Friday Five Newsletter 2018.1.12

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Westprint Friday Five Friday January 12th 2018 

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a tent and that’s pretty close.

Click here to view Westprint Newsletter Archives from 24th April 2015 to 24th December 2015

Click here to view Westprint Newsletter Archives from 1st January 2016 to 23rd December 2016

Click here to view Westprint Newsletter Archives from 1st January 2017 to 29th December 2017.


FREE postage on ALL folded paper maps. Laminated maps rolled in mailing tubes still have postage added as below.

FREE postage on ALL orders over $100.

Otherwise there is a flat rate postage rate of $9.50 on all books, DVDs and talking books, regardless of the number of items ordered.

To order any of the books listed blow, click on the title to open a web browser, then use the Add to Cart button and proceed to the checkout. (or continue shopping for any additional titles you want.)

Visitors are welcome to call in at 6 Park St. Nhill but please phone first as we are not always open. 0353911466.

Friday Five Books

  1. Voyage to Disaster- Henrietta Drake-Brockman. Mutiny, murder, rape, torture; a priceless treasure fuelling the basest human greed; a courageous journey in search of rescue the story of the Batavia, wrecked off the coast of Western Australia in 1629, is part of the myth and legend of Australian history. Henrietta Drake-Brockman was determined to unearth the facts. Ten years of meticulous research resulted in Voyage to Disaster, a historical tour de force comprising the complete journals of Francisco Pelsaert translated from the Old Dutch by E. D. Drok, together with a revealing biography of Pelsaert, a man of many dimensions; writer, historian and administrator. First published in 1982, this edition 2006. $55.00
  2. (A) Yarn or Two. Don Lee. While much has been written about sheep production in Australia, there has been very little written about the marketing of the golden fleece. The author worked in that field in Western Australia and abroad for fifty years, interrupted by serving in the AIF for five years of which three and a half years were spent as a P.O.W. of the Japanese. This section of the book is an equally valuable record. 157pp. First published in 1994, this edition 2000 $25.00 - Two copies only.
  3. And Some Found Graves. $16.50. Compiled by A.J Thompson  I found Johnny Aspinall's grave by chance in February 1980 while prospecting at Hawks Nest, about 15km west of Laverton in the Mt Margaret Goldfields of Western Australia. Johnny began his diary in 1895 as he left his native New Zealand and his last entry was made in 1896 one prior to his death when he was struck by lightning.  Ironically, his last entry mentioned that there were thunderstorms around." 87pp.  First published in 2002 Free postage.
  4. Birds & Plants of the Little Desert - A Photographic Guide. Ian Morgan, Maree & Graham Goods. While titled as covering the flora and fauna of Victoria's Little Desert, this book is widely relevant to all areas of Mallee scrub type country in south eastern Australia. The book is illustrated with over 950 photos depicting more than 200 birds and 430 plants that live in the Little Desert area. Most photos show the finest detail of each subject. It will be a rare event to see a bird in this area of Victoria not shown in this book, and includes almost two thirds of all officially recorded plants for the National Park. Published 2014. 330 pages with a comprehensive index. $50.00. 
  5. An Outback Life. In An Outback Life, Mary Groves describes the heart-breaking isolation, the hard work and the rises and falls in her family fortunes as they battle to survive in the Top End. Mary was just 14 when her family moved to the Northern Territory from Melbourne. In her early 20s, she met Joe Groves - a cattleman, horse breaker, drover and rodeo rider. Mary and Joe fell in love and raised four children while leading an exciting and challenging life on an array of cattle stations. During her 40 years in the outback, Mary faced death, disaster and disappointments with remarkable resilience and stoicism. She learned to operate helicopters, cattle trucks and anything else it took to help keep her family afloat, proving that if you want something badly enough you need tenacity, perseverance and - most importantly - a sense of humour. An earthy tale of love, hope, loss and survival in the outback, Mary tells her story at a lively pace, with one entertaining yarn after another. 319pp. First published in 2011, this edition 2012. $25.00

Friday Forum 


Regarding litter. Too much stuff today is over wrapped and in material that doesn’t break down easily. Much could be burned in the camp fire, but today with access only to van parks and camping grounds rubbish stays with you. Flour, sugar, tea in linen bags not plastic, biscuits, bread, cake in paper bags, Bully beef and beans in tins kept for the litter targets.

I remember many years ago when you approached a town about 2 miles out there was a sign for Swan beer which also made a litter target. It encouraged people to throw their last stubby from town at the target while passing and litter accumulated around an area of 100 metres either side of the sign. Periodically councils raked up and buried the litter. Smarter councils supplied a litter target goal, a football type goal with net and all as a litter target concentrating the litter even more.

But they were simpler times, when litter and sport went side by side, when camping grounds outside towns could be maintained by a council and when comfort stops were not strewn with streamers of toilet paper.

On the other hand, we might just be getting lazier and less conscious of our environment because every stop, every camping place, puts a burden on our budget. Dieter

PS It could be a matter of perception.

In the mid-seventies in an Aboriginal community off Western Arnhem Land coast during ‘goose season’ the township was literally inundated with black and white feathers so much so that the Fijian nurse called a community meeting under the tamarind tree and pontificated communal cleanliness: “You dirty: you sick.”

The oldest land owner Hazel put an end to the lecture by simply getting up and walking off. The community followed.

About three months later “Auntie Hazel” cornered me and with a deep conviction asked me, “And where is the rubbish now?”

Goose season litter is a goose season problem. In the old times the ‘mob’ moved on leaving the litter to natural processes; the wind, and elements simply took care of it. Feathers legs, bones and offal simply returned to the earth from which it came.

But todays manufactured litter doesn’t succumb to natural elements – it stays and stays… 

Karen New Year 

Last Saturday (on the hottest day of the year so far), Karen New Year celebrations were held in Nhill to commemorate the beginning of the year 2757. There was singing and dancing, colourful traditional costumes, speeches and stories. The morning’s activities culminated in a shared meal offering both traditional Karen food and more Australian fare with just a hint of the exotic. Later in the afternoon cane ball, soccer and other games were played (I had retired to a swimming pool and air-conditioner by then). I posted some photos on social media and the question was asked…why would a Karen celebration be held in Nhill?

A very good question. Nhill is too far from major cities to be convenient and not far enough to be considered remote (or outback). It is a small town in the rural wheat belt of Victoria and at first glance it’s only redeeming feature seems to be that it is exactly half way between Adelaide and Melbourne making it a convenient stopping place. Our young people move away for tertiary education. This and larger farms, with less farmers have led to an alarming rural decline. The population no longer supports many government services and businesses continuing the downward spiral.

Enter the Karen people. Karens are an ethnic group living in Burma (also known as Myanmar), persecuted by the Burmese army. As many as 400,000 are displaced with about 130,000 living in refugee camps along the Thailand Burma border where they are at risk of persecution by the Thai police as well as the Burmese army.

In 2010 a small group of refugees were resettled in Nhill. In the beginning they worked as unskilled labourers at a local duck processing plant. Now 16 local businesses employ more than 100 Karen. Our town has an unemployment level of 2%. Along with the workers came their families and importantly, their children. More children equal more students and with more students, more teachers. It is the same effect as dropping one little pebble in a pond. More teachers mean more housing and more housing is more jobs for builders and so on and so on. Our main street now has two Karen shops filling space that had been empty for some time. A small supermarket stocks Karen/Asian food and the other sells beautiful textiles. A number of women, now that they have access to raw materials have taken to textile work with a passion, weaving and sewing both traditional and modern items.  Each January, Karen communities from across Victoria come to Nhill to celebrate their New Year and while the language difference can sometimes be a hurdle it is not a wall - a smile doesn’t need translating.

 Karen new year

What’s On?

14th Annual Cottesloe Exhibition. 2 – 19 March 2018. Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is staged on the beautiful Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia. The exhibition is featured from the sea wall all the way along the sand towards North Cottesloe and on the surrounding grassed areas creating a beautiful sculpture park. Access to Cottesloe Beach can be made from the ramps or stairs at different locations along Marine Parade.


Get involved in some of the public programs during the exhibition including the Alcoa Schools Education Program & the free Tactile Tours. You can also find out about the exhibiting artists, and which sculptures have received awards & subsidies.

WHEN: 2 – 19 March 2018 WHERE: Cottesloe Beach, Perth. 

Bonjour Bright Festival. Bright, Victoria. Jan 26-28.  Every January, cyclists flock to Bright for the challenge and camaraderie of the Audax Alpine Classic. Whether you are a novice or a hardened climber, this event with nine rides of 60-320 kilometres has a course to suit. Howitt Park, the event’s headquarters is transformed by Bonjour Bright, a two-day festival of French-themed entertainment and activities. Situated on the Ovens River with its shady banks and safe swimming, food stalls and plenty of no-cost entertainment, this an ideal location for families and friends to welcome the return of their conquering heroes and heroines.

Enjoy the French influenced festival in Howitt Park, Bright with open air films, live music, food and wine as an accompaniment to the Audax Alpine Classic. There is plenty of kids’ entertainment on offer throughout the weekend and a range of artists and musicians.

Walking the Holland Track, W.A.

(or 600kms is a long way to walk)

Many of you will be aware that a while ago my friend Judy and I walked the Holland Track to raise awareness of brain cancer. Here is part one of our story.

Back in the 1890s Victoria was in the grip of serious drought and a banking crisis had brought severe economic depression to the state. In Western Australia, the discovery of gold by Arthur Bayley and William Ford, in September 1892, resulted in Bayley’s Rush, a mad panic by prospectors and diggers to be early on the scene at Fly Flat, near present-day Coolgardie. Bayley had previously walked into the Warden’s office in Southern Cross with 554 ounces of gold, immediately creating a new rush destined to be of fabulous wealth. Depression had ravaged Australia and people were willing to risk their lives for the chance to strike it rich on the goldfields. Prospective miners could get to the Goldfields by taking a ship to Albany or Fremantle. However, the trip to Fremantle was far more expensive and the track from Fremantle to Coolgardie ill-defined and almost devoid of water. From Albany in the southwest of the state, the railway line headed northwest to Perth with Broomehill being the closest point to Coolgardie. Many people caught the train (either legally or illegally), jumping off at Broomehill and heading northeast for approximately 600kms hoping to find instant wealth. Business people in Broomehill and Katanning soon saw the opportunity to open up direct routes and supply produce, equipment and transport to miners and began plans to establish a track connecting water points between Broomehill and Coolgardie.

A Katanning man named McIntosh left in November 1892, but was never seen again. Michael Cronin, also from Katanning, tried to find a way through but turned back. Broomehill residents approached John Holland, a well-known bushman, but he advised against travelling during summer. After careful preparation Holland left Broomehill on April 14, 1893. Travelling with him was Rudolph Krakouer, second in command, David Krakouer and John Carmody, all local men.  They took with them five ponies, a light four-wheeled dray carrying a 500-litre water tank and provisions for five to six months.

John Holland, guided by a small compass, rode out each morning looking for water and horse feed. It is likely that the Krakouer brothers undertook most of the difficult and tiresome task of clearing a track for the dray. In some areas trees would only need to be blazed to identify the track but in areas close to the granite outcrops many trees would need to be cut off at ground level. It was then up to John Carmody to carefully guide the dray along the new track and care for the horses. John Holland spent much of his time out in front trying to find water and feed.

After a month of travel the party eventually arrived at King Rock, now called Emu Rock, just a few kilometres south of the Hyden – Norseman road. Several days later they moved on through dense scrub devoid of water and feed. The party passed through Sandalwood Camp, Victoria Rock and came directly upon Gnarlbine Rock leaving an easy day’s travel into Bayley’s Find at Fly Flat.

For some years I had been aware of some of my ancestors, three brothers who at age 15, 16 and 17 made the trip unaccompanied. Their parents paid their ship passage of £8 each (now approx. $1200). From then on, they were on their own. On their own, but not alone with 18000 people walking along the track in the three years until the railway line was built from Perth to Coolgardie. After the railway line was built in 1896 the track was unused until a local resident with a tractor cleared a track as close as possible to the original to commemorate the centenary in 1993. It has since been used by many intrepid four-wheel drivers.

My friend Judy and I decided to try to walk along the entire length of the track as used by the teenagers.

Originally, I planned to head off with a backpack but the logistics of a walk of this length were staggering. At least 200 litres of drinking water was needed and so we decided to do this as a supported walk. Our support team consisted of Judy's husband Rodger who was the team statistician, tactician and distance marker. Rodger marked out the entire distance in seven-kilometre blocks. Alan and Beryl Conquer joined the team providing back-up support, scouting ahead for suitable smoko stops and campsites and making sure the fire was always tended. John and Bev Deckert were in charge of logistics. They carted a small trailer filled with water, food and other luxuries. They also set up and dismantled camp and were in charge of first aid and injury treatment and all the other things parents do for which they get no thanks.

The walk started at the Broomehill Post Office and finished at the Coolgardie Post Office 27 days later. The first part of the walk was extremely hot with heat exhaustion and dehydration the main risks. Snakes were commonly seen but it was the mosquitoes that were more troublesome. They would descend in clouds and bite through clothing day and night.

There was so much interest in why anyone would head into outback Western Australia to walk 600 kilometres we decided to use the publicity to raise awareness about brain cancer and raise funds for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. While overall survival rates for cancer have increased dramatically in the last 30 years, brain cancer still has very low survival rates with many who contract brain cancer dying within a few months of diagnosis. ‘Hiking The Holland Track for Brain Cancer’ became the official title of our trip

Next week: Our hike begins.

holland 1               holland 3



Friday Funnies

Some brilliant one-liners from Phyllis Diller.

We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve years telling them to sit down and shut up.

Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room.

What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.

The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was the day I accidentally put gin in the steam iron.

His finest hour lasted a minute and a half.

Old age is when the liver spots show through your gloves.  

My photographs don't do me justice - they just look like me.

Tranquillizers work only if you follow the advice on the bottle - keep away from children.

I asked the waiter, 'Is this milk fresh?' He said, 'Lady, three hours ago it was grass.'  

The reason the golf pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can't see him laughing.

You know you're old if they have discontinued your blood type.


For all those like me, who do not understand cricket and in particular Test Cricket where the object seems to be to stay in the Australian sun for five days straight…I found this explanation: -

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out.

When both sides have been in and all the men are out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game! Easy.


I have my changed my system for labelling the meals I make and freeze. I used to carefully note in large clear letters: Steak and Veg, Chicken and Veg, Pasta and sauce etc. However, I used to get frustrated when I asked my kids what they wanted for dinner because they never asked for any of those things. So, I decided to stock the freezer with what they really like.

If you look in my freezer now, you'll see a whole new set of labels. You'll find dinners with neat little tags that say: Whatever, Anything, I Don't Know, I Don't Care, Something Good or Food. My frustration is now reduced because no matter what, I have something ready for them.

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Please note that the opinions and articles expressed in the Friday Five are not necessarily those of the Westprint mob. Also we do not endorse any products (other than our own) or tours listed in any contributed articles.


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