Friday Five Newsletter 2018.4.20

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Westprint Friday Five Friday April 20th 2018

Of all the roads you travel, make sure some of them are dirt.

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

Click here to view Newsletter Archives from 5th January 2018 to current


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, Monday to Friday. Please phone/email beforehand as we are not always open. Phone. 0353911466.

Friday Five Books

  1. Anzac Sons. Alison Marlow Paterson. $35.00. Of five brothers serving on the Western Front, three have given their lives; another has been hospitalised. Anzac Sons is composed from a collection of over five hundred letters and postcards written by the brothers who served. From the training grounds of Victoria, Egypt and England, to the Western Front battlefields - Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines, Menin Road, Passchendaele, Villers-Bretonneux and the village battles of 1918 – this compelling true story was compiled by the granddaughter of a surviving brother. She takes us on her journey as she walks in the footsteps of her ancestors. This is a story of mateship, bravery and sacrifice; it is a heartbreaking account of a family torn apart by war. It is a pledge to never forget. Two copies on hand – can get more.
  2. Forgotten Men. $30.00. The Australian Army Veterinary Corps 1909-1946. H/Cover. 486 pages. Forgotten Men is the long overdue account of the significant contribution to the Australian Army of the Australian Army Veterinary Corps in two world wars. One of the army's smallest and least recognised corps, its humble beginnings and quiet work in the background belie the crucial role of the Corps in supporting wartime operations and dealing with logistical issues never envisaged before 1915. While their place in military history is often overlooked, the men of the Australian Veterinary Corps deserve recognition. Stoic and hardworking, they unselfishly worked among the horrors of war, to provide the support needed for army units and their animals, and while the Veterinary Corps reached its peak during the Great War, its role did not end when the guns fell silent in 1918. Instead, the Corps continued to support military activities across Australia until horsepower finally gave way to mechanisation in World War II.
  3. One Minute's Silence. $30.00. Children’s book.  In one minute of silence you can imagine sprinting up the beach in Gallipoli in 1915 with the fierce fighting Diggers, but can you imagine standing beside the brave battling Turks as they defended their homeland from the cliffs above... In the silence that follows a war long gone, you can see what the soldiers saw, you can feel what the soldiers felt. And if you try, you might be able to imagine the enemy, and see that he is not so different from you... In One Minute's Silence, you are the story, and the story is yours - to imagine, remember and honour the brothers in arms on both sides of the conflict, heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives. A moving and powerful reflection on the meaning of Remembrance Day. Hardcover. Published 2014.
  4. Men Who Came Out of the Ground. $17.00. It was early 1942, Australia was in dire straits. The seemingly all-conquering Japanese military forces had rolled over south-east Asia. Singapore had Fallen. Only a few hundred men remained in Timor. These soldiers, the 2/2 Australian Independent Company - Sparrow Force - were all that stood between Japanese forces and Papua New Guinea. A Special Forces unit set up to fight a different kind of war, many were bushmen and crack shots, and all were trained to fight behind enemy lines. Mobilising the support of the locals, they adapted their bush skills to become the masters of this new kind of commando warfare. Always greatly outnumbered but relentless in their harassing campaign of skirmishes and ambushes, Sparrow Force tied down thousands of Japanese in a fierce guerrilla war - not just matching them but beating them. The Timor campaign became a defining moment Australia's military history. Expertly researched by Paul Cleary.
  5. Trackers. $22.95. Tracker dogs in Vietnam. Trackers is a gritty and moving account that reveals the Australian army's little-known use of combat tracker dogs during the Vietnam war. A war veteran tells his story with vivid and compelling immediacy, blending the terror of hunting the elusive Viet Conk with the tender relationship between him and his larrikin labrador-kelpie cross. 212pp. First published in 2000.

Friday Forum

Gold Escort Route – Map booklet review.

I finished reading the Gold Escort Route book last night. It’s fabulous. Answers a few questions of mine. I was fascinated to read about Dan Morgan. Very well known around here (buried in Wangaratta) but I was not aware that he ventured to SA. Interesting too, that the route only lasted for 2 years with the gold.

I love the paragraph on page 2 about gold influencing the world. My family background is Beechworth and my grandfather (farmer), sluiced for gold on his property to get through the Great Depression. I learnt to pan gold at a young age. That paragraph about the USA and Australia is so very true.

Tell John that I think his labour of love with the GER has been very successfully told in the book. It’s a ripper. Doug.

We are working on having a digital version (in OziExplorer format) of the maps from this book available on our web site soon.

Nhill during the war – The Link Trainer.

Nhill’s aerodrome attained national significance during the Second World War when it became the site for a Royal Australian Air Force base. During that period the community embraced many of the about ten thousand Air Force personnel who trained at the base between 1941 and 1946.

The town was home to; No. 2 Air Navigation School, No. 1 Operation Training Unit, No. 97 Squadron Reserve, Air Armament and Gas School.

For many it was their first time away from home and they welcomed the opportunity to be included in family and community life in Nhill and district.

For most, combat followed training.

The Avro Anson, Link Trainer, Wirraway and Tiger Moth make up the four main aircraft stationed at the Nhill RAAF training base during WWII.

Link Trainer is the name given to the very first flight simulators. Link Aviation Devices (USA) saw a need for a safe way to train pilots how to fly using the instrument panel and began work on their development in 1937.

Link Trainers have two main components:

A wooden box, usually painted blue and approximating the shape of a fuselage and cockpit, connected via a universal joint to a base. Inside is a pilot's seat, aircraft controls and flight instruments. The base contains complicated sets of bellows and vacuum pumps to create movement and input to the instrument panel.

The second major component is an external instructor's desk, which consists of a large map table; a repeated display of flight instruments; and a motorised ink marker that plots the pilot’s ‘flight’. The desk includes controls for the instructor to alter factors such as wind direction and speed.

Nhill is fortunate to have two Link Trainers currently at the aerodrome, both of which are being restored by Neil Thomas from Halls Gap. Neil has been regularly driving to Nhill (a 3 hr round trip) to work on these units for a couple of years now and the transformation of the Trainers is a credit to his talent and perseverance. 

map table

Map table before restoration


Link trainer during restoration

in operation

Unit complete and operational

Eco Billy

I’ve had an Eco Billy for many years too, probably 30 years and it is still going strong and it goes on every trip with me. Just don’t let them boil dry as the solder burns. I agree, always have the big one. The whole thing of stopping for a tea or coffee in the bush is that it is a bushy ritual. Sure, it is nice to have a brew anytime but having a brew in the bush - that is the big thing. And the ritual of collecting a few twigs and making it happen with a bit of wood smoke is the icing on the cake. Not to mention the slightly smokey water.

On the same theme, I also have a Firebox Nano. Handy toy with the same concept; an off-the-ground, anywhere type of fire made from a few twigs to boil up a little billy or even just a single metal cup. I fly all over the country and cannot carry gas with me. No worries. My Nano when folded is the size of a cigarette packet. I’ll stop somewhere and gather a few twigs and leaves and get the brew happening. The local goannas must see quite a sight . . . a human sitting there with a goofy look slurping a coffee in the wilderness, always awed by my little twig burner. So Eco-Billy or Firebox Nano. Both awesome and both have their place in my travel kit. John.


Your recent article on the Thermette brought back so many pleasant memories.  In the late 1940s we lived in Coromandel NZ and often went camping and always with our trusty Thermette. I remember frying freshly caught Snapper in a pan balanced on top of the Thermette. For those who have visited Hahei on the east Coromandel Peninsular, in the late 1940s there was only one house at Hahei, the local family who owned the dairy farm. We camped under the Pohutukawa trees right on the Hahei beach. Today Hahei is a thriving holiday/retirement town. David.

Packsaddle General Store, SA

Over two years after the closure of the coal mine, Leigh Creek and neighbouring town Copley are on the verge of becoming ghost towns.

The Packsaddle General Store – Copley’s only destination for camping, hardware and groceries – will shut its doors in the next month after 20 years of operation. The town’s post office is also based in the general store but has been given notice to find a new home. Packsaddle owner Karyn Ridsdale said everyone is leaving the area and things are falling apart.

“I tried to sell, but nobody is interested at all and I don’t blame them,” she said.

The closure of the Leigh Creek coal mine in November 2015 came after the decommissioning of the Port Augusta Power Stations, putting over 400 people in the Far North region out of employment.

Leigh Creek’s population more than halved, with the 2016 census revealing that less than 250 people were living in the town – a figure that would have undoubtedly decreased further by 2018.

The same census indicated that just 72 people remained in Copley, a decrease of over 30 per cent since 2006.

Many residents are infuriated by the lack of maintenance and upkeep in both towns, with much of the nature and land said to be left to waste away. Leigh Creek Energy plans to conduct in-situ coal gasification at the former coal mine site, which involves extracting gas from Leigh Creek's coal seams. However, the process has been widely opposed by Leigh Creek residents after it was banned in Queensland.

The above is from an article by Marco Balsamo. Find the full story at

Power Without Glory

Recently we had a secondhand copy of the book Power Without Glory for sale. There was so much interest that we have tracked down a supplier and now have new copies of the book for sale. Charlie’s email below with the term UNEXPURGATED, led me to try to find more details about the book and the surrounding controversy.

  • I have just finished re-reading Power Without Glory. My copy that I have had since about 1960 was published in 1951, the first edition was published in August 1950 second in October 1950, 3rd February 1951, 4th August 1951 so it was very popular. My copy has in large letters UNEXPURGATED. With 14 Illustrations by Ambrose Dyson. It has a soft cover and 669 pages plus 2 1/2 pages authors notes dated April 1950. Charlie.

Book Review

Power Without Glory $20.00 plus post. Few books have been as controversial as Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory. This is a tale of corruption stretching from street corner SP bookmaking to the most influential men in the land. This is the novel which provoked such intense uproar and debate across the nation. The questions it poses remain unanswered.

The following information is from State Library Victoria Latrobe Journal, No 83 May 2009 by Des Cowley.

The ‘Fraser’ copy of Frank Hardy's Power without Glory

IN JANUARY 2005, the State Library of Victoria was the recipient of an unusual copy of Frank Hardy's novel Power without Glory (1950). The copy comprises four volumes, with the pages printed on one side only. There are no title pages to the volumes, nor is there any printer or publisher statement. The copy was donated by John Fraser, the son of Arthur Fraser, at whose family printing business, Fraser & Jenkinson, it is believed to have been produced.

The mystery surrounding the printing and publishing of Frank Hardy's Power without Glory has long been acknowledged. Hardy's novel, which traced the political and financial rise of Melbourne businessman John West, was based on extensive research into the real-life John Wren. The fact that the book was supported by the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), and critiqued the anti-communist activities of the Catholic Church and corruption within the Victorian Labor Party, meant that it was explosive stuff.

In order to minimize CPA involvement Hardy decided to organise the book's printing himself. He set up the Realist Printing and Publishing Company and printing began around Christmas 1949. As the printing of the thirty-two page sections were completed, they were stored for safe keeping at the houses of friends and CPA members. Estimates of the first print run are between 5,000–10,000 copies, a remarkable feat given the secretive and sporadic nature of the operation. 

Hardy's personal ordeal was almost inseparable from the political climate operating in Australia at that time. On 20 October, the Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950 was passed into law by the Government of Prime Minister Robert Menzies. Five days later, Hardy was arrested and charged with criminal libel of Ellen Wren. The Act was challenged in the High Court and declared unconstitutional. Committal proceedings against Hardy began on 27 November 1950, and his case would run until 18 June 1951, when a jury cleared him of the charge. Menzies, undeterred by the High Court decision, proposed a referendum to change the Constitution to allow Parliament to enact laws in relation to Communists. It was narrowly defeated.

This climate of political fear probably explains the lack of recorded documentation about the printing of early editions. None of the first four editions, dated between April 1950 and August 1951, bears a statement of publisher or printer other Hardy’s own ‘Realist Printing and Publishing Co.’ If it was Hardy's intent to cover his tracks, he couldn't have done a better job.

In May 1950 another edition had been ordered from Fraser & Jenkinson, who had long been associated with the Labor Party. Arthur Fraser, the proprietor of the family business, was suffering poor health, and took the family to Queensland for the winter, while his son John, then aged 13 returned to Melbourne to continue school. During that time, John remembers that his father visited on two occasions. On 15 September 1950, as the family were making the return trip to Melbourne, Arthur suffered a massive stroke and died.

Following Arthur's death, John's mother Dorothy, attempted to run the printing business. It was toward the end of 1950 that she discovered, according to John, ‘that our printing firm had illicitly produced many copies of the underground book Power without Glory’. She had uncovered, in a mezzanine loft a number of copies stored there. By this time, Frank Hardy was on trial for criminal libel, and the case was prominent in the press. John's mother understandably feared serious legal repercussions, should Fraser & Jenkinson be found to be associated.

John remembers accompanying his mother to the Queen's Street premises where he was dispatched up a ladder to the loft, where he remembers retrieving copies hidden there in a sack. The Fraser family retained one copy, the one donated to the State Library of Victoria, for reference purposes.

John remains convinced that his father, Arthur, never knew that this work had taken place at the firm's premises. He admits that he has no idea how many copies may have been run off in this way. An apprentice at the time believed that Arthur Fraser, during one of his return visits to Melbourne, got wind of the job and put an immediate stop to it.

It is unlikely that any one person, including the author himself, was aware of every link in the chain of events that brought the novel in to being. The ‘Fraser’ copy is probably best thought of as a further link in this chain. In its rudimentary form, it provides testament to an extraordinary juncture of literature and politics in this country, a time when private imagination and public fear seemed momentarily united.

Friday Funnies

The defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defense's closing statement, the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. "Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom." He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly.

A minute passed.  Nothing happened.

Finally, the lawyer said, "Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. I, therefore, put it to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed, and I insist that you return a verdict of not guilty."

The jury retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.

"But how?" inquired the lawyer. "You must have had some doubt. I saw all of you stare at the door."

The jury foreman replied: "Yes, we did - but your client didn't!"  


"Never trust a dog to watch your food." Patrick, age 10

"When your dad is mad and asks you, 'Do I look stupid?' don't answer." Hannah, 9

"Never tell your mom her diet's not working." Michael, 14

"When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair". Taylia, 10

"Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a Tic-Tac." Andrew, 9

"You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk." Armir, 9

"If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse." Naomi, 15

"Textas are not good to use as lipstick." Lauren, 9 

"A recent economic study revealed that the best time to buy anything is last year."

"I'm not a fatalist. But even if I were, what could I do about it?"



Workers at Stonehenge adjusting for the end of daylight savings

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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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