Wednesday, August 24, 2022



It was my smoke alarm doing the screaming, not me.  True is the saying “a watched pot/kettle never boils”.  Similar applies to a milk-filled saucepan sitting atop a hotplate. 

Minding my own business, I was heating milk in preparation of a mug of Milo.  It felt like I’d been watching the saucepan forever.  For a brief moment I turned my attention away from what was, or was not occurring, on the stove.  You can guess what happened next. 

Similar to Mt. Etna erupting, milk rose beyond the pot’s limit, and overflowed everywhere.  If that wasn’t enough excitement for one morning, highly agitated, my smoke alarm began screaming its lungs out.  I’m sure the folk down in Canungra, in the valley below, leapt out of their skin.

It’s moments like that my trusty broom comes in handy. After a few gentle jabs with said broomstick, and a few not so gentle words from me, the screaming ceased. Peace once again reigned supreme.

Brooms are very versatile having many aspects other than just being useful methods of transport.  Last week I considered using mine when my car battery died, but, instead, I opted to link up the charger.  It was far too chilly and foggy a morning to be flying around on my broomstick.

When I left Gympie early August, 1965 to live and work in Brisbane, a friend and I shared a flat in Toowong.  Our landlady had converted the upstairs’ level of her home into two flats. The landlady’s abode was the ground level.  After a small gathering my flat-mate and I hosted one night we christened our landlady, “The Broomstick Lady”. 

We revelers got a bit carried away, as one does during such occasions. While dancing and singing along to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking”, our off-key back-up vocals to Ms Sinatra popular song didn’t sit well with our landlady.  With her broomstick, our normally mellow Lady of the Manor began banging on her ceiling (our floor), threateningly informing us our boots were made for walking, and if we didn’t shut up we’d soon be putting them to the use for which they were made.  Duly reprimanded, we pulled our heads in, removed our boots, lifted our feet, lowered the volume, and retired our dancing, singing group with not a hit to our name. Thereafter, we respected “The Broomstick Lady’s” decrees.  

On a sombre note, the recent passing of Judith Durham, closely followed by Olivia Newton-John caused a tsunami of sadness to engulf the world.  Grief spilled over, spreading far and wide.

Two strong hearts…both were wonderful, warm, talented, modest women, who were part of our Australian landscape.  Forever they will remain in our hearts. From the moment The Seekers’ music hit our air waves the pure beauty of Judith Durham’s voice captivated millions. 

Circa 1985, one day while taking care of business in my greengrocery-health food shop in Hastings Street, Noosa Heads, to my surprise, and delight, I had the pleasure of meeting Judith when she entered my shop to purchase goods.  She and I chatted at length. At the time, Judith and her husband lived in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. 

Judith Durham was as lovely a person, in person, as she appeared to be when on the world stage. A couple of months after our meeting I learned The Seekers were to perform at an ocean-side fair at Maroochydore. “Let me be there!” I yelled.  “It won’t be a concert without Georgy Girl!”

The carnival isn’t over. We’ll remain hopelessly devoted to Judith and Olivia. We love you, we honestly love you both. We’ll never find another you.

Olivia, with the looks of an angel, sang like an angel, was, and shall remain, an angel. She was a warrior, who bequeathed an everlasting legacy. Her generosity of spirit will live on, not only through her Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, which offers world-leading treatment and care, but through her many other the heartfelt, selfless endeavours.   

Olivia’s shining light will never fade…her generosity of spirit, her kindness and goodwill spill over throughout the world…..


Milo Lava Cakes: Preheat oven 180C.  Separate 2 eggs; store egg whites in fridge for other use. Melt 50g mini choc chips and 100g unsalted butter until smooth; remove from heat. Add in 40g caster sugar and 60g Milo powder; whisk until well combined. Ensure mixture is not too hot before adding 2 eggs, plus the extra 2 yolks, 1 by 1, after each is fully incorporated; don’t panic if mixture curdles…carry on. Sift flour; mix in until no visible lumps of flour. Don’t over-mix. Grease baking dishes (4xmini loaf pans…8x4.5x4cm OR 5-6oz ramekins; then ‘flour’ baking dishes with cocoa powder). Pour batter evenly into pans to about 80% full. Bake 10-15mins. At 8min mark, jiggle pans to check for doneness; centre should jiggle slightly. Cakes are done when sides are firm and set, and centres are still slightly jiggly.  Don’t over-bake. Cool slightly; remove from pans. Sift cocoa powder over before serving cakes warm.

Angel Food Cake: Preheat oven 175C. Grab 12 eggs. Measure egg whites to equal 1½ cups. Place in bowl; stand at room temp 30mins. Sift 155g icing sugar and 1c plain flour together; add 1-1/2tsp cream of tartar, 1-1/2tsp vanilla extract, 1/2tsp almond extract and 1/4tsp salt to egg whites; beat on high speed. Gradually add 1c sugar, beating until sugar dissolves, and stiff peaks form. Fold in flour, 1/4c at a time. Spoon into greased Angel Food cake pan; cut through batter with knife to remove air pockets.  Bake 40-45mins or until cake springs back when lightly touched. When removing from oven, place wire rack onto pan; immediately turn upside-down. Allow to cool completely before removing pan from over the cake.  Cool completely, then top with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.


Saturday, August 13, 2022



23rd July, 2022 came, and, it went…but the precious memories the date aroused within me remain; memories of a special few days in my life. 

In July, 1987 the Queensland Tourism & Travel Corporation aka “QTTC” decided to send a tourism delegation to Port Moresby. It would be the first of its kind to venture into the uncharted territory of our northern neighbour. Nine representatives… seven men, and two women (I was one of the latter variety) were chosen to promote their ‘product’.  At the time I was manager of the then Cape Richards Resort on Hinchinbrook Island.  My role was to represent the Hinchinbrook, Cardwell and Johnstone Shires.

During our Port Moresby adventure Papua New Guinea’s Remembrance Day, 23rd July, fell.  The organisers of our visit had not been informed a Public Holiday would steal a working day from the tourism mission.  As it turned out, I was, and still am glad the fact had been overlooked. The Avis Area Manager invited the group to join him in the Avis Tarago for a trip to the start of the Kokoda Trail/Track on the 23rd.  We eagerly accepted his offer.  

Firstly, after departing Port Moresby the following morning, we visited the historic Bomana War Cemetery, situated just outside the city limits, on the road to Sogeri, which is the starting point of the Kokoda Track. Disembarking at Bomana an atmosphere of respect and deep sorrow filled the air. Somberly, lost in reverie, with tear-filled eyes, the group separated to wander alone through the beautifully maintained cemetery. No words were needed. Words would’ve been superfluous.  

Upon leaving Bomana we commenced the climb up the winding range to the Sogeri Plateau, which is around 800m above sea level, and 46kms from Moresby. Halfway up the range we spotted a Papua New Guinea “warrior” dressed in decorative attire standing out on an escarpment. Pulling to a halt, we leapt out of the vehicle and went over to him. Smiling gallantly in his colourful make-up and feathered head-dress, the “warrior” said we could take his photo for 5 kinas a pop. We each paid him accordingly. The trick was, we used our cameras and films. As we clicked away, the smile on the canny” warrior’s” face betrayed his thoughts: “Sucker tourists!” 

One of our astute “sucker tourists” said, “Did you notice his watch?  It was a Rolex! His BMW was probably parked around the corner!”  We laughed.  Good on him; we didn’t care.  The “warrior’s” appearance added to our fascinating experience. 

Awed by the magnificence of the scenery along the way, we finally reached the Kokoda Inn, which is at the beginning of the Kokoda Trail.  Pinned to the wall behind the primitive, but atmospheric bar were hundreds of monetary notes from over the years, from many countries; mainly notes from Australia, Britain and the USA. Fascinated, we didn’t hold back with our myriad questions about Kokoda and its history. PNG Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the first engagement between the opposing troops…the Aussies and the Japanese…on 23rd July, 1942.  The Australian force was outnumbered as the long fight withdrawing over the Owen Stanley Ranges began.  

Kokoda became Australia’s most significant campaign of the Second World War.  More Australians died during the campaign than in any other during the war. The average age of our brave soldiers was between 18 and 19 years. Many of those young men lie buried in the Bomana War Cemetery.  The compassion and care shown by the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, the local villagers who carried and cared for wounded and sick Aussie soldiers, taking them to areas of safety, will always be remembered and admired.  The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels will forever be respected for their brave, selfless deeds.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit Port Moresby and its surrounds. Among the sombreness we also enjoyed many light-hearted moments. A few incidents at our hotel would’ve given “Fawlty Towers” a decent run for the money. “Manuel” had a couple of local waiters competing for his job…but those are tales for another day….