Friday Five Newsletter 2018.9.14

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Westprint Friday Five  Friday September 14th 2018

To begin, begin.

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


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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. The Centre. Penny Van Oosterzee. $29.95. Part one traces the geological history of central Australia through the passage of one of the world’s oldest rivers, The Finke. It flows through all the ecosystems of Australia, from the rugged almost impenetrable flanks of the MacDonnell Ranges to the Simpson Desert. Part 2 explores the diverse ecosystems and all that live therein, contesting the erroneous ‘dead heart’ myth, to reveal a rich array of animal and plant communities. First published 2006. Reprinted 2013.
  2. Where The Ancestors Walked. $35.00. Philip Clarke. Clarke paints a remarkable picture of the culture and traditions of Aboriginal Australia. Drawing on research from anthropology, cultural geography and environmental studies as well as his own fieldwork, he explains the diverse ways in which Aboriginal people relate to the land across the continent. Heavily illustrated, this book will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the traditional lifestyle of Aboriginal people. First published in 2003.
  3. Aboriginal Stories. $24.95. Author: A.W. Reed. Paperback 230 pages. A wealth of poetic and imaginative tales from Aboriginal cultural heritage. Aboriginal Stories presents a collection of myths and legends gathered from various sources, representing the rich and diverse tapestry of beliefs of Aboriginal people throughout Australia. Tales range from creation myths and legends of the sun, moon and stars to legends of animals, birds, rivers, lakes and shores, as well as hero stories. In addition, there are lists of Aboriginal words arranged alphabetically - English to Aboriginal and Aboriginal to English - together with a short selection of common phrases and sentences.
  4. Oodnadatta Track. $22.00. The Oodnadatta Track is a heritage corridor - the pioneering North/South road followed by aborigines, explorers, pastoralists, Afghan cameleers, Overland Railway and Telegraph lines. It embodies the history of travel throughout outback Australia and offers a unique experience through one of Australia's most diverse and geographically interesting landscapes. The rich colour and harshness of terrain, typified by the remoteness of the Australian Outback, encourages the spirited adventurer to discover the real beauty of this region. The track closely follows the paths taken by Stuart and Giles exploring inland Australia during the 1800s. 28 pages including cover. Published in 2011.
  5. Price of A Pearl. The Rod Dickson. $30.00. Incidents of pearling life, shipwrecks and murders in the North West of Western Australia, never before told. Divers, tenders, crewmembers, shell-openers, skippers and owners all paid the ultimate price through carelessness, wild nature, storms and cyclones. More than a thousand deaths with hundreds of luggers, schooners and ketches wrecked all for the price of a pearl. Rod Dickson went to sea at 15 and ‘has been there ever since’. An honorary Associate of the Fremantle Maritime Museum, he has been cataloging the State’s maritime history. Currently he serves aboard the North West Storm Petrel, an LNG tanker trading to Japan. First published in 2002. 

Notes from the Office

Graeme and I have returned from our outback adventure and are wading through the backlog of emails and messages. We should be back into the swing of things by next week. We have some interesting stories and a few ‘don’t do this’ stories from our trip that I hope to have written up in the next few weeks.

It is now John and Bev’s turn to take a break. They have flown out this morning heading to London to catch up with their granddaughter Laura (yes, from Laura’s Library). They will be back at work in October. Jo.

Friday Forum

The Great Melbourne Telescope 

The Great Melbourne Telescope (GMT) is being restored after sitting ingloriously out in the weather in Canberra for several years.

The Great Melbourne Telescope was built in Dublin in 1868 and erected at Melbourne Observatory in 1869. At the time it was the second largest telescope in the world and the largest in the southern hemisphere.

When Melbourne Observatory closed in 1944, the telescope was sold to the Commonwealth Observatory at Mount Stromlo, Canberra. At Mount Stromlo the telescope was given a new 50-inch glass mirror and became an integral part of Mt Stromlo’s work from 1961 into the 1970s. In the 1990s the telescope was rebuilt with two large-scale digital cameras for the search for evidence of dark matter. Then in January 2003 a bushfire swept across Mt Stromlo, its firestorm destroying the majority of the telescopes and buildings. Only the large iron castings from the GMT, bent metal and broken glass remained.

Unloved and broken it sat in the extreme cold of Canberra’s weather for at least four years until members of the Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV) embarked on a mission to rescue it in 2008. Lacking plans or drawings and missing at least 180 parts, a team of ASV volunteers has been painstakingly dismantling it in a large restoration area in Melbourne.  Every available working part has been identified, numbered, restored or rebuilt.

The GMT was built with a speculum mirror lens and is the last of the great mirrored telescopes. An unforgettable moment for the restoration team came in 2010 when a staff member found a box in the museum’s store and called for expert help to confirm the contents. The box contained the original flotation system for the telescope’s one-ton white bronze mirror. It was a joyous day for the GMT reconstruction team who had long wondered what had happened to this item of 19th century engineering which provides a balanced bed of 48 steel balls to support the back surface of the mirror evenly, keeping distortion of the mirror surface to less than a 1/10,000th millimetre.

The dollar value of the ASV work is incalculable, unlike the restoration costs. Funding for the project is an ongoing challenge. The replacement mirror alone, is likely to be in excess of $200,000. Many parts of the GMT can be repaired or remade in the restoration area by the combined efforts of Museum Victoria staff and the ASV volunteers. When larger equipment is required, it is manufactured by the staff at Scienceworks.

A 2-metre high photograph of the telescope from 1885 is a key reference for the group as they establish which parts are original and which were replaced at Mt Stromlo Observatory. The ASV team hope to have the GMT back home at Observatory House in 2019 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of its arrival in Melbourne. Everyone interested in following the progress of the GMT restoration or wanting to donate to this great cause can do so through 

Written from information at and an article written by Liz Clarkson (also on the GMT website). 

Stop Press: I have just seen an article announcing the Melbourne Observatory has a new and extremely large telescope. Jo. 

Old Blue 

I thought you may appreciate this bush poem.  Shades of The Loaded Dog (H, Lawson). Sorry, I don’t know who the author is. Vince 

We pensioned off old Blue the dog when old age got him down

We sent him for company to old Grandma in the town

But while Granny was elated Blue still craved the great out doors

And he would roam the town exploring while old granny did the chores

So it was this Sunday morning Blue was fossicking about

Through the paddocks near the township on his normal daily scout

When a canine gourmet odour overpowered his sense of smell

Though his eyesight had diminished his old sniffer still worked well


And the sense of his excitement was reposed down by the creek

Where a sheep had met his maker for the best part of a week

For its woolly corpse was spreading and the air was far from fresh

From this rancid flyblown carcass with its seething greenish flesh

It was a dog’s idea of heaven and old Blue, he rubbed and rolled

Till he ponged just like the sheep did and with ecstasy extolled

Then an idea formed within him as he gave a gentle tug

And he found the carcass followed like a matted lumpy rug


He would take it home for later it should last a week or two

If he stored it in his kennel he could keep his prize from view

So, he gripped the carcass firmly proudly into town he went

But his load proved fairly heavy and old Blue’s energy soon spent

And the only shade on offer was the building with the bell

And he dragged his prize towards it with its flies and feral smell

Then the dog and sheep both rested in the front porch of the church

Old Blue looked up the gangway at the parson on his perch


He was revving up the faithful to repent to save their worth

And said Satan was the culprit for all the rotten things on earth

And he roared of fire and brimstone and redemption for the throng

Up the aisle came Satan’s presence in this godforsaken pong

And they all cried “Hallelujah” and they fell as one to pray

But by now old Blue was rested and he hadn’t time to stay

He proceeded up the roadway with the woolly corpse in tow

With a shortcut through the nursing home the quickest way to go


Where the matron, in a panic counted heads in mortal fright

With a smell like that they’d surely lost a patient through the night

And the members at the bowls club lowered all their flags half mast

Doffed their hats in silence for the funeral going past

But old Blue lugged his prize on homewards travelling past the bowling club

Till he took a breather under the verandah of the pub

There old boozing Bill was resting sleeping off the night before

To wait the Sunday session when they opened up the door


When the stench awoke his slumber, which was highly on the nose

And he thought his pickled body had started to decompose

And he missed the Sunday session when he ran home to his wife

To proclaim the shock announcement, he was off the booze for life

Meanwhile Blue could see Gran’s gateway at the far end of the street

So he started up the pavement with his ripe and tasty treat

But there was movement in the backstreets as the town dogs sniffed in deep

They broke chains and climbed high fences for a piece of Blue’s dead sheep


And Blue felt the road vibrating from the stamp of canine feet

As this pack of thirty mongrels came advancing up the street

But he wasn’t into sharing, so he sought a quick escape

And he spied a nearby building with a door that stood agape

Through this door he sought asylum, but his presence caused a shriek

For he’d chosen the local deli that was run by Nick the Greek

And Blue shot beneath a table where the sheep and he could hide

But the dog pack was relentless, and they followed him inside


Now the table Blue had chosen was a double-booked mistake

With the law enforcement sergeant sipping coffee on his break

And the sergeant sat bolt upright with a dog between his feet

And his eyes began to water from the dead decaying meat

Then the sarge leapt up in horror but in his haste, he slipped and fell

Falling down amongst Blue’s mutton with its all-embracing smell

And he lay somewhat bewildered in the gore, flat on his back

when the mongrel pack descended in a frenzied dog attack


With first thought self-preservation from the rows of teeth he faced

the sarge fumbled for his pistol in its holster at his waist

There were muffled bangs and yelping as random shots rang out

And the whine of bouncing bullets off the brickwork all about

As he blasted in a panic from beneath the blood and gore

A front window and the drink fridge were both added to the score

And the cappuccino maker copped a mortal wound and died

Hissing steam, it levitated falling frothing on its side


And Nick the Greek, the owner grabbed a shotgun in his fright

Blasting into the confusion of the frantic canine fight

At short range it wasn’t pretty, bullet holes along the wall

There was Laminex in splinters, clouds of dog hair covered all

Then the smoke detector whistled with the gun smoke in the air

Which set off the sprinkler system and a siren gave a blare

And the echoes still were ringing when beneath the dying heap

There emerged old Blue, still dragging at the remnants of his sheep


Its head was gone and several legs, but it hadn’t lost its smell

In the armistice that followed Blue decided not to dwell

He leapt the fence at Grandma’s for his feet had sprouted wings

Pure adrenalin propelled him fleeing dogs and guns and things

Now old Gran had influenza and had lost her sense of smell

With Blues sheep in the garden that was probably just as well

And she looked out from her front fence at the town in disarray

At the ambulance, police cars and the RSPCA


Then the fire brigade rushed past her flashing lights of rosy hue

And she hugged the old dog tightly, he’d protect her would old Blue

You just stay here like a good dog Grandma told him with a frown

“’cause you’ve no idea the trouble you can get into in town”


I’ve done some investigating and Vince’s poem was written by Bob Magor (there are a few minor changes in this one). Bob Magor books and CD's are filled with humorous bush verse. We have a full range in stock.

Secondhand Selection 

These books are not available on our website. To order any of these second-hand books send an email to If more than one person requests any book a ballot will be held on Monday. Please add $9.50 to your order to cover postage costs, regardless of the number of books ordered.

  1. Women Beyond The Wire. Lavinia Warner and John Sandilands. The true wartime story of women imprisoned by the Japanese. Softcover, reasonable condition. $12.00
  2. Gone For A Song. Jeff Waters. A death in custody on Palm Island. The true story of Mulrunji in 2004. Softcover, good condition. $10.00.
  3. Precious Bodily Fluids. Charles Waterstreet. A larrikin’s memoir set in the 1960s country Australia. Softcover, reasonable condition, Ex-library. $6.00.
  4. The Rabbit King. Catherine Watson. The story of John McCraith, Rabbit Exporter. Softcover, good condition. $40.00.
  5. The Story of Australia. Don Watson.  An illustrated history for young Australians. Softcover, good condition. $8.00.

Brunette Downs, Northern Territory 

Is the second largest cattle station in the Northern Territory, (approximately 12,250 square kilometres), after Alexandria Station. Brunette Downs is situated in the middle of the Barkly Tableland and is located 350km north east of the nearest town, Tennant Creek and 660km northwest of Mount Isa in Queensland which serves as the station’s main service town.

The cattle run on the property are a mixed herd of Barkly Composite, Brahman and Santa Gertrudis. The station has a carrying capacity of 110,000 head, and an annual turn off of 35,000. The operation requires over 50 staff. The black soil of the station is well covered with Mitchell grass and Flinders grass, with a range of native grasses and herbs appearing following the rains. The land area is broken up into 53 paddocks with an average size of 336 square kilometres (130 sq mi). There are also 19 holding paddocks and 16 steel yards. Brunette Downs has almost 5,000 kilometres of roads, 2,500 kilometres of fencing and more than 100 bores. Most of the station is open downs with small wooded areas.

Harry Redford (full name Henry Arthur Readford), the man who stole 1000 head of cattle and drove them down Strzelecki Creek, drowned in Corrella Creek and is buried on Brunette Downs. 

Friday Funnies 

"Cash, cheque or card?" the cashier asked. As the woman looked for her wallet, the cashier noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse.

"Do you always carry your TV remote?" the cashier asked.

"No," she replied. "But my husband refused to come shopping with me, so I figured this was the worst thing I could do to him."


A Public servant dies in a car accident on his 40th birthday and finds himself at the Pearly Gates. A brass band is playing, the Angels are singing a beautiful hymn, there is a huge crowd cheering and shouting his name and absolutely everyone wants to shake his hand.

Just when he thinks things can't possibly get any better, Saint Peter himself runs over, apologises for not greeting him personally at the Pearly Gates, shakes his hand and says 'Congratulations son, we've been waiting a long time for you. Totally confused and a little embarrassed, the Public servant sheepishly looks at Saint Peter and says 'Saint Peter, I tried to lead a God-fearing life, I loved my family, I tried to obey the 10 Commandments, but congratulations for what? I honestly don't remember doing anything really special when I was alive.'

'Congratulations for what?' says Saint Peter, totally amazed at the man's modesty. 'We're celebrating the fact that you lived to be 160 years old! God himself wants to see you!'

The Public servant is awe-struck and can only look at Saint Peter with his mouth agape. When he regains his power of speech, he looks up at Saint Peter and says, 'Saint Peter, I lived my life in the eternal hope that when I died I would be judged by God and be found to be worthy, but I only lived to be forty.' 'That's simply impossible son,' says Saint Peter. 'We've added up your time sheets......' 

A farmer goes into a farm supply store and orders two hundred chicks, explaining to the owner that he wants to start a chicken farm. Two weeks later, he returns to the store and buys another two hundred chicks.

The owner is curious but doesn't say anything. The same thing happens when the farmer returns in another two weeks for another two hundred chicks.

When he returns for the fourth time, the owner's curiosity is too much for him, so he asks the farmer why he keeps coming back for so many chicks. The farmer says, "Well, I guess I must be doing something wrong, but I don't know what. I think I'm either planting them too deep or too close together."

"How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue ... and then you add eggs and sugar and you get cake? Where does the glue go?"

- Rita Rudner

The Fine Print

About the Friday Five

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