DIARY UPDATE: Week 37, 2016

WEEK 37 2016


To Lismore today, via Chinderah, where we have calamari, prawns and chips on the banks of the Tweed River. Buy fresh parrot fish for dinner at Marie’s sister, Carolyne’s place. Landscaping on the new stretch of the Pacific Highway at St Helena Hill is pathetic, especially as the surrounding countryside is so beautiful. A huge gum tree has been removed from the front of Carolyne’s Lismore Heights home (at the cost of $3,000). It had to be done, but the place looks so bare. It is 10 years since the passing of noted sports journalist, Errol Harris, aged 61. Errol was a next door neighbor in Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah when he worked for ‘The Daily News’ and wrote a column called ‘Talking Sport’.


Coffee from a cart opposite Lismore City Hall, where our wedding reception was held, back in 1975. The road outside city hall is a pot holed disgrace. Walk along the Wilson River. Four ladies playing croquet; group of indigenous have ‘taken over’ the bandstand. Pay respects at Boer War Memorial, probably the finest of its kind in the state. Around 200 men from the Richmond River district fought in the conflict. Walk into the lounge of the Star Court Cinema, for old times sake. Saw the ‘Pinocchio’ movie at the Star Court back in 1959. Meat pie and mushy peas from the pie cart next to the old post office, where my uncle, Les Kelly worked as a mail sorter. There has been a pie cart in this area for many years. I remember my dad telling me, that as a young man, after a few beers, it was the done thing to grab a pie from the ‘chew and spew’. Drinks this evening at golf club with locals, among them Paul Gahan and Terry McDermott, the latter one of the best bush footballers in the land. Get a cab, and my male driver is a nurse, from Armidale originally.

Tonight ‘The Footy Show’ has vision of a big Pacific Islander kid steamrolling his way through ‘normal’ sized kids in a junior league match. Lots of laughter from the studio, but it’s not funny, especially as it is the main cause for lower participation rates, in my view. It is the elephant in the room (no pun intended) which the NRL dare not tackle, because of political correctness. Meanwhile, Aussie rules and soccer laugh all the way to the bank, because they do not have to contend with issues surrounding Polynesian participation.


Beautiful coastal walk at Evans Head, followed by snapper and chips (bought from the co-op) at Chinaman’s Beach, where a magpie stalks us. Home via Rous Mill, where Marie buys jam. A vintage motor cycle rally passes by.

Cowboys defeat Broncos 26-20 in a 90 minute semi-final epic in Townsville, with Cowboys’ skipper, Johnathan Thurston setting up the winning try for Michael Morgan.


Marie to Lismore markets, where she buys eggs from Theresa Creek Road, Mummulgum. Return to Brisbane, via coffee at Bangalow. Damage is still evident from a car, which ploughed through local businesses some weeks ago, in the early hours of the morning. The local rugby union club is holding its awards function at the pub tonight. We have lunch at historic Austral Cafe, Murwillumbah, (including a caramel milk shake), and there is a photo of the fire which destroyed the ‘Australian Hotel’ many years ago. It looks like Ray Batty leading the firefighters. Ray was the father of my good mate, ‘Big Phil’ Batty. Home via Kynnumboon, (where the sugar cane harvest, is in full swing); Chillingham and Numinbah Valley, where we walk the ‘Natural Arch’ circuit.

Word gets out that Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett has separated from his wife, Trish (nee Veivers) and now has a 50-year-old Newcastle woman as his partner. Journalist, Joel Gould phones me seeking a telephone number for former Brisbane Souths’ halfback, Wayne Cullen, and tells me about the ‘media frenzy’ which accompanied Bennett’s return from Townsville this morning.

There is a notable march by our military, in Brisbane City today, but a ‘gay pride march’ in Fortitude Valley gets ‘preferential treatment’ on Channel 7 news. A sign of the times.

Tweed Head Seagulls Rugby League Club trophy night includes the ‘Maurie Morgan Award’ for best defender, which goes to Sam Meskell. The first story I had published – in the Tweed Daily News – was about a fund raiser for Maurie, who was killed when he fell from the back fire escape of a Snowy Mountains pub, where he was staying in 1971, after signing as captain-coach of the local side.


Noted sport authors, Larry Writer and Geoff Armstrong are guests on Macca’s show on the ABC. Macca says Sydney people are switching from league to Australian rules, and I fear he may be right. Writer says former St George secretary, Frank Facer was “a king hit merchant’. Kwong Sing’s store at Casino is mentioned in ‘Shopping on a Saturday’, a song by Gary Shearston. My wife, Marie’s family would shop there, back in the 1940s and 50s. Marie’s aunty, Isabel Turner, worked there for some years.

Photo: Errol Harris (centre) with Tony Durkin (left) and Steve Ricketts.

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