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Tue - March 29, 2011

Uluru Handover Ceremony, 1985

This is the second account in the Desert Star, of my attendance at the 1985 handover (or should that be hand-back) of Uluru to its traditional owners. The accounts were written at different times, the previous version being written closer to the actual event. There seemed to be no point in having this version sitting in my computer unread. There is a link to the photographs I took on the day.

Posted at 10:45 AM     Read More  

Mon - March 22, 2010

Bliss, Movie Review

A recent television showing of this Australian film, based on the best selling Peter Carey novel, has inspired me (if that is the right word) to start a whole new category of Movie Reviews. I was looking forward to seeing this 1985 film again after many years, it being one of the most innovative and quirky of Australian movies, and a great book. Does it stand the test of time? Well, yes and no. Carey wrote the story while living in the hippy enclave of Bellingen in northern New South Wales, and the film is very much of its time.

Posted at 12:08 AM     Read More  

Wed - September 16, 2009

Darwin, 2009

It was more of a loaf in Darwin this trip, with no trip to Croker Island, though I did catch up with some people from there, and I mostly stayed within the city itself, although I managed to venture south in the last week or so. I did make some good contacts, and was frustrated by an inability to make some others. Darwin temperatures, as usual for this time of the year, reached a daily maximum of 32 degrees and a minimum of 22.

Posted at 02:12 PM     Read More  

Tue - April 28, 2009

Lake Mungo

Sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, I saw a television program about the discovery of some human remains, revealed by a relentless desert wind blowing over ancient sand dunes fringing a lake which had last seen water some 15,000 years ago. These remains, dubbed 'Mungo Man' (although it proved to be woman's bones), had been cremated some 30,000 years ago, and are claimed to be the most ancient ceremonial burial ever discovered. The later discovery of a man's remains, coated in red ochre, confirmed the importance of the region, which, with the whole string of lakes stretching to the north, has now been designated a World Heritage Site. My first visit was in 1991, and my second was just last week, in mid-April 2009.

Posted at 12:25 AM     Read More  

Wed - January 7, 2009

Kevin Rudd, 'Fiscal' Conservative?

Just over a year since the Howard Government was thrown unceremoniously from power, with their leader, John Howard, losing his own seat (his party didn't have the guts to dump him, but the voters did) it is an appropriate time to take stock of the Labor Government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Perhaps there was a portent of the direction and flavour of the incoming government on the night of the election, when, flushed with the euphoria of victory and more than a glass or two of celebratory drinks, we endured Mr Rudd delivering an uninspiring cliche-ridden speech in a flat monotone. Anything was better than John Howard though, and we lived in hope of a more tolerant society.

Posted at 11:47 PM     Read More  

Sat - November 1, 2008

The Ascent of Obama

My Backwards Bush counter tells me that there are seventy-eight days, fourteen minutes, and twenty-five seconds to go, before Bush the Lessor stumbles away to his inglorious obscurity - while paradoxically, and indelibly, entering history as the worst president ever. Hopefully, we are about to enjoy his antithesis, as a young and bold black man embarks on his presidential career.

Posted at 06:05 PM     Read More  

Thu - November 29, 2007

Collet Barker

The Mount Barker township, region and mountain, on the south eastern outskirts of the Mount Lofty ranges, was named by Captain Charles Sturt, after Captain Collet Barker, of the 39th Regiment (Barker's compatriot and friend Captain Charles Sturt was a fellow officer). Barker was speared to death by three Ngarrindjerri men near the mouth of the Murray River on 30th April, 1831.

Posted at 02:34 PM     Read More  

Wed - November 7, 2007

Ode to John Howard

One ought to be at least a little conciliatory of John Howard's years in power, but I'll let someone else do that. The kindest thing that I can say about the man, is that he stayed in power long enough for us to throw him out, including it seems, out of his own seat. This hope of mine was expressed in a previous blog, 'The Rat to go down with his ship' . In this alone, Howard lived up to, and fulfilled my expectations.

Posted at 01:41 AM     Read More  

Tue - October 23, 2007

The Rat To Go Down With His Ship

Nothing, apart from the Howard Government winning this years election, (which is not going to happen), would disappoint me more than if John Howard had chosen not to contest it as his party's leader. For a while it seemed, he was contemplating retirement; passing the baton to his economic partner throughout his eleven year reign, treasurer Peter Costello. Fortunately Howard's hubris, along with his life-long dedication to conservatism, and his love of power, has seen him remain to fight his last fight. I didn't want him to retire, because I want to see him defeated.

Posted at 12:59 PM     Read More  

Mon - September 24, 2007

Election Looms - Howard's Doom?

After what seems to have been a year of a phony election campaign, the incumbent John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister, will soon have to call an election. He is in no hurry to do so, as his so-called 'Liberal' party trails the opposition Labor Party by more than ten points, and the Labor leader Kevin Rudd is being perceived as a fresh face. Howard is increasingly being seen as a man who has run out of ideas, but also as a man who has brazenly danced around the truth far too often.

Posted at 11:37 PM     Read More  

Thu - August 2, 2007

Mohamed Haneef; The Politics of Hate.

Of one thing we can be sure. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, and Prime Minister John Howard will pursue Mohamed Haneef with every ounce of their being. Far more important for them now, is not Dr Haneef's guilt or innocence - details like that are not important for this Government - it is the political mileage to be gained from denigrating him, and the loss of face to be suffered if he proves to be innocent. One has only to observe the on-going slaughter in Iraq, (justified now as a huge loss of face if the invasion fails) with the carnage of Iraqis not even worthy of comment by the war mongers Howard and Downer, to see how individuals of other than white Caucasian bent stand in the grand order of things.

Posted at 12:42 PM     Read More  

Sun - July 1, 2007

Darwin Again

Saturday morning I flew out of Croker, via Goulburn Island again, and back to Darwin. Another week in the sun, then back to the 'now when it's freezing, here in these cold, cold, hills.' The trip has been successful and enjoyable, perhaps falling a little short of my goals in some respects, but exceeding expectations in others. The booklet which doubled as a field guide to Fort Wellington, and showing the locations of of the remains of the fort proved invaluable. Last night, Tuesday 3rd July, Brother Max, Sharon and myself had a great meal (Indian) at the Nirvana restaurant, and night spot, after which I did a few songs at the 'jam' session, which I had participated in on other occasions. The Adelaide Hills winter will be difficult.

Posted at 11:22 PM     Read More  

Thu - June 28, 2007

The View From Croker Island

It has now been ten days since I arrived on Croker Island. During that time, John Howard has demonstrated his new found concern for Aboriginal welfare. I have long held a cynical view of anything Howard does, and nothing has disturbed me more than his ill disguised contempt for the Aboriginal people of Australia over the past eleven years. His dismissal of ill treatment, dispossession, and murder of the past as a "black arm band view of history," his refusal to acknowledge or to express genuine regret for the stolen generation, the disbandment of ATSIC leaving Aboriginal people with no substantial representative body to speak for their rights, are just a few of the glaring demonstrations of his indifference, if not malice. He has also, of course, undermined what progress has been gained in cases like Wik, by passing legislation to undermine those gains. What is the view, in light of Howard's sudden 'concern' for Aboriginal welfare, from Croker Island?

Posted at 12:48 PM     Read More  

Tue - June 26, 2007

Fort Wellington, Raffles Bay

At last, two months into my visit north, today I made it to the Raffles bay settlement, begun in 1827, and abandoned in 1829. Here Collet Barker oversaw roughly eighty people, made up of convicts and soldiers in almost equal numbers, and grew gardens, ran stock, erected buildings and befriended Aboriginals. My story of his life will be greatly enriched having tread this sacred ground.

Posted at 11:49 PM     Read More  

Mon - June 25, 2007

On Croker Island

I had a bit of a whinge on this entry a few days ago. Have now edited that out. Tomorrow comes the boat trip to Raffles Bay. Here are some pics of a beach walk on Mission Bay.

Posted at 11:28 AM     Read More  

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