Saturday, June 26, 2010

one more sleep

If all goes according to our cunning plan, we will be soaking up the sun somewhere on the beautiful island tomorrow.

We can't confirm if we will gazing on a vista like this: Kitson Point Sets by Michelle Wardley could be yours for $146.

Maybe we will see Ramona at the bakery or heading back to the ferry after her night on Rottnest.

Perhaps we will see is so in since the leadership spill.

Wherever we will be, it will be a long way from the Emirates.

Friday, June 25, 2010

'Locals rort Rotto ballot'

This tremendous report in the POST: it has quotes, figures, emotion, juicy allegations and one-sentence paragraphs.

It is so good it is on the front page (er, actually page 28) and could well be the final word on the matter.

We like the data so much we will take it to the beautiful island and study it in depth over a G&T at the pub.

Contact Rotto Bloggo if you want the lowdown on your postcode luck.

A LABOR MP says western suburbs holidaymakers are rorting the Rottnest ballot system.

Regional development spokesperson Mark McGowan says there should be a quota system during island ballot time so more people from other areas get to holiday on Rottnest.

“Four or five members from a family apply during the Christmas and Easter ballots,” Mr McGowan said.

“It can result in unfairness.”

The Rockingham MP said figures given to him during recent estimates hearing in Parliament show an “overwhelming” rate of western suburbs people securing ballot accommodation.

“Many people from the outer suburbs and country apply as well,” Mr McGowan said.

“For example, 20 times as many people from Cottesloe went to Rottnest compared to my electorate – which is much bigger than Cottesloe.”

Mr McGowan suggested 25 per cent of Christmas and Easter accommodation be reserved for country people, and another chunk be set aside for those from out suburban areas.

“Those people help subsidise Rottnest as well,” he said.

But data from the last two Easter and Christmas periods show western suburbs holidaymakers have only a slighter luckier success rate than people from other areas.

In Easter this year there were 1702 applications: 767 were successful, a 45% success rate.

There were 448 applications from the nine western suburbs postcodes and 222 were successful: a 49.5% success rate.

Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove had more luck than most: a 53.8 success rate from 52 applications.

But South Perth people were luckier that Easter: a 77.2% success rate from their 44 applications.

Some of the unluckiest were those from the nine southern suburbs in the 6163 postcode: a 20.5% success rate from 34 applications.

Very few people from Rockingham applied for Easter or Christmas ballot accommodation in the last two years.

The area has a population of more than 15,000, but there were only seven applicants – with two successful – for island time in Easter this year.

In the 2008/09 summer 17 Rockingham people applied (and five were successful): in all there were 5573 applications for that period.

The Rottnest Island Authority said the ballot system was computerised and cannot be manually adjusted in any way.

“The RIA ballot process was independently reviewed by Stantons International earlier this year and concluded that the system provided a fair and secure randomised process for the allocation of balloted accommodation,” Authority CEO Paolo Amaranti said.

“Every applicant has an equal chance of securing accommodation through the ballot system.

“A higher proportion of allocations to people from a particular area is likely to reflect a higher proportion of applicants from that area.”

Mr Amaranti spruiked winter Rottnest deals, including one for $339 for two people for three nights.

He said there were still vacancies for next month's school holidays.

“Packages are inclusive of accommodation, bike hire and Bayseeker bus pass for the duration of the booking and are $185 per night for four people,” he said.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Allison and Jocelyn were given their marching orders from the beautiful island this week.

The plucky backpackers quote Seneca and Henry Miller on their blog and spent about a month on Rotto working at the Lodge before they were sacked.

"The low occupancy in the hotel was so low that there weren’t enough hours for all the waitresses. The managers needed to get rid of two waitresses, and because Allison and I were traveling together, it made it convenient for them to lay us of," they report on The Kangaroo Chronicles.

"Not only were we laid off, but we had to be off the island in 24 hours. Working as a backpacker can be cutthroat!"

They loved Rottnest so Rotto Bloggo thinks they're great.

They provided some insight into backpacker rooms, aka Donga City ("single rooms with paper thin walls all connected in a square shape, with an outdoor common area in the center of the dongas. We actually consider these housing units quite luxurious compared to some of the places we’ve stayed in Australia"), and also managed to pet a pooping quokka.

Rotto Bloggo wishes A & J happy travels and hope they got paid their entitlements.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

better battery

More scintillating news of the beautiful island from the POST...

Rottnest has won recognition for looking after a tall building.

Island people picked up a Heritage Council award for stabilising the battery observation post, even though the building is not on the state heritage list.

The post, at Signal Ridge, was built in the 1930s and was manned around the clock during World War Two.

Heritage manager Harriet Wyatt said the work took several months over winter last year.

“We had to battle some pretty harsh weather,” she said.

“There were site meetings in strong winds but we managed to stabilise and waterproof the building.”

Last week's rain tested the post but no water got in.

Ms Wyatt said Rottnest workers were committed to looking after buildings on the island.

“We don't pick and choose – just because something is not on the heritage register doesn't mean we won't care for it,” she said.

The work on the post cost more than $200,000.

Pic: Patsy Vizents, left, and Harriet Wyatt, of the Rottnest Island Authority, with Geof Mann (Myers Construction) and Kane Kelly (Safeway Contracting) by the restored Rottnest battery observation post. Photo Peter Baxendale.

Friday, June 18, 2010


This in tomorrow's POST: what an outstanding paper.

Rotto Bloggo went into crisis talks when we heard the news and resolved we may have to carry the smoker.

When we told a near-neighbour about the luggage they said: "If you can't take a couple of cartons of Ferngrove over with you then the terrorists have won."

THE DAYS OF taking everything but the kitchen sink to Rottnest Island are over.

Authorities are cracking down on luggage that is too heavy.

They are warning holidaymakers overweight items will not be put on the ferry.

The Rottnest Island Authority says items cannot be more than 22kg.

Only two items per permanent bed will be transported.

Luggage cannot be larger than 500mm x 800mm.

“Failure to comply with this may being necessary to unpack and repack before or after arrival,” a flyer from the Authority sent to holidaymakers says.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


To continue yesterday's complaining: where are the great cookbooks of Rottnest?

We know Ben O'Donoghue cooked on the beautiful island - where is his book and accompanying TV series (or is that the other way around?) of Gage Road fruits de la mer?

We will discuss this in 15 sleeps time: we will also probably rant about Maggie Beer again. Our book will certainly have smoked fish recipes.

For ingredients, if you're not on the beautiful island as we speak, you might want to pop around to the Boatshed in Cottesloe - see the pic of their ad in today's POST.

Friday, June 11, 2010


There isn't enough poetry about the beautiful island.

Whither the John Kinsella series of works with the salt lakes as inspiration? Why hasn't Fay Zwicky gone into full elegy mode over the hotel.

We'd like to read a tight sonnet about schoolie love (lost and found) on nocturnal Pinky's.

Clearly we will have to dress, Keats-like, in flash clothes and sit down to write some verse about Rottnest in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime...the indefatigable Fremantlebiz has let us know about a Rotto pome.

There is a current affairs nexus: the poem is in indigo, the excellent journal that has had its state government funding so cruelly cut.

Alan James' effort is called Biking Rotto.

"hired bikes and pedalled hard for Porpoise
Bay and lay on sand dry, warm, and listened
to the black-headed terns crying, crying,
croaking as they cried, as they trotted, as
they fossicked at the tide line, and we
listened and listened until their cries had
screamed us empty, and then we lay quietly
in the tender water quiet and turquoise that
cleaned, how it cleaned, and we watched the
water tongue at the sand and rocks and the
limestone headlands and the reef platforms
and the islands little more than remnant rock,
it mouthed and tongued, washed upon them,
and it fussed about them, and fretted at them..."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

new stuff

Rottnest boaties can now tie up at a new jetty in front of the Thomson Bay hotel.

The $420,000 structure replaced the old jetty, which dated from the 1950s.

Tourism Minister Liz Constable said the new jetty was safer and extended further into the water.

It has six pens, can accommodate two vessels at the head, has 240 volt power, a ladder access for tenders and a ramp to assist with access for people with disabilities.

Ms Constable also named a new ranger vessel while she was on the island.

The craft was named Roland Smith, in honour of a Rottnest navigation pioneer.

“Roland Smith’s navigational markers can still be clearly seen today and he was a man dedicated to safe passage for mariners around Rottnest,” Ms Constable said.

“He also established the first of the moorings in Marjorie Bay and Narrow Neck.”

Roland Smith was the longest serving member of the Rottnest Island Board of Control and continued to contribute to the island through volunteer reafforestation work until his death in 1972.

A memorial to Mr Smith was erected by his friends in 1974 on the site of one of the first shore markers which help to guide boats safely into Narrow Neck.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

old stuff

A 2500 year old pseudo shell midden on Longreach Bay? You better believe it.

We were browsing Scientific Commons and were delighted to see this 1978 paper.

"The calcareous soils of the island are very well drained," the authors say in their introduction: we love it when we see a reference to Rottnest's calcareous soils.

It is fascinating reading, although "we cannot preclude the possibility that the surface zone of the sheltered deposit represents the remains of a shellfish midden from the prison era."

But it could also be from "a spearhead manufacturing site overlying a naturally accumulated shell deposit."

Check it out here.

Friday, June 04, 2010


This in the POST...fine paper...two bucks to learn about the beautiful island? We would pay five, even.

Ocean currents bring tropical fish to Rottnest and oceanographer Alan Pearce will explain how at next week's meeting of the Naturalists' Club.

His talk at 7.30pm on June 11 is about ocean currents, tropical fish larvae and rock lobsters.

Alan trained as a mechanical engineer in South Africa before moving into oceanography, studying the ocean currents off Durban.

He joined the CSIRO in Sydney in 1977 and finally moved to Perth.

In his semi-retirement he has started a PhD study at Curtin University on ocean currents and larval fish.

His talk will be a mix of history, geography, oceanography and marine biology.

Knowledge of currents is closely linked to new technologies, including highly sophisticated and expensive current meters and drifters.

The society's meeting is at the Woolnough Lecture Theatre in the UWA Earth Sciences building, and is open to the public.

Entry is by $2 donation.