Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

The drop zone
The drop zone
| Jun 30th 2004
Tonka spit & Walkway warning
Well Drop-pets dropping is all the rage on the beach at Nelly Bay today. Dropping sand that had again gathered at the breakwall to a spot half way along the beach near the old helipad that is! For at least the third time, I can remember since early last year, the Tonka team, this time from TCC, have been at it again digging out the spit - as it were. Why, because for years going back to the construction of Nelly Bay Harbour it was known that the sand - which locals say always drifts up that way, continually reconnects Queensland with the Commonwealth territory - a constitutional no no no no. Result: whenever Ms Nature exercises her move-on powers there's a Tonka job on the way. Everybody in the loop could see this one coming but looks like its just a little never-ending collateral damage in store for tax/ratepayers.

They're not turtle tracks

But what really gets up panty hose is the way the beach is being turned into a Tonka toy boy sand pit. The trampled and crushed beach stabilising plants had it hard enough without this and, where the Tonka twuck delivers its load at the helipad end, I witnessed a turtle lay her eggs some years ago.

Walkway warning
The annoyance of unfinished walkways just gets worse. On an ordinary day my guess is that up to 100 people could be trying to walk it over the hill from Nelly Bay to Arcadia. Now its got to be a lot more with tourists again appearing in numbers. But hang on. Isn't right now the best time ever to lobby for a completion. Isn't the Federal government sooo generous they don't even want the $600 child overpayments back? So come on Pete, Anita....anybody running for Canberra, make us a promise.

The hairy bit is just around the corner

Hell, back when Lib candidate Marg Shaw ran for the state seat she said the money was already there and couldn't understand the fuss. Of course Pete Lindsay didn't quite go along with that, not at all in fact, but surely he could come out now, make an honest man of himself (or woman of Margaret's self) now, when the need could not be greater, and just pick up the phone to John and say, "Um, John, It's Pete here and you know how marginal my seat is....well..."

The hairy bit is right in front

Otherwise we could get the faction- challenged Anita Phillips on the job. In fact now she's in the right faction she could chat up her comrade Jenny Hill for a council splurge. But frankly who would a savvy lawyer go after if something dreadful happened? There are really swell looking walkways leading up two hills. There as if to say to the unwitting visitor, "Climb me" and, when you do, you end up with six inches of road verge beside an impact barrier and faith alone in the steering skills of Magnetic Islanders. Wouldn't it be a smart idea instead to fess up with a warning sign at the bottom of each saying something like, "Um, hello visitors, just letting you know that this walkway stops just before you get to the really hairy bit that we cant afford to fix yet even though we hope there will be an election promise soon. So in the mean time why not catch the bus instead!" Yep, that should do it gals!
| May 19th 2004
Eve's Digital graffiti: reader contributions
Already readers are sending in their own digital graffiti and I'm so excited. If this takes off I will have a special section opened on the site to exhibit your efforts.

This image comes from Dave Lambert who wrote:

Hi Eve,

I like this. I used your photo to save time but this is what it looks like though I do think it will be painted nicely in what we can only hope will be a reasonably scenic way to suit the Island

Now remember my dear Drop-pets, Dave's is just the first but I know you are a very clever bunch so if you have a paint/photoshop program why not see what you can come up with. It doesn't have to be the "Opera House" either. If you want to get something off your chest and have a snappy slogan you want to get out then go for it. And... if you don't have the software or think it a bit hard technically, send me a picture of the surface you would like the digital graffiti applied to along with your snappy slogan and I will see what I can do.

Tip: photos taken square on to the surface are easiest though a slight angle handled properly can ad authenticity

Digital graffiti says it all
Digital graffiti says it all
| May 18th 2004
Our Opera House
My Dear Drop -pets,

I'm hearing lots of colourful descriptions for the not-so-colourful grey and patchy white-painted concrete block currently being erected at Nelly Bay Harbour. I've heard "Stalag Supermarket", "the Berlin Wallmart" and, "that ugly pile of crap" to name a few but when I heard that developer Noel Gordon had said, "People complained about the (Sydney) Opera House before it was finished", I was immediately struck at how wrongheaded we locals had been.

I sat back and pondered the genius of another great supermarket I have known. Woolworths in Townsville city. How I marvel at the grand sliding-door entrance every time I wander by, the Baroque flourish that announces the Parcel Pick-up, and haunting grace which pervades the semi-trailer loading bay. Gracious me - how had I gotten it all so wrong about this architectural coupe on Magnetic? Now I can hardly wait for the happy day when the IGA Opera House opens for its first concert with a comely Island teenager, mic in hand, soaring through her vocal range with an immortal rendition of the "Price check Wayne" aria.

Parking however may be a different story. Mr Gordon has also confirmed his ownership of over 40 parking spaces within the already underspaced carpark. I hear he plans to have his spaces re-signed to indicate short stay (shopper's parking) only. That's going to be fascinating when the wet season returns and locals decide not to ride their bikes or walk to the ferry and want to actually drive and park instead. Further down the track it gets tastier. When all those units planned for the harbourside get going - as we keep being assured they will - just where will anybody visiting them park too? Not that we couldn't see it coming. But it all lands back in the lap of hapless Queensland Transport - the government department left to carry the can - but who, my spies tell me, had never enough of a say in the planning period when State Development ruled the waves.

Photo image: Digital graffiti is my new way for people to express themselves in a public space without breaking the law. The graffiti is completely applied by computer graphics. I decided to pioneer the art as I am such a sweet person and would hate to deface the Island's Opera House as it forms. It really is fun if you have a paint program with a spray tool and there are no nasty chemicals to breath either. Why not make some on your favourite digital surface and send it in. If they aren't defamatory or too rude I'll exhibit them here for you. Eve
View from the roundabout
View from the roundabout
| May 5th 2004
Grey on Blue?
Hello Drop-Pets
Isn't it lovely to hear the rain pitter pattering on our rooftops as Magnetic Island draws what is left from the wet season's clouds before those boring blue skies return soon again for months on end. I must fess up now. I'm a wet season kind of girl and like my clouds big 'n' black. But if grey is the usual colour of a rain cloud then lets leave it in the sky and not build monuments to gloom.

I just can't believe the architectural monstering that continues to bedevil this Island's World Heritage landscape. I know that construction sites are not noted for their aesthetic charm but with slabs of grey concrete now blocking out the view to Nelly Bay Harbour it's hard not to think Gaza or Berlin around 1980.

World Heritage Island landscape framed by the
new IGA supermaket construction site.

It's so ugly it makes the stark concrete glass and steel terminal building actually look attractive. Hell, it makes poor old blasted Bright Point look good.

"Our Island Home" historical plaque and today's reality behind

It certainly makes a grim comparison to the close by and recently installed, interpretive signage image of old Dodd S. Clarke's "Our Island Home" - a truly authentic and delightful example of tropical Island architecture. It may even be that there is a home goal being scored here too! I have heard, already, of one Island developer who thinks the building is a dog and believes such horrid constructions could lower the real estate values of the surrounding, record-priced blocks. Little wonder perhaps that the yet-to-be-built Pepper's Resort is to be called "Blue on Blue" the term which the British Army uses to describe "friendly fire" or accidentally killing your own soldiers!

But getting back to the weather, if the new edition of Endless Summer - a Queensland Tourism Magazine that finds its way onto all the Queensland Rail long-distance trains and several of the airlines - is correct, then my hot, wet and cloudy fantasies may be no more. Endless Summer has a couple of short property articles which appear in each edition. To my horror I learned from an article by one Mitch Koper titled Magnetic Attraction that, "with temperatures hovering around a balmy 28 degrees C in the summer months, and easing to 19 degrees C in winter, Maggie is a drawcard for southerners...... " Well hello Mitch. We who live here beg to differ. The last time I checked the summer average daily temperature was 31.1 degrees and winter 25.4 degrees. What's the difference in a few degrees amongst friends one might ask. Well, quite a bit if you live in it Mitch and especially if you don't factor in summer humidity but, to be fair, perhaps you just forgot to say that these are the midnight temperatures!

If you have a special dropping you think I would find interesting my dear Drop-Pets please use the comments box below and I will surely hear.


Our marvelous heritage jetty
Our marvelous heritage jetty
| Feb 5th 2004
Eve's Droppings: She's back and dropping
Dear Drop-pets: my cherished faithful followers - concerned as always for my well being. I'm sorry to have been absent so long but a girl in my stilettoes has to tread carefully and to say just where I've been and what I've been up to could easily jeopardise the budding careers of at least three of my better quality girlfriends: Cate, Nicole and Naomi. So pleeese don't ask - just be happy in the knowledge of my safe return.

Since arrival I have heard much that disturbs, intrigues and delights from my spies. Delightful is the scene of a green Island - so much the sweeter since some good rain.

Pier pleasure
Highlight of the year so far Maggie-wise has come from the daggy, but oft unfairly maligned, Mike Reynolds icing his 'leccy cake locally by announcing a simple co-operative arrangement with long-time rival, Townsville Mayor, Tony Mooney to care for the Picnic Bay jetty. It's great news undoubtedly - so much that I even wondered if the Latham-in-the-aisles phenomenon had gripped the city in an unexpected lapse of Labor wings flapping together. Mind you there are others such as 'Tropicana' Steve Anslow and Sports Store Jo Hugo who were central to organising the rally to keep the jetty erect. History and Craft Centre Pres. Zanita Davies and Lorna Hempstead are others who should take a bow. Lorna's support through the Community Development Association and subsequent jetty picnics was crucial, keeping Islanders and pollies thinking and introducing a new Island cultural phenomenon which I have dubbed, pier pleasure!

Low profiling
You may have never suspected it but, sweet tart as I am, I'm also a sucker for an election and although the state race looks like a five-gone conclusion it's juicier to see an Island chick, Margaret Shaw, running for Townsville. Just a bit more spunk here than the coiffed lady Libs one might encounter. I recall a message received from one of their sweeties when the website offered to run updated party information as part of a free community service. She politely declined citing the branch's preference for maintaining "a low profile". Perhaps the low profiling was in line with Homer's boss', I mean, Attorney General, Philip Ruddock's, low profile visit to Magnetic last Wednesday. No doubt he was quietly seeking out more Iraqis, whose country, as Julian Burnside puts it - we bomb to save while imprisoning them if they seek to save themselves.

Exclusion Wear
Of course, now that our Island has been excluded from Australia's immigration zone we should make the most of it. Those well buffed and nearly in-the-buff bods - some of whom may even be true "illegals" (overstaying their visas) - who wander up and down our beaches could be made useful looking out to sea occasionally in case someone tries to swim ashore via Pakistan. Then of course there are opportunities aplenty in fashion. I'm reaching for my scissors as I dream of a new Magnetic Island phenomenon: Exclusion-Wear. So much for the unapproachable, dear old punk, new wave, Goth and grunge look. Wear an authentically, Island-crafted article and you can look and feel totally excluded! Now, with Exclusion-Wear, I see stripes - maybe in tropical colours - and I see numbers, yes numbers (maybe with the Island's distinctive phone prefixes 47785... or 47581...) on the backs of shirts or even really cool, numbered tattoos, yes tattoos on the arms. So, so Exclusive! And all with stitch work that could leave the wearer speechless.

Weighty campaign
Our jetty man of the moment Mike must however be feeling it over the State's backing of the industrial development area at Stuart.. Mike has performed the appropriate rhetorical gymnastics with lead weights dangling over this dog of a plan. I recall Magnetic Times reporting years ago about the future plans for a lead smelter. Mike now says he will stand in front of the dozers with the Clean Air for Kids folks if ever lead were to get the nod - but that just won't happen we are assured. Sorry Mike I'm not so sure. There are very big bucks going down with our Korean friends at Sun Metals and the bottom line I keep recalling is that lead and zinc come together and it's economically crazy not to process them together. I bet the north Asian pockets will twitch long and deep over the profits missed if they cannot extract their toxic tonnages. Spunky Marg would be for it too so long as the environmental checks say its OK. Hardly a comfort because we know how 'independent' consultants let alone politicised public servants aren't stupid about where their pay and future contracts come from. 'No doubt Mike is still worried about green votes leaking to, well, the Greens!

Orthodontially enhanced

Bracing up for Flinders Street

Tony Mooney might also worried about all the heavy metal going down on Flinders Street East. Just look at it all. If Flinders Street East can be likened to the welcoming smile of Townsville City it makes me wonder if our Tone hasn't developed an orthodontial bent by adding braces to Townsville's heritage pearly whites.

That seeping feeling

Could that be seeping sea water?

My head is swimming just thinking about it. And swimming we may be after I happened to notice, a week or so back during the high tides, that the yet-to-be-completed, underground carpark at our spanking new terminal seemed to be getting a little damp. From what I could see the concrete block walls that keep out the sea were looking decidedly moist and a puddle had formed in the exposed mud in the floor of the yet-to-be carpark. Hell's bells I'm no expert - I'm still quite pert actually - but isn't what salt does to steel reinforcing a bit like what Kryptonite did to the Man of Steel?
Senior Constable Phil Haupt last year receiving his Queensland Police Service Medal Award
Senior Constable Phil Haupt last year receiving his Queensland Police Service Medal Award
| Oct 22nd 2003
Farewell Phil
Senior Constable Phill Haupt is leaving our lovely shores for the outer-skirts of Townsville, to Deeragun. After five years of policing on the Island there just ain't enough excitement as Phil puts it "There's limited opportunities for policing on Maggie Island". Well Phil, if that means more crime to fight, I must say we Islanders like it like that! Phil's inviting his many Island pals and acquaintances (those he's nicked can shout first) to join him and his lovely lady for an Island send-off on Wednesday (29th October) at Fred's Bar and Grill at Picnic Bay. The drinkies and nibblies start at 6.30pm. Be there or be summonsed!
| May 4th 2003
Sea turtle rescue
A good news story from Rocky Bay. Peter Smith from the Adrenalin Jet Ski Tours was with a party who were waiting at the shark bait drum at Rocky Bay when they saw a huge turtle with the rope from the drum line looped around its neck. When Steve arrived he was able to grab the rope and carefully unwind it from the unfortunate reptile which had a shell of over 1 metre across. Peter couldn't see any visible injuries and thought the turtle had only just become entangled as it was full of life and tore off at a great rate when freed.
The accident scene on Horseshoe Bay hill
The accident scene on Horseshoe Bay hill
| May 3rd 2003
Holidays from road rules
I have to comment on the very unnecessary accident which occurred on the Horseshoe Bay Hill, not 300 metres from the spacious Radical Bay turn-off. A car had stopped on a narrow section of road to pick up some hitch hikers. With a bend not far back another car came up from behind and rear-ended straight into the back of the parked car. Very fortunately nobody was hurt but the attitude, especially among holiday makers, that Magnetic Island is a quiet little place where traffic is sparse and it's OK to walk casually along on the roads (another perpetual problem) and even stop cars for a lift on hills and other really dangerous and narrow locations, has to change or we will eventually witness something quite horrific.

A com-fit image of Trishs Chair
A com-fit image of Trishs Chair
| May 3rd 2003
Where's Trish's Chair?
If you are sitting down as you read this column it may be worth just checking what it is you are sitting on. Trish Hamilton of Nelly Bay relates a tale of a forgotten chair that needed repair. Her son Mal took it off to a friend, who does such things but she couldn't fix it. Now, it gets tricky. According to the fixer, Mal returned to collect the chair but apparently Mal couldn't remember where he then took it. So if anybody is sitting on or beside Trish's chair she'd love to hear from you as the rest of the dining suite are a bit sour about their missing mate. Know anything, Trish is waiting for your call on 47 785 754.
| Feb 1st 2003
Coconut chick chasing
"Cock-a-doodle-do," that's the call I hear from the Picnic Bay tip where a flock of roosters can now be found (see picture). I wonder who it was who dropped them off at their new and putrefying retirement village? Anyway, I hear they are making the most of it by marching over the hill to Coconuts to meet the chicks!

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