Thursday, January 28, 2010

Holiday reading in Classifieds 'back editions'

Image of Fellomonger Park from

IF it's old, knock it down. That seems to have been the mindset of many Australians through much of our national history.
In Queensland, our noses are continually rubbed in the sins of past eras – notably, the loss of buildings with heritage value decades ago during the Bjelke-Petersen crane-counting regime.
Older readers will recall how, during the development boom of the 1980s, then premier Sir Joh measured the success of his leadership by the number of cranes he could see on the city skyline.

THAT wasn't all bad. But it left some long-mourned casualties and deep scars in the Queensland identity. When the metropolitan news editors scramble to fill space and time slots during the "silly season", they seem to simply assign the relatively easy task of yet another post mortem on a couple of the demolitions.
An episode of such "file vision" appeared during my holiday reading, which did not relate to Redland City Council's "10 hottest books in the Redlands this summer".
While the library and its devotees celebrated the words of list topper Bryce Courtenay's The story of Danny Dunn, back issues of the Classifieds provided my inspiring and relaxing read.
A PUBLIC Notice in the Times in September yielded an intriguing glimpse into the Redlands' colonial history, with the Department of Environment and Resource Management announcing Queensland Heritage Council decisions to add two local sites to the heritage register.
The sites are the Ormiston Fellmongery, Fellmonger Park, Ormiston, and Cleveland No.1 Cemetery at Lisa and Scott Streets.
The department's website has well-written detail on both sites, and answers one of the key questions: "The process of fellmongering appears in the early 1850s in the Moreton Bay region. A different process to wool scouring, fellmongering processed sheepskins in order to remove the wool in preparation for tanning. The wool was washed and dried, and the skins were processed into leather."
The documented history is fascinating. Browsers can almost hear the convict's chains clinking.
SO, I did learn quite a bit from my holiday reading, thanks to the Classifieds. For those more interested in the highbrow, here are the other books in the library's top 10: I, Alex Cross, by James Patterson; Nine Dragons, by Michael Connelly; The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown; The Silent Country by Di Morrissey; Maralinga, by Judy Nunn; Mao's Last Dancer, by Cunxin Li; The Brightest Star in the Sky, by Marian Keyes; The Five Greatest Warriors, by Matthew Reilly; and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, by Stieg Larsson.
Great books – I can appreciate that. But for me, the Classifieds will always win. They show the culture of our lives and times as well as any blockbuster novel.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Two words that mean a lot

This column appeared in The Redland Times just before Christmas 2009.

TWO special words are the chorus of the day at this time of year. They will reach a crescendo in exactly one week from today.
"Thank" and "you" undoubtedly should be not only on the lips but also on the minds of everyone year round.
Sometimes, we don't manage to verbalise this important sentiment for some reason or excuse like laryngitis or emotional paralysis, so Christmas is always a great occasion to get square with your conscience.
Classie Corner, dedicated to the great people in the marvellous comunity of classified advertising, has just started its fifth year in The Redland Times.
WITH the mighty press to cool a little as the sun sets on 2009, my thanks must go to the Times team – including Brian Hurst and Julie Burton – that allows space for this column and presents it for the readers.
Thank you, too to all who have featured in Classie Corner during 2009. As I have lamented previously, much of my records disappeared in a mid-year computer disk crash, so when I moved to identify all the deserving parties I set a laborious task of combing through remnant files.
For this reason I ask for the forgiveness of anyone who takes umbrage at omission from the following:

Amy Dakin; Angela and Kent Griffin; Barbara and Tony Wills; Barry Crocker; Barry McKenzie; Bob and Diane Metcalfe; Bob Possingham; Brian Forsyth; Brendon Prior;
Carole Oliphant; Carol Sefton; Charles Neophytou; Christina Mayor; Col and Kay McInnes ; Danny Mayers; Debra and Gordon Kuss; Denton Wade; Elizabeth Bigges; Elvis Presley; Emma, Reuben and Eathan Baker; Gary Wheeler; George Frideric Handel; Graham Josefki; Graham Easterbrook; Horace; Inge Drake; Jack Sim; Jan D’Arcy; Jesus;
Jim White; John Gallon; Karen Struthers; Katrina Goldsworthy; Les McDonaugh; Liz Hall-Downs; Margaret and John Sullivan; Mary and Ross Gibb; Merv Alley; Mervyn Moriarty; Neville Wright; Nicole Bennett; Norman Purse; Norm Taylor; Patricia and Ross Harris; Paul Dobbyn; Paul Truscott; Peter Lawrence; Ray and Cherry Norris; Rebecca Dunn; Rod Johnson; Santo Coco; Sheryl Daley; Sheryl Galbraith; Stan Lewis; Steve and Evelyn Rae; Stiven Jakovich; Trent Cowan; Trevor and Helen Ehrlich; Wayne Adair; Wayne and Ella Fullard; Wendy Gardner. Special mention to the late Bill Orr and the late Glenn Prior.

To all on this list, thanks again. And to everyone, my best wishes for a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

More about lady in white dress

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

THE "lady in the white dress" is set for a starring role as author Jack Sim painstakingly researches for a new book.
The lady is known as "Elizabeth" – and Sim says she gave him one of his closest encounters with a ghost during his two decades of researching the supernatural.
Elizabeth featured in Classie Corner this year in a report about a 'freshening up' at The Old Courthouse Restaurant, Cleveland.
Restaurant properietor Mary Gibb told how a district landowner and publican, Francis Bigges, built the courthouse in 1853.

WHEN Mary and husband Ross bought the restaurant about 10 years ago, they were told it had a resident ghost, Elizabeth, Bigges’ wife.
"One day I was on the phone to a friend and she floated past me," Mary said. "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."
Sim believes he also saw Elizabeth some years ago when he conducted a "ghost tour". He was with a guest who was taking a picture inside the restaurant when "we both saw a shimmer of light and movement near the door to the verandah".
"When we looked again we both think we saw the image of a piece of cloth vaguely in the shape of a person," he says. "It moved about two feet and then vanished."
Sim says he has found reports of the courthouse ghost in newspapers dating from the 1960s and indicating that sightings were made at least as 50 years before that.

ELIZABETH is among the 13 Redland ghosts that the author, who specialises in true crime and ghost stories, is documenting. He will talk about them on "an evening with Jack Sim" at Victoria Point Libraryon Thursday, December 17, from 6 to 7.
Over the past four years, Sim, who is is the publisher of the Murder Trails, Ghost Trails and the Boggo Road Gaol series, has completed 10 titles, including Haunted Brisbane: Ghosts of the River City and The Ghosts of Toowong Cemetery: Brisbane's Necropolis. The work in progress is titled Haunted Redlands.

SOME consider losing all your computerised records in a disk failure as an unpardonable error. I am weary of hearing, "Why didn't you back it up, silly." But the real pain comes from the loss of contact details of people who have contributed this column during its four years in the Redlands. Could those who have shared their lives in these dozens of columns please email me so I can reinstate your addresses in my now empty book? Tell me how you are going and what you are doing now and I'll be happy to share it with others in the marvellous community of classified advertising. Email:

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

How AMP man gave sunbeams to many

THE atmosphere was 'electric' throughout Australia on the morning of June 15, 1998. Throughout the nation, people were keeping one ear on the radio, one eye on the television and logging onto news websites.
In the newsrooms, we were doing all this and more, continually checking the agency news services, lining up interviews with financial analysts and moving to identify the beneficiaries of one of the most significant trading days in the history of the Australian share market.
It was easy filling the next day's news pages with the twists and turns relating to that first day's trading in AMP stocks after the demutualisation and subsequent sharemarket listing of the nation's 'iconic' insurance group delivered share issues to 1.6 million people.

SOME who had invested with AMP over decades through their insurances received issues that potentially were worth as much as Lotto wins. But there were also small windfalls galore for others who had simply taken out basic insurances.
The AMP Prospectus relating to the listing estimated the base share price between $12.50 and $16. On that first heady day, it rose and kept rising to peak momentarily over $40 and close in the low $20s.
Even for those who missed that sort of profit, the shares -- despite subsequent devaluation in comparison with day one -- remained a valuable, albeit unexpected, reward for loyality to a truly Australian service company.
The AMP share issue, in fact, changed people's lives.

IN the Redlands on that winter morning 11 years ago, one heart must have beat at least a little faster as Bill Orr, then aged 78, monitored the breaking news.
Bill, who had retired after a long career with AMP, was delighted that he had paved the way for dozens, perhaps hundreds, to benefit in the nation's biggest share 'giveaway', his daughter, Katrina Goldsworthy, recalls.
It was a fantastic post-career highlight for the World War II pilot who became an AMP agent in Tamworth in 1963 and moved to Brisbane the next year. Bill moved to Buderim in 1981 and to Ormiston in '86.
Within a month of the AMP listing, however, Bill and his family suffered the tragedy of the death of his wife of 52 years, Millie.
BILL died at age 89 on November 18. His funeral service heard of Sydney-born Bill's rich life, including how he skilfully bellylanded "his beloved Mosquito" aircraft during a reconnaissance flight to Borneo.
Bill Orr was remembered as a loving father of three, grandfather of eight and great-grandfather of two. The younger generations called him "Big Bill".
The service heard that William Leslie Orr, also known by some as "WL", would sing a line, “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam”, from an old children's hymn, and his private and professional lives underscored that happy spirit.

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

How to save your tax records

THE dreaded task of moving house can push normally placid people 'over the top'.
No one knows this better than the removalists who deal with some 'testy' tempers. A mate working in the field once told me removalists must be on the lowest rung of the social scale, a conclusion that followed countless denigratory lectures.
He was fed up with copping blame for scratches that his crew had not inflicted and for 'missing' items that could not possibly have even been loaded.

WITH this in mind during my last move, I greeted the removalists with a warning: "I want to tell you blokes one thing ..." Their faces showed a here-we-go-again gloominess.
"My possessions require special handling." By this time one bloke rocked from foot to foot and the other had turned his face toward the heavens as if to ask God to shut me up.
"Some boxes contain my tax records and I require you to lose them." We all had a good laugh and worked happily together throughout that demanding day.
When I told this yarn to Wayne Adair, a longtime specialist in relocation services, he quickly asked: "Did they lose the boxes for you?" Unfortunately, they didn't.
Wayne knows the value of a sense of humour on Move Day. He started in transport administration with big companies as soon as he left school after growing up mainly in the Wynnum area and has specialised in relocation management for most of the past decade.

IN partnership with Brisbane couple Steve and Evelyn Rae, Wayne has been working hard on their business, the Wacol-based BrisVegas Removals.
In 2007, the partners bought the then 35-year-old Redland firm, Bayside Removals. To complete the Redland link, Wayne, his wife Kellie and their daughters Aneka, 4, and Isla, 2, spend much time at their Macleay Island "weekender".
Wayne appreciates the "laidback island lifestyle" after his busy weeks managing a fleet of 10 trucks. BrisVegas employs 26 staff and sends the trucks, ranging from 13-metre pantechs to a semi-trailer, through the eastern States.
BrisVegas and Bayside Removals promise to "ensure your move is smooth and stress free".

"WE'RE here to help you make moving as easy as possible," the firm's mission statement says. "We are a reliable and friendly removal service. We pride ourselves on offering exellent customer services, backed up with the skills and knowledge."
They even "can arrange the entire move" from packing to relocating pets, cleaning, pest control, carpet cleaning, unpacking and making the beds.
In case you are wondering, the statement says nothing about tax records.

Thanks for joining me to meet 'the people behind the notices' that appear your local paper. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia.

Family funds jewellery sales

TWO pleasant surprises have meant a happy spring 2009 at the Capalaba house that Patricia and Ross Harris have called 'home' for the past three decades.
The Harrises have had many happy times at the Sutphin Street address where they have lived since August, 1977, just five months after their marriage. A lot of laughter and joy would echo around any family home for a couple and their three daughters.
Patricia was working in medical records at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and Ross in car sales when they tied the knot in March that year.
They had an early setback when the company employing Ross ran into financial difficulties but he soon found a job with an industrial packaging company and is still in the same field with another company.

THE couple had a daughter, Rebecca, in 1981, and another daughter, Melissa, in 1985. Their third daughter, Vanessa, was born in 1988, the year of Australia's bicentenary.
Now, more about the fantastic quinella that has featured in the Classifieds in Melbourne Cup week, 2009. Patricia had organised an engagement notice for Melissa, when Rebecca called from Western Australia to say she was also getting engaged.
The result has been back-to-back notices honouring this special time for the family.
"I am so excited," says Mum. "I think it's lovely to put it in the paper."
This shows the great heritage of publishing that local papers such as the Times and Bulletin have inherited over generations of service to their local communities.
Patricia, now working part time as a home carer, agrees some would see engagement notices as old fashioned but says they are a great way to share the good news.
But I'm getting off the subject(s): Patricia says Melissa's fiance is Timothy Day, known around the Harris household as a jack of all trades, after his recent experiences in gardening, wood turning and tool-making for the mining industry. Melissa is a dental assistant at Morningside.

ONE of Patricia's great joys is her first grandchild, Melissa and Timothy's 18-month-old daughter, Lucinda.
Patricia says the other enagagement stems from a New Zealand tour by Vanessa and Rebecca in 2008, when Rebecca met West Australian sandmining operator Nathan Armstrong.
Patricia knew some serious romance was under way when Rebecca returned from the tour, spent almost a month in Bunbury, WA, then moved west to work in insurance claims.
The Armstrongs are also part of the marvellous community of classified advertising. "Nathan's mum and dad put a notice in their local paper too," Patricia says.

Thanks for joining me to meet 'the people behind the notices' that appear your local paper. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia. Image from

From Durban to Capalaba

Image of Durban Town Hall from
THE south-east Queensland climate attracted the interest of a young South African toolmaker when almost three decades ago he looked for the right place to build a new life for his young family.
Graham Easterbrook was working in the port city of Durban, where he had grown up. He wanted to ensure his wife, Kathy, and their two infant sons, Justin and Gareth, had the security of a new homeland.
In 1981, Graham, then 25 years old, looked at migrating to Australia and found his toolmaking qualification was in demand.
He came to 'test the waters' and then settled his family at Victoria Point, where they lived for three years before the couple saved a deposit on their own home at Alexandra Hills.

GRAHAM and Cathy had another two sons, Kyle and Ashley. In 1988, Graham set up a business, The Machine Shop, in Neumann Road, Capalaba.
The couple celebrated the birth of their first grandchild in 2006 when Justin and his wife, Kristy, had a daughter, Natalie.
Justin is now aged 31 and working in information technology; Gareth, 28, specialises in window, blind and awning installation; and Kyle, 22 and Ashley, 20, are taking the same path as apprentice plumbers.
Ashley was the "hardworking, competent and reliable" third year apprentice who advertised recently in the Classifieds' Positions Wanted column.
Graham says he will never regret the decision to bring his family to "such a good country".
"I haven't had any disappointments over that – never," he says.
Graham says other family members have come to visit over the years and liked the Redland lifestyle so much they have returned to stay.

LIVING in Honeymyrtle Court, Capalaba, for the past two years, the Easterbrooks still have their two youngest sons at home.
Graham is proud of his business's claim as one of the leading precision machining engineering companies in Brisbane, using the latest equipment and machinery "capable of catering for all metal and plastic engineering needs".
He is confident of taking on just about any machinery component porject with equipment including computer numerically controlled (CNC) lathes.
Sadly, he says the growing trend for such work is offshore sourcing, from countries including India and Thailand.
Despite his pride in his own profession he is also happy to know his sons have shown their independent thinking in following their own paths in life.
That, after all, was the reason he and Cathy came here.

Thanks for joing me to meet the great families that are part of the marvellous community of classified advertising.This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia.