The Brisbane Line / 22.05.2011

I was surprised by an email from Martin Leet confirming that he had published my article on racism, over which we had had a sustained difference of opinion. I was willing to agree to differ and leave it at that, feeling that it would have been better for someone more knowledgeable than I to address the point which was behind my article; namely that Australia is a much more racist country than its self-image is willing to accept. A trait which I suspect is true of other liberal democracies.


Published in an amended form from the version below.

I am moved to write about racism because I am troubled by my feeling that Australia is a more racist country than its prevailing self-image is willing to concede. I am not claiming that Australia is a racist country in the way apartheid South Africa was, rather that I feel it is at best  mildly and at worst, moderately racist.  I should emphasise that I do not think Australia necessarily has a worse record than other comparable countries in this regard. My quarrel is with every country whose citizens kid themselves  on this issue, by claiming to… Read Complete Text


Other / 09.05.2011

I was unsuccessful in my grant application. Apparently applications for funding contributions to collections seem to require a Statement of Significance, but this was not made clear to us. I must say I was rather annoyed because we included a letter of support from the State Library of Queensland confirming their desire to include the videos in their heritage collections. The RADF letter appeared to indicate that provided the Statement of Significance passed muster we would be awarded a grant. The deadline for the next round is in September.



Film Diary / 28.04.2011

I returned to film the many species of fungi growing in a sizeable area of mulch in the park opposite my home, having previously filmed a very large species there 10 days ago. Because of the variety of species I was filming for a good two hours. Which may have been why I noticed a set of lower dentures lying in the mulch, not far from the only picnic table in the park. I was mildly intrigued by their presence but left them in situ.



Film Diary / 12.04.2011

Jaap showed me an insect cluster on a tree in a rainforest patch being given some love and attention by Land Care. I returned with my camera and filmed what looked more like worms than caterpillars, writhing on the tree. I thought of caterpillars because I had seen them clustering on bushes in Bellingen, New South Wales, years ago.

PS I was subsequently told that they were Sawfly larvae. Perhaps that is what I saw in Bellingen.



Film Diary / 18.03.2011

I have been filming the flange roots of Yellow carabeen trees lately, initially in Joalah and MacDonald National Parks, today in Palm Grove. The roots can reach to 8m high or they can extend for several metres from the trunk. I was retracing the path we took on a night shoot a few days ago. Some fungi on a tree caught my eye. On closer inspection the fungi contained an interesting bug which obligingly performed for the camera. I was just about to move on when I noticed a dark line above the fungi which turned out to be a smaller specimen of a spectacular flat worm I filmed in MacDonald NP on a night shoot six weeks ago. I was able to film this worm travel half way round the tree trunk and descend to its base. The worm is one of those intriguing species which have so far defied identification.


Other / 15.03.2011

Steve and I completed another 4 videos from the list of old Standard Definition footage for EOL via vimeo, bringing the total to 54, of which 27 have been uploaded since EOL started harvesting from vimeo. We also made all the older videos devoted to a single species, EOL harvestable.


Film Diary / 28.02.2011

Tonight was our 43rd night shoot. We have been maintaining a weekly night filming schedule since the start of the season in mid October. Because of a year or more of wet weather, the paths in the national parks have grown increasingly muddy. There was little doing until we were almost out of the Knoll on our way back, when we heard a rustling sound near the path. On examination it turned out to be an echidna jammed under a tree root. Conditions for filming were a bit cramped, but I managed to video the echidna backing out from under the root, steering itself to face in my direction and lumbering towards me blowing bubbles through its snout. It had only seemed like a few months ago that we saw what in all likelihood was this very echidna in more or less the same part of the park, but at the start of our shoot. Before I could set up the camera, it had hidden itself. What seemed a few months was in reality 1 ¼ years ago.


The Brisbane Line / 22.02.2011

Martin Leet emailed me the link to my first Brisbane Line article of 2011 about the decline of the West. It was written before the Arab spring, but appeared after the overthrow of the despotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and, inter alia, reflected my concern that the Arab people showed no sign of rising up against their rulers. You can read the article here.


Nothing lasts. Intellectually I knew that the centuries long global dominance of the west, which is the context for much of my life experience and from which I have derived immense benefit, was bound to decline. For decades I never imagined I would see it begin in my life time. Over the years, I recognised the record of capricious voting patterns on human rights issues in the UN as a tell-tale sign of a dent in western influence. At first glance, the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup with its dubious voting procedure and Qatar’s puzzling victory, could be regarded as a further instance. A fundamentalist led, revitalised Islam, presents a challenge, though not only to the west. But it is the… Read Complete Text


Other / 17.02.2011

The grant application was submitted today. We will be informed about the outcome in May.


Film Diary / 07.02.2011

I have been filming a camp of Grey-headed flying foxes, Australia’s largest bat with a 1m wingspan and weighing up to 1kg, in Joalah NP. Their noise and the stench of their urine are pervasive. Their impact on the rainforest vegetation is noticeable. Even when they are roosting in the tops of palm trees, they are a fair distance from the camera. I filmed numerous adults cloaking young under their wings. Today a drop of bat urine hit my eye. They say urine is sterile. I had long wanted to film flying foxes, thinking it would most likely be at night because I thought they only visited the Mountain for food. It was only recently that I heard about the camp in Joalah.