Friday, November 29, 2019


Impressive Sue McLean  quilt exhibition with  wide ranging  themes  clothed  in   powerful  poetry   

On display  at  Magnetic Island , this   is  part of  the show  running  for  several  weeks  at Amaroo on Mandalay. A  quilt   which sold  soon after  the opening   is   destined   for   Washington . 
Ms. McLean's involvement with quilting   goes  back to   her  mother  who first began making quilts about  40 years ago  in Tasmania , ran  quilting classes . In  1983  an old barn  had  been scrubbed out  and a  successful  quilt show  was  staged.
While Sue  had a  fulltime  career in  teaching , quilting was a  creative   outlet. Poems  she  wrote  relating  to  quilting, which give the impression they could have  been  composed  by  Clive James ,   are spread about  the  exhibition.   
The 35 quilts  on display include  Amish style, Irish chains , a Japanese Kaleidoscope . Bags of   men's shirts bought from  op shops years ago  were used to make  covers   called  In the Red, I'd Rather be Fishing , Shirty Strips, The Mathematical   Quilt  -  the  last  two  based  on  a  Kaffe  Fassett  design .    

Explaining the history of quilts, she said  they had traditionally been  bed covers , made from  handy material -old clothes , old blankets and flour bags. Some early Australian quilts had been made from  possum skins. 
Continuing , she pointed out  the social class of  the quiltmaker  could easily be determined . Pioneer  white  settlers  in Australia and America  randomly  cobbled together  whatever they   could find  in order  to keep their  families warm .
When  they had more leisure  time , they became more creative  and made  patterns out of  their  fabrics , indulging artistic talents. Upper class  ladies usually made  quilts  from silk , satins  and  velvets , more as decorative or status   items .     
 One  quilt  in  the island   exhibition  , called Tribute ,   (below ) is based on  cotton  fabrics  designed  by Indigenous women .  

Near a Tasmanian  quilt , made in the  Amish style , is the  following   associated poem.
One  prized  work on display , Pippa's Quilt, was made more than  35  years ago by Sue's   sister , Pippa Jacob-Miller , shortly  before  she died   from  cancer . Another of her  quilts, View from Woodbridge Hill ,  featured in  Quiltmaking  by  Susan Denton and  Barbara Macey , l987.
Pippa's Quilt  is shown above  . The Moon is the subject of four hangings; an afternoon on the Columbia River  inspired  Oregon  Mountains and Island Waves is  based   on  the   " Japanese Waves"  by Nerida  Benson .  


A  memorable  trip  organised  by  Kerry Byrnes
The  late   Kerry Byrnes  of  Arnhem  Nursery in action on  a ride on mower . Kerry  once took me for  an  unforgettable  1977  fishing trip  in a light aircraft from Darwin  to the Coburg Peninsula.  Through his contacts , a contra deal with the  aviation  company , he organised  everything , as usual ,  down  to the   smallest  detail.
 By  Peter  Simon
We landed on the sand and coral strip behind beach dunes  and set up  camp . A  wildlife ranger  drove up and checked our  permit . Then it was discovered  the bait and  spare  fish  hooks  had been left behind . A member of the  fishing party , Stephen Harwood , used  Hungarian  salami  he  brought with him as  bait ; no  fish  were  caught . 
Nevertheless,  we  roughed it  on  the  abundant  rock oysters  , watched  black tipped sharks  shooting   the   waves , saw  turtle tracks   and  large numbers of crabs . It was  paradise -until  sunset , when droves of  mosquitoes  attacked us  .
Suffering  from sunburn , mossies seemingly attracted by repellant ,  I slipped into a sleeping  bag.  Boiling within , I hopped down  closer to the waterline , hoping it would  be cooler  and   finally  got  to  sleep . In the morning  crocodile  tracks  were  found  not  far  way .   

It was  a   grand  flight  back  to  Darwin over scenic  country- until the pilot  tapped the  fuel gauge   and  announced  the  reading  -low-could not be right . But it  was .

Darwin Airport Flight Control  was alerted .With  a warning  alarm   going off in the cockpit ,we  managed  to  touch  down ,  fire trucks running along  on either  side  of  the  strip .
A service celebrating Kerry's  life   will be held in the  George   Brown  Botanical Gardens  Visitors Centre  on  December 5  , commencing at 12.30.  


An early view of the High Tea  setting complete with  English fine  bone china  and cake stands laden with  scrumptious  and  dainty  viands   for the Magnetic Island  Alp branch  Christmas   party  at Amaroo on Mandalay  .  President Mal McLean , sporting  a   brand new hip , soon to take part in an international  limbo rock competition,  is at the head of the  table .To his left is  Stephanie  Naunton , from Townsville,  who was  on  the  personal  staff  of  Herbert    MHR   Cathy O'Toole . Following  the  grand event  , the group adjourned to the nearby  exhibition  of   quilts mounted  by   Sue McLean and opened  by Stephanie   which  will be the   subject of  a special  follow up  article .  

Thursday, November 28, 2019


A  philatelic  reminder (above)  of  the  colonial history  of   East Timor  unearthed by  Little Darwin in a  North  Queensland garage sale. One of the places  named  in  the stamps appears to  be  Mount Salazar  , apparently   named after the Portuguese dictator  Antonio de Oliveira  Salazar  who ruled Portugal  for  36 years ; in  1974  the  military Carnation  Revolution  in Lisbon   resulted  in  the  Portuguese pulling out of  East Timor  , the Indonesian  invasion   and   the   long , bloody  struggle  for  freedom by  the Timorese  who discovered they  were  bugged  by  the  Australian  government .  


Flushed  with  pride

Even  though its  name was   odoriferously  changed   by   some  joker   ,  the Darwin cruising yacht Colie  left  many competitors  in   its  wake  at  the  recent   30th annual   Raja Muda  Selangor International Regatta , which attracted  116 entrants . A   graffiti artist  changed  the  image of  the   yacht  by  adding   the  letter E to  its  name,  making it  look  like E. coli  as  in  bacteria  found  in faecal contamination .

Nevertheless , a  good time was   had by  the  crew of the  Darwin  vessel   owned by  Doug  Sallis.  The yacht   came within  a whisker of taking out the class  two   section   of  the   Port  Klang   to  Langkawi  Race     held  over  nine days  .  At  one  stopover  ,   the  Puteri  Bayu  Beach  resort,  the management's  motto  , much appreciated by the  Darwin   squad , was : May the wind fill your sails  and the  beer  be  cold .

An exciting race  took  part in strong wind   at  night , dodging  squid  fishermen  with   lamps  in  small  boats . A  Darwin  sailor showed he  has a  bright future pulling  rickshaws  as a result of his performance  during   a   spirited   race  in Penang .  


Progenitor ,  journal of the Genealogical Society of the Northern Territory  (GSNT) , Darwin, has produced another interesting issue. 
GSNT Secretary and Public Officer ,  June  Tomlinson,   contributed   much of  the   content , including   the   great  detective  research  job  she carried out  on a wayward uncle  of  hers , Clarrie  Thomas , said to have been shot  dead  in a  Pitt Street , Sydney, gun battle . In  actual fact , he was shot    by  Richard Reilly, floor manager  at  the Ginger Jar Cabaret .   Reilly     claimed    Clarrie   , who    had   just bashed his  brother, went  for   a   gun  , so   he  drew his  own  gat  and   shot  him .  Reilly  was  found   not guilty of  murder.
Clarrie ,  of Irish descent  ,  born   October  8, 1901 ,  became a   wild boyo, involved in the  Sydney underworld  ;  June discovered an  article  which  said he  had been the youngest   person , 14 years  and seven months ,  to  join up  for  WWl . However, he was discharged    14 days later because he was  declared "unlikely to become  an efficient soldier . "
In May  1916 he   again    unsuccessfully   tried to enlist, claiming he was  l8 years and  two month old ; he   wrongly stated  his  mother and   father were dead. His  height was   5ft  4 inches , weighed   101 pounds and  had a chest measurement a little over  30 inches. Later in the year , occupation carter, he    did enlist by   putting up his age by ll months  since his last application . His " dead"   mother  was next of  kin   , father "dead ".

His  service record   revealed  he was in frequent trouble -in Egypt  it included   failing  to return to ship  and in  1919 stealing with violence from an inhabitant of that country . Court martialled , he was returned to Australia  and served 18 months  in  Long   Bay Prison , Sydney .
Clarrie's marks and special features included a large nose , a ship , heart and ribbon  with Mother  thereon  above Egypt  outside right upper arm , head of Indian girl outside right  forearm , scar inside   right forearm .

A  1937   newspaper   report discovered by  June Tomlinson carried the surprising information  he   had been allowed out of  Long Bay  to marry Gertrude Pearl Dawson  in the Parramatta  Methodist Church .  Following his release , he was   charged with  consorting with known criminals .
This is the heading on another article   by  June Tomlinson in the latest issue of Progenitor.It includes  invaluable information   from   conferences   she   attended  in  Ireland   and    research she carried out herself . In it  she refers to the  Evelyn Conlon novel  on the lives of  famine orphan girls, taken from  workhouses    and shipped   to Australia   from  Ireland  1848 to   l850. 
Sources of information  for researchers   include state   libraries , the  Dead  Persons Society of   Western Australia , the  Female Factory at Parramatta , a list of  helpful books .

 An article  by  family historian the late   Dr Leila Valerie Asche (AM) ,entitled  ONE HUNDRED  YEARS AGO,  commenced with the background  to   the   League of Nations in a bid to prevent wars , US President  Woodrow Wilson  in l917 putting forward  14 points   for a suggested  Global Parliament , eventually   leading to the United Nations .
 Dr. Asche  included   a  photo of a  Mizpah brooch (above ) her  kind aunt, Emma Wilson,had   given  her in  1947 . She explained  that in  Hebrew   mitzpah  had come to mean an emotional   bond  between  people  separated  either  physically or by death. She   (Asche) was  ill in Royal Melbourne   Hospital with  TB  when her aunt gave her the brooch."I still puzzle about the  mizpah   brooch  and think it might  have been a gift  to  me when I was so ill, rather  than  a  bond  between  her  and  a soldier as he went to WWl."
Uncle Everett , shot in the waist at Gallipoli , was eventually killed by "friendly fire " in  France .The  neglected   part   played by  nurses  in  WWl  is  mentioned . The thinking being that women should not  be near battle  zones , should not be married  and although given  officer status  were only paid  about half  the male equivalent . They were  not   recognised with honours - even trees  in avenues of  honour , pensions  and return service status , until l943, she wrote .  The  Darwin nurse ,Janie Mason , AM, had founded and supervised the Charles Darwin University Nursing Museum and  written a book about  the medical and  nursing support  for the  Gallipoli campaign .

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Low  flying  jet fighter zooming across Cleveland Bay  about to land  in  Townsville  while a  war bird of  another kind high up in the sky  looks down on the  target  .  Vallis  photographs taken from the conning tower of  Little  Darwin's  newly  arrived   French   built office  submarine  just  before  it  dived .

Monday, November 25, 2019


Curlews the morning after a  loud  disturbance  during  the  night-much screeching-   which resulted in the disappearance  of  their  tiny  days old  chick .  Cats  were  heard   fighting  on Magnetic Island  during the  night  and  the  above birds were seen running  along  the boundary fence today  as if  chasing a snake . A  remaining egg appears to be infertile and has been abandoned    

Saturday, November 23, 2019


The recent  blooming of  orchids on Magnetic Island,  said to presage  rain , proved correct after  a slight shower  on   the very dry   island  overnight. There was  another drop the following night.   Green ants, in large numbers ,  are swarming  about  any source of  water  in  yards , even said  to be eating bees .
Lizards  evident  in  numbers , a dead whip snake seen  on  the road  at  Horseshoe Bay.
Another blooming  strange  situation on the island  is why the  crashed  vehicle next to the road , not far from the Olympus Crescent  turnoff  , Arcadia  , is still   there  after  what  seems  like  three  months . 
Here is a tip for  the  mainland media : why has the   island's  Thai  restaurant   shut its door,  the  hard  working   proprietors  deciding  to  move  to Thailand ?   

Friday, November 22, 2019


 Kerry Byrnes , 73,   has   died   in  Darwin .

Kerry (right), flexing  fingers in martial arts  fashion , with  reporter  Peter   Simon ,  who wrote this  post , at a Friday Club  gathering   in  Darwin , regularly  attended by  journalists , academics  and  politicians . 

 Apart  from  starting Arnhem Nursery,  at Humpty Doo , with   his  wife  Sandra , Kerry delivered  a  weekly gardening   radio  talk for  Darwin ABC , his daughter Charlotte  filling in  for  him  recently. A small  printing  business  Kerry  and Sandra   were  involved  with   in  earlier   years  produced   gardening  magazines.

 Cyclone Tracy unexpectedly   furthered their  involvement  in  gardening .  While cleaning up  their damaged   house in the devastated   city  , Kerry and  Sandra  used a   solvent  to   remove  damaged  tiles  from  the  floor. A spark from a  washing  machine ignited  the  inflammable  fumes  and  caused  an  explosion ;  both  were  burned, Sandra  more extensively. 
Kerry grabbed  Sandra  , put  her  in  a  car ,  drove to hospital , his  feet sticking  to  the  pedals  along  the  way .
One of  those who came to   Darwin   from  Melbourne  after the   cyclone to  help  provide  information to the thousands of  people who had been evacuated  to  various  parts of Australia  was  journalist   Pete  Steedman , a  university  activist  and  editor  of  the  Victorian  Labor  newspaper, later a federal politician .
Calling at  the  printery   from  time to time  to have a newspaper published  , Steedman   noticed  that  there   were  many  journalists  on   the  premises .  These included the  former crusading editor of the NT News  Jim Bowditch and pulp fiction  author  and  journalist   Gene Janes, who  together brought out Northnews, a subscription  business  and  politics publication , printed on the premises .
 With  experience in web-offset  publishing in  Melbourne, Steedman   suggested the printery   should   produce  a  newspaper , give the Murdoch  owned   Northern  Territory  News   a   run   for  its money . 

  Thus the Darwin Star  was   born  , named after the  Hong Kong  Star , where  genial   journalist   Peter  Blake  , of  the   Blake   media dynasty ,   had  worked.

He had been involved  in   Sydney's   highly successful  Kings Cross  Whisper   which  blossomed into a  large money making  venture, diversifying into  production  of   gardening  and   fishing  publications , even  bawdy records
While  Peter Blake was not  the   founding  editor of the Darwin Star  , he was the behind the scenes  brains for  the daring  venture  and did eventually take over as editor . A  great all round newspaperman , with a capacity to write  brilliant headings  and  humorous   copy , he later    went  to America  where he worked on the New York Post , was there  the day of  the  terrorist attack on  the World Trade Centre .  

Sandra  Byrnes recalled   that  when Peter  Blake  left the paper to go to America he told her to hang onto the holiday pay he was   due  because it  might  come in handy  on a  later   rainy day .

However, no sooner had he  lobbed in  America , he , having been  a Darwin bookie , lost his shirt  at the racetrack  and   sent  an  SOS  for  his  pay.  

 The  Darwin Star included gardening in its  coverage . The   lively paper   did indeed challenge  the  NT News.  From its premises were also produced  two  satirical  publications , Troppo  and  the Fannie Bay Whisper , old photographs from the  Kings Cross Whisper  included , with zany captions

  Over the years ,  a  colourful  and talented crew  passed through The  Star . There  was  journalist , ex US Navy,   Toni  Kelly, daughter of  a US admiral , who had been  at Guantanamo  during the  Cuban crisis ; another American , journalist, author  and environmentalist ,Barbara James ;  journalist  Peter  Murphy, a  former Adelaide police roundsman ,  who  went  on  to  become press adviser to NT  Chief  Minister  Paul  Everingham , who once asked  Kerry  Byrnes   why the Star disliked  his  government ; hard working editor  John Loizou , highly respected in  South Vietnam , who  received  an unexpected  call from a high ranking  Darwin official  applauding the  paper  for  putting pressure on the Everingham  government ; Loizou started the  South East Asian Times , which after his death was  continued online by his partner, Cri , who ran a bespoke Darwin cafĂ© .    

The Star  was  so successful that South Australian trucking  magnate Allan Scott, with  newspaper and television  interests, bought the paper and  announced he intended to  turn it into a  daily  in direct opposition to  Murdoch . He  installed an expensive press   and   war  was  declared .

A  so called independent  free  newspaper  was  prepared on the  NT News premises ; businesses were offered  extremely low advertising  rates   if they signed up immediately. Scott was  run out  of  town in  double quick time , the  expensive press   at  The  Star   ending up  in  the  hands  of  Murdoch .  Scott became a major  shareholder in the Bank of Adelaide  and was reported as being  prepared to spend up to $20million buying Herald and Weekly Times' holdings in the  Adelaide Advertiser.  

Meanwhile, Kerry and Sandra  had  started  Arnhem Nursery , made contacts with  nurserymen  in  South East Asia , North Queensland and  elsewhere. 

Kerry was  involved  in oil search operations near Alice Springs in younger days  .   After  moving  to Darwin  ,  he  worked   as a  used car salesman for a short time   then got   a  job as  an oil  rigger   for  an  American company . He and  Sandra moved to  Singapore  .  It seems  the work  took Kerry  to  Indonesia .   The Americans  impressed  him  by the way they went about  drilling . They planned  everything  down to the finest detail , arranged   all  the  necessary equipment  and  then  got  cracking .
This attitude was  reflected in the way Kerry  carried out  projects   at  Arnhem Nursery . One of his prized tools was a bobcat which he handled with great dexterity . He  fancied  himself as  a  mechanic. However , I remember  an incident when he could not get  a  leaf blower  to work and some  tool pusher expressions  were  used . 
I took it to  the  dealers  and  the  guy there   took one look at  the machine and announced  it had a  wasp's nest up the  spout preventing it  from   firing into life . Kerry   was  somewhat  taken aback   when  I told him the  simple   answer to the problem .
Because of   Sandra's interest in pottery , the annual pottery fair has been held   for nearly 20 years  in Arnhem  Nursery  , where    a  tiny tree  grown by Peter  Blake , who had a green thumb  and loved growing things in  containers , especially bean sprouts, is now a large spreading tree  . The  pottery fair will be held  this weekend .
While Kerry  had many successes  in  life , he remembered with  fondness   and pride   the   time  of the  Darwin Star   before it was bought out . He admitted to be a jack of all  trades   at  the  paper  but failed at the  removal of  frogs under the seat in the ladies   toilet  , which  resulted  in  screaming  when one reached up  and  touched  a  sitter . 
He explained his failure in this  respect due to the fact that  he not only dashed about delivering   papers   but worked hard at   running about the  city collecting   money   from  advertisers  to  meet the substantial  weekly pay packets.
 His  skill as  a  Taekwondo exponent   was  no  good   dealing with  frogs, it being   difficult  and  dangerous  to  kick  the porcelain with  your boot .   In fact ,   The  Star's   frog    situation     got  a  run in a  satirical  publication .
Kerry became a friend of  the former  Darwin   Australian newspaper  correspondent   and  author  Nicolas Rothwell   and  greened his   apartment  with shrubbery . He was  also  involved  in  renovating the eco-tourist  resort at Seven Spirit  Bay,  the  upgrade  of  an old pub down the  track  and  extensive plantings  on  a  large  pastoral property .
Earlier this year , he told me of a  plan to  use   the  art  of   former  NT Aboriginal  politician  Alison Anderson , now living in North Queensland , on  large  planter   boxes  . And  just recently , limping, after an accident at the nursery , he called on  Darwin agronomist  Rob Wesley-Smith  to  collect  elephant  ear  seeds   for  a  project  he  had  in mind.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Sleep  was disturbed  during the night  by  strange  noises   which proved to be  hungry wallabies  bounding about  the  backyard , one caught in a spotlight apparently  munching  on  a  dried up  rain orchid  , which so far has not produced   any  precipitation .

Bug-eyed,  this scribbler stumbled  out of bed  early , surprised  not to find a  Curlew  at the backdoor  wanting to be  fed   while  its partner   remained  sitting  on  two  eggs .   Then  both birds were  seen   standing together  with  a tiny chick . 
On  slowly approaching them  with a camera  , they  all dropped to the ground  , becoming   camouflaged   Bush-stone  Curlews.  One parent  then resumed sitting on the remaining  egg, while the other took the new born chick into nearby shrubbery, its head visible from under a  wing.    

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


A welcome  pre- Christmas  hello from  Aussie  friends  residing in cold and  wet  Ireland   reveals   that  they have  become  very  theatrical.  Members of the  Enniscothy  Historical Re-enactment  Society , they have  recently been prancing about in costumes to  mark the  800th anniversary of  the Vikings sailing in and presumably rampaging about the neighbourhood  .  They also took part in  a  ceremony   in a   German   soldiers  cemetery  which was attended by the German ambassador .  All  this dressing up  has resulted in   a  large  wardrobe .

The couple , who  once  bought and  restored  a nunnery  building in Ireland  , went off  to  Portugal   for  a  while, then came back to the land of the  Leprechauns .  They are  off to  Penang in  the New Year   to  thaw out .

Family research   in Ireland   has  turned  up some orphans  in a workhouse who  were shipped out  to Melbourne  , where they  toiled  and  married .

Tuesday, November 19, 2019



In our experience , a  trip to Special Collections  at James Cook University, Townsville , always  results  in  a feast  of  interesting   items  coming  to attention .  One example- the above  record of  songs, some  in  English ,  recorded  in  the  l960s at  the Yarrabah aboriginal settlement  , near Cairns . Singers are named as  Hillary and W. Harris and  Dick Taylor.

The emblem on the  sleeve cover  is derived from a   boomerang totem on a softwood shield  collected in the early l930s by the late Mrs Ursula McConnel  at Yarrabah . Field collectors  for the songs were Alice M. Moyle and P. C. Griffin, master dubbing performed by Audio Visual Aids, Monash University, Melbourne .
Song titles included Spear Making, Cyclone, Alligator, Carpet Snake, Scrub Hen , Feathers , Bark Canoe, Octopus , Two Brothers,  Two Sisters. "Prowler from the North "  is another  , which raises the  possibility that  it  referred  to WWll .       


The shooting down  of Admiral Yamamoto

Topped by a sprig of wattle, this  gravestone  in   the  Alice Springs cemetery is the last resting place   of    Sam Kruger  who  in his  extraordinary life  is  said  to have played a  vital  part in  what became  Operation Vengeance-  the  shooting  down of  the  bomber in  which  Admiral Yamamoto ,who conceived the  surprise attack on Pearl Harbour,  was travelling in  l943.

It simply states : Samuel Kruger . Born 1.1.1912. Died 11.8.2000.  

The wattle was  placed  there  by  Darwin agronomist  Robert Wesley-Smith  who was  closely associated   with   Kruger  in  the  Northern Territory . Although  Wesley-Smith has gathered  much information about  Kruger, there is much  more  that  remains  a   mystery . Some of his research  and photographs  have  been  run  in  this  blog  in  the past .  
Briefly , the intriguing  Kruger saga  is  thus. Brought to Australia by his  Russian Jewish family, Sam became a   radio engineer ; with the outbreak of WWll , he offered  his services to  Australia , but was rejected because  he  wore  glasses . The  Americans  took  him on  and  he  went to Guadalcanal   where   he sensed   that an  intercepted  Japanese radio message  was  highly important . 
He told  Wesley-Smith   it related to the movement  of  Admiral Yamato and he had to take  strong  action  to  impress  higher  authorities  before  its importance was  realised and  Operation Vengeance launched. Kruger also told him he "ran "  a  CIA radio  base   in  American Samoa after the war  and was   involved in military action   with Israeli   leader  Moshe  Dayan .
In Darwin , Kruger , who wore thick lens  glasses  and carried a large briefcase,  was   employed in Water Resources . He  became involved with Wesley-Smith and Jose  Ramos Horta   in the  East Timor  struggle .
Horta, right,  is shown  shaking hands in Kruger's Darwin flat  in  1999 .There  is another photograph   inscribed by Horta  appointing  Kruger as  a major in the East Timor Liberation Army.   Soon after the above snap was taken , Kruger , in ill health, moved  to  Alice  Springs . Why Alice , of  all places , is not known .  He had  lived in Portuguese East Timor  before  the  Indonesian  invasion .
In Alice Springs ,  Kruger  associated with a  Darwin couple, Willie and  Pat Beattie ,  who had moved down there . In l986 , Wesley-Smith , attending the  Adelaide  performance before the   Queen and  the Duke of Edinburgh   of  the musical fantasy  Boojum! , inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carroll ,  composed by younger brother ,Martin  Wesley-Smith, was  surprised to  see  the Alice Springs couple sitting  behind  him  in  the  audience . 
Robert  Wesley-Smith , 77, foundation member of the Northern Territory Civil Liberties ,   flat out writing  his own  autobiography,  involved in   numerous  other  matters , about to have stitches  taken out of his foot  after a frozen duck attack ,   would  like to delve further into   Kruger's background, especially  his involvement with  the  Americans during the war  and  in Israel .  However,  he  would not mind  if  some  media organisation  followed  up  the amazing   Kruger  story. He is prepared , under certain circumstances, to  make his Kruger  file available .
In no way does he doubt any claims  made by Kruger, especially in connection with  Operation Vengeance . Conflicting  American accounts of the shooting down of  Admiral Yamamoto  , described as the most hated man in the USA,  do   not  mention   him .

Monday, November 18, 2019


Trim sailing craft named Cool Change  beached in Queensland  tropics.

Sunday, November 17, 2019


The   mounted     and   framed   early view  of   Townsville   with  Castle Hill towering above the colourful  North  Queensland   town  is  an  illustration  from the Picturesque Atlas of  Australasia , published in Sydney in the  l880s, with 800 engravings  by leading Australian  artists.     Not high enough to be  declared  a mount, Castle Hill  nevertheless  continues  to  attract  the attention  of  artists, climbers  and  photographers, providing panoramic  views of the city, Magnetic Island .

By  Art  Correspondent   Ponsonby  Willis
During WWll , artist Kenneth Jack, on his way home to Melbourne,  passed through Townsville near the  end of  l945 , returning  from  ground staff  duty in the RAAF  in  New Guinea , Morotai  and  Borneo .
During a short overnight stop  in Townsville, he later wrote in his  l994 book  QUEENSLAND  Paintings and  Drawing , he had walked the steep streets of  the older part of the  town, making small pencil drawings .The waterfront had been most interesting .
 Castle Hill impressed him immensely : " On seeing Castle Hill , around  which the town is built, I am sure  the great French  artist Paul Cezanne  if he had visited  Townsville  would  have  been reminded  of his favourite painting subject-the  larger  Mont St. Victoire."
Jack  went on to say  he made subsequent visits to Townsville over the years, and what he saw reinforced his  belief that it is a most  scenic city  and a very rewarding place for an artist. He lamented the fact that some of Townsville's  marvellous old buildings  had  disappeared  in  recent years , especially  along the waterfront .   The book, published by Boolarong Press, Brisbane ,  contains three views of  Townsville, Castle Hill featuring in one,  in  a  superb collection  capturing the  buildings, landscapes  and  development of  the state  


Locked away in the corner of  a hot, cluttered  toolshed , festooned  with  cobwebs , flanked by killer sprays,  is this  grumpy gnome , discovered by our  Shipping  Reporter who intends  to  donate him  to a  Catholic white  elephant stall to  raise funds  to guarantee  continuing supplies of mascara   to highlight the  benevolent  eyes of  Australia's first saint , the  new  Mother Mary  MacKillop  portrait  in  Townsville , which replaced the badly faded  original one , still  not  noticed  by  the  local  media .

Friday, November 15, 2019


Feral  cats ,  snakes , owls and motorists  are  currently  threatening  Magnetic Island's  diverse wildlife  without any indication  that  action is  being considered by   various   authorities  involved   to   formulate  a  much needed   proper   plan .
Four  cats are currently prowling  about   Nelly  Bay , popping up out of drains at night  to    fight , run  through  residences,  disturb  Curlews  , some of  which are  sitting on eggs , few  chicks  if  any  surviving after  hatching   . 
A large python with  an injured head  was recently seen near the former helipad . 
The island  used to have a  Townsville  City   Council  pound ,  but the keeper got the chop and  the  facility  closed.  Now there  is  an   odd  arrangement under   which  some   council   employee  pops over  on  the ferry , drives  around , goes  back  to  the  mainland .

Snakes  are being  seen in many places  and a    Death  Adder was  found under building material on  the  wine bar   site   under construction on  the island .Curlews have been seen  chasing snakes.

A large number of  Barking Owls ,  also known as Murder Birds,  who decimate young birds ,  were  heard  calling  a  night ago in  the Pope's Land.

There are now more hire cars on the island and  the proposed new car park and facilities at the popular  Forts Walk  is  expected to  result  in  much traffic , adding to the  dangers to wildlife , including Koalas.  

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Darwin residents  in  high rise buildings overlooking the harbour  did an early morning  double  take   recently when they were greeted with  the  above alarming  vision  of  what  looked like a ship split in two-actually a floating  drilling  platform towed  into  port   with  attendant  vessels on either side- giving the impression  of  a  maritime disaster .  The torrid   Mango Madness Season is underway in the Top End , there having been earlier  extensive fires, the springs which supplied the  waterfall at Berry  Springs recreation area  dried up and  across the harbour at Southport  the  borewater  supply  is  running  low .


With much of the nation  catastrophically dry  and  no official  forecasts of relieving   rain in  the foreseeable future ,  rain orchids  on Magnetic Island    are  in  bloom.   These  flowerings  are  regarded by some gardeners  as  an indication   of  rain   falling   in  a  short span  of time .  The warm weather  on the island  and  the mainland has resulted in  spectactular  frangipani-white, yellow, pink and blue and boungainvillea displays.Illawarra  Flame Trees  have  shed  leaves  and  burst  into  red  blooms, attracting birds  and  construction of  large green ant nests.
After this was posted , up about 3am , with a torch to investigate  odd sounds, the Moon  peeped  out  from  time to time  between scudding  dark cloud, but no rain fell .