Mr Squiggle, the Man from 93 Crater Crescent, the Moon, turns 50 today. Created by cartoonist and puppeteer Norman Hetherington, who would take children's scribbles and then craft it into a drawing, Mr Squiggle, along with friends Gus the Snail, Bill the Steam Shovel and the ever grumpy Blackboard (whom Mr Squiggle would use as an easel, being told to "Hu-rry u-p, hu-rry u-p" as he did) has been something of an institution for generations of Australian kids. Relive some of the magic...
An opinion piece in the Age states that the Northern Territory Government "plans to, in effect, close down indigenous outstations". [more inside]
"How do black women fight crime? They have abortions." "How do you stop a poofter from drowning? You take your foot off his head." These and other 'jokes' featured in an advertisement on The Gruen Transfer, an Australian television program focusing on advertising. The ad, part of a segment called 'The Pitch' which usually produces humorous ads, was banned by the ABC, but the national broadcaster has still allowed it to be viewed online, and hundreds have now seen it. The ad was designed to sell "fat pride", with creator Adam Hunt explaining his motivation behind the ad being to say "if you discriminate against somebody on the basis of their shape then you are no different to someone who is racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic." Debate has raged online if the ad is offensive and discriminatory, as the ABC has declared, and whether or not it was effective. Watch the ad and judge for yourself.
Twenty years old this year, fifteen-minute long Australian television programme Media Watch criticises television and print journalism. (Previously).
Be glad you don't live in Bowen, Queensland. The town is being overrun by giant bird-eating spiders, which are venomous and as big as a man's hand. They're the biggest spiders in Australia, a land known for monstrous creepy crawlies.
Sixto Rodriguez aka Rod Riguez was a platinum-selling urban-poet folk-funk singer in South Africa, a hit across Australia and New Zealand -- and had no idea. He was working on a construction site in his home town of Detroit until his daughter Eva Alicia found a fansite called "The Great Rodriguez Hunt". [more inside]
Gallipoli: The First Day [flash] An ABC documentary site about the WW1 ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915.
WATIM [We Are the Image Makers] is an online publication that promotes Australian artists, illustrators, designers and photographers. Issue 19 is out this month. There have been more than 150 artist contributors in their four years online. [some art nsfw]
1980s Australian tv talent show Pot Luck, featuring -- Todd Rixon, Piffy the bell ringer, and Wenkyshafee.
Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, when Australia and New Zealand remembers its fallen diggers who gave their lives (video link) in defence of our freedoms in the major conflicts of the 20th century. If you can, you really should try and attend one of the many dawn services that will be held at numerous war memorials located all around both countries tomorrow. Many of these memorials to the fallen have been documented and are now viewable online. Check out the war memorial pages for Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria (The Shrine of Rememberance in Victoria has its own web page), South Australia and the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the big one in the ACT, the Australian War Memorial. New Zealand has documented many of theirs online as well. Lest we forget, there's also a memorial at ANZAC Cove itself.
"Normally subcultures in Australia are taken from other countries and just reproduced here. Sharps or sharpies are an Australian specific subculture, developed in Australian specific conditions." Sharpies were members of suburban youth gangs in Australia mainly from the 1960s to 1980s, particularly in Melbourne, but also in Sydney and Perth to a lesser extent. "Everybody was in a gang. Everybody. Every second street there was a gang. Um -- there was like you were either in a gang or you were the victim." The time of the sharpies is part of Melbourne folklore. Forget JFK. Where were you when Frankston erupted after the AC/DC concert in 1977? While the violence was legendary, so were the fashion and the music. Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, Buster Brown, Skyhooks, Fat Daddy, Hush. And nobody danced like the sharpies (which resembles skanking of some sort). Anyone over forty who grew up in Melbourne has at least one story to tell about the sharpies (PDF). Some stories are about gang leaders with missing teeth and shit-eating grins, while others look back with some sort of fondness.
Wikileaks has posted the complete list of websites that the Australian Government intends to block under its proposed opt-out internet censorship scheme. The Government has flagged plans to expand the blacklist to 10,000 sites or more. [more inside]
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?" ― Winston Churchill, 1935. The World War II Database connects people, events, photographs, and other elements of history in relational db form to tell the story of the 20th century's 2nd great war.
Many places in Victoria are on fire. Victoria's Bushfires can help you keep track of the current situation around Melbourne. [more inside]
Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating provides some observations on the GFC, including suggestions that the USA could become a defaulter, and identifying a need for a new international settlement to replace Bretton Woods. [more inside]
For the last few years across Melbourne a mysterious, box like man has been appearing. He is known as crate man. He has appeared sitting atop factories, climbing into the city, on cranes, in the city and again, taking a smoke, being crucified, on factories, climbing around and occasionally just having a hard time. Currently he is just hanging out in Yarraville having a brew Via Melbourne in photos and The Wooster collective
Australia song - Adam Buxton of the Adam and Joe show gives musical tribute to the epically long Baz Luhrmann movie. [more inside]
An Australian soldier has been awarded the Victoria Cross for his involvement in an action in Afghanistan.
The Best Job in the World. Would you like to be paid AUD$150,0000 to live for free in a three-bedroom villa on an island in the Great Barrier Reef for six months, simply in exchange for blogging about your experience? Yeah, so would I. Submit your application before February 22nd, and see if you make it through the other millions of people who are sure to apply. And no--it's not a joke.
Outback: Have a drink, mate? Have a fight mate? Have a taste of dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here Wake in Fright Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 NFSW, including scenes of an actual kangaroo cull. [more inside]
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was booted out in the 2007 elections. He had been Prime Minister for 11 years and in that time he had taken the country to war and divided the country on issues like Aboriginal reconciliation and workplace reforms. The Howard Years, a four part documentary originally screened on the ABC, is now online and available to view for free and takes a detailed look at the legacy of his Prime Ministership. The four part series explores in greater detail than ever before Howard's fractured relationship with his deputy and heir apparent, Peter Costello, and also contains some startling revelations from Howard Government ministers that many candidly admit they would never have told you while they were still in Government.
Now you must know and understand, O Best Beloved, that till that very week, and day, and hour, and minute, this 'satiable Elephant's Child had never seen a Crocodile
Thrill-seekers swim with crocodiles in Australia Tourists who want to get cozy with a crocodile climb into a clear acrylic cage, dubbed "the cage of death," which is about 145 mm (5.7 inches) thick and 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) high, wearing just a pair of swimming goggles and a swimsuit. [Pictures] [YouTubery] "I can understand how this might be attractive to tourists but has anyone considered the welfare of the crocodile?" [More about saltwater crocodiles] [more inside]
Boy goes on "rampage" at Aussie zoo, killing rare reptiles and feeding them to a crocodile. [more inside]
Australia now commemorates Battle for Australia Day on the first Wednesday in September. But what is 'the Battle for Australia'? Did such a thing exist? [more inside]
"We don't vote for them, we don't even know their names and we're not quite sure what they do. But they wield enormous influence. They are the power behind the power. They are The Hollowmen." You can watch the Australian Broadcasting Company's new political satire The Hollowmen [warning: sound] on the web. Or you can find it via Bittorrent. (Or if you live down under I suppose you could watch it on ABC 1 Wednesdays at 9pm or ABC 2 Thursdays at 8:30pm.) It's worth a look because it may be the funniest new satire on any English-language network. [more inside]
Twelve Canoes - a beautiful & media-rich site presenting the stories, art and environment of the Yolngu people who live around the Arafura swamp in north-eastern Arnhem Land, Australia. [more inside]
The Eureka Tower Carpark in Melbourne makes makes great use of forced perspective for its way-finding system, designed by Axel Peemoeller.
Tribalcog is the travel photography site of Beren Patterson. Includes simple and easy to use tutorials and his collection of travel pictures that are integrated as a digital postcard system.
"Why the fuss? Well, Colin's a baby whale..." Oh no. They named the doomed little thing ('little' meaning about the size of a large car). Mal Holland's report from the Daily Telegraph gives a very illuminating rundown of the nervous breakdown that "Sydney's booming whale watching industry" is experiencing right now... [more inside]
Tunnels no Minasan no Okage Desu is a Japanese game show where contestants strike poses to fit through cutouts in pink foam walls. International reproductions of this game show reveal much about national character; reproductions exist in Italy, Russia, France, Denmark, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia. [more inside]
Australian short film - I Love Sarah Jane 'Jimbo is 13. All he can think about is one girl, Sarah Jane. And no matter what stands in his way - bullies, violence, chaos, zombies - nothing is going to stop him from finding a way into her world.' NSFW - swearing and gore. SLYT.
50 years ago Johnny O'Keefe released "Wild One" and Australia had its first homegrown rock'n'roll star. To commemorate the 50th year of Australian rock'n'roll The Age newspaper has asked various Australian music industry figures to pick the top 50 Australian albums (scroll down for the Top 50 - or check the (more inside)). [more inside]
The draft Garnaut Climate Change Review was released last Friday. This is the most comprehensive look so far at the economic implications of climate change and emissions trading for a developed country (Australia). Essential (but weighty) reading for those interested in the economics of the issue, a useful localisation of Stern (2006). [more inside]
Billy Hughes at War ― As Australia’s prime minister for most of the First World War, he steered the nation through the horrors of the war and the debates of the peace settlement. You can enter the conscription debate and examine political cartoons from the era. Billy Hughes provided Australia an independent voice on the world stage. [more inside]
Full of contemplative creatures and sleepers, Bruno Torf's Australian sculpture garden began with just fifteen life sized terracotta sculptures. Today there are over one hundred and fifteen pieces on display and Bruno is still making regular additions. Dive on in. Via
Australians celebrate their national football championships with a bloody frogs vs. cockroaches football game online! (The cane toad is a symbol of Queensland football...)
Garry McDonald, aka Norman Gunston, aka the "little aussie bleeder," may be well known out Australia way. For most Americans, however, Norman G remains far, far down under the radar. But he's the forefather of the UK's Ali G; he's Canadian Nardwuar thee Human Serviette's nerdier dad; he's America's Lazlo Toth (US) with a combover and a microphone; he's Jiminy Glick's Jack Sprat. Perhaps you saw Norman long ago in a segment on USA Network's Night Flight variety show. [bonus: many many youtubes of Night Flight segments, courtesy of this awesome website.] But I bet you didn't know he released a KIckaSS single (among others), jammed with Frank Zappa, and was at the right place and time to upstage a piece of Australian History. Not bad for someone whom Keith Moon dumped his drink on and called a "great pooftah." [more inside]
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu doesn't speak much, but when he takes up his guitar, he sings, literally and figuratively. He sings of growing up in an Aboriginal community on a remote island off the north coast of Australia; he sings of coming to terms with being born blind; and he sings the creation stories of his Yolngu people.
A few years ago when I was visiting Alaska, one of the more interesting portions of the trip was the 45-minute drive from Anchorage to Girdwood along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. This is one of the world's rare bodies of water that features bore tides, an amazing scene. The highway is one of only 15 roads in the United States that have been designated an "All-American Road." What about some of the world's greatest highways? [more inside]
Quentin Bryce has been chosen as Australia's new head of state from next month. As the first Australian female in the role she joins a growing list (currently 48) of international national leaders. Bryce previously served as the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner and director of the Queensland Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission prior to her role as Queensland governor. Replacing a highly decorated ex-soldier, who cut a low profile, who had himself replaced a controversial clergyman, Bryce has the opportunity make a significant mark on the country. She will join the list of first holders of political offices, and bring us closer to to a situation where the appointment of women to positions of power is no longer remarkable.
Australian dock workers will stop work for a minute today to remember the Patrick stevedores dispute, an industrial dispute that involved the stevedoring corporation Patricks, the Howard government and the Maritime Union of Australia. A landmark event in Australian political and legal history, the dispute saw dock workers stand "in the first line against the Howard government and the Patrick corporation that was seeking to remove their legal rights, their right to go to work [and] the right to collective bargaining." In its wake, the event generated debate about the role of unions in Australia, an alleged conspiracy between Patricks and the former Howard Government and even spawned a controversial TV mini-series, Bastard Boys. For more history and analysis of the dispute, you can read about it from the view of the MUA or this account but for the definitive analysis see here.
First, a bit of an introduction to the game of Cricket (youtube) for those of us who may not be familiar with the sport. Next, a few clips (1, 2, 3, 4) on how awesome the Gentleman's Game can be (and you thought we didn't do anything but roam around in our white pants and cotton shirts...). But, if that wasn't enough for you, then here's a taste of Twenty20 Cricket (the fast, fast paced version of the game), and the new DLF Indian (pdf) Premier League. (This is in addition to the One Day Matches, which were instituted to bring in a bit more excitement into the game during the 1970's, prior to which the match only consisted of Tests. However, some purists still maintain that the game would've been better served had it not been commercalized to the extent that it has, and still prefer the leisurely pace of the original format to its current incarnation.) [more inside]
Sailing from Sumatra back to Fremantle in November 1941, the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney encountered a Dutch freighter off the West Australian coast. The freighter turned out to be the disguised German mercantile raider Kormoran. After an ensuing fight, the Sydney went down with all hands, the reasons for which have been debated ever since. First the Kormoran, then over night the Sydney have been found by research organisation, Finding Sydney Foundation.
Two historic photography collections from Sydney's Powerhouse Museum: The Tyrell Collection - glass plate negatives from the Sydney studios of Charles Kerry and Henry King from 1884-1917 depicting a local record of the times; and the Hedda Morrison Collection - photographs from China, 1933-1946. The collection also includes personal papers and objects, such as Chinese papercuts, belt toggles, and photos from a 1930s-era folk festival in Germany.
Aboriginal dance (also known as a corroboree) helps indigenous Australians to interact with the Dreamtime through dance, music and costume. Many ceremonies act out events from the Dreamtime. Many of the ceremonies are sacred and people from outside a community are not permitted to participate or watch. However, there are many ceremonies we've been allowed to witness (here's one of my favourites). And there's plenty of related pictures available at the National Museum's website. Naturally, any indigenous Australians reading should note that these links may include images or names of people who may now be deceased.
If you who hear a symphony each time you open a beer, here's a little Friday fun.
(Check out the 'Behind the Scenes' video too.)
NB: Flash and music.
(Check out the 'Behind the Scenes' video too.)
NB: Flash and music.