Thursday, May 31, 2018


North  Queensland  book search by Peter Simon  results in  an outburst  of   Runyonese .

This scrounger is  more  than somewhat delighted  when he comes across the  1965   omnibus reprint of  RUNYON  ON BROADWAY ,   with a memoir by Don Iddon and a portrait of  the racy  writer with  his  typewriter ,  in  an op shop  freebie bin in the recently flooded  town of  Ingham .

I am  accompanied on this  never ending   search  by my  baldy , chunky,  No. 2  son  , who in his  younger days on  the football field was  dubbed  Mad Max , so    could  easily pass  as  one of the heavies illustrated in   the  book , such as  Dave the Dude , handy with his fists , a  gunman  as well.

Admittedly it  is  a cancelled  copy from the Kilkivan Shire Library , has a   worn and torn dustjacket , boards bumped , still , to me,  it is like a  gold  brick  which has fallen off  the back of  a truck on  a delivery run to  Fort Knox , bringing back fond  memories .

My  ever-loving wife bought  me  a copy of  it  in  Rotorua  , New Zealand ,  in  the l960s ,where I worked on  the  Rotorua  Post as a reporter, a  position obtained for  me by  former Cairns  Post  reporter   Colin  Dangaard , who went on to work on the Miami Herald  and start  his own popular  showbiz  television  show , mixing with many colourful  characters, JR   a  nextdoor  neighbour , as   had  Runyon .

 My  well read  copy of   Runyon  On  Broadway  disappeared  in our travels , possibly waterlogged in Cyclone Tracy. Another  journalist mate, the late  Peter Blake ,  whom   I   described as  Australia's  Damon  Runyon ,  came  into  contact with   numerous  colourful characters  , especially  when  involved with Sydney's  famous  Kings  Cross Whisper . He had also worked in  Hong Kong  and on the New York Post . 

One of the great yarns written by Damon Runyon , The Snatching of Bookie  Bob, told how Harry the Horse , Spanish John and Little Isadore , hard characters in all respects , grab a bookmaker   and  hold  him for ransom ,  at the request, it is later discovered, his ever-loving wife.  While   kept  in captivity, the bookie takes  the  bets  on  nags placed  by  the terrible trio , and they end up owing  him  money .
Upright Blake

While Peter Blake was working in Darwin , in the Northern Territory  of Australia , he also became a  bookie .  Years  later, for this blog, he admitted   being  involved in an attempted  sting  at  the Fannie Bay Racecourse, which would  have  inspired  Damon Runyon. Bookie  Blake , in his inimitable style , wrote :
Bookies can smell a set-up from four furlongs away on a windless day and Fannie Bay's rough-and-tumble  mainly blue-collar ring was no different, but that didn't stop one small  group of  punting tragics from giving it a go. The players in the great bookie plot were led by one James Arthur Ramsay, better known as Jerker Jim and later to be a co-founder of the Kings Cross Whisper, but at that time reporter at the NT News. Jerker, formerly of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Albany, Gympie, some of which locales he departed in unseemly  haste with various citizens wanting to know what happened to their money, either loaned and given over  to a sure-fire get-rich scheme engineered by Jerker.
Three other toilers at the ramshackle NT news office made up the rest of the team- Peter Blake, enthusiastic but not too successful Fannie Bay regular and ironically years later to become a Darwin bookie himself; Margaret Greenberg  reporter and  fearless but perennially-broke punter whose good looks enabled her get on the nod with the more randy members of the Fannie Bay bookies fraternity, and   Grahame Aimers, lanky Kiwi linotype operator and flatmate of Ramsay and Blake and like many  Kiwis of that era, closer to a quid than the print.
 The final player shall be known only as Bill the Soldier, thirsty army sergeant stationed at Larrakeyah, befriended by Jerker during many a session at  their  favorite watering hole, the Vic Hotel, where the clientele was ruled with avuncular discipline by Richard Fong Lim, a good bloke whose brother Alec, coincidentally,  was a Fannie Bay bookie.
At that time (early mid 1960s) the Darwin Turf Club got its radio broadcasts of the Saturday races courtesy of the ABC, but occasionally prior commitments meant these broadcasts were delayed. Such occasions were the cricket tests, the national broadcaster's holy grail and not to be interrupted for any reason, Also, technical problems would  sometimes delay the broadcast, prompting some bookies to let eager punters on after the advertised starting time, for up to three or four minutes, a fact noted by the band of  desperates.

This course of events was at the heart of the scheme to dud the  bagmen. The ultimate beauty of it was that no laws would be broken by betting after the starting time, the satchel-swingers had no comeback if they got taken to the cleaners by astute students of ABC radio form.

The big hurdle facing the would-be ring raiders was how to get the result of the non-broadcast races onto the track where the discreet plunges on the winner would be orchestrated.  Learning the result was easy -- phone mates in the south and listen to the broadcast, or have somebody with communications equipment powerful enough to tap into the race broadcasts on the Sydney and Melbourne radio stations . Remember we are taking pre-mobile and internet days and it was not as if somebody could stroll into the racecourse car park with a bloody great ham radio strapped to his back and tune into the races. To say that this would not attract unwelcome official attention is rather like saying horse shit won't attract flies

Still, wouldn't it be lovely if somehow, somebody could be positioned unseen in the car park within easy sight of the betting ring, and such accomplice would semaphore the result to members of  the group, quids clutched in clammy hands and ready to invest on the sure thing with bookies still looking for action after the starting time.

Enter Sergeant Bill  for his starring role. He had access to an army commuications truck, and so the ability no-one else in Darwin possessed, picking up the race calls direct from Joe Brown and  Ken Howard  when the Darwin Turf Club had no live broadcast. Bloody perfect!

The following Saturday there would be no broadcast of the first two races in the south because of cricket commitments-- and this was the window of opportunity. Depending on starting times this gave the group potentially the first four races bet on. However stern rules applied --  (1) if a bolter came in at big odds give it a miss --investing 20 or 30 pounds  on a 33/1 shot would certainly ring alarm bells with the bookies particularly after the race had started and very likely such bookie would look very hard at the person wishing to place such a bet maybe even suggesting he  fuck off  and stick his money you-know-where . (2) don't bet with the same bookie twice  and as there were four people handling the commission this was no problem. (3) No more than 30 quid in one bet -- also not  problem because the total bank for the ring-raid was about  200 quid. (4) Bet each way when odds allowed it and have a second losing bet on another horse to help allay suspicion. With up to four races to have a crack at, the haul for the day could reach a couple of grand -- serious cash for impoverished NT news hacks and an army sergeant.
 Race day loomed and all concerned hoped it would culminate in a rollicking evening  at the Hotel Darwin lounge bar or the Fannie Bay Hotel, traditional sites for Saturday night roistering, the Vic being reserved for routine week-day tippling.

By Thursday night the plan was ready to snap into operation. Bill had the army communications truck lined up, and the gang of four had targeted the bookies who, on previous  form, would be be taking on punters after starting time.

This is how the betting coup would work. Blake was the point man stationed at  the end of the betting ring where he had an uninterrupted view of the nerve centre of the operation -- Sergeant Bill's truck. As soon at the horses crossed the line Bill would hold up a piece of paper with the winner's number and Blake, Jerker, Greenberg and Aimers would fan out to get the money on. It looked foolproof and it was.

Just one problem. Less than 24 hours to race day the Darwin Turf Club announced it had arranged an alternative broadcast and there would be no interruption of the race calls.

And so, the Great Darwin Betting Coup collapsed. There was indeed a gathering of the gang of four at the Darwin Hotel on Saturday night, where, in a sea of beer, they pondered  what might have been. Oh, and to add their sorrows, they had all done their money at the races that day. 


Alert  S(h)ipping  Reporter turns up  Townsville  terminal illness.
The   rectangular sign  warning that the ferry terminal  building  is on the asbestos register  has been missing  for months . In the meantime, big new glossy posters have gone up  near  the  base  plate for  the  missing  warning    advertising   scenic  trips . 
The  asbestos  sign was in this state  for  many weeks , without  the  Townsville Port Authority or anybody in the  ferry terminal  thinking  it  should be replaced, repaired .
Sans  asbestos warning .
While on the  subject of  asbestos , there has been concern on Magnetic Island about  the lack of proper   proceedings  in   renovations  being carried out on a  house  in Nelly Bay which  has  asbestos  on the premises .  


Abra study


The  Magpie website , conducted  by Townsville   journalist Malcolm  Weatherup, contains  the fascinating  unconfirmed  claim  that  the Townsville Bulletin  has been sold to a foreign  shelf company .  The  post says  a  Bulletin  photographer , named,  has  been breaking  the news  on the  newspaper . You would  think  that  other  media  outfits  in Townsville and beyond would  follow up this  intriguing  item .  It seems not .
The Magpie  also said  that  if the Murdoch   Northern Territory News   in Darwin were flogged off  , he   hoped  it  kept its "screwball"  front page  approach to news . Recalled  was  the  fact  that   a  Murdoch  spokesman  had  raised the possibility  of   selling  off   some  mastheads .
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Low  Media  Man on Totem  Pole/Plunger   
Flinders Shire Council in Queensland  is running  display advertisements for  staff  which puts  the WATER AND SEWERAGE  SUPERVISOR  position  ahead   of  COMMUNICATIONS  AND   MEDIA  OFFICER.     

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


A couple driving home at  night on Magnetic Island  turned a  corner into  their usually quiet street  of  residence  and  were greeted  by a strange , scary apparition . There  in the  headlights , standing on the road , was  a  barefooted man, in  a dark  coat , genuflecting at  the sky . A mad monk ? Perhaps the high priest of a new cult which would cause real estate  values  to plummet  ?  It turned out to be a  weird neighbour , in a dressing  gown , taking photographs of  the Moon,  in a cloudy  sky , not only  frightening  motorists but strolling  nocturnal Curlews as well .  Blame the ABC  and  its  beaut recent  Stargazing  Live  television  series  for  this  disturbance  of  the  tropical night .    
Scrambled egg  Moon 

Monday, May 28, 2018


 Northern  Territory  kids  don't  play  with  imported  soft toys.


ABC   turns   blogger  into  a  Moon - mad  snapper .
An avid amateur  astronomer struggled aboard a  Townsville  to  Magnetic  Island  ferry  with a large , boxed telescope .She  had  enthusiastically   watched  the ABC's wonderful Stargazing  Live presented by  Professor Brian Cox and Julia Zemiro  which  had inspired  the nation's citizen scientists  to set  a Guinness  World Record,  discover  two  new  supernovae  and   extend  the  age of  the  universe. 
 By Peter Simon
Other stargazer friends, she said ,   had recently alerted  her to   a magnificent meteorite  shower  heading   towards  the   island . Her husband was  waiting  at the ferry terminal on the island to  come aboard and  carry off the  new telescope . 
During the ABC  show , I went   outside   with  binoculars and studied the Moon.Then , last night, unable to sleep , armed  with  a  powerful  new  camera , a  birthday present  from my starlets , I  tottered  out  at 3am and took shots of the Moon , one at the top of this post, which appears  to show that it has been colonised by  humanoids. Gazing  up in awe , memories of my exclusive  trip  to  the  Moon  in  an  office  car  came flooding  back.

 While living in New Zealand , before the first lunar landing , I was  invited  to  drive  from Auckland  to the  Taupo region  and   witness  a volcanic  eruption on  the Moon  .The  rare event was  due to  a Moon  obsessed  technician  involved in the production of geothermal power  in  the North  Island who  believed lunar craters  were  mainly  due  to  volcanic activity, not  meteorite bombardment .
To back up  his theory , he  planned    to divert  roaring  hot steam  coming  out of the ground  in  a  pipe  to  a  small  container with  a  glass viewing panel .  The steam was supposed to create  a venturi , a vacuum, which would cause  aluminium  powder , performing  the role of  magma,  to be sucked up a  narrow tube  and  fall  out  in  a circular, volcanic  eruption   pattern .

Only trouble  was , when he   threw the lever and released  the deafening   steam ,  the  chamber  instantly  became  totally  obscured  to   both  our  vision ...there was  a  massive  storm  on the Moon , you could say .  It  was  a  case of  having  to  go  back  to  the   launch   pad  .   


Darwin  burn off .
Louie the  Fly  and  friends on  Queensland  picnic .

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Special event  to be held  Cathedral School ,Townsville , early next month .

Saturday, May 26, 2018


WASHINGTON : After an  early morning gallop , President  Donald Trump  has tweeted he will   appoint  a  Shetland pony  from  Kentucky to  the   vacant post of  US Ambassador to   Australia .  The prancing  plenipotentiary  will be tethered on the  lawn rooftop of parliament  house  in  Canberra and  provide  pony rides for children at weekends . The  nag is  expected to arrive in Australia  in time for the  Melbourne Cup .
 Named  Beetle Bomb,  the ambassador ,shown here in an exclusive Sydney Morning Herald photograph,  has a  striking resemblance to  the president, especially  when  viewed  from  the   tail end .  National  Party  members  who  horse about  in haystacks and sport  pieces of  straw tucked  behind  their  cauliflower ears ,   have   welcomed   the  appointment .
Readers of  this  blog  will recall that  the former American  Australian  Ambassador  Designate, Admiral Harry Harris, who  with this blog used his  influence to temporarily  clean up the shamefully neglected war memorials in Townsville , was  scratched   at   the  starting  gate ,   called  home  to  the unstable stables to   help  Donald Trump  geld the  lumbering   brumby ,  Kim  Jong-un .    

Friday, May 25, 2018


Our S(h)ipping  Reporter, the only one  north  of  Kangaroo Island , discovers an unusual   visitor  from  Papua  New  Guinea  and  Harry  Belafonte's yacht .
Into  the sleepy media  port of  Townsville, without being noticed by any  local scribes ,   came   the   above 58metre long, 1995  built    landing  craft , MV  Giluwe , from  Port Moresby , named after the second highest  mountain  in Papua  New Guinea ,4367 metres , 14,327 feet. 

  Last year it was announced  PNG  cargo vessels   had stopped  running to  Townsville. Is this  vessel  an  indication of  renewed  PNG interest in Townsville, a   sign  of a  pick  up   in the economy ?  It is interesting to note that  the  cargo vessel  was  pictured    loading large  dump truck bodies  in Gladstone  some years ago . In Townsville , from a distance,  it  seemed to be loading  large vehicles... for a mine?   Here is  a  news tip for local reporters : could be  a  story  here. 
Harry Belafonte's  Banana Boat  Song , Day-O!,  came   to mind  when  the all seeing  S(h)ipping Reporter  spotted  the  nearby  yacht , Banana  Wind . If you are intent on fleeing a  media  Banana Republic , it is desirable to have such a  wind  behind  you .
MEDIA  CARGO  CULT  LATEST : The Townsville Bulletin  recently ran a  report   about US Marines  coming  to  town ,  saying they were   expected to inject big bucks  into the  city . This blog reported some months ago that the similar North Queensland  cargo cult  mentality was  reflected   in the Cairns  Post   in respect  of the visit of a  US naval vessel , resulting in a  reader  saying why not just welcome our American Allies  , instead  of  wanting to  empty their  wallets .  

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Cairns . Abra photographs .


Mysterious writing near the former main jetty  serving  Magnetic Island  has  given  rise to the suspicion  that  China  is  planning to turn  the  tourist spot into a naval  base like Vanuatu. According to  an anonymous Border Watch spokesman , the inscription   is  a secret Chinese  code spelling  out the message : Foo and  friends were  here , and  will be back  with chopsticks when  the  pubs open  !

"Foo  definitely  was  here," the stern eyed  Border Watcher, wearing  sunglasses , added . This  indicated Magnetic Island , off  Townsville , was about to be developed  like the  sand islands in the  South China Sea   into  a   Chinese  fortress .  He pointed out that fake currency  had recently been found in Townsville on which was  Chinese writing .
The growing interference of China and  Russia  in the South Pacific, he continued , was  most concerning . In the case of the evil  Russians, they  had been slipping growing amounts of  the clumsy drug into  water coolers  in the Townsville City Council  and  Coalition  funk  bunkers  in  Canberra   , Sydney  and  Brisbane ,  causing  them  to   continuously  make  stupid  decisions .   
 Meanwhile , down at Horseshoe  Bay , naturally  not reported by the Townsville media,  gangs  posing as  Townsville City Council workers   are  moving  sand  about   just  like  the  Chinese  are doing  on  numerous  sandspits   in  the South  China  Sea , enabling   landing craft  to rush in huge  supplies of  cheap  springrolls  to  capture the  island  tucker market for Chinese interests  from  restaurants  backed  by  French, Italian  and other superpowers.   

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


A  further insight  into  the wide, wide  world of  Australian  art  researcher  , the  late Margaret  Vine , seen here in  1970  with artist Sir Russell Drysdale , at the Johnstone Gallery , Brisbane .
During the last months of  life  Margaret Vine  occasionally gave  me  snippets of  information about her  wide ranging  research  which   included  combing through old  newspaper  files in a  Brisbane warehouse wearing  a  loose   shirt  belonging to her husband like a  cape   to  protect her  clothing from  dust  and dirt ;  delving into  police files  in  Melbourne ; searching the fascinating Mitchell Library , Sydney; spending  many hours  in   the  National Library of Australia, Canberra  ;  perusing numerous publications   dealing with art and literature , such as  the  Melbourne Age  Monthly Review, The Australian Magazine  , especially of  the  l970s and l980s , each  edition of  the  latter  containing  an arts calendar , all  closely examined , entries of  interest   marked  with   biro. 
By Peter  Simon
 While helping  her   sort  out  her   book  collection  from  boxes  which  had not been  opened  since  l998,  when  she  moved to Magnetic Island ,  she pointed out   various  runs  of  Australian art magazines,  Queensland  Heritage   produced by  the Library Board of  Queensland , a publication of the  John Oxley  Library, Brisbane , other  sources of  information .
Research  note  pads and  her  editing  style  manual.
Following  her  death , a  small box containing   further  miscellaneous   evidence of  her  extensive research surfaced. It included    two bundles of notes  held  together by  spring  clips covering  early  Magnetic Island , Townsville, Palm Island   and   other  parts of  North  Queensland   ;  many single sheets  on  which she had  written  notes, titles of   books, peoples names , telephone numbers, dates  ; business cards  of   contacts at  James Cook University, Townsville, and  the State Library of  Queensland; a 1996  request from  Kay Truelove of the Art Gallery of  NSW Library seeking copies of  items in  the  Johnstone  Gallery  scrapbooks (Margaret  having been closely associated with the  Brisbane  gallery owners  )  ; a bundle of genealogical information  about  the  Vine family in 19th century  Victoria, connected with  the railways ; a photocopy  of  an early Arthur Streeton exhibition at  which  Dame Nellie Melba  was  unable  to attend,   one of his paintings selling for  four figures, which set  the gathering "agog"  ; a  1993  flyer  for a public lecture at  the National Library of Australia  by  Patricia Clarke  about   Rosa Praed  who   as   Tasma   in the 19th century was a renowned  novelists , lecturer and  foreign   correspondent  and as Rosa Praed  (l851-1935)  a prolific novelist ; a  1994  pamphlet   for the 1994  National Gallery   conference  On The Line: Rehanging  Australian Art ; requests for early 20th century   Lloyds Shipping Registers ; a  highlighted  listing for  the  1907  exhibition of  the   first  Australian exhibition of  women’s artwork  in Melbourne ; Annual Army Lists 1856  to  1858
There   is  a page from the July  1, l951  Australian Home  Beautiful highlighting The Cake of the  Somerset Bride and other dishes for  winter days in the above  items in the box  . This could have been due to the fact that she had   been  very interested  in  cooking  and   favoured  her mother’s Christmas  cake  recipe .

A 1996  typed  internal notice  from  the National Gallery of Australia  ,  related to   the May 2001 celebrations / exhibitions  to   mark  the  centenary of  Federation  , clearly  illustrates the importance of  Margaret Vine’s   research . A  planning committee  had   already been  set up in Parliament  House. The notice  detailed  six areas  of    art  that would be  displayed , including   some  from  the National Gallery  of Victoria  . The exhibitions  would  be organised  independently , using  each  others  collections  as  appropriate , and "the  research material  gathered  by  Margaret Vine"  at  the  National Gallery  would  be   accessible  to  everyone . 
 Another indication of  her   in depth research is revealed  in a slim 1993  volume  produced by her for  the National Gallery of  Australia  entitled Chronological Assessment of Australian holdings of  British Australasian (London) or Australia and New Zealand Weekly , and other  changes of title , published from the 1880s through to 1960s. On  the  title page she is described as  Australian Art  Researcher.
 As  no library apparently  had  complete holdings  , it  gives the impression she may have  inspected all the copies of  the publications  held   in   major  state  libraries, Canberra  and  the  University of  Queensland ,  detailing  condition  and  contents    (brittle, damaged , badly  bound , missing editions ,  cut outs , some trimmed pages  , mould,  shipping lists missing , suitable for  filming , etc  .)
Further evidence  of  her prodigious  research work  is attested to in the  1977 tome  Documents on Australian Australian International Affairs  1901-1918, edited by Gordon Greenwood and Charles Grimshaw, Nelson, 779pp, illustrated ,   endpaper maps .  The  title  page  states  the   editors were assisted by  Margaret Willis , her   then married name . In  the  preface, Grimshaw  ,  Reader in  History  at Queensland University, penned   this  tribute: "The dedication, conscientiousness and enthusiasm of Mrs  Margaret Willis, my  research assistant ,  have  contributed  greatly to the completion of this work . I  am  most   appreciative of  her   unflagging  attention to detail. " 
In connection with this book, of which she had  multiple copies , Margaret told me she had  arranged for her maiden   name , Margaret Vine ,  to be printed on  a single title  page copy . She went into a room, came  back with a  small plastic   wallet ,  took  out   a  folded  page ,  brandished  it ,  declaring it was the title page  in  her maiden name .  When I  pointed out it  showed    Margaret Willis, she  peered closely at it , became annoyed , threw it up in the air , and  said  she  wondered  what  had   happened  to   her specially printed one .
 In   her collection was  the  1960 reprint of Australia A Social and Political History,  edited by  Greenwood , at the time   Professor of History  and Political Science in the University of Queensland . Bearing her   married  name   penned  on  the  title page,  the text had  been  extensively  underlined,  ticked,  margin  notes  added  by  Margaret .
 Margaret’s  big  picture  view of  the nation, indeed the world , was nourished  during  school years in Queensland , awarded  a number of book  prizes  at  the Nambour  High and Intermediate School , which included one  dealing  with  Greek and Roman  myths and legends;  in  1954, dux of   form V1, awarded  True Patriots All   Or News  from Early Australia as  told in  a Collection  of  Broadsides , garnered and   decorated  by Geoffrey C. Ingleton , the frontispiece of  which  was  the circa 1828  painted   board devised by  Governor Arthur  explaining  to  Aborigines of  Van Diemen's Land  the hope both sides  could live in peace   and  what would  happen if  a member of  either side  killed one of   the  other ....hanging .     

Also in  her collection  was  a special presentation copy  to her  from  the   National  Library  of  the   book ,    Heraldry in  the  National  Library of   Australia .Architecture  was  another  area of  intense  interest,  evidenced by an  extensive run of  the  Australian architecture  journals   in  several boxes.  Out of another box  came a  copy of The Sydney  Morning  Herald  souvenir edition of the 1988 Australian Biennale  A Festival of Art  in which  the  Northern Territory was represented  by   a photograph of Arnhem Land  artist  David Malangi, one of his works appearing on the reverse  side of the  old dollar note,  posing  with  a  burial pole .  
Nothing , it seemed , escaped her  eye  in  the  relentless  research. The Australian Antique  Collector issue of July-December 1982   showed unmistakable  signs of  having been closely read by  her .  Articles within   it  which attracted  underlining, ticks  and comments  dealt with  Federation  architecture ; presentation silver in the Tasmanian Museum ; captions  for  photographs  of  Australian pottery ; the  Hawaii-Australian  architecture  connection ; a comment that an  item about  early garden tiles was  incomplete ; biographical details of contributors  to  the magazine . There was  an  illustrated    page of  so called   Aboriginal  Kingplates  which had been  auctioned  , which  included   the  watercolour  by  B. E.  Minns of  "Cranbukka, King of  Tamworth." 
She mentioned  Russian art  while  going through boxes of books  and I responded by saying my wife, Judith , had  developed  the  desire when she was  at school  in Auckland, New Zealand ,  to see The Hermitage  art collection  , in Leningrad, and  travel on the Trans-Siberian  Railway.  Later , Margaret   rang  and said she had a  present  for  Judith ... books on  The Hermitage  and all  the art  museums  of  Leningrad.
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There were  feminist publications in her collection, some early  prominent  activists  artists ;  an  art magazine  contained   comments  about the first four editions of  the feminist magazine, Lip , of  which she  had a  large  run .
Other interests were  fashion, jewellery, pottery-late in   life  she  paid a plumber's bill  with  some  of   her  prized "pots ." One of  her great loves was opera of which she  had  a large collection of  tapes and discs . Unearthed during the clearance of  her  house was a  letter  to  the  ABC in  which it was said she had  discussed  shortcomings of some  modern  day   opera  singers.
This love of opera explained why she had boxes of  ABC  magazines ,The Australian Listener and  24 Hours , anything related to opera marked  by her , with  added  markers  and  pages of  notes and comments ... (Placido )  Domingo  at  his best !
A slip of  paper  listed  things which had to be done  for a southern  flight  from Townsville   to   an  opera performance   included  clothing  to be packed    and  a  check  on  the  airline   policy regarding her medical condition, she having   to  buy   two  seats  enabling  her  to  spread  out  in   flight .