Blogging the 2010s — 84 — September 2010

As I wrote at the time: “It has been an odd month for this blog, what with my relocation to Wollongong and all that went with that.”

State of play at The Bates Motel

Yesterday Sirdan and Brett hired a van to bring down the boxes labelled “BOX” which now reside generally unopened here in Mount Keira Road.


Today I went back to Surry Hills and oversaw the transfer of about 200 vinyl records plus many boxes of books to the good folk at 2MBS-FM.

Tomorrow I return for coaching, then on Friday/Saturday armed with many garbage bags and cleaning stuff I attack the bomb site that has been home for eighteen years.

Afternoon coffee with Mr Rabbit

At the good coffee shop in the alley.


And very pleasant it was too, hearing his English teacher stories and about his travels, among other things.

Hard to believe I’ve known him ten years now. He really is doing well.

Bloody frogs

So here I am sitting watching the sun making silver the waves breaking on North Beach as I quietly enjoy a skim flat white. Not Surry Hills.

Yesterday afternoon when I got back from Sydney after the final Elizabeth Street day my neighbour, R, a friendly young guy, fed me with sausages, which the other neighbour, P the Poet, was also offered but declined. P is suffering from some terminal illness, it appears.

Last night strange noises kept me awake for a while. I searched my room at the Bates Motel for a source of these weird clickings, to no avail. Eventually I worked out it was frogs outside. Yes, frogs.

Not used to all this Nature. 😉

Sunday in Waterloo and Surry Hills

I spent yesterday in my old haunts, travelling up by express bus since the trains aren’t running because of track work.CIMG4866

At South Sydney Uniting Church some nice words of farewell were  said to me, and I joined birthday celebrations for the amazing Julie McCrossin (left) and Nicole Fleming. That’s Nicole on the right. Naomi, a carer, is in the centre.


After that lunch at The Trinity Bar with Sirdan and P. Then to Central Station for another express bus home.


I sat next to a very nice young man who warned me about half-way into the journey that he was about to vomit, having had the foresight to bring his own plastic  bag for the purpose. When we arrived in Wollongong I congratulated him for vomiting so quietly and discreetly.

Blogging the 2010s — 63 — July 2010

Working through the decade! My blog stats are way up too!

Graham Little – things I didn’t know

In Graham Little and The Hunting of the Snark: for Graham I told you something of my friend and mentor who passed away in May this year. His partner Les has provided me with some other material, including an obituary written by Ken Watson (another former colleague, mentor and friend) published, strangely, on my birthday – and I missed it!

Little-200x0Graham Little, 1930-2010

In 1971, Graham Little, as head of the English Syllabus Committee for years 7 to 10, helped turn English lessons in NSW schools from fragmented segments to a cohesive whole. He was described by one education historian as having had “the most profound influence on English teaching in NSW of anyone since the Second World War”.

Little’s early life was hard. When he was very young, he was identified as a neglected child and put in an orphanage. He had rickets, and was still crawling at three because his legs seemingly could not support him. Things changed when he was temporarily placed with the Little family, who had children of their own but, in 1933, they adopted him and soon had him restored to health.

At about 10, Graham answered a radio station ad for a young actor and soon found roles such as the Lone Ranger’s little boy. In later life he recalled with amusement how he, from a far less privileged environment, won the job over boys from private schools. The money earned from a few years’ work was an immense help in his later education.

After five years at Sydney Technical High School, Little went to Sydney University on a teachers’ college scholarship, graduating with honours in psychology and completing his diploma of education in 1951. He surprised the NSW Department of Education by asking to go to Broken Hill High School, then regarded as one of the least favourable of postings, as an English/history teacher.

After three years there, Little joined the educational testing section of the department back in Sydney. Then, after completing English III at night, he decided to return to classroom teaching.

Anyone who had done three years in the far west was, as far as possible, given his or her wishes regarding following postings, so Little was able to get a position in the English department of Fort Street Boys High School, where he showed that he was an outstanding classroom teacher.

Then he became head of an English/history department in 1959, when he moved to Kurri Kurri High School. A few years later he returned to Sydney as head of the English department at Sydney Boys High School.

At the end of 1958, he married Rosemary Ryan, a physical education teacher.

The English Teachers’ Association of NSW had been founded in 1960 and was city-centred for a few years, but Little could see the value of such an association for isolated country teachers. He took the lead in turning it into a statewide organisation, and in time was elected president.

In 1967, Little had a year in London as visiting lecturer at the Commonwealth Institute. On his return to Sydney, he was appointed a member of the English Syllabus Committee for years 7 to 10. It was no surprise to anyone when, shortly afterwards, he was appointed to the English inspectorate, and asked to head the syllabus committee.

With the 1971 English syllabus for years 7 to 10, a document largely written by Little, what became known as “the new English” was given formal recognition in NSW.

Little’s subsequent career, once he had firmly established the “new English” with workshops for teachers throughout the state, involved a move to Canberra in 1975 to be the principal lecturer in curriculum studies at the Canberra College of Advanced Education, now the University of Canberra.

In his time there, Little also undertook a wide-ranging language-across-the-curriculum project, spanning English, mathematics, science and social science, for the Catholic education system, in the ACT and a further language investigation for the Tasmanian Department of Education.

In 1981, three years after the breakdown of his marriage, Little formed a partnership with Leslie Farnell, who was in the ANU school of chemistry.

Little’s book, Approach to Literature (1963), is still used in many schools. After retirement, he continued research in language development, particularly at primary level, producing, with Farnell’s help, a solidly documented study of the development of writing at that level.

In his final years, Little coped courageously with macular degeneration, which ultimately made reading impossible, and the onset of motor neurone disease.

Graham Little is survived by Leslie and his sons Stephen and David. Another son, Geoffrey, died in 1984.

Ken Watson

Wollongong again today



Does that answer the question?

Africa in South Sydney


I attended a Multicultural Refugee event at Alexandria Town Hall today.

Launch of Refugee African Muslim Youth Project Book
16 July 2010, 1.00pm
South Sydney Community Aid and Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre, Alexandria Town Hall, 73 Garden St, Alexandria

The Refugee African Muslim Youth (RAMY) project, funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, is working with African Muslim communities to encourage more active participation in sporting, social, arts-based, and other activities as a way of promoting their inclusion in mainstream society. The RAMY book documents the project, telling the stories in first-person accounts of a range of participants’ experiences involved in hip-hop, African dance, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography among many different activities undertaken by the participants. Federal MP for Sydney and Minister for Housing and the Status of Women, Tanya Plibarsek will officially launch the book and RCOA board member Sky de Jersey will speak at the event.

Blogging the 2010s — 42 — South Sydney Herald

To see what I was posting in April 2019 go here. I note that Matt da Silva came down to The Gong. Wow, Matt! How different that day would have been had it been this year!

Now to my short career as an unpaid journalist for the South Sydney Herald. You will find most of my pieces listed at Journalism 2010.

I was particularly chuffed about that one as I made the front page!

Another I recall with pleasure is Aunty Beryl’s three word dictionary, actually from November 2009.

Aunty Beryl has been part of the Redfern community for fifty years now, but her beginnings are with the Gamillaroi people. The Centre’s web site says: “Yaama means ‘welcome’ and Dhiyaan means ‘family and friends’ in Aunty Beryl’s Yuwaalaraay language of the Gamillaroi people of north west New South Wales.”

“A great life,” I read somewhere years ago, “is a dream formed in childhood made real in maturity.” Aunty Beryl would probably reject that applying to herself, but it’s hard to deny.

She wanted to know if this would be a positive story as we had talked a bit about the dark side and the way Aboriginal issues are represented so often in politics and the mainstream media. How could it not be positive? Seeing the college, the students, and meeting Aunty Beryl have been inspiring. Anyone who dropped in would be inspired too – and well fed, if you happen by when food is on offer. As Aunty Beryl told SBS’s Living Black: “We specialise in bush tucker. We might have crocodile – we’ll do that with a lemon myrtle sauce, we might have kangaroo and we’ll just do that with skewers, and make a bush tomato sauce for that, vegetables in some of our herbs and spices.”

But my apogee, written in fact here in West Wollongong towards the end of 2010, has to be Mr Howard vs David Hicks.

Howard’s late-blooming desire to see Hicks returned to Australia had everything to do with VP Cheney’s visit to Australia in February 2007, when the deal that led to Hicks’s “conviction” was stitched up, and behind that was the 2007 Election. Howard knew the issue was losing him votes.

Colonel Morris Davis, the prosecutor in the case, recalls that in January 2007 he received a call from his superior Jim Haynes asking him how quickly he could charge David Hicks. (Now an attorney for Chevron, Haynes had in 2005 told Davis: “Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. We’ve been holding these guys for years. How are we going to explain that? We’ve got to have convictions.”) David Hicks was eventually charged on 2 February 2007, even though the details about how the commissions should be conducted weren’t published until late April. (Interview Amy Goodman and Col. Morris Davis 16 July 2008.)

Davis resigned from the Military Commission after prosecuting David Hicks, stating that “what’s taking place now, I would call neither military or justice.”

Bunnies, keep your pants on!

Great one-point win on Saturday over the St George-Illawarra Dragons, in which this man was bloody marvellous. Next week a chance to get into the Grand Final!


The previous 48 hours, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, were dominated by other matters. So much more important than natural disasters in South-East Asia or the Carolinas, or evn then the war in Yemen or the latest from Syria. But I digress.


Rather taken with the approach by today’s Sydney Morning Herald though.

The high-profile Souths player at the centre of the sexting scandal is unlikely to be stood down before the preliminary final against the Roosters amid claims the lewd video chat was consensual.

While other media outlets have chosen to name the player, Fairfax Media has decided not to following legal advice….

In a bizarre twist, the woman involved in the sexting scandal has identified herself as a Roosters fan who hails from Sydney’s eastern suburbs. There is no suggestion she is trying to sabotage Souths’ run at the premiership.

She is presently holidaying in Johannesburg, South Africa, but investigators hope to interview her via a telephone hook-up in coming days to get her version of events.

The NRL, which was first made aware on Thursday of the woman’s allegations, says it is too premature and the facts too blurred to decide if the Souths player should be stood down.

Is this harassment? Gross indecency? A honey trap from a scorned admirer? A legal issue or a moral one? It remains murky at best….