South Australia. Power cuts and rent seekers


Coalition MP’s only use COAL BBQ’s!

Dear reader, some significant things have been happening in South Australia. No It’s not the enlightenment of Corey Bernardii to same sex marriage. Nor  should we hasten to add is it the likelihood that Christopher Pyne might cross the floor of parliament on the vexed issue of School funding, but something much more fundamental. The way the state just blacked out!


Our new fleet of high tech subs will be manufactured in S.A.

Before the analysis, before the complete wrap up of what happened in S.A, the PM, was on the airwaves telling us that there are ‘dangers in being solely dependent upon renewables’. Then from left stage the chorus chimed in. Josh Frydenberg clamoured that “ this is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket’. And the newly minted Resources Minister Mr Canavan, was hard at it convincing his party that doom and destruction await those who choose to go it alone on renewables. Then the colourful, some might say ‘populist’ Nick Xenephon got on board, and chirped, ‘there are dangers in veering away from other fossil fuels, gas and coal’.

Good to see the lobbyists are doing what they’re paid for. Diverting public funds away from sensible future planning into last centuries technologies. Makes the shareholders feel secure, and the public can shove it up their transformers. Since when should the public be enjoined to a sensible energy debate? Energy needs certainty! Only one thing certain in the massively privatised energy debate, it wont be the shareholders who’ll be paying. Thats some certainty. Certainty you can bank on.


Power lines do not work well when they go like this.

Turned out that the system went down because the power lines went down Wouldn’t have mattered what power was on line, the bloody thing wont work if the cord is broken. I found that out with the train set and the Scaletrix years ago. Doesn’t matter how good the transformer is if the power aint going in one end and out the other. That’s physics 101. But it didn’t stop the experts apportioning blame to an entire populace, because they’d committed the criminal act of ignoring the advice from very powerful vested interests. That’s the problem wit policy debate these days. It’s corporate policy. The message to the electorate is, corporatise, or be buggered.


Stealth Fighter 1941. The Brewster Buffalo

Good news though for South Australia and all taxpayers of Australia. Lockheed Martin have been awarded the contract to fit out the new (already obsoletes ) subs. They’re the good folk who’ve spent a trillion billion million dollars on giving us the F35 stealth fighter. Arguably the best war winning weapon since the Brewster Buffalo became our front line defence at Singapore. We don’t know much about armaments, but we believe Lockheed Martin is the front runner, in developing the new ‘rent seeker’ air to air missile. The missile can track any loose change, or element of public funding not yet diverted away from education and health and magnetically, through an ionisation pulse feed particle generator, divert those funds away from the public, directly into the Lockheed Martin coffers. As a spokesman for Lockheed Martin implied; ‘this is a huge boost for the defence industry, and once all funds are depleted from the vast bulk of society to keep them safe, they’ll need our weapons systems just to maintain law and order.

The final F-22 Raptor fighter jet rolls out of the assembly plant during a ceremony marking the occasion at the Lockheed Martin Plant in Marietta , Georgia, in this December 13, 2011, file photo. Lockheed Martin Corp, the largest U.S. weapons maker, on October 24, 2012, posted an 11 percent increase in third-quarter earnings, beating expectations by a wide margin, and raised its full-year forecast. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

Stealth Fighter 2016. “same ol same ol”. But much much more expensive.

Hooray for South Australia. Hooray for Australia. Laissez faire capitalist globalism is all good. Ask Gina, she just you tubed it. God save the Minerals and Energy Council.

Space X Fly me to Mars.


The top of Musk’s spaceship will look a little bit like this.


Special rates to ex cosmonauts and well to do rats

Elon Musk has just unveiled his bold big plan for Mars. He’s going to build a rocket that’ll make the Saturn V, (till now the world’s biggest ever rocket) look like a fire-cracker. His Rocket is FUCKING HUGE. Just imagine 1200 end on end Federal Government White Papers for the F 35 Stealth Fighter. It’s bigger than that!! Imagine, all the money spent on lobbying politicians by ex politicians, it’s bigger than that!. And think of all the money being poured into the Blancmange Plebiscite. It’s even bigger than that! Bigger than the MCG, Bigger than Gina Reinhardt’s breakfast. It’s so fucking big if you stood at the bottom and looked up, you’d get eyestrain, neck strain and spondilitis. That big it’ll even carry George Christiansen, Clive Palmer and Gina into orbit, and not only that! Send em all the way onto Mars.


Mars has already been claimed by this man. Reputedly wealthier than Rupert.

But the best news is that an Australian tech firm is working on the super dooper boosters. These boosters are leading edge. They do some sort of crazy funky ionisation shit and blast plasma out the arse end of those rockets way way faster than anything else, into space. Soon, rocketting to Mars, will be just like catching a V line train, without the delays. It’ll be just be like driving to the servo or the Seven Eleven without being car-jacked. And it’ll be a damn side easier, and cheaper than anything you ever did, wished for, or yearned for from Centrelink. Amazing! Australian technology leading the pack. Wont be long till the ideas are sold off and we get nothing. But in the meantime be fully proud that at last something is happening as a consequence of the ‘Ideas, Innovation, thought bubble and something else Boom’.


Those left on earth will just have to get over it.

And another first is being utilised that Australia has pioneered. Only really really wealthy people will be able to travel on the Mars rocket. It aint cheap getting to Mars, and you’d better believe it when I tell you that by appealing to really wealthy people, we can rest assured that the real leaders of the country, (the Property Council) will be hard on their heels to ensure that the best bits of Martian real estate are quarantined from less desirable types. And with an exclusive Martian population, growing and steadfast in the desire to be as one as only the really well heeled can do, they’re thinking of adopting another Australian principle, and ensuring there’s only private schools to educate the Martian elite. If you’re poor, like would-be refugees, you’d be better off staying at home or plugging for Uranus.


George Christiansen. M.P. leading the space race and the future of mankind, etc. and bigotry, and God.

And, (this is a Pcbycp exclusive), the progressive liberal senator from South Australia, Mr Corey Bernardii, has requested, (and it seems mandatory) that future Martians all be heterosexual. ‘There’ll be no gay marriage on Mars! And to enforce it, the first Martian ship, ‘Austral Bigotry‘ is set to launch the ever first colonisation of the red planet solely with members of the Exclusive Brethren. ‘They’ll have a chance to establish a perfect world, and maintain a degree of purity that is threatened here on Earth. I’d go there myself but I can’t claim the parliamentary travel allowance for Mars, though, that will come, when it’s a thriving colony of, like minded, God-fearing people like myself. There is a plan to re- name it ‘Bernardii’, in my honour, but I suggested they just settle for ‘Christiansen’, in honour of our fundamentalist routes and acknowledgment of it’s giant, (the politician, planet and space-crafts) size’.

More on the blancmange plebiscite


Malcolm, leads the marriage debate. Adored by the Australian, but incredibly lowest satisfaction rating ever for P.M. How could this be??

Dear reader we hope you’re not confused by the marriage plebiscite. The latest Newspoll indicates the majority of the electorate are over the idea. There seems to be a conviction that Federal politicians who are elected to represent the people should just get on with the job and pass the legislation. And now it’s been revealed that the lowliest pollie can stump up to 195 thou, theres another good reason to do something. That would be the end of it. And like Ireland, people of any gender would be able to marry each other, and a couple of fundamentalist, bigoted puritans could just get over it.


Principles of marriage as defined by First Century ritual of Stoning.

But it’s not that easy.


Enlightened countries still adhering to first century rituals of stoning and ‘good ol misogyny’

Some uncharitable individuals have suggested the plebiscite, which is non binding is just a stalling tactic. How could this be? And others have suggested that for the reactionary hard line loony right fogies who oppose it, the plebiscite and everything to do with the marriage equality act is the thin end of the wedge. They reckon it’d be a catastrophe for clean living mums and dads, imbued with the spirt of first century marriage, which defines marriage solely as an act to unite a man and a woman. And this is an important overarching principle. They see it as a manifestation of God’s established order defined by the all embracing principle of marriage-hood. From a time when women could be stoned, crucified or beaten to death under the orders of the all powerful Man-God. Some religions are still pretty fixated on this view of marriage and their quite right to hold onto this view. They may only represent the will of a mere five percent of the community. But their will should on the principle of religious freedom be dictated to the vast majority who though not into stoning, bigotry and marginalisation should respect their principles of sticking to the first century. And keep us safe from “Safe Schools”.


The Spirit of Enightenment. Corey Bernardii.

Some enlightened members of the coalition have suggested that its a right to be bigotted, and the enlightened S.A Minister Corey Bernardii, says it should be legislated that companies and individuals deserve the right to refuse to serve loathsome, hateful, irreligious same sex marriage people. He’s quite right, and those individuals spurned by the Minister should be glad they’re not stoned as part of the bargain. Mr Bernardii, is quite right to enforce his view that in spite of the outward appearances as human beings they, (their ilk) can never ever be afforded the dignity of being fully fledged members of the community because of their disgusting loathsome marginal practices. Once again he’s quite right on that number, and must be respected as it’s he’s right to voice his Christian opinion. Good thing then that the plebiscite is non binding. That would mean kowtowing to these outrageous single sex marriages, and the inevitability, (as Corey has previously put it) of marriage to dogs, cats and spiders.

Good on Corey, after all his deliberations the message is quite clear. Marriage? Who’d want it? The idea itself is ossified. Gotta go now. Off to stoning. At least there’s one tradition that’s still entertaining. Like Guy Fawkes.

But that was too much fun, and had to be banned.

Education. We dont give a Gonski!



Dear reader, there’s quite a bit of talk about education funding and the withering away of Gonski. Remember Gonski? He was the furry little fellow borrowed from Jim Henson’s franchise (the Muppetts) to introduce a more equitable funding steam into Australian schools.


Mr Abbott, seeks ‘the suppository of wisdom’.

It went something like this; schools would be funded to ensure an average, stable, indexed, revenue stream for all schools, with special initiatives designed to help sections of the community who were poor, disadvantaged and what used to be referred to as “underprivileged”. It also made allowances for Schools with a ‘National Plan for School Improvement’, which would fund an equitable upgrade of facilities and education infrastructure across the board, and allowed a mechanism to ensure that the whole system would continuously improve. Something that was called ‘the schooling resource standard’.

Good thing, the that the first thing the Abbott Government did when it got into office was to pull back on the entire Gonski juggernaut and stop it stone cold dead in its tracks. The former P.M, though agreeing to the principles of Gonski before the election said he was ‘misheard’, and the cut funding of education right cross the board. Well, he cut funding to state schools, and left the floodgates open, (so to speak) of increased funding to private schools. Now the Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham says that schools, (he means private ones) are overfunded. We think he’s incorrect. What he really meant was ” State Schools”.


The correct education model. More taxpayers money for Private Schools, to fund the education of kiddies whose parent’s work tirelessly to avoid paying tax.

Mr Birmingham is trying to be diplomatic.


Strip funding from remote schools! Good Work in progress!

What he really means is that some schools, (particularly those without nice uniforms and a tradition of kind hearted old boys and girls) don’t really deserve the funding as outlined by Gonski. And even if they did get the increased funding they’d probably fritter it away on teaching their students useless stuff like politics, history and science. In this regard he’s quite right, and righter still for putting the kibosh on that ‘Safe Schools’ nonsense. Kids need a basic understanding of reading, writing and arithmetic so they can fully capitalise on the bounty of privately run training schemes they can enter when they leave school. They also don’t need to worry about careers or even getting in the first rung of the ‘ladder of opportunity’ in the innovation revolution, because as Mr Turnbull says, ‘we can’t all be Merchant Bankers, and who will be left to clean the toilets and take the rubbish out’?

And that’s why it’s quite correct the conservatives have gonged Gonski. If you let education out of the bag, make it accessible and affordable for the lowest rung, you threaten the very fabric of society. It happened once before in the sixties and seventies and got us into a frightful mess. Students who questioned authority and the status quo, and occasionally kids form dirt poor backgrounds getting into positions of influence. So, he’s on the right track. Keep boosting funding for private and religious schools. They’ll use it wisely and ensure that for generations to come, those entrusted with an education know their place. It’s important that the principles of ‘Nation Building’, imagination and human potential remain unchallenged. It’s comforting the knowledge that nothing changes.

More from the Blancmange plebiscite

Dear reader not much happening on the plebiscite front, but the knowledege that it’ll cost quite a bit of money and muddy a sensible public debate, whilst contributing to the mean lowest common denominator. Still the Attorney General Mr George, (another ambitious little Queenslander) Brandis, says it’s just the best thing, and you’d better believe it. Rupert agrees, so we’re in line, (so to speak). To keep your restive spirit attuned we offer you another snippet of games that almost made it.

Finding Father Finnegan, ‘He’s visiting the orphanage, and no one can find him’ Release date 1946.father-finnegan



Dressing up, always a popular theme in Father Finnegan.

Father Finnegan was released as a very popular adaptation of the father O’Malley game in which Big Crosby played the part of a parish priest in ‘The Bells of St Mary’s’. The archdiocese of Melbourne and Sydney liked the idea, and thought they’d nuance the plot structure about a young priest and his unruly charges shouldering the threat of imminent school closure, with a more localised version appropriate to Australian audiences. They proposed to make a film based loosely on the Bing Crosby story, but with Chips Rafferty as the lead , and Roy Rene as the rector in Cinesound’s, “ Father Finnegan visits the Orphanage’.

The Ken G Hall production, facing severe post war austerity measures to film and local cultural product were heartened to be given permission by the Federal government to be allowed access to the entire complement of the passenger ship SS Clysthenes, then brimming full with a boat load of post war British child migrants. The children were sourced from places as diverse as Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Sheffield. Referred to colloquially as the ‘Snottingham Express’. The vessel landed at Port Melbourne in late May 1946, and the children were billeted in ex us army service tents on the grounds of Royal Park. Rather than utilise a current orphanage, which were full as a consequence of the mass celebration of U.S personnel after VE day the children were instructed by Hall and his crew, with the promise of regular baths and soggy peas to build a life-size cardboard and ply orphanage. It stood just shy of the tram terminus end of The Royal Melbourne Zoo.


Chips. Distraught at learning that ‘Father Finnegan’ would be moved to India

During filming several children were lost to Lions, when the structure toppled during a fierce winter storm and others succumbed to whooping cough, spondilitis and terminal whingeing. Unexpectedly their conditions deteriorated with exposure to healthy diet and sunlight. Sadly the film, half completed was shelved in 1947, as the children became re deployed as farm help and factory hands for post war industry. The semi completed film was then re-directed by the indian director, Shiva Rhammituppaboy and became a overnight sensation in the Madras 47 Separation film festival. Unfortunately in rioting post independence, a record twenty five thousand Indians of Pakistani descent were immolated in a fire at the Empire Sunset Theatre. (recommended seating capacity 300) . The fire it was rumoured started due to the mistaken belief that pig fat had been used as a seal and lubricant in individual film canisters. However forensics revealed that the unstable acetate ignited as a consequence of the hand tinting of frames made of the australian filmed scenes to ensure the Chips looked darkened. This was to establish a visual continuity for the local actor, Depak Chopperty, or as was reported in cinema papers (Cahiers du Cinema 1V 1948) ‘when  Chips became Chops’.


Chops Chopperty, performing his famous rendition of ” What happened when I found Father Finnegan”

Finding Father Finnegan is a game of detective work. It consists of a board, a father counter, players counters, clues cards, clue pieces a clock and a spinning arrow. The players are entrusted to find the father who is hiding in the institution. One player is the father but pretends he’s one of the ‘finders’. Whilst the players wait for their turn, they must cover their eyes with a copy of the Old testament (which are supplied). Each turn they play there are new clues, though not all of them lead to Father Finnegan. Reputedly the game was similar to Cluedo, but with one distinct difference. If the Father Finnegan is found in a short space of time quickly the children are safe, if prolonged searching the children disappear, and can not be found. And father, rather than being ‘found’ is just moved on.

This game was a great favourite, but production discontinued in 1958, when the transmigration scheme ceased. In all over 150 thousand were produced, and some can still be at the Catholic Education Office, and in isolated instances in the archdiocese of Ballaarat, where it is still played today. The game board was of the simple fold type with of a plan of the orphanage, numerous sick rooms, a chapel and holes for hiding priests and children in. In addition to the previously described game pieces and Father Flannery, each board held at least a hundred children as little brown discs, and four bibles, a piece of rope and a long piece of rubber tube and a blindfold. The game was activated by an arrow on a spigot, and each move would examine another part of the orphanage. Game counters included nuns, in which each player could block a thorough investigation and the player opposite would go back to one.

A criticism of the game is that it took hours and hours to find Father Flannery, was impossible for the children to ever win, and the nuns, were often broken as they were made of cheap cardboard, and had a habit of flying of the board if a wind was put up them. The children game counters little bakelite discs, were magnetised, so they could not move, unless instructed, A first for locally produced games technology.

Poetry Sunday 25 September 2016

This Ira Maine poem was first published in April 2013


Will I,

When this the oldest war,
When dearth and damnation,
The failure of courage,
The endless floundering
Is done,

Will I,

Finally, raise a sword
And run,feet pounding the grass,
Exulting, a lunatic,
Possessed at last with certainty?

Ira Maine, April 2013

MDFF 24 September 2016

Today’s dispatch is Unsolicited Services .  Originally dispatched on 21 May 2015

Aangenaam om jullie weer eens te schrijven,

When my mother (Nakamarra) died, our oldest son (Japaljarri) sent us the following email:

Oma was wise, strong, kind and cheerful. These words are not enough: her wisdom, strength, kindness and cheerfulness inspired everyone who knew her. She was proof of how good people can really be. Her example would revive your trust in humanity, and her cheerful optimism would revive your trust in yourself. We will miss her and aspire to be like her. Good-bye Oma.

My mother belonged to that generation that often uttered wise relevant sayings. The one saying that sticks in my mind is “Doe wel en zie niet om” (“Do good, and don’t look back”- i.e. don’t hold out for gratitude, reward and/or recognition) which saying she claimed came from the Bible which she had studied in primary school.

My sister (Nungarrayi) and niece (Nampijimpa) both lived long years at my parents’ home and remember many of these Dutch sayings.

“Hij heeft lange tenen” (“He’s got long toes” i.e. they’re easily stepped on-“he is easily offended”)

Doe gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg” (“Carry on as you normally do, which is insane enough”) …. and your wise men don’t know how it feels to be as thick as a brick…

“Wie de schoen past, die trekt hem aan” (“He who the shoe fits, wears it”)

Wie appelen vaart, die appelen eet” (“Who transports apples, eats apples”)

Recently I was made aware of:

“Ongevraagde diensten zijn zelden aangenaam” which Google Translate rendered as “Unsolicited services are rarely pleasant”

It immediately struck a chord with me. Countless unsolicited services have been visited upon remote Aboriginal communities since before and as far back as I can remember. There is a major unsolicited services industry that services remote Aboriginal Australia, not entirely unlike a bull services a herd of cows. Just as “engagement” has replaced “consultation”, so have “service agencies” replaced “community organisations”.

Poisoned damper has long ceased to be a weapon of ethnocide and forced assimilation. Semantics and euphemisms are now the weapon of choice.

We’ve long been in an era of weasel words and dog whistles. At the same time as the unsolicited services industry has sprouted such as the “governance training” industry, we have a state government countenancing the closing down of remote Aboriginal communities, with other state governments watching with interest.

So a friend sent me this quote from African American writer Toni Morrison “Black people have chosen, or been forced to seek, safety from the whiteman’s promise.”

Eric Clapton, Promises:
You refuse to take me for real
It’s time you saw what I want you to see
I’d still love you if you’d just love me

The last Dispatch quoted Mahatma Ghandi : “….has emasculated the people and induced in them the habit of simulation. This awful habit has added to the ignorance and self deception of the administrators….”

Many years ago Nyirrpi community was asked at a public meeting if they wanted a security fence around their school. The community members said no, they wanted a basketball court. This was repeated at several meetings. Months later the school was fenced. Years later Nyirrpi got a basketball court.

And now some easy homework. Read articles about Aboriginal policies etc. Find examples of ‘unsolicited services’.

Next (and not quite as obvious) find examples of the ‘habit of simulation’.

Next, another easy task, find examples of ‘ignorance and self deception of the administrators’

The annual Closing the Gap report by the Prime Minister to the Parliament, is as good a place as any to start your research.

Vriendelijke groeten, tot de volgende keer,


Teach your children well….
Doe wel en zie niet om”

PS- The Dispatches are emailed in batches of 70 addresses- No sooner did I launch the first lot, I received an email from someone that works for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I’m forwarding it without comment:

“You (or your representative) are invited to attend a meeting regarding the upcoming changes to the RJCP programme.  Meeting details:

When:  Wednesday, 27th May at 2pm.

Where:  Council Meeting Room.

As most of you would be aware, there will be changes to the RJCP programme commencing from 1 July this year.  The purpose of the meeting is to provide local organisations and service providers with further information regarding the changes.”


And another fragment from the past; ‘Rain delayed Test Match’

Do you think dear reader we’re ecomomising on copy? Indeed not, as we’ve morphed back on to the mid 50s with Malcolm, (‘nothing ever happens’) Turnbull enjoying his Prime Ministership, we thought we might as well stay firmly stuck in the 50’s and entertain you once again with another Game delight.


Rain delayed test match art work. Very Rare first edition. c. 1949.

And as a brief editorial note, ‘The Squatters Ugly Daughter’ has received a flurry of correspondence which has triggered the Hector Cawford Clause, (‘any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental and lies solely with the creativity department’). So it’s onwards and upwards with another fatal disclosure from the fabulous fifties.


Sir Reginald Abruthnot preparing for a Test Commentary. Colostomy Hall 1952. (the Coconuts and teleprinter were ingeniously inserted within the iron lung carapace).

Rain Delayed Test Match was the brainchild of Sir Reginald Foxtrot Abruthnott, (the third Earl and famous ‘Iron Lung Olympian’) of ‘Colostomy Hall’ in Lincolnshire. Such was the frequency of rain delayed cricket events, and dismal performance of English test cricketers during the period of pre war domination by the antipodeans, Sir William hit upon a brilliant idea. He envisaged a hybrid between synthesised cricket, and a board game, that mimicked the actual commentary which would continue for the duration of the test irrespective of any action on the field.


A completely synthetic test series being prepared at the ABC Studios.

Synthetic cricket had proved very popular, and Sir Arthur renowned for his pioneering work, and burdened by a rigorous process of physiotherapy was quite adept at improvising his own synthetic cricket pops and cheers with a coconut, a teleprinter and one of the very first Telefunken reel to reel tape recorders. Indeed during the dismal 1949, ‘Imponderables Tour’ the play was so stultifyingly boring, the commentators decided to conduct the entire broadcast commentary from Colostomy Hall with Sir Arthur performing wondrous improvisations with his tools of trade. For the next several years, the archive revealed that the 1951 West Indies Test, the 54 Indian, and the 58 Sth African Test were all improvised from Colostomy Hall, with Sir Arthur improvising live crosses, crowd cheering, commentary, weather reports including state of the pitch and groundkeeper reports. With such success and plaudits flowing in from the counties, Sir Arthur was quite prepared to take in the entire series for he 61-62 tests, when he inadvertently cross wired his iron lung in order to improvise the sound of a jet aircraft, ( Royal Air Force) flyover and suffered a cataclysmic electric shock. The public, unaware of the devastating impact and loss of Sir Reginald, clamoured for more live broadcasts, and the ABC, who had by this stage won the rights to test mach coverage in the antipodes improvised ‘Rain Delayed Test Cricket’.


A Test team was invariably obliged to enter the oval for publicity purposes.

The purpose of the game was to improvise conversation on weather, the pitch, local characters and special points would be awarded to the most lengthy anecdotes, and sustained detailed descriptions of nothing in particular. In a very short time, the game became a phenomenal success. With the advent of television, most players would just leave the screen on, with live action, whilst improvising the commentators, action and opportunities, of which there were many for sponsors segments and prizes. The other appealing aspect of the game, and its international success was attributed to the fact that all the game pieces, the 11 men and umpires were kept secured in the box, and adaptations were made to patrol the ground after an hours interval, between games, with a super sweeper and Ferguson tractor. This gave further opportunity for far-ranging discussion on agricultural implements, wool prices, and pasture improvement.

Worried by the impact of total improvised, synthetic cricket commentary just prior to the birth of World Series Cricket, the tycoon Kerry Packer, bought out the John Sands subsidiary, (manufacturer of both test cricket, and rain delayed), and abruptly closed it down. He then encouraged a significant cash back bonus for any old games and managed to successfully, (not matched till the gun buyback) to destroy almost every last one of them. The tradition lives on as glimmer of the glory days on ABC cricket coverage, and one can only weep at the thought that another generation of great anecdotalists has been squashed forever by the insatiable appetite for cheap entertainment, and the subsequent decline of colourful english usage.

More Games of Yesteryear

Dear reader, once again, (how lucky you are) we offer you another piece from the Cockburn Collection. Games that were produced during the Ming Dynasty, (1939-66) which give a scintillating insight into the emergent cultural trends within the card rooms and games rooms of rural Australia. squatter-2


A daughter being, “presented’ at Court.

‘Marry off the Squatters Ugly Daughter’, (1948), was developed hot on the heels of the successful ‘Squatter’ board game. The initiative was based firmly on the request by those western district graziers nervous before the full impact of the wool boom, as to what to do with their unmarried daughters. Unmarried daughters constituted a significant bane for this constituency, who were burdened with un-marriageable daughters and escalating costs of wages and machinery.  They discovered that in spite of the expensive education at Melbourne’s elite private schools and the conventional introduction at court to the royal family, a crushing reality of being unable to find a worthy suitor.


long Holidays at Barwon Heads

John Sands and Co, seized the initiative and developed a board game very closely linked to their stable mate “Squatter”, and made some minor changes to the rules and structure. Whereas Squatter was based upon the development of grazing holdings, stocking and pastoral expansion, the ‘Ugly Daughter’ was based upon the establishment of a round of social and sporting engagements in which potential  suitor’s would be primed with refreshment and entertainment, to a degree and intensity to which a marriage proposal would be forthcoming.  The inducements to marriage were the promise of a stake in the family pastoral empire, use of servants, and a panoply of gratuities suggestive of long holidays at Barwon Heads, opportunity to purchase equipment on field days, and possible access to the Melbourne Club.


A grazier and his wife inspecting their holding.

Participants were encouraged to play, (as a precursor to online gaming) by making transactions over the phone, and arrange to meet at tennis tournaments, Gymkhana’s and meetings of the wool board. Once engaged the transactional arrangements would be met and a budget allocated for wooing and wedding. If the inducements failed to find a suitable partner, the process would repeat itself until as such time a suitor was found, or the estate was depleted. If the estate was depleted, to a significant extent, the wild card offered an internship at a university, or a position at the red cross and a lifetime of charitable engagements which would mitigate the overall cost burden.

The winner, would be those who succeeded in marriage, and the losers, those who proclaimed un-marriage-able, would ‘retire” and pursue life as weekend artist, poet, or unpublished writer of serious fiction. As compensatory gesture a lifetime membership was offered to the Lyceum Club.


As a compensatory gesture for losing, life membership was offered to the Lyceum Club

The game was released for testing at the St Catherine’s School in Heyington Place, and achieved an enthusiastic response, until it was revealed a proliferation of ‘sham marriages’ to music teachers, interior designers, and anglican clerics outraged the core constituency who financed the initiative, and the game was withdrawn.  Fortuitously this edition survives, and is still played for match sticks and drinks tokens at the Hamilton Club, where the principles attendant to the spirit of the game survive. And there is a rumour, (as yet unsubstantiated) that an adaptation of the game is being sought by the Attorney General Mr George Brandis as an instructional tool for his ‘Outstanding Achievers in Australian Art Awards’.

Forgotten Games of Yesteryear

Dear reader, it is with some considerable excitement, we give you this serialisation of games that almost made a great name for themselves in Australia.  In an exclusive first we’ve been given access to a virtual trove of games that for one reason or another were never released to the mass market. And through this journey we glean a fascinating snapshot of where Australia was in those glory years of the Ming dynasty, (1939-66).


Father Risdale’s House, (1955). Game includes counters for four players, a dice, and a rotating owl, which would point to ‘Father’s Surprise’ hidden in one of the many rooms. Games to be sold at Sunday Schools for the rrp. 2 shillings halfpenny.

In doing so we hope to add depth an colour to the most excellent documentary currently being screened on ABC television by the ‘second greatest Prime Minister, (ever) John Howard. So sit right back and enjoy this romp through the anals of Australian board games and toys from that golden era.

‘Father Risdale’s House’, (1955) was the first venture by the then new DLP, (Delinquent Leisure Project) games house, which sought to popularise the image of parish priests as “fun-makers’ for children. This game, designed by Father Risdale himself, was due to be released in the Ballarat parish in 1956, and held much promise. The cover art was designed by the design team at Hole-phoke house, a commercial printing unit set up by the Catholic Education Office. Their work specialised in Sunday school posters, and illustrations for religious texts across Australia. Taking advantage of one of the first federal education grants for arts and science, the education office successfully applied to divert the funds into a number of community faith ventures, this game being one of the first.


” Dressing up for Father”. A snapshot of some of the fun re-captured during those stays at Father Risdales.

The inspiration behind the game was Father Risdale himself, who was popular in the district for his enthusiastic participation in bottle drives, school fetes, scouting, pantomine, and processing young unmarried mothers into the numerous orphanages and foundling homes that sprang up in post war Ballarat. It was Father Risdale who inspired the notion of the “ haunted house” as a way of capturing the imagination of the younger folk imbued with a love for the holy spirit and the concept of “Original Sin’. At this time the church was under threat from cinemas, television and sport in capturing the ‘hearts and minds”. Father Risdale’s house the ‘Bishopric, St Bernadette’s’ was used as a characterisation of the “ Bishopric” where he entertained younger charges in the company of his colleagues George, and Bob.


Happy children from the orphanage, bound for a sleep-over at Father Risdale’s.


‘Father Risdale’s House’, image details.

In Risdale’s own words; ‘I wanted the kiddies to capture the excitement and magic of sleepovers at St Bernadette’s, and felt that a game was a perfect way to stimulate their interest in fun, dressing up, and God. Sadly, due to persistent rumours attained to Father Risdale’s activities, the release of the game was suspended. Sadder still, the printing house was re-badged, and removed following numerous complaints, and only this copy exists as the sole survivor, thanks to the generous intercession of Cardinal George Pell. We cannot capture the innocence of that period, but one can appreciate the fun and laughter that must have inspired Father Risdale and his charges during those halcyon days at St Bernadette’s.