Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Luxury  yacht  of  billionaire  who  wants  Magnautic  Island Times 
Our proposed new online production-the Magnautic   Island  Times (MIT)   - has  taken  global  financial circles   by   storm.  After   we  recently  revealed  the  fabulous venture  to  our  readers  , giving   them  the   golden  opportunity  to invest   their   life savings  , the   Wall  Street   Journal    described  the  investment   offered   as   greater  than   the   combined   Klondike    goldrush   and   the   great   Australian  Poseidon  share   boom .  A    ruthless   New  York  media   magnate ,  who  refused  to  give  his  name , immediately  contacted  us  and  said  he  wanted  to  buy  MIT to  turn   into a  tax  loss  company , despite massive potential  profits,   with  the  help  of  lawyers,  accountants  and   dodgy  bankers.

 Despite  the  strong  urge  to immediately    accept  a  cheque   ,  drawn  on  the  Bank  of  Nigeria , as  a deposit ,   we   decided  to   play  the  Warrnambool Cheese  and  Butter  Factory   game  to  attract   further bidders   and  up  the  price  by  tens of  millions

We also   hired  an  American   gumshoe   to  check out   this  mystery   squillionaire . An  initial report  indicates   he  is a Great   Gatsby-like  character   with  a  shadowy   background,  who   gets  about  in  a  pink suit ,  has  a   butler,  Basil,  and   lives in   a  mansion  on    West  Egg   ;  there  is   a  belief    that   he   is  the  runaway ,  eldest  ,   black-sheep  son  of   the   late  Pierre  Pierpont , a notorious  American  robber baron . Our  private   eye  claims   the   filthy  rich   guy  , in  his  wild  20s , deserted   from   the   French  Foreign   Legion   after   an   episode   with   an  innocent   camel   in  the  Street  of   a  Thousand   Urinals .  At  the  time , the   camel’s  angry  father   offered   a  reward   of  1000 francs and an   autographed  copy  of  Beau  Geste    for  evidence  leading  to  the  guillotining of   the   offender.

At one   stage  in  the  tycoon’s  brutal   climb  up   the   ladder  to   massive  fortune ,  he  variously  passed   himself   off  as   an  architect ,  an  illustrator  of   filthy  French postcards , a  highly   qualified  medical   man   with  a   string  of  false  degrees   and   even   posed   as  an absurd looking Indian snake   charmer  in   NSW,  before   fleeing   overseas   ahead  of the    Federal   Police  and   two   bikie  gangs ,  the   Mormons  and  the  Grey  Nomads  ,  who   kept  knocking   on   his  door.

Tantalising   excerpts   of  a  high  literary standard   from   the   MIT   mock  up  will  be  run  in  Little Darwin from  time  to  time  to  send   investors  into  a   bidding   frenzy.

Monday, December 30, 2013


A  1914  drawing  from  an  Adelaide autograph book  in  the  Little  Darwin   Ephemera Collection

Sunday, December 29, 2013

WHIPABLE WILLEY-Continuing biog of Crusading Editor,”Big Jim” Bowditch

Bowditch  induced  reporter, Keith  Willey, editor of  the  Centralian  Advocate  in  Alice Springs , to come north to  Darwin in 1957  as  news and  chief sub editor. Willey  had    been  the Queensland under 18  breaststroke  champion  and was   in  line  for  the state  Olympic squad  until  work  prevented  regular  training .
At one stage Willey  had been the  court reporter in the  Adelaide  office of  Melbourne  Truth . When he  joined the Adelaide  office , reporter  Peter  Blake  was the SA  representative for  the Sydney Daily  Mirror  and the pair  got on well, sharing a  flat at  Henley Beach.  Blake  was  in attendance  when  Keith  married  his  wife, Lee , in the  Adelaide Catholic  Cathedral.
With  wide experience  in  reporting and subbing in several states , including   at the  Melbourne Age  , Willey did much to  raise the standard  of  the NT News, using   bright  page  layouts and  snappy  headings.  Bowditch acknowleged  that  Willey  “taught” him  how to  do newspaper layouts, the Centralian  Advocate  layouts  having  been  “terrible ”during  his  time  there .

Alliteration  was  one of  Willey’s skills  .   For example, he wrote  catchy headings like  BRAYBROOK BATTERED  BLUDGEON BANDITS  which was about  the manager of  the Buffalo  Club  thumping  two  hold  up   men .  NT HOOP HIT HOPS -SAY COPS   centred on  a jockey  who drank too much .   DONGED BY  FONG  CLAIMS OYSTER  KING  was the heading on another zany  story . This  involved   Englishman  Eric Grosvenor Lewis , owner of a  fishing  boat , who used  to bring bags of  rock oysters into the  NT News  and talk to  Bowditch. Lewis, who normally wore a singlet, shorts and sandals,  objected to being thrown out of the Vic Hotel.  He  brought an assault  charge  against  mine host , Richard Fong Lim .

During the unusual  hearing , Lewis said  Fong had told him he was barred  and to get out out  of  the pub .    However,  the mollusc  vendor   said   he did  not know the meaning of the  word  barred  and thought it  related to the noise  made   by sheep , “Baa”.  He attested  Fong had told him to put down his glass  of  beer and then  hit him -hence the  newspaper heading . 
The charge against Fong was dismissed and Lewis was ordered to pay   court costs .  The Fongs were said to be “dirty ” on Bowditch , believing he had  induced the Oyster  King to  take  the  court  action .  Normally the  relationship between the NT News  and  the Vic Hotel  was exceptionally  good.

Acting  on  orders from his  father ,   Richard  Fong   went to  Hong Kong on occasions to look for a wife .  While he was away  the  News  staff  drinking in the Vic would express  mock sympathy for “Poor Richard ” having to entertain the  girls of  Hong Kong.  On his return , his mission unfulfilled,  the  News  boys  would  continue the chiaking .  Willey   said it must have  been an onerous task  for Richard to take  a “casting couch” to Hong Kong. 

 As it turned out,  Richard  married an Australian  girl . Richard’s   brother , Alec, full  of  fun , who  agreed  that  Richard  was  stressed out   entertaining  the  female  population of  the  British  colony, served in  the  hotel  and   went on to become  the mayor . He  also had seven daughters, one of whom  became a  reporter on  the NT News.   

The  Oyster King  featured  in  another court  case when he  donged  a  cook .   On that  occasion  Lewis  complained  expletively  about the tucker  served  in  the  Humpty Doo rice  farm canteen . In the fight which broke out , the   head cook , who defended himself with a rolling pin , received two black  eyes.  Melbourne Herald resident journalist, Douglas Lockwood , attended the subsequent court  case and  pointed out that the only thing  not  on  the  extensive breakfast  menu at  Humpty Doo  had  been  rice  bubbles, which  was  surprising. The  battered  cook appeared in court wearing  sunglasses,  sporting a  swollen nose.

Willey’s  writings about the Territory   in southern publications won him  three  Walkley Awards.  He  also wrote  several books  about the  North ,the first  Eaters of the Lotus .   When  Willey arrived in Darwin   with his  wife and daughter  , Joanna , they experienced  the  accommodation  shortage.   The fact that public servants  had  cheap accommodation   and  other perks  annoyed  Willey.  The Willeys once  lived  in one of a number of old Army  huts at Nightcliff, which had a communal  toilet.  A  roster for  toilet cleaning  was in view .  Naturally , all the dunny cleaners   were   women , one being “ the Greek  lady ”- apparently nobody  could  spell her name .    An undertaker made coffins in one of  the  huts  and Keith would  have a   rum  with him from  time to time.

Boyish looking,   Willey wore  glasses,  still  enjoyed a  daily swim  and a drop or two.  He played rugby league  for the  Brothers  side and  when a hypnotist called at the News  Keith got the man to  put him  under  in an effort to become a better  player.   His  hair unruly because of  swimming and his  long socks rolled down to his ankles, Keith never looked a picture of  sartorial elegance, not  that anybody else on the staff  rated a  mention in Tailor and Cutter.

His wife, Lee, applied for a  job as a typist in  a government  department. In  her   application  she  gave  as   referees  the names of  James Frederick Bowditch and   Jack Haritos .  The  practice in those days  was   to run  a security  check on all applicants. Naturally,  Bowditch  was  known –“the subject of   frequent  correspondence  with Headquarters  over the past few years ”.  In the case of   Jack Haritos , the  ASIO   report   said  he  was “probably   one of  the Haritos brothers ” referred to  in the summary   of  information  held by  Headquarters  re the vessel  Gladys  Mary . This vessel  , it stated, appeared  to have been   involved  in   smuggling  operations  in  the  past.

The  Haritos brothers were  well  known  and highly  respected in Darwin . They  were fishermen, crocodile shooters and there was  an  Haritos store  in which  Lee Willey  worked  for  a time .  The Haritos  brothers took  the Duke of Edinburgh crocodile shooting when  he  visited Darwin. It  was  outrageously  claimed  a croc had  been  tied to the bank for the Duke to plug.    Lee Willey  was  approved for   employment in  government .She   went   bush for a  weekend   at Stapleton Station   where  the colourful  and tough  Winnie  Bright, sister of  Esther  Meaney , lived.  During WW11 , Winnie  rode  into  Katherine  ,a  gun on each  hip,  and  on  seeing   a  Japanese  Betty Bomber  shot  down   had helped her father collect  documents and  other items from the wreckage .  At the end of  the  weekend ,   Bright   drove back  to  Darwin with  Lee  and  Keith  was  found slumbering  on  the  lounge , an empty  rum   bottle  nearby , the   house   less   than  tidy .
 Winnie  told Keith that if  he  were her husband  and she came home and found him  sprawled out , with  an empty   bottle of rum,  she would  take the  whip to him.   Keith said he  was sure she was serious - not joking- when she  made the statement. NEXT : The  Great  Daly River Ruby Find.    

Saturday, December 28, 2013


From our  ephemera collection comes this January 12, 1988  postcard from the brigantine  Eye of the Storm , built in 1911, part of the First  Fleet Re-enactment . It  comes  from  a  dashing doctor  friend , Ced Bullard,  at  times seen riding  a bicycle  about  the  Darwin  waterfront  while organising  cruise ships . Ced was  travelling  as  an  official doctor aboard the vessel , with a  sail area of  8000 square feet , when  it  pulled  into  Twofold Bay, Eden, NSW, on  its  way to   Sydney for  the big  official  arrival. His  message  reads : We settled in here last night after rescuing a Sydney Hobart  yacht   returning to Sydney when struck by  lightning  and stranded at sea for  three days. The  fleet will re-assemble here for  the home  run via Jervis Bay and  Botany  Bay . We spent Friday night  at Oberon Bay on Wilson’s Promontory where we   took  refuge  from a gale. We have been visited by trawlers, helicopter, sharks, seals, whales  and  dolphins. He points out the  sails of the  brigantine  are  now  brown.    

Friday, December 27, 2013


Troppo  news  without  Fear of  Fervour.  An  unbroken tradition since 2013.
Magnautic Island Times  

A  blue  chip  investment opportunity is offered to  all  our   readers who can buy  in  on the ground floor  of  our  new online antidote  for  the  mad , mad , mad  world  syndrome . At  only $100 a share   you  can  rush in  now and  set yourself  up  for carefree retirement in  a   funny farm . Our Swiss  bank account number sent under plain wrapper to  your   address. Scout's honour, this  scheme  is  approved  by   the  ASX  and  ASIC. The  above masthead is a  sample of what this high class  publication will look like ,once Luddite Cyclops works out how to insert it in cyberspace while also bashing a Barking Owl which is intent on eating his pet baby Dodo. 

 Sample high class  article  from this  ground  breaking  and sand  moving  publication :


In 1847 the Australian mainland was created a short distance from Magnautic Island. Hordes of convicts  built the Gold Coast and the  surrounding region by transferring  buckets of  sand from Magnautic  Island beach to cover the  blank volcanic landscape of Queensland. Years later they used the  same skills to build Tasmania and, in 1925, the first Parliament House. Both are somewhere inland or in Canberra, unlike  Magnautic Island which remains rooted to the ground. In our next column we’ll examine the  mysterious cults practiced by present Magnautics, including the worship of grapes and the devouring of  flesh (medium rare).


Thursday, December 26, 2013


Another  priceless  David  Rowe  effort .

 David  Pope  causes  apoplexy  in  coral  spawn
CANBERRA: It  is  widely  whispered  here  that  two  top   Australian  cartoonists- David  Pope and  David Rowe - are  secretly  planning  to  seek  political  asylum in  South  America . The dynamic   David  duo  have  recently  outraged  the  powerful  Bugger  Up  Australia  Gang  by  outrageously  lampooning   the    divine   right   to   trash    the   Great  Barrier  Reef  and  make  a   fast  buck .  Their   irreverent   cartoons  , shown  above,  have  infuriated  those  who  think the  Commonwealth of  Australia  is  up  for  grabs .   Australian   Financial   Review  cartoonist , David Rowe,  must  surely  sniff  glue  to get   inspiration for  his wicked drawings.    And  the  equally   inspired  Canberra  Times   brush man , David  Pope ,  no  relation  to   the  person  of  the  same  name  in  the Vatican  who  can sell  indulgences , is  another  person  with  a  devilish  attitude  to  what  is   going   on  in  this   nation.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


 From  unexpected   and   unusual  sources - as  far away as  New York -   intelligence gathered   by  our spies  about   the   late Communist   author ( Power  Without  Glory, The  Unlucky  Australians , But  the  Dead  Are  Many  , etc.  ) ,  composer , humorist ,  mug  punter  , Frank  Hardy  , has  filled  out  one  of  our   large files .    A  visit to  a  Townsville  op  shop   turned  up   the above   Rolf  Harris  45  record  which,  surprisingly , contains  a   Frank  Hardy  calypso  song , Sydney  Town ,  on  the   flip  side  .
The   story   behind   the   tune  is   noteworthy .   On   being  presented  with  a  record of calypso  music  in the l960s , when  Harry Belafonte  made   world   hits  like  the  Banana  Boat  Song , Hardy  liked the  message of    workers   fighting   against   the  aristocrats in  Kingston Town , Jamaica .   In  Sydney ,  Hardy     frequented  The Troubador  where  folk   singers  performed ,  Gary  Shearston    prominent .  Hardy   penned   Sydney  Town ,  a  play  on  Kingston Town ,  and   gave  it  to   Shearston   to  play .  Shearston  liked   the  song,  but made  several  changes. Others  also   provided   additional  lyrics ,including  a   verse  referring  to  a visit  to King’s Cross,   until  Sydney  Town  became  a  collective  effort  sung  and  recorded  by    Shearston  in  his   Australian  Broadside   Album.
 To  set the record  straight  about the  origins  of  Sydney Town, the   Australian Tradition of  May  1964 ran the  following:  This is the  original version of  Sydney Town as written  by  me.  Folk singers  and  others who  add  new verses and  variations  do  so  at   their  own risk. Frank Hardy.
The more they try to keep me down
The better I live in Sydney town,
The more they try to keep me down
The better I live in Sydney town.

Great grand-daddy walked along the street with a
ball and chain around his feet
and that's the way they'd like to see me walk
just to give the toffs a chance to talk.

They rob me in the Parliament
They charge me half my pay for rent
They heard I was living on the Rocks
So they pulled it down for building blocks.

The beer's gone up in the public bar
And I can't afford a motor car
But I keep six bottles In the fridge,
And pay no toll on the harbour bridge

The jockies and the bookies cheat,
The odds-on favorites all get beat
So just to show them I'm no fool
I go to Thommo's Two-up school

They all throw heads when I back tails:
I got no dough to 'bank on the Wales'
But I'll get a job, it'll suit fine
On  the Eastern Suburbs railway line.

If I go on strike, I'll have good cause,
Then I'll get hit with a Penal Clause,
But I don't care, let the bosses rage,
I'll fight for a rise in the basic wage.

The monopolies can all arrange
To rig their shares on the Stock Exchange
Through  lottery  tickets with my spouse
I've  got  shares in the Opera House.

They won't lot you win on poker machines
They show rubbish on the  T.V. screens
So  for entertainment  I  go for
Australian   songs  at  the   Troubador

In 1967 , Gary Shearston decided to go to America to further his career ;  US Customs , however,  refused him entry because  his ASIO file  showed he had objected to  the Vietnam War and was  involved with the Federal Council for  the Advancement of  Aboriginal and  Torres Strait Islanders. After  cooling his heels in London for a year, he made  it  to America but his performances on the East Coast  over  four years  were  restricted . Tours  in England  and  on  the  Continent  followed  .

After an absence of  22   years, he  returned to Australia In 1990 , his song, Shopping on a Saturday, won  the   Bush Ballad of the Year  award  at  the  1990  Tamworth  Awards. He also wrote The Newcastle Earthquake, used  to  promote the Lord Mayor's  appeal  for the victims of the Newcastle earthquake. Then  he  became  an  Anglican  priest  in  July  1992 .

After a period of saving sinners, he returned to folk singing , turned up at  the launch  by  Australia's  foremost  pop  artist , the  late   Martin Sharp, of  the Greenpeace Australia founder, photographer Jon Lewis's book on Kiribati,  where  global  warming  was  the subject of  a song  he sang. The ASIO  file on Hardy  is said to have run to 1170 pages  and  will get  a mention in the forthcoming SBS series , Persons  of  Interest ,starting January 7.