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Sunday, 28 February


tyto tony: Pair of Squatters potter about in hotter spot "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Trip into dry country turned up pair of Squatter Pigeons (Geophaps scripta) fussing around in roadside shadows. Limped around (broke toe the other day) after them without getting any clear shots in good light. My first sighting of Squatters for several years.

Lack of easy movement means bit more driving and shooting from the Troopy. Caught this Cattle Egret (Ardea ibis) standing on beefy pal.


The Witches Kitchen: Red Eggplant Pickle "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

red eggplants

I have very few insect pests that really annoy me.  The payoff for a very wildlife friendly garden is that insects have to run a gauntlet of lizards and frogs and wrens and spiders, and not enough make it through to be serious competition.  Except for flea beetles.   These are little black jumping beetles from the Chrysomelidae family.  They eat holes in the leaves, only eggplants and potatoes in my garden, but so prolifically that the leaves look like lace.  On its own, even that probably wouldn’t faze me, but they also spread wilt and blight diseases and nine times out of ten my eggplants succumb to something before bearing a decent crop.

Rock  mulching the plant to attract and provide habitat for lizards helps a bit.  Surrounding seedlings with well developed Thai basil and other strong camouflage plants helps a bit.  I’ve read that planting a catch crop of radishes works but the flea beetles are fast and they jump, so I haven’t figured out how you would catch the beetles once the radishes have attracted them.  I’ve read that yellow sticky traps work, and I can see that, but I worry about catching beneficial insects too.  I’ve read that mulching with coffee grounds works, but I suspect it works by caffeine poisoning the beetles, and that would poison beneficials too so I might try it but carefully.

Meanwhile, red square eggplants don’t resist the beetles any better than any other variety I’ve tried, but they resist the resulting wilt and blight diseases.  So I have red eggplant bushes with colander leaves but they are still bearing a good crop.

Peeled, the red eggplants work in just about any eggplant recipe.  They a...


Byron Bay Blog: 2,300 Tonnes of Food and Garden Organics Recycled in Byron Shire "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Congratulations Byron Shire! You have recycled 2,300 tonnes of food and garden organics in six months!

This has reduced Council’s putrescible landfill waste transport and disposal costs by approximately $150,000 since the implementation of the three bin collection service in August. Plus, Byron Shire has on average 30 per cent less kerbside waste going to landfill compared to the previous two-bin system.

Of the total kerbside waste collected each month, an average of 31 per cent is organic materials, 32 per cent recycling and the remaining 37 per cent is landfill waste.

Mayor Simon Richardson thanked residents for being a ‘good sort’.

“Overall Byron Shire’s kerbside recycling rate is now 63 per cent, compared with 38 per cent prior to the introduction of our organics service. It’s a great result.

“Particularly impressive is that we have maintained this over the extremely busy Christmas holiday period. But we can do better, let’s aim for a total recycling rate of 70 per cent,” he urged.

Instead of being buried in landfill, our organic materials are processed into certified organic compost at Lismore City council’s composting facility and used by local farmers and growers to improve agricultural soils.

Local farmer and founder of social enterprise, Munch Crunch Organics, Alasdair Smithson, has been using Lismore’s kerbside organics compost for seven or eight years.

“Overall we are happy with the product and it is a good soil improver, hopefully we can do it in the Byron Shire soon too,” he said.

Alasdair thanked the community for contributing their organics because the compost is being used by local farmers and growers.

“It’s really important to us as organic farmers, that we return organic waste back to the soil to build the organic matter and reduce the effects of climate change by doing so,” Mr Smithson said.

Suffolk Park resident, Suzie Morley is happy to have been part of this importa...


North Coast Voices: Is Rupert Murdoch about to gobble up ten Queensland and two NSW regional daily newspapers? "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

It probably comes as no surprise to readers of APN News & Media’s The Daily Examiner and Coastal Views that newspapers in the Northern Rivers are battling and, Rupert Murdoch may be poised to swallow whole  APN’s print stable Australian Regional Media.

This print stable includes 12 daily newspapers and 70 community & specialist titles.

If News Corp does purchase ARM that would leave only three Northern Rivers newspapers, including the Clarence Valley Independent not in Murdoch’s control.

Echo NetDaily, 26 February 2016:



All in the Name of Liberty: portraits "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

A funny day which began with running into Graeme and taking him along to Buzzzbar

A guy who was at the recrd crate yesterday

Ian of Camperdown with a couple of feathers in his cap



North Coast Voices: Two Malcolms that the Liberal-Nationals Coalition not so secretly despise "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

The then Leader of the Opposition and MP for Wannon John Malcolm Fraser resoundingly won government for the Liberal-Nationals Coalition in 1975 and became the twenty-second Prime Minister of Australia.

At the time the general public considered him little more than a haughty silvertail and, by the time he retired from politics in 1983 even he was aware that his party considered his time in office as a wasted opportunity.

Thirty-three years later and the same Liberal Party supplied another perceived silvertail, MP for Wentworth Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, as Australia’s twenty-ninth prime minister.

This time the Liberal-Nationals Coalition desperately want their second Malcolm to waste the opportunity to drive new policy and instead urge him to pursue the far-right ideological agenda of his predecessor in office, Tony Abbott.

That Malcolm Mark Two is as equally despised as Malcolm Mark One can be inferred by this gif which is doing the rounds at the moment on the NSW North Coast………


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Saturday, 27 February


matthew schiavello: photos and words: Seminal works #31 070116A mixed media piece that didn’t... "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

Seminal works #31 070116

A mixed media piece that didn’t make the cut for my solo March show.

This piece has Ink, watercolour plastic and semen.

“This series, ‘Seminal and non-Seminal works’, through the manipulation of translucent materials, uses Bricolage to explore several themes including: how items to hand can be used in the creation of beauty; and, how the experience each viewer has with each piece of work can be affected by the emotional meaning they have attached to, or imbued in the items used.”
Matthew Schiavello, 2016

I will post a reminder about the opening in a few days. If you are in Melbourne, Keep Friday the 4th of March free, from 6.30pm-8.30pm  ;-)


James O'Brien: People with Cameras "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

“There are so many photographers here I don’t know where to look”, was not the phrase you would expect from a bride-to-be in Sydney’s Hyde Park this afternoon. It was then her official wedding photographer looked behind, and realised he, not she, was the centre of attention. Unwittingly, they found themselves in the midst of a 400-person gathering called “People With Cameras”, where the photographic theme was “Photographers in their element. Black and white”.

“How did you go with the theme?”, I asked a bloke who I had corresponded with on social media over a number of years, but have never actually met. “Too hard. We went to the pub”, he told me. “So did we”, I admitted, “but only because we thought it was a good way of exploring the theme. Photographers in their element.” We weren’t the only ones either, as the pub we entered, “The Windsor On Park” also contained a lot of other photographers who clearly had similar thoughts.

“Why didn’t they just say the theme was ‘take some great photographs’ and come back later?”, I asked the three other “random” guys in my group. There was a young guy from the UK who had only recently become interested in photography, a young guy from Sydney’s North Shore, and a similarly aged guy to me who had driven up from Melbourne. Yes, really. He told us he was a truck driver by profession, and so driving nine hours to come to a photographic event in Sydney was nothing out of the ordinary for him. He took the photograph of me stuffing my mouth with an ice-cream, by the way. All three of them were excellent photographers, and when they pulled out their cameras declaring their favourite shots (we had to choose just one for our group), I felt somewhat inadequate. I take ok photos....


AWPA Sydney News: 1) Indonesia’s West Papua crimes laid bare in award-winning documentary "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

2) Police Question Customary Activists over Pro-independence Office Launch

3) Hundreds of Merbau Logs Seized by Papua Forestry Office
4) Islands in focus: Jayapura  supports plastic bag policy 
5) Women District Chief Wants Pig Statue
6) Indonesian Military Finds Boundary Markers of Indonesia – PNG Border
7) Police Seize Thousands of Pig-Nosed Turtles in Timika
8) Quote Increase Offered as Solution to Overcome Scarcity of Fuel in Central Highlands
9) Papua’s Unsafe Reputation Hurts Tourism


1) Indonesia’s West Papua crimes laid bare in award-winning documentary



The Iron Road: PTV's new university shuttles "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

via Public Transport Victoria
With the University semester starting, PTV have announced a raft of improvements to Melbourne's bus network to better serve University staff and students. Before we look at the specific routes, it's worth touching on why they are necessary.

Most of the campuses in question were placed where they are because the land was cheap at the time, and because good road access was all that seemed necessary in the car-dependent 1950s-70s (although RMIT Bundoora never existed until 1992). Unfortunately, we are now paying the price for this poor planning, because we need to provide the extremely high-quality public transport that a large University demands, and they are often a long way from a railhead.



the independent: The Sneaky Quirky, Tricky Vicki show rolls on "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Comment ….  By Don Gordon-Brown   It’s always tempting, as you watch Team Quirk candidates cheat away with their copycat council cleat once more, to form the conclusion that they just don’t get it. That what is bleedingly obvious to any normal, decent person – that using the copycat cleat is really, really tacky and wrong  – just doesn’t register with these people.  But I


Black Mark: Submerged @ Gallery Smith "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

The underwater views of a lily pond are fantastic, new world’s waiting to be discovered like alien planets. They are Catherine Nelson’s Submerged at Gallery Smith in North Melbourne.


Catherine Nelson, Unstill Life #02, 2016 (courtesy of Gallery Smith)

In the neo-baroque spirals of her underwater flower arrangements fish replace the insects and lizards that inhabit the baroque bouquets of Dutch still life paintings. The spectacle of dramatic point of view, often looking up to the surface of the water, exist to astonish the viewer.

Of course they aren’t real but then neither were the baroque paintings of flowers. Catherine Nelson’s artfully digitally manipulates photographs, assembled from cutting and pasting many photographs, the way that you might assemble a flower arrangement cutting and placing the flowers. Nelson has extensive experience working in visual effects photography for films including 300, Moulin Rouge and Harry Potter.

Time is compressed in Nelson’s underwater worlds: everything is budding, flowering and decaying simultaneously.

The baroque never died, its demise was contrived for the purposes of progress in art history. Now the baroque has returned with Nelson’s photographs and there are many examples of other Australian neo-baroque artists including Juan Davila, Vincent Fantauzzo, William Eicholtz, Bill Henson, eX de Medici, Sam Leech, and Sophia Hewson.

For more on the Neo-Baroque as an international trend read Angela Ndalianis Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment (MIT Press 2004) and Gregg Lambert The Return of the Baroque in Modern Culture (Conti...


All in the Name of Liberty: Victoria Park Bus Stop "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Under the fig trees in Victoria Park, at the start of Parramatta Road, waiting to meet up with Robert Smith a couple of days ago

Customers and dogs and a cement truck outside Buzzzbar in Newtown where I have a show with Ben Cahill, Celia Curtis and Geoffrey Goodes opening on thursday (March 3  2016)


Focus On Fauna: Wheel of Life "IndyWatch Feed Goulburn"

At around this time last year we posted a blog featuring the mating practices of damselflies, one of the groups of insects in the order Odonata. Well those odonatans are at it again. This time it is the dragonflies that we have watched cruising above the dam. Male dragonflies at this time of the year […]


Natural Newstead: The gathering "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I’ve been out to Spring Hill on recent evenings, the area just west of Mia Mia Track, in the hope of seeing some early Swift Parrots arriving. Grey Box is starting to flower well, so hopefully this will encourage the ‘swifties’ to linger this autumn. While I’ve dipped out with Swift Parrots I have witnessed a wonderful gathering of Rainbow Bee-eaters, perhaps fifty birds in total, hawking from perches between the gullies and ridge-lines.


Rainbow Bee-eaters, Spring Hill, 25th February 2016





This idyll was momentarily disturbed on Thursday evening – a Square-tailed Kite appeared suddenly over the canopy above me, sending rainbowbirds and honeyeaters scattering in all directions. Soon, like the Rainbow Bee-eaters, the kite will hea...


the independent: If you can't beat them, join them! "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

NEWS   Take a long hard look at the Brisbane City Council election sign above. It's what happens when you have political "leadership" that's weak on ethics and honesty; one that doesn't think twice about trashing a branding image for political gain.   Independent councillor Nicole Johnston has clearly decided if you can't beat them, you may as well join them. She has either decided to use

07:53 Major parties panic, change voting rules as intelligent electors join forces with disenchanted voters "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"


People and the party faithful now are awakening they are being controlled by the major parties who are feeling this serious trend.

With battle lines being drawn in the Senate the major parties are experiencing their power base being dismantled by independent senators out of their control that has forced desperate action for survival at the coming election. Again they shift the goal posts by changing the rules to allow themselves preferential treatment on the senate ballot paper.

Liberal and Labor become allies when their decades of government dictatorship become threatened by the people.

The cross benchers represent people in parliament not party rooms engaging the agendas of big business.

Attracting detrimental comments from the threatened party room machines who control the stream of  intimidating press releases from their spin doctors and fiction story tellers, the cross bench threat to the parties needs to be removed.

“If you play by their rules, you lose”

“Your rules apply on polling day, and they lose”

 Make the most of it.

Will you vote with the SHEEPLE or the PEOPLE ?




James O'Brien: Remembering The Man "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

When you read a book you always think you know the “voice” of the narrator. You think you know their cadence, their intonation. By projecting aspects of your own life, and the voices in your head, you think you KNOW them. But it wasn’t until I saw the documentary, “Remembering The Man” on Thursday night, as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Film Festival, that I actually got to hear Tim Conigrave’s voice for the first time.

It’s over twenty years since I first read the book, “Holding The Man”, his memoir about his relationship with John Caleo (who he met at school), and their subsequent deaths in the mid-1990s from HIV/AIDS. Along the way, there’s also been a play, a feature length movie, and now a documentary about their lives and their relationship.

What’s different about the documentary is you actually get to hear Tim’s voice. At the centre of the film is an oral history made in the month’s before his death. Thus, Tim is not only the focus for the documentary, but also the narrator, similar to the way in which the voice of Peggy Guggeheim, the art collector is used in Peggy Guggenheim, Art Addict, which I saw a few months ago.

As someone who has spent most of his life consciously aware of “the voice”, I found it fascinating to hear Tim speak. To my ears, he had a lovely voice. An “actor’s voice”, in some ways. In the pieces of audio selected, he spoke clearly, in “proper sentences”, and with some confidence. He also spoke with honesty and with humour. “That’s enough, isn’t it?”, he said at one point (or words to that effect) to the person recording his story.

Over th...


ART and ARCHITECTURE, mainly: Justin Art House Museum: modern art, private collection in Melbourne "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

Melbourne architect Charles Justin and wife Leah have been avid collectors of edgy, contemp­orary art and for the past 40 years they have collected a large body of work which was unveiled at the Glen Eira City Gallery in 2014. This Glen Eira exhibition was set up to provide an insight into the family’s broad collection-theme: perceptions of space in contemporary practice, geometric abstraction, architectural and fractal patterning, urban spaces and the virtual.

As described in an interview with Gina Fairley in ArtsHub, the family now want to extend that passion by sharing their 250+ art objects with the public. Opening an art-focused home to the public is not new to Europe or America. Think of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Frick Collection in New York, Sir John Soane Museum in London and the Sammlung Hoffmannn House Museum in Berlin.

In Australia we certainly have witnessed the slow rise of the private museum in Australia, galleries such as the White Rabbit Gallery and Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in Sydney, TarraWarra and Heide Museums of Modern Art in Victoria, and now the famous Museum of New and Old Art in Hobart. But a new kind of private museum is developing here, situated in a private home and crossing the boundaries between house and museum.

The idea was inspired by the Lyon Housemuseum in Cotham Rd Kew. In 2000 Corbett Lyon and Yueji Lyon built on their interest in co......

Friday, 26 February


Barwon Blog: Making tracks - through the slough of despond "IndyWatch Feed Geelong"

...and so the journey continued. With the longest part of the trip behind them and keen to reach the fabled gold fields of Ballarat, the aspiring diggers faced what was probably the most difficult part of their journey - Scott's Marsh (or Scott's Swamp as it was also known), a low-lying area at the foot of Mt Buninyong.

At the outbreak of the gold rush this land formed part of the 16,000 acre cattle then sheep run held by the squatter Andrew Scott and his wife Celia along with other Scott family members which became the Mt Boninyong Estate.
An 1862 view of the Mt Boninyong Estate. Image held by the Victorian State Library
Today, over 175 years later, the property is still owned by the Scott family and features one of the district's more stately homes. The elegant structure which stands today however, was not even a consideration as the first of the diggers headed to the Mount in 1851. It was not built until 1884, instead, the original Scotts made do - initially at least - with a bark slab hut.


the independent: Con-artists, cheats and cowards "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

OUR SAY    The Independent warned repeatedly over time that the LNP and Team Quirk planned to cheat again at this year's Brisbane City Council elections and they are doing exactly that .... big time!   They've rolled out again their copycat council "cleat" that they also used extensively at the 2012 poll. It's there for no other reason than to hoodwink the public into thinking it's the

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