Friday, October 23, 2009

Mr Fix All builds business base from bay

THE term, "island lifestyle", may evoke images of escape from society's mainstreams but it had a key role in Stiven Jakovich's business plan when in 2005 he moved from Western Australia to take advantage of south-east Queensland's growing demand for service industries.
Stiven and his senior business partner, Dr Charles Neophytou, saw the potential in the region's population growth to further develop their service-based concept, after more than a decade of providing home maintenance services and associated project management in Perth.
A painter and certified interior and exterior designer, Stiven now has clients from Redland City to the Gold Coast as he builds the business from a Karragarra Island base.

THE business slogan, "We maintain", now applies to boats and cars as well as homes.
Stiven says Dr Neophytou has a background in management for major construction companies and has brought these skills to their partnership.
The partners have formed a team of tradespeople ready to take on big and small projects, while giving clients the security of Stiven's personal management of the work -- from simple clean-ups to major repairs and renovations such as room additions and wall removal.
The expansion to boat maintenance has again offered not only relatively straightforward services -- this time including pressure cleaning, anti fouling and detailing -- but also the more complex, such as interior timberwork and solar panel installation. Mechanical and electrical work is contracted out to qualified trades people.

ON the marine services, Stiven says: "We can fit and supply blinds and curtains to measure, supply signage and striping, fit and supply custom cedar doors and cabinets, and fit and supply toilets, pressured or chemical."
He says he has "been around boats most of my life" and he tells owners, "I would love to work on your baby."
The firm offers a contract schedule for ongoing and regular maintence, as well as one-off support.
Stage three in its development has put car maintenance, including dent and scratch repairs, on its service list, which will soon get longer.

IN 2010, the Neophytou and Jakovich Group's Mr Fix All services will include gardening.
"We are a 'one-stop shop' for maintenance of the home, boat and car, and establishing a gardening division will complete the perfect package," he says. "It's an exciting time for us."
Stiven says the business has found a niche in sprucing up homes, cars and boats before they are offered for sale.

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

Social housing uses Public Notice

MOVEMENTS in property prices and the multitude of associated waves and ripples through our society always prompt a gush of analyses.
Issues of home ownership, such as changes in mortage rates, invariably ride the first wave but, on another level in the continuing ebb and flow of influences on the housing sector, escalating rents are putting families under increasing financial pressure. Property and housing-related investment has long been a rewarding province for private sector entrepreneurship but, understandably, profit is the driver, so it is comforting to know that rental earnings and capital gains are not the only motivators in housing provision.
Substantial public-sector mindpower is focusing on the broad social needs for housing security, so those in need can have the dignity of affordable accommodation.

THE term, 'public housing', has made way for a new description, 'social housing', but a Public Notice – rather than a 'social notice' – appeared in the Classifieds as the State Government proclaimed its commitment to provide 4000 new social housing dwellings in Queensland over the next three years.
Family and Homelessness Services, under the Department of Communities in the restructured State administration, announced the proposed development of eight two-bedroom apartments and 27 studio units on a 3103 square metre site in Napier Street, Birkdale.
Just last week, Housing Minister Karen Struthers said that by June next year almost 500 new social housing dwellings would be built in the first stage of the Nation Building and Economic Stimulus Plan.

A DEPARTMENT spokeswoman said the Napier Street project was not part of that total but was subject to the department's core social housing funding, separate from the Nation Building package.
Ms Struthers said thousands more homes were due for completion by December 2010.
She said the $1.2 billion investment in social housing infrastructure was on top of $500 million from the Bligh Government’s Future Growth Fund to boost social housing in homelessness hot spots.
“We’ve got 60,000 dwellings in our social housing stock across the State,” she said. “Less than 1.5 percent are vacant, compared with a vacancy rate of 4.6pc in the private residential sector at the end of June.
“A number of vacant properties are being spruced up for new tenants to move in, others have been newly purchased by the department, and some properties are being modified for tenants with a disability.”
Ms Struthers said the housing program created jobs for local builders and “we’re building homes for people who need a roof over their head”.

(Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia. Image from

Singer kicks habit and kick-starts career

Image: Danny Mayers' new album. Visit and

ONE of the golden voices in the legendary Australian band The Delltones revealed a secret during a recent visit to Macleay Island.
Lead singer Danny Mayers, relaxing with his partner Christina Mayor during a break from his busy concert schedule, told barbecue guests at the home of a jazz-singer friend, Carol Sefton, he had breathed new life into his musical career by kicking the nicotine habit.
"What giving up smoking has done for me is simply amazing," Danny said. "I no longer get tired like before; I can taste food; my clothes don't smell; I don't cough anymore; and my [voice] range was always high but now it's higher."
He said he would always marvel that the improvements started the minute he walked out a hypnotist's door after just one short session.
DANNY's story was enough to send one guest scurrying for Redland City information about hypnosis. Redland Bay hypnotist Angela Griffin, who advertises in our 'Massages/Therapeutic' column, said Danny was one of many fortunate smokers.
"As well as those who stop smoking after one session there are others who are not ready to deal with the causes and may require several sessions," Angela said.
"There is a misconception that you only have to go to a hypnotist once and a miracle will occur but the mind is very complex and work may be needed for the results that are required."
She said the hypnosis success rate was also good with gamblers and drug addicts.

ANGELA is among hypnotherapists anticipating a rush on such treatments. She said the July 1 introduction of health fund benefits for hypnotherapy had prompted her to complete her membership with the Australian Hypnosis Association; she believed the membership was only weeks away.
The honour will come about two decades after she received hypnotherapy for anxiety and anger. "My mum encouraged me to see a hypnotist and as a result I became a lot more positive," she said.
Angela and her husband Kent, who is a remedial massage therapist, practise their therapies from their Auster Street home.
They have found the combination of their skills has been valuable in helping those who suffer a wide range of conditions.

THE combination had achieved "a very positive effect" for a man after a car accident; it had improved his state of mind and attitude to life, Angela said.
She said her techniques include analytic hypnosis to help people deal with the emotions that relate to memories of past issues but she also incorporated other counselling systems.

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

Grins and grimaces of garage sales

AS the spring cleaning gains pace, garage sales abound in The Redland Times' Classifieds. It's timely to warn vendors – don't lose your useful, treasured and valuable objects.
Think carefully about what you need to sell and resist the urge to slap a tag on everything you think you can spare.
Ask yourself how many times you have sold something at a garage sale only to pay top dollar for a replacement, sooner or later?
This sort of 'sell then buy' madness probably has happened to all of us sometime; we may blame stress from rising in the pre-dawn as cars pull up, even though we have advertised a 7am start.
Then there's often the frenzy of carrying and pricing items, and generally getting ready for the rush.

HARDENED bargainers, including dealers, usually are the first wave, undoubtedly knowing the value in negotiating with someone who is weary from a hard week's work, has been deprived of sleep and is likely to make errors of judgment.
A mate sold two gas bottles for a fraction of their value, then late in the day bought some fillet steak with the sale cash, only to realise he had just sold the fuel for his barbecue.
The solution was a trip to the hardware store to buy a new bottle for more than he earnt from the sale of two.
A few years ago and preparing to move house, I rose early, taking all the sale items to the front lawn. I carried out a lounge chair without realising it contained hidden treasure.

AT the time, I habitually put my wallet under the cushion at night.
After two men, without haggling, immediately handed me the $15 price and hastily loaded their trailer, I realised something was wrong and managed to snatch back my wallet just as they were about to drive off.
A 'must' for vendors may be double-strength coffee but the golden rule is to prepare early, thoroughly inspect everything, minimise sale-day stress and always have someone on duty against theft.

FROM the smaller polfolio of buyers' loss case studies: The day after a sale in the 1990s an elderly woman arrived at my house: "Have you by any chance seen the stone from my ring? It's a ruby. The ring was my grandmother's. I went to 15 garage sales yesterday and along the way, somewhere, the ruby has fallen out. I am retracing my visits."
The gap in the old rose gold was huge. This was a tragedy. I could only wish her luck – and the same to all the buyers and sellers who will fight it out tomorrow.

(Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. Image from

Host talks of rugby, business and Moreton Bay

FEW can match the cheerful nature of Lamb Island's Col McInnes.
Affable Col seems to always wear a broad smile and be genuinely pleased to shake another hand in greeting.
His personality certainly suits his role as host at the bed and breakfast he and wife Kay set up in 2002.
At the time, the southern bay islands badly needed guest accommodation and the couple blazed a pioneering trail, gaining recognition with a Redlands Tourism Award for hosted accommodation in 2005.
The McInneses, who have notched up three more credits as award finalists in subsequent years, are great believers in the power of the Classifieds in their local paper, advertising Lamb Island Bed & Breakfast on our Find Us First page.

SYDNEY-born Col has long known the benefits of such promotion. He says he started his first business at age 17 and for some years he sold advertising for community newspapers.
But Col is not the sort of business mind that sacrifices the 'scent of roses' for the cold facts of the balance sheet. He certainly aims to get out there and enjoy life to the full, even if the effort sometimes leads back to a business element.
A love of rugby, for example, lined him up Col for a stint as treasurer of the Queensland XXXX Golden Oldies Rugby Club.
B&B guests with even a passing interest in the great game have undoubtedly heard of the club's trip last September to an international carnival in Scotland, where Col wore the centre's jersey and, of course, revelled in his Sccottish heritage.

COL and Kay are longtime supporters of the Redland Gathering of the Clans. Col often catches eyes of passengers on the bay ferries when wearing his kilt to official functions.
Such functions include his masonic meetings. Col, a past master of Redlands Masonic Lodge, carries a weighty title with the Scottish lodge that meets at Kedron.
Grab a cup of coffee to help you get through this … he's a Most Excellent and Perfect Companion of the Order of Rose Croix.
Phew. That probably reflects the complexity that exists behind that affable smile.
Col has just taken a new title after his election as Karragarra Yacht Club treasurer, adding to his commumnity involvement in the island group he loves.
Col and Kay are gearing up for a busy summer trade at their fully self-contained two-bedroom B&B, which has everything guests need for a luxurious weekend – including a private six-person spa.

AFTER a day on the bay guests can enjoy a drink at the bar and, of course, chat with Col about anything from the fortunes of the Wallabies to the joys of sailing.

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

Stamp interest sticks no more

THE dreams that generations of hopeful children have carried into their adulthood have ground to an agonising end, if the experience of retired engineer and teacher Norm Taylor is any indication.
Norm, 75, looks back on decades of stamp collecting, peruses his four albums and sadly admits: "You always hope you will find something that is really valuable but nobody is interested in stamps anymore.
"These are really of very little value."
Lancashire-born Norm took up stamp collecting during the dark days of World War II while growing up in Manchester, where his dad Abraham was doing war service working on the Rolls-Royce Merlin V8 engines that powered the Spitfire fighter and Lancaster bomber aircraft.

NORM's earliest prized acqusitions included a 6 million deutsche mark stamp he says shows the inflation in Germany under Hitler.
But even that trophy and Norm's treasured 19th century stamps are part of the collection he is offering for sale. He has been considering a price about $200 but says, "I think I'llk be lucky to get even that."
Norm says he came from a lost culture of stamp collecting, an era when kids's stamp clubs met in school libraries and the fervent members bartered, traded -- and picked up some knowledge of the world.
At 10 years old, during the wartime shortages, he made hinges out of Drum papers and the scrounged-up sticky edging from the post-office stamp pages.

SIXTY-five years later, the hopes of striking riches have disintegrated like a mouldy first-day cover but news was not all bad after Norm recently advertised seven mint-condition Australia Post albums, issued between 1997 and 2003, for $300 – more than $100 less than face value.
He says the elderly woman buyer said she lived in hope her grandchildren might eventually catch a stamp bug if such an pandemic ever were to reoccur, but his son and grandchildren have no interest in stamps he kept for them.
Norm knows people who bought commemorative coin issues rather than stamps and had significant rewards, with values rising up to 300 per cent in less than a decade, while stamps have gone backwards.

LUCKILY, Norm has had a lot more areas of interest in his life. He qualified as an science and technology engineer in England before coming to Australia to work on the space tracking stations.
He moved into teaching in the early 1970s and ended his "second career" in Townsville.
Nevertheless, he admits that the sale of the stamp collection will mark the end of an interest that petered out over the past 20 years.

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

Clutter gives headspin

BEFORE you journey with me on another fascinating browse through the marvellous community of the Classifieds, take a few seconds to look around you, wherever you may be.
No matter who or where you are, that quick 360-degree headspin would undoubtedly have put at least one item of clutter into your field of vision.
Negative words like "confusion", "disorder", "jumble" and "heap" feature in the Maquarie Dictionary's definition of clutter.
Nobody wants something like that hanging around their life. The problem always seems to get worse in winter,.
However, once the Ekka extravaganza breaths its last gasp each year and the autumn wind blows away the winter blues, a genetic alarm stirs instinctive impulses deep within the soul of the 'average' Redlander.

A MESSAGE from the DNA says it's time for a good old-fashioned spring clean to exterminate clutter. As we march into another battle in a never-ending war, it's nice to know help is available.
Important alliances are no further than the Cleaning Services section of the Trade Services pages.
A notice headed, "Clean de Clutter", put me in touch with a partnership of two women who share my dream of a clutter-free world.
They have already been advertising "spring cleans".
Sheryl Galbraith and Sheryl Daley, both of Victoria Point, met about 10 years ago but started the cleaning service only last year.
"We're a bit like the two Ronnies, only we're the two Sheryls," Sheryl G said. "We're both from New Zealand – I came from Dunedin and Sheryl came from Christchurch -- and we met because our husbands both work in the meat industry.
"We decided to do something for ourselves and started the cleaning service."

SHERYL G said Clean de Clutter had not done a lot of recent decluttering but has been busy setting up some new kitchens and with move-out and move-in cleans.
The pair works through several real estate agencies.
This week, the Sheryls did a move-in clean for a property buyer who ordered a thorough job to eliminate all traces of the former owners.
Sheryl G said an option for people who did not want a full cleaning job was to focus on one or two areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom, for professional attention.
"Things have been humming along very well," Sheryl G said.
She said she and husband Peter have never regretted settling in the Redlands. "We spent about six months on the Gold Coast before we came here and it felt like about 10 years – it wasn't for us," she said.
"Our daughters were 12 and 14 when we came, and they have grown up here.
"The Redlands is an easy place to live and love."

(Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified adverstising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia. Image from

The Classifieds: A colourful new world

(This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia).

THE doomsday brigade, chanting that newspapers are out of fashion in an internet-savvy world, has a shuttered existence, peering through computer screens into a brave new world and becoming blind to other blossoming beauty.
Just glance around the bright, modern and interesting information package surrounding this column. If you look for opportunities of any sort, the next may be here, whether in a blaze of colours and images – courtesy of the high-tech press at the Fairfax Media Ormiston plant – or simply through one word in small print.
The Classifieds represents a wide range of interests, not only offering a marketplace but creating a special community of sellers, buyers, dedicated readers and browsers.
Yes, folks, you just read a derivative of that 'b' word, 'browse' – straight from the media 'old guard' of publishing on paper.

THE concept of the "browse" did not come from Bill Gates or any other computer techno, or geek, call them what you like.
Many generations have delighted in browsing through their local papers. The way of life existed long before the internet explosion of Windows 95 and will continue probably until the Second Coming (not the name of the next operating system).
The 'onliners' claimed "browse" but no one sought my permission. I can get over the affront with 'one-liners' because the marvellous community of classified advertising in my local paper has never looked better.
My talks with buyers, sellers, employers and service providers indicate strong satisfaction with the results from their notices.

OUR consultants are available to look at instances where the desired outcome has not been achieved, working through relevant factors such as position, pricing, categorisation and general presentation to suggest an action plan to sell or get a message "out there".
You may want to target browsers. The Classifieds' Find Us First page is always a great browse.

FIND Us First 'Accommodation' just put me in touch with Wendy Gardner, proprietor of the Bay Retreat Motel, Redland Bay.
Wendy says a lot of the motel's clientele comes from the local market for family/guest accommodation on special occasions such as weddings and 21st birthdays.
She says the pace of trade is picking up after seasonal factors and the general economic shock. It was interesting to hear the motel hosts a lot of New Zealanders shopping for Redland property.
But Wendy's most important message: "It is amazing how many of the people who come here immediately ask for the local paper."
Well, that's my browse for this week. Thanks for joining me in this marvellous community.

Transplant patient leads gym class

(This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia.)

A SPECIAL class is under way at a Victoria Point gymnasium. Newly qualified instructor Amy Dakin celebrated her 24th birthday by conducting her first fitness group at One Life Health and Fitness Centre.
Amy soon had another special occasion. Monday, July 27, 2009, was the anniversary of her double kidney transplant at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
The past four years since the 15-hour-long transplant operation have been tough for Amy, who studied nursing for three years but had to seek a different career because the immuno-suppressant drugs that stop her body rejecting her new kidneys make her vulnerable to catching infections.

“EVERY time I went out looking after sick people I ended up very ill,” Amy says. “The last time, I almost lost my life.
“It started like the flu but then all of a sudden spread through my body and I almost lost my transplanted kidneys.
“I was in hospital for 12 weeks.”
Two years after the transplant, Amy needed a second operation to remove her native kidneys, which were causing infection in the new ones.
But, after suffering neurogenic bladder disorder and reflux since she was eight years old – with four years on dialysis and several heart attacks linked to the kidney condition -- Amy has taken all the knocks in her stride.
“It has been a bit of a struggle,” she says. “But I guess it just makes you stronger.”
She says she developed a strong interest in fitness over the years and formerly has instructed in bellydancing at One Life.

NOW, she sees all the threads coming together, with her assistant nursing qualification and her new Certificate III in fitness playing complementary roles.
She has kept her most up-to-date medical text books but offered the rest of her collection – including medical encyclopedias – free through the Classifieds.
About 15 callers responded to the ad.
Amy says she lived all her life in the Brisbane suburbs, mainly Coorparoo, before moving to the Redlands about four years ago.
She is excited about qualifying as a group fitness instructor using pre-choreographed techniques for strength and endurance training, and she is really enjoying life.
“Even when I was sick I tried to keep driving myself into sport,” she says. “Now I feel healthy enough to do it.”

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

'Rare breed' farms in Redland City

Image from the Microsoft collection.

A 'RARE breed' featured in bold type when Jim White posted a notice wanting to buy cattle.
The headline reflected Jim's pride in his long heritage of agricultural production. It said, “Local Farmer”.
In our modern bayside city where the fertile soils now grow houses on former farmland, the tag represents one of an 'endangered species'.
The latest government headcount found fewer than 500 Redlanders who admitted to working in agriculture, forestry or fishing. The figure was about half that of the mid-1990s.
Jim, who celebrated his 80th birthday last Friday, has farmed in the Redlands for the past 30 years but his heritage comes through generations in the English district of Cambridge where his dad and grandad ploughed the low-lying Fenlands near the town of Wisbech.

THE eldest in a family of 12 children, Jim knew the austerity of the Great Depression, the suffering of World War II and the gloom of the immediate post-war era, when opportunities for young men were few.
At age 19, he moved to escape the UK and gained sponsorship from a English migrant to work on a farm near Colac, Victoria.
He borrowed five shillings from a cabinmate on the voyage. On an excursion to Perth after his ship stopped at Fremantle, Jim was amazed at retail shelves of chocolates and lollies.
“I had never seen anything like that – we were still on rations in England,” he says.
“I got off the boat (in Melbourne) in the morning and I was milking cows that afternoon.”
Jim saved a deposit on his own patch and ran dairy cattle in the western districts. He also farmed in South Australia before coming to Queensland in 1978.For many years, he entertained South East Queensland children with a range of baby animals in Jim White's Mobile Family Farm.

QUOTING the phrase, “too proud to beg, too honest to steal”, he says he has lived through three farming phases – dairy, sheep and finally beef cattle.
In the Redlands he has farmed at Thornlands and Redland Bay, where he says he has just regained possession of his land after renting it out for a year to horticultural producers.
His ad sought calves to raise while he works to reinstate his paddocks to his high standards of property management.
Jim is determined to keep working the land.
“I don't want to go into a rest home – I wouldn't last long,” he says. “It wouldn't suit someone like me. I've got to keep working and doing things.”
Jim's lively mind focuses on wider issues of agricultural production; he recently spoke on talkback radio about hygienic standards on the fields producing fruit and vegetables.

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Classified advertising: Colourful snapshot of cultures

THE time has come for some serious talk, and I'm not referring to our tax returns as we scramble to gather up all those crumbled receipts and download the e-tax files or check the Classifieds' tax agent listings.
They say two things are inevitable but even death and taxes must come second and third to another certainty - that is, classified advertising will touch everyone's life at some stage.
The marvellous community of classified advertising in local papers has been around for many generations and as it adapts to changing social trends it will still be with us far into the future. Nowadays, the Classifieds are a colourful snapshot of a glorious mix of cultures and interests that once reflected in a 'grey sea' of small type.

SOME years ago, when I began thinking about what classified advertising had meant to me I realised its profound significance in typical Australian family life. It wasn't unusual for our family to start the day with Dad, having already read the local paper, announcing at the breakfast table that someone we knew had died, or been engaged or married. Of course, Mum and Dad marked the arrival of all us kids in our local paper's classies - and when the years passed, all the engagements and marriages featured too. They also taught us to check the Public Notices for important information - maybe a road closure - and Dad would always advertise his business dates at holiday periods.

WHEN a teenager, I found my first guitar and car through the classifieds. At times over the years I relied on the rental columns to keep a roof over my head and when I was able to afford a mortgage I found my own home through a classified ad. My own kids resorted to the Pets column to find a dog that became very important in our family life. All this proves that the Classifieds represent much more than an assortment of sellers and buyers.

THE classies really can help you understand your world. A check on the Positions Vacant listings is always worthwhile, whether or not you are looking for work; if you're in business you can get a good idea, through the job notices, of what's happening in the local economy. But if you haven't window shopped through the classies for bargains you haven't experienced one of the greatest free entertainments.

AND, without the Garage Sale listings in the Times, Saturday in the Redlands would not be the fantastic day it is. Set your alarm for daybreak and join the treasure hunt. Maybe, we'll meet there tomorrow.

This column appeared in The Redland Times on Friday, July 17, 2009.

How airline 'heavies' fought smoke ban

TIMES have changed and the air has cleared somewhat since a young and enthusiastic Bob Possingham slapped on the Brylcreem, shined his shoes, ironed his suit and headed into the Melbourne CBD for an important meeting with some corporate heavies.
Bob recalls the executives were scornful of the proposal he laid on the Australian National Airlines (ANA) table that day in the early 1960s.
He suggested the airline, which later became Ansett, ban smoking on some flights for the sake of all the non-smokers.
"They said they couldn't do that because all the passengers would fly with TAA," Bob says.

ALMOST three decades later, Bob gained some satisfaction when smoking was banned on aircraft, and now - almost two more decades on - he is still working hard against smoking, but focuses on helping, not fighting, smokers.
Bob is the co-ordinator of the Quit Smoking (QS) program, which runs at the Redland Hospital and with sponsorship of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
He says about 500 Redland people have taken the program during the past 10 years; the most recent follow-up survey showed about 70 per cent had stayed 'off the smokes'.

BOB, now a church chaplain, was a youth director with a health portfolio when, all those years ago, he became a QS champion.
He has never smoked in respect to his belief in "caring for our bodies" and responsibility to "keep them healthy and well".
But he says the program is not religious. It comprises a series of lectures on psychological and medical issues associated with smoking.

DOCTORS who support the program include obstetrician Paul Truscott, his daughter Dr Rebecca Dunn, who has a specialty in eight control, and Dr Denton Wade, who helps the smokers learn about addiction, Bob says.
"Quit Smoking has no dependency on drugs to help people stop," Bob says. "It deals with lifestyle. It is important to understand the triggers for the addiction to nicotine.
"There may be emotional and psychological factors, or other triggers such as certain foods."
Bob could smile briefly at the Classie Corner report last week about the lost carton of cigarettes and the "smoker who lost, or the loser who smoked".
But he says he does not look down on smokers. "I can only say I feel sorry for them," he says. "I know the struggles they go through, wanting badly to give up but being unable."
Quit Smoking will run at Redland Hospital from July 19 to 23 in four 90-minute sessions.

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

Tale of loser who smoked

EVERYONE has been talking about the record Lotto draw but another prize waited for a claimant this week in the Redlands.
The local prize is quite a few million bucks short of the big national booty but worth having, nevertheless - if you are one of that "dying breed" of nicotine addicts.
A carton of cigarettes that a shopper found in Koala Park Point Shopping Centre three weeks ago have featured in the Classifieds Lost & Found.
The finder, Victoria Point resident Margaret Sullivan, was puzzled only one caller tried to claim the carton.
Some members of her family have smoked so she knows "it would have to be worth a bit of money".

MARGARET's husband, John, answered a call from a man who said, "You've got my cigarettes - I want them back", but then hung up when John asked him to state the brand.
Still with hope of finding the rightful owner, Margaret does not want to give away too many details of the find on Saturday, June 13.
"I tracked the shop that sold them by the colour of the bag and left it with them but no one has inquired," Margaret said.
"I also left my name and number in the shopping centre office."

THE way social thinking has developed on the smoking habit it is unclear whether this yarn is about a smoker who lost or a loser who smoked, or maybe just needed a smoke. In any case, the loss of a carton was probably a good time to give up.

ISSUE an SOS through the Classifieds and you'll have a good chance of a rescue. Last week's call by vision-impaired angler John Gallon, of Birkdale, for a fishing buddy trolled up some hopefuls including Peter Lawrence, Gary Wheeler and Rod Johnson.
John likes to get out on the bay in his fibreglass boat but Rod said he had his own boat and occasionally needs partners.
Rod cited a website that allows anglers to hook up with likeminded people - which leads to a subject close to my heart.
Give me the marvellous community of Classified advertising in the local paper - any day. Your local paper carries the respect and trust that have built up over many generations.
You can easily have direct contact with the people involved in it and you can get results.
John previously advertised for a fishing buddy in 2006, so he had three years of value from that "posting" in The Redland Times Classifieds.
The "Classies" have a maternity hospital, a mortuary, everything between, and an associated website,

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, a Fairfax Media newspaper.

Skipper calls for pilot

IT's nearly three years since Birkdale retired carpenter John Gallon dropped into Classie Corner for a chat.
Back then, John, with health problems, was looking for a fishing buddy, someone to help him get out on the bay in his 22ft (6.7m) fibreglass boat.
His troll through the Classifieds in 2006 caught a line of interested fisherfolk who, along with other mates, have supported his fishing instincts over the past few years.
Gradually, the support dropped off, and John called in with an SOS, saying he had not been out in the boat for seven months and was desperate.

AFTER formerly citing lung problems from contact with asbestos nearly 50 years ago as his main barrier to solo outings, John has now revealed another of life's kicks in the guts.
"I am sight impaired through macular degeneration," he said. "I am half blind and I can't see the buoys and beacons. If I went out by myself it would be suicide."
He said the boat had a big hard top for shade - as well as crabpots -and storm covers, allowing comfortable outings whether for a day or even overnight. John said he could still bait his own hook, cast and unhook any catches. His last victim had been a little whiting late last spring.
However, he still 'dines out' on the big squire he caught a few years ago, saying it just fitted in a "two-gallon bucket", with the volume reference meaning nine litres and not a play on his name.
He gleefully told how he caught a one-metre-long wobbegong shark in a dilly net.

JOHN, 66, said his lung condition, dating from a short stint working with asbestos in the 1960s, was not as debilitating as his sight problem.
"I have what's called 'wet macular', and apparently they can operate to clear it," he said. "I will have to get some tests to find out what they can do."
John said, seemingly with a straight face, he could only request that people with sight handicaps do not apply to become his new fishing buddy.

THE bay region's big fishing community can make a quick and easy check on the weekend tide times. Every Friday, The Redland Times' Boats & Marine Classifieds feature a three-day tide chart, with the important note of variations at locations from Wellington Point to Dunwich and south to Canaipa Point. Boats for sale last week ranged from a 10ft tinnie to a $35,000 cruiser.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Widow mourns man of many talents

Image: The Commodore 64 computer (courtesy wikipedia), which introduced computing to homes around the world and started Goldon Oliphant on a path that earned him the tag, "real computer whiz".

AFTER a busy decade buying, renovating and selling houses in preparation for retirement, Gordon and Carole Oliphant planned their move to Macleay Island as their last.
The couple had a tortuous introduction to island life after the bank closed two minutes before their solicitor arrived for the settlement.
But after a flurry of faxes and approval from the owner to move in, the Oliphants and their beloved pooches – two Maltese-Shiatsu crosses and a faithful 14-year-old Labrador – unloaded at their new home on High Central Road.
About three hours later on that night of April 28 – less than one month before his 62nd birthday – Gordon, who had a respiratory condition, called for his medication, but his breathing difficulties worsened quickly.

THE tragedy of his sudden death reflected in the notice that Carole placed in the Classifieds to thank property agents Trevor and Helen Ehrlich, of Raine & Horne Macleay Island, for their help in "getting me settled".
"Trevor arranged for me to borrow a fridge and organised John from Motivated Maintenance Man to mow the lawn, put up a temporary fence and help deliver the fridge," Carole said this week.
"Even though this was a sad day it was made less complicated and [the support] gave me time to grieve for my loss. I can’t put in words the appreciation I owe these people for their help."

WHEN Carole and Gordon met in the late 1980s, she was working at Royal Brisbane Hospital and Gordon, despite his trade as a fitter and turner, was building fibreglass boats.
Gordon was already much experienced on computers after starting with a Commodore 64 in the 1980s. The couple ran a business using his imaging skills to present funeral and wedding packages.
In the late 1990s they opted for a new life in renovation and bought and sold in South East Queensland between Hervey Bay and the NSW border, and Gordon forged ahead with his multi-media computer work.
"It was a bit of a family joke – every time we sold Gordon would upgrade his equipment," Carole said.
"He was a real computer whiz, absolutely great. I have 200 DVDs -- all the back-up disks he used. He put a tribute to the BeeGees on Youtube."

BOATING and fishing were also among Gordon’s interests. Carole had to cancel his order for a 17ft Dominator, which would have set him up to fully enjoy the island lifestyle.
Carole and Gordon created a big family, bringing together a total of seven children from previous marriages. Eleven grandchildren are now part of the fold.
The family plans to gather at Tangalooma on Gordon’s birthday next May 23 to spread his ashes in Moreton Bay.

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

Chauffeur recalls brush with famous 'Bazza'

Image from

ONE truism can fend off the gloom in any economic depression. Opportunities will keep arising, no matter how bad things get generally.
Those with courage and commitment to put ideas into practice can increase their chances of not only surviving tough times but also building their wealth.
For some in service industries, this may mean identifying a need, then meeting it with the right ‘vehicle’.
That seven-letter word with multiple meanings is close to the heart of Macleay Islander Stan Lewis, who is probably best known as ‘the man with the limos’ because of the many years he drove his former Ford LTD and Holden Statemen for Hughes Limousines.

WHILE gloom and doom have been on many minds, Stan’s latest venture, BAY-AIR, made its debut in a bright and eye-catching blue and gold classified notice, promising "good service, good rates".
He says the launch follows many requests over the years for airport transfers; his 13-seat Toyota Commuter and 11-seat Ford Transit aim to take the pain out of airport trips for Redland City residents.
A bus-rail airport trip from Redland Bay can take as long as three hours but he can get there in 45 to 60 minutes by road, depending on the traffic, and for small groups the service is cheaper than public transport, he says.
Stan, 54, certainly has engine oil in his blood. He grew up in Arncliffe, Sydney, as the son of a transport operator (also Stan) with 30 trucks – "and he parked them all in our yard".
The son did an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic but then decided to follow in his dad’s wheel tracks and devote his life to driving and transport.

STAN spent about a decade as a subcontracted courier with TNT in Sydney and Canberra before he moved to Macleay in 1995.
He still delivers ‘found luggage’ for Hughes although he has stayed out of the limo sector since his last Statesman reached its industry use-by age of six years.
The day he met actor-singer Barry Crocker has been a highlight of Stan’s many years behind a steering wheel. Crocker starred in the 1972 film, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.
Stan says he took Crocker to the airport after a Brisbane concert about 10 years ago.

"I TOLD him how, when the film came out, I was working in the King’s Head in Earl’s Court (the London pub that featured in the film)," Stan says.
"I told him he had some great songs, like I’ve Got a Sheila Called Sheila and Chundering in the Old Pacific Sea.
"When I dropped him at the Ansett counter, he turned and sang Chundering in the Old Pacific Sea."
Stan undoubtedly has a lot more stories, including many from his eight years backpacking overseas, to share with airport passengers.
Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, a Fairfax Media/Rural Press newspaper servicing Queensland’s newest city on the shores of Moreton Bay.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Grey Army on the march

A CULTURAL shift in recent years has put a bit of colour back in the cheeks of a big chunk of the population.
Now, hair dye sales could suffer because in some ways it’s becoming cool to "go gray".
Authorities seemed to take ages to wake up to the wealth of experience that older workers could offer.
A decade or so ago any 30-something worker might have cringed and checked their superannuation payout date at the first appearance of a grey hair (on the head, I mean).
But in recent years, a procession of labour market and social commentators has extolled the virtues of recycling mature workers from the metaphorical scrapheap of retirement and semi-retirement and into the workforce.

JAN D’Arcy could watch the trend with a smug smile. She long ago recognised the reliability and skill of older people and in 1997 became one of the first franchisees of the referral agency The Grey Army.
With area including the Redlands, Jan has assembled a battalion of "tradies", including builders, carpenters, tilers, painters, gardeners, plumbers, drainers, electricians, general handymen, pest controllers, roofers and domestic and commercial cleaners.
She says one of the rewards of her agency work has been the steady stream of thank-you calls and letters from satisfied customers – proving that grey is good because the jobs get done and well.
This week, however, a Thorneside client called to praise a house-painting crew, including some younger members, for their helpful and cheerful attitudes.
Jan makes it clear she still believes the younger generations can do a good job but she says The Grey Army’s soldiers are generally aged over 40 and qualified in their fields.
She ensures all her listed workers – offering services from lawnmowing to house extensions – have a customer focus.
Many have been on her books since day one.

SHE has enjoyed watching the excitement of some as they have returned to their beloved trades late in life – and thoroughly enjoyed the experiences.
Jan was thrilled when a carpenter who had migrated from New Zealand but did not for some years want the hassle of big jobs finally gained his Queensland builder’s licence, thanks to his work with The Grey Army.
"He qualified because he had been working with a registered builder, who gave him the reference he needed," she says.
With superannuation investments falling in the global economic gloom, The Grey Army may enlist new soliders but Jan says she will keep her focus on getting the right person for the job and keeping the customer satisfied.

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

Cup of concrete toasts memory of dad's one-liners

THE awesome sense of humor of the late Glenn Prior, of Thornlands, overflowed into the "In Memoriam" notice his family placed to mark the first anniversary of his death.
"We’ve all had our cup of concrete but we all still miss you heaps," the notice proclaimed.
Brendon, one of Glenn’s two sons, said the reference to concrete stemmed from one of his dad’s favourite sayings.
"Dad was full of one-liners like ‘busy as a one-legged tap dancer’ or whatever – they just came out to suit the situation," Brendon said.
"But his favourite was to offer any whingers a cup of concrete and he had an add-on that we weren’t game to put in the paper."
The five words in the ‘add-on’ must remain a family secret but Glenn Prior obviously didn’t tolerate any bull….

BRENDON, 38, said his dad had been born at Monto and had grown up at Maryborough and Toowoomba, serving an apprenticeship as a panel beater, spending about a decade in the Royal Australian Air Force and finally settling for a new career in the finance industry.
In 1974, the Priors were in Darwin when Cyclone Tracy hit.
The family – Glenn, his wife Pat, their sons Brendon and Lee, their daughter Karen and all the extended family -- settled in Thornlands from 2000 on returning Queensland after more than a decade in Sydney.
Glenn Prior, who was a grandfather of six, had been most recently known as an LJ Hooker Financial Services franchise owner, Brendon said.
Brendon followed in father’s financial footsteps and is now the State manager of the Westpac Broker Unit.
The diagnosis of cancer in April 2007 might have been linked with Glenn’s ingestion of arsenic during his RAAF service in Vietnam and Cambodia, the son said.

"HE had a particular type of cancer caused by arsenic -- we don’t know for sure but apparently there was arsenic in benzene that was in the water supply (during Glenn’s overseas service)," Brendon said.
Pat said her husband had wanted only two things after the grim diagnosis -- to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary and the next Anzac Day.
Glenn died at home on April 27, 2008, only weeks from his 58th birthday on May 18. Brendon said the mourners were "10 deep’ during his dad’s Mount Cotton funeral service last year.
"We were best mates and I was just so proud to be his son," Brendon said.

THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, a Fairfax Media newspaper.

Heart beats like hammer for new career

WHEN Trent Cowan left Wellington Point High School a decade ago, he was delighted to gain a plumbing apprenticeship and the future looked rosy.
Three years later, however, the firm ran into financial difficulties and put off its workers.
The out-of-work apprentice had a "safety net" for such an emergency. "My dad (Rob Cowan) owns Metro Tiles at Capalaba and always needs workers so I was able to work with him," Trent says.
Trent gained a lot of satisfaction from not only the sales side of the business but also laying tiles from time to time.
Add the security of a regular income and a happy team and Trent says he did not need to think about any other work prospects for quite a while.

TRENT has surfed for many years so has spent much of his free time in the waves on Straddie or the Gold Coast. Fishing is another love, so Trent has often been out on Moreton Bay or offshore. His best recent catch was a 5kg, 80cm snapper, which he hooked late last year off the east side of Green Island.
As Trent reached his mid-20s, he began to think seriously about his future.
After his long association with the building industry he decided to seek a career in carpentry and obtained work experience with a builder who offered to take him on but then suffered a downturn and could not go ahead with the plan.
That’s why a "hardworking and reliable" 26-year-old with his own tools is again working as a tile specialist and has advertised for a carpentry apprenticeship.

HE wants to be able to finish a job and say "I built that". Apart from the promise of such pride in achievement, carpentry will take him outdoors and to various sites, rather than having him "stuck inside all day", he says.
He has been living at Manly but says he is about to move back to the Redlands, where he was "born and bred" and which he loves because of its "leafy environment" and sense of community.
A Redland City job would be ideal but Trent says he will travel to get that apprenticeship.
He is disappointed no one has called with an offer. Despite his ad appearing in the Positions Wanted section, he received several calls from applicants seeking an apprenticeship – which is a puzzle as the ad was crystal clear.

TRENT certainly hasn’t given up hope. "I’ll just keep on trying I guess," he says. "I’m willing to do an unpaid trial for a month so maybe that will help."

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

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hallelujah Chorus underscores job search

Image of George Frideric Handel from wikipedia.

THE need to organise early has been evident in the four-line notice Debra Kuss posted in the Classifieds’ Car Pooling column.
Debra was looking for someone who drives from her home suburb of Wellington Point to Sheldon each day and offered to share fuel costs.
She placed the ad immediately after applying for a job at Sheldon. Her application was unsuccessful; she no longer needs the lift.
Her job search continues.

THE proactive transport call undoubtedly stems from Debra’s keen organisational abilities as an administrator.
Since 2001, she has worked in the public sector, with the Local Government, Sport and Recreation Department and the Crime and Misconduct Commission, and is now keen to gain a position in the not-for-profit sector, perhaps with a charity.
"I previously had experience in agency and ‘temping’ work with a lot of short-term appointments so I can hit the ground running," she says.

DEBRA, a mother of three, is already involved in the helping sector. She works with her husband, Gordon, on the music program and other administrative duties at Southgate Community Church, where he is the associate pastor.
She also sings and plays piano, keyboards and bass guitar at the Southgate church, which is on Mt Petrie Road, Mackenzie, and has a congregation of about 60.
The church has a worship team of six to eight providing the core of its musical program.
Debra’s musical interests extend further to her membership of Brisbane Community Choir, for which she also assists on administrative duties.

HER passion for church music blossomed about 30 years ago.
"I played with recorder bands and things like that as a child and I started teaching myself the organ when I was 10," she says.
"I was later involved with the ministry team from bible college and our choir toured for a month from Melbourne to Mackay.
"That was quite an experience."
Debra also has credits conducting church music for churches including Logan Wesleyan.

WATCH for her next transport notice because her job applications are still going out.
Maybe the driver will be able to turn off the radio and simply let Debra sing.
Coming up to Easter she has one piece of music on her mind – the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. It’s Debra’s favourite.
The stirring and triumphant strains are a certainty for Southgate this Easter.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dogs may howl, cats may meow as pals retire

THANK heavens dogs and cats don’t read. The Redlands would have suffered a chorus of howling and meowing if the canine and feline communities had caught up with the recent public notice announcing the closure of Woofers Kennels and Cattery, Victoria Point.
About 4000 dogs and hundreds of cats of all shapes and sizes have been guests at the Worthing Road kennels that Ray and Cherry Norris opened in 1994.

AFTER 15 years in a "24/7" business, the couple has decided to claim their lives back from those two branches of the animal kingdom.
"It’s like running a farm but someone must be on the property all the time," Cherry says.
"We can’t go out anywhere together. We can’t attend parties or barbecues.
"It’s very tiring and after so many years I’m just about burnt out.
"We want to give some time to the family. We have decided at this moment to close our doors and retire but we will retain the (business) licence and maybe down the track we’ll assess the future."

CHERRY and Ray migrated to Australia in 1981 from the north-west England industrial city of Barrow-in-Furness.
They were escaping a gloomy time in England. "The cold war was bubbling along and there was the possibility the US and Russia would shoot themselves to bits over England; there was economic doom and gloom, with strikes and sackings all the time," Cherry says.
"We came out on holiday to stay with Ray’s brother, who lived at Capalaba. We liked it here and organised our migration."
She says Ray, then a bricklayer, is still very proud of becoming a licensed builder in Queensland while the couple lived at Cleveland.
The decision to open the kennels followed their purchase of the Victoria Point acreage property when Ray began suffering from "bricklayer’s back".
The home-based business was wonderful at first and although the demands have become too much she still loves "all types of animals".

CHERRY’s vast experience with dogs has given her an insight into pet ownership.
She says anyone wanting a dog should consider small- to medium-sized shorthaired breeds with upright ears.
"For practicality in this day and age, these types of dogs generally will have fewer health problems and are easier to look after," she says.
"The pointy ears are less susceptible to infection and the short hair means they don’t get tangled up in grass seeds, for instance.
‘Ticks are easier to find."
The Norrises, who will close the business on April 30, have issued "a very big thank you to past and present clients for their valued support".

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


White-dressed lady watches chairs float out door

Image: Historical picture of the old courthouse that is now a restaurant and function centre. See

MANY thousands of important bottoms have graced the 120 dining chairs that became available in the Classifieds thanks to a "freshening up" at one of Redland City’s premier restaurants.
With new chairs in place, the update at The Old Courthouse Restaurant was almost complete, according to owners Mary and Ross Gibb.
The old chairs, which date from the 1970s, were part of the package when the couple bought the restaurant in March, 1998, Mary says.
The timber chairs have done their job well but they needed continual maintenance after their decades of hard work.
During the reign of the Gidds in the colonial courthouse, the restaurant trade has built up to hundreds of diners, Mary says.

THIS year is appropriate for an update – it is the 20th anniversary of Cleveland cuisine’s introduction to the couple.
In 1988, Mary moved from Melbourne and Ross came from Scotland. From 1989 to ’98, they operated Beaches Restaurant.
Mary believes almost a decade’s experience at Beaches gave her and Ross the management skills to make the Courthouse so successful.
"Beaches was a BYO and that means you must do everything right because you cannot have the benefit of liquor sales," she says.
"We had the basics right."

IN cuisine, that means a traditional style with a European influence and Australian fresh produce, Mary says.
The food style immedately fitted well with the restaurant setting in a courthouse that a district landowner and publican, Francis Bigges, built in 1853.
Mary recalls a rush on function bookings that set the stage for subsequent years. "In my first six months here I had 100 bookings for wedding receptions," she says.
"The venue has always been beautiful – it’s the perfect location for special occasions."

ABOUT that time, Mary had a special visitor who did not need a chair.
"We had been told the courthouse had a resident ghost, Elizabeth, Francis Bigges’ wife," Mary says.
"One day I was on the phone to a friend and she floated past me. She had short dark hair and a long white dress.
"She floated across and through the wall after she seemed to give a nod of approval. It was like she showed me her acceptance of what we were doing."
Mary says she has not seen the ghost again but "I feel her and know she’s there – there’s no mischief or anything like that".

ELIZABETH may have given a silent sigh as the chairs went out the door at $20 each to about 20 buyers.
Mary wonders what the white-dressed lady would think of the restaurant’s changes, which presented some challenges, such as incorporating new equipment without threatening the old-world feel of an historic building.

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

All aboard the bus to Fluville!

AS the sun sets on a glorious summer beside beautiful Moreton Bay, the bugs come out to play.
Not mosquitoes and midges -- other bugs fly around this time of year.
We can’t see some tiny organisms that proliferate every autumn but we can hear and feel their presence.
Hear: When coughing and sneezing interrupt pleasant conversations bubbling away on the shopper and commuter buses.
Feel: When someone just behind you lets go with a not-so-waterwise shower from an uncovered eruption of phlegm.

FLU fear can give anyone a bad start to the day. Must you hold your breath until other lungs vacuum up the virus-charged spray?
"The virus that causes influenza is mainly spread from person-to-person by virus-containing droplets produced during coughing or sneezing," Queensland Health says.
"The droplets can be spread up to a metre through the air and enter the body through the nose and mouth.
"A person can also catch influenza if they shake hands with an infected person or touch a contaminated surface such as a door knob or telephone, and then touch their nose or mouth."
The "metre" seems an understatement, according to a television documentary a few years back – a special camera caught a "free and easy sneeze" blasting its microscopic cargo high and wide. On that evidence, the fallout could go at least half a bus length.

ANOTHER observation from the autumn buses: Someone coughs or sneezes into their hand then grabs the same rail you would use to get to the door without falling over. Your trip ends like surfing on Straddie and, when you just get to the door, the bus lurches into your stop. You instinctively grab the last rail near the door and think of all the mucous-drenched hands that have grabbed it that day.
Then, even though you’re half starved, you can’t buy a pie until you find somewhere to wash your hand(s).
Hell, life’s tough in the flu season. I think we should all just stay home. But hang on, someone cares.
Even in the dying days of summer Victoria Point Surgery advertised its flu vaccine clinic. Maybe I can get to work, after all.

FOR the record, QH advises: "Don’t spread it around! If you get symptoms of influenza: stay at home until you are better; cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of it;
wash your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, and before touching other people or objects that others might touch."
That means the flu inflicted, not the flu free, should do the surfing down the bus aisle.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Redland City, Queensland – on the shores of beautiful Moreton Bay.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Drawing comes first, says Raby Bay artist

Image: A Friend’s Pet, pastel, by Graham Josefski from rabybaygalleries.

TWO of Queensland’s most celebrated modern traditionalist painters received a mention in the Redlands this week as an artist talked about his grounding in the disciplines of art.
Mervyn Moriarty and Les McDonaugh were mentors of Graham Josefki, who has lived in Raby Bay since 1988.
Since Graham retired about two years ago he has had more time to pursue his lifelong interest in art. He was the primary-school pupil whose work always featured the teacher’s star. When recovering from an appendectomy, he sketched his mother, sitting beside his hospital bed.

DURING his "day jobs" (which artists inevitably need), the Bundberg-born son of a wool presser and a shearers’ cook always exercised his skills with draftsmanship, colour and tone on subjects, including "the bush and the Australian gum trees".
When he worked as a banker in Central Queensland, he studied painting by correspondence.
Paint of the oil and watercolour types ran through Graham Josefki’s veins as he moved from banking to real estate sales and eventually to home building.
Along the way, while working in finance and real estate, he took more painting courses and expressed his love of the Australian bush on paper and canvas.
Graham came under the guidance of McDonaugh, whose influence fostered his attraction to "the brilliant, vibrant colours of this very direct medium (pastels)".

McDONAUGH, an Australian Pastel Society founding member, was an important part of the Redlands’ art heritage, Graham says, adding that the acclaimed pastel prince lived his twilight years on Karragarra Island, and his death about three years ago was a sad loss to the international art community.
The other key mentor, Moriarty, who held the title as Queensland’s flying artist, imparted a message that rings true over not just decades but centuries.
"People, adults as well as children, often have great enthusiasm for applying the colours without realising that the skills of drawing go hand in hand with that," Graham says.
This is the motivation behind Graham’s advertisements in our Training & Tuition column. His children’s drawing lessons tap into the great heritage of draftsmanship that is the hallmark of the best art.

FOLLOW-UP: The Birkdale bromeliad brigade, under the leadership of its chief, Inge Drake, raised $880 last Saturday for Victorian fire relief, with dozens of pots of the intriguing plants heading out the gate at her Bayford Street home. Inge was pressing on with the appeal and we’ll have a further update in weeks to come.

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

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flowers bloom in ashes

Image: The World War II destruction in Berlin – from wikipedia.

THE stark scenes of devastation in the Victorian bushfires have brought tears to Inge Drake’s eyes as, safe and sound in her Birkdale home, she has watched the television reports.
"I feel so sorry for all those poor people who have lost so much," Inge says. "I can understand how they must feel."
Images of charred remains of thousands of houses have rekindled Inge’s memories of the bombing of Berlin during World War II.
In 1943, Inge Krull was seven years old. Her dad, Kurt, was a German army engineer and in the Russian campaign. She lived with her younger brother Dieter and their mum, Auguste, in the family home.
"One day we went to the movies and when we came back there was no house, just a great big hole – it was monstrous," Inge says. "I remember being sorry that I had lost my teddy bear."

THE trio found refuge in Berlin with Kurt’s father but Inge contracted scarlet fever. She was in hospital when her mum took Dieter to East Prussia, where they were to live with Auguste’s parents. Inge says she spent six terrifying weeks alone, with hospitals evacuated as bombing raids targeted them.
On her discharge, she waited for hours on a seat in a long vacant corridor, wondering in the silence if her mum would manage to come back to pick her up.
Finally, a small figure appeared in the distance. As it came closer Inge could see the "tiny person, not even five feet (152 centimetres) tall" was Auguste.
At least part of the wartime nightmare was over. But for the next two years, Auguste and the kids kept moving, "running away from the Russians".

KURT found his family in Bavaria in 1945. They migrated to Australia in 1953. Dieter now lives in Melbourne. Kirk and Auguste spent their final years in a Buderim retirement village. Kirk died in 1981 and Auguste in 1984.
A Birkdale resident for 30 years, Inge does not take her current comfort for granted.
"I have a home, food, furniture, a bed to sleep in … I thought what can I do for the poor people in Victoria," she said.
"When they have put everything into their farms, then lost it all, even if you gave them a million dollars they haven’t got the spirit to start again. I can so easily feel for them.’’

INGE talked with her friends, Michelle and Barbara. They decided to sell bromeliads to raise money for the relief effort.
The sale was washed out last Saturday but it will be on again tomorrow, all day, in Bayford Street.

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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Locavore movement gains momentum

Image: The south-east Queensland region, a focus for locavores. Map courtesy wikipedia.

A GREAT mix of Redland’s rural heritage and a forward-thinking environmental ethos has come together in the formation of a new group for people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Redland Organic Growers Inc (ROGI) got rolling at a meeting in October at Redlands IndigiScapes Centre.
Founding president is Emma Baker, a Capalaba mother of two boys, Reuben, 6, and Eathan, 3, who love getting out in the growing patch with their mum.
Emma, a Redland Council landscape architect, is a woman of principle and goes out of her way to connect with her community through food.
She says she felt humbled among the ilk of more than 100 people at the foundation meeting.
"Some have been gardening for 60 years or more and have so much knowledge," Emma says. "You can only get this type of knowledge by getting out there and doing it."

ROGI has no affiliation with the formal process of organic certification for produce but Emma says several members may have the aim of taking their growing to such a commercial level.
In forming the group, she simply wanted to help people "connect back to their communities", talk with likeminded people and learn more about gardening techniques and issues.
ROGI meets on the first Tuesday every month at 6.30pm at Indigiscapes, where it has a seed bank and exchange, a bookshop and an outlet for organic products and edible plants.
The formation has been good news for another young Redlands mother. Nicole Bennett, of Victoria Point, became committed to organic food for the benefit of her family’s health but had difficulty obtaining certified produce locally.

IN 2006, Nicole set up a business, Wholesome Organics, to improve the availability of organic produce by making door-to-door deliveries and has expanded her range to include organic cleaning and skin and hair products.
Despite a lot of hunting, she has been unable to find a ‘certified organic’ grower in the Redlands, once one of the State’s major horicultural districts.
Most of Wholesome Organics’ produce comes from the South East Queensland growing areas, including the Lockyer Valley.
For Nicole, that organic certification is all important, so she must also source produce from outside the region.
She described ROGI as a breakthrough.
"The ideal would be to supply locally grown fruit and vegetables so the group must be a big step in the right direction," she said.

NICOLE and Emma’s local and/or regional focus would qualify them for membership of the "locavore" movement that is gaining momentum around the world.
They are "connecting" with the community through food, and that can mean benefits for society generally.

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

Love me tender, fine statue you

Image from wikipedia.

AN important date slipped by without retired "jack of all trades" Norman Purse honouring the occasion.
It was the birthday of a close "mate".
The pair has shared a Cleveland unit for the past five years.
While Norman tunes into his favourite TV shows, mainly news, his mate sits on a stool and holds a guitar but doesn’t play it or talk during the news broadcasts.
Norman admits he slipped up by neglecting to celebrate the January 8 birthday of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Elvis Presley.

AS the birthday came and went, Norman was planning to make some space by selling his lifesize fibreglass Elvis statue, which is rather imposing in a small unit.
Norman says he has always liked the King’s music. When the Elvis burst into the limelight in the 1950s, Norman could whistle Love Me Tender as he worked as a roofing plumber with the Revesby, Sydney, factory of HH Robertson Australia Pty Ltd.
The post-war era was kind to Norman, born in Mullumbimby. He had grown up on a banana plantation, enlisted in the army in 1941 and served in Darwin as a gunner with the 14th Anti-Aircraft Battery.

MORE than six decades on, he believes most Australians still do not realise the extent of the Japanese bombing and says his unit defended against about 60 raids.
"People also misconstrue what anti-aircraft artillery was designed to do," he says. "It wasn’t to shoot the planes down but to fire shells to put them off course so they didn’t have a straight line for their bomb sights."
After three years, Norman joined the Australian 1st Paratroop Battalion as a way to "get out of Darwin".
He says he trained at Richmond for one major mission, "to join with the 7th Division to retake Singapore" but the war ended before the call to action.

THESE are just some of the stories that Norm’s fibreglass mate, Elvis, could hear, if he could take the space between his ears off the echoes of Love Me Tender.
For the past few years, while Norm has tuned into the nightly News, Elvis’s eyes have been on a statuesque Egyptian beauty, another lifesize fibreglass statue.
Elvis can get off his stool and pass the working guitar to someone who can actually play it. Norman says a musician he engaged to tune the instrument believed it was well constructed and of good quality.
The portable Presley package was still available this week, with Norman slightly disappointed that no one except me responded to his ad.
He pondered whether the tight economic climate was the reason, or whether maybe the shine has faded from the King’s crown and Elvis’s popularity has waned.
Norman advertised his Elvis for $1800.

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