Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Top 10 Perth Twitterers

According to a post in The Bloggers I come in at number 8 in the list of Perth's top 10 twitterers - freocookster link here.

I was quite excited and somewhat amused by this online accolade, but my colleagues bought me straight back down to earth by proclaiming that they had always thought of me as the biggest twit in the office.

My, how they love their twitter, titter (hee, hee!) jokes...

Great to see The Worst of Perth also got a guernsey, but even better that it came in at a 'wince-making' number 9... just beneath me...

So if you want to follow me, please do. I'm not sure where I'm going. Sometimes I walk into doors. But I try to have fun along the way.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bushfire fundraisers at North Fremantle

The North Fremantle Centre (Bowling Club) is holding two events over the next two weekends to raise money for the Victorian bushfire victims.


This Saturday night, 21 February, the Crackerjack series of stand up comedy nights (Ben Elton is Patron) will crank up a special show featuring Nick the Hippy, Ross Vegas, Josh Makinda and many more seriously funny people.

It's a bring your own cheese wheel (snacks) event starting at 8.00pm, with tickets $15 / $13 concession. Phone Geoff on 9337 2062 or email him at:

Mayor's Bushfire Appeal

On Saturday, 28 February, the centre will host the Mayor of Fremantle's Bushfire Appeal from 4 - 8.00pm.

Tickets are $5 a head at the door and as well as hanging with Peter Tagliaferri, you can also enjoy live music, a sausage sizzle, raffles and a kids music competition.

Groove on the Green

Don't forget that every Sunday from 2 - 7.00pm you can get down and Groove on the Green with barefoot bowls and an open mic session.

The North Fremantle Centre is on Thompson Rd in North Fremantle, adjacent to Stirling Highway.

Join the facebook group!

You can join the facebook group here and keep up to date with all The Perth Files special member events.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Australia Day Goon of Fortune

Some great images from Australia Day continue to filter through to The Perth Files and there is none better than this classic Baz Luhrmanesque masterpiece from Redcliffe.

These funsters chose to celebrate Australia Day in the traditional way, with a 'Goon of Fortune' hanging proudly from the great Australian Hills Hoist. Look at that man at work, suckling proudly from the shiny, metallic bosom of the Stanley Leasingham cask on a day out in Heathridge - where the cask remains tres chic.

The second goon bag in the background contains some quality Rose for the more sofistikated family members. You know, Aunty Gene who smokes those exotic Winfield Greens.

Note the classic wooden pegs holding not only the goon bags, but also (we imagine) the Australian Flag, unfurled and proudly flying in the 'Freo Doctor' - Perth's much loved and daily anticipated afternoon sea breeze.

Best dressed on the day was the gentleman captured here in the image, saluting the said Hills Hoist dressed in national costume, 'wife beater singlet and jocks, teamed with thongs', before he heads over to the tin shed to pick up the waiting cricket bat for the impending backyard cricket match.

A beaut day was had by all and when drained the goon bags were definitely given the full Oz-Day treatment and recycled into the obligatory bladder pillows.

Go Aussie!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Victoria burns...

It's tragic to hear the toll the bushfires are taking in Victoria right now, particularly given that I spent 11 years living and working as a journalist in various parts of Melbourne, including the Yarra Valley.

Indeed, my 'patch' of territory covered for the weekly Yarra Valley Post stretched from Yarra Glen, across to Healesville and then Yarra Junction. My very first day out was a trip to Mount Donna Buang to cover the season's first big snowfall - it was the first time I'd ever seen the stuff!

To now be watching this bushfire tragedy unfold from afar seems quite surreal. Just four years ago, Victoria was still my 'adopted' state - now I'm on the other side of the country knowing what's going on, but feeling it only via news reports and messages from friends that somehow only conspire to make it all the more distant.

It was back at the Post back in January 1997 that I was part of another bushfire that took hold in Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges. I posted about in a few years back, but though it might be worth sharing again.

January 1997...

I was working on a paper out in Ferntree Gully, in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges and remember very clearly the first signs of a fire that went on to claim three lives.

I had wandered out to the front of the building on Burwood Hwy and noticed smoke rising from very close to the summit of the Ranges, near the television towers. It was a hot and windy day of around 35 degrees and it had been preceeded by a whole string of hot weather, similar to the current situation across Victoria.

It was fascinating to watch as that fire quickly took hold, with flames clearly visible licking the crest of the mountain and sending eddies of smoke and flame high above the undergrowth. A wind change then sent it in off in another direction, with one fire fighter later commenting on how the fire front quite literally jumped over his head as it roared back over the crest of the hill.

While attention was focussed on that fire high in the hills, another blaze was supposedly deliberately lit at the base of the Ranges in a suburb called The Basin, near Upwey. That fire, which I spotted when it was still relatively small and close to the Highway, turned into a raging inferno that blackened the sky above the eastern suburbs - it looked for all the world like a volcano erupting.

It was this fire that climbed rapidly up the other side of the mountain and caught three residents of Seabreeze Avenue, Ferny Creek, completely by surprise. Reading transcripts from the coroners' report, it would seem that the couple and their neighbour were confused by the direction and speed of the second fire and by the time they realised the danger, it was too late to evacuate.

Watching this all transpire from the safety of Ferntree Gully made it seem like a special effects movie on a super large screen. I actually covered activities in the Dandenongs as part of my paper round and to watch this fire consume bushland that I had travelled through regularly and take the lives of people I may well have stood with in the same line at the supermarket, was a sobering experience.

In the days, weeks, months and even years after the fires, the scarred landscape never failed to jog my senses as I wound my way up the mountain.

Here's hoping that loss of life isn't repeated again this summer and that we here in Perth don't face similar threats as the temperature continues to rise.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The $950 question - show me the money!

The whole issue of whether Kevin Rudd or Malcolm Turnbull has the better package is leading this country to a place it hasn't been in a long, long time. A place where people are becoming actively involved in the political debate, rather than ambling along in a complete state of apathy.

A shame it took a bunch of $950 cheques for people to suddenly work out what side they're on, but I'm think there's a lot more debate to come as we all hang tight for the grim economic ride to come.

Yes indeed, the fat's in the fire and the deal's going down. There's a whole lot of scared, angry people gathering at the gates and I'm thinking those ranks are going to swell.

Already a simple facebook status update has created a torrent of discussion and there are further wildfires breaking out across the social networking system - just look at Malcolm Turnbull or Joe Hockey's facebook pages and follow the threads.

Below are some of the comments generated on my facebook page in the past 24 hours and I'm guessing it'll keep rolling on... your thoughts on the stimulus package? Has Rudd fired all his guns at once? Is Turnbull firing blanks and in need of his own personal stimulus package?

John reckons you should join the group 'Shut up Malcolm, we want our $950 cheques'.

Kate Mac at 4:08pm February 4
Done and DONE! Smug asshat...

Kate Mac at 4:52pm February 4
Ummm I think that's kind of the point. I've never taken a damned thing from the government in terms of benefits, yet I've been paying taxes for twenty-five bloody years! I want my $950. At least this proposed payment is going (basically) to people who are working stiffs like me.

Jamie Duncan at 5:03pm February 4
Yep. What he said. The one time the government is actually willing to lend my family a hand, and there's one of Australia's richest politicians denying us. Again.

Kate Mac at 5:08pm February 4
Agreed. Screw that silvertail, and his constant cries of, "I did it tough as a young 'un". He shits me to tears.

Dawn Gibson at 7:08pm February 4
I want one too....but I think I have to give it back to the tax ironic

Skink McTestie at 7:27am February 5
to Natasha and Nathan and all those bitching about the handouts:


you know why you didn't get it? because you voted for John Howard, probably more than once, and would probably have voted for Hanson of she hadn't been banged up. You aspire to voting Liberal in the same way that you aspire to private schools and aspire to a German automobile.

well, after years of Costello building up a massive surplus by never adjusting the tax thresholds and increasing the tax take by eleven years of bracket creep, Rudd is giving some of it back to those that were taxed highest by Howard.

I won't get a cheque, but I don't care. It was a brilliant move by Rudd - give a quarter of the stimulus package to core swing voters, annoy people like Natasha who will never ever vote Labor, and keepo the media talking about the cash handouts and ignoring the real 75% of the package. Skink McTestie at 7:58am February 5
...and best of all Turnbull makes a complete asshat of himself by trying to prise the cheques out of swing voters' hands and give it to employers as tax breaks for his mates in the 500 Club.

working people are shit scared at the moment, scared of losing thier jobs when many had their job security taken away by Work Choices, and scared of being stuck in negative equity as property prices fall.

They want someone to do something, anything, but do it quick. Turnbull would rather fanny around trying to score points for himself by attacking the government with all the menace of a moth attacking a light bulb.

Jamie Duncan at 9:44am February 5
Skink, old son, that's a tremendous spray. Great work.