FRIDAY, APRIL 10
Learn of the death of cricket icon, Richie Benaud. I met him just the once – back in the early 1970s when he was a guest speaker at a function at Murwillumbah Bowls Club and I was a young reporter. He was friendly and co-operative. Love to recall one hilarious piece of commentary when the air conditioning failed in the broadcast box at Adelaide Oval, and the temperature was around 40 degrees. “Conditions here, really are quite oppressive,” Richie said in a masterpiece of understatement, as sweat poured off his brow and his cream suit was soaked.
Attend Queensland Rugby League History Committee meeting today, with noted author, Adrian McGregor a guest, as he is to deliver this year’s Ross Livermore Memorial Lecture, which we organise. To Broncos v Roosters match tonight. A real thriller with Broncos’ halfback, Ben Hunt scoring the winning try in golden point extra time. Sam Thaiday (Broncos) and Jared Waera-Hargreaves (Roosters) have a ding dong personal duel. Barry Dick from ‘The Courier-Mail’ has run an item on-line about Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett’s axing of young back, Justin Hodges in 2001, after it was revealed he was joining the Roosters. My coverage of the controversy saw me banned by Bennett for three years, a situation only resolved when ARL exec., Geoff Carr implored Bennett to speak to me ahead of Australia’s tour of England and France late in 2004, when I was to cover the campaign for the Sydney Telegraph, as well as The Courier-Mail.
SATURDAY, APRIL 11
Drive to Toowoomba. Food is excellent at Fitzy’s Pub in Margaret Street. Tonight we attend an ANZAC Concert (free) in the magnificent Empire Theatre. Brendon Walsmley is the best known performer. Band plays ‘Sussex by The Sea’, which was the chosen song of Australia’s 38th Battalion. To Gladstone Pub afterwards where there is live music. Try Yenda Ale for the first time. Not bad. A little bland. Female patrons show a lot of class when they shout ‘Who the f… is Alice’ during the band’s rendition of ‘Living Next Door to Alice’. Mind you, I think it is standard fare to chime in with this stuff, during that particular song.
SUNDAY, APRIL 12
‘Cow cocky’ at breakfast says he is going cattle mustering and he has a bogged tractor. To Felton Festival today, driven there on a Stonestreet Bus. Beers from Burleigh and Stanthorpe. Very good. Chefs, Alistair McLeod and Matt Golinski are there, as well as garden guru, Costa Georgiadis who does ‘I Feel Good’ with a local band. I buy the lead singer a beer, as per his hopeful request to patrons. Buy heaps of produce, including rhubarb, eggs, goat meat, Kingaroy peanuts, Rochedale honey. Bus back to the baseball fields pick-up/drop off point. Our cabbie to the hotel lives at Lowood, 73km away! Our cabbie from the hotel to the bus is a ‘Ten pound Pom’ (his expression) from Wigan, a rugby league diehard who lived in Darwin for 15 years.