Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Classified advertising addicts are bit like prospectors. We will go past the obvious places and peep under rocks looking for the finds that could change our lives.
While a lot of things about modern society are "in your face", the classifieds abound in little nooks and crannies that many overlook.
The satisfaction of finding a bargain in the sea of grey is a great reward for the effort. The classifieds reflect a lot about the essential nature of reading and writing, where the smaller details can end up as the most important.
In a profile-type story in a local paper a few years back, for instance, I recorded the subject’s birthplace. The two words put him in touch with his "old high school teacher" who was living in the same suburb. A cluster of people from the town, in fact, had moved into the teacher’s street.
"Where were you born?" is one of the best questions for opening up pathways to the real stories. I usually ask this after a member of the classified community unlocks for me the door to their hopes and dreams.
More about later. Today’s post, which dates from March 2002 in the Gladstone Observer, focuses on the fossicking …

MANY surprises are buried in the small print of classified advertising.
Forget all the tantalising little bits such as "I am not responsible for the debts incurred in my name" and the titillating (your choice of category).
Just concentrate on the garage sale ads.
A recent Observer notice worked its way through bar fridges, rotary hoe and furniture before dropping the notable name, Mercedes Benz, for a surprise touch of class.
The car is the property of a Byfield Road couple who have moved into a three-bedroom house from a five-bedroom at Emu Park.
"I bought the car for my wife about two years ago but we don’t need it now," Don McNeil, semi retired, says.
The $17,000 car, 1987 model, was still available early this week but the McNeils sold "about three quarters of the stuff".
Don says the sale went fairly well considering "this road is a dead-end and there’s not a lot of traffic" so the Checkout notice played a key role.
Another car popped up after silky oak wardrobe and windows, french doors, colonial shelf, household items, pottery wheel and kiln. This time, a Ford Prefect.
The address was St Barnabas Anglican Church, Little Musgrave Street, and my inquiry on the church’s number led to Des Houghton.
Des said the old car belonged to Father Chris Desgrand, who had been the St Barnabas priest for 11 years but would be on a sabbatical for about six months.
The congregation was awaiting word from the diocesan office on Father Desgrand’s replacement.
Des understood the Prefect was still available early this week several days after the ad appeared.
Last year I spoke with a country builder who tacked three letters, 4WD, on to an ad for surplus timber.
He was delighted that the vehicle sold at 7am on publication day. The timber failed to attract a call.

This blog celebrates the 25th anniversary of Classie Corner, which over the years has appeared (sometimes briefly) in the following newspapers in New South Wales and Queensland: Kempsey, Mid-Coast Observer; Coffs Harbour Advocate, Grafton Examiner; Lismore, Northern Star; Tweed Daily News; Ipswich, Queensland Times; Toowoomba Chronicle; Sunshine Coast Daily and Sunday; Gladstone Observer, Rockhampton Bulletin; Bayside Bulletin; and Redland Times (current home).
The flashbacks and reprints come from incomplete archives after a vandal at one of my workplaces trashed a folder containing hundreds of columns from authorised storage.
This left some columns on my home computer and a box of undated tearouts and uncorrected proofs that I had flung into the backs of cupboards, apparently anticipating such a surreptitious attack.
The attitude of some journalists to Classie Corner has been disappointing.
They have been quite happy to poach story leads from classified advertising for generations but when one of their "family" does something to repay the debt, jibes have included, "Why would a journalist want to write plugs for classified ads, of all things?"
One would expect those entrusted with doing some thinking on behalf of the community would look a little deeper.
Another time, I was writing as many as nine columns a week on top of a demanding fulltime job at a daily newspaper.
After surviving on a gruelling regimen for about a year I lamented that I was "feeling the pinch" from all the hard work. My family life and health were suffering. A colleague who overheard the comment piped up, "So you reckon you work hard … you call Classie Corner work … really?"
Enough of the bitterness from the past. All that is behind me now. Times and circumstances have changed. Classie Corner has "done a Lazarus".

More about the philosophy and the history appears in the early posts. Those who stick with this blog in the days, weeks, months and years to come will get a smile or two along with insights into a marvellous community. Feedback to

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gee, it’s fun roaming around the marvellous community of classified advertising. Regular visitors to this blog already know what it’s all about; I say to others, "Welcome to the Classie Corner 25th anniversary party." Yes, it’s a quarter century since I started using the name Classie Corner to signpost my writing expeditions into the pages that are packed with people’s hopes and dreams. Journalists everywhere follow-up classified ads for news and feature stories. They rarely acknowledge, however, where the inspiration came from. Classie Corner was my way of saying, "Thanks, Classifieds". Nowadays, the internet has produced massive new crops waiting for the picking. I will bring you some of this in the days, weeks, months and years to come. In the meantime, I will dip into my archives again. Classie Corner has always tried to make people smile. Flashback to January 2002…
THE trend to take colour out of a great language with "politically correct" gender-bending manipulation cannot stop me from writing that a certain Rockhampton business has been doing a great service to mankind.
The critics may demand "humankind" rather than "mankind" but I bet they missed the snub for "personipulation" a few words earlier.
We’re talking men’s business here. It’s the Gladstone Road paradise, A Man’s Toyshop.
Now you can understand why that good old three-letter word deserves a share of the action.
A Mans Toyshop owner Ross Mylrea deserves a pat on the back, not so much for a great name but for a great service ensuring that blokes throughout the nation can get the right tools for the job, seven days a week.
The firm can be applauded especially for its 9am-1pm Sunday session.
Anyone who has been stuck without the right tool to finish a job before the kids get home from Sunday school can understand my delight about that.
But assistant manager John Paul Ewart’s summary of the aims of A Mans Toyshop should bring more cheers out there in sheds, workshops and garages around the country.
"We are out to provide the things that make the job easier," he said.
One of the interesting developments on the tool front over the past few years had been the air-driven star picket driver, he said.
The firm does a brisk trade in those and John Paul says about 15 models of compressors are available, with prices starting about $199 for a basic handyman type.
John Paul, whose trade is motor mechanics, has lived in Rockhampton most of his life and has worked at A Man’s Toyshop for the past 18 months.
He is part of a 16-person team including phone operators on the 1800 803838 order service.
The staff includes three women. So there.
John Paul has been busy talking to applicants to clean the store after a recent Checkout Classifieds notice.
Of course, women have been welcome to apply.
Just before I go, a blast from the "family album".
Some mates dropped around when the concrete on my deck footings was still wet.
"Gee, you finished off the footings well," one said.
Me: "I’ve got a special little finishing tool."
Him: "What’s it look like? Show it to me."
Me: "It’s over there; it’s called ‘the missus’."
That’s one that A Mans Toyshop does not have in stock.

Now in 2006, I am happy to look at any story leads from anywhere in the marvellous community for exposure on this blog. Classie Corner is still on paper – in the Redland Times on beautiful Moreton Bay, the gateway to Australia’s growth hotspot, south-east Queensland. Email to In future, I expect to give links to websites and individual online classifieds and will consider any requests, where from site operators of owners.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The marvellous community of classified advertising is a rich mine of opportunity for a writer. Classie Corner has been a lot of fun as well as hard work. At one stage I was writing nine columns a week for APN News and Media papers in Queensland and New South Wales. That may not sound much but the extra stories, each of 350-400 words, on top of a tough week on a daily newspaper meant I had to keep a sense of humour. This reprint dates from April 2001.
JUST when a boy feels the first stirrings of manhood he often lies in bed at night thinking of the gentle curves of one of nature’s most revered shapes.
The Fender Stratocaster certainly pulls the right strings for boys young and old.
It may be just a shape for most of the population but the fanatics can recognise the subtleties of sound between the models.
They can pick new from old and a US-made Strat from a Japanese one.
Such a bloke walked up to Coffs Harbour guitarist Mark Wray after a gig this year and asked him to put his Japanese-made Strat lookalike Squire back in its case.
"You are playing with a top-rate perfromer, you need the right guitar; I want to give you one,’’ the man in is mid-40s told Mark.
The man returned with a Fender ’68 reissue that Mark, perhaps a little hurt that his "reworked’’ Squire received a snub, describes as beautiful – "I love it".
The patron was a pastor with the Glad Tidings Church in Long Beach, California, where Mark played on tour with Coffs Harbour gospel singer Kate Spence.
The gift was just one highlight for Mark during the west coast tour from the Mexican border to Canada.
Kate, with a gospel album, Nations Turn and See, and another contemporary "crossover’’ offering, Captured, under her belt, is "really going well’’ both in Ausralia and overseas, says Mark, who has backed her for less than a year.
Mark lived in Coffs until he was 18 then spent four years in Sydney, selling guitars with the really cookin’ (his words) Mall Music at Dee Why and playing mainly cafĂ© gigs.
He returned to the mid-north coast about nine months ago for just a visit.
"I thought there wouldn’t be much happening here musically for me but I liked it, hooked up with Kate and things went really well,’’ he said.
"My style fits really well with her and I can come up with ideas that she rides along with.’’
Mark, who met Kate at the Christian Life Centre, expected a trip to Melbourne.
Despite his commitments, Mark, 22, still finds time to teach and advertises in the Checkout Classifieds.
Contact me at

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Now, the bad news. An external storage device with the Classie Corner archives has blown up. Until I can extract the files from the special disk, I must input all the old Classie Corner classics. This has taken a bit of the sting out of the column’s 25th anniversary celebration on this website. Nevertheless, here’s one from the "best of …" collection. This column dates from April 1996.
HALLELUJAH, brothers and sisters. We are here today to give praise to the Classifieds.
The Classifieds can make the blind see and let the crippled walk. The stories of the true believers will touch your heart.
Edgar Barnard, of the southern village of Caboolture, can walk today, thanks to the Power of the Classifieds.
Edgar, suffering after a lifetime of toil, struggles through his twilight years with the need of a walking stick. When Edgar lost the cherished stick, which a friend made for him, he put his faith in the Classifieds.
Bear testimony, my friends, to his witness.
"I was down at the Kmart when I lost it. I left it in a trolley for just a few minutes and when I went back it was gone. I rang up with an ad in the Lost and Found. No one brought back my stick but a woman from Burpengary called and asked how things were going and later she dropped a walking stick in. Then a man from Bribie did the same thing. Now I have two sticks and my friend, a carpenter, has cut a new handle for one of them out of a good piece of hardwood."
Edgar, 82, says he needs a stick because of the hard work he had to do throughout his life. He has curvature of the spine and "a crook hip and leg".
"I am getting around in a ‘c’ shape," he says. For about five years he has needed a stick for balance.
Edgar recalls lumping wheat sacks at West Wyalong in New South Wales during the Great Depression and cutting timber in the forests around Casino. "In those days you could buy a good suit for three pounds."
In later years he drove trucks and specialised in carting caravans to Melbourne.
Edgar worked on past retirement age, but only until he was 67.
He decided at one stage to upgrade from a walking stick to an invalid scooter but found it was too dangerous, even for a man who made a living from braving the highways.
The railway crossing gave him the biggest worry. "You get a bit fearful when you get old.
Edgar now plans to sell the scooter, which he says is in as-new condition.
Remember, the Classie Corner email address is I am in the subtropical climate of the southern Moreton Bay islands, Queensland, Australia, but Classie Corner has appeared in 12 newspapers in two Australian States over the years. Its current home is the Redland Times which services our council area on Brisbane’s bayside.

Friday, March 17, 2006

For the benefit of readers who find my text used on other websites, Classie Corner is the editorial column of journalist John Rumney, of Queensland, Australia. This blog celebrates the 25th anniversary of my explorations into "the marvellous community of classified advertising" using the column name Classie Corner. The column now runs in the Rural Press newspaper, Redland Times. I am progressively dusting off hundreds of columns from my archives for the "big two-five". will feature new and old stories about the hopes and dreams behind the phone numbers and email addresses in paid and free classified advertising. Contact me at [Phew! Now I have that off my chest, let's have some fun. Here's a column the Times published today, March 16, 2006...]

A ROMANTIC novelist could not have come up with a better script than the real-life story of five Wellington Point blokes at a Saturday night dance nearly 55 years ago.
Five young women stood out in the crowd. The two groups chatted and danced.
Within a few years, the five couples who met at Cleveland RSL Hall that night were married.
Half a century on, one of the blokes is waiting on the biggest dance floor while the rest of the gang are still good mates, living out their senior years as Redlanders to the core.
This story comes from Ron McKell, whose Redland Bay home overlooks the farmwhere his wife Lexia (maiden name, Smith) grew up.
Ron has had another love for the past decade but the subject of his affection gives Lexia no concern.
She understands Ron's attraction to Coast Guard Redland Bay.
Ron is one of three volunteers who skipper the flotilla's 10m Cougar Cat. He became flotilla commander last year after Phil Crighton's appointment as south Queensland commodore.
Phil served 12 years as Redland Bay commander and holds a national recordfor longest term of a flotilla chief.
THE other skipper is poultry farm manager Garry Goodwin, who was on duty for the most recent rescue at time of writing.
A 9m ferro-concrete yacht missed channel beacons and grounded on Pelican Banks near North Stradbroke.
"The skipper had just bought the yacht on Russell Island and was heading forRedcliffe," Ron says."
It was his first trip on the boat; he had a brand new chart; they (coastguard crew) showed him how to read it."
Ron says the rescue took about 45 minutes. The grateful novice donated $75.
THESE sorts of stories may be heard at the Coast Guard Redland Bay Flea Market, which helps pay the $100 an hour running costs of the rescue boat.
However, people power not money is the flotilla's greatest need. Ron and Phil hope the number of volunteers will grow from about 35 to 60.
They say volunteers ideally are aged from about 45 and at a time of lifewhen "things have settled down".
Volunteers need not be boaties because book work and day-to-day administration is necessary. Inquiries to 3206 7777.
THANKS for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. Watch our Classifieds for market dates. Feedback to

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

1998 must have been a good year in the Classie Corner vintage ratings. Here's another from the archives. At least one critic has been on my back to give datelines on these reprints but about all I can say is: Close your eyes, lay back and enjoy it; pick your names and places. The Classifieds are bigger than both (all) of us.

AN unusual headline in the Checkout Classifieds situations vacant section has highlighted the enterprising venture of a former Newcastle boy who has been on the Sunshine Coast since 1993.
The headline was certain top grab the attention of students of language. They don't get the chance to read "spruiker" all that often.
I recall asking my mum what spruiker meant after coming across it in a Henry Lawson story too many decades ago to list.
Mum's response was, "Ask your father." Which was puzzling because she was a keener reader than dad.
Dad quickly told me it was an old Aussie word for a man who stood outside sideshows to talk you into going inside. Fair enough, no big deal.
Today I found out why mum was so shy. I consulted Macquarie for a clue on the origin of "spruiker" and read the association with "stripjoint".
And since the term appeared in the Checkouts I have now learnt its most modern association, with retail stores.
Enter singer-guitarist Adam Truscott, who with wife Denise, diversified as a booking agent in 1996 to form Sumeo Entertainment. He says the agency now has 350 acts on its books and supplies entertainment for five Sunshine Coast shopping centres.
Last month he needed to find 14 spruikers for a promotion at Sunshine Plaza. His ad, saying "experience preferred", had about 30 responses.
Adam says one big retail chain attributes to spruiker-style promotions, including in-store demonstrations, about 30% of its annual sales.
A good spruiker in the 90s works the microphone well and can ad lib, he says. Generally the store presents the list of products and prices and the spruiker goes straight to work. At the Plaza the 14 dressed in the colours of the promotion."There are some very good spruikers on the Coast, including Narelle McCarthy, Celeste Fitzsimmons and Francis Leone," Adam says.
"One girl I recruited through the ad had never done it before but picked up three hours a day extra work for three weeks."
Spruikers aside, Sumeo Entertainment is working toward another big project, the second annual Sunshine Coast Blues Festival at the Sands Tavern on November 1.
Adam is pleased at having booked Melbourne headliners Louis King and the Liars Club and Papa Lips, billed as "Balmain soul".
FOOTNOTE: Dad may have been wrong in telling me that spruiker was a good Aussie word. The Macquarie says spruik comes from the German "spreken ".

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Flashback to October 1998, with a passing reference to one of Bill Clinton's troublesome issues. Classie Corner the newspaper column is 25 years old. Classie Corner the website celebrates with another blast from the past.

GRRRR! Growling about gremlins is part of life for us in the media. Like the politicians strutting the stage of public life, we bare ourselves for public scrutiny, showing our faults big and small.
A newspaper I edited in the 70s had a fearsome member of staff. The Chief Gremlin, Miss Print, became regrettably well known to readers.
We found a little solace from the humiliation of "stuffing it up" by asking the readers to keep their sense of humour despite our mistake, and ran corrections attributing the blunder to her.
This was way before sexism in language became a consideration for publishers and their "family". Nowadays we'd have to look for a Mister Letteroutofyaname, or similar, for balance, keeping in mind obligations toward non-sexism and multiculturalism.
That 70s experience comes back to me now because of my mistake the other day of typing what I though was Golf World but actually sending readers to the business pages to check the price of a precious metal.
Other clangers that recently ruined my breakfast included calling one of my favourite Sunshine coast esplanades an "avenue", making an avenue from a Maroochy north shore street, and dropping the final letter "p" from the word "poop" when it mattered.
In newspapers we know how much our bloopers aggravate readers because the typos, grammatical blunders, ignorant statements and apparently mindless cock-ups aggravate us far more.
So why does it happen? Why aren't media workers fault free, like politicians or others?
Over the years I've seen a lot of responses from my workmates when facing up to mistakes. "At least we can be assured our paper is well read." Or, "By making mistakes, we are meeting a market; a whole world out there combs papers looking for mistakes; they need us."
But everyone knows, a mistake in the paper stands out like the stain on a certain office girl's dress. And still on the political analogy, we in the media often become like Miss Print: the one deemed responsible for the mistakes of others.
But then, it was our obligation to check, wasn't it? And, why didn't someone pick it up?
The answer is in the evolution of publishing that has thrown off a lot of inefficiencies of decades past. As recent as 1980, before a landmark industrial dispute the major publishers in this nation were locked into primitive industrial hierarchy that would see a reporter's story pass through about 10 stages before the press ran. At probably seven stages it was open to revision or at least questioning by someone with specific responsibilities.Nowadays, for this column at least, I can commit directly to print and I have no one to blame but myself. Of course, different disciplines throughout the run of the paper mean that revisions and checks are in place in other areas. But our whole system is built around taking responsibility for your actions and your jurisdiction and not passing off the problem to the equivalent of Miss Print or other people in the chain.
In my own case I take some heart from comments by Judge Michael Kirby when an ABC reporter tried to take him on over judges making mistakes. The judge asked the reporter whether anyone could claim not to have made a mistake. The reality of life was that people sometimes made mistakes, the judge said.
And a great article on time management in our magazine, Sunshine Coast Business, this year has great relevance on the subject of mistakes. The article did not need to mention the word once. It simply cited "tyranny of the urgent" as one of the biggest obstacles facing efficiency in the workplace. I'm hunting up my copy as I write.
We all have had our share of dealings with the Chief Gremlin. Take the Brisbane linotype operator who long ago inserted an extra character in an classified ad for a boarding house and created what still is probably the most frowned on word in the English language. A proof reader missed that one.
In the world of classified advertising an annual general meeting has been known to do the full monty as a "genital" occasion, and the public meeting to drop an "l".
A final read saved one operator the humiliation of farewelling a police officer to "a cone a day" instead of the scone that fellow cops knew as a special treat.
The only consolation we have in the media may we stop a hell of a lot of mistakes as well as make them. And unlike certain politicians we don't need to be flame grilled before we admit them. What's the point? We're only human.

Friday, March 03, 2006

An "open season on ‘aggro grannies’ " is under way. We’ll take a break from the Classie Corner 25th anniversary flashback party with this column which appeared today in the Rural Press newspaper, the Redland Times. Just before you settle back for the read, I'm sorry if the basic text emphasis on this site annoys anyone. I am struggling with the demands of this interactive site on my old IBM running Windows 98 and with a dial-up connection. I still need to set up the ads better. Flash freaks have no need to worry: My computer update is on order. The presentation will improve.

THE buyers, sellers, wheelers and dealers are responsible for just some of the activity in the marvellous world of classified advertising.
The notices in many categories say a lot about what’s happening in our world.
Readers can find out who’s doing what. Keen eyes scan the notices at certain times including spring and autumn-late summer, the seasons of the AGM.
A wag once said the acronym means "aggressive grandmothers" but the "doers" in community and sport groups ensure their annual general meetings do not go unheralded.
Spring meetings aim to get business out of the way before the Melbourne Cup starts the "silly season" in November; late-summer meetings use a brief "window" between the madness of the summer and Easter holidays.
In a recent edition of the Times, Cleveland District State High School and Thornlands State School parents and citizens associations and Redland Bay Tennis Club all advertised their AGMs.
Tennis is always a good subject after the Australian Open but Redland club president Alan Hope would rather talk about his club’s open champion, Frayne Bloor.
Frayne is the head coach for dozens of enthusiastic youngsters.
"I really like to see not only the kids but also older people on the courts," Alan says.
"We have players from three or four years old to the mid-eighties.
"You don’t see that age spread in many sports."
Alan says the club has about 160 members and a waiting list for courts at peak times.
The AGM received an update on a further expansion plan after construction of two new courts and a clubhouse in 2004.
Alan hopes funding will be available for another two courts to make a total of eight, all with synthetic surface.
He says the opening of a licensed bar last year has helped the club become a social hub.
Innovations have included a Tuesday night "business challenge".
About a dozen teams have entered. Alan says the sport helps off-court teamwork.
Alan’s love of tennis stems from his childhood on Melbourne’s bayside with Seaford Tennis Club.
He came to Queensland in 1988 and to the Redlands in 1997.
Alan, a graphic designer, put up his hand on Sunday for another term in the club chair he has had for the past two years.
Thanks for joining me in Classie Corner. Feedback to

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Garage sales have provided great inspiration for the column over the years. Here's one from the greasy floor in October 1998. All the stories so far on this website appeared in APN News and Media papers...

ANYONE who has contemplated buying a pair of secondhand shoes will understand the feeling.
You look at the heels and soles and think, "He hasn't walked far in these".
You may remove one shoe to try the size. A bit big. But good for the price.
"I got as good deal on a pair of secondhand shoes," you brag to spouse. Reply: Why?
The obvious answer to this question should not induce morbidity over Sunday coffee.
When someone sneaks off for a few cups at the big cafe in the sky he won't need the size 12s he bought last month. It's a truism that has hounded me for years on the garage sale beat.
I had that feeling this week after I ripped a page from the Saturday Daily and toured the garage sales. I am a garage sale addict. In writing Classie Corner on and off over the past two years I have had the privilege of mixing business with pleasure.
Most Saturdays I circle the prospects and start as early as possible. It's best when the dew's wet. Being in the first wave is akin to having a Lotto ticket just before the draw. You're on the brink of finding the "big one". But here you need more than lady luck. You are up against the professionals and other ruthless bargain hunters and collectors.
When you get that really good bargain you simply pay the price and scarper as quickly as possible before they realise they've sold the family heirlooms
You recognise the dealers from the shops. The vendors often complain about them lining up at the barrier way before start time. All starters have equal opportunity here but you know you'll be hard pressed to match the pros. You may get a bit familiar with them but you never get close.
When the header "deceased estate" appears, there's a buyer frenzy resembling those post-Christmas retail massacres.
You recognise other garage sale addicts, too. Some are like phantoms: You hear about them but may never meet. A few years ago the style of response to my favourite question was: "Records? Sorry, no. A chap came through and bought the lot as we were setting up about half past six."
A seller once described the fiend; thereafter I would ask what the buyer looked like. Then I saw him in a bidding duel with another record freak at a local auction, over a box of 70s top-of-the pops dust collectors (my apologies to the aficionados).
Later I fluked a garage sale the man held at his place. Records galore. Who'd want them though, knowing how much he got them for.
Garage sale addicts accumulate garbage. I never get around to fixing that webbing on the couch or gluing a piece on the broken artifact. The "treasures" become garbage around my home and eventually go on parade one Saturday at my own sale. Unsold, they go to a charity or the tip. Several times I have been tempted to buy them back.
On this privileged beat, however, I've had encouragement for my career in journalism. I will never forget the questions like, "How the hell can the Daily afford to have someone cover garage sales." "Are you still writing that trivia column." "Why do I have to pay for space in the Checkout Classified while they actually pay you." And, "If they left out your column could we advertise for free."
But the undoubted highlight came last week when one of the vendors mentioned a family member's job with a rival publication. We all had a good laugh at their admission that loyalty was second to their need to advertise in the Daily to ensure a successful sale.
Now, I'll give an important tip for novices. Don't rely on just the Saturday Daily which lists dozens of sales. After you feast on the Sunday Bargains, check every day for listings in the Daily. There'll be less competition at a weekday sale.
Just be part of that first wave. You'll soon forget about the former owner of your almost-new shoes.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The big two-five. One of the reasons I have started this blog is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Classie Corner, although it worked up a head of steam only in the past 10 years. I will continue for a while to extract columns from my archives until I get to the new ones. The best are yet to come but they are all great stories to me. Here's a flashback to April 2001.

QUEENSLAND has Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter; the NSW north coast now has Greg Heath, the goose catcher.
Greg, of Crabbes Creek, received a tough brief when he advertised for unwanted geese.
A caller from Currumbin dialled an SOS.
"She has 16 geese that have gone feral,'' Greg said.
"They have been roaming around the property eating grass and whatever and are hard to pen up.
"The males can get fierce and protective - they'll go you.
"And geese will make lots of noise - they'll wake you up at all hours of the night.''
As anyone who has confronted an angry gander will understand, Greg needed to think carefully about whether to make the trip.
He already has boosted his gaggle from a similar ad a few months back.
Greg's interest in geese stems from their ability to control pests in his organic banana patch.
"I did commercial bananas but the big change towards organic growing made me change my ways,'' he said.
"When I cut them out I left about two and a half acres partially fenced.
"Organic bananas are a lot more work than commercial bananas because you can't spray them with this and that.
"I haven't had chemicals on the property for six or seven years and by September will be (certified as) fully organic.
"The geese just wander around. He only real problem is the foxes but our dogs, Molly and Millie, take care of them.''
Greg, who also works as a nurse at a Murwillumbah aged care centre, likes the little community of about 500 people at Crabbes Creek, where he moved from Brunswick Heads in the '70s.
But he expects considerable change "after we get the new highway".
For the record, the Department of Lands released the first blocks in the area in 1886, according to the book that marked the public school's centenary in 1998.
It will be interesting, more than a century later, to see if Greg is correct in his prediction of city buyers discovering the area.
A FAREWELL is always sad, especially late in life when ill health often delivers cruel blows.
A simple notice for a moving sale heralded the end of a retirement dream for Julie and Lee Johanson, who came north from Balgowlah district to retire at Greenback, Tweed Heads.
Twelve years later, they were due to leave this week for a nursing home at Warriewood to be nearer their family.
Their daughter, Kerrie, came up to help with the move.
She said the couple had enjoyed the north coast lifestyle and were regular social visitors to the Tweed Heads Bowling Club.
Kerrie said the ad helped the family clear what they wanted in preparation for the move.
THANKS for joining me on week two of Classie Corner to meet the great people who make up our marvellous community of classified advertising.
Just to get you in the mood here are reprints of columns that appears in regional papers on the NSW north coast in 2001:

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
It is a marvellous community of young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, short, tall, ups, downs, highs and lows.
You'll get lots of that in weeks to come but today I'll get straight to the fine community-minded folk such as Kevin and May Ridgeway, of Woolgoolga.
Kevin will be a proud man on Saturday, April 28, at the opening of the Woolgoolga Community Youth Centre on the site of the old council courts at Queen and Market Streets.
The project is close to the heart of the Woolgoolga Lions Club vice-president.
But the heart of gold will be a little heavy on the big day because Kevin and May soon will head back south, six years after they retired and settled at Woolgoolga.
Kevin says the move to Tuggerah Lakes near Budgewoi on the central coast will put the couple near their family but it had to wait until the new centre was complete.
"When we first moved here I didn't know what to do so I joined Lions,'' he said. "I am now the first vice-president and in line for the chair but will have to transfer to Budgewoi club.
"The new centre has been joint project between Lions and Rotary and has been a true community project with a lot of support from businesses too.''
Kevin does not expect too many speeches to open the $30,000 centre. He is keen to let the festive spirit preside and to enjoy the curries that the Sikh community will supply.
By the way, Kevin wants to sell the tractor he uses to launch his boat from the beach. He put a lot of work into fixing up a "pretty derelict old thing" and is open to offers despite advertising it for $2000.
THE first hint of the winter chill always brings above-ground pools on to the market.
But Malcolm Irwin, of Nariah Crescent, Toormina, said he wasn't afraid of the cold; he simply had no further use for the 7m by 4m pool that came with pump, filter and other gear.
"I've had it for a few years and the deck has gone but I don't want to spend the money on a new deck,'' he said.
Malcolm said the pool was handy when his kids were younger - they are now aged 25 and 27 - and nowdays he would rather use the area for landscaping, perhaps a Japanese-style garden.
Many say, "Never get a pool, it's too much work.'' Malcolm's advice: The work depends on where you put it. Select the site well, away from trees.
To save buyers the obvious question: Malcolm says his pool does not need a new liner. His price of $650 seems a real bargain.

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
It is a marvellous community of young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, short, tall, losers and winners.
That's the cue for Grafton's David Kelly, who has just hopped on the scales for perhaps the last time after riding more than 500 winners since 1984.
David went out on a high note a fortnight ago, winning three races at his last two meetings at Casino and Ballina. The next day he hung out his trainer's shingle at Cuban Lodge on the Grafton course.
David, 32, has a long heritage in the racing industry. He says it started with his grandfather, Skeeter Kelly, whose sons Robert and Rex also became jockeys.
David said his dad, Rex, retired from riding in the mid 70s and now is the starter at Grafton.
"I have always wanted to have a go at training,'' David said. "I have done my bit riding and have wanted a new challenge in life.''
He has already had lots of challenges since riding his first winner "in town'', Razor Sharp. When aged just 23, he went to Japan to pre-train and stayed for two years.
The task involved getting the horses up to "three-quarter pace'' and sending them to the city trainers for the month or so of fine-tuning before their race starts.
David already has six yearlings in work and has advertised two for sale. One is a grey filly by Ignatius from Blue Billie, who was by Proud Knight and won six races.
Proud Deb, a half-sister of the filly, had won in Sydney, David said. "I am breaking this one in at the moment,'' he said. "She's the quieter type and good to do anything with.''
The other offering is by Fawn Bye from Catherine Ann. David said Fawn Bye, standing at Minummurra Stud, Glen Innes, had produced lots of winners.
He reckons the filly will show out as a two year old. "She's flighty and will go really quick.'' David must be a good judge of horseflesh.
He says: "The best horse I ever put a leg over was the two-year-old filly, Centrina Lass. "She won two in Brisbane then broke down."
Horses that she beat in Brisbane went on to bigger things, one went to Melbourne and won a group two race.'' David's riding career includes a liberal sprinkling of Cup victories, including the Gosford Cup and the Randwick Country Cup on Deed Star in the mid-80s.
Watch for his name on the form guides when the two year olds fire up next season.

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
The gratuitous adjective refers to all our readers and advertisers and includes all the poets, good and bad, even though it has been said someone ought to pack them into a bus and drop them off in the bush to recite their rhyming couplets until even their eyes glaze.
The bus idea struggled through a critic's clenched jaws one night after I had the dutch courage to take the floor.
That critic probably thought Helen Taylor was aiming for me when she advertised a bush poetry bus trip west of the mountains, out Tenterfield way.
But Helen, who with husband Ross has a tourist farm near Kingscliffe, was not trying to insult mugs like me, just give us the chance to soak up some Aussie culture this weekend at the Oracles of the Bush show.
"I am a Tamworth fan; I like to go down there in January, and there are lots of poets as well as the country music,'' Helen said.
"A gang of these people (poets) are moving around the countryside during the centenary of Federation.
"They are up at Tenterfield where the original speech was made that brought the Federation together.
"I would like to go up to it, and we have a minibus at the farm.
''Like most intelligent patrons of the arts, Helen won't admit to having written any poetry or slapped paint on canvas. But her voice smiles when she talks about painting and poetry.
"Here at Beach Farm we have a beautiful valley that attracts artists in droves and we have lovely paintings,'' she said.
"I also love poetry and the bush poets are astounding; they may look rough and tough but they have the hearts of poets.''
Helen certainly can create some impressive imagery herself. Like her story to me about the tourists to her tropical fruit orchards.
"We do pick and taste tours for Japanese groups,'' she said. "They mainly live in high-rise apartments in Tokyo or the other big cities.
"They like to taste something right off the trees; it is something special for them.'' Whether the fruit is citrus or custardapples in winter or the avocados and bananas that are on offer all year, the look on the visitors' faces repays Helen more than the tourist dollar.
The Taylors' farm, just 10 minutes from the Gold Coast airport, can be a rewarding experience for locals too. Next year the couple will celebrate the venture's 30th anniversary.

WELCOME to the first north coast edition of this column, which will introduce some of the great people in our community of classified advertising.
It is a marvellous community of young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, short, tall, losers and winners. And, as the more astute readers have long recognised, classified advertising taps social currents and subcurrents deep and shallow in the world "out there" far beyond our columns.
Lennox Head builder Peter Moloney rode such a current when he wanted to offload surplus tools and materials including hardwood, oregon and treated pine.
He reasoned that buyers of such items would probably own "a bit of land" so tacked his 4WD at the end of the list in an ad for building materials.
Peter took a big step toward upgrading when the Mitsubishi sold on edition day to the first caller. "Usually with something like that you get a lot of tyre kickers, but it sold by 10am,'' Peter said, adding that he got his price.
The timber awaited a buyer days later. Which seems to prove that the readers of classified ads are not "skimmers'' but glean relevant information past the bold print.
The sale also showed that Peter knows a fair bit about the region.Peter, born in Crown Street Hospital at Paddington, Sydney, lived at Dee Why on the northern beaches, and started to develop his understanding of the north coast community on surfing trips.
He moved to the region about 20 years ago and has lived at Lennox for 10.
He is still adamant he would never return to the rat race, and it's easy to get him lamenting the way Australia has changed. I like talking with bloke like Peter about the loss of the cedar from this country after the rapacious Poms dropped in.
By the 1820s they were sawing between Illawarra and the Tweed and before the 1901 Federation the resource had basically expired.
My source for the history is then Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen's address to woodworkers in 1988.
He noted that the Tweed provided some of the best cedar ever cut and that luckily some of it made "our most prized pieces of colonial furniture''.
Please note, Peter's timber does not include cedar offcuts. He has just finished the house of local police sergeant Miles Adams and wife Rachelle, who is a constable.
Next job will be an extension to a friend's house at Tintenbar.