Friday, February 26, 2010


As the witching hour draws nigh in Darwin weird things often happen . F'rinstance , here is a spooky, puzzling story . About 11. 15 to 11.25 ,on a wet and dark night , a bunch of men were running around out the front of the TAB HQ and The Planet, Nightcliff , yelling,in turn being shouted at by a man with a loud hailer . Then , for some unknown reason, they ran to cars , jumped in and drove off at speed. The last vehicle to decamp contained the man with the megaphone who went to the rear of the car, the boot opened, he threw in the instrument and CLIMBED IN HIMSELF AND PULLED DOWN THE LID - LIKE COUNT YORGA JUST BEFORE DAWN . With a few whoops and hollers, the car took off with the body in the boot.
One bizarre suggestion for the event is that the odd bodkins were fans of the latest Alice in Wonderland movie in which naughty Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter . It will be recalled that Alice fell head first down a hole and met up with a neurotic bunny who was running late. Those people running about in Nightcliff were thus imitating the rabbit with the Swiss watch and a Swiss Navy knife in the fairy tale. The guy with the loud hailer , although not wearing a frock and a pinafore, was obviously taking the part of Alice disappearing down that magical chute.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A twitchy ranking member of an important government service recently turned up at a dispute hearing, involving what on the face of it are piddling complaints against a staff member, which have run on like the radio serial Blue Hills, clutching a folder as if a top secret document. It fell open at one stage, and before he could restore it to his bossom, revealed instructions on how to perform in the meeting. Near the top of the list was the advice to “deflect” the union representative. Whether he compiled the list himself ( doubtful) or if it was composed by someone else higher up the ladder is not known. We will keep an eye on this and other pettifogging cases and keep you informed.


Another anniversary of the bombing of Darwin took place recently and the gross spelling errors in the war memorial on the Esplanade, previously pointed out by Little Darwin , have not been corrected. Furthermore, the website for War Memorials in Australia –Darwin Cenotaph - lists some of the same spelling errors in the text.

These are the errors incised in red granite on the west wall , listing campaigns in which Australians served , set behind the central cenotaph : NETHERLAND’S EAST INDIES instead of NETHERLANDS EAST INDIES; PHILLIPINES instead of PHILIPPINES and UNITED NATION PEACEKEEPING which should be UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING .

For these errors to remain unchanged for years reflects poorly on Darwin , especially the Darwin City Council, the Bombing of Darwin and Military History Advisory Committee, the NT government, the RSL, local historians, numerous armchair generals and admirals. On October 18,2009, Little Darwin pointed out the unsatisfactory situation at the war memorial and spelling errors in the Welcome To Darwin website dealing with significant wartime sites . This drew a zero response-no statement by anybody in authority, no question in the Legislative Assembly in a building on the site of the post office which was bombed with the loss of 10 people , no apparent remedial action.

Back in the 1920s , when the cenotaph was made by a Sydney monumental mason , it was discovered on arrival here that there were spelling errors in names or wrong initials or incorrect ranks in those listed on the plinth. Prompt action was taken to rectify this. Some 90 years later, Darwin dithers when it comes to corrective action. Welcome To Darwin continues with its spelling errors in the guide to war sites.

In what is repugnantly referred to as Darwin’s “brand bombing ”, plans are being made for a large 2012 70th anniversary of the attack on the city with many visitors from overseas, including Hawaii. Wonder if the new US ambassador to Australia noticed that Aussies can’t spell when he attended the latest bombing of Darwin anniversary ?


Little Darwin Locked Out *** Scouts Missing *** Door & Pollies Unhinged ***Parliament Reduced To Bunch Of Crocks *** Territory Health Department Rebranded By Comedian

(Our resident , mild mannered gonzo journalist found himself locked out when he went to report on the current session of the Legislative Assembly. Attempting to enter the West Wing public gallery, he found it locked . When the security guard was asked why, he was told there were not enough guards. Obviously , this is a direct result of the PM’s announcement about the threat from home grown terrorists and the need to be ever vigilant. Then the guard quizzed him about any mobile phone , baby feeding bottles or other troublesome things he might have in his fashionable Guy Fawkes manbag which could interfere with the parliamentary proceedings.) This is our man’s balanced and responsible report -

KEEN TO SCALP and kneecap as many members of the NT Government as possible , the CLP performed like whooping injuns on the warpath at the Little Bighorn . In the wild fight there was collateral damage on both sides. Jodeen Carney took leave of absence before the wagons were even drawn up into a protective circle and the Sioux, Blackfoot and Iriquois began their onslaught. Former renegade squaw , Marion Scrymgour, hit in the foot and limping with the help of an ALP peace pipe converted into a walking stick, bravely held her ground, fought on . Somebody was seen tottering about with his arm in a sling , perhaps wounded by a fluke hit by an F Troop sharpshooter.

John Elferink, given to invoking Biblical , historical and classical names and events, mentioned Colonel Custer in a bloodthirsty verbal onslaught , one which would have surely unnerved John Wayne, he of enormous grit. The Opposition felt they were winning when senior government members retreated from the chamber to seek Dutch courage at Miss Kitty's OK Saloon before launching a surprise nuclear attack on the invading redskins. In what looked like a repeat of the President Bush media conference in downtown Baghdad , an angry looking Blackfoot warrior whipped off his black moccasins ( that's why they became known as the Blackfoot ) and hurled them at the Big White Chief who speaks incessantly with a Territory tongue .

Then the Health Minister , Kon Vatskalis ,began to show signs that the mean-looking hombre , Geronimo , had shot him in the lung. Sitting at his laptop looking up recipes for Territory sea slugs to promote our seafood industry , Kon began coughing like a consumptive . Out came the white hanky- but it was not to indicate surrender to the howling heathens ; a loud blow of the snozzle ensued,producing a sound reminicent of the mating call of a Mongolian Trotting Duck ; followed by more coughing . The Speaker looked concerned , as if about to run down from her fort and apply mouth to mouth to the minister . The thought of kalamari and garlic probably put her off that course of action . After another coughing fit, he bundled up all his seafood cooking books and stumbled out of the chambers . By this stage the government side was starting to look as thin as those terrible moments at Colonel Custers famous last stand.

Up in the public gallery actually open to the public, which is behind glass, and likely to be invaded by noisy schoolkids at any moment , a person with a sense of humour said the departure of the coughing and spluttering health minister did not project a positive image about the state of the Territory’s health department . If Kon were suffering from swine flu , a special Greek strain at that , he could decimate all the cast in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show being fought out in the chamber. The comic fellow went on to say that it was a misnomer to call it the Health Department . It was the Sickness Department, and you should try and keep away from it at any cost.

While Ms Scrymgour was on her feet fending off the slings and arrows of the CLP attack,she broke off her speech to kindly warn one of the Opposition, probably Sitting Bull , not to push on a door as there is something wrong with the hinge . It could have gone off like an IED and done him an injury . This kind cessation of hostilities was like the time during the war to end all wars when the Allies and the Germans stopped slaughtering each other to celebrate Christmas .

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Departing Department of Health head , Dr David Ashbridge, is understood to have had a lively discussion with Health Minister Kon Vatskalis about the government’s lack of resources , oversight and support for officers in the child protection area. We understand Dr Ashbridge pinned the minister's ears back with his forthright comments . (Hope those aren't the same Easter Bunny ears the minister had been seen wearing about the RDH warren .) Both the Minister and the Chief Minister last week in the Legislative Assembly admitted the obvious- that child care is in deep crisis.


Urgent real action is required to protect people living in public housing areas in Darwin from unruly tenants and others who make life a living hell. Residents in one area where a man was stabbed to death in a unit , the goings on in which had been the subject of numerous complaints to Housing , the local member of parliament, police , drawn to the attention to the Chief Minister then on passed up the police line, are again suffering.

One cause of deep concern right now is an individual who is abusive , rants ,chases people, has scared women working in a nearby shop and often stands around with his hand like a cocked gun at his head.

He has been the subject of numerous complaints to Housing , police and once more the local member of parliament. Openly, he points around the units and says the occupant of one wants to bash him and another has threatened to shoot him.

Several people are showing signs of reaching the end of their tether. Yet again, the system is clearly not working and requires prompt, direct action.

In another housing complex, a tenant who repeatedly played loud music and had a variety of people moving in and out at night, was finally moved on after a long time. Both areas have been hit by graffiti .

Friday, February 19, 2010


An interpretative sign in the recent NT parliamentary library Cyclone Tracy exhibition quoted a “former Senator” as saying he had heard the roof pealing (sic) back.
Of interest were details supplied by members of the public about various photographs in the cyclone collection. These included information about planes thrown about and damaged at Darwin Airport. Next to an overturned Cessna 206 was a battered Tiger Moth . Sucked out of a hangar when a wall blew in , the Tiger Moth had been owned by a group of 30 aircraft enthusiasts . According to information supplied , it had been sold to Christine Davies who flew for Connellan Airways , Alice Springs. A Fokker Friendship , not apparently badly damaged and upright , belonged to the mining company Freeport Indonesia and flew between Darwin and Irian Jaya .

Thursday, February 18, 2010


In no way do we infer that any parties involved in this item are guilty of anything illegal . Talking to contacts in the business world , we were intrigued by one particular piece of scuttlebutt. Seems an enterprising businessman from south got involved with some locals in a venture involving the importation of a certain product from an Asian country which would help overcome a major Territory problem which is causing the government a lot of stick.

One of the locals is well known , with strong government connections . Somehow, the deal has gone awry and we understand there is a demand for a six figure sum . On a prima facie examination of the case , a bush lawyer might declare the southerner , who put in all the hard yards , has been placed in an unfair position. But then, we are not bush lawyers. Surprising that the local media has not heard about this matter as there are other interesting aspects of the deal which, at this stage, are confidential but could very soon become public .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Day two of the current Legislative Assembly session and I wheeled into a car space not far away so that I could listen to proceedings. A final twist of the steering wheel and suddenly I felt as if I had been licked on the left elbow by a cow . It certainly was not a love bite – I have read that they are hot , painful and usually applied to the region of the jugular vein . This was cold, gooey , wet and , frankly, scary .

Much to my horror , the litre bottle of Trim milk , bought earlier in the morning on my wife’s instructions given before she went out , was sitting in the console cup holder and had touched me up .

As I came out of the shop with the milk I had just bunged it into the slot, promptly forgot about it, went home , read the NT News , spent time on the computer and then drove to the Assembly. What to do with the bottle of milk ?-Abandon it in a bin ? Drive home and put it in the frig without telling my wife who abhors sour milk ? Call at the RSPCA and make some cats feel wanted?

Lateral thinking was needed in this lactic lullaby, another senior’s moment. (Don’t suppose I told you I once knew a girl in South Australia who’s best friend was a cow called Moo Poo?). Anyway, back in Darwin, I ran into the office of a friend in the CBD with the distressed milk and placed it in the intensive care section of his frig . When I got it home later in the day , I quickly put it in the freezer , turning it into an ice block. A sniff test and a sip proved that it was fit for human consumption.

Now I read in the News that Mrs Robyn Chandler, wife of politician ,was spoken to for bottle feeding her son in the Assembly. Had I known that an enfant was going to be fed in the gallery I could have supplied the mother of the bouncing baby boy with a bottle which had bounced around a bit itself and was at the right temperature.


A team of Amazonian women has seized the NT News. Yes, folks, the bastion of hairy – chested journalism has fallen to a gaggle of ruthless Gen Y women. The capture was revealed in the freebie Darwin Sun which described the News as its “ big sister”. Hordes of male chauvinist pigs and unwashed tradies fell from their bar stools on learning that the macho paper has been taken over by a bunch of sheilas. Even more shocking is that the women are all southerners(Spit!) and sit around drinking soy milk caffe latte (Yuk!).

A male member of the newspaper staff escaped the blood -thirsty women by hastily donning a wig and skirt and scampering out the tradesgirls’ entrance. Leader of the invading femmes is Gemima Greer , Queen of the London baked bean environmentally friendly wrestling circuit . In an exclusively interview with this quaking male, Ms Greer, wearing a Viking helmet and filing her battle axe , said that instead of burning their bras , her followers use them to garrotte the bum, tit and crocodile obsessed males who work in newspapers.

Under the new feminine order, gone are yarns about crocs, UFOs, crocs, more crocs , plus or minus a croc, bonking crocs , celebrity crocs , split personality crocs who think they are monkeys , yodelling crocs , albino crocs, polka dot crocs , colour co-ordinated crocs . Ms Greer warned that she plans to slip a savage saurian up the trouser leg of Prime Minister Rudd the next time he comes to Darwin praising people who, self evidently, should be fed to crocodiles. Kevin Rudd’s security guards immediately clamped bicycle clips around his trouser leg cuffs to prevent such an attack which, if successful, would reduce him to a squeaky - voiced Tin Tin.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Veteran Canberra based political reporter and bespoke chicken and lettuce sandwich maker, Alan Ramsey , opined that the planning of our national capital deteriorated once it obtained self government. Buildings had been permitted in areas in which the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) would not have allowed , he told Late Night Live presenter , Phillip Adams.

After the destruction of Darwin by Cyclone Tracy it was proposed that the NCDC should design a new city from the wreckage . With alacrity and enthusiasm , it threw itself into the task . Here was a town planner’s dream - to design a city from scratch. It drew up plans for a new Darwin in which there would be no building in surge zones where future loss of life and massive property damage could be expected. It was also planned to take over the sparsely populated rural area with the idea of establishing a safer new capital . The combined uproar from town and country dwellers saw the NCDC sent packing .

In the process , a golden opportunity to have a unique, expertly designed tropical city was lost. Darwin continued developing like Topsy , and under self government has gone the way of Canberra . Now there are a vast number of dwellings and businesses in tidal surge zones , which will also have to cope with sea level rises due to global warming.

The shabby CBD contains a hotch potch of high rises, at times built to different requirements , and rural suburbs lacking in services , experiencing peak hour traffic snarls , very little decentralisation. Not only has town planning gone to pot , there have been several worrying reports about the capacity of modern houses to withstand cyclones. The latest ABC’s Stateline quoted an engineer who said that building standards had slipped to below that which applied before Cyclone Tracy. He was voicing exactly what journalist Paul Toohey had detailed in a major article last year. The Master Builders' Association this very morning is reported as saying there is not enough "evidence " to justify a tougher building code. We shall see , as they say in the peep show .

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Why was that man dressed in bright clothes rivalling the plumage of a brilliant rosella standing outside the Nightcliff Police Station looking up at the roof during the Sunday market. ? Soon after, he was seen perched on a chair as if about to clamber onto the roof. Later on , he was observed throwing a thong high up at a tree across the road and heard whistling.

The answer to this intriguing scenario is simple: Bolbols , a precocious red tail black cockatoo who regularly attends the market , perched on the shoulder of her owner, had decided to fly way . The bird normally mixes with the Sunday café society near The Groove showing off to the passersby .

Her escape involved the police who gave her owner the okay to climb on the roof to try and catch the flighty bird. He then borrowed a chair from the well known Darwin activist , Stuart Highway , who conducts a stall at the market , always willing to help a person with a problem , be they free citizens or incarcerated in Berrimah or a US penitentiary. The playing of protest songs to the accompaniment of a guitar by his friend, Rob Inder-Smith, may have incited Bolbols to fly the coop.

In any case , she was last seen heading for another tall tree after the thong throwing episode. This writer, having owned the book What Bird Is That? when he was boy, and survived a fall from a great height while attempting to rob a nest, went looking for the flyaway. A raucous cackle was heard from a tree near Nirvagi where people were enjoying the coffee, but it was not the fleeing cockatoo.

Examining the roof outside the police station it was noticed that the guttering is so blocked up there is an award winning Bonsai and bean sprout garden on display . It is not know if Bolbols, like Lassie, returned home . It must also be admitted that I am not sure of the actual name of the wonderful bird. It may well be like the saucy fan dancer , Fifi Le Bonbon, or a brand of Dutch gin which goes well with rollmops.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


There can be no doubt that the president of the Northern Territory Police Association, Vince Kelly, strongly defends his members, and leaves no doubt about what he means. While welcoming the new NT Police Commissioner , John McRoberts, he was reported as saying he would be given a year to prove himself in the job. The Commissioner in turn forthrightly expressed himself in media interviews and made it known that he can be personally contacted about matters of concern .

Furthermore, he is said to have been less than impressed with the various firewalls of redtape and paperwork within the police structure. It is to be hoped that his refreshing attitude extends to the wider public service. The past year has shown the nation widespread shortcomings in vital Territory services.

Recently a survey revealed the extraordinary amount of bullying going on in the NT Public Service, an intolerable situation . If bullying is so rife, how come union representatives have not spoken up in public long ago and taken issue with the canker?

It has been put to Little Darwin that Territory unions , with few exceptions, are fairly passive -pussycats, being one description- less spirited than in past years. It is a long time since an Administrator was forced to don his pith helmet and slip out the backdoor to a waiting gunboat because angry unionists were burning his effigy.

A straw poll in a vital government service recently found that a large part of the workforce were dissatisfied with the way human resources performs in handling complaints. One burning issue within the service being the seeming persecution of a person for close on two years by a bod in a high position , himself now the subject of an investigation over another staff related matter in which it was suggested police could be called in to investigate.

A weird reported excuse for the bullying in the public service was said to be middle level management on contracts pressuring people. Others speak of people in high positions “milking ” the system , causing chaos and then moving on . The bullying problem is not only in the public sector. There has been evidence of what amounts to standover tactics and cheating of young people in the private enterprise workforce.

In the event that the local media does a modicum of investigation it will discover a major issue involving not only bullying , but other stunning insights which reflect adversely on the performance and capacity of some in high positions.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Not before time, ABC general manager Mark Scott has banned all staff from sniffing bicycle seats. This drastic step follows the revelation by the outstanding radio personality , Alan Jones ,affectionately nicknamed The Parrot , that ABC staff , once regarded as refined ,God –fearing individuals, now sniff the seats of Malvern Stars, like cocaine addicts , and make scurrilous attacks on honourable people. Media Watch staff, especially its leering presenter , Jonathan Holmes , were called snifters and other cads by Jones.

Readers will recall that Jones was unable to ride a bicycle for months because of a painful and worrying prostate operation which prevented him from going to the studio, sitting on a soft goose feather pillow, and showering listeners with words of wisdom. Former Prime Minister, John Howard, a veteran 10- day penny farthing rider , felt so sorry for Jones after his operation that he sent him a Michelin puncture kit to help him get back on the road.

Jones was overwhelmed by the number of well wishers who sent him get well quick messages and cards during his inner tube patch up ordeal. A kind letter from Jennie George with a recipe for Greek yoghurt brought tears to his eyes as he recovered in his private velodrome , flat on his back , his racing gear going rusty .
Recently Jones looked extremely fit when seen with the pop-eyed global warming sceptic, Lord Monckton. His lordship's bulging optics are thought to be due to the nasty accident he had while taking Maggie Thatcher for a ride on a bicycle built for two and the chain broke on a steep incline . As he was not wearing an ermine lined cricket box at the time, he did himself a mischief. His condition did not improve when the Iron Maiden tried to give him the kiss of life as he writhed about in agony.
Because Alan Jones is a true blue Liberal, he has warned Opposition Leader Tony Abbott not to leave his bicycle out overnight for close inspection by those nasally twisted ABC reporters. The Mad Monk acted on this sound advice, and has a Darwin dingo trap cunningly concealed in the seat of his bike when it is not in use. It is to be hoped he remembers to remove the powerful trap before he next throws a leg over the seat , or else his Budgies may need the prompt attention of Rolf Harris and Animal Rescue. The after hours emergency telephone number for the plastic surgeon friend of Jackie Collins may also be required.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Little Darwin has an unusual link with a court case which rocked Melbourne when Channel 9’s award winning crime series Underbelly was not even in swaddling clothes. It is a battered 1950 copy of Communist author Frank Hardy’s controversial novel Power Without Glory containing newspaper clippings from the sensational court case it provoked .

Hardy, 33, was charged with having criminally libelled Mrs Ellen Wren, wife of John Wren, described as a Melbourne financier. Mrs Wren claimed the novel stated she had committed adultery with a bricklayer and given birth to an illegitimate child. She regarded the book as a “Communist plot”. There was an allegation that an attempt had been made to “ blackmail " her husband for $200,000 before publication of the book . The case had the populace rushing to read the newspapers , just as Underbelly had eager viewers glued to their TV screens.

During the hearing , two witnesses , John Wren junior and barrister and solicitor John Bernard Nolan, the latter a close friend of the Wrens, said they had read the book and identified 27 characters . They were : Dr Malone –Dr Mannix, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne; John Carr-John Cain , Parliamentary leader of the Labor Party in the Victorian parliament; “Snoopy” Tanner –“Squizzy”Taylor , Melbourne gunman who was shot dead in a Carlton gun battle; “Slasher” Cutting-“Snowy” Cutmore, a former Melbourne criminal; Alfred Davison –the late Sir Albert Dunstan, a former premier of Victoria; Mr Kenneth Murkett - Keith Murdoch (Rupert’s father ) , chairman of directors of The Herald and Weekly Times Limited ; “Snowy” Parker-Clyde Palmer, A Melbourne journalist; Mr Ron Lassiter-father of Con Loughnan, a member of Richmond City Council; Mr David Gartside-David Gaunston, solicitor who defended Ned Kelly and former adviser to John Wren ; “Red Ted ” Thurgood-the late E.J. Theodore , Labor Federal Treasurer and Acting Prime Minister of Australia; Lou Darby- the late Les Darcy , former middle and heavyweight boxing champion of Australia; Mr D. Lamb –Richard Lean, general manager of Stadiums Limited ; Barney Robinson –the late Barney Reynolds , a business associate of John Wren; Sol Solomons-the late Sol Green, philanthropist and well-known Melbourne racing identity ;Sugar Renfrey-Robert ( Sugar) Roberts, an associate of John Wren ; Bill Squeers – a former heavyweight boxing champion of Australia ; Frank Lammence-Frank Lawrence, former secretary of John Wren; Godfrey Dwyer –Sir Gilbert Dyett, a former president of the RSL; Thomas Real- Thomas Ryan-former premier of Queensland; T.Trumbleward-T. Tunnecliffe, who until his death was the member for Collingwood in the Legislative Assembly; Pat Cory- Pat Cody, a friend of John West; Vera Maguire –the late wife of witness Bernard Nolan; Arty West-Wren junior’s Uncle Arthur; Mrs Nellie West –Mrs Ellen Wren and Mr John West – John Wren.

An exhibit in the case was a heavily upholstered chair with a crest and Gaelic motto , “Wren to Victory”. It had been given by Archbishop Mannix to Wren senior. In Power Without Glory, there was mention of a chair bearing a Gaelic inscription “West to Victory.”

Hardy was acquitted of the charge. The author’s note in this the second (unexpurgated ) edition of the book said it was the first of a series of novels to give a picture of mainstream Australian life in the 20th century. By its very nature Power Without Glory contained material that was directly political . Novels, he believed , should be more than entertainment, having a political, social and artistic purpose. Hardy had a a long association with the Northern Territory , beginning with his time in the Army at Mataranka during WW11 and included his campaign for the Gurindjis.


Due to the wonders of streaming, Territory residents can now see the Legislative Assembly Question Time live . However, while you may laugh, groan, gasp or,in the confines of your lounge , like Socrates, take hemlock , geeks cannot tweak , twiddle and tamper with the footage.

Conditions of accessing the broadcast clearly state the reality TV provided cannot be used for such things as party political purposes , advertising and commercial purposes. Nor can it be used for satire or ridicule .

This rules out one of the latest crazes –moshups - brilliant , short , humourous clips which appear from time to time at the end of the ABC’s Q and A television show. A memorable moshup , performed to the tune Mellow Yellow, explained why Peter Costello never became PM- he was buttercup yellow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


A ferocious recent brawl in the “quiet end” of Mitchell Street is said to have involved about 20 “Irish gypsies”, thought to have been running scams throughout Australia. In the wild melee furniture was smashed , glasses broken and security staff from nightclubs and some soldiers moved in to help quell the riotous, very dangerous situation .
One of the troublemakers was arrested,but the rest have apparently left town, possibly fled overseas. Local security (bouncers), who happened to be off duty drinking across the road, helped out their mates when the blue erupted. The targeted drinking spot,with three inhouse security, one of which was a female, was well on the way to having its premises and patrons trashed and bashed until their colleagues and police arrived.
One local, experienced "attitude adjuster", later commented that the episode was one of the nastiest brawls in town, with lots of blood and torn clothing, and not far from parliament .

Sunday, February 7, 2010


DALE CARNEGIE’S book How to Win Friends and Influence People sold by the shipload. It was a guide on how to make yourself socially acceptable, enhance your career opportunities and thus become a cog in the wheel of capitalism. An interesting book with a contrary attitude to that title -How to Make Trouble and Influence People- has lobbed in Darwin and should sell well. It deals with pranks, hoaxes, graffiti and political mischief-making in Australia. By Iain McIntyre, there is a foreword by Andrew Hansen of The Chaser and it is published by Breakdown Press, Carlton, Melbourne.

It is an expanded compilation of these zines -the 1996 How to Make Trouble and Influence People , the 1999 How to Stop Whining and Start Living and the 2003 Revenge Of The Troublemakers .
Included in the conversations with a number of Australian activists are John Safran, John Howard Ladies ‘ Auxiliary Fan Club, Pauline Pantsdown, the Order of Perpetual Indulgence and No to Pope Coalition is Darwin’s own Stuart Highway , photographed with journalist Robert Inder-Smith , often seen strumming on a guitar and singing protest songs at the Nightcliff Sunday market, near Stuart Highway’s stall, and the late Gary Meyerhoff. Another conversation is with Arabunna ant- uranium and land rights activist Kevin Buzzacott

The well illustrated book covers expressions of mass and individual protest in the nation from the early days of white settlement , taking in protests at Pine Gap , a night time graffiti raid on the Darwin Indonesian Consulate office and the Gurindji Wave Hill strike.

Of particular interest are two photographs by an unknown photographer of the Day of Mourning march and meeting staged by Aboriginals in Sydney on the 1938 150th anniversary of white settlement . It shows well dressed men , women and children with signs saying Aborigines claim citizen rights. One large sign declares it is an Aboriginal Conference Day of Mourning –Aborigines Only. The caption says that Henry Fergusson, Jack Patten, Pearl Gibbs ,William Cooper and other indigenous leaders braved the threat of arrest to hold this first ever national Aboriginal civil rights gathering.

On that sesqui-centenary of European settlement, Xavier Herbert won the award for his novel, Capricornia , which revealed much about the treatment of Aboriginals in the Territory. A quick flick through the book and the familiar face of Brian Manning popped up in a 1981 picket by Darwin wharfies to stop the export of uranium . Senator Bob Brown is also pictured addressing protestors at the 1997 Jabiluka uranium mine blockade.

The front cover shows a protestor dressed as a sugar glider being forcibly removed from the Victorian Treasury Office after dumping a pile of woodchips with other furry and feathered friends. The glider was heard shout, “Stop woodchipping the water catchment , Brumby!”

Buga-Up- which hit billboards, especially those of cigarette companies- green bans, anti logging, women’s lib, ant –war, ant- apartheid , stop the Springboks tour, protect old growth forests , these and many more causes are there . For more information and how to order If you are smart, go along to Stuart Highway's stall at the Nightcliff market on Sunday and he may be able to sell you a copy and autograph it as well.


On hearing of the TIO bombing , a friend living in Malaysia rang us wanting to know what was happening in Darwin . As we discussed the incident, our caller then said there was a newsflash about a monkey being sighted in Darwin. What? It was news to us. Yes, he was able to read out the details about the said monkey being seen by the driver of a bus. If this was fact, we replied, it would surely make the front page of the NT News the following day. As it turned out ,we were wrong about the positioning of the story in the paper.

Strange as it may seem, the first or second edition of the NT News back in the 1950s had a suspicious filler story about a monkey sighting in New Zealand. About three decades ago a Hippie girl arrived from East Timor and an alert Customs officer at Darwin Airport noticed something was doing the rhumba beneath her voluminous skirt. Closer examination revealed a baby monkey.

Much to our surprise , on visiting the parliamentary library Cyclone Tracy exhibition at the weekend , there at the entrance of the building was what looked like a large metal cage. Could this be defence against a marauding , love-sick chimp like big brother , King Kong , or repair work on the façade?

Comments about the Cyclone Tracy display included one from a Townsville resident who said it should be compulsory viewing by all residents in Northern Australia. An overseas backpacker , presumably without a monkey on her back, said she was impressed by what she learned about the natural disaster .

Thursday, February 4, 2010


"Peg"Nelson, widow of former NT MHR and Administrator, Jock Nelson, has died in the Old Timers' Village, Alice Springs, at the age of 96. Mrs Nelson was spirited, enjoyed a laugh and was as genuine as they come , salt of the earth being an inadequate description for her qualities. This writer visited the Nelson home in Alice on several occasions , and Mrs Nelson pointed out bits of the Henbury meteorite in a glass case, saying she knew of other pieces in the hands of Centralians.

She exchanged yarns about journalist "Jimmy" Bowditch who ,when working as a public servant and an ALP official in Alice , played a big part in getting Jock elected to the House of Representatives. Bowditch, later editor of the NT News , and Jock were very close and heartily greeted each . When Nelson resigned as the NT Administrator to contest the Federal election , following the Kerr sacking of Gough Whitlam , Bowditch helped in the unsuccesful election campaign.Mrs Nelson was indeed a grand lady with no artificial airs and graces .


In a blast from the past, our post about the large number of souls in the NT fraternity brought a response from a gun journo who graced Darwin with his presence moons ago and had dealings with the small number of people in the legal profession in those days . In particular, he described a judge’s daughter as having a corpus delicieux, or maybe it was some other legal term, my recollection of schoolboy French being like English cooking , tres terrible

He commented that while judges often exuded the stern visage of somebody disappointed at not having had the opportunity to throw a black cap over their wig and order an execution, including quartering of the felon, their female associates and progeny were often more attractive to the eye.

During his time in America ,where there are more lawyers and ambulance chasers than fleas and cattle ticks on a blue heeler at each intersection, he mixed with starlets, the Sopranos , shonks and probably Hunter S. Thompson’s Samoan attorney.

Much to our surprise , our reporter friend lobbed in Darwin some years ago on a flight back to America with a distressed female in tow whom he had met on the plane. She was suffering from a mysterious malady,said to be a sodium deficiency . Was it also jet lag ? Too many in- flight gin slings? A pickled koala canapé long past its use by date? Perhaps a pill of some kind. ? In any case , here eyes were sticking out and she was unsteady on her feet. Nowadays, if you landed in Darwin in her state from overseas you would be welcomed by officials, taken into a room, stripped and told to bend over , such is our respect for visitors from OS.

Could we look after this troubled damsel until she landed on runway one ? Of course. She appeared to be over the age of consent, so there was no way that we could be charged under the US Mann Act 1910 for aiding and abetting the transport of a minor across a state boundary for immoral purposes. After a bit of R and R in our residence , she and our friend were up, up and away.

Incidently , the recent start of the NT legal year started with the usual religious service and numbers , oddly, were down. Former Chief Minister Paul “ Porky” Everingham , a lawyer, also lobbed in town to deliver a series of talks about the legal battles of years ago .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


NT Health Department honcho Dr David Ashbridge is quitting . He will take up a new post in Victoria next month. Expect an official announcement tomorrow.More than a month ago Little Darwin received information that Dr Ashbridge was going to depart. IMPORTANT NOTE: We understand the saintly gynaecological oncologist , Professor Margaret Davy , treated so shabbily by the Royal Darwin Hospital last year , will be coming back to Darwin from Adelaide from time to time . It would be nice if somebody presented her with a bouquet and a big apology -not that she would want one -as well as a big welcome back.