Tasmanian Devils on the mainland 2012


The escape of three Tasmanian devils from a private zoo near Pinjarra captured our imagination.

Tasmanian devils at Peel Zoo

The idea that they might start breeding was quickly squashed when we found out all three were males. However they were part of a breeding program designed to preserve the species, as a lethal facial cancer is decimating the wild population.

You can find my Inkwire story on the subject here.

Should the Tasmanian devil be re-introduced to mainland Australia, where it has been extinct for 7,000 years? University of Tasmania Devil specialist Dr Menna Jones says it could be done over the next few years, if the money and political will are there.

You can find my Science Network WA story here.

Grave victim wants more theft alerts 11/10/08

This is a 2008 story I did for POST newspapers about Karakatta Cemetery’s security.

Click on this image to read the story

Thieves were targeting visitors’ cars. Warning signage was very poor.

The story contains an interview with a Dunsborough woman whose car was rifled as she visited her grandmother’s grave with her children.

Magnificent four – Bindjareb Pinjarra October 1994

This was the first ever review of the play Bindjareb Pinjarra, which has since become a classic.

Bindjareb Pinjarra

Click on this image to read the story

Kelton Pell, Geoff Kelso, Trevor Parfitt and Phil Thomson first performed their interactive play at The Actors’ Centre in Northbridge, Perth.

Actor and stage manager Craig Williams says the play is opening in Adelaide this coming week, before touring regional South Australia.

“Kelton Pell’s back in the cast, which now consists of Sam Longley, Isaac Drandic, Nigel Wilkes, and myself,” he says. “Last year I stage managed a short season, which included Geoff Kelso and Phil Thomson from the original cast. (Phil and Geoff not available for this tour. Shorty Parfitt is sadly no longer with us.) The show has been continuing with various combinations of casts, and that loosely improvised script, for almost 20 years, touring all over Australia, and is still just as well received everywhere. Looking forward to being in the cast this time. If you’re in SA, hope you get to see it!”


Premier enthusiastic about science in WA 15/5/13

Premier Colin Barnett is raising the profile of science in WA by appointing himself Minister for Science.

Colin Barnett

In his new role he says he wishes to foster a culture of science, and to attract more funding for scientific research in his state.

He has announced a new science policy unit to be created within his Department of Premier and Cabinet.

You can read my article in Science Network WA or click below.

Continue reading

Inmates missing classes 24/4/2013


Major news outlets were quick to congratulate Lewis Abdullah, 19, on receiving the Western Australian Young Person of the Year award last month. He was so honoured for his work with young offenders at Banksia Hill juvenile detention facility.

What they neglected to mention is that Lewis had not been able to hold his classes since January, when Banksia Hill was damaged in a riot and all of the boys got transferred to Hakea, an adult prison.

From The Koori Mail Wednesday 24 April 2013

Click on this image to make it larger.






from Artseen May 2000

I have just found something I wrote in 2000, as part of a review of an exhibition by Albany artist Shaaron du Bignon:

“… much post-modern art becomes the willing tool of the mighty. To give one example, Rupert Murdoch was able to set up his Sky-TV channels using almost unlimited free material from MTV video makers. The fact that they borrowed heavily on performance art, itself a derivative of Dada, is rarely mentioned. Dada was all about deconstructing authority. Its grand daughter, MTV, has become an unwitting and foolish accessory to unmitigated power.”

I must have been an opinionated art critic! To read more go to Judith McGrath’s Artseen or click below.

Continue reading

Life changing learning April 2013


from Artsource April – June 2013

Pierre Capponi is eyeing off a stack of ornate pressed tin sheets that once lined a room in

Pierre Capponi

an old house. The century-old building material is the main sculptural medium he uses to create life-sized figurative works that evoke Goldfields ghost towns, rural rubbish tips and desiccated mammals you sometimes find on dusty outback roadsides.

In his early teens he migrated here from Marseilles with his family, and pressed tin features in his earliest Australian memories.

“We lived in Smith Street in Highgate,” he says. “My father was reading the racing form guide one morning and there was a shadow of him on the pressed tin wall. I always thought that was a beautiful moment. Continue reading

MP, cabinet minister … and singer 10/4/2013


from The Koori Mail

Ernie Bridge passed away late last month at age 76, suffering from asbestos-related diseases. He launched legal action in WA’s Supreme Court on 15 March for damages connected with the asbestosis and mesothelioma he contracted during his many visits to the former mining town of Wittenoom.

Mr Bridge was best known as a country and western singer and the WA parliament’s first Aboriginal member. He was also believed to be the first Aboriginal cabinet minister in any Australian government.

But as with all people, there was much more to the man. Continue reading

Digital technology resurrects ancient rock art 29 April 2013


from Science Network WA

Aboriginal artists have been painting Kimberley cave walls for tens of thousands of years.

Layer on layer, these ancient art sites can contain hundreds of images, some completely obscured by later paintings.

Cheap digital technology now allows archaeologists to peer below the layers and photograph what lies beneath the surface, while cutting-edge science makes it possible to accurately date them.

You can read more here and here.

The second story has now been republished in The Broome Advertiser on 13/06/2013.

From The Broome Advertiser 13 June 2013