More from the Annals of Australian Manufacturing

The Duralinium Duck, (Dunt Corporation)

duralinium duck

The early 1930’s, were halcyon days for the manufacturers of composite and synthetic products. None more so than aircraft manufacturers. Howard Hughes, billionaire visionary achieved worldwide acclaim and demonstrated the potential for producing aircraft that didn’t rely on restricted materials by designing the Spruce Goose. Made entirely of laminated plywood and composite veneers this impressive aircraft was intended to be a flying Liberty Ship. If produced in sufficient numbers it would’ve revolutionised the trans atlantic convoy system. But his imagination was beyond the reach of technology and only one aircraft ever flew. Similarly De Havilland developed “the wooden wonder”, the twin merlin engined Mosquito which performed superbly as a very fast reconnisance, pathfinder and fighter bomber for hit and run attacks upon the enemy. In Australia the Birko company, manufacturers of durable kettles, electric jugs and tea urns produced their answer to composites with the Bakelite Birko. The Birko a ground attack aircraft, designed for low level strafing of Japanese landing barges in the event of invasion, was a fast, high powered, (Cyclone 1850 radial) attack fighter bomber, precursor to the Tempest and Typhoon, and was constructed entirely of durable Bakelite. Lastly in 1941, the Burnie plywood company introduced the first ever Burnie Board transport aircraft, the ‘Burnie Board Bushman’. The Bushman set new records for carrying capacity, endurance and range. Capable of flying non stop, (warp speed) from Hobart to Darwin, it promised to revolutionise logistics in the top end.

With all this fierce research and technical improvisation it was not long before a locally owned subsidiary of the Hughes corp, the Dunt company of S.A, put forward their design answer to the air ministry specification 38 / 40 for a medium sized amphibious patrol fighter. The Duralinium Duck combined all the technical advances pioneered by the previously described firms; composite , and synthetic materials, and then radically developed the first ever mass produced Duralinium airframe. Rather than the standard monocoque fuselage and extensive ribbing, riveting and tensioning, the Duck was pressed with flat sheets of duralinium from the DUNT Sheet metal works factory in Port Adelaide and then simply bolted together. The fuselage comprising two pressed sheets, wing another, and tailplane another. A complete aircraft in just five components. As the company sales pitch suggested, “So easy a child can do it’ which fatefully did occur when a precocious seven year old ‘Chrissy’, (Kissa) Pyne from St Peters ambitiously assembled an aircraft and was taxiing before being stopped. Painted Pea-green in jungle camouflage and having hydrolastic suspension, the performance was elegantly smooth, easy to fly and its superb buoyancy, earned it the nickname the ‘Pea Floater’. Orders rushed in and in a very short space of time the Duck was performing sterling service as a courier, reconnaissance and supply aircraft to far flung and remote outposts.

flying ducks

Mrs, Winnie Hancock, proudly displaying her ducks and a photograph of her late husband F.Lt. Hencock. RAAF. Scarf and curlers kindly lent for this photo shoot by the Hon. Mr. Christopher Pyne. MP. From his personal collection.

Within six months the Duck had secured a position as an indispensable part of war service. The popularity exceeded the Catalina and the Beaufort. The Roy Rene penned hit for January 1943 ‘I’m in luck, love a duck’ was hugely popular outselling Bing Crosby’s White Christmas’. Crucial to the Duck’s early success was the radical placement of a bow gunner forward of the spinner in the specially designed main float. Armed with a Boyes anti tank gun, and with midgets selected from the dwarf training establishment, (midget Submarines), lower Sandringham, it proved a formidable weapon when skillfully piloted. Then disaster struck. Ducks began to disappear. On black Wednesday 23 Jan 1943 a squadron of Ducks vanished without trace off Magnetic Island. The same thing happened off Broome, and a week later, another flight of Ducks vanished off Jervis Bay. No wreckage, no fragments.

Then, whilst taxiing, Flt Lieutenant P Hencock, heard a loud bang and just had time to jump ship when his duck sank like a stone. Upon investigation it was discovered corrosion had eaten away at the securing bolts, and electrolytic deterioration had seriously weakened the entire airframe, Grounded the ducks were sold for scrap. To a home furnishings company who melted the craft down and ironically produced elegant ornamental duralinium ducks for house interiors. An ignominious failure for an aircraft that promised so much. In the words of the P.M, Mr. John Curtain, who surmised the subsequent investigation; ‘Sometimes we reach for the stars, and our ambition exceeds our reach. To the Dunt Duck which promised so much. Swam like a duck, Flew like a duck. Croaked and then Quacked’. (Cracked)

Duralinium Duck Specifications Crew: 2

Range: 1500 miles (on air), 350 miles on water.

Powerplant: One Pratt and Whitney Cyclone 1850 radial piston engine.

Performance 230 mph @ 15,000 feet. 255 mph in dive mode.

Armament 2 x .303 Vickers machine Guns in bow turret. 2 x 200 lb bombs. 2 x 200 lb depth charges.

Operators: RAF, RAAF

Poetry Sunday 2015

(Reprinted from 24 February 2014)

Publishers of Passive Complicity invited themselves to our Poetry Editor, Ira Maine’s Country Seat for a serious business meeting.    Ira was concerned, however, that  Quentin Cockburn would deliberately shorten his (Ira’s) life by infecting him with the rampant dose of flu that he is carrying.  (Cecil Poole, robust as ever, has no such fears, deluded man that he is.)

Our gallant and ever modest Poetry Editor took to verse to alert us to his concerns, proclaiming: “Another priceless jewelled treasure, entitled;”

One Flu’ Over
There was a guy I lately knew,
Fella by the name of Drew
Who  thought it quite the thing to do,
To invite his mate around (with ‘flu)
And offer us, by free dispenser,
Ten days of awful influenza.
Nor cared a fig by day or night
That he’d confer on us a blight?
The blokes so nice, so full of charm,
He’d hardly do us any harm?
You’d ne’er suspect he was desirous
Of stuffing up our lungs with virus!
I told him stop! you cannot come!
Reversed my fist; bent down the thumb
And said ‘Fridaze a really dumb day!’
“OK’ he cried,’We’ll come on Monday!’
And, as if to nearly make us cry,
He said, ‘Look here, I’ll bring a pie,
And pots of things for the occasion.
Would you like some Yuletide decoration?’
‘As for your boots- I’ll bring some Dubbin!
Fresh butterflies and Dave McCubbin!’
He’s the one, twixt me and you
Who says he’s now not got the ‘flu,
If this be lies, tell all and sundry,
I’ll box his fucking ears on Monday!
Having no idea when to stop he added this a day or two later
Now you’re up here, away from home,
(Not too insulted by the poem)
Not answering in sentence terse
Insinuations from my verse.
Not going home, your plans reversin’,
Not bidding ‘cheerio’ to Merton,
Or pleading with your mate, Jeremy,
To take me out the back and bury me.
I feel it safe now to emerge,
Now that I’ve come back from the verge.
By Monday lunch, if you’re not calmer,
I’ll probably wear a suit of armour!
(Can Poetry Sunday get any better than this?)

MDFF 26 September 2015

Dispatched 19 September 2015

ഈ നല്ല ആരോഗ്യം ഹാസ്യത്തിനും നിങ്ങളെ സൌഖ്യമായിരിക്കുന്നുവെന്ന് കരുതുന്നു

I will never forget nor forgive Tony Jones’ role (when he was a Lateline presenter) in deviously setting up one of the main triggers to the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER or what it became known as: ‘the Intervention’). I do admit though that on occasions Q&A is interesting and worth watching (not because of, but despite Tony Jones). When there are politicians on the panel who seize the opportunity to score lengthy political points, the programme is exceedingly boring, but on the rare occasions that the panel is devoid of politicians or the politicians are overshadowed by guests who are great intellects with a social conscience, even Tony Jones cannot prevent intelligent and fascinating Q&A exchanges.

It was thus, in anticipation, that I tuned in to Q&A to see what Joan Baez had to say for herself. Alas her appearance was overshadowed by the night of the long knives. In the second half of the programme she did manage to get in a few words, enough to show that she has stayed true to her peace and social justice beliefs we so admired in the 60’s. She condemned the bombing in Iraq and Syria. Those that stuck to the end of the show, got to hear her singing a beautiful song. Another such beautiful song (that she wrote herself) is ‘Diamonds and Rust’. If you can spare the time, you could do a lot worse than to pause and listen to it…

Tim Costello agreed with Joan Baez. He concluded a long erudite answer to a question on the Syrian situation with: “I don’t know the answers, but bombing isn’t one of them”.

Recently, Yuendumu’s Warlukurlangu Artists celebrated its 30th Anniversary and the re-opening of the Men’s Museum. Some may say the event was overshadowed by Yuendumu playing in the Footie Final in Alice Springs. I see the two events as complementing each other. Yuendumu had two wins that Sunday.

In several Dispatches I’ve pondered whether Tony Abbott’s undertaking to spend a week each year in an Aboriginal community whilst he was Prime Minister was a promise or a threat. He actually went beyond this by declaring himself the ‘Prime Minister for Indigenous Australia’, and shifting all Indigenous affairs to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, all under the stewardship of the Northern Territory’s own Senator Nigel Scullion.

Jakamarra and Japanangka asked me why Tony Abbott was no longer the Prime Minister, so I googled TA’s last speech as PM. When it came to: “…I was the first Prime Minister to spend a week a year in remote Indigenous Australia…” Jakamarra exclaimed “Well! I suppose he wants a medal for that”

When I try to explain the inadequately labelled ‘skin name’ system to kardiya (non Aboriginal people), I tell them “Nungarrayi’s daughter is Nampijimpa whose daughter is Napanangka. Thus Nungarrayi is Napananga’s grandmother”; “Furthermore Napanangka’s daughter is Nakamarra whose daughter is Nungarrayi. Thus Nungarrayi is Napanagka’s granddaughter”, “HOLD IT! I thought you said Nungarrayi is Napanangka’s grandmother” “Yes”.

To try and get your head around this think of the seasons. Now it is Spring, two seasons from now it will be Autumn. So what was it two seasons ago?… Indeed: Autumn. You go into the past and you go to the future and you end up in the same place. Those mathematically inclined will discern the circular nature of what I’ve just told you. And the seasons they go round and round…

I overheard Jakamarra on the phone. At one point he said: “have you heard the latest rumour? Mal Brough may again become the Minister for Indigenous Affairs!”

For those who don’t know or can’t remember, Mal Brough was John Howard’s Minister for Indigenous Affairs. He was the architect of the Intervention (apologies to the noble profession of architects). I asked Jakamarra who had told him that rumour, with a grin he told me he’d made it up (just then).

The circle game…. Mal Brough, Jenny Macklin, Nigel Scullion, Mal Brough … full circle, ha, ha, ha ! When I told Nangala this she said that it was no laughing matter, it could easily happen.

Yuendumu’s recently constructed $7+M Police Complex has been overshadowed. A Media release tells me an almost $24M contract has been let for the construction of a Police Station (yes, they’ve switched back from “Complex” to “Station”) at Wadeye. Oh dear, we have been saddled with an inferior Police Complex. I guess we’ll just have to grin and bear it.

Often I’m asked what are the answers to the “Aboriginal Problem” (I much prefer to think of it as the “Aboriginal Opportunity”). I usually answer with hard to define and/or explain concepts such as re-empower societies, stop treating Aborigines as clients, celebrate and respect diversity (cultural/linguistic) etc. etc.

It may be simpler to paraphrase Tim Costello: “I don’t know the answers, but building obscenely expensive Police facilities isn’t one of them”

….how many times can a man turn his head, and pretend that he just doesn’t see?…

The answer my friend is Blowing in the Wind…

Pinne kanam,

Inside PCBYCP (School Holidays Edition)

Dear reader, it’s school holidays.

For those of you who have passed this phase of life, you are entitled to feel quite smug. And for those of you have avoided the entire construct altogether, you are so profoundly wealthy you would undoubtedly console yourself amongst your investment properties, share and tax havens and console yourself, “money well spent”. But for those of us with ‘Kids’, and wives, ex’s, de-facto’s, who beat you down and demand private education for these wastrels it just gets worse. Just when you think it’s safe to look above the parapet they’re demanding you take the brats somewhere! And it‘ll COST more money!! Worse still the cost just grows and grows, and if you can’t find a paddock and a tent to dump them in, you’re a gonner.

school 1

The preferred option for many parents. An oganised school holidays program.

Such is life! We then have no recourse, (as being with children constantly addles the brain), but to take a diversionary approach to the manifest responsibilities attendant upon maintaining the highest standards demanded by our readership. And in doing so, let you know how we publish things in this blog, So (dear reader) enjoy this rare insight and rest assured now that it comes to you not just as copy, but ‘Fresh off the Press”!

The day begins at ten to six. Information gleaned from the dailies is fed into our central resource Utilities depot, (CRUD). At 6.00 am the digested pieces, facts, news information and numerous editorials are prepared by our willing and esteemed stenographer, Ms, Virgellia Prune, and distilled into broad categories; Sport, Politics, the Environment, Law, and the miscellany topics of special interest so favoured amongst us all. Since the dismissal of Abbott, we’ve been at our wits end to maintain the “Bite” , and with the complete ossification of Rupert Murdoch, we fear that we may in the Australian body politic be entering a new dark age.

Still, there’s enough out there in the real world to keep our spirits up. After synthesis by Virginia Prune, the information is the passed to our senior editor, Mr Bertrand Fossil for an opinion piece directing us where to go for more detailed analysis and examination. From here the major issues falling into those aforementioned categories are pinned to a board. From this board the categories are colour coded, and the sub editor passes the responsibility of the final cut to our senior editor, Mr Cyril Cosgreave.. Mr Cosgreave then clears the room and selects from his desk three superb silver tipped darts, (ex Commonwealth Games) and attempts to “score a bullseye” on the piece that attracts his attention most. If he misses which invariably he does, he has another go, and eventually the target is ‘scored’. The piece is then placed inside our ‘editorial’ capsule and propelled, within its brass exoskeleton, (fed by vacuum tube) to the collating and cipher department on the fourteenth floor. From here, the message is removed, and the empty capsule sent back via drainpipe to the despatch department. This entire process takes minutes!!!

school 2

Senior Editor. Mr Cosgreave.

In the collating room, the basic typewritten message is then played out on a vibraphone, and the resultant cacaphonic melody translated into braille and then sung by our retired de-coder and soprano, Dame Myra Pitchfork. From this process we gain perfect variable pitch and then the piece you see before you is typed via enigma machine processed, de-coded again and then sent out of our offices for copy. And that’s how we do things here. We’re the envy of Rupert, and through such subterfuge keep one step ahead of his ‘Evil Empire”. It is our commitment to stand steadfast, rise above the sludge of mediocrity and maintain complete and absolute independence.

God save the Queen.


will rudgeon 1

Will Rageon. Studio Portrait. Kindly lent to us by the Minister for Science, Technology and Costume Design, The Rt.Hon Christopher Pyne . M.P. The next Paul Keating?

Dear reader extraordinarily we have received the most stunning information form our undercover Canberra mole ‘Will Rageon‘. Will has been quite busy working within the Canberra Press Gallery, the IPA and the HR Nicholls Society in examining the many causes of Mr Abbott’s downfall. In this respect he has undertaken a forensic examination. No fragment, no tissue of evidence, no atom directed for, against and impartial has been neglected. Indeed with meticulous thoroughness our correspondent has gleaned, garnished and gathered from the very dust of those ossified corridors to his fingertips the most up to date information. Through his association with none other then ‘Nugget’ (H.C) Coombs and Michelle Grattan he has corroborated with pscephologists, phrenologists and egyptologists to give us this most crucial insight into the machination at the absolutely ‘toppest’ level. This research is now published for the very first time, and we at pcbycp feel quite confident that it provides with forensic clarity the unquestionable “ REASON WHY?”

Hold on, for the journey is rocky and tempestuous:

The Abbott Mystery. A tragedy in one act.

‘I have solved the mystery of where and why Mr Abbott achieved the highest orifice in the land.   Our powerful movers and shakers of the Far Syde (The Far Right )  Syde being near Sydney , looked for a counter to the Left’s stunningly adroit word chiseler, who crucified the far right – one Paul Keating.   Being unable to find anyone with the invective and wit of that man they turned to an infamous pugilist  and bully who had blooded himself in Sydney University politics.   Their man was ideal for bludgeoning a party in power, and wrecking three Labor Prime Ministers, with non intellectual three word statements and slogans. No subtleties here.   Our chap who became leader did not have the gumption to run a water closet, let alone a parliamentary cabinet, and the rest is history.   So those that are left (The “Good Guise” )  can enjoy the Schadenfreude until the next election, when they will  need to find a new word smith, to equal Mr Keating’.

But dear reader in the interests of impartiality and balance we give you this interpretation of the fall of Abbott from none other than Bob Cameron, in which the Abbott downfall is given a peculiar light, and gives us some cause for reflection as to the ins and outs of the ‘tenth’ in shortest serving prime ministers.

will rudgeon 3

Bob Cameron. RHS. Amusing, but not quite equal to Paul Keating

Please reader. This must be read in a Clydeside accent…

will rudgeon 2

‘Santa’. The Late B.A. Santamaria. In the act of putting his ‘little helper’ on the Christmas Wish list. Not up there with P.K either.

‘In my opinion, Mister Aboott is as much a victim of his hubris as his capacity for self delusion, one up-manship and thuggery. He is a proof perfect of the very worst of the street fighting pugilist bully boy rum rebellion type that we associate with the tories. Incomprehensible, portentous, blind, ham -fisted……yes indeed as a rhodes scholar he ensured through none other than his crony Dyson Heydon, a blue ribband for mediocrity and mendacious malapropisms. Who canna forget ‘the suppository of wisdom’, and the ‘debt and deficit disaster’, Aye, his disaster as the bastard child of B.A Santamaria defiled the very essence of the commonwealth to his delusional flights of self aggrandisement’.

And from the late B.A Santamaria.

‘My little helper has failed in his quest, but gladly I anoint so that others may follow. In his stead, foremost amongst them, Corey… Arise Sir Corey’.

And finally from Mr Keating himself.

will rudgeon 4

Keating. ‘Bigger than Rome’. And up there with Keating. Really!!


Annals of Australian Manufacturing

The Sunbeam Sultana

Dear Reader, another instalment from the archive, in which we give timely praise to the “cardboard wonder”, our very own “Biscuit Bomber”, the ‘Sunbeam Sultana’.

sunbeam sultana

The unusually striking appearance of the Sunbeam Sultana. Note the open gun ports and distinctive “packing case” fuselage.

Ingenuity has always been a byword for Australian technical knowhow. Invention is second nature to a country steeped in the vicissitudes of climate and variability. The Sunbeam Sultana, was originally developed as the CAF Cardboard in response to a competition seeking a low cost, high volume manufacture, economical transport and logistics aircraft. Implicit in the brief was the requirement that manufacture should not require highly developed skills. The initial aircraft prototype, (‘The Picola Prune”) manufactured at the Sunraysia Dried Fruit and Grape Processing Company plants stone fruit and jam hydration plant in Robinvale, performed regularly at the Mildura Field Days in early 1941. Impressed by the ingenuity, reliability and craftsmanship exhibited in a test flight over Canberra the judges duly awarded it first prize.

Designed originally as a stop gap replacement to the worthy but slow DC3 Biscuit Bomber. It outperformed the Wapiti, Wackett and Wirraway in offering fast, lightweight transport, with performance, so exhilarating, the aircraft design establishment nicknamed it the ‘Cardboard Comet’. Nothing encapsulated this capacity for improvisation more then the ‘Sunbeam Sultana’. Conceived, developed and refined by a locals who knew their business the Riverland Dried Fruit Packing Case Company, the Sultana proved the old adage; ‘where there is a will, there is a way,’. And a more willing product could not have been found. Developed over a considerable period of time, the brain child and Des and Wes Dunt, of Mildura. Inventors of the ‘Dunt Dart’, the pioneering delivery van constructed entirely of plywood.

des and wes dunt

Des and Wes Dunt. “The Dunt Brothers”. Pioneering aircraft designers. Photo taken c. 1936. Generously donated by the Rt. Hon. Christopher Pyne, Minister for Science and whatnot. From his personal collection.

The Sultana was a cardboard bonded and laminated structure, bonded to an interior framework of reconfigured packing cases. Its secret in durability was the patented waxing of the card itself which gave it durability and protection from its nemesis ‘moisture’. This ultra lightweight aircraft was then powered by two Bristol Mercury engines. These gave the aircraft exhilarating power and scintillating performance. The Sultana was an extraordinary aircraft, Due to its light weight It had breathtaking performance, being able to climb to 20,000 feet in under five minutes, Capable of delivering a payload of bombs, (some 2000 k) over a distance of 2000 miles an endurance of 24 hrs, and formidable punch in the form of 4 20mm hispano suiza cannon. Incredibly due to its lightweight construction testing proved that in addition to the forward defensive armament, the Sultana could be equipped with a broadside of Lee Enfield .303’s firing through open gunports on either side of the fuselage. The cardboard was described by none other than Clive ‘Killer’ Caldwell as; ‘imagine being wacked over the head with a rolled up newspaper and a stick of dynamite, any way you use it, it’ll hurt’.


Caldwell. Instructing aircraftsmen on how to utilise rubber hose in defence of the Northen Territory. Hose generously donated by the Rt. Hon. Christopher Pyne. From his personal collection.

And hurt it did. Destroying swarms of japanese aircraft with its capacity to deliver. The Sultana could absorb any fire without damage. With self sealing tanks, and its lightweight structure, ordnance just simply passed through it. It was easy to repair, (Masking Tape, and a Stanley Knife), thus enabling relatively unskilled maintenance crew to get them back in flying condition. As the slogan went, ‘Ingenuity it’s own reward, build another cardboard’. In one celebrated engagement, a squadron of Sultanas was intercepted by Betty’s’ and they proved no match, beaten and bashed by the cardboard cohorts. Stimulated by their success in the defense of Darwin and Broome, the Sultana was consigned to Port Moresby readied for an attack on Milne Bay with a mixed escort of Kitty Hawks and Beaufort’s.

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Betty Bombers of No. 8 Fukushima Squadron fly headlong into a Sultana Attack.

Scrambled for attack in the early night, the Sultanas gathered above the Owen Stanley’s and prepared to descend upon the landing barges, with the intention of strafing the beaches. Just at that moment, a monsoonal rain squall (which are quite frequent in this area) un-leashed it tropical fury. Within minutes, the Cardboards,were soaked and in an instant their superb aerodynamic qualities were rendered soggy. With drooping wings, sagging ailerons, and soppy spinner the cardboards ‘sludged’ into the hillsides, lost beneath the cloud cover. The subsequent investigation revealed, ‘waterlogging and warpage’. In the words of the enquiry, the cardboard though formidable was not designed for tropical climes an oversight not foreseen in the design offices of the dry interior. The protective waxing surface had melted over a period of weeks in the tropical heat, and stress fractures around the cockpit indicated that the waxing had been scraped by pilots as a substitute for brilliantine. Sadly, what promised to be a biscuit bomber bombed. A very soggy biscuit indeed.

Sunbeam Sultana Specifications

Crew: 2. Range: 2000 miles

Powerplant: Two Bristol Mercury Radial Engines. Max speed: 320 mph @ 30,000 feet

Armament 4 x 20 mm Hispano Suiza cannons. 2 x 250 lb bombs. 2 x 250 lb depth charges.

Operators: RAAF

Poetry Sunday 20 September 2015

From Lao Tsu “Tao Te Ching”.  Sixty-Six.  A poem about leadership and humility.  (Yes, the two go together.)

Why is the sea king of a hundred streams?
Because it lies below them.
Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams.

If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility.
If he would lead them, he must follow behind.
In this way when the sage rules, the people will not feel oppressed;
When he stands before them, they will not be harmed.
The whole world will support him and will not tire of him.

Because he does not compete,
He does not meet competition.


MDFF 19 September 2015

This Dispatch was originally distributed 17 October 2012

 Lines in the Sand-October 2012

صباح الخير

“…It is this frontier line between Iraq, Kuwait and Arabia, drawn by a British civil servant in 1922 to protect Iraq at the expense of Kuwait, that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein denounced as invalid when he invaded.

In 1922, Churchill succeeded in mapping out the Arab Middle East along lines suitable to the needs of the British civilian and military administrations. T. E. Lawrence would later brag that he, Churchill and a few others had designed the modern Middle East over dinner. Seventy years later, in the tense deliberations and confrontations of half the world over the same area, the question is whether the peoples of the Middle East are willing or able to continue living with that design.” [from an article byDavid Fromkin in “The Smithsoneon” (Fall 1990)]


Check out a map of Africa, you will note many straight lines, undoubtedly drawn by British, French, Portuguese, Belgian, Italian, Spanish and German civil servants. These lines were suitable to the needs of the British, French, Portuguese, Belgian, Italian, Spanish and German civilian and military administrations. Many of these lines (straight and crooked) would have been designed over dinner, allowing the participants subsequently to brag about their designs. You may also note that, as a generalisation, the sandier the soil the straighter the lines. Lines in the sand.


Over a decade ago then Director of the Central Land Council, Tracker Tilmouth, drew a line in the sand regarding negotiations with the owners of the Granites Gold mine (260 km. west-north of Yuendumu). The mining company was told that unless they got serious about greater local participation in the golden bounty being extracted from Warlpiri land, no further exploration licences would be approved in the region. Presently two Warlpiri people are employed at the gold mining operations near the Granites. Tracker’s line in the sand has been well and truly crossed and erased.


On 14th June an ‘Information and Consultation session’ was held at the Yuendumu basketball court. At the time I wrote:

“Do you recall that famous 1970 “Suppose They Gave A War and Nobody Came” poster?”.

The information and consultation session was attended by three locals. The I & C session was to I & C the Federal Government’s $1.5 billion Remote Jobs and Communities Program (the‘RJCP’).


On 2nd October an email was distributed by our GEC (Government Engagement Co-ordinator) which included a media release calling  for “providers to deliver new $1.5b remote jobs program”

The joint (several Federal Ministers) media release included the following:

“The Government held around 90 information and consultation sessions in remote Australia earlier this year and is responding to the feedback from individuals, organisations and communities.”

I like to think that the other around 89 information and consultation sessions had more than three locals attending!

You can imagine my excitement when I read further down the media release that Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, had said that:

“the EOI was designed to give small, local organisations the best opportunity to participate”

“We want to see as many local Indigenous organisations delivering the new program as possible. That is why we have committed $15 million to help build the capacity of potential providers.”

“We have also made it a requirement of the selection process, that applicants demonstrate their connection to communities in the regions, as well as their capacity to deliver the services required”

“A series of information sessions for potential providers are being held in all remote regions, providing important information on funding and how to respond to the EOI.”


On the 12th October 1492, Columbus and his merry men first sighted land on the American continent, thereby setting in train events that would lead eventually to civil servants drawing many lines on maps including many straight lines in the sand.


On the 12th October 2012, the RJCP held one of the foreshadowed information sessions for potential providers at Yuendumu. A singular lack of co-ordination was evident when our GEC failed to inform local potential providers about this meeting which was attended by quite a few presumably invited outside ‘providers’ and non-Yuendumu organisations. It was only by chance and a bit of counter-espionage that we were alerted to this meeting.

The session consisted of being read out a long list of requirements and deadlines we would have to meet. I’m not aware of a single local organisation that can jump the hurdles, or navigate the labyrinth designed by the authorities. But, hey! As Jenny Macklin said: “the EOI was designed to give small, local organisations the best opportunity to participate” and of course there is that ‘capacity building’ $15M, we don’t have the capacity to access!        Opportunity!

The ‘management speak’ being read out was almost incomprehensible. So exciting was the information being divulged that the three Warlpiri people that found out about the meeting and unexpectedly turned up, nearly fell asleep, and didn’t return after the intermission. The second half was part of the $15M ‘capacity building’ commitment. It was presented by KPMG whose encouraging motto is the registered trademark “cutting through complexity”. We were told about the difference between partnerships, consortia and joint ventures all aimed at informing us so we could decide how best to join with other local organisations to improve our chances of securing a slice of the pie. The deadline for registering our EOI (‘Expression of Interest’ if you didn’t know) is 14th November. Thus we had 33 days left in which to organize directors or committee meetings to liaise with other local organisations and decide on the best corporate structure, and decide on what to put into a jointly lodged EOI. A piece of cake.

Jenny Macklin, you better think about what you’re trying to do to me …   Oh Freedom!


Am thinking Yuendumu should form a consortium with its own registered trade mark motto: “cutting through the bullshit”.


A series of maps were handed out showing a series of straight lines. Yuendumu was included on a map in an area stretching east into Anmatyerre country and across the Stuart Highway, north to Wirliyajarrayi, and west to a mysteriously unlabelled Nyirrpi. Another map solved the mystery. Nyirrpi sits on several sand dunes. A line had been drawn in the sand and Nyirrpi thus became part of the ‘Far West Alice Springs’ area. You’ll recall Jenny Macklin’s words:  “…a requirement of the selection process, that applicants demonstrate their connection to communities in the regions…. “ The line in the sand surgically removing Nyirrpi from the Yuendumu area, but including non-Warlpiri speakers clearly demonstrate such a connection by the designers of the lines. They reveal their designs on Aboriginal land. Undoubtedly these lines were designed over dinner (about which they will subsequently brag) and drawn by Australian civil servants in 2012 along lines suitable to the needs of the Australian civilian and military administrations.


At both the ‘Information and Consultation’ and the subsequent ‘Information” sessions, the authorities had the error of including Nyirrpi in the Far West Alice Springs area pointed out to them:

…but if you’re not gonna listen
then don’t bother to ask for advice…


I have some hope that in the not too distant future the Warlpiri will draw their own line in the sand when it comes to their relationship, negotiations and so called consultations with the authorities.

None of us should be so presumptuous as to draw it for them.


أشكركم على قراءة هذا
السلام عليكم



Of Guns and Tortillas

Dear reader, we have an unforeseen dilemma. We must admit our editorial staff have been ‘rudderless’ since the demise of the Abbott government. We have lost our enthusiasm, and capacity for emotional engagement. The eminent psychologist, Dr T. E. Lorenz has described our condition as ‘collective melancholia’, and prescribed a course of drugs and rest.


The New P.M. We are not so worried about the policy deficit but serious concerns must be raised in regards to the P.M’s fashion sense. Also as has been pointed out by readers associated with the Exclusive Brethren, we are worried about ( Lower LH Corner) that the P.M, condones sex toys. Not a Good Look for “working families”

We recovered sufficiently yesterday to observe Mr Turnbull’s first day as P.M. The new P.M revealed “no change” to the Abbott policies on same sex, and carbon. This was heartening, something to rail against! We can only hope and anticipate that the Turnbull government possessing a “nicer face” will do absolutely nothing to change Abbott’s policies. Still, bereft of emotional engagement we bring you another fragment from G.T Beauregard. A scintillating insight into a land where men are free to be real men. And good ol fashioned values lay at the very bedrock of society. And so it should be.


One simply must try the Ezekiel 4:9 tortilla, a product of the Food For Life Baking Co Inc. of Corona, California. Ezekiel, as every schoolboy knows, prescribed a combination of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt, to be combined in a single vessel “and of these make bread”. He did not say “and of these make a thin glutinous patty”, not even allowing for a great deal of licence in translation. One thing we can say with a good deal of certainty, no matter whether we subscribe to godless Darwinism or believe that the Earth and all its goodness was created last Thursday week: Ezekiel never ate a tortilla. He did not ever enjoy the combination of ground beef, onions, tomato, grated cheese and spices wrapped in a thin slice of bread which we understand to form the dish of this name. He knew not of corn, that marvel of creation which in one way or another insinuates itself into virtually every edible product of the new world. If he had known of it he would of course have qualified his instruction in some way, not encouraged charlatans to prey upon the literal minded, exploiting their love of scripture to the detriment of their culinary satisfaction. He may well have said something like “but of tacos and tortillas make it not, but prefer thereunto the flour of the maize which will be discovered in approximately 17 centuries time”. But he did not, and we are not spared the Ezekiel tortilla, which combines the consistency of papier maché with the flavour of damp wool. Thus the want of a sense of history leads us astray and mammon once more appropriates religion.


Safety First!

17/8/15 The Academy Sports & Outdoors catalogue dropped through the mail slot today. Like every other such publication at this time, its focus is on back to school specials as students of the south east are happily preparing for another year’s elevation of the mind. We see in the catalogue paper, pens, shoes, track pants, t-shirts and all manner of other products useful to the scholar. Including, on page 12, a range of firearms and ammunition from Glock, Remington, Brno and others. Personally I feel that the Smith & Wesson 9mm SDVE pistol is the pick of the bunch: a 16 round magazine with one in the chamber offers the junior high student the greatest opportunity of reducing class sizes without the inconvenience of pausing to reload. True, it is only a double action device, and so perhaps not as easy to use as the semi-automatic Browning Buck Mark Camper. But the Browning holds only 9 shots, and, as a .22, lacks the punch of my preferred choice. Sure, it looks the part and is so easy to operate that almost any child could use it to strike terror into his or her classmates, but for a reasonable compromise between weight, bulk and serious stopping power it’s hard to go past a 9mm arm. Plus, this week only, at only $299.99 the Smith & Wesson is fully $30 cheaper than the .22, and that saving can be devoted towards the purchase of 100 rounds of 145 grain ammunition plus change. Those two boxes of ammo are more than enough for a single class of civics: it’s hard to imagine your child reloading more than half a dozen times before being taken out by a SWAT team or the school counsellor. Hell, let’s be realistic, if the kid is so incompetent that he needs to reload more than twice he doesn’t deserve to have a gun in the first place.

Those Southern Belles are a ringing

Dear reader, after the demise of the SLH, (Santa’s Little Helper) we feel compelled to provide you with this thoughtful account of mortality, and how it is practised in the Deep South. Congratulations to our DSPENOC, (Deep South Paris End New Orleans Correspondent), G.T  (Gran Tourismo) Beauregard. We have edited this dispatch to ensure that only the most poignant fragments are offered to furnish your intellectual and spritual sustenance. These fragments, (as the date would indicate) are from his personal diaries, which we promise will be published in full, in due course.

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Old, New Orleans. Heroic Statue Of Beauregard winner of Manassas and loser, (among others) of the Civil War. Note; Significant Entry feature, palms, up to date street lighting and themed streetcar ‘Desiree’. The envy of Australian residential developments.

14/8/15 The New Orleans Advocate of August 14 2015 is a journal of 28 pages. It is printed in that half-width broadsheet format so convenient for the use of commuters – of which there are none in New Orleans, for all here who do have work travel by automobile. Public transport in the crescent city exists only in such trifling and unreliable amount as to persuade the populace of the benefits of car ownership and remind those without four wheels of the physical inconvenience which necessarily attends their moral failure to hoist themselves into the American dream. This mighty organ of the fourth estate includes 11 pages of news, 4 pages of classifieds, 6 pages of sports and half a page of weather. The remainder – and it is substantial – consists of death notices.

The brave journalists of the Advocate inform us this day that the police department’s admission test may be biased in favour of recruits having the twin characteristics of maleness and white skin, that grocery store numbers have recovered to levels not seen since the great storm of 2005, that the state governor (and Republican presidential candidate) is building a home in a master planned community in Baton Rouge and that debate continues over the possible removal of monuments to the slave-owners’ temporary reverses of the civil war. What otherwise passes for news comes from the wire services.

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Our correspondent G.T, at work on finishing touches to his new public art piece, ” Black Lives”. ‘A stunningly confronting piece’, Robert Hughes, (also deceased).

There is a two-page spread of pictures of vehicles for sale. The remainder of the advertising space consists of perhaps a dozen line ads sprinkled in jest amongst exhortations to take advantage of the paper’s advertising reach and effectiveness. The indexes to advertisements front and back page outweigh the advertising content by a factor of about 17 to 1. Of the 79 reports of the departed of 14 August 2015 a small number died, one peacefully. Others variously entered into eternal rest, passed away, passed on to eternal life, passed away peacefully, peacefully entered into eternal rest, went to be with (or to join) the Lord – the more fortunate of these to be “at home” with same – began a new life, passed on to eternal life, passed peacefully, departed this earthly realm, departed this life, entered (peacefully) into heaven or reached the final chapter in his (or her) earthly life. One is reported to have been taken away by angels. And one, whose earthly achievements merited a full half page of familial effusion, seems simply to have disappeared. The proof – if not the time – of his demise is to be given at viewings from 3-7 pm this coming Saturday and 10 am Sunday. The service is to follow on Sunday afternoon. None too soon. The New Orleans summer is oppressively warm, and refrigeration uncertain.

The lives of our deceased will be remembered for such achievements as being loved by all and – remarkably – never having met a stranger, raising Chihuahuas (or butterflies), qualification as a certified wheelchair and medical equipment technician, reminiscing throughout her life that her father’s friend, Frank Sinatra, sang Happy Birthday to her, agreeing to become a founding member of the Committee to Develop a National Policy to Increase Survival from Active Shooter and Intentional Mass Casualty Events, being “armed with his golf bag and his brother Joe” – some grand, some humble, all gone.

The lengthy catalogues of achievement of some speak not with near the same dignity as the tale of Joycelyn Mae Thomas, who at an early age was baptised at Israelite Baptist Church, “received all her formal education in New Orleans” and “pursued her career in the hospitality industry” working for “great companies such as” the Ritz Carlton and Caesar’s Entertainment. From which we glean that she was black, devout, hardworking, uncomplaining and poor. A loving and kind person, “viewed by many as one who was very easy to talk to and confide in”, she also had a taste for playing cards and “the slots”. Did she, as her obituarist maintains, begin a new life on August 7 2015 “as her soul winged its flight from this world of sin, sorrow and pain, to that eternal mansion that God has prepared for his children”? One hopes so, that there is a next world more kind to her than this.

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The pleasure gardens of heaven awaiting Jocelyn Mae Thomas. ‘Long may she rest in peace’. RRP.$129.99 pe night, or $685.25 weekly. (No pensioner discount on standard off peak rates)