Monday, March 29, 2010

rotto forever

Our top tens, our food review of the hotel, our ranting, all the books we've found about the beautiful island - all of it (483 posts before this one) will be preserved for the nation.

For the world, even. The State Library of WA has recently emailed Rotto Bloggo with advice crack archivists would like to keep this blog on its books forever:

"We would be interested in archiving your blog to the Pandora National Archives and accordingly, I have forwarded your details to the Pandora team who will be in touch regarding formal permissions to archive your site," someone from the State Library emailed.

It's pleasing to see we are being more modest about this prestigious announcement than some other local blogs.

Note to year 8010: is the putt-putt felt at Brett Heady's Family Fun Park still torn? Is the wind sighing through the trees as gracefully as it does now? Do they still have the daggy curtains in the units? Or has the place been swamped by glowball warmening?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


'This might have been popular back in Rotto [Rottnest Island] in 1990, but it's hideously sickly and more than just a little '90s.'

Hmmm. So says David Prestipino of Stone's Ginger Wine in this analysis of TOP 10 WINE TRENDS TO AVOID IN 2010 (followed by 10 MORE TRENDS TO AVOID IN 2010).

It (which we think is called Stone's Original Green Ginger Wine) is ranked below mixing sparkling and OJ, goon, and "pouring a bottle straight away".

Hmmm. There's this recipe for a whisky mac on the SOGGW site: 'Created by adding a splash of ginger wine to a glass of whisky. The mellow flavour and warming aftertaste of Stone's perfectly complement the whisky, producing a delicious drink that is guaranteed to banish the winter blues.'

Yum! Sounds like something to try in the last week of June when we're next on the beautiful island.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Neighbors, do yourself a favor, Don't you mess with my baby when I'm working all night, You know that neighbors steal off of my table, Steal off of my table, ain't doing all right...

The Stones had it wrong - (and they can't spell) - for proof look no further than today's POST which has a scintillating story about neighbours, the beautiful island and Powerball-like luck...

NORMALLY YOU BOOK a holiday to get away from the neighbours.

But South Thomson on Rottnest is going to be much like home for two Mosman Park families next month.

The Campbells and the Kellys live next door to each other in Victoria Street.

They entered the island Easter ballot earlier this month and said their prayers to the great accommodation god.

This week they got their island paperwork confirming they have units next to each other.

“It must be odds of 10,000 to one,” said 13-year-old Maddie Kelly.

South Thomson wasn't the first choice of both families.

“I always tick the last box which say we'll take anything, anytime,” mum Nat Campbell said.

Also on the island for six glorious nights will be dad Ian Campbell and sons Will (11), Henry (8) and five-year-old Charlie, and parents Chrissie and Damian Kelly and their other daughter Eliza, 11.

“We'll be there for longer if someone cancels,” Ian said.

The two families are very close and even have a gate connecting their two back gardens.

They refer to their Mosman Park homes as the Campbell-Kelly resort and did not rule out knocking down a wall to connect their Rottnest accommodation.

On the schedule is the traditional first night Geordie Bay barbeque, a curry night and progressive dinners with other friends on Rottnest at the same time.

There will also be lots of fishing.

Ian said Rottnest was perfect and would change nothing about it.

“It's all fantastic no matter where you are,” he said.

Eliza said Geordie was her favourite spot.

“But Nappy Alley is still pretty good,” she said.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


It was so wet we got into the pool to stay dry.

Nyuk-nyuk. Even while rushing around the Trail of Destruction...even while getting spooky flashbacks of Beirut '82 while in Shenton Park...even while watching our car float away...we kept an eye out for Rotto stuff.

The Storm of the Century had little effect on the beautiful island, it seems. Rottnest had 8mm of rain in half an hour from 4pm - no biggie.

We reminisced last night about being drenched a few years ago while on the way to Colebatch. The courtyard flooded and we soaked all our tea-towels, but 30 minutes later it was all sunshine and twittering birds again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

throw down your guns

Rotto Bloggo has copped flak for posting about next months's Hoodoo Gurus gig on the beautiful island.

The person dishing out the dirt was too piss-weak to go public with their abuse.

Their ranting was: why would we give the oxygen of publicity to a motley crew as lame, uncool and daggy as the HGs?

Let us say this: Rotto Bloggo yeilds to no-one else in how unfashionable we are when it comes to music.

We are the sort of seriously unhip crowd that worship Australian Crawl (Reckless is better than Lennon's Imagine - see how uncool we are!), Yello and the early songs of Human League.

In fact, Reckless could be ABOUT Rottnest, until they mention 'totherside stuff:

Meet me down by the jetty landing
Where the the pontoons bump and sway
I see the others reading, standing
As the Rotto Ferry cuts its way to Thomson Bay...

Ah well: speaking of Rottnest tunes, check this out and let us know what you think...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Guru view

What a marvellous morning: chasing cops through the western suburbs as they sought an escapee, poking through bush in Swanbourne in the hope of finding him, and then getting the shot in Mitford Street as the poor bloke is put in the back of a van.

But even during the frenzy there was enough time to pause and get a long-range shot from Melon Hill of the beautiful island: squint enough and you can see cops working their way through the greenery.

Anzac Day is when the Hoodoo Gurus play at the hotel. Details here - the theme is Purity of Essence.

Sun 25 April - Hotel Rottnest, WA
Address : Rottnest Island: Bedford Avenue Rottnest Island WA
Tickets: TBA

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

purple prose from pink'un

We have to give a belated salute to this quality writing from the Pink'Un.

Yes, the Financial Times has visited the beautiful island - and liked what it saw.

None of the standard regurgitation of corporate facts and figures (63 bays, 21 beaches or whatever it is) here: we like the turn of phrase.

We love quokkas being compared to the size of handbags.

It is sandwiched within a report on the watery pleasure of Perth, which includes a mention of Kings Park.

Shame about the spelling error in the beautiful island's name but you can't have everything.

"Rottness, affectionately known as Rotto, is Perth’s island garden. It’s a 1,900ha cake of limestone with 30,000 years of aboriginal habitation to it. After years of dismal karma (it was used as an aboriginal prison and later as an internment camp for Germans and Austrians during the first world war and Italians during the second), it is seeking redemption as a wildlife reserve from which cars are banned; everyone travels the island by bike or bus.

"We hired bikes with a child trailer for the boys. The beaches and reef shorelines are, thanks to clear water over limestone, bright sapphire, though the water was so cold that the paddling quickly gave way to a hunt about the rockpools. Inland, we explored a series of pink-hued salt pans, where ballerina-like stilts pick brine shrimp from the diminishing waters.

"Rottnest is derived from the Dutch for “rat’s nest,” so named by a late 17th-century exploring sea captain, Willem de Vlamingh. They weren’t rats, though, but quokkas: a handbag-sized marsupial rare on the mainland but plentiful here, where it tumbles tamely in and out of trees.

"Most visit Rotto for a day trip by fast ferry, but you can also stay on the island in modest self-catering villas. (Rotto’s popularity makes a ballot for these necessary during school holidays.)"

Monday, March 15, 2010

sea of numbers

Can you do tables in Blogger? We normally leave these questions to more tech-savvy/younger colleagues, but tables would be good for this information.

We have the financials for last year's Rottnest Channel Swim and quoted from them in a POST story on the weekend.

THE ROTTNEST CHANNEL Swim had a surplus of more than $51,000 last year.

The epic event generated just over $622,000 in income, the majority of which came from entry fees ($456,564).

Sponsorship provided $94,193, merchandise sales were $40,022 and swim number plates netted nearly $11,000.

The swim's biggest expenses were water safety, beach set-up and briefings ($107,439), t-shirts ($58,251), landing fees ($25,701) and public liability insurance ($22,376).

The Rottnest Channel Swim Association organises the event: its biggest costs were an admin officer's salary ($73,308) and wages for an admin assistant ($14,516).

The timing system for the race cost $7705 and security $2930.

Association president Ceri Writer said money went to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue and the Starlight Foundation.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


That admirable paper the POST has done it again: more news about the beautiful island this week.

A SUCCESSFUL GLOBAL timeshare and resort developer will throw his hat into the ring for the new Rottnest Island hotel.

John Spence, who is based in Subiaco and runs Karma Resort Group, is looking at building new reports in the Bahamas, Canada, the Philippines, Croatia, Sri Lanka - and Rottnest.

The Rottnest Island Authority called for new tenders for a new hotel on Mt Herschel in November: they close at the end of the month.

"We have received none, as the procurement process is still open," an Authority spokeswoman said this week.

But Mr Spence will complete a tender.

"I'm not sure how much of a story I can give you until the tender closes," he said.

"I'm very cautious of going to the media before it closes, as I'm also a commissioner on the board of Tourism WA."

But in a trade magazine Mr Spence is more forthcoming.

"...we are strong bidders to develop Rottnest Island in Perth," he told time-share magazine Perspective last month.

"Rottnest is an icon for Perthites: KRG is hopeful of launching the contract.

"We could never have done that as a pure time-share company."

Mr Spence started his first time-share in the 1990s in Goa, India.

Now KRG has resorts in Thailand, Indonesia, Greece and Australia.

The company is working on developing an all-villa resort in Margaret River, which includes a private air strip.

Mr Spence told Perspective his favourite quote is one by US businessman and investor Warren Buffet: "When people are greedy be fearful and when people are fearful be greedy."

Monday, March 08, 2010

fright of the Phoenix

From Belvoir to the beautiful island: you have to admire Thomas Mars, Deck D'Arcy, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz.

The fab foursome are French alt rockers Phoenix (naturellement) and according to Fairfax they had some Rottnest time the day after after their gig.

But drama was in store after a drink.

"...boat problems on the way back to Perth meant the trip was slow and rocky, and travelling at five knots per hour wasn't the nicest way to end their Perth sojourn.

"The boat was so late getting back, one of the band members almost missed his flight but some fast driving and clever thinking got him there in the nick of time."

That is a relief. Those blokes from Versailles are usually pretty nifty drivers.

Photo of Phoenix courtesy Teh Wikipedia, at

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Richard's big poo on Rotto

Gosh, we were excited on Thursday: there, at the bottom of a rant about trading hours, a man in a suit aired his opinion about the beautiful island.

After we read the Perth Now story we reckoned the rest of the media might miss the Rottnest angle - but no.

The beady-eyed Beatrice Thomas had a full report in The West the next day. And today there is more (too costly? too elitist?) which puts paid to our feeble planned efforts.

From PerthNow: 'He said he had returned from a recent holiday with his family at Rottnest and said sections of it were ``run down'' and it ``was a good example where free enterprise could do a better job that public ownership''.'

The West expanded: '"If you looked around Rottnest last weekend the place was magnificent," Mr Goyder said.

"The people who had been rewarded through risk-taking and innovation were there with their boats en masse, and that was terrific.

"And when you go back to the Rottnest Hotel, you see the real benefits of investment and greater service, making a return for the people who took that risk.'

Yes! Wealthy yachties and employers are good! So good they should run the villas and bungalows, too! There is nothing more magificent than a risk-taking innovator (or an innovating risk-taker) in his boat in Thomson Bay!

Was Richard Goyder on a nice yacht, or in the "decayed" or "crumbling" accommodation, we wonder?

Perhaps we will ask after all.

Friday, March 05, 2010

safe swimming

How good is that paper the POST? They keep the Rotto stories coming. Admirable...

Organisers of the Rottnest Channel Swim say they will heed calls to make the event safer.

A skipper in last month's event said it could be made safer in two ways.

“It was pretty chaotic and dangerous, and I think there are a couple of simple things they could do,” said the skipper, who did not want to be identified.

“They should limit the size of support craft and not make swimmers pass south of the marker buoys.”

The skipper said he would prefer to see a maximum boat length of about 30ft.

“I felt it was an accident waiting to happen,” he said. “There were 35ft launches out there – three times one in particular nearly ran over our swimmer.

“The driver wasn't being a hooligan – he just couldn't see around his bow.”

The skipper said the south of the buoy rule made for heavy congestion on the way to the island.

“Prior to the event I was keen for my children to make the swim,” he said. “After what I saw last month there is no way I would let that happen.”

The skipper said there was a lot of chatter on radios during the race about congestion and safety.

Rottnest Channel Swim Association president Ceri Writer said the event debriefing process had started.

“We are always looking for that type of feedback – we are all about safety,” she said.

“The rule about the buoys is to ensure there is no deviation by swimmers into the ferry channel. But we would review it if it is causing a problem.”

Ms Writer said no major injuries were reported from the event.

One boat capsized on its way back to the mainland: the crew was rescued and the boat was towed by Water Police to Fremantle.

Fremantle Sea Rescue said one of the five people on board was a non-swimmer and was not wearing a life jacket.

“In the sea conditions the chances of being seen would normally have been very slim,” the service said.

Ms Writer said the financial details of the event were still being finalised.

She said details would be released to association members at their annual general meeting next month or in May.

The association is not-for-profit and donates any surplus to various charities.

The POST calculated the event generated $517,500 in entry fees, and $59,700 from a law firm's charity challenge.

Ms Writer said sponsors of the event provided cash and in-kind support.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


This is, as they say at posh broadsheet papers, a bit of a read: patience will be rewarded by a mention of the beautiful was in the POST last week...

A DEEP-WATER SWIMMER was stopped, searched in his boardies and picked up by police.

Soon afterwards the Cottesloe man received a visit from a police inspector with an apology, and then a big compensation cheque.

An hour after emerging from the surf at North Cottesloe Beach, Denys Martin (54) was arrested and taken to the East Perth lock-up where he was strip-searched and held for six hours.

He had refused to provide two armed police officers on the beach with his name and address and was whisked away in the back of a paddy wagon.

But he still has no idea why the police wanted to talk to him.

“What did I do wrong? I was swimming in the ocean,” he said. “I am deeply sceptical about the new laws.

“What really concerns me is that it happened under the current laws of stop and search,” he said.

“And that makes me deeply sceptical about the proposed new laws, which are still before Parliament.”

Mr Martin contacted the POST after reading last week's report about Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan saying people would not be stopped and searched on Cottesloe Beach.

On January 4 Mr Martin went for a long swim at North Cottesloe.

“I did about 3km – I'm not scared to go a long way out,” he said.

A North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club lifesaver was concerned, though, and swam out to speak to him.

“I told him I was fine and I'd been swimming for 30 years,” Mr Martin said.

But when he got back to the beach two officers from Cottesloe police were waiting.

“One started to lecture me about swimming in the ocean,” Mr Martin said. “I was disoriented and dehydrated and needed water – but he started being gung-ho.”

The situation deteriorated: the officer asked Mr Martin for his name and address; Mr Martin refused to provide these, the officer then arrested him and he was taken to the station.

When Mr Martin was again asked for his name and address, he asked what he would be charged with.

Eventually he provided his surname on the understanding police would give him some water.

He got the water, but was then put in a hot van and taken to East Perth.

“They took fingerprints, photos and there was a full body search – humiliating,” Mr Martin said.

He was released after six hours and given a train ticket so he could get back to Cottesloe, still wearing his boardies.

Seven weeks on, Mr Martin is feeling more positive about police.

He says senior officers stepped in and took him and his complaint seriously and promptly.

“I was very impressed with an inspector who came to my house, listened to my story, and apologised on behalf of police – that was very professional,” he said.

He believes police will destroy the fingerprints and other details they collected during the day.

But he still wants answers from North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club and Surf Life Saving WA.

Mr Martin said he was considering legal action against the two bodies for what happened.

He says he is not against the proposed new stop and search laws, but is worried about the potential for them to be abused.

Mr Martin's brush with police is similar to that of eccentric would-be Rottnest swimmer Herbert Voigt 42 years ago.

The German immigrant became famous for his deep-water swims, towing picnics and beer hundreds of metres out from the beach.

The press nicknamed his Mr Sharkbait.

In 1968 the City Beach surf lifesaving club called police after its lifesavers failed to coax Mr Voigt back to shore.

Eventually a police officer followed him to his old car, where, after a scuffle, he was arrested and handcuffed.

Later in court, Mr Voigt alleged that the officer had sworn at him so he pushed him away.

"Is there any law to stop me swimming out to sea?" the swimmer asked the constable.

"Yes, you have caused inconvenience to the lifesavers and concern to the public," the policeman said in evidence.

The magistrate threw out a charge of creating a disturbance and cautioned him for refusing to give his name and resisting arrest.

He was fined $50 and had his licence suspended for dangerous driving on the way to court.

A few months later Mr Voigt left Cottesloe Beach alone to swim to Rottnest – but never arrived.

Three weeks after he was last seen an escaped convict found a skull at Eglinton, and the coroner ruled it was Mr Voigt's.