War in Lebanon

Tuesday 25.7.07 News of the day :
Washington plans to deliver a hundred 'bunker buster' bombs to Israel to kill Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, and destroy their group trenches.

Beezer, a young web designer from Bekaa, Lebanon, who is currently sheltering in Jordan is keeping a blog
Lebanon Israeli Crisis

analysis & updates and electronic intifada
Human Rights Watch Lebanon

APHEDA appeals for Mid-East donations :
'Ordinary Palestinian, Lebanese and Israeli families are suffering from a military conflict that must cease' says the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions).
Sharan Burrow, ACTU president, says 'Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA has two appeals for humanitarian assistance, one for families in the Gaza Strip and another for families in Burj el-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon. I urge people to make donations to these appeals - please ring 1800 888 674 or access APHEDA'.


A Book from W.A.
Reading Series in S.A.

John Mateer was born in Johannesberg, South Africa. He grew up there and in Canada. Prior to being conscripted during the State of Emergency in South Africa, he moved with his parents to Western Australia in 1989 and then to Melbourne in 1998. Twelve years ago he remarked that he had occasionally written in Afrikaans 'in order to examine more fully what it means to be African'. (Fremantle Arts Review, Aug/Sept 1994) John has published five collections of poems in Australia, and several chapbooks in Australia, South Africa, Indonesia and most recently Japan: among them Barefoot Speech, Loanwords, and the 2005 book I've only just read, The Ancient Capital of Images. John has been writer-in-residence in North Sumatra, Indonesia, at the School of Contemporary Art (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts), Australia, and in 2002 in Kyoto, Japan. He is also an art critic, contributing regularly to several national Australian art magazines. John moves around a lot but currently he has returned to one of his more frequent places of residence, Perth, Western Australia.

The strange, yet beautiful, cover photo is a detail from Melbourne-based artist Domenico de Clario's performance Crown Chakra on Sabbath Day Lake, Maine, USA in 1996.

The poems in this slim book are keen in perception, intense in both thought and feeling and sometimes almost bleakly droll as John Mateer moves around in Africa, Australia and Japan locating images, ghosts and feelings from his past in Cape Town and from recent sojourns in Melbourne and Kyoto.

Five Artefacts Found On The Highveld


Rattle those keys, the whole bossie, and hear
how the metal is a silver skeleton and the corridor
of your inner ear a city of shattered glass for you to sprint across


And that razor-wire, more than doringdraad
that a giraffe's black chewing-gum tongue could circumvent without touching,
is invisible, car-jackers, makwerewere everywhere in your head


Let those chains be a memorial to heavy industry and the zoo
and to the home since they are metaphor, tethered to thought
as a dog to the tokeloshe and ground to its owner

Electric Fences

on summer afternoons lightning used to hunt down thatched houses,
but electrified fences are its avatars now
and the whole city a gamepark


Stones: hardly less than the Ruins of Great Zimbabwe,
these walls broken like the crusty bread of a bunny-chow chucked
from the back of a speeding bakkie.

excerpt from The Deepest North

2. On Asahi-dake

The rock is large enough to block the wind if I crouch down
like a primitive man inventing shelter. I do.

And from here on Asahi-dake my view is of the distant mountain range
and a nearby gravel slope where, with streaming smoke,
the Earth is pouring into the grey sky and howling endlessly
jet-engine harsh through the holes of its volcanic vents, its exhausts.

Whole industrial cities could be buried here under the rubble
right up to the tips of their smokestacks.

Why do mountains always miniaturise the human,
reduce us to an imagining ?

I wait there until the mist descends,
then wander the stony paths until I am lost in the whiteness.

The book is published by
Fremantle Arts Centre Press

You can read an interview with John Mateer made in Melbourne, Victoria, five years ago in 2001.

News from Adelaide:
The regular Lee Marvin Reading Series continues in the 'Athens Of The South'


at Gallery de la Catessen
9 Anster St., Adelaide
(off Waymouth at the King William end, near FAD nightclub)
7.30 for 8 PM start
Price $5

August 7th:
Cath Kenneally
Rachel Manning
Kate Deller-Evans
Ros Prosser
August 14:
Stephen Lawrence
Jason Sweeney
Linda Marie Walker
August 21:
Moya Costello
Simon Robb
Gail Walker
John Cage'sOverpopulation & Art (1992)
August 28:
Pru La Motte
Cath Kenneally
Francesca Da Rimini


Far North Queensland
Brief notes

After a few days in Brisbane, we drove north to Buderim, Peregian, Noosa and Yandina on the Sunshine Coast and the hinterland. Then we headed up to Far North Queensland.

      Early morning, Cairns, QLD July 2006

This year Cairns was the focus city for NAIDOC WEEK (a week of celebrations organised by the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee).
We were in Kuranda, north west of Cairns, on July 6th for their celebrations and the next day we attended the big gathering on the esplanade park beside the Cairns waterfront.

      Warranbi (Welcome) Dance and Cassowary Dance, Kuranda, July 2006

In Cairns we visited a couple of Indigenous art exhibitions that were also part of NAIDOC week.

        Print by Joey Laifoo, 2006

Gatherings, a survey exhibition of works by Queensland Indigenous Artists including Arone Meeks, Joey Laifoo and others is on at Kick Arts in the Centre Of Contemporary Arts, or COCA. The impressively huge woodcuts in this exhibition are stunning.

Gatherings catalogue launch
Book Launch: 5:00pm Wednesday 26 July 2006 TBC
Exhibition continues: to Saturday 5 August 2006
Time: 10:am - 5:00pm Tuesday to Saturday
Where: KickArts Lower Gallery
Price: Free Entry, All Welcome

Over at the Cairns Regional Gallery there was an exhibition of responses to and re-interpretations of nineteenth century King breastplates called Unreal Shields. The work here was by a range of Indigenous artists who had participated in etching workshops at Cairns TAFE and Banggu Minjaany Centre earlier this year. Crescent-shaped brass breastplates were conferred by the Australian government in the nineteenth century to acknowledge the leadership and authority of the wearer.
The photo here is of six year old Jager Kemp,the great great great grandson of 'King Billy' Jagar, a Yirriganydji elder of the Barron River, north west of Cairns and of 'King Billy' himself - both wearing the breastplate from 1898.
Breastplates were first introduced by Governor Macquarie of New South Wales around 1815. They can be read as a means of controlling Indigenous people. To quote from Macquarie's set of instructions to the 'Native Institution' in Parramatta, Sydney - That the Natives should be divided into District Tribes and that each Tribe should elect its own chief, who the Governor will distinguish by some honorary badge . The chief or, more usually, 'King', was then to be held accountable for the general conduct and reconciling of any grievances within his tribe.

        'King Billy' Jagar, a Yirriganydji elder, 1925

        Catalogue Cover - Unreal Shields

This is a complex, very moving and diverse exhibition. The artists have used the motif of the breastplate to tell stories of their own.

        Kisai Dhibadid by Dennis Nona, Badu Island (he now lives in Brisbane)

Dennis Nona writes about his etching -Before the mission times, Badu Island warriors made head-hunting raids on other islands. So fast were their canoes, they were likened to the very fast Kuparik bird. Their image was often carved into the prows of their canoes

Meanwhile, as regular reading revealed, the redoubtable Cairns Post seemed to be on another planet entirely.

Sunny Queensland

Brisbane River
Teneriffe, July 2006

Who would think, walking along the placid Brisbane River at sunset on a winter evening, that this city was once a hotbed of decades of protest and dissent ?
I was a young political activist, still attending Mitchelton High School in Brisbane, when FOCO began. 1965 until 1985 was one of the most divisive and extraordinary times in Queensland history. A period when it was at times illegal to protest publicly, and when the anti-Vietnam War movement was gathering strength. In Queensland, legislation was used to enforce conservative social values, the state government pursued economic development above all and clashes between protestors and police were a part of everyday life. FOCO was started when the Trades Union Movement perceived a lack of space devoted to the cultural activities of young people. The entire top floor of the now-demolished Trades Hall (an uninspiring IBM high rise office block now occupies the site) was made available to FOCO for music (hosting all night concerts by bands like Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls, Max Merrett and the Meteors alongside folk singers like Declan Affley, Barbara Bacon, Jeannie Lewis etc), alternative theatre (the legendary group Tribe began there), poetry readings, art shows, happenings and so on. I participated in many events (until I quit Brisbane for Sydney in late 1968).

      Wall display, Museum of Brisbane, 2006

It was a stirring experience to visit the exhibition Taking To The Streets documenting the years of dissent from 1965 until 1985. It's a multi-media social history exhibition covering anti-war demos, land rights and indigenous issues, homosexual and lesbian rights, the right to demonstrate, workers' rights, womens' rights, student politics, union politics - the right to strike and so on.

The exhibition runs until 10th September 2006
Free Entry Open every day 10am to 5 pm
at the Museum of Brisbane
Ground Floor,
City Hall, King George Square

The grand volcanic plugs of the Glass House Mountains have always held personal meaning for me. On Boxing Day, 1965, my politically active and mountain climbing friends and I travelled up to the Glass House Mountains, 61 kilometres north of Brisbane, and climbed Mount Tibrogargan. Mountain climbing was one of my pastimes - sounds odd for a Bob Dylan/Woody Guthrie fan and prospective anarchist, I know - but it's a fact. At only 364 metres, Tibrogargan is smaller than other mountains I climbed back then (for instance Mount Lindesay, the crumbling mountain, near the NSW border at 1117 metres high). This time, forty years later, we stopped for a roadside picnic with the Glass House Mountains in view.

Mount Lindesay, QLD
(foto - Robert Rankin)

Mount Tibrogargan, July 2006

A note - all fotos on The Deletions are by PB unless credited otherwise