June 2012 on Neil’s “Final” Decade blog — 1

So much! This may also extend to THREE posts I fear!

The 9,000th read in June 2012!

Posted on  by Neil

Just arrived – well, from Adelaide, Jun 29 2012 9:56:38 am.

This is what they were looking at.

I am quite amazed by this month. Apart from English/ESL – which is freaky – this is the best month ANY of my blogs has ever had! Smile


This blog’s stats

South Sydney Uniting Church last Sunday

Posted on  by Neil

I dropped in briefly on my way to Jim Belshaw’s place as the Kingsford/Daceyville bus goes right past – well nearly.


Miriam Cabello’s portrait of Dorothy McRae-McMahon:


See also my 2009 post Special art work at South Sydney UC.

Sunday lunch in Daceyville

Posted on  by Neil

It has been a while since I ventured back up to Sydney for a Sunday lunch. That I did so yesterday is down to Jim Belshaw who now lives in Daceyville, a most interesting suburb not far from the University of NSW.

Today, Daceyville is a tiny, often overlooked suburb located six kilometres south of Sydney central business district. In 1912, however, it was a hive of activity as its construction brought about Australia’s first public housing scheme. Built by the state’s first Labor government, and using the skills of well-known Sydneysiders like architect John Sulman, it is one of Sydney’s unique suburbs.




In Jim’s street yesterday.


Jim, followed by (L-R) Noric Dilanchian, Clare Belshaw, Neil Whitfield and Dennis Sligar.


In the train on the way home.

Dennis turns out to have been just one year ahead of me as a student at Sydney Boys High in the 1950s and we reminisced ourselves silly. Smile  He was also a Public Servant of note and gets mentioned in Kim Beazley’s autobiography. Noric is of Armenian background and among topics raised by him was the matter of history and perspective. Jim’s daughter Clare is also quite passionate about history, particularly about the Julio-Claudians it appears and has a perhaps not unrelated interest in zombies. I also learned for the first time – though I am sure most of you already knew – about Kickstarter,  a funding platform for creative projects. What a great thing it appears to be!

All that and roast lamb too.

Thanks, Jim.

So looking at my April 2007 archive after 15 years

Some vivid memories, some things I had forgotten! I have not looked at the month archive as a whole for a very long time.

South Sydney Uniting Church

Good Friday in Redfern 2007

I could almost just recycle Good Friday 2006:

I mentioned a few days ago that Holy Week in Redfern looked promising. The Maronites drew the crowd — they were inside their cathedral, and on the footpath outside, and on the other side of the street as well.

At South Sydney Uniting Church there were fewer, but an interesting mix, as it was a shared service with the Cana Community. I ended up having a good chat with Father Brian Stoney, who, aside from having been a “good mate” of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, was also well acquainted with my old cyberfriend “Father Ted”, otherwise the late Fr Ken Sinclair of Melbourne.

Afterwards I rang Lord Malcolm; I plan to see him tomorrow. He is still in St Vincent’s Hospital.

This year Lord M is in the hospice but plans to come home for an overnight stay tomorrow: hence the bonus DVDs I mentioned yesterday.

You can find out a bit more about Brian Stoney in the SBS doco series Football Shorts. [No longer available 2022.]

Cannot find this 2022 — but the pic is Father Stoney. See also the related Community Street Soccer from The Big Issue.

What Father Stoney said today was quite profound, I thought; some found it a bit dark.

There were more people at our service this year, I think, and a couple of high school boys videoed it. I am not sure for whom.

Here’s another video, “Redfern People 28 March 07”.

And a later episode of “Football Shorts” from SBS:

Many posts concerned our friend Malcolm Gleeson, who was in the St Vincents Hospice with AIDS-related illness. We were not to have him with us for much longer.

Lord Malcolm update

Lord M came home overnight Saturday through Sunday, glad of a break from the hospice. Among things he did at home was to compose his own obituary. At the appropriate time I will post it here.


He does mention a role he played in modifying the RAAF’s Pilatus PC-9s. UPDATE 11 April. I mentioned this to Lord M. What he did was rather more than “modify”. In fact he was sent to Switzerland to design all the electrical wiring for the instrumentation in the cockpit. “Basic design principles” he says; quite a feather in his cap, I say! Note also the Jim Belshaw connection in the comment below.

“Serving in the RAN Fleet Air Arm working on fighters, navy diving with all its inherent risks and dangers.” — Malcolm Gleeson, in his self-composed obituary.


Sirdan collected Lord M from the hospice and brought him by taxi to Darling Harbour where we were able to look around the Chinese Garden.

Jim Belshaw’s comment:

Good Lord, Neil. You managed to combine a blast from my past, my wife’s past as well as, would you believe, Peter Debnam’s.

From early 83 to 87 I had (among other things) industry policy responsibility for the aerospace sector. My wife was also involved in this area first in the Department and then as a minsterial adviser in John Button’s office. Defence had been developing its own basic trainer aircraft – Peter Debnam had an involvement here. This struck problems, leading to the decision to buy the Pilatus.

Only days to go…

I have just been to the hospice to see Lord Malcolm and that, I am sorry to report, is the official word now.

Visited Lord Malcolm yesterday

He had planned an excursion for Sunday but was not well enough. He is still amazingly together though his short-term memory is declining. If she can (there are serious other things happening with her partner who undergoes surgery tomorrow) Dorothy will visit him soon; I passed on her best wishes. When the time comes a special page, with Lord M’s permission, will temporarily replace my daily entries on the front page here. It is already stored in draft form. It is mostly written by Lord M himself.

That page did get published.

Visited Lord Malcolm again today

Dorothy McRae-McMahon visited him yesterday, and that pleased Lord M, and me. He said they had a really good talk. Dorothy has a tough time herself at the moment with her partner undergoing major surgery today.

I had to leave him when he began to have trouble breathing.

Latest on Lord Malcolm

It’s now ten days since Lord M was told he only had days to go. When I saw him yesterday I would have given him ten minutes! But today I just phoned him and he is playing Scrabble and considering redying his hair…

Photographing Lord Malcolm

Lord M wanted some pictures of him with Sirdan and myself, so Sirdan brought his camera and after lunch we went to the hospice. Lord M is pretty much the bionic man these days and can’t get out of bed much, but two nurses helped us wheel his bed to a spot with a nice background view and we took two sets of pics, one lot on Sirdan’s camera and the other lot for Lord M to look at on his mobile phone, along with some he took a couple of weeks back at the Chinese Garden.

I was afraid the photos might look a bit, um… Lord M has been more photogenic than he is right now. But they are actually rather nice. I’m glad we did it.

Taken 29 April 2007 in Sacred Heart Hospice Darlinghurst: Malcolm, Neil W, Danny Nel.

The Botanical Gardens Picnic Mardi Gras 2005

Yes, there were other topics — a few I will repost next time!

About yesterday — plus art, and a wonderful video from The Bunnies!

Yesterday indeed.

And the menu is as it was, with the wonderful $7.90 specials still there.

But I lashed out and had the roast of the day — lamb with gravy and mint jelly, roast potato and pumpkin, and more steamed vegetables than I could eat… I had had an interesting morning after all…

As I noted on Facebook:

Spell “world” backwards and other tasks for almost an hour and a half at the Medical Centre. The nurse doing the testing was a former Shire girl — Jannali GHS in fact… We had a lovely chat!I “blitzed” the cognitive whatever test! Unlike Donald I did not think it was an IQ test….

And for American friends: yes, thank Medicare (“socialist” medicine) TOTALLY without my paying a cent! And the FREE podiatry treatment I had in the hour before!

I had a similar interview in November 2020: So the Medical Centre telephoned….

Now for an art-work from my old workplace Sydney Boys High — Mr Rabbit after seeing it on my Facebook said “Stunning!” — and indeed it is. Curious, I just searched the 2020 Record (the SBHS Magazine) which I have on my laptop — it seems Eric Yang in 2021 would have been in Year 10! That is, around 16 years old.

Sydney High noted on Facebook:

Congratulations to Eric Yang who was judged this year’s winner of the Judy Cassab Art Prize, sponsored by her son Peter Kampfner. The work was titled ‘social distancing’. The judge wrote “This is an ingenious and sophisticated work chronicling the state of the world in 2021. The artist has used the ubiquitous blue surgical mask as a symbol of the overwhelming and pervasive presence of COVID-19. In his statement, he likens the masks to icebergs and cliffs that dwarf the human race, making his bleak “message” clear to the audience. This moving work is beautifully painted with exquisite detail in both the mask forms and the miniature humans. The drab and omnipresent grey background, mimicking a corner, also depicts our place in time. This is a thought provoking, yet sensitive, painting revealing both a strong concept and very accomplished painting techniques”. (Karen Profilio – Judge of the artworks submitted for the Judy Cassab Prize Competition)

And now the Bunnies — South Sydney. Way beyond what you might have expected! “Souths Cares, Rabbitohs players and members of the local Indigenous community share their stories and help raise awareness for COVID safe protocols to keep the community safe.”

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 64 — the kids and the bunnies are ok!

Yes, let’s focus today on the good stuff. First, this story is one-up on all those reactionary wankers on places like Sky — Donners for example — who have been wringing their hands and beating their breasts about the parlous state of education today. Let’s look at these kids, 15, 14 and 15 respectively.

Here is the story:

And as reported on our ABC:

The brains behind a popular COVID-19 tracking website have unmasked themselves — and much to everyone’s surprise, it turns out they’re a trio of teenage boys.

The faces behind the data website, CovidBase AU, are Jack, Darcy and Wesley and they chose the day they got their Moderna vaccinations to reveal their identities.

The group said the idea for the website came about after wanting to create a place to simplify the data and present it in an easy-to-understand format.

The website has already become a big favourite of thousands of Australians. 

“Darcy’s really skilled with coding and I’m sort of really into the news …and have been really interested in the data. So we’ve decided to take what we’ve been doing and sort of create something with it,” Jack told ABC News.

And in The Guardian:

Nick Evershed, the data and interactives editor at Guardian Australia, said CovidBaseAU had done impressive work collating hard-to-find information.

“There has been a few occasions, particularly with the numbers around vaccine imports and supply, where I’ve cross-checked my numbers against theirs,” he said.

“They did a really good job at combing through all the disparate media releases and press conferences in the early stages of the rollout to piece together a good picture of how many doses Australia was producing or importing at various points, which was extremely helpful as I was compiling similar data.”

Jack, Wesley and Darcy were praised by fellow Twitter users after revealing their identities, amassing more than 16,000 likes in a 24-hour period, as well as a part-time job offer from the head of public health at the Burnet Institute.

“You three pull off some awesome work!” Ben Krauth wrote. Prof Mark Stoove added: “Nice work boys! Need a part-time job?”

How encouraging to hear and read a story like this! The kids are OK! Check it out!

The Bunnies are headed for the Grand Final!

Yes, that deserves a big heading. They have been almost there several times in recent years — 2019 for example.

Great images of Redfern and my old stomping ground there!

Last night’s game against Manly Sea Eagles:

Check my earlier posts on this topic!

Penrith Panthers beat Melbourne Storm 10-6 this afternoon, so there is the Grand Final: Bunnies vs Panthers.

Alas poor Bunnies

I could not bear to watch….

Keeping an eye on the game via the rolling summaries on ABC Sport I eventually posted my tipping outcome for the day ten minutes before the final siren.

Not a great start for tipping either… Do note the doubt I had expressed on the Tuesday I made my selections…

On Facebook my running comment was:

The Bunnies are in all sorts of trouble… At half-time 26-0 Melbourne in front! 10 minutes into the 2nd half things had not improved: 36-0! 😢🐰 With 20 minutes to go it’s 40-0! I think the doom is in…. Yep, 46-0 with 10 minutes left. With NINE minutes to go The Storm did it again! 50-0! 😢😢🐰 Cricket score time, alas! That was the final score.

All sorts of records were broken, as the ABC reports.

Melbourne star Josh Addo-Carr has made history by becoming the first player to score six tries during an elite-level Australian rugby league game in more than 70 years.

The NSW Origin winger returned the remarkable haul in a 50-0 demolition of South Sydney, putting the Rabbitohs’ NRL premiership hopes in serious doubt.

No team in history has conceded 50 points in a season and gone on to win the premiership that year.

In a miserable night for the depleted Rabbitohs, Addo-Carr ran riot on the right edge with four tries in the first half and two in the second.

Addo-Carr is the first player to score six tries in a game since Jack Troy did it for Newtown in 1950 .

The 50-point victory brought to an end Souths’ seven-game winning streak after injuries ravaged their side through the week.

Perhaps the Bunnies need to get this guy back: