NBN fit-out finalising; month/quarter on the blog

Here at the Bates Motel we still have preparations for the National Broadband Network.



Blog stats

End of the month again. This blog has had about 400 more views in March than it did in February. The most viewed posts in March have been:

  1. Home page / Archives 882 views in March 2015
  2. Outnumbered, Merlin, and other recently seen TV 88
  3. Bringing it home 38
  4. Some reflections on the late teen suicide bomber 35
  5. A thoroughly good human being… 19
  6. My former workplace in the news today 19
  7. Anzac Girls last night on ABC 19
  8. About 17
  9. Mindless reaction trumped by decency? And our next state member… 16
  10. Nike in Wollongong 13
  11. Unexpected connections 13
  12. Four years quit – a worthy recycle 12

Looking at the quarter January-March 2015:

  1. Home page / Archives 2,347 views since 1 January 2015
  2. Outnumbered, Merlin, and other recently seen TV 132
  3. Anzac Girls last night on ABC 91
  4. Australia Day 2015 – and Tony Abbott’s serious mental problem 58
  5. About 44
  6. Daily Telegraph in 2015 just keeps on cashing in on fear 42
  7. Bringing it home 38
  8. Some reflections on the late teen suicide bomber 35
  9. Neil’s personal decades: 11 – 1875 – to Araluen and Braidwood 35
  10. Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames” 31
  11. All my posts 31
  12. The silence of the trams 30
  13. Family history–some news on the Whitfield front 28
  14. My former workplace in the news today 25
  15. Friday Australian poem: #NS6 – Mary Gilmore “Old Botany Bay” 25

The complete set of “Floating Life” blogs, including archives, has done well in March 2015 according to Sitemeter: best since October 2014.


The NBN workers are just outside my door…

,,,installing their mysterious little boxes on our floor. There will be drilling soon.

Meanwhile, on Saturday I checked Powell Street and Woodlawn Avenue in Mangerton. Big demolition job happening.



I wonder if it is a new house, or units?


There would have been a creek down there once. Probably still is if it rains enough.

Yesterday lunch at Diggers was very traditional Aussie:


Corned silverside with white sauce and roasted vegetables

NBN, election, great feed

These boxes are now appearing here at The Bates Motel.


Yes, the National Broadband Network!

Meanwhile it has turned out that my prediction 11 days ago in Mindless reaction trumped by decency? And our next state member… has proved wrong.  But the other part of that post proved a winner.

Yesterday in the spirit of Wollongong’s #illeatwithyou hashtag aims to eradicate Islamophobia Chris T and I had an excellent (halal) lunch at Samaras.


There’s an extract from the menu. We had a side of the best baba ganoush ever, and then shared a Lebanese Mixed Platter for one. Yes, for one! And even then we barely coped. The food is as good as anything I ever had back in Little Lebanon in Surry Hills, and Chris, who is a chef by trade, got a quick lesson on how to make perfect baba ganoush.

The staff were great and the place was doing a roaring trade.

samara image

Those are rather bigger than our mixed plate!

Wollongong is rather spoilt as we also have another great Lebanese/Mediterranean place in Chargoal, just down from the Steelers Club in Harbour Street, directly beneath WIN Stadium.


In Chargoal

Chris T and I lunched there a few weeks ago.


Friday random memory 7: Katoomba 1975

That’s forty years! FORTY! The occasion was the Secondary English Workshop, Katoomba, March 30-April 8, 1975. There is a report out there on it. Yes, the Whitlam era – so look at the length of that residential workshop, which of course was brilliant. I was around the age of Mr Rabbit or Thomas at the time and was there representing Illawarra. The main speaker was Leslie Stratta from the UK. See Thomson, Jack and Watson, Ken. “Leslie Stratta” [online]. English in Australia, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2010. It was held here:


I posted in 2010:

I think it must have been 52. In January that year my sister died, and I seem to recall my father taking my mother and I to the Blue Mountains later that year. We stayed in a guest house which had probably not changed since before World War II. (Over 20 years later at an English Teachers’ inservice week at the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba — which John Boase also attended — I recall the visiting UK expert describing the hotel as like Gatsby’s place after the last party, but no-one had cleaned up.)

We shared the hotel with, among others, the cast and crew of the TV series Ben Hall — Jon Finch, Evin Crowley, John Castle, Sandra Lee Paterson, Jack Charles. That was interesting in itself.

About The Carrington:

…By the early 1900’s The Carrington’s reputation as the premier tourist resort in the Southern Hemisphere was undisputed and the newspapers of the day often cited her as the only rival to Raffles within The Empire.

Sold in 1911 to Sir James Joynton Smith, who introduced the famous stained glass facade, The Carrington entered a new phase and quickly became known as the honeymoon destination of choice, and this remained so for the next half a century.

Although in a time of decline in Mountains tourism, The Carrington remained popular as ever through the 1950’s and 60’s and was bought by Theo Morris, a developer, in 1968. Despite the dwindling popularity of the Mountains in the 70’s and the toll taken by time on the Hotel, her loyal clientele kept her afloat for nearly twenty more years.

The Carrington closed her doors in late 1985 and remained empty and derelict until 1991 when it was purchased with the aim of restoring and relaunching this Grand Old Lady of the Mountains.

The Carrington reopened her doors in December 1998 after eight years of restoration, and works are continuing on the restoration of the gardens, garages, stables, and powerhouse.