Saturday 20th of April 2024

Richard Tonkin's blog

At the going down of the sun, Anzac Eve at St Clair War Memorial Park

Last year, on land set aside by a caring family who'd lost a loved one in World War Two, the RSL conducted (first time since the 1960s) an official remembrance ceremony. A few hundred turned up, many I talked to who'd come all those years ago and had returned to show that this was still their place for those memories.

I came to this site via the kindness of Margo Kingston, who saw me flailing about the cyberverse about Halliburton in Adelaide and offered me a spot here. My first blog became the only Australian blog linked from the pages of HalliburtonWatch.  My jokes about St Clair being a HAL-based project came true when KBR finally published their work on the gig as an ad on their website.  If what happened last year occurs again today, as I'm sure it will, then maybe the work of a War Company that's morphed into real estate is going to backfire because of their violation of a decades-long war tradition.

How hard is it now to talk to minds who can't speak?

For a long time I've thought that blogging is recording History for the Future. I've acted online that way for a decade now.  Even from my little corner of cyberspace you can watch the  changes easlily.  The people who love words (who also tend to put more thinking time into stuff) are finallly getting a chance to show the Merely Verbal Folk that their minds are on an equal level.  I see it daily in the bar, and love it.

Monarchy and Suggestibility- God Save The Queen By Hypnosis?

There's a young bloke who calls himself a "comedy hypnotist" who occasionally does shows at our family's pub.  It's been interesting to watch him over a couple of years and see his practice and confidence evolve him into a clever portrayalist of how easily many people's behaviour can be influenced.

Watching people who would need to have been extraordinarily consumnate actors to fake their behaviours do silly stuff like lose the number 7 from their counting, thinking that you're a genius but unable to remember your name, thinking your name is E I E I O and getting more quietly  pissed off every time someone"forgets"   I watched and giggled, kept watching as, in response to the implanted suggestion, one of the hypnotised blokes remembered what had occurred onstage by raising a drink to his lips- the play of emotions across his face said it all..

The Forgotten Memorial

(Published in full, the poem I wrote for that Petition last week)

As World War Two came to an end, those who'd lost Loved One and Friend

Petitioned Woodville Council that they set aside land

A place In Living Memory, the love for their Dead for all to see

Little Boxes of Adelaide

(With apologies to Malvina Reynolds)

St Clair


Little boxes on the hillside, Little boxes in our leafy parks

Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same

Theres a Liberal one, and a Labor one

A Petition in a Poem to Save St Clair

I"ll give you the first couple of verses- if you want to read it to it's end and sign, I'd be eternally in your debt.  There are two weeks till the South Australian election.  Every signature to this will make a difference to the Park's survival!  The end of the poem is here: GardenGarden

Duelling Banjo

An eyewitness account from last week's 15th Frances Folk Gathering:

Witching Hour at Frances, all was going well

till a bunch of new arrivals started raising hell

banging a tent together in the middle of the night

then yelling at each other until the dawn's first light

Liberal Town

(To the tune of Kingston Town)


Down the Bay all the Knights of Jay

 sip cocktails on the deck of Kevin Foley's yacht

With every drink the ship did sink

for the Wets were caught in a Right Wing Plot


      And I'm sad to say that it's Goodbye, Jay

     We won't see you come Election Day

     Your polls are down, no chance to turn them around

     and little Adelaide will be a Liberal Town


Only In South Australia?

Premier Farrell

In a few, mad hours this morning, state Labor’s electoral hopes have been damaged irreversibly.

Party faithful went to bed last night harbouring outside hopes of a state election victory.

Victoria, WTF?

This Park is Your Land- the story to the song

A quick preamble to the song, which was wrtten two years agio on Woody Guthrie's "100th Birthday".  I've been a proud supporter of the campaign to save this park for a few years now.  A petition for it to become a War Memorial Park was submitted in the 1940s.  Last year's Upper House Select Committee into unethical official behavour in the swapping of this "sacred" land for a previously contaminated factory site is yet to, and probably never will, return an assessment of evidence that has mostly already appeared in an Ombudsman's Report

The SA/NT RSL have passed a resolution to support the preservation of this Park, and War Memorial Director Dr Brendan Nelson has given public support.  Given that it's now been rezoned to become a housing estate in the centre of his electorate, the Premier has declined an invitation to an Australia Day barbie next week.

A song for the S.A Premier: Fifty Shades Of Jay

jay popinjay .....


(To the tune of "Bound For Botany Bay")

The Premier of South Australia

To Auld Lang Syne

Here's a toast to Robert Burns, who taught to mark the time

by writing a song to sing each year for the sake of Auld Lang Syne,

for the past is filled with bad and good, the good should be remembered,

and in the shade of Christmas, when we're well and true Decembered,

The Happy Squanderer

I could but only bite at the news, coming hot on the heels of the announcement of Holden's Adelaide plant, that the 2017 Commodore would be made in China.


(Sung mostly to the tune of the song with the Val-de-Ri Val-de-ra chorus)

I'm True Blue as Colonel Sanders or a Chinese Commodore,

but all their stuff's so bloody cheap, should a cobber pay any more?


Settling for sleep one night I dreamed I saw a war

the like of which humanity has never seen before

A sea of grey that rose and fell as it spread acros the land

of barren soil- the nanotechs used everything at hand

Every body, every tree, every blade of grass

fashioned by technology to a dark and rolling mass

That held the hearts and and minds of all, for Gaia was within

bound within the construct to fulfill the masses' whim

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