Saturday, December 30, 2006

off to Rotto!

We're off to the island today.

Time for a few days of Rotto Blisso.

We'll try to stay out of the fetid water at the pub.

Time for reading recent issues of the TLS on the balcony of our premium view Geordie pad, eating and drinking, attempting to break the course record at Brett Heady's Family Fun Park, snorkelling under gin palaces, wetting a line, eating and drinking...

Rotto Bloggo will be back in the New Year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

the sea

Rottnest news: first, death.

The Herald Sun says a 41-year-old man was found floating in a bay around 3pm yesterday; ABC News says he was 47 and found at Thompson (sic) Bay. Both reported the death wasn't suspicious.

Second, fishing: new marine sanctuary zones will be enforced at Green Island, the West End and Armstrong Bay, while existing zones at Parker Point and Kingston Reef will be extended. This applies from July 1 next year.

The ABC says the Wilderness Society is disappointed. Rotto Bloggo can't see the opposite reaction from Recfishwest just yet.

"The sanctuaries are likely to provide for large 'trophy' size examples of several fish species, such as dhufish, that would be prized attractions for high-value tourism experiences like snorkelling and scuba", a boffin is quoted as saying in the Minister's media release.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

boat work

This could be worth looking into, if you've got a few weeks free until February...

'Boat person needed to live aboard a 30m luxury power yacht moored at Rottnest for the summer Dec - Feb. Boating experience necessary...'

The above link goes to the ad, which concludes: 'Boating experience is essential and high regards will be given to presentation and keenness. Excellent pay and conditions are offered in a superb environment.'

Sounds good to Rotto Bloggo. The closest we've ever got to them luxury tubs is snorkelling under them near Geordie.

Not long until we're on Rottnest: four glorious nights from Saturday. The only fly in the ointment: the Rottnest Island Authority hasn't sent the bumf yet. They say it's a busy time. No!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

beach bum

A Rotto Bloggo reader has been bold enough to provide this pic.

It's more than 30 years old.

No hat! No SPF30! Tight white shorts! No doubt kaftanned women were swooning at the sight of this hirsute hunk of man meat.

It's hard to believe that this fresh-faced youngster is now a leading troublemaker.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Rotto Bloggo was leafing through the incomparable All The News In A Flash: we were re-reading Mr W.E. (Bill) Weaver's account of the second submarine cable being laid.

It was 71 years ago today that this happened, according to Bill:

"Arrangements completed for handling spare cable. Pit dug 20 feet and timbered and floored adjacent to jetty at Woodman's Point. Spear legs erected over pit using 26 ft wrought iron poles and winch fixed in position on jetty."

They worked either side of Christmas Day. The cable was done by 12 February 1936. ATNIAF says 11,662 pounds 2s 8d "to purchase and lay the cable had been notified in the Commonwealth Gazette."

Friday, December 22, 2006

beach outrage

Someone should be sacked.

There's a report in the Sydney Morning Herald that just one Australian beach got the nod for a list of the world's sexiest beaches.

"Byron Bay was the sole Aussie beach to get a nod from Forbes Traveller, which compiled the list based on research by their own journalists, and other industry experts including tour planners, meteorologists, hotel owners and marine biologists," the SMH said.

FT gushed thus about BB: ""chalky-white sands, deliciously temperate weather and occasional visits from dolphins and migrating whales".

Its nudist beach was also highly regarded.

Someone's head must roll: why didn't one of Rotto's beaches make the list? They are far, far superior to any hippie-strewn bit of sand on the east coast.

Would it help if Rotto had a nude beach?

At least none of the Gold Coast's 42 beaches made the cut.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

'randy Rotto teens'

We can’t wait.

Rotto Bloggo will be moseying down to Pinky Beach on New Year’s Eve to see the action.

The action is liquored-up young people having sex.

According to last weekend’s Post, kids in Years 8 through 11 behave abominably on Rotto.

“…the worst of them behave like the worst of Year 12 school leavers – drinking, fighting, stealing and having sex…”, the Post reported.

“They crowd on to Pinky’s (sic) Beach every night, up to 200 boys and girls, many of them drunk when they get there.”

Top stuff. Rotto Bloggo hopes it’s happening Jan 31 – the Post said the imbibing/fisticuffs/robbing/boofing happened late last month.

The Post had a lovely front page photo of Pinky, with this stirring caption: ‘…idyllic by day, a boozy teen hotbed at night’.

What's this? A shirt torn off the torso of a randy teen at the start of a carnal frolic at Pinky, washed up on the beach the next day?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Try harder to go backwards

A regular Rotto Bloggo reader was flicking through pages of 'The Architect', the journal of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (WA Chapter) and was thrilled to see an architectural retrospective on the waterfront cottages on Thomson, Geordie and Longreach Bays.

Being an architectural journal, the writing (by Simon Anderson at UWA)
Is, of course, quite…er…analytical.

Let’s have a look at Simon’s work:

The cottages’ purpose “…was to provide affordable and sustainable holiday housing in both historically sensitive (in the case of Thompson Bay) and environmentally delicate (in the case of Geordie and Longreach Bays) location, and it is hard to argue that they have not been outstandingly successful in these respects.”

Quite right. No argument there, apart from having Thompson instead of Thomson.

They were built en masse, yet they deliver a level of spatial variety rarely achieved in large scale repetitive residential developments.”

Spatial variety? They have different dimensions, we think that means…

Anyway, as Prof Julius Sumner Miller would’ve asked: how is it so?

As houses, they are everything that houses are now not. They are indestructibly robust. They are very small but very well planned and very well sectioned for privacy and outdoor amenity. They do not have big front doors, and the front door enters the kitchen…they are generous if you want to eat, talk, sleep, read, go fishing or swimming, but do not offer much in the way of domestic ceremony.”

OK. Not sure how they let you go fishing or swimming, but we’ll let it go through. Much better is this next bit:

They let you live your life rather than ruling your life. They are successful because they look backwards to earlier times. Is not Perth always supposed to be behind the times? Maybe we should try harder to go backwards?”

And the crowd goes wild! Deafening ovation for Simon!

Then there’s a list of what they don’t do. These include: “They do not countenance the curvilinear, continuous form or the monumental. Instead the use a logic of discrete rectilinearity to respond to the infinite and infinitesimal particularities of place at both macro and micro scales.”

Hmm. We read this several times, tried to work it out with a pencil, set a small fire under it, and made it a martini. But we were no closer to comprehension. Our guess: the straight lines work well.

There’s some talk about how they look different form far away and up close, and then:

They are successful because of this fractional dimensionality (the term given to objects which exist differently at two or more scales of observation) and pixellated viscerality.”

Pixellated viscerality?

Too much for this simple blogger. But the main message you can take from Simon’s monograph is the cottages are first-class.

Will the cottages in the new Mt Herschel development be as good? Don’t bet on it.

A chair admires the discrete rectilinearity of Thomson Bay cottages.

Monday, December 11, 2006

That's ambitious

The Ashes bandwagon has moved to Perth: hordes of Australians - which include Rotto Bloggo - fully expect our glorious team to win back the urn by the end of the Test at the WACA.
If only an Australian Test cricketer had been born on Rotto! Kim Hughes was born in Margaret River, but no wearer of the baggy green took their first breath in a Rottnest bungalow.
Still, there is a link between the looming cricketfest and the wonderful island: The Australian reported on an English fan wandering the Perth streets with a sign that says: Will swap cricket tickets for Rottnest Island Ferry token.
Will he have any takers?

A seagull outside the bakery, before he heads off to the WACA to see Australia win back the Ashes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

east of Eden

Apologies for two weeks of no posts, but Rotto Bloggo has been in Melbourne.
Of course, there are Rotto connections to be found even in Bleak City.
Pink public transport tickets promote Ednafest and Barry Humphries' new show, Back With a Vengeance. It starts in Melbourne on 19 December.
BWaV has been on in Perth, and Rotto Bloggo saw it on Thursday night (taking care not to sit in a very front row).
The Rotto connection? Dame Edna described Perth as being East Rottnest - how right she is.
She also addressed the audience as quokkas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

required Rotto reading

One of Rotto Bloggo's regular readers, Old Salt, has sent us his hot tip for a must-take tome if you're on Rottnest.
Old Salt is a crusty type who is top-notch when it comes to matters maritime and piscine - this tip is gold...

'This is a picture of the cover of my favourite book of all time, The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of Western Australia – A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers by Barry Hutchins and Martin Thompson, published by the WA Museum.

'It's not actually a book about Rottnest, but is required reading if one dives at Rottnest.

'This book has been to Rottnest several times, invariably thrown into the bottom of a backpack with a load of snorkelling gear – as evidenced by its generally rugged and wrinkled appearance. It’s got sand between many of the pages, too. This is because I always reach for it as soon as I emerge from the water while the fish are still fresh in my mind so I can identify them.

'Why The Bazzmeister and Marty haven’t been nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature, I don’t know.'

The book is $16.45 - click the link to order (and check out the Museum's other books too). There are around 20 copies on Bookfinder - the most expensive is $191.09!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More Rotto images for sale

Further to the post about Chris Barry's marvellous Rotto images...
Rotto Bloggo spotted an image of the island near a cafe toilet this week.
Ben Tessler's photo of the Bathurst lighthouse is for sale: we saw it in the Wild Fig Cafe, in Scarborough.
Like Chris' photos, this would be a great Xmas present: a snip at $350...
No sign of Ben Tessler on the www, but the WFC says you can buy it direct from them.
*Phone snap does no justice to actual photo. Why is the water crooked but the lighthouse straight?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Rampaging kids!


Are they the modern Australian equivalent of Vikings (scrofulous Vikings at that), or just kids having largely harmless fun before they start working for The Man?
And the parents are just as bad! ‘Booze-supplying parents irk police’, was one recent headline.
In fact, police are “dismayed”…“fearing”…“frustrated”…and “worried”.
(Stop me now – I’m starting to sound like Not The West [which is gone but not forgotten].)
Anyway – a Rotto Bloggo reader has written to share his schoolie sojourn on the island of nearly a quarter of a century ago.
This man is now a highly respectable, Rivers-wearing, P&C-involved, tea-drinking public servant and the head of a nuclear family unit.
The moral of the story? Plus ca change…

‘With 'schoolies week' now under way I thought would reminisce about my own end-of-school trip to Rottnest at the end of Year 12, which in my case was in 1982.

‘Today, kids who've just completed school can't get onto the island without booked accommodation. There are activities to keep everyone occupied, and extra police are sent over to keep an eye on things.

‘In 1982, the procedure was as follows:

‘1. Pack. One t-shirt, one pair shorts, boardies, beach towel.

‘2. Ask father to drive you to the East Street Jetty. Spend car trip evading questions like "so where will you be staying over there?"

‘3. Arrive at East Street Jetty and buy ferry ticket. Usually 10 minutes before ferry due to depart. Throw bag into luggage cage to leave both hands free for drinking on the ferry (one hand for the middy, the other to hang on if it gets rough).

‘4. Board ferry. Track down schoolmates. Work out where the hell we're gonna stay over there. Realise nobody's got anywhere to stay.

‘5. Travel to Rottnest.

‘6. Disembark. Collect luggage.

‘7. Go to pub.

‘8. Get drunk.

‘9. Hear that a guy from school's got a mate who's got a mate who's got a girlfriend who's cousin's got a bungalow with space in the sleepout. On the floor.

'10. Depart pub at closing time, make way (as fairly disparate group) to aforementioned bungalow. Collapse on floor.

'11. Wake up next morning to find we crashed out in the wrong bungalow.'

Pic is of the condom machine in the toilet at the pub, which was out of order last time Rotto Bloggo checked it out. Do you think it would've been fixed for Schoolies?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"12,500 miles to Rottnest"

Forgive the dearth of postings in the last few days, but Rotto Bloggo has been in mourning for Paul Rigby.
As the obit in The Australian reported (see link above), Rigby "...won Walkleys in 1960, 61, 63, 66 and 69. Back in those days, there were editors in Australia who thought if a cartoonist didn't draw like Rigby, then they couldn't draw cartoons".
It's been estimated Rigby drew 15,000 cartoons in his 50-year career.
Of course, a few touched on, depicted, or mentioned Rottnest.
And who can forget the booklet he did with Kirwan Ward - Rottnest Island Sketchbook? It's rare, but it's a must for any Rotto bibliophile.
Here's a detail from a 1983 Rigby cartoon that mentioned Rotto: the 12,500 miles to Rotto sign indicates the cartoon was about rhe battle for the America's Cup being waged in New York.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Superb Rotto images

It's tough, deciding what to get the Rotto aficianado in your life for Christmas.
Here's some help: why not present them with a wonderful Rotto image from award-winning photographer Chris Barry?
Chris is the resident ophthalmic photographer at the Lions Eye Institute in Nedlands.
He's won stacks of awards for his images of the eye and the many things that can go wrong with it.
For the last three years Chris has been the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year for Science and Nature.
All up he's won more than 20 APP awards.
But he's just as well-known for his brilliant outdoor shots as well, especially in WA's north-west.
Check out his website (link above) to have a squizz at his four Rotto images (Parker Point, The Basin, Thomson Bay, and Longreach Bay.

Image copyright Chris Barry

Monday, November 13, 2006

More air

More air details, following yesterday's plane crash on Rotto...
We went to the incomparable All The News In A Flash (see the Flash book post) to see what we could learn about Rotto and planes.
"Somerville records that the first aeroplane landed at Rottnest in January 1930," ATNIAF says.
"He goes on to say about night flights: 'However, Captain Baker and later Mr V James made a number of night flights using landing flares which consiusted of kerosene rags in open containers'.
"Did these people realise they were lighting the first kerosene flares as signals from the island since the City of York wreck in 1899?"
ATNIAF notes 1968 was the last MMA flight to Rotto, then a light plane service started.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"An island"

Some hilarious reporting from ABC News today: “Two people have been freed from a light plane which crashed on an island off the coast of Perth”.
An island! Isn’t that like saying planes have crashed into buildings in an American city?
Anyway…ABC says six pax were on the plane, police are investigating; Perth Now says the pax were lucky, the plane came down on a salt lake.
No word on type of plane (Beechcraft? Piper? Cessna?).
But we can reveal the pranged plane is a Partenavia P68B – they’re made in Italia and have fixed undercarriages. The plane was made in 1978. Partenavias are widely used around the world.
The flight was a charter by The Aeroplane Company, based at Jandakot.
A source tells Rotto Bloggo it’s the worst-ever air incident on Rotto.
Of course, as any fule kno, Rotto was serviced by commercial twin-engine aircraft for many years until the ferries became much faster.
* Pax = airline industry argot for passengers

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Rotto cards

Rotto Bloggo was at the Subiaco Craft Fair last Sunday, on the prowl for Rottnest-related stuff.
We found some cards ($3.50 each) by Caroline Marinovich, who does "Paintings - Perth Scenes Portraits Still Lives".
Shown is 'Rottnest tavern'; she also has a nice one of the trees providing dappled shade on Somerville Drive, looking towards the tea rooms.
If these are just the thing that bake your cake for this year's Christmas cards, contact Caroline on 9364 2867 or
(Would you believe that the Fair didn't have any soy or decaff coffee options?
We were deep in the western suburbs - but no soy or decaff?
It was an outrage).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In the air

Another view of Rotto from on high.
A Rotto Blogger reader saw yesterday's post and sent this pic of the wonderful island.
It was taken from a corporate jet at about 10,000 feet.
Yesterday's shot from the SAA jet was taken as the plane was heading east, towards the airport - today's pic is a view of the island as the plane heads west, before it turned north.
In The Kingdom By The Sea, Paul Theroux described Britain as looking like a witch riding a pig.
From this angle, what shape does Rotto resemble?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's a must

Another gorgeous Rotto image from Flickr.
This was taken a month ago, but it could be what the island looks like today.
The photo was taken from a South African Airways plane by Flickr user aussieroonie.
"A must for anyone coming to visit", aussieroonie notes about Rotto.
No argument there.
Some photos we've seen of Rottnest show how shallow the water is between the island and the mainland, and how the first inhabitants of WA could have walked to it from the mainland before it was cut off.
Rotto Bloggo will try and find one to post.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Not for Rotto

Scooters on Rotto?
Methinks it's a bad idea.
Rottnest is for ambling, or pedalling - not for zooming.
In today's STM there's a feature on things that aren't too bad for the environment, including an electric scooter from Perth company EMC.
"There's almost no noise to them - they're a real buzz," a company dude says.
He hopes they will soon be used on Rotto.
I don't think so!
Too fast, too noisy, not Rotto, no way.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Flash book

Rotto Bloggo knows what the best Rottnest book is.
But the second-best? It's a question that has dogged the finest minds and caused controversy.
Rotto Bloggo has reached a decision, however.
The second-best book ever on or about the island is All The News in a Flash.
The author is John Moynihan, and it was published in 1988.
Put simply, the book is a wonder. It documents communications between Rotto and the mainland from 1829 to 150 years later.
Flags, fire, boats and the heliograph were used before the first underwater phone cable was laid in 1900.
John's book is endlessly interesting, with many fascinating asides and incidental details about the island and people who have been on it.
And John is still with us: he retired in 1992, but spoke to Rotto Bloggo today.
He said when ATNIAF was published, some people said it was quite good up to 1935, but after that wasn't so good.
Rubbish! The book is good all the way through.
As John pointed out, up to 1935 communication was mainly about people - after 1935 it was mainly about technology.
We picked up our copy of John's book from an Elizabeth's for $12.
That was a tremendous bargain, considering how over-priced Elizabeth's can be, and what copies go for on Bookfinder: today the cheapest copy is $37.84.
Hopefully we'll run a few stories from ATNIAF on this blog in future.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Venus rising...

Another stellar (sorry) Rotto photo on Flickr.
This is Venus over Rottnest, from Flickr user Goss.
It was snapped 20 minutes after sunset, in Cottesloe, looking out to the island.
Goss took the photo in September last year.
As the Bangles sing: "The summit of beauty and love/And Venus was her name".

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"We want piss!"

A blast from the past: Rotto Bloggo was reminiscing with someone who told us about 6PM Radio Rotto days…
(For the younger, foreign and/or uninitiated, 6PM was a hot commercial AM radio station in Perth in the 1980s).
The station would broadcast from Rotto on Australia Day long weekends - Rotto Bloggo’s pal takes up the story…
“E even if the 26th of January fell on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday back then, we'd go to work on the 26th and there'd still be a Monday holiday…
“All the stars were on the island for 6PM Radio Rotto: Lionel ‘Yorkie’ Yorke, Gary Shannon, Baby John Burgess. It was huge. Loads of people used to get on the ferry, charge across to Rotto and get blotto…
“Accommodation wasn't checked back in those days: if you had nothing booked, you'd get on the ferry, head over and pretty much sleep wherever you fell over. If that was in the sleepout in someone's bungalow... luxury!
“The Rottnest ferries would do several extra runs on a Friday night - all packed with people, so there were invariably far more people coming onto the island than there were beds (of course everything's closely monitored these days so this couldn't happen today).
“Of course there was a bit of drinking. This was back in the days when pubs could only open at about 3pm on a Sunday…by the time three o’clock was approaching, the crowd was restless.
“They’d start queuing at the entrance to the Quokka Arms, and chant ‘WE WANT PISS! WE WANT PISS!’
“I was at Bathurst Point one time when the pub gates opened at three: I could tell it was three, because you heard this almighty cheer as the drunken throng stampeded into the pub to drink even more booze.”
Happy days. All gone now. Enjoy your Johnny Walker responsibly and all that.

Do you think the 6PM throng were big Kosovich fans?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Oil rig for Rotto waters

Rotto Bloggo had our feelance hat on yesterday, doping out the story of oil near Rottnest.
The result is in today's edition of the Post - a fine paper...

A Melbourne energy company is optimistic about finding commercial quantities of oil near Rottnest Island, off Perth, and hopes to drill an exploratory well as soon as next year.
Nexus Energy, an ASX-listed company, says there are potential reservoirs of at least 200 million barrels of oil in the Rottnest trough, in its Vlaming Sub Basin permit.
If exploration goes well and the oil is there, production will begin in two to three years.
Company managing director Ian Tchacos said the permit area covers more than 1800 sq km.
“The area we’re going to be drilling in is about 15km from Rottnest and the same from the shoreline,” Mr Tchacos said. “Obviously you’ll notice a rig and a drilling ship there, because it’ll look different to ships that are anchored. But we were shooting seismic surveys for a month and no-one noticed.”
Nexus did its seismic surveys in August, when it thought there would be minimal whale movement off the Perth/Rottnest area.
“But we sighted lots of whales: we had a spotter plane up there and we were continually shutting down our seismic program to enable us to shoot it without disturbing the whales,” Mr Tchacos said.
There would be no impact on tourism, and little risk of pollution. An oil rig off Rottnest and the coast would pose less of a threat to the environment than oil tankers going in and out of Kwinana.
“I’ve got a boat myself and I’m a diver,” Mr Tchacos said.
“I believe the oil industry is so advanced you can do this sort of thing responsibly. New-generation oil developments mean you can do a lot of this sub-sea – you don’t need to do anything above the surface.
“All the ingredients for a significant field are there: it is under-explored.”
There would be “at leats another couple” of exploratory wells before any production begins.
Mr Tchacos said it was too early to say to whom the oil would be sold.
“You wouldn’t know until you’ve made the discovery and you know the product you have,” he said.
“But we’re optimistic: the shortage of light crude oil in the region will be good for us.”
Nexus would work with recreational and commercial fishers, as well as whale-watching firms, during further approval stages.
Rottnest is WA’s most-visited tourist destination, with half a million people setting foot on the island last financial year.
The WA Department for Industry and Resources confirmed Nexus was granted its permit to explore for oil and gas last year.
“There is a commitment to drill a well…by July 2008,” a Department spokesman said.
The spokesman said chances of an oil spill or other environmental damage are “extremely remote”.
“All field activities have to be approved by DoIR before they are conducted and must meet stringent health, safety and environmental standards.
“Field activities are conducted after consultation with relevant parties that might be affected.”
The Rottnest Society said the idea of an oil rig off the island was “alarming”.
“Oh dear,” said the Society’s Sue Folks, when told by The Post about the exploration.
“I can’t imagine people being very happy with drilling in sight of the coast.
“I’ve seen Barrow Island, and I know what that looks like.
“There’s always risk in drilling for oil.”
Chris Burton from Western Whale Research was on the Nexus boat when it was doing its seismic surveys.
He said it was an opportunity for whale researchers to get information about humpbacks they wouldn’t otherwise obtain.
“Nexus abided by the guidelines for seismic shooting: if whales got too close they shut the shooting down.
“I don’t think an oil well would be that invasive for whales: the noise impact from drilling would be less than that from seismic surveys.
Humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic up the WA coast to the Kimberley.
Mr Burton said there had been an increase in humpback numbers off the coast of WA’s north despite the offshore activity of the state’s booming oil and gas industry.Last month the WA Government said petroleum was the state’s largest resource sector, and had jumped by 23 per cent in the last financial year. Mineral and petroleum sales from WA reached more than $43 billion in 2005-06.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How convenience!

"Explore everyone's geotagged photos on a Map."
So says Flickr about its Map feature (see the link above).
A very handy and convenient way of finding Rottnest photos on Flickr. Just want pics of The Basin? Just click and you're there. Quicker than having to use Flickr's search function.
(Wikipedia: Flickr is a photo sharing website and web services suite, and an online community platform, which is generally considered an example of a Web 2.0 application.)
But it's still worthwhile browsing, as not everyone's geotagged their photos.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rotto ferry saves man

Drama and tragedy off Rottnest yesterday morning...
The West Australian: 'One man drowned and his fishing mate drifted for hours in rough seas before being rescued by the crew of a passing Rottnest ferry after a boat trip off Perth went horribly wrong.'
The men's five-metre boat was swamped at about 7.30am south of Rotto, near Stragglers Reef, about halfway between the island and Fremantle.
The Australian: 'WA Police Sergeant Graham Clifford said the deceased man's companion was spotted three hours later clinging to the upturned boat.'
The rescued man, 60-year-old Joe Favazzo from Coogee, spent last night in Freo Hospital.
This morning ABC Radio News reported he was released from hospital after being treated for hypothermia and trauma.
The West's report today said ferry engineer Craig Marshall jumped off the Star Flyte and rescued Mr Favazzo.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bungalow business

A barrage of figures from the State Government today as it announces Rotto upgrades (‘Rotto revamp well ahead of schedule’).
Of Rotto’s 308 accommodation units, 202 have now been upgraded or refurbished…$5.1million has been spent on refurbishing and furnishing the 14 bungalows, 50 units and villas in Bathurst and six heritage cottages in the Central Thomson area.
"Perhaps the most impressive result of the 17-week, $7.5million winter works program is the transformation of the island's landmark, heritage bungalows,” Tourism Minister Sheila McHale says in her media release."These 14 bungalows were built in the 1920s and were showing their age, but with the upgrades, they are now excellent self-contained family accommodation units.”
(But there were no pics of the new toilet blocks – see Rotto Bloggo’s August 30 post ‘Exclusive pics!!!’ for the snapshots).
How much do the bungalows cost now?
"We have been able to keep these at the lower end of the price bracket, with a week's rental still being very reasonable at $221 per week in low season and $345 for a family of four for a week, in the peak season,” the Minister says.The new stuff is too late for one Rodney Bolt, of the Daily Telegraph in London: Rodney had a story in the DT this week about the delights of Perth, and the even better things west of Freo…
‘And I took a day trip to Rottnest Island…the day was spent cycling around the island, discovering sparkling bays, snorkelling in quiet coves - and eavesdropping on an American couple cooing over a quokka: "Isn't it cute! It's one of those kumquat things. What are they called again?" "Combats."’

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rotto beaches are best

We didn’t need to be told, but it’s nice having it confirmed.
Rotto’s Basin beaches are the best in Australia.
Says who? The ‘Explore Australia’ travel guide.
Who are they? Rotto Bloggo isn’t quite sure – but we saw their name in a whining article from the Sunshine Coast Daily.
“It’s a quokka shocker!” howled the Daily.
“West Australian beaches that are the preserve of rat-like creatures have been rated superior to the Sunshine Coast’s people-friendly golden strips…
“That is despite the fact that the place is best known for its strange inhabitants called quokkas which look like a cross between a wallaby and a stuffed rodent.”
(A bit rich coming from a place best known for tacky high-rise eyesores).
“So what if all the picture-postcard shots on the web show Rottnest with azure-blue water and pristine white beaches – those quokkas must have bodily functions…”
(Right. And the multitudes that throng Queensland beaches never pee in the water).
“According to Redlands family, the Samuels, Coolum is about as good as it gets with mum Jo reckoning First Bay was absolutely priceless. They have a holiday home there and rate the Sunshine Coast as magnificent..."
(So, Jo Samuels is being set up to proclaim a Qld beach is better than anything she’s seen on Rotto…)
“It doesn’t get better than this,” Jo said, though she is yet to discover the quokka-chocker Rottnest,” the Daily said.
Ha! This Queensland paper couldn’t find anyone who could put their hand on their heart and say their beach is better than Rotto’s Basin.
Ha ha ha ha ha!
Rotto rules. Rottnest is the best. We all know it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Too good for the poolroom

Art and Rotto are inextricable.
This year, at Brett Heady’s Family Fun Centre, Rotto Bloggo looked like ‘The Scream’ when he lost a game of mini-golf.
He evokes Rodin’s famous image ‘The Thinker’ when taking 15 minutes over a Scrabble decision.
And our fishing exploits on the rocks recall Winslow Homer’s finest work.
The art connection continues: two Perth artists are having an exhibition on the island next month.
Maree Mack does the paintings while Michele Petrie handles the sculpture.
As reported in the fabulous Western Suburbs Weekly, the exhibition (called Treasured Island) will be on display at the Salt Store Gallery and Exhibition Space in Thompson Bay from October 7 to 15.
Photo of the photo (taken by the brilliant Andrew Ritchie) in the WSW shows a Mack painting.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Big native title news this week.
The Federal Court ruled WA's Noongar people are the traditional owners of around 20,000 sq km of WA, including the metropolitan area.
Some early reports had the claim area stretching from Hopetoun in the south to north of Jurien Bay - and including Rottnest Island.
Other more recent accounts say Rotto is excluded - "although Rottnest Island has been excluded from the claim", ABC Radio reported on Tuesday.
The original claim did include Rottnest, but as the SMH reported on Wednesday:
"...judge Murray Wilcox said yesterday that the Noongar people were the traditional owners of the whole claim area, excluding offshore islands such as Rottnest, and their society had been maintained since European settlement in 1829".
"Justice Wilcox found Noongar people would not have had access to these places before the arrival of Europeans, as historical evidence showed Noongar people did not use boats in 1829", a Perth paper reported.
Flag image copyright Christopher Vance

Sunday, September 17, 2006

There's money in eating

It's a dream job.
Well, any job that means you can live on Rottnest is pretty good.
But add 100,000 large and it's Fantasy Island!
Rotto Bloggo only noticed this ad on and a couple of other places a few days ago:
'Our client, The Rottnest General Store, has a rare and exciting opportunity for an experienced Retail Manager to manage the operations and performance of this multi-million dollar business which employs up to 60 staff in peak periods'.
(Multi-million is right: the Store's owner bought a unit in the Raffles tower).
'Experience within the supermarket is not essential, as we are considering applicants from all retail areas. The owner of the business is prepared to provide supermarket training to the successful applicant. The successful applicant will have significant retail management experience and will have high standards of store presentation, customer service, leadership skills and staff management'.
'The position includes the responsibility of the majority of the purchasing for the store, therefore knowledge of GP’s and retail financials are essential'.
(What are GPs? General products?)
The package for this plum job is $100,000.
If Rotto Bloggo didn't love freelance journalism so much we would have applied already.
The money is enough to keep you in bananas all year round.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Tie them up like dogs"

An obituary of prominent Aboriginal artist Hector Jandany in The Australian yesterday had this:
‘During his childhood at the Turkey Creek police station, Jandany used to take food and water to the lines of Aborigines brought in chains on the way to Wyndham and then Rottnest Island. “They would bring them to the tree and tie them up like dogs,” he once said.’
We’re not sure how the timing works – Jandany was born in 1927, and Rotto was a place of imprisonment until 1903 – but it’s a timely reminder of the island’s dark past.
According to the RIA website Rotto was an Aboriginal prison from 1838 to 1849, and again from 1855 to 1903.
The RIA says there are 17 sites on the island listed under the Aboriginal Heritage Act.
Wikipedia has this:
‘Upon the establishment of the British colony in nearby Perth, ten Aboriginal prisoners were sent to Rottnest Island in August 1838. The Colonial Secretary announced in June 1839 that the island would become a penal establishment for Aboriginal people, and between 1838 and 1931, Rottnest Island was used as an Aboriginal prison to “pacify” “local natives”.
‘In “pacifying” an Aboriginal population, men were rounded up and chained for offences ranging from spearing livestock, burning the bush or digging vegetables on what had been their own land.
‘It has been estimated that there may be as many as 369 Aboriginal graves on the island. Except for a short period between 1849 and 1855 during which the prison was closed, some 3700 Aboriginal men and boys, from all parts of the state, were imprisoned.’
Another site, Creative Spirits (see link below), lists some of the significant Aboriginal sites.
It also has this:
‘Originally Aboriginal people were imprisoned in the Round House in Fremantle. When this jail became too small during the 1830s a new location was sought. Rottnest Island was thought suitable because it was separated from the mainland which made escapes not easy.
‘Beginning in 1838, Aboriginal prisoners were sent to Rottnest Island and “assisted” (Round House leaflet vocabulary) in the building of a prison complex. In fact, most of the historical buildings on Wadjemup which you see today have been built by Aboriginal labour. The impressive sea wall alone, which you see upon your arrival, took them three to eight years to complete (sources vary).
‘Before a woman set foot on Rottnest Island she had to do a smoking ceremony which is linked to the many men who died on this island. However, details cannot be provided as this is women’s business and you might be a male reader.
‘Men of many different tribes had been brought to Rottnest Island prison which resulted in tensions. But many died simply because they were parted from their land, which has a much, much higher significance to Aboriginal people than to whitefellas. The prison, built by Aboriginal labour, was so overcrowded at times that prisoners who were far from the openings through which guards handed the meals, starved.’

Hector Jandany obituary:,20867,20413429-16947,00.html
Creativespirits site:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The tree that won't die...

Earlier this year we took a photo of this plant that was growing from the eastern side wall of Dome.
Except it isn’t a plant: it’s a branch of a huge bay fig tree.
The tree is under the Dome building and bursting out.
So the existing Dome building is going to be demolished, and rebuilt some metres back.
The RIA says it will be more aesthetically suitable as the new building won’t dominate the frontage of Thomson Bay.
Dome’s lease expires in November, but will be extended until sometime next year.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

'Gone to Rottnest'

Rottnest author tells all!
Another Rotto book (hopefully you've read Rottnest Island, A Documentary History - see link on right) is Trea Wiltshire's Gone to Rottnest.
Trea's tome was published in 2004 and, according to the publisher, would "raise awareness of a fragile environment and the challenges it faces, and strengthen the cause of those who work to preserve a unique island that has always been valued for its relaxed atmosphere and unspoiled simplicity".
How are sales going?
"I am not getting rich but sales are steady," Trea tells Rotto Bloggo.
"Writing the book (over many spring visits with kids who are now grown-up and gone) was a labour of love.
"Having visited many islands in my travels, it stands alone for rewarding me with an amazing sense of peace. Probably because you arriving sort of knowing what you'll be doing - swimming, reading (and I remember so well the books I read there!), cycling, fishing - and relaxing. "Something we don't do well in the 21st century."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Only a few months to go before we know more about the new development on Rotto...
In July last year, when Rotto Bloggo was wearing its Prestige Property hat for The Sunday Times, Rottnest Island Authority chairman Laurie O'Meara said: "Consideration is being given to the construction of additional accommodation in the tarmac area adjacent to the wind turbine" (ie Mt Herschel).
In the RIA's 2004-05 annual report in August, Mr O'Meara said "...the ongoing financial viability of Rottnest Island depends upon taking a more commercial approach to the Island’s management...
"...the community of Western Australia feels a strong ownership of the Island. They want to continue to offer their children the relaxing holidays they experienced but they also rightly expect the Island’s facilities to be upgraded and new products and services made available that keep pace with similar destinations".
In November The State Government announced a four-hectare site on Mt Herschel had been chosen "for a three to four star facility with more than 100 rooms...(the) development will be low impact and all existing trees will be maintained", reported ABC Radio.
Earlier this year the Rottnest Island Authority released a brochure calling for expressions of interest in a "Unique Tourism Opportunity":
"The opportunity comprises approximately 4 hectares and is available on a long term lease tenure...
"...this development opportunity will be the only significant opportunity on Rottnest Island of its type for the forseeable future".
The place is Mt Herschel, which overlooks Longreach Bay. The brochure said the development " part of a wider rehabilitation and revegetation of the Mt Herschel area".
The brochure said it would be approximately 120 rooms - although the latest figure Rotto Bloggo hears is around 140 rooms.
What's the timeline?
Expressions of interest closed on 28 July.
Last month shortlisted applicants were invited to submit a Request for Proposal.
In November the RfP will close.
In December, the developer will be chosen.
It's alphabet soup: those involved in the development include the RIA, Tourism WA, and LandCorp. The development is Landbank project (Rotto Bloggo's note to self: must learn more about LandBank).
Even though we don't know who the developer will be, or seen the designs, what do you think?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moody Pinky

Another great Rotto photo on Flickr: this one's from Thomas Wozniak, of Perth.
This brilliant view of Bathurst lighthouse, looking east on Pinky Beach, was taken with a Nikon D70.
Check out Thomas' other Rotto photos on Flickr: bays, quokkas, and a nice pic of the Perth lights from Rotto.

Monday, September 04, 2006

On song?

Rotto Bloggo's US spies tell us track 11 on Wilco's new album is called...Rottnest.
(Wilco, of course, are Chicago roots-rockers, and include Jeff Tweedy and Greg Kot).
We're told Wilco are set to release a 160-page book which will include a CD with "previously unreleased material".
Frankly, this sounds too good to be true.
We've directed our US spies to find out more, and verify if the Quokka Arms/Brett Heady's Family Fun Park/Wadjemup lighthouse has really been immortalised in song.
Looking out from a Thomson Bay bungalow

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A night in August

Did you complete your census form last month?
Rotto Blotto has put a query in to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, asking how many people were on the island during census night (8 August).
While we're waiting, let's have a look at the 2001 census data for Rotto...
People on Rotto: 475 (241 males, 234 females).
There were 388 people aged 15 and over, and 37 over 65.
There were three Aboriginal women on the island.
There were 336 Australian-born people, and 78 born overseas (we know that doesn't add up to 475: the ABS says the born overseas question had answers that included "inadequately described", "at sea", and "not elsewhere classified").
It was a monolingual crowd: 396 only spoke English.
Australian citizens? 387.
There were 21 overseas visitors.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dockers on Rotto

Naturally, in the last frenzied weeks of the footy season, there's a Rotto factor.
The Age reports today that an under-17 Victorian team, Doncaster Heights, has left for WA to play a team here " a curtain-raiser to the Dockers' Saturday night match against Port Adelaide".
"The under-17 team's trip to Perth will include a tour of Rottnest Island, where there will be a guest-speaking appearance from Dockers captain Peter Bell, a team meeting led by Fremantle coach Chris Connolly, a barbecue with Dockers players and a rehabilitation session at Fremantle Football Club after the match", The Age says.
Peter 'Ding Dong' Bell on Rotto! All the stars spend time on the island.
Many West Australians (right-thinking ones, at least) believe Rotto could play a small but significant role in the Dockers' footy premiership this year.
Photo of Fish Hook Bay (c) Tourism Commission WA

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Exclusive pics!!!

Today Rotto Bloggo brings you the first pics of the new Thomson Bay bungalow ablution blocks. Yes, it's exciting stuff.
Before, if you were in a bungalow you had to schlep to the communal block to do your #1s or #2s, while the in-house showers were - how shall we put it? - spartan.
But no more.
The new shitters (sorry, we've just seen the film 'Kenny') are part of the RIA's renovation of all accommodation on Rotto.
The observant among you will have noticed that bungalow#330 had its own outdoor toilet for a while. Now all bungalows will have a separate loo/shower/sink. They'll be fenced and undercover. They'll also have their own paved front forecourts.
Take a look at these selected pics, taken today.
* Rotto Bloggo travelled to the island thanks to the Rottnest Island Authority - they paid for the $56 ferry ticket.

Will you be on one of these soon?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quokka curiosity

Here's another nice recent Flickr photo: it made Rotto Bloggo quite nostalgic for the beautiful island.
The pic was taken three-and-a-half years ago, but codify Flickr'd it earlier this month.
"It was pretty cool to be greeted by a quokka when we arrived at our villa," she tells Rotto Bloggo.
"I also met a mommy quokka with a joey, just a foot away. The joey was being very curious and turned around in the pouch, popping his head out, giving us quite the show. Of course, I didn't have my camera on me at the time.
"Later on, we walked down the same path and saw the mommy a few more times, but I never got a good opportunity to capture her and her joey."
Codify has some other good Rotto pics, including a striking image of a rainbow over Thomson Bay, and asbestos being removed from a cottage.
Image copyright codify

Monday, August 28, 2006

Angwin? Fitzhardinge? Macedon?

Have you ever wondered about the names of the cottages on Rotto?
There's a list on Wikipedia (see link above) of all the cottages, from Allen to Young, but the list needs a lot of attention.
Rotto Bloggo has done a bit: we've completed three names, including Macedon (the Melbourne-registered steamer lost on Transit Reef on 21 March 1883).
Also, Colebatch was a WA Premier for one month in 1919.
Imagine having a Rotto cottage named after you. That would be the ultimate.

Pic: front balcony door sans handle, Longreach Bay cottage, July 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

On the beach

Another Rotto appearance on Flickr:
Norman Miller posted this magnificent image of a moody Rottnest beach.
"I really enjoyed Rottnest," Norman tells Rotto Bloggo.
The photo was snapped on 27 May, but only posted to Flickr last week.

'The Castle hight of Indolence,
And its false luxury;
Where for a little time, alas!
We liv'd right jollily.'

(James Thomson, 1700-1748).

Image copyright Norman Miller