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.