Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Vallis photograph.

Sunday, May 24, 2020


While the hills may not be alive with music ,they, the beaches , tracks , roads(sadly) are  filled  with  butterflies . After  the   cold, wet weather , there were  butterflies  galore on Magnetic Island  when  the sun came out  on a  day  in which  the sky  was  azure blue , the  air crisp .
Several yachts were seen  heading out  from Townsville  providing  colourful sights  as  they  made their way , taking advantage of  the  breeze .
 The Shipping Reporter  said one yacht in particular would have inspired a maritime  artist  as  it  presented  a  patchwork  of  colour   in  Cleveland  Bay when viewed  through  a  telescopic lens .

Saturday, May 23, 2020


Keen  to get out from  behind the bars  and  do some rock and rolling , this  rock wallaby  joey  is  being  kept  indoors  by  its  mother.

 The   wise mum   bases  this  firm stand on  the fact that  the nearby  mermaid on the  rocks  is  shivering all over and  may catch pneumonia .  Another  photograph of  the unfortunate  mermaid  follows  to prove that the  previous post  about  her in this blog  was not faux news, well not all of it , as  filed by the Shipping Reporter . 

The Queen of the Jungle scoffed at that mermaid story and  implied she had been   photoshopped .  Well, Your Majesty , run your paste diamond studded  lorgnette over  today's snap of  the  poor mermaid, exposed to overnight rain ,  at the entrance to  the Magnetic Island  harbour . Meanwhile, the  hyperactive Shipping Reporter  is eagerly  doing a follow up on the mermaid  and  has  five other  great  yarns  almost  ready  to  rock and  roll .  


It was so cold  and wet  in sunny Queensland  , the  frigid human  occupants  of  a house, wrapped in assorted  thick garments , later pulling out hotwater bottles,    defrosted some pea  and ham  soup  and  slurped  into it .  Outside, the  cold and  miserable Bush Stone-Curlews , sheltering under a  verandah  table  , watching   rainwater  off  the roof   splash  into   full  containers , could  smell   the   soup , became  peckish .  
On the basis of what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander and Curlew , the fluffed  up  pair  marched  to the kitchen door , below, and knocked, indicating they would  like to be fed , despite the fact that it was not the usual  mealtime .
The kitchen door was  opened  and  the severe looking  one below  placed  an order for some fast food, kept  in  three  containers  in  the  frig .
 In a flash , a container and spoon were  grabbed  and  the cut up food fed to them under the  shelter  of  the roof, rather than  on the grass out in the  rain . Upon  eating the  tucker, they wagged  their  tail feathers , indicating they were pleased-then walked  out  into  the cold , cruel, wet  world . 

Friday, May 22, 2020


In  dangerous waters , looking    like   the  adventurous explorer  Vasco Pyjama  and  his direction finding duck - created by  masterful  Australian cartoonist, Michael Leunig , of  Melbourne - this  vignette    was discovered  on  a caravan  by our ice cream licking Shipping Reporter  in  a parking  bay on Magnetic Island , near the Marlin Bar , closed   because  of    virus restrictions .
Our waterfront  roundsman  was strolling about Horseshoe Bay with a double scoop  (coconut and macadamia nut ), when  he  spotted the intriguing  drawing  on  the  eye catching    caravan  which  highlights  the Torres Strait pearling lugger HB 1939 and carries messages  to save the Great Barrier Reef  and  birdlife .

It turns out the Shipping Reporter , the only one north of McMurdo Sound, where Vasco da Gama never ventured , has been  a  longtime     Leunig  fan , so much so that he has several of  his  books . Also in his possession is  a  rare   bound in copy of the entire   l969 weekly Melbourne  publication  , Broadside,  edited by Pete Steedman , in which  there are  many  fabulous  Leunig  drawings , some  across  two  pages ,  strongly  anti-war .

 Furthermore , Leunig   often  drew a  man   with  a  bulbous  nose,  experiencing  the  vicissitudes  of  life,   a  teapot on his head . It just  so happens that  the Shipping Reporter recently  helped a lady place part of  her teapot collection  and  other  oddities  on   high  in  her  new  kitchen .
He also watched  with  great  interest  the  recent  ABC  documentary on  Leunig. The waterfront scribe liked the political cartoon, below, Leunig produced about the episode  in which  budgie smuggler  Tony Abbott  threatened  to shirtfront muscle flexing  Russian strongman Vladimir Putin  at  the  G20 conflab in Brisbane .

Thursday, May 21, 2020


 Another  Shipping  Reporter Scoop
The icy  conditions  gripping  parts of Australia forced this freezing  and  exhausted  mermaid to emerge from the  sea   to  sun herself  on rocks  at  Magnetic Island , resulting in  an  alert  to mariners.

Our  rugged  up Shipping Reporter , the only one north of  Bondi ,  spoke to  the shivering mermaid , who  said  she  had   come all  the  way  from  Tasmania  hoping to  find  warmer conditions  in the tropics . Alas, it was not much warmer in  North Queensland . She denied that  she was covered in  goosebumps  as she  is  a  mermaid , not a goose . A  gallon of  Thin Lizzy  applied with a paint roller would  hide  the  chillblains , she added. 
 The  mermaid said she  had deliberately not  gone ashore in Townsville   at  The Strand because she  did not want to end up  as a  P3 weather  girl  in  the Townsville  Bulletin .  
The Little Darwin P3  weather report  for Townsville  includes   the  above photo of snow on the ranges  and  low cloud  that will linger  over  the coming two  days . In addition , a viewer  sent in  the following  photograph of  what  is claimed to be   ice floating on the surface of  the Magnetic Island  safe  harbour . Coast Watch has warned the cruise ship Titanic to beware of icebergs in the Coral Sea .
A certain photographer who is obsessed  with  seagulls sent  the  following shot saying it was a  smart   gull  sheltering from the wet, cold  weather in the Magnetic Island ferry terminal , the clouds in the background looking like snow .What he  did not   pick up  was  the mermaid  on  the   rocks,  seen with the aid  of  a  magnifying  glass .


Everywhere you go in North Queensland  birds  seem to be   feeling the cold   and wet weather.  These  Pelicans , photographed by Abra  on the mudflats in Cairns , were  so cold they  had stuck their long beaks under  their wings to prevent icing up . On Magnetic Island , off Townsville , Vallis ventured out in the cold to photograph  a   flock  of fluffed  up  birds, believed to be   Caspian  Terns , below,  which  had  banded  together  for  warmth .

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Photos by Vallis, a notorious  stalker  of  seagulls . 


 Shipping Reporter Special
Inspired by  the arrival in Auckland , New Zealand ,  of  the  huge  American naval fleet which cruised  the  world  from December 16 , l907  to  February 1909  at  the order  of  US President , Theodore "Teddy " Roosevelt, this  postcard is  the work of  brilliant  illustrator, cartoonist   and  etcher , Trevor Lloyd .

 It shows the   birds representing the two nations  pressing  noses  in the Maori   custom . The   Kiwi  is shaking hands with and extending a  warm welcome  to the  American Eagle , flags are  flying , gramophones playing Rule Britannia (for NZ) and Yankee Doodle . It includes a  Maori verbal welcome as well -Heremai!The backdrop includes some of the fleet and  Rangitoto  island in Auckland Harbour.
The  postcard, in the collection of a Queensland   researcher,  was hand coloured  and photographically copied .  It was reproduced   many times ,  in different  versions , says the  highly knowledgeable   researcher . In one,  the gramophone was playing  Hail Columbia , not Yankee Doodle . Lloyd's name did not appear  in  some, suggesting   they  may have been  pirated . His  name  is  included  in  the  above  postcard .   
Trevor Lloyd (  1863-1937) was born at Silverdale , in the North Island , the son of a  farmer, Henry  Lloyd ,  his mother nee Hannah Miles.  He worked on the  farm and was inspired by  his father , an amateur  artist,  filling sketchbooks  with   drawings  and   caricatures  of  family and  friends .  
By 1883 he was exhibiting with the  Auckland Society of Arts . It is interesting to note that for most of his career  as  a successful  and popular  artist he had a thumb missing on his writing hand and  was  blind in  one eye .  
On moving to Auckland he began to make a living as an artist and became  one of the  nation's leading political cartoonists.
 After departing Auckland, the  Great White Fleet, so named as  hulls were  painted  that colour , which  included  16 battleships and  a large number of escort  vessels , sailed  to  a  spectacular   welcome  in Sydney  Harbour , then onto Melbourne and  Albany, Western Australia .

A souvenir postcard  commemorating   the visit to Australia , below, was issued . It bore the title : Australia extends the glad  hand of Welcome to Sousa and his band . This was a reference to the famous American  composer and  band leader , John Philip Sousa, dubbed The March King, whose well known marches included The Stars and Stripes Forever, the  national march of the USA,   and  Hail to the Chief  , closely associated  with  US presidents.
 Our Shipping Reporter found the  following  soiled and well worn    copy of  Sousa  marches,including  Hands  Across The Sea in  a Townsville, Queensland , op shop . Furthermore , he points  out that  while it has  just  been announced that  US Marines will not be visiting Townsville  because of  the  coronavirus  threat , Sousa  was  the leader of the   Marine Corps Band  and in 1888 wrote its official march , Semper  Fidelis , latin for Always  Faithful .   
While on its  world wide   tour, the Great White Fleet  became involved in recovery operations in the massive Italian  earthquake,which flattened  Messina and claimed the lives of about 80,000, of  which this blog has a large collection of postcards , some  may be run later . A detachment of sailors from the  battleship Illinois   recovered   the body of the American Consul , Arthur S. Cheney , and his  wife, Laura,  entombed   for 19 days . Also  killed  in the quake were the French  Consul and  his  children .
UPCOMING : More  superb  Trevor Lloyd postcards , his  interest in Maoris, politics ,  sport  and  Pommies who  made  fools of  themselves  in New Zealand.

Monday, May 18, 2020


Top  Secret  Cosmic  Scoop

WASHINGTON : In a brilliant move, President Donald Trump plans to annexe  North Queensland  from   just  south  of  the Queen City of the North ,Townsville . In an exclusive interview with  Little Darwin's New York based  sober  political reporter, Jim Bean lll , the president  revealed  that  this part  of  the  Sunshine State has long interested him .

He would have annexed the Top End of the Northern Territory, but its  port  had already  been  sold  to the  Chinese , a  bizarre deal which he was  happy to say  had   upset  President  Obama . 

 Many  of  the revolting   residents  in North Queensland , he said , sounded  like  true  blue American  Republicans in the  Deep South .   He  was delighted to read  in  the Townsville Magpie  that  there  are   banjo-playing , bib'n'brace wearing   white yokels in the north who read wonderful Murdoch regional papers,  want to  form  a new state , shoot  all alligators , napalm  bats , build a wall  across the state  to  keep  out  diseased  Mexicans  from  New South Wales and  Victoria . 

"They  sound  like   salt of  the earth  people , simple folk ,  with reasonable requests , "  the president continued . He paused  to take a swig from a large, evil smelling concoction which he said was guaranteed to  make you  a new man .The  label on the bottle revealed  it was made in China  from  monkey glands ,  tiger penises and the pulsating brains of  live  bears . 
Clearing  his throat, with a  roar like a  pussycat , he continued by saying  his  wonderful scheme would  supercharge   the  Townsville and surrounding economy all the way up to the tip of  Cape York .  Thursday Island would not miss out on the bonanza  as he had  ordered   the US 7th Fleet to be based there in the near  future , much to the delight of the sailors.  

 He has already   issued instructions on twitter  to move  the White House, lock, stock  and  barrels of strawberry  flavoured   malaria  medicine  to  the top of Castle Hill , overlooking Townsville .  Other  fabulous   ideas  for  the  annexation  include : 

Establishment of a new export abattoir at Charters Towers  to specialise  in  the  Trump Rump , recently given the rhubarb treatment by vegans . It  is a well  known fact  that Donald has  been  masticating and beating  his  meat for  years .


  • A regular Miss South Pacific  Beauty Contest  in the  new Townsville stadium with very  little  social  distancing . 
  • Erection of   a  giant, illuminated  statue  in memory of   Sandshoe Annie   and  a  retirement  home for  Pelicans in Cairns . 

  • As usual , the president said he had sought guidance from  Fox News to flesh out and  guide his wonderful  plans for  Queensland .

    NEXT: Other Trump sensational plans for  North Queensland from our exclusive interview , including one which  will make Townsville  bigger than  Hollywood  and  Bollywood.


    Part of a sign on a Magnetic Island public notice board , with  telephone number and address   included .  The  sign  has since been removed . It is hoped  the  chicken did not end up  in  hotwater  with  added noodles for  wandering  away .


    Wary Sulphur Crested Cockatoos captured feeding on the wilted blooms  of a  Traveller's Palm. They, in turn,  were keeping  a close watch  on  our  uncaged  grey-topped     photographer who repeatedly, loudly  squawked , " Hello, Cocky!"  in  a  strange  voice , which sounded as  if  he  badly needed his  adenoids  and tonsils removed , so , not wanting to catch an  infection  from   him , they  flew  away .
    Photos by Vallis .


    Specimen above  contains Fool's Gold .
    From a collection built up  by a woman over the years whose outback  travels included  a  trip  to  a far north Queensland  riverbed  filled  with  fossils, some of  which  resembled  Aboriginal  cave and rock  art .

    Sunday, May 17, 2020


    Though not presenting a fine feathered fellow, the subject of this series  is believed  to be a Pheasant Coucal, nursed back  to  health  by  one  of the admirable Magnetic Island  female  wildlife carers,  and  released  to  flutter about . Relentless bird chaser  Vallis  stumbled after the elusive Coucal  with  his camera   until  it scampered  away  and  hid  in  a  tree ,  peering  down  at  him. It subsequently made a fleeting  appearance  at  the  Queen  of  the  Jungle's plantation  and  snake   holiday camp . 


    Comely  Blowfly  on The  Strand ,Townsville
    Available for  Bulletin  camera shoots on toadstool. Photo by our Shipping Reporter  who prefers mushrooms  on  toast served  by  blondes .