They were trucked down from Darwin, set up on the sites for inspection, passed muster , and were apparently ticked off as real progress . Soon after , they were unbolted and trucked back to Darwin to be properly fitted out .
Sunday, January 31, 2010
They were trucked down from Darwin, set up on the sites for inspection, passed muster , and were apparently ticked off as real progress . Soon after , they were unbolted and trucked back to Darwin to be properly fitted out .
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Little Darwin recently had cause to wait outside the hospital for a person visiting a patient and peeked inside the telephone cubicles . Yuk! It was not a pretty sight. There were blobs of black matter and streaks on the wall, which looked as if they had been there for many a day. Handpieces looked greasy, and there was green slime on the ground.
We were reminded of the frightening old ditty on grotty toilet doors which read : It’s no use standing on the toilet seat-our crabs can jump 40 feet! Those phones are used extensively, many people sit on the ground nearby and patients, some barefooted , stroll about .
One elderly man sat nearby wearing a face mask. We don’t know if he was worried about an outbreak of swine flu or protecting himself from possible Telstra contamination. The person responsible for germ warfare at the hospital should don a space suit and,armed with a flame-thrower and disinfectant, inspect the ring alongs and surrounds at the front door.
Little Darwin has the obvious answer to the recurring blackouts infuriating the Top End. It is the brilliant White Hunter solution, dimissed out of hand when first suggested. Following Cyclone Tracy , Darwin was beset with frequent black outs.
During the hearing of charges against people involved in importing a large amount of marijuana from Asia aboard the vessel Marianna the power went on and off. The exasperated judge made some remark suggesting everybody should just sit there glaring at each other in the hope that the power would come back on .
When the former Brisbane ALP Lord Mayor ,Clem Jones, the man who eradicated Brisbane’s dunny cans, became involved in Darwin’s rebuilding , he was puzzled and irritated by the frequency of the power cuts , there being no apparent reason for them. One day, about to enter the lift at the Travelodge, everything went dark as the lights went out. Infuriated, Clem, a man of action , jumped in a car, grabbed the surprised head of the Department of Works , and drove down to the power house , intent on lifting the lid on this sorry state of affairs.
Why has the power gone off ? Clem demanded. The Works and Jerks bod , an old Darwin hand , told him the generators had stopped working. Why? Clem, a trouble making southerner, insisted to know.
Happens every year – it’s the wet - was the answer . This was not good enough for Clem , he came away muttering about the way important utilities were run in Darwin and the attitude of people responsible for the services. Unfortunately, Clem’s power pack died years ago so he cannot come back and help re-boot the Territory’s power supply and its executives.
Therefore, Little Darwin declares the only real course of action to solve the power problem is to invoke the unusual solution proposed by the late Allan Stewart, known as the White Hunter. During the post Cyclone Tracy debate in the NT Legislative Assembly about the vexing power failures , politically minded Allan jumped up in the public gallery and shouted out the debate was hot air. The obvious solution: BRING A SUBMARINE INTO PORT AND RUN AN EXTENSION CORD FROM IT TO THE POWER HOUSE AND KEEP THE CURRENT FLOWING INTO THE CITY.
The Speaker of the House was not impressed by this first example of Territory lateral thinking on a large scale, so Allan limped out and left Darwin groping in the dark.
Seriously, with talk of putting noisy Collins class submarines up on dry land because of many problems, why not bring one overland on the Ghan from Adelaide , stick it in the hard , and use its massive generator to back up our dubious network. Sailors would be assured of a warm welcome as far south as Katherine . Of course, with wash aways along the railway line, care would have to be taken to prevent a submarine from falling off into the water and springing a leak.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Well, this writer was travelling on a bus when the biggest bee he has ever seen started angrily bumping up and down the window, trying to escape. Sitting in front of me were two young tourists, possibly Germans, studying a guide to Darwin. From time to time , the steroid stuffed bee came dangerously close to the woman’s bare shoulder, unbeknown to her.
With my claw, I tried to flick the bee away , wanting to prevent a nasty experience for overseas tourists in Darwin town. Luckily, the girl did not see my paw near her neck , otherwise she may have thought I was a furtive, arthritic groper and screamed for the transport police.
With honourable intent, I took the snotty handkerchief from my pocket and grabbed the angry bee, not far from her ear. The passenger behind me who looked glassy eyed when I first sat down,soon after sneezing all over me, started mumbling. I suspect he has things buzzing about in his head and objected to me grabbing one of his pet, errant neurons.
Sitting there with the crazed, Turkish wrestler- sized bee in my hanky, I tried to look nonchalant . When the bus finally came to a stop, I jumped up and violently shook the hanky so the bee could escape. Passengers probably thought I was a grey haired weirdo waving at Old Father Time. Only the Thunderbirds know the things I do for international rescue.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
While stomping about the nation last week on his way to Darwin to officially open the Royal Darwin Hospital oncology unit, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave what were seen as election campaign speeches - but then this is the year of living electioneeringly / dangerously throughout the nation and anything the PM says has to be regarded in that context.
In Darwin he deftly flattered the NT News by saying it was the most read newspaper in his office. ( When federal parliament resumes, bet the Opposition says Australia is going to the crocs, not the dogs ,under the Rudd regime). Rudd’s praise for the paper must have made the newspaper management cartwheel about the office in jubilation. The News was so pleased with the PM's unsolicited testimonial they responded by running a special front page picture for him of Miss Piggy being devoured by a large crocodile, thus causing thousands of sensitive kiddies and ET to have nightmares and wet their beds.
Unfortunately, our leader used what could be inappropriate language for an oncology unit to say Solomon MHR Damian Hale had been a pain in the butt , urging the unit be established. Why is that every time there is a photo opportunity involving Darwin medical facilities politicians insist on hamming it up. NT Health Minister Kon Vatskalis has worn Easter Bunny ears , jostled with Hale in one episode and spread himself out in the horizontal at the opening of a new operating theatre.
Not to be outdone, PM Rudd allowed himself to be photographed at the oncology unit with his head in a position like that of a gynaecologist going about his important work. He may have been looking for a member of the official government party who disappeared without trace from most of the opening parade and ceremony, apparently having slipped away to Casuarina for cappuccino, a greasy doughnut and a fag.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The heat inside the hut exhausted Miss Pink both mentally and physically ; she had been advised by a doctor to go south to a cooler clime.
From those vehicles disgorged four men led by local electrician Reg Harris , his young assistant, surname Mott, master carpenter Sidney Kinsman, and another trademan, Mr Townsend. They ordered Miss Pink outside and in five hours converted part of the hut into an airconditioned room 13ft long by 10ft wide by 7ft high, lined with caneite, into what she dubbed The Harris- Kinsman Iceberg, an iceberg being her idea of heaven.
It came complete with a small picnic electric cooler box , a bright fluorescent light and an entry door for the portiere. The first time she saw the room she said it looked like a beauty parlour. Once the airconditioning was turned on she felt a renewed person. Fiercely independent , she “fought " for a month to at least pay for 11 sheets of caneite and insisted the air conditioner was only on loan. The fluoro light was replaced with a globe because she found it too bright and the cooler box was returned as well .
She wrote that she would always remember Australia Day 1964 because of the two “Dinkum Aussies “ who came to the relief of a third generation Tasmanian “Aussie” when she was at the end of her tether.
About 10 years later , she wrote to Reg Harris saying she was going to return the air conditioner and would replace it with one of her own “ I am more that grateful for the loan of it but feel we all change as we grow older and I feel sure your main interests now are TOURISM and ROTARIANISM . I have no interest in either so, with grateful remembrances – will say farewell .”
The late Reg Harris told this writer he firmly believed Miss Pink brought on her death in 1975 by going into the beauty parlour and turning on the airconditioner during cold weather.
Friday, January 22, 2010
One of the key figures in the Townsville union movement in the 1880s was Anthony Ogden, a meatworker and wharf labourer . Ogden became a Queensland politician and a mayor . On his retirement it was decided to rename Flinders Lane, Townsville, Ogden Street , in his honour. While of itself a flattering proposal, he wanted the brothels removed before his name graced the street directory.
Those North Queensland unionists of yesteryear and their colourful and tough officials -canecutters, shearers, wharfies,mine workers – were a different breed to today’s rather tame union officials who often seem more like members of the quaint defunct junior chambers of commerce. Over the years there were rebel laborites like Bundaberg's "Bombshell Barnes " and Labor alderman Tom Aitkens who was expelled for supporting aid to Russia. The dynamic,hard working Communist barrister, Fred Patterson, who visited the Territory on several occasions in the late 1930s and 40s, was elected in the Queensland seat of Bowen.
This writer spent some memorable evenings drinking with a band of unionists in a pub on the Cairns waterfront area known as the Barbary Coast, during the early 1960s Queerah meatworks dispute. The unfortunate managers at the meatworks were the Pegg brothers, a surname instantly, if not sooner, converted to porkers. During those lively pub gatherings, ribald and outrageous anecdotes were told, the up the workers spirit prevailed and supplies of fillet mignon for the bosses suddenly ran dangerously low, probably because the strikers were dining on the best cuts.
The special newspaper section about the Townsville ALP carried messages of congratulations from various politicians, including one from the NT Senator, Bob Collins, then the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Northern Australia. Also congratulating the Townsville ALP Branch was W.P .Ludwig , secretary of the Queensland branch of the Australian Workers’ Union , whose photograph made him look as if he had just undergone the first stages of a hair transplant. Ludwig and son are powerful political figures in Queensland today.
The important part played by women in the early days of unions and the ALP in Queensland was covered at length . It was interesting to read that Australia’s first female linotype operator ,Phoebe Lewis , began working in the Townsville printing trade in l897. In 1902, a woman jockey , Wilhemena Smith, of Cairns, known only as “Bill” , was riding winners . 1916, Rose Harris, of Clermont, was the first woman saddler in Australia.. Jean Devanny , socialist writer , public speaker and organiser , stirred up the North Queensland scene ( she will figure in a major Little Darwin feature to be posted in the future). Another prominent person was Margaret Reynolds , the first Labor woman Senator and minister in Queensland.
Pictured in the feature were members of Townsville’s longest serving Labor city council, led by the politically ambitious mayor , Tony Mooney. An alderman , Richard Cleal , later became Peter Beattie’s chief of staff.
The council, still headed by Mooney, was annihilated at the forced amalgamation of the two Townsville councils, only one former ALP alderman being elected, a woman . At the last moment, Mooney reportedly did a backflip in his support for a proposed Chinese smelter on the outskirts of the city and lost the vote for the mayoralty of greater Townsville. It is said he tried to sound out a seat in the Brisbane area but was not successful.
Now , a website which goes under the name of Alan in Darwin , has informed the world that “a swarm” of plovers attacked MLA Rob Knight near the old Supreme Court site near parliament house. This was a reference to an NT News story about plovers dive bombing the minister like Japanese Zero fighters.
Unfortunately, unworldly American readers of Alan , who often gives details of his shopping trips in the CBD , will think a swarm of plovers is a horde of mutated bees , a kind of Aussie vampire bat , its loathsome fangs filled with venom.
Expect a rush of cancelled holiday trips to Darwin by Americans scared stiff by the thought of being attacked by plovers. In fact, plovers are cuddly critters. The reason why they zeroed in on the benighted Knight is that they obviously had eggs or chicks in the area. Despite their screeching , their attack spur and dive bombing , they are wonderful to watch. There is usually one little randy male trying to muscle in on the party.
They hardly, if ever , gather in what was incorrectly described as a swarm . Sadly, they have a tragic habit of nesting next to roads and thundering motorways. As a consequence , their chicks, looking like tiny balls of fluff, are regularly decimated.
In a garden and lawn plot at the intersection of Port Road and North Terrace , in the Adelaide CBD , plovers repeatedly nested in these dangerous surroundings.
On Magnetic Island some residents became stressed trying to save baby plovers which followed their parents back and forth across a road used by a bus which took tourists to see the birdlife, mainly the much larger curlews , the pheasant -like fluttering coucals , sunbirds, kookaburras and currawongs , the last two being murderous blighters in Nature’s pecking order. Each time the tiny plovers had difficulty trying to hop up out of the gutter onto the grass verge. No sooner had they made the giant leap forward for plover kind , than their parents decided to run back across the road. Watching them caused grey hair, apprehension and much gritting of teeth.
The good people of Magnetic Island recently rushed down to Nelly Bay when word came through that turtles, numbering 45 , were surfacing from a nest and made sure all survived the often dangerous journey to the sea , forming a protective guard on both sides at the start of Chas. Darwin’s mystical evolutionary voyage where very often it does not see survival of the tastiest.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Possessed of surprising facts and statistics, he pointed out that in 1933 the camel population of the Territory was officially put at 344 and is now a million. There was a time when the NT only sported one judge, less than a handful of lawyers and a clerk of courts, affectionately known as "Fatty", who filled about 30 positions , including sheriff , returning officer , registrar of births , deaths and marriages. He could also be called out in cases of riot and insurrection. Now, going on the TV coverage of the departing Angel , the Territory had obviously undergone an explosion in the legal profession. If it continued its exponential growth there could be more interlocutors than humping dromedaries in the NT, he predicted , and Darwin would need a Supreme Court as big as Sir Garfield Barwick’s Canberra mausoleum, sans the waterway because cane toads would thrive in it and breed faster than marauding Centralian camels.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
The other source of tourists is Thai package tourists coming over in groups to travel by bus up to a casino on the Chinese border or in some cases to go on via the new highway into the Sipsongpanna region of southern Yunnan. Already we had a pressing sense of China not being far away. All told we stayed there for nine nights and did our usual things - slow walking around the whole town, repeated visits to the market, sorting out reliable food, visiting temples, talking with local people, watching the river at different times of day and generally trying to make sense of the old and the new. We were strategically located for both the things of this world and the other.
Our hotel overlooked the boat landing and immigration check-point while directly across the street on a steep hill overlooking us was the main temple, with its very steep ornate staircase snaking up the hill. From our room we could see the forty monks descending at six each morning to go out on their morning alms round (well before the tourists started churning). While we were there we experienced four days and nights of a nine day long ceremony. The chanting began at about three am, went for a few hours, and then on and off throughout the day - it included some virtuoso performances, and lots of gongs and bells.
The village headman told us that it was a special nine day ceremony for the monks and that only the monks could enter the temple during that period. We are still not sure exactly what it was about but lying in the dark and listening to it was special. Also special was our meeting with Mr Somkhit. It happened by chance one afternoon while we were wandering around a small village wat. He hesitantly introduced himself to us, apologised for his poor English, told us that he was an itinerant English teacher and asked us awkwardly if we had any time to spare. We did have spare time and he asked us if we could come with him to his next class.
This became the first of several visits to English classes he conducted in different villages. Somkhit's concern was that he had learnt English from Lao teachers and that the children he was teaching had never heard English spoken by native speakers. He said that foreigners are always busy, in a hurry and just pass through Huay Xai - this leaves very little for a point of entry for a gentle Lao. One class was in a concrete and bamboo village meeting hall , where he, his wife and baby lived in a small back room (the amenities were a tap outside for bathing next to a small charcoal burner to cook over). There were more than twenty primary school children aged from seven to eleven, and when we arrived the numbers were swelled by children as young as two or three, parents and grandparents all who came to enjoy the spectacle.
The children were particularly bright and fresh for six o'clock in the evening. They were extraordinarily energetic, responsive and bright. We also discovered, that despite his modesty, Somkhit was a talented and resourceful teacher. Together we quickly worked out ways for the three of us to teach, we enjoyed it and the children (and the village) loved it. We enjoyed our return visits to the class at Ban Nong Sai. Six days later we travelled three hours to Luang Nam Tha (LNT). This was via the new major road link from southern China to northern Thailand (one of the last links in the proposed grand Bejing to Singapore highway). After less that two years one third of the road has almost collapsed and the surface on another third has largely disintegrated, while the last stretch was very good.
There appears to be a building boom; very large Lao government offices, a mushrooming of Lao owned guest houses and hotels, and a lot of Chinese commercial and hotel buildings. (We were told that the new provincial office building was raised from four to five stories so that it would be higher than the equally new Chinese Royal Hotel - no one should be above the Governor). As a result the air is smokey, dusty and hazy. The goods in the market are all covered in dust. In the market most traditional handcrafts have disappeared. over nearly two weeks we came away with only a handful of traditional textiles.
The Chinese are becoming commercially and socially well-established in town - there is now a Chinese school but no evidence of a Chinese temple. It is hard to know what all of this means. The remaining "old town", the pre-war town, about five km to the south is still relatively intact with some convenient modernizations - and this in spite of the proximity of the new airport. The residential parts of town along the river remain much the same. But the farmland and traditional housing along the new road north to Boten on the Chinese border are being taken over for industrial and commercial uses.
A very small number, about six or seven, Tai Dam women are there for a few hours each morning selling garments made of handmade and factory cloth but machine stitched. We enjoyed being among them and bought a few things, but nothing was great. Adjacent to the market a whole new town seems to be emerging - lots of Chinese buildings. Much of Muang Sing is certainly changing but to us it seems to be retaining, so far, a character of its own which sadly Luang Nam Tha seems to have lost. Certainly for some of the people life in Muang Sing is a little easier - there is more electricity than there was and often it is more reliable.
More goods are now available in this remote part of Lao, though many are of pretty inferior quality and dubious durability. The new hospital building looks much better than the old French building, but we were relieved that we didn't have to test its services. Much of the new housing is more solid and permanent, less attractive, but probably offering better protection in this harsher environment. While we were there the weather turned really cold with some cold mountain rain. There was nowhere to retreat to - the few eating places in town were open fronted and it was freezing in the hotel, even in bed.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The wondrous Malcolm Mackerass pendulum for predicting the outcome of elections would probably rotate wildly – in both directions- if fed the fiery answers supplied during the current mango madness / holiday break period.
The ABC's TV series , the Seven Ages of Rock , next week will deal with punk rockers. In a special feature, we present Australia's own Queen of Punk,the one and only Ruth Rebel , who is known overseas and has a surprising Darwin connection.
There was a dramatic change in her chaotic life when she became involved with Townsville’s new community radio station , 4TTT-FM . Prior to that radio connection she had been a loner , lacked confidence and knew little because she had been “ naughty ” at school . The first time she took part in a radio show she froze and became speechless.
From time to time she helped present the late night rock show at the radio station . With the passage of time she became a regular presenter. To some, Ruth Rebel, also known as Rebel Ruth, was the punk scene in Townsville. She presented a Saturday night show called Slash Slamming and Safety Pins , a name she disliked, so renamed it Punk and Disorderly . On air comments and swearing sparked complaints to the Australian Broadcasting Authority .
She freely admitted having been anti-war , anti religion and anti - cops and ran shows on these themes , slipping in some of her poetry on those topics. A zealous man connected with a religious program , Freedom Zone , refused to play rock , saying it was the music of the devil . He frequently complained about and clashed with Ruth . She responded by imitating his voice on air and called his segment the Bondage Zone . In turn, he declared her the devil. Ruth also mimicked and mocked sponsors and the Queen .
Her on air antics inflamed many , one listener phoning in to say he had recently been released from jail and was going to rush in and bash her. Conversely , many people were protective towards Ruth and said she was a beautiful teenager with a troubled background. Some of Ruth’s poems appeared in newspapers and magazines . She regularly contributed poems to an American punk magazine and became known in international punk circles. Photocopies of her poems, stapled at the corner, were put on sale for a $1.50 in a Townsville music shop and whenever there was a sale she was elated to think somebody wanted to read her work. The poems , with associated text , gave an insight into Ruth’s past , her lifestyle and her attitude to modern society .
Her first collection of poems bore the title As Seen Through the Eyes of a Rebel ; her second, Oi ! The Cause is Lost !, dedicated to people who show their tits, have fun and are a general nuisance, carried the message not to give in , be yourself and watch out for McDonalds, even if their chips and burgers are nice.
In an explanatory note she said most of the poems were an outlet for “ my frustrations on wot I see goin on around me ”. She hoped the poems would broaden peoples’ minds- “not as in preaching and shit ” -but to learn about the other side of the coin . Giving brief and bizarre biographical details, she said she had been born in Brisbane in l968 where she had lived in “ a biscuit tin ” until 12. Now she was in Townsville, which she called Clownsville, a “ vast black hole ”, but better than Mareeba . In addition, she wrote that she been unemployed for about six years because her only experience had been with biscuit tins . The unusual biography continued : Ruth hopes to be a novelist and a beauty consultant one day . I also like crocheting ...
The poems dealt with the Clone Employment Service ( Commonwealth Employment Service ), divisions caused by religion, the isolation of the individual, trying to survive on the dole, greedy big business and inner thoughts of despondency in a flea- infested, rented house with a leaky roof. In the cover poem, Oi! The Cause Is Lost!, Ruth took skinheads to task for bashing people, saying they were neo- Nazis , cowards without balls , who went about in gangs . She wrote that the skinheads would probably “kick me to my knees ” for speaking out against them . There was no copyright claim on her poetry, just a request to acknowledge that she was the author and not to just rip her off .
When Ruth left Townsville for “ the south ”, she surmised that some of the “old crones” at the radio station , who strongly objected to her , threw wild parties to celebrate her departure. After two years in Sydney she returned to Townsville . When she went along to 4TTT , under new management , hoping to once more contribute to the air waves , she found the welcome mat had been well and truly withdrawn as far as she was concerned . Furthermore , she was shocked to learn the station broadcasted greyhound racing .
Once more , she departed the Townsville scene , and nothing more was heard of her ; people speculated she had come to a tragic end . However, her name appeared from time to time in contributions to several punk “ zines ” , this being the name for cheap cut and paste magazines . The October 1993 issue of the punk zine APITO , produced in Rockhampton, Queensland, , listed a Ruth Rebel poem dealing with sexism on the cover. That issue also covered the plight of East Timor , whaling and called for independence for Tibet.
I became interested in Ruth Rebel about six years ago when researching the history of 4TTT-FM, an extraordinary community radio station which would make a great TV series or a film . Through its portals passed individuals who became influential in law , politics, music , broadcasting , Aboriginal and Islander advancement , environmental protection , nuclear protests , union activities and other fields of endeavour .
A woman doctor connected with the radio station was even blamed by some northern religious fanatics for Darwin’s Cyclone Tracy because she had promoted birth control and abortion and God had punished the nation as a result . Today 4TTT-FM , operating with limited funds, knocks the socks off many radio stations , parts of networks owned by conglomerates whose content is compiled and dictated from afar.
Extensive inquiries eventually led me to Ruth , with two sons, struggling along in Queensland , still writing poetry and full of fond and unusual memories of her time at the radio station. When I recounted some of the colourful anecdotes I had gathered about her and her rodent at the radio station she branded me Big Ears , addressing me as such in emails. Did I know , she asked , that a manager at the radio station had a coffin and slept in it . My large ears had picked up that titbit. Ruth told me that during her travels she had teamed up with her birth mother , but this reunion had not worked out . Her adoptive mother , a Christian , had died in her sleep before Ruth had a chance to thank her for having persevered with her .
A person from the University of Central Queensland, hearing I had been researching Ruth, contacted me and asked if I knew where she was as somebody was interested in doing a documentary about the punk rock scene and dearly wanted to speak to her. That film , called A Piss In the Ocean , included a male punk rocker, Bollocks, and Ruth Rebel is listed in the credits.
An email Ruth sent me dealt with the plight of women in Papua New Guinea where sexual assault and the spread of aids is rampant . Much to my surprise, Darwin activist , Stuart Highway , who has a stall at the Nightcliff Sunday market , has been in contact with Ruth Rebel in connection with several campaigns over the years. He first became aware of her in punk magazines in the 1980s and says her poems help her cope with the boredom and stresses in her life. More than that, she was able to draw attention to injustices in the world.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The revised profit outlook- $280million to $320million - was attributed to the US economy , the power industry in particular , uncertainty about carbon charges and the increasing value of the Australian dollar . A recent Brazilian acquisition did not contribute to the income stream as expected. The previous forecast had been in the range of $320million to $335million . Shares dropped by $3.36 at one stage , down to $25.99, with predictions they would dip below $25. The market saw traders sell down the entire engineering services sector .
With a global staff of 31,700 as of February last year ,Worley Parsons cut about 30 of its resources and engineering services Australian staff in March.
It is interesting to note that Worley Parsons won a contract to build a nuclear power plant in Armenia, producing 1000 to 1200 megawatts , to replace by 2016 an old Soviet era one which supplies 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.
Involved in many aspects of Territory development , including work for the Darwin City Council, it was responsible for the Bayu Undan gas project ,said to be the world’s largest open water float over installation , for Phillips Petroleum, in the Timor Sea, 500km from Darwin.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The confidential briefing warned that a “volatile”situation had been reached in Brisbane resulting in an ”altercation.” Dare it be mentioned that Prime Minister Robert Menzies agreed to take in 6000 internees and prisoners from Britain during WW11 . One of the vessels which brought human cargo here was the HMT Dunera, the subject of a book and TV series, with 2542 German and Austrian internees. Most were said to be political or racial refugeees and enemies of Nazism and Fascism. Some had been in concentration camps. Today Rusty Iron Bar Tuckey can see a threat to the nation's security by a handful of Sri Lankans locked up on Christmas Island .
While the devious and desperate Federal Opposition continues to hammer the refugee issue it massages the nation’s well documented , deep seated zenophobia, for base political reasons. An observer of the US political and economic scene just the other day said the situation there had seen the return of “vicious elements,”long thought to have been in the past. As we reported in a previous post, veteran political journalist /author , Alan Ramsey , said the refugee issue had the power to poison the country right up to the election. Makes you want to ship a growing list of hardline pollies to Devil’s Island .
Monday, January 11, 2010
Part of the Hotel Darwin site is now occupied by The Palms , fronting the Esplanade , the subject of ongoing speculation that a multi storey tower will be built there .
Back in 1938 Paspalis gave evidence in an arbitration hearing for a Territory wage in which he said he owned several houses , the weekly rent on two being 32/6 ( $3.25), one at 27/6 ($2.75 ) and another 37/6 ($3.75). One house had cost 1300 pounds ($2600) and another 1600 pounds ($3200). Mrs Paspalis had a restaurant and fruit business. In those days apples sold for up to 25 cents a dozen ,oranges 30 cents and peaches about 20 cents a dozen.
It seems Mick was tight with the farthing. If he served you bacon and eggs, there was usually only one cackleberry on your plate . On the other hand, Mrs Paspalis normally produced Adam and Eve on a raft.
A paperboy who delivered to the Paspalis residence on East Point Road said that when it came to paying the weekly account , Mick paid the exact amount , right down to the last penny. Mrs Chrissie Paspalis, however, would usually include a tip if she settled the bill.
The late NT News editor, James Bowditch , often told of the only known occasion that anybody got the better of Mick over a money matter. Big Jim Bowditch met Mick “crying” outside the Hotel Darwin, complaining that a prominent entrepreneur who had obtained a large sum of money from Mick for a failed joint importing venture from Asia was inside the pub at the very moment entertaining women with his, Mick’s, money.
Two former Darwin journalists were drinking in a Sydney hotel when they saw a dejected looking Mick walking by , head down, as if looking for a lost gold nugget. They hailed him , his face lit up and they called him in for a drink. No one can recall who paid for the libations.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
The second position is for a Media Liaison Officer , ($52,367 -$60,116) , who will assist the Media Manager provide an internal and external media service. The Director Media and Corporate Communications , Katie Fowden, on 8901 0281 is the person to contact for further information .
Is this a major expansion of media activities , if so, why ? How many are employed in the Media and Corporate Communications Unit and what are their duties ? Just a few questions that the average journo would be expected to ask.
It is THE ACCIDENTAL GANGSTER The Life And Times of Bela Csidei , as told to Norm Lipson and Adam Walters , Park Street Press, 2006,a great read with sensational revelations. The blurb, in part, reads - Frank Sinatra, Sir Peter Abeles, Jimmy “ The Weasel” Fratianno…big celebrities, big business, big mobsters and big politicians, from the famous to the infamous, the cast of characters almost defies the imagination .
It sure does . In 1978 , Csidei was hot news in Darwin when he appeared in court on charges connected with the growing of a marijuana crop at isolated Wollogorang Station and the alleged bribing of a police officer. This writer was in Darwin at the time and can report that he was the talk of the town and had the media rushing about with excitement . During hearings, the case being aborted on one occasion because of a newspaper comment, it was claimed Csidei wanted the crop grown to pay off a loan to American Mafia hitman , Jimmy Fratianno, who had threatened to kill him. During the hearings, Csidei stayed in the Hotel Darwin and was regarded as something of a celebrity , even attending a party held by an ABC reporter
In sentencing Csidei to 15 months’ gaol, with a non-parole period of nine months, Mr Justice Foster said the accused had been painted as a Godfather of crime and a criminal mastermind. There was ,however, not the slightest evidence to support this. Furthermore , he said if Csidei was a mastermind, he must be the most inept one in history. The NT Crown Prosecutor in the case , Ian Barker QC, would later , in private practice in Sydney, defend Csidei in his battles with Corporate Affairs over matters involving many high flyers .
Csidei’s account of the Territory court hearings and his time in the slammer here often makes amusing reading. Beg, borrow or steal this book for its startling content and claims .
Friday, January 8, 2010
The letters, held together by one of Marie Antoinette’s diamond studded garters, reveal that her husband , Louis XVI , actually made repeated flights to Copenhagen in the world’s first aircraft - a gold plated flapping machine built by the genius, Henri Bleriot , in a bid to save his neck .
His spin doctor, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, told him the polls were looking decidedly grim and he would have to do something on a grand scale to save La Belle France from exploding. The anxious king discussed the matter with Marie Antoinette who said the smelly, starving peasants would soon forget their worries if given stale cake.
Unfortunately, the palace courtiers repeatedly got on the booze in Denmark and came back with cheaper pizzas , not dainty pastries . The French peasants took one look at the pizzas and declared they would not eat Italian junk tucker , which they said was even worse than English food that usually tasted like the boiled boot of the Duke of Wellington. Chop,chop. Chinese takeaways then reigned throughout France.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Ominiously, he advised her not to pose in a swimsuit at the Nightcliff boat ramp for a News photographer. Crocodiles, he revealed, will do anything to appear in publications , one had even arranged to be snapped wearing a bowtie for the next edition of DarwinLife, pretending to be the owner of a handbag , shoe and wallet shop which caters for corporate cowboys.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
The latest Territory minister with responsibility for SIHIP, beaming Dr Chris Burns, aka the Pepsodent Kid , made a statement before the end of the Noughties in which he admitted that not one house had yet been built, but other work had been carried out and that in 2010 there would be frantic activity on the home front. In between the usual rehash of crocodiles, UFOs and a G-string eating canine ,the NT News of January 2 carried a report about the difficult past year for the House of Henderson, one of its many problems being the fact that not one new dwelling had yet been built under SIHIP.
Take a peak at the $672 million SIHIP website and it becomes abundantly obvious that there is a lot of moolah to be made. The program is delivered through three alliance major contracts to deliver packages of work ranging from $30million to $50million. The alliances are-