Monday, April 29, 2013

Kalgoorlie Road Trip

Early next month we are off on a road trip to Kalgoorlie.  Kalgoorlie is east of Perth by 600 kilometres and is a large gold mining town with a population of around 31,000.

Kal, as most people call it, was established in 1893 after the discovery of gold by Paddy Hannan, Tom Flanagan and Dan O’Shea.   No prize for guessing their nationality.

The ‘we’ in this road trip are Joyce, Margaret and me.    Margaret was brought up in Kalgoorlie and we will be taking a look at what she remembers about the house and surrounds where the family lived.  Joyce (Joy) like me, has an interest in the history of Kal, but mainly we are ready for a road trip.  Initially we thought of using the Seniors’ card for a cheap fare by train, but I thought a drive would be better and so I will be driving my car.  We will be staying at the ‘Star and Garter’ motel (how very Western is that?) for the three nights we are there.

My uncle was a policeman at Kalgoorlie in the early 1940s and he told of many incidents which would be typical of isolated mining towns.  He ran afoul of the Superintendent of Police who had warned him not to upset the gaming houses and brothels.  One incident where he booked the proprietor of a gaming house won him a year’s posting at the end of the Wood Line living in a small railway carriage and doing his rounds by horse.  That railway carriage and uncle’s notes are on display in the Kalgoorlie museum.  A must see.
The Wood Lines were railway tracks built out from Kal to supply timber and firewood needed for the mining industry and townsfolk.  

Other things to see is Hay Street, the street of brothels, the water pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie, the impressive old buildings, the massive Superpit, the Two-up school and minesites close to town.
The Goldfields' Pipeline was the baby of Engineer, CY O'Connor.  O'Connor   committed suicide almost a year before its completion.  Like many other visionaries, he was the target of harsh critics of this major project.  

Read about the pipeline here

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anzac Day 2013

Today is Anzac Day here.  There were Dawn Services throughout Australia honouring Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women who served and died in conflicts starting with the Gallipoli campaign in WW1.   When I was a youngster in the 1950s,  there was not the interest in Anzac Day that there seems to be now.   As as member of the Boy Scouts back then it was almost obligatory for us to attend the Dawn Service at Fremantle war memorial.  It usually gathered a crowd of around 150 or so.
Today as I drove our son to work in Fremantle at 6am, we passed ceremonies at two memorials and judging by the number of cars parked up every side street, there must have been thousands of people attending.  

In this morning’s newspaper there is a photo of an retired SAS Commander who is now a politician who ‘urged vigilance so that nationalism, the toxic by-product of patriotism, does not rear its ugly head on Anzac Day’. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013


This morning I woke to find that the Boston Bombers have been found.  One was shot and later died, the other is under arrest.     In one report on-line is a reference to a radical site named    Alex Jones is its owner and he is also a radio shock-jock.   I looked at his site and it is extremely anti-government and loaded with conspiracy theories.  He tells us that the bombings were orchestrated by the U.S. government to support the President's crackdown on assault weapons.

When Martin Bryant murdered 35 people and injured 22 others in Tasmania, Australia in 1996, conspiracy theories about Marty also popped up.  A search for Martin Bryant shows that there are many sites claiming that he was set up by the then Prime Minister John Howard, to enable the government to seize automatic weapons from the citizenry. 

After watching two of Jones’ diatribes I felt quite ill.  He  advocates a peoples’ coup d’├ętat.    It would seem that he has many followers.   Sick!                                 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Placebo effect

I took the advice of a comment poster and dosed my passionfruit with Epsom Salts.  An old method of ‘keeping your bowels open’ was to be forced to drink a mixture of water and Epson worked!   I have tasted the first ripe fruit and it did taste sweeter than previous years’ crops.   Placebo effect?  The vines are ‘loaded’ and I am looking forward to feasting on ice cream and passionfruit.   Years ago I owned a Datsun 240z.  It was a sheep in wolves’ clothing.  Whenever it gave me a bit of trouble I would drive past a wrecker’s yard en-route to work and I swear it perked up.  Maybe the passionfruit sensed that I was about to rip them out if they didn’t start to taste better?

                         A 240z.  I bumped that sharp nose a few times.

The parcel of B & W film and paper I collected from my old high school went in no time.  I tried giving it to a technical college which until recently still practised a bit of ‘wet processing’ of film and paper, but they have completely gone over to digital photography.  So, I advertised it as a free come collect package in Gumtree, an on-line marketplace.  Within minutes of placing the ad the calls started.  By lunchtime it was all gone and I withdrew the advert to slow down emails and phone calls.  Happy to see it go to worthwhile projects.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


My Passionfruit vines are producing flowers and fruit.  The bees have been few and I have had to hand pollinate the flowers with a fluffy brush.  I took the advice of an anonymous comment poster and gave them a liberal dose of epson salts which it is claimed will sweeten the fruit.  I had done that in previous seasons without noticeable improvement in the bitterness.   Hope it works this year.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wet photography

A couple of days ago I visited my old place of employment, Willetton Senior High School.   It is still a great school, the largest government school in this state.   I was there to use the Industrial Arts workshop to do a bit of welding for my friend Dennis.  Whilst there the IA coordinator offered me a couple of boxes of photographic supplies, which when purchased, must have cost a pretty penny.  Schools long ago stopped teaching ‘wet’ photography and now exclusively teach digital photography which is the far better way to go. I recall doing weddings and sweating on the results at the processing lab.  The digital camera can instantly show you if the shot just taken is OK and before printing, Photoshop can perform miracles even if the photographer has made a few mistakes.   The one nice thing about wet processing of photographs was the magical emergence of an image before your eyes in the developing tray.

After a bit of research I found that there is a photography course at a local technical college which still has students experience ‘wet’ photography.  The bulk film and paper has been kept in an airconditioned room and should still be OK.  Next week I will contact that college to see if they can use this stuff, otherwise advertise it for free in a local trading paper.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Excessive downloads

Soon after our son returned from Melbourne and moved in with me I noticed a marked increase in my internet usage of my 15Gb plan.   I decided to upgrade to an unlimited plan @ another $20 per month.  ‘Can’t take it with you’......that’s the money, not the plan.
Two days after upgrading I noticed a massive amount of downloads pushing my download to 64Gb.  I panicked a bit and assumed someone had hacked into my wireless network, so I changed the wireless password and trashed all cookies which I thought may have been a source of silent updates etc.  Still, the usage was  excessive.   Then I received a message from  BackBlaze a trial piece of ‘cloud’ type software announcing that my backup had finished.   I can’t remember activation BackBlaze and I uninstalled it from my computer.  All is well.   In the two times I exceeded my download allowance I was cut back to dialup speed....eeeck!

My garage ceiling repair is finished and it would look pretty good galloping past on a horse.  Actually, it isn’t too bad and will not fall down again unless something from North Korea comes this way.  What can one say about North Korea?  A rouge state run by a 28 year-old who loves Dennis Rodman. When Rodman visited Nth Korea as a personal guest of Kim Jong Un recently, he would have been the only person in Nth korea to be so adorned.  

                                                   That’s love!

I placed a leftover plate of Spaghetti Bolognese on the lawn for the crows to finish off. It seems that they liked everything except the onions. If you don’t eat your onions you can’t have your Spag.                         

                                           Apologies to Pink Floyd

Friday, April 5, 2013

71st Birthday party

On April 2nd, Daughter Helen and hubby James hosted a small gathering to celebrate what would have been Joan’s birthday.  As it was thought to be her 70th we invited  a gathering of our close friends to celebrate her birth date.  Joan’s sister Dorothy brought us back to earth when she informed us that Joan would have been celebrating her 71st birthday, not the 70th.  On reflection Dorothy was correct.  Joan died on 25th February and her birthdate was April 2nd.  She was 68 when she left us and it has been just over two years and that is how we miscalculated.  It was a great afternoon with much laughter and storytelling, just as she would have wanted it.
There was plenty of food and drink; so much so that I never got to break out the ‘Little Boys’.  Little boys, is a recent term for cocktail Franks.  I will leave you to work out why they are called little boys.

I am nearing the end of my garage ceiling repair job.  One part of the repairs necessitated me climbing an extension ladder to get on my roof and remove terracotta tiles giving access to cornice which has to be attached to the brick wall with a special cement. Shouldn’t be doing that at my age especially when I have already experienced a nasty fall from five metres, dislocating my shoulder and breaking a piece of bone off my rotator cuff requiring two operations and months of recovery.  That accident happened some 11 years ago and I should not ever go roof climbing again.

Props holding the last piece of cornice  whilst I get up on the roof to cement it to the brick wall.
              I knew there was a use for heavy old computers.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Writers' Almanac

A bad luck  story was told in yesterday’s delivery of The Writers’ Almanac; an online freeby I subscribe to.    Google it if you are into a bit of poetry and birthday notifications of current and historical people.  

A couple of days ago it had a story about Benjamin Franklin proposing daylight saving.

Another story was about a bad luck (or judgement) story about a fellow losing a lot of money.