Saturday, April 14, 2018

Too much Missy

Our deservedly respected local ABC Radio broadcaster often defends the population growth in Australia and points out how our city has changed for the good by such population growth. He speaks even more strongly with, do we want to go back to sleepy and boring Melbourne that we once were? I am with him up to a point, but before such monstrous population growth that is having an extreme impact on our lives, there was the 1980s, and maybe I would like to turn the clock back.

In the 1980s we could freely drive around our metropolis with minimal delay among quite competent, though perhaps speeding drivers. We could hop on a tram or get on a train and there would be a vacant seat to sit on. I now have to calculate about how to get a seat on a tram. Similar for trains.

We could go to an outer suburban park, choose a public barbeque and seats and have a lovely family gathering. I expect, nay know, we would now have to send an advance scout to take up a position.

In Myers as it was then known, we would be served, before extreme cost cutting arrived and the lad said to you, I am here only for one brand, so he is not store staff.

Massive roads are built and existing ones widened. New trains and underground train tunnels are under construction. We are suffering very badly from the consequences and may well not live long enough to reap the benefits.

As I have said in the past, the Australian economic model is built on a Ponzi scheme of increasing population.

Housing it taking over land that was once for wildlife, vegetable growing areas and what were supposed to sacrosanct Green Wedges, only to make outer suburban housing ghetto developments. In my mother's hometown I see what is being built on the old racecourse. Cheek by jowl, no public amenities, all the houses look the same, although it is hard to tell as they are almost indistinguishable. (I really like that last line)

Tourists, do come and see kangaroos hopping down our streets, except they won't be places you will want to visit. They will be following old paths that are now houses and streets.

Meanwhile, in inner suburban areas, also massive increases in the population have happened, and will go on at a fierce pace. Already services can't cope with the numbers.

This is not a post about immigration. It is about population growth and it needs to stop forthwith, and housing and rental prices need a good belting. Perhaps it is time for another recession we had to have.

Of course, in such expansionary times, wouldn't you think your basic cafe/care worker would be doing well? No, there is also a huge exploitation of labour underway that comes with large population growth.

At times I am pleased to be older and won't be around to see even worse to happen.

Friday, April 13, 2018


This does not look good at 14:07.

Maybe George Street, Wantirna South, with 7 fire appliances attending. Correct, Knox Waste Transfer Station, aka a rubbish tip.

A long whinge

Do you ever hear me complain about anything? Oh yes, you do. And here is a long one, principly about Jetstar airlines.

We departed home for Sydney on Tuesday morning and returned the following day. Catching a taxi to to the airport is usually economically sound and very convenient for us and that was our plan. But for one night away? I looked at the price for a long term car parking space at Melbourne airport for one night at $49 plus road tolls, as against the two way taxi journey of about $120, you can guess what we went for. The long term car park provides a free shuttle bus to the terminals. I said to R, I remember once this trip in the bus was so horrible, with awful loud music blaring and so crowded. This was really quite nice. And then a woman with a voice of about 100 decibels boarded and was talking about her racehorses on her phone. Everything was suddenly so much louder, with the driver's two radio chipping in. We couldn't hear the bus announcements, As I said to R, funny how things can so quickly go wrong. He agreed.

The Jetstar check in was quite painless. We had checked in at home and all that was need was our boarding passes. Later I realised we already had printed them out. Airlines are in transition mode with this matter, and while better than it was, is still not perfect. Not sure why we could not check in for the return journey the following day. I smelt a rat, but ignored it. My mistake.

The weather was balmy at the airport, but also apparently quite severe and Melbourne Airport was only allowing one runway to be used. Well, that is what Jetstar told us was the reason for the half hour late departure.

In front of us and to left of us, was an about five year hyperactive kid. He had a voice so loud, it was unbelievable. He fidgeted constantly and at times was quite manic. Once he turned around and saw me between the gap in the seat back. I gave him the most evil stare I could. Eventually his mother after telling him so many times to keep his voice down, lightly slapped his face, but that only made things worse as he began bawling at 200 decibels. "Mummy, I was trying to tell you something but you wouldn't listen". He had constantly kicked the seat back of the person in front of him, which I think may have been that of his grandmother.  Just as the plane was landing, "Mummy, I need to  wee. I am going to wet myself if I can't go to the toilet now"'. Is it intfacide when a plane passenger kills a child?

Meanwhile, across the aisle and two rows forward was a crying baby, that cried the whole way to Sydney, but with extra strength as we descended with ear pain kicking in. Sister told R years ago when Little Jo was young that it is the time to feed them. The sucking equalises the ear pressure. I could have coped with the crying child, but the hyperactive kid really did my head in.

The exit from the airport was painless and we caught the the train to our accommodation. While it took two calls to the desk, our failed air con control panel was fixed and the lass also brought along a new/old tv remote control that was missing. I was away at that point, but she told R that remotes get lost in bedding and are carried out of the room. Makes sense. We thought theft. I never knew. I suppose they are rescued from the bedding at some point. For the price we paid, I do recommend the Sydney Travelodge in Wentworth Avenue. Although why the room cleaners staff don't have some easy way to communicate to management the couple of faults in the room is puzzling. At my workplace reporting problems is hand written, time consuming and tiresome, and so to be avoided. I expect that is why room staff did not report. Our room was nice and large and not too bad at all.

I had sorted out our Opal public travel cards in advance but the brief flash of the balance on the readers was too quick for old eyes. At least our cards show the card balance for as long as you hold the card there.

The tickets for the opera we saw, obviously more about that later, were cheap. The reason they were cheap was that they were lousy seats. I take full mea culpa for that. Sorry Victor.

Let me cut to the chase.  Our return trip with Jetstar was disastrous. Upon arrival in Sydney, R who had booked the flight, received a text saying we needed to be at the airport by 1pm for our 2.45pm flight back to Melbourne. At 12 we were in Manly at the ferry terminals after brunch and suddenly R was very stressed about getting to the airport by 1pm. I never really looked at the time, as I knew we would be there unnecessarily early. We could not check online as we realised we were on a leg of an international flight. Why weren't we told? We couldn't check in online as staff need to see your ID . We checked in at the counter, went through the speedy immigration for domestic passengers on international flights. Went through the very slow security check and were at the gate lounge in plenty of time. People were queued to get on the plane. I don't know why people do this as you have an allocated seat. The queue dispersed as an announcement was made at our actual departure time. We had kind of worked out by that point that there was a problem and many gave up standing. A maintenance issue with the plane, and then once an hour later we were onboard, a man had lost his wallet in airport and wasn't leaving without it, and so his luggage had to be offloaded. Funny how the better airlines manage to keep their schedules but Jetstar does not. Never mind being home by 6pm to watch the commercial tv news, we were not even home by 7pm to watch the ABC news.

I wondered if there would be a complimentary drink from the trolley on the flight because of the delay. No, and the trolley ran out of cheese and biscuits the seat before we were when R ordered. He made do with a small a glass of wine some Pringles. I simply would not pay for something that would not be needed on such a short flight, even though it had been ages since I had eaten. R would not have either had the flight not been delayed. I did not like the thought of Jetstar making me pay for food and drink because of their lateness.

As we were landing, and announcement was made that domestic passengers would need their boarding pass and ID to clear Melbourne airport. Wow, I thought, lucky that have I learnt from R to shred anything on paper that has your name on it, and I did not chuck my boarding pass in the bin. I needed it twice and I thought I was through domestic international travel, but no. The last time I had been careless, and stuck it in paperwork, so some panic moments as I searched my bag, and just as I was being put aside for further checking, I found it. I overheard someone saying to officials, I just chucked my boarding pass in the airplane bin. We have travelled a bit and in all our travels, we have never needed to retain our boarding passes. This is crap Jetstar. You need to tell us. They are passses to board, not to exit. 

We were both stressed. I screwed up in getting out of the carpark, and even driving home, I went the wrong way on the toll road. We should have been driving home in the daylight and have a light evening meal.

We travelled with Jetstar to Japan a few years ago and it was a rip off disaster. This time it was not good going to Sydney and disastrous coming back. We are booked with them for a brief visit to Tasmania later this month. Surely a 50 minute flight can't go so wrong? In my opinion Jetstar sucks. I probably should add that the airfare was very cheap, $49 from Sydney to Melbourne.

It was a cheap overnight visit to see an opera. I don't know why we always do things on the cheap. We are not poverty stricken and doing the cheap caused so many problems.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

About our late friend

An expanded and slightly censored version of what I was going to put on Facebook until R asked me not to until after the funeral.

Our friend David grew up on a farm in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, here in Victoria. His parents were always focused on community matters, and reared David in their image. His father was a long time local councillor and on the boards of some local health institutions. David trained as a printer and then a journalist, doing well with journalism at a South Gippsland local newspaper. 

But adventure called and he applied for a police position in the newly formed Northern Territory. He was successful at his third try and had very many tales to tell about his time there, both anecdotally and in his self published book, Adventure in the Outback. Perhaps he was paternalistic towards Aborigines who he came in contact with, but he genuinely cared for them and I would guess that was where he first developed his taste for non anglo men, but he was never exclusive to anything about men and what their origins were. 

Like his father, he had an interest in politics and was elected as a Country Liberal Party member for a seat in the new Northern Territory Parliament. I think he served two terms before he was tapped on the shoulder and told to move on.  (Later info has come to be learnt by me. His brother told me it was because he was gay. He was given an an unwinnable seat instead of the safe seat he had, and so in the 1960s, the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party got rid of a person who could be problematic because he was a poof.)

I am a little confused by timelines, but he was once responsible for the security of Her Maj when she visited the Northern Territory and he also met Prince Charles and Princess Diana when they visited the Northern Territory. 

Perhaps fed up with policing and politics, he ended up in Adelaide and bought a property there. I am not sure what he did there. Later he was in the Ovens Valley area of Victoria and head of the Tobacco Growers Association of Australia. He had a house built in Myrtleford to his own specifications and hosted many local, interstate and overseas visitors  He steered the organisation to a more sustainably farmer representative organisation as tobacco growing failed as the evils of the product became widely known. 

Again I don't know what he was doing, but he sold his house and bought a flat at the corner of Orrong and Dandenong Road in Caulfield, Melbourne. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he had a liaison with one of my workmates when he lived there. 

Our Brother Friends invited us to a 50th birthday party of a friend in 1993 in Balwyn. They had a long time connection with him. This was the first time we met David. We at times saw him out at bars and became quite friendly with him and when we moved to Balaclava, he was then living not far away in East St Kilda in a very nice three bedroom apartment. Not long after when on holiday in Fiji, he met a local man of Indian heritage and they formed a relationship and with the help of organisation GLITF, Gay and Lesbian Immigration Taskforce, his partner emigrated to Australia.

At the time he was the CEO of the national Wool Board in Victoria with an office in the city near the old Royal Mint. He was a CEO of the Australian Livestock Association and implemented electronic cattle ear tagging. He was also a mover and shaker in the Cattle Yards Association, a peak body for various cattle yards around Australia where cattle are auctioned. He remained a member of the Liberal Party and also Rotary and perhaps even the Freemasons. (Later, he was involved in even more agricultural peak bodies that I even knew about)

Post funeral knowlege, as  a young man, he bred some prize winning sheep and I saw a trophy at his funeral for coaching Little Athletics.

We began socialising with him and he and his partner went on to become part of Gwen's Gang, a group of friends centred on the our great late friend, Gwen. Around the mid nineties when we first connected to the internet, he found email terribly useful, at our computer, and after a while, tired of not being able to get near our own computer at times, we helped him buy one and set it up. He wasn't fond of technology, but he learnt to use it, but even to his dying day, people helped him with it. I never gave it a thought at the time, but on my second last visit to the hospital, he asked how to delete all of his text messages on his phone. I did not know, but it wasn't hard. He would never apply himself to solving technological problems. What did he know at the time when he wanted his text messages deleted?

From his East St Kilda apartment, he and his partner moved on to a large house in South Oakleigh and invested a lot of time, money and energy into making the house suit them. He turned the garage into an office, and wow, was he messy with paperwork. There would be piles of papers covering everything and on the floor, but he knew where everything was and by this time there were three computers in the garage office. We visited his house many times, often for a curry or a barbeque and through him, we must have met tens of people. He had friends in every Australian state and every continent and freely offered hospitality to anyone who visited Australia. He delighted in taking them up into the Dandenong Ranges, and especially to see the old steam train, Puffing Billy. He became an accepted member of his partner's family in Fiji and New Zealand and visited there many times. He was a frequent visitor to Singapore and Malaysia, a few times to North America and a few times to Europe. We travelled with him and his partner on the Danube river cruise, separated in Amsterdam and met up with them in R's home town in England, where he had some of the hospitality returned that he had given R's family members when they visited Australia.

His partner tired of looking after the large house and especially the garden, although it was a wonderful garden,  they sold the house and bought an off the plan three bedroom apartment in Caulfield, where they have remained since.

In his last few years he became heavily involved in the Northern Territory Retired Police Association and was awarded life time membership and a volunteer at the community radio station, Golden Days. He quickly became an on air presenter and a committee member and was very professional. He only fully retired from paid work a year ago.

He was a terrific public speaker, as we discovered ourselves at both his parents respective funerals. yesterday, Friday, we saw him off and as I do, I was overcome with emotion. I did not make a scene, but blubbed and there was snot involved. I mourn for him, but perhaps mourn more selfishly for what he gave us, and we have now lost.

All the people who we met at his place and came to know to chat to over so many years we may never see again.

After a chat to Bone Doctor about him, she said, he would have had better treatment as a public patient in a public hospital as a public patient. The expertise is in public hospitals.

Here is the text of what I put on Facebook. I thought about killing this post in a couple of days after my blog friends have read it, but perhaps I should leave it up?

Printer, journalist, Dandenong Ranges stringer for The Age and The Herald, football coach and umpire, Little Aths coach, prize winning sheep breeder, policeman, politician, cattle auctioneer, person responsible for security of Royal visitors in NT, on the first RAAF flight into Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, head of innumerable rural organisations; The Tobacco Growers Association of Australia, head of the Livestock Association of Australia, the Cattle Yards Association, executive of the Victorian branch of the Wool Growers Association, organiser and life member of the Northern Territory Retired Police Association, self published his own early life autobiography Outback in Uniform, authored a book on Melbourne place names and more recently, a committee member and on air presenter at Golden Days Radio. He was a frequent traveller with friends all over the world and showed personal hospitality to so many. We travelled with him, ate with him, shared stories with him, laughed with him and argued with him, and feel very privileged to have known him for over 25 years. We have lost a true friend and will miss him greatly. Our sympathies to his family and his long time partner Ranjan.

Westbury Street, St Kilda in the late 90s.

Probably Malaysia. He loved the place and never seemed troubled by the heat and humidity.

2017 at a police memorial ceremony.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bad Australia

How appalling is the live animal export of sheep and cattle from Australia. For the exporters and the ship owners, it about the mathematics. Suffering and dying cattle and sheep, as against what they are paid. Spending money on care, as against live losses during shipment, Clearly the equation falls on side of losing some money on the product delivery losses. I read that the last huge loss was essentially about sheep being cooked to death on the ship, heat stress at least.

This is not new, but still it goes on. Never mind the National Rifle Shooters Association in the US, it doesn't have much on the live cattle export industry in Australia for lobby power. Lobby power is the only way I can understand why live animal exports continue. New Zealand banned it many years ago. We (mostly) slaughter humanely in Australia, without great stress to the animals. The Middle East does not and how must the sheep suffer as they travel to the Middle East, crowded and cramped and dying in transit. What happens once they are there, is horrible to think about.

Senator Hinch is taking a petition to Federal Parliament about the matter, and try as I have, I can't find a direct link to the petition.  Find it at, sign it and you will have have helped in a small way. Maybe this will work,

I think this link will work.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Monday Mural

It took more sleuthing work than I thought it would, but I have found about this mural. I initially saw an image of a bloke and I did not recognise him as anyone I knew of. Closer inspection was required.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I understand a number of street artists have painted on this large horizontal panel in green. That is a requirement.

Looks a bit Banksy to me.

One of them was a well known street artist known as Dvate, who painted the image of his late father. I am doubtful about the information below from The Age, and I could  not confirm it. Never mind. It is a nice thing for a lad to do for his late father and I suspect he captured his father well. 

This mural is on the left as you approach Richmond station. At the very bottom are the words "James Patrick Beattie 1933-2010". A search of Robert's name reveals he was born in Ireland before moving to England and then Australia, where he worked in the animal feed industry and other mills.

Later edit: Dvate is a talented artist. Have a look at his silo work here.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sunday Selections

See what River and Elephant's Child have posted for this week's Sunday Selections.

I see the light, but only the reflected light.

Our friend died in Cabrini Hospital. After visiting, usually arriving by tram, a couple of times we walked to Malvern Station and caught the train into town. I thought the history of this house in Wattletree Road was interesting.

Once after visiting our friend, we decided impromptu to catch the train in the other direction to the new train station at Southland. It all worked well, but I see no reason to revisit Southland unless to meet Copperwich. Did we travel on the longest travelator in the world?

How do cars possibly get into such a position and block a Route 58 tram from turning the corner. The world is full of cretins.

Unusual flowers a few weeks ago. No idea what they are. This week's are sun flowers, in memory of our departed friend who loved them.

The gubbermint has sprayed us again with chemicals designed to keep us peaceful and not rebel. Always keep you tin hat at hand.

The paperless office never eventuated, and nor has paperless travel.

The cruise ship season has pretty well ended in Melbourne, but it never stops in Sydney. Something really went wrong with shipping schedules this day. Neither the port bound or outbound ship should have been in view at the time I took the photo. Ships and boats always travel on the opposite side of the road to what we do.