Monday, December 17, 2007

Garage sale season hits high note

Whether greed or hunger is the motivation, garage sales are the focus for hundreds of thousands or maybe even a seven-digit total of Aussies each weekend. As the Classie Corner clean-up continues, the image is an old ColTone guitar that the writer bought for $20 at a garage sale. Today’s post appeared last month in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

THE spring racing season fades into the pages of history as another big cup goes up for grabs.
In this marvellous race, stayers and sprinters alike compete for the title of Redlands garage sale capital.
Our columns get busier than the betting ring at Flemington as householders get efficient in the race to the finish on Christmas Day.
We are heading into the straight with only four editions of the Times before Christmas -- a hectic but fascinating time for garage sale addicts as bargains galore go on offer to raise cash for the festive season.

THE last time the Classie Corner Garage Sale Cup was awarded, Victoria Point, had a quarter of all advertised sales in the four weeks before Christmas to claim the title from a field of 11 Redland suburbs.
With 32 sales that festive season, Victoria Point was 13 ‘lengths’ ahead of runner-up Cleveland (19 sales). Alexandra Hills (17) was third.
In a trial for the 2007 month-long frenzy, last week’s Times featured 50 garage sales. And that statistic alone tells of the Redlands’dramatic growth.
The total of advertised sales in the entire four-week period of 2005 was 140, so the 2007 contest will be interesting.
Last week, Alex Hills and Birkdale tied on eight sales. Capalaba and Wellington Point were equal on seven. Cleveland had five, Thornlands four and Redland Bay and Victoria Point each had three.

CHRISTMAS preparations are getting a boost this year from a Times Free Classified Clearance for November, with free ads for single items under $150.
The clearance gave me the opportunity to hear the lovely musical Irish accent of a longtime Redland Bay resident, Irene, who advertised a four-burner barbecue with gas bottles for $150.
Irene is looking past Christmas to a new-year move to Redland Heights to be closer to her favourite swimming enclosure.
Irene migrated to the Redlands about 20 years ago after she visited family members about a decade earlier.
"It was such a beautiful area," she says. "I was taken in by all the fruit and vegetables and the farms. I came from Belfast and it was amazing to see all the fruit being grown."
Many of the fields now grow houses but Irene says she still enjoys the natural beauty during walks with her retriever, Milly.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Skills mix in recipe for business success

Image of Minjerribah Holiday Camp from You’ll get lots of references to the camp on a Google search.

TAKE the discipline of university degrees in marine science and computing technology, mix them with the culinary skills of a chef, add a generous dash of entrepreneurial nous and you have the recipe for an impressive business enterprise.
But still a lot more ingredients are going into the achievements of Redlands couple Laetitia and Stephen St Baker, who head a team of about 70 working in their businesses, Minjerribah Holiday Camp and Catering With Flair.
The success story spreads over beautiful Moreton Bay, from the holiday camp they established in former miner’s quarters on North Stradbroke 16 years ago, to the mainland ‘high society’ at premier social occasions that they cater for.

NEXT week will be particularly busy for Laetitia, catering for two of the highlights of the Christmas social calendar at Redlands Cultural Centre.
She says mayor Don Seccombe will host about 200 members of the business community on Wednesday and about 300 guests the next day at a party for the shire’s volunteers.
The St Bakers must look forward to a Christmas break themselves after a big year in which Catering With Flair featured at major functions including the shire’s chamber of commerce, retail, tourism and fashion awards.
The caterers themselves have had lots of award success, including in 2007 the firm’s second Australian Bridal Industry Award for best independent caterer and Laetitia’s award for meat and poultry in the Olivado Australian Chef Quest.

WHILE the catering business has impressed the Redlands movers and shakers, Minjerribah has continued its service to school communities from afar.
Laetitia says the camp, benefiting from the wide environmental diversity of North Stradbroke, hosts between 300 and 350 camps a year for primary school groups.
"The island has it all – surf and calm water, freshwater lakes, bush and heath, whale watching, kayaking and lots of activities," she says.
"It is so close to so many diverse habitats."
Marine science camps were a ‘must’. Laetitia qualified as a marine biologist before she became a chef. Stephen was a computer programmer before he became an entrepreneur.
Laetitia says geography camps have been a big success, partly because of the rehabilitation after sand mining.

THE couple has some exact criteria for operating one of the State’s most popular camps.
"The main things in a good school camp are: Plenty of good fresh food; everything most be clean and tidy; plenty of hot water; and exciting fun activities," she says.
Sharing just one aspect of the youngsters’ joy in discovery gives her probably the biggest kick.
The faces of the country kids who have never seen the ocean make all the work worthwhile, she says.
THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

How a kid grew up to drive his old schoolbus

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.
MOST kids can only dream about climbing behind the wheel and taking control of the marvellously dependable vehicle that ensures they have the chance of a good education.
But Jason Healey has a place in bayside history as the Redlands schoolkid who grew up to drive the same Redlands Transport schoolbus that took him to school each morning and brought him home in the afternoon.
It was a memorable day when the former Mt Cotton State Primary School pupil realised just about every little boy’s dream.
There he was at last – not only in the driver’s seat but also with reporters taking notes and television cameras "rolling".

JASON says he was 19 years old in 1991 when he was declared as Queensland’s youngest bus driver and worked on the same school service he had used as a child. In 1999, he drove the same bus on another route.
Now aged 36, Jason is still one of the "babies" in the army that operates the main Redlands service under the Veolia banner as part of the State Government’s TransLink system.
"Only two drivers are younger than me and they are both in their thirties – the majority of drivers are in their fifties," Jason says.
Jason doesn’t cop much cheek from his seniors, however, because he is now the operations supervisor at the company’s Capalaba depot, presiding over a fleet of 130 buses, each clocking an average 2500-3000 kilometres a week.
The logistics of putting at least 120 buses a day on their routes – including new services to the shire’s boom southern areas including Victoria Point, Redland Bay and Point Talburpin – are behind Veolia’s current recruitment campaign in our classifieds.

NOW with about 150 drivers, the depot needs at least 20 more, Jason says. The need is so great he will even promise successful applicants the chance to pilot the depot’s 10 new $450,000 Mercedes buses, delivered in October.
That’s a far cry from the old 1979 Bedford Jason that took Jason to school.
We hear a lot about the ‘ageing’ of society but bus driving must be at the forefront and at this stage Jason certainly has no challengers for his special place in history.
He says anyone, regardless of age, may apply if they can get a minimum MR-class licence and Queensland Transport driver’s authority and to meet Veolia’s high standards may apply.
By the way, Jason grew up at Sheldon and now lives at Redland Bay.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How Willys jeep carried George through WW2

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland Australia. Image of 1943 Willys jeep from wikipedia. This jeep carries US emblem. George Rush transported Australian army officers in Willys jeeps in Borneo and New Guinea during World War Two.

A LONG journey through life reflects in George Rush’s voice as he talks about the cycads his daughter, Jennifer Campbell, has advertised for sale in our classifieds.
"I like cycads but these are not mine," George says.
"My daughter is busy so we are taking messages. I think she wants to renovate. She lives at Capalaba."
George is 90 years old. Taking messages is far removed from the labours of his past.

BORN in Kilcoy in 1917, George says he grew up in the country, milking cows. He left school at 14 to cut railway sleepers out of ironbark, tallowood and grey gums from the north coast forests.
"In those days, at 14 you were a man nearly, not like the kids of today," he says.
"When I was 17 or 18 and could drive, I had fruit runs in Caloundra and I went into the food game.
"My parents lived at Mooloolah and I spent a lot of time around Glenview and Landsborough. Caloundra was my main town.
"I worked in Roma Street, Rocklea, for 31 years. In the markets, you work in all the different jobs in all the sections.
"It’s born into you. Wherever you pulled up (in a truck), you’d have to carry the stuff – the bags of pumpkins and spuds were about 140 or 150 pounds (63 or 68kg). By gee, they were heavy.
"I’d carry two cases of apples on my shoulder."

GEORGE had World War Two service as an army driver attached to the 7th Division in Borneo and New Guinea.
His main duty was to transport officers in a Willys jeep, often to the front line to "see how the boys were going".
"It’s not a real funny place to be – shells whistling around and going off everywhere," he says. "We had to stop and dive into a hole to get away from them."
When landing off a barge in Borneo, his jeep, "hooked up to a two-pound gun" sank in the truck tracks but the motor, fully submerged in the ocean but waterproofed, kept going and pulled through the slush.
George still keeps busy around the Cleveland home where he and his wife of 66 years, Audrey, have lived for the past 20 years.

THE couple lived at Coorparoo while he worked at the markets but later moved to Cleveland, then to Stone’s Corner and Camp Hill before returning to Cleveland.
"There’s a lot of work to do around the house," he says. "I have a bit of corn coming up and just had some nice beans. I have been an old bushman most of my life."
George says doctors credit his good health in his senior years to his lifetime of hard work.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on

Saturday, November 03, 2007

'Gentle missile' goes missing

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of scrub python courtesy Stewed Thoughts.

A BACKGROUND in aviation shows when Capalaba bus driver Mario Mayerhofer describes his pet snake, Buff, as a "gentle missile".
"He’s very sleek and about 17 to 18 kilograms and he’s all muscle," Mario says, of the 5.5m scrub python.
The missile is missing.
Buff and Kah, his mate of the same species, slid away in the dark of night after a branch dropped on to their cage during a Sunday storm last month.
Four days later, a nearby resident hosing her hedge came face to face with Kah, who matches Buff’s length but at 28kg outweighs him by about 10kg.
The encounter qualified the woman for a $500 reward, which Mario offered on leaflets and posters.

ANOTHER $500 is waiting for anyone who helps Mario find Buff.
Notices in our Classifieds have failed to turn up any leads.
Mario and Kah, who may be carrying Buff’s babies, are both pretty glum right now.
The last time Buff and Kah had babies, 18 big bundles of joy, each 82cm long, emerged from the eggs, Mario says.
Mario’s interest in snakes dates from his childhood in the Bavarian city of Passau, where he later worked as an aircraft engineer and pilot in general aviation, while breeding boa constrictors.
His migration to Queensland in 1992, following his mum and her husband, Nandor and Alfie Farnady, meant a break with boas.
Mario says the three now focus on breeding native Australian snakes, including not just the scrub pythons but other species including tigers, redbelly blacks and king browns – all strictly in accordance with the rules, standards and licensing requirements.

A 5.5-METRE-LONG python of a species that hails from Cape York Peninsula cannot hide forever in an urban environment. Mario simply hopes Buff is staying out of trouble.
"I am worried that he may kill a dog," Mario says. "He will retreat from a human threat but he could give a nasty bite if anyone tried to handle him
"There is the chance he has been hit by a car or someone has done him in, which would be a tragedy."
Mario says he has received a lot of help from bayside snake catcher Geoff Jacobs in breeding snakes.
"Geoff says no dog or other animal around here would touch Buff," Mario says.
The worry about Buff has been hanging over Mario’s head as he has started a new career as a bus driver.
He has worked in Australian aviation at Archerfield, Queensland, and Benalla, Victoria, but says he finally has opted for the security of regular, fulltime work.
But still he thinks of missiles, particularly the one that’s missing.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people and other great creatures in the marvellous community of classified advertising.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Classy classie writer makes mark

THE Australian Newspaper History Group has reported: "The Bendigo Advertiser's ‘Strictly Classified’ column won an award for its marketing initiative in a field attracting entries from prestigious metropolitan titles, including the Age and South China Morning Post, to smaller regional dailies and free weekly papers across the entire Pacific region.
"Even before recognition of the column by the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association, the novel column concept had been picked up by others papers in the Rural Press network.
"Judges described the column by Sarah Harris as ‘effective and interesting’ because it delved into the personal and emotional motives behind advertisements appearing in the newspaper's classified section."
More on the Advertiser’s site, which ran the interesting picture, showing the paper has not only great writing but also impressive photographic talent.
Congratulations, Sarah, but please put your columns online to share them with the world.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Londoner prickles knees on Aussie weeds

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of Mill Field, part of the 849ha of "green spaces" in the London Borough of Barnet, from

THE prickly problem of the weed, bindii, has been so bad this spring that just about everyone and anyone has been yelling, "Ouch".
Even Redland Council, in its weekly column, has had a whinge about the bindii plague it said was gripping south-east Queensland lawns.
Although the council advised householders to seek counsel on suitable elimination, a Gardening Australia Online Forum appears to give "knife and bucket’ the vote as the best organic way to tackle bindii.
One forum blogger has recommended an early morning attack while the dew-drenched weeds stretch in the rising sun.
CAPALABA’s Dave Franklin certainly exercised his north London vocal cords on the dreaded bindii the other day.
"They prickled me knees, didn’t they," he said, with the thick brogue of the Borough of Barnet, after a gardening job at Ormiston.
With a business called Redrose Garden Services brandishing that frightfully British flower as its logo in our Gardening Services column, Dave is accustomed to a prickle or two after 20 years of gardening in two countries.
But the bindii is well worth complaining about. A Londoner apparently would not miss this plague for the world.
In fact, Dave could have been waiting for this moment after migrating about seven years ago as the husband of the former Vanessa Chalk, who grew up amid the then undoubtedly bindii-infested lawns of Capalaba but lived prickle free with her family in Barnet for some years.

THE couple already had a toddler when they moved to the Redlands and eldest son, Thomas, is now nine years old, with two brothers -- Alex, 4, and Nicholas, 3.
Dave not only is a career gardener offering a full range of services from "soft landscaping" to, you guessed it, "weed control" but also carries on a proud family tradition.
He says his dad, Tony, was a gardener for about 45 years, mainly in the "posh areas like Kensington and Chelsea", before an early retirement about six years ago.
The son admits his Redland client list lacks at least some of the status of dad’s customers, who included the Duke of Bedford, actor Ralph Fiennes, singer Leo Sayer and the odd business tycoon or two.
Dave says his parents travel to many countries, including Canada and the United States, where their two daughters now live. They get to Capalaba every 18 months to two years.

LET’s hope Tony is on the way. Dave says the boys have been complaining about the bindiis in the Franklins’ own lawn.
But Dave is resolute: "I’m not going to come home to work on my own place after taking care of everybody else’s weeds every damned day, am I?"
Maybe it’s because he’s a Londoner. When Tony’s here, they can sing that famous chorus in stereo with the lawn as their stage.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Talk replaces tackles in RL double header

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of Titans logo from wikipedia.

THE 2007 rugby league season is well and truly over but at least two more bursts of energy will come next month at Pinklands Sports Ground.
Redlands league fans will have two great events back to back on the evening of Wednesday, November 7, but with lots of talk replacing the tackles and tries.
The annual general meeting of the Redlands Junior Rugby League Club at 6pm will be a curtain raiser to the Redlands Leagues Club’s AGM at 7.15.
Both meetings are set to draw big crowds, with the sports arm in particular experiencing a huge increase in numbers.

JUNIORS registrar and secretary Sue Smith says the club, now the third largest junior league club in south-east Queensland, fielded 29 teams last season.
"We have had an influx of about 200 players in the past three years, making probably about 10 more teams," Sue says.
The club, now with about 580 players, failed this year to win a premiership for the first season in some years but Sue says achievements included grand final berths for three division-three sides – the under 13s, 15s and 18s -- and a runner-up trophy for the masters.
Sue says the State selection of under-14 lock forward Chris Gronvould for the second year in a row has also been a season highlight and the club’s players have benefited from special training sessions, as part of their club’s relationship with NRL newcomers, the Gold Coast Titans.
"We have a lot of talent and are really looking forward to Chris and the others moving up an age division with us next season," Sue says.

RUGBY league is a consuming interest at the Smith family’s Thornlands home.
Sue’s husband, Peter, plays wing with the masters and last season coached the under-12As, including son Justin in the forwards.
Justin’s brother, Daniel, was under-10s five-eighth.
Sue says she enjoys her work with the club, after three years as registrar, and has accepted nomination for her second term as secretary.
"Many of the people who have joined the club over the past few years have commented how friendly it is," she says.
"The grounds are spectacular."
Redlands Juniors have had their base at Pinklands since 1971.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people of the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Nissan Bluebird awaits truth after smash

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of 1986 Nissan Bluebird from wikipedia.

A TEENAGER’s first car always has a special place right near the heart.
Apprentice butcher Jason Gardiner was only 18 when he bought a 1985 Nissan Bluebird for $2000.
"We got it cheap from one of my aunty’s workmates," Jason says. "It’s old but it means a lot to me. It’s my means of entertainment, I guess."
The car now sits in the yard of Jason’s Nelson Street, Ormiston, home. He cannot drive it because a damaged guard on the rear passenger side rubs on the tyre.
Jason nursed the Bluebird home slowly, with his friends’ parents acting as escorts and providing flashing emergency lights, after an accident on Finucane Road, Alexandra Hills.
He says he had a green arrow to make a righthand turn to drop off the friend when a car coming in the opposite direction came through a red light and hit the Bluebird.

JASON says he was confused after the accident -- "I didn’t really know what happened."
But he says the other driver, a young man of ethnic appearance, said he was sorry, before police arrived and took notes.
Jason believes the other driver, who was "pretty shaken up too", showed some sort of international licence to the police.
"A woman who was following him stopped and told me she would be a witness for me," Jason says.
It seemed straightforward for Jason to claim his repairs against the other driver’s car insurance.
"His insurance company has told me he told them that I was in the wrong," Jason says.
"I thought I’d be able to get the witness’s name from the police but they told me at Cleveland station they don’t have any written report of police being there on the night."

THAT is why a notice has appeared in our classifieds, "Witness sought," appealing for "the lady that witnessed the accident" near the Alexandra Hills Hotel about 10pm on September 9.
Jason says his grandmother, Patrica Gardiner, also of Ormiston, placed the ad for him and also has loaned him her Mitsubishi sedan, which was getting him to his job at Victoria Point.
He says the emergency vehicle is a better car than his old Nissan but he would rather drive the Bluebird, which a panel-beater friend may repair, cheaply but still with some costs.
"I was in the right so I don’t think I should have to pay anything," Jason says.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rugby back runs with pizza

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from More on Redlands rugby on

OPPONENTS of the accomplished rugby club, the Redland Muddies, may spend the off-season worrying about what is in store next autumn when the 2008 season starts.
Some bright talent has been graduating from the under-19 colts grade to join the club’s senior ranks.
Amid the throng of the graduates, one bunch of players knows each other probably better than some know their own family.
They should be a coach’s dream come true, after they have played together for most of the past decade,
and they are itching to get together again to help the Muddies toward the 2008 senior premiership, after a late try by Ashgrove meant a grand final loss this season.

THE half-dozen or so rugby mates – former Ormiston College students -- know what it is like to perform in a climate of intense community interest and feel the big-game pressure.
Just imagine the electric atmosphere at Ormiston College in 2004, when its senior side won the TAS championship, and in 2005 when it was runner-up.
George Allison, of Cleveland, was a flanker in 04 and a winger in 05. He took a season off rugby in 2006 because of ankle tendon injuries but returned to the field this year with the Muddies colts, mainly as a winger but for the last two games in the halfback’s jersey.
George, now 19, brought his great love of rugby to the bayside in 1998 when his family – dad George, mum Estelle and their other son, Kenneth, now 17 -- migrated from South Africa.
After starting rugby training in their old home town, Port Shepstone, near Durban, George started at Ormiston College in Year 5 and went straight into its rugby program.

THAT is basically the group that has stuck together. Some, a little older, are already playing senior rugby, waiting for their mates to catch up.
George is modest about his rugby skills.
"I used to be quick – I was at my peak in grades 8, 9 and 10," he says. "The Muddies have some good players I’ll have to work my way up."
Nevertheless, customers of the Cleveland pizza shop Domino’s may have noticed some fancy footwork from George since he joined the group in January.
He does five shifts a week as he works toward a career in graphic design, after first studying construction management.
Domino’s is recruiting drivers. It says it pays above award wages, additional delivery fees and offers flexible hours to suit students, parents and people with diverse lifestyles.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Distinguished speechwriter offers service

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of the Alice St facade of Queensland Parliament House courtesy of wikipedia. Robert Hogan:

A SECURITY alarm went off during a recent scan of the Classifieds. An apparent trespasser lurked behind a notice in Positions Wanted.
The ad offered a service to "put words in your mouth".
Media savvy readers immediately will realise this was a red alert. Another journo was on my patch.
Not only that. This intruder had the cheek to put up "in lights" something we talk about in hushed tones over the murmur of a critical public that unfortunately expects sycophantic recording on one hand and tough independence on the other.
After a lifetime spent trying to get people to trust me not to put words in their mouth, I wasn't happy about a wordsmith promoting an image of a journalist doing just that.
But when I finally worked up the courage to dial the number and "have a go" at this brazen wordsmith, who dared to offer a speechwriting service, I heard the name, Robert Hogan, and I remembered how some people need to have words put in their mouths.

ROBERT Hogan, now semi-retired at Victoria Point, was one of the key spin doctors for three Premiers and eight cabinet ministers.
If anyone can put words in people's mouths, it's Robert. Sorry, I ever thought there was an issue in there somewhere. I now realise I certainly "don't need to worry about that".
We can only imagine the tough task that Robert faced when he joined the ranks of government media officers, speechwriters and ministerial advisers after a distinguished career in news reporting and production, including eight years with ABC Queensland radio and television.
He was right behind the grins and snarls on the face of government for a long time and he is unapologetic about putting words in political mouths.

NOW his skills are available to anyone who faces a worrying speech, media release or help with promotional material or annual reports.
But where I sit, I'm checking the for-sale ads for something to write about, trying to find a story lead from the public notices and scanning the job ads.
Actually, that's where this column started.
You may think it's a long way from the important daily news grind where history's made. But it's not that far.
After all, I met Robert Hogan in this marvellous community of classified advertising, didn't I?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Volunteer contributes to museum vision

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image courtesy

SENIORS have an image of grappling with technology – as in Telstra’s recent launch this week of its ‘grey’ education campaign – but Cleveland’s Norm Dean, 75, is in it up to his eyeballs, converting videos from the Redland Museum’s archives to DVDs.
Norm’s passion for the present meets respect for the past as he performs each conversion on his computer to make the historic vision more accessible for public enjoyment.
The former Revesby, Sydney, refrigeration expert who moved with wife Barbara in 1982 to Alexandra Hills estimates he is about halfway through the voluntary project, which includes sound and vision editing, addition of titles and disk labelling.
He has already created at least half a dozen DVDs. Some are from old film that was copied to video and includes footage of the 1974-94 Strawberry Festivals.

NORM enjoyed working on Hometown Efforts, which details Redlands’ defence activities during World War Two and presentations about steam power and a Redland trip to the Ipswich rail museum.
One of his pleasures in joining the museum team has been meeting his namesake, another Norm Dean, who was museum co-founder – "Norm was declared a national treasure and I had long wanted to meet him."
The technical Norm’s use of video and computer management of vision and sound dates from the early 1980s, after he left his refrigeration trade for a job near home, looking after Vienna Woods State Primary School grounds.
"About six months after the school opened they bought a video camera and I recorded all the school’s special occasions like graduations and sports days for 13 years I worked there," he says.
"I and put it all in the library."
Norm had a longstanding interest in still photography and had recorded Windsor speedway events for two years.

HIS first computer was a Commodore in the 1980s and he has upgraded about five times, most recently about 18 months ago when he commissioned an Alexandra Hills computer firm to put a box together.
"I wouldn’t have a clue about Excel or anything like that," he says. "I’m comfortable with sound and video."
Norm and Barbara recently featured in a Classified ad that their daughter, Sue Stewart, placed for their 50th wedding anniversary.
The couple started a trend back in the 1980s. Sue, her elder sister Jennifer and their brother, Peter, followed their parents to the bayside. Sydney neighbours moved here too.
Norm says Jennifer now lives at Wynnum and Peter, who worked with Redland Shire Council on Macleay Island, recently joined Maryborough City Council.
Norm’s eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren undoubtedly have star roles in a lot of his own DVD collection.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Wasp Man haunts artist

Before the next post returns to the primary focus on the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising, this image may interest art lovers.

A MAN sacrifices his identity for the sake of one of the most feared and despised insects – the wasp. How’s that for the plot of a horror thriller?
The surreal image of The Wasp Man sprang from collaboration between human and nature as sculptor Jenny Rumney modelled a clay character study for possible casting in bronze.
While the clay was drying in Jenny’s studio before the next production stage, wasps took a liking to the surface and quickly smothered the face with mud nests.
"The wasps started work when the clay dried and it must have been a day’s work for them -- one day I looked at the sculpture and saw the results of their industry," Jenny says.
Jenny first considered the insects had damaged her work but then recognised their contribution to her creative process.

SHE fired and glazed the clay, wasp nests and all, to create her latest work, The Wasp Man, bearing a slight resemblance to the Invisible Man, an Egyptian mummy or the star of a classic horror movie but destined to be a signature piece for the artist from Russell Island in southern Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia.
Jenny has made a mould of The Wasp Man to allow its affordable reproduction in the material of choice, whether metal, resin or other appropriate medium.
She can supply a wax of the sculpture to allow cheap and easy transport of the design to the buyer’s choice of foundry, anywhere in the world.

JENNY is also happy to manage the production process and ship the final casting (in whatever medium) if that is preferred. POA. Inquiries to More about Jenny’s sculptures on

FOOTNOTE: Thinking about the ‘write-off ‘ in the introduction to this article, I realised that Jenny, married to me, has her place in the marvellous community just as the many connections you’ll see in any story I have found in the Classies over decades. Browse through more than 100 posts to date -- I hope you enjoy the read as much as I have enjoyed the discovery and writing. More interesting stories are waiting to be told!

Friday, August 24, 2007

From HMAS Melbourne to dinner table

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne ahead of the USS Midway in the background, courtesy wikipedia. History of the Melbourne available on Navy site.

SOME interesting conversation has floated over the dinner table in the Passage Street, Cleveland, duplex that has been home to retired fire safety officer Ross Cameron for the past eight years.
Born in the south-west Queensland town of Dirranbandi, where his dad managed the Telegraph Hotel, Ross made a significant contribution to fire safety training during his career that spanned more than 30 years.
Ross was 17 when he joined the Navy in 1953.
He was a leading-hand stoker when assigned to the massive engine room on the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

ROSS will never forget the night an aircraft crashed during pilot training.
"We were going full ahead into the wind for the aircraft but it landed in the water and we had to go from full ahead to full astern, basically into reverse," he says.
"When you do that all the pipes expand and just about blow up. They got the pilot out but the aircraft sank pretty quickly."
After his discharge from the Navy in 1962, Ross worked as engine driver on a barge dredging the Brisbane River at Bulwer Island before a 19-year stint with the airport fire service at Brisbane.
He spent four years based in Papua New Guinea on secondment to its civil aviation authority to train indigenous airport fire officers and was the last of the foreign support contingent to leave Port Moresby in 1972 on completion of the task.

PRIVATE companies headhunted most of the newly trained officers and in 1974 Ross was again seconded for another two years to train more.
Another of the major entries on Ross’s CV was that of fire safety inspector during construction of Tarong power station in the early 1980s. He also was the power station’s fire safety officer during its early operational years.
He later worked with a national emergency training company, First 5 Minutes, for eight years and was general manager before he opted for an early retirement 13 years ago. But then he went back to work after buying a convenience store opposite Toombul rail station.

ROSS says he was exhausted after five years in the shop so sold up and moved to Cleveland to be closer to family at Capalaba.
He received a free for-sale notice in our Classifieds for a 1.2-metre round dining table and four chairs ($60) and 52cm colour television with remote ($50).
Ross says the duplex he rents is on the market and he is preparing to rent "something smaller".
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Clients receive VIP treatment

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image: The rebranded VIP trailers.

A BLOKE from Redcliffe landed the star role in the recent image revamp of national property maintenance gang VIP Home Services.
However, Redlanders should not feel left out of the company’s push, even though a face from the other side of the bay flashes the VIP message from its trailers and promotional material.
Six of more than 100 VIP Queensland franchisees service the southern bayside region including the Redlands.
If you haven’t seen them toiling away around houses, unit blocks and businesses in your area, you probably have noticed their distinctive bright green "rebranded" trailers in the burgeoning traffic of the shire that apparently is about to become a "city".

AT least two VIP vehicles don’t have far to travel far for their Redland jobs. Two franchises are based at Victoria Point; the operators are Geoff Carter and Kevin and Merryn Holden.
They are part of a regional team that also includes Graeme and Sharon O’Donnel, Marcello Gordano and Rodney West.
When launching the new corporate image in June, VIP chairman Bill Vis said the group was "so much more than a collection of little businesses".
"It is a company founded on the simple principle of real people delivering real solutions aimed at enhancing the quality of life of our customers," he said.
"In rethinking our visual identity, we realised the most important thing to us is our commitment to developing and maintaining strong relationships with the people who use VIP -- we wanted to put a human face on the business," he said.

ADVERTISERS should note this tip from a business that started with a small suburban lawnmowing round in 1972 and developed into one of the most successful franchises in Australia and New Zealand, claiming a turnover of more than $70 million a year.
Bill says turnover is rising an average of 10 percent a year.
Last year, this column reported on the successful advertising strategy of Mount Cotton painter Tim Thompson who used a highly personal approach to his Trade Services notice, making five promises -- 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.
Honesty in saying something from the heart as well as the head seems to work for businesses at all levels and most times it comes with recognition a customer is a very important person (VIP).

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

'Air con' man turns on heat for cousins' arrival

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

A SPECIAL prize awaited Birkdale new dad Dave Neal after the recent birth of a son, Cody.
It was a "bottle of grappa" from Dave’s father-in-law, Nev Wright. Here’s the story behind the bottle:
Dave and Karryn, the elder daughter of Nev and his wife, Robyn, married in April 2006.
The Cleveland wedding came just five months after the North Stradbroke marriage of Nev and Robyn’s younger daughter Leanne to Damian Stewart.
Last spring Nev called his sons-in-law together for a "heart to heart".
Nev laid down the law, saying he and Robyn had suffered a long wait -- through 37 years of their own marriage – to have the joy of grandparenthood. The father of the first grandchild would get a suitable reward, a bottle of genuine Italian grappa.

ROBYN says she was shocked at how seriously the "boys" took up the challenge. After pregnacies were confirmed down the track, it seems the first conception occurred just five days after Nev’s talk.
Who wanted the grappa the most? It’s enough here to know that, when the little hearts started beating, the speculation of who would arrive first was a consuming focus for the extended family that centres on Nev and Robyn’s Barron Road home.
Cody Neal eased the tension when he was born on July 6, before Haydan Stewart followed up on July 12. Both were born in the Mater Private Hospital.
The Wright home certainly is quite a hub, with Karryn and Leanne now having their own families living in Birkdale right near where they grew up together.

NEV and Robyn’s property has another role, as the base for their firm, Lemine Pty Ltd, which supplies, installs, services and maintains air-conditioning systems.
The Wrights have been great supporters of classified advertising – with weekly notices running in our Trade Services section for 15 years.
The competition for the bottle of wine has been a distraction while the firm, which employs 10 people, has been "flat out".
A lot of joy was evident when Robyn announced in The Redland Times’ Birth Notices: "Our first grandchildren".
Nev and Robyn, by the way, were childhood sweethearts, who grew up in Belmont and moved just a few kilometres across the council border to build their family in the Redlands.
Robyn says they have no plans to move. With Cody and Haydan so close, we can understand that!

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hay comes north for bayside stock

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Picture (RJ Burling 1999), courtesy of, shows the Carroll village.

A SMALL advertisement under the heading, Livestock, reflects the rich rural heritage of the Redlands where the focus is now mainly on providing housing and business opportunities for the population boom.
The ad offers "hay for sale … Capalaba area".
Alan Myers admits he hasn’t been besieged with buyers for the truckload of prime lucerne hay he is offering at $30 a bale.
"It comes from New South Wales," he says. "There’s a surplus down there and a shortage up here so I thought I’d see if I could sell some for my cousin.
"Well, he’s my cousin by marriage; he’s a good bloke.
"This is the first load."

ALAN says the grower is Noel Swain, running the family cattle property at Carroll, between Tamworth and Gunnedah.
After a lifetime of working on farms, Alan, 58, heads down to the property at every opportunity to help Noel with the hard tasks of cattle and crop production.
Alan spent his first 12 years in the Tamworth district before his parents, Ray and Gladys Myers, bought five acres (two hectares) in Russell Street, Cleveland, "right next to where the high school is now".
The couple had nine children, five of whom came north to the bayside in 1961, Alan says.
He went to work on small crop farms after his education at Cleveland – "the primary and high schools used to be in one back then".
The farms included the Long Street property of Doug and Eddie Burns.
Alan says his dad, who was a foreman on the council for many years, died last year at 80 years old and his mum now lives at Yarraman in the South Burnett.
All these years down the track, Alan works as a firefighter at Cleveland station but obviously is still a country boy at heart.

THE Redlands was "all farmland" when he came here almost a half century ago, and the load of hay would have been gobbled up in a hurry.
Nowadays, it may be slower to move but Alan’s confident the wait will be worth it.
"It’s prime lucerne hay – it’s good feed for any stock," he says.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Golf club gets its rules right

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from

IMPORTANT paperwork capped off a busy financial year for Redland Bay Golf Club treasurer Peter Tucker and a small team that updated the club’s constitution.
A public notice in our Classifieds announced the special general meeting that adopted the draft on June 26 for submission to the Office of Fair Trading for official approval.
Peter chaired the committee with the brief to modernise the document, which Peter says was first written about 30 years ago and gathered "band-aids" over the years.
Club member and lawyer John Stoner donated his time to prepare the draft update, considering the Queensland model rules and the club’s individual circumstances.

"NOW we will have a constitution that you can actually read – sectionalised and indexed," Peter says.
"Bits were added and taken out over the years but related items were not changed and some of the references, such as to caddies and loose-leaf ledgers, needed a good tidy up.
"We haven’t changed it but have made it clearer and easy to read."
Club constitutional updates sometimes relate to internal politics but Peter says no specific issues were involved.
"The lack of controversy made it difficult to get the required numbers at the special general meeting," he says.
"This wasn’t something that fired people up.
"We had to adjourn the first attempt because we didn’t get a quorum and we only had about 30 members at the second, which isn’t a lot from a total of about 1500 members."

NEVERTHELESS, Peter hopes the approval will take effect before the club’s annual general meeting late next month because "now we will have a document that can actually be updated if anyone wants to do that."
Concurrent with the attention to such detail, the club has celebrated another major update, he says. "In the past year we have spent $200,000 modernising the clubhouse – now we have a fully operational function room for about 120 guests.
"Previously, a portion of the clubhouse had to close during functions so we have now given the clubhouse back to the membership and have additional poker machines."

THANKS for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

'Mile high' means on the nose in airforce speak

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

THE Redlands must have seemed like a quiet backwater when Stephen and Karen Graham moved here 14 years ago after Stephen’s discharge from the air force.
He had been in uniform for 22 years and had flown around the world. Time for a rest? Not quiet.
Since their arrival at Alexandra Hills in 1994, the Grahams have been busy with their business, Always Professional Catering and Party Hire.
Stephen completed an apprenticeship under some classy Brisbane chefs before he joined the air force. He went on to be a warrant officer and head chef for nine years at the air force catering training school at Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Along the way, he even taught the air force stewardesses how to cook fresh fish for dignitaries in a VIP jet – without any permeating stench.

ON the ground, Stephen probably made his biggest contribution to the air force’s reputation for fine food.
"I said we can beat any chef in the world and started the air force in competition work," he says.
A three-time Salon Culinaire chef of the year, Stephen also received other awards including Australia’s best three-course main meal, ice sculpture, sugar centrepiece and chocolate carving.
His specialties now include weddings. Stephen gets excited talking about the special assignments.
"I have carved half-tonne ice sculptures in two hours but you should see the sugar centrepieces, like the basket of roses – it’s all made of toffee and it’s 150 degrees when you work with it."

NOW you know why life has not been all that quiet for the Grahams in recent years. Always Professional keeps busy with freelance catering for weddings, corporate functions and sit-down dinners.
Stephen refuses to use "anything that’s frozen". He reckons other chefs have told him he is a nutcase but he takes pride in his obsession with using the best ingredients, properly prepared, in everything the business serves.
He credits his grounding with a Danish master pastry chef, Carlo Marlo, and other chefs from Germany, France, Switzerland and Holland for forming his career.
"They were very tough with me but to this day I have the greatest respect for those guys," Stephen says.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pool bliss on way to end blizzard blues

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from

THE winter chill has frozen the thought of swimming out of most minds but the bliss of the freedom from weighty everyday ground-based hassles drives many of us through to spring.
A ‘lap zombie’ is tickling the keyboard right here this winter. And the respect for the health benefits of swimming led me this week to a Victoria Point couple with pool water in their veins.
Jill Morrison advertised in our Fast Find Services when the mercury was certainly up a few notches. Canadian-born Jill spent the warmer months giving private and group swimming lessons "at your home".
The venture has helped keep her busy while husband Jason Scofield worked as the Royal Life Saving Society’s State training and development officer, based at Gumdale.
The couple arrived in the Redlands last winter after five years in Toyko, where they met in 2002 while both were swimming instructors.

THAT same year, Jason, who grew up on the NSW south coast, and Jill, hailing from Edmonton, married in the Toshoji Buddhist temple.
They established their own swim school, teaching mainly the "ex-pats" of 17 nationalities. After having a few trips to Australia, the couple decided to move here and picked south-east Queensland mainly because
Jason’s cousins live in the region.
After renting for a few months in the Redlands, they bought at Victoria Point
Jason says he has a tough battle sticking to the Buddhist principles in contemporary bayside suburbia but Jill is having better success at this, having refreshed her understanding by visiting Japan.

SO there! All those who think lap swimming is a mindless pastime can note where it has led me – deep into
a community of interest enriched by experience in cultures far from our chilly winter.
Jill and Jason, of course, are a cut above the average obsessed freestyle "splashers".
Jason is now developing a business including livesaving, first aid and CPR for corporations and any private individuals who need the skills.
"A lot of companies require their employees to have these skills so it is a hot business at the moment,’ he says.

NOW 32, Jason was a Shellharbour City Council lifeguard before his Japan stint. Also in the surf club scene, he trained and competed with Coledale on the Wollongong northern beach strip.
Jason is yet to decide a business name but he reckons the announcement could be close and opportunities are arising for his skill set.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Dog loss is too much 'to Bear'

Three "bear stories" in three months. That’s probably enough to qualify for a Bearophile Award. Previously Classie Corner has brought you heart-warming tales about cuddly little stuffed toys. Now, from this week’s Redland Times (Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia), comes a heart breaker about a boy and his dog. Don’t worry – you’ll soon find out more about the bear connection.
Image from

THE sad scenes that resulted from the departure of a much-loved pet to a new home have etched their place into the history of a young Wellington Point family.
Mother-of-two Debbee Wessling won’t easily forget her energetic toddler son, Tayhvin, traumatised and trying to climb into a stranger’s car to go with his best mate, a lovable german shepherd-collie cross called Bear.
And when the horrible reality of losing Bear sank in, Tayhvin showed his grief and frustration in the awesome way that toddlers do.
"It broke my heart," Debbee says. "He just bawled his eyes out. It took about five minutes to get him into the house and I managed to distract him.
"I think I did it with a book – he loves books."
THE bright side of the visit by that mysterious woman from somewhere in the Redlands – at least, from within a short drive of the Wellington Point address – was that Bear immediately took a liking to his new family.
Undoubtedly, he now bestows his love on her little kids instead of Debbie’s.
"Good guard dog and with kids," said the notice in the new Giveaways section of our Classifieds. There was nothing false about the advertising.
"The lady had two small children with her and they came in to have a look at Bear," Debbee says. "He went up to the little girl straight away and licked her."
Bear was just a little pup when Debbee decided to look for the right canine as a special Father’s Day gift for Tayhvin’s dad, Bruce Beavan.
She says she asked their property agency if the family – eight-month-old daughter Zarkhiya completes the clan – could have a dog in the rented home.
"THE agency asked me to put the request in an email but after I sent it no one got back to me and when the time ran out I thought everything must have been okay," Debbee says.
"When I got Bear from the pound he was just so fluffy, with big floppy ears and brindle-type stripes that he could have only one name."
When the landlord eventually said no, Debbee and Bruce tried to break the bad news to Tayhvin gently and gradually but in the end it appears nothing would have helped convince him to part with the dog easily.
Debbee has printed pictures of Bear and stuck them on the boy’s bedroom wall so they are still together in spirit.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people and other creatures in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Want a bird? Get a goldfish!

This story has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

THE early mornings have been unusually tranquil for the past few weeks around a certain Cleveland home.
Amelia Soutar can now sleep peacefully past dawn.
For most of the past seven years, Amelia was resigned to a rude awakening at first light as a cacophony of birds welcomed each new day.
"They would get going at full throttle at dawn – I just had enough of it," she says.

AN aviary behind Amelia’s Coburg Steet West house where the nine feathered alarm clocks kept up their avian antics is now empty. And Amelia could not be happier.
She thanks The Redland Times Classifieds for helping her toward a beak-free lifestyle.
Amelia advertised "Peach Face Bird to give away; must go" but she actually had nine.
"The first call came at a quarter to seven (on publication day)," she says. "It was a lady from Victoria Point and she took the lot.
"I was still getting calls two weeks later. From the ad I had at least 10 calls. Even a little girl called, wanting a bird, and I felt like going out and buying one for her."

AMELIA says she tried to give away the birds away about two years ago but "no one wanted them".
The new owner of the flock appears to have saved a decent sum, as the species, often called "peach-faced lovebird" is a popular pet.
However, Amelia believes she has not given away a handful of cash as much as a bucket of work.
"Birds take a lot of looking after – keeping the cage clean, supplying the seed and giving them fresh water every day," she says.
"The price of seed has been going up. You have to give them other sorts of food too. I gave the peachfaces apples and parsely.
"And the birds attract snakes, mice and rats. We have had a couple of snakes here over the years."
Amelia says birds can also be a hindrance to a happy holiday. A family member enlisted a young person to look after his aviary for a few weeks.
But he returned to find his beloved birds had died. The carer had not cared enough to fill their water tank. Birds drink a lot, Amelia says.

SHE says a woman thinking of getting a bird for her children recently asked what was a good species.
"About all I could say was the best species of bird is called goldfish," Amelia says.
After all this, we hope the beneficiary of Amelia’s "giveaway" notice does not appear back in Coburg Street West with a car full of creatures that drink, eat and poo 24/7, and do most of their communicating when the average human simply wants to sleep.

THANKS for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Time is worth more than money

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

THE first year in business often has the status as the most important so special greetings are in order for one of our Fast Find Services community.
Running Errands, the service-oriented firm of Victoria Point’s Louise Denisenko, is about to celebrate its first anniversary.
"Relax … we’ll do it for you" has become the catchcry for the mother-of-two, who has long known the value of time management.
Louise shared some of her observations in a series of articles this year in our Redland lifestyle magazine, d’fine, telling readers, "Time is really more valuable than money."
On the money side of that equation, Louise began a career in foreign exchange banking in the Brisbane CBD and later was a consultant with the Commonwealth Bank in Cleveland.

ONE of her first jobs was in the Queensland Performing Arts Centre function centre and she also worked in recent years at Sirromet Winery.
All her experience came together in her own business, after she saw wider social implications from the business and government trend of "outsourcing".
Louise’s vision of a society making heavier demands on people’s personal, as well as business, time coincided with international recognition of the need for service and a national focus on the work-family-leisure balance.
She says the service support industry has boomed in the United States with a proliferation of firms like hers.
Louise offers dozens of services from simple bill paying and shopping to gathering quotes and organising events.
"At the moment, I have three jobs on the go," she says. "A lady who has gone to Italy for five weeks has employed me to collect her mail, feed her fish, water her plants and check on her house.
"Another lady who has moved from the Gold Coast sought my support for home organisation and sorting a lot of paperwork and files.
"I have also just helped put the finishing touches to Wizard Home Loans’ new office in the Victoria Point cinema complex and I am now organising a business dinner for them."

DESPITE operating a growing small business Louise still manages to get through her own family chores, with husband Michael on shiftwork in IT (information technology). The couple has two children, Emily, 7, and Matthew, 9.
The philosophy of "Nothing is really difficult – every day is different" undoubtedly applies 24/7 in the Denisenko household.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. Classie Corner appears in The Redland Times on Friday.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Road of life leads to Moreton Bay island

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from

A MARVELLOUS sense of freedom comes to mind when Redlands "lifer" Neville Rogers discusses his 16 months plying the east coast in Australia’s growing class of grey nomads.
"You are living your dream," Neville says.
"We looked forward to the experience for 10 years.
"I think the freedom was the real highlight."
Four years ago Neville and wife Dawn "sold up everything" and headed off in their 100 Series Landcruiser, with tinny on top and 22ft (6.7m) Jayco Heritage caravan in tow.
They travelled the Queensland coast and ventured south to Evans Head.
IF all had gone to plan the couple, who ran Rogers Menswear in Wynnum from 1977 to 97, would be now in a convoy of three caravans, sharing the freedom with good mates.
The couple upgraded last year to a 20ft (6.1m) Paramount Delta II. However, they reevaluated their plans after the mates met changes in their lives and withdrew from the trip.
Neville and Dawn then decided to consolidate their investments in property without wheels.
A dot on the Moreton Bay map drew their interest. The couple bought a block on Lamb Island and is preparing for the delivery of a removal home.
To help finance the project, the Rogers sold their boat, outboard motor, trailer, roof racks and the Paramount, which had travelled only 50km. All these sales came from advertising in the Times and Bayside Bulletin over the past fortnight.
THE result has delighted Neville, who is very familiar with the power of your local Rural Press newspapers.
He and Dawn lived at Thornside for 20 years before a stint at Alexandra Hills from 2000 to 03.
They are now back at Victoria Point but also house sitting.
Neville grew up in a family with eight kids at Birkdale.
Despite the profound changes to the scenery since the 40s and 50s, Neville says his main memory is of the TV-free culture, when the whole family would tune in for the long-running radio serial Blue Hills.
"Seven of us are left now and we try to get together each Boxing Day," he says.
"I have told them they’ll be with us on Lamb Island this year."
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on the links at right of page.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kevin Rudd draws blank on taxi drivers

This story has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from Australian Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's House of Representatives page.

THE Redlands and indeed much of the nation is pondering two major questions just now.
Does Kevin Rudd have the ticker to keep up the momentum and push John Howard out of office? And, perhaps with equal importance: When will the rain come to fill the dams?
At one time, the political journos always had a means to stay in touch with opinions of the masses.
They would simply yarn with their cab driver as they filled in a publisher’s voucher on the way from bar to bed, and a day or so later the inspiration would appear in print, sometimes even with the driver giving thumbs up or down from a big photo.

THE tradition, however, has been dwindling. Sadly for some, taxi drivers are saying "no comment" or "I will neither confirm nor deny" when asked a curly one on politics.
But the neutral responses do not reflect "political correctness" as much as the training that cab drivers receive nowadays.
Politics, religion and a few other sensitive subjects are off the agenda for drivers with the Capalaba taxi management firm Belker.
Belker, with a depot on Redland Bay Road, Capalaba, runs about 20 Yellow cabs, employing about 50 drivers.
The firm’s trainers at least leave the weather off the "don’t go there" list when they run their courses every few weeks.
Recruiting through our Classifieds, Belker has spots in its two-shift roster. Drivers can work from 3-4am to 3-4pm or vice versa.
The operation works on two divisions, one for "city" cabs and the other bayside.

OFFICE manager Robyn Fowler, who joined the firm in November, loves the "hustle and bustle" of such a service industry after commuting from her Birkdale home to a health products company at Nudgee.
And now she can even get a cab home.
Robyn actually has her own taxi licence to let her stay in touch with the firm’s on-road presence, and regrets she did not experience the industry sooner.
The emphasis on professionalism over the years has attracted more women cab drivers, she says. The Belker roster now lists seven women drivers, one of whom does a night shift. Such a 14 percent component would compare with a minute figure a decade or so ago.
Robyn says one of the benefits of cab driving is choosing a shift and the amount of work that suits personal needs, with a lot of semi-retired people topping up their weekly budget with a shift or two.

THANKS for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on the archive links at right of page.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ancient mainframe found 'under pavers'

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image of Burroughs mainframe computer disc farm from Ernie’s Delta Pictures.

THE project has been about a decade in the making but at last the Hindley family can sit back and enjoy a newly renovated patio.
The breakthrough featured in the Times’ Classifieds last week, with the Hindleys offering 20sq m of pavers, ready for loading – and free. Secondhand pavers are always a hot commodity in the For Sale column even with a price tag, so Andy Hindley’s phone rang hot with about 15 callers.
As the first caller loaded his trailer on Friday morning, another in the grip of paver fever dropped in on the off chance the rival did not front.
The householders were pleased to see the trailer’s symbolic departure down the driveway, marking the long-awaited end of an era at the Thornlands home.

UNDER this pile of pavers is yet another Redlands’ business success story. Work pressures meant Andy and his wife Val kept putting off the patio concreting.
In the early 1980s, Andy was working with Smith’s Crisps in London as an operator on a Burroughs mainframe computer – "it was as big as a house and needed three people to run it" – before he and Val took a world trip, visiting Andy’s sister down under and touring the east coast for six months.
"When we got back to London it was cold and raining so we applied to emigrate to Australia," Andy says.
"The application took nine months but we arrived here in early 1982."
In 1983, the couple settled at Alexandra Hills, and soon welcomed their first daughter, Zara, now 21. They later lived at Alexandra Hills and had another daughter, Emma, now 17, before the family moved to Thornlands.

ANDY and Val had already started a home-based business, making leather belts for markets but they then set up Bayside Belts, to supply leather belts for school uniforms.
Andy obtained the first order for 36 belts from Nudgee College.
Today, Bayside Belts supplies about 100 schools in four States, selling its products direct to the schools and through uniform retailers.
That’s why the patio project had to wait.
"When you run a small business from home, it can be hard to get spare time," Andy says.
"There is a lot happening in business at homes nowadays and it’s not something you can see.
"A lot of the activity is hidden away."

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wayward Eagles star in new 'bear hunt'

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from West Coast Eagles Store.

THINGS just haven’t been the same at the Malone household at Alexandra Hills since Easter.
Life continues under a cloud for Katrina and John Malone and their four kids after a valued member of the family went missing.
The youngest, Naython, 2, feels the absence most. Mum says the boy will utter, "Need Eagles, need Eagles."
She has tried everything she can think of to find his favourite soft toy, a 20cm Eagles bear, representing the West Coast's AFL premiers.
The bear, with the famous blue, white and yellow jersey, went missing at Cleveland Showground while the Malones, members of the congregation at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, enjoyed the Easter festival.

KATRINA says she made about 30 phone calls tracking down the team that cleaned up.
"I managed to get hold of the last people who were on the site but they said there were only a couple of pairs of thongs and a backpack," she says.
She also posted notices at shopping centres and St Anthony’s and St Luke’s churches and, of course, advertised in our Classifieds, but without result.
"Naython has had Eagles bears since he was six months but the new ones have different fur and unfortunately are not what he likes," Katrina says.
"This one has satin shorts with a hole where he hangs on."
Naython especially misses his bear while he watches his favourite DVD, Disney Cars.
Katrina, who grew up in Northam, near York in Western Australia, is an avid Eagles fan. John, hailing from Blackall in Queensland, backs the Lions.

THE couple met in Papua New Guinea when Katrina’s dad was working for Telstra and John, who operates Malone Plumbing, was completing a contract on transportable houses.
They married 15 years ago in St Anthony’s and made the Redlands their home.
Before his second birthday last autumn, Naython had a prime seat on dad’s lap at the Gabba to see the Eagles beat the Lions at home on their rise to glory.
Katrina will long remember how the baby waved his bear in John’s face and chanted "Go Eagles" at every match highlight.
The Malones are a spiritual bunch, with the eldest son, Justin, 14, reading during mass.
Let’s hope St Anthony, reportedly good at finding things, hears their prayers.
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Star soprano to sing 'Happy Birthday'

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image: Cor Frederiks’ book.

THE countdown to a special birthday party is under way.
The November 10 party at Sirromet Winery will be one to remember, with performances by the district’s star soprano, Mirusia Louwerse, and accomplished bagpipers including Roddy MacDonald, of Wellington Point.
Birthday boy Cor Frederiks is already excited, with his 80th still months away.
"Eighty means nothing – I have another 20 years to go," says the Cleveland accountant. "A lot of very prominent people have been extremely productive in their eighties and nineties.
"You’ll find a list of them in my book."

THE Money Bible, which Cor published in 1998, lists politicians, writers, artists and church identities, aged 80 to 100, under the heading, "You’re never too old!"
The chapter may give a clue to Cor’s birthday guest list.
"If you are dealing with negative people you will be dragged down to their level," he writes.
"Only cultivate friendships with people who are more positive than you are … it will rub off."
Who could possibly be more positive than Cor Frederiks, opening new offices for his accountancy practice this year and serving as Redlands Christian Businessmen’s Network treasurer and on the Redlands Christian Reform Church property committee? Then enjoying music, stamps, coins, paintings and social golf?
Cor says the achievements of his six children and 11 grandchildren – and the birth of a great-grandchild last month – are most important in his busy life. "I have taught them the value of money and how to save," he says.

THE lesson comes from values formed in his birthplace, the Netherlands, during the Great Depression and World War Two, during which Cor was a wireless operator on a Dutch destroyer under allied command.
He came to Australia to study theology in 1951 but ended up with an accountancy degree from Queensland University.
Cor first practised at Moorooka in the mid 1950s. In 1977 he bought a cattle property near Longreach and lived there for a decade, moving to Thornlands after selling the property in 1987.
Before starting his Cleveland practice in 1991, Cor worked voluntarily with the Haggai Instiute, promoting evangelism in the third world.
He now devotes his life to "helping people maximise their potential" with a philosophy based on Christian principles.

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