Saturday, February 28, 2015

THE LIGHT ON THE HILL ORIGIN ; ALP AND POSTAL HISTORY

 
 
An August 1994  first day of issue  stamp on  a   postcard  depicting  the portrait  of the ALP Australian  Prime  Minister, Ben Chifley,  by A.D. Colquhoun (born 1884) , for the Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Canberra .

Chifley, PM from July 13, 1945-December 19, 1949, it was  who  first  mentioned the  light  on the  hill as the  ALP goal  at  a  NSW  Labor conference. During his speech  he said :

"I have had the privilege of leading the Labor Party for nearly four years. They have not  been easy times and it has not been an easy job. It is a man-killing job and would be impossible if it were not for the help of my colleagues and members of the movement.

" No Labor Minister or leader ever has an easy job. The urgency that rests behind the Labor movement, pushing it on to do things, to create new conditions, to reorganise the economy of the country, always means that the people who work within the Labor movement, people who lead, can never have an easy job. The job of  the evangelist  is  never easy.

" Because of the turn of fortune's wheel your  Premier  ( John  McGirr) and I have gained some prominence in  the Labor movement. But the strength of the movement cannot come from us. We may make plans and pass legislation to help and direct the economy of the country. But the job of getting the things the people of the country want comes from the roots of the Labor movement - the people who support it.

" When I sat at a Labor meeting in the country with only ten or fifteen men there, I found a man sitting beside me who had been working in the Labor movement for 54 years. I have no doubt that many of you have been doing the same, not hoping for any advantage from the movement, not hoping for any personal gain, but because you believe in a movement that has been built up to bring better conditions to the people. Therefore, the success of the Labor Party at the next elections depends entirely, as it always has done, on the people who work.

"I try to think of the Labor movement, not as putting an extra sixpence into somebody's pocket, or making somebody Prime Minister or Premier, but as a movement bringing something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people. We have a great objective - the light on the hill - which we aim to reach by working for  the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the Labor movement would not be  worth  fighting for.

" If the movement can make someone more comfortable, give to some father or mother a greater feeling of security for their children, a feeling that if a depression comes there will be work, that the government is striving its hardest to do its best, then the Labor movement will be completely justified.

 "It does not matter about persons like me who have our limitations. I only hope that the generosity, kindliness and friendliness shown to me by thousands of my colleagues in the Labor movement will continue to be given to the movement and add zest to its work."
 
NOTE: The postcard, stamped Parliament House Canberra , displays  the  printed  signatures of   PMs  in  the series , one of them Sir Arthur Fadden , a Queenslander, who only lasted in  the top job for  40  days...more later.

TOP MARX FOR PRIME MINISTER ABBOTT'S NEW OFFICE STAFF

  CANBERRA :  Back from  sleep inducing  Kiwiland , PM Tony Abbott today announced  sweeping changes in  his  Comic Opera  Office. Loyal  Peta  Credlin will  be given  a  new post as  Australia’s  new pro consul in  the  Kiwi  capital , Windy Wellington.   Thanks to a secret donation by a  prominent multinational  company  which  pays  bugger  all  tax in Australia  ,despite sales of billions ,  the   top  comedy  team , the  Marx Brothers ,  will  be  flown  in  from  the  US  to  handle PR  and  get  the  nation  laughing  instead  of  being  uptight, vengeful  and after  Tony's  vitals, including his  heh,heh tonsils. The  Marx Brothers  are delighted to be coming Down Under and  will  bring  a gift  box of  illegal Cuban  cigars  for  Joe and  Mathias.

They wonder if  there are  any clubs apart  from  the  seedy  journos' watering hole in Canberra which will  give them membership .
 
Rumour has  it  that a shock jock  who has undergone a major nip and  tuck and  a  Warnie  hair  job will become  the new chief of the Liberal Party  Funk  Bunker where Kitty  Carlisle will  be  the singing  tea  lady .
 
SLUMBER  RHUMBA  NUMBER
 
Meanwhile Foreign Minister and renowned wild west  celebrity dancer,  Julie Bishop,  has  hotly denied  that she nodded off listening to the PM  while she  was counting likely numbers in the  next  Liberal spill. "I was counting  sheep, New Zealand  is  overrun by  those woolly things, and that is what put me to sleep," she said , glaring  at  a  reporter as  if he  were  a  wolf  in sheep's  clothing , an Insider  beast .

DIALOGUE WITH DRACULA

On  my  CV seeking  gainful employment ,  I can now include the rare skill of being able   to converse in  Coucalese . Just the  other day I was down on  my knees , armed with a camera , talking to Dracula, Magnetic Island’s cheese  eating Coucal. Dracula , a short  distance  away, inspected  me  closely.
 
Then  our discourse opened  by  me saying , “ Hello, Dracula.”  Dracula came closer and I tried to focus  the  camera.  To  make  him feel  at  ease , I  imitated his distinctive  call,  “ Whoop! Whoop!”  This  had an instant impact . Up went his feathery mane, down went his head, and a  throaty Whoop! Whoop! issued . 

I replied  similarly , so did  Dracula. Seemingly, this could have gone on for ages but may have brought on an attack of arthritis  in the knees . Passers by  and  horses  would , no doubt , have  shied away had they seen this scruffy  looking  bloke down on his  knees  making  strange noises. Dracula scurried  off into nearby undergrowth after insects, then reappeared. Whoop! Whoop! The same to you, Dracula. A  jolly exchange  took place.
 
Dracula  has  been romping about the Queen of the Jungle, the cheese lady, and at  times  becomes “naughty” when she offers him Curlew food , not cheese .   On one occasion he fluttered up onto her head and  like a phrenologist read the bumps on her cranium, some  from  a motorbike accident  in  Germany  long before the Berlin wall  tumbled . 

Having sharp claws, he was told in no uncertain terms to get off her head , so flew  onto the back of a large concrete  emu  in  the  garden. When a  Kookaburra with an injured wing  came in for a feed  and took up its usual perch on a projecting pipe, Dracula snuck up behind it and pulled its tail, then  flew  away.  At times Dracula sits on the canopy of  the Queen’s Mini  Moke parked under  the  house .

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BOEING 797 LEVIATHAN

Being developed  at Long Beach , California, the blended wing fuselage challenge to the Airbus A380 ,  is designed to carry 1000 passengers  at a cruising speed of  654 mph  with  a  range of  10,000 miles. It has a wingspan  of 265ft, 54ft more than the 747.  Already it  has  been  dubbed  the  Airbus  Crusher and is made from  recycled   coathangers . In  aeronautical  terms  it  is  a  hoax .
This  interesting story provided  by  former high flying  Adelaide antique and pre loved coffin  dealer, Alan Jones, who can make  fabulous model aeroplanes out of  coathangers  and  is  now  seen  dashing   about  like  Biggles  at  Irish  auctions and mixing with  flying and fleeing nuns. 

TROPICAL EDEN OF AUSTRALIA


Plaque for "The Grand Old Gardener, " William Francis Anderson (1845-1935). Born in Ireland , he became Townsville's first Curator of  Parks (1878-1934).The plaque is in the 25 hectares Anderson Gardens , one  of  Townsville's fine  botanic  parks. In 1877 he was  appointed "the practical gardener " at the Townsville Botanic Reserve , now known as   Queen's  Gardens . In l932  he was  praised for turning  the  city into the Tropical  Eden  of  Australia  and was  88  when  he  retired . 
Anderson  Gardens  strollers .

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

STORM CLOUDS OVER CORAL CITY

Views from Castle Hill ,Townsville . Abra Photographs 

Monday, February 23, 2015

HMAS TOWNSVILLE MISSING IN INACTION : ARCHIE SENDS SOS

SHOTS FIRED  ACROSS  BOWS 
Ghost ship believed to be HMAS Townsville .
For well over  a year  this blog's roaming, at  times  raving,maritime     reporter has   been    keeping  watch    on   the  tied up , decommissioned Fremantle class patrol boat , HMAS  Townsville . It  seems  almost abandoned,no  visible  activity  going on ;  its  name   was even   removed   as  if  it  were  about  to  be  sent  to  scrapmetal  dealers. 

Nobody  in the  local landlubber media   apparently  noticed  that   this  once proud naval vessel  was  a  nameless  hulk  tied up in the Ross Creek, Townsville, North Queensland, a military garrison town , its numbers  recently   boosted    by   arrivals   from  Darwin.

HMAS Townsville played the part of HMAS Defiance in the popular  ABC series, Patrol Boat .
 
The government  gave     the vessel  to the Townsville  Maritime Museum in 2007 to be looked after by volunteers and placed in a dry dock for display.

Work  on the dry dock was scheduled to start in mid-2012,   pending council approval  of building plans  and obtaining  additional funds. Thankfully,the  ship's  name has been restored . But what  is its  future ?

In  the poorly  presented  text messages to the editor page of  the   Townsville   Bulletin of  February 24  the following  pertinent  item appeared, probably not noticed by the newspaper , but   worth a follow up :  Can someone please take responsibility for the patrol boat Townsville rotting at CB (Curtin Brothers) Marine , put it on concrete   blocks as a static  display at Jazzine  Barracks ,scrap it or sink it as a  dive site. It's embarrassing  as a city  to have it sitting there rotting  and  a danger in cyclone season . If you can't afford  to maintain or display  an object  you shouldn't  be given  it  to start with.   Embarrassing  waste.  Archie, North  Ward.

BAMBOO CATHEDRAL

Vallis  Photograph

Sunday, February 22, 2015

ANAEMIC DRACULA TO SEE MEDICO

Magnetic  Island’s  wildlife  carer , irreverently dubbed the Queen of the Jungle by this  blog , recovering from a knee operation, recently  had  cause to  walk  to the nearby  upswept medical clinic , Latitude19Health , to see about  a badly swollen finger.  As she emerged from  her  residence , without  the aid of a  walking stick, she became aware that she was  being  followed – by  the roaming , Dutch cheese  eating  Coucal  she  named  Dracula . 

Go  away , she  told  him several times  as she  blazed  a  path  through  the  bamboo and  grassy track  that  runs  by  the  Pope’s land . He took no notice of  her instruction to fly away, just  kept following close behind , like a dog. The  Queen had  visions of  hobbling into  the  clinic  followed  by   Dracula . She vigorously  shooshed  him away as the track neared  a busy  road , and  he reluctantly stopped , but  closely watched  her  walking  off. 
 
After seeing  a doctor, the Queen came back along the track and there  was Dracula  waiting  in a clump of bamboo . He  followed  her all the way home , crossing  a  road.  As  she paused  to unlock her gate, Dracula  flew off . On walking to the  back of her house, there was Dracula , expecting  some  cheese. 

Dracula has the habit of catching an insect, sometimes a grasshopper,  and  showing it to  the  Queen  before munching it down . Once he  dropped his  catch and gave the  Queen’s toe  a  hard bite , perhaps thinking it a chunk of Blue Vein,  which might become infected and see her  back at Latitude19Health  with Dracula in tow.

This Dracula  fan yesterday went to the Queen’s residence to pick the remainder of the feral pawpaws  from the trees  that  had grown through her aviary. Dracula  was  strutting  about  her  backyard  and  followed me  lugging the ladder . He flew up onto the  aviary and serenaded  me  with several loud  Whoop! Whoops!  Then he  took up a cock of the walk pose , below , on  the  Queen’s  clothesline .
 

FOOTNOTE:   Dracula  caught some grubs , showed them  off  to the Queen , and at  one stage even  hopped  onto her  shoulder  and  seemed to offer  her one . Yuk!

DESPERATE PRIME MINISTER GOES FOR SYNCOPATED RHYTHM METHOD

CANBERRA :  As  part of  his promise to be  consultative and most  collegial  in  dealings with  his  disgruntled , bottom of  the ladder  team, Prime  Minister  “ Biffo” Abbott  has commissioned   the   above   Yank Ivy-League song  in  a frantic  bid  to get the Coalition  singing  the   same   looney  tune  and  performing  like  a  well  lubricated  football  side  on  tour .   

The  sheet music  cover  illustration for the inspiring  College Rhythm  shows a  surprisingly  young and vigorous  looking   PM , in a funereal black not a Ming blue tie , being  overwhelmed  by   female voters,  proving  that he  is not  a  misogynist. 

Also  included  is  the  team’s  mascot , a  Patagonium Trotting Duck , soon to be  knighted, named Sir Robert ,  and appointed  the new  Speaker of  the House of Representatives in  a major reshuffle , which will  ruffle feathers in  the Liberal  inner  circle  of  Fan  Dancers . 

Prominent government  members  figure in the light - hearted tableau in the bottom  right   corner  involving  Treasurer  Joe  Hockey in  a  football  helmet , worn to protect him from David Rowe greyhounds and members of  his own party who want to  head butt  him ,  and the  imported , overworked  treasury second  fiddle  and   ukulele  player , the   Mussels  from  Brussels, Mathias Cormann .  

Uncertainty surrounds the  identity  of the  woman with  the two  rugger buggers. One suggestion is  this  she is a hired cheer leader  to show that  the  Coalition Team  is  ever  so  popular , despite the  polls , talk  back radio, braying shock jocks  and octogenarian Twitterbug champion, Rupert  Murdoch.  

JAPANESE INVASION OF TIMOR AND COMFORT WOMEN


Exhibition : "Timorese  women sharing  from  their heart ! "

Following the outbreak of war in the Pacific after the sudden attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941, Australia, as an ally of America, feared that Japan would invade the island of Timor in order to attack Australia. So on 17 December 1942, the allied forces of Australia and the Dutch Indies moved into Portuguese Timor in order to arrest the Japanese advance. At that time, the Portuguese Governor, Manuel de Abreu Ferreira de Carvalho, did not consent to the presence of allied troops in Portuguese Timor but  he  was powerless to do  anything  to  prevent  them. 

Due to the defensive presence of the allied troops, the Japanese no longer considered Portuguese Timor to be neutral so on 20 February 1942, the Japanese military invaded the territory of Portuguese Timor. The primary forces were Regiment 228 (Regiment Commander, Colonel Sadaschi Doi) from Infantry. The regiment split into two. The first group attacked Kupang and the second conducted a daylight attack on Dili. 

With the Japanese invasion, the Australian allied forces retreated into the mountains to the west and south. But gradually the Japanese Forces made ground on the Australians until, on 10 February 1943, the remaining Australian forces withdrew from the south coast and retreated back to Australia.  

At the beginning of September 1942, Division 38 was replaced by Division 48 (Commanded by Lieutenant Yuitsu Dobashi and Infantry Division Commander, Major-General Koiche Abe). Division 48 was composed of a number of units, including the 47th Infantry Regiment Formosa 1 and 2, followed by the 48th Artillery Regiment Mount Formosa, 48th Machine Regiment Formosa, etc. In some areas, two units of the Special Operations Forces were also deployed, namely the ‘Tomiki Organ’ (infantry forces) and ‘Othori Organ’ (naval forces). In total, there were 12,000 soldiers from the 48th Division deployed throughout Timor, with the General Command of the 48th Division based in Dili. There were also three regional commands in Lautem, Ossu and Dili.  

Portugal protested against the Japanese invasion as a contravention of Portuguese sovereignty and neutrality. However, Japan accused Portugal of potentially supporting the enemy (allied forces) of the Portuguese people through its behaviour. Due to long-standing oppression from the Portuguese, many Timorese took advantage of the opportunity to retaliate against the Portuguese, with manipulation by the Japanese Special Operations Unit. This insecurity led to the Portuguese Governor accepting the Japanese presence, handing over all weapons to the Japanese, and gathering together all Portuguese people in one camp (deconcentration camp).  

The three and a half years of the Japanese invasion inflicted enormous suffering on the Timorese people, including widespread destruction, forced labour and servitude, starvation, execution of all those suspected of supporting the allied forces and violence of a level that traumatised the whole generation. Of all the suffering inflicted on the people of Timor, the one violation that is rarely if ever spoken of, is the sexual slavery and sexual abuse inflicted on numerous Timorese women.
 WHAT  IS  LANFU ?
 Lanfu” is a Japanese word that is used to describe women who forcibly become ‘wives’ of the military. During the Second World War, the Japanese forces, which were spread across many Asian countries, including Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste, systematically forced women into military houses to attend to the sexual needs and desires of the Japanese military. These women were forced into slavery by threats and deception. Some women were forced to become ‘provisional wives’ to the senior commanders, other women, who were required to attend to the needs of numerous soldiers, were known as ‘ianfu’ (comfort women).
 
They weren’t able to escape due to the strict security and threats the Japanese used to scare them. Some ianfu forced to travel with military units, when they were redeployed, for example from Korea to Java or from Java to Timor. Ianfu that were taken with the military units were known as “Jugan-Ianfu”. Houses for the Ianfu were known in Japanese as ‘Ianjo’.  

They were not prostitutes, they were victims of sexual violations. They lost their freedom and were violated on numerous occasions in many locations over the course of three years. According to International Law, provisional wives and ianjo are sexual slaves. This is concerned a war crime and a crime against humanity.  

In Timor-Leste, during WWII, Japanese forces also took provisional wives or used ianfu/sexual slaves. They targeted both young girls who had yet to hit puberty and those who already had husbands. Parents were threatened with death or arrest if they didn’t allow their daughters to become provisional wives or ianfu. 

 The suffering inflicted on these women didn’t end when the Second World War ended. They continued to suffer severe social discrimination from their communities because they dignity as women had been destroyed. Many victims continued to suffer trauma from their experiences as sexual slave and refused to share their stories to anyone, including their families. 
WHY   THIS  EXHIBITION ?  
February 20 is the anniversary of the Japanese military invasion in Timor-Leste, now 73 years ago. Our intention is to share publicly the facts that we have discovered through research conducted from 2005-2007 between the HAK Association and the Japan Coalition for Timor-Leste. We were able to interview 85 people and 15 survivors of sexual slavery (ianfu) who were still alive. Today just 11 are alive. In 2006, two passed away, Marta Abubere no Esmeralda Boe from Bobonaro. In 2007, Clementina Cardozo from Suai passed away. And in 2009, Mariana de Souza Freitas from Baucau Fatumaca also died. There are a number that don’t wish to be identified as victims, therefore during the research no one was obliged to share their experience, but we requested their understanding of speaking out about things they have kept deep in their hearts.  

This Jugan Ianfu exhibition is an opportunity to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese invasion, and our objectives are as follows: 1.   Inform the public about the reality of the Japanese occupation in Timor-Leste from 1942-1945. 2.    Awaken public consciousness to the abhorrence of war and the repulsive behaviour that happens during wars, particularly to vulnerable members of society (women and children)  . 3.  Increase survivors’ solidarity amongst the victims, particularly those former slaves (“comfort women”) in Timor-Leste.   melissa.timor@gmail.com 

CONCERT  FOR  TIMOR SUPPORTER
 
At the Sydney Conservatorium of  Music yesterday (Saturday) , a  special concert  was staged  to mark  the 70th birthday  of  Martin Wesley-Smith and  his  contribution  to  Australian  music , which will be broadcast on ABC Classic FM  at 8pm on  the  25th.   Many of  the pieces to be heard  were inspired by passionate causes such as freedom for East Timor and West Papua, or some social  issues closer  to   home.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

FREEDOM FIGHTERS : ROBESON, BOWDITCH, PERKINS,WILLIAMS , FAITH BANDLER

Robeson Collectables
The packed 1996 Darwin funeral service  for journalist James Frederick Bowditch,  former  fearless  editor of  the  Centralian  Advocate and the Northern Territory News, began  and  ended with the  recorded    songs of  the famous  American Negro human  rights  campaigner ,  Paul Robeson, regarded by the Bowditch family as   containing  themes that symbolised  Jim's  lifelong struggle for  the  underdog ,  including  Aborigines . 
 
 Robeson  passed through Darwin in 1960 on  his way to Sydney, spent several hours in the city at the airport and it is not known if  Bowditch  met him . However  Robeson spoke to union activists  Mr and Mrs  Des  Robinson .
 
The NT News  announced a committee  had been  formed  to try and get Robeson to perform in Darwin on his way back to America. In Sydney,  Robeson  was met at the airport by Faith Bandler , a longtime  campaigner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who died this month at the age of  96 . She showed him a  film of life on a mission  station and Robeson was  shocked and angered . He promised to come back to Australia and  help in the struggle  for racial equality, but  failed to do so, dieing in 1976. 
  
 
 While in Sydney he  sang to  workers on  the Opera House building site and is shown above, a towering figure,  back  to camera  .  Comments he made about the  plight of  Australian  Aborigines  were  run  in  the  NT News.

In  the  past week  this blog  secured a number  of  Paul Robeson  items ranging from the  1937  sheet music  for   the  film King Solomon's Mines  in which he starred ; an  LP containing  his  famous  rendition  of  Ol'  Man River and other greats such  as  Ma Curly Headed Baby, Shenandoah, My Old Kentucky Home ; two collections  of spirituals on  45s.  

The  information on the back of the records , sold in Australia , indicate  differing   attitudes  to  Robeson .  After  stating  that Robeson had received   a good education , entered university,  studied  law ,  one  states he  became keenly aware of the  "colour situation" in the United States..."He became a fervent champion of Negro rights , but misguidedly went  too  far in his political associations." (This , in part , may be a reference to his  visit to  Russia  seeking  a  united  humanity, resulted in  him  being  branded a Communist . Speaking out about racism and fascism, he was targeted by the FBI  and his passport to travel was  revoked  by  the US  government in 1950 ; his  records were also taken from shop shelves there .)

Continuing, it said Robeson's politics" do not concern us here" -the fact remains he had  become one of the most remarkable  basses  of  his time  .  After giving up law in his early twenties , he became an actor and  Eugene  O'Neill , the  foremost American playwright, gave him  the leading  role in  All God's Chillun  Got Wings (1924).

A prominent singer of Negro spirituals, he appeared in Porgy and Bess  and Show Boat.  He wowed  audiences  in London and  New York as Othello and became a  film star , King Solomon's Mines one  of a  number .

On the sleeve of another record, Alexis Korner , British musician and broadcaster,  describes  Robeson  as  one of our  greatest  and most courageous humanists.  "He has , without  respite , fought for the rights of his  people ; often at considerable cost. Most people  will feel  that he  has been right to do so, to fight for the  proper acceptance  of  the Negro in society. But Robeson does not restrict  his fight  to the acceptance of his own race alone, he fights  for the complete integration of all races in one world-wide community." 
 
During WWll  , author  Jean  Devanny  spent   time in Cairns and associated with American  troops, including Negroes. According to a document in the Devanny papers  held  in the Special Collections  section of the Eddie  Koiki Mabo Library , James Cook University , Townsville  , when  Mrs  Eleanor Roosevelt , wife of the American president ,  visited   Cairns ,  Devanny  openly  heard  white Americans  "express positive  hatred "  for Mrs  Roosevelt   for  her insistence   that  Negroes  were   fellow  humans ;  now known as Afro-Americans . 
 
Australia has just marked the  50th anniversary of the Sydney University Student Action for  Aborigines  freedom  drive   against  racism  in a bus  through NSW,  led  by Charles Perkins  and  Gary Williams, inspired by the American freedom  rides  against  segregation  in  the early  1960s .

FAITH  BANDLER  STATE  FUNERAL  

Her  coffin was carried from  the  church  to Paul Robeson singing Going Home .

QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE'S BUSY MATERNITY WARD

A tiny baby in its pouch, sleepy Possum takes a  rest during the heat of  the  day on  Magnetic Island . Nearby is the family of  five  Curlews , the  two  latest chicks  having  survived and  grown rapidly, one stretched out  like a  yard of  tripe .
 
Same day, same street , further up the  road , a snake , below ,  is  found under a   wheelie  bin. 


TERRIFIED TEDDY BEARS CANCEL PICNIC : TOY STORY EXCLUSIVE


Good news children : it is safe to go down to the woods today because the Teddy Bears  have  turned  chicken and  taken  refuge  in  the bottom of  toy boxes across  the nation  as  there  is  a  frightening  ogre, above,  in  the  bush . Smart children in Townsville , however,  will recognise this awesome  looking tree in  Anderson Gardens  as  none other  than  lovable  Billy Bombax, the giant of sustainability,  front  man in the Mundingburra State School  after  school hours recycling campaign which involves water conservation, converting food scraps , turning of  electricity, conserving  the  local environment.

MORE SHIPPING REPORTER SCOOPS IN NORTH AUSTRALIA

Purchased in  Papua New Guinea ,  this barge  is a  recent   arrival  in Townsville  and  will   undergo  an  extensive  refit  for  FantaSea.  Also  spotted  aboard  a  car ferry on the  Townsville  to  Magnetic Island   run   recently   were  dingo  looking  passengers  , below ,  in cages  . A  third  one  appeared  to  be in  a  larger  cage . What   gives?  Holidaying  on  the island , being  bred  there  ?  
In  Darwin , the  shipping  reporter  has  received interesting information about  all  kinds  of  waterfront   goings  on  not   picked  up by  the  media. It  seems  something  big is afoot  , tenants receiving  notice to quit within   months .  More  scoops   from Townsville ,  Darwin  and  other  ports to  come . 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FLASH OLD QUEENSLAND DUDES

And  drab  suited  Territorians

An array of bowties on offer at the monthly Old Wares Fair  in Townsville shows that in  this  tropical city there  are  males  prepared to  inject a dash of colour into their dress - even if  the  editor of the Townsville  Bulletin  is  shown   from time to time  in  a  coat  and  bland  tie .
  
This  blog has  long lamented  the dress  of politicians in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin, once  known  as  a place of  shirtsleeve legislators. Now male politicians there  adorn  their electorate  offices with  larger  than  life  portraits of  themselves  in suits  on  the  exterior .  A  former Leader of the ALP  Opposition, Jon Isaacs wore a cool, suitable  safari suit. The colourful  politician   Harold  "Tiger "Brennan , who wore a  pith helmet  and smoked a cigar, roasted  those " blinkin' bods  in  Canberra ."  He  also  slept  through  Cyclone  Tracy .

When  a  new Administrator of  the  Northern Territory, Roger  " One  Eye " Nott,  held   his  first meet  the   people  in  the Darwin Town  Hall  he removed his  suit  coat , invited  members  of  the  throng  to  do  the same , and  declared  Darwin  rig -  shirt ,  tie   and    long  trousers ...shoes , not thongs .
Dressed   for  a  killing .

During the  recent "  Cuckoo Coup " in the  CLP government  in  Darwin ,  leading  figures in  the fiasco paraded in  a variety of  suits which seemed like a  cross  between  recycled  prison  uniforms  and  typical  clobber   of  a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce . Over at  Government House people were lined up  in their finery waiting for  the  new  Chief  Minister  to  arrive  and  be  sworn  in , but this  did not eventuate because the  supposedly  dethroned  Chief Minister,  Adam  Giles , refused to  discard  his  cloak of authority  and  sign the  appropriate  removal  instrument ("the  knife? ")  and  retained  his  throne . After a  lively  meeting , the  key  blokes   were   later  seen  in  shirt  sleeves  and  a  hard  working  female , somehow , was  stripped-of  her  ministerial  portfolio. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

CRITIC RUBBISHES OUR ART FIND

Hans  Heysen ?  Glancing  through  a  stack of  dusty   framed   prints  in  an op shop, one  of  gum trees  stood  out  and  seemed  to  be the  work of   the  South Australian artist  Hans  Heysen  of  Hahndorf .  On  examination , however, it  proved  to  be  by  Robert  Johnson ,  dated  1956.  Johnson did paintings of  Central Australia  and  there  is  a brochure of  his  in  the Little Darwin  Art  Collection .  At   a   mere  nine  dollars  it   had  to  be bought  and  taken  to No. 1 daughter's residence  in Townsville , where  we were staying for the  romantic Valentine Day's  weekend , because of  the  beaut  annual   church fete   at  Rising Sun  which  offers   many  books  and  the  monthly Old  Wares   Fair  held  at   Mundingburra State School.

One of the  books bought at the church fete  was  a   weathered paperback   copy  of the  Pelican   1970  revised  edition  of  The Art of Australia , by  the late  Robert Hughes , in which  Kiwi  artist  Johnson  is   mentioned   in  passing   in   relation to  Heysen , in  a  most  unflattering , but   typically  entertaining  way.

After   providing biographical  details of Heysen (born  Hamburg 1877, came to SA  with parents, studied Paris  ), Hughes  said  the artist  produced  so many paintings of  typical  Australian scenes  that  for many years "no Australian business was  quite  solid  unless it had  a  Heysen  in its  boardroom." 
 
Heysen,  Hughes   continued, made his pictures  teem  with facts  about  landscape and  his paintings of eucalypts were  excellent  though " a whit redundant." The grassy hills and Central Australian rocks had  merit  as topography, but the only deficency in  the art  was  that   it  had  no imagination...suavely valueless .
 
 Heysen's style , Hughes  wrote,  had inspired a  team of "Heysenettes "-described   as " a  dilapidated and creaky chorus  line, bumping and grinding along in  their  blue and  gold  costume ."And one artist  he  named in the  chorus line  was  Robert Johnson . This ossified art  form   was so standardised  that  "given   the  right tubes of Reckitt's blue, yellow ochre and flake white , a small computer  could  be  programmed  to  produce it ."This  cutting  summary,to my way of quirky thinking,  elevated  the  print  to a  priceless treasure.
 
It  must be pointed out that Johnson , born Auckland 1890, arrived in Sydney in 1921 and  became  known for  paintings of  Sydney Harbour  and  landscapes. One of  his  many commissions was  from the Commonwealth Government to paint a picture of  Canberra for a new gallery at Wellington , New Zealand , in 1936; he died at Sydney in 1964.