Wednesday, October 31, 2018


It  was   sad  to  receive   news  from  Darwin  about  the  recent  death  of  another  remarkable Territory  woman ,  "Scottie " Penhall , seen above with her husband, who at  the age of  18   began   work  as  a  wireless  telegraphist   in   the RAAF  communications  headquarters  in  an   old  Toorak  mansion , Melbourne, during  WWll . 
By Peter Simon
It was a busy, exciting   centre, the   staff sworn to secrecy ,  with encoded messages flying backwards and  forwards to  the islands and  London . She developed the skill  to rapidly take down  morse code , which  enabled the  decoding  of  a   romantic   message   on  an  old postcard   more  than  60  years   later.   
 Named  Effie Scott ,  she  explained  it  was  the  RAAF way to call   everyone by their  surname , so  she became  Scottie ,  which  stuck   for  the  rest of   her  life .
After the war , she returned to  the  tame routine  back home with her parents  in Adelaide . However , she  was sent  to Alice Springs to  help her sister   who  was expecting   a   baby. It  opened   up a  new and  exciting   chapter in  life's journey, which   included working on the  Centralian Advocate newspaper , owned   by colourful  Charles " Pop" Chapman , who had made  a  fortune  at The Granites  goldfield in the l930s  and  lived  in  a  house called  The   Pearly Gates  , with his own swimming pool . At times he would answer  the telephone, say it  was The Pearly Gates ,  Saint   Peter  speaking .

During his goldmining days he transported valuable amounts of gold in jam tins ; a driller ,  he  strongly  believed oil would  be  found  in  Australia .    
Recent view  of   Centralian  Advocate, another  pearl in the Murdoch empire . 

At  the age of  18,  her  eventual husband ,  Les Penhall , also   had a dramatic change  in  his   career-he   moved from Adelaide to Darwin  in  late 1941  with the Native Affairs Branch.  On Boxing  Day  he and  fellow NAB officer  Bill Harney , later an  author and  first  keeper  of  Ayers  Rock , Uluru ,    travelled by canoe to an Aboriginal  settlement across the harbour . Not long after ,  February  19,  he  witnessed    the  Japanese  attack  on   Darwin.  From  cover , bullets  zipping about him ,  huge explosions   heard ,  he  watched as the USS Peary sank, still  firing .

On instructions  from police, Penhall helped  load  Department of  Works  files on a truck and travelled  with  it  to Alice Springs . There  he drew up a list of  names of  crewmembers   from  ships sunk  in   Darwin , many of them Chinese and Malays , who  wore  name  tags ,  evacuated  south  in  convoys .

During   his time in Alice , Les stayed in the  Stuart Arms Hotel , where  General Douglas MacArthur , his wife and   son , who had  fled the Philippines , came . The  boy , about four,  had " made  a nuisance of himself " by riding   about the hotel on  a three-wheeler bike  , running into people's legs  and  sideboards.  

He then saw   service on  Horn Island  in  the Torres Strait  as a signaller in the 74th Mobile Anti-Aircraft  Searchlight  Battery. The island was the furtherest north operational  airfield , said to have been the second most bombed  place after  Darwin . After the war, still not demobbed ,   Les  was  flown back to Alice Springs  and became  a  Patrol Officer  and Protector  of Aborigines . In 1947, he was stationed at the new  Yuendumu Aboriginal  settlement .

While Les and Scottie  were on their honeymoon  a driller  struck water near Yuendumu  and the supply became  known as Penhall's BoreScottie thought it wonderful  the Penhall  name , on pastoral maps , had  been  immortalised  by  a  bore .
Les ,on the left ,  took part in the last police camel  patrol in  Central  Australia  searching  for  an Aboriginal man who fled  after  murdering a woman .The others in  the party  were  Constables  Tony  Kelly and A. J. Millgate.
 I had contact  with  Les from 1958  to the early   l960s  when I worked  for the  Northern Territory News  in   Darwin .  In 2010 ,  Scottie    and Les provided me with details of their  lives  for  an  article I wrote   for  the  Northern Territory Police Museum  and Historical Society newsletter, Citation . On learning of Scottie's  skill at  morse  code,  she  able to take  down  25 words  a minute,Les less proficient ,  I dragged  out a  Welsh  topographical post card  I had  collected on which there was a message in   dots and dashes  addressed to Dear Selma , from  amorous  Jack , who, it was revealed ,  told  her   she  could  expect  six extra kisses   from   him . Kisses  galore were  displayed at   the  top  of  the Tuck's post card.
UPCOMING : The  Penhall papers .

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


CANBERRA : A shadowy  group  within  the  bumble-footed  National Party  of Australia  has  developed  a  brilliant  scheme   to combat  the  massive problem of obesity .  They  intend  to  use   their   stranglehold  on  the Liberal  Party  to   bring  in compulsory  goosestepping  in  schools  throughout  the  nation .
As seen on  ABC  Insiders .
Argus Tuft  Scoop
 Goosestepping , they claim , is  the fair   dinkum  way  to  a  third term / leader / reich  for the Coalition . It will  also make  tubby   kinders  slimmer  in the process .   Der  spokesman  for   the  growing band of  goosestepping  advocates   is  Adolf   Bigfoot of   the  stormtrooper  stacked  NSW  Black  Forest branch . He  revealed   the  group regularly holds secret  meetings  in beer   halls  where  they drunkenly  goosestep   about  under   a  giant screen  tuned  into   daily Sky  propaganda   bombastic  blitzkriegs , while slashing each other  on  the  face  with  made  in  China  Lady  Sunbeam  shavers.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


While working on  a special  report  about  the late journalist, author, historian , artist and publisher ,  Glenville Pike, who did much to  popularise the history of  the Northern Territory and North Queensland , an uexpected  example of his productive output  surfaced.

From the   diverse   library  of  the  German Queen of  the Jungle   came  the 1986 self  published  book  , The Golden Leaf  , by Wilma Wheatley , novelettes and short stories from  the l960s ,  edited by Pike , published  through  his  own  Pinevale  Publications  ,  printed  in  Hong  Kong. 

Colin Roderick, Emeritus Professor of English , James Cook University , Townsville , reviewed the  book  and described it thus : Love ,  hate , patriotism , partisan rivalry, conflict  and honour  are set  against  the background  of the Far North tobacco lands ..."The characters are life-like, the settings real, they spring   from  the soil and have the air of belonging  to it as  Shlunke's stories  of  the  Riverina ."
The author's note  thanks  Pike  for editing  the  book and  Ivy Zappala  for the  cover painting . Zappala, nee Hanson, was  born in the Gordonvale Hospital , near Cairns , in 1933 , one of her paintings  in parliament house  . A party  following  the   christening of a baby  boy  is   dealt with  in the first story, The Flag of Croatia, in which  the  tensions of  Yugoslavia  are  aired.  It  takes  place in  a  tobacco stringing shed  where bottles of   preserved  venomous snakes are  stored , killed on the farm by  the previous owner.  


WARNING : Make sure you are wearing an incontinence  pad  before reading this  post as it could result in  an  involuntary  discharge of  fluids as  you  giggle.
The  Magpie , in his latest entertaining  weekly  wicked  website , pointed out some Townsville Bulletin   clangers .   One  related   to  a  report in  the Murdoch paper  about the  Paranormal  Investigators  Townsville    declaring  that  the  city is apparently  awash  with  ghosts, including pubs  and  a Big W store . Strangely, it  seems  Bunnings  does not  attract ghosts ,just do it yourself weirdos .   It  included  a photograph of  the paranormal team , two  woman  ,  but   one bore the  name of  a  man .

The  Magpie, aka  former Townsville Bulletin  reporter Malcolm Weatherup, drawing  attention to this error , recalled   two  investigators  , in August 2017 , correctly  identified  as  a  woman and a  man ,  his   name wrongly attributed  to  a woman  in the latest  spooky story . In  that  earlier report , the duo were quoted  as saying  the old  Townsville Railway Station , in which they were  photographed , was   haunted .

On  reading this , our  S(h)ipping  Reporter clutched at his vitals while laughing like a loon. He  decided  then and there  to  nominate  Weatherup  and  his  moulting  bird  for  induction  into  the  Journalism  Hall of  Fame in   Melbourne  next  month .
 Why? Because he has solved the baffling  mystery of  why Townsville's Victory in the Pacific Memorial Fountain  is not working and  the ornate  nearby ticket office ( above)  in the old railway building , which contains a  World War l  roll of  honour ,  invariably needs a  sweep , leaves and  dust visible.  Obviously, ghosts scare  the  pants  off   anybody attempting  to  look after  the  sites
When our nautical roundsman recently inspected the  long closed  ticket office, above , he had the  uneasy feeling he was being  watched .  In a corner  he  spotted  a  wet patch - evidence  of   a resident  spook with  a   bladder  control problem ?
On the basis  of  these  two in depth reports in the newspaper  the Ghost Busters  should be called  in  to  enable the regular  repair and  cleansing of  Townsville's important  sites. The Northern Territory  News  , Darwin , another Murdoch paper, with the same  front page slogan as the Bulletin ,   should also be alerted as it  delights  in  running  stories about  UFOs  and  aliens from outer space .
The cheeky Magpie  also took the piss out of the Bulletin , which he calls the Astonisher ,  in respect of  a  report  it ran about  people   who  picked up a person at a Townsville  Macca's outlet who later tried to rob them  armed with a samurai  sword.  It  featured  a  close up  graphic  of  somebody , not sure what  gender ,  in  a  wrap  around  ,  holding  a  kitchen  knife.  
The   Magpie   said  the photo  was  either  " a bloody big Japanese", or  a  tiny samurai sword . 

Normal abnormal  para  :  Bulletin subsequently apologised  to  the investigator for  making out he was  one of the  women    in  the  Townsville  ghosts story but  made no  comment about  the caught   short  samurai . However,  a week later, the  Bulletin  used the same photograph of  the  person  holding  what obviously  was not a samurai  sword  to  draw attention to a  tragic story  about a Townsville  woman  who had  been  savagely stabbed by a  man while she was  putting out  a  wheelie  bin .  


The   large  portrait of    Australia's  feisty  first  Catholic  saint,  Mary  MacKillop , in  Townsville , North Queensland , continues to fade without anybody in authority taking remedial action . She has been fading  in the  tropical  heat  until  now it is hard to see any facial features . Also  dimming  are  the  Southern  Cross  stars  and  the  large caption  proudly declaring her   OUR AUSTRALIAN SAINT  . This blog  drew attention to this situation months ago  pointing out   the local media had failed to pick up this  obvious important  local story.
How the hell  this  situation has continued for so  long  without somebody springing  into action  to rectify the   fade out overlooking one of the city's busy  roads is hard to understand. But then  blessed Townsville  has   a long  record  of neglecting  important   war memorials  and  broken  major   community  clocks like those on the travel centre and  the old post office.  Forgetting  to  take  down    old advertising   signs  for  long gone  entertainment  is  another   sin  of  which  the (Protestant )  Queen  City  of   the  North  is  guilty.The Vatican may have to fly in Michelangelo   to  work his magic on   the portrait , if he  is not doing a  makeover  on the Sistine Chapel  ceiling  for  The Block  series  on  television . 

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Floating about  the Townsville  waterfront, our decorated  S(h)ipping   Reporter    picked up   another  swag of  stories missed by  the    mainland  media  which appears to  have  gone   into  hibernation. 
In the first instance , standing out  like a royal yacht  was  a bulk carrier  with the eye  catching name ,  King Cotton , which  strangely failed  to attract the attention of  the landlubber  scribes.
Even if you were a republican , a  smart  journo  could   surely stitch together  a  good yarn  by  visiting the Japanese built and  owned  vessel , finding out why it  was  so  named  , its  cargo , any  monarchists  in   the  crew , etc.   
 Readers  of  this  blog will recall that  Townsville went into  confected   raptures over the possibility of  a  visit  from  Prince  Harry before he got  hitched to  a tasty  M&M .  The above  cut out  of  Prince  Harry was run in the  media showing him   being held by a  beaming  female  from  Townsville  Enterprise   in a  small plane   showing  him  the  wonders  of   the  Queen City of the North 
 There was a  whisper from city hall that  there could be a royal visit in the  offing , which  the  scribes dutifully  passed on . In a football mad  town like Townsville, there  is a lot of  passing on of  hot air  in pigskin  .  But the royal visit   did  not  eventuate .  And  Harry and  the Duchess did not   come to Townsville .  
Apart  from   King Cotton  , another  arrival  that very same day  was none other than  the  most beautiful  girl  in the world  , which made  our  nautical roundsman  pay  close  attention  to  her , even   if  she  was  a  bit  on  the  nose , requiring  a  dash of  No. 19  Chanel  eau  de  parfum  behind  the  ears .

She is  Dareen , Arabic  for   a  world   beauty  and  an island of beautiful smelling  perfume  and   flowers.  Her other vital statistics are that she is a  livestock carrier, built in 1994  ,  capable of  carrying  8000  head , owned and operated by Arab Shipmanagement, Aqaba , Jordon , flying under the Panamanian  flag . 

Our S(h)ipping Reporter, the  only one  north of  Coogee , recently reported there were  two  livestock  carriers  in  port  which  the media did not  notice , despite all the waterfront activity  and   whiff  of  manure wafting  about the sleepy newsrooms.    

Another vessel in  the Townsville  ghost  fleet   had  the catchy name  of  Mandarin  Arrow . It is not known if a Mandarin's arrow has the same romantic impact as  that  of  Cupid , if so , our nautical reporter  would not mind being a target .

While all this  was  going on , the Victory  in  the  Pacific Memorial Fountain,  next to  the  start of Townsville's civic  pride trail , still  was not  working , a  shameful  situation  in  a  military garrison  town .

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


 S(h)ipping   Reporter  Scoop

Without the mainland  media noticing ,  the  talented and imaginative    crew  of   the  Scallywags  CafĂ©  , on Magnetic Island ,  have  raised the Jolly Roger  to the top of the  mast , heaved  up  the   anchor  and set   sail  for   the Australian  show  circuit .   This blog  previously reported   how    an   empty house on  the island   had been renovated  and  turned  into  a  brand  new pop up  eatery   with  a   pirate   ship outline  and   theme,    banners ,   fire  displays,  entertainment  for  children ...and  did  a  roaring  trade, the  business featured on the  ferry  info video  and  online .     
With the school holidays now over ,  the  merry  band   of  talented  entrepeneurs, including  a female member of staff  who spent   months in  India , have  hit  the  road  to cater   for   shows  and  festivals all over the nation .  Like  General  Douglas  MacArthur , they plan to  return , as  the sign  below , in a Lilliputian setting ,  indicates .

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Queensland Young Liberals don't understand  the meaning of  plain English --News  items and verbal  complaints .

BRISBANE:  A longitudinal   study, taking in the  Tropic of   Capricorn and  Kennedy,  has revealed  that  while  most  Queensland  schoolkids  have benefited   from   Naplan testing , one section continues  to  flunk  badly  :  pimply   Young  Liberals .

It has  been  pointed out by  numerous commentators , including right wing, monosyllabic   shock jocks,   that  this  group  of  straw sucking  youngsters has a  poor understanding of  the  English language . For  example , the  meaning of  a  conscience  vote .

 The   Young  Libs   threw  a   class tantrum  when  some  Liberal National Party members   exercised  a conscience  vote in  the Queensland  parliament   and   the acne   faced Young  Libs wanted  them  taken behind the bicycle shed , debagged ,  floured ,  covered  in  molasses , thrown  on  an anthill  until after  Prince Harry   and  Meghan   have   passed  by .
Typical Young  Libs  on   Mad as  Hell 
Prominent   Queensland   educator and  champion  pub arm wrestler  , Emeritus  Professor  Ned   Flogger ,  says Young Liberals are  notoriously  slow learners . Armed with pump action shotguns , they  preferred to play cowboys and  Indians  with  their drop out  cousins, the Katterbugs , than  thumb through  a  Webster's  Dictionary, study the meaning of   democracy and   free speech .

He revealed the juveniles  disliked  listening  to  the   ABC , because all the worthwhile information it provides  strains their  tiny little minds ,  and  they want to sell  the national broadcaster  to   carpetbaggers  who support  the  Coalition  to add to the dumbing down of the  nation .        

 Trembling Professor  Flogger admitted   the strain of  trying to educate Young Liberal numbskulls,  who had difficulty  reading and saying  the fat  cat sat on  the tax free   mat , had  forced  him  into  early   retirement and  bar room wrestling  in Brisbane's  wild  Fortitude Valley to eke out a living .  He pointed out  Liberal senator and former federal Attorney-General ,  George "Book End "  Brandis , had described  the  Queensland  LNP , including the  young  ones , as  very, very mediocre, so he resigned  and  went  off  to   London  to   recuperate   in  antiquarian   bookshops  and drink in exclusive bars to pick up the latest gossip about the Chinese  hacking  Donald Trump's smart/drongo phones .    


Sign on Magnetic Island  supporting Dr Kerryn  Phelps  whose  Wentworth by-election  win  has rattled  the  Coalition. A sticker  calling for reef jobs not  coal  jobs is also visible .

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Bondi police have been placed  on stress leave after a   wild night of celebrations following the Wentworth by-election  which saw purple power  scuttle  the Liberal Party .  During the  night , police  arrested   57  drunken Bananas  in Pyjamas , five struggling  men claiming to  be    Malcolm Turnbull , the Vicar of  Dibley  doing a striptease   and   the  longtime    missing  Pommie  murder suspect  Lord  Lucan .  Some of  the  jubilant   supporters  of Dr Phelps are  captured   below  in  the  Bondi  lockup ,  awaiting court appearance .  
An exhausted   police spokesman this morning  told Little Darwin   most of the  Bananas in  Pyjamas were  lefty  ABC  staff  members  eager  to make life difficult   for the Coalition  which has been waging war on  the national broadcaster with  the  support  of  the   Murdoch  media  maulers . The stressed officer said he would never complain again about drunken Irish packpackers who call the beach  area County Bondi .The elephant had made a helluva  mess in the cells , and had  kept on trying  to insert its trunk  up the station sergeant's  trouser  leg  in search of  an apple . 
In breaking news from Canberra, award  winning political roundsman Argus Tuft  says  a  Wailing Wall   is being constructed in the Liberal  Party Funk Bunker  at  which   members of  the  broad and   much deformed church  will  kneel.
In further shock news, Tuft also   claims  PM  Scott  Morrison  is likely to  resign   from  parliament and take up a remunerative  new  post  as  spin doctor  for a  brand new  brand  of  whiter  than  white  washing  powder. 
Terrified  and angry backbenchers , Tuft adds ,  will  move that  the PM  refrain from  his bad   habit of clapping  people on the   shoulder   and saying they are  jolly good fellows  because it  is  like  the  kiss of  political death . They  point out he was all the way with PM  Turnbull, said they were Siamese twins joined at the shoulder  ,  and  Malcolm  was knifed ,  dumped ; Dave Sharma was also  clapped on  the  shoulder and  he was  crushed  by  an  Adani   Bondi  iceberg . Speaking of icebergs , cartoonist David Rowe of the Australian Financial   Review provided a Titanic angle  to  the  by-election which  featured  a   nasty brown looking  floater for  which Bondi used to be infamous . 


During a swing through New Zealand  moons ago , in  search of collectables, books , ephemera ,   the  above mounted and framed certificate of membership in the Dunedin Metropolitan Fire Brigade in the name of   J.F.Pears , who served for three years from  January 1 , l939 , was   bought in  a  Dunedin  antique shop .    

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Leaked Liberal Party Funk Bunker Plan  Reveals Panic
In a desperate bid to win the Wentworth  shoot out ,  the long forgotten  model of  former  PM  Sir Robert Menzies   has been   retrieved from  storage at  Madame  Tussaud's   Waxworks   in  London    to  hand  out  how to   vote  cards  in Sydney. According to  today's edition of the Christian Science Monitor and  Ethical Adman , desperate  Liberal   spin doctors   believe  Pig Iron Bob Menzies  could swing the  vital count   their  way .

 Fearful Tory  insiders  say the   decision to get   former PM  John Howard to tour  the electorate had been disastrous as it reminded   the voters that he embarrassed  Australia when  he showed he  did not  know how  to bowl a cricket   ball  in  Pakistan.  Apart from that , he  appeared to be sporting a  pair  of fake  albino , bushy  Menzies  eyebrows .  
Another gross  error had been to bombard the electorate with  so called  "Liberal luminaries ", which proved  to be as stupid as  exposing  the   inmates   of  the New Zealand   Waikato  Glow-worm Caves  to  sunlight . 

Francophile Fixer 
A tattered  Funk Bunker  leak  reveals that in a late desperate attempt to win votes  from  suckers , PM Scott Morrison  will  announce   the appointment of  Senator Cleaver  Greene to  head an  inquiry  into  the proposed takeover of  the  Oz Ripple  by  a Chinese  company . 

In addition , the Manager of Government  Chaos  in the House of  Representatives , Christopher  "The Fixer " Pyne ,   will  bring a  touch of  French fashion to the election on Saturday by  holding a parapluie, an  umbrella,  over  Sir  Robert  to prevent him  from  melting  in  the Aussie  noonday  sun . 
During the  week , Pyne     arranged    for    many  mind- numbing    Dorothy Dix questions to  be asked  of  government - painting   Australia as  a  biblical land of  disastrously  cheap   milk  and  fraudulent honey , a  paradise for  temple money changers , Egyptian slave drivers . During the rowdy session  the  Coalition attempted to  slay  the  Opposition with the  jawbones of  many asses  and a  box of chocolates laced  with  Christian  vitriol  and   needles .    

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


A limp   jolly roger  flapping  at  its  mast  ( above )  the  National Party of Australia's flagship , SS  Dairydust  , invaded   Vaucluse today  and  blew the disasterous , accident prone  Morrison  government's  Wentworth  election campaign  completely  out  of  the water.
Argus Tuft  Exlusive 
Armed to the  teeth with   an  array of  rusty  swords  and    blunderbusses ,  the scurvy  looking Nationals    demanded   the   Wagga Wagga Waffler  walk  the  plank . In  his place, they want to  install  a  babbling  bunyip called Barnaby , who  can talk  bush  underwater .
The trouble is , the   people in the bush   have  woken up to the  fact that  the Nationals are  really nothing more than  walking   advertisements for  10 gallon hats  and the only regular   shout   they  make is   Cooee!!!  in  the  Canberra parliamentary dining room  , not   a  round in an outback pub  of  Bundy  Rum  or XXXX   to wash down  the dirt  from the  dust   caused  by  global  warming  which   is  smashing    farmers. 

  A  respected   poet laureate described the  Wentworth nautical  scene as  being  akin  to  the  events  on  the  good  ship Venus .  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


An early morning   cup of coffee  at Picnic  Bay , Magnetic Island , turned into uproar when two  large stray dogs   attacked a  small dog on a leash, ripping out its  guts on October 16. The  dogs, which  reportedly had  been causing trouble for some time ,  also  went  after a  Whippet being   walked by  an island  resident .Two men beat off  the attacking  dogs , police were  called , the  dogs  captured  and  supposedly destroyed . The doctored mainland media pack  did not  pick up  this  story.
A much  photographed Koala  was   recently  attacked  by a  dog near a shopping  centre in Mandalay Avenue , Nelly Bay . The  island   Community  News  reported the attack in  the fishing news   section, the  mainland  media oblivious of  the  event .   

Cats have been   sighted in  various parts of  the  island , one with a  Sunbird in its mouth . The decimation of  Curlew chicks  continues; what looked  like a  prowling   cat  was  seen running  from   near  where the  latest  Little   Darwin   hatchling , which  featured in  this  blog,  disappeared overnight.
Two    eggs  under  another  nesting  Curlew  couple  at the front of the  Little Darwin  residence were  found  smashed   early  one   morning . The Townsville City Council  used  to have a resident dog catcher on  the  island . Now the current  situation is  a secret, requests for  information ignored .The council was  asked if traps were   kept  at the island  dump   to capture feral cats, rats ,  as is the case in other parts  of  Australia. If  not, why not ?  If  so, info  on  catches . No response .

The wider slaughter of  wildlife  on the island  raises the need  for   major , prompt action  and  a  new , modern  arrangement  with facilities  to take  the  great load  off  the  shoulders  of  a   small  band  of  island  carers  . The  city  deserves  to be called  Snoozeville  over  the shameful neglect of  war  memorials  in the city,  the  dire wildlife  plight  on  Magnetic Island   and   the  snoozing mainland   media  which  is  clearly out of  touch with so much going on in the city and the island  . Much   more   later.

Sunday, October 14, 2018


Another  S(h)ipping  Reporter Scoop .

While seeking medical advice in the Townsville  Hospital, the  crusty  waterfront roundsman  unexpectedly  stumbled  upon a  story into which   the  ABC  bashing brigade   would   love  to  get  their  vampire  teeth.

In involves  a  prominent ABC  presenter   being    caught  ogling  a  woman who  had been charged with  indecent  exposure  . Phew ! Just imagine what the Daily Telegraph , The Australian , the Coalition troglodytes  ,  Gerard   ,  Kenny  , Bolt , The  Parrot    and   others   will   do with  this   titillating   expose  once  it  is posted ?  

The name of  this lefty  ABC  celebrity caught in an embarrassing  situation  ? Don't be impatient . Did  I  mention  that  he had been sprung  by a nun ? No , sorry -really got  you  interested now .

Background    to the scoop    is  that  whenever the  sickly S(h)ipping Reporter   enters   the  Townsville  Hospital  main entrance  , he makes  a  bee line to the  books on sale  by  the helpful  volunteer ladies  .  On  his  latest  visit,  three   great non-fiction  finds were bought , one  The  Court  Reporter , by  another professional  ABC reporter, Jamelle Wells , published by ABC Books , this year .  As the nautical  scribe is  an old  media  hand, he  enjoyed  reading how she  got into  journalism  and  covered  many  interesting  court cases. 
Brace yourself   for  the  denouement . In a great anecdote  , which  reveals  the kind of people  who  work for   the ABC , she  told how  ABC News Channel presenter  Joe O'Brien  remembered  the  first court case he  attended   during work experience  at the above  Innisfail Advocate , Queensland, in 1983.  It  involved  a stripper  who had  come to town  and  got too much of  her gear off  in public , charged  with  indecent  exposure.

In Year 10 at the time , he went out the front   steps of  the courthouse  with the  media who were taking pictures of  her  standing near a column .  One of his teachers , a nun , happened by  and asked him if he was enjoying his  work experience . Yes, sister , was  his enthusiastic reply .


No sooner  had  the above  piece of golden prose  been posted, than through the Little Darwin  door  was delivered  a packet from the Queen of the Jungle who is cleaning out  her diverse  library. In  it was the  l983   Volume 1, Number 1 copy of  UP NORTH Queensland  magazine .

This  year, of course, was  the one in which schoolboy  Joe  O'Brien  eyed the naughty stripper outside the  Innisfail Courthouse . Leafing through the magazine , it is hard to understand  why  she was   charged with indecent  exposure as there are  several photographs  of    topless   girls  in  advertisements. 
Courthouse pose ? 
Topless  girls are  featured standing on the bow of  a yacht called  Bacchus  off Airlie Beach  and  a naked nymph  is silhouetted  in  an  Air  Queensland advertisement .  


Unearthed in  Darwin, this  mounted and  framed   photograph under glass captures naval activity in   Sydney Harbour circa  1915  . Another  photograph  of  interest  to come our way  , found  on  Magnetic Island,  is   the  1909  mounted  view  of   Ramsay  Street , Collaroy , below .

Saturday, October 13, 2018


Despite being blown about by wind and lashed by rain , the cardboard  pointer to the Tasmanian  capital of  Hobart  is still  attached  to the Magnetic Island signpost  to the major cities of the world . At  times  it  pointed  to  the North Pole  during the blow . The deluge  will probably save  the  fake owl   from being sacked due to its  failure  to prevent   birds  from   messing on the   passenger  ferry  ramp, the rain washing  away some of  the  extensive  droppings .  
On the mainland , in  a Swamp People setting,  the rain flushed out a freshwater crocodile  way up  Townsville's   Ross River , see part  outline left , under overhanging  tree  reflection  at  top . Photo  by Abra

Friday, October 12, 2018


Fabulous paintings  by  renowned American  artist  Bucklee Bell   are likely  to appear  regularly  on the Sydney Opera  House sails , if  this blog's respected  art correspondent , Ponsonby  Willis , gets  his  way . 

 Willis is a great admirer of  Bucklee Bell  who also  runs  a unique  business in Chiang Mai , Thailand, Kesorn  Arts ,  dealing in ethnographic arts , including beads   and   textiles  that  he gathers  in  expeditions  to out of  the way  places.

 His distinctive  artwork , developed during his  involvement  in the underground comix  movement in America ,  appears in   regular Thai  exhibitions. One of his  paintings, dealing with politics ,   has pride of  place in  the  Little Darwin den. 

Ponsonby Willis explained    that  while    Bell's   fabulous paintings  often  appear  related to  the exotic   landscapes and   tribal customs of  the  Golden Triangle  and  the  Rusty  American  Panhandle   , they  have the magical property of vividly  representing any country . For  instance , the   following intricate    tapestry  :
Ponsonby   interprets this  Bell   epoch  possible  Opera House  sample    as  really depicting Australia's  rich  cultural  heritage  and  history  as  a  convict  colony  still  run  by  descendants  of  the  rum corps , who booted out colonial Governor Bligh , after whom  Australia's refugee ex-PM    Malcolm  Turnbull's  middle  name was  derived . 

 A  certain  , unsporting  cash for  bash  radio identity  , who deserved to remain unnamed and   unwashed,  would  undoubtedly  disparagingly  describe  the scene  as musicians playing  for  the  latte  sipping mob  and Balmain  basket weavers  who  objected  to  the Everest horserace  promo  on  the Opera House .  

A closer, unbiased look  would reveal that it brilliantly captured  the present political situation in Australia. The central  tableaux  of   chamber   musicians  inserted   to soothe   angry  Aussie   voters  reluctantly  waiting  until next year to  empty the chamber  pot over  the  Morrison  government ,   the  New South  Wales  Coalition  jelly   babies   along   the  way .

The four large  snakes next to the  wheel of  fortune  obviously  represented the  main banks  which   had  been sinking  their    fangs  into  their  customers-alive and dead - since  they  first  slithered   ashore  from  Noah's  Ark  at  Botany Bay in  1788 .
 According to  Ponsonby , the  many depictions of  the  female  form  show  women  are  holding up more than  half  the sky and their work is never done, especially  when  a   bullied  member  of   the old  double breasted  Liberal  Party .

Bucklee's  brilliant   work   promoted the  beauty of Sydney's iconic  Bondi Beach   through the  appealing   drawing  of  a  stinging   bluebottle ; also there to be seen was  an  outbreak of  mutated  crabs ,  a  few  dangerous  bush  ticks , no funnel webs . The  never ending   up  to  80  percent  off  carpet  sales   throughout the nation  way of  life and  the ABC's  outback   yodelling  dingo  stood out.  Free steak knives were  hidden  somewhere  , said  Ponsonby ,  playing  with  his  chopsticks .        
Another  beaut   Bucklee special  being seriously  considered   for the Opera House is the  above in which woman  are still  holding  up more than  half the   world  and  it seems   evident  members of  the  Queensland Young Liberals   in Operation Leroy  are secretly  planning to stack  pre-selection  meetings to try and   kick out the  hopeless  old  LNP  brigade , a  difficult task . It  features the  call for  Queensland to be  cut into  two states , with a Berlin  wall between the two , the top half  full  of  bellowing  yahoos  in  cowboy  hats , the  other side , taking in the Brisbane Line ,  talking  through  their  hats . 
The  dazzling  Bucklee  Bell above epic will feature in a  massive  New South Wales Tourist Bureau  campaign ( bigger than  the highly successful  Paul Hogan  invite to throw another white spotted  shrimp on the barbie )   to  discourage  overseas  tourists  from  taking in Queensland   by  revealing  the Sunshine State  is crawling  with crocodiles, Katters , taipans   and  knee deep  in  discarded , germ-laden  toothbrushes .