Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Newborn takes season limelight


Image from Free Gifs & Animations
AUSTRALIA always loves to find a new star actor, so remember Christmas 2006 as the debut of Elijah Samuel Stone, who appears destined for a big career. Elijah has top billing for a major production this weekend. He will play Jesus in the Christmas story for St Luke’s Catholic Parish, Capalaba. Just three months old, Elijah will be back at the Degen Road church where parish priest Peter McCarthy baptised him a few weeks ago. This time in an outdoor celebration, Elijah, the fourth son of Peter and Anne Stone, of Capalaba, will be under the heavens instead of the holy water. Well, not quite, but the school undercover area may be space challenged in a summer storm. Fr McCarthy must suffer a crisis of conscience because a priest obviously cannot pray for fine weather during a drought.
THE Christmas Eve outdoor mass has become a popular event over the past 11 years since Fr McCarthy started his first parish appointment and decided to celebrate Christmas "right under the Southern Cross". He estimates about 900 people attend the annual mass and Christmas story that he says gives a focus for children and adults who appreciate an event outside the traditional church experience. "People just want to do something of a spiritual nature at Christmas and not everyone is into church," Fr McCarthy says. "This is a balance. It’s a lovely atmosphere."
A "REAL newborn" must be the lead role in any Christmas show but Elijah will compete for the attention of the congregation. The cute cast includes not only the parish children but also animals from Old Macdonald’s Travelling Farms, all in the setting of a specially built stable.
The time, 6pm Sunday; BYO chair.
"FATHER Pete" has been especially busy for the past few years at Christmas, which he calls "the boss’s birthday". He has also been in charge of St Anthony’s, Alexandra Hills, since the retirement of Fr Paul Rooney in 2004. The added responsibilities were necessary because of the shortage of priests, Fr McCarthy says.
(On Tuesday, December 19, church notices took almost a whole page in the Bayside Bulletin, Cleveland, Redland Bay, Queensland, Australia. Classie Corner will resume in the Bulletin’s sister paper, the Redland Times, on Friday, January 3).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

For sale: The smallest back yard

Image by Jenny Rumney

(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

ONE of the cheapest plots of Redlands property has featured in our for-sale column but it does not offer space to swing a dead cat.
It is the smallest back yard anyone is likely to occupy – a burial plot.
More later about the "Cleveland single cemetery plot" that was sandwiched between "cheap scooters" and "computer desk".
FIRST, a warning about the catchcry, "You’ll get an answer to that on the internet." After clicking on countless quotations websites for the origin of the "swing a dead cat" adage I felt almost ready to place a deposit on that advertised plot.
When I found myself checking "The Farmer’s Cookbook" for "dead cat" I knew it was time to deal with the "deadline".
This sort of black hole is probably why so many readers still prefer the "classies" they can hold and feel – those in their local paper.
BACK to the plot, advertised by a Cleveland woman: Her husband said she had acquired the site about 25 years ago during her first marriage and could not remember the cost at the time.
The woman now wanted to be cremated so they decided to test the market, after suggestions the site could bring $5000. Two callers had asked for the price but had not called back.
A Redland Shire Council statement showed why Cleveland cemetery is, indeed, hot property.
It said the cemetery had reached capacity but extra grave spaces had been created in areas that originally had not been burial areas.
Just 15 unreserved grave spaces remained. Perhaps an extra 40 sites could be created if an older pathway was used for burials but extra graves might alter the "feel" or aesthetics of the cemetery, and any such action was undecided.
ON prices, it said: "Since 1998 Council has not sold outright burial rights but has accepted only a $250 deposit if the grave was not for immediate use.
"The last time it was possible to fully purchase the burial rights would have been June 1998 and the cost was … a total of $1195. On top, there was a burial fee for that year – if it was used that year – of $600.
"Today the burial fee is $1606, including maintenance. The total cost of a grave for immediate use is $2866 so, when the burial fee is removed, the burial rights today cost $1260."
We hope that helps.
MORE stories on
http://www.classiecorner.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Collector, 79, 'disposes' of some advice


A LIFETIME of collecting antiques and art objects is behind this tip from a Wellington Point woman: Beswick appears to be coming into prominence among the collectable ceramics.
The English brand is already known to many collectors, thanks partly to the Beatrix Potter figures it started making half a century ago.
However, the firm of potter John Beswick had its origins in the late 1800s and has created a mountain of limited edition collectibles.
Our antique adviser, 79, has been advertising the "disposal" of some of her collection after moving to a smaller home.
Obviously, she is not selling Beswicks this time and only the direct inquiries get her list.
She is, however, free with advice that demand is rising and those wanting to start collections of something may look to Beswick's sculptures of animals and humorous characters from literature, film and television.
The site, www.john-beswick.co.uk, in a 2005 post, said John Sinclair, a Yorkshire business man, had bought the Beswick brand from Royal Doulton to save it from extinction.
Mr Sinclair planned not only top-range pieces made in England but editions of animals in the style of the originals and made overseas.
"Commercially, I recognise the pressures existing within UK manufacture today and, therefore, a second highly affordable range, intended as impulse buys or gift purchases ... will be made overseas," he said.
Novices should be wary of possible future confusion over old and new Beswicks.
Our adviser says: "Do your homework, read as much as you can, think long and hard before you buy and only buy things you like.
"If you buy something you don't really like, the chances are that others won't like it either, when you come to sell.
"Accept that, apart from the rare cases, you won't make money out of collecting. Very few things will realise more than what you paid for them, in comparative terms, even after about 60-odd years but the value is in the enjoyment they give you."

"TASSIE" has kayoed "Silky" in a title bout at Victoria Point where a retiree advertised his old desk for sale.
The two words "silky oak", when in fashion, are enough to make a prizefighter coo like a baby. But apparently not this year.
The ex-businessman wanted $250 for his silky desk, which he was told came from a school principal, but no one called, indicating the fashion-conscious crowds, prefer the look and feel of tassie oak, too.
(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia. Picture courtesy www.john-beswick.co.uk)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Don't be a donkey, use classified advertising


THE echoing cheers from the spring racing carnival's focus on stayers are merging into the murmurs of the Golden Slipper lead-up and a focus on two-year-old first campaigners.
But punters may throw away their form guides and look to the classified advertising of their local paper to come up the real winners.
At least, that seems to be the tip from racing writer Phillip Bate, whose column, Down the Straight, appears in Queensland Country Life, a member of the Rural Press group and a cousin to the Redland Times.
"Next time you read your local paper, don't forget to read the classified ads," Phillip has told his followers.
"Samford racing enthusiast Joyce Ziesmer did just that and ended up a winner when her horse Bold Benny won his second race at the Clifton Cup race day."
Joyce paid only $1500 for the gelding as an unbroken three-year-old after he featured in a classified ad, Phil wrote.
This ad appeared on another "track" but that doesn't affect the message that members of the marvellous community of classified advertising may always be winners.
Even "window shopping" for bargains is like perusing the horseflesh in the saddling yard.

THE marvellous community also gets people talking. The Classie Corner report last week about "Mary Poppins of Birkdale" finding an umbrella blowing in the wind certainly whipped up a mini tornado.
Mary's phone rang hot. A friend from Victoria Point called before the ink had dried, after she identified Mary, whose real name was not published.
"I know what you have been up to; I read it in the Times," the friend crowed.
An Alexandra Hills woman noted the reference to Meniere's disease and was quick to suggest an alternative treatment that had worked for her.
Then, Mary's daughter, Beverley de Silva, chipped in, saying she would email the report to family members around the nation and as far as Bangkok.
The octogenarian Mary Poppins who met Bob Dylan on a windy Redlands day may now hover with her brolly over technocrats the stature of Bill Gates, if Beverley has her way.
"If all goes to plan, I'll be going to Kuwait to work next year, so I want Mum to learn how to communicate online," Beverley said.
The email campaign with Classie Corner "might also help me convince Mum to learn to use the internet and email so she can surf the net (she's a voracious reader/researcher) and keep in touch with her 'spread across the globe' clan", Beverley said.
(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Meet 'true believers' of classified advertising

Classified advertising touches the lives of so many people it must be bigger than any of the world’s political or religious movements.
This statement is not just hyperbole. Here’s a story that shows how the marvellous community crosses national borders:


THE boy who played beside one of the mighty rivers of regional Australia is now working beside the Thames.
That’s Tristan Greenacre in the picture, front row second from left, with his workmates.
Half a world away from the Bellinger River on the New South Wales north coast, where Perth-born Tristan grew up, he still keeps a keen interest in his Aussie homeland through his work with
www.Gumtree.com .
Gumtree is part of the rapidly growing online sector of the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Tristan, 26, has a key role in the London-based online community’s down-under push as Gumtree Australia market developer.
He found his way into my address book after I placed a link to classiecorner.blogspot.com on Gumtree’s Brisbane site.
Tristan sent an email bulletin seeking testimonials from users of the free classified ads, I replied and we are now like old mates with a common interest in the power of classified advertising.
All this aside, Tristan’s pathway to the leading edge of the field should be an inspiration for the Aussie kids of today.


HE’S usually a hardworking defender at soccer but Tristan Greenacre is delighted to be part of the Gumtree attack force and get his kicks in another fashion.
The right back and midfielder, who played for Southern Cross University (2000-01) and Coogee United in Sydney (02-05), still serves the sport, with Wembley Park in London.
In fact, Tristan’s involvement with Wembley Park FC started through classified advertising.
Here’s how the saga has unfolded:
"After finishing School at Bellingen High School in 1998 I moved to Lismore, NSW, and studied information technology at Southern Cross University between 1999 and 2001.
"In 2002, I moved to Sydney and worked in business development/sales for almost four years until deciding to 'see the world' and brave the cold winters of England.
"However, after a slight detour I found myself living in Venezia, Italy, for seven months, working on business development/SEO (search engine optimisation) for an online hostel booking website.
"When I finally moved to England I was happy to get myself involved with Gumtree, a company that I felt offered a fantastic free product to the community.
"I actually used Gumtree.com in London to find a place to live, find a football team to play for and also to get my job here.
"So for the past five months I have been busily putting my skills to use in getting the word out in Australia about the free sites that are so popular here in England.
"Australians are a suspicious lot so it’s great to hear when people are finding the site a great help and it's also great to see the growth both in traffic and listings, I get a surge of excitement when a new milestone is reached – how I get my thrills :)"


TRISTAN’S recent thrills have included the lodging of a record 543 notices in one day on Gumtree Sydney. The milestone has come late this month.
He says Gumtree hopes to open its Australian headquarters next year in Sydney.
"Since the introduction of the Australian Gumtree sites two years ago growth has been quite consistent but has exploded recently as more and more people are discovering this free tool to find flatmates, sell their unwanted goods, find work or even advertise community events," Tristan says.
"Gumtree.com was founded by two English guys who worked in the Banking Industry for many years.
"Their jobs took them to many different cities around the world (including both spending many years in Australia) and the one thing they found was that it was always difficult to locate and get in touch with like-minded people in a foreign city.
"They returned to London and launched Gumtree.com as ‘an online community website for Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans’.
"Since then the site has grown to become ‘London's online community’ for all nationalities, as well as launch many local regional sites around the UK and abroad.
"The five Australian Gumtree sites – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – were launched in 2004.
"All of the Gumtree sites are run from our London Gumtree office by the Gumtree team (see pic) and three of us work on the Aussie sites."


THE Australian Gumtree sites claim a daily total of more than 1,100,000 page views and 24,000 unique visitors.
Early in November they logged more than 700 new ads a day, up from 350 in August.
It is easy to understand why the mainstream publishers, some belatedly, have been scratching their clawholds into this sort of market.
Gumtree is just one significant players in a momentous market battle. The Goliaths stood aside at first to watch small independent operators do all the hard yards in development.
Then, the big boys shouldered their way through the herd to gulp around the trough.
Competition and diversity undoubtedly brings benefits of choice but, if the technology and drive eventually concentrate into fewer hands, people with ideas and commitments to their communities of interest may shrug and say, "We are up against big money here, what’s the use?"
In any discussion of classified advertising, respect must be paid to the publishers who started it all on paper and keep the presses rolling, despite the overhead costs being higher than those online.
Even the keenest online devotee must recognise that a big chunk of readership still likes to get its classified advertising on paper, but the world is changing.
It also must be said that the success stories in the new order will come from the user-friendliness of the sites.
Consumers, accustomed to generations of "voting with their feet" and turning the page, are already voting with their fingers and clicking through the options.


The entire Gumtree team features in the picture. From left, back row:
Andrew Hunter (Aussie Gumtree), Sophy Silver, David Edwards, Doug Monro, Mark Gibson (Aussie Gumtree), Phil Chambers and Mark Riley. Front: Emma Lovell, Tristan Greenacre (Aussie Gumtree), David Walsh, Magdalena Marczak, Laura Caldecott, Sonia Dhamrait, Angela Moore and Jennifer O'Connor.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mary Poppins meets Bob Dylan on windy day


IT is more than 40 years, my friends, since musical poet Bob Dylan found his answer blowin’ in the wind.
But the gusts at Birkdale on a recent spring day actually posed a question for a local woman, 81, during her daily walk.
Who owns the umbrella that she found caught on a post?
The brolly could not have fallen into better hands as it blew around the Mary Pleasant Drive area.
The finder placed a free notice in our classifieds, saying simply, "Found, blowing in the wind, 1 lovely umbrella …"
Knowing the value of a good umbrella, not only for protection against the rain and sun but also for support, she is disappointed no one called.
She says the brolly is more like a parasol than a traditional umbrella but, like her own umbrella, it has a sturdy construction and wooden handle so it can serve as a walking stick.
"They call me ‘Mary Poppins’ around here because I always carry an umbrella," she says. "I walk 3km a day and I think my muscles, rather than my bones, are holding me together.
"I must have looked pretty eccentric that day carrying two umbrellas."
The Rockhampton-born octogenarian, who has lived on the bayside for about three decades, has Meniere’s disease, which affects her balance, and she recently learned she has "the bones of a 90-year-old" because of osteoporosis.
A widow since her marine engineer husband died in 1980, she appreciates her privacy but likes to talk about the shipboard romance that blossomed on the Shaw Savill cruise liner Largs Bay in 1950 and the 1951 marriage that produced six children.
"I am a bit disappointed that they have given me only six grandchildren," she says.
"I have a younger friend who is a great-great-grandmother but I haven’t even reached the ‘great’ stage yet."
But back to the umbrella or parasol: I will be happy to take messages from anyone wanting to contact this lovely lady. Call 3409 1275 or email
fourjays@bigpond.com.
THIS week is the first anniversary of Classie Corner in the Redlands after a history in regional papers in two states.
The "season" started in the Bayside Bulletin but we soon swapped to the Times, believing stories from the community of classified advertising would better suit the Redland Times magazine format.
On this birthday, I thank the Rural Press decision makers who trusted that the column would help emphasise the reader value of classified advertising, the dozens of Redlanders who have trusted me to document aspects of their lives and the readers who join us each week in "a marvellous community".
See you next week. More stories on classiecorner.blogspot.com.
(This column appeared yesterday in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Design engineer takes star role



THE high level of community interest in the new Victoria Point cinema complex, now under contruction, put Sheldon resident John House in the limelight after a weekly church meeting.
Members of the group asked when the cinemas would open.
A member of John’s family pointed to the quietly spoken design engineer, who soon became the centre of attention and under siege for a "please explain".
"It was a bit amusing really," John says.
"They didn’t know I was involved in the project and when they did, the message was, ‘Come on, put your back into it and get the job done. We want those cinemas before Christmas’."


THE partner in the Cleveland consultancy Hendriks/House, after receiving a message that apparently came all the way from the top, could happily report that the job was now progressing well and the opening was expected about March.
John said this week the project had required a lot of the expertise he has acquired in 30 years as a design engineer.
"The site was difficult,’ he said.
"It had a history of various types of uses, for instance, for sand extraction as a type of quarry and also, we think, as a concrete-batching plant.
"There was stuff in the ground all over the place, various obstructions, pretty much lumps of concrete, which were broken up and used as fill."

A TEAM comprising John, two structural designers and a civil designer, worked on the nine-cinema complex as part of the Victoria Point Lakeside development of Redlands company Fox and Bell.
Hendriks/House has operated in civil and structural engineering in the Redlands for 13 years, after both partners left another company to start their own business.
The consultancy, with John based at Cleveland and partner Mat Hendriks at Morayfield, has had a long association with Fox and Bell.
The two firms have worked together on projects including the Redlands Bay village about four years ago and, in the late 1990s, the commercial development at Wellington and Shore Streets, Cleveland.


HENDRIKS/House advertised twice this year in our Classifieds for a design engineer to join its team.
The recruitment effort found a qualified engineer almost in the consultancy’s own backyard. Paul De Weger, of Alexandra Hills, joined the Cleveland office in September.

(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

Friday, October 27, 2006

'Orchy' receives refreshment


FEW products manage to claim such a place in the thinking of consumers that a brand name becomes part of the language.
For many years "Orchy" was the Aussie word for orange juice.
The juice that left a Redlands processing plant seeped deeply into the nation’s culture.
Its profile dropped over time due to reduced activity in the marketplace but Orchy is now getting back on the lips of thirsty Australians, thanks to a family from Mudgee, New South Wales.
The Etheringtons, with a 25-year-long heritage in fruit processing through their company, Bevco, bought Orchy and its Thornlands plant in 2004. (Image from http://www.bevco.com.au/)

MANAGING director Larry Etherington and his director-sons, David and Scott, now run a two-state operation with 90 employees and a commitment to keep growing as a truly Australian identity in a climate of foreign influence in the food product sector.
The trio is also determined that Orchy will continue as a hallmark of the Redlands.
The Etheringtons looked at all the options after they bought Orchy and decided to remain in Redlands and keep the things that Orchy has always stood for – quality and Australian ownership.
"Our Orchy team are fantastic and do a great job,” David says.
“They bring significant skills and experience to the Bevco business.
"We've made a significant capital investment to ensure the production facility is up to speed and running efficiently.
"Our plans are to grow the brand and business through continued investment and the assistance of our great team.”

ABOUT 20 people applied recently for two new positions as production workers at the Kinross Road plant, after recruitment through our Classifieds.
David says the mission to regain Orchy’s former market profile is a challenge that he looks forward to.
Research shows that Australians aged over 30 are still likely to use "Orchy" as their name for that orange thirst quencher, leaving lots of scope for coordinated marketing through various population sectors.
The plant’s 100% juice products include not only orange juice in a star role but also pineapple, blackcurrant, apple, mango and passionfruit, which has long been Orchy’s best seller.
It also produces a range of fruit drinks, spring water and other ancillary lines.
Most of the fruit comes from Narromine and Griffith in New South Wales and Mackay in Queensland, thankfully without critical shortages from the drought.
(This column has appeared in the Rural Press newspaper, The Redland Times, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A day in the life of a guitar


THE picture shows what may be one of the world’s rarest guitar brands. A Google search today for the name, "ColTone", returned only one guitar reference. It was for "original 60s ColTone bass guitar" at $59.
The item has since been removed from ebay, so a research stream ran dry.
My ColTone two-pickup solid came from a garage sale just a few years ago.
The vendor, who looked to be in his 50s, said he had owned it since he was a kid.
The guitar is similar to my first electric, an Ibanez two-pickup solid, which I bought, also in the 1960s, through classified advertising in the Launceston Examiner.
The full story appears on my new blog, adayinthelifeofaguitar.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tennis court heads for 'white light'


WHEN rat-race refugee Helen Van Bladeren arrived in the Redlands about 15 years ago, she had no idea she would eventually be responsible for demolition of a tennis court.
With a mission to bring up two daughters well away from Sydney’s social pressures, Helen was more interested in mothering than looking into the future.
This is not unusual but Helen may be expected to do a little crystal-ball gazing. She is a clairvoyant but does not read the future.
Her gift is relating messages from those who have "passed over".
That’s about it: No promises, no predictions, just the comfort of contact, which Helen says helps many in grief’s grip.
The term, "passed over", means the deceased are in a peaceful state that Helen defines as "white light". The opposite is "earthbound" for those who have not reached the light. Helen has no contact with them.
She first knew of her gift when about five years old.
"I used to see spirits and talk in other languages," she says. "I remember getting into trouble for not talking properly.
"But there is none of that now. I have a counselling-like approach. To me, it is like a thought pattern and I relate that back to the people."
The tennis court features here because it is on a Boundary Road, Thornlands, property where Helen operates The Redlands Creative Centre to focus on natural healing.
She looked into hiring out the court but found insurance costs were too high. Callers swamped her last year after she offered "free tennis court" through our Classifieds.
Helen was then occupied planning the centre’s expansion and missed the opportunity to see the synthetic surface worth thousands of dollars grow legs and walk away.
Again, the court’s days are numbered, with a tea house and outlet for herbs and natural products planned for the site. Watch the Times and Bulletin Classifieds for the court offer.
In our Natural Therapies column, Helen has announced the centre "makeover", offering studio space for photography, yoga, pilates, personal training, workshops and seminars, and rooms for acupuncture, massage, reiki, reflexology, chinese medicine, counselling and psychology.
A fashion party plan is also getting under way.
More stories on classiecorner.blogspot.com.

(This column appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Community finds a focus


The wonders of the internet … The April 9 post recalling Classie Corner’s attempt to find the best "stayer" in the secondhand fridge market – in other words, the most dependable – found its way on to a site called www.encyklopedi.net/topic/Norge.html .
Every so often I do a search to see who is using the copy and how, and get some interesting results. It is really amazing to sit here on an island in beautiful Moreton Bay and create interest in Classie Corner from as far as Europe.
The concept of blogging about the marvellous community of classified advertising has also created a lot of interest in the United States.
Links I have posted on the US free sites are used quite regularly, according to the usage reports they send.

IT was also satisfying to see the Google Ad links for my last post relate to classified advertising rather than the many subjects that Classie Corner touches.
The marvellous community of classified advertising indeed is on a high plane with me blogging for such an assortment of interests.
This must be a career highlight for any journalist. After reporting from three state parliaments, courts of all levels up to Supreme, 23 local councils in three States, murders, floods, fires ... Nothing surely could match the credits that appears at the right of this page.
What the hell, just have a look yourself. Over the next day or so I will post a great little story fresh from the marvellous community.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just mouthing off about the Classies



NOTHING gives me more pleasure than writing about the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Well, maybe one or two other activities are "up there" on my grinometer.
The grinometer is a handy tool in the cut and thrust of the modern culture of political correctness.
It works not only internally on movement of the mixed muscles that operate the smooth tissue around the mouth but also gives a barometer-like measure of lip pressure within range of two optical scanners.
The probabilities range from genuine humour in all its teeth-flashing glory to the dark clouds of sarcasm and upward pressure on the cheek tissue.
Intermediary categories include irony, courtesy and drunk as a skunk.
However, operators need a high level of training – a lifetime, in fact – to distinguish between the visual subtleties of, say, a "saw-you-coming" putdown and a "pleased-to-meet-you" uplift.
That is why the grinometer comes with a full range of optional accessories, including:

Flexible rubber-look stereo audio pick-ups with a swivelling capacity in selected models;
Multi-function sound card hooked to two in-ports and output device with variable volume and tone;
Five-digit sensor to test handshakes; and
Olfactory sensor for use in difficult cases.
The grinometer connects to any standard CPU but requires minimum specifications such as sense of humor and healthy scepticism.
Which all leads to promise more humour on this site in future. Today, the image file, below, reflects on the importance of classified advertising in people’s lives. Click on the image then use the expand button to get a readable size.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Urban water savers, Part 2



THE drought is worsening. Water sources are running dry over much of the Australian continent. The rural sector, long accustomed to coping with drought, is running scared.
A report this week in the Rural Press newspaper,
Queensland Country Life, said the record numbers of sheep through Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre was solid evidence of the drought’s severity.
The centre continued to set record yardings as farmers offloaded stock rather than feed them through another dry summer. The weekly record stood at 67,000 after a massive six-week sell-off.
In the urban context, we are told virtually every day this region, south-east Queensland, is on the brink of a catastrophic water shortage. Politicians, planners, scientists and experts from many disciplines are looking for solutions.
A few weeks ago
Classie Corner presented the first of a series on home water savers from the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Today, part two, also comes from the
Redland Times, another Rural Press title. Water watchers aside, media watchers may note the report in The Australian today about some interesting activity in Rural Press shares. I hope the buyer is not the Irish invader.
Now, back to water …

THE warnings about south-east Queensland’s dwindling water supply prompted retired plumber Norm Thompson to use a bore he had left idle since he moved to his Victoria Point home about two decades ago.
Now, after recommisioning the bore that "came with" the Colburn Avenue address, Norm admits he should have bought a pump many years earlier.
"The water tastes good," he says. "I sent it to a laboratory to be tested, and it’s good to drink or do whatever you want with it.
"I don’t know why more people around here don’t have bores. There’s a hell of a lot of water down there. Right here, there’s about two metres of it, about 10 metres down."
The hook-up was not all plain sailing, however, for even an old hand with pipes and pumps.
A few months ago, Norm, 68, bought privately a pump that the vendor assured him suited the task but expert advice later was that the pump was unsuitable for depths greater than seven metres.
Norm bought another. That is why our Classifieds featured a four-impeller Pump Easy unit, "as new with manual" for $350.
The lack of response to the For Sale notice has puzzled Norm in view of the continuing publicity for the drought.
He received only a few calls during three weeks of advertising, even though he says the price is several hundred dollars cheaper than that of a new pump.
Norm says his bore, which was sunk about 45 years ago, is a reminder of the recently "suburbanised" area’s rural heritage.
"It was all paddocks and bush around here," he says. "You would never have thought we’d have two Woolworths and a picture theatre down the road."
"But it’s not all bad. I use the facilities and I reckon they’re fantastic."
Pending the opening of the new Victoria Point cinemas, went to Loganholme this week to see the new Aussie flick, Kenny.
" Kenny is a plumber – he puts in portable toilets for the Melbourne Cup, shows and that sort of thing," Norm says. "It’s hilarious, especially if you are a plumber, I guess."
Norm, by the way, helped about 15 years ago to found the social golf club, The Hackers, on the nine-hole Coochiemudlo course.
He had a break from the administration after serving in most positions but he says he is now starting to get involved again and playing off a handicap of 16.


Classie Corner readers or indeed any classified advertising users with home water-saving products or ideas are welcome to send me a report for publication on this website. Use as many words as you wish and cap off the package with a low-load Jpeg, even if it is of just your own face. Even bores are allowed to take advantage of this free offer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bayside welcomes mum, daughter


CLEVELAND on beautiful Moreton Bay (picture from more2redlands.com.au) triumphed over some choice mediterranean addresses after Aussie ex-pat Beverly Dowell looked for a change from her longterm UK base.
"I looked at a map, thought that would be nice and here we are," she said.
A compelling family reason, however, was the ultimate decider of Beverly's new home.
"My mum went into a nursing home and I came here to live with her and look after her," Beverly said.
"I am fortunate to be able to do it and we rub along well together.
"She's much happier now."
Her mum, Charlotte Torvell, is Queensland born but, like Beverly, is new to the Redlands.
Beverly grew up in Sydney. In 1972 she headed for the United States where she lived for six years before crossing the Atlantic.
The United Kingdom was her base for 27 years and she developed a deep love of European culture and antiques.
Meanwhile, most of her family were "drifting up to Queensland".
Beverly enjoyed time in Italy and France, but her antique focus stayed British to the core.
She studied English antiques from the 16th to 20th centuries at Cambridge University.
"Down under" for the past year, she undoubtedly misses the connection with such a long heritage.
However, she is pleased to have found a pleasant area near the ocean, a major criterion during her map gazing.
Has she had any disappointments with Cleveland?
"None. It's nice to be back in the sunshine and I can see my nephews and neices growing up and I did miss that."
Beverly, however, has become a television "culture vulture" who enjoys watching the news in other languages.
She can even list the daily foreign bulletins in order - Italian, German, Spanish and French - and she surprises herself by understanding "little bits".
"There is such a great mixture in Europe," she said.
"I miss a lot of it."
In the UK last year, Beverly bought a complete Italian language course to prepare for a possible shift to Italy.
She decided a few weeks ago to advertise the Linguaphone course for sale at $125, citing the new value at $300.
"It has everything you need – tapes, videos and text books – and has never been used," she said.
"I thought that I should allow someone to get some use of it."
(This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Queensland, Australia).

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


THE image of spooks from government, quasi-government and all sorts of private agencies tickling the search engines in a twist on George Orwell's vision in Nineteen-Eighty-Four (Classie Corner, September 23) has prompted an interesting analysis.
My post told how an insurance company had opened an official investigation into the affairs of a northern New South Wales man after finding his name on this site in a column from the Classie Corner archives.
BayJournal.com.au publisher Lee Shipley, a veteran of the Australian IT industry, boils down the issues to trust and the responsibilities of governments to protect the privacy of individuals.


THE search problem. Remember that every commercial aircraft design is based on a military project. What you see in Google today is declassified top-secret military or espionage software that was being used a decade or more ago.

Try the word "echelon" in the search engines and see what you get -- lots of conspiracy theory but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

THE Wikipedia entry gives a level-headed assessment. The hardware and software for putting together the electronic transmission of all kinds into a surveillance whole is possible but the incompetence of most spy organisations is breathtaking.
How exactly did, with all the sophisticated gear that they had, did the twin towers occur? Incompetence at every level.
1984 is technically feasible but not practical: Our spies always look for the wrong things in the wrong places.
The US counter intelligence people were looking for Reds not Jihadists. Churchill was more worried about the Reds than Hitler between the two World Wars.
The stance should never be "I have not done anything wrong and so have nothing to fear." Instead we should be asking what right do others, particularly corporations or governments, have to pry and then accuse. How can you possibly know what may or may not be considered wrong at any one time?
We have principles, now being flouted by Government, about retrospective laws. We have privacy legislation that is regularly being ignored by companies.
"Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he's most assur d..."

FROM this we need protection in the same way as we need protection from burglars, rapists or loonies carrying AK47s.
Granted the potential of much of the software available now for surveillance we have much to fear from those driven by greed. But the answer is not in banning such software but in disciplining those who would us it against us.
Insurance companies need to be halted by statutes of limitation, police prevented from having the automatic right to listen to all conversations without warrants, tax information not given out to private companies, spammers threatened with prosecution and ... You see what I mean.

THE key resource that has enabled us to build our civilisation has not been, as many think, capital.
It is trust. Insurance companies, for example, only exist because enough people trust them to pay out if something goes wrong.
Lloyds famed acceptance of its liabilities for the loss of a vessel after only a verbal agreement had an enormous impact in creating the insurance market in the UK.
Every day we need trust and take account of its value. A camera, for example, can command a better price if it carries an Australian warranty.
We cross bridges, fly in aeroplanes and buy kilos of peanuts by trust. That is civilisation --
where trust is high, where people live without fear, where we work together in free association we thrive.
Trust, not God, enables modern large-scale government to stay in power.
Despite protestations to the contrary, we trust our politicians to do the right thing.
My observation during the last state election in Queensland is that the majority of voters in my own electorate elected the candidate they believed they could most trust.

WHAT the pollies have to decide is how to maintain that trust. Not just in themselves but in the society as a whole.
Otherwise civil disobedience will rise above the normal dull roar of criminal activity and see wide spread break down in order.
If you rent a house, an important clause in the contract is that you will have "quiet enjoyment". This means that you will not be subject to spot checks without notice or be watched.
Humans just do not thrive otherwise so we build it into basic principles and laws of our country. But we have not yet learned how to contain the new technologies.
Steps have been made in the right direction. The privacy legislation enacted a few years ago were a good attempt.
The anti-spam legislation and faltering attempts to rein in the use of mailing lists are slowly starting to bite. And this just goes to remind us how difficult and fragile this trust may be.

FOOTNOTE: The full Shakespearean quotation is :"Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he's most assur d, glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep." Measure for Measure, Act 2, Scene 2.
NEXT: Back to the marvellous community of classified advertising.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

The 'small world' of a marvellous community


Flashback: First, we’ll go way back to spring 1989. The image shows the cover of a tape that a neat little combo put out in Sydney’s inner west. Drummer Ross Welch gave me the tape as part of a promotional package for his band, the Nevva-binta Memphis Mudsteppers. Slow to absorb all the details between writing a ‘hard’ yarn for the front page and getting down the club for the newsrooms’ traditional unloading after edition day deadline pressures, I asked Ross how the band got its name. "Mate, just think about it for a minute," he said. The response comes to mind every time I look for the musical treats that I have locked away on tape and vinyl. In spring 2001, Ross and I crossed paths again, after I followed up a meeting notice from the Classifieds in the Tweed Daily News. Here is a reprint of that column.

PEOPLE with all sorts of interests "beat their drum" through the Classifieds public notices.
So it was no surprise to see the Murwillumbah Musicians Club advertise its Tuesday night AGM (annual general meeting) at the Courthouse Hotel.
But it was a surprise to learn that the meeting elected drummer Ross Welch as president, not because of any doubts about his suitability for the job but rather at his change of address.
A tape of one of Ross’s bands, The Nevva-binta Memphis Mudsteppers, has been in my collection for 12 years since I wrote about it in Sydney’s inner-west in 1989.


AT the time Ross was working hard on getting a music festival going.
He later was the driving force behind jam sessions, workshops and community music at such venues as the Glebe markets.
Apart from organising, he also showed his versatility on music ranging from the Memphis/country blues of the Mudsteppers to jazz with the Swing Masters.
Our yarn on the phone on Wednesday night was the first in at least a decade.
As I write, my tape deck has the Mudsteppers playing Walk Right In, and it seems to reflect the mood of the AGM where Ross walked right in, sat right down and ended up with the top job.
In rare agreement between a guitarist and drummer, acting president Ray Catt was pleased Ross took the post.


RAY said he wanted to step down from the chair after taking a caretaker role during internal upheaval in the club a few months ago.
The vice-president’s role allows Ray to help Ross get in the groove.
Ross is the sort of player who uses a whole range of instruments outside the standard drum kit but is happy to be called drummer rather than percussionist.
He also is the type of bloke who can build on the solid base of fundraising for causes including the PNG tsunami aid appeal and the bushfire brigade, holding monthly jam nights at the Courthouse Hotel and displaying original compositions in special events twice a year.
Ray, like Ross a longterm professional muso, says he is always amazed at the depth of talent in the area.


"JUST so many people live up in the hills playing their music in their sheds," Ray says.
"There are just so many who are pretty good.’’
The "original music" concert, set tentatively for the Courthouse in November, will certainly be an apt project for Ross, who has a track record as a pretty original thinker.
Ross’s first task as president is to consolidate the clubs’ support base.
"I see my role as a facilitator and mediator and our guiding light will be a vision statement or purpose statement," he says.
"People will compose that collectively so it suits the individuals and sectional interest groups.
"Basically what we are going to do is open up the perspective of the club so it takes in all sorts of musical interests, with as much scope as we can give."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Go offline for reel good time



The sky is blue and the sun shines, so let’s take a break from the world of the spooks (reference, last post) and get out in the sparkling environment of Moreton Bay. Image from www.geocities.com/rumneyjenny/.

THE attention that John Gallon paid to detail during his decades as a carpenter reflects in the way he spends his leisure time aboard his fibreglass boat.
The unnamed 22ft (6.7m) boat has been a labour of love since health problems forced John to retire early.
Three years ago, he had a heart attack.
A "triple bypass" solved that problem but John now suffers shortness of breath that he tracks to two short stints at James Hardie Ltd's Newstead plant in the early 60s.
"The X-rays show spots on my lungs," he says. "It (the disease) was dormant for about 40 years.
"They had me tipping bags of asbestos into a hopper. I only worked there for two weeks in 1961 and about six weeks in 1964."
John later studied carpentry by correspondence while working as a jackaroo on western Queensland and New South Wales cattle properties.
After he returned to civilisation, he set up at Birkdale, where he built an 18ft (5.5m) fibreglass boat in his backyard.
Now aged 63 and of Capalaba, John has a bigger boat for which the stern frame he used all those years ago supplied the pattern.
He loves crabbing and fishing on Moreton Bay and recently advertised in our Classifieds for "a hand".
John received about a half dozen calls but was waiting this week for the right applicant.
"Everyone wants one-day trips on weekends but I prefer weekdays, staying out overnight," he says. "It takes the same amount of work and makes the trip worthwhile.
"I have a chemical toilet and an outdoor shower cubicle."
John usually makes a base on North Stradbroke.


THE Times' Garage Sales notices are hot as Redlanders execute their spring clean-ups.
The countdown to the pre-Christmas peak is now on in earnest. Victoria Point was the Redlands' 2005 garage sale capital for the most sales during its December blitz, but it may struggle to keep the title if the spring notices are any guide.
Just before this week's deadline, 2004 champion, Alexandra Hills, appeared to be a bullnose in front of Birkdale and Victoria Point. The 2005 runner-up, Cleveland, had a mysterious drop to the tail of the leaderboard.
(This column appreared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

From 1984 to 2006 and issues of control


Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by the pen name George Orwell. Pic and details from wikipedia.
WRITERS who are brave enough to parade their thoughts on the public stage know that what is unsaid is often just as important as the facts and opinions that they find, construct and often embrace.

Imagine George Orwell, for instance, now sitting at the big typewriter and watching how the literary world has delved so deeply into what made the writer tick that the things he did not say are more important than others he articulated so well.
A tome in the local library about a hero of so many millions of readers soon felt my thumb and forefinger. It offered a comprehensive analysis of Orwell, promising to make advances after other attempts.
The analyst unleashed brilliant power and academic discipline on gathering evidence of this and that, here and there. But this time my library loan quickly went back through the scanner, relieving me of the burden of having it anywhere in my gaze.

NOTHING can give a reader more satisfaction than snapping shut a book for whatever reason. The explosion of air between the pages may be a great reward in triumph at sharing a point of view as much as any disagreement with the contents.
This time, the spouse-waking wham sprang from something between sadness and disgust. There was anger too.
Why can’t the world be left to judge Orwell on the words he wrote rather those he didn’t?
Undoubtedly, it’s the same for many great artists and writers. Someone will always try to make a living from shuffling through the little details looking for things to comment on. Like a forensic pathologist picking through the innards of a corpse.
The sharp scalpel on Orwell was tantamount to a big brotherish payback that must rate among the greatest ironies of history.

A VOICE that is threatening simply by its dullness and dispassionate fa├žade echoes through time:
You can’t keep any secrets from us now, George. We will know everything about your life. All your sufferings, all your failings. And we will parade your guts for everyone to have a peek, so they will know what makes you tick. If we can’t do it while you are alive, George, we will do it after you die. We won’t allow the world to enjoy your brilliance for its own sake. We can’t fault your writing, George, but we will carve you up and hang up the pieces. This is your reward for allowing us into your life.

NINETEEN-Eighty-Four came to mind because of a phone call from a man who featured in Classie Corner some years ago, simply because he had placed a classified ad in his local paper.
I called him after dinner one weeknight in autumn as I toiled that year to write as many as nine 400-word columns a week on top of a fulltime job on a daily paper.
The demanding regimen required me to dig deeply into my professional fortitude because journalism demands the same attention to every detail, whether for the front page or as a sandwich between the public notices and the personal column.
The "average" user of classified advertising is just as important to me as John Howard would be, if I were to stumble across the notice for his garage sale notice at the Lodge, as is expected at this stage on his retirement rather than on electoral defeat.

MY caller on September 22, 2006, had not seen my published report all those years ago. He had forgotten about my interview and his permission for publication. He tracked me down to ask how I had obtained the details.
"A few days ago an insurance company called me to advise that it was investigating my affairs because they found my name on an obscure website called Classie Corner," he said.
"I have had a look and everything is absolutely correct; it is about my life and it is all true.
"It could have come only from me but I honestly have no memory of talking to you.
"I wanted to find you to make sure you are a real person.
"The insurance company has made an appointment to come and see me.
"It doesn’t worry me because I have done nothing wrong and I have nothing to fear.
"They seem to think I could still be doing what the article said I was doing at the time but I’m not and it’s easy to prove that to them."

THE introduction to the post of the original column on this website clearly stated that it had come from my archives in a certain year.
Although I was pleased at the confirmation of my accuracy when working under pressure in the past, a nasty little barb was waiting on my return to the blog intro, which included a slight hiccup that did not affect the meaning of the text. But all that’s just detail.
A MENTION of your name on an obscure website in the conglomeration of avenues in this vast network is enough excuse for an official investigation into your affairs.
Many eyes must watch as fingers that itch for control punch your name into the search engines. It is as scary as anything Orwell dished up and probably with enough foreboding to turn many off the internet, or even against talking to journalists who call for whatever reason.
We can only hope that the balance comes through the freedom of expression and enrichment to our cultural lives and knowledge.
The exposure may be frightening so again I must thank the many hundreds who have shared with me their thoughts and dreams during my travels on the highways and byways of the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Decent people have trusted me with facts about their lives and I have always had in mind the code of ethics from the fraternity of journalists in the AJA.
Critics of the profession often reach for the baseball bat over the principle of journalists policing journalists but the code is embodied in the rules. Breaches are subject to disciplinary action.

FEAR of discipline, however, is not the reason journalists overwhelmingly stick to the code. Rather, they respect the principles of fairness and the public’s right to know.
Those principles now motivate me to reaffirm my mission to record things that would not be recorded.
I do this, not for the sake of feeding details in front of prying eyes but because it is my art and science to inform and entertain.
Like the subject of my column from the past, we must react with humour toward the risk of someone prospecting our soil and sifting for soft and sticky nuggets:
"I have done nothing wrong and I have nothing to fear."

THE prospectors may squeeze their grubby little fists on their prizes and bask in the perfume of their finds but sometimes it may be difficult for the innocent to prove their case and walk free from the spreading stench.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Kids hide in the backseat of 'uncool' car

The recent car stories stirred up the hit meter on the website. Classie Corner's archives include heaps of car stories. Here's another, this time from the Tweed Daily News in July 2001.


THE holiday is over but the sweet sound of a purring motor is still in my ears so for the next few weeks Classie Corner will look under the bonnet of a few deals in the motor market.
BLONDE jokes may have had their day but the mention of a Volvo still raises a smile or two.
"People can be a bit funny about it; they’ll just laugh; it’s strange," says Banora Point’s Christine Cross, who simply loves her 1982 Volvo.
"And my daughter doesn’t like it. She hides in the back seat when I take her to school."
The Cross family’s white Volvo replaces a yellow one of the same model they owned for about a year and recently sold through the Checkout Classifieds.
They received about 15 calls a week after advertising the car for $2990. The calls kept coming even though the car sold in the first week.
Christine is hooked on Volvos, of which she says: "They are the safest car in the world.
"They are so heavy and solid, not those little tincan ones. It’s really heavy metal.
"And they are very smooth on the road.
"But the four-cylinder motor doesn’t cost much to run."
Christine also says the common misconception that Volvo parts are hard to get dates from the pre-generic parts era.
"Parts are not a problem nowadays,’’ she says.
Forget any sneers, it certainly sounds like the Volvo is worth a few smiles.
Give Christine and her family a wave for me when you see them glide along Stonehaven Way.


MY wife hunted around for weeks for a new car before we went on holiday and eventually came up with a great EA Falcon from a dealer who gave a good deal on the trade. When she bought the car home I opened everything up to check for rust and noticed the boot struts had worn out but the lid still stayed up. I went to the front of the car and bounced on it to test the shockies and the boot slammed shut. White-faced wife nearly keeled over. Our six-year-old daughter had withdrawn her head from the boot just a few seconds earlier. Fair dinkum, the lid is so heavy and sharp it would have cut her in two. I publish this story as a warning to all vendors to take car of little details. I can understand how the blokes attached to the car yard could miss something like that. Imagine how you’d feel if you sold a car with that simple fault and wiped out someone’s child. We are just so lucky.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't talk about religion, politics or history



A drunk in a local club and this humble scribe almost came to blows over the gripping question of whether a journalist is also an historian.
The row started when the history-loving drunk addressed me, "You’re a journalist, so you are an historian, aren’t you?"
I said I couldn’t answer his question because others, the readers, would have to judge my contribution to history before I received such a title.
Journalists certainly recorded history and used facts from history all the time, but no, I wasn’t automatically an historian.
One would think this was a fairly neutral response but somehow it squeezed his bile duct.
He then addressed the group around the bar table, one by one.
"What do you reckon? A journo is an historian, or not?"
The drinkers sensed trouble brewing and fobbed him off. But he kept on the case.
"I reckon a journo who is not an historian is a pretty shithouse journo," the drunk said, a few times.
I took a deep breath and said, "You work in stainless steel but I don’t tell you how to run your job."
This enraged him further and he moved toward me, angrily, "How dare you pretend to tell me how to conduct myself? How dare you…"
Things like this happen in the twilight world of drunken camaraderie. My career in journalism means I have been there a few more times than most but I am now too old to get into this sort of blue, even though age doesn’t really matter when the wildcard comes up.
The history lover skulled his drink and, mumbling profanities, went to get another, undoubtedly to return refreshed for a round of another type.
I took the opportunity to say to the group, "I have had a hard week and I knew someone would rub me up the wrong way here tonight. I should not have come and I will now go home."
A couple of the drinkers said, "Don’t go." But I said it was best for everyone.
This confrontation came to mind as I wrote the following post for the Redland Times, Cleveland, Queensland, Australia.


Picture of Capalaba of decades past, courtesy of the Redland Shire Council website

THE word, "Redland", will draw many eyes when the Census figures come out.
The influx of residents has created hunger for an authoritative head count.
Whatever figure is official, Don Cazneau will compare it with the 6000 he says the shire had when he and wife Regina "stumbled across Capalaba" in 1959.
The couple from Sydney stopped at the BP garage.
"Old Jack Gannon was sitting out the front, whittling," Don says.
"He wanted to sell the garage for 300 quid. We had a cup of tea and I said, 'Would you take 100 quid a year?'
"I ended up paying 990 quid. I still have the deed.
"I remember standard BP petrol selling for three shillings a gallon. That's eight or nine cents a litre." Don says he and Regina sold the service station later in the 60s.
Now aged 76, Don loves talking about the Redlands " characters" of that era.
"Two brothers would spend all morning cutting down a cedar with an axe and bring the logs to Jack's sawmill behind the garage," Don says.
"They'd say, 'You'd better cut these up before the Forestry finds out'. Jack would pay them 10 quid, then they'd go to the Capalaba Hotel.
"In the next few hours there would be a dozen or 20 fights.
"It was a hick town. Only one in every 10 people wore shoes. There was no town plan. You could build where and when you liked.
"Many people put in posts, a few sheets of iron on top and hessian around the sides, and painted it white.
"One family lived in a tree house on Sawmill Road, which doesn't exist any more."
Don has always liked the name, Capalaba, which featured in the business names of a wrecking yard and towing service he set up, but the couple now lives at Alexandra Hills.
When a Victoria Point man advertised for a model train buff to help set up a track for his grandson, Don was one of three volunteers.
We started talking about trains but moved on to the days when the Council Chambers were in an old house, Cleveland had only one bitumen road and Don's towing service had the phone number 17.
All was less than half a century ago.
THANKS for joining me in the community of classified advertising.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006



While 9/11 is still a hot topic, here’s more detail on Anne Bain’s New York experience, following up my 9/8 post. Anne writes:

I arrived back in Australia on September 8, 2001, after visiting my daughter, Erin. At that stage it was my fourth visit to New York and because I am not good with heights, I had not ventured up the twin towers to catch what would have been a fabulous view of the "Big Apple".
Little did I realise on that last visit that I would never have the chance again.
On the morning of Sept 11, I was tucked up in bed. Still recovering from the flight, I had gone to bed earlier than usual.
When the towers went down they took with them the majority of New York’s telephone capabilities and Erin could not get through to us until 4.30am our time.
Her first words were "I am okay"; mine, "What is wrong?"
She said, "New York is being attacked, being bombed, just turn on the TV".
Believe me, these are not words a mother wants to hear from a daughter living thousands of kilometres away from home.
I think like every other person who saw the events on TV, I just sat there looking at something that was so surreal, just like watching a movie.
I went back to visit Erin again in January 02, 03 and twice in 04, the last time for her graduation from Queens College (picture by Faisal Zafar, courtesy of
http://en.wikipedia.org/ ) in June.
Before we landed, the crew, all New Yorkers, sang "New York, New York". Talk about a tingle down your spine. It was the start of summer and people were everywhere.
In Manhattan, all the rubble from the twin towers had been removed and there was a definite feeling of rejuvenation.
New York is a wonderful city. It has a true heart and soul, and by June 2004 it was certainly getting back to its best – Broadway, Central Park, Madam Liberty, the Yankees!
I hope to go back soon and everyone should put New York on their list of, "100 places I must see".
Anne’s travel agency, Jetset Cleveland, refers inquiries to two web addresses,
www.jetset.com.au/cleveland and www.bbtravel.com.au

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cultural currents run deep in 'the Classies'



OVER the many years since the two words "Classie Corner" first found their way into print, one question has "got up my nose" more than any other.
"Why the hell would a journalist want to write about classified advertising?"
The quick answer is, "The marvellous community has some great stories that can help us understand our world and ride some of its cultural currents, and I can record things that would not otherwise be recorded." The long answer is in the hundreds of columns I have written, thanks to the people who have shared with me their hopes and dreams.
Today’s post comes from the Grafton Daily Examiner in 2001. It’s a scan of the original proof because of the gap in my digital archives (as detailed in earlier posts).
This story is special to me because it shows perhaps better than anything else the fascinating stories behind the few words in a free classified.
This was a phone call about a $10 item. Was it worthwhile? You be the judge.
I must put the record straight on two things. The correct title is "Australian Seashores". I also have learned from Keith Davey’s interesting site (
http://www.mesa.edu.au/friends/seashores/why_do_it.html) that the author, Professor WJ Dakin, was known by his second name, John, not his first, William.
Read the image file by clicking on it, then use the "expand" button which should pop up.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Jazz city keeps its beat


START spreading the news. That’s what the song says, so the Classie Corner commemoration of 9/11 starts a little early. I am trying to escape the world's continuing grief from terrorism by listening to the original screen soundtrack from New York, New York including Ralph Burns’ knockout arrangement of You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me. My aim is to play 'You Brought ...' on guitar properly within the next three days. Burns' version of the song really seems to say 'New York jazz'. Music and the world’s greatest jazz city was on my mind when I wrote the following column for my local paper, the Redland Times, a bright and modern paper that suits the front doorstep of its region. Australia’s newest economic star, south-east Queensland, may be a long way from New York (artwork courtesy of www.friendsacrossamerica.com/colorstatue.html) but even here, on the tranquil shores of shimmering Moreton Bay, we’re getting into a definitely metro mood.

A BRAZILIAN visitor to the southern bay islands recently gave a backhand compliment to one of his nation’s heroes, the late bossa nova guitar master Antonio Carlos "Tom" Jobim.
Jobim was the composer who introduced the world to latin jazz, with The Girl from Ipanema as possibly his biggest hit.
Jobim may be a talking point with any Brazilian guest at a neighbourhood barbecue but the visitor gave a sneer.
"Nowadays we call that style ‘airport music’," he said.
That’s probably why so many people like it. Forgetting the latin link, other tunes that fly me across the Pacific are George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Charlie Parker’s Scrapple from the Apple.
Both make me look for deals on New York travel.
Jetset Cleveland managing director Anne Bain has eight Big Apple stamps on her passport, compared with my "nil".
She had a good excuse for visiting New York after her daughter, Erin, received a sport scholarship for water polo at Queens College.
However, Middle Eastern modal lilts may be appropriate on the Brisbane Airport speakers tonight, when Mum farewells Erin on a new assignment.
"Erin graduated with a degree in media studies and is now a sports media/public relations consultant," Anne said.
"She is heading to Qatar to work on the Asian Games." The Qatari capital, Doha, will host the 15th Asian Games in December.
Anne is accustomed to evening drives back to her Gold Coast home. She has commuted to Cleveland since she and husband Greg bought Cleveland Travel in 2004.
The business, which joined the Jetset Travelworld Group (JTG) 10 months ago, has been recruiting a new consultant, its third, through our Classifieds.
By Wednesday, Anne had received five applications, all from women, with the deadline at close of business today (Friday).
Anne said further expansion, with another new position for a trainee, was likely within a year.
She was speaking from Sydney during JTG’s national cruising conference.
About to join an inspection party aboard a liner, Anne said cruising was the major growth sector in the travel industry but Jetset Cleveland’s business was still mainly air and land packages.
Its specialty destinations include the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
THANKS for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on classiecorner.blogspot.com.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Still on the road



From the Classie Corner archives (picture courtesy http://www.ehholden.com.au):
COUNTRY people’s love for their cars is a hot topic after Classie Corner’s tale last week on a Jericho man with the EK Holden.
This week we’re still on Holdens but those whose hearts lie with other makes should wait before reporting me to the Press Council for unfairness and bias.
"FORD" is "a swear word" at Juanita and Adam Howells' Biloela home.
The couple, who married last October, love Holdens seemingly as much as they love each other.
With the love of Holdens comes a dislike for their market rival. But Juanita giggles when she says the "swear word" bit.
She giggles again when I tell her I’ve owned two EHs and an HD since a new EH was my family’s pride and joy, but have just bought a Ford.
The Howells have just sold a stunning EH Holden through a Checkout Classifieds "run it until you sell it" package.
An old EH fan like me shivers when Juanita talks about the fully restored interior and front buckets seats on the car they had for almost four years.
Adam and Juanita’s brother, Michael, worked for hours on the motor.
The buyer has the bonus of a yellaterra head and roller rockers. Then there are the mags and the tyres, which Juanita says were special because "you can’t get them anymore".
The couple knew a fair bit of history of the chariot. Juanita says another Biloela local, Glen Hobson, had already done most of the restoration before Adam and Michael went to work.
But as much as the Howells loved the EH, which is almost four decades old, it pales beside the couple’s new SS Holden Commodore VX.
The new car has "everything" – V8 motor, six-speed manual gearbox, 5.7litre motor.
The Commodore and EH must have looked great side by side at their home before they decided to sell the veteran.
Adam needed a ute for work at the Moura mine, about an hour’s drive.
He does 12 and a half hour shifts so Juanita gets the Commodore to herself most of the daytime.
Juanita says the "run it to you sell it" campaign started slowly after the EH went on the market for $9500.
However, the calls started coming when they dropped the price, and they then averaged about five a week.
Juanita says that although Biloela is just a 90-minute drive from Rockhampton many potential buyers baulked at making the trip.
"We did get a lot of calls, mainly people from Yeppoon, Rockhampton and Gladstone,’’ she says.
"One fellow from Gladstone came out when we advertised it for $7000 and said $5000.
"We said no way."
The couple dropped the advertised price further and eventually clinched a sale for $5000 anyway.
Juanita, 22, will long remember the lovely blue car that was old even when she was a baby.
But she has to admit the Commodore’s better.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in our marvellous community of classified advertising.
This column first appeared in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in August 2001.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Car lover's droolathon, part 2



Sorry if I’m puffing and panting right now. I have just been viewing car tail-light collections on the net. Back in the 60s, a psychologist – or whatever he was – made a great target for headline writers by saying the designers of the Ford Falcon, pictured above, had made the tail lights look like breasts to attract buyers. The report delivered my adolescent mates and me into headsplitting hysteria. We made a close inspection or two but still preferred our Man Magazines. The Classie Corner car lover’s droolathon continues, this time focusing on Ford for the sake of balance. Today’s post is from the Redland Times, August 25, 2006.
A DEEP division once ran through Australian society. It was so deep that arguments broke out in pubs and family gatherings.
The division, however, had nothing to do with politics, religion and the usual catalysts for a bit of push and shove with the kid from down the road.
In the 1950s and 60s, splits such as Left versus Right, Protestant versus Catholic and Public School versus Private were pussycats compared with Ford versus Holden.
Spirited interchanges between my dad and my uncle would erupt over the Christmas roast.
We were a Holden family; they were Ford.
Standard analyses aside, a CCFT (Classie Corner Flashback Test) has shown the state of the Ford-Holden debate in 2006.
Internet search engine, Google, gave 5,260,000 Australian references on "Ford" and 2,320,00 on "Holden".
Okay, the totals include different meanings of the two words but a recent edition of our Motor Vehicles Classifieds featured three pre-loved Fords for sale and no Holdens.
This research comes about because our Classifieds manager, Kylie Hogan, is married to a lifelong Ford enthusiast.
Kylie and husband Scott are often seen in the front seat of their Ford Explorer with Lincoln, 6, Mackenzie, 5, and Ford, 15 months, in the back.
Lincoln takes the name of a prestige vehicle. Mackenzie Valentine has the initials, "MVH", for motor vehicle hire.
[Kylie explains the initials this way but my research reveals they make the acronym for a Ford engine].
The glossary will increase after the couple's fourth child is delivered by caesarian in Redland Hospital on September 8.
Kylie says Scott is keen to name a boy, Cleveland, which is a Ford engine.
Mum believes Daytona, the site of the famous US international speedway, may suit a girl.
The spirited debate must be settled before the birth notice appears.
NOW for a little navel-gazing in our Classifieds department where three of the six sales consultants are pregnant:
Sally Smith, already the mother of Jackson, 6, and Cooper, 3, expects the birth of No 3 in September and Miriam Ackroyd is due to become a first-time mum in December.
The non-pregnant consultants - Julie Burton, Sharon Parkinson and Jackie Eggins - wonder who will be next.
"It's getting to the stage where we don't drink the water here," Julie said. "Something must be causing this."
Classie Corner has always said the Classifieds have everything a community needs, from maternity hospital onwards, but never thought it would be taken so seriously.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Love runs on four wheels



Back in the days a gallon of petrol cost just a few pennies, this distinctive tail light glared at Aussie motorists who happened to follow a certain model of Holden.
Today’s launch of a Classie Corner series on cars features the EK Special Sedan.
The picture comes from a devotee’s blog, Sheldon’s EK Holden Special
, which shows the attention to detail in the car lover’s world.
Before you perve on Sheldon’s love life, here’s a Classie Corner EK edition which first appeared in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin about five years ago.


RESIDENTS of Queensland's small country communities get to know each other pretty well.
They also get to know their cars.
After 40 years in Jericho, former shearer Henry Masters traces the history of his 1962 Holden EK Special sedan from the day George Cole drove it new from Longreach.
Henry can tell how, for the 25 years before he bought the car about 10 years ago, Kevin Ryan used it daily to "run about a mile and a half out to check on George's bores".
"And that's about all it done; it's got low mileage," says Blackall-born Henry, who hasn't worked for eight years since "my ticker caved in".
Henry advertised the EK for $1500 or "swap for 10-12ft caravan" because he and his wife Shirley want to do some travelling.
He must see his Brisbane doctor, "and when I get back we will leave".
Anyone seeking a swap has missed out. Henry bought a van in Rockhampton last weekend.
It will be a big trip for the couple who met at the football in Alfa and married 55 years ago.
Shirley was born and bred in Jericho "but she came to Blackall -- I think she was chasing me", Henry says.
Henry said he decided to move from Blackall after the 1956 shearers' strike and headed north to Innisfail but came back to Jericho in the 60s.
He looks forward to first stop at Dalby, or Jondaryan, "then I might get down to NSW to see Blayney. I have never been to Blayney''.
And Roma, where he went as a shearer, is also on the itinerary.
Henry says his sons Gavin ("call him Baldy"), driving trains at Mt Isa, and Daryl ("Spot") will be sad to see him sell the EK, which he had parked in a shed for a few years but then had to move outside.
Henry pulled out the seating when he planned to work on it and proudly announces it's still free from rust.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Name drops across cultures


Look closely at the hat this pretty girl holds beside beautiful Moreton Bay, the shimmering entry statement to the new force in the Australian economy, south-east Queensland.
The picture is just one of those family snaps, and certainly not a surfwear PR shot.
There’s no denying, a clothing item with the name, Billabong, certainly makes Aussie kids smile.
The magical nine letters seem to pop up everywhere, even in the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Today’s post is the penultimate Classie Corner "thank god winter’s nearly over" edition before we have a change of season, hopefully with a bit more humour in the column. So stay tuned, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy this story from yesterday's Redland Times.


TWO good reasons are behind Redlands mum Tina Sanders’ appeal for work she can do from home.
They are her daughter, Dakota, who will turn four in October, and son Jett, who is now a terribly demanding two-year-old.
The young pair, like all energetic youngsters, claim a big helping of Mum’s time and energy.
But while many women are keen for any type of work they can balance with the demands of motherhood, Tina, is specific in the call she made through our Classifieds.
Dakota and Jett must be among the best dressed tots in their home suburb of Thornlands.
Any child would be proud to tell their mates, "My Mum made this for me, she used to work for Billabong and Cobra Clothing."
Tina, who grew up in the Currumbin-Palm Beach-Elanora district, left school during her Year 11 to join surfwear company Billabong, where she worked for 10 years until the late 1990s.
"I was one of the last machinists to be retrenched when the company finally decided to get all its work done overseas," Tina said.
"I finished up at Billabong and a day or so later I started at Cobra, who used to supply Byrning Spears. I was there for two and a half years.
"Just about all the Australian clothing manufacturers eventually have taken their sewing work overseas.
"I have been out of the game for a while now and I want just regular plain sewing work, nothing fancy."
Tina alludes to quality in her advertising, which labels her as a qualified industrial sewing machinist.
She said she had not been particularly good at sewing during her school years.
"My sister-in-law worked at Billabong and was getting good money, so that’s what got me there at first," Tina said.
"I found that I liked the sewing after a lot of casual work in fruit barns, a deli and a newsagency, and other part-time jobs."
Tina moved to Brisbane in 2001 to be with her partner, Nigel, and settled at Thornlands more than two years ago.
Nigel works in the IT industry.
Tina’s precision sewing already features on the soft furnishings of Redlands firm Every’s Curtain Gallery but the machinist still can find more time for the skills she honed under the export-level quality controls.
"I have made a lot of things even flags and I am eager to keep learning," she said.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. Email: fourjays@bigpond.com.