The Guilessness of Childhood

Dear reader, we present to you from our esteemed northern correspondent Mr. Tony Emo this little piece based on memories dredged up from days long ago.

‘Like most children, I learnt bad language long before I knew what it meant. However, the wide currency of certain words among the older boys in the schoolyard – and in the daily argot of adults of the lower type – convinced me that these were important markers of maturity. Like switching from shorts to long trousers.

tony emo

Rare Portrait of Tony Emo as schoolboy. ” an enthusiastic if somewhat impetuous boy’ Headmaster.

Not knowing quite what these vulgarisms meant, I also had no idea how they were spelt. Hardly surprising, since in those genteel days, four-letter words very rarely appeared in print – and certainly never in juvenile literature.

This deficiency was revealed in one incident around the early 1950s, I would guess. Seated at the family kitchen table, I had been laboriously writing a note on a sheet of lime-green stationery using my father’s fountain pen. Finally, I finished and triumphantly sealed this carefully-composed missive into an envelope, upon which I wrote an address in my unconfident script. I then asked my mother for a postage stamp.

Naturally, she asked to look at the envelope and saw that it was addressed to one of the young lads I played with and who lived a mere half-dozen houses away. Since I could not explain quite why I needed to write him a message that I could have simply relayed viva voce, she insisted that I let her read it.

The fact that my mother kept this, my first (albeit, unposted) letter, for many years explains why I am now able to repeat it exactly as I had penned it (spelling, included) all those many years ago:

“Dear Mr Roger Streeter,

You are a fooking count.


Tony Eames, Esq.”
Only a little while after this incident, I came home from school to discover that my aunt Kathleen, had arrived, all the way from Waterford in Ireland to visit us in Plymouth, England.


Aunt Kathleen.

My mother thumped me in the back to straighten me up and instructed me to ‘say hello to your Aunt Kathleen’.

‘Hello Auntie Kathleen,’ said I.

‘What a healthy big boy he is – and so good-looking too, thanks be to God,’ replied my pious Aunt. ‘And tell me, what did you learn at school today?’

‘I learnt a pome,’ I declared shyly, staring at my feet and looking distinctly awkward.

‘Well go on,’ said my mother. ‘Tell your Aunt Kathleen the poem you learnt.’

I drew in a deep breath and quickly rattled off these lines:

There was an old man from Hockett
Who went to the moon in a rocket
The rocket went bang
His balls went clang
And he found his prick in his pocket!

Mortified silence.

‘Go to your room…’

tony emo room

A slightly older Tony Emo begging permission to be let out of his room.

There is a postscript. Two days later, the family waved goodbye to Aunt Kathleen as she returned to the reassuring moral certainties of Catholic Ireland – and we children eagerly looked forward to relief from the unfamiliar torture of rattling through the whole blessed rosary on bended knees every night.

(Mother and Father had weasled out of that dreary routine by convincing Kathleen that they habitually recited their Rosary in the privacy of their bedroom last thing at night. I hope God has since forgiven them for that disgraceful lie!)

As we waited for the bus home my mother took me to one side and quietly asked me, ‘Tell me, son, how did that “poem” of yours go again?’ She then made me repeat it till she was confident she’d got it off word-perfect.

From that point on, I never, ever trusted adults again. And I still don’t’!

Christopher Pyne advocates greater representation of Women in Parliament

Dear reader, it has recently come to our attention that some loose and unsubstantiated commentary has been recently been made on this blog in regards to the Federal Minster for Education, The Rt. Hon. Christopher Pyne. In hindsight some of that commentary has been uncharitable. Indeed references to his extensive and exotic collection of formal costumes and fancy dress have been based on ill founded rumour, and as such not worthy of the standards we try to keep in this blog. We endeavor at all times to maintain an open and unbiased conversation in this regard, and deplore any devaluation of those committed to public service and service to the Commonwealth. Also, (and this is terribly important), we’d like to make the observation than an autobiography commissioned during the life of current and serving Minister would not be self serving, tendentious and valueless. Rather it would cast an important insight into trenchant values that shape the manifest destiny of modern politics and a vision for all Australians.

julia and chris

Christopher Pyne encouraging more women in Parliament

three amigos

Wisdom x 3. Senator Bishops costume jewellery generously donated By the Minister for Education . The Rt. Hon. Christopher Pyne. M.P

Nevertheless, the recent publication of Mr Pyne’s biography, under the urgent behest of none other than Louise Adler, the most ambitious editor in chief of the formerly scholarly Melbourne University Press is a matter of some public interest. Mr Pyne has long been an exemplar of women’s’ rights, he has four children, and knows how important it is to ensure that hearth and home is gender neutral. Though he may be the sole breadwinner, and reflects a convention once popular in the 1950’s we cannot blame him for doing his utmost in sacrifice and at great personal cost to be away from his family for three quarters of the year. So also did Lord Nelson, to Lady Emma, Napoleon, when not en route to Moscow, and presumably Augustus and Trajan, when dealing with those pesky Britons and Goths. As Tacitus put it; ‘Absence makes the Empire grow Stronger’. Presumably Mr Pyne’s fierce advocacy for greater representation in Parliament has nothing to do with Labors’ mandated 50% quota system.

Mr Pyne knows an awful lot about women in Parliament. And indeed with such exemplars as Bronwyn Bishop and the soon to be returned Sophie Mirabella, he knows that good representation in Parliament is about women who look like REAL women. Lots of lippy, a twin set, a string of pearls and a sense of ambition. You see that’s the problem with a lot of women in Parliament these days, they have no sense of dress, and consequently lack  ambition. Look at Julia, she had the top job, and relinquished it to that little squib Rudd. And Tony Abbott, he adores women, has three lovely daughters and an adoring wife, and knows that as a husband and father he’s there to protect them. There’s nothing mysoginistic about that. It’s just that he knows what’s good for them, and that demonstrates a caring sense of values. He also knows that women, although they can’t help it, are descended from Eve, who bought us (men) into disgrace by forcing the apple on us and ever since we’ve been full of sin and shall rot in hell and use women as receptacles for a our mission to cultivate and civilise the earth. And though they try, their falsehood can never ever be redeemed, and that’s why the front bench is all beyond middle age, male and catholic. Well that’s at least what Senator Corey Bernardii, (author of another excellent autobiography) told me. And there aint any other women who could do the job in the front bench beyond Julie, Sophie and Susan, because they’re not like real women anyway. Well not angry one like those in the Labor ranks. Those like Julia, who don’t know their place, and will only grudgingly bow to the wisdom of blokes like us.

Sophie and Friends. Real Women in Politics.

Sophie and Friends. Real Women in Politics.

But Christopher has sensed the “Zeitgeist”*. There’s gotta be something done about women in Parliament, and violence about women is shocking, deeply shocking also. I suppose it depends upon your value system and the way society views women, That’s why Christopher is determined to change things because ultimately he knows best. Always treated Julia, “that ideologically childless, irreligious, proxy” with respect on the floor of Parliament.

And he’s told us why?

He’s a fixer!!

* Normally we wouldnt use such an affected term, but The Federal Mnister for the Arts. Mr. George Brandis, is rather fond of it.

A New Future for Sustainability

At Last! True Sustainability!!! As they say dear reader, a week is a long time in politics. And it is with some justifiable relief after all the antics of the recent ALP conference and true bipartisanship demonstrated in stopping the boats that the Federal Government is at last poised to do something very positive about Climate Change.

In a startling turnaround the Federal Treasurer The Rt.Hon. Mr Joe Hockey was once again convening a lightening door stop press conference on the forecourt at Parliament House Canberra to re-announce his stated position on Wind Turbines. To an assembled throng of press, admirers, and his immaculately presented children (dressed in Gainsborough Blue Boy outfits, generously lent on this occasion by the Minister for Education, The Rt. Hon Christopher Pyne’s personal collection), the Treasurer beaming, slapped his well cushioned sides, before stepping up to the rostrum. Turning to the media, and casting an accusing eye at the only Fairfax reporter allowed in, he clenched the lectern, held his head back, and then, gauging the moment, began to speak. “Men, Women, Children, and LBGT members of Australia, I am very glad to tell you that I have recently been thinking’!!!! (uproar from audience , back slapping and tumult of infectious excitement)

Hockey Children. Twins Hypatia and Erasmus dressed for budget night. Costumes generously lent by Christopher Pyne. From his Personal Collection.

Hockey Children. Twins Hypatia and Erasmus dressed for budget night. Costumes generously lent by Christopher Pyne. From his Personal Collection.

‘Excuse me! May I qualify that’? (hush stills the excitement)

‘I have been thinking about what may be really and truly good for this country. And if I may, (pausing for effect) Although we of the political class are loathe to admit our failings I would like to add a note, an apologia for some of the things I’ve said in the past as being ill-considered, or perhaps uttered in the heat of the moment. And for some amongst us, interpreted as being unfair, intolerant, dispassionate.

Suddenly the floodgates opened. The Treasurer seized by countess requests and the reporters in unison besieging him with hypotheticals, related to ill considered words, to whit the Treasurer, slightly flummoxed, was loathe to reply;

“No it was not about those who are leaners,

No Sir, it was not those who don’t drive,

Nor was I referring to those who can’t afford to drive,

No Michelle, neither was it the crack about housing affordability,

Nor was it the cigar I enjoyed after passing the 2014 budget’.

The Treasurer getting visibly flustered, paused. ‘Please, please, let me finish. I’ve been thinking lately that I’ve got it all wrong about renewables, and I kind of think I may have got it wrong about wind turbines. I know I said they’re ugly, a blight on the landscape, but now i’ve had a change of heart. You see I’ve been doing some deep thinking (audible sigh of OHHHH from audience) and I’ve been talking to a few of my colleagues, and I think I’ve arrived at an approach that’ll make the Opposition just a little bit, (sensing the anticipation of the audience) a little bit green with envy. (Pauses long enough to sip a glass of water).

shreck 2

Treasurer making Opposition ‘Green with Envy”

‘I’m going to invest in WIND TURBINES!! (Spontaneous applause). Yes, I’ll admit, I’d got it wrong. (Cheers and high fives from press gallery) In the life of this Government I’m now proud to say, we’re going to see Wind Turbines right across Australia. And, I’ve got to tell you I’ll be proud to have one in my own back yard. (Deliriously joyous outburst from the crowd) You see, my friends in the Minerals and Energy Council have upgraded those ugly wind turbines and developed one of their own. And you know what its called? It’s high tech, isn’t just carbon fibre, but uses carbon to function. (susserus of confusion) Ladies and gentleman this is the future!!!! (Points to model) A wind turbine? But this one is different. We call it the Carbon Blade.

'Visually attractive Carbon Blades', (Federal treasurer Mr. Joe Hockey)

‘Visually attractive Carbon Blades’, (Federal treasurer Mr. Joe Hockey) Note adjacent housing Estate. A win win for the Development Industry and sustainability!!

And do you know why it’s good? Because it’s COAL FIRED!! And do you know what that means? All those ugly WHITE wind turbines will soon be BLACK!! Not only that, but I’m retrospectively introducing legislation to ensure that all recent housing estates are retrofitted with proper chimneys, and those chimneys will be fitted with mini carbon blades. A blade on every house to ensure that this, (holds aloft briquette), ensures a secure and SAFE carbon future. And with the resultant Turneresque beauty of smoke, will prove once and for all that you CAN make a silk purse out of the proverbial sows ear’! (turning to his right, ‘eh, isn’t that right Bronwyn?) (Stunned silence, thunderous applause from Murdoch press).

Retrofitting. "Our challenge for sustainability is to retrospectively legislate for chimneys to be installed in all recent housing estates, and upgraded with the Carbon Blade'. (Federal Treasurer Mr. Joe Hockey).

Retrofitting. “Our challenge for sustainability is to retrospectively legislate for chimneys to be installed in all recent housing estates, and upgraded with the Carbon Blade’. (Federal Treasurer Mr. Joe Hockey).

Now I can tell you they’ve got a little jingle here written by my friends in the Minerals and Energy Council. I think you’ll like it. ‘The Carbon Blade, Sustainability never felt so good! Feels right! Looks right! And to my thinking, is right’. And isn’t that all of the time’!!

Annals of Australian Manufacturing. The Wackett Wombat

In response to the requirement for a small, inexpensive intercept fighter as a consequence of the fall of Singapore in 1942, several local companies, (among them Wackett) were commissioned with the task of developing a very simple aircraft that would not require the use of valuable war material, duralinium, and expensive machining. Seizing the spirit of the day the Melbourne Sun, sponsored the “Build a Beauty” competition in which the promise of a significant prize, (up to five hundred pounds) was on offer for the most successful entry. Amongst the several prototypes, (the Simpson Steele-Rudd, the Hills Hoister, and the Bakelite Birko) none impressed more than the Wackett Wombat. The Wombat seemed to have it all combining simplicity, durability and exceptional performance.


Wacket Wombat of no 3 squadron RAAF performng acrobatics and fleet flyover Jervis Bay N.S.W. circa 1939.

The Wombat, brainchild of chief designer Lawrence Hardnutt combined all the requirements as specified and gave both the operator, (the RAAF) and support crew, an edge in delivery, (each aircraft took only two days to assemble) and ease of maintenance. Central to the Wackett, the power unit was an adapted Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 1X radial piston engine. Then in use on the Avro Anson, and the Airspeed Queen Wasp. Wackett, by combining this basic engine and up-engineering the carburettion and magnetos developed a stunning 450 hp, which gave the airframe (at a mere 1890 lbs) breathtaking agility and good performance at both high and low level. The sales pitch was impressive, rather than adding to the confusion of existing assembly of Fairy Battle, Bristol Beaufort and Wirraway aircraft, the Wombat required a basic knowledge of carpentry, a degree of competency with a screwdriver, an Allen key and an attention to plans and basic design detail that was in Hardnutt’s words, “not beyond the skill level of the average scout group’.

fuselage sections wackett

Scout Masters inspecting completed fuselage sections prior to delivery and mating with Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah Engines. In foreground Mr. Cyril Polkinghorne esq, (8th Prahran Scout Group) reading inscription dedicated to Lord Baden Powell.

With this determination the Government subcontracted assembly to some 1200 Scout groups, Primary Schools and Technical Colleges. All, under the ‘You’re on a Wacket’s Wicket‘ slogan, and the catchy jingle ‘Bob a job, wack a Jap’, All readied for Wombat assembly. And just in time.

The bombing of Darwin in February 1942, caused widespread panic, and within a week the first Wombat squadron was ready for active service. After a few anxious weeks the Wombat squadron whose motto, ‘Consumit, Legumit, Valete’, (eats, roots and leaves) was scrambled for attack. A squadron of Japanese aircraft was observed by a reserve battalion of girl guides located on Melville Island. Guide leader, “Bungey” Cordelia Roper described several formations of Betty’s; Mavis’s and Kate’s making a moonlight run for Darwin.

Cordelia Bungey Roper

Recent photograph of former Girl Guide Patrol Leader, Cordelia “Bungey” Roper during a re-enactment of the call made to RAAF Darwin, warning of the approaching Japanese Squadrons.

The commanding officer of no 1 Wombat squadron RAAF Flt lieut. Knobby Knees made contact with the enemy at 7000 feet and prepared to attack. In perfect formation the flight of Wombats achieved complete surprise and in seconds the sky was riven with trails of smoking Japanese aircraft. But just at the moment of supreme triumph, the engines stalled and the small winged aircraft, “dropped like bricks” into the Arafura Sea. At a subsequent court of enquiry it was revealed, the Wombat though agile in level flight could not sustain stability in a dive and the flight controls became dead stick, and stuck. Unable to pull out, the squadron was wiped out, and the rest withdrawn from service. Those remaining aircraft, (some several thousand), were converted to light armoured cars with the addition of light armour plating and a Morris Eight drive train geared to the main crankshaft. Known as ‘Nuffield Numbats’, they proved eminently successful in jungle warfare and defeating the Japanese on land. As it was discovered that the short tail, fuselage and short barrel .303 Brownings were ideally suited to “digging out” entrenched Japanese in bunkers.

Only one Wackett Wombat survives and is being considered by the Army Signals directorate as a stand in for renewed production until the joint strike fighter arrives in 2025, and when the necessary quota of skilled migrants, (457 visa holders) is on hand to assemble the components. As stated in the Minister of Industry’s latest report; ‘we don’t yet possess a level of technical expertise “beyond the skill level of the average Scout Group’.

Technical specifications

Wackett Wombat Powerplant: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 1X radial piston engine Armament: 2 X .303 browning machine guns

Range: 500 miles

Max Speed: 250 mph @ 10,000 feet

Operators: RAAF. Surviving Aircraft: Army signals Directorate.

Redneck Wonderland of Footy

Francis Leach

Published in The Age: July 27, 2015 – 3:07PM

What a redneck wonderland footy has become.

Every weekend, somewhere in Australia, Adam Goodes steps out onto a footy field.

Simultaneously, an army of gutless drongos get ready to express their contempt for him, hiding anonymously in the choir of clowns who boo his every step.

Hey, bigots, don’t get me wrong.

I defend your right to express your unfathomable sense of outrage and injustice. It must burn long and deep. Probably over the spiralling price of a pie at the footy or the quality of the rubbish beer your force yourself to drink whilst acting like obnoxious school kids.

Your worries and concerns must weigh heavily on your poor benighted souls. So knock yourselves out. Boo away. At least have the courage though to admit what it is.


Naked, loud, contemptible, pathetic and unashamed.

None of this crap about Goodes staging for free kicks, being a “sniper” or sweet talking the umpires  is the reason for the booing.

Don’t use football as shield for your prejudice.

Adam Goodes has made it quite clear he hears those boos as a statement on his race and culture.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24:  Adam Goodes of the Swans warms up during a Sydney Swans AFL training session at Sydney Cricket Ground on June 24, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Blokes like Goodes tend to have a finely tuned radar for racism. When you have been living with it all your life you learn to speak it’s many ugly languages.

So when he tells you what it means to him and you choose to boo, you’re confirming to him and every other indigenous footballer what you’re really about.

What you don’t like and can’t abide is that Adam Goodes won’t be the Aboriginal footballer you want him to be.

He refuses to simply be the smiling face of AFL Indigenous Round where the game’s self congratulation goes into over drive and Aboriginal people are celebrated in a set of proscribed rituals that say nothing about the true state of affairs and everything about our need to be absolved from responsibility.

A smoking ceremony here. A ceremonial dance there. A welcome to country and then goodbye, onto the next costume party.

No, Goodes wants to look you in the eye and talk about who we really are and where we’re really at. Goodes wants to confront racism and its uncomfortable truths. In the stands you sit in, the mines you work in, the boardrooms you meet in, the homes you live in.

He won’t simply be the Aboriginal man you want him to be.

And with your symphony of boos you’ve made it quite clear where you stand.

The fact that you fuel your own sense of outrage at Goodes and Lewis Jetta’s “war dance”  shows how feeble minded and self righteous you are.

Where’s your sense of outrage at the appalling gap in life expectancy for indigenous people?

The massive over representation of indigenous people in jail?

The continuing scourge of deaths in custody?

Your silence is deafening on those issues. Your outrage reserved for a man who dances on the footy field.

And whilst you’re booing ever louder and ever longer you can try drown out the truth of these things.

You can’t. And you won’t.

Because Adam Goodes’ legacy will endure long after your hollow howls ring out.

And that must hurt the most.

Francis Leach is an ABC sports commentator. This article was originally published on this blog at  Twitter: @SaintFrankly

This story was found at:

Poetry Sunday 26 July 2015

‘Who was Pietro Aretino?’ you might ask, and be genteely appalled to discover that he was the father of modern pornography.  Born in Italy in 1492 , the year that Columbus landed his trio of ships in the Carribean, Aretino was an author, playwright and satirist and spent a lot of his life not being anywhere for long because his satires had upset somebody or other almost everywhere.  He was a great friend of the painter Titian, who painted his portrait several times.  Famously, Aretino wrote a collection of poems entitled ‘Sonnetti Lussorioso’ which translated means ‘The Lust Sonnets’.  On top of all this his friend Guilio Romano (1499-1546) pupil of Raphael, painter and architect, produced more than a few exquisitely explicit paintings to accompany Aretino’s written work.  You can, if you feel driven to it, look up one or two of these splendidly rude paintings under Romano’s name on the internet.  They are beautifully executed and superb examples of later Renaissance painting.

And so to lust:

Herewith some lusty Aretino extracts to provide you with a taste, the slightest sensation of the pornographer’s art, and drawn from ‘The Picador Book of Erotic Verse’ Picador 1978.

Q: Brother Martin with Sister Charity one night
Suddenly thought, when full-tilt up her belly,
‘We might breed Antichrist,’ and pumped his jelly
Into her arsehole. Was he wrong or right?

A: Lay brother Martin’s was a fine old stunt
To come and not let Antichrist come too,
By finishing up the arse the noble screw
The Half-baked sod had started off in front.

Q: The abbess woke up frantic after she
Had dreamed all night of eating gooseberry fool,
To find her mouth full of the abbot’s tool.
How had she sinned, though? Greed? Or lechery?

A: She didn’t sin, as far as we make out,
In either way. It was an accident-
Although if she had found it in her cunt
Or up her arse, there might have been some doubt.

Q:Sister Prue, to relieve a bout of nerves
Which blocked the flow of holy orisons [prayers]
Had herself screwed by two fat friars at once.
The question is, what penance she deserves.

A: If it was just to let her prayers out
She had them penetrate her to the hilt,
She needn’t feel the smallest prick of guilt:
There is no penance laid on the devout.


Q: A Jesuit was in the missionary
Posture with Sister Lucy when his post,
Being a stranger there itself, got lost.
Well, was it sacrilege or sodomy?

A: Poor ignorant Jesuit, you could hardly call
Him sacrilegious, but he was a dunce
Not to know arse-sensations from a cunt’s-
Being a qualified sodomite, after all.




MDFF 25 July 2015

This dispatch is from 12 July 2015

Καλημέρα φίλοι μου,

When, in the early 1970’s, I was first asked to manage the locally owned Yuendumu Mining Company (YMC), I “inherited” the ‘Flatstone Quarry’.

A few kilometres south of Yuendumu there is a ridge that consists of thinly bedded (“flaggy”) sandstone and siltstone. The rocks belong to the Cambrian Yuendumu Sandstone Formation (half a billion years old).

The stone has its origins in a shallow lacustrine environment i.e. a shallow slowly sinking lake bed to which thin layers of sediment were added. Occasional fossil worm tracks and tubes and other features attest to this origin. Mica contained in the sediment washed into the lake and settled as flat lying flakes; because of this the rock easily splits into thin slabs resulting in beautiful paving stones. YMC used air powered rock-drills and dynamite to mine the flatstone. Dynamite sometimes is referred to as “fracture”. Back then Wikipedia didn’t exist otherwise the following might have been found:

“Higher velocity explosives are used for relatively hard rock in order to shatter and break the rock, while low velocity explosives are used in soft rocks to generate more gas pressure and a greater heaving effect. For instance, an early 20th-century blasting manual compared the effects of black powder to that of a wedge, and dynamite to that of a hammer.”

I didn’t need the internet to work out what had happened. Often I’d mentioned that “if only they’d used gunpowder”.

Back then charcoal, sulphur and saltpeter (potassium nitrate) would have been readily available; these days subsequent to the various politically motivated fear campaigns, a visit from those police disguised as Ninjas is a likely consequence of harbouring  supplies of the three ingredients.

At the quarry, slabs of sandstone had been recovered from huge piles of debris. The deposit had been ruined and not much useable material remained. I later found out that a gaggle or murder (here I’m only guessing at what the collective noun for public servants might be) of public servants had served themselves (as servants are wont to) to almost all of the production. Delving into the previous half a decade of administrative data, I could not find a single dollar of flatstone revenue.

YMC proceeded to salvage what flatstone we could. Not long before, the Papunya Tula Art Movement had begun, and the “bush telegraph” had done its job. A Warlpiri man did a “dot painting” on one of the flatstone slabs, and quick as a flash around two dozen or so flatstone paintings had been produced by a group of men.

This we perceived as a wonderful opportunity to vertically integrate our quarry. To add value.

I duly filled a suitcase with paintings and like a vacuum cleaner salesman dragged the heavy suitcase around Sydney and Melbourne to various galleries.

The consensus from the commercial art world was that the paintings were very beautiful but that overseas tourists couldn’t take the paintings back in their handbags, blah, blah….

No one pulled out their cheque book. In desperation I’d leave a painted rock at each gallery visited- “sell it for whatever price you can get, take off what you consider a fair commission, send us a cheque in the mail and let us know how many more you think you could sell” (some younger readers may have difficulty conceiving of a time when we had no telephones nor electronic bank transfers). Not a single response.


Years later Warlukurlangu Artists (WA) received a phone call from someone in Darwin. They’d found a painted rock in a shed. Did WA know anything about it, and was it valuable?

When Cecilia rang me to ask did I know anything about this, I told her the story of the heavy suitcase. As for the value, I told her that stolen goods had no value.

Subsequently one of the painted slabs turned up on eBay. I was glad to find out that the South Australian Museum acquired it (at the bargain price of $600).

Recently a friend found another of the long lost paintings stored at the National Museum in Canberra. It was labelled “Aboriginal Ceremonial Object”. I guess my lugging of the heavy suitcase could be regarded as a ceremony of sorts.


Since those heady optimistic days we’ve had a sorry history of disempowerment and marginalization of Aboriginal owned enterprises. The “Closing the Gap” ideologues have been of no practical assistance whatsoever. The boom in Aboriginal Art is a notable exception to this sorry state of affairs.

All the same, that is no excuse for some serious financial mistakes I have made, which my geological training did not prevent me from making. YMC is only marginally surviving.


But there is hope! Somewhere out there, there are people in possession of valuable beautiful dot paintings on slabs of sandstone that they will at any moment decide to pay for.

(Bank details provided on request- Nigerians excepted)


As for the Greek economic crisis? Payment for the Elgin Marbles is also imminent.


Ζούμε με την ελπίδα


A Bold New Direction. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Cormann and Hockey

Cormann and Hockey Visionary Leadership. Generational and Transformative

In a startling turnaround the Finance Minister The Rt. Hon. Mathias Cormann M.P and the Federal Treasurer, The Rt. Hon. Mr. Joe Hockey were exceedingly delighted to announce a bold new ‘generational and transformative’, Nation Building infrastructure project. Mounting the rostrum at the IPA headquarters in Melbourne the Treasurer fielding several questions from Fairfax reporters in regards to his recent phyrric victory defamation case, defended his actions and the subsequent onus of court costs, with, “occasionally you have to stand by principle”! Warming to the occassion; ‘My colleague Mathias and myself have been doing some deep thinking. This has nothing to do with the opposition leaders renewed interest in renewables, rather, to determine the course of our future energy requirements. To ensure that our Industry, (whisper from a minder), to ensure that our Service Industries, and our Scientific community, (another whisper from minder) hmmmm, to ensure our Business Unit Operatives are fully engaged in ensuring our SAFETY!! ‘We are a big and progressive country, and we need to have big ideas to tackle the manifest problems that confront us into the twenty first century. And we need to embrace ideas that are revolutionary and daresay it, epoch making’.

Ladies and Gentelemen the future is NOW!!.

It is with considerable pleasure we launch the rebadged, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, under a new vision, a new mantra, a new leadership, and re-badge it as the Coal Energy Futures Corporation!! Another symbol of our progressive, visionary and courageous step into the future! This (much fanfare, and wall mural illuminated depicting bronzed Anzac warriors defending democracy and liberty across Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq) is a turning point. Choir sings; “ I love a sunburnt country’ and ‘Advance Australia Fair’. ‘We are not afraid of change, and with the absorption of the CSIRO into the Coal Energy Futures Corporation we shall achieve a synergy of outcomes and provide much needed certainty to the banking sector. We shall also, and this is truly innovative, convert existing renewable infrastructure into coal based infrastructure. Provide, security for investors, and make homes across Australia SAFE.

Greeted with thunderous applause from the assembled Murdoch press, and much happiness form investors, the P.M, Mr Tony Abbott, entered the stage. A brief pause ensued, as flags, were arranged for the photo opportunity. Then, truly statesman-like the P.M addressed the audience.. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, we face significant challenges. As Australians, the world has become a dark, dangerous and Unsafe Place. And I know many of you have worn out your terror alert fridge magnets. You require some assurance from us that we are committed to making this county SAFER. To ensure that our standard of living is not undone by the insidious reach of, (pausing for effect) Renewables. Well my government is committed to maintaining the standard of living and not upsetting our core constituency. Our banking sector. That’s why we have a plan for the future and it enshrines the very best of our traditions for innovation and thinking. The clever country? Well I can show it to you. What I have here represents thinking beyond the square. It is compact and encapsulates the very latest in our merging of CSIRO, with the Coal Energy Finance Corporation. Ladies, Gentlemen and investors, I present to you the future of energy. Our shared future of a safe reliable resource to serve all humanity… (pause as Last Post is played) I present to you; (drum solo) pulls cord, object unveiled, “THE BRIQUETTE”!!.

The Treasurer Mr. Joe Hockey, and Finance Minister Mr. Mathius Cormann, stepping out in style after launch in bold new Clean Energy Costumes. Costumes generously donated by the Federal Education Minister Mr. Christopher Pyne from his private collection.

The Treasurer Mr. Joe Hockey, and Finance Minister Mr. Mathias Cormann, stepping out in style after launch in bold new Clean Energy Costumes. Costumes generously donated by the Federal Education Minister Mr. Christopher Pyne from his private collection.

Annals of Australian manufacturing. The Gloster Gallipoli

Gloster Gallipoli

Gloster Gallipolli Mk 1 flies over Portsea during ANZAC Day celebrations. April 25th 1935. This particular aircraft was retired from surface after the beach incident and recurrence of trench feet and lice amongst the platoon manning the central fuselage defensive position. Note distinctive marker flags and push-pull propellors.

The Gloster Gallipoli became legendary as a glorious failure. Incorporating many of the tactical lessons learnt during the Gallipoli campaign it began its career with great promise, but proving the maxim, “all new wars are begun upon assumptions made in the last’. (for example see Paul Mason).

The Gallipoli for all its promise, was outclassed by emerging technologies and the development of radio communication. As a response to the Fashoda Incident, and the recent incursions into Abyssinia and Ethiopia by Italian troops in the mid thirties the Air Ministry outlined a brief for a fast, transport and bomber aircraft, capable of delivering at short notice a platoon to infiltrate enemy defences and assist amphibious landings at dawn. The Gallipoli was developed by the Gloster company from its Townsville office which operated briefly to develop tropicalised versions of the Gladiator and Gauntlet fighters, then under evaluation by the RAAF. Earmarked as the ‘Gallipoli’, it incorporated several of the important lessons learnt from the Dardanelles. The first Gallipoli prototype was an outstanding success during initial airworthy tests, being able to arrive within pinpoint accuracy at the wrong beach. As an austerity measure the powerplant consisted of two coupled morris eight engines, with upgraded carburetion, and higher octane fuel. A two blade macpherson prop gave it a distinctive warbling sound. When unsynchronised the twin flatheads referred to as the flapper or ‘Louise Brooks’. Other refinements in the design are noteworthy. The standard fuselage was a Vickers Vimy bomber modified to incorporate a platoon of troops or marines. From experience gained in the Gallipoli campaign the basic armament was augmented by a “trench” along the main fuselage, and adaptation of Lee Enfield’s in periscope mounts. Beam and aft protection was provided by two “catapult operators’, incorporating a spigot, and spring mortar. Within each mortar a specially adapted exploding jam tin, refined and developed by IXL provided both anti aircraft and field support upon landing. The Gallipoli was the first to incorporate both forward puller, and rear facing pusher airscrews to facilitate attack or retreat.

The pilots forward compartment was augmented with sandbags and bully beef tins designed as a decoy to be tossed at hungry Turks. Under the forward part of the fuselage a “dustbin” type retractable defensive post of twin lewis guns provided excellent protection for enemy aircraft, (Note entrenching tool).

Upon landing the under gun operator, (a Cornish miner) was encouraged to jump and start digging a tunnel towards the enemy lines. Once under the enemy trenches a charge was ignited, a breach made, and the platoon would leave their trench positions for an attack. A problem encountered during trials was the tendency for the Cornish miner to waste considerable time in the tunneling and mining operation to the extent that it as sometimes upwards of three weeks before the platoon could safely disembark. The subsequent scurvy and malnutrition derived from prolonged inactivity, trench feet and bully beef diet rendered the strategy impractical.

Although highly promising in its role as a troop transport and night bomber, the type was passed over by the air force establishment due to the unfortunate habit of losing direction and immolation of the entire crew due to the marker flags which were often mistaken for enemy positions. In one such unlucky encounter a squadron of Gallipoli’s upon landing were blown to pieces by a howitzer battery who mistook the flags for Turks, though the incident , (feb 23rd 1935 black Wednesday about 3.00 pm) took place twenty years after the Gallipoli campaign and on Australian soil. The subsequent enquiry excused the commanding officer of the artillery for his excessive zeal, as the court martial revealed the pilot had inadvertently jettisoned the dustbin machine gun position as it was a Tuesday evening, in his own words ‘when the bins go out”. His acquittal attributed to force of habit. No Gallipoli’s survive, yet it is rumoured that one was used recently discovered off the coast at Geelong, where it was recently re-commissioned as special transport by the Social Services Minister Bronwyn Bishop.

Illustration Gloster Gallipoli over Portsea, sept 1935.

Powerplant; Two Bristol Pegasus inline engines.

Armament: Two type 33 spigot IXL jam tin mortars

12 .303 Lee Enfield Periscope Guns

1x Vickers Gun twin mount in dustbin

Range: 500 miles Ceiling: 12,000 feet

Operators: RAAF, RNZAF Years Active: 1935-36

Nation Building. Part Two

Official opening of the Greater Dividing Range project. " 'Destined to make the Snowy Mountains Scheme look like a puddle". Foreground. minister for Immigration Mr peter Dutton in suit looks thoughtfully at cameraman. Leading, (in uniform) the Minister for the Arts, Mr George Brandis in splendidly designed 'Cultural Leader' uniform. Uniforms generously supplied for the event from the Rt Hon Christopher Pyne's personal collection. Official Photograph.

Official opening of the Greater Dividing Range project. ‘Destined to make the Snowy Mountains Scheme look like a puddle”. Foreground. Minister for Immigration Mr Peter Dutton in suit looks thoughtfully at cameraman. Leading, (in uniform) the Minister for the Arts, Mr George Brandis in splendidly designed ‘Cultural Leader’ uniform. Uniforms generously supplied for the event from the Rt Hon Christopher Pyne’s personal collection. Official Photograph.

The PM’s Dream.

Dear reader we continue with Part two of this very significant dream and its realisation under the guidance of the P.M for Infrstructure; Tony Abbott. “But I have a dream. This dream counters the greatest moral dilemma of our time. How to more fully exploit our resources? We export uranium. Watch others use its divine energy, yet we give the bounty of irradiated toxic waste away! We have vast resources of open space waiting to be filled with uranium waste. We could become the global suppository for refuse? We are refuse orientated, and by being so complement our skills in species extinction and development. This project is a project for the future. As it IS the future!! A visionary plan to you the people of Australia, (thunderous applause).. Flanked by the immigration Minister Mr Dutton, the plan revealed a project of such audacity the Murdoch reporters were momentarily silenced. Pointing to an enormous diorama; ‘This is the western and northern coasts Australia. They are largely UNPOPULATED, UNGUARDED, VULNERABLE, EXPOSED!! By harnessing the power of the worlds refuse, starting with our lead trading partner, China, we will begin the construction of a GREATER BARRIER RANGE!!!.

great barrier range 1

Illustrative map of Australia detailing extent of the Great Barrier Range. Note Andean Peaks and fertile hinterland adjoining inland sea. After extensive consultation the P.M Mr Tony Abbott unilaterally declared “Lake Dutton” in honour of the Immigration Minister. The new Inland capital ‘Gallipoli’ will be built on its shores.

This is nation building on a stupendous scale. Over several years we will harness the power of VICROADS and utilise the energy of our depleted uranium waste to create an impenetrable barrier. From Perth to Darwin. Then, with the benefit of our latest free trade deal with CHINA we’ll gather the underutilised bounty of waste from our source nations. And ensure that every coal and iron ore carrier returns FULL!!! Not empty!! And to the emptiness we will build a range of Andean proportions, The benefits are too numerous to mention. Create a true inland sea. Promote real decentralisation. It will bring rain to the hinterland. It will harness our resources as a leader in extractive industries. And provide us via the synergies of development and deterrence, an impenetrable barrier, I daresay another, though less aqueous Great Barrier Reef!!!

Nation Building dozers

At work building the Greater Dviding Range. Shown here a flotilla of very large Bulldozers pushing irradiated and general waste unloaded from bulk ore carriers. Background depicts peaks of “Andean proportions” constructed from ” the bounty of global waste”.

To asylum seekers who make it, the height of the range, between fifteen and twenty thousand feet will render their passage impassable. And even if they do get though, irradiated, they can be utilised as menials until they succumb to radiation sickness. In doing so only the best, the most tenacious will qualify as Australian Citizens! And we won’t require TPVs. It’s natural selection on a grand scale. We harness their enthusiasm and by doing so they make a positive contribution to the economy. We wont be sending the boats back because there’ll be no turning back. The agriculture minister informs me that with the new mountain range there’ll be limitless opportunities to make the arid wastelands green. Not the troublesome green we get in politics, (much laughter). I’ve been told that with the irradiated mountains it’ll also provide a bulwark against disease, and clean up the tiresome and inefficient out-stations. Cleanse the hinterland of so called sacred sites and troublesome minorities to ensure that the empty interior is both filled and representative of mainstream Australians.

And with the inland sea, we shall build a new city on its shores and demonstrate our resolve to triumph through adversity. And the name of this City, after considerable thought I came up with the name.A name already at the forefront of the Australian psyche, a name progressive and yet, heroic. The name of this city, where once were desert wastes, GALLIPOLI!!

new gallipoli

Federal Minister for the Arts. The Rt Hon. George Brandis admires the model of Australia’s new inland city Gallipoli. Centrepiece of the new city is the domed, ‘Palace of People’s Culture’, which will celebrate select Australian and overseas opera and some,’not over-long” Australian ballet. The Palace seats upwards of 99,940 people in honour of Australia’s gretest legend, Don Bradman. Stylish uniform lent on this occassion to the Minister for the Arts by the Federal Minister for Education. Mr.Christopher Pyne, from his personal collection.


This is a tick for sustainability, a bigger tick for the economy. Proving once again that Australia is well and truly open for business!! Asked by a Fairfax reporter if death by radiation sickness was humane, the Minister angrily replied; ‘Show some compassion. Who’s side are you on?

Would you rather have them drown at sea’?