Wednesday, December 31, 2008

rotto racket

We were keen to help the beautiful island reach the top of a poll on a new travel website yesterday, but we went all bah-humbug.

“Cape Le Grand and Lucky Bay remains the best place to visit in the West, according to visitors to the RAC’s new travel website,,” this West story began.

“Rottnest Island has jumped up the voting to fourth place over the festive period.”

Like any decent, quokka-loving, right-thinking, sensible Sandgroper we trotted over to the website to do our bit for WA’s bit of paradise.

It was a bit tedious, as you had to register, and it seems only RAC members can participate.

You can upload photos and win a prize, though (a trip to Broome). Not quite as good as a trip to Rotto and unlimited time at the Brett Heady Family Fun Centre, but never mind. We started rummaging through the folders to see what we could submit.

But then we saw this charmless 105-word sentence in the RAC’s terms and conditions:

‘Where you are invited to submit any contribution to this site (including without limitation any text, graphics, video or audio) you are required by such submission to grant the RAC a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sublicenseable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, play, and exercise all copyright and publicity rights with respect to any such work worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any media now known or later developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in such content, consistent with privacy restrictions set forth in the RAC's Privacy Policy. ‘

What bullshit. What content creator would agree to that?

‘If you do not wish to grant such rights to the RAC, it is suggested that you do not submit your contribution to this site.’

Too right. We voted for the beautiful island, but commented to the RAC that their copyright policy sucked.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

rotto's first boatie

The Nijptang, the Geelvinck and the Wezeltje: doesn’t have the same ring as the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, does it?

Nevertheless, the three strangely-named Dutch boats were part of Rotto history on this day 312 years ago.

On December 30 1696 Willem de Vlamingh became the first Rotto boatie.

Actually it seems he stayed on board (grilling marron on the barbie, no doubt).

After leaving Holland at the beginning of May, someone on the Nijptang saw land on December 24.

“The descending darkness prevented the men on Geelvinck and Wezeltje to do the same and even the following day the land remained invisible due to overcast conditions and a strong current which pushed them northwards,” says this excellent page at the VOC Historical Society.

“It would still take another five days, on 29 December, that an island was sighted. Late in the afternoon the island, located at Latitude 32°S was reached. Because of the lateness of the day the investigation of the island had to wait until the following day.”

Then, on December 30, de Vlamingh bit the bullet and used a Nijptang boat, to sail around the island. A boat from the Geelvinck landed on Rotto: on board were the First Mate, the bookkeeper and a dozen soldiers.

“Towards evening both groups returned. The bookkeeper reported that there were no people on the island but that there were large numbers of bosch-rotten. They had shot a number of them to show de Vlamingh. They were found to be dwarf kangaroos, a mammal still unknown in Europe at that time. In the journal of the Nijptang they were described as a kind of rat, the size of a cat, and large quantities of its excreta could be found all over the whole island.”

Then they had a squiz at the Swan River, but it was dull compared to the beautiful island.

Cue passenger landing fees, a ballot system, the Brett Heady Family Fun Centre and smoking herring.

(Pic of de Vlamingh is from Wikipedia)

Monday, December 29, 2008

event development horizon

You still have three weeks to apply for a couple of jobs on the beautiful island: events development officer, and front office supervisor. Both pay up to $55, 146.

You’ve got competition for the EDO: local blogger mynxii is very organised, and looks as though her app will be in early: “Did more work on my job application for the Rottnest Island Authority events development officer. I'm really hopeful about this as I think I'd be awesome at it - I need some experience in one or two areas, but I have the greater context of skill and flexibility required for events stuff and I have a solid understanding of how it works as 'stuff'. I am hopeful and crossing my fingers.” You go girl.

Many thanks to Paul from Fremantlebiz for suggesting a different approach in the ongoing saga of Rottnest Romance, the only Bills and Moon romance set on Rotto (and nearing the end of Chapter Three on this blog). I like Paul’s Mintie angle…it’s marvelous what a difference they could make to the plot.

And did you see yesterday’s West revealed the link between Rotto and Learmonth? “The Royal Australian Air Force named Learmonth Airport in honour of World War II Wing-Cdr Charles Learmonth, after his death at the age of 26. He died while on a training flight in January 1944 between Pearce and Rottnest Island in the notoriously dangerous Beaufort bomber.”

There you go. My wife often says there’s a Guildford connection to everything – I maintain it’s Rottnest.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

rottnest romance #26

It's been a long wait between clumsy metaphors and terrible tropes - nearly two months - but here is the latest instalment of the only Bills and Moon romance novel set on the beautiful island...

Last time we left our heroine Larissa and our evil nasty brooding developer Nick, they weer having a private picnic on the sand at the West End. They're still there! They've been frozen in time, like a mosquito in amber before being discovered by Michael Crichton. The dab of mayonnaise on Nick's chin is still runny - not crusty - despite having been there for weeks...


“And are you quite happy with your life at the moment?”

“Sure. This development in Parakeet Bay is a challenge, and will be the biggest thing I’ve done – although you would probably describe it differently,” he said, glancing at her.

“I probably would. Where are you going after Rottnest?” The mayonnaise was still there, and she wanted to reach across and wipe it off.

“There’s a project down in the south-west I’m half-interested in – I might put in a bid for it.” He smiled slightly. “Maybe by then you will have given up the ferry business and will be a full-time ecological demonstrator – we might meet again then.”

She didn’t respond. He suddenly levered himself up off the sand. “We should think about getting back.” He held out a hand to her. She took it, and he pulled her up in an easy motion.

“Or perhaps we might meet again – before then,” he continued in a calm voice.

She suddenly realised how close they were standing to each other. Their faces were only inches apart. The sun was shining in such a way that its beams picked out flecks of green in his dark eyes. She hadn’t noticed them before.

He was so close it suddenly seemed only natural for her to reach out and wipe the mayonnaise from his chin. She lifted her hand, but at the last instant changed her mind and pointed to the corresponding spot on her own face.

After a moment that seemed to last for an age he brushed his hand across his chin, and the mayonnaise was gone.

Then the moment was broken as he started collecting the remains of his meal. She did the same. As they walked back to the path that led up the rock he started talking about what he had seen earlier as he has ridden out here.

As she listened to his enthusiastic descriptions she felt vaguely disappointed. He had, she realised, wormed his way out of giving her much information about himself. That was hardly fair, considering he now knew so much about her.

They reached the top of the cliff. After their solitude on the beach, she was struck by the number of people poking around. The bike racks near the picnic buildings were full.

He walked with her to her bike – her stricken bike, she now remembered.

“How are you going to get back to Thomson Bay?” he asked, looking at her disabled pedals.

“I don’t fancy walking, that’s for sure,” she replied. “I suppose I’ll have to wait for the bus.”

He frowned. “When does that arrive?”

Not for a couple of hours, she knew, but she replied lightly, “It shouldn’t be too long – don’t worry about me.”

He strode to the bus stop to consult the timetable. “It doesn’t get here for two hours!”

His nosing around made her feel a bit peeved. “So I’ll wait. It’s not the end of the world. I can wander around, and…”

“ I have a better idea,” he said, walking back to her…

Friday, December 26, 2008

rotto drowning

Sad news: this bloke drowned on Christmas Day...seen on WA Today...

'A man has drowned while swimming off Perth's Rottnest Island, police say.

'The 46-year-old Yangebup man was setting cray pots with a group of friends at about 6.30pm (WDT) on Thursday before splitting from the group to swim back to shore at Bickley Bay.

'"He was seen to swim back to shore and when his friends swam back in shore themselves they found the man floating in the water unconscious," a police spokesman said.

'"He was dragged to shore but despite efforts to resuscitate him, the man died."

'Police are investigating the drowning and will prepare a report for the coroner.


Friday, December 19, 2008

twin Thomson tomes

Less than a week to go and you’re stuck for Xmas gifts? We’ve been watching a couple of eBay items.

The 1978 hardback of Freo and Rotto buildings ‘classified and recorded by the National Trust’ is a very reasonable $5.99. We saw it recently in that second-hand place on Bulwer St for around $20. But the postage is a killer.

Also stockingworthy is the Somerville: this 1976 copy of Rottnest island in History and Legend is in excellent condition and a very reasonable five bucks. But it’s in South Australia and the postage is $7.50.

Heavy sigh. Those clowns today at The Worst of Perth were talking about end-of-year lists in the meedja. We did one last year, of course. Maybe we’ll work on a top ten lists of greatest potential Rottnest Island Xmas presents.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

eagles' lair

Man oh man. We're still amazed at being electrified back into posting by yesterday's mention of Rotto on the Huffington Post. What next? The White House condemns Nicole Kidman for throwing shoes at whales from Ben Cousin's Geordie Bay unit?

Not so far-fetched, given the Shaven One's name was mentioned on the beautiful island this week during a WCE four-day team-building exercise.

'The camp will feature an 'Amazing Race' where players will go head-to-head in cycling and running challenges around Rottnest Island. There will also be a scavenger hunt that has players team up in small groups,' according to Glen Foreman on News Ltd.

John 'Woosha' Worsfold told Glen the camp was more about team-building than physical conditioning as the playing group prepared to break for Christmas holidays.

PerthNow had this gally of the players soaking up the beautiful island at Kingston after spending a small fortune at the bakery. Or did they bring their own sausages and buns?

That naughty Nick Naitanui didn't seem to have been wearing his bike helmet! Tsk tsk. But if that's the extent of the Eagles' problems in the next 12 months Woosha won't be too worried.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

sparrow false start

The world-wide prominence of the beautiful island, allied with the usefulness of teh Internets, never ceases to astonish.

Rottnest has had a mention on the Huffington Post: Craig Silverman, the bloke who does Regret The Error, has awarded a new journalism award to someone who corrected a Rotto error and the winner is not a million miles from Thomson Bay.

David (excellent name) Hummerston, the readers' editor at The West, has won the prestigious and inaugural Ian Mayes Award for Writing Wrongs.

'Mayes has agreed with my suggestion for the first recipient of the award. He is David Hummerston, the Saturday editor/editorial counsellor and readers' editor of the West Australian. Yes, the man wears many hats. In addition to everlasting fame, Hummerston will receive a signed copy of Ian Mayes' book, Journalism Right and Wrong: Ethical and other issues raised by readers in the Guardian's Open Door Column,' Silverman reports.

He gives samples of Hummerston's work, including this gem: 'Birdbrains: We swiftly swallowed the information supplied to us which described a photo of a bird in flight as a Rottnest Island Sparrow (The science of fine photography, page 19, August 16). As any eagle-eyed ornithologist would attest it was, of course, the much less rare Welcome Sparrow.'

Rotto Bloggo regrets we didn't spot this error and complain to the readers' editor.

Accompnaying photo is of...we have no idea. But it's a bird we saw on Rotto.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bartley and Peck

One equine identity had the right idea on how to overcome disappointment with the gee-gees.

Tracey Bartley from Mudgee in NSW was on the beautiful island last week to get over her nag’s defeat at Ascot.

Sniper Bullet didn’t win the Group One Railway Stakes but her owner took it in her stride.

“Right now I have Simon Marshall (former leading heavyweight rider and now racing television commentator) trying to push me off the gang plank onto the boat and Joe Janiak (of Takeover Target fame) is on board and I’m looking at a day relaxing on Rottnest,” she told the Mudgee Guardian.

She wasn’t the first person to be entranced by Rotto waters: we loved this anecdote from longtime TV critic Robin Oliver in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“I remember the hotel staffer who thought I might be interested in Gregory Peck, who was holed up in the Perth Travelodge to be with the film crew for The Dove. Perth, that most star-struck of cities, had been unaware of the famous man's presence. He had come to WA because the unusual wave patterns off Rottnest Island were exactly what his round-the-world yachting adventure required. ‘Sure, come around,’ he said.”