Saturday, August 29, 2009


This golfing crowd buried the lead until the very last par.

The WA Open is at Cottesloe in October and the Rottnest Bakery will be there.

The event will be called The John Hughes Geely Western Australian Open as the golfers have "secured respected car dealer John Hughes as the naming rights sponsor". No word where the Geely comes from.

Would you believe previous winners - as opposed to future winners - include "legends of golf"? Would you believe a golfing worthy looks forward to seeing the event "cementing itself on the Australian golfing calendar"? Would you believe it will be "world class" golf on a "world class" golf course?

And: "On course marquees from Howard Park Wines, Ferngrove Wines, the Witches Cauldron, Frasers and the Rottnest Bakery, just to name a few, will be available to spectators..."

Bakery owner Ivan Rutherford must be a Cottesloe member. What will be in the marquee? Snotblocks, tank loaves and cheeseymite scrolls? Yum.

Friday, August 28, 2009

canola island

We've had a paint colour called Rottnest Orange, there's been Rottnest salt - and there's Rottnest canola.

Say what? It is for real.

"TWO Badgingarra farmers believe a decades-old European system of farming could become one of the most exciting developments in WA's agricultural history," says this Farm Weekly story - and there's a pic of one of them in a field of yellow Rottnest canola.

Rotto Bloggo is not terribly agricultural. We got a bit lost in the story's discussion of spading, coil packers and power harrows.

There's another pic here of blokes in a yellow field of Rottnest canola.

"Rottnest is an early to mid triazine tolerant (TT) canola with broad flexibility in terms of its ‘cut off’ finishing date," the release says.

"Rottnest has a 7.5 Blackleg rating, oil content similar to Beacon and yields in the order of 110% of Tornado and Bravo. It ranked third in the 2006 WA national variety trials (NVT) amongst the TT varieties and first in its maturity class."

Right. How about that Blackleg rating!

We don't have our own image of Rottnest canola. So we've taken this one from a Dept of Ag media release. It could be Rottnest canola, but don't quote us.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

great guy

There's a bit of Crawley that's Rottnest for a few weeks: an exhibition at UWA has at least one artwork of the beautiful island.

Guy Grey-Smith's oil on canvas Rottnest is part of Conversations: 100 Artists in the UWA Art Collection.

Is this the greatest Rotto painting? Could be. It's in Snell, of course. It was done 1954-57.

No mention or reproduction of this image on GG-S's Wikipedia entry. He was born in Wagin and won lots of prizes and is regarded as pioneering modernism in WA.

The exhibition is in two parts: half will be on show until September 13; the second portion will be hung September 27 to November 15.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

rotto boozo II

You'll recall our first exciting instalment on Greg Brimble's liquor license work: he got one for the Thomson Bay store in 1999, but couldn't trade on Sunday.

He seems to have been able to trade on Sunday from 2002, according to this,
which was a bid to extend the permit.

In the document Greg said Rotto had a resident population of around 500, and crime stats "are very low": 72 assaults from June 2004 to May 2007, compared to the riotous metropolis of Fremantle, which gets 118,000 visitors and had 1411 assaults in the same period.

Greg said giving him another extended trading permit would mean "...a much needed packaged liquor service required by the visiting public and residents on a Sunday during opening hours which the visiting public are used to", and contribute " the streetscape and atmosphere of the central part of town as it is also a meeting place where the majority of people do their grocery shopping".

As in 1999, the police objected. "Extended opening times can increase the risk of street drinking", they said, after pointing out you have to be out of your bungalow by 9am, and not book in to same until 2pm. They had to deal with 228 booze consumption tasks: noise, anti-social behaviour, litter, damage, burglary, assault et al.

"Intoxicated youth who historically gather on Pinky beach during peak times have indicated on several occasions that alcohol obtained by them was originally purchased by various means from the General Store Liquor Store," the police said.

"There is an established culture of excessive alcohol consumption by all age groups on Rottnest Island which is a concern to Police who believe greater access to alcohol does not serve the best interests of the community...the Nurse Manager and Senior Ranger support my objections in this case."

The executive director of public health, Dr Andrew Robertson, also didn't want Greg to be able to sell booze on Sundays.

But the director of liquor licensing granted the extension.

"I accept on the basis of evidence presented in the intervention of the Executive Director Public Health and based on my own knowledge of current issues, that alcohol related harm does occur on Rottnest Island. In this regard, action under the Act has been taken in the past in respect of all
packaged liquor outlets on Rottnest Island to ensure that harm is minimised, particularly during School Leaver's week each year and on New Year's Eve each year. The licensing authority has worked, and continues to work, closely with key stakeholders on the Island and with the licensee so as to implement cooperative and conciliatory strategies that minimize that harm. I am satisfied that those ongoing actions and initiatives are appropriate."

The permit expires 29 June 2013.

Monday, August 24, 2009

the turquoise liquid

We think legendary Middle Eastern reporter Robert Fisk has been reporting from the beautiful island.

This bizarre copy is bylined parliamentarian Fisk, and he reports: "An iconic pass instruction for Perth residents, with 70 per coin of visitors reaching for a period out, the whole island is separate as a nature jock and the near humour as a marine park."

He soon touches on two key elements of the Rottnest experience - booze and indigenous people: "the island is believed to be a locate of alcohol and is of meaning to the Aboriginal communities."

His prose transcends purple when he discusses the island's physical attractions: "The island is prizewinning explored by cycle as clannish cars are not allowed. The 24-km (15-mi) line around the get runs finished whatever of the most bonny scenery, expiration small, blonde beaches in private coves. The island has a amount of 63 beaches and 20 bays, whatever of the best in the world, and the turquoise liquid makes tearful here a must."

I wish someone would tell me what these sites are. Auto-generated blogs that grab copy chunks in the hope of luring Google users? Anyone?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

door didn't fit

An acquaintance remembered our review of the food at the hotel and pointed us to this assessment of the rooms.

" was noisy, dirty, front door ill-fitting and the bed was far too soft", says AnnaB from Ballajura.

You would never describe the beds in the bungalows as too soft. We looked for other reviews of stuff on the beautiful island but didn't find much - not even an account on eatingwa of Aristos (which we liked).

Someone else mentioned that WA Business News had an item about a Leaf Tea House starting on Rottnest: that weekly publication doesn't let you look at its stuff for free, so we can't confirm.

We can confirm this tweet by The Worst of Perth: 'Brett Heady fights to keep his broken pinball machines on Rottnest. "People are happy if a machine takes their money if a former Eagle gets'

Monday, August 17, 2009

blue swimmers

Thinking of going on the Rotto swim in February? You'd better go to this confab tomorrow night.

The Rottnest Channel Swim Association is presenting a free information evening with a panel of swimmers who will discuss their experiences, mistakes, useful tips they have learned and answer any questions you may have.

The place is the Lecture Theatre at Challenge Stadium on Tuesday 18 August at 7.30pm.

Reservations essential: email to reserve your seat.

Here's a Malaysian woman who's done the Rottnest swim twice: she's tackling the English Channel next.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

rotto boozo

Greg Brimble must be preparing his expression of interest so he can keep control of the Thomson and Geordie stores (see yesterday’s post).

Greg (who we think also has the Dewsons and servo at Canning Bridge) owned the stores 10 years ago, when he clinched the liquor licence for the Thomson Bay outlet (he already had one at Geordie) under his company name Maranel Pty Ltd. The decision of the liquor licensing director back then is an interesting read.

Unsurprisingly, the Lodge and the hotel objected to the application.

‘The applicant says the packaged liquor needs of…tourists are not being met by the two other packaged liquor outlets on the Island because the Rottnest Island Hotel is located at the southern end of the Thomson Bay settlement and the Geordie Bay liquor store is approximately 1.5 kilometres north of Thomson Bay. The applicant suggests that the Rottnest Hotel has a very limited range of packaged liquor, its prices are excessive and there is no separate browsing area where members of the public can examine and select their purchases of packaged liquor.’

Greg submitted 375 signatures from people who supported the application. He tabled a letter of support from the acting CEO of the RIA, John Mitchell, which said the RIA also supported the application as “…the Authority has a clear commitment to encourage the public to purchase much of their food and liquor requirements from businesses on the Island, so as to ease congestion on the ferries. The applicant also tabled 50 letters from individuals and companies supporting the establishment of a liquor store in Thomson Bay. Most letters expressed some dissatisfaction with the facilities at the Rottnest Hotel.”

Others came in to bat for Greg: Grant Garrett and Meredith Greay, and Linda Kenny-Castle and Kyle Surman: “Mr Surman, who travels to Rottnest on his own boat with his family, finds it convenient to purchase packaged liquor prior to travelling to the Island because of the difficulty of obtaining packaged liquor on the Island when they moor at Thomson Bay.”

A bit on how much booze people took over was surprising: “Mr Vince Kawiti, a clerk employed by Transfield Pty Ltd, a company that operates the Rottnest Jetty, gave evidence about the amount of packaged liquor that is included in the personal luggage delivered to tourist accommodation on the Island. In the opinion of Mr Kawiti between 20 and 30 per cent of all luggage is packaged liquor. This includes a substantial amount, which is delivered direct to resident holidaymakers from licensed premises on the mainland particularly Liquorland in Fremantle.”

The police had their say: “…the number of alcohol related incidents that occurred on the Island in the year 1998/99…street drinking was the most common incident and in the year 475 cautions and 27 infringements notices were issued in respect of street drinking.”

The LL director mulled this and other stuff over. He said there was a want for booze in Thomson Bay, and going to Geordie or the hotel would be inconvenient: “The distance by mainland standards is not great but peculiar circumstances of the Island where private motor vehicles are not permitted would amount to some inconvenience.”

The hotel had plenty of booze at reasonable prices – but its standards for buying booze “…do not adequately meet the contemporary standards now expected by the public when it comes to purchasing packaged liquor. In my opinion it is not appropriate that members of the public should be required to cross through a crowded public bar to purchase packaged liquor from a member of staff whose primary task is to serve customers for consumption on the premises. One can readily understand the concern of some women in having to enter a public bar and compete with other members of the public for service.”

In this regard the director had wine wankers on his mind: “The display of packaged liquor, particularly wine, so that customers can examine the product before purchase is now very much part of the contemporary scene and the absence of such facilities at the Rottnest Island Hotel in my view means that members of the public are put to inconvenience and difficulty when they attempt to purchase packaged liquor.”

The licence was granted and cost $105. Opening hours noon to 6pm, no trading on Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or before noon on Anzac Day.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

the business

The beautiful island is getting a buffeting: winds up to 100kph are screaming through Rotto on their way to the mainland, according to this ABC report.

Winds of change are on the way - maybe - for business on the island, too: this in today's POST Newspapers...

Business on the beautiful island is up for grabs.

The Rottnest Island Authority this week advertised new leases for six of the island's prominent businesses.

They are the Thomson Bay and Geordie Bay stores, the Geordie Bay cafe, the surf/clothing boutique in Thomson Bay, Brett Heady's Family Fun Park and the movie hall.

"All the leases will be available for renewal over a 12-month period commencing in October," RIA spokeswoman Joeley Pettit-Scott said.

"These types of leases have generally been held for a term of about five to 15 years and are subject to an open process for a preferred proponent when the lease is nearing conclusion."

After the September 17 closing date, "a number of respondents" would be invited to submit formal proposals.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

horse over water

A western suburbs identity has slipped Rotto Bloggo this beguiling pic.

It was taken 72 years ago - before the identity was born.

It shows his mother on a horse, his dad on a bike, and three other known people of interest.

Where was the photo taken? So far our enquiries have been fruitless.

We love the bikes.

Did these inhabitants of the beautiful island ever imagine they'd have to wear helmets?

We've never seen a horse on Rottnest.

Have a look at this Flickr photo for bygone Rotto horse action:

'Between 1906 and 1926, a horse-drawn passenger tram operated on Rottnest Island between the Army Jetty, a kilometre south of Thompson Bay, through the Settlement to Tent City. It is seen here outside the General Store. Parts of this rail are still visible near the Army Jetty.'

Monday, August 10, 2009

another great meet

"Not another meeting?"

We hear you. But this one is worth putting in the Filofax: the Rottnest Society's annual general meeting.

It's this Thursday, the 13th, at 7pm at the Cottlesloe Lesser Hall.

An hour later there's a red-hot guest speaker: renowned naturalist Eric McCrum, who will talk about the birds of Rottnest.

"Eric has a well-deserved reputation as an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker on all sorts of topics related to the natural world around us," says the Society's Sue Folks.

Non-members are welcome to attend the AGM and/or the talk. There's food afterwards. No charge for any of this.

Let Sue know if you're going so she can organise enough food:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

"not as interesting"

Have a look at this clown in The Age, who's been on Lord Howe Island:

"It's prettier than Hayman Island, more exotic than Kangaroo Island and more interesting than Rottnest Island. In fact, if it were less friendly and more expensive it would qualify as a temperate piece of French Polynesia."

We haven't been to LHI, but after a cursory glance at it's Wikipedia entry we're sure Rotto is about a hundred times more interesting.

This bloke, in comparison, has the right idea: " was forecasted to be a sunny and windless day, ideal for the 'Rotto box' which is what is known for the biggest wave located on the most Western end of Rottnest Island."

He got some good waves a month ago - enjoy the pics.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Rotto, race riots and RPH

This was written a few weeks ago but is unlikely to get a run in the POST: it mentions the beautiful island, so it gets a run on Rotto Bloggo...

Exploitation of Aborigines…shocking treatment of the first Australians…no help for the indigenous.

Not recent headlines from our daily paper: this news was reported in The West and the Inquirer 124 years ago.

Anglican reverend John Gribble kept a diary of his pastoral tour Gascoyne sheep stations. Its publication caused a major fuss: Gribble was assaulted on a ship to Fremantle, and Perth worthies like Winthrop Hackett and Charles Harper stayed their donations to the new cathedral.

Later Gribble sued The West after the paper called him a liar. He lost the case when he admitted much of his diary was hearsay, and died, miserable, seven years later.
That was the Gribble affair, and it’s one of hundreds of entries in the Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia.

General readers and even keen students of our great state’s past will learn much from this new reference work.

Older POST readers will remember eating out at the Seacrest in Cottesloe. That establishment is mentioned in the lengthy and excellent entry on eating places – but many will be surprised to learn Perth had more than one Chinese restaurant as early as World War Two.

Other entries are just as informative and intriguing. Whaling in WA is well-known, but details on the state’s sealing are given. Other entries on bridges, class, state hotels, race riots, landcare, diet, Section 54B, the Pilbara strike, capital punishment and white-collar convicts are educational and entertaining.

The entries on birth and death show the Encyclopedia at its best. In the former, Carol Thorogood gives a well-written sense of how West Australians have entered the world. At the other end of the mortal coil Leonie Liveris touches on how we died and how others reacted: ‘After 1945 women were at liberty to attend funerals, there was no set period for formal mourning, no black-edged stationery and black crepe armbands were rarely worn by men’.

There are no biographical entries: the editors say this is because they’re already covered by the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Reading a WA encyclopedia without seeing entries on C.Y. O’Connor and Edith Cowan, however, is like looking at a street directory without the highways.

At times persistence pays when reading the Encyclopedia. For example: we were keen to see an entry on the Claremont serial killings, so we turned to crime. No entry there, and none for serial killers – but we eventually found a mention in the very capable entry on murders.

There’s no entry on Claremont Teachers’ College, but it gets a mention in teacher training.

No reference work can include everything or please everyone. There’s an excellent entry on theatre buildings, for example, but none on Subiaco Oval or the WACA.

There are no entries on the western suburbs as a place, the six hungry families, ophthalmology, Tranby House, vexillology or bread/baking.

There’s an entry on Royal Perth Hospital, but it’s odd that institution’s write-up is the same length as the Royal WA Historical Society.

The entry on pacifism is curious. It “has rarely been a significant force” in WA, but then details peace groups, demonstrations and the “increasingly large” anti-Vietnam crowds.

The entry on rock music doesn’t mention the Snake Pit – but that notorious beachside hangout gets a nod in popular music, nightlife and youth culture.

In entrepreneurs we read about Claude de Bernales but not Alan Bond. The latter does get a mention in real estate and land development.

From a journalist’s point of view, the many media entries are detailed and well-written.

This book was a long time coming: the idea was hatched in the early 1990s. At the launch an online edition was hoped for. An Internet version would almost certainly be used by more people than the $89.95 edition.

Online isn’t the answer to everything. The Encyclopedia’s entry on The Sunday Times, for example, is superior to Wikipedia’s version.

But compare the Encyclopedia’s and Wikipedia’s Rottnest island efforts. The print version is very capable, but it can’t compete with the pictures and text at Wikipedia.

So far this year the Wikipedia article on Rottnest has been viewed nearly 22,000 times. How many people will read the Encyclopedia’s version?

Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia
Edited by Jenny Gregory and Jan Gothard
UWA Press, $89.95

Monday, August 03, 2009


Saw this via Twitter: a Mother Nature Network photoessay on seven car-free cities.

The tweeter (TreadlyAndMe) suggested adding Rottnest (also Lucca and Bergamo) to the list.

The MNN list is Sark (which we've touched on), Mackinac Island in Michigan, a Moroccan medina "home to more than 156,000 people...considered one of the largest contiguous car-free urban areas in the world", Hydra, La Cumbrecita in Argentina, Lamu Island in Kenya and of course Venice.

Rottnest is largely vehicle-free. There are police cars, tour buses, delivery vans, luggage trucks, forklifts...and the pristine vehicle pictured.

We saw it during our June sojourn. It picked up a bunch of people in south Thomson one morning, then was outside the visitor centre near the jetty. Why is it needed on the beautiful island?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

quite often hotels

We are loving the spate of strange travel writing about the beautiful island: have a look at this.

"The Rottnest Island is a great place situated in Perth, the Western part of Australia continent. This Island is only 30 minutes far away from Fremantle."

The copy talks about climate being as good as it can, there are resort-style hotels and "to know more about them, you just have to get there and you will definitely obtain your necessarly informations".

What what? Is that a bait site? Or for real? It has the ring of Svenkage being run through a web translator one too many times. We are baffled. The photo is hilarious.

Even the mainstream media can be a bit puzzling at times. This piece in The Australian enthuses about Burswood: "The sight of spare sun loungers strategically placed around the sparkling blue water tempts me to head downstairs, as the temperature is nudging 35C."

That seems warm for last month: the piece is dated July 25. It redeems itself by tacking this on the end: "The hotel is about 15 minutes by car from Perth's domestic airport and 3km from the city centre. Step out to Swan Valley's wineries and the lovely Kings Park Botanic Garden. Farther afield, Rottnest Island is 20km off the coast."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

nice apperrance

The pub has been gonged: the Heritage Council has given it one of their awards, reports The West.

“The faithful stabilisation and conservation of the Rottnest Island Hotel has undone 60 years of neglect and, at times, insensitive adaptation,” the Minister said. "The project has reinstated the building as an imposing, iconic structure, which is appropriate for the setting.”

The new-look hotel isn't bad. A lot of glass. The beer garden is very low-care: the quokka poo can be hosed off the Astroturf in the morning.

No awards from a clown from Baltimore called mumbles18: he won't return unless he's with friends...

"went to rottnest island with ian. it was nice in apperrance, but there is nothing to do there. these rate like wallabies roam the island, literally covering just about all of it. there was one bar, which closed at 10. I definitely would not go back, unless it was with a group of people during the summer."

Which bar is mumbles18 referring to? It's a mystery.