Friday foto


Happy Frogday!


If you want to get ahead


… get a hat.


Who wears fedoras any more? No one with a brain, if Google’s anything to go by. I typed in “who+wears+fedoras” and the top 10 hits had titles like “20 reasons you shouldn’t date men who wear fedoras”, “Do women really not like the whole ‘fedora’ persona?” and “Cool or tool?” One site took the “guns don’t kill people” approach with its heading of “The Fedora isn’t the problem – the men wearing them are”. Which I wasn’t tempted to click on, but did raise in my mind the issue about how English, even when grammatically correct, can be horribly inelegant. And there went 13 minutes of my day.

The old bottle gassing building is getting more and more of a spray paint makeover. The boys have gotten tired with jumping the wire or unravelling the chain link. This solution is, like the title of the fedora website, functional and correct but definitely inelegant.


It’s odd to think that it’ll be gone soon, along with the naphtha tower and all the other bits of pieces of infrastructure. It’s a necessary evil, as the contents of this test pit illustrate.


This stuff has sulked in hardened nuggets throughout winter but as summer comes and the soil warms, the viscosity changes and sets it in motion.

This weekend the Herald republished a story that originally appeared in the Griffith Review back in 2003. It’s a story by Andrew Belk, formerly of Boolaroo, and describes lead-smelter Pasminco’s cavalier approach to the residents there. Jemena has a more enlightened approach but it’s still a reminder of how we as a community can deliberately blind ourselves to the way that big business treats our environment, even if it results in threats to our children’s health and future.

Where I’m from in the UK people hate the offshore wind farms but love the nuclear reprocessing plant. This map of UK earnings is a clue: work at the plant and you’re likely to be earning almost as much as someone in the Home Counties. Don’t work there and you’re in the bottom percentile for the nation. And wind farm operators don’t sponsor the kids’ football kits.

The hat was gone next day and I thought someone had souvenired it, maybe thought they’d wear it down the foreshore and impress the ladies. But not. It turned up a day or so later, a bit knocked about, a bit wetter. Seems no one wants to get ahead in a fedora.


Never elegant, and no longer functional. Bit like the gasworks, really.

Friday foto


Ruth  Cotton’s Hidden Hamilton blog continues to be a source of the wondrous and the arcane. Ruth has a knack of unearthing brilliant old pictures of the area’s past, and recently Ruth forwarded this beauty taken on Broadmeadow Road by the redoubtable Noel Reed. Says Ruth:

This shows a maintenance ganger by the name of Stoddart attending to the points where the Waratah tram line became a single track at Broadmeadow and Boreas Roads, Hamilton North. It was 10 June 1950, the last day of the tramways – they had 12 more hours of life. Noel Reed took the photo and wonders if there are any Stoddarts still in Newcastle? Are any of the shops recognisable?


I wonder if this photo was taken on the same day as the photo of the tram featured in a previous Friday Foto?


Dirty Doris


Haven’t had much creek money for a while. As you well know, I love creek money. It bobs into my life in such a jaunty way that it would be shameful to spend it on anything other than the purely frivolous. Beer bought with creek money tastes better than ordinary beer, as do Chocitos and works burgers (BBQ sauce but no pineapple, thanks). So imagine my pleasure at seeing this little Placido float past the other day.


Nice as it is, a tenor (boom boom) isn’t enough to score a good time. But I was patient: I knew that the creek gods would smile upon me. And sure enough they did. Someone even put this lobster into a special ziplok bag. Poor things; I’ll bet they spent ages hunting around for it in a handbag or under the passenger seat of the car.

My precious!


Now I have Dirty Doris!

Let the fun begin!



[Ah for the good old days, when jokes that would in these “inclusive” times be condemned as racist were the stock in trade of midweek telly comedians. Anyone of a certain age will remember Benny Hill’s Japanese businessman: “Not ten dollars! Not twenty dollars! Dirty Doris!”]

The force is strong with this one


I’ve been watching the growth of vegetation in the little Styx (aka Chaucer Street Drain); lots of reeds, rushes, hyacinth, cress and all sorts of other things I don’t know the names of. Great habitat for dragonflies, ducks and poddy fish.


Up around Lambton Ker-rai Creek I’ve seen bobcats clearing this stuff but down here it’s kind of forgotten about. Which suits me. However, in the last-big-flow-but-one the force of the water barrelling out of the bridge beneath the rail track was such that it tore entire sections of reed bed up and out into the main creek where, for a few weeks, they bobbed up and down with the tide like islands.


Eventually they became stranded on the concrete bed by the receding tide where they broke up into smaller clumps, before being washed away completely by the last flood.


A walk up the little Styx shows just how powerful the flush of water through the narrowing of the channel there could be. The remaining reed beds are torn at the edges, the root mat of soil that holds them in place having been peeled away from the banking.


This section hung on after the first deluge but was weakened enough to get ripped up with the most recent pour through.


This is how it looks now; compare and contrast with the photo at the top of the post.


It’s already in the process of growing back, the roots of the lilies and bulrushes gripping the tiny cracks in the concrete. By 2039 you’d be forgiven for thinking that there was even a concrete drain ever there.