Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pixels versus Paper

Thought for the day: ebay is the world’s biggest classified advertising system but many readers still find great security in using "the Classies they can hold" – those in their local paper.

Today’s post comes from yesterday’s Redland Times, a Rural Press title servicing a vibrant community on Moreton Bay, the shimmering entry statement to the new force in the Australian economy, south-east Queensland". The Times and its sister paper, the Bayside Bulletin, put their classified ads online at

A LOT of blokes get a bit edgy about admitting they acted according to the wishes of the person television barrister Rumpole once dubbed as "she who must be obeyed".
The average Aussie man who dares to reveal he has obeyed "the missus" is still likely to cop a ribbing from his mates.
Painter Tim Thompson, however, has no qualms about taking the advice of his fiancee, Deirdre Brennan, to upsize his Trade Services notice.
"I had good advice," Tim said. "Deirdre works in advertising. She told me I needed a bigger ad.
"I used to get three quotes a week; now I am doing about 10 a week, just off the one ad.
"It does the job, that's for sure."
Tim said he was now too busy to make a firm date for the wedding the couple has been planning since their engagement about two years ago.
And there are at least two other reasons for Tim and Deirdre to look for relaxation time at their Mount Cotton home.
Just 13 weeks ago, their first son, Cooper, was born. His sister, Emily, 2, really loves her little brother.
Tim was 20 and a former Shailer High student with a few years painting under his belt, rather, on his overalls, when he met Deirdre, a Chisholm old girl, about six years ago.
They first set up home at Alexandra Hills and bought at Mount Cotton about two years ago.
But back to Tim's Classified advertising campaign.
Deirdre gained some of her advertising nous from her work with a mail order business.
Tim's notice owes its success not only to the size of the ad but also to what it says.
A painter of nine years experience, Tim simply thought he should say something meaningful.
The feedback he has received clients over the years inspired some powerful words.His Trade Services notice makes five promises. They are, to: Beat any written quote; be on time, every time; treat furniture and fixtures with the utmost care and respect; leave your home spotless; and guarantee the highest quality work."People often say, 'I really love your ad'," he says.Now Tim also finds it difficult to walk the fairways and greens at the Redland Bay course, where he usually plays his social golf.
Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on

Friday, July 21, 2006

Notes on guitars

ABOUT the worst experience in writing is putting an error into print. A whole lot of errors are made – rather, particular errors happen frequently – with the spelling of the Fender Squier guitar. I now know the correct spelling. My defence of my most recent mistake is that I asked someone I trusted would know more than me, and that person got it wrong. Writers and reporters get accustomed and toughened to taking the blame for other people’s mistakes that the writer has repeated without attribution. But wouldn’t it be so cruel to identity the culprit who confirmed "Squire" for me before I wrote the following column for today’s Redland Times? Critics will say, "He should have simply looked it up on the official website" (, the source of this picture) , or "He calls himself a journalist-come-guitarist and he didn’t even know that!". Oh well, I’ll just dust myself down, pick myself up and start all over again. For the guitar players the emphasis is on "pick".

THE sweet sounds of music have been common around a certain Sheldon property in the seven years since the Kelly clan moved in.
The Kellys like nothing better than to get together for a jam session. Cunnamulla-born Tom Kelly, who is now close to earning the title as "veteran" drummer, is proud to have programmed the beat genes into the best of rhythm machines.
All his three children – Renee, 15, Shane, 19, and Steven, 21 -- have become accustomed to presiding on a full set of skins when the family gets rocking 'n' rolling.
The drums and guitars have always been set up and ready to go but the jams have taken a new sound for the past year or so, since Renee started "dabbling" on guitar, mainly her dad’s Fender Squire.
"She gets a good tune out of it and she’s learning ‘tab’ as well as the chords we are teaching her," Tom said.
He said Renee, now a student at Cavendish Road High School, Coorparoo, had been a "premmy bub". She had been blind since her premature birth.
Tom said Renee had always loved music and it was great to see her progress on guitar.
The family is preparing to move to another home in the Redlands, so Tom made an inventory of the musical equipment with the aim of saving space.
The "go" list included a drum case that he made about 10 years ago and advertised for sale.
In the 1990s, Tom’s band, Crossroads, helped brighten up the nightlife in the central Queensland coalfields, where he had a day job with Australia Post at Moranbah.
Tom joined Australia Post in Chinchilla 29 years ago and now manages one of its sales departments from a city office, while his wife, Donna, works as a teachers aide at Mt Gravatt Primary School.
Tom has not played drums professionally for about 10 years but the case appears to illustrate his management and design skills.
"I built it to make transporting everything a bit easier," he said. "I welded a frame from box steel and used plywood for the casing. It is all painted matt black and fits into a seven by four trailer and folds out to a drum riser with a carpet floor."
Don’t bother to ask if the drums are for sale too.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wanted: Your story

Behind every phone number and email address in the marvellous community of classified advertising, a great story is waiting to be told.
The community of classified advertising has a maternity hospital (birth notices), a mortuary (funeral notices) and everything between.
If you have had a memorable purchase or sale – or a good or bad experience through the "classies" – you may now share it with the world on This invitation includes people seeking to promote items and services currently available.
The free exposure may help gain sales but, remember, Classie Corner is more interested in hopes and dreams than dollars and cents. For instance, a musician who bought a fantastic instrument from classified advertising may use this opportunity to promote their talents.
Editorial judgments will include taste, suitability and legal issues. Write as much or little as you wish and send a jpeg (max. 200 kilobytes) but I will use only the material I consider suitable for whatever reason.
References on this website are coming up on Google and the other search engines.
It is quite interesting to have been one of the reported 85,000 people a day launching blogs in 2006 and see my special community surfacing out the greyness and becoming available in such an environment.
Thanks for joining me. Email:
Last post centred just on innovation, now we are back on wood with this column from the Tweed Daily News in November 2001.
ONE of the biggest pests on the east coast could head back towards its overseas homeland.
If David Buckley has his way, the despised camphor laurel will leave the country by the container load.
David has been waging his private war against the camphor laurel through his timber slabbing business.
He now hopes to export his camphor slabs, which already find a ready market with local furniture makers.
The camphor laurel, introduced as a shade tree to Australian properties many decades ago, has been declared a major environmental enemy in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland.
David, based at Burringbar south of Murwillumbah, has specialised in slabbing camphor in the past few years since he bought a big portable mill.
The Lucas mill with a two-metre bar can has had lots of work as property owners have moved to eradicate the invasive camphor.
Slabs almost three metres wide and four metres long often roll off the mill with David Buckley Timber Slabbing operating in a wide area of the north coast and hinterland.
Canberra-born David, 25, moved to the north coast from Nelson Bay near Newcastle to go to the Southern Cross University.
He decided after two years the business and tourism degree was not for him but he says the skills have helped him in business, which sprang from his experience in landscaping and cabinet making.
David believes camphor slabs could find favour with British cabinet makers.
"I have had some contact with the industry in the past and I am sure the unique grain pattern of our camphor laurels would make it popular," he said.
"This eventually could involve a lot of mills."
Camphors have not been the only "victims" of David’s prized Lucas.
He says one of his most unusual jobs has been the slabbing of a 5000-year-old rosewood which had been found on the forest floor near Tenterfield.
The rosewood, a rainforest tree, grows just one millimetre a year, he says.
The client, who had salvaged the log sold the timber for a project in Parliament House in Canberra, David says.
"It was a massive tree," he says.
"It was a really special log that had the centre rotted out and had been down for possibly hundreds of years.
"I’ll probably never see anything like that again.
"My mill was the only one that could do the job and we took half a dozen slabs each side of the centre.
"They were two metres wide and three metres long."
For the past eight months David has been extra keen to finish work on time each day to get home to partner Joanne and their baby son, Jack.
Jack is growing up to associate the sweet smell of camphor with a dad who has a vision.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Innovators abound in the marvellous community of classified advertising. The wheel turns and the lightbulb shines for classifieds users in homes and business everywhere. This column (August 2001) comes from the New South Wales northern rivers region …

THE "gold rush" that a new industry brought to the north coast in the 1980s certainly made life interesting for Robert Tillman.
Grafton born and bred Robert worked as an accountant with a food wholesale company before he joined the tea tree oil industry in 1988.
Robert joined one of the industry’s pioneers, Australian Plantations Ptd Ltd, as company secretary and financial controller at its Wyrallah property, about 15km from Lismore.
"At the time there had been a real gold rush mentality," he says.
"There were stories of growers crops being stolen by thieves cutting them overnight."
The tea tree, however, had already taken up a chapter in Australian history. Captain Cook’s crew thought the melaleuca leaves looked like a good source of nutrition to combat scurvy.
So history records them as brewing some melaleuca tea. And the name "tea tree" stuck.
Robert says the history books did not record the English sailors’ verdict but he has tried such a brew and it’s quite nice.
The tea tree has been featuring in the Checkout Classifieds recently for another reason.
The company has given new push to a byproduct of its oil extraction process.
The organic matter that remains after the extraction of the 1% oil content has been used as garden mulch since about 1989 but this year marks the company’s first venture into retailing it.
Australian Plantations has long sold mountains of the former waste for on-sale to nurseries and landscape suppliers level but opened its own retail outlet, Melaleuca Garden Supplies, in January.
The new site gives the company a presence right in Lismore.
Robert says it has been just one step in increasing productivity in an industry that has been troubled by oversupply of oil, partly due to the collapse of certain big players.
The mulch is credited with a host of benefits including weed control, improvement in soil structure and water retention.
Its pH rating is 7.0 which is neutral, neither acidic or alkaline.
It also looks good – which gives an advantage over other commercial mulches.
When you get it, remember to treat it like gold but don’t mix this batch into a brew like Captain Cook’s men probably would have been brave enough to sip.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tree huggers may as well click to another site. The spectacle of a tall tree crashing to earth is heart-pumping action, better for some than one of the famous state-of-origin rugby league matches of eastern Australia.
Just before I head for the TV to watch the Queensland Maroons face the New South Wales Blues in Melbourne for the Origin decider, the Classie Corner archives have opened again.
Trees and timber are back on the agenda, this time for a piece from the Grafton Daily Examiner in August 2001. Some great stories on camphor laurels lurk in the basements of my computer disks, so I’ll have more in weeks to come.

AFTER a slow start to his working life, George Tillman has reached some dizzy heights since he became "upwardly mobile".
George admits he took quite a few years to get a regular job after he left south Grafton High School about 25 years ago.
But, at 25 years old, he started a lawnmowing business "from scratch".
Now, 17 years later, George employs four in a business that has "branched out" into tree lopping.
And the father of three says he has never looked back, especially since he started an educational program to back him up in his job.
For almost four years George has travelled to Wollongbar TAFE usually once a week to study arboriculture.
The study has bought achievement. It took him best part of a year to learn how to use spikes and ropes to climb and he now uses a ladder only when the special circumstances require it.
It has also brought some home truths.
"The guy I thought was a genuis was actually a liability, an accident waiting to happen, because he climbed with one attachment; he only had a pole strap and no safety line," George said.
"I had climbed trees with no safety line but if you haven’t had the training you shouldn’t be out there.
"Over 30ft high, they classify you as dead.’’
George’s knowledge from the courses has helped him on some mighty projects, such as lopping a 30m blood gum.
Other lofty victims of the Tillman touch include the now despised cocos palms, which he has become proficient at removing from sensitive spots, perhaps where a pool or building risks damage if anything goes wrong.
Sometimes a crane is needed; others, George can "block’’ the pieces down using pulleys off the tree itself.
Some people from other trades may say their practical experience has allowed them to show a few things to their TAFE or uni tutors but George makes no bones about that.
He says the study has given to him. "Going through the college has helped heaps. They tell you what diseases the trees get, where to put them…"
George says the biggest mistake between man and tree is the choice of a site. "People don’t realise how big a tree will grow".
His team lops as many as 15 cocos palms a week. Jacarandas and camphor laurels are naturally on his CV.
George has never been one to rest on his laurels but he may take a break from study next year. A baby’s cry, courtesy of a sensitive telephone mouthpiece underscores his statement.
The twins, Megan and Erica, will be one year old in October. George, king of the tall timbers, now has four ladies waiting at home for him each afternoon.
Well, wife Susan may want him to go through some figures as she does the books but the other three just want Dad.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

For the sake of consistency I will now describe Moreton Bay as "the shimmering entry statement to the new force in the Australian economy, south-east Queensland". That's official. Apologies to the readers who have been offended that I have been using terms such as "gateway" and "front door" to the "rising star". In any case, the term, "Gateway", already serves other purposes in the region, so to save any confusion between my blog and a road or bridge, I am setting my style. Websites with information from the Moreton Bay communities include:,, and

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Classified advertising users get out there and do things. This ad appeared yesterday in the Redland Times, which serves a lively community on Moreton Bay, the stunning entry statement to the new force in the Australian economy, south-east Queensland.

BIG decisions and hard work with a splash of colour are keeping an Alexandra Hills couple busy.
Vanessa and Anthony Mortimer are about to take an important step in their lives by opening a new business called "Splash Colour Splice".
Elements of "splash" and "colour" are getting attention now as the Mortimers prepare for a weekend of painting at a Redland Bay Road, Capalaba, address.
The "splice" will follow with Vanessa's new hairdressing salon due to open soon.
Vanessa, who has long held the ambition to open her own salon, has already started advertising in our health and beauty column.
Since her years at Alexandra Hills High School, she has known her destiny was hairdressing.
She admits getting a bit stressed out as she juggles the commitments of motherhood with the planning and preparation.
But things are falling into place for Vanessa and Anthony, who works as a warehouse supervisor with a transport logistics company.
"Tony will be using a paintbrush with me this weekend," Vanessa said.
"We have had to change our plans for the colour scheme and the design."
She said the couple had been disappointed to find that their planned name for the salon was similar to that of another registered business.
They coined the new name and changed the colour scheme to suit it.Vanessa was about to go hunting for a stencil to complete the "splash" vision.
She was chatting while trying to settle down two lively boys, Reece, 7, and Jake, 5.
The soccer-mad pair, both pupils at one of Vanessa's old schools, Vienna Woods Primary, have been itching to burn up some energy during their holidays.
After the painting this weekend, Anthony is likely to go from one type of brushes to another, but "sticks' are more likely.
He may still find time to practise on drums with his new band.
Vanessa says the band, Chaos, may be close to getting gigs, playing a lot of original music.
However, she can't say whether Chaos will be ready for a special gig at the opening of Splash Colour Splice."
There's a chance we can open a week or so early but we are working toward August 1 at the latest," she said.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in our marvellous community of classified advertising.