Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Monday, August 30, 2021


PM  shouting  at  the  nation ,   informing   lobbyists  that  one  sling  and  a bucket  of  coal   will   buy   the   crumbling , incompetent   Coalition .


 A bookmark  found  by our  drifting  Shipping  Reporter  in  North  Queensland    was  a  sad  reminder of  an  accident nearly 70 years ago  in  which   the  father  of   a  schoolmate   drowned   when  a   boat  overturned  on  a   holiday  at  Forster, New South Wales. 

A  friendly  dolphin  at  Forster  was  the  centre  of  the  first  graphic in  the  unused  bookmark. 

The  father , a  mechanic ,  with one eye ,  a  waterskier, drove  a  speedboat,  active  on  Sydney's Hawkesbury River  at Windsor and Sackville . 

In  his  relentless search for nautical books, memorabilia and  junk  , the Shipping Reporter  bought  the above carved wooden souvenir Fiji  canoe  at  a Magnetic Island  garage sale . 

Not far from the  garage sale , our sharp-eyed  waterfront  roundsman  spied  a yacht ,  ordered  the Uber driver to stop , but it  was  not  for  sale ,so he took a photograph . 


On the hop at the Mamma Roma Restaurant ,Magnetic Island .Snap taken by our Shipping Reporter over a plate of ravioli.

Sunday, August 29, 2021


An  offering in  time for Father's Day  in the  Douglas Stewart Fine Books, Melbourne ,  annual  sale , at $75,  is the above  1905  sheet music  for the  sensational phonograph  hit  about  a  father who  lounged about all  day . It was  the  work of American  Jean  Constant  Havez (1872-1925), composer of  novelty  songs,   skit  writer and   silent  film screenwriter .

There  was a  popular sequel  to the song -Uncle Quit Work Too-  and then came  Father  Got  A  Job .

Douglas Stewart   also  has  the  ideal gift for a  lazy  father  who  does not  like turning  pages by hand ...  a  wooden 1893 Brazilian Submarine Telegraph  Company Limited   map   page  turner  with  the  year's calendar on  the  handle ,$250.   


 Shipping   Reporter  visits  Townsville's Jewel  in  the  Crown and  fills  kitbag  with   his  finds . 

Our  waterfront  roundsman  sniffed  stories  galore  when  he  first  stepped ashore  on  Magnetic island . 

That  was  mainly   due  to  the  pungent  smell  from algal  bloom which had  closed popular   Alma  Bay  beach , rated one  of  Queensland's best , the closure  not  picked  up by  the  bloomin'   mainland  media  

Nevertheless , a    group  of   divers  turned  up , walked down to the  beach,  bravely  plunged    into  the   smelly  sea. 

Needing to recover from the unpleasant aroma of Alma  ,  the  Shipping Reporter, the only one north of  Bass Strait , went to  a French eatery   for a non-alcoholic snifter . Then he  sailed  into the nearby  Vinnie's op shop  and  fluked   a   beaut  1979   nautical book, The Watermen (of Chesapeake Bay ) , by  James A. Michener , drawings  by  John  Moll ,plus two other books, one on Australian  politics, the other , Neap Tide , a seemingly  white pointer  munched  copy  of  a  romance from the dangerous edges of  the land  and  sea by West Australian poet and dramatist Dorothy Hewett.

A bit peckish, the Shipping  Reporter tacked into the Magnetic Island  Primary School  fete  and  discovered   an   island    Ceylon Curry , Sri Lankan ,   pop- up   vendor  with  a  great  menu . No book  or  white elephant  stalls, unfortunately . 


Exclusive photographs  taken by our intrepid Shipping Reporter  on his   recent   Magnetic  Island   safari .

Saturday, August 28, 2021


 An illustration from  the  1923 Australasian Advertisers'  Manual and Newspaper  Directory,

Friday, August 27, 2021


 Another indication  of  the growing interest  in  art  on  Magnetic Island is  the  public notice advertising Life Drawing on Maggie at the Jungle Club ,followed  by  a  recent  street  scene  at   the  club, Nelly  Bay . 


Do  spiders  help  their  young  ones  weave  their  way up  the difficult  , expensive   real  estate ladder ?  This important  question  has to be asked after  observing  a  pet spider  who  has appeared  in  this weird blog in  the past in  a  post about  a  Little  House  of  Horrors .

 That's  him / her, above , in a choice location in  louvres  through which kamikaze  tasty  flies  venture

 Watching a spider in its web  is  soothing  in  these  mad, pandemic days .  It eases one's nerves , makes  you  relax , ponder  the  meaning of hanging   about . You  are  slightly  less  likely   to swear at the PM  when he appears  on Sky. 

However , our  spider  has  become the  centre of a  puzzling  mystery .  It vacated the  centre of the web, and  a much smaller, darker  spider ,below,  took  over centre  stage . 

Could it  be   an Airbnb   web  ?  Or  could it  be a case  of a  parent stepping aside  to  let  a  young , impecunious  offspring, into smashed  avocado ,get the  feeling  of  owning  your own  , expensive  web ?

Most puzzling.  Then the small one   disappeared , the web was vacant for a few days  - and a  larger  spider , with a  plump body,   moved  in ,  not  the  original  occupant .   

Thursday, August 26, 2021


 Magnetic  Island , with  a  new gallery and  a   host  of  talented  artists ,  is  a  lively  art  centre  

A  recent  exhibition - A Sense of  Place  - by island resident  Jan Malkin , an artistic journey from the north of England to Magnetic Island,  was  staged   in  the old  school house  at  Horseshoe  Bay.

It included an early self  portrait in England and  dazzling  paintings from various parts of  Australia , the Sunshine Coast featuring  in part of the following frame .

Next to a  special  Anzac Day event  entry , below, is  an intricate sculpture made  out  of  seashells .

The vibrant colours and shapes of  Magnetic Island  and the  reef , below,   on display  at   the exhibition  

Seashells and driftwood   used  to  create the  following   floral  object  . 

The  Atherton Tablelands   captured  in  the   section below.


 Public  notice  for Picnic Bay School  Magnetic  Island ,   centenary  celebration  on September  11 .



 While the dramatic uplift  was   taking  place at  Kabul Airport, the last family of  refugees in the Darwin Airport  compound was released from detention last  Sunday . The  above organisation issued the  following statement: 

On Saturday we had our last day at the fence (of the Mercure compound ) . On Sunday morning, after 203 days of standing vigil, we celebrated the release of the last family from detention in Darwin. And today we had the welcome news that our friends Afsaneh, Mojtaba and Benham, who were transferred to MITA, a detention centre in Melbourne, two weeks ago, will also be released to community detention while they wait for their visas to the USA. 

But our fight for justice is not over.

Because although both these families were released from locked detention, they remain in community detention where their freedom is still limited by the government unnecessarily and have received no news of permanent resettlement. And Afsaneh’s brother, Hamed, who has been detained at MITA since 27 November 2018, has NOT been released into community detention in Brisbane with the rest of his family. This family is once again being ripped apart. 

We will continue to fight for the Seraj/Khademi family to be reunited within the community, and for permanent protection for this family, for the Maghames family, and for ALL refugees. We will continue to fight for them to be free and have certainty over their future.

We are also fighting for the more than 100 refugees still in Nauru. Including Parmika and Kiru, who returned to Nauru in March because the the conditions of detention in Darwin were unbearable.

We are fighting for the more than 100 medevac refugees who remain in detention facilities around Australia. And we are fighting to end the Australian government’s cruel policy of indefinite detention. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


A stone labyrinth for Afghanistan and her people has been set up by Afghan  members of the local community in the  garden of the Uniting Church,  Nightcliff, Darwin  The labyrinth is an ancient prayerful  walking  meditation adopted  by  different cultures and religions to make an  inner spiritual journey.


 An in memoriam for The Life and Times of Clarice Brown  (1922-2012} ,written by her  son , Kevin, for The Queensland Journal of Labour History ,  contained  fascinating   details   about  this  talented, deeply  involved  activist ,shown here, aged 24,  at  the  1946  Brisbane May Day March , campaigning   for  full  pay   at  the  age  of  19. 

She was  the   daughter of   miner and  shearer   , Marcus "Curley" Tonkin, involved in some of the biggest industrial strikes of the l920s and 1930s. He spent six  weeks  in  Ballarat Gaol for  leading a shearers' strike .

The article  said her  father , a Socialist, who joined the Communist Party , took Clarice, aged  10, with  him to   party  meetings  in a  private  residence, known locally as the Moscow  House,  in   Longreach,  Queensland .

Not surprising to read she became deeply  involved  in many struggles . At the age of  15, with bookkeeping and shorthand skills, she was employed as a bookkeeper and  proofreader at  the Queensland newspaper , Longreach Leader, highly regarded by the management who did not want her to   leave and go to  Brisbane with her  parents. 

From 1939 to 43, she held down secretarial and stenographic positions for solicitors, hotel brokers and the Independent Member for Gregory, Dr C.V. Watson-Brown. All of  her  employers gave her  glowing references.

  Because of her prominent  father, she was was often asked  when she would join the  Communist Party .  She joined the  Eureka  Youth League  ,linked with the CPA, during  the  war years to  help defeat the Fascists.

She  also wanted to protect the rights and conditions of women  and young people  in industry.

One of the founding members  of   the  Eureka Youth League  and its eventual  national president , was Ron H. Brown , in the Clerks' Union , who became  her   husband  in September  1945.

Clarice had been contemplating marrying an American Army captain  before  Ron came on the scene ,  and it  was" a case of love at  first sight ".

"Red  Fred" Paterson, the  People's  Champion .

 Ron became the parliamentary secretary  to   lawyer  Fred Paterson, the first Australian  Communist  elected  to a  parliament, for the seat of Bowen in Queensland. 

The son of a Gladstone pig farmer, Paterson served  in  France during WW1 ,was a theology student  ,  Rhodes Scholar , went to Oxford , involved in local  government in Townsville . In  Townsville he defended Italian workers charged with assaulting  the  Italian Consul  , involved with the Workers Education  Association, he also started a publication called The Guardian . 

Wikipedia states that during  his time in parliament, Paterson advocated for a "socialist post-war reconstruction" aimed at  achieving full employment.

These policies included increasing nurse salaries, the  implementation of the 40 hour week into law ,equal pay for women, capping rents in relation to the average income , and  abolishing  child  labour  on farms 

He also advocated for  free publicly owned and managed housing, child care, nurseries, playgrounds , pharmaceuticals, and  hospitals, the introduction of free education from kindergarten to "the highest level at university". These public institutions would have been established through wide-spread nationalisation. He also advocated the nationalisation of  most  key  industries  in  Australia.

The journal covers the 13-week Queensland Rail Strike in 1948 during which Paterson was bashed  unconscious  by a police officer near the  Trades Hall , in which Clarice , her  father and  Ron worked, nicknamed The Three Musketeers..

In his autobiography,  Bill Hayden , former Leader of  the  ALP Opposition , a member of  the Queensland  Police Force in the l950s   , said he had  heard  Senior Sergeant Jack Mahony explaining to detectives ,with evident gusto, how he  had  hit  that "Commie bastard  Fred  Patterson (sic )" with  a  pick handle .   

Clarice said that between 1946-1948 it sometimes seemed Trades Hall was permanently surrounded by  police. She was involved in campaigns which won improved  conditions  and wages, for apprentices ,including the  adult wage  at  19 in some industries .

NEXT : Clarice  and  Ron  move  to  Darwin in 1949  when  he is appointed  editor  of  the fiery  Northern Standard , run by the North Australian Workers Union and  they   become involved  in  many causes, mixing  with Top End  activists . 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


 Looking increasingly  as  if  he  needs  to go into  dry dock   for a  scrape   and a  coating  of  anti-foul instead of  prowling  about   the  waterfront  frightening  power-walkers, our scruffy  Shipping Reporter  has been  haunting  op shops and other  joints  in search of   nautical  flotsam and  jetsam.

In a  dump  shop near the endangered  Great Barrier Reef  he  let out a  scream  of delight  and  a salty oath  when he  came to grips with  the  Kraken from  Shaun  Micallef's  Mad  As  Hell   ABC satirical   show, the monster shown below plotting with the  Australian Navy  to  attack  Chinese spy ships.

Actually,  it  was a  battered and tattered  1964  reprint   of  John Wyndham's science fiction novel, The Kraken Wakes , from the  Castlemaine   High   School Library .

From the same  dump shop , he found   the  scuffed following  Australian   volume  with tips  about  bumming your way el cheapo    aboard   container ships - not  those  huge luxury  cruise liners, like the Ruby Princess , many  of  which  are   being  scrapped due  to  the  pandemic .    

Monday, August 23, 2021


Leafing  through a  secondhand  Australian Heritage  cookery  book ,  the  above  almost complete  butterfly  was  found ,   apparently  pressed  within  its  pages  , possibly  used   as  a   bookmark . Vallis   photograph .


Looking towards  Townsville  from  Picnic  Bay , Magnetic Island , the  island's  Aboriginal name , Yunbenum. Captain Cook sailed  these  dangerous  waters  in   1770.



Sunday, August 22, 2021


 A  wealth of   great  political   information , colourful anecdotes ,  old  photographs , cartoons , and  superb ,wide ranging   articles   are   included  in  a  broken  run , part  above , of  The  Queensland  Journal  of  Labour History , which   surfaced  on  Magnetic Island .

 The first article in the  first  issue ,September  2005, was an obituary by  Greg Mallory  for waterside worker Phil O'Brien (1920-2004) , active in the Waterfront Peace Committee , whose  autobiography  was entitled , Towards Peace : A  Worker's Journey.

The preface to  the  book  stated  his life had consisted of  three "wents": I went to school, I went to the war and I went into the Waterside Workers' Federation .

In 1962 he had been  a member of  an  Australian  and  New  Zealand  delegation to the World Peace Council in  Moscow.  While there he  spent a memorable day with  Australian author Frank Hardy  during which they visited a church in the morning, went to the horse races in the  afternoon, and  the  Bolshoi in the evening . 

" He drank Russian beer with Hardy in the afternoon  during  Frank's mad betting spasms  and  subsequently  fell  asleep in the ballet ."

( Hardy admitted his gambling obsession in his book The Unlucky Australians, about the Gurindji  walk off from  the Vestey owned Wave Hill station in the  Northern Territory .  Commenting on the Darwin betting shops , he  wrote that  if only a small fraction of  the effort of  picking winners   went  into science and culture, Australia would have bred a race of  geniuses  instead  of  idiots.) 

NEXT : The  union  owned  Darwin  newspaper , Xavier Herbert and  the novel  Capricornia , militant  housewives , the  Red  Dean  and  Stayput   Malays.

Saturday, August 21, 2021


 The  hydrographic survey  vessel Norfolk  has  been making runs in and out of Magnetic Island and into Townsville, without any media  coverage , according to the Shipping Reporter, the only one   north of the iconic  Bondi  sewerage  outfall .   

Also  without  media mention  or use of  action  photos  from the sleepy  mainland  is  the  regular   restoration  of  the   Nelly  Bay  foreshore on  Magnetic  Island ,which looks  like  some ancient  South American  civilisation  or  a setting for  the sequel to  Raiders of the Lost Ark 


Darwin  vinyl  collector in a  lucky  spin  

Our intrepid   hunter of  old records  has  struck gold  in various parts of  North  Australia . One  is  the   above 1983  record   described  as   Australia's  best  selling   single , Australiana ,  packed  with   puns , by  a  joker  with  the  stage name  of   Austen Tayshus , also known as the  Merchant  of   Menace . 

There is  a  worn  sticker  on the  sleeve with a  quirky   warning  that  some of the  language could  be  a  record. The  multi-talented  performer  is   the  American Jewish comedian  Alexander Jacob Gutman, known as  Sandy Gutman,  brought  to  Sydney  from  New York , aged one,  by his  Polish  parents  in  1954.

He grew into a 6ft 6in  comedian  who  usually fronted up  in a black suit , wearing dark sunglasses. His 1983  Australiana  single , filled with  Aussie puns , such as "my mate Boomer rang " and " how much can   a Koala bear? ",  was  top of the charts for 13 weeks, banned from  playing  on  some radio stations ,there being a risque   remark  about  a  Cockatoo. 

Briefly , he  attended Sydney's Vaucluse High School, participated in cultural events in Israel, took part in the Yom Kippur War , gave up dentistry ,became a  film- maker, worked  for  the  ABC.

One  of his singles, Highway Corroboree , presented live  on Channel 9   to mark the  1988  Australian Bicentenary   was  a  controversial monologue  which   highlighted   the treatment of  Aborigines  , critical  of  the  first white settlers. 

In 1990 he moved to Los Angeles  furthering  his   successful   career   in  comedy , movies  and  film-  making  , exposing  the  Yanks  to  Australiana  along the  way. 

 Returning to Australia, he  resumed  his active  life  , causing   a sensation when in  1998 he won  a  Topfest  award  for a  film, Intolerance, which  he  entered  under the  name of   a   fictitious feminist  filmmaker , Laura Feinstein.

How much  more can you  bear reading  about  this bloke's   creative   life  in  the  nation's  rapidly vanishing eucalypt   forests ?

 Chew on this  . In 2010   he stood for election  to  the House of Representatives  as an  Australian Sex Party  candidate    against  Tony Abbott ,Liberal  Party Leader.  Later,  he  ran for the Outdoor Recreation Party in the NSW state election  against  Barry O'Farrell .

In 1999, he participated in a television series, Aussie Jokers, produced and directed by Paul Fenech for SBS TV. His segment was an historical journey about his father's Holocaust experiences in Poland from his hometown of Łódź to the death camp Treblinka to his rescue from Bergen Belsen. An emotional and deeply moving double header tracing Isaac Gutmans’ life from 1939-1945, when most of his family was murdered by the Germans just for being Jewish. The documentary has been shown several times on SBS and is available on YouTube.

Other  singles  he  cut  had  titles such as    Phantom Shuffle, The Pope Down Under,  Put  Down  That   Stubbie, Alive and Shticking .   Aussie  football  codes   received  the  same  kind  of  treatment,  also  in a  television  comedy performance . 

The   Austen  Tayshus   record   ,displayed  here ,  belonged  to  an  Australian   woman in North Queensland ,   who   travelled  the   American  music  trail , her  story , hopefully , to  appear in  this blog . 

The  Austen Tayshus  website  states he  can  be  booked for a  wide range of events, including  corporate  functions, bar  mitzvahs... circumcisions .