I nearly choked on my cheerio’s this morning after listening to talk back radio. Plans are under way to give WA a new image, by calling it “Energy State”. Energy ? For goodness sakes we don’t have any energy. Power shortages, gas explosions and water restrictions , are a way of life here, so why lie ? What is wrong with our politicians ? If they had any sense they would go back to calling us sandgropers and then they can justify having their heads planted firmly in the sand ! Remember the last time they tried this, we became the “State of Excitement” and the laughing stock of the nation. Please the world didn’t fall for the “Real Thing” tourist campaign what makes them think this will fool them?
I am not a particularly great fan of the Bush Administration by any means so when the second most powerful person in America, Condoleezza Rice, came to visit the most isolated city in the world it raised an eyebrow.
However, being a news junkie there was no way I was going to miss this golden opportunity of grabbing a photo of Condie. I was hoping for Colin Powell, but Condie would do!
As it so happened her trip coincided with my usual Friday horror workout at Jacobs Ladder just near to where she was going to lay a wreath. so I decided to take my camera with me (just in case). As fate would have it as I drove to the torture stairs that morning there was her entourage causing chaos in Mt Lawley. Imagine my surprise to discover she was sipping coffee at “Cino to Go” my local cafe. I could have saved myself the trouble and snapped her right there and then. However I thought better of tackling the secret service and continued. The day was
not particularly kind, light drizzle and a biting cold but despite this (and the fact I was in my sweaty workout gear) I decided to head up to Kings Park. I was just hoping my unusual attire and sweaty appearance wouldn’t catch the eye of the secret service. I had just watched the movie, Vantage Point, so I was sure I was a candidate for being monitored. And sure enough within minutes of my arrival at the war memorial a policeman spotted me and came walking over. I was politely asked to leave the area as sniffer dogs were about to arrive (I didn’t think I smelt that bad!). I took my position behind the ropes and amused myself by watching the secret servicemen. I am sure they felt embarrassed acting cool and important in front of about fifty onlookers and sweaty me. I was distracted from my secret service watching briefly, when a light plane flew over the War Memorial with a banner saying ” Condoleezza –
Macedonians welcome you here”. I wasn’t quite sure what that all meant so I went back to my Secret Service watching, spotting one frolicking in the scrubs.
The entourage arrived quickly and without much warning. Condie slipped out of the white car and down the stairs of the War Memorial within a blink of an eye. I am guessing, as she walked tentatively on the slippery surface, she was kicking herself for wearing high heels. The diggers who had been out in the cold for a least an hour stood to attention, the Last Post was played and the Lest We Forget Ode was spoken. But the most impressive and most moving part of the ceremony was the wreath laying, thanks to Condoleezza.
With wreath in hand she climbed the steps, placed the ring
of flowers, read the inscription, bowed her head and took several minutes praying. It felt like ages that her solitary figure, with head bowed, stood dwarfed by the huge obelisk. It was quite extraordinary, and I went away thinking that would be the image I would forever associate with her.Oh yeah and sipping a cup of coffee at Cino’s in Mt Lawley. That’s just weird, Condoleezza Rice in Mt Lawley doesn’t make sense. But her simple and sincere act in front of our War Memorial was pretty humbling.
Poor thing was then dragged behind the war memorial to the waiting media, giving her little time to soak in the magnificent view. Then it was up the hill in high heels for a press conference. Yippee, she must just love unofficial visits. Just before being whisked off in her bullet proof limo to her private plane, she had a photo with a group of bewildered school kids who pulled faces and giggled. By the time I had made it home, she was gone.
The sad saga of the fate of the HMAS Sydney can finally be put to rest. One of Australia’s greatest maritime mysteries has at last been solved and it is time for families, friends and the nation to properly mourn the 645 souls who lost their lives defending our coastline in 1941 .
The events unfolded like this…Late February, early March, 2008, wreck hunter David Mearns was commissioned by the Finding Sydney Foundation to locate the HMAS Sydney. After his vessel the S V Geosounder developed a few technically glitches, the search resumed in early March with the aim of locating the HSK Kormoran first.
On the 14th of March, 2008, the wreckage of the HSK Kormoran was discovered on the ocean bed at a depth of 2,560 m, approximately 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, Shark Bay. Hans Linke (the Kormoran’s wireless operator), made claims in 1996 to The Australian newspaper, that both ships were virtually stationary when the Kormoran fired an underwater torpedo at the Sydney, disabling her instantly. If this was the case, then the HMAS Sydney would, in theory, be nearby.
Two days later on 16th March, news broke that they had located the hull of a ship, believed to be that of the HMAS Sydney. The location was 11 nautical miles from the location of the wreck of the German raider, Kormoran. News groups were reluctant to announce the finding until they absolutely sure it was in fact the Sydney. The West Australian newspaper was still smarting from their blunder last year, when they announced the discovery, only to find out later it was the remains of an old barge.
So with the finding of the hull of the HMAS Sydney so too goes many of the rumours, speculation and conspiracy theories surrounding the fate of the ship. Though, I guess a few local pubs around Carnarvon and Geraldton will be abuzz with all the stories that have, over the years, turned into folklore. None more so than the one about the sailors being captured by a Japanese submarine and later murdered. But I am sure over the coming months, questions will be asked as to why so many of the crew of the Kormoran survived the battle whilst no one from the Sydney did. To find out more click here HMAS Sydney.
LEST WE FORGET
If you want somewhere to view compulsive addictive behavior, swing by Jacob’s Ladder (Cardiac Hill) any old day of the week, and there you will find us. Sweaty Betty’s of all shapes and sizes going up and down the 241 concrete steps, which hang at a 43 degree angle off the side of Mt Eliza. Every person has their own special reason for being there, whether it is simply for fitness, too many business lunches or training for the Kokoda trail / Mt Everest, you name it, they are there. You can run, walk, limp or slowly trundle up the steep incline (doing well to keep to the left, if you don’t want to be bowled over by the descending herds). You can do it once, twice, thirty times, no one cares, because everyone is just looking at their feet. Even when you get to the top, don’t be surprised if no one talks to you, it isn’t that they don’t want to, it is just there isn’t enough air in their lungs. I have found some comfort in knowing that the Mounts Hospital is at the bottom of the ladder , but I pity the fools who would have carry/drag me down there.
Jacob’s Ladder was originally constructed in 1909 and consisted of 221 jarrah steps. During the 1960’s the ladder became somewhat dangerous and was replaced with a concrete version. Interestingly, it was a local who gave the ladder its name when they placed a sign reading “This way to Jacob’s Ladder”.
My grandparents actually met and fell in love at the top of Jacob’s Ladder in the 1920’s, where the turnstile use to be .
Trying To Pull Down The Icon
It was recently announced that the Perth City Council are considering removing Jacob’s Ladder permanently so they can build more high rises. It is so so typical….. I shall keep you informed of further developments (pardon the pun).
So where can you find this horror hill ? It is at the end of Cliff Street, West Perth (near the King’s Park entrance) or an easier way is to simply follow the trail of sweat. Just a word of warning I would be careful what you touch eg, handrails, seats, water fountain , I wasn’t kidding about the trail of sweat!
Yes, I can hear the curators at Fremantle Cemetery exhaling. Only a few more hours before their lives will be changed for ever. BECAUSE in a short time, the long awaited statue to Bon Scott ( the late lead singer of ACDC) will be unveiled at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour and the ACCA DACCA fans will be able to worship their legend in public. For decades the Fremantle Cemetery has been the host to thousands upon thousands of fans from all over the world, ( much like the French, Père Lachaise Cemetery, where Jim Morrison lays) all simply wanting to “have a beer with Bon” or to pay their respects. In fact, in February 2006, Bon Scott’s grave site was heritage listed, due to its cultural significance.
The new and long awaited statue will be revealed at the Aussie Rock Celebration concert at the Claremont Showgrounds on Sunday 25th of February, before being placed permanently at Fisherman’s Wharf in Fremantle (Bon Scott’s home town) and is expected to attract even more fans to Freo.
The last we heard Paul Omodei Jr had just beaten Michael Roberston in Cromwell, New Zealand. As part of the GlobeVista Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Championship, Michael (though he came second) was invited back to Manjimup to defend last years title.
Western Australia’s best spitters from across the State rocked up to the main street of Manjimup to try and beat the Kiwi champion. The huge crowd got behind the locals and especially Mt Baker’s cherry pip spitting champion, Mark Vitler, who the favourite to take out this years trophy . Unfortunately Mark was “pipped” at the post, by a massive second spit by Michael. The spit was officially recorded at a distance of 10.4 m. It wasn’t all bad news for Mark, he will head to Cromwell in New Zealand in 2008 to defend the title .
Its official, Paul Omodei Jr, today, has won the Australasian Cherry Pip Spitting Competition in Cromwell, New Zealand. The Manjimup lad has successfully spat the longest distance to claim the title and send the trophy back to Manjimup, Western Australia. The winning spit was just under 12m. Michael Robertson has also successfully defended his New Zealand pip spitting title and will be heading back to Manjimup on the 8th of December to try and regain the GlobeVista Cherry Pip Spitting Australasian title. This is going to make the weekends competition in Manjimup an interesting battle, as the Mt Barker winner Mark Vitler, spat 12.1 metres and is going to be spitting at the event too. The prize will be a trip to New Zealand to defend the title. I suggest anyone who is in Western Australia on the 8th of December and can spit to make their way to Manjimup for the event.