In the Beginning – a slow boat to Africa

  Grandma was a short, stooped lady fond of telling stories in her Scottish brogue. In that blue, white and green MacDonald tartan pinny over a floral dress, she cooked up batches of potato scones, fried fruitcake and black pudding. No one in her family had seen a...

The Problem with Breakfast – a perplexing Outback puzzle

This morning we ponder our breakfast bowls in quiet isolation, another bush camp in the middle of nowhere, away from the road trains, the caravans and crowds, 100km east of nowhere in Outback Queensland... last night's neighbours a passing herd of camels with shining...

A Dingo in the Dunes – hard times in Dogtown (Cape Arnhem, Australia)

We are 1000km east of Darwin, our only access to here via the Central Arnhem Road, arriving at the turnoff late afternoon. Then it's still another 20km off the main track, with compulsory vehicle restrictions fair warning - `Vehicle must be 4WD with plenty of...

Remembering Robeson – a book review

Paul Robeson was a black American man and an important civil rights activist of the early to mid 1900s, but there is so much more to this story. Until hearing Jeff Sparrow's impassioned presentation at his recent Melbourne book promotion, my own knowledge of Robeson...

Welcome to The Badlands – a latenight lullaby

Bodies of children, guns more sacred Lay in heaps on crimson pavement The future dead, the ghosts of hope A shattered nation with prayers will cope . Pagoda beauty, suddenly soured Hateful icons, a new leader's power Crowded camps, no fault their own Despair and...

Ding, Dong, the Blog is Dead – pondering progress

Blogging these days is not like it once was... a fickle, little-read beast at best. And it's hard to believe that just five years back I chose to take a dip in the blogosphere, a late starter, a wandering writer through the once-was maze of Wordpress and Blogger, of...

A Darkside Downunder – MONA magic (Hobart, Australia)

I'm in Tasmania drinking with Dave; a giant of a man with broad shoulders and no neck. He's lived alone all his adult life, and sits at his normal spot at the bar, in  brown flannelette shirt and singlet, jeans and mud-caked Blundy boots. "Changed? Yeah, sure has...

Lost and Found – a splendid memory (Cape Arid, Western Australia)

Our truck bumps from side to side, the wheels in deeply rutted tracks. Nearer our coastal camp, scrub turns to woodland and we both lurch to the left as I  drop a gear and edge across a scary slab of sloping stone. Back on sand it’s our final descent, to a wild coast...

Faces of Fame – an ode to John Wilson St

A face stares out from my PC screen: a suited-up man about 30yrs old, the boyish face round, the hairline receding. I see a clean face, but for the sparing outline of a beard.  I see a thin mouth, the eyes narrowed and slightly turned, the face of a man who killed...

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