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Life on the West Island - Men behaving badly

Friday, January 25, 2019

Here are a few names which have hit the headlines in recent times on the West Island - can you work out what they have in common?: Alexander Zverev, Cameron Bancroft, Grant Schultz, Alan Stajic, Nick Kyrgios, David Warner, Gareth Ward and David Gallop.

Well, these are just a representative few of what could be a much longer list of men behaving badly in public, besmirching our values and bringing dishonour to our country’s reputation. It is highly significant that all of them are men. Women in similar or identical circumstances have shown poise and composure when in the glare of the media spotlight.

Let’s start with tennis. Coverage of the Australian Open has been dominated by words and images of male players smashing racquets, disputing umpiring calls, kicking and throwing equipment and indulging in public brawling like spoiled brats. Alexander Zverev put on what has been called the worst tennis tantrum in recent times on his way to defeat by Milos Raonic. reported:

Cleary filthy at his series of errors and failures to find his way into the match, Zverev finally snapped when he went down 5-1 in the second set. The German star smashed his racquet into the ground nine times during a change of ends, an outburst that’s already being labelled one of the ugliest in recent years. A furious Zverev was unrepentant in his post-match press conference.

In another outburst, Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain abused an umpire, kicked his equipment, threw his racquet bag and refused to shake hands with his opponent or the umpire after losing a vital point and the match.

Then there was the bizarre public slanging match between talented but erratic bad boy Nick Kyrgios and Australian Davis Cup coach Lleyton Hewitt. Apart from exchanging insults, the pair threw around allegations of favouritism, blackmail and even threats of physical harm to Hewitt’s family. Reports of this childish but nasty dispute have swept aside the much better news of brilliant performances by women players, who have continued to behave courteously to opponents, praising their victories and consoling them in defeat.

And so to cricket, where the stench of “sandpapergate” hangs over the West Island men’s team, which continues to struggle against mediocre opponents in the absence of suspended cheats Smith, Warner and Bancroft. The men’s team sits at 5th in world test rankings, 7th in ODIs and 4th in T20. The women’s’ Southern Stars are top in all three formats, having won high praise for their sporting conduct and professionalism around the world.

Then we come to soccer, where the men’s political faction fights within the Football Federation Australia (FFA) hierarchy threaten to derail the sport on the West Island. Currently the men’s team (Socceroos) are ranked the 41st best team in the world. Meanwhile, the Matildas (women) are at a high world ranking of 6th. So what do the bright men at FFA decide to do with the women’s team – the CEO and male-dominated Board have sacked the women’s coach, just five months out from the World Cup!

They based their decision on a secret internal report apparently identified a “toxic culture” within the Matildas’ support staff and players. Many women players dispute this, but regardless coach Alan Stajic was given a minute’s notice and the team is now desperately seeking a new coach – possibly by poaching one from the Southern Stars! The games men play (and mostly lose)!

But men behaving badly are not confined to sports. This week saw an unseemly political faction brawl in the federal Liberal Party, with the seat of Gilmore as the “prize.” A few months ago, female sitting member Ann Sudmalis pulled out of preselection due what she said was branch stacking and bullying from the men in the right-wing faction including the local state MP (Gareth Ward).

This resulted in factional favourite Grant Schultz winning an overwhelming majority of local party members to be preselected as candidate. But this week, the “faceless men” of the party’s state executive gave Schultz the boot and “parachuted” the Prime Minister’s “good mate” Warren Mundine into the role as candidate. A large number of local party members then resigned, and now Schultz will go up against Mundine as an independent. As a result, most political pundits now predict that Labor’s female candidate Fiona Phillips will take the marginal seat at this year’s federal election.

Faced with a growing “woman problem,” the West Island coalition’s preferred course is to continue to dump preselected women and to falsely claim that they have “done more for women” over the past 20 years than any other party. Kelly O’Dwyer, Julia Banks, Ann Sudmalis and other departing female members may beg to differ… Ms O’Dwyer told the cabinet that the Liberals are widely regarded by voters as "homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers". Perhaps she has a point, as men continue to behave badly in sports and politics across the West Island.

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Life on the West Island - Dear Santa

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dear Santa

It was great to see you at our local shops before Christmas. Thank you so much for bringing me the Slime kit that I asked for. It is really cool the way the slime sets and stays gluggy without sticking to everything. I also liked the maths exercise book, because that is my favourite subject in Grade 1 and the book is full of fun maths games and puzzles.

My little sister Frida loves the three storey Barbie house you brought. She has been playing with it every day and especially likes the lift and the swimming pool.

We hope that you liked the food we left for you at our house and at Grandma and Grandpa’s place. There were lots of carrots for the reindeer, who only left a few munched tops so it looks as if they enjoyed them. Mummy said that there were only a few crumbs left from the home-made fruit mince pies. We helped Grandma to make the Santa’s hats with big strawberries, melted white chocolate, coconut and a little marshmallow on top. I tried one and it was really yummy.

On Christmas Day, we followed your travels on the Santa Tracker on Grandpa’s computer and saw that you delivered presents all over the world, including to Auntie Zab and Uncle Karl in Baltimore and to Nanna and Pa in Toronto. Thank you very much for looking after our family so well.

We had a fairly interesting Christmas. As you know, it is very hot here on the West Island so we need to use refrigerators to keep everything cold. Unfortunately, our fridge broke down at 11p.m. on Christmas Eve and things began to melt. Mummy tried to get an electrician and said that she had to “pay a motza” to get one to come out that night. Unfortunately, he said that the fridge was dead and nothing could be done until after the Christmas holidays. Luckily, Grandma and Grandpa came over and took some of the important things like the prawns, ham and ice cream back to their place. They also brought some bags of ice so that we could fill the laundry tub with ice and put drinks in there.

We moved Christmas lunch from our place to Grandma and Grandpa’s and had a really great time with all of the fancy food and opening all of the presents you brought. Dad loved his socks and jocks and Grandpa got some more pyjamas. Then we all went for a swim in the pool at their apartment. It was super cool.

At midnight on Christmas night, Uncle Fritz phoned from where they are staying with Auntie Jen’s family, about 300km away. Their neighbours had phoned to say that their burglar alarm at home had gone off and was keeping the whole neighbourhood awake. They had called the police, but also asked Grandma and Grandpa to go down there (it is about a half hour’s drive away). They got there and managed to disconnect the alarm but had to turn off the power to do it. Uncle Fritz drove up with the keys and did not arrive until 3.30 am. They and the police all went inside and found everything okay, so Uncle Fritz reset the alarm and drove back to pick up Auntie Jen and their two little babies. Grandma and Grandpa only got to bed around 4.30 am and were too tired to play with us very much on Boxing Day!

I am sure that you and the reindeer would have been very tired that day as well. The Santa Tracker said that you travelled over 300,000km and delivered over seven billion presents. If you need to rest and want some help with making the presents for next year, I would be happy to come to the North Pole to help out. Please let me know your street address there so that I can find you. I will probably bring Charlie Rabbit and Sheila the First Hippo on the Moon with me, because they are very good helpers. Thank you again for everything,


With lots of love

Freya (and my little sister Frida)

x x x x x x x x x x x x x

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Fishing with Greenwoods Fishing Adventures

Friday, October 05, 2018

This week on Norfolk Island the fishing has been reasonable with catches of sweetlip and chinaman cod from the reefs. In closer and the boys have been finding a few silver trevally and kingfish off the rocks with the odd yellowfin still hanging around. 

In the deep water bar cod have been thick, these fish are delicious and greatly underrated on the Island. The sea birds are now here in huge numbers so we can expect an influx of baitfish in the coming weeks with the warmer currents. Whales are still being seen regularly but they should be all past us soon on their journey North. The week ahead should see some better catches coming up to the new moon.

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Fishing with Greenwoods Fishing Adventures

Friday, August 10, 2018

It’s now mid August and the water temperature has only just in the past week dropped to 19 degrees. 

With the rich colder water we are seeing a range of different species that aren’t always that common here. 

This week alone we’ve seen Amberjack, Samson Fish, Diamond Trevally, Rainbow Runner and a large Yellow Tail Fusilier caught in our waters. We’ve also seen a big increase in whales this week, humpbacks and false killer whales. 

Rock fishing has been good with a few quality Trevally being landed and some better Kings. Out wide the Bar Cod and Kingfish are loving the cooler water and feeding hard. One fish that’s worth a mention was the 21kg Samson Fish caught spearfishing by Jamie Ryves. Great fish and very unusual for Norfolk. 

The week ahead looks windier than we’d like but there’s still a couple of fishing days for us to wet a line. 

Catch you all next week.

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Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service – Update

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Health and Wellbeing Expo

Planning for the FREE community focussed Health and Wellbeing Expo to be held on 14 July from 10am – 2pm in Rawson Hall ,is well underway. The Expo will showcase the diverse range of health and wellbeing services available on Norfolk Island and will provide lots of information about new programs and initiatives such as My Health Record.

We are also planning on having a range of demonstrations and talks on many health-related topics as well as lots of tasty and healthy food options available to purchase.

For more information or if you wish to participate in the Expo please contact Karen Innes-Walker, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator on 22687 or 52592 or by email on

Capital Works

Upgrading of our infrastructure continues with work currently underway to restore the water bore and fence off the gas cylinders.  New signage at the main entrance and other key locations around NIHRACS will soon be erected.

Renovations continue in the GP Clinic area.  The GP consult rooms are nearing completion and the emergency/treatment room will undergo renovations from the 18 June.  While this work is underway the old ‘maternity area’ will used. We thank you for your patience and apologise for any inconvenience to the community.

GP Clinic

Hours of Operation

The GP Clinic is open from 8.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 4.30pm Monday to Friday.  Please note the clinic is closed for lunch from 12.30 – 1.30pm.  Please call for appointments only during opening hours.

How long should you book your appointment for?

Most appointments with your GP only require 15 minutes.  If you have multiple issues or you think they are complex and will require extensive discussion, please let our receptionist know that you would like a long appointment. This will ensure you have the time needed with your GP and will assist us in managing the GPs time and patient flow.

Locum GP - Dr Kate Haynes

Dr Kate Haynes will join us as a locum GP from Tuesday 11 June.  Dr Kate will be with us for three weeks and will return at the end of August for a month.  For an appointment with Dr Kate please call the clinic on 24134.

Diabetes Clinic

These will now be held monthly.  Please call 24134 to book an appointment.

Women’s Wellness Clinic

The Women’s Wellness program continues. Interested women of all ages are encouraged to book an appointment (lasting forty minutes) with Dr Jenny Sexton on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.  Please mention ‘Women’s Wellness’ when making the appointment – phone 24134.

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Fishing with Greenwoods Fishing Adventures

Friday, May 25, 2018

It’s Country Music week on Norfolk Island and usually it’s pouring with rain but this year it’s been mostly fine sunny days. 

he ocean on the other hand has been wild with huge south westerly swells smashing into the coast. Just before it picked up though there was a couple of magic days on the water and from what I’ve heard everyone had a good catch. 

Sweetlip were the main target and were an easy target. Kingfish were also biting well on baits and hitting metal jigs making for some great sport. With all the scraps getting thrown back into the ocean at the Piers from Saturday’s catches by Sunday there were some big Tiger Sharks right up in the shallows getting a feed.

Apparently there were 3 at Cascade Pier doing there thing but the one at Kingston Pier was huge! 

Around 5 meters long and very fat. The week ahead isn’t that inviting for Fishing but I’m sure we will get out at least once. 

See you then

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Life on the West Island Our tradition of torture

Friday, May 25, 2018

Do the West Island community and government support the use of torture? I do not just mean that we turn a blind eye to the use of torture by our allies and great and powerful friends – but are we active participants in perpetrating torture?

These worrying questions were brought to mind by an incisive article this month on the Harvard University Press website concerning a recent book written by award-winning historian W Fitzhugh Brundage: Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition.

Brundage demonstrates that alongside the long American lineage of denouncing torture there’s an equally enduring culture of both embracing and excusing barbarism. He revisits a series of moments and practices - from the initial contact of Europeans with North America, to the early American republic, to slavery, to the American imperial project, to local law enforcement’s embrace of “the third degree,” through the Cold War, and up to the present - to demonstrate that behaviour considered to have been torturous in its own time has been far more prevalent in U.S. history than Americans acknowledge. 

This extract from the book encapsulates Brundage’s argument:

In April 1858 Harper’s Weekly, one of the most popular American magazines of the day, published a gruesome article entitled “Torture and Homicide in an American State Prison.” Accompanied by graphic illustrations, the article dwelled on the so-called “water cure,” a punishment during which an inmate was stripped and seated in a stall with his feet and arms fastened in stocks and his head extended up into a tank that fit snugly around his neck. The prisoner’s head was drenched with freezing cold water that cascaded down from a height of a foot or more for several minutes at a time. The tank that encircled the prisoner’s neck emptied slowly, inducing a sensation of drowning while the prisoner struggled to keep his mouth and nose above the pool of draining water.

Thirty years later an investigation of practices at Elmira Reformatory, the most acclaimed American penal institution of the day, revealed that staff there continued to douse prisoners with cold water, in addition to confining them in darkened cells for weeks on end, shackling and hoisting them until their toes barely touched the floor, and “paddling” them with specially made boards.

Much later, the outlines of the “enhanced interrogation” methods adopted by the Central Intelligence Agency and military interrogators during the “War on Terror” became public. Americans learned that between 2003 and 2006 at least eighty-nine Middle Eastern detainees in CIA custody had been slapped, slammed against walls, deprived of sleep, stuffed into coffins, and threatened with violent death. The most severe method was “waterboarding,” a modern-day variant of the technique applied a century and a half earlier in American prisons. Waterboarding entailed pouring water over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized detainee, which produced an acute sensation of drowning. One detainee endured more than 180 waterboarding sessions.

Torture in the United States has been in plain sight, at least for those who have looked for it.

This caused me to consider whether Brundage’s searing analysis could apply to the West Island. The answer is clear – as nation we have systematically and callously closed our eyes to the torture on which our “civilised” nation was built and which continues to be perpetrated today.

While the West Island may not have had the odious slavery upon which much American wealth was (and is) based, European settlement was largely built on the unpaid labour of unwilling convict emigrants, who suffered horrific punishments for real or assumed minor misdemeanours. You need look no further than the records of 1,000 lashes administered to convict labourers in Norfolk Island, spread out over many weeks to ensure maximum suffering. Then there were the 60,000 or more Aboriginals murdered in the Frontier Wars, often suffering horrific deaths from poisoned food or water or driven over cliffs by pack of dogs.

But the West Island’s use of torture did not end in the nineteenth century. Recent Royal Commission findings about the treatment of youths in detention include behaviour which can only be described as torture, while our indefinite imprisonment without trial of asylum seekers on island hellholes has been condemned by the United Nations as both illegal and a form of torture.

Like Americans, we like to hold ourselves out to the world out as paragons of democratic liberty and to sneer at and condemn other countries for their applications of inhumane torture against their citizens. Perhaps, instead, we should bear in mind the words of Jesus Christ: …let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone (John 8:7).

West Island economic wealth has been built on torture and dispossession since European settlement in 1788. Regrettably, we continue to turn a blind eye to the use of torture and inhumane policies by our government and our powerful allies. It’s long since time to own up to our inexcusable practices and to take action to become a genuinely civilised society.

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Life on the West Island - Apocalypse soon?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sadly, the Sydney Writers’ Festival is over, so we can now drop back into our normal West Island torpor for another year! We managed to attend a good number of interesting and thought-provoking events at the 2018 Festival, most of which were held at the historic Eveleigh Carriageworks (between Newtown and Redfern in Sydney). This year, there were no trams there, but instead dozens of interesting interviews and discussions involving established and emerging authors from our nation and overseas.

The presentation which we most enjoyed was by the creator of First Dog on the Moon's Guide to Living Through the Impending Apocalypse. You may have encountered the cartoons and witty prose of First Dog on the Moon for eight years on the news website Crikey, or more recently in the pages of The Guardian. He is also the self-proclaimed “official cartoonist” of the Western Bulldogs AFL team. For those who still do not recognise this undoubted National Treasure, his self- portrait is above.  

The cartoonist refers to himself as Mr Onthemoon (his real name is Andrew Marlton) and says that his work can be classified as “anarcho-marsupialist”. He certainly has a fascination with West Island marsupials, which appear in almost all of his cartoons. Such characters as Fiona the Unemployed Bettong and the ABC Interpretative Dance Bandicoot are regulars, although Ian the Climate Denialist Potato could hardly be described as a marsupial!

Anyway, Mr Onthemoon’s interactive Powerpoint presentation and talk was extremely entertaining – and provocative. He detailed how we might prepare for a vast range of world-ending events – which he called “apocali.” These included the death of all bees (and 80% of food crops requiring their pollination); global pandemics (he calls them “influenzageddon”); nuclear war; and invasions by aliens. The probability of each of these can be measured by Mr Onthemoon’s remarkable electronic device the Prognostotron 5000. This incredible machine assesses the chances of each apocalypse occurring on a scale ranging from No Chance through Oh My Trousers to It’s Happening!

Fortunately, in his talk and the book Mr Onthemoon also gives helpful hints on how to prepare for each possible catastrophe by compiling eccentric collections of essential materials including huge quantities of liquid bleach; chihuahua-themed vacuum flasks; tactical sporks; and plenty of changes of underwear. The author gives a disclaimer that not all information in the book is factually correct – but he does not identify which bits might be true or false!. 

But Mr Onthemoon’s book is not all cynical and humorous, as it also reveals his heartfelt political views, such as searing criticism of the West Island’s offshore detention of asylum seekers. The book includes a serious and passionate chapter about his ongoing relationship with an Iranian cartoonist, who is an asylum seeker in detention in Manus Island. There are several cartoons by Ali in the book, together with some harrowing SMS conversations between the two. First Dog's conclusion:

Lots of people face death and brutality every day - and I am writing this in a painting studio in an artisanal warehouse in Brunswick - I have a lot of feelings. And I am sitting here talking (ie by SMS) to this talented lively young man who is probably going to die soon. (He was on a hunger strike at the time.) I would have been dead for two years if they locked me in Manus.

On the West Island, as elsewhere, life may imitate art, so we have begun our collection of essential survival supplies and are thinking of digging up the garden to create an underground shelter. But it would be a pity not to be able to smell the roses…

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