Tuesday, August 15, 2017

BISHOP WITH UNEXPECTED HIDDEN TALENT

Dressed in black  like a  mourner at  the imminent  funeral  of   the   Turnbull Government Foreign Minister  Julie  Bishop revealed  the  little known  fact that  she  is a  polished  stand up  comedian , as  shown by  the above reaction when  she  accused  the  subversive Australian Labor  Party of  colluding  with  a  foreign  power  to  bring down  the  Coalition. The  popular  image  of Ms. Bishop is  that  of a hard nosed , gimlet  eyed   person  with a fierce  glare  that  melts  garden  gnomes,  captured  in  cartoons  with  unfunny fly in the  ointment Tony Abbott , a   former   Pommie .  
Yet  her   hidden giggly  side  came  through in the House of  Representatives/    Canberra  New Zealand Tourist Bureau   booking office and departure lounge  when she went on about   the perfidious Bill Shorten  conspiring  with   the  Kiwis   to despicably  prove  that  Deputy PM   Barnaby Joyce , an admitted  New Zealander , is  a  New  Zealander, not  related after  all to  the  swaggie  with a penchant  for  getting  up  close  to  sheep  , who   fell  in the water , as in The Goon Show ,  and   inspired   the   great Aussie patriotic   song , Waltzing  Matilda .
  
It is tipped that  Bishop will   head  the  ( Bill)ing  at the  next Comedy  Festival in Melbourne along with another Bishop  who performs acts with  assorted barnyard  animals .   
 
The very next day, by popular demand , FM Bishop was  back entertaining the  troops with her  zany patter  , accusing  the  guffawing  ALP  of  conspiracy  and   other  treasonable  plots  with   the   puha and  pakeha   eaters  across  the Tasman to undermine  the  sovereign government of Australia . On  that occasion , she wore  a nifty sackcloth outfit , below , in  readiness for  the  inevitable  Coalition  burial  ,   the  following  wake  a  real  hoot , like  the smashing  party  held  when  the Mad Monk was booted out  by   his colleagues  and   Malcolm  Turnbull   foolishly  took   the   helm .
The cheeky  New Zealand Herald  joined in the  fun by  depicting   Barnaby Joyce , who overnight  no longer calls Chateau Tongariro home , sitting in  parliament , arms  folded,  his  head  a  sliced  in  half  Kiwi  fruit .

BREAKING NEWS : Two non-nuclear vessels  from a New Zealand  invasion  fleet were this morning sighted  in the  Magnetic Island marina . One was  flying a pennant indicating  all out war on Australia-an All Blacks   flag , the  other  a  fern or an  extinct  Moa  feather , below .

Monday, August 14, 2017

GHOST OF SIR GARFIELD INVOKED IN CRAZY COBBER / KIWI CAPER

CANBERRA : Answering the urgent call  to once more come to the aid of  the  desperate  to  hold or  get  power at any cost   Liberal Party  and its  Country Cousins  ,  the  former Chief Justice  of the  High Court , the late  Sir Garfield Barwick , has  made a  spooky return to the  premises.  A   terrified High  Court  cleaner  last night  snapped  the above  exclusive  photograph  of   Sir  Garfield  in  the former  office  he  occupied , the building   dubbed  Barwick's  Mausoleum ,

 Sir  Garfield is either saluting , swatting a pesky  Bogong moth  or  tick-tacking for  a  Canberra  SP  bookie  offering  odds  on  the  outcome of  Barnaby Joyce's  High Court  case  over  his  Kiwi citizenship .  Astute readers of this blog will notice that  the  bookcase  in the photo is  much  larger than  that  of  the current Federal Attorney-General ,  George  Brandis.
 
It will be  recalled that  Sir Garfield, once a  Tory politician , renowned for   rambling ,  flowery speeches , was the  Chief  Justice  when   thirsty  Sir John Kerr  sought  advice  from  him  before  sacking  Gough Whitlam . 
 
On hearing of   Sir Garfield's  return to the High Court, PM  Malcolm Turnbull said  he is certain  the learned  judge would  use his  influence  on  present   day   High Court judges   to make sure  Barnaby's Kiwi   citizenship is confirmed  and he is shipped  out  to  Rotorua to  become a  whip cracking  poi  dancer  in  the  famous  Maori  Concert   Party . 
   
Meanwhile ,  Bill Shorten  has demanded an  exorcist armed with garlic , a wooden stake , a  crucifix  and   the mind numbing   recordings of   Sir Robert Menzies's  poetic recitations  be  called in  to  rid  the  High  Court of  the  ghastly  Sir  Garfield  spectre to  ease  the  strain on  staff  working  at  night or else  give them  a   special  triple  time  payment  .   
 
(See   Little  Darwin , (SIR) GARFIELD CRACKS A MOTHER-IN-LAW JOKE )

Sunday, August 13, 2017

NEW ZEALAND RECEIVES MASSIVE SEISMIC JOLT FROM AUSTRALIA

Anxious looking  Barnaby Joyce  with  his thoroughbred  NZ racehorse, Hinemoa  , part of the famous Phar Lap  bloodline ,   just  before  recently  being called in before the  stewards  to explain  why  it  came  last  at  a bush meeting  ,  outsider   Fine  Cotton  winning  at 100-1 .
 
WELLINGTON : The NZ Stock Market  crashed , the local currency is now as  worthless   as  the Indian  rupee   and  there is weeping and  wailing in the streets  following   the  horrifying  breaking  news that Australia's Deputy Prime Minister,  Barnaby  Joyce ,  is almost certainly going to  be   deported  to the  Shaky Isles  because  he  is really  a   Kiwi .

In further shock news  from  Canberra,  ace  political reporter,  Argus Tuft , who has taken over  from Laurie Oakes , today claimed  he has known  for   years  that   Babbling  Barnaby is  a  New Zealander .  

Tuft  is offering to  sell , for a  fortune ,   rare photographs  of  a  Maori tattoo   on  Barnaby's  rump   setting out  the Joyce  family tree  stating   he  is  a descendant  of  prominent Kiwi   sheep shagger   Hone   Hickup,    of    Waikikamukau, a  quaint  North Island  rural  community, something like  Fred   Dagg's  Footrot  Flats , similar  to  Armidale  in  NSW .  .  

Barnaby  was close to and a  great friend of the Queensland  Premier , Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen , seen beaming over   Joyce's  shoulder in this  photo  , who wanted to be  Prime Minister of Australia , yet he was  born   in  Dannevirke , New Zealand.   Barnaby and  Joh have both been described as "idiosyncratic " - a   common  Kiwi  attribute .  
 
It is to be hoped that when Barnaby  is deported for pretending to be a   fair dinkum  outback Aussie , with straw between his teeth and a whip,  he will take back to  the  Land of the Long  White   Clo(u)ds the mortal remains of  Joh  in  a  Queensland  pickle bottle  and shove  it down a  volcanic crack to warm the  cockles  of  his  heart . 
 
During  Question Time in the House of Representatives  when his  nationality was  the hot  topic  and it was moved that he  not be heard in the chamber  , Barnaby  became  red faced , shouted , waved  his arms about , finger pointed  as if  doing  a mug's  imitation of  the  Haka performed  by  the  All Blacks  before  the start of another  thrashing  of  Australia  in  the  Bledisloe  Cup series.
 
Thankfully,  he did not mention testicles and terrorists in the outburst , but  Townsville   was   mentioned  many   times , as were most other points of the compass . 

DONALD HORNE IN AN INSPIRING PART OF THE LUCKY COUNTRY

A  recent  read  ,    Dying  A Memoir by   Donald Horne   and   his  wife , Myfanwy   Horne , Viking  2007 ,  brought  out  the  fact   that    the  Northern Territory   had  influenced  his  early writing .  He  recalled that as  an  18  year old university student  he   wrote several  sonnets  which were published, panned  by a   poet friend .  This  response, he wrote ,  had  caused  him  to  brood   for several  months  and  he  gave up   writing  experimental  sonnets.

However, posted to the  Northern Territory   during  WWll , the images   there  impressed him so much  he began  writing  about them  in letters ;  late in life ,  dying  from  pulmonary fibrosis , he wondered if  he had  persisted with  sonnet  writing  he would  have  produced  distinctive works . At  this  late stage in  his  life he could  have been  lying  in  bed dictating  sonnets.

One of his interesting  essays in the book   further explained  the  part    the   Northern Territory played  in the education  of young  Donald . While serving  as  a  gunner  in  various parts of the Top End, at one stage in  a    commandeered  square of houses  near a  bombed Darwin hotel , he , surprisingly , received   quality overseas   publications  from  friends   ,  monthlies and  quarterlies , from Britain  and America ,  which   had  a big effect  on him ....The Economist  changed my  life . 
 
The Northern Territory, he wrote, added  to the list  of  things  in which   he was   ready to  take  an  intelligent   interest .

Other  subjects covered in the essays include   his  views  on  the media , democracy ,  politics   and   the   dismissal   of  the  Whitlam  Government-all relevant  to  the  not so  lucky  nation  today .  
 
Myfanwy  Horne , a former  Sydney Morning Herald journalist, was consulting editor  to all her husband's published work , starting with the   The Lucky Country in 1964. She was involved pro bono in various cultural  and social projects , including the photographic exhibition, The Struggle  for Australian  Democracy  1788  to the Present , which toured  in  the   late l970s.   

Donald  Horne,  born Sydney  1921, diplomatic  cadet, journalist  , magazine  editor  and  academic ,  became a  household name with publication of   The Lucky Country ,  died    2005 .  
 
Just released  is  Donald Horne : Selected Writings , edited by son Nick Horne , La Trobe University Press  .  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CREATIVE CURLEWS JOIN IKEBANA FLORAL APPRECIATION CLASS

Our  attention drawn  to  Curlews acting strangely  at the front of  the block resulted in the discovery of a   chick , a few days old , one of  two which  had  hatched on an  adjoining  property .

Friday, August 11, 2017

BRISVEGAS BY NIGHT


Storey Bridge, Brisbane, during the  Ekka . Photograph by Abra .

BOAT PEOPLE ESCAPE IN CANAL CRUISER

Another slightly condensed   exclusive  from  Peter Burleigh under  his  topical  heading . It  is out of sequence , but then  this entire blog  is out  of  whack.  So as not to upset dog lovers , we  deleted   the part which  revealed  that  to sell  his house in Australia before  fleeing  to  France  , not  only did he throw in all the  furniture, fittings, pictures and  his  many  framed  glowing references from multi-national  corporations , he  included  faithful  fido . (No mention  was  made  to  the buyers  about   the   black  snakes  which  have   invaded  the  house  in  the  past .)  
House trained  French  snake  by  Pierre Roy

At last, contact from an alien (OK, me)! I haven’t written in weeks because I couldn’t think of an excuse why I haven’t written. So I gave up and am writing. My weeks of email silence have been dominated by the hot weather – at least three heatwaves have beaten us down.

Days of over-30 degree heat with the boat in the sun (it’s a lot harder to find a boat-friendly shady spot on a canal or riverbank than you might think, and you are moving en soleil  pretty much every day.) Our most recent onboard guest has returned to Lyon after a week of trying to improve Judi and my French with mixed results. I  did  learn  that the French word ‘salade’ means ‘lettuce’.
 
Our English BBQ (inherited with the boat) finally died  so we have imported one from Germany via the Internet. As you might expect, the German version works far better and now we can cook  Duck, Guinea Fowl and Lamb without the surrounding environment exploding  in   flames.
 
We have once again returned to our ‘home port’ of St Jean de Losne as our replacement stern thruster – one of the boat’s most vital sexual organs – has arrived from Holland.  It was originally delivered somewhere in the south of France.


They sent it back again, then re-sent it to  the same wrong address. No one knows where it's gone (true!) Our marina ordered another one. After a false alarm or two the new one has arrived, so we expect our boat to be craned out of the water tomorrow and  the  thruster fitted, ‘expect’ being the operative word. At least this location has Internet of a kind, crippled but still dragging itself along by the knuckles.
 
In a few days we hope all will be well, and we can head up the Doubs River to Dole and Besancon, both spectacular cities and meccas for good food and grog, and perhaps go as far east as Montpellier before we reach the edge of the world. We’ll meet friends from  London and Canberra and cruise for a couple of weeks. Lucky our livers have been in training. Besancon is the site of a spectacular military citadel perched on top of a rock similar to Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf. Maybe I won’t send you an email about  it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

SECRET MISSILE BASE UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN AUSTRALIA

S(h)ipping  Reporter  Word  Exclusive 
In a closely guarded ,  secret location in Townsville , above , an  instant  lend-lease  missile  base  is  being rapidly  constructed  to   shower  the  bellicose  North Korean  leader  , King Kong Jong -Ill,  with   ICBMs  carrying  thousands of  miniaturised   rough   ends  of   Queensland  Golden  Circle  pineapples.  
 
These  warheads  will   be delivered  just as  blubbery  King Kong  throws  a  leg over a  poor Shetland  pony, his  vitals exposed to  attack  ,  at  the start of  a  daily gallop   imitating  John Wayne  in  the  epic  western movie , True  Boofhead.
 
 Townsville  reporters , as usual , are  not  aware of the  frenzied  waterfront   activity  because  they  do not venture down near  the sea,   have not  received a Pentagon  media   hand  out  and   are  too  busy  watching  social  media .

However,   our   waterfront  roundsman ,   the  only one  north of  Wagga Wagga , was  tipped off  about  the  hush-hush  missile  base  while  s(h)ipping  soda  in  Molly  Malone's  Irish  bar .

The chairman of the Disaster Management Group ,  Cairns Regional Council, Terry James,   has  been  reported  as saying   a nuclear attack on the area has  never been considered. In  a  worst case scenario , the council  would ask  Defence   for instructions on  how to react . The Cairns paper  ran  the  strange heading: City in  range  but  safe... Cairns low as  North Korea missile  target . 


 In the case of  the Townsville City  Council , calling for  numerous  shovel ready  projects to get off  the ground , a strategically  placed  nuke  which  caused water to  flow  freely   from the  Burdekin  without cost  to  ratepayers  would  be  regarded as a positive act  , which the  Murdoch  Townsville   Bulletin would  no doubt applaud .       

ASTONISHING CANAL CHIC # 2

Sounding  as if  his  brain was deep  fried in the recent   French heatwave ,  canal correspondent   Peter   Burleigh ,    with a superior new  portable   German barbecue  cooker , sent   this  sizzling    follow   up  to  his  earlier  dispatch  about  his  fame as  a  Facebook   sock   and  sandal celebrity . 
 
One of the annoying things about the popular media is its short attention span. One day you read a fascinating story about, say, domestic violence against flightless birds in Bulgaria, and it’s never followed up. You never find out about the role of  Turkmenistani ‘Turkey Whisperers’ or whether chicken plucking is a regulated  profession  in  Bulgaria.  
 
As a responsible fact-based popular-interest journal of record, this is the Little Darwin follow-up to that recent and fascinating piece, “Celebrity Chic”. A professional linguist at a university somewhere near Costa Rica has provided us with the actual lyrics to the French rap hit ALURA , the hymn of  the socks-and-sandals celebrity phenomenon built around this reporter’s impeccable dress sense.

Ouais ouais ouais
Ouais ouais ouais
Ouais ouais ouais
Ratata 
(Yeah, yeah, yeah....
Ratata)

Ca sent l'été j'vais tout niquer 
(It smells of summer. I'm gonna fuck everything.)

Barbec' à la cite 
(BBQ in the projects)

Tous mes gars sont invités faut éviter d'foutre la merde ils vont nous soulever.
(All the guys are invited. We'd better not do shit or they'll take us away.)

J'sors avec des Nexi Panterra 
(I'm going out with Nexi Panterra types [modeled on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN1reAf4EZk])

Chicha posée sur la terrasse, y'a les keufs dans les parages 
(Hookah's on the patio. There are cops around.)

Personne rentre c'est nous qui faisons les barrages 
(Nobody's leaving, we're making barricades)

Même en claquettes on est bien sappé 
(Even in sandals we're fashion fit)

Pour la graille on va s'taper 
(For the grub, we don't give a shit)

Les merguez sont cramées qu'est-ce t'as fait ? 
(The sausages are charred, so what?)

Mais qu'est-ce t'as fait ?
(Whatcha doin'?)

En claquettes au calme 
(In sandals, all chill)

Sur mon transat au calme 
(On my deckchair, all chill)

Plusieurs dans ma boca 
(A few in my mouth)

Sers pas la main t'es pas local 
(Don't use your hand, you're not from around here)

Ouais ouais ouais
Ouais ouais ouais
Ouais ouais ouais
Ouais ouais ouais
 
(Yeah, yeah, yeah...)

J'suis en claquettes chaussettes 
(I'm in sandals and socks)

Claquettes chaussettes 
Claquettes chaussettes 
(Sandals and socks)

Tu connais c'est la tess
(You know, it's the projects)

J'suis en claquettes chaussettes 
(I'm in sandals and socks)
Claquettes chaussettes 

If that’s not a call for a fashion-based civil uprising, I don’t know what is! To join them at the barricades, Google Alura France YouTube’ and you might be able to check it out. But this piece isn’t about that, it’s an update about the evolution of a trend. The sandals-and-socks look is one of those ideas which sticks to a culture like pate to a blanket. Peculiarly, when such trends occur there is a simultaneous international orgasm of  plagiarising  the original idea.

For example, a university in the remote pacific is inaugurating a “Chair of Claquettes”. In the US, it’s rumoured that Disney’s newest Star Wars movie will feature Storm Troopers wearing socks and hover-sandals. In Spain, Flamenco dancers are forsaking their high-heel boots for wooden sandals worn over socks. Experts accept their superior ‘clacking’ sound has caused an uproar.   
 
In Australia, residents of retirement homes arrange massed clack-along sessions to the original music. What is bizarre is their use of false teeth to generate the signature “clacking”. Football fans throughout England are cheering the adoption of spiked claquettes worn over team-coloured socks – this despite the sound muffling effect when trying to ‘clack’ on grass playing fields.

In Greece, sports media are discussing the creation of a new Olympic event which combines “claquettery” and chess.


In New Zealand, the debate about a new national flag now includes a design showing a golden sandal with a sock in it treading on a fern frond. In Pakistan, a new graphic novel featuring a ten-footed goddess in claquettes is soon to be published. So far no details of the plot have been released. 
 
When Forbes magazine released its annual  Celebrity 100 list of the highest paid celebrities in the world, the total earnings for all top celebrity 100 earners totalled $4.5 billion over the course of 2010 alone. I therefore had a fair and reasonable expectation that I would appear on the 2017 list. Even a place halfway down would have done. 
 

For instance, internet research showed media mogul and talk show hostOprah Winfrey as the top earner with earnings of $US290 million. Forbes cites that Lady Gaga reportedly earned over $90 million in 2010. In 2013, Madonna was ranked as the fifth most powerful and the highest earning celebrity of the year with earnings of $125 million. She has consistently been among the most powerful and highest earning celebrities in the world, occupying the third place in Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2009 with $110 million of earnings, and reaching tenth place in the 2010 list with annual earnings equal to $58 million. Exciting figures! 
 
But what of the originator of the claquettes trend? How many millions has he accumulated? Sadly, the popularity of my visionary creation has overwhelmed my role as its originator. I expected a minimum of fifteen minutes of fame but so far, by my own count, I have had two-and-a-half minutes and maybe not that much. I have worked tirelessly through my network of celebrity fellow-travellers and under the pressure of my Agent to feed the world’s need for exciting new ideas. My ideas have been pre-empted by other multi-millionaire entrepreneurs. 
 
Have you seen the multi-coloured super-pointy shoes beloved by fantasy figures like elves and dwarves? They are a smash in Mexico, and you can buy them online. What did I get out of it? Zilch. 
 
And mosquito-nets pants? Brilliant, yes? Keep your legs cool and insect free and display your underwear at the same time. Perfect for your next ‘claquette’ session. Result: nada, but you’ll find them for sale on the internet. 
 
My ‘Princess Leia pet headphones’ got lots of support from my Agent, but that concept was bushwhacked too. Imagine this winner: a pair of headphones with a little cage where the earpieces (and Leia’s buns) would be – and in each cage, a pet mouse or a canary. Another solid-gold concept relegated to the dustbin of history.
 
 But I won’t be beaten. I have an even better idea, designed for tennis players and their fans:
 
THE SW’OUSER (pronounced S-wowzer). 
You don’t have to buy it to try it  – simply go to your clothes drawer, pull out a sweater of any colour or size, long or short sleeves (short sleeves best for summer, as you know). Yes, it’s the ‘sweater-trouser’! See how it works? Simply insert your legs through the sleeves on a cold day and guess what – you’ll have warm legs while you play or watch tennis!* It has an extra convenience – the neck-hole is perfect for use when you are caught short on a call of nature. 
 
And most vital, the Sw’ouser is a perfect accompaniment to your socks and sandals. Dance it up! Clack it to the extreme – it’s all a wonderful new expression of  individual fashion inventiveness. 

You can obtain your own signed Sw’ouser^ from Little Darwin. Contact LD at its Fannie Bay (Jail )  address for details and receive a note from this reporter in return. Become a Celebrity like me. People will stare at you (they stare at me) take your photo and shake your hand (or leg, if you are wearing your Sw’ouser). This is a new beginning for us all. 

*In marketing terms, sponsors like Nike, Puma or Harley-Davidson can double their exposure by branding both your shirt and your Sw’ouser!^Sw’ouser is singular. You can’t have a ‘pair of Sw’ousers’ unless you purchase two. Avoid  cheap copies  made  in Australian sweatshops by slave labour .  

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

SUGAR SHAKER SHOOK UP A LA RAFFLES STYLE

The Townsville  CBD landmark building known as the  Sugar Shaker , once   the Holiday Inn , now sports  its  Singapore name on high  , Hotel Grand Chancellor. The shaker in earlier days  below . The  city is  becoming so cosmopolitan  that  it now sports Istanbul Kebabs in  the Flinders Street  East nightclub  precinct .

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

MAN WHO COULD WHISTLE UP FISH REMEMBERED IN SAD POETRY

Tucked away at the bottom  of  P5  in this  slim 1965  edition of Expression, magazine of the  Writers' Guild   of Queensland  and  the Guild of  Academy of Art, is  a small  item , easy to overlook, except for the heading ,  THE  LAST  OF   HIS  TRIBE .

It informed members  that  next month  " Uncle Willie McKenzie  " , 84,  last surviving  member  of the Stanley River  tribe  of Aborigines , would be  the guest at the  Writers'  Circle . He would sing  corroboree  songs  and  tell  folk   tales . It went on to say that not only was he  an expert with boomerang, but skilled at whistling  fish   to  call  them to  the  surface to be speared.

Uncle  Willie  would answer  questions  and a    most interesting   evening was   assured . The year  after , he  died . He was  described as the last   fullblood   surviving  member of the  Darwarbada  tribe  of the Caboolture  district, tribal  name  Geerbo, his totem the native bee . McKenzie  came from his  family's first "white boss " ,  a selector , there  being at least   three variations in  the  spelling over  the   years.    
 
 Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal , Kath Walker,  in her book ,  The Dawn Is  At  Hand ,    ran   a  poem  for  him ,  Dispossessed ;  in   Last Of  His Tribe,  she told   of   the  plight of    "Willie  McKenzie" , a singer of  ancient tribal songs , lead dancer of  corroborees,   who had   taken part in  two tribal   fights against invaders ,   living  in a Salvation Army home , a displaced  person in  his  own  country .

Jacaranda Press , Brisbane , in 1960  published  Legends of the Goundirs , by Uncle Willie Mackenzie ,  told  to his  niece ,  Sylvia  Cairns , illustrated  by Fred   Cobbo , a  children's Dreaming  story .   In  1971  it  was  produced  in  braille. 

Expression's patron  was   Sir  Raphael W. Cilento , father of actress  and  author  Diane Cilento  who  at one stage was   married to  Sean Connery (James Bond  ) . In the  1980s she   settled  at Mossman , north  of Cairns , where she opened an outdoor theatre named  Karnak  for experimental  drama .  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

GOLDEN GIRL BETTY CUTHBERT REMEMBERED BY SLOW SCRIBE

Betty Cuthbert, taken by me , during  an  early   athletic  event  in Sydney circa  1950  , the letter  E pinned to her stands  for  the Ermington Public  School, which  she  and  twin sister  Marie ,  also fleet  footed ,  attended .  Marie , unfortunately , blurred,  was  cut out of  the photograph .  In the school photo below , from which Betty  is missing for some unknown reason ,  Marie  Cuthbert    is  in the  third row from  the  front , fourth girl  from the left,white  ribbons  in  her  hair . In  the back row , third  kid from the  left  in  whites, is  this writer.  
 My  abiding memory  of  attending  the school  at the same time  as  the  Cuthberts was the annual event in  which the fastest  girl runners  and the fastest  boys, me one of the latter ,  were pitted  against each other . The  Cuthberts   romped  home  against  the  rest  of  the  field ... beaten by  girls !  Still, Betty went on  to win  three  Gold Medals at the 1956  Melbourne   Olympics  and  another  at Tokyo .
 
In the  l960s , I recalled this ignominious defeat   in  a   piece  I wrote  for  the   Rotorua   Post  when  I met  up  with her  again when she was on a  tour of New Zealand ,  part of  a clipping from  that  story below .  
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Ermington  Schooldays

The Cuthbert  family ran  a plant   nursery  at  Ermington, within  walking distance  of the school . There was a   view  from the nursery across  the Parramatta River  and  industrial  plants , a   paint  factory  in particular ,    from  which  fumes   wafted . After I left Ermington and went to high school at North  Newtown  and  then  Fort Street, I  daily took the  train  from West Ryde  which  went  by  factories  emitting   strong  smells . 
 
On hearing in 1969  that Betty  had  been  diagnosed with  multiple sclerosis, I speculated  that  those  industrial fumes  may  have been responsible for her  condition .  I recalled  the brother  of a friend of mine who lived down near the  river had  come  down with some strange  illness.  

 Taking  to the  hills

Despite being beaten by the  Cuthberts , I took up cross country running  and used to scamper  across  the Carlingford  Heights like a  Beagle , athlete  Albie Thomas prominent in those days .  At North Newtown  Intermediate High I was in the athletic team  which in 1953  won  the Mick Simmons Trophy  for the Champion School  and the Junior Panel at the Combined Intermediates  School  Carnival .  Some additional  after school  training  took   place  at  Burwood   at  an athletics field where   Betty  may have   become  involved  at  some stage , not  sure about  this .   
 
Dead Heat
 
The  news of  Betty's  death   caused   my  heart to flutter  when  it was  stated that she  was  79 ... so  am  I.

The typical open mouthed running style  of Betty captured in this  statue of  her at  the Melbourne Cricket Ground .(By  Peter  Simon ) 

THINGS WE SEE AND HEAR - NOT REPORTED IN THE MEDIA

Last year's  federal election is long  over  yet  a   large sign  for defeated  LNP  Member for  Herbert    Ewen  Jones   is  visible    alongside the  railway line  north  of  Townsville .  The   Australian Electoral Commission  office in Townsville  and  the  local  media  are  free  to  follow up  this  tip .
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 Also  very noticeable   driving north  of  Townsville  is a large sign  featuring a  rifle in which  Labor   is charged with  taking  away  firearms .  Could be another  story  here with  interesting political   angle .
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Disturbing  information  received about  the lack of  proper attention  given   great Territorian  Vern  O'Brien  in palliative care during  his  last  few days  alive  in  Darwin .
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Several  reports  of  interior car  door  handles  breaking off on Hyundai  cars , some  hire  vehicles.  Also  traveller  sighted  several     Hyundai  cars broken down on  the  side of  the road   in   various   parts  of  Australia .What  gives?
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HORROR HOUSE ON THE HILL SETTING FOR DEBATE

CANBERRA : In breaking news   , ace reporter Argus Tuft says a late night  quick survey of  political pundits  in the non members bar   has  revealed that most  predict the debate  over  same  sex marriage  in  the  Liberal tag  team  tabernacle will  end up looking like  the   shower  scene in Psycho , with Christopher   Pyne   pecked  to  death  by   Crows , a rare Tasmanian Tiger  set  loose on  PM Malcolm  Turnbull , the Mad  Monk crucified  upside down , Michaelia Cash speechless  and  Annabel  Crabb  of the ABC providing  yummy  finger  (pointing)  food  throughout .  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

OLDIES ROCK AROUND THE ROCK AS CULTURAL EVENT BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE IN TOP END

Not  shipwrecked  mariners-thirsty Darwin rock  sitters  40  years ago
One of  the  Northern Territory Library's  planned   seniors' week  events  this month is re-enactment  of  sitting  on  a  large rock   at   East Point ,  watching the sun go down  while  drinking  and  shooting  the  breeze.   If anything  like the  original  rock hopping ,  Royal  Darwin Hospital emergency  staff  may  be  run of  their feet .

The  daring  event , set  down for  August  15, is the idea of  NTL  creative artist in residence , Sarah  Pirrie . She  envisages an  obviously much  tamer   , less dangerous  rock  sitting  episode   than  the  originals , even   providing  soft   mats  for  seniors  to  sit on  in  the  library grounds . 

The promo says : Hot from rocksitting at the Venice Biennale, with ever-increasing tidelines and artists at every turn, Sarah will guide the evening with help from special guests and fellow rocksitters. Bring your stories about the coast, take a seat on a specially made rocksitting place mat and watch  the sunset.There is no mention  of  BYO , so  one suspects it  will be mineral  water  only .
 
 
The  Darwin Rock Sitters' Club , which sat on a   particular  rock every Saturday  to drink beer,  kicked  off  in  the  l970s . In  1977 ,  eight members, including three females , set   the world's  first  rock sitting  record-five days .They included  a  computer programmer , two photographers , a journalist , a mother of  two children , an  unemployment  counsellor , a carpenter , a public servant  and  hairy dog   named  Kojac.  
 
Over in New Zealand , there  was a move to challenge the  Darwin  record .  Darwin responded by announcing it  would stage the  world's first Rock Sit-A-Thon , launched by the NT Legislative Assembly independent  , Dawn Lawrie . The former Majority Leader in the Assembly, Dr Goff Letts , also participated , wishing them all the best  and downing a can . A  glimpse of that historic event is seen below .   
 It shows  the Prime Minister of the Rock , photographer  Bazza  Ledwidge , front , left  , dodging an attempt by  a man  wanting to   daub  his nose  with Vegemite. Bowties were sported  by some .  Barefooted  Dawn Lawrie , dubbed the Witch of Nightcliff  by Chief Minister   Paul "Porky " Everingham , was seen talking to a man who looked like Barry  McKenzie  , he with  a tube in hand .  The fire brigade  even turned up  on  the mainland  to  carry out  training . 


Unfortunately , the  rock was  split  asunder by  lightning  which  struck the  metal  pole  driven  into  it  for  flying  flags  and  wild  pole dancing , the pounding  sea  washed  the  pulverised  parts  away.  The above current   photograph  shows  the  mighty  sunset  view   from  an observation  platform  overlooking   the   spot  where    the  famous  rock   was  the  scene of  so  much  philisophical  discussion.