Tuesday, February 28, 2023


The memorial commemorates Indigenous and non-Indigenous ex-servicemen from Weipa , Cape York , involved  in  defence  activities  in  two world  wars. 

The  entrance has  a  sign  made from Cooktown Ironwood by  local Rangers.   The entrance pathway is guarded by six ironstone boulders, representing the 12 tribes that came to live at  Weipa  Presbyterian  Mission .  

The pathway leads to a large propeller, which is from one of two USAAF P-47D Thunderbolt fighters which force-landed near Duyfken Point in 1944 – Weipa men paddled over Albatross Bay in a dugout canoe to go to the aid of the  two  young  American  pilots.

In 1943, 16 men from Weipa enlisted in the 2nd Australian Water Transport Group, Royal Australian Engineers and served on the Army unit’s barges, landing craft and luggers until 1946. (15 enlisted at Weipa and one  later on Thursday  Island).

Abra photos .

The bronze plaques on the memorial contain a roll of honour, a nominal roll, and stories of wartime events. A sketch of a pearling lugger by Ron Edwards also graces one  of  the  plaques. 


 Go for a cruise on  a  ship like the Norwegian  Silver Whisper  which sailed into  Townsville or   buy  an  aptly  named  yacht  such  as  the one  below ,on Magnetic Island , and   escape  on  weekends.

Shipping  Reporter  photos .

Monday, February 27, 2023


 Once  more , Townsville's Victory in the Pacific war memorial  fountain in the CBD   is  not working  , being  used to   store  barriers  and   rubbish has been   thrown  into  it ,  says  our  Shipping Reporter . 

Furthermore , he says that  not far from  the fading   memorial  plaque,see above , there   is  a  black, smelly, mass  attracting   flies  , certainly  no  way  to  look  after  a  war  memorial , especially in  a  garrison town . 

The plaque records that  the Railway Oval was reopened  during  Victory in the Pacific   50th anniversary  celebrations on  August 11 , l995. by the Chief Executive of  Queensland Rail , Vince  O'Rourke ,  and the Townsville Mayor , Tony Mooney . Our waterfront roundsman says  the  clock on the nearby railway  travel centre  still  permanently  says  it  is  eleven , which  it  has  done  for   years .  

Getting the fountain running smoothly , regularly  removing   assorted  rubbish from  water  , and  cleaning up  the surrounds, including the  nearby bus  shelter , seems beyond  the  capacity of  Townsville  ,  our Shipping Reporter  declares .

In the past, he has  drawn attention to  the rundown and neglected state  of the  fountain .

  A  tile sticking up in the footpath near the  bus shelter  is bound   to  cause   someone  an  injury , he   added. 

The fountain is a short distance from the Townsville Bulletin and WIN Television . He   suggests   reporters  visit  the site  , find out  why  the  fountain  is  neglected  ,  now   bone  dry  , could  be  an   interesting  story .  

Sunday, February 26, 2023


 Little Darwin  January 29,2013 flashback .

Darwin resident, Jo Brandt,  displays a batch of Normeys she recently made as a special treat for morning tea at the  bespoke Nightcliff Uniting Church Op Shop. Made from sultanas, raisins, almonds and walnuts, they look like rumballs, and are bedded in coconut . Ms Brandt was raised on a farm at Irymple in Sunraysia and says Normeys were popular throughout the district. On being shown old sheet music from the Little Darwin Collection  which mentioned Normeys, she  set to and made some  of  the  rare  treat.


There  was  a  time  in Australia's  history when confectionery with the “grotesque name” of  Normeys was  all  the  go . It was  made from dried fruit from the Sunraysia region and pushed by the dynamic entrepreneur , C.J. De Garis , Director of Publicity for the Australian Dried Fruit Association , Mildura, Victoria .

 With a flair for publicity and  full of big ideas , "Jack" De Garis pushed the sale of dried fruit , including “Good Little Normey Lolly” through advertisements , film , sheet music, cook books and  stunts . 

As far back as l920 he ran a full page advertisement in a magazine extolling the advantages of regular consumption of dried fruit and Little Normeys, the latter , he urged, should be kept on the office desk and become a habit  The advertisement claimed “Sun-Raysed” dried fruit enhanced the physical and mental capacity of consumers .

One “Big Stunt” De Garis pulled was a contest which in l920 had a one thousand pound , $2000 dollar, first prize, a large amountof money in those days .It was won by an Adelaide girl , the money handed over in the Adelaide Town Hall to a large audience at which the Sun-Raysed film was screened . 

As part of the energetic drive to get the public to eat more dried fruit, there were exhibits at important shows . Large amounts of dried fruit and The Good Little Normeys were sold at the Melbourne Royal Show . Using dried fruit , show cases were packed in designs of a map of Australia and the Australian coat of arms .

 De Garis was also an aviator and used the sky to advertise SUN-RAYSED , see below ,which later changed to the regional name, Sunraysia . He also founded the provincial newspaper, The Sunraysia Daily , with a large staff , for which he wrote,  got involved in land development in Victoria and  WA , hoped to make millions through  oil exploration ,   dabbled  in  the  theatre .

Unfortunately, the lolly, reduced to just being called Normeys, struck a problem. If kept in hot and damp conditions for any length of time , a small grub appeared. Querulous growers began to criticise and attack De Garis when market conditions were bad . 

One asked why he called the confectionery The Good Little Normey. He replied because it made the questioner and others ask what were Normeys, sold for one shilling (10cents) in half pound packs . De Garis said the confectionery became so popular that every poor unfortunate boy or man , whose name was Norman , and who came into public notice, was called The Good Little Normey. 

This, he said , had applied to world famous men such as Norman Brookes , the Australian tennis wizard, Norman Ross ,the world’s champion swimmer and artist Norman Lindsay, whose pictures of nude women invariably caused controversy.

De Garis got into financial difficulties and faked his own suicide by drowning in Port Phillip on January 1925, leaving behind about 70 farewell letters . He was apprehended soon after on a boat bound for New Zealand . 

The following year , with debts amounting to $840,000 , he gassed himself . In his autobiographical novel Victories of FailureA Business Romance ,written under the  pseudonym  of K.J. Rogers, he dedicated the book in memory of his mother and his second wife and former secretary ,Violet May De Garis, of whom he said her brightness shone most resplendently in “THE DARKEST DAYS”- an indication of  his  deep depression .

FRUITY UPDATE : Tennis ace Novak Djokovic took home a lot of “lolly” and the Norman Brookes Trophy after his latest triumph at  the Australian Open . As pointed out earlier in this post, Brookes , like so many other  Normans ,was called Normey because of  the successful  Good Little Normeys campaign.r


 This  stressed writer is  utterly   convinced  he  is  in  the  middle  of  a  biblical   plague . Why ?  Because  hordes of hairy caterpillars  have taken over  the  house  and  surrounds , climbing  up  outside  walls , getting  inside , massing  at  the backdoor , appearing  on  the  ceiling , popping  up   in  books . They  are   crawling   along  the  back  verandah , galloping around the   rim  of   buckets  that   catch  rainwater .  

Other  wriggling  critters -millipedes  galore- have  joined in  the seething  conga  line  . This  afflcted  blogger remembers a  time , decades ago, when  Adelaide, the city of churches , incurrred the wrath of  God for some reason , and was  subjected  to  a  millipede  plague  , possibly   blamed   on  Melbourne .   

Go for a walk in the  open  and   you blunder into  hard  to see   spiderweb  strands   that   formed   en  masse  after  recent  rain  as  if  to  trap the  many  moths and flying ants  that  surfaced  followed   the  deluge . From time to time,  you  discover  a  small  spider  dangling  from  your clothing  while sitting,  watching,  swearing   at  Sky   television, calling on God to strike down  the  after  darkers with  a blessed   bolt  of  lightning , or begging Him  to  smite  several of  the   crew  with  the   jawbone of  a  large  ass . 

Now wasps  and   increasing numbers of  other      winged   insects  like the one seen   on  the  left  have  joined  the  mix . 

Crashing  palm  fronds  add  to  the  feeling that  this  is  indeed  some kind of divine punishment  for  the   golden ,unGodly   prose   that   appears  in   Little  Darwin .  

Thus  far  there  has   been  no  sign of  creatures   such  as  frogs , lice , flies and  locusts  that  were part  of   those  terrible  biblical   Egyptian   plagues,  but  a  trusty  fly swat  is  available in the kitchen  to  defend  the  household .  

  Finally , after writing the above  account of  the rolling plague , it was decided  to  cut down low  hanging  fronds  from  an exotic  palm tree   at   the front  of the property   because they  slap  you  in  the  face  as you walk  by .

In the process, angry black wasps, of a kind not previously noticed  buzzing about , were disturbed and  stung me on the  right ear and  left  hand . Hairy caterpillars were noticed crawling  up  the  trunk .  What  next  ?  Did the  biblical  plagues  run  for  seven   years  or  seven  generations ?    



Sand  dune  near  a  tidal creek  where  birds often congregate, leaving behind many  footprints.

Vallis .

Saturday, February 25, 2023


Little Darwin flashback 

In 1966 , at  the age of   22 ,  Jones , of  the Liberal Country League , with  ultra  conservative views,  became the  youngest  politician  elected   to the   House of  Representatives when  he won the seat of Adelaide which had been a  Labor  stronghold .

By   Peter  Simon 

 He caused an uproar when  at  the newly  formed  Adelaide Liberal Luncheon Group ,held at the Arkaba Steak Cellar , off King  William Street , he delivered a  speech covering  his  first impressions  of  Federal  Parliament .

Questions were asked at  the  conclusion, during  which  he said  honourable  members in Canberra  were  half  drunk  half  the  time . He  also said  he had been amazed one day in the House to see there were only nine of 124 members  present .

Three were asleep, two were doing a crossword and one was reading an outdated  Donald Duck comic .

He did not realise the  uproar that  would result from such colourful  remarks- which  went  worldwide .

In the  book, Jones  said  he  was  shattered  by  the  initial  media   response and  follow  ups .  His mother cried , his  enemies  rolled in the aisles laughing , his  brother was  ridiculed at school, Young Liberals were up  in arms and  wanted  his  blood , he did  not  sleep  for   five  nights .

Cartoonists, of course, had a  field day - Paul Rigby in particular ,the book illustrated  by   him.

Rigby's version ,below,  of  Jones  apologising  in  the  chamber  for  his   comments  about  parliamentarians  is   an  absolute  gem. Jones was called by  the  party  whip  to apologise for  his  statement  on  the  floor of  the House

Now living on Magnetic Island , Queensland ,  Ian  Mackay  explained how  he  came to  write  the  book .

An experienced   television and newspaper  reporter , he  had written  a  book on the Vietnam War , published  by  Rigby , Adelaide .  For  Rigby , he had once   ghosted  a  book  for  a   doctor .

The publishers asked him if he would  ghost  a  book on Andrew Jones who was receiving so much colourful  media  coverage , a local young man  seemingly  going  places .

For three hectic  months ,Ian , working on the  Adelaide  Advertiser, regularly  went to  Andrew's sleepout  at  the  back of  his  parents'  residence  , his  father a  banker , and   took copious  notes  , then  belted  out the  manuscript on  his  Olivetti  Lettera .

  It covered  being  raised in Sydney , attending St. Peter's College, Adelaide,  going to sea with the Blue Funnel Line as a cadet ,  time at Adelaide  University , the  wild    election  campaign  , the Vietnam  War a major issue  at  the  time ,  the   aftermath . 

The book  included an opening  letter from  Prime Minister  Harold Holt to Dear Andrew, which said  his  narrative might encourage young  Australians  to  get  involved in politics.

In part, he wrote : "Young Australians of this generation have more cause , perhaps, than ever before in their country's history, to inform themselves about  the  large international and domestic issues which bear on their future.  There is a need for them to play an active part in the political life of the nation  and for a growing number of them  to find their way into its Governments  and  Parliaments."

Launched with  much  publicity , the book  sold well .  From Jones , Ian received   a   presentation copy , the  signed  title  page  shown  below ,now in  his  book collection.

After some  time, Ian contacted the publishers, asked when he would be paid  for  his  ghosting of  the  book . Much to his surprise, he was told that Andrew Jones  would  pay  him for his services . Ian  raised the  subject  with  Jones  in a  North Terrace  drinking  establishment  which enabled  imbibing after 6pm, the  official  pub  closing  time  in  those days.

Jones  acknowledged  that  yes , the arrangement  with  Rigby's was  for him  to  pay  Ian  for his   services.  Then  he  reached  for  his wallet,  pulled out  a $20 note  , gave  it to him , probably  the  first time in his seasoned career that  Ian  was  lost  for  words ...    $20 !!! !!!

A  bottle of  South Australian wine was  bought with  the piddling payment . 

It is interesting to  note that  Jones  once described alcohol as  "the devil's urine"

Wikipedia states he caused further controversy through  the release of " his book" which  made  further comments on the "wickedness " of  parliament .

He had  caused  further uproar when he wrote  the  spoken word  record  Shadow Valley and  Iron Triangles  by  The  Young Australians , played  over the tune Waltzing  Matilda. 

Jones had described it as "anti- Communist"; his supporters said it was  "a reaction against the spate of sick, immoral and depraved pseudo-folk music which  pours  from  the  radio".

It contained the lines: "When you hear the anthem, lift up your head, remember our past, see our glorious future and let your voice sing out, and friend,  thank  God  you're  free."

Detractors  described  the record as "awful" or "pure jingoism". An online shot of the record conversely displays the comments Commo Propaganda   and  CRAP .

 The  record made it  onto  The  Worst Records of the World An Arcade of Audio  Atrocities  website,  run by Darryl W. Bullock . He described it as  three minutes of  Australian jingoistic nonsense masquerading as a call to support the Vietnam War.

The Young Australians , he said,  were  actually  the  narrator ,  Rex Headings  , a former DJ  and television executive who went on to create the popular Aussie kids' character Humphrey B. Bear. Issued in 1967, the record  had  been  banned from several  radio  stations, although it reached  Number  One  in  the  Adelaide  district. 

Jones  lost  the  seat of Adelaide to Chris Hurford of the ALP at the next election. He made a failed attempt to  be elected to the Senate years later , was reported  keeping  a  low  profile  in  Western  Australia , died December 2, 2015.  

With compound interest, Ian Mackay  would be happy to receive a million bucks or a handful of  bitcoins  as  belated  full  settlement   for  his  ghostly  experience  with  the  Jones  boy .


Noisy Red-tailed Black Cockatoos  are  enjoying  long , messy Asian  banquets .They are gorging themselves on  Beach Almonds , also known as Asian Almonds . In   the   energetic  process of   getting  at  and   chewing  the  nuts,  much  foliage  falls   to  the  ground , see  below on  the Horseshoe  Bay , Magnetic  Island , beachfront .    

Friday, February 24, 2023



Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island .Vallis photos.


Wes  photo, Lake  Weslee , Darwin . Another rural property  has  15  ducklings, also known as White-headed  Shelducks  .

Thursday, February 23, 2023


An  unusual   part  of  Townsville's  past .

A former Townsville  resident , Bob  White , having  long lived  in   Darwin ,  responded  to  the  recent   Little Darwin   post  about   FOO  at  Giru .  

He  recalled  two   eye-catching FOO drawings  about  the mid- l950s which were  on  the Townsville Sailing Club ,on  the southside , a large two- storey  building with  a  dance floor,  on  Ross Creek , between  the  Metropole Hotel  and  what  was  called  the   Penny  Ferry  Wharf  pontoon. The  upstairs  dance  hall  was  known as The Flying  Squadron  Club . 

There was a  FOO WAS  HERE  figure  on  the  wall  inside the ground floor / sea  level  where  boats and their gear -masts and sails - were  normally stored  and   minor maintenance   carried   out .  

A distinctive version , near the Miss Dignity Vl locker, consisted of a  weeping  FOO   lamenting,  WOT! NO  WIND - not  good  for  sailing .

In the sailing season, 16 foot Skiffs ,VJs and Sabots would race on Sundays around  their set courses- out  the  creek , harbour  and  into Cleveland Bay , with  buoys  marking  the  routes .

Magnetic Island ferries  would follow the races  with patrons and onlookers, some with binoculars, and  other  pleasure craft,  an  enjoyable occasion 

 Renditions of  FOO, in those days, he added,  were  literally everywhere , often  seen  on    rail  trucks  running  to  and  from  the  busy  port .

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


During Show Day in the sugar town of  Giru , south-east  of  Townsville , leading pumice and  hubcap artist ,  Sara Boo , from Taneatua , photographed  this modern  day  version of  Foo ,  made  from  corrugated iron  , once  seen drawn on  buildings and  fences  all over Australia , one  version   below .

Foo is described as  an Australian graffiti signature  which may have first surfaced  during  WWl , widely used  during  WWll  and  by schoolchildren  in  post-war years . ( A  Little Darwin post from  September  2016).

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


While exploring the nearby wetlands in his leaky canoe, next to his  own lake, Darwin agronomist Robert Wesley-Smith , a  source of  endless  interesting stories  , which the local media fail to latch onto ,  came  across  a  crocodile  .   As  he  often goes for a swim in  his  lake , he decided  to alert   the  Be  Croc Wise   team   to   remove  the   saurian.

The catchers  arranged to  call on him , but they came the  day he was booked to go in for an eye operation , so  he left  a message   and  a   large  arrow   pointing   towards    where  the    croc   had   been  seen .

However, instead of  putting the baited   trap, above , in  the  fenced wetlands , where the croc had  been  spotted,  it  was  set  up  in  the Wesley-Smith lagoon,  Lake Weslee .

Wes , also known as Rural Rebel Rob,  alerted   three    neighbours  to  the  crocodile  threat   with  notices on  their  gates  and  called personally on  another,  who  reported a   Burdekin Duck had  been  missing ,  probably due to  the  nearby  crocodile  .  Other  rural residents  should  also  be warned,   said  Wes.
Crocodile territory - the  wetlands .

Following his eye operation,Wes  was told not to go swimming for at least two weeks  .  With a  croc trap  in  his  own  olympic pool, he  is reluctant to put  a  toe  in  the  water as  the  tasty  bait  might  attract  a  passing crocodile to  take  up  residence  in  Lake Weslee  and  munch some of  the  pet Burdekin Ducks   that   call   it   home , demanding  food  from  Wes .  

UPDATE : Croc-Wise  team moved  trap  into  the  wetlands .  


 Little Darwin   right  royal  flahback   about  the  ever changing face  of  Queensland's   Queen  City  of   the  North .

Townsville once had a  fine pedestrian mall in Flinders Street  complete with a   water feature  on  which  were two  different sculptured  figures   of  a  naked,   tubby  musician ,  Benjamin ,  shown   here  tootling   on  a  curved horn .

Despite  his  nakedness,  the  figures   gave  the   city  an  air of  being a  tropical Athens ( one in the eye for  snooty  Adelaide )   ,  classical  refinement , a  respect for the  finer things of  life, grand old  buildings  from the  early days when  the city was regarded as the Wall Street of the North  adding  to  the  image.

Then , in a moment of  tropical madness, it was decided to "revitalize "   the mall , open  it  up  to  cars   to   boost  trade  . The water feature was turned off , demolished  , the  cars that  ate  Paris and beyond  allowed  in. 

 But things  did not work out  the way expected . Shops closed  , McDonalds  caught  fire  . Complaints were made about  the  lack of   parking , some even wanted the  broad   footpaths  cut   back  to  make  more  parking  spaces. Supermarkets  , with  big,  free   parking areas,  drained business away from  the Flinders  Street  CBD, as they have in just about every other city in  Australia .

But what happened to  those  unique  musicians  who  stood out on the water feature , likened in a great stretch of imagination  to  Rome's famous  Trevi Fountain  into which coinage is  thrown  with  gay abandon  ? Today, when  visiting  maiden  aunts come to Townsville they  narrowly escape being run down by cars  in   Flinders  Street and  are then  confronted and shocked  by   what  seem  to   be   naked   men   lurking    in   the  undergrowth .

My  sainted  aunt !!! What kind of  depraved   place  is  this ? As Tamie Fraser pointed out  in  a  previous  post  about the spotty attractions of Townsville, you just about have  to be  as low as a snake's duodenum   to read  the  low , hard to decipher,   information sign   on  one  interesting  spot along the Flinders Street  Heritage Trail.

In the case of the now almost  hidden, overgrown  resting place  of  Benjamin and his horn , you   have to   get  down on  you  knees , near  a  ubiquitous parking ticket  dispensing machine ,  to  learn that  it  is  a 1981  bronze cast   made  by Townsville sculptor ,  Brian  Engris  , whose   commissioned  works  include  Heavenly Soldier Still Fighting  at the  Australian Defence Forces Academy , Duntroon .  
compare the dank, grotto  like setting of Benjamin today with  the above  sunny spot on  the  now demolished water feature , his horn  clearly visible , looking like a typical  bronzed  Aussie, sporting white bird droppings on body and  musical  instrument . 

Avert  your  eyes as  you  approach , below,  another  Engris sculpture  of  Benjamin   blowing  life into the  CBD  with a conch shell . The setting is  like  a scene from Moses  in   the   Bulrushes which   could  be regarded as  fitting for  someone with the  Biblical  name  of  Benjamin ,  his   two  depictions  close to the holy   temple   known  as   the   Cowboys  Club . 
One of  the dubious attractions   of Flinders Street today  is The Bulletin Square  which  boasts a  giant TV screen catering for  idiot box  addicts .  It is sponsored  by  the  Murdoch  owned  Townsville  Bulletin newspaper .



Cunard liner Queen  Elizabeth , Cairns . Abra photos.