even  his pet one. He illustrated the book Death of a Wombat which showed  what  bushfires did to the  wildlife of Australia. The artist's home in the bush at Dunmoochin , Victoria,   became an  animal sanctuary and attracted  a colony  of artists .

Alarmed by  the condition of a  newly hatched   Curlew chick, Margaret contacted  an animal carer , dubbed the Queen of the Jungle, who had a  long involvement   with    Curlews  and   Torres Strait  Pigeons .

 As  it happened  , I drove the  Queen  of  the  Jungle  to   the Vine residence to  look at the  bird . Upon arrival  , she  was informed  it looked as if  it had died . Picking it up, after a  quick  examination,  the  Queen    held  the  ball of  fluff  up to her mouth and blew into its beak . Much  to  the  delight  of all  ,  the bird moved. The   Curlew was  transported to the  Queen's residence , named   Margaret  after  Margaret Vine ,  and   hand  reared  .

 Eventually the  female bird matched  up  with  one  named Spikey , became" strange" when another   female  appeared on  the  scene ,  flew  away .

Margaret  Vine , skilled at editing , assisted   the Queen  of the Jungle   compile an information  pamphlet ,The Cry of the  Curlew , above ,  put together   over many editorial  sessions , at  a  round  table   in  the open ,  at   Margaret's  place,   fine champagne , choice  cheeses  and  other  delicacies  provided .

One of the Curlews which strolled  about nearby  during these  sessions was  named  Groucho Marx  , because he  had  big eyes, walked like him and Margaret  added  he was   grumpy by nature .Thousands of  the  Curlew  leaflets have been handed out on the island  to visitors . Two days ago, the Queen of the Jungle  pulled out  a   plastic wallet  containing   drafts  of  the  leaflet  with  many  handwritten   notes ,  an unusual  bundle  of  island  history .

A Possum which  scampered about  demanding   attention from Margaret  bore  a name  from   opera .  It  could have  been  the one  which   reached  up  and grabbed  a  delicacy from the hand of  a woman , one of two  friends   from south , Margaret was  entertaining , champagne   flowing  .

During the editorial sessions  Margaret  pointed out many of the named, inquisitive  Wallabies  which hopped about in the   nearby large granite boulders , able to leap onto  the  flat  roof  of  the  house .
 A considerable  amount of money was spent by  her   feeding the  wildlife: large bags of mixed  seed , pellets  , carrots , stir fried  steak  cut into  tiny pieces for  the  Kookas . Quite some time ago,  when she seemed   healthier ,  she told me she  felt like writing  about her many  pets, which  included   more  than  40  Wallabies .
Without  him knowing , I offered the   services of  illustrator , author and  film maker  Peter Burleigh , who had written  the Bulldust Diaries  , about   a  car safari with friends across  North Australia in search of the elusive barramundi  , for  this blog . I am sure,  said   I , Burleigh would be  only to happy to illustrate  her   wildlife special .

There was  a  subsequent  surprise   response  to my  unauthorised  use  of  Burleigh's  brush .  Margaret emphatically  told me she would not like her  pets subjected to any satirical treatment . Taken aback , I wondered what  had  sparked this  statement . I could only surmise  she  had looked at  the Bulldust  Diaries and  had  been  shocked  by  the animal  drawings , one  shocker   below .
NEXT: An  insight into  Margaret  Vine's   extensive research  into Australian art , Queensland  regional  history  and   her  strict  editorial  standards.   


Monday, March 26, 2018


Ace  political reporter  Argus Tuft  files  another exclusive fair and balanced  post from  the  bottom of  the  pack.  
Journalist, author , commentator   David Marr  is   in deep trouble with the Catholic hierarchy  in Holt Street for  genuflecting without  a licence  while attempting to yet again  verbally   throttle  right winger  Gerard  Henderson  on   ABC television's  superb  Insiders,   screened   early   each   sabbath   for  stay  at  home  sinners.  

Whenever  Marr and  Henderson meet  on the Insiders  it is always  first class entertainment. Unfortunately, the ABC  has  failed to cash in on  their  fireworks  by not  promoting   their  every   upcoming   appearance   on  prime time  all week , which would result in  astronomical  ratings. 
You just turn on the TV set  after a hard  Saturday night  and  rejoice  at  the  fact  that  Hendo and  Marr  are on the  panel  commenting  on  politics , followed by Mike Bowers  of  The Guardian  and  his Talking Pictures.  

 In  their    most   recent  clash , both antagonists confessed they had been brought up in Catholic schools  and were  probably  belted over the knuckles for  arguing the  toss or smoking behind  the bike shed.    Marr ,  annoyed with Gerard,  in despair , was   heard   mutter, surely not,   Jesus!,   on  the  national broadcaster.
Mind  you,   former  Howard ministerAmanda  Vanstone, who spent some time in the  Vatican ,   has  been using  some fruity  language on  the ABC, saying  some   bloke  may have been shagging  about  and the   new  Liberal premier of  South Australia , call for a  coal -fired  battery  Steven   Marshall ,  has  balls  of  steel . 
Back to the gripping  latest  Insiders. Marr became so hot under the collar his glasses steamed up .    At  one stage he  was either   giving somebody the  two fingered salute , genuflecting  or  performing  an  exorcism  live with  the aid of a left over democracy sausage which had  received  a fair shake of  the holy  sauce  bottle .

Happy Gerard  in   what  appears to be  Christian Brothers' clobber.  
 Henderson  is of  the  Sydney Institute,  members of which are rumoured to perform  secret handshakes  and  wear  budgie smugglers  down  which  are   stuffed  cakes  of  camphor  to  keep  out  moths. He  regularly writes  pieces  attacking  the  ABC for the Weekend Australian , one of the vast number of   Murdoch  publications   in  need  of  the laying on of  many new  hands   to  resurrect  them   into  real  papers  you  want  to   read, instead  of  look alikes spruiking  for  the  Coalition . 

Sunday, March 25, 2018


The animated weather site  indicates a Coral Sea  low may  move on a trajectory   off   the Queensland  coast   during  the coming week , which could  affect  the   Gold Coast  Commonwealth  Games site  ,  and  then  swirl   up  to  Townsville ,  move   inland,   possibly   back   into   the  Gulf  country where the recent  cyclone swept . 
Surf's up at Alma Bay, Magnetic Island.


Zombie  blitz  of  marginal seats  to  scare  millionaire  pensioners  and   their  racehorses . 

In what was clearly another example of  ABC  false advertising , this   supposed  live telecast from Port Macquarie shows  walking dead  PM ,  Malcolm  Turnbull , supported by peasoup green  stage prop ,  delivering a theatrical  warning   designed to scare   the   pants  and  Bermuda  yachting jackets  off   pensioners   in   the  Cayman  Islands .

It was later revealed that  the  PM   thought he was campaigning in  Queensland,  at  Port Douglas,  not Port Macquarie , New South Wales , when  he  turned  on  his  latest  Kill  Bill   tirade  from  the   grave . 
The  desperate Coalition  Kill Bill campaign continued in that arena colourfully named by Paul Keating as a  place of  unrepresentative  swill, the Senate ,  where   ALP  leader   Bill Shorten was   accused  of   grinding   the  bones  of  hard working  Burke and  Wills  to  make  tax free garlic  bread   for    CFMEU  champagne and caviar  picnics. 
At times  waving her  arms about  like a  Polynesian  poi dancer , Senator    Concetta Fierravanti-Wells , soon  tipped  to appear in another   production of  the  South Pacific musical , possibly as Bloody Mary , receiving  coaching  for  the part  while recently  in Tonga,   verbally   used a Maori mere mere  on  perfidious Shorten , saying  he was intent on   turning  hundreds of thousands of pioneer   pensioners  into   long  pig  at  ALP  fund raisers .  
 Grabbing an unrelated  to the question   piece of  paper, Senator  Fierravanti -Wells , Minister for International Development and  the Pacific,   also took a swipe at the  ACTU  head Sally McManus who had made a  reasonable speech  at  the National Press Club   clearly  illustrating  that   Australian  workers   are   being  screwed and  want  changes .
 Then  the Liberal senator  resumed  the  Coalition funk bunker  full  frontal  attack on the  ALP, which had the  Opposition and some on  the Coalition side  scratching    their   head . 
 The senator was   asked to  provide the number of pensioners who had had their entitlements cut under the  Coalition .  She   refused to do so ,  pranced about as if doing the Fijian fire walk , waved   her arms, pointed . The  ALP stated  for Hansard  the   figure was  in  the   area  of   a   million . 
ABC Media Watch pointed out that the Australian newspaper had tried to stitch up Shorten  over the imputation tax policy  in a  big spread , the  real  situation  hidden  in a few paragraphs near  the end of  the blast . An article in the  Canberra  Times   explained how  vested  interests and  combatants are  used   to scare and  confuse over negative gearing  and  the  dividend  imputation tax. 
The Coalition became increasingly hysterical as the days went by  when it became clear its branded    tax   imputation "massive grab" attack was being increasingly  regarded   in the community as  another  giant   scare   campaign .  This was  despite  the  Murdoch  media  pack  and  assorted shock jocks supporting  the  wailing of  the  Turnbull  zombie squad.
 The  Grattan Institute    began  driving  nails  into the  coffins  of  the  jibbering , pop-eyed  zombies , one of them a reporter who seems to be suffering from the Andrew Peacock syndrome ,  his greying locks turning  prematurely black , by  saying  half   those   affected  , apart  from their   home ,  had  assets  worth   millionaires ,  not   paying   taxes.  Shorten, therefore could not be called  a blood sucking vampire, a  pocket picker  by  wanting   to  deprive  these   individuals of a  handout  which , some economists agree, the  nation   cannot  continue  afford  to pay . 

Friday, March 23, 2018


Abra special .


More  episodes from  the   life  of   Margaret Vine.

 As a special tribute to  the late  art  historian  and  collector  ,  Margaret   Vine ,  the  Magnetic  Island Museum  will  next  month launch an  exhibition , A Walk Up Olympus Crescent   to  Journey's End .  Museum  president  Zanita  Davies says it will  follow the steps  of  the New  Zealand  author and  activist  Jean Devanny (covered previously in this blog),  who  in  1950  included  the now Heritage listed  street   in   a  ramble   and   wrote  an   unpublished   novel  about  the   island .
Many interesting people have lived in  Olympus Crescent  over the years, including  the Duke and Duchess of  Hamilton ; Journey's End  was  the  name  of  a  1930s house .
 By Peter Simon
Ms Vine moved to the  island  from Brisbane   in  1998  and  took  up  residence  in Olympus Crescent  to be near  her  mother  who was  in  a Townsville  retirement  home . With  her  she  brought  45   boxes of  books  ,  paintings,  an impressive   pottery  collection, unusual  jewellery , a wet  paint sign she  picked up and had framed ,  a  mass  of  retro  clothing from which  all   designer  labels  had  been removed ,  and  other items  of  interest  she   had  amassed  over  the  years . 
Because of her attire  and long green  fingernails , nearby   young  children thought she was  a witch , which  amused  her. They  even  wrote  notes  and   put  them  in her  letterbox , one  asking   the  leading question , " Are  you  a witch? "
She responded in the  affirmative ,  but informed them she  no longer  had  a  broomstick . What a shame. Those apprehensive   children   became  adult   friends .   
One of her early actions on moving into the  Olympus Crescent  property , named Rocky Road , was  to remove all  trees  and  vegetation  not  regarded  as  native  and  therefore not beneficial to birds and animals, which she looked after  . She  was photographed  late last  year ,  above, aged 81 , with  her "Lolly Tree "in full blossom  . Knowing she did not have much longer to live , she had started  to  prepare  for  the  ultimate  end  of   her   journey.
Island carpenter Andy Frost  , a sculptor , was  commissioned to  build her coffin , nothing  flash, based on  one  he had made for his mother, the same height as  Margaret , 5ft .
During its construction  , Margaret was  delighted   when  Frost  told her he   had  discovered   that  in   New Zealand  Maoris  did  not  refer to coffins, instead  calling them "underground furniture " .   She   recounted  this  amusing   story to  dentists in Townsville  and  people she  encountered   during  a  trip  to Sydney  to  attend  an  opera  performance .
 Boxes  of  books were  transported by me  at her direction  to the  Magnetic  Island  kindergarten  for  the  annual  book  sale .This  book culling involved me   being ushered into her cramped  bedroom  and removing the  14 unopened boxes  of  books   which   formed  the  base of  her bed , a  foam mattress  on  top. My  head  holding up the tilted  mattress, I pulled  out each box at her direction  for  quick  perusal , the  contents  sorted out , put in stacks .  The  boxes were refilled  with old telephone directories and put back  in place , making  it more comfortable  than  she  could  ever  remember. 
Arrangements  were  made for Bronwyn McBurnie  , head librarian , Special Collections  , Eddie Koiki   Mabo  Library , James  Cook University ,  Townsville ,  to come over and view   part  of  the  large  Australian  art  book  collection , some special presentation copies  with  inscriptions acknowledging her input  ,  part  of  which  went  to the library for   inclusion  in  the  special   Edna  Shaw  Australian Art  Collection .

Obviously  not well , stressed , she called  me and asked if I would   come and help  sort " her  pots "  that were  going to the  Queensland Art Gallery .

They  were   well  wrapped pieces of  pottery she had collected over the years,  in sealed boxes , numbers on the outside. On opening one box,   the   top of a  large  jar was  visible  under the  bubble wrap .  Margaret , agitated,   said  that  it  was not  supposed to be in there , dashed  off  to get  a   folder  containing   photos of  her collection , flicked  through  the  array .

I was  told to close the lid. It being cramped  and hot  in the storage area,  watched  by some of her inquisitive pet wallabies through the window ,  I  attempted to ease the tension , quipped, " You're not  selling  the  Ming vase  today ? " 

Angrily, she  firmly told me it was no time for flippancy .  Another call for help was  received when  a packer arrived  to take possession of the valuable collection , hand it over to the Perc Tucker  Gallery in Townsville , for it to be transported   to  Brisbane . I was asked to bring  a trolley  on which to convey the pots down the hill , but it  was  not   required .

After her death, I was informed  she had once owned a  very large  jar  or  vase  which had been made by  a  "Japanese master" , who suffered   from  heart trouble,  and   had  died  soon  after making   the  masterpiece .  
She  had travelled   south to arrange the sale of  her jewellery collection  ,which had been stressful, and  informed me  that it  included  ancient Chinese  beads which somehow had  turned up  in  Indonesia .  An  Indian  chief's ring was  shown  me. 
Of her time  at  Queensland University, putting herself   through  Arts, she provided  brief  anecdotes . This  included  her  singing  to me   part of  a  slightly risqué  song  she  rendered   at  what   could have  been  a  revue, accompanied  on  the  piano by a student  who went  on  to  become  a  member of  the  Queensland  judiciary .
There was  mention  of another prominent  university  student, muscular, who became  amorous . Being pressed against  him  was  like being up against a leather  backed chair . That  clearly  was  the  end  of   that   anecdote .
Queensland  University book sales were discussed ,   from which she bought many  volumes, one  the 1856 Narrative of the Expedition of   An  American Squadron  to the China  Seas  and  Japan,  by Commodore M. C. Perry .  With Margaret's deep interest in  opera , and  the plot of   Madame Butterfly  being about the American  naval officer  Pinkerton  taking a Japanese wife,  she was delighted  to  obtain  the   book.  
 During   our association,  I  told her on several occasions  I would like to  sit down   with  her  and  record  her  life story,  knowing  any day could be  her  last . While not agreeing to that course of action  , she did  say she would  provide  some  anecdotes-disjointed , nevertheless fascinating .  Because of  her  condition , which made   it  difficult for  her to  sit  and travel in  a car  , I   brought her home and  indicated how she  could stretch out  like Cleopatra on a lounge , and  I  would   interview  her, start the third  degree .  Yes .  Someday  soon . Never .
Each time I transported her in my  car ,  she positioned  herself   with her knees on the seat, facing  the   back   of  the  car , holding onto the back of  the seat.  On  the  ferry , she  often spread out in the  horizontal .

Travelling by bus in Townsville , she  stood  throughout the journey , holding a  pole , swaying  about .  During  one of  these pole  dancer  performances ,  she  told  me  tantalising  snippets ... about  the art  and  café society in  Brisbane , her admiration  for  a member of the   Tintookies ( Aboriginal for little people who came from the sandhills )   , started by  Peter Scriven  , of  the Marionette Theatre of  Australia ,  which  established  puppetry  as   an  art   form   in  Australasia.

On two  occasions , while driving  her to the ferry, I got carried away  trying to  flesh out an  anecdote  or  three  and  instead  of  heading straight   to   the  ferry boarding  area , continued  on  into  the  round  about .
This caused her  to shout  my  name and  ask what  I was  doing . Apologising ,  I told her, on the second occasion ,  I was imitating Mr  Bean in his  runaway  little   car. At  times she addressed her colostomy bag , Stanley  by  name ,  informing me he had been reluctant  to give up a nice  Japanese  meal  partaken   during  a  special opera  trip  in  Sydney . On such  flights  to   Sydney she  booked  two  seats  because of her  body  problem.
Delivering her  home from the ferry one day , we  pulled up, Margaret announced  Stanley  had  not  liked   something  , began moaning , clutched at her  side . I instantly said I would drive her to the medical centre .  No .  Questioning  Stanley  about what  he was doing, she insisted on  getting out of  the car and  making the  long walk up  to her house on  the  hill , without   any  assistance . 
Obviously clearing out  her personal  possessions  , I asked if  I  could have a peek  at any/all  papers, documents, ephemera  she  was  discarding . She responded by  saying much of  it  was only old  photocopies ,  death certificates , related  to research  over  the years ,  which  she   just  ripped  up.
Recoiling in  shock, I said photocopies of  the many areas of  her research could  be of interest  to others . NO . NO .  On leaving  her  premises , I glanced into a  wheelie  bin and  there on top were  torn  photocopied pages dealing with the famous Australian soprano  Dame Nellie Melba . On seeing this , I informed Margaret  I was  going to slip round  at  night  with a  chaff  bag   and  steal  the  contents of  her  wheelie  bin .    
One day she  produced a photocopy  of   a small,  early Tasmanian   newspaper article   providing advice  for  bachelors on  how  to  entertain  young   women  on their premises, for me  to  hand on  to  a teenage boy  soon to move out  of   house.  I subsequently was  informed  she had also arranged  for  a cookery book   with   basic  information  for   new cooks   be   given  him .    
Following  her  death , her brother gave me  a   small  notebook   in  which  Margaret  had  kept notes  on people who had lived in  Olympus Crescent over the  years, with contact numbers , other details of  interest , which  Zanita  Davies said  would  be  helpful  in  preparing   the  exhibition .

At the time of writing  this  post, Margaret Vine's ashes are in the possession  of Zanita   Davies and  arrangements  are  being  made  for  them to be  scattered about  Alma Bay ,  perhaps  to  the  sound  of   opera.

 One of  the books   Margaret  kept from  her  schooldays, awarded to her as a prize,  dealt with  the myths and legends of Greece and  Rome .  Olympus , of course, featured  in that book , in which she had  marked  some contents  in pencil , one   being   the meaning  of Manas : The shadows of  the  dead . Margaret  continues  to   cast  a most unusual shadow on Magnetic  Island  and  beyond .

NEXT :More  anecdotes  covering  her  research  and her  beloved and well fed menagerie.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


With predictions of another  cyclone forming in the Northern Territory and  swirling into the Gulf of  Carpentaria , bringing  heavy rain  to   Cape York Peninsula  and  the  northern  tropical east coast of Queensland ,  this  aerial  view   taken  Thursday  shows  weather  moving    in   near  Aurukun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Latest  Highland  fling  rocks  Canberra  .

Senator Michaelia  Cash ,  dancing about as if she had a  bushel   of  thistles  in  her Braemar  camel tartan  undergarments, whipped out  her  blood   stained claymore  and  belaboured  wode-painted   arch  enemy ,Doug   Cameron , with   his  annoying worker's  brogue ,  when  he   asked  her a  series   of   questions  in   the  Senate .  
 Performing like a   wee   lassie in the traditional dance  on  your  enemy's grave competition   at  a  lighthearted  West Australian    Liberal  Party fund    raiser   , Senator  Cash   did  not  hold  back , in fact , looking as if she was  soon to deliver  a  ministerial  jab    to   the  non-coal  fired  solar  plexus .
Apprehensive  Tasmanian  Senator Eric Abetz  seems  ready to duck a  stray   round   arm  punch  to   a   bunch  of  low hanging  Granny Smiths  in   another public  bar  brawl in Hobart  when  somebody  claims   Cascade  lager beer  is  really made  in  German , not locally . Many old Canberra  reporters now in rocking  chairs  vow and declare  Abetz  is  the  reincarnation  of  B. A. Santamaria, which explains why he  is so  popular with  the Murdoch  media .

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


There is growing speculation that Magnetic Island has been selected to be the venue for  a   new Commonwealth  Games  event - Scottish caber tossing-  following  the  discovery  of   logs floating  in  and  around   the  entrance to the  ferry safe  harbour . Nearby Townsville  has some  undoubted champion  tossers, according to Caledonian Society  caretaker, Hamish   McSponge . 

Monday, March 19, 2018


Ace political  reporter Argus Tuft  makes  fair and balanced  commentary on  forces  of   darkness .  
The first time  the  new leader of the Nationals and   the   Deputy PM no less   appeared on the front bench   during  Question Time  in  the  House of RepresentativesMichael McCormack -Who?-  a   former  editor of the  Wagga  Wagga  local    paper , looked apprehensive, even   stunned , ill  at  ease  , a   bit  like ousted  Barnaby  Joyce   in  recent  months .  He  gazed  about , stuck  fingers  under  his collar as if  being  choked  by  the  gutta  percha , stared  up  at  the media gallery , appeared  to  be  deep in  thought  , below,  trying to work out  why so  many  rabid New England  feral  algorithms end  up in  the  Wagga Wagga  Animal  Pound .
 Once  he   got  a  Dorothy Dixer question  , he was  up on his   feet , flashing a  naughty  centrespread of  Opposition Leader Bill Shorten from the Ploughboy Monthly , popular with  Riverina rustics , while  doing a  less red faced  imitation  of  a typical  Barnaby  rant  in  the extensively organised , hysterical  Coalition  Kill  Bill  campaign . 
Document  banned  by  Speaker . Easily shocked maiden aunts  are advised these  dark, odd shaped objects are not  part of  Shorten's  anatomy , besides he is  Caucasian .

Soon after,  he headed for North Queensland , no doubt to " speak bush" like Barnaby ,   where he teamed up with his  tubby National buddy, jibe and  gun slinger,   George Christensen,   and  was photographed   with  him  next  to  a National sacred site, a  strip of highway .  Then  the   two  Cheshire cat  amigos   dropped  in  on the  Adani office in Townsville  to shovel coal on the  unsuccessful   Kill Bill campaign  in Batman, television footage  showing  fewer  people  and whiteboards in  the office than   in  the  previous   photo opportunity  for the gullible  , don't ask too many obvious  questions, local  media.  Perhaps some of  the rent-a-crowd  had   slipped  out  to  the  vindaloo ?   
The  Murdoch Townsville  Bulletin  unsurprisingly  quoted  McCormack as  saying  the only  fake  thing  in  the  north  was  Bill Shorten , sticking to the Kill Bill message , this  a   reference to  the  Labor  leader's  statement  that Adani job claims were fake. Earlier  on ,  Townsville based   Liberal  senator  Ian  Macdonald, up to his pianola lid   in support for  Adani,   got  a  run in the  Bulletin  by  saying  opponents of   Adani   were  economic   terrorists  . 

Despite the outcome of  the Queensland  state election  which saw  a Labor  victory  and the three  Townsville  seats go to the incumbent ALP members ,  the  sinking   Bulletin  , as usual,   went  on  about  them   thar  southerners  and  latte drinkers  opposing  Adani,  unfairly giving  the impression that  North Queensland   is   hillbilly   country .   

There is a  strong theory   afoot  in  Townsville  that  the paper's future  depends   on  Adani  going  ahead , otherwise it will become a bi-weekly  or be  amalgamated  with other  Murdoch  blats  into  one  serving  North   Queensland , like  the long  standing  title North Queensland  Register .   This would then leave Townsville to be covered by a  Murdoch Sky News "bureau " ...consisting  of  a  reporter  with  a  camera .
The election which, not surprisingly,  saw  the Libs  win   in  South Australia after  16 years   , not by a great majority ,  caused  celebrating   elderly members  of the Adelaide Club  to  fall out of  their  bathchairs and then attend a wild  party aboard  the Torrens  River boat,  Popeye, popular  with kiddies  and men in their  second  childhood .

A  well  known  happy clapper who  gets about  endlessly  calling on Satan and  Shorten to  get  behind   the   blessed  Coalition   to make  life easier for  milllionaires, ,  tax  dodgers,  water   thieves  and  help  pass  laws  to crush wage slaves , unions   and   GetUp! , even prevent charitable organisations from speaking out ,   was  ecstatic . 

 The  SA   victory , he trumpeted, like Gabriel on a  Sousaphone ,  was  shock, horror,  a mandate  .   It  proved , he  declared,   the   Coalition's  policies   would  set  the nation  on  the  highway  to   heaven , via  Rabbit  Flat , in the Northern Territory .
 There was  little  comment from  those  born to rule about   Ged Kearney  (ALP), a  well  qualified    person who will perform well in Canberra , showing up many of the  lightweights  in the Tories ,  winning  Batman .  The  Coalition  did not bother  to field a  candidate  in  Batman , such was their   concern for  voters of  their  ilk  in  the  electorate .

On the other  hand , the Victorian Liberals were probably  too involved in the more  important   legal  battle  over  the $70million  Cormack  Foundation  fund  which donated  $200,000 to  the hopeless  Northern Territory   Country  Liberal   Party in  2016-17.
 However, on  the strength of the  SA  win , it has been announced  Prime Minister Turnbull, the man for whom  the bell and the Newspoll  will soon toll,   and  his chanting  disciples  , in a  religious, fearful  frenzy , will  spread out   across the   wide  brown  land   in  a  blitz  of   marginal electorates . Brace  yourself  sinners.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


After receiving medical advice that she has  six months to live, a  woman who  has for many years  photographed the natural beauty of Magnetic Island , promoted it overseas  and  helped to  protect the   flora and  fauna  was  appalled  to see   the Townsville City Council  has placed  the   above  sign   for  walking tracks  at   the  Alma Bay parking area .  She  said  it blocks the pleasant view , detracts  from the  beauty  of  the place and  gives  the  impression that it is  Townsville, not  Magnetic Island

The  beach  at Alma  Bay  was  popular with  the late  author, historian, anthropologist and academic , Inga  Clendinnen , and her  philosopher husband ,  John , when  they   came  to  the  island  to  escape Melbourne's  winter .
 If  the  council was  intent on erecting the  ill considered  sign  at Alma  , it could have been  used  to  cover part of  the   larger , rusting  billboard  directly opposite , which  had  been constructed  to  promote  a proposed  town  house project that  failed  to eventuate  a decade or  so  ago ,  wires  hanging  down . 

 The ill fated Welcome to Magnetic Island  banners near the island ferry terminal   have  been  replaced with  new ones  welcoming  visitors to Townsville, puzzling  for   exhausted   Irish   backpackers ,  befuddled   grey  nomads  and  passengers  off  cruise ships  who  think  they  are visiting  Magnetic Island .