Images from August 2012

Five years ago! How time has flown!

Train to Kiama and back – 15 – last look at Kiama

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Then homewards on the train, passing Bombo Beach again.

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The Brewery — 4 – looking from the outside deck – people watching

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Wi-fi at Illawarra Leagues

Spent some of yesterday at Illawarra Leagues Club. Just a note about the club:

The club was formed in 1947, the inaugural meeting being held on Friday, May 2.

It received it’s license later that year, one of the first clubs on the coast to do so, but it was not until December 12, 1951 that the doors were officially opened.

Illawarra Leagues is the second oldest leagues club in the world, a fact that all those associated with the club are especially proud of. The oldest, NSW Leagues Club, is located in Phillips Street, Sydney.

And here I am:

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One reason I went there was to use their excellent wi-fi (45.9 mb/s) to at last update my Windows 10. That took a while even so, but I had no chance doing it from home. Then, sharing with T and C, friends at the club.

A good afternoon all round.

So July 2017 goes too…

Stats here are down, but then you will have noticed I am not posting every day either. July stands at an average 35 visits a day, with the most viewed posts in July being:

Home page / Archives  502 views in July 2017
Taste of Xi’an Wollongong 42
Friday Australian poem: #NS6 – Mary Gilmore “Old Botany Bay”  35
Death of a hero: Liu Xiaobo 1955-2017  26
Midnight Shift bar is now history  22
About  14
Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames”  12
Random Friday memory 17 – Caringbah 1965  11
June gone already! And what a time for news! 11
Voyage to Surry Hills!  10
On Indigenous Australians…  10
Random Friday memory: 1 – John Mystery, my brother, Illawong  10
More on the 2016 Oz Census  9

And an old post from Surry Hills:

Surry Hills 10: Little Lebanon

The area around the corner of Elizabeth and Cleveland Streets, right by where I live, is known as “Little Lebanon”. Here’s why:

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There’s Abdul’s — great for takeaway…

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Lebanese bread for Abdul’s…

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A mosque nearby…

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… always lots of traffic on Cleveland Street …

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… exotic things to see …

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… and these people do a mean chicken Lebanese roll or kebab. A number of famous footballers and boxers seem to frequent Fatima’s.

As you can see, Islamophobia is not really a good look where I live…

— original photos by Neil Whitfield 2008

Sydney terrorism raids — Surry Hills!

Right where I lived 1992-2010. From 2008:

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And here is the area:

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See Sydney terror raids ‘disrupted’ plot to bring down plane, Malcolm Turnbull says and Sydney terrorism raids believed to relate to ‘bomb plot involving aircraft’.

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Update

See Sydney terror raids: Bomb plotters may have already tried to smuggle device onto international flight.

Update 4 August

See Two men to appear in court over alleged jet plot.

The only place I have seen the following story on the arrested man who was eventually released is Sydney’s Daily Telegraph two days ago. The detail, based on my experience of 18 years living in “Little Lebanon,” rings true to me.

Khaled Merhi’s father, Omar Merhi, broke his ­silence yesterday to deny his son is a terrorist.

Khaled Merhi’s behaviour was said by friends to have been erratic in the days leading up to his arrest.

They said he lost his job as a van driver last week having racked up thousands of dollars in debt gambling on ­horses and failed to turn up to Botany Powder Coaters on Friday…

The Merhi family, originally from Beirut, bought their terraced Surry Hills home in 1974 and brought up their 14 children there.

Khaled was the only one who never married but he has a seven-year-old daughter after a volatile long-term relationship with a Lebanese-born woman from Canberra.

His father Omar, 76, said Khaled was christened at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of St George in Redfern.

“He has never been to a mosque in his life,” Omar said yesterday.

“It’s bulls … that he wanted to blow up a plane, he works hard for his child and his girlfriend, who was always asking him for money, $150 here and there for jewellery and clothes, it was never enough, it felt like he was working to buy everything for her.

“In my 47 years in Australia, I’ve never had a problem with police and nor has any of my children.”

Hey, hang on! It appears the one who was released is Abdul Merhi, not Khaled. Latest:

Timeline of the alleged plot

April – Some of the men allegedly involved in the plot start communicating with a senior Islamic State figure in Syria who instructs them on how to make a bomb. The group allegedly order military-grade explosive components in the post from Turkey.

July 15 – Khaled Khayat, 49, allegedly escorts his unwitting brother to Sydney Airport to board an Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi with luggage containing a bomb. The bag is not checked in, possibly because it is too heavy, so Mr Khayat takes it home with him while his brother, who was unaware of the bomb, boards his flight as planned.

July 17 – Mr Khayat’s brother-in-law, Khaled Merhi, who remains in custody, sets up a business Khaleds Powder Coating Services. The men allegedly start working on a gas dispersion device.

July 26 – US and British agencies pass on intelligence picked up from Syria about the plot. Australian police start investigating immediately and put the men under surveillance.

July 27 – Security measures at Sydney Airport are enhanced on the advice of ASIO.

July 27-31 – Police create a mock IED like the one created on July 15 and test whether it would get through airport security. It doesn’t.

July 29 – Four men are arrested in five raids across Sydney.

July 30 – airport security is enhanced at all major Australian airports.

August 1 – Khaled Merhi’s brother Abdul Merhi released without charge.

August 3 – Charges laid against Khaled Khayat and Khaled Merhi

Junior HP had an outing yesterday

Junior HP likes the Illawarra Leagues Club.

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You see, the wi-fi internet there goes with NBN speed and they allow viewing of YouTube. So after lunch (silverside, yum!) at Diggers, just up the road, I called on the retired wharfie who now spends his time mostly at Leagues. I had introduced the wharfie to Junior HP last week, when we pursued quite a few old songs. This time though I brought headphones, as Junior HP’s own speakers are what you might term minimal.

The wharfie, among other things, had been a swimmer of note in his day. So on YouTube we followed that track through several Olympic Games starting of course with Beverley Whitfield.

Then music. As am I, the wharfie was particularly moved by the Hayley Westenra, Vera Lynn, Fron Choir version of “We’ll Meet Again” from the Royal Albert Hall, sung before The Queen, and Dame Vera herself, at The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2009.

I can get teary listening to that. The wharfie and I are both “war babies”.  My father came home from Papua, his did not.