Friday, March 31, 2023



HMAS Adelaide ,Townsville . Shipping  Reporter  photos. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023



Townsville from Magnetic Island . Vallis  snaps..


Alma Bay, Magnetic Island . 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


An event has been likened to  Moses  holding  out  his staff  on God's instruction and  the   Red Sea   parting  to  enable  the Israelites   to  flee  the  wilderness   into  the  promised land .  It  involves  the  sudden , welcome   opening  on Magnetic Island  of  a   track through  an area   once known as  the Pope's Land  after months  of closure   due  to   frequent   rain , causing    flooding  , the  high  humidity   and   temperatures  resulting   in  tall  grass growth . 

A  nearby  resident  assured Little Darwin  that  Moses did not play a part in the  clearing  . There  are  a  number of suspects , all with Anglo  names . 

Not far from the reopened  track  work has reportedly been carried out on  the  foundations   for  a  proposed  new  pop  up  eatery  for backpackers and  others  , so  passing   millenial  Israelites  will  not  go  hungry .     


Nanum Beach, Weipa.

Monday, March 27, 2023



World's largest bauxite deposit , Weipa, 200kms from the tip of Australia, the entire continent  now  red  as a  result of the NSW election win by the ALP  . Photos by Aeronautical Correspondent , Abra .

Sunday, March 26, 2023


A recent   listing   by   Douglas Stewart  Fine Books, Melbourne , was  this February l972  London   edition  of  the controversial  Oz  Magazine,46pp , printed  in  colour  by  Oz  Publications  Ink   Limited. 

The Australian satirical magazine Oz was an important phenomenon of the underground press of the 1960s and early 1970s. Initially edited by Richard Neville, Richard Walsh and the artist Martin Sharp (who  designed most of the covers as well as contributing cartoons and other art  work).

It was published in Sydney between 1963 and 1969. A London version was also published from 1967 until 1973, edited by Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis. Throughout its history – a lengthy one for a periodical which was well and truly outside the mainstream press – it attracted contributors who were to become influential figures in their respective fields, as well as in the intellectual life of the 60s and beyond. 

These contributors included such luminaries as Robert Hughes, Bob Ellis, Germaine Greer, Philippe Mora and Michael Leunig. Oz was never anything less than subversive and irreverent, and at times was highly controversial, surviving two obscenity trials in 1964 and 1971. ( Pete Steedman's involvement  with  Oz in London  outlined  in  this  blog).

This issue included  Norman Lindsay cover art. Four pages of graphics by Condon. OZ subscription ad with Oliver Twist illustration. Vertigo records ad. Two pages  ‘Raw War’ cartoon. ‘There’s No Business Like Bomb Business’ by Dave Dellinger – A Time to Look at Ourselves, reprinted from Liberation Magazine. National Enquirer Judy Garland graphic by Heathcote Williams. ‘Tales of Sherwood Forest, or: What Shall We Do With the Bank of England’ from a séance with Robin Hood. ‘Whistle While You Wank Re-Visited’ – Tom Ludd’s critique of David Widgery. 

Michael X. ‘Cuntpower Trials’ – in court with the women accused of disrupting Miss World by Rosemary Pettit and Others – “The girls were fined and Women’s Liberation found the court entirely irrelevant”. ’Ink is Definitely Coming’ OZ obscenity fund and Ink production. ‘A Plague of Locusts’ – Felix Dennis reviews Rockin 50’s Rock ‘n Roll. LP reviews: Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, Jefferson Airplane and Yes. ‘A Deafening of Prophets’ – book reviews by Peter Buckman.

 Uriah Heep ad. Ad for Richard Neville’s Playpower. ‘Soul On Acid: Leary in Algiers’ by Michael Zwerin. ‘There Was Once a Shepherdess’ three page cartoons by Guitton. ‘Down on the Farm’ interview with ‘animal lover’ Bodil conducted by Ole Ege. ‘The Anarchist Cookbook: “Turn On, Burn Down, Blow Up!”’ by Jim Anderson. Ad for Man LP. ‘Splendour in the Rice’ by Jay Landesman. Two pages woman/eagle montage. ‘The Daddy of Them All’ – Peter Jones on Richard Dadd + full page reproduction of The Fairy Feller. Back cover OZ Police Ball! ad for an obscenity trial benefit at Middle Earth.

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Saturday, March 25, 2023



Townsville . Shipping  Reporter .

Friday, March 24, 2023


 No sooner had our  Shipping  Reporter photographed this public notice  for a March 30  interesting  talk   on  local  shipwrecks by  Peter Illidge  at the  Picnic Bay  Hotel , Magnetic Island , than it seems  a  large  vessel was washed up  on  the  beach  near  the  pub and is  still  there .   
Moored offshore, the  vessel drifted  during  recent  high  tides  and  beached  near the hotel  and  jetty . Attempts  to refloat  it  were unsuccessful , another effort  to  be  made  next  very  high . It  appears  it  will be in  situ , high and  dry, at  the   time  of   
the  shipwrecks  talk . 



Cairns .

Thursday, March 23, 2023


 The recent   Little Darwin  posts about  the  wide range of   fancy cars and   motorbikes owned over the years  by Melbourne  editor,  journalist , publisher , activist ,  former  ALP Member  for  Casey  in the  House of Representatives , Pete Steedman , were  drawn  to the  attention  of the   Unique Cars  magazine editor,  Guy Allen , by  Darwin  former  ABC  reporter, author , Richard Creswick , an  automobile  fan  himself , with  a  collection of   miniatures  in his den , a   model   aeroplane  inspired  by  pioneering  English   aviatrix  Amy Johnson parked in  the driveway . Richard  also drives a  Maza  sportscar .

The   response   from  Allen, in which he  specially  mentioned a  Vincent HRD  motorbike , was  passed to  Steedman . He  responded with  the  above  shot  of  himself   mounted  on  the  rare  HRD , the caption  describing  him  as  Political  Activist . 

The photo, which might be in the National Portrait  Gallery,  was taken in 2002  at  his leafy  Hurstbridge residence, north  of  Melbourne , formerly  owned  by  playwright  David  Williamson,  one of his  well  known  works,  Don's  Party  , about  a  wild  election  night party , which the   ALP was  expected  to   win , but  did  not,  made  into  a   film.

 Could be  another  Don's Party  in  New South Wales this weekend , this  time  victorious .

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


A  former   Darwin  resident , the  late  Erica McKenna , a  New Zealander , was sent to Nauru  in  1950  to work as a  secretary in the office  of  the British Phosphate Commission.

 It was a real adventure for her  as  she  was 21 , and Nauru , reached  by  ship , was  regarded  as  being the middle of nowhere. Photographs from  her  album  were run  in this blog on November 8, 2011 .They  provided an insight into  island life  at  the time when  it  was coming under increasing international scrutiny.

Snaps she took included a Nauruan wedding , a group of island women posing in national dress , fishing , mining,  phosphate  being  loaded onto a vessel via  a  cantilever crane, heavy  seas, the main office building and living quarters.


Erica is shown, top left , wearing a hat she designed out of cigarette tins for a party . At the time there was a quarantine station , right, on the island where Chinese workers were processed and a United Nations study team ,above , arrived from the Marshall Islands and spent five days there discussing future plans for the Nauruans .

Most of the phosphate commission office staff were from Melbourne and the photographs displayed below show a huge  groper caught in the boat harbour , sailfish and phosphate being mined and loaded onto a truck .

Nauru ,23 square kilometres , was settled by Micronesians and Polynesians, annexed by Germany and made into a League of Nations mandated territory after WW1, administered by Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Occupied by the Japanese , the US Army Air Force bombed the island and runway in 1943. Independent in 1968, it became a tax haven, went broke and was forced to sell its one jet and properties in Australia .

Mrs McKenna , 95,  died  March 19  in  a  Brisbane nursing home and it is  understood  she  will  be cremated  ,  her  ashes  brought to Darwin to  be placed  with  those of   her  husband , Bob  McKenna  , a  well- known  electrician , who is believed to have  been  involved  in  the   asbestos mining at  Wittenoom , Western Australia ,  later  suffering  cancer.  



An  Australian who  has  visited Bali  many times  over several  decades  , jokingly  said  he  recently  nearly fell off  a  motorbike  there when he spotted  the  above  large garage sale on the side of the road , the  first  he  had  seen in   the  popular  tourist  spot.

Locals also   said  it was  something  new, surmised  it  was  people from  Jakarata  selling  clothing .

In  Bali  markets it  is not unusual to see an area where  a tarpaulin  is  placed on  the ground and  assorted  items placed on  it  for  sale .The unique  garage sale sign was  too big for  our  correspondent  to  buy or " souvenir "  and  bring   back  to   Australia  as  a  prized  trophy. 

Back home now, he is on the regular weekend garage sale  round , which includes  a  few  op shops  along  the  way . 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Monday, March 20, 2023


Famous explorer Captain James  Cook  has lodged  a  belated  claim for  danger money  after  visiting   Magnetic Island  , off  Townsville, North Queensland .  His  ship's compass   went  crazy  when  he approached  the  island   in the  l770s   ,  so  he named  the  place  Magnetical Island   or   Headland , the  latter  because it  could  have been a  peninsula .

Now it is well known as Magnetic Island  , Townsville's so  called  Jewel in the Crown  tourist  destination .

During a recent   visit  back to the island  aboard a cruise  ship , Captain Cook  went  ashore and  was shocked to see that Compass Crescent  ,  which  runs  off  Sextant Drive,  Nelly Bay , looks like a marine  disaster  site , the gutters  blocked  .   


A friendly native informed  him  Compass   Crescent   had  been reduced to  this  dangerous  state  following   heavy rain  months ago   which washed a lot  of  granite, sand, dirt   and  leaves  down  from the   hills . 

Captain Cook  looked down a stormwater  drain and  was surprised to see   what  looked like  a  coconut  growing   within ,  or  it could have  been one of  Captain  Bligh's  troublesome  breadfruit  plants .   Keen  to  get back to the  safety  ,  luxury  and  well stocked  bars of  the  cruise ship , Captain Cook   said  Magnetic Island   is obviously a  dangerous  destination  for  mariners and drunken  pedestrians  , there being 20 known  wrecks in  the  surrounding  waters ,  

On  reflection ,  he  now  felt he should  receive  danger money from  the Royal Navy and   King  Charles lll  for  sailing  along the  coast  in 1770 , without a map ,exposing himself and crew to  the hidden  dangers of  the island  and  hitting  the  reef  off   Cooktown .

Since his inspection of  Compass  Crescent  there has been a  burst water main  in  the  area  and  sluice  valves   have  been   operated  on .     


The   Bali  Governor ,  Wayan  Koster , has  asked  the  central  government in   Jakarta  to  end  visa-on-arrival  privileges  for  citizens of   Russia  and Ukraine

Because of  the  war  , he  said  many  citizens of  the  two  countries - feeling  unsafe  in  their  own country - were  flocking   to   Bali , some   taking  jobs  from   locals , without   work  permits .

Last  year , 60,000  Russians  arrived , 20,000  each  month  since  September  when   the   Kremlin  declared  a  partial  mobilisation  of  military  reservists.  

Some had taken up work  on  the island  as  hairdressers, babysitters, taxi drivers or  even  sex  workers, often  without  a  legally required  work  visa . 

While  the number  of  arrivals from the Ukraine had  increased  , growing  complaints  had  mainly concerned   Russians . The Balinese  Provincial Government  formed a  task force  to crack down on undocumented   workers.

In its first week, the task force arrested six tourists, all  Russian. All six – three sex workers, two motorbike driving instructors and a tennis coach – received   deportation  orders.

A 27-year-old Russian national was also paraded  in front of local media with a  black hood over his head – a practice normally reserved for suspected drug criminals – after accusing him of working as a freelance photographer   on  an  investment  visa . 

Since  2019 , eight  Ukrainians were  deported from Indonesia, five were jailed but not on serious charges  such  as  drugs  or murder.

One  news report  said   there  were  many  Russians   working  the  popular  hike  to  the  top  of  Mount Agung volcano  , without  local  guides , some of  whom  are  unemployed . The  situation  has  been  covered  by Coconuts Bali News , the  leading English language newspaper , and   Al  Jazeera  .

Sunday, March 19, 2023


Bulk carrier  Hamburg Way , built 2016, flying under Philippines flag .
Marshall Islands flagged cargo / fishing support vessel Eidsvaag Omega,now on way to  Hobart ,Tasmania .  Shipping Reporter.


Once  more , our recently careened  Shipping Reporter  draws  the  attention of the faithful and the mainland media  to  the  state  of  the  portrait of   Australia's first Catholic saint , Mary MacKillop, Saint Mary of  the  Cross , in  Townsville .  He   says the above  photo he took shows  it  needs an obvious   clean  up, and  removal of what  still  looks like weeds  in  the  top part . In  the  past , the waterfront roundsman repeatedly   drew  attention  to  the   weathered , faded   facial features  of   the  neglected   saint , eventually  resulting  in  a   Thin Lizzy replacement .  

Saturday, March 18, 2023



An  extensive  campaign is underway  by Fair Trade Films  promoting the  memorial  screening of   Circle of  Silence, poster  above in  Melbourne  on May 3 , and at  other  venues  across  the  nation .  

The promo says Circle of  Silence is a powerful human drama, a cold case investigation and a politically explosive story. It is inspired by Shirley Shackleton’s Walkley Award winning book of the same name. It uncovers new evidence about the notorious 1975 murders of five Australian based journalists, the Balibó Five, killed in Portuguese Timor whilst reporting on Indonesian military incursions. 

Shirley’s husband, Greg Shackleton, a Channel 7 reporter, was one of the men murdered. Shirley’s life had been marked by a fierce determination to discover the truth about the deaths and why Australia did not protest over the murders and subsequent genocide in East Timor.

In the film , she starts her own investigation following the decision by the Australian Federal Police to abandon its war crimes investigation into the Balibó Five murders due to ‘insufficient evidence’. Shirley disagrees with the decision and travels to Timor Leste and Indonesia to discover startling new evidence about the crime. 

Circle of Silence was completed in 2022 shortly before Shirley’s passing. An impact campaign accompanies the film and continues Shirley’s determined efforts to uncover the truth about the Balibó Five murders and Australia’s involvement in  the  cover-up  and  in  the invasion of  East Timor.

Darwin  activist   Robert Wesley-Smith , deeply involved in the East Timor struggle , has  highlighted   Shirley  Shackleton's   involvement  in the  campaign  in  recent  emails dealing with the  film . 

In Melbourne ,  another  activist , former ALP  politician , publisher and journalist, Pete Steedman  , told  this  blog   Shirley  had  contacted  him, he thought in connection with the   Balibo Five ,  over a "song" he thought she had   composed    about  the    event  ,  which  had  been  placed   on   tape .

At the time , Steedman was the  head  of  AUSMUSIC , an innovative  government backed   organisation ,  designed to  grow the music  industry ,  spread  the  appreciation  of   music  in  schools and elsewhere  ,  help   new  bands , help  new   talent . 

As part of  the drive , tapes of  new bands  and artists  were  sent out to community radio  stations and   some commercial stations   across   the  nation  under the heading Fresh Tracks .

Finding  the Shackleton tape, he  said ,   could be a problem because   a large part of  his  extensive  files , including the  AUSMUSIC part ,   had been   sent to the Victorian state library for cataloguing .  However , some weeks later , he triumphantly  announced  he  had unearthed the  following    demonstration  cassette  holder   containing  five unsigned  Australian artists ,  presenting their new  songs  to  radio  and the music industry ,including one  by  Shirley  Shackleton , but not dealing with the  Balibo Five .

The artists were Clawed (Arachnida,  No Love in  Africa , Dirty Word ) rock ballads  from  West  Australian  artist  soon to reform his band and tour  eastern  states ,contact Geoff Sains .  The Thunder Gods (Terania Creek-believed to relate to the birth in Australia  of  frontline activism which stopped   bulldozing of   rainforest  in  NSW  , One Year On ) four piece Sydney  band with  diverse  influences and regular live  work ,contact Will  Bedford .  Oscar ( Till Darkness Fell , Stay Away ) versatile seven piece  funky pop from a Melbourne band with  regular  live performances , contact Scott Thompson.  Worlds Away (Take a Part of You, Push, Edge  of  the Sea ) five piece rock band with live performances on the rock and  club circuit  in  Melbourne , contact  Andrew  McSweeney .

The Shirley  Shackelton (sic)  tape , entitled  The Flower of China,  was a ballad , a  reminder  of   the  looming   first  anniversary of  the   l989  Tiananmen Square Massacre  -" here is a history which won't be rewritten " -the brutal suppression by the  People's Liberation Army of  the so called   Democracy  Movement  led   by  demonstrating  students .  Wesley-Smith   said   Shirley oft  penned  pieces   about   issues   that   concerned  her .   

Reading from diplomatic cables about the atrocities , Prime Minister   Bob Hawke   became  emotional,  tears welled  up .   Furthermore,  he offered asylum  to   Chinese  students  in  the  wake  of  the  massacre ,taken up by about 42,000 . His  emotional  response  is  said to  have  made  a  big  impression in  China  and   within  the  Chinese  community  in   Australia .

As part of  the  drive  to promote  the  film , interested groups are being urged to host their own screening. Details can be obtained from  info@demand.Film  .

Friday, March 17, 2023




Vallis jaunt .


 The Kati Thanga - Lake Eyre Basin is emerging as a major state and national environment issue. This is important for LEAN - Labor's Environment  Action  Network - Townsville   branch  as the upper basin extends into the Northwest Minerals province where  expanded  mining for new economy minerals will take place.

The  meeting will be held  at James Cook University on  April  5, starting 4pm. It will provide  a good opportunity to hear First Nations' perspectives on this key issue - The Keating Government tried to achieve a World Heritage nomination for Kati Thanga but the initiative was dropped with the unfortunate election of the Howard Government in 1996. If you would like to attend, please register at the following link

Thursday, March 16, 2023


Magnetic  Island .  Vallis  photo .



Townsville  and  maritime  surrounds . Shipping  Reporter .


Large automated advertisement  atop  the  Herbert  Hotel , in the Townville CBD , reveals the secret  behind  Queensland's boastful  tourism  slogan.  You  can  avoid  dehydration by having a hair of the dog in the Herbert .  Wholesale chemist  shops  seem  more numerous  in  Queensland  than cane  toads , one  outlet  just  down the road  from  the  Rub a  dub .   Vallis  photo



Photos by Aeronautical Correspondent, Abra .

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


The mutilated fibreglass mermaid at the entrance  to Magnetic Island  now has a plastic bottle jammed  into the cavity where her head used to be , according to our vigilant Shipping Reporter, who took this exclusive  photograph . The waterfront roundsman , the only one north of  Coogee Bay, Sydney, says he   is  gathering  some  interesting  follow up news on the poor mermaid, which will be revealed soon .

 Her  arrival and  subsequent   mistreatment , including  the  ripping off of  her head  and  arms not properly covered  by  the  mainland  media. In one outrageous event, she  was  topped  with  a repulsive drawing of  Prime Minister  Scott  Morrison's  kisser  on  a  piece of  cardboard .

 Where else in the  world would a  lifesize  mermaid turn up  at  the  entrance of  a tourist attraction, sit  there for  many  months , sport a PM's head , and  receive  so  little  coverage  from the local media , which  deserves  to be regularly  jabbed  with  King  Neptune's  rusty  trident  ? 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


S.M.S. (Shit Must Stop) was a project conceived by New York Surrealist artist William Copley. It was initiated at the start of 1968 with an invitation to 73 artists – many of them major, some relatively obscure – to contribute works to be reproduced in six portfolios. Unusual 

It  was inspired in part by Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise and Dieter Roth’s artists books produced for William and Norma Copley. Its agenda was to free artistic expression from the power and influence of galleries, critics, curators and mainstream publishers, and to dissolve boundaries between different types of art. Copley’s loft on the Upper West Side became a nexus for performers, artists, curators, and composers to collaborate in the atmosphere of an open-ended collective.

These portfolios, each containing eleven to thirteen artist’s multiples, were published in New York by The Letter Edged In Black Press, Inc. between February and December 1968, and were mailed to subscribers. The portfolios contain works of dada, surrealism, and pop art, and include photography, sound and text. They were produced in unsigned editions of 2000. Each issue also had a deluxe edition of 100 copies, which were signed by (most of) the artists.

Issues 1-6 (all issued). Comprising six decorated card portfolios (each 280 x 180 mm) containing artists’ multiples in mixed media; all are housed in the original publisher’s uniform cardboard packaging (190 x 350 mm, depth varies), and are accompanied by the two rare separately-boxed audio cassette tapes by Terry Riley and La Monte Young; the contents of each issue are complete (as called for by the title sheet in each portfolio), and in virtually untouched condition. 

Issue 1 February 1968 James Byars, Walter de Maria, La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, Sol Mednick, Nancy Reitkopf, Kasper König, Richard Hamilton, Su Braden, Christo, Julien Levy; Issue 2 April 1968 Marcel Duchamp (7″ single-sided phonograph record Esquivons Les Ecchymoses des Esquimaux aux Mots Exquis)Bernard Pfriem, Ray Johnson, Alain Jacquet, Nicolas Calas, Meret Oppenheim, Lee Lozano, Bruce Conner, Clovis Trouille, Marcia Herscovitz; Issue 3 June 1968 William Bryant, Dick Higgins, Man Ray, Ronnie Landfield, Roland Penrose, Hannah Wiener, Aftograf, Enrico Bay, Joseph Kosuth, H.C. Westerman, plus Terry Riley audio cassette tape Poppy Nogood’s All Night Flight (The First Ascent), performed live at the Philadelphia College of Art, November 17, 1967, in accompanying publisher’s box 35 x 135 x 15 mm; Issue 4 August 1968 On Kawara, Paul Bergtold, Princess Winifred, Hollis Frampton, Lil Picard, Roy Lichtenstein, Rotella, Robert Watts, John Cage, Arman Fernandez, plus the La Monte Young audio cassette tape Drift Study in publisher’s box, 135 x 135 x 15 mm; Issue 5 October 1968 cover by Congo (the chimpanzee), Robert Rohm, Mel Ramos, Bruce Nauman, William Schwedler, Wall Batterton, Larry Wiener, Angus MacLise, Edward Fitzgerald, Neil Jenny, Diane Wakoski, Yoko Ono, The Barber’s Shop; Issue 6 December 1968 cover by John Giorno, Toby Mussman, Betty Dodson, Adrian Nutbeam, Jean Reavey, Claes Oldenburg, Mischa Petrov, Bernar Venet, Ronaldo Ferri, Ed Bereal, Diter Rot, Paul Steiner.

The above  unusual offering  was  in a recent  Douglas Stewart Fine Books ,Melbourne , acquisitions list, $7500.  Another item of  note  was  a group photo of   the  1913 Victorian   amateur  hurling  team, $1550. 

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Photos  by  Aeronautical  Correspondent , Abra.