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Sunday, 12 November

22:13

Around the traps "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

While it was a quiet weekend with the camera I did manage to get out for a couple of brief jaunts.

Here is what I saw.

Barking Owl, Rotunda Park Newstead, 11th November 2017

21:10

Bendigo Line Notification: Service update - Bendigo line "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

12:54 Swan Hill - Southern Cross will originate as a VLocity in Bendigo at 15:18. Customers for stations between Swan Hill and Bendigo to board coaches for the entire journey due to a train fault [07:10 13/11]

20:58

Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

07:41 Southern Cross - Swan Hill will run as a VLocity service to Bendigo and be replaced by coaches beyond Bendigo due to a train fault.
[06:58 13/11]

10:19

Bendigo Line Notification: Service update - Bendigo line "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

18:35 SCS - Swan Hill is delayed by approximately 52 minutes due to an earlier train fault and track congestion. [20:19 12/11]

09:52

StandUp Addressing Gender Violence Dec 8th "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

StandUp is an important resource for workplaces, sports clubs and community groups and members wanting to address gender violence.  Presented by Womens Health Loddon Mallee, this informative 90 mins workshop will provide tools to be an active bystander and an agent of change against gender violence.  It is free and a light lunch will be provided.  More details here.

08:01

Who is that feasting on my threatened species? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Here at Newstead Natives Nursery I am propagating Stiff Groundsel Senecio behrianus once thought to be extinct but identified by Bernie Robb from a Corop roadside circa 1992, creating much excitement. A few years ago Damien Cook brought me cuttings from various populations at Corop, Lake Boga and Ballaarat and they have grown easily and we are now trying to mix the genetics because each population does not have many different individuals.  When Damien came yesterday to get some plants for planting out we noticed this caterpillar on them which Damien knew was a Senecio Moth Nyctemera amicus. Senecio plants contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which make the caterpillar unpleasant to taste and poisonous to birds which would otherwise attack it.

Senecio moth caterpillar on Senecio behrianus, 12 Nov 2017...

07:29

War Commemoration Porn: Remembrance Day Celebrations "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The officials are called one by one to lay wreathes, a ceremony of mechanical efficiency.  With each laying comes the sense of wonder at how this could happen.  Political figures are the first to vote in parliaments and side with the executive when it comes to wars.  The temptations of human drives to tempt, and then succumb to death, were there long before Sigmund Freud identified them.

In the Australian capital, there were many wreaths, so many uniformed, deodorised dignitaries distant from the cries of battle and the horror of engineered slaughter.  There were the expected, the usual, the normal: the most medalled of them all, the Governor General, the various Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force.

There was the Chief Justice of the Australian High Court making her appearance.  There was even the ceremonial didgeridoo player.  Various associations also featured: those dealing with the incapacitated; the matter of war widows, the issue of legacies.  It seemed like a vast whos who of the military complex, which is exactly what it was.

The Australian response here is, in some ways, more tragic than most.  Retained, generally white Ghurkhas for imperial causes (there were those of other races in the Australian armed forces at points), they flitted between theatres to be slaughtered at the behest of not-so-grand strategies that mangled the word freedom and confused it for politics. In battle, such a word has little meaning, about as significant, in fact, as a wreath.  What matters is survival.

Across media networks, the word freedom was uttered as an automatic response, a genetically programmed insistence that the deaths of the Great War had been somehow necessary and, importantly, productive.

That disposition was sown by such figures as King George V, who had issued a request to the people of the British Empire to suspend ordinary activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of Right and Freedom.

In 1997, the Australian Governor-General, Sir William Deane, proclaimed that November 11 be deemed Remembrance Day, insisting that a minutes silence be observed at 11 am on November 11 each year, a pause to reflect, more broadly, sacrifices made by the Australian armed forces.

Modern representatives of this view abound, and they are, unsurprisingly, effusive in the veterans organisations.  There were the remarks, for instance, of Richard Embleton from the Geelong Returned and Services League, who reflected on the tens of thousands of wool poppies laid out before Melbournes Shrine of Remembrance.  You only have to look around Australia [to see] how free we are and how important it is.

To...

Saturday, 11 November

23:31

Red-caps at Cairn Curran "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

While Ive yet to encounter any migratory waders at Cairn Curran this season the locals are a highlight of most visits. Pairs of Black-fronted Dotterels and Red-capped Plovers are scattered around the shoreline, especially in the flatter areas where the receding water is creating ideal feeding habitat. Not all the adults are in full breeding glory yet the first male pictured below is slightly more resplendent than the second male.

Red-capped Plover (male), Cairn Curran, 10th November 2017

14:16

Melbourne, Austrlia: Relatos sobre o Dia de Ao para xs Refugiadxs na Ilha de Manus "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

08.11.17: RISE: Refugee Survivors and ex-Detainees pediram um Dia de Ao, em 07 de novembro, em solidariedade com xs mais de 600 refugiadxs que atualmente so presxs dentro do antigo centro de deteno do governo australiano na Ilha Manus, em Papu Nova Guin. O governo australiano prendeu xs homens em Manus como parte de sua desprezvel poltica de deteno obrigatria para todos xs refugiadxs que tentaram entrar nos territrios australianos por barco.

O centro de deteno foi oficialmente fechado pelo governo australiano e todos os servios essenciais foram cortados, incluindo gua e eletricidade. A polcia e os militares de Papu Nova Guin tm impedido que alimentos e outros itens essenciais entrem no centro de deteno. O governo australiano est se recusando a assumir qualquer
responsabilidade ou obrigao de cuidar dxs refugiadxs e bloqueou ativamente outros pases de aceit-lxs, insistindo que xs homens devem se deslocar para um novo centro que foi construdo em Manus. Este centro no seguro nem est equipado para atender s necessidades dxs refugiadxs que tm medo de serem atacadxs por pessoas que no querem xs refugiadxs em suas comunidades. Como resultado desta situao, xs 600 homens se recusam a deixar o centro de deteno australiano e pediram comunidade internacional para intervir e ajud-los. As condies dentro do centro de deteno so sombrias sem comida, sem gua, sem esgoto, sem eletricidade e sem instalaes mdicas.

O Dia de Ao foi convocado para 07 de novembro para coincidir com a anual Melbourne Cup, um evento de corrida de cavalos internacional de alto padro, para gerar a mxima publicidade. Em Narrm/Melbourne, xs ativistas responderam ao chamado com uma srie diversificada de aes

...

05:57

Westall, the Department of Supply and Mr 'X' "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Background

In a Facebook post dated 10 November 2017, and titled 'The troubled Public Servant,' Westall researcher Shane Ryan, reported that in 2010 he was contacted by a woman with some inside knowledge about the 1966 Westall, Melbourne incident, gained from her father.

In the post, Shane gave details of the contents of a number of emails from the woman (one from 2010, one from 2012) and her brother (one from 2012). The 2012 emails concerned the HIBAL hypothesis, but the important email is the 2010 one from the daughter, of the person I am choosing to refer to as Mr 'X.'

I have decided to annotate her words, rather than addressing points raised at the end of her text.

The email

'I am writing to you because I hadn't realised there were so many other witnesses to an event that my father was involved with in 1966. My father was the Assistant Controller of Aircraft, Weapons and Guided Missiles with the Department of Supply in Melbourne.

1. Shane found a Department of Supply Bulletin, in the National Library of Australia which confirmed that Mr X was indeed the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply in August 1967. We have not been able to confirm his position on 6 April 1966, the date of the Westall incident.

' He was a brilliant intellectual, Dux of High School, First class honours in Engineering and a science degree in Electronics all in 3 years. I mention this because he was not a fool, or someone who would dream up what he saw.

2. A check of the National Archives of Australia revealed Mr X's war records, which indicate he was an Engineer.

'I do not know how he was involved in the sighting of the object. He was, however told (by someone senior to him) that if he were to speak of this incident to anyone, he would lose his job.

3. A search of the Internet reveals that the immediate senior of the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply was in fact the Controller, of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply. On 6 April 1966, this was one Ian Bowman Fleming. He held the position between 1958-1967. Fleming was the director of the project which produced Australia's first unmanned target aircraft, Jindivik. Unfortunately, we are unable to seek any knowledge about Westall from Fleming as he passed away in 1993.

'He used to say that knew what he saw, he was very angry that this event was not seen as an opportunity. He was intimidated on a regular b...

03:53

Remembering War - the Rose of Jericho "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"


These images accompany and illustrate the following short piece:

Beside a few delicate teacups and a piece of scrimshaw, on a shelf in a glass-fronted cabinet, my mother kept a pepperpot. It was of classic Georgian shape, a tiny phallic basilica of a thing, not silver, but made from dark golden imitation wood, intricately carved with designs of multiform roses. You unscrewed the dome and put in the ground pepper; but it you unscrewed the base you found a secret compartment in which my mother kept a treasured twig. This twig was a small shrivelled claw from a bush called the Rose of Jericho, and it came from somewhere in the Middle East, a souvenir brought home to Tasmania from the First World War by an uncle. 

Take the twig from its hiding-place and submerge it in water for about twenty minutes. The dried-up claw, in the water, gradually opens out, stretches tendrils, until it blossoms, resembling a freshly-picked bunch of soft brown herb. Tiny bubbles of ancient air bead the delicate branches. Then take it out of the water, let it dry, and when...

01:01

Ned Kelly: The Rebel and Nolans Muse "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Ned Kelly one day before the execution. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

On the 11th of November 1880, Ned Kelly, an Australian bushranger, was hanged in Melbourne. At the time of his death he was only 25 and already a legend. By some perceived as a criminal and villain, by others as a rebel or even an Australian equivalent of Robin Hood, Kelly was anstill is one of the most controversial figures in the history of Australia.

He was sentenced to death for the murder of three policemen, numerous bank robberies and the murder of his estranged gang member, Aaron Sherritt. The list of his crimes was much longer, but he denied some of them and claimed to be the victim of false accusations. Always on a run with his fellow gang members, Kelly was  captured eventually after the Glenrowan shootout on the 27th of June 1880. Prior to this event, the Kelly gang had equipped themselves in characteristic iron armour that repelled bullets; yet, it did not protect their legs. This turned out to be fatal in consequences, as Kelly was shot in the left foot, left leg, right hand, left arm and twice in the region of the groin (The Argus, 29 June 1880). His fellow gang members did not survive the shootout.

Ah, well, I suppose it has come to this (The Argus, 12 November 1880), were Kellys last words, with the rope already around his neck. But the words Kelly is best remembered for are included in his famous Jerilderie Letter, written to the police to clarify and justify various incidents leading him to becoming an outlaw. The letter made of him an illiterate (he dictated the letter to his friend) literary phenomenon. The language in the letter has got an unavoidable roughness to it, yet it is colourful and full of metaphors, testifying Kellys eloquence and intelligence.

...........

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