Sunday, November 23, 2014

Class of '89 gives youthful display at reunion

OH, what a night. The nostalgic feel of that 1970s pop song seems to sum up the upbeat mood at one of the city's popular nightspots when  dozens of Redlanders shrugged off any depression about advancing into middle age and boogied into the early hours.
Now in their early 40s, the former Cleveland High School students showed they still had the verve of youth as they converged on Elysium Lakeside for an important reunion.

MARKING the 25th anniversary of the 1989 year 12 graduation, about 60 people joined the throng, with the numbers gradually dwindling to a dozen or so stayers who partied on until closing time, 2.30am.
The organiser, Francene Neundorf, was there, of course, until the last farewell wave and sentimental smile, and says she crawled into bed at her Carbrook home at 3.30.
Francene revels in the happy mood when her old schoolmates get together; she has become quite passionate about their reunions, having previously organised 10-year and 20-year get-togethers.
The Grandview Hotel was the venue for the first and Victoria Point Sharks Club, the second.

FRANCENE says she knew the tendency of  the revellers to “kick on” late, so the closing time was important when she chose a venue for the third reunion.
She started promoting the October 25 event in the Classifieds Public Notices several months ago, and also uses social media to keep in touch with the group.
“The numbers dwindled a bit as some have dispersed around the world but  it was a great night,” she says.
“We danced and talked at lot. If you didn't talk to them at school, you would have had a chat on the night.
“CEOs and politicians? No, we weren't that good but we had a police officer, builders, an IT specialist, a journalist, an author, engineers, an accountant.
“There were four or five teachers, some people who left school in year 10 and a couple who used to smoke cigarettes behind the toilet block.
“Many still live in the area and some who now live in other areas were able to stay the night with their families who are still here.

IN the tradition of the romantic theme of the pop song, some teenage sweethearts of the class of '89 married and are still together, Francene says.
“Those that come along are positive in their lives,” she says.
The prospect of high school reunions seems to evoke mixed reactions – that is, former students may be either wildly enthusiastic or scornfully distasteful, but Francene has no doubts.
She says she enjoys organising such events “just to see old faces and catch up with the old days”.
“I just enjoy seeing people get together and enjoy themselves,” she says.

This column has appeared in the Redland City Bulletin.

Thousands to stay 'calm' during city's festivity

Image: 2008 Classie Corner report on Christine Burke.
HE'S peeking out of advertising brochures and grinning on the TV screens. That ubiquitous old man has shaken off his Melbourne Cup hangover, brushed his beard and togged up for Christmas 2014.
Kids are getting excited and parents twitchy. Santa's on his way. The jolly ambassador of retail is again riding high over deep religious culture.
Of all the Christmas experiences, however, one can underscore all the sentiments and beliefs, and bring a tear to the eye of even the most opportunistic, profit-oriented retailer.

UNITING with thousands in a good old singalong and hearing dedicated musicians express their Christmas spirit at a civic celebration such as Redland City Council's carols night is indeed a memorable experience.
A crowd estimated between 10,000 and 12,000 attended the 2013 Redland event, so Capalaba Regional Park in Pittwin Rd will be an amazing scene on Saturday, December 6, for Christmas by Starlight 2014.
Behind the warm and fuzzy feeling at such events, armies of specialists deal with all the details. Last year a home-grown contractor, Calm Event Management (CEM), worked with the council to ensure the night's success, and the firm has the mission again this year.

CALM proprietors are Victoria Point couple Christine and Patrick Burke, who have been mainstays of the Redland music scene for many years.
Both have careers as performers and are also known through their ownership of music store and school The Sound Shed, at Capalaba.
Christine says CEM grew from the couple's event management under The Sound Shed banner and now manages events up and down  the east coast between Townsville and Melbourne.
The enterprise is getting a burst of Christine's energy. She says she now has more time to spend on Calm events, with her daughter Kathryn studying science at the University of Queensland and son Sean preparing to start a music degree.

AS part of the repositioning, the Burkes have advertised the Capalaba store for sale. Reflecting on their 15 years on the site, Christine says, “I would like to think we have had an impact on the community and touched a lot of lives.
“Students we taught at seven or eight years old are now young adults and walk up to say 'G'day'. I think that's a good legacy.”
The council's “all-age, family-friendly event” will open at 4pm with free children’s activities and a visit from Santa. Community groups and licensed commercial operators will run food, drink and merchandise stalls.

A SPECIAL children’s show at 5.45pm will start the music program including Luke Kennedy, Naomi Price, Alexa Curtis;  Jal Joshua, Kiara Rodrigues, Leah Lever, Adeline Williams and Ali Crane, accompanied by Redland Sinfonia Orchestra and the City Choir. The event will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display.

This column has appeared in the Redland City Bulletin.

Love blossoms as tiny dog helps ailing owner

Image: The first-aid symbol, courtesy wikipedia. 

CANINE tails can wag over a relatively tiny increment of the data that emerges from the never-ending analyses of internet usage.
Today, our best friends can receive a special pat with the announcement that dog-related stories have consistently rated in the top five subjects in the online version of this column over the past eight years.
The website,, is  just a speck in a virtual universe but nevertheless illustrates the amazing relationships between human and canine.
This, indeed, is Love (capital deserved).

ONE tail that can wag faster than some others is that of Ruby, a Chihuahua-silky terrier cross, which lives at Capalaba with Lynette Pickett and her partner, Mick.
Mick bought Ruby for Lynette as a birthday gift, and she now describes the tiny two-kilogram dog as “my little mate” and her saviour.
Lynette says she had an athletic and active life before her health deteriorated. An Australia Post courier, she felt unwell for “quite a long time” and symptoms worsened. Her nausea became so bad during work hours she had to stop her car to vomit.
Three years ago she had brain surgery. “I have two aneurysms (bulges in the blood vessels) and three stints,” she says. “My life has changed considerably.”

LYNETTE says the arrival of Ruby in her life 18 months ago marked a turning point, giving her an interest and an incentive to keep up the battle against her health problems.
“I was quite sporty before all this and I got quite 'down' in recent years,” she says. “Walking is good for mental health and it's the only thing I can do now.”
Walking with Ruby on Ney Road on September 25, Lynette blacked out and fell to the pavement.
When she regained consciousness, a group of people was around her. One bystander looked up the 'last number' from the call records  on Lynette's phone. The number was Mick's, and he was there within five minutes.

LYNETTE placed a Classified notice thanking “everyone involved” in helping her and taking care of Ruby.
She can remember few specific details of the incident but wanted the people to know she appreciated and was grateful for their care.
Lynette says she previously had a black-out at a shopping centre. “The ambulance crew told me that two men who went to help me had almost come to blows while I was unconscious.
“One fellow tried to roll me into the recovery position and the other thought that was the wrong thing to do. They apparently had a very heated argument.”

THE message may be that the population needs to know standard first aid. Perhaps the high schools should make a bigger contribution to lifting the bar on this.

This column has appeared in the Redland City Bulletin.

Brightness appears in recesses on darkside

VIOLENT fury presents a terrifying face – eyes that could fit into a horror script and a mouth that sprays saliva with threatening noises.
Put them on top of an adrenaline-charged body and the handbrake that stops a mind from running out of control can flip off.
What comes next is often told in court when documenting the circumstances of injury.

A MAN in his 50s tells of a frightening experience several years ago at the bus stop outside Redland Hospital. A couple standing near the hospital boundary caught the man's eye.
The woman was heavily pregnant; her companion had his arm around her shoulders, appearing to comfort her.
Thinking she was about to have her baby and that he might alert the emergency staff, the witness called, “Are you okay?”

THEN the companion, a tall and fit-looking young man, turned and charged, with fists raised and screaming like an angry bull, “You mind your own f...... business.”
The  'helper' raised his hands in a surrender pose and walked backwards, saying “I was only trying to help”, but the man didn't stop.
The woman screamed, “Don't ... don't,” as the man's fists shook in front of a white face, wide eyes and gaping mouth.
Just then two hospital security men walked into the assailant's field of vision. He dropped his hands and turned away.

THE fury in that face will haunt the man (me) for life. On a later visit to the hospital, I told one of the security officers I would now think carefully before offering help to any strangers apparently in need.
He replied that the chances of a nasty incident were still pretty rare and it was wrong either to deny help because of such fear or to make presumptions based on quick observations.
The officer said that on one occasion three tough bikies had delivered a carton of beer after he lent them a wheel brace. That showed you can't judge a book by its cover.

READERS of the Classifieds often see expressions of gratitude from the hearts of those who have been helped by strangers.
The Thanks column is evidence that a society with a big chunk of negatives such as aggression and violence also has a very bright side.
For many generations, such columns have allowed people to state their heartfelt sentiments to someone they don't know but who cared.
At other times, the notices honour the individuals by publicly identifying them.
Lynette Pickett, of Capalaba, recently placed a notice thanking people who helped her. Her story will feature in the next edition of this column.

This column has appeared in the Redland City Bulletin.

Old man winter retreats to cave

HOORAY – that cranky old man called winter has finally backed off into his air-conditioned cave after delivering some terrible shivers.
Now, as we enjoy a beautiful spring, we may wonder how the old man, desperately needing relief from the building heat, ensures his air conditioner works when it's needed.

THE chances are that in the Redlands at least, he calls in someone he knows and trusts, such as Lemine Pty Ltd, a family business that has operated in the area for 33 years.
The proprietors, Neville and Robyn Wright, featured in this column in 2007, after they welcomed the birth of their first two grandchildren.
Their lives have become considerably busier, as the new generation now numbers eight and Lemine's client list also continues to grow.
Robyn says she and Neville are very proud of the business they created. The childhood sweethearts grew up in Belmont and moved across the council border to Birkdale to build their family in the Redlands.

NEVILLE did his apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker with a Brisbane air-conditioning company about 50 years ago but now  focuses on designing and quoting for residential and commercial systems.
After thousands of installations and maintenance calls during more than three decades, Robyn says Lemine employs only qualified technicians and subcontracts associated work to trusted tradespeople.
The firm services “all brands” but supplies mainly Panasonic systems, “ideal for the salt air conditions in the Redlands”.
Of  the many Redlanders who use the Lemine services, the bay islanders must be among the most appreciative.

ROBYN says she and Nev have always  tried to ensure the islanders get the best possible service.
She says Lemine makes regular trips to service Club Macleay and has clients on all the  islands.
While the Lemine vehicles are often seen on the barges, the Wrights are also among the passengers to North Stradbroke Island as their daughter and son-in-law, Leanne and Damien Stewart, manage the Anchorage Resort.
Robyn says the firm has  an exceptionally busy winter with Redlanders taking the opportunity during the chill to have their systems serviced.
She says proper maintenance does save money through early detection of faults and prolonging the life of a system and spring is still the best time.

A MAJOR problem for air conditioning in Redland City is the 'foreign gecko', Robyn says.
Lemine is finding a growing incidence of costly damage to printed circuit boards after geckos get into air conditioners over winter.

This column has appeared in the Redland City Bulletin.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Jazz at Aunty Alice's, Russell Is, Queensland, Australia

THIS was the happy scene a few weeks ago when Viki Carryl and I performed at Aunty Alice's restaurant and cafe on Russell Island. 
The singer on the right is Ned, the cafe proprietor and an accomplished musician who plays a menu of stringed and keyboard instruments and sings with jazz pianist Eddie A'Bear at Alice's on the third Sunday each month. 
We were playing Norah Jones' Don't Know Why when Ned seems to have dropped the plates and hopped into the harmony. 
Great experience. Surrounded by such lovely ladies including my wife Jenny on the other side of the camera and my daughters with their partners and mybaby grandson, who was asleep and didn't hear the song I dedicated to him.  What a great Father's Day! :) :)!!
Viki and I are back there this Sunday, first of the month, noon start.

Our first performance last month features in the list at and in  its video at

Monday, September 22, 2014

 'Weird feeling' leads to expert care after heart attack

GOOD fortune is often said to come from being in the right place at the right time. Thornlands refrigeration mechanic Ray Hackett says Redland Hospital and the morning of Thursday, August 28, met those two criteria for him.
About 3am on Wednesday, Ray rang the ambulance after he felt a sensation of pressure in his chest build to pain then subside.
“It was a weird feeling, like someone put an air hose in my chest,” he says.

RAY had another episode after the paramedics arrived. In hospital, Ray patiently waited for the full assessment of his condition, then bang, that building and fading pain again.
“The top cardiologist in Brisbane, Dr Gill, was doing his rounds and he's apparently only at the hospital for a few hours once a week,” Ray says.
“He walked into my ward just as I had a turn.
“They put the machine [electrocardiograph monitor] on me but couldn't see anything unusual.
“Dr Gill leaned over and said, 'I'll show you – this man's trying to have a heart attack'.
“He said it was the top artery and it was blocking and releasing.”

RAY says Dr Gill directed a transfer to Princess Alexandra Hospital where staff said he was fortunate to have come to the attention of “the number-one heart doctor, the numero uno”.
On Friday evening, Ray was in the operating theatre to have a stint put in the faulty artery. He was told during his discharge briefing on Saturday morning that his quick reaction to the first burst of pain meant he had escaped major damage.
He advises anyone with such a “pressure and pain build-up” to seek medical attention immediately and not to ignore such a warning sign.
On Sunday evening, he said he felt “as good as gold”. The health emergency, however, had made him  think seriously about retiring after 54 years in the workforce and about 50 years in refrigeration.

RAY Hackett Refrigeration Services features in the Bulletin's Trade Services Classifieds and has been familiar to many Redlanders since he moved from Victoria about 15 years ago.
He plans to have a few weeks off work to think about the future. Undoubtedly, he will dab brushes onto canvas. Painting has been Ray's relaxation for about 25 years.
He has been with Stephen Holliday's art group but missed Sunday's scheduled Art by the Boardwalk exhibition and demonstrations at Raby Bay.
This spring brings the first anniversary of the boardwalk event, which runs on the first Sunday of the month.
Let's hope Ray will show a new painting or two on October 5 as well as practise his skills at the easel under the watchful eyes of the spring browsers.

This column has appeared in The Redland City Bulletin.

'Slice of your life' gives feast of memoirs

THE often quarrelsome relationships between dog and cat seem to set a style for other branches of the animal kingdom.
In many cases of canine-feline coexistence, each appears to hate the other other with a passion, fighting over food and territory, and often having a nip or swipe at the other for no clear reason.
In the human world, journalists and teachers may behave in a similar manner, blaming each other for the perceived drop in literary standards among the younger generations.
With a little apprehension and bated breath I fronted up this week to interview a retired teacher about writing, and was relieved when Rowena James, despite devoting her life to lifting English standards, proved to be not only a gentle critic but also an inspirational one.

ROWENA's early retirement last year must have meant a sad loss to the teaching profession as she enjoys sharing her deep knowledge and understanding about writing, and  can do it with an endearing sense of humour that must have helped her students remember their lessons.
After three decades teaching in south-east Queensland high schools and holding four positions as deputy principal, Rowena now lives at Victoria Point, enjoying walks with her beloved Pomeranian, Max.
“When I retired I felt lost,” she said. “I had brought up my kids as a sole parent and they had left home.
“I had worked all my life but the job had gone and all my friends had been connected with the job.”
Rowena said she had joined the Victoria Point Library book club for something to do, and “I haven't looked back − opportunities I hadn't dreamed of have opened up”.

ONE of those opportunities has been the RedWrites Memoir Group (Redland City Bulletin, Public Notices, August 13) ), which offers “peer to peer critiquing”, welcomes beginners and undoubtedly benefits from Rowena's experience.
Rowena has already written about 100,000 words of her memoir and is ready with tips to help those who feel they need it.
“People may need encouragement to tell their story,” she said. “A lot aren't very confident, but there is a lot to be gained from telling your own story.
“I have learnt a lot about myself.”
She said a memoir was not the full story, as an autobiography might aim to tell, but rather was “just a slice of your life”, making it an easier writing project.
The notice advertised a memoir workshop at the library today (August 20) from 2pm to 4pm − with more on the third Wednesday each month. The writers' group, RedWrites Redlands, meets at Capalaba Community Centre on the first Tuesday each month.

This column has appeared in The Redland City Bulletin.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Screen gazers have window on world some can't see

1812 image of Luddites courtesy wikipedia.
TWO centuries ago they went on violent rampages smashing machinery but the Luddites of today are more likely to nod off for a snooze during an Attenborough doco.
There's not much fight left in those who inherited a social label from an anti-technology movement of old.
The archetypal modern-day Luddite is battle weary after a generation of a computing advance that trumps 19th century industrial mechanisation, not only in scale but in general social significance.
Still refusing or unable to own or use computers, our Luddites can only sigh as the world's population transforms into an army of screen gazers – in the street, on the buses, outside the restaurants and probably on the loo – and wonder what the hell they are doing.
It's no joke to be 'on the other side' in this revolution. The resistors are slowly and steadily losing their rights.

THE struggle by septuagenarian 'Bob' of Ormiston to complete normal day-to-day tasks without a computer (Classie Corner, May 30) touched a chord for Redland City tax preparer 'Harry', who asked for his identity to be withheld.
As taxpayers of all levels of technological skills wrestle with their moment of truth to the ATO, the 'Luddites', who are usually retired seniors, face some further difficulties.
Harry says financial statements of many types are now available only online as the paperless militia continues its march and in other cases some banks charge for printed statements.
He cites share holdings and social security payments as two examples where his recent clients have run into difficulties.
Just making a request for a printed statement is, after all, another task and can put someone on a telephone roundabout that is not always user friendly.

AFTER working on computers for many years and with a background in commercial accountancy and the public sector, Harry says he not 'anti technology' but rather questions society's obsession with it.
“Things are getting bulldozed through and people's rights and privileges are being taken from them,” he says.
“We could be talking about one-third of the adult population being marginalised. There is hurt and suffering.”
Harry says computer users are being forced into software upgrades that can mean painful readjustment because of the degree of change in the interface, without apparent reason.

ON the social level, a 'competition addict' in his family complains that almost all the contests are now online, leading to his concern about privacy and the sharing of email addresses, while the 'cloud' concept of data retention also creates issues.
Bob said he had thought about starting some sort of Luddite club but rejected Harry's offer to get involved, apparently preferring to suffer in
Redland City Bulletin. silence.
However, Harry says the modern-day Luddites already need support and the 'ageing population' means the issues will persist.

The text above has featured in the Redland City Bulletin.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Research looks into processes of grief, mourning

THE attack on Flight MH17 and the death of so many justifiably dominates the news, slamming home the human fragility and throwing the world into grief.
The vision of the wreckage and the fleeting shots of the passengers' personal items undoubtedly have brought tears to the eyes of many millions in many countries.
Just as certain is that the emotional flood will slowly fade and retract from those with no connection to the victims but condense in relatively few who knew and loved them.
The tragedy will be just an event in history for most but leave a vacancy in the heart for some. Death prompts wonder at how the grief-stricken will ever get over their loss.

MUCH has been documented about grief and mourning but a 2010 article in The New Yorker expressed an interesting view.
“New research suggests that grief and mourning don’t follow a checklist; they’re complicated and untidy processes, less like a progression of stages and more like an ongoing process – sometimes one that never fully ends,” the article by Meghan O’Rourke said.
“Perhaps the most enduring psychiatric idea about grief, for instance, is the idea that people need to 'let go' in order to move on; yet studies have shown that some mourners hold on to a relationship with the deceased with no notable ill effects.
“In China, mourners regularly speak to dead ancestors, and one study has shown that the bereaved there suffer less long-term distress than bereaved Americans do.”

EVERY week the Bulletin, as newspapers have done for many generations, carries a collection of expressions of grief under the heading, In Memoriam, showing one way our culture  handles the nagging grief that never fades.
For the reader, the touching verse and images may evoke questions about the deceased and those represented in the lists of names: 'What was he/she like as a person?'
Several notices appeared recently, marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Peter Cawthray, who was born in Coominya in the Somerset district in 1941 and moved to Thorneside in 1963, later living in other Redland suburbs before his death in July 2004.
“He was a good bloke,” Peter's brother-in-law, Richard Harvey, said.
“For a while now we have been putting an annual memorial notice in the local newspaper to remember a very special member of our family.
“We have certainly never forgotten him as he still pops up in our memories and our day to day lives, which says a lot as to what sort of special person he was.”

The text above has featured in the Redland City Bulletin.

In this anniversary month, Richard has written about Peter Cawthray.

He was a good bloke ...

HIS name is Peter Ross Cawthray and he was born in 1941 at the little rural Queensland town of Coominya, west of Brisbane. The third son to Stan and Edna, he joined his older siblings Laurie and Eddie and was later followed by little sister Julie. They lived a hard but happy life on the land and it was from here Peter gained a lifelong appreciation and affinity for people working on the land.

In the early '60s the family moved to the Brisbane bayside area of Thorneside and Peter often spoke fondly of his childhood there, including catching the steam train to Cleveland (Raby bay Station) to go to the “pictures” at the theatre in Middle Street.

He attended Wynnum High School and later started his working life at K.R. Darling Downs Bacon Factory at Murarrie where his Dad also worked.

He had a great love of sport, played competitive tennis for many years and was an avid Wynnum Many Rugby League supporter. I have many fond memories of going with Peter and his mates to Koogarai Oval on a Sunday afternoon to cheer on the mighty Wynnum Manly. Later on when the Broncos came along, he became a big fan of theirs also.

ONE of the sporting highlights of his life was to be present at the Gabba on that great day in March 1995 when Carl Rackemann took the catch and Queensland won the Sheffield Shield for the very first time. He would often show us in photos where he was sitting in the grandstand when “we won the Shield”!

Peter married Janny in 1963 and for a while they lived in Mooroondu Road, Thorneside. They later moved to their own first home at Napier Street, Birkdale. They were blessed with three lovely children, Peter junior, Suzanne and Michelle.

In the ensuing years Peter and Jannys children attended Birkdale Kindy, Birkdale State School, Saint John Vianney's at Manly, Mount Carmel College in Wynnum and Iona College at Lindum.

Tragically, Peter and Jan lost Suzy in 1980 in a bicycle accident, a loss no parent can possibly dare to think of, let alone endure, like they have.

OVER many years Peter and Jan had a penchant for a bit of “property development”. This saw them buying /refurbishing/building/selling, shall I say, on a few occasions like, at Mount Cotton, Thornlands (3 times), Cleveland and Redland Bay. Note, the properties were always in the Redlands; Peter once said to me, “You’d be bloody mad to want to live anywhere else, wouldn’t you?"

On top of the property things they were doing, they also ventured into small business, first with a partnership with Roy and Judy in a fruit shop and health food shop in Cleveland then followed a produce agency at Beenleigh.

PETER ended up going back to his “old trade", the meat industry, when he joined Teys Brothers at Beenleigh, and later  Ambrosia Meats, where he was working when he retired due to health reasons in 2004.He passed away not long after from lung cancer in July 2004.

Over many years, Peter often spoke of the really nice people he has been associated with throughout his life and I would like to mention a few of them, I’m sure he would not mind.

Some of them are from early families in the Redlands. The Stariha boys,  Apps family,  Crabb family, the McCullaghs, the Cranes, the Finneys, the Bandieras, the Callaghans, the Manganos, the O’Briens (a must on Saturday morning for the tips),the Pattermores, the McLellands, the Boyles, the Franklins, the Barrs, the Schmidts, the McMillans, the Salles family, the Dickees, the Melrose family, Romaine and Kath.

PETER would not seek attention or credit; he was happy to live a good life; he loved family get-togethers and barbecues. He had a special spot for babies and children. He enjoyed a cold XXXX or a glass of chardonnay and he loved Aussie things such as fishing, vegie gardening, having a beer and a yarn at the bar and Slim Dusty singing, “Gum trees by the roadside, willows by the creek”.

I mentioned at the beginning he often pops up in our memories. Well, two classics for us are one, whenever we have a roast pork dinner, someone will say, "Make sure you leave enough crackling for Uncle Peter”. He loved it!

And secondly, if ever we’re outdoors for a picnic or camping and dark clouds start to form someone will bring up Peter's famous quote from years ago when the Cawthrays were camping at Bells Farm, “There will be no rain on this day of our Lord.” Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t!

Peter, after all this time, you are still sadly missed by all of us, not only, but in particular by

Jan,” Little Peter” and Michelle & their families

Eddie, Fay & Julie & their families

His Grandchildren, Nieces & Nephews

Jan’s Family

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mountain of clothes shrinks to hill in city's bargain hunt

Colourful artwork promoting the Classifieds.
TWO glorious two days must go down in haggling history for Redland City bargain hunters  − courtesy of the Bulletin Classifieds.
Last weekend the new Bulletin, continuing the tradition of the two papers it represents, delivered a memorable line-up of notices that garage sale and market addicts could not afford to miss.
Readers scarcely had time to top up their cash reserves as they trod the greasy floors and strolled the market aisles.

THE big headliner, of course, was the Monster Drought Relief Garage Sale, a joint project of the city's Rotary clubs and this newspaper's publisher, Fairfax Media, but the action continued with a feast of special buy-sell events, all supporting good causes.
Cleveland Baptist Church, Bloomfield St, again held its Saturday market, Wellington Point Trinity Uniting Church chimed in with a carboot sale and Birkdale South Children's Centre gamely scheduled twilight markets during a cold snap, apparently knowing a good bargain is the best winter warm-up.

THIS bargain hunter was press-ganged to the other side of the tressle to help a family member who rounded up all the unused clothing of the females in the clan for a market stall.
Such a clean-out of the wardrobes and cupboards seems a good way to free up storage space and ease the conscience over previous bad purchasing decisions, as many items still had the original price tags.
'Team Clean-out' opted for simplicity, piling everything onto a table, providing old supermarket bags with a sign offering, “Fill a bag, $10”, and reducing the price every few hours as the best items were sold and the clothing mountain shrank to a hill.
It is unknown at time of writing whether the distribution of the earnings needs to go before the court as the accounting seemed a bit loose.

ONE advantage of selling at markets or carboot sales is that vendors don't need to fear a procession of strangers at their homes − which worries many people.
Such events also promise to attract browsers and perhaps lift the sales rate.
However, the convenience of the garage sale, without the hassles of packing, carrying, parking, unpacking and cleaning up at a remote site, will always be a plus. Nevertheless, serious planning is always necessary.

THE Bulletin Classifieds are the definitive guide for Redland City bargain hunters.
It's just so easy to get the street names off the printed page, punch them into the GPS or check the directory maps and merrily cruise the sales each Saturday.
The listings also feature at for those who prefer a paperless guide.
Don't forget − the launch of the new Wednesday Bulletin has meant an important change in timing for placement of garage sale notices. See the notice in this edition.

Hundreds of smiles warm up winter in vibrant city

EVERYONE gets the chance to make new year's resolutions on January 1 but business has a special opportunity each July.
The winter sunshine with a bite of chill in the air – and a meeting with accountant or tax agent high on the agenda – is a good platform for improvements and reforms.
Business of all types can be a bit like gardening, where during the dead of winter one pays attention to important details before the warmth of spring.
Redland City has experienced an early flush of new growth this winter with the
launch of the Redland City Bulletin, combining the best features of the long-serving
Bayside Bulletin
and Redland Times to service the vibrant urban and rural community that is based on a precious environmental asset, the Moreton Bay region.

THE Fairfax Media team that has planned the reform deserves congratulations for retaining the local papers' traditions, while emphasising the role in servicing the changing communities of interest that make up a modern city.
It was pleasing to see the faces of more than 200 people, mostly Redland City residents, feature in the editorial pictures of the first edition, excluding the eight-page wraparound feature that documented the reform.
After dozens of papers of hard news and special features supporting city enterprises, it was just as delightful to get the burst of colour in the Trades Services pages and then the first edition of the Redland City Bulletin Classifieds.

THE 'old' always mixes with the 'new' in the Classifieds, and the cultural mix will always draw keen eyes.
One of the most visited pages at tells of the “treasure hunt” of classified advertising, which offers special opportunities.
A buyer found a top-range Westinghouse fridge at a bargain price after Julie Smith of Ormiston used a picture of the fridge in her ad for that special edition of the new Bulletin. Please note: The fridge wasn't smiling too.
Julie and her family came from the UK 15 years ago for the Redland lifestyle, so they have witnessed the district's change – and she says they have no regrets.
They have been preparing to move to a new Ormiston home, where the fridge would be too big for the kitchen bay.

NEVILLE Russell of Thornlands advertised for a Raby Bay pontoon for a 38ft boat he is about to bring from Tasmania – and received an offer.
Neville says he has hired a skipper to sail the Huon pine boat, Islander II, to the bay; he is considering getting aboard at Coffs Harbour.
The Classifieds are a place for people who get out there and do things in their lives. That will remain the same, regardless of the packaging.

This has been the first Classie Corner in the new Redland City Bulletin.

No one wants to be caught with their RAM down

COMPUTERS – how we love to hate them. Before you rush to get an end of financial year special on a new box, think about how you may get more out of your existing system.
Interest-free deals can be enticing but the power and speed of the latest models may be unnecessary for users who will never go beyond basics of email and text-based fiddling, viewing and editing an image occasionally and researching websites for senior citizen entitlements.
Computer sales staff have a mission to 'hard sell' an upgrade or two and prey on insecurities of anyone with a hint of computer phobia.
Obviously, no one wanted to be caught with their RAM down but memory upgrades may not be warranted.

THIS warning comes from my shopping for a dongle to put free-to-air TV on my screen. The salesman tried to bundle in a gigabyte or two of RAM but I read the box which said it would run on less than a quarter of what he told me.
It's 35 years since I first sat at a computer keyboard and my heritage in a country noted for thriftiness has previously featured in this space.
Today, I look past the commercial 'big boys' and into nooks and crannies of the computing universe to try to save a buck.
That's why I recently installed the free operating system Ubuntu after the XP fiasco pushed me toward a future with less dependence on Microsoft.
And it's why I always browse the Computers columns of the Classifieds, where a recent notice has announced the services of Rescue Reporting, a new business founded by Andrew Swanborough.

ANDREW doesn't share my distaste for the computing mainstream because it provides a platform for his enterprise helping small businesses save money by getting more out of their existing systems.
The field is called software development, and Andrew's goal is “to decrease the administrative overhead”.
“I automate computing tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually,” he says. “Every modern business keeps records digitally but often when it becomes time for an internal review or to present this data to a third party stakeholder a considerable amount of tweaking, reformatting and calculating needs to be done.
“This is the kind of work computers were made for, there is no need for a human to spend hours
when a computer can do it in seconds.
“The kind of solution I deliver will be tailor made to mesh with your existing system, can often be delivered in only a few days and will cost you about as much as if you paid someone to do it manually.”
Andrew is available for EOFY consultations.

This column  appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor the Redland City Bulletin.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Coochie club makes waves on Moreton Bay

Coochie nippers line up beside glorious Moreton Bay. Image courtesy
THE long-standing Queensland obsession with the surf probably made a few eyebrows rise at a recent public notice for one of the most important bayside and island community groups.
The lack of surf on Moreton Bay has been no hindrance to the evolution of a very active surf life saving club.
Coochiemudlo Surf Life Saving Club in fact has been 'club of the year' in the movement's south coast district.
The benefit of the 'stillwater' has helped the Coochie club develop swimming skills better than  many clubs on surf beaches, president Lance Price says.
“The surf beaches tend to get so rough that the swimmers can't get out in it,” he says. “We don't have that problem, so our members, especially the young ones, have a very good training environment.”

LANCE says the club, which had only about 10 members when it affiliated with the national surf live saving movement in 1996, is going from strength to strength and now has about 265 members.
“We have a very large contingent of nippers,” he says. “On any Sunday during the season we have close to 200 of them on the beach.
“Most of those come from the Redlands' mainland suburbs; only 10 to 15 of our nippers actually live on the island.”
The bay location means members don't have the task of rescuing swimmers from rips but Lance says emergencies do occur and the club's first-aid services are busy.
He says the club has about 50 patrolling members, with the ranks continually fed by teenagers qualifying for their surf rescue certificates.

“THE club is very strong in the national first-aid competitions,” he says. “Six members went to Perth last season for the nationals competing in the under-16, under-17 and open divisions.
“The best we got was a fourth but that's a national ranking and we think that's pretty good.”
Lance, who has been a club member for about eight years and captain for the past five, was elected as president at the annual general meeting last Saturday.
He said about 30 members attended and there was some lively discussion as the club was keen to “keep up with the times and keep moving ahead”.
A recent appointment to Surf Life Saving Queensland led the former president Des Kerr to stand down, Lance says.
The club invites new members, saying: “Apart from the benefits of health, fitness, friendship, competition, knowledge, leadership and being able to put something back into the community, there are always lifesaving awards to be gained, with the majority of these awards now nationally recognised.”

This column appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor, the Redland City Bulletin.

'Luddite' suffers without computers, mobile phones

Image: An 1812  reward poster for Luddite attacks in the Leeds area - courtesy fellow bloggers at

THE  term “Luddite”, originating from anti-machinery protesters in 19th century England, has found a new life in the computer age to describe those who resist technology.
It's often said with  curled lips, raised eyebrows or a shrug of distaste but a certain Ormiston man  wears it like a badge of honour.
The man and his wife are now in their seventies. They refuse to get a computer or even a mobile phone.
Bob, asking for his surname to be withheld, talked yesterday about their increasing difficulty in day-to-day life.
“We are increasingly marginalised – there are so many things you can't do – and I guess we are getting a chip on each shoulder,” he said.
“You can't get a letter published in the paper because they get them by computer and turn them over on the website and you can't even get the arrival time of a plane over the phone any more.
“The only contact with a lot of companies and services appears to be by computer.”

BOB was scornful of “anti-social networking” because he said the better form of communication was face to face – “and we are losing a lot of that”.
He said he had briefly used computers in the early 1990s when working as a counsellor with a federal government agency.
“We used to sit down with the people and get to know them but as soon as computers came in we were staring into the screen all the time and not talking to the people anymore,” he said.
Bob admitted that with four daughters, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren he often faced family pressure to catch up with technology.
However, he was adamant that he would not change. With the hope of solace with like-minded folk, he sometimes thought about starting a  “Luddite club”, he said.
Bob was disappointed that his faith in the traditional newspaper Classifieds was not rewarded with a sale for the telescope he advertised.

THE Lumina 200x and collection of 60 hardcover books on astronomy and space exploration, at an asking price of $150, had not attracted a call, he said.
“The telescope was my grandson's but he quickly lost interest and the books belonged to a friend who had a stroke,” Bob said.
He said he had contacted an astronomy group to see if they would be interested, especially in the sizable book collection, but did not receive a call back.
In closing, Bob issued a word of warning to mobile phone users, quoting a neurosurgeon's suspicions about a possible link with tumours around the ear.
And he said the federal budget was another of his current concerns as it did nothing for the environment but seemed to add up to more freeways and more cars.

This colum  appeared in The Redland Times before the launch of its successor the Redland City Bulletin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In memory of Millie, Tenterfield terrier

THE silver lining in the dark cloud; an opportunity from a missed deadline.
 A pet food company just ran a contest for images of dogs. This gem was hiding in a back-up disk and poked its nose out of the cuddly comfort of obscurity too late to enter the competition. 
Now it remains as a special treat for readers of this site, which from time to time has documented my love of Tenterfield terriers since my family obtained one of the lovable little creatures from the Classifieds.
 Millie, pictured, was a Tenterfield cross who danced on her back legs, befriended the neighbourhood cats and birds – particularly the curlews – and helped me collect sticks for the backyard campfires. 
Sadly, I report she is with us no more, but this image of her as a little puppy brings back happy memories of a great little mate. 
My posts about Tenterfield terriers are the most visited on this site and I am sure this lovely picture will be of interest. 
Next post: Back to business in the Classifieds – coming soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 'Monster cookies' join gift list for Redland mothers

Image from the Express Cookies facebook page
BEACH fishing on North Stradbroke Island is a favourite recreation for Darren Lind, of Victoria Point, but the line will stay in the reel this week as his business enters a new phase.
Darren was working in his trade as a carpenter when just over three years ago he decided to seek a new career.
He set up a home-based business, Express Cookies, distributing tasty treats supplied by a Victorian factory.
Darren is now known as “the cookie man” as he travels around south-east Queensland delivering to cafes and restaurants.
His typical working day starts early with trips between Redcliffe, Kingscliff and Ipswich on his schedules.
“It's still just a small business but growing each week and getting to the stage where it will need dedicated premises somewhere,” he says.
Darren says the offer of a free sample pack to restaurants and cafes has helped business growth.

A colourful notice in the Classifieds has announced a new era for Express Cookies, offering Mother's Day baskets containing 10 wrapped 'monster cookies' and either a candle or a coffee mug, with delivery on the Redland mainland.
Darren conducted a trial of a themed promotion at Easter selling similar baskets, complete with bunny.
Encouraged by the response, he plans to market cookies for other occasions on the cultural calendar and offer personalised baskets for birthdays and anniversaries.
Darren expects a busy weekend, also attending Redland Bay markets on Sunday.
Cookie vendors may have an insight into dietary habits. Darren says trade ebbs during summer but rises in autumn.
“As it cools down people drink more coffee and that goes with cookies, muffins and things like that,” he says.
While most Redlanders bemoaned this week's cold snap, Darren could rub his hands in anticipation of brisk trade. After growing up in the South Australian inland he can handle the chill.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the young carpenter's arrival in the Redlands during his travels, stopping first at a Capalaba van park.
His hometown of Woomera was no match for our bayside. “I just fell in love with the place,” he says.
Darren first settled at Wellington Point and he says he has no plans to move from Victoria Point, which has been a good base for his business.
“The cookie man” sometimes has helpers on his rounds – his wife Nicole and their teenage son, Dolton, who enjoys travelling with his dad, and of course has inherited his parents' love of fishing at daybreak with feet in the Straddie sand.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

'Health and wealth' echoes as mantra for baby boomers

A LONG journey on some highways and byways of Queensland life has led Tim Campion (right) to Victoria Point but he's not resting as he advances toward retirement age. Once a "typical country boy" who grew up on a sheep and cattle property on the western Darling Downs, Tim now describes himself as an entrepreneur.
At 62 years old, he is not winding down but rather ramping up to prepare for his senior years with a mantra of "health and wealth" at top of mind.
He works out at a gym three times a week and brims with energy as he talks about his new projects.
Tim has already lived a full life, after he left the family property while in his twenties, to study for a business degree.
"I stumbled across the opportunity to start my own business, line marking, and had contracts around the greater Brisbane area including the Redland Shire Council," he says.
"At the time I was living at Sheldon and started a nursery there."
In the late 1980s, Tim returned to work on the family property, between Miles and Chinchilla, and decided to study law. 
He says his admission as a barrister allowed him to start a practice in Chinchilla and Toowoomba and he later served as the senior lawyer with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in Mt Isa, then moved to Wellington Point and defended in cases in the Cleveland, Wynnum and Holland Park Magistrates Courts.
Tim says he mistakenly believed the sale of the family property to a gas company almost four years ago would allow him to retire.
However, after seeing how quickly his wealth was shrinking, he knew positive action was imperative.
"We can no longer rely on a little nest egg of superannuation to get us through," he says. "So many people in the baby boomer category are looking for the means to give them quality of life in their impending retirement." 
Tim believes he has found a perfect solution in the marketing of a US-developed dietary supplement, Protandim, that is hailed as a weapon against "oxidative stress".
That is the background to the "medical breakthrough" that Tim recently announced in the Business Opportunities column.
The Protandim website says the supplement's five natural ingredients work together to activate an enzyme that communicates with the body's cells, "instructing them to ... survive in the face of stress from free radicals and other oxidants, and ... help the body function at an optimal level".
If enthusiasm and energy are any guide, Tim Campion appears to be a walking and talking example of the supplement's efficacy.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Paddle with passion in 'wilderness' with houses in view

Glorious Moreton Bay, courtesy of
MY research has failed to identify the thinker who coined the often-quoted phrase, "Stop and smell the roses", but one thing's for sure - he/she didn't live in our bayside districts.
The best advice to or from anyone who knows our great Redland City and south-east Queensland's huge air conditioner, Moreton Bay, must be, "Get out there on the water and enjoy it - now."
We may take the bay for granted as we soldier on with day-to-day issues of survival in our modern urban lifestyles.
Just take a minute to soak up the vista from the mainland to Straddie and north toward Moreton Island and think how lucky we are to live in such an environment.
Better still - hop in a kayak and pit yourself against the elements. Get close to the other side of the mangroves you normally drive past. Feel that little nip of apprehension that you may interest a shark - and the sweet anticipation of getting up close and personal with a dolphin.
Bruce Mitchell, of Thorneside, has done it. He has been out there, with a dolphin and calf swimming beside his kayak and keeping him company for "quite some time".
He is thankful he has not had a close encounter with the species with the teeth while kayaking on Moreton Bay and its waterways, and says the scent of the bay is better than a whole field of roses.
Auckland-born Bruce migrated to Australia in 1986 but did not bring his kayak across "the ditch" - as freight - until about a decade ago.
The kayak then crossed the Nullabor atop his car, and he paddled on Western Australia's Murray River before moving back to the Redlands.
Bruce later bought a top-range 4.8m model. His favourite outing has been up Tingalpa Creek, "all the way to Capalaba".
"It's like you are in wilderness, among the mangroves and bush, although you do see the houses in parts," he says.
"Kayaking is such a great experience, and we are very lucky to live where we live."
Bruce was sad to advertise his beloved kayak for sale, after a spinal injury that was unrelated to his paddling passion.
"A hell of a nice bloke has bought it," he says. "He's from Victoria Point and is going to paddle back down there."
Bruce estimates the trip will take probably four hours. His advice to kayakers is to ensure the wind and tides are on their side.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Scarred by tragedy, grieving dad tells of rebuilding his life

Image: From the Bayside Family Cars website.

APRIL always begins with laughs and leg-pulling but it's a month of sadness for Cleveland resident Craig Shemmell. In April, 2000, Craig's daughter Kelly died in a car accident on the Gold Coast, just six weeks after her 18th birthday. She was driving the birthday present from Craig, a car dealer who in the 1980s had sold a big Victorian dealership to move northward for a bayside lifestyle at Wellington Point.
Craig says the tragedy was too much for him to handle – "it knocked me around badly" – and he was unable to 'move on'. "I lost it and had a breakdown," he says. "Then I woke up one day about 12 years ago and thought I better get it back together. "I didn't have any money left but I did have a diamond ring that my daughter had bought." Craig says the ring allowed him to borrow enough money to start buying cars for resale and with the support of Cec Curtis at Birkdale Road Car Sales his life turned around. After several years Craig began trading as Bayside Family Cars, Capalaba. More joy was on the way during that period, with Craig's wife Jodie giving birth to a son, Lochlan, now eight years old and a student at Sheldon College.
Recent advertising in the Motor Vehicles column has heralded a new era. Craig is clearing stock, with a new lessee soon to take over the Old Cleveland Road site. "I started here with just five cars; now we have about 60," he says. "The business is now too big for me." Craig says he has succeeded over the years by stocking the yard, which has been a Capalaba landmark for more than 20 years, with "variety at the right price" and building a reputation for giving buyers choice when they shop for a suitable vehicle. The yard is now expected to trade in vehicles no more than five years old.
Craig's March 18 ad gave an indication of some of the deals on offer during the clearance, with 'as is' trade-ins including a 1995 Pajero $2800, a 2000 supercharged Calais $1500 and 2002 Commodore automatic $2000. Craig says he looks forward to the change after almost 40 years in the motor trade but he will leave Bayside Family Cars on April 30 with that sadness that always hangs around this autumn month as it is the anniversary of Kelly's accident.
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Friday, March 14, 2014

In control of the crowds, DJ twirls dials as educator

Image: A characteristic disco bass rhythm from Wikimedia Commons.

THE fascinating history of a social phenomenon that makes the lips of the young and the old curl in opposing directions has reflected under the 'Musical' heading in recent editions of the Classifieds. Attraction to the partytime atmosphere of the disco must be one of the human traits that fades with age. The flashing lights, the pounding beat, the feeling that, with all that adrenaline, grog and who knows what else pumping through the veins, something could flip out of control ... Nah – some of us would rather watch another rerun of Inspector Morse.

Francis De Cruz's notice asked a question that could at least make the young smile: Want to be a DJ? Francis, a highly accomplished DJ who won Brisbane's inthemix open decks DJ competition in 2011, is offering a 10-week course for "anyone wanting to learn the basics ". With the stage name, DJ De Cruz, European-born Francis says he has been "in control of the crowds" at some big gigs in the United Kingdom and Australia. He says his enjoyment comes from seeing the crowd energised by music, "keeping the crowd on the dance floor all night and wanting more". While most would relate the disco image to post-1960s culture, online students of the phenomenon trace its origins to the early 1900s in the US, with working class people dancing around apparently gramophonic jukeboxes.
Disco is short for 'discotheque' and the French references included wartime gatherings of resistors to the Nazi rule. "The true art of today's club DJing, mixing/playing multiple songs at the same time – or beat matching – has its origin debated by some," Francis says. "Some say Paris at discotheques was the home of club DJing and some say true DJing took off in the US with Brooklyn House and house music being the true originator of mixing music seamlessly. "Today, much of the true art form is lost with computer technology mastering the art of beat matching/mixing."
Francis says vinyl, CDs and mp3 format computer systems all "give the same result to the listener but a truly skilled DJ will use his talents rather than a computer to mix the tracks and music". He sees his course as a way "to give back to music what it has given me – the many years of travel, meeting great people and playing quality dance music". DJ De Cruz's favourite dance album is Tri State and favourite songs are Can't Sleep and Good for Me. He says Above & Beyond's melodic ability is seldom matched in today's trance and progressive dance scene.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Forget cyberspace and get down to business on ground

Image: Bob Platz's notice seeking a tenant.

THE recent focus has been on telecommunication and internet services as essential for Redlands business growth but cyberspace surely comes second to useful, efficient and comfortable space in a good location on the ground. That premise led me to chat this week with Bob Platz who advertised a 155 square metre building for rent in Russell Street, Cleveland, touting its suitability for retail, wholesale, workshop or storage. Bob has had a long association with the Redlands as the proprietor of Bayside Air Conditioning after he drove down from Dalby in 1990 with his wife Lorna and their teenage children Martin and Angela to settle at Cleveland. Bob wasn't unhappy about the shift as his earliest memories of the bayside suburbs included his grandfather, Sam Clelland, then running a boarding house on the site of the existing Manly Hotel, giving him an half-penny to buy a sherbert from a nearby shop. This time, a lot more than a lolly prompted the trip. Bob had taken up a major contract with the Queensland Railways and more big jobs were to follow.
Eventually Bob sold his longtime Dalby business, Darling Downs Air Conditioning, to centralise his equipment on the bayside and since 2007 he has operated from the Russell Street complex which includes the advertised rental space. Bob says he often visited the complex over the years as one of his component manufacturers was based there. "I dropped in one day after there was a fire in one of the sheds," he said. "The gentleman who owned the place was waiting for the plumbers to measure the roof because it had to be replaced. "I walked over to say 'gooday' and had a chat; I gave him my card and said to give me a call if he ever wanted to sell." Less than two months later the deal was finalised, Bob says. On the day after they had met, the owner had fallen from a ladder while inspecting the roof, and decided to sell the property.
There's a lot of activity around the complex at present as Bob said Bayside Air Conditioning was gearing up for two big jobs – a chiller installation for a Pinkenba warehouse and another system for the National Archives at Cannon Hill. Although Longreach-born Bob Platz enjoys the bayside lifestyle, he says Dalby still drags on his heartstrings, mainly because of the friendliness of Queensland country people. "You don't just have one friend in the country," he says. "You live there for 50 years and you have 50 friends or more." Bob gets back to Dalby at least "a couple of times a year".
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.