Friday, May 31, 2019


Another  Shipping  Reporter  Special

Magnetic Island.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


Be warned , you  could end up looking like a monkey's uncle if  you  tune  your idiot box  to  Sky . Back  in   l976 , David Perry , Artist in Residence  in Film and Video  at Griffith University , Brisbane ,  presented   this  disturbing  visage  in  an  interview by  John Tranter  for   the  art and literature journal, Aspect  .

At the time , Perry was mainly working in video , most shown  on  television screens . In a political sense, he said  video  was  more  democratic, more intimate than film . Cinema was a very formal  medium , people sat in  a darkened theatre  their attention on the screen  , an enormous image  that  hypnotised  the audience .

Television was  different...there was a little box  in an ordinary room, people sat about it  talking , drinking  .

While people complained  vociferously  about the power of television , and there was justification for so saying, he felt it a  much more  friendly  medium.

People did not  feel constrained  about  talking to the television screen . Recently  he  had visited  a  house where   a group was  watching a political figure on the screen . Some disagreed with  him , and they were just yelling   at him .This would not happen in a cinema  .Television allowed you  to take what you want from it  ; what you did not want , you could  shout at , or  ignore .

Tranter asked  Perry what  he felt about  moving from Sydney  to   Brisbane to   take up the  Griffith University post. His reply : "Well...I was a bit nervous , because there's a mythology about Queensland , that it's a fascist state , that kind of thing . But I honestly don't think Brisbane or Queensland is any more fascist than  the  rest  of  Australia .  

DAVID   PERRY: Born Sydney 1933 , died 2015. Pioneering Australian experimental and underground filmmaker , founder of UBU Films  (l965) , poster artist, stringer  for  Channel 9 and  10. Involved  in more than 120 archival  interviews   with Australia's greatest  painters, sculptors , dancers , actors , writers and filmmakers .  Chief  Australian  cinematographer on Steven Spielberg's Survival of  Shoah , a visual history project that recorded more than  400  interviews   with  survivors of  the  Holocaust.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


 Little  Darwin  is again  under   great stress .  Stories  galore  continue  to flood  in from left  right and centre, forgotten  treasures are being   rediscovered   during  stressful  attempts  to get   den    files  in   some kind of order , packages and  photos   arrive   from   OS  and   nationally .  Books  in  op shops and  garage  sales    demand to be bought  . And  an  indication  that a member of staff is  well and truly  into his  dotage is the fact  that he  is nibbling  black looking  medication from  a  leading  Chinese  herbalist  in  Kuching .   
 At  a   quiet  afternoon  birthday  tea party   provided by the Germanic  Queen of the Jungle, invaded by a hungry  Kookaburra,  the above rusty  sign  attached to an aviary  attracted   our   attention. It showed  a  woman seated at a desk   against  a   May   l945  calendar  and  a  candlestick telephone nearby , with the rude message : Not Now , I'm Busy...BUGGER OFF !!!  

 Taken aback,  we asked  the Queen  from whence she had   obtained this crudity . In some ways,  the  reply  was  not  so surprising ...Darwin , capital of the Northern  Territory .   Bought   some moons ago   from  a  weird  place like Jurassic Park ,  which   had  dinosaurs roaming outside, a dragon ,   the   interior  filled  with oddities, chunky imported  furniture  and objects   from  distant  lands , a wide variety of   garden   materials  in  bays . The  Queen regretted not having bought  a whole swag  of  oddities  from  there.

  We instantly recognised   this place  as  Finlay's -Tom Finlay a Victorian  born stonemason - prominent  attraction  south of  Darwin , which   has  since  been  greatly  reduced ,  operating  from   a   different  site .  

An  enthusiastic researcher  and collector   friend   obtained  a postcard  from   surveyor and road builder   Len Beadell     who  built  the  1500 km  Gunbarrel  Highway  across  Central Australia  in  the  late   l950s.  The postcard, which  included one of  his  many outback  drawings ,  was  posted  from  Alice Springs  in  l968  and   depicted   the   Kulgera   Roadhouse . Given  us for a quick read   on  top of the  stack  already gathering dust , is  Beadell's  book, Too Long in the Bush .  


Flashback  photographs from  the Queen City of  the North, Townsville 

From a trade magazine , this is a view  of  stage  one of  Flinders Mall  which   won the 1980  Australian  Civic Design Award section . The  mall,  with its  fountain , no  longer exists  and  the  area  contains  many  empty  shops  .   

In l981, a grand old  Townsville waterfront  building,the Queen's Hotel , featured  in another trade journal  Yesterday's Buildings dealing with the restoration of  fine old buildings in various parts of Australia . The first  Queen's Hotel, a  timber building , had been built on the site in l873 , damaged by Cyclone  Leonta at the turn of the century . The next stage of construction , in  l903, was a curious  blend  of  Australian country pub  and Indian colonial .  Out of the hotel came Mrs Hannah  MacLurcan's famous early  Australian  cookbook .

By the First World War, it extended  along the entire block on The Strand  with marble  floors   and   cedar staircases . During the  Pacific War it  housed American officers .  It ceased to be  a  pub  in l966 ,  operated as a function centre ,faced    possible demolition . It was "saved "  when taken over  by North Queensland  Television    which operated  from  atop  a 2000ft  mountain , 16 road  miles    from  the city.   The building was turned into  North Queensland's most modern  television  and  radio  complex .

The  job of converting the run down  building into  a television studio was given  to architects Macks, Robinson   and  Associates.The main lounge became a technical operations  centre housing all  the electronics .The dining room was turned into a small studio  and a  larger one  was extended at a cost of  half a million, external  brickwork   restored  by  sandblasting .   
Now  empty , the  impressive  building  receives   much  attention  from  visitors . 

Monday, May 27, 2019


 German   war   raider  posed  as  Queensland  boxing champion, shone as a wrestler  

The swashbuckling  true life adventures of Count  Felix von  Luckner  who  wreaked  havoc among  Atlantic  and  South   Pacific   shipping   during   WWl   was  presented   in   great detail by  American author   Lowell   Thomas  in this  blog's 1931 inscribed   copy of  The  Sea Devil .   Out  of  the  book  fell  the faded   business  card  of  the  owner all  those years ago , Dr N. J. "Jock" Symington , who    in  the  early  l930s  had    charge of   infectious  diseases  in Sydney, including  leprosy .  
 At the age of  thirteen and a half ,  Count  Luckner  ran away  to  sea, going under the  name  Phelax Luedige, , taken from  his mother's side of the family   . A  voyage  as a  cabin boy aboard an  old   Russian   full rigged   ship  brought him to Fremantle ,Western Australia , where he was attracted to  the Salvation Army , because of  their    band , which reminded him  of  bands  back  home  . Joining the Sallies, he sold copies of their newspaper , War Cry, and let it be known that he was Count  von Lucker.  The Salvationists paraded him   about as  an example of God   saving him from  demon grog  and  sin . 
A job he obtained included  polishing the lenses on  the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse . He  tried  his  hand  at  commercial kangaroo shooting . Somehow, he  became involved in Australia with  a   group of  "Indian  fakirs" who travelled about  performing  magic shows , performing  many slight of hand  tricks  , some of  which  he  picked up . 
Because of  his  size  and strength , he was  trained as a  boxer , with a plan to  bill him as the  Queensland  Champion    who would be taken to  America   and  become   a  big attraction .
 However, the  call of  the  seven seas    and  demon  grog  lured  him back  to the mast .The first German ship he  served  on was  Caesarea , on which he broke a leg , then another , which  brought  cargo from Hamburg to Melbourne  .  The  German  consul  was  entertained  in   Melbourne  and   Felix was made  the ship's cook  by the  skipper who  earlier  had  given  him  a  flogging .
Then  a  shipload of  Australian coal  was loaded   for Chile  and  von  Luckner  spent New Year   in   a Chilean dungeon  after  a spree ashore . For a short time , he   joined the Mexican Army ; worked as a tavern keeper  and bartender in Hamburg ; served for two years as  mate  on the Hamburg-American Line ; there was a  bizarre  episode   ashore   in Honolulu , at a strange plantation where  a man making out he was a tailor   ran a tape measure over parts of his body . Then  after  spotting what  looked like  a  chopped off  human thumb , he  knocked the man down , ran  and hid in the cane , while  men on  horses with whistles  searched   for him .      
 Because of his exploits, written up in newspapers , which included saving drowning  people , he was  ordered to   report to  the  navy  for active  service  in February 1912, the Emperor  and Prince Henry  no less  had both become interested in him .
The Emperor had him transferred to the West African  station , the Cameroons , aboard the  Panther . The book  deals with that time  in great detail ,with interesting insights about  colonial power  rivalries , competing religious  faiths  in  Africa . 
During   this early part of his naval career  he used   the sleight of  hand  magic tricks picked up in   Australia   to entertain  shipboard parties ,  even dressing up as  an  Indian Fakir  in  robes and  turban .


In 1916, Count von Luckner was  summoned to  Berlin and  ordered to  run  the British     blockade   of  Germany and raid  enemy  commercial  shipping . Because there were  no  German coaling  stations,  a  sailing ship would have to be  used, the former  American clipper   built in Glasgow, Pass of   Galmaha.

It was hastily converted into an auxiliary cruiser  with concealed guns ,rifles, grenades,bombs,special quarters for prisoners  , a tank holding  480 tons of  fuel   oil, provisions  for  a two year cruise. Posing as a  neutral   Norwegian clipper bound for   Melbourne with a cargo of timber, the vessel sallied forth , under the name Seeadler ,  sinking many ships over 224 days, covering  about 30,000 miles . The extraordinary adventures  are indicated in  parts of  the  endpaper  information   and   maps   that  follow .
Captured in New Zealand   waters,  the Count  was imprisoned on  an island, managed to make a  fake   British uniform , escaped, stole   a boat  and was  later apprehended in the Kermadecs.  Brought back to Auckland , his party was   planning    another   escape   when   the  war  ended .

Saturday, May 25, 2019


During  voting  in  Townsville   on May 18   the  above  Dutch  Vroon  cattleboat  GREYMAN  EXPRESS slid  into  port  without a mention . It proved  to be an omen  for  the  election outcome .  The  vessel made  news  in  Darwin in April  2016  when   it was   described  as  Australia's newest , most modern cattle carrier , flying the Singapore flag ,  about to  load  4000 head  for  Indonesia. In Townsville,  hardly any  vessel , part of the great  Ghost  Fleet ,  rates   media   coverage .  


Demountables  being  erected at  James Cook University, Townsville, to  house  students  from accommodation  block  destroyed  by  fire . Landslide, one of  two,  caused by monsoonal   downpour  earlier  in the year  visible in  the background . Apart  from some small  leaks , the   Eddie  Koiki   Mabo  Memorial Library building ,  with  its  diverse and  valuable   collections,  escaped  major   damage ,  some   bogging   nearby .


Good to  hear that  a large  collection of unique  photographs   dealing with Northern Territory animal industry and agriculture   compiled  by  Darwin agronomist  Robert  Wesley-Smith   is  in the process   of   being catalogued.  In  recent days he  has been in the basement   of  the  parliamentary  library  going through  the    invaluable  collection  of  colour slides , started in the early l960s ,  which   runs  into  hundreds   of   images  .
Over the years, at one stage , he was   in charge of three experiment  stations ,  involved with  Aboriginal communities, early  rice  growers,  buffalo farmers  (even  owned  400 young buffs  himself )  , attended many  field  days .
One of his important  photograph  shows  Prime Minister  Gough Whitlam   pouring soil into the hand of  Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari , at the handing over of  the  Wattie  Creek   land  title.  Wes  was  closely associated with the Wattie  Creek  band who walked off   the  British  owned Lord  Vestey  cattle station , made   the  historic  land  claim . The  symbolic  passing  of  soil   had to be restaged  for  the  southern   media , won  an award ,   and  became  the  cover pic  for  the  Charlie Ward book , A Handful of  Sand .

 Wesley-Smith  was involved   with  the  late Australian pioneer  rice farmer,    Jack Turnour, with  prior experience  in California, America .Turnour, a strong ALP supporter,  who died in Noosaville ,Queensland , in  2016, aged  84,   had  been hired by a  former NT  Director  of Agriculture   to  grow  grain   at  government  research facilities  at   Beatrice  Hill .

Out of this  evolved the  Upper Adelaide River Experiment  Station,   named Tortilla Flats , after the Steinbeck  novel , with three pilot farms .   Mrs  Joan  Turnour  wrote  a book   about  Tortilla  Flats  in  which  Wesley-Smith  was  mentioned .  
Other   Wesley-Smith  photographs, not  yet  catalogued , were taken  when he attended  the  l974  International Grasslands  Congress  in Russia , taking in Moscow ,Tashkent, Samarkand  .  He was  so impressed by the extensive  layout of  cities  ,  with   magnificent  gardens and boulevards ,  that  he  drew the attention of  the Australian Minister for Cities, Tom Uren  (ALP ) , to  the   features , hoping  to  influence  capital  city   development  here .     
Recalling  that   trip ,  he  told Little Darwin one of  his  many memories included  being   taken  to  a  deep  area   where  there was   a   quarter  circle  slate   paved double  track where the wheels of  a  giant telescope were said to have run .  There were  also   spectacular  areas connected  with the     Mongol leader,  Tamerlane, conqueror of most of southern and  western  Asia, ruler of Samarkand  1369-1405 . 
 On his  wide travels  in the Australian  outback , at times calling at early Aboriginal outstation settlements ,  Wesley-Smith   photographed     trees  marked  by   explorers. He was photographed  below  on  a visit  to Magnetic  Island during which he examined  vegetation , koalas  and commented on  noxious  plants in the Townsville area .


Still visible , still not  followed  up by  media , submerged yacht, on left ,  in Townsville's  Duck Pond ,  where another  vessel recently exploded , without follow up  reporting  for both  that  you would expect.  Photograph supplied by our floating   Shipping  Reporter, the only one north of  Circular Quay, Sydney, who drifts about far and wide. Also  snapped  by  our  waterfront    roundsman    was   a  floral event  in the  Ghost  Ship  Fleet   which  passes    through  the  Port of Townsville   without   mention  by  local   media .     

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Victory  in  Pacific  Memorial  Fountain  in  ongoing   disgraceful  state , latest report  by  Shipping  Reporter .

Thong  floating about  the  top chamber in the  Victory in the Pacific  Fountain at the  Railway Oval , Townsville , on  May 24  ,  at  the very start of  the city's Civic  Pride Trail . Also visible was  a crunched up drink can on  the bottom . Gone  was  the  hubcap  that  had been  thrown  in  there previously  . However , nearby , on a walkway , was  a  broken  up   hubcap . 
  The bottom chamber  of the leaking fountain  contained   a    mass of  leaves    and  paper  serviettes  sucked  into the   filter , sticks ,  takeaway  food  items , one   split   coffee    container    there   in  excess of  a  month , sachets  on  the ground .    
 The Railway Oval , at the  intersection of Blackwood and  Flinders Streets,  with  its   fountain , was   reopened   August  11, l995  to mark the 50th anniversary  of  Victory in the Pacific ,  in  a  joint ceremony by  Queensland  Rail and   the Townsville  City  Council, the mayor at the time Tony Mooney  . It's  rundown state   and  lack  of  daily   checking and  maintenance of all  major  war  memorials  is  a   blot  on   the  garrison  city . Also missing  in  action  has been the local  media  which,  somehow,  continually   fail  to   notice   this  situation .  

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


 During the  extensive rerun  on television  of  Bob Hawke footage from the files  , including his time as Prime Minister of Australia , many viewers  across   the nation could not   believe  their eyes when they saw a  dapper   figure  in a  suit  : Pete Steedman, the Black Knight of Melbourne , former  Member for  Casey.  This  is the guy  who challenged  conventional   dress   worn in  parliament   house  Canberra  , got  about  in a leather jacket  , was   voted Politician of  the Year , carried  a  sharp implement  down  a leather  boot  with which  to  manicure his  nails . 

On seeing  Steedman  in a bag of  fruit , like  a   member of the Junior Chamber of  Commerce ,  with  Hawke pressing  flesh at a public event , Little   Darwin rang  Steedman   and  demanded   an  explanation .     Yes, he  was  that   toff  in the  film .  The  PM was  visiting   the Hurstbridge  school in the  Casey  electorate  in Victoria and  Pete had   worn  a  suit  , looking  like  a   conservative  old boy .

Most times he was seen getting about  on   a valuable early   motorbike, wearing dark glasses , Elvis looking , or in a sleek limo  , cars  one of his loves  , now down to his last Bentley.
Steedman  said   he  had   received  calls   from  far and wide   asking him if he was  that  well dressed  dude  with   the PM.  With  some  reluctance ,   he  had  pleaded guilty . But to atone   for   the   blot against  his  wild boyo image ,  he  had  once , with great relish,   invaded the  Melbourne Club  without  a  tie  , causing  apoplexy , alarm  bells   to  ring .
Pete went   to  Darwin     after  Cyclone  Tracy   and   did  mighty  work,  mixing with  a tattered  and    motley crew  of  journos , including  Jim  "Flasher" Oram  ,who flew into the wrecked , steamy city  from Sydney  in  a  suit  and  quickly shed  the coat , cut  the   trousers  off   at   the  knees  with  a  pair  of  scissors .

As  far as is known , there  is no known  footage of  Steedman  similarly clad , as   PM  Hawke , above ,  in     bodgie  budgie  smugglers  , said to be bigger than those  worn  by  former  PM Tony Abbott.

Monday, May 20, 2019


Rust  is  once  more  breaking  out  on   the huge  anchor from the  American aircraft carrier   Coral Sea  ,  not   far from the Townsville passenger  ferry terminal . The anchor   memorial , a gift to  Townsville   from America , also includes  plaques  supplied  by the Townsville  Port Authority  which were  almost illegible , until  our  Shipping  Reporter  raised  the  matter  in various quarters, but it  took  a long  time for  some remedial  action in  his  relentless  campaign to  get  the city's   war   memorials  properly  maintained.     
Flashback photo to the badly neglected  anchor site with its  useless plaques. The rust  and  graffiti eventually painted over , the  plaques were  fixed so that  the  wartime shipping activities   could be read . Now , rust, visible for months , is breaking out  on  top and spreading . Underneath  the plaques needs  a  paint touch up.

Our Shipping  Reporter  says   the  surrounds of the nearby empty Townsville Enterprise  office    needed  sprucing up   when  he inspected the  building , broken  pieces  of   mirror   near   the   entrance door , fag ends . In addition,  he pointed out  ages  ago  paint peeling from  atop the  ferry terminal  was not a good look  for  a  tourist   centre . One  small  can  of   paint  would  erase  the  sleepy town  image .  The  Townsville  Bulletin  surprised by  recently running a  feature   about  the  city's ugly side,  which  included  a view of  the ferry terminal . It did not  include the  constant  neglect of the  Victory in the Pacific   fountain ,  a short   walk from the newspaper  office ,  plus  other  war  memorials.      
The neglect of  Townsville's war  memorials  has  been drawn to the attention of the Australian War Memorial  in Canberra, without  any apparent  solution . Our Shipping  Reporter  says  he is flat out gathering   pix  and  info on  many subjects and  wonders  where  the  hell  are  the   local reporters . 

One story  which  tickles his fancy is the  outbreak of  car number plate  stealing on Magnetic Island , which  the   mainland media , stuck in reverse , has not picked up . In the quaint island  weekly  community news , which  runs  an  oddly written   POLICE REPORT , residents have been  warned to watch their numberplates.  In the vague, as usual , brief  info  supplied,  it says  "several number plates " have been taken from four locations  . Check your number plates and report anybody acting suspiciously  near  cars .   The   same  info  was  run  in  consecutive  editions... no follow  up . Run  yet again follow up   Not picked up  by  dynamic  mainland  scribes.

 No answer to questions   galore  that  could  and  should   be  asked   by   real  reporters. Is it  beastly backpackers souveniring   plates  from   topless  hire cars ? Is there a  number plate   stealing  gang lurking  about  the Jewel in the Crown ? If so , why ?  Are plates  being   pinched  in  Townsville ? 


Lee  Friedlander Exhibition circulated  by International Council of the Museum of  Modern Art , New York, toured  Australia  l977 .
Souvenir  portfolio  of  photographs from the  tour unearthed by Little Darwin in North Queensland . Of  the  50 photographs exhibited , all were taken in American,  except for  one  shot  in  Paris , in  the l960-70s.
Friedlander ,born 1934, in Aberdeen , Washington , began taking photographs  at 14  , later studied with Edward Kaminski  at  the Art Center School , Los Angeles  , lived  in New York , received Guggenheim Fellowship grants  in photography , his work widely exhibited . 
The  director of  the  Department of Photography ,  New York's  Museum of  Modern Art , John Szarkowski , said  Friedlander  was one of  several young American  photographers in the early sixties who took a different tack  to the  earlier  romantic  spirit  of   photography .
The subject matter of their pictures was constantly vernacular  and unheroic ,which at first disguised  the  fact that their work  represented  a shift  towards a  more classical posture of discipline  and reserve ... Friedlander was not alone in recognizing  that the most unexceptional  and banal material  of contemporary life  could justify  disinterested   artistic concern , but his resolution of  the matter  has  been  distinctive .
He had disguised an uncompromising aesthetic commitment  by a  clinically objective photographic manner , and  produced  false documents of  elegance and irony  
From an election poster , John F. Kennedy  watches   a  person reading  a notice on a   window  in  Colorado  . The Australian tour ,   assisted by  The Visual Arts Board   and the Australian Gallery Directors' Council , was displayed at the National Gallery of  Victoria , University of Tasmania , the Sydney Australian Centre for Photography ,Newcastle City Art Gallery, Queensland Art Gallery, Art Gallery of  South Australia  ,University of Western Australia .  
In the l972 Albuquerque , New Mexico, street  scene, on  a very quiet day , a  smart  dog  appears to be waiting  for the  traffic lights to change before crossing .

Sunday, May 19, 2019


In  this digital age,  black and white  is back .
In this collection of  black and  white   photograph  wallets  are two  from  Egypt in World War l , several from   Sydney  and  Perth , Western Australia ,  in   the  l920-l930s .  Bought at  garage sales,  old  wares  markets  and  in   antique    and  op  shops , some of  them  contained   negatives  and   prints  .

The  one from  Tilley's  Photographic Merchants , Hay Street, Perth , offers special attention  to  tourists' orders in the pocket . It says  some of the enclosed negatives in the pocket are suitable for enlarging,  and framed  , would make handsome  pictures. Enlarging  cost from sixpence ,five cents,  each .  Lantern slides    could also be made from negatives  , old and faded prints   copied.

Included in  the  WA  negatives   were  groups of women , people  standing  in a field of wheat , a  car  in  several ,   a close up of an oval , some shops .  

The Hesma  Film Wallet , dated  23/9/ l920 or  28  , from the   Herbert Small camera  supply shop in  Pitt Street ,Sydney , contains  negatives and prints   of   Port  Adelaide, S.S. Largs Bay , inside  Sydney Harbour  and The Heads  , passengers disembarking . Written on  the  back of a  print, dated   March 6, 1928, was   the information that  there had  had been a strike in Sydney , prior to  a trip to Tasmania , and the   Largs Bay  crew   were photographed   doing  boat  drill , the  stewards  boat  making  for  the  vessel .

Now in  this age  of   blinding   colour  and  dazzling   digital cameras ,  taking  black  and  white  photographs  is  growing in  popularity..There  are tips for taking  black and white photos  in  the  digital age .    Think monochrome , is the message . 
In black and white , long gone Kodak shop sign, with pigeons, above ,  in  Flinders Street, Townsville.  The various Kodak  wallets  in the display  list   associated  camera  shops  throughout  Australia and New Zealand , including  Townsville, strangely,  not  Cairns .  Townsville's last real camera shop, Kemp's, closed at least  two  years  ago .

Adventurous  Magnetic Island artist  Steve Crowe  recently painted a seascape in  black and white which  went on  display at the Townsville Art  Society Castletown  jump  in  shop .   


Abra  photograph , North  Queensland .


Backed  up   by  a  battalion  of  Bismarck  Palms.

Saturday, May 18, 2019


In what was regarded  as  an  unnecessary act ,internationally regarded    musical  activist Charlie McGee  ,  of the Formidable  Vegetable   Sound System ,   who  performed  at  the  two  polling stations on  Magnetic Island  , was   forced  to  move  on   by   police. He  turned up in the island  in  a recycled   former  fire truck   , run on  biofuel, described as  a Biosphere  Emergency Vehicle ,   bearing a  large STOP ADANI   sign  and sang  to  voters   for   hours .    In the  above  photo  he is performing outside   the Arcadia polling   station  in  the   Bowls  Club ,  in  the  afternoon .  Somebody  apparently claimed he was too loud and  the  police moved him on , much to the annoyance of  a number of  people handing out various how to vote cards.  The formidable  performer , well known   throughout Australia,  announced  that   a  vote  for the Coalition  would be  a  vote  against  the  planet .
In the battle for the minds of  voters, Clive  Palmer's  United  Australia Party , Katter's Australia  Party  and  One  Nation  did not  have  anyone handing out how to vote   cards   on  Magnetic  Island  , where ALP incumbent  Cathy OToole   got the majority of  votes.  Nobody  in  the  mainland media   picked up  the  fact  that  Palmer's  uncle had been    driving about  Townsville in a Merc  during   the election  campaign , plus   other  colourful  reporter - type  angles .   

Thursday, May 16, 2019


Word has  come through that well known journalist  and author  Kim Lockwood  is in hospital in Melbourne ,  having  suffered a stroke . Kim  recently attended   the Military Writers  Festival  in  Darwin  where he  also handed over   to a museum a  relic from  the l942  bombing   of Darwin by the Japanese , a    plate off the US  transport   Mauna Loa, 5436 tons , which  sank with  the  loss  of  five  crew.

 His  prominent  late  journalist   father , Douglas ,  the Melbourne Herald  representative in Darwin at the time of  the  bombing ,  wrote Australia's  Pearl  Harbour , and many other books.

 Both  Douglas  Lockwood  and James  Frederick Bowditch , a  former   campaigning  editor of the  Northern Territory News, Darwin , were   recently inducted into the Australian Journalism  Hall  of  Fame.  While  in Darwin  Kim sought  advice from experienced  publisher  Richard Walsh   on   a  proposed   Bowditch  biography.     


Glimpses  of a  complex,  great  Australian  Labor  PM
By  Peter  Simon
Over the years ,  I  have   amassed an odd collection  of   items , even  a recipe  of his  which  I think included carrots ,  and  anecdotes  from  which  I    draw for    this brief  tribute to  a  remarkable Australian  who  did  bring the nation together, a situation  that does not exist today because of the chaotic  and divisive Coalition.

Hawke  lost the   dog owners  vote   when  he  "performed "  at  an ALP  event in Darwin   back in the days when he was  the  prominent , eloquent and aggressive  Australian Council of Trade Unions    spokesman.  It  was  held at  the private residence of a couple  who were preparing  finger food,  their  young Alsatian , Sheba , romping  about, excited by the activity . Delivered  by   car ,  Hawke , well lubricated ,  reeled  into  the grounds ,  flopped down   on  a  chair. 
Sheba then  ran over and  nuzzled up  to  Bob ,   which  resulted  in him grabbing the   animal  and  roughly examining  its   fur .  After  declaring it had the  worst  definition of  any Alsatian he had ever seen , he told it to go away.  Sheba, attracted  by  Hawke's animal magnetism,  thought it was  a   game , continued nuzzling  him . 

Sheba's  owner, chopping up meat with a large  knife,  was heard  say angrily  to her husband ,  something  to  the effect, " Can you hear what that   bloody Hawke is  saying  about  our  Sheba ?"

A  Darwin woman    who witnessed  the  episode  , owner of  a  part Beagle , called  Rangi ,  after the famous  Maori  guide ,    said  Hawke  gave the  dog  a kick  and  drove  it  away .  Asked    to  wear  a  black armband    on  voting day  for  Hawke  , this   woman  declined ,  said  she would  never  wear  one  for  anyone  who  kicked   a   dog .

 None  of  the two aspirants for  the Prime Ministership  today  would  dare  be  seen  treating  a  canine  in   this  fashion .   

Later on , when I was  press  secretary  for the Northern Territory Leader of  the Opposition , Jon Isaacs,  I saw  Hawke at  his  brilliant   best , a great orator , flamboyant , imperious  at  times ,  another  Bill Clinton .

Along  the  way , while  searching far  and wide  for  books  , ephemera  , photos, old bottles , china   and   any oddities  under the  sun , I  came across  two items related to  Bob Hawke's father , Clem , a minister of religion . One was   a  church  account  book which  showed   how little money  his father   was  paid  as a minister .  It  was found  in  second hand  shop  on  the Yorke Peninsula , South Australia ,  from which  was  also bought   several crates of  old  bottles (not formerly  the   property  of   Clem).

At an Adelaide  garage sale  an unexpected find   was   a book  bearing    Clem Hawke's  handwritten signature  and  the  suburb   of   Norton Summit, where he lived late in life. Entitled  Drifting Wreckage , by W.Lockhart Morton , of  Adelaide , with a preface by Reverend  J. Chapman ,D.D., of New York , it  contained  interesting  details  of  early  church  activities  in  Australia .

It  is  impossible  to  discuss   Bob  Hawke's achievements   without  acknowledging  the massive  support  and  part  played   by  first  wife  Hazel , a truly  grand  woman .

When the  above R.I.P.  sign   for Bob  Hawke was chalked up  on Magnetic Island , North Queensland , a hound of  the   same breed as  that  of  the  ones  in   President Obama's    family , Portuguese Water  Dog ,  heard   the  departed   PM's  name mentioned  ,  peered  out  from  next  to  a  poster  for   Cathy O'Toole, the ALP incumbent for Herbert, being savaged by  massive mad   dog  political  forces, vested   interests  and  the  Murdoch media. As  expected,  a Townsville Bulletin editorial  said  to vote  for  the Coalition . At the same time ,on Magnetic Island , a days old Murdoch   Brisbane   Courier  Mail   poster was  highlighting  Nigella's chicken roasting secrets on the eve of  the election .