Saturday, April 29, 2006

First, a refresher for new visitors. Classie Corner started in an Australian newspaper more than 25 years ago. It has "done a lazarus" about a half dozen times. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the major comeback in 1996 in the Sunshine Coast Daily, Queensland. At its peak in 2001 and 02 the column appeared in nine papers in the APN News and Media group. In 2005, the Rural Press newspaper, the Bayside Bulletin, took up the column. Classie Corner transferred to the Bulletin's sister paper, the Redland Times, in February. John has set up this blog to celebrate the twin anniversaries, the decade and the quarter century. The marvellous community of classified advertising gives lots of inspiration. More about the history and the philosphy appears in the earlier posts, which reprint columns from the past and present. Today's post comes from yesterday's Redland Times.

A DISTINCTIVE mix of colour has been appearing through the Redlands.
Home gardens in suburbs including Wellington Point, Birkdale and Redland Bay have become "like little patches of Bali", courtesy of some innovative marketing in the nursery industry.
The gardens feature the typical mix of plants and the colours – reds, yellows, purples and greens of many hues – that have endeared Bali to many thousands of Australians.
A Balinese tropical garden package advertised in the Classifieds offers 26 mature plants including palms, crotons, bromeliades, cordylines, gingers, grevilleas and birds of paradise for $200.
The package is the brainchild of Bob Kaye, who visited Bali in the 1970s, and then watched the growing attraction of Australians to its culture.
As the threat of more terrorist attacks has stopped the pilgrimage of many Aussies, Bob has noted some buyers wanting more elements of Balinese culture in their lives in the bayside suburbs.
However, he says the Bali style suits any homeowners who simply want lots of colour with low mainentance.
"Everyone seems to want a tropical garden," Bob says.
"The package gardens include groundcover such as mondo and various grasses but generally the plants are about half to two metres high.
"Once they are established the gardens are very easy to look after."
The Redlands is among the major markets for Bob’s Ellengrove Nursery.
Any innovative marketing by Redland Shire nurseries through our Classifieds can have some space in a future column. Email a short description to
TRADE OFFER: The recent column about Capalaba’s Advanced Metal Recyclers exporting to China prompted a reader to ask for more stories about any Redland businesses targeting this huge market.
Again, I would be happy to hear of any such activities. But remember, this column’s focus is the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.
WATCH UPDATE: The widow searching for her husband’s watch received a glimmer after the Classie Corner report on April 21. Gwen Hall, of Birkdale, found a watch near Birkdale Fair. Gwen called the widow but unfortunately the description did not match. The missing watch apparently slipped from the widow’s bag in the Cleveland shopping area during her lunch break just over a month ago. Loss of the gold Seiko has added to the woman’s grief. Its return would be appreciated.

Friday, April 28, 2006

This column has appeared in the Rural Press newspaper, the Redland Times, which serves a lively community on Moreton Bay at the gateway to Australia's new economic star, south-east Queensland.

SOME interesting social and economic trends show in spin-offs from the Redlands’ population growth.
Commercial real estate, in particular, can be a barometer for the big picture.
Michael Keddy, who has had a keen focus on local markets for the past 12 years, admits the difficulty in finding all reasons and connections in a complexity of supply and demand, rises and falls, ups and downs.
The needs in two sectors, however, stand out at present for the Capalaba-based director of Ray White Commercial Bayside.
Retail showrooms in good positions and manufacturing units are still in low supply against strong demand, he says.
Michael says the shortages have become evident as the shire’s growth has stepped up, mainly during the past three years.
While the showroom scene may reflect some big retail names, the demand for manufacturing units comes mainly from the other end of the economic scale, he says.
"There has been a shortage of smaller, less expensive units with a manufacturing zoning for people like mechanics, cabinet makers and steel fabricators," Michael says.
"As the population has increased, it seems a lot of people who may have been working from home or in other areas have been wanting such units.
"Many have been starting in business or in the market."
Michael has good news for small manufacturers. "Within the next six months quite a few new units will be available," he says.
"I can list five blocks, with an average five units a block, where construction has started or is just about to start."
Michael says the Redlands has an oversupply of warehouses and professional and office premises.
The poor local demand for office space contrasts with Brisbane occupancy rates at an all-time high, he says.
"I have not been able to put my finger on what’s exactly behind this; it could be the big companies are tending not to spread their activities," Michael says.
Strip retail shops are one of the most visible spin-offs from the population growth.
Michael says there are vacancies in strip retail but the sector shows a steady take-up rate.
Ray White Commercial Bayside advertised about 20 listings from across the categories in a recent edition of our Classifieds.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

For a change of pace: Now to the world economy. That's right. Not even the marvellous community of classified advertising is shielded from the heavy stuff. This column appeared in the Redland Times a few weeks ago.

THE economic might of China is like a magnet for business around the world but the giant doesn’t need magnetism when dealing with a certain Redlands business.
Big quantities of non-ferrous metals go directly to China from the Capalaba yard of Advanced Metal Recyclers.
The export of metals including aluminium, copper, brass and stainless steel has been a major part of the firm’s trade in its four years in the Redlands, says director Malcolm Zordan.
"Last year we sent 40 container loads to China and we expect to send 50 this year," Malcolm says.
"At the end of the day China is the world’s factory, and without its own resources, it is the major force in the metal markets."
For the record, each container load weighs about 25 tonnes.
Malcolm says copper is in high demand and at least one big supply contract has been decided recently.
However, the non-ferrous metals are just part of the firm’s success story, which started with Malcolm and one truck.
Five trucks now keep four forklifts and a bobcat on the go. A lot of the work is still with steel.
Many Redlanders know Advanced Metal Recyclers through its classified advertisements seeking car bodies.
Mal says Advanced sends its scrap steel to Queensland buyers, Smorgon Steel Recycling and Simsmetal.
The firm despatches about 150 to 200 tonnes of steel a month – that’s the equivalent of about 150 car bodies.
Some old cars have a final burst of glory before the crusher.
Advanced supplies Alexandra Hills High School with about 20 cars a year for student mechanics and panel beaters.
Luckily, or it could be the reverse in recycling, outbound loads from the school are a lot lighter than the inbound, after the students reduce the vehicles to shells.
Malcolm could teach other small businesses how to use a little humour in their advertising.
He promises "no crap" in dealing with scrap.
"Our price is $50 a complete car body but we may pay a bit more, depending on the steel market at the time," he says.
Malcolm has worked almost 15 years in metal recycling, after about a decade on the northside.
He has no regrets about his career choice. "Recycling is one industry that will never die," he says.
A metal man may be expected to bemoan the use of plastics in modern cars. Malcolm says such parts that cannot be sold for reuse must go to landfill.
However, "heavy metal" veterans from the 1970s and 80s are still Advanced’s mainstays.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It’s Anzac Day, the anniversary of one of the most important battles in the history of the Australian and New Zealand armies. My archives include this column which has information on the A (field) Battery Association. The battery was in the front line in Turkey when the Anzac troops launched the World War One offensive ...

ONE of the great things about the great community of classified advertising is the way it brings people together.
It goes a lot further than seller meets buyer, boss meets employee and boy meets girl. Teachers recruit students, churches recruit congregations, sport clubs recruit players and coaches, and skippers even recruit their crew.
One such skipper is Bernie McMahon, of Lerner Ave, Pacific Paradise. Bernie is a member of Noosa Sailing Club and a devotee of what he calls the original trailer-sailer, the Hartley T16.
Bernie, a defence service pensioner, discovered the joys of sailing the style of boat about two years ago.
He loves to sail not only for fun but competitively. Last weekend he was to join the fleet on Lake Cootharaba for the opening of the season.
Bernie has been dogged by difficulty in finding offsiders to race with.
"You get a lot of tourists who want to go for a bit of a cruise but it's hard to get people who want to race," he said.
Bernie expounds the charms of the Hartley T16 to all who will listen. "You can sleep in them. Some have two berths and some four. It is ideal boat for me.
"They were brought from New Zealand, it must have been in the early 50s. The bloke who developed them is about 94 now and in England.
"Every time you register one, he still gets his $90."
While recently polishing his boat, Gun Salvo, Bernie had a brainwave to advertise in the Checkout Classifieds for an offsider. He had several calls and took the first for an outing but was disappointed when the man failed to arrive for the next sail.
Bernie, who was a soldier for 12 years, likes things done properly and is peeved he didn't receive an explanation.
Neverthleless, like all military minds, he had a contingency plan with a friend lined up to join him on Cootharaba.
He looked forward to the outing because of the ideal conditions on the lake after the narrowness of the Noosa River and further limits on his size of boat in the Maroochy, where the sand bank east of Chambers Island interferes with the Hartleys.
He can launch the boat downstream at Picnic Point ramp but upstream at the Cod Hole ramp, the river is too shallow.
The Hartley can be launched at Fishermans Rd ramp but the mast can't pass under the bridge on the way to the river.
Chatting with Bernie can yield a lot of interesting detail, and when you ask about his military career you receive a volley of enthusiasm about the A (field) Battery with which he served from 1957 to 60 during 12 years in the regular army.
Bernie relishes his role as president of the A (field) Battery Association which is incorporated in Queensland to represent former members of what he says is the oldest regular unit in the Australian Army.
A quick history according to one of its biggest fans: The battery was formed in 1871 when the colonials perceived a threat from the United States and later became the first Aussie unit to serve overseas when sent to the Sudan (one chap died over there). It has served in every conflict that Australia has been in. After the Sudan it went to the Boer War, then landed the first artillery at Anzac Cove before more Great War service in France and Belgium. A new name, 2 Mountain Battery, marked the unit's entry to World War II in New Guinea and Bougainville.
The unit nearly was demobilised after the war but went to Japan with the occupation force. In 1952 it returned to Australia and in 1956 it collected the young Bernie McMahon. From 1957 to 59 it served during the Malayan Emergency and stayed in Malaysia with the South East Asian Treaty Organisation's peace-keeping force.
In 1971, an important military occasion occurred during its Vietnam posting. Three of its personnel had to return to receive the Queen's banner, replacing the well-flown King's banner it had held from early this century.
Bernie had left the unit in 1960 to join the 4th Field Regiment. He says he never recovered from Malaya.
Bernie's military mind has been working hard on preparations for the association's annual general meeting and reunion from September 25 to 27 at Maroochy River Resort. He expects most of the 50 members. And please note, if you can't get there, he'd like an explanation.
(This column appeared in Sunshine Coast Sunday nearly eight years ago).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Grab the tissues, here’s a tearjerker from 1998. The marvellous community of classified advertising certainly throws up some social issues.

AN elderly lady has boarded a Qantas jet bound for Melbourne with fond memories of about a year on the Sunshine Coast.
The departure was a heart-wrencher for the lady's best friend, former nurse Kaye Roberts.
Kaye told this week how she and Mrs Pickles had been inseparable for the past 13 years.
They had travelled everywhere together ~ in cars, trains and even helicopters. They had breathed the desert dust sharing a motorbike.
However, Kaye is about to go sailing so Mrs Pickles, not known as a sea lover, was put in a crate, whisked into an aircraft cargo hold and flown to stay with Kaye's parents.
Mrs Pickles is a 13-year-old bitsa that looks like a dingo but can charm even people who don't usually like dogs.
The dog certainly has charmed Kaye since she came across the dumped pup in the Northern Territory where she taught first aid on cattle stations as a Red Cross volunteer.
The pair has travelled widely and came last year to try the Sunshine Coast. It seems the only place they don't go together is on the waves.
Mrs Pickles became a type of "sailing widow" on the Coast as Kaye, who has been sailing for about eight years, became involved in Mooloolaba Yacht Club and enjoyed many day sails. She was in the crew of Illusion in the recent XXXX Score series.
Kaye does not know if she will return to the Sunshine Coast. She is about to head to the Territory to sail the far north west aboard a friend's Farr 38.
"We're eventually heading back to Cairns and I'll take it from there," Kaye said.
Kaye recently placed a Public Notice offering an aircraft passenger who could take the dog to Melbourne as excess baggage.
"I had some strange calls," she said. "People offered to take her on the back of a ute and another caller offered to drop her off in the snowfields. But there was a good response.
"People who respond to an ad like that usually love animals.
"The woman who took her didn't want payment. She didn't have much luggage anyway, and this time Qantas waived the fee.
"I am a frequent flyer and Mrs Pickles is a bit of a celebrity around the airports. Some dogs need to be sedated to go on a plane but she knows exactly what do do and waits quietly in the queue."
AS hard as it is to believe, the Sunshine Coast's Britophiles, reported in the Daily's letters column as rattling the walls of Nambour Civic Centre with their sing-along style, have shunned a portfolio of frightfully British tunes.
Now, who could turn their back on songs including Will You Remember Sweetheart?, When the Harvest Moon is Shining and Richard Crook's big hit, Vienna City of My Dreams?
It's all so sad. Coolum's Kath Bryham reports "no deal" after advertising for sale a 1934 leather pouch packed with Royal School of Music sheets for piano. Kath, who describes herself as a collector of certain things, says the package is just so quaint she couldn't resist it when a woman who's had it in the family wanted to unload.
But Kath finally came to realise that as she no longer played piano the pouch should go to someone who cares.
All those rabid Poms must be strong on tonsils but weak on ivories. They couldn't even scrape up the $45 to keep the collection on the Coast.Kath may take it to a fine art auction in Sydney where she reckons it could fetch a three-figure sum. Dollars not pounds, thank you very much.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The telephone reigned for a century, not just as the king of the classifieds but also the queen.
Nowadays email has forged a niche in the marvellous community of classified advertising.
Today’s post is dedicated to the telephone. We are also walking on the wild side with the gentleman in the illustration.
Readers please note: He bears no resemblance to the columnist. His star role here follows my reading about web-based design.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, a critic urged me to introduce illustration.
This grated a bit because, after suffering a lot of smoking-gun design trends in the mainstream media, this blog is my private space, free from terrible waste such as:
Hunting up file pictures to illustrate news stories. The practice always made my blood boil.
I would have a notebook full of enough scribble and dash of Pitmans for 1000 fresh words but the designers always wanted to steal the space with file pictures that did not take anyone anywhere and would send messages of triumph: "Ten pars only.".
We’ve all seen it – a "skull shot" so big you can count the blackheads on the nose of a poor old public figure who was quoted in the last par and was guaranteed to be "on file".

Now I have been ratting around the clipart to prove to myself the ridiculous waste of time and space. Because that's one thing the blog has given me. But don't worry. I won't get too carried away with the practice of hunting up illustrations that relate to the text.
After all, for all those great decades, we did not have pictures on our phones and no one worried about that.
But back on track, the telephone and its part in the Classies (Sunshine Coast, 1998):

IT may come as a shock to some readers but the average human in the average size house needs more than six rings to get to their phone.
This has been revealed in research conducted exclusively for the Check Out Classifieds. The researchers -- me and my spook (Classie Corner, October 18) -- found that a disturbing percentage of potential buyers of a furniture bargain must live in one-bedroom units, caravans, tents, motor vehicles, handbags, belt loops and certain other small crevices where the handset is always just a nano-second grab.
With a disgusting assumption that people take their remote handset to the loo, such impatient morons who call themselves buyers allow just six rings before wiping off the prospect as not at home or too upemselves to answer. Fair dinkum.
To the four of 11 who responded in this way on two days to my ad for a leather lounge at $100, I wish upon you the curse of the excruciating "Hi, I'm down the surf right now ..." recorded rambling, and I hope you get RSI in your trigger finger.
Understand -- and I'm only going to write this once -- the average human takes the duration of one ring to execute each of the following actions: 1. close their book, 2. wipe their bum; 3. pull their pants up and press the flush; 4. run their hands under the tap (feeling guilty about not getting the soap to lather); 5. sprint to the phone while pulling up their jeans; 6. pick up the handset ... and hear you hang up.
The telephone has been much maligned by traditionalists of journalism who say that you must see the whites of their eyes but I always think of the sometimes grumpy-charming-informative-newsbreaking Lawsie who has managed to earn the most any Aussie lad could hope, just by using the phone.
I guarantee that John Laws' lackies let John Howards' phriggin' phone ring more than six times before he's branded as too gutless to face the terrible tonsils.
In our industry, where we are not just fishing around for a bargain but making calls that could be important to all our readers, listeners and viewers, a 12-ring policy is predominant.
Of course, all the 10-ringers in the office now will be on my back. But the number of strikes I've had on the 11th has been significant.
Newsmakers, seemingly as well as advertisers of bargains, live in the average-size house and don't (always) take the handset to the loo. The analytical academics being churned out of the university that has snuck under the guard of the six-ring subintellectuals will have noticed a flaw in the methodology of my Check Outs Survey.
I can't be sure that the six-ring torture related to my ad. And cobber(s), I don't really care: I will simply get a caller ID on my phone and inflict some six-ring paybacks on you.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Still on the subject of losing and finding but replacing grimace with grin, here are a few hundred words devoted to tears of laughter. The "Lost and found" column is not always a sad place …
IF master of the laugh John Cleese had twigged onto the black comedy of the keyless in the marvellous community of classified advertising there may never been a need for a dead parrot skit.
And society could have been spared an attack with fresh fruit. The keyless couldn’t get their car door open to get to the greengrocer.
The keyless certainly would make a better skit than the Minister for Silly Walks.
It would be a mime act because the keyless, those poor unfortunates who resort to "lost keys" classified advertising, are too terrified to talk.
They don’t know who has their keys so their lives are ruled by fear.
They’d certainly be no good in a singles bar because the conversation falls flat pretty quickly.
They don’t know who has their keys so they are suspicious even of their mums.
They can’t tell you where they live because they might be robbed.
They can’t tell you the type of car they drive because it might be the vital clue that lets the key finder track down the right door and ignition.
They can’t tell you what any of the keys on the ring were for because the crooks could get more information to misuse.
They can’t tell you what they do for a living, or what they do for recreation.
They can’t tell you their names or who they are.
No, this isn’t funny at all.
The keyless need some pretty intensive counselling. Which reminds me of the time I had the privilege of interviewing Cleese in the early 80s when he came on an Australian tour backing a mental health group’s national campaign.
One of the world’s funniest men played it dead straight when he faced the media, and reporter after reporter left the press conference to return jokeless to their editors.
Somehow I managed to touch his funnybone and as a closing gesture he reached out and tweaked my nose on national TV as his parting gesture.
The "presser" erupted in hilarity for the last 10 seconds.
Now I have my place in history as the bloke with the Cleese-tweaked nose but from my calls this week it would take a lot more than that to cheer up those who have lost keys.
I sympathise particularly with the woman whose husband parked their car in Ray McCarthy Drive on a recent Friday for her to drive it home after work.
She used her keys, not knowing that hubbie had stashed his keys in a special hiding spot on their car.
Understandably she wouldn’t tell me where he hides the keys. The big fat bunch has all the originals for the family’s locks.
There are door keys but she won’t tell me to what; vehicle keys, of course, but she won’t reveal the model; padlock keys, but she won’t say what’s padlocked …
On the bright side, hubbie took it all in his stride but he’ll be laughing when she gets them back and we can all start communicating again and telling dead parrot jokes and all that lively stuff.

The column above appeared in the Coffs Harbour, NSW, Advocate in September 2001. A few months later, Classie Corner presented another case study in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin:
Calliope truck driver Tim Howe’s wife Julie says hubby took off for work early one morning with his keys on the truck’s petrol tank.
Julie says there’s nothing funny about losing keys. Tim did not realise the loss until the evening. The fat bunch even had the keys to the doghouse.
"The funniest bit was us driving around at night trying to spot them," she says.
It must have been hilarious when a woman answered their Checkout Classified "lost" notice but had found another set at a railway station, far from the roads Tim had used.
The couple reckons the keys must have fallen off the truck between Calliope and Rockhampton.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Let's have a break from all the dusty old copy. Here's something nice and fresh, today's Classie Corner from the Rural Press newspaper, Redland Times:

ANGST over loss of treasured objects is a sad reality in the lost and found columns but finders, as well as losers, often suffer.
Readers who use the Classifieds’ free "found" notices are never happy until the rightful owner walks out their door, reunited with their property.
The finders may also have to deal with fraudsters and opportunists who try to claim the property.
Take the case of Georgina Nevin of Thornlands. A friend found a lorikeet at Victoria Point and asked Georgina for advice.
Georgina, who owns a cockatiel, Misha, had just reared 10 ducklings.
"I live near a creek; the mum took off and left the ducklings in my backyard," she said.
"These things just come to me; I am one of those people."
Georgina looked after the lorikeet, which said "Hello, how are you", while she waited for results from a "found" notice.
Sadly, the owner was not among almost a dozen callers.
"About nine or 10 just wanted the bird although it wasn’t theirs," Georgina said.
"Two were genuine and came around but then said it wasn’t theirs.
"I think it was hand-reared. If you put music on it would dance along."
Facing more bird-sitting with a family member’s cockatiel, Georgina eventually gave the lorikeet to a wildlife carer.
THE other side of the recent lost-found mix has highlighted the sadness of a Cleveland widow.
The husband, who died in August from cancer, had two watches, one for everyday use and the other, a Seiko, which his wife gave to him 28 years ago.
"After he died I kept the Seiko in my handbag," she said. "I should have simply have carried the other watch around. It would not have mattered."
One day last month, she moved the watch to an outside pocket during her lunchbreak in the Cleveland CBD. Later, the watch was missing.
"I really kicked myself," she said. "I retraced my steps and asked the gardener who looks after the trees, in case he had seen someone pick it up.
"I kept checking the police station for two weeks. It could have been sold. You never know …"
The widow still holds slim hope the watch, "very unusual with a flat face and no hands", will be returned.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

We're getting serious today, boys and girls. We will get away from the giggles and grins for a lesson about the true grit in regional Australia. At least that's how I felt in finding this story about five years ago through the Daily Examiner classifieds in Grafton, NSW, Australia...

A saga that started deep in the north coast bush and continued on the world stage at the Sydney Olympics unfolded when I phoned to ask about a go-kart for sale.
A gruff but lively voice answered. I was talking to John Toms, of Coutts Crossing, south of Grafton.
I asked why the sale. He said: "We have a business down here."
That’s why this story has little to do with a go-kart and more with the nation’s heritage in the timber industry.
It’s a story not just of success and achievement but also of a struggle for survival and of tragedy.
More than half a century ago, John’s dad, Frank, was with the first loggers who opened up the Clouds Creek area, about 60km west of Grafton, on the Armidale Road.
Frank built his family home there and John is proud of being "born and bred in the bush’’.
John started labouring in the Clouds Creek sawmill when he was just 12 years old; 40 years later, he heads a big firm with three sawmills and a new one going in.
The build-up for the 2000 Olympics meant busy times for Tomsys Timbers, which won contracts to supply timber to the Homebush Games site.
"They (the Olympic builders) had to do a lot of relocation of homes and rebuild some of the old buildings they kept at Homebush,’’ he said.
"We had to get the timber so they could do it. We also supplied all the landscaping material.
"We sent a heap of semis down.’’
John said the firm’s eight-man team – "I also employ a few others" -- was busy supplying everything from tomato stakes to the huge beams and pylons used in bridges and jetties.
Its timber had been used in the Coffs Harbour jetty.
"We specialise in supplying the DMR for bridges out west and we do a lot of jetties,’’ John said.
"We also supply the railways in NSW and New Zealand and we are flat out.’’
That’s where the Karicar kart, 18 months old and with heaps of spares including three fully reconditioned -- "all raceworthy $4000" -- comes back into the story.
It belongs to John’s son, Jason, 29.
"We are putting in a new mill; we haven’t got time for any new activities this time of year," John said.
"Jason lost his hand two years ago. Well, he has one finger left. He can still handle it, no trouble at all."
John has three words about the circumstances of the accident. "We were sabotaged."
He said he had paid a large sum in legal costs to win a land and environment court case and keep his mills operating.
Six months after the verdict he is also reeling from the questioning over what his business means to the district.
"I put one and a quarter million into Grafton," he said. "Yet when they see that they say…"
He leaves the sentence unfinished. I sense puzzlement and frustration.
I know from talking to John Toms for half an hour that he’s as strong as the ironbark and tallowood he sends out for railway sleepers.
He must also be as strong as his dad, maybe stronger.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hold your nose. The Classie Corner anniversary party, back after the Easter break, is stirring up the marvellous community of classified advertising. The April 10 post about an unusual business idea made this one (Tweed Daily News, 2001) float to the surface …

IT’S one of the smelliest jobs and you are unlikely to find it on the bulletin boards at Centrelink.
But, over the past 60 years, manure has helped Harry Granger, 73, "get out and earn a quid" when all else failed.
Harry, born in Goulburn, took up the profession when he was aged about 10, after his family moved to Sydney’s inner west.
He would nip up the road from his Newtown home to stables at Stanmore and bag up horse manure to sell door to door.
Even "a bit of cow" was on offer in the area that most know as a sea of houses.
"In my days you learnt to pick up things and earn a quid,’’ says the man who is now behind at least a few of the nicest gardens around Murwillumbah and Mt Gravatt.
Harry, a pensioner, bags chicken manure at a farm and sells it at markets, as well as advertising his loads in the Checkout Classifieds.
His emphysemia slowed him down this week after he spent a day at Mt Gravatt market.
"The car fumes come into the market and it upsets me,’’ he said from his sickbed in his Howard St, Runaway Bay, home.
Harry formerly smoked but his lungs also had to deal with a lot of smoke and high temperatures from his work in a lead smelter, zinc rolling and road sealing.
Roadwork brought Harry to the Gold Coast in 1971, when he was the foreman for contractor Percy Stevens on the Ashmore subdivision.
Harry laments the lack of a minister for everything Russ Hinze and Joh Bjelke-Petersen in government nowadays.
"They were the two that started it all,’’ Harry says. "If we had Joh (in government) today, we’d have a lot more money."
Harry wishes kids of today would show some the drive he had as a youngster, when he learned to pick up manure.
"I went to work in different places but used to do the manure part time," he says.
Harry has nothing but praise for three of the most important young people in his life. He has watched them grow up.
"My girls want me to give it (the manure) up," he says.
"I have three adopted daughters in Hong Kong.
"They are Chinese. I went there in 1999 and I was treated like royalty. Two of them got married while I was there.
"They are good kids, no hassles. I met them though a friend at Southport.
"They really respect their elders. They sent me money but I wouldn’t take it."
Between 1977 and 80 Harry operated Harry’s South Tweed Secondhand Goods, far from cutting clothes props from the scrub way before the Hills hoist, and from stringing up rabbits on a horse and cart.
Harry even spent his time in scrap metal.
His current product is tougher on the nose but easier on the hands.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The pieces of paper are still turning up. On March 28 on this blog, I reprinted a Classie Corner that appeared in the Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, Central Queensland, Australia, in 2002.
Today’s post is a letter that I received a few days after the original publication …

I AM writing in response to your "Great service to Mankind" article, the subject of a recent "Classie Corner" column in the Morning Bulletin.
Thank you for writing in such positive terms about our business, the products we sell and the service we endeavour to provide.
I can particularly relate to your tounge-in cheek reference to political correctness, as the name "A Man’s Toyshop" has engendered many differing reactions and comments over the 25 years the business has been operating.
Might I also say that an increasing number of our clientele are women, which I feel indicates there are significantly more women taking up the type of occupations and hobbies perceived in the past as being very much a man’s domain.
I look forward to further articles in your "Classie Corner".

Ross E Mylrea
Managing Director

In the print medium, I wrote hundreds of columns from a location hundreds of kilometres from the papers’ readership bases and circulation areas and received great satisfaction from spreading the Classie Corner message. Now I have updated into the web-based activities, the best is yet to come.

Monday, April 10, 2006

For those who think Classie Corner is a heap of s. . ., here’s one from the archives on that very subject. Dateline, 1998, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

FORGIVE me if I'm a bit breathless and starry eyed. I have just had what undoubtedly will be a legendary brush with fame. I have yarned with a new business operator who will become the nation's first dog poo millionaire.
Yes, you read it right. Don't adjust your spectacles. Australia's first dog poo millionaire.
Mother-of-three Joanne Luckett, of Maroochydore, says people "crack up" laughing about her new business. But she is the one with the grin because the venture has had a healthy start signing up clients, courtesy of a brief notice in the Checkout Classifieds Pets column.
Jo's Scoop-A-Poop may take time to rise to stock exchange listing but its prospectus is certain to read a lot better than those of most companies.
When the time comes, investors will be able to forget the bull and the bear. All they will need worry about is the health of the Aussie dog.
Joanne's core business is a new service industry that will improve the lives of dogs and their owners. Owners pay a chihuauua-size fee for the firm to remove the droppings of any size dog from their yard weekly.
A wag may say that it simply shows the level people will scoop to for a living but Joanne has long had a plan to make a business from the thing that many say they hate most.
Future investors need not worry about factors like exploration, production "overheads" and the gold price; Scoop-a-Poo is assured of a strike, has little infrastructure and offers a top exchange rate (from $3 a week).
"Everyone hates to pick up dog poo," she said. "The wife nags the husband and he tries to get the kids to do it.
"Dog poo lying around the back yard is just disgusting, especially in summer.
"Imagine sitting down to your lunch with it in your yard. The flies. Yuk!
"It makes the grass die, too.
"Even though councils provide special bins at the beaches, how many people do you see using them.
"Some dog owners make a practice of taking their dog out to do it on someone else's property or in a public area.
"So I am hoping the availability of a home visit service should reduce this problem."
Now the proud owner of eight-year-old rhodesian ridgeback Buster, Joanne says she has always loved dogs.
"When I was a child growing up it was dog, dog, dog, dog, cat and cat," she said. "I brought home stray everything.
"I used to work for the Animal Protection League on the Gold Coast when I was a little girl.
"I went around with a box collecting money for them."
Joanne recently moved from Brisbane to get a beachside lifestyle for her three sons, aged 4, 7 and 12.
Her research has shown that Maroochy shire alone has an estimated 18,000 dogs, meaning she should never run short of work. But Joanne says she is in the poo business more for the chance to help clean up the country than for the money, and she's more than happy to console lonely and bored pets.
"Nowadays everbody's so busy with wives and husbands both working there are so many lonely animals left at home all week, I want to help them too," she said.
"As part of the service we can spend a bit of time with the dogs, give them a pat and throw the ball, as well as pick up the poo.
"We have included a worming service and take the refuse from the property for composting or disposal according to health regulations."
She hopes her service will also appeal to the elderly who want the security of a dog but may have limited ability to exercise a pet.
Clients can take heart that Joanne, as a former bar attendant, knows the difference between bulldust and the Scoop-A-Poo targets.

Newcomers to the Classie Corner blog take note: Just over 25 years ago I started an exploration into the marvellous community of classified advertising, partly to help repay a debt to classified advertising for giving me story leads galore to feed the news monster. I realised journalists like me were poaching stories from a special world and transporting them to ours, usually without any acknowledgment of the original source. After many sidetracks, I returned to the concept in the 1990s with the APN News and Media group in two Australian states, New South Wales and Queensland. Classie Corner now appears on paper in the Rural Press newspaper, Redland Times, at the front door to Brisbane and one of Australia’s economic hotspots, south-east Queensland. I am writing from Russell Island, part of Redland Shire, in beautiful Moreton Bay where I have lived for the past three years. Those who stick with this blog will get some great entertainment as I dig up classics from the past and publish my new explorations into the hopes and dreams of the users of free and paid classified advertising. Have a good day/night.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The autumn metaphor usually involves colours but millions look past the falling leaves to the colours of the jockeys in the Australian turf industry’s famous race for two-year-old, the Golden Slipper. Ten years ago in April 1996, the Classifieds had their own race day. Classie Corner called for readers to nominate the best old fridges and lined them up in what must be one of the best race fields in history …
THE weather’s fine and the track’s fast for the race of the year, the Great Fridge Free for All.
The finest fridges on the Sunshine Coast have been nominated for this weight-for-age classic. The form guide for the finalists:
Westinghouse, purchased Nambour 1968, owned and trained by Pauline Wilson of Witta, always starts up but only used for Christmas-New Year period, still has original instructions and warranty card.
Pope Norge, purchased Sydney 1962, owned and trained by Ron Miller (who did not put his address on his fax), still used as a main fridge, only repairs in 34 years have been door seal and thermostat control switch.
His Master’s Voice, purchased secondhand in 1950, owned and trained by Graeme Ellis of Yaroomba, still purrs along as quietly as it did 46 years ago.
Defender, purchased 1966 when 17 years old, owned and trained by Joan Bryers of Nambour, still goes like a charm.
Kelvinator Foodarama, purchased about 40 years ago, owned and trained by David and Claire Carney of Landsborough, still meets family’s needs but requires defrosting every second or third week.
The red light’s flashing and the runners are in their stalls.
HMV has the inside draw with Westinghouse in barriers two to five, Foodarama in six, Norge in seven and Defender at the outside.
The starter’s on his stand and they’re off.
Foodarama jumps well and sets up a handy break ahead of HMV and Norge on the inside of Westinghouse with Defender missing the start.
Foodarama’s really singing out front but is under pressure from HMV with that light weight and the black and white colours.
Oops, there’s trouble in the field. Waterhouse, sorry, Westinghouse has lost a seal and could be out of the race.
The field’s heading to the blackout side of the track where’s there’s a lot of water dripping. And there’s one down. It’s Norge.
So with Norge and Westinghouse out of the race, Foodarama and HMV are settling down to fight it out.
They’re shoulder to shoulder on the turn into the straight. HMV’s running hot and Foodarama gets a crack with the cord. There’s only a butter drawer between them.
Wait, here comes Defender with a sizzling run. And Defender has swamped them to win the cup.
Joan is delighted with the mop-up. Defender’s a true champion, purchased for 65 pounds, even after having 17 years of racing.
By Icebox out of Necessity and bred in the United States by the International Harvester Company, Defender has been trained in two homes for its current owner but has been in the same spot for the past 30-odd years.
The secret to success could be that defrost each week. Joan’s prize, a four-line classified, will be in the post. Congratulations Joan and thanks to all.
The only record I had of this piece was a tattered clipping, which wouldn’t scan for OCR. Most of my electronic archives disappeared in a vandalistic trashing at one of my former workplaces (see earlier entry). Punching in text must be one of the world’s worst jobs. That has taken out some of the joy from this flashback. By the way, the 2006 Slipper was run yesterday, and I picked the winner. Isn’t life great. Feedback to

Friday, April 07, 2006

Even spiritual experiences happen through free and paid classifed advertising. In October 1998 I had one…
HUNDREDS of singles turn to the personal columns every day, not because of love or lust and not particularly because of a need to have someone who will double (if you are lucky it's only double) the household liquor bill.
The relentless searches for soulmates continue, not because of the human need for companionship or to share hopes and dreams. Certainly not because life is hopelessly incomplete without someone to use the last of the milk, eat with a clicking jaw or pick their nose when they think you are not looking.
All these are obtainable without the need to advertise in or read the classifieds. A series on the singles scene in Sunshine Coast Sunday not too long ago indicated lust and its consequences lurked around a lot of circumstances.
Love, of course, is another matter and I must wimp out of that discussion for space reasons, except to agree with the old song that "everybody needs somebody sometime".
The "sometime" is now clear. The personal columns and the premier singles meeting place, the Checkouts Connection, are so popular because singles are just plain s...less scared of the dark.
Having been forced to "batch it", I now know what it's like when you wake from a nightmare on a dark night thinking that a spook has just sat casually on the end of your bed causing a sudden indentation beside your legs.
It was definitely a nightmare because no self-respecting spook would waste his time causing someone who is awake and conscious to paralyse with fear for no reason; the presence went as the mattress sprung back, just as though a person had stood up.
One of the big positives in such a situation would be to hear someone breathing beside you and know that you are not being dragged off to purgatory to await the first and final call to board for a mega-long holiday in hades.
It doesn't pay to dwell on these sorts of things, as singles know. Burning lights all night lifts your power bill to the stage that you would suffer a housemate out of the Share Accommodation section.
People who are tiring of searching for that special person should consider wide range of options in the Checkouts.
Consider some decent stakes ex the Garden Supplies section in case the spook grows bicuspids? The same section will yield everything for a good crop of garlic.
Then, and I'm not really joking here, you can go through the Church Notices; try hypnosis; dial a counsellor; consult a psychic.
Hunting for a bargain through For Sale or Garage Sales may be good therapy by occupying your mind. You may take a step up to become a collector of Fine Arts/Valuables specialising in neotransylvanian, find that a Business Opportunity is heaven, or land a spook-free spot in Situations Vacant.
What the hell! Dozens of pages of spook-free properties for sale are published every week.And damn it! Why not snap up something from the Cars and let those spooks wallow in a stream of CO2?
In any case with Building Materials you can rig up a spook-proof cage around your bed.
Everyone knows that man's best security assistants are represented in Pets as the species "god" spelt backwards (I wish they would stop making that mistake).
Even the tradework section will chip in with triple deadlocks.
Isn't it just so comforting in the dead of night, when you are dozing with one ear cocked for the dragging of chains across the hall, to know that the Checkout Classifieds can help you.
Sleep tight and don't let the bugs bite. The Checkouts will take care of them too. Even sparing the love bug.
Just in case you didn’t know, this blog celebrates the 25th anniversary of Classie Corner, an editorial column by journalist John Rumney exploring the marvellous community of classified advertising. Already in just a few short months of the Classie Corner anniversary party, the archives have blown up but then been put together. A new computer crashed twice causing all sorts of lock-ups and lock-outs. That spook must still be hanging around but, what the hell, I am going browsing. So there. Feedback to

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Keep smiling" has been one of the catchcries of Classie Corner during its explorations into the marvellous community of classified advertising. Today’s post turns back the clock to 2002 and the subject of markets …
FORGET the "urban legends". Every market addict has a story. Mine dates from the 80s in Brisbane:
Killing time while waiting for another browser to clear the space in front of a record pile, I blissfully admire the fine pottery on display on the next stall.
The browser keeps browsing; I soak up the winter sun and let my gaze feast on the minutiae of finely shaped vases. Nice but expensive.
The records must be something special. The browse drags on; my wait continues and the tactile quality of expert craftwork invites my touch.
I caress the leaf-shaped handle of a rose vase that glints brightest in the sun and become enthralled in the minute brush strokes of the glaze. Mum might like that vase for her 50th wedding anniversary but I’d never be able to afford it.
A man still huddles beside me over the record albums; I gently lift the vase to view the design.
Suddenly, the peace is shattered. The vase and the handle part company before my eyes.
Delicate vase in pieces on muddy ground. A ceramic leaf is clenched between thumb and forefinger.
The angry stare of the stallholder meets my eyes. I gingerly pop the leaf-shaped handle on the table in front of me and instinctively apologise. "I’m sorry. The handle came off.’’
"Bloody bullshit" is the quick retort. "You dropped it. I saw you."
Me: "No, the handle came off."
Him: "You broke it; you’ll pay for it. Come on, pay for it."
Question: What can a bloke do?
Answer: Run.
Yes, dear readers, I bolt like one of Fagan’s boys, straight into the crowd, an angry voice behind me calling: "Stop him. He owes me money."
I reach the next row of stalls where my eyes comb the ground furtively looking for boxes of records to get me back in the market mood. There are none.
I am sweating and shaking. A frightening thought occurs. Whom is the most believable, the runner or the non-runner, the "thief" or the "victim"? People seem to be looking at me strangely.
They think I owe him money. Do I owe him money?
This question has never been resolved as, over the years, I have analysed my actions of that terrible day when I skulked back to the car and cringed in the passenger seat before the missus poked her head through the window and asked, "What happened to you?"
She has always thought I did the right thing. But if I get down to the Bonville Markets, I won’t, can’t pick up any vases.
The Bonville Markets come just four times a year and today, June 2, is the day. The local Lions club will again officiate at its fundraiser, promising the best of art, craft and fresh vegies among a few dozen stalls.
The Lions are yet to decide the beneficiary of their efforts this year but expect local causes will benefit again.
A market organiser said the local schools and the Lions Cord Blood Appeal, which helps leukaemia research, were among the beneficiaries last year.
The club has about 20 members, rating lowly on the Lions membership scale but giving the worldwide service movement an important presence in another north coast community.
Give a Lion a pat on the back at the Bonville Hall on market day. But don’t pat the pottery.