Friday, October 24, 2008

Seniors prepare for major move

SURPRISINGLY little work has occurred on the old workbench that featured in the Classifieds for just $40.
The vendor, Edgar Parnell, 77, of Victoria Point, estimated the bench was about 100 years old.
He said he had used it "only once or twice" in the half century since his granddad, Coorparoo stone mason Ted Batstone, had given it to him.
At the time of the gift, Edgar and his bride, Daphne, had been making their first home.
"I can remember it (the bench) when I was a little kid but I never saw my grandfather use it," Ed said.
"I would have asked him for it. We bought a new place at Mount Gravatt and I wanted to build a kitchen."

AFTER growing up at Camp Hill, Ed became a fitter and turner. When he married, he had already started a teaching career in 1955 and was guiding manual arts students of Brisbane Industrial High School.
The home workbench played a minor role as Ed’s love of teaching took him to Yeronga TAFE, where he was a technical teacher until he retired in 1988.
"I built the kitchen and that was about it – the bench was used only to put all the rubbish on since," he said.
The bench went through several changes of address. The couple lived at Cleveland for about 10 years before moving to Victoria Point in 1997.
Ed said the sale was part of their preparation to move to a retirement village.

THEIR mates at Cleveland Probus Club need not worry about losing them to another area. The Redlands has a stake in Ed’s heart. He came here often during his childhood -- his dad, Arthur, was a proud son of a prominent Wellington Point family.
Ed and Daphne have had a busy week. They went to a Cleveland High School music night on Wednesday to see performances by their grandson and granddaughter, Daniel and Jillian Tuckwood.
Daphne is proud of their musical ability. Six decades ago, when she was just eight years old, she debuted on church organ during Sunday school at St Luke’s, Ekibin, and she was the organist at St Bartholomew’s, Mt Gravatt, before the couple moved to Cleveland and Daphne became the organist at St Paul’s.

NOWADAYS at St Paul’s, Daphne’s daughter, Gayle Tuckwood, joins her on the flute.
"My son, David, is a professional drummer and his son, Matthew, also was a professional drummer but he’s more into movie production now," Daphne said.
"David and Carol’s daughter, Emma, played clarinet at high school. She is now working for a government minister."
Daphne said recent family highlights had included the first wedding anniversary for Emma and their new grandson-in-law, Mark. But yesterday was special – it was Ed and Daphne’s 49th wedding anniversary.

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

Friday, October 17, 2008

Music keeps family on move

Image of Christine Burke from Folk Redlands.

THE musical term "allegro" – meaning a brisk and lively tempo – applies right through the lives of Victoria Point couple Christine and Patrick Burke.
The Burkes, who are about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, keep reaching new highs as mainstays of the Redlands’ musical community.
Christine was a student of Our Lady’s College at Annerley and Patrick attended St Laurence’s College, South Brisbane, when they met in the mid-1980s.
They soon formed a top-40 band, Soft Edges, and kept the teamwork going through the years in a string of bands including Late Edition and Thornlands, taking the name of the suburb where the couple settled on acreage.
In the mid-90s they set up a recording studio in a shed on their property -- beginning a Redlands music institution.

THE name, The Sound Shed, moved in 2000 to Capalaba, where the Burkes opened a much-needed music shop, supplying instruments, amplifiers, sheet music and all the equipment that professional and amateur musicians need to pursue their consuming interests.
The couple has just ended a highly successful sale to mark the shop’s eighth anniversary, which they promoted in the Classifieds.
Maton, Takamine and Tanglewood guitars, as well as Jordin student electric guitars and Lag acoustics, and Mapex drums were among the bargains during the six-week-long sale, Christine says.
But the retail "face" of The Sound Shed represents a diverse business, which also employs as many as nine music teachers, has about 500 registered students, conducts programs in schools and offers a wide range of sound production services.

CHRISTINE says Patrick has had a hectic spring with the business providing sound systems, lighting and engineering support for five venues during the Redlands Spring Festival.
Patrick’s schedule has also included operating the Redland Bay turf farm and landscaping business, SOS Turf, which he formerly ran in partnership with his dad, John, now retired.
Despite all the pressures of business, Christine and Patrick continue to make appearances with "Thornlands", which kept its name despite their move a few kilometres south.

THE couple is happy both their children now play instruments, although "we never pushed them", Christine says.
Kathryn, 12, a Year 7 student at St Rita’s College, plays guitar; her brother, Sean, 11, plays trombone in the band of Iona College, where he is in Year 6.
The family’s musical involvement also includes Folk Redlands, with Christine and Patrick involved in organisation as well as performance.

Christine Burke verified this account on October 15, 2008. This column appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

Tina Turner party tune a standout, says DJ

Image of Tina Turner from wikipedia.

IT’S fun to wonder just how many feet Gavin Hewitt has got tappin’ during his long career as a DJ in Brisbane CBD and the Redlands.
Gavin was a drummer in a rock band in his home city of Wellington in New Zealand but then joined the army and had a break from music until after he migrated to Australia in 1978.
"I have always loved music but I didn’t really want to get back into drumming, so working as a DJ was ideal for me," he says.
He says his first assignment was at a city nightclub, where he took up a permanent posting that rocked and rolled for seven years. He also won nine awards for wedding presentations with a private company.

THE success gave him confidence to "go it alone", Gavin says. He has operated Gavin’s DJ Services mainly on the bayside for more than 10 years.
Classified advertising has been a major part of his business strategy and he still runs his ads to keep an "upfront" image although he says most of his jobs now come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Many around the construction sites know Gavin through his day job. After operating his own transport company for some years, he still drives a 10-metre tipper on a wage.
But at nights and weekends, he lets the DJ take over because he loves helping people have a good time and get up dancing.
He says "retro" is now the buzz word. "Only probably half the songs these days are good party music, so retro is really coming into its own," he says.
"I play songs that will appeal to a broad range of people and I am happy to accept requests."
Gavin’s "retro" era includes rock ’n’ roll of the ’60s, disco of the ’70s and Aussie rock of the ’80s but he also has "all the latest music".

TINA Turner’s Nutbush City Limits (recorded in 1973) is probably the standout party tune, he says.
Gavin looks forward to several coming assignments at 40th birthday parties because the age group spans a lot of good eras of party music.
"They were born in the ‘60s and they’ve gone through the popularity of Abba and the Bee Gees and that sort of stuff," he says. "They’ll also probably like Midnight Oil and Mental as Anything, and a bit of top-40 too."
Gavin says he is also preparing for a wedding reception at the Grand View Hotel, where he regularly entertains.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Furniture reflects dedication to quality

SIGHS of relief may have echoed around Enterprise Street, Cleveland, when Les McAndrew arrived for his first day’s work with Furniture Traders Australia.
Les has just taken an important position with the firm, which is one of Queensland’s major importers of Indonesian-made furniture.
Manager Joel Towner says the firm’s joiner/cabinetmaker ensures the top quality of the products it sends south Canberra and north to Cairns for retail.
He says Les replaces Peter Todd, who had the job for almost six years.
"Peter attempted to retire a few times and we finally had to let him get away for some rest," Joel says, admitting he was at least a little anxious about finding the right replacement before our Positions Vacant column came to the rescue.

DEDICATION to quality and highly developed skills are necessary for the position, working on a "wide range of fix-up jobs on items mainly of mahogany, teak, pine and oak.
However, Furniture Traders Australia also imports woven products of rattan and other cane, seagrass and bananaleaf, as well as sculptural lines including terracotta.
Joel says the containers of the imports sometimes suffer "a rough trip", leaving minor blemishes on the finishes where the pieces have made contact and breaking glass panels in display cabinets.
He made sure Les could also correct any manufacturing imperfections and even take on locksmith duties if, for instance, a key broke off in a lock.

MOST of the firm’s retail supply goes to the Bazaar Furniture Traders group, with outlets in Coffs Harbour, Logan, Carindale, Morayfield, Bundaberg, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, Joel says.
However, Furniture Traders Australia also deals directly with customers, meeting all orders through the Enterprise Street head office and warehouse, employing about 10.
Joel says Furniture Traders Australia had its orgins with the Decorators Emporium in the Redlands but the owners sold that retail arm about seven years ago and based a new enterprise in an appropriately named street.
Bazaar Furniture Traders at Carindale sums up the attraction of South East Asian and India
furniture well, saying it has "twists and flavours" and is "a means of inviting the exotic into your home".

IT also reflects the range of imports, promising decorators "everything for the home and garden from water fountains to vases and urns, from romantic teak day beds to sequin-sprinkled cushions and table runners, from mahogany antique reproduction bookcases to one-off ethnic carvings".
Joel says Les is yet to sew on a sequin but has been enjoying his new role.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column appeared in The Redland Times in August.

Butcher's block represents chunk of maker's heart

Image of Kangaroo Island from wikipedia.

THE young couple who bought the butcher’s block that Misha Zivkovic made from Moreton Bay fig loaded a big chunk of his heart into their car and drove away.
The block was a labour of love for Misha, who is a retired plumber and sheetmetal worker and had not previously made "anything out of wood".
More than a decade ago, a friend gave Misha a rounded slab that he says was about "3 feet long, 2 feet wide and 6 inches thick". In centimetres, the measurements are about 90 by 60 by 15.
"It was a beautiful piece of wood," he says. "Suddenly, it came to my mind what I could make. I take about six months to perfect it. I make it with my heart of love."

WHEN Misha, near his 73rd birthday, talks of love, he needs also to refer to his birthplace – "I am from Serbia but I deeply love my home of Yugoslavia" – and how he came to Australia "for a visit" almost 50 years ago.
More on love: He and his US-born wife of 30 years, Kay, met on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. They have lived at Redland Bay for 25 years.
Twenty years ago, Misha slipped from a Byron Bay roof and fell almost 20 metres on to concrete.
Doctors said he would be "about 85 per cent disabled". He was determined to prove them wrong.
A physiotherapist told Misha he could rehabilitate if he could "take unbearable pain" from therapy and he went ahead with it.
"The doctor who see me after three years could not believe it (Misha's recovery)," he says.

HE has made two more butcher’s blocks. One is in their kitchen; he gave the other to a friend. The first stayed in the garage for about 10 years. An irregular shape, it had a steel frame with a tray, handles that doubled as towel racks and wheels. "It was very unusual – nobody love it like me," he says. "It come time to get rid of things that build up in garage. We put ad in paper. A young couple come and fall in love with it straight away." Misha told the buyers he hoped the piece would give them as much joy as it had given him. He designed the block for dismantling into three pieces and it fitted into their hatchback. Kay says the couple needed the handy unit for a tiny kitchen after they bought a house and were unable to "make ends meet", so they built a flat for themselves under their high-set house to get rent on the top. "What a sensible young couple," she says.

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

Overalls symbolise life of hard work

Image of the city of Brest from wikipedia. This column appeared in The Redland Times in August.

THE overalls that featured in our for-sale column at a bargain price may have been a symbolic offering from Cleveland’s Taddeusz "Ted" Lewandowski.
Ted is happy he doesn’t need them any more after his life of hard work.
The overalls were a relic of Ted’s last 11-year stint as a boilermaker. He is 80 years old and looks back on a lot of hard work in many jobs since he migrated from Germany after his discharge from the allied occupation force.
August 19 will be the 59th anniversary of his arrival in Queensland for a new life in 1949 after the suffering of World War II.
He was born in a small Polish town that went under Russian control and he grew up in the city of Brest, on the Polish side of the border.
His dad was Bolesaw Lewandowski, the city’s police commissioner.

TED says he was only 11 years old in 1939 when the Russians arrested his father.
"All the police and the army were trying to get somewhere else and they were caught by the Russians," he says.
"I think my father was in Romania."
He says his dad was among 12,000 Polish prisoners – "all the top people … doctors, teachers …" – whom the Russians massacred in a camp near Moscow about two years later, as the Germans advanced on the capital.
In 1947, Ted enlisted in a British army transport company. The reward was an offer to migrate to "England, America, Canada, you name it -- I chose Australia".
His first work here came through a two-year contract with the Federal Government. He made boxing, mixed concrete and helped fill a dam wall near Dimbulah in Far North Queensland.

TED then had a Sydney holiday. "I went single and came back married," he says.
On January 1, 1953, Ted married his Polish-born wife, Helen.
Ted and Helen have lived in Queensland since then and moved to the Redlands 20 years ago.
They had two children, Victoria and Richard.
The son has work clothes that are quite different from those boilermaker’s overalls.
Dr Richard Lewandowski, a plastic surgeon, is the founder of the Australian arm of Operation Smile, which focuses on developing countries to help children with severe facial deformities "become a normal face in the crowd".
Ted and Helen are now keenly awaiting the Olympic Games opening, where Victoria’s daughter, Dana Hendley, 13, will play cymbals with a contingent from her Sheldon College band.
The grandparents expect a visit from Dana this morning, before she leaves for Beijing.

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

Senior gent enjoys long holiday

Image from wikipedia.

A SENIOR gentleman from Cleveland has settled back in his bayside home after a long holiday at a special place.
The luxurious "resort-style accommodation" at Margaret Uhr’s acreage property has become popular in the past three years.
But instead of touting a star rating like most resort proprietors, Margaret must meet the "five-feather" standard.
Margaret is known as "the bird lady". Her Cleveland guest on a stay of more than three months was a sulphur-crested cockatoo, Sonny Boy.
The bird stayed at the Samford address while his owners had their own holiday, "as grey nomads heading off around Australia", Margaret says.

"WHEN he saw his old mates again he went up for a scratch," she says. "He certainly isn’t a young bird."
Margaret’s advertisement as Beak’s Bird Minding features in our Fast Find classifieds.
She has had a bird’s-eye view of the ornithology of south-east Queensland since she set up the business in October 2006, after a "brain wave" while she received hypnosis for chronic pain.
Almost two years later, Margaret still suffers from the pain and is now trying acupuncture, but she has received much joy hosting birds from throughout Brisbane and adjacent areas.
Margaret has spotted interesting cultural trends among bird lovers.
"Many are young males aged up to their early thirties," she says. "They often live on their own and they really love their bird.

"YOUNG couples in their twenties are another of the main groups of bird lovers. Their birds are like children to them.
"I also mind the birds of a lot of elderly people, who do like the sulphur-crested cockatoos."
She says rainbow lorikeets are one of the most popular breeds with young people.
The "average" bird lover is likely to be UK-born, like Margaret, who says she developed her love of feathered creatures after migrating to Australia in 1979.
She grew up at Wimbledon. "Most of the birds over there, with the exception of the robin, of course, are very dull -- boring black, white and brown," she says.
"But Australia has such a fantastic mix of colours that appeal to English people, while the Australians seem to be ‘ho hum’ about it."

DESPITE the onerous duties of looking after other people’s much-loved pets, Margaret still finds time for her 16-year-old galah, Aussie, and four-month-old cockatiel, Babe, who sits on her shoulder, tries to drink her beer and enjoys playing on the computer keyboard.
Margaret says all her observations back up scientific research showing birds are more intelligent than most people realise.
She suggests bird owners keep in mind that a cockatoo’s IQ is about that of a four-year-old child and treat their pet respectfully.
Her primary advice for bird owners is to ensure the cage for a larger breed such as cockatoo should be at least between two and three metres square and for a budgie at least 500 millimetres high and wide.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people and other creatures in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

Tiny soldiers farewell their general

Image from

THE language of classified advertising gives a snapshot view of an intriguing cultural mix that surrounds us all, while most may blunder on in blissful ignorance of the depth of passions reflected in just a few words of small type.
Coupled with this cross-cultural smorgasbord, the abbreviations and the jargon may excite curiosity. A scan of the classifieds can be a more absorbing mind game than a cryptic crossword.
A recent notice offering Warhammer warriors for sale offered a collection of terms that begged explaining. "LOTR", "tau", "rua", "minis", "tirith"?
The definition from the website, games-workshop: "Warhammer is a miniatures wargame, where players command vast armies of model soldiers … on a tabletop battlefield … set amid a fantasy world like no other, where sorcery and monsters are common on the field of battle."

THOSE cryptic terms are no longer such a puzzle. They are Lord of the Rings army names, losing any proper noun status and melding into the language of the world as phonetic expressions of generic fact.
Thornlands mother Susan Neil has come to know the words very well for the past three years while her son James joined the Warhammer culture and waged wars against other similarly interested and obsessed teenagers.
Susan is sighing with relief that James, now 15, has not only drifted away from Warhammer but also gained a little speed on his BMX bike.
Nowadays, James is more likely to be riding at the Thornlands and Victoria Point skate parks, playing tennis at Cleveland or competing with Coochiemudlo Surf Life Saving Club than plotting the massacre of a few dozen troops.

SUSAN says she has seen the ability of Warhammer to keep some of its generals presiding over their armies until well into their twenties and she is grateful for her son’s early discharge.
"It’s a hobby and a good indoor activity," she says.
"It suits some children and it’s better than watching television but, as harmless as it is, it’s not as good as kicking a football.
"It’s better they get out there doing things."
Mum says it’s worth nursing a few minor BMX-related injuries to see those little characters march out of the household, a pleasure when James clinches a sale for the collection he advertised at $140.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

Great game gains even more colour

Image from This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

THE bright enthusiasm that reflects from Sheldon Tennis Centre goes a lot deeper than the high-tech purple court surface and the colour scheme it inspired.
The centre has become a vibrant hub dedicated to a great game during the three years since Dean and Sophia Toparis put the covers on their racquets in Sydney and headed north to make a new life in the Redlands.
The couple’s daughters, Barbra and Regina, were only toddlers when Dean and Sophia bought the then two-court Duncan Road centre after managing public courts, mainly in the St George district, for about a decade.
A lot of serves have gone over the nets – including some from Barbra, now aged 7, and Regina, 6 -- as the couple has worked hard to put their stamp on the Redlands tennis community.

WITH backing from Tennis Australia, the centre now has four "grand-slam standard" courts with the purple Laykold surface of Sports Technology, which Sophia proudly says provided playing fields for the Beijing Olympics.
"The company wanted a centre in Australia to display its product and asked us, ‘How about trying purple?’ so we were the first to have that colour," Sophia says.
"Now we have the purple theme right through, with purple feature walls and our newsletter is ‘The Purple Patch’."
She says her husband simply loves playing and coaching on the high-quality surface, about 30 years after he took up the game.
Dean had his A-grade debut while in his teens but in recent years, with a level-two qualification, has been busy helping others.
However, Sophia says he looks forward to rejoining the player ranks in a Tennis Brisbane project to create a stronger community of interest among about a dozen privately owned centres.

THE couple, through our Public Notices, has invited players of all grades to "be part of Brisbane’s largest tennis comp".
Sophia says the rounds will rotate around centres to enhance the experience of representing a community on the courts and the associated social interaction.
The coach doesn’t have to look far for someone to coach him – Sophia has qualified at level one since they came here.
The Sheldon centre is the base for one of the best known names of tennis in the Redlands, Ryan Agar, who earned the tag, "the Mars Bar Kid" after he appeared in a television commerical with former tennis "bad boy" John McEnroe.

SOPHIA has sadly announced Ryan has ended his professional team-tennis campaign in Germany.
"He is coming home after he injured his lower back while training," she says. "He had physio and treatment but felt a niggle when he resumed competition so he didn’t want to risk continuing and expects to back next year."
The good news is that Ryan expects to join his coach, Dean, in guiding the Sheldon players. And even better – Sophia says Ryan is due home before his 21st birthday next month.

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

From sport to music: the following was among the winter 2008 highlights of Classie Corner:

Star trumpeter starts new era
A MILESTONE has occurred this week in the career of a talented young Redland musician.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008, marked the start of a new era for Josh Sinclair, 19, of Thornlands.
The Bayside Bulletin’s Training and Tuition Classifieds featured Sinclair’s first ad offering trumpet lessons.
It described Sinclair as "an experienced local player", rather understating the credits that the former Sheldon College student has notched up in his first decade on the instrument many regard as the star of the brass family.
Josh, who is taking a break from his Bachelor of Music studies at Queensland Conservatorium of Music, must be the envy of many young musos because he has already played with the great James Morrison, not just once but three times.

THE pair first met at a South Australian jazz festival in 2003, when Morrison picked Sinclair from the Sheldon College Jazz Orchestra to be part of his festival ‘superband’ line-up.
Sinclair kept in touch with Morrison, mainly by email, and the reward came the next year, when Morrison invited him from the audience to go on stage at Twin Towns and play the jazz standard 12-bar Route 66.
"I didn’t have any gear with me, so I played his trumpet and my mate, Mitchell McLennan (also then a Sheldon student), played a borrowed trombone and James played flugelhorn," Sinclair says.
"They did a variation in D and modulated to F in the solos."
Next time, Sinclair was more prepared and took his mouthpiece to a Morrison gig on the Sunshine Coast. Again, the world-revered trumpeter invited the teenager to join him on Route 66.

AT the Dingo Creek festival on the North Coast in 2005, Morrison yet again called Sinclair to the stage then they launched into another standard, Mack the Knife.
Sinclair, who won the A-grade trumpet award at a major Brisbane music festival in 2002 and topped the premier grade in 2003 and 05, has already played in the US with the Brisbane All Star Youth Big Band.
The band won a spot at the 2005 International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in California.
Sinclair has been in a latin and salsa groove for a few years, playing with the Gold Coast-based Latinfire.
This week has marked another milestone – his first professional level trumpet, which he has played for the past seven years, finally broke down on Monday.
The broken-hearted muso has had to put a deposit on a new Austrian-made Schagerl trumpet, which has some discerning ears – and lips – to please.
"The trumpet is fun," says Sinclair. "It’s loud and just a bit obnoxious at times. It’s great. I love it."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fine ambassador represents city's volunteers

THE 19 years since the few seconds that changed the life of a Royal Australian Air Force corporal in a highway town near his base may help to prove that time indeed is the greatest healer.
But without Daryl Henbery’s determination the much-quoted philosophy for "moving forward" after a proverbial kick in the guts would have led nowhere.
He remembers his motorcycle skidding on a wet road but he does not dwell on the hazy memory of the accident that damaged his spinal cord and made him a quadriplegic.

THE skid one rainy day in 1989 in the Hunter Valley town of Raymond Terrace, near the Williamtown airbase, ended Daryl’s career as an RAAF storeman and left him with only threads of hope.
He regained some arm movement, despite having no hand functions. He could tap a "querty" keyboard and use a "track ball" controller to play computer games because the paralysis left one finger straight.
After a rehabilitation program at Royal North Shore Hospital, Daryl moved to Mackay in 1990 with his parents, Lyn and Alan Henbery.
On a visit to the Princess Alexandra Hospital spinal clinic, Daryl met a nurse, Marian Doherty. The couple married in 1992 and made their home in Cleveland about 15 years ago.

WITH computer knowledge from his initial rehabilitation, graduation from several courses and lots of practice, Daryl specialised in desktop publishing.
After joining the Redland Community Centre team on publishing and administrative support, Daryl was elected to the management committee six years ago.
He is now in his fourth term as president, earning respect as a fine ambassador for the Redland’s helping sector.
Daryl’s military and administrative experience undoubtedly helped set him up to head one of the city’s major volunteer organisations.
He says he is proud to represent an organisation that contributes to the community through many programs and activities, and a volunteer gains the reward of personal satisfaction.

"LAST year our volunteers put in over 6000 hours of unpaid work," he says. "It is these people who are the backbone of our organisation.
"At last count we have approximately 40 volunteer staff who work with only six paid staff. We had 616 client visits for counselling which was taken up by only two family support workers and we provided over 1700 visits for emergency relief.
"We try to promote ourselves not only as a "welfare" service but also a positive place where people can meet or learn new skills."
All the community centre’s office bearers were re-elected unopposed at the recent annual general meeting.

Daryl Henbery verified this account on October 7, 2008, and it has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia. Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Here’s a flashback to May in Classie Corner:

Disability services find new voice
THE lime green T-shirts that turned heads and made eyes pop on streets and in shopping precincts late last year could have been the fashion statement of the century for an often-overlooked community sector.
Such an in-your-face tactic worked well for a new movement that aims to increase funding for disability services.
The message flashed from chests, backs and shoulders during the federal election campaign after the Disability Alliance formed.
The national alliance of more than 30 organisations included Carers Queensland, Spinal Injuries Association, Queensland Advocacy, Brain Injury Association, Cerebral Palsy League of Queensland, Queensland Alliance and the Endeavour Foundation.

QUOTING official figures that almost eight million Australians are affected directly or indirectly by disability, the alliance pleaded with political leaders to "give people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in life like the majority of Australians expect".
Alliance spokesman John Mayo was blunt in his summary: "Government should be pro-active rather than crisis driven. Disability funding is a national disgrace."
Out on the streets, Spinal Injuries Association information officer Marion Webb was surprised at the number of people who commented on her T-shirt and took time to read the fine print.
Marion, who has worked with the association for 13 years, says she has long had a passion for helping those with disabilities and their families.
The interest extends past her work jurisdictions and to effects of psychiatric and intellectual disabilities on families.

SHE was delighted that a sector that "has not had a lot of political clout" finally found a voice and she is excited that the alliance is regrouping with an expanded brief.
Mr Mayo, who is Spinal Injuries Association community relations manager and advocate, says the movement has been encouraged by its election campaign result, with all the seats it targeted now having a new federal member.
He says the new brief takes the case of disability support funding to all levels of Australian government, not just federal.
Carers Australia has estimated the nation has 2.6 million carers, he says.
The number is soon to grow just slightly after the SIA adevrtised for part-time carers in Wellington Point, Birkdale and Wynnum.
The headline, "Want to make a difference to someone’s life?" certainly sums up the new vigour in the helping sector.

Art reflects journey of hope

This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

A JOURNEY of hope begins every day from Redland Bay, only to end just a few kilometres away in disappointment. Norm Lutton, 84, carefully times the daily mission to the Victoria Point nursing home that cares for his wife of 42 years, Margaret. The drive takes only about five minutes, then Norm sits with Margaret at lunch time. "She doesn’t recognise me any longer," he says. "At this time of day when she is most alert there is a better chance she will recognise me."

NORM lives in desperate hope that for even a second or two Alzheimer’s disease will release its grip on his wife’s memory. He says the experience of becoming a stranger to her, as the disease progressed during the past five years since the diagnosis, has been devastating. But Norm obviously has a lot of inner strength to help him get through. Born in Hurstville, he trained three and a half years as an aircraft engineer with the Royal Australian Air Force, before working in civil aviation with TAA then Qantas at Mascot. "There were too many strikes – I needed to get on with other things," he says.

THE couple bred Charolais cattle at Dorrigo on the NSW north coast before moving to Queensland 35 years ago, with Norm blaming the Whitlam Government for "buggering up" the beef export market. "My latest job was professional punter but I have had a lot of jobs," he says. "I sold real estate for some years." Norm says he was able to look after Margaret at home until about five years ago. As she became more difficult to live with he found a refuge far enough to give him some isolation but close enough to allow a quick return when necessary. "I used to sit up in the back shed to get out of her road," he says.

DURING the respite, inspiration dawned. Norm had a vision of mosaic patterns giving colour to gardens, "in some cases taking the place of flowers" and using tiles that usually become landfill after building projects. He "pottered around", creating patterns on terracotta pots and other surfaces around his Penzance Drive home. Some of his favourites have been giant "mushrooms" in bright colours. "I have done all sorts of things," Norm says. "I have so many around the place my daughters have said, ‘Don’t make any more’."

THAT is why Norm Lutton advertised "Mosaic designs to add colour to your garden, affordably priced. Ph 3829 1092." He says he simply wants to recoup the cost of materials. Such art from the heart has been a great place for this column’s return after my own recent medical issues. I thank the Redland Times, particularly Kylie Hogan and Brian Hurst, for supporting my talks with the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising and promise readers to keep up to date with the posts at

Now, an attack on the backlog of Classie Corner stories that have featured this year:

Fairtime favourite full of surprises
THE "lucky dip" -- a fairtime favourite for as long as apples have had sticky skins - has found its way on to the garage sale scene. Sellers rather than buyers get the surprises, however, at one annual garage sale. Excitement certainly must be building among the dedicated band of professional women in the Zonta Club of Wynnum Redland before its "monster" sale tomorrow at Cleveland State High School community hall.

LATE this afternoon as the students rush off for weekend fun the Zontians will arrive in maybe half a dozen cars, packed with bags of mystery. The women, since last year under the direction of the club's chair of fundraising and services, Marilyn Steenland, will have the duty of opening bags of donated sale items, setting the prices and putting everything on display.The bags have mounted up in club members' homes for almost 12 months.

MARILYN promises a huge collection of clothing, bric a brac and household items "all at bargain prices" when the doors open at 7am tomorrow.The set-up today certainly will be a "lucky dip" for Zonta's charitable causes. The club's fundraising emphasis is on helping women in distress and children, Marilyn says. Beneficiaries of its fundraising include two providers of accommodation for victims of domestic violence in the bayside districts. However, it also awards bursaries for university students, helps women with work-related training and supports Redlands Hospital psychiatric unit, and also backs international aid programs, such as that after the 2004 tsunami.

THE club, which formed almost 30 years ago, has 24 members, whose ages range from the mid-30s to over 80, Marilyn says. Its active membership has fallen by half a dozen in the past year, through illness, retirement and other commitments. The age span means the younger group is still bringing up their children, while the seniors may decrease their involvement in their latter years, she says.The garage sale will be one of the club's few major public events in 2008 but Saturday, May 31, shoppers can expect to see the Zonta banner at the Bunnings Victoria Point sausage sizzle. Marilyn says the club raised about $4000 for its causes last year, when an art show was also on the program.

This column appeared in the Redland Times in May 2008.