Australia - The Land Down Under

When Is A Town Not A Town – when it is a toilet and a few scraps of metal once known as “Paradise”
Driving from Moree to Mungindi is a challenge. It is 122 km, with nothing in between. Just a road and vast plains which stretch to the horizon.
Given that kind of narcoleptic challenge, I was alert to the place known as Neeworra Wine Shanty which, the brochures say, is approximately 11 km from Muningdi.
The story, as told on the huge sign in the middle of a paddock beside the road, is that “A few rusty tins, a handful of gravel on an old pathway and the memory of a once proud peppertree are all that now remains of an isolated wine shanty which was part of a little village called Neeworra.
“Its first name was Paradise - so named by a boatload of thankful people escaping from the 1890 flood. Paradise it must have seemed indeed as they disembarked at the sandhill not far from the site of the old Whalan Bridge.
“It was not long before houses and a wine shanty were built as this site was adopted as the official mail exchange station for the coaches operating between Moree and Mungindi.
“Paradise was first licensed for wine in 1898 and was operated by Herb Collier. Paradise continued until 1914 when, with the coming of the railway siding was renamed Neeworra and was gazetted on October 1, 1913.
“This site, which is between the Moringa and the Kraal turnoffs soon boasted a Station Master's residence, ticket office, goods shed and trucking yards. Following this, six residences, a small school and the Post Office store and Wine Shanty were built. The shanty was built by Jim Dawson and was rented then for £1 per week. Paradise gradually disappeared, and only Neeworra remained as the hub of activity for the area.
“About 1938 when electric power and reticulated water came back to Mungindi, all the inhabitants moved there and the Neeworra village slowly disappeared. The school was taken to Garah for use there in about 1939. The wine shanty, railway siding and trucking yards then remained.
“In its heyday the shanty with its mechanical petrol bowser and peppertree, catered for the many wants and needs of the local station people and travellers alike.
“Although the liquor license was for wine only, there were rumours many bottles of ale were consumed from kerosene refrigerators and from under wet bags. The Wine Shanty was burnt down on August 8, 1962.
“It is no longer a place for a quiet ale or chat. Nor is there any mail, groceries, petrol or telephone there. Time itself has removed those more tangible things but memories will keep alive that colourful and unique meeting place for a long time to come.”
There’s a map of the town on the sign; two sheds; and, hilariously, a toilet (a true Australian dunny) with the droll, pre-unisex joke of “HIS” pointing to the left, “HERS” pointing to the right but, as anyone can see, there is a single toilet behind ... with nothing more than a hole in the ground.
You can see the joke: “Oh, look there’s one for men and one for women. See you outside in a couple of minutes, darls.” The couple head to their respective sides only to meet behind the corrugated iron. Very droll! Very Australian!
May be an image of tree and outdoors

Credit to:


"Bet you're glad to get your behind out of the saddle for a tea break!" [from Jolliffe's Outback #129]
"If that's the best the old fraud can do, it's high time we got another rainmaker." [from Corroboree, 1946]


Aussie Towns
Tourism when all you have is a poem – Corryong, Victoria
When a town has a museum, a sculpture, a grave, an iconic frieze and a festival all devoted to a poem, it is a fair guess that it is obsessed with its one claim to fame.
The town: Corryong on the edge of the Snowy Mountains in Victoria.
The iconic symbol: ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s famous poem The Man From Snowy River. If you need a refresher it is at
Yes, Corryong is “Man from Snowy River” obsessed and the reason is that the real life role model for the poem’s famous hero lived and died in the town. His name was Jack Riley.
Riley migrated from Ireland in 1851, worked as a tailor at Omeo and, while living in the area, started working as a stockman. He gained local fame as an exceptionally gifted mountain rider, horse-breaker, bushman and tracker of wild horses.
While working as the manager of the Tom Groggin cattle station in the Upper Murray Valley he was involved in the horse ride that made him famous.
Here I will let the sign outside The Man from Snowy River Museum takes up the story “Riley joined a party of stockmen out to capture an escaped thoroughbred stallion which had joined a mob of horses. A stockyard was built at the foot of Mount Leatherhead and the mob was found on a high ridge nearby. Only Jack Riley had the courage to follow the stallion in its mad plunge down the scrubby slope. The others, having followed an easier way down, found Riley waiting at the yard, the stallion safe inside.
“Banjo Paterson was a frequent visitor to the Mitchells at Bringenbrong and in 1890 he and Walter Mitchell spent a night in Riley’s hut. A modest Jack Riley was persuaded and he told the story of the ride to recapture the stallion.”
Now I should explain that, unlike modern poetry snobs, I admire the great, late 19th century ballads. They were not, as many people feel, bad doggerel but rather a particular style of poetry which was popular at a particular time in literary history.
“The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes; “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix” by Robert Browning; and “The Man from Snowy River” by Paterson are all redeemed by being well written, cliché free, strong in striking imagery, and using the simple rhythms of a ballad to evoke the movement of horses. They are fun and they are memorable.
Whether an entire town should focus all its tourism on a poem is open to dispute but, I will admit, many years ago I travelled to Sligo in northern Eire just so I could stand “Under Ben Bulben” in Drumcliff churchyard and recite the epitaph to W.B. Yeats - “Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!”
If I can do that, why not thousands paying homage to the remarkable Jack Riley and Paterson’s famous account of a “stripling on a small and weedy beast” who showed the finest horsemen in the country how to ride. It is an eternal story of the triumph of the little man.
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Young Fella in Australia....Loves the auctioneering process......

Young Fella in Australia....Loves the auctioneering process......

Maybe someday he'll get a job with Mecum! He'll have to slow down a bit with the hammer. When you're bidding real money, the seller expects the auctioneer to maximize the value, which means giving people time to react. While unusual, a single car can be on the block for a half hour.

I believe this was drawn by Joliffe, AUstralian Cartoonist. (

Arrival at Longreach of the Armstrong Whitworth FK8 with the first bag of airmail on the inaugural flight of the first Qantas air service from Charleville to Cloncurry, 22 November 1922

A vignette for affixing to mail for the 1943 Christmas parachute drop to Mornington Island Mission

Revenue Passenger Kilometers, scheduled flights only, in millions
The distance from Tonga to Australia is around 5200 km......a longish distance. .....3200 Miles.

But when a supervolcano is 'doing its thing' is not ....really.....very far at all.

This makes for interesting reading.

The ‘mind-blowing’ sea floor changes caused by Tongan volcanic eruption


Renée Geyer had a peerless voice and dogged tenacity — combined, they made her a force of nature​

The 1970s gave us some of Australia's most celebrated and enduring acts, like AC/DC, Cold Chisel, and The Saints to name a few.

But few artists broke ground in quite the same way as the great Renée Geyer.

Geyer, one of Australian music's most celebrated singers, died this week from complications following hip surgery. She was 69.



Rockhampton man digs up cannon believed to be one o'clock time gun dating back to 1865​


Wayne Kerrisk and his mates unearthed a cannon in his Rockhampton backyard.(ABC Capricornia: Michelle Gately)
I dunno your laws, but where I live it's perfectly legal to own your own cannons.

I have a good friend who owns like a half dozen cannons and some smaller to-scale models that still fire projectiles.
Truth and Myths about Waltzing Matilda
There are places that should be visited by every Australian. One, obviously, is the billabong (approximately 145 km north of Winton) where, according to ‘Waltzing Matilda” and ‘Banjo’ Paterson, a swaggie camped under a coolibah tree (a coolibah tree is still there) and rather than surrender to the police, decided to commit suicide by jumping into the muddy lagoon.
No one is sure exactly what inspired Paterson but there are a series of plausible scenarios. Certainly, the poem wasn’t a work of fiction.
On 4 September 1894 the Brisbane Courier reported: "Information has been received at Winton that a man named Hoffmeister, a prominent unionist, was found dead about two miles from Kynuna. The local impression is that he was one of the attacking mob at Dagworth Station and was wounded there. There were seven unionists with Hoffmeister when he died. These assert that he committed suicide."
It is now widely believed that this story was the inspiration for the song.
The Winton town history, which was published in 1975, offered a more romantic version.
It claimed Paterson was staying at Dagworth Station in 1895 when Christina Macpherson played the tune 'Craiglea' for the guests. Paterson liked the tune and inquired about the words. Macpherson explained that she did not know of any words. This was enough to inspire Paterson.
The lyrics which he wrote were an intermingling of a series of events which occurred while he was staying at Dagworth Station.
During his stay Paterson saw a sheep which appeared to have died but on closer examination it had been killed, presumably by a swagman, and portions of it carefully removed to give the impression of natural death. This was possibly the inspiration for 'the crime'.
A second strand to the story focuses on Combo Waterhole. This waterhole on Belfast Station 145 km north west of Winton is clearly the setting for the poem.
It is argued that Paterson used the setting after he had been told the story of Hoffmeister at Combo Waterhole by Robert Macpherson. There has been some suggestion that the story Paterson heard was not about Hoffmeister but about an unknown swagman and a stockman named Harry Wood. Wood had beaten an Aboriginal boy named Charlie to death and the Winton police, while trying to locate him, happened upon the swagman sitting by the billabong.
It is also claimed that the expression 'Waltzing Matilda' was first mentioned to Paterson at Dagworth Station by a jackeroo named Jack Carter.
In a letter to The Australian in 1995, at the time of the centenary celebrations of 'Waltzing Matilda', Dr Ross Fitzgerald, at the time Associate Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University in Queensland, stated quite categorically: “The song was written by Banjo Paterson in January 1895 just 14 weeks after an armed battle at Dagworth woolshed in September 1894 between striking shearers and the station owners, the Macphersons.
“In the 'Battle of Dagworth' 140 lambs were burnt to death, while one of the sixteen striking insurrectionists, Samuel 'French' Hoffmeister died, supposedly by committing suicide, beside a billabong near Macpherson's Dagworth Station.
“Banjo visited the homestead shortly after the battle. While the site of old Dagworth Station where Banjo stayed is now a heap of rubble, thanks to Richard Magoffin's brilliant detective work Samuel Hoffmeister's grave at Kynuna Station, on the southern side of the Diamantina River, has been discovered, and a stone cairn placed beside the billabong.
“The three policemen involved have been revealed to be Senior Constables Austin Cafferty (number 420), Michael Daly, (89), and Robert Dyer (175).
“It is clear that Miss Christina Macpherson, who had heard the Scottish tune Craigilee played by a band at the annual Steeplechase race meeting at Warrnambool Victoria in April 1884, met Paterson when he visited her brother, Bob Macpherson, at Dagworth.
“There being no piano at the homestead, the tune that Christina had memorised she played to him on an autoharp, which is like a zither. To this tune, as Magoffin and Clement Semmler demonstrate, Banjo added the words to the song Waltzing Matilda, just 14 weeks after the Battle at Dagworth Station.
“It is important to note that in the original verses the swagman was camped in, not by, the billabong and that there were three policemen, not - as one theory has it - one fictitious trooper 'number 123'... Contrary to the sanitised version of the so-called 'jolly swagman', which did not exist in Paterson's original version, Waltzing Matilda is actually a powerful political allegory based on the 1894 Shearers' Strike.”
So, which version is the correct one. I am inclined towards Ross Fitzgerald’s simply because it appeals to my sense that this song deserves to be subversive.
The pic is of the actual billabong.
May be an image of body of water, nature and tree

He'll have to slow down a bit with the hammer.

Can't do that at an Aussie cattle auction, and that's the sort of thing he is training up for.

Too many beasts to move in too little time. He'll make a good one.:)
Nothing to do with Oz but i thought you chaps may appreciate this.

The security there was top notch !....heaven help anyone who ventured to ddos that lot !

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