May, 2018

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Mark Basil Butler – A Life in Books. Book 8: My Family and Other Animus, by James Jeffrey

, May 03, 2018

For James Jeffrey, it is not about the politics, but the people, which is probably why he has managed to survive for so long in the toxic political environment at the Oz, stuffed as it is with Liberal Party operatives and conservative thinkers (forgive the oxymoron). He is genuinely (not, unlike many News Corpse writers, unintentionally) funny. Deeply funny. The kind of funny that leaves you in tears, but not always tears of laughter.
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Goanna of the Week – arlewatyerre or aremaye?

, Apr 17, 2018

The generic gloss (non-Arandic & non-scientific) term for these brightly-coloured and drop-dead gorgeous (as food and on the eye) monitor lizards is Sand Goanna. Not very helpful when the landscape is dominated by rock and and lots ... biggest mobs in fact ... of red sand.
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Doing the Darwin Shuffle. The Northern Territory as a tax haven. Part One: 1971 to 1982

, Apr 15, 2018

Graeme Lewis was part éminence grise, part bagman and part trouble-maker—as often within as without—for the NT's Country Liberal Party for more than forty years. Lewis passed away in early April while speaking from the floor of the 2018 annual conference of his beloved CLP. For all his apparent successes and failings—I'll leave the hagiography and excoriation for others—Graeme Lewis never held publicly elected office but nonetheless deserves respect as the Northern Territory's long-term political player par excellence. Lewis was also a prominent player in the Darwin Shuffle, the avoidance scheme that operated in the NT from at least the early 1970s through to the 1980s.
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“We’re all eccentrics here!” Andrew McMillan on getting shickered in Larrimah, NT

, Feb 02, 2018

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But, hey, this is Larrimah. One expects things to go twirly. A decade ago, the blokes behind the "Highest bar in the Territory" were Graham Doyle and Syd Worrell. Syd had a French girlfriend, Jacquie, who liked a drink, cooked when she damned well felt like it and had such an aversion to the heat she'd shower fully clothed and return to the bar wringing wet. She and Syd were married at the pub in a ceremony the celebrant will never forget. The bride wore black and had to be assisted down the aisle. The best man, Mad Mick from Maryfield, was so shickered he couldn't find the ring.
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Lawyers, beer and busted boats – Stewart O’Connell remembers the Katherine floods of 1998

, Jan 28, 2018

A tinnie, chockas with evacuees, stalled in Giles street in the flow of the fourth street river. The force of the river smashed it into a light pole. The light fell just missing the occupants. When the dinghy flipped and everyone went under the festive mood immediately evaporated.
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“Donald Trump never fit in here” – Richard Stark on Trump, Mar-a-Lago and Palm Beach

, Dec 28, 2017

'Donald Trump never fit in here' ... 'I should be pleased Mr Trump took over Mar-a-Lago,' Lesley said, 'I think we should all be pleased, because we didn't want it to turn into Miss Havisham's wedding cake out there, but to be honest with you, I think a place must be just a little déclassé if Donald Trump has even heard of it.'

Empty shops and offices of Alice Springs

, Dec 27, 2017

Empty stores and offices are sad places, full of shadows, flaked paint, dust motes and the stale smell of money no longer there. 
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“Intentional Fire-Spreading by “Firehawk” Raptors in Northern Australia,” Bonta et al. Journal of Ethnobiology, 37(4) (abstract)

, Dec 20, 2017

In a broader sense, better understanding of avian fire-spreading, both in Australia and, potentially, elsewhere, can contribute to theories about the evolution of tropical savannas and the origins of human fire use.
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The empty shops of Darwin CBD – where retail goes to die

, Dec 07, 2017

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Empty shops and broken dreams ... the fag end of small business in the tropics.
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Word of the Day: Zosterops (Silver-eye)

, Nov 17, 2017

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Zosterops (ZOS-ter-ops). Girdle eye, from the Greek zoster, girdle, and ops, eye. Their common name of white-eye or speirops (Greek spiera, circle, and ops) aptly describes the birds of this genus, with their wide ring of feathers around the eyes. There are 98 species of Zosterops, one of the largest genera in the bird world.
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Fag-ends of capitalism – the empty shops of Geelong CBD

, Nov 12, 2017

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I spent a few days in Geelong (yes, I have a good reason) earlier this week. Inspired by the photos of Koulla Roussos of empty shops and premises in Darwin, I thought I’d document a few of the fag ends of capitalism scattered around the Geelong CBD. Your comments are welcome …
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Word of the Day: Nthwenharre (Kaytetye)

, Nov 11, 2017

This Word of the Day is another from the Kaytetye to English Dictionary, about which I wrote a short piece back when it was released in 2012. Nthwenharre n. [Kaytetye] Small white fluffy clouds that gather together before it rains. Usually seen in winter. Also referred to as mataye nthwenharre.
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Word of the Day: Awelhe (Kaytetye)

, Nov 11, 2017

This Word of the Day is from the Kaytetye to English Dictionary, about which I wrote a short piece back when it was released in 2012. Awelhe n. [Kaytetye] Soft dirt on the inside edge of a dug-out soakage. You have to wet this dirt to stop it from falling in.
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He was a tough old bastard that Ronny Ball.

, Nov 08, 2017

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Vale Ron Ball: He was the Wild Man from Wildboar, a crack shot buffalo hunter and meat producer; defined by his cut off Toyota, dusty old Akubra, trusted 308 rifle and busted arse swag.
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Word of the Day: Mantharre (Death Adder)

, Nov 04, 2017

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If the death adder bites you on the leg it holds on for good and you die, the snake as well.

Punks, junkies, bikies and an iconic poster – From Uluru to Wollongong and back

, Nov 01, 2017

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Wollongong, and in no small way the junkies, punks, bikies—and barmaids—of that town, had made an unsung contribution to the success of the Uluru handback. They had proved to one Anangu man that Australians of good will can be found in the most unexpected places.
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Fire hawk stories feature at Barrapunta bird workshop

, Oct 29, 2017

The workshop allowed for clarification of the rather confusing overlap of three bird names,  karrkkanj, ngalmirlangmirlang and wunwunbu. Karrkkanj, it turns out, is a term for the Black Kite but can also be applied to two other raptor species, the Peregrine Falcon and the Brown Falcon.
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Independence day for the Mimal Rangers of Arnhem Land!

, Oct 25, 2017

Wednesday October 25 marks a new era for Indigenous landowners and managers as Mimal Land Management Aboriginal Corporation celebrates its independence. Mimal has been on a long journey to independence since the inception of Mimal Rangers almost 20 years ago.
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Building up … going Troppo in the Top End

, Oct 21, 2017

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Too. Fucking. Hot. I cleared the breathalyser and turned off Lee Point Road. As I drove past, just one hundred metres away from the alcohol and drug testing station, I could see one of the many old mates of Darwin’s Northern Suburbs leaning back in his plastic chair, pulling on a bong. Happy Thursday to you, Old Mate.
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Midnight Oil – Alice Springs rolls out the red dirt carpet for a classic rock show

, Oct 03, 2017

The Oils were in classic rock mode. No new songs, rarely testing the boundaries of tried and true winners, the audience wasn’t really challenged. Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey enjoyed the brilliant clarity of the sound and delivered most of the thrills.