Thursday, June 27, 2013


(From the  files  comes another    item   of   spooky  election  ephemera  which   surely  must  scare  the  pants  off   voters  silly  enough  to  consider  voting   for  the Coalition.)

The  dodgy  three  dollar  bill  was prominent in  many elections . This  one  highlighted  the special privileges  given  the American mining company UTAH  during  the Malcolm  Fraser  reign   and  the  vast profits  they  were  making , very  little  paid  to  the  Commonwealth.   The   flag  of  convenience  ships  used  to   ship  the   ore  out of Australia , denying    Australian  seamen from  jobs, was also a  bone of contention.  Queensland   premier  Joh Bjelke-Petersen , depicted as a  woolly beast,   closely connected with  UTAH ,  threatened  ABC  reporter ,  the  late  Paul  Lynam , when  he  asked  valid  questions . Joh  thought he could bluff media  chooks .

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


In a  batch of  old   photographs  bought    from   an   antique  stall  at  the   Port Adelaide   market  decades ago   was   this   view  of   Thursday   Island   taken  by   Gilbert  A.  Smith .  He   is   listed   in  THE  MECHANICAL  EYE IN  AUSTRALIA  Photography 1841-1900  as   having   first  been    based  on  the   island   in 1897.  The   British  writer  Somerset   Maugham  spent several weeks  on  Thursday Island  in  the  l920s  and it  has  been  stated   he  wrote a short  story,  later  famously  known as Rain ,  which    told  of    the   moral  disintegration of  a  missionary  attempting  to   convert  a Pacific  island  prostitute , Sadie Thompson,  adapted  as  a  play  and  made  into several films. 
 1932 version   
From  a  family of  lawyers,  Maugham  had  a  stammer and  studied  medicine  before  becoming a highly paid writer  in the l930s. Maugham travelled a lot  and many   of  his  short  stories  were  inspired  by  accounts  he  heard  during  his  travels  in    outposts of  the Empire.

 While in Sydney , he  was  told  that  Thursday Island   was  the  last  place  made  by  God ,that  there  was nothing to see there and  he  would probably  have  his throat cut if he went there. He wrote an  account   of arriving  at TI  aboard  a  Japanese vessel   and  being  greeted  by  a  woman  in  her nightgown  at  the  Grand  Hotel. The island and  its many colourful characters inspired  him.  

A  fort  had   been   built at   Battery Point  on   the island   in the  1890s   because  of   tension  between  Russia and  Britain.  During  WW1   Maugham    served  with  the  Red  Cross  in what  was  called  the Literary Ambulance Corps . Later he  was  recruited  into  the British  Secret Service and  was in Russia before  the  Bolshevik  Revolution.

 Tom  Flynn,  who  inspired  the  character  Tim O’Cannon   in  Xavier Herbert’s  award  winning  1938  novel , Capricornia, about the  Northern Territory, spent  some  time  on  Thursday Island   working  as  a blacksmith  before  going  to  Darwin. It  is suggested   he   joined   the  military  garrison on TI   which  made  him  enthusiastic  about  bearing  arms  and  all  things  military.  Flynn’s  Aboriginal   wife ,  Nellie ,  became   the  character    known  as  the Bloody Parakeet  , so  called  because  of   the   bright  clothes  she  wore     

Monday, June 24, 2013


For  the  fifth  time  this  month,  a   legless  mining company  magnate   is    pushed  home  from  the  Melbourne  Club  in   a   plush   stretch  wheelbarrow    by   an  underpaid  Irish  457  Visa worker   after  the plutocrat  shouted  for  the   true blue  gathering  during  another   riotous   night   celebrating  the   looming    removal   of    the    Gillard   Government 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


(From  our  extensive  files  come  spooky  political  items  of  ephemera  which  will surely  scare  the  pants  off   people  intending  to  vote  for  the  Coalition .)
Despite  quick reflexes which  enabled him to catch  an egg  thrown at  him  during an election campaign , John  Hewson  lost  the   unlosable  election  for the  Coalition  after  he  could not explain  to Mike  Willesee   on  TV how  to make  an  iced suet pudding , the  proposed special  treat  for workers  in salt mines  at  Christmas  time  under  a  kind  Tory  government

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MISS PINK CHALLENGES THE NATION-Ongoing biography of NT Crusading Editor,"Big Jim" Bowditch

At  some stage , anthropologist  Miss Olive  Pink  was  forced  out  of  Thompson’s Rockhole  and   came back to  Alice Springs to live. According to Professor  Elkin  , the  NT  Director of Native Affairs , E.W.P.  Chinnery, may  have  banned Miss Pink from  going back to the Tanami . The professor recalled that  something, he was not sure, had happened out  in the desert and  this made Chinnery  feel it was not safe for her.  Some Alice residents claimed an Aborigine  attacked her and she shot him in the rump with the pistol she carried for safety.
One account  of what  happened  was  put  forward by Mrs  Braitling  of Mt Doreen Station . She said Miss Pink had been trying to prevent the Aborigines  from  contaminating   the  water  in the rockhole , which was at  a  low  level .   To   achieve this  goal , she had tried to stop them  from  just dipping things in the water or  bending down  and drinking .  A  man  had  become annoyed  at the restrictions  and  knocked Miss Pink to the ground. She, it seems ,  may have pulled out her gun and shot him in  the  buttock 
After that  attack , it  appears that she   made her way to The Granites goldmine  and narrowly escaped being shot  in mistake for an animal  when  she  crawled into  the Chapmans’  camp  late at  night .  Apart from  having a five stamp  gold battery , the Chapmans  had   tapped  a good artesian  water supply  for their   swimming pool and a  garden ,  netted off   from animals.  However, the persistent desert animals managed to  nibble the  vegetables at night . One of the  Chapman sons armed himself with a  rifle and  sat up  late at    night  to shoot  the marauders.  Hearing  strange noises , he was ready to shoot  when he discovered it was Miss Pink,  who had been  on the track  for three  days without water, crawling  along the ground.  She was picked up , taken inside  and given a spoonful  of  brandy which she spat out in her rescuer’s face.

In a scathing  lecture  in l936 ,Miss Pink   said  discussion of the real  truth about the extermination of the native race was generally evaded.  In her opinion, and that of medical authority , the main cause  of “ native  depopulation” was  venereal infection of full blood  native women.  Some people used the “ camouflage” explanations of “ race suicide” and “ malnutrition ”.  Because an entirely male regime had failed to afford  the Aborigines any  real benefits,  she said  it was time  women took an active and prominent part in the administration of  native affairs.  Medical women were urgently needed  in North Australia to  treat veneral disease among  full blood native women.  Miss Pink also attacked “malicious ” statements  in novels  which reiterated  such phrases as  “treacherous ”and “ glaring warriors”.
She  wrote another paper for  Oceania in l936 , The Landowners in the Northern Division of the Aranda Tribe ,  Central Australia.  Commenting on Miss Pink’s work, Elkin said  that she came up with good material , having an eye for important points.  In particular , he remembered her using the   expression  totemic clan estates in relation to  land ownership.  Professor W.E.H.  Stanner had used the same expression in a paper, and Professor Elkin  said he took delight in pointing out to him  that the term had  initially been  used  by Miss Pink.  Stanner  had been reluctant to admit Miss Pink had  been  the  originator.
At the time Elkin was  corresponding with  Miss Pink  in the  l930s, he was also  writing to author Xavier Herbert in  Darwin  whose  prize winning 1938  novel  Capricornia exposed the  plight of  Aborigines in the Territory, especially  women .
On  December 6, l938 there appeared an article( see head of post ) in the Canberra Times  by Miss Pink, described as a research worker in anthropology and sociology, in which she urged the nation to consider  the plight of Aborigines in Australia . Under the proposed new  federal government policy  she said it was proposed   to give votes, education  and  citizen  rights to “  picked full-bloods ” This would be utterly  inconsistent with   democratic principles, and would eventually lead to  further betrayal of the aboriginal.  Those selected for the “rights” would be those least competent to  express the true nature of the aboriginal mind- police  blacktrackers and “  mission pets ”,   who would virtually betray  the l5,000 full bloods  still in the Territory  by becoming the    tools and marionettes  of whites  against their own race.
She urged  the nation give  each tribe a secular sanctuary  where it could shape its own destiny in an atmosphere  free of repression . Once again, she was dismissive of  missions .  She told Elkin  that  if the “Golden   Age ”of  the Aboriginal Native Affairs  Department arrived  there would be one interpreter  for each tribe  and she would be the interpreter-adviser for  the  Wailbri NEXT: Miss Pink hits Bowditch with umbrella.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Defensive curlew on Magnetic Island. Vallis photo

The   wonderful   Stone  Curlew , with  its  large head , fathomless eyes ,   has   a  distinctive  wail  at  night . It   cries, it  is said,  for  lost  or dead   children  Others  say  it  is  the Devil  Bird,  its  cry announcing the death  of  somebody , a  dreadful  event  .    A  Darwin  resident  surprised  by  describing    curlews   as ”  those broken - legged  birds” , because  of  the  way  their  long  legs   are    jointed  and    fold  forward enabling   a  prone  position,  as  they  blend   into  the  background .   
Headed   Authentic Life   Record  of  a  Stone Curlew, an  April 27, 1934   letter  from W.H.Kinsela, Member of  NSW  Anthopological Society , Australian Museum ,  has  surfaced   which  contains   information  about   the   longevity   of  the   bird...
        In Rockdale , a suburb of Sydney, an old resident of the district, whom I have known personally for some years, keeps a fine specimen of a Stone Curlew, which readily  answers to the name of "Curly". Towards the end of this year (1934) he will celebrate his twenty-ninth birthday. As far as Mr. J. R. Kinghorn, ornithologist of the Australian Museum, knows, no other bird of this species has reached this age in captivity in Australia.

        This  bird came from Alstonville, on the Richmond River, near Casino, NSW, In his third year he was brought to Sydney, his days from then on being spent in three different suburbs. During his life he has always been allowed absolute freedom in the garden, keeping guard about the house like a faithful hound, every now and then giving forth that mournful cry so characteristic of these birds.

        Despite his seasonal attacks of rheumatism and gout (or whatever old birds   get!), he seems good to pace his domain for several more years yet, to meet the stranger at the gate with that watchful twinkle in his eye which belies his real age, 21. ( Ed.- Joke)  This   record  I can state as absolutely authentic: I have watched the Curlew myself  for over 20 years.


Rupert  Murdoch  marries  P3  girl. +++  Cardinal   Richelieu  okays  Julia  Gillard  be  burnt  at  the  stake  in Joan of  Arc  jacket. ***  Muscular Joe  Hockey  represents   Australia in  Mr Universe  contest. *** Christopher  Pyne  orders  Coles  Funny Arcade  naughty boy  whipping machines  installed in all  schools  and universities as  part  of   the  Coalition’s   dynamic new   approach  to   education.  

Monday, June 17, 2013


Alan Austin  lifts the lid on 15 Australian success stories Australia’s Soviet-style media will never allow to be told — and the three they will. (Austin is a freelance  journalist based in Nimes,France, an economist  interested  in integrity in government  and news media , a Christian  activist .Without the  graphics , this is his  recent  article.
AUSTRALIA IS  NOT just  a success story — it is an anthology of success stories. Ascendancy in so many areasall at the same time. Europeans wish they had these narratives. They would dance in the streets. (Actually, Europeans still dance in the streets, despite everything.) As for Americans and Canadians, they would lap up every word.
But here’s the thing. In Australia these stories are  seldom, if ever, told. Not a hint from a Hartcher, not a mention from a Mitchell,  not  a  suggestion from a  Sales and not a clue from a Crabb.  Historians will ponder and explore these 15 accomplishments with wonder and delight.
1. The Government of Michael Joseph Savage in New Zealand (1935-40) was recently eclipsed by the  Government of  Julia Eileen Gillard in Australia for the lowest rate of ministerial sackings due to incompetence or corruption in the Westminster world. Since 1820 anyway. What led to this?  Minority government? What else do Michael Joseph and Julia Eileen have in common?
2. Why is Australia now being urged to lead  the free world? Australia has been voted to chair the Pacific Islands Forum. Plus next year’s G20 group of the world’s 20 major economies. That’s on top of a seat on the UN Security Council. Everyone wants to sit next to Australia.
3. Why was  Prime Minister Gillard given that standing ovation after addressing the US Congress? Traditionally, that honour is reserved for deputy sheriffs who follow Uncle Sam into battle. How has this government managed to strengthen the alliance without supporting a single invasion? What singular advantage has Australia thereby gained?
4. What precisely transformed relations with Indonesia? Australia is no longer the target for embassy killings, nightclub bombings, presidential invective and diplomatic insults. Who was the man who accomplished this? Or was it a woman?
5. How has Australia dealt with the wanton cruelty inflicted upon live sheep and cattle exported to Asia and the Middle East? With what outcomes? And why are bulls being tortured in television reports always named Billy or Bobby and not Brutus or Bozo?
6. Australia now ranks higher than ever before on the economic freedom index published by Washington’s Heritage Foundation. [Mission: “to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.”] Australia’s score is now the highest in the 34-nation OECD. A Labor government? Holy handguns! How did this happen?
7. Australia is one of four countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to have unemployment below 5.5% and job participation above 75%. Which are the others? What else distinguishes them?
8. Australia is one of only three nations in the OECD and G20 economies with interest rates in the optimum range between 1.75% and 4.75%. Only Australia has maintained this through the global financial crisis. How? What can Australia do now that was never possible before?
9. Australia is the only developed country to have had continuous economic growth for 22 years. Australia and Poland alone among OECD nations avoided recession in 2009. Why just these two? Which other nation is the most envious, and why?
10. Labor productivity is a tricky concept to define and even trickier to get right. It measures the costs of labour and other inputs used to produce things. Low productivity has bedevilled the world for decades, including Australia’s. Until 2011, that is. Suddenly it surged in Australia, rising dramatically for a record seven consecutive quarters. Seven. Wow! What generated this amazing surge? And what will trigger a sudden reversal?
11. Australia has zoomed to the top of the table of well-managed economies. That’s based on all the key variables. Not just in the world now, but anywhere, any time. How? Was it abundant minerals, critical decisions by Treasury, or the sound work of Peter Costello?
12. Speaking of whom, why does Australia always rise up through the ranks during Labor regimes and tumble down during Coalition periods? From 19th in 1983 up to 6th during the Hawke/Keating years, then down to 12th in 2007 under Howard and Costello, then to the very pinnacle in 2010. Who benefits from this cycle?
13. Best economy in the world is creditable enough. Best the world has ever seen is more impressive still. But achieved during the worst global economic crisis since the 1930s? How is this conceivable?
14. Remember when national strikes routinely disrupted train and air travel? Petrol rationing, supermarkets running out of milk and garbage piled in the streets? City intersections clogged most Fridays with demonstrations against the war or the US alliance or the government?Ah, sweet memories. What brought about this cultural change in Australia – almost alone in the Western world – to have such disruption and discord diminish?
15. Finally, what’s with Canberra’s extraordinary dishonesty differential? A journalist was recently assigned the task of counting all the blatant lies – as distinct from unfulfilled promises – by Australia’s four federal party leaders. He found twelve. That’s a lot for just four leaders. He also found they were all by the one leader. Which one? Why was the research not published?
 There. Fifteen stories. Would you like to read one of them? Well, you can’t. Sorry. It has been decided by those who know what you want better than you do that you want three topics only:
(1) How appalling the Government is;
(2) how disastrously it is doing in the opinion polls; and
(3) how the only hope for the future is a leadership challenge.
If the latter eventuates, well, that proves how appalling the Government is, as will be demonstrated in this week’s opinion poll, which will apply further pressure for another leadership challenge. If this doesn’t happen, well that just shows how appalling the Government is, which next week’s opinion poll will highlight …
Ah, you crazy Australians! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Host of coloured Daffodils with  Iris from Tauranga

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Sight  impaired artist, Russell   Drysdale   (1912-1981),see right, presented  Australia  and  its outback  people , including  Aborigines, in  a  stark  new  light  and  was  much  admired  by   the   Murdoch  family.   Drysdale  was  born  at  Bognor Regis ,Sussex, and  came to Australia with  his parents.  The   retina of  his  left  eye  was  detached when  he was  17; he began to study  art in Melbourne ,  later   in  London  and  Paris .  Early  in  his  life  he  worked  on  the  family owned  Pioneer  Sugar  Plantation  on  the  Burdekin River, North Queensland, and  enjoyed  his time  there  so much  that  he  called  it  his  spiritual  farm  .  He   got  on  well with  his  uncle, Cluny Drysdale ,who  ran   the place, and accompanied  him  on a   trip back  to England .  He   arrived  back  in  Australia  in  l939, just  when  Sir  Keith  Murdoch , of   the  Melbourne  Herald  , brought  out  a  collection  of  modern  French  and  British  art , the  most  important exhibition  ever  to  visit  Australia .
Another  great view - SBS screen grab.
In  his  first  2008  Boyer Lectures ,  media  magnate , Rupert  Murdoch ,  above , son of Sir Keith , opened   by  saying  that  on  the wall  of his office  at  The Wall Street Journal ,  with a view across  Manhattan to the Statue of  Liberty , is a  Russell  Drydale  painting  which  had  travelled with him around the world. Called  The Stockman and His Family, Murdoch said  its sentimental value  was beyond  the  artistic merit. ..There  were flourishes  of  the  theme  he wanted to discuss  about the  place of  Australia in this century of opportunity.
Murdoch  said -For  those  of   you  tragically  unaware of  the artistry of  Drysdale, I suggest that you Google him. Drysdale  was among the early modernists. In his day, he became Australia's most famous artist. More than that, he was one of the   first Australian artists to gain a truly international reputation. He  did this with canvases that  are at once utterly modern and distinctly Australian—with images that reflect the glory and the desolation of the outback It depicts a family using Drysdale's trademark red hues, and it captures the empathy of shared solitude. That solitude is a characteristic of our vast continent. In its midst, we are inevitably conscious of our individual smallness.
I have vivid memories of  long and  dusty drives  into  the  Never Never—whose  sparseness  inevitably  prompts  even the  most  thoughtless   among  us  to contemplate. (This  comment  may have been  a  reference  to  the  long  car  trips  he made   to  Darwin , from Mount   Isa after   buying  the  NT  News ( and Mount  Isa Mail) in the  old  Tin Bank days in Darwin  ,  which  will  be covered  in the  serialised  biography  of  crusading  editor  Jim  Bowditch .)
Continuing,  he said ...When  Drysdale's  canvas  catches  my  eye, it  of course reminds  me of  home and of  Australia's past and of my own past. It must be said that the  protagonist  is  Aboriginal  and  his   ancestors   (our ancestors)  experienced  the  vicissitudes  and  violence of  nature  long  before  the  coming of  European settlement.  The continent  was  the same, the summers as  unrelenting,  the gums  as  ghostly. These are more than just shared  circumstances  but  a  common heritageone  that  is  denied  in the  dialectical deconstruction of  the  Aboriginal  experience, for  political points  are  too  often scored at the  expense  of  understanding.
But  the  stockman  scene  also  points to the future. His family have  clearly endured much hardship. They've been confronted  by  the heat  and ochre dust in a way that  few of us city slickers really experience. And yet there is a steeliness and  closeness  that  suggest  that  this family is ready for the future. Our national character should never lose that  steeliness.
We are all less innocent than we were 100 years ago. One of the most touching scenes in any small Australian town  is the local war memorial, whether in the Mallee, out  west, or up north. I suggest that every young Australian take a few moments to look at the names of those who left these towns and fought in distant wars. Can you possibly imagine what it was like for a lad to have left the wheat farm and found himself months later confronting a cliff and a machine-gun in the Dardanelles? Today there is nothing sadder than visiting the graves of  thousands of 19- and 20-year-old Australians  at Gallipoli.

My father, then  a  young war correspondent,  was outraged by the mismatch between Australian enthusiasm and British  logistical  incompetence  at  Gallipoli.  He  was outraged too by the censorship that allowed that incompetence  to continue to go unpunished. We were all certainly less innocent after the Great War. But we must do more than just celebrate  past  heroism if  we are to confront the future with confidence.The First World War was the beginning of the end of our splendid isolation, and we have never been less isolated than we are now, 90 years later. Australia's identity is again undergoing dramatic change. We are fashioning it, and it is being fashioned by external influences.

Our leading trade partners are the great nations of Asia,  not  mother England. European languages are generally less functional for  our children  than  Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian—though I'd put in  a special word for Spanish  for  its  utility  in  Latin America  and  the  United States .  NEXT :  Dame  Elisabeth  Murdoch  backs  Drysdale   book .