Thursday, June 25, 2020


The sheer beauty of  the sky, sea  and  landscape at  present is breathtaking. But then , when you  wander about  this  stunning  tropical   paradise  in  a spirit of   dazed  exultation , you wonder if  you  are  starting  to  hallucinate. Why? Because looking at you  from the  verdant  hills  is  a  Laser Beak Man shape.

Gazing  up  to the heavens for reassurance that you are not losing  the plot , you reel  back,  doubting  your sanity ,   as   a   cloud  barks  at you   like a   Rottweiler!  
What   strange  apparition could  possibly  materialise next ? ... Holy moly !!!  Another beaut  variation of  Michael  Leunig's  Mr  Average , an unemployed actor  begging  for  a  buck  from   ScoMo .


Wednesday, June 24, 2020


The  18 metre (60ft) , ketch rigged vessel , operating from Magnetic Island , is  available for full day private charter for $1950 ; also for hire is Ragamuffin lll  which took  part in Sydney-Hobart races.Our Shipping Reporter says these vessels are part of a  huge  fleet on the island , in  Townsville  and Cairns which, like the many ships that pass through northern ports,  hardly ever get  a  mention  in  the  media  .  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Not  far  from  this  tropical  jungle  setting,near a now dry watercourse, the  following large snake skin displayed  stretched out  on a drop sheet , was  found  by  a surprised master  builder  going  through  a  midlife  crisis .

Another photo (below) of a large python found on the side of the road  out  west  in  Queensland came  our  way  from  a   travelling  tradesman  who has many encounters  with   wildlife, recently  a  friendly Dingo. 

Asian  holiday snake  experience.


The cover of  the   current  edition  of  the  above  magazine, always a  good read ,is a montage of  cemeteries   from within  the  country  and  overseas. .There  is a photo of the headstone for " Kiwi  Gallipolli Hero," Private Joseph King,buried in Australia , having twice enlisted there  for active service ,  blown up  at  Gallipoli, sent back to Australia,  reinlisted ,worked in the Small Arms Factory at  Lithgow , NSW,  died of epilepsy in 1917 , given a  funeral with full military honours by the RSL and buried in the  Catholic section of  the  Lithgow Cemetery .

The  iron coffin photo , in the top , right, features  in  an article  about the" Scottish way of death" ,which covers Friendly Societies  who  enabled poor parishioners to afford  funerals by paying into a fund  . There was even a  rent by the hour  coffin system ,whereby the coffin had a hinged bottom, through which the corpse was lowered into the grave in a shroud , the coffin reused. Also available to be rented  was  expensive  black satin cloth,"whipped off the coffin" as it was lowered into the grave.

The  most interesting article outlines steps taken to stop grave robbers -some graves  robbed  nearly every night . Devices  called" mortsafes " were rented  to prevent bodies from being snatched . These  were  heavy coffins with"a fiendish array" of locks , bolts and bars clamped to the grave until the bodies  had  decomposed.  Watchtowers were built in graveyards .

The  photograph at the  bottom right  corner of the cover appears to show a modern Sesame Street  toy on the grave of  four year old boy who died during "the flu  epidemic"  of  1918 in  New Zealand .

In Denmark is the carved outline of  New Zealand (bottom ,left )honouring Kiwis who fought to save the country from German occupation, losing their lives in the process . It details how a Lancaster bomber returning  from a  raid  was  attacked by night fighters and crashed  on a  Danish farm , killing  five of the occupants. The  Danes   helped  New Zealander survivors  to  escape.

An article   headed  Standing on the shoulders of giants, about the old section of the  Havelock Cemetery , Marlborough, South Island of NZ, contains much information of interest including the fact that three of  the  young brothers of Ernest Rutherford, splitter of the atom , are  buried there . One died from whooping cough in 1883,the two others , aged  10 and 12 , drowned in  Pelorus Sound , their bodies never found , in l886. There is  a photo of the Rutherford plot in the cemetery . 

Also buried there are three  young children of  the Havelock School headmaster , Jacob Reynolds, who inspired young  Ernest Rutherford. The  cemetery has a  link  with  the space age through the  Pickering  family plot -William Pickering, who headed California's Jet  Propulsion Laboratory for 22 years , attended  the same  Havelock  School  as   Rutherford .   

Monday, June 22, 2020


A strange event  involving  bats  and  a huge flock of birds has taken  place on Magnetic Island . The fruit  bats, also known as Flying Foxes, in large numbers,  moved  into trees in a leafy part  of  Picnic Bay , much to the annoyance  of  nearby residents. An eyewitness informed  Little Darwin of  the  recent subsequent  amazing  development  which saw the bats under attack ,  like  a  scene from the Alfred Hitchcock horror film, The Birds . A large flock of birds , easily numbering 100,  consisting of screeching Cockatoos, loud Kookaburras  and raucous Currawongs , began to assemble near the bat colony.They  flew  away, came back in force and  dive bombed the  flying floxes  like  terrifying  German Stukas , causing them to flee the area . Yippee !!! shouted  the  nearby residents.       


From the top: Peaceful Dove,Sulphur-crested  Cockatoo , Magpie Lark.  Vallis photographs.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


Rubbish recycling trucks coming  off  barge on Magnetic Island. 
Scrapmetal  departing  island.

Shipping  Reporter  pix.


Abra photograph.


Shipping Reporter Special 

During WWll, Australian soldiers (from Dubbo and Bathurst, New South Wales) intended to be reinforcements for the survivors of the fierce New Guinea battles  of the Kokoda Trail and  Gona were  moved   to  Townsville  by train and  went into camp . 

Soon after , they were loaded aboard the American Liberty Ship, SS Egbert Benson, named after one of the American Founding Fathers, built in 11 days as a freighter, not a  passenger vessel.

In the quaint Aussie way, the hundreds of  troops packed into the holds nicknamed the ship , Eggbound Bastard,and  sat there for a  week in Townsville. With poor ventilation, in hot weather, limited food supplies , the holds reeking of petrol and oil, men  became seasick and  chundered, adding to  the stench .

The only toilet  facilities consisted of an open trough on the afterdeck, where the soldiers  sat  packed together, in the open ,flushed by  the sea, no toilet paper available as the Navy thought Japanese submarines  might spot it and make some kind of military deduction.

A man who tried to organise  a mutiny against the appalling conditions was hastily put ashore , but all the others were allowed ashore for a few days before again being taken aboard for the trip to New Guinea.

Saturday, June 20, 2020


Apart from Australia being under cyber attack  in  Operation Dim Sim  , scammers galore are out  in  force , attacking  households , without the media and  politicians  picking up  an obvious red hot story . Bloody Nicole  , claiming  to be from NBN , warning that you are about to have your landline  vitals cut off  within 24 hours  unless  you  contact the technician can often  ring  multiple times daily.  An irate  person we  tried to contact in the Townsville area  did not respond to a message left on his answering machine . When  we  finally made  direct  contact he said so many  calls come from #!o.!* Nicole that he does not  look at the answering machine. 

A woman  said her elderly mother in Melbourne was stressed out by calls from Nicole . Calls to Telstra  did  not  solve the problem , Telstra seemed impotent . This blogger has received recent irksome calls from Nicole. There are reports of other scams in which computers suddenly go blank followed by a warning that unless you press a certain  number   you  are lost in cyberspace .Then you are warned by another scammer that your computer  has been hacked and could be used in cyberspace crime . 

A friend received a call  offering her a great investment opportunity in a new oil well being spudded in . On and on it goes . 

An  intriguing call was received on Magnetic Island  from a woman sounding suspiciously like Nicole who said that no doubt you would like to make a donation to the  plain clothes police angels who help women experiencing domestic violence.When this caller was questioned she hung up. A busy computer user in  North Queensland  said he is driven mad   with  hundreds of unwanted messages, unable to get satisfaction from Optus . Going to the ombudsman .  A weird call purporting to be from Amazon came though  this  morning.  

Here is a tip for the media . There are so many scammers  in action, start a SCAM REPORT -like the weather report -daily or weekly , and invite people to raise the alert  about the latest  batch in action,Bloody Nicole  sure to be one . Tip  for NBN : Explain why you have not been able to terminate  Nicole as  she uses your name to rip off  poor buggers ...have you tried to track her down,if not, why not,etc.,etc.  Tip for politicians : Try to stop these infuriating,  regular  home  invasions by  asking questions of NBN, Telstra , national security experts, your  local sleepy media outlets who are increasing losing contact and meaning  with  the real world, their readers, listeners. Where are the so called news editors ? 

Friday, June 19, 2020


Magnetic Island Gruen Report .


A torrent of patriotic songs, marches and even waltzes were composed during l914-1919 in Australia and New Zealand -dealing  with the call to arms , the ANZACS, Maori war songs , Sons of the Diggers ,and the grand feeling of being back at home after all the slaughter .One New Zealand collection of wartime sheet music, some of it Australian, runs to 75 items . Perfect Peace  was the name of a  waltz. 


After the recent rain ,Magnetic Island is about to experience  a wattle explosion . As our Shipping Reporter  drove  to Horseshoe Bay for another double icecream (macadamia nut ,  rum and raisin,dob of  mango on top  ) from  Adele's Cafe , he noticed  large parts of  ridges,see above,  were displaying  masses of   yellowing  , some roadside  trees in full  blossom . Butterflies were also out in numbers, people  swimming  within the net , yacht activity , business  improving.  


Shipping Reporter photograph.

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Shipping  Reporter Special 

Without  explanation  or  any announcement, numbers have suddenly appeared on several pylons underneath the picturesque Picnic Bay Jetty ,on Magnetic Island . In addition , new signs have gone up  warning of loose planks on the decking ,raising the possibiity  that major work  is likely ,or  the suspicion that it may be  knocked down . For many years, the jetty was the main entry point for  passenger ferries . When the  current   safe harbour  ferry terminal  was  constructed a move to demolish the jetty  because of the  upkeep was  strongly resisted . 
Nowadays the  jetty is  much used by locals and  tourists . Just this week I met a  couple fishing from the  jetty  who are from inland Mount Isa, rejoicing  at the mighty sea ,the scenery . Somebody loved  the jetty so much they stripped off their socks,danced along the  loose,uneven  decking,  and   left the  foot coverings behind for some lucky  backpacker  to find . 


There is growing   concern about  the  operation of Magnetic Island's Latitude  19 private  medical centre after   all  appointments  for  a   fortnight  have  been cancelled, said to   be due to the busy doctor taking two weeks' emergency leave .Furthermore, there is speculation that the practice may not resume after   the break.  Then school  holidays  will be in play and  there are indications that there have been many bookings of  island accommodation,so there will be large numbers of people on the island ,some maybe  requiring  medical  attention. Apart  from that , many residents use  Latitude  19 .  This  blog pointed out  some time ago that the medico position was under  threat and the situation was not properly followed up by the mainland media. 


Found in a  Darwin op shop ,now on Magnetic Island , this is the cover of Vera Lynn's songs from the London Blitz of  WWll.Like Gracie Fields,she entertained troops all over the world in concert parties . 



Bev's  Coucal ready to pounce on Curlew tucker.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Vallis photographs.



Low cloud at the weekend  brought good rain to Magnetic Island ,up to 90mm reported in parts,causing another torrent of  pumice  down Alma Creek onto the beach recently named  number two in the top 10 beaches in Queensland . It may have disrupted burn off  plans .  Townsville Bulletin  failed to notice the rain and  pumice ,didn't even find a P3 weather girl/girls on The Strand .





 This week Azaria Chamberlain would have turned 40-years-old. It also marks almost four decades since the infant was taken from an Uluru campsite by a dingo.

The ensuing saga of searches, court cases and accusations against the Chamberlain family divided Australia, as recounted in John Bryson’s celebrated account, Evil Angels: The Case of Lindy Chamberlain, which was subsequently made into a movie of the same name.

To mark the tragic anniversary, Bryson explains how things could have turned out very differently.

In mid-1980, Lindy Chamberlain was in Mt Isa and preparing to give birth to her third child.  She was born on June 11, 1980, a girl her parents called Azaria, ‘helper of God’.

The family were Seventh-day Adventists. The father, Michael, was a pastor. They liked camping and decided to visit Uluru, then known as Ayers Rock, in the Central Desert when the babe was a few weeks old and could travel in a bassinet.

At around this time, the rangers in charge of the park and the camp at the Rock were alarmed by dingo packs which they described as forming a ‘Bohemian class’ of opportunists, now unafraid of humankind, troublesome and dangerous.  The chief ranger, Derek Roff, wrote to his superiors warning that “small children and infants must be considered possible prey” and advising that the worst offenders should be culled.

He received no acknowledgement. Indeed, all copies of Roff’s letter were later removed from the departmental file, in effect a cover up to foil any efforts to make it public.

If, as the rangers expected, their department had acted on the warning and brought the packs under control, the many families visiting the Rock during the rest of the year could have enjoyed their visits without fear, able to recount memories of the Rock’s brilliance at dawn and dusk, of campfire cooking, new friendships and the galaxies of stars above the nighttime desert’s impenetrable darkness.

And a swaddled baby girl may have grown into adulthood, married at an age approved by her church, brought up her children, and most of us would never have heard of her.

From a Darwin correspondent involved in the case .