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Waltzing Australia


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

57. Christmas Down Under

In Australia, Christmas comes in the middle of a very hot summer so when Santa Claus delivers his presents, he's not taken around by reindeer because they can't stand the terrible heat - he's taken around by six big, white, old man kangaroos called the six white boomers.

And when he's finished his run, he heads for the water and does a few 360's and drop knees and finishes off with a hang ten.

Above: Cooling off Down Under

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rude Rudd Strikes Again

"Just finished doing Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott's makeup for the People's Forum at the Broncos Leagues Club.
One of them was absolutely lovely, engaged in genuine conversation with me, acknowledge that I had a job to do and was very appreciative. The other did the exact opposite! Oh boy, I have ever had anyone treat me so badly whilst trying to do my job. Political opinions aside...from one human being to another...Mr. Abbott, you win hands down."

So wrote make-up artist Lily Fontana on her facebook page.

Ms Fontana has since removed the post writing: "Didn't think my personal page/opinion of my day would get so much attention. What a lesson to learn. I've removed the post and regret making the comments I did."

One would think that Kevin Rudd ought to have learned some lessons along the way, especially with the Federal election so close. Still being rude, or just his natural self?

Remember the curious case of the flight attendant back in April 2009? The one he lost his temper with when he didn't get the meal he wanted? Rudd abuses flight attendant over flight meal

There was Kevin Rudd’s claims that his family was evicted from the family farm by owner Aubrey Low. He didn't want that story published.
March 31, 2007 - Revealed: The family that disputes Kevin Rudd's version of childhood eviction.

Academic Peter van Onselenm the author of Howard's End says Kevin Rudd is a foul-mouthed MP who lets go a string of expletive-ridden rants in his office when things go wrong.
July 13, 2008 - The swearing Kevin Rudd voters won't see

May 8, 2009 - Kevin Rudd throws hairdryer temper tantrum in Afghanistan Kevin chucks a wobbly when he couldn't get a hair dryer for a photo op.

(Photo: Gary Ramage)

Says Mister Rudd, "All of us are human. I'm human - I'm not perfect, you know." Yeah, but when you're the Prime Minister, you don't act like a spoilt brat who didn't get his own way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

55. The Face of a Killer

Above: Adrian Ernest Bayley
Picture Herald Sun

Adrian Ernest Bayley the man charged with the rape and murder of Jill Meagher was on parole for other rapes when he (allegedly) raped and murdered Jill and has been twice gaoled for rape previously.
What was the parole board thinking? Had he still been in gaol, Jill would not have died that night.

Adrian Bayley had a short fuse
Colleague Shaun Smith said Bayley was temperamental and argumentative. "He had a very short fuse and didn't like to be told he was wrong," his statement read.

Adrian Ernest Bayley was known as Adrian Edwards before he legally changed his name 12 years ago.

Adrian Bayley had history of violent sex attacks
A court has heard Melbourne man Adrian Bayley who has pleaded guilty to murdering Jill Meagher has a long history of violent attacks on women and has admitted faking his way through a sex offenders' program.

Despite being convicted of assault, he was allowed to continue parole. Bayley faced a pre-sentencing hearing in the Victorian Supreme Court today, his lawyers said he accepted he should be given a life sentence for the killing of Ms Meagher. Justice Geoffrey Nettle has lifted a suppression order allowing details of Bayley's history to be revealed.

He has an extensive history of violence and rape. The Victorian Parole Board failed to cancel his parole after a violent assault and a judge's warning that the public needed to be protected from him. The court was told Bayley's history of violent attacks on women spanned more than two decades.

At age 19 - he raped two teenagers in separate attacks. One was a 16-year-old family friend. He also attempted to rape a 16-year-old hitchhiker.

June 1991 - he was sentenced to his first stint behind bars.

He served a mere 22 months of a five-year sentence for sexual assault, and later admitted he faked his way through a sex offenders' program to get early release.

September 2000 - he began what Judge Tony Duckett described as a horrendous wave of crimes against St Kilda sex workers, raping five prostitutes over a six-month period. Bayley was jailed for a minimum of eight years for trapping his victims in his vehicle and repeatedly raping them.

The crime spree prompted the judge to give the ominous warning that society needed to be protected from him.
"You used an array of threats and violence to force your victims to satisfy your gross sexual appetite. You forced your victims to accept a series of sexual acts that caused them horrifying distress".

Out on parole when he murdered Jill Meagher
Bayley was on parole having served his sentence for the St Kilda rapes. However in February 2012, the Parole Board did not revoke his parole when he pleaded guilty to punching a man unconscious outside a Geelong cafe. Bayley appealed against his sentence and was free to walk the streets and meet Ms Meagher. Source

Jill Meagher

The Government is introducing legislation to ensure people who reoffend while on parole will automatically have their parole cancelled or reassessed.

There will be a mandatory cancellation of parole for sex and violent offenders who are convicted of the same type of offence while on release.

Well whoopdee do - not before time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

54. Black Saturday - the Fourth Anniversary

Hell Unleashed Its' Fury

Hell hath no fury like a bushfire raging across hectares of grassland, farms and countryside, moving with the speed of lightning so fast that people who tried to outrun the fires were burnt in their cars. Cars littered the countryside bodies incinerated

Today is the fourth anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires. On Saturday 7th February, 2009, my state, the state of Victoria burned. There had been bushfires burning but this day was the worst in Australian history with the largest loss of life - 173 people lost their life and 414 were injured due to the fires.

Above: Black Saturday Bushfires

I remember that day clearly - early in the morning, the sun was a bright orange ball and we knew that that day would be terrible. the temperatures in Melbourne were 46.4ºC (115.52ºF) and in other areas it was 49ºC - (120.2ºF). The hot northerlies raged through my state with speeds of 80-100km. - the wind was ferocious, when I stood on my verandah it was 48º - in the shade and the wind was so hot it burnt our legs. You could hear it howling and there was a noise in the distance - a thunderous, rumbling noise - it sounded like huge jets, only there were no jets. I have never heard winds like that before, and I hoped to God I never hear them again. It was a most awful, awful sound. And it went on for hours.

Black Saturday was Victoria's darkest nightmare and the worst in our history.

Above: Marysville

Marysville - beautiful Marysville. It was Victoria's "Camelot" A very pretty little town with English Oaks lining the streets, with quaint, old-fashioned shops and homes, and an aura of yesteryear, a truly beautiful and serene hamlet set in magnificent forest. The Murrindindi/Marysville fire took 40 lives ad destroyed 536 homes.

Above: Marysville - In remembrance

There were 12 bushfires burning out of control across Victoria and 26 blazes in total.

In total, more than 700 homes had been confirmed destroyed.

Beechworth, Brittania Creek, Bunyip Park, Bendigo, Kilmore, Walhalla, Gippsland, Horsham

The blazes grew to more than 210,000 hectares and were burning towards Taggerty, Crystal Creek, Connollys Creek, Glenburn, and Rubicon.

They had already burnt through Kinglake, Marysville, Buxton and Narbethong.

Above: Kinglake NP - Denuded, blackened hills of the Black Saturday bushfires

We sat and listened to the appalling news on that day with a heavy heart knowing that there would be many who would never see another sunrise. Hundreds of homes had been burnt to the ground - razed, the scene looking like something out of a futuristic nightmare. Whole communities were wiped out - not a single stone left standing.

Above: Bushfires - Steel Creek Road, Yarra Glen

Monday, January 28, 2013

53. Why is Australia called "OZ" by some people?

This is something that I have often wondered about. Many times on travel forums, I see threads and posts in which the poster asks questions about Oz. Some even call it "Aussie" - as in "I'm going to Aussie". I mean Oz I can understand in a way, but Aussie? Who would call Australia "Aussie"? The word Aussie is used by some people in reference to Australians - One might say I am an Australian or I am an Aussie. Aussie is an adjective, not a noun.

The short version of a person from Australia is "Aussie" which is pronounced "Ozzie" and it's mostly British people who use "Oz". Kiwi's (New Zealanders) tend to call Australia "Aussie" - no idea why. Back until 1901, we were still a British colony - the Brits filed us under "the colonies" or "the antipodes" !

Anyway, I recently came upon this poem -

Is 'e an Aussie, is 'e Lizzy?
Is 'e an Aussie, is 'e eh?
Is it because 'e is an Aussie
That 'e makes you dizzy Lizzy
'as 'e jazzy ways an' does 'e
Make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?
Is 'e an Aussie, is 'e Lizzy?
Is 'e an Aussie eh?

Not having heard it before, a search was in order. It was sung by a duo called Flotsam and Jetsam. Mr Flotsam and Mr Jetsam were a comedy duo in the 1920's and 30's. Flotsam was Bentley Collingwood Hilliam, the songwriter, pianist and tenor voice, 1890–1968 and Jetsam was Malcolm McEachern, bass voice, 1883–1945 from New Zealand.

Above: Mr Flotsam & Mr Jetsam

I found the complete lyrics and the youtube video, you can sing along the the video - enjoy.

Is 'E an Aussie, Is 'E Lizzie?

Learn how Lizzie met an Aussie
Told her girlfriend Mary-Anne
"Mary-Anne I've met a man who says he's an Austray-ee-an"
"Falling for him have your Lizzie?"
Lizzie blushing shook her head
Said Mary-Anne "don't think you can fool me" and then she said:

"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?
Is it 'cos he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?
'as he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?
Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"

Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?
Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?
Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?
Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"

"Seems this digger likes my figure"
Lizzie then told Mary-Anne
"Likes my ways and claims to think-U'm what these Aussies call fair-dinkum"
"Throws a fond eye, talks of Bondi
And he's tried to kiss me twice
When I said 'No' he said 'Good-oh'"
Said Mary-Anne "How nice"

Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?
Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?
Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?
Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"

Soon this wonder from Down Under
Got himself right down to biz
Lost no time in coaxing Liz
To promise that she would be his

He being well-born, lived in Mel-bourne
So they sailed at once for there
Poor Mary-Anne without a man
Repeats this maiden's prayer:

"Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?
Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?
Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?
Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"

(he's a bonza bloke)

Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?
Is it because he is an Aussie that he keeps you busy Lizzie?
Has he jazzy ways and does he make you go all fuzzy wuzzy?
Got you dizzy, 'as he Lizzie?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, eh?"

Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he?
Is he an Aussie, Lizzie, is he, eh?

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Report dated 10 January 2013, 8:30am:

The BBC is understood to be selling the travel brand.

After the excitement of Christmas and ringing in the New Year, returning to work and an empty social calendar is enough to lower anyone's spirits, with many people's thoughts turning to a 2013 getaway to beat the post-festive-season blues.

Lonely Planet, dubbed the 'backpackers' bible', was founded in 1972 and is one of the world's best-known publishers of travel guide books. Now owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the Corporation, it was last month reported to be up for sale.

This could result in a deal estimated to be worth about £85m, considerably less than BBC Worldwide paid for the business in two stages, in 2007 and 2011. The Corporation is also thought to be looking at other strategic options for the brand, including securing outside investment.

Since BBC Worldwide acquired the business, it has grown Lonely Planet's digital operations, its presence in magazines, and improved its standing in the US and Asian markets. While Lonely Planet is best known for its guide books, it is thought that any sale will focus on strengthening the value of the brand across broadcasting, internet and social-media channels.

With this in mind, if a sale or outside investment comes to fruition, how can the brand continue to build on its digital and social offering in the fiercely competitive travel sector?

We asked Peter Fiennes, publisher at Brave New World and the former managing director of Lonely Planet rival Time Out Guides, and Gary Robinson, executive creative director at Inferno, and previously founder and creative director at Farm, which held the advertising account.

£85m - Potential value of sale of the Lonely Planet division

The BBC paid a total of £130m for Lonely Planet in two stages, in 2007 and 2011

Source: BBC Trust


From PETER FIENNES, PUBLISHER, BRAVE NEW WORLD (and former managing director of Time Out Guides):
t's good news that the BBC may soon offload Lonely Planet. This is not just because the Corporation should never have been allowed to over-pay its way into the guide-book market in the first place, but also that this knock-down sale is good for the brand itself.

True, it faces the same challenges it did before it was owned by the BBC. The print market is shrinking; the digital market vast and formless, full of low-cost, low-content competitors, as well as some giants (Google is the owner of Frommers, an LP rival).

Furthermore, the argument about how a content company is supposed to make money through digital channels remains unresolved.

Nonetheless, this should be a liberating change. It has the chance to remind itself that it is an (Aussie) content company with attitude. There is global affection for it, and it is one of a handful of brands that could dominate the travel market.

The plan
The brand should love its content.

- Remember print - and make friends in digital.

- Enjoy itself - it was not born to be part of a Corporation.

From GARY ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, INFERNO (and former founder of Farm, which held the ad account)
As Lonely Planet ventures further into the digital space, it will be competing with apps and services that recommend content, experiences, locations and activities. Moreover, it will all be based on users' interests, their friends' recommendations and the views of the wider masses or niche curators: all available through mobile devices.

However, I'd bet being an 'explorer' is at the heart of the Lonely Planet brand and if it applies the same passion and curiosity it has for exploring the real world and uses it to explore the digital and social landscapes of students, it will continue to do well.

A product-led strategy will work brilliantly, but it needs to focus on a few world-class services and market the hell out of them.

The plan

- A location-based augmented reality app might be a start. Nokia does this brilliantly with its City Lens app.

- Embrace the user-generated space, especially if it allows a platform to share innovative '360' apps such as Photosynth or Bubblepix.

- If it is bought by TripAdvisor, it will of course have an army of 'virtual postcard' writers to call upon. Source


The person calling himself Airbender,  sent these links:

Virtual Tourist see page 5


Reply #49 Today (Wed 23 Jan) at 11:37am by Airbender:
You can find most of what you might want to know concerning the reasons for closing the TT forum on this other forum, starting with page 5:
Virtual Tourist see page 5

At this point, only Kevin May of Tnooz has seen all the e-mails that were exchanged regarding the problems discovered on the TT forum. Whether he wants to pursue a follow article to this one linked below is yet to be seen:

A wise person will simply ignore Gogo’s comments because she hasn’t a clue about what she’s talking about. At worst she regularly engages in out right lies and at best, deliberate distortions of the truth. Just one example of an outright lie from her, “depsite Airhead's assertion that I'm banned from TT, my recent postings there have gone straight through…” Ask her to provide the exact quote where I asserted she was banned from TT. She won’t because she can’t. If you prefer to associate yourself and believe borderline sociopaths like her, be my guest.

I agree with you that the BBC and LP did not go about resolving their issues in the best possible manner. Obviously, they were the ones to make those decisions. Some of this is discussed in the VT link provided above.

You write, “It is curious that you have posted here as a guest but not a member.”

Quite simply, this forum seems to be to be temporary by its nature, and I haven’t any expectations of contributing to it for any length of time. If you’re less inclined to believe a post written by a guest as opposed to written by a member, again, be my guest.

The motives behind the journalist’s decision to write to acting director Tim Davie of the BBC before submitting their article to the NY Times is moot. What isn’t moot, and what is salient is that the BBC obviously took the report and information provided by that journalist very seriously, and obviously, they checked into to accuracy of the facts provided in that report and e-mails.

It appears that Airbender is Ubudian on Virtual Tourist (VT)

Re: Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Forum Shut Down:

Posted: Tue January 8, 2013 01:06 AM UTC by Ubudian

“From what i understand, the main reason why they had to close the TT for a while was because of the Saville case and they suddenly realised that because of their zero moderation policy some members had formed groups for sex tourists on TT including some who were discussing how to find underage sex around the globe and they are now going through all the posts since the site started to make sure they wipe that out.”

Concerns about pedophilia, or the Jimmy Saville scandal at BBC had nothing to do with TT being shut down despite how the UK and OZ press ran amok with that speculation.

The reason BBC/LP made these changes (still ongoing) to the Thorn Tree forum are best summed up in this article by Kevin May on tnooz:

The meat is specifically found in the “reports elsewhere” link.

Whether or not any of the former activities and off travel topic branches return is yet to be seen, but the infamous YC branch (Your Choice) is gone for good. A great many of those addicted users have since migrated to the political stew forum where they carry on in the exact manner they used to on the YC branch.

Regarding the OP’s original question, I personally found the destination branches of TT to be generally excellent and current, especially if the poster asked specific questions. The forum did tend to lend itself more useful to young and budget minded travelers, but that’s the whole origin of Lonely Planet.

Hopefully once fully restored and with the common sense revisions made to it, the TT forum will rejoin those pre-eminent travel forums, like VT.

Wed January 9, 2013 03:39 AM UTC by Ubudian
Hey Fergy, I love your travel style…“where’s the bar?”

And for sure, as you surmise, VT is right at the top of the list of the best “all encompassing” travel forums; all encompassing being simple terminology to distinguish such forums from country, area, city specific travel forums and expatriate living forums.

Some of the features that set VT ahead of the others is the lavish use of photography, far less commercialism, a broad base of knowledgeable and experienced travelers, a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, consistent and fair moderation, etc.

The article for the NY Times Sunday travel section evolved from specific research being done by a small group of consultants for the Indonesian Travel Ministry. I don’t know whether or not the article will be published, as there is some discussion that it might evolve further into a dot org web site.

Keep up your good work! I really enjoyed having a read of your work here and on your blog.

Benny, I think it will only be a matter of little time before all the country specific destinations will be restored to TT. SEA is also currently absent, and incidentally, so is India. One could easily speculate about the reason for this, and IMHO one reasonable speculation is that the areas currently still absent are those where the sex trade, including under age sex trade, is more prevalent.

Understandably, Lonely Planet’s somewhat still new owners, the BBC, are particularly sensitive to pedophilia and that sensitivity must surely have been heightened with all the press coverage that falsely linked TT’s temporary closure to the Jimmy Savile scandal. I suspect that virtually every single archived post covering those countries currently absent from TT are being thoroughly scrutinized…and for good reason IMHO.

I can quote from one e-mail sent by a LP executive to the author of the planned NY Times article:

“I very much appreciate you raising your Thorn Tree concerns: it was a timely
reminder to review thoroughly our content and moderation policy and

One can only ask, shouldn’t that thorough review been done before the BBC handed over 130 million GBP for what was a controversial purchase of Lonely Planet? The question is of course rhetorical.

This past July, (2012) the BBC downgraded the value of LP to 85 million pounds, or about 45 million pounds less than its total acquisition cost. Obviously it remains to be seen if this latest fiasco results in any further devaluation of Lonely Planet. Time will tell, as it always does.

Fri January 18, 2013 03:52 AM UTC by Ubudian:
It seems to me that TT (Lonely Planet) is doing a pretty good job of restoring its travel forum, albeit an agonizingly slow process.

Benny, from what I am hearing, even those older posts on area specific boards will eventually be restored, early February being the target date.

Most of the YC (previously the Your Choice Board) regulars who assured the ultimate demise of the reputation of both the BBC and Lonely Planet have migrated to this forum (URL below) where they all seem content and happy with their new home:

Sat January 19, 2013 07:28 AM UTC by Ubudian:
“Leaning towards redneck” is in my opinion a very kind or soft way of describing the activity on that particular forum.

And no, I wouldn’t worry a bit about any migration and continuance of the old TT forum, Your Choice branch, or the current Political Stew forum ever being a potential problem here.

Mr. “G” aside, it’s pretty obvious to me that the community here would never allow that to happen.

Why this was allowed to happen with a forum owned by a prestigious company such as the BBC, and a trusted travel advisor as Lonely Planet remains a mystery.

But one thing remain certain…that being, the lessons learned.

Sun January 20, 2013 01:12 AM UTC by Ubudian:
What a nice compliment Kate! There are some of us still lingering about, and without thinking, will continue to open a door for a lady. ;<)

While Thorn Tree is back and open for business, there are some major issues yet to be resolved.

In recent past days I’ve tried to sign on using my past active moniker, but to no avail, so I re-opened a new account and resumed activity posting about the country I know best, which is Indonesia, specifically, Bali.

It was only a day before that new moniker, as well as what I’d like to think were very useful posts, were nuked.

Is this retribution for my role in what happened to TT, or does Lonely Planet really not care about the accuracy of the information posted on its forums? Could it be that one of the most trusted names in journalism, the BBC, has abdicated its responsibility as a venue of truth and accuracy?

The most currently active string on the reincarnated TT forum is under Community FAQs:

Now 49 pages in length, Zabba  buries himself in a quagmire of relentless and repetitive posts by a small minority of discontented past TT users. Obviously young and inexperienced, it is true that when LP initially turned the forum back on, his forum profile did indeed read:

"This member's profile has been removed as it contains content which is deemed inappropriate."

I saw this for myself, and I retained it as a screen save.

One can only wonder what reaction to that faux pas would have been forthcoming from BBC executives like Philip Fleming, or acting chairman, Tim Davie if they were aware.

The most successful forums, be they travel related or otherwise, are not operated as democracies. They are successful because they operate with clear guidelines and rules, and their integrity and reputation is maintained by this consistency, as well as through its community of contributors who are willing and happy to contribute in the spirit and comradery established by the forum’s owner.

It’s all rather simple actually, and therein is the irony of the BBC still tripping over its own feet as the Thorn Tree forum continues to rise like a Phoenix…albeit a bird with clipped wings.

Interesting Information
Well there is a piece of interesting fact in that last post. So Zabba, the "Community Manager" is Mr. Tom Hall and is the editorial director for Lonely Planet. Quite a high position..

A Strange Co-incidence?:
According to Ubudian's profile, he is an American expatriate whose name is Roy and he is married to a Balinese woman, they have three sons and live in Bali in a place called Ubud.

In the link in my previous post (50. Reason For Thorn Tree Shutdown?), Home in Bali written by Ubudian, he states in his third paragraph, "This entire event was initiated by an e-mail dated December 16 to acting Director-General of the BBC, Mr. Tim Davie by a well known writer living on Bali who was preparing an article for the New York Times Sunday travel section."
Ubudian lives in Bali with his Balinese wife and children. The travel writer lives in Bali .....