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Monthly Archives: April 2013

AURUKUN MEMORIAL HONOURS CAPE YORK INDIGENOUS MILITARY SERVICE

AURUKUN MAYOR DEREK WALPO AND LINDA SIVYER WITH THE MEMORIAL PLAQUE

AURUKUN MAYOR DEREK WALPO AND LINDA SIVYER WITH THE MEMORIAL PLAQUE

Anzac Day services and commemorations will be held across far north Queensland tomorrow. Regular Anzac services have been held at Aurukun, on western Cape York Peninsula, for some time now – but this year they’re unveiling a memorial to indigenous men from the community who served in Australia’s defence during World War Two.

On September 13 1943, eleven men from the remote inidgenous community enlisted and joined the Torres Strait Light Infantry. An Australian Water Transport Group vessel had visited Aurukun, Weipa and Mapoon, specifically to recruit Aboriginal men. Many of those men had worked in the pearling lugger fleets that plied Torres Strait in those days. The military placed a high value on their knowledge of the remote Cape country & the challenging seas around Cape York.

Exact details of their military service are not known, but the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion played a vital role in protecting the maritime borders of far north Queensland and supporting the effort against Japanese forces in Papua New Guinea. It’s not well known that after Darwin, Horn Island, in the Torres Strait, was the second most attacked piece of Australian territory during WW2. In all, 870 men from Cape York & Torres Strait served with the Light Infantry.

The plaque lists the 11 men from Aurukun who joined up. They were:

Johnny Bandicootcha
Charlie Bob Ngakyunkwokka
Billy Buttons Woolla
Callum Woolla
Billy Comprabar

Johnnie Lac Lac Ampeybegan
Charlie Warnkoola
Billy Panjee Peinkyekka
Sandy Pootchemunka
Tommy Toikalkin
Frank Wolmby

The threat posed by Japanese forces to northern Australia back then was very real. The Royal Australian Air Force established a radar station at Wutan, at the Archer River mouth, in 1943. There were many stories told about a Japanese submarine attempting to get into the Archer River from the Gulf of Carpentaria. The western Cape then, as now, is sparsely populated, and military historians say Japan had considered the area as a place to get into Australia.

LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Linda Sivyer talk about the military service of the Aurukun men during World War 2.

Linda Sivyer works at Aurukun Shire Council and co-ordinates the Anzac Day ceremony at Aurukun. She’s lived there for 20 years and has extensively researched the history of the region.

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Anzac Day 2013 at Aurukun – photos by Melanie Shaddock – teacher at Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy – Aurukun Campus

 

AURUKUN MAP

 

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THE FIREFLIES – ROCKING FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND SINCE 1958

the-fireflies-in-the-day

There’s a rock & roll band playing at Atherton this Saturday night that must hold a music industry record for longevity. That band is The Fireflies – who played their first gig at Gordonvale, south of Cairns, in 1958. Rock & roll was brand new in Australia back then, and The Fireflies were a brand new band. So new that they only had two songs in their repertoire. They played those two tunes over and over, all night – but no-one seemed to mind. The Fireflies had the NOW sound – they went on to become one of far north Queensland’s best known & best loved bands.

The Fireflies were the first all-electric guitar band in Cairns. This was in a time before pubs & clubs offered live music. Bands put on dances at venues around Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands, as far south as Ingham. It was not unusual for The Fireflies to pull a crowd of 700 to their gigs. Their biggest crowd was 1700 at the Johnstone Shire Hall at Innisfail. And the band knew a lot more songs by then.

By the mid 60s, The Fireflies were a very big deal. They were regional winners three years in a row in Australia’s most prestigious rock band competition – Hoadley’s Battle of The Sounds. On the day Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon, The Fireflies were walking on air – having won the Battle of The Sounds regional final in Rockhampton. They went on to perform in front of 7500 people at the Queensland final in Brisbane, where a young bloke  called Johnny Farnham brought the house down with his new song – Sadie The Cleaning Lady.

The Fireflies toured throughout Queensland and northern NSW backing many famous artists of that era – Johnny O’Keefe, Normie Rowe, Ted Mulry, Dinah Lee, Lucky Starr, Frankie Davidson, Kahmal and more. They’ve kept playing through the years, and held a triumphant 50th anniversary concert in 2008 – when 900 people filled the Merrilands Hall at Atherton – another 650 had to be turned away.

Two original members of the band will be in the line-up at the Atherton International Club this Saturday night. One of them is drummer Tom DuffyLISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Tom talk about the Fireflies then and now.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2013 in arts & culture, Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, music

 

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PUNK AND NEW WAVE UNPLUGGED? TONY HILLIER’S WORLD OF MUSIC APRIL 19 2013

Last week, Tony Hillier shared some brilliant folk covers of rock and pop hit songs. This week we’re heading in the opposite direction, with punk and new wave songs re-worked in ways that bring out qualities that perhaps always lurked within the originals. We start with a band that has among its ranks a man who was a very visible face of punk music in his younger years.

The Bad Shepherds http://www.thebadshepherds.com/ formed about six years ago, when a man bought himself a mandolin after a boozy lunch. That man is Adrian Edmondson, best known in Australia for his role as the very punk Vyvyan in the early 80s TV show The Young Ones. Adrian listened to the Sex Pistols, The Clash & The Jam as a teenager, and often played their songs on his acoustic guitar. When he formed The Bad Shepherds with Troy Donockley & Andy Dinan, they took to re-interpreting some of that music and British audiences love the results.

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BAD SHEPSThe Bad Shepherds recently recorded an album, ‘Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera!’, which is out now – it was recorded ‘as live’ at the Blue Moon studios in Banbury. ‘Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera’ means ‘One, Two, Three, Four’ in an ancient Cumbrian dialect used almost exclusively by shepherds. Had the Ramones been Cumbrian shepherds, it’s what they would have shouted as the intro to every song.

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We also hear from June Tabor, who started singing in the bathroom after hearing an Anne Briggs EP in 1965. Legend has it she spent a couple of weeks locked in the family bathroom learning the songs note for note. June has no formal musical training, preferring the listen and learn approach. She has a unique and instantly JuneTmemorabe singing style that won audiences over from her earliest performances in the 1960s. June gave music away for a time to be a librarian and run a restaurant, but re-emerged in the 90s. http://www.brightfieldproductions.co.uk/tabor.htm

LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear this week’s episode of Tony Hillier’s World of Music

TRACK LIST

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight –     The Bad Shepherds (originally by The Jam)

Love Will Tear Us Apart  –                       June Tabor & Oyster Band (original by Joy Division)

The Model    –                                        The Bad Shepherds (originally by Kraftwerk)

TONY HILLIER CASTTony Hillier is one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. His informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine http://rhythms.com.au/ .

Tony Hillier’s World of Music is heard on ABC Far North at 4:45 most Friday afternoons. It’s also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, music, PODCASTS, Tony Hillier's World of Music

 

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CROYDON STATE SCHOOL KIDS RELEASE THEIR FIRST RECORD

Just after four o’clock this afternoon, the students of Croydon State School heard  their song on the radio for the first time. Croydon is in the Gulf Country, one of the last stops on the long road trip from Cairns to Karumba, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.

matmap

Students at the school have been working with the Muso Magic program this week to create and record a song that says something about their lives in one of Australia’s more remote communities. Muso Magic has made regular visits to far north Queensland in recent years, running workshops and music-making projects at local schools. They run programs for all ages, using the exercise of making a song to crate team spirit, and give people a chance to learn about themselves, about each other and how working together can be both challenging and immensely rewarding. Read more at http://www.musomagic.com/

CROY

ADAM THOMPSON

ADAM THOMPSON

Adam Thompson led the program at Croydon School this week. Adam is the lead singer of the Aussie Band Chocolate Starfish. The invitation to Croydon came from a chance meeting with the school principal a few months back. Adam says he’s enjoyed his week with the Croydon kids – who called their band The Chocolate Mob, a salute to Adam’s former band. He says  they’ve done a great job on their song The Best Is Back. LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Adam Thompson talk about Muso Magic and the project at Croydon State School.

The music industry is full of great stories about the first time a band hears its first song on the radio. I hope the kids at Croydon State School got an enormous kick out of hearing it on ABC Far North today. Hear it is – The Best Is Back. LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear the song.

Muso Magic is about to be seen on TV. It’s struck a deal with Imparja to broadcast an indigenous themed video hits show. More details at http://www.musomagic.com/introducing-outback-tracks-our-tv-show/

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Aboriginal, arts & culture, community, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, indigenous, music

 

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DENGUE FEVER IN BRISBANE? SYDNEY? ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO COULD SPREAD IT WELL BEYOND FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO - CARRIES DENGUE FEVER IN FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO – CARRIES DENGUE FEVER IN FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

You’ve got to look after yourself in the tropics, The climate that makes far north Queensland such an attractive place to live also makes it a great place for diseases and the creatures that carry them. Don’t worry – a few basic precautions will keep you safe – and we have world class experts researching and practising tropical medicine.

The main concern in FNQ these days is Dengue fever – a viral illness spread by mosquito bite. The disease is not endemic here, but one of the mosquitos that can carry it is present – Aedes Aegypti. Travellers arriving from Papua New Guinea or south-east Asia bring dengue back with them, the local mosquitos bite them and spread it around. This wet season we’ve had 112 cases of Dengue in the Cairns region. There’s no cure, but prevention is very effective – repellent and keeping your property clear of potential mosquito breeding sites are critical. Read more about dengue in tropical Queensland here http://www.health.qld.gov.au/dengue/

There’s some great work being done here to reduce the risk of dengue from the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, and a very effective program to keep its much more dangerous relative – Aedes Albopictus – out of Australia. But Federal funding for that is about to run out and scientists are worried about the health risks if it doesn’t continue.

THE ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO - AEDES ALBOPICTUS

THE ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO – AEDES ALBOPICTUS

Aedes Aegypti is a tropical mosquito – and so the Dengue risk is confined to north Queensland. But Aedes Albopictus – also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito – can survive outside the tropics, in the more temperate zones of southern Australia. This, according to the experts, means that the area in which you could be bitten by a Dengue-infected mosquito could extend to Brisbane, and well into New South Wales or Victoria in the future. And Albopictus can also carry a nasty tropical disease called Chikungunya.

Currently, the Tropical Public Health Service in Cairns runs an Asian Tiger mosquito control program in the Torres Strait.The mozzies used to be found in significant numbers on Thursday and Horn islands, but are now rarely seen there. But one was found recently on a ship in Cairns, and they’re routinely present in near neighbours Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. If they get established on the Australian mainland, they will spread, and scientists tell us that will require major new control strategies at local, state and federal level.

LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Professor Scott Ritchie of James Cook University Cairns and Dr Greg Devine of the Tropical Public Health Service Cairns talk about the current program and make the case for it to continue.

LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Scott & Greg talk about the current Dengue outbreaks in Cairns and some the programs to control the spread of the disease

Scott Ritchie is a member of the Aedes albopictus technical advisory committee and the National Arbovirus and Malaria Advisory Committee..

Greg Devine is Director of Medical Entomology with Tropical Public Health Services in Cairns.

DENGUE ZONES AROUND THE TROPICS

DENGUE ZONES AROUND THE TROPICS

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, health, tropical weather & climate, wildlife and animals

 

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CAIRNS STEEL BAND TRIUMPHANT AT AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL CONTEST

THE CAIRNS PAN STARS - CAME 2ND IN AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL STEEL BAND COMPETITION APRIL 2012

THE CAIRNS PAN STARS – CAME 2ND IN AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL STEEL BAND COMPETITION APRIL 2013

Congratulations and welcome home to the Cairns Pan Stars – who represented far north Queensland last weekend at Australia’s first steel band festival at Marysville, Victoria. http://www.ozpans.com/ Ten steel bands from Australia, NZ and Oman competed – and the Cairns Pan Stars took second place.

trinidad-steel-pan-drumSteel band music instantly conjures the Caribbean – and sounds very much home here in tropical FNQ. It’s played on the steel pan, a chromatically pitched percussion instrument that originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1900s. Steel pans were originally made from cut down oil barrels. You produce different notes by hitting areas of the pan surface with rubber-tipped sticks.

The steel band sound is a magical thing and The Cairns Pan Stars are clearly world class. Mel Miller and Elaine Crowther (on the left in the picture above) are delighted with their band’s achievement in Victoria. And they’re looking for new members. Look for The Cairns Pan Stars on Facebook for more info.

LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear Mel & Elaine from The Cairns Pan Stars

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in arts & culture, Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, music

 

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MELALEUCA TREES ARE IN FLOWER AS FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND SEASONS CHANGE

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If Vivaldi had lived in far north Queensland, he wouldn’t have called his best known work The Four Seasons. It would have been The Two Seasons. Wet and dry. It’s rarely what a southerner would call cold, and we don’t have autumn or spring. But there are subtle changes in the shift between the two ends of our climatic spectrum that led indigenous people to describe several other “seasons”.

Plants fruit or flower at different times up here, and some species might flower several times a year. Right now, we’re at the end of the wet season. The monsoon is gone, retreating back towards the equator. It’s a time when food for our wildlife should be abundant, but the critters would usually have endured some tough times during the wet with storms or cyclones. Not so this year. But at the end of the wet, bats, birds and insects get a treat – the melaleuca trees are flowering and that blossom is a tasty & nutritious treat.

The melaleuca leucadendra is a common sight around far north Queensland. It’s also known as the white paperbark – a large hardy tree that occurs all around Australia’s tropical north. It has dense thin leaves, and the bark comes off the trunk in large sheets – the bark protects the tree during fires. It produces sweet smelling white flowers – if you stand close to one in flower you’ll get a strong scent of someone cooking with honey. While you’re there, have a look at the variety of creatures that come to feast on melaleuca blossom.

LISTEN Click on the red arrow to hear ABC Far North Wildlife Correspondent Martin Cohen talk about melaleuca trees and the critters that feed on their flowers

2 martMartin Cohen has been ABC Far North wildlife correspondent since 2006. He is on the radio Wednesday afternoons at 4:45. You can read more about Martin at http://www.wildaboutaustralia.com/

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, environment, far north Queensland, tropical weather & climate, Wildlife Martin Cohen

 

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