All posts by Dally Messenger

About Dally Messenger

Principal of the International College of Celebrancy

Celebrant Training: other Training courses: The Pandemic

Causes of failure in fighting the pandemic

Underpinning the failure to contain the coronavirus is the ill-advised decision of those who, early this century, moved vital education into the world of capitalist competition. At the heart of capitalism there is an ethical void. The capitalist system never had any chance of producing genuine education or adequate training. (The AGE: Pandemic Pay Win as Aged Care Alarm Grows. 28/7)

When Nationally Registered Training (NRT) was made mandatory for celebrants in 2003, at least 48 “providers” – most of them non-celebrants — were approved by the Federal Attorney-General to certify celebrants. I, and my fellow educationists, went into screech mode as we tried to expose their irresponsibility. I witnessed and still witness skilled exploiters working out how to undercut the competition. Inter alia, they abbreviate training content, cut time in the assessment of students, and subtly discourage persons from continuing the paid-for course, so they can charge less and beat the competition.

The Federal Attorney General’s Department and many others, skilled in agnotology, accepted everyone’s certificate as equal. No one ever failed. You paid your money and you got your certificate.

So why I am not surprised that security guards enjoyed “rolls in the hay” with isolated single women in quarantine? Why am I not surprised when some aged care workers contribute unwittingly to spreading the virus?

Dorothy Day speaks in Melbourne 1970

Dr Val Noone – author

My friend, Dr Val Noone,  has just published a book entitled Dorothy Day in Australia to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her once only visit in 1970. To mark this occasion I am, on his behalf,  releasing an audio recording of Dorothy’s speech at the Public Lecture Theatre, University of Melbourne, on 16 August , 1970

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. She led a wild and bohemian lifestyle in her younger years. A journalist and a Labour radical, she converted to Catholicism in her thirties, opening a House of Hospitality on the lower east side of Manhattan, New York.  Dorothy founded a newspaper called the Catholic Worker which combined traditional Catholicism with advanced social ideals. Fuller information available on the web e.g. her Wikipedia entry under “Dorothy Day”.

Dorothy Day 1970

Dorothy was one of the most interesting and puzzling figures in the history of 20th Century Catholicism, and of American dissent. She has had a small but definite effect on Australian Catholic culture to this day.

The following recording gives a rare and precious insight into her personality and mission. (There are some difficulties in the early minutes of the tape.)

ORDER FORM for the Dorothy Day Book

BiIll Shorten,  the ALP , and losing the election to Clive Palmer

Shorten,  the ALP , and losing the election

Back to the ALP self-examination on why we lost the election. Am I nuts or something? The ALP is giving into Joel Fitzgibbon and the burn coal group.

What beat the ALP is the $60 million dollar gift to the Liberal Party campaign by Clive Palmer. And the money was well spent on the fear of Shorten being “shifty”.  In current discussions it is not even getting a mention. Clive’s advertisements landed on fear. Fear, the psychologists tell us, is the best motivator. The Fear of “Shifty Shorten” message was far more effective than, $60million saying, “Vote Liberal Party”.

The loss in the last election of May 2019 had little to do with “policies” – it was a $60 million dollar political donation to the Coaltion by Clive Palmer to save his coal mines. This was a huge amount even by USA Coke Brothers standard

If $60million would have been donated to the ALP we would have won the election easily.

Clive only had to sway 3% – but in my opinion his advertisements  swayed many more.

$60 million dollars, effectively spent, has a big effect.

And it was so cleverly donated. 

So you pretend you are starting a new political party without policies and spend the guts of the advertising on attacking the person of “Shifty” Shorten. And this was not any kind of advertising. Clive let loose the full catastrophe — radio, television, print newspapers, robo calls – the works. All of it was in piercing McDonalds yellow Coca Cola repetition, and shades of “Crooked” Hillary – plus a really ugly photo of Bill Shorten.

We didn’t lose, comrades. We had wonderful policies. We were beaten by capitalist money.

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge OAM (1927-2019)

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge (1927-2019)

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge’s death on August 1, 2019 closed the book on a celebrated and highly successful career in general medical practice lasting over sixty years. For forty of these years he was also a designated Aviation Medical Examiner, holding a commercial pilot’s licence in his own right since 1979.

A significant contributor to the improvement of national and state based medical services, Raoul Tunbridge held key appointments in the Commonwealth sphere, the Health Department of Victoria, the Metropolitan Ambulance Service and the Victorian Academy of General Practice. On Australia Day in 1990 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine and for the creation of the Victorian State Disaster Plan.

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge was born on 15 May 1927. This was two years before the crash of Wall Street and the beginning of the Great Depression. His father Walter had been a member of the famous Light Horse Regiment in World War 1, and later on a pilot with the Australian Flying Corp.  

His mother Lorna was a vivacious woman and was involved in the publicity and administration of performances for the National Theatre in Melbourne. Raoul had fond memories of his young life, a life of great celebrity parties guested with opera singers and colourful theatre people.

He was a distinguished alumnus of Caulfield Grammar School, It was the only school he ever attended. At CGS he was a prefect, a dedicated cadet, and the founder of a very successful music club.

He graduated from Melbourne University as a medical practitioner i.e. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, in December 1952. In late 1952 he was appointed Registrar of the Prince Henry Hospital in Melbourne – a position he held for two years.

He had a close relationship with his younger sister Barbara. William Grice, one of his best friends from school, married Barbara and so became his brother-in-law. 

As a door stop GP, he first  practised  in Traralgon (1955), then established and practised at the highly successful Langton Medical Centre in Dandenong (1965-1980), later relocating to Mt Eliza (1980-1990) and Towerhill at Frankston (1990-2000). In his semi-retirement he was part of the Collins St Medical Practice (2000-2014) and Southend Medical in Hampton (2014-2015). He ceased work at 88 years of age.

Raoul took it for granted that a professional in society should go over and above the call of duty and voluntarily donate a substantial amount of quality time to organisations, which contributed to the good of society as a whole. He was, for example, a foundation member of Rotary International in Dandenong East.

These were the days before Medibank and Medicare when general practitioners were known as “physicians and surgeons” and did most of the procedures now done by specialists. I recall that frequently he would leave his surgery at Langton to head for the operating theatre at the Dandenong Hospital. 

He was a great supporter of the Dandenong Hospital where he was, inter alia, President of the Committee of Management, Medical Director, and Director of Emergency Services. 

My other memory of Raoul Tunbridge were that those who did not have any money were not billed. In these days before Medibank (1974) and Medicare those in personal difficulties were looked after pro bono by the medical profession.

His leadership roles included Chairman of Obstetrics at Monash University (1965-1973), President of the Board of Management of the the Metropolitan Ambulance Service (1986-1993), and CEO of the Victorian Academy of General Practice (1984-1994). The last included flying his plane to hospitals all over Victoria supervising and mentoring medical post graduates.

He is best known for his work in establishing Displan – the Medical Disaster Plan for Victoria, for which he received the OAM. Throughout Victoria, Raoul organised over fifty medical response groups who would be prepared “first responders” in the event of an earthquake, a train, bus or plane crash, a terrorist bombing – you name it. He also wrote the Australian Emergency Manual for Disaster Medicine which was to be the handbook text for his successors.

Raoul’s favourite vocation was as an accredited medical assessor of health and fitness for pilots. By law all airmen have to front up for their prescribed regular medical checkups. As a pilot himself it was a work he loved. These clients loved him too. 

Dr Nathan Koch, represented the airmen who formed a guard of honour at his funeral. Koch stated that they always felt they not only fronted a skilled and knowledgeable medico, but a supportive person and their advocate with, at times, a somewhat capricious and ignorant public service.

On his 90th birthday at the Sandringham Yacht Club the grateful pilots saluted and honoured him with an eight plane flypast.

Raoul Tunbridge had, by any standard, a laudable record as husband, father, grandfather, and loyal friend. As his son Nicholas said at his funeral.

I asked him once what he would pass on to anyone who respected his life experiences. His answer was persistence. – “Nick, it’s so important to just keep going, never stop – and if something goes wrong, fix the bloody thing, and if you can’t fix it, then forget it and move on.” 

Raoul’s skills, ethics and dedication were a remarkable contribution to us all and to his society. He has passed on. The lives of us all, and those who knew loved and admired him must be diminished.

Raoul Tunbridge is survived by his wife of 38 years, Christine,  her daughter Kate and children, and  Raoul’s sons Anthony, Nicholas and David  from his first marriage to Brenda, and their spouses and children.

By his close personal friend Dally Messenger assisted by Christine Tunbridge and Nicholas Tunbridge.

Bill D’Arcy – carpet bombing and hysteria = wrongful conviction

BY DALLY MESSENGER III.        ( Further info is on the Bill D’Arcy support group website )

Bill D'Arcy - falsely accused of rape.
— Bill D’Arcy

What disturbs me about the jailing of Bill D’Arcy 

For those of you who might have forgotten, Bill D’Arcy was a Queensland Member of Parliament, sometime deputy leader of the ALP,  who was convicted of raping an eight year old girl in front of a combined class of about 20 primary school children. The supposed year and month was May 1966. He was sentenced to fourteen years in the slammer.

On the grounds of an otherwise exemplary life, the appeals court later reduced this to ten years.  For reducing his sentence the judges were mercilessly attacked in the media. Lot’s of grabs included remarks like “They should lock these people up and throw away the key”, and, “They should take these judges out of the courtroom and send them back to the classroom, and teach them what real life is about” etc. It was good stuff for TV ratings and newspaper sales.

At the time all this happened D’Arcy held the safest state Labor seat in Queensland. In the faction ridden ALP this was never a safe place to be. Having had heart surgery, he was in need of a second operation to replace a failing heart valve, and simply didn’t have the health and energy needed to properly fight the rumours, which had been spread , that he sexually molested children some thirty five years before.

Bill D’Arcy fathered a child to a fourteen year old? Really?

The first sensational story in the media alleged police had evidence that he had fathered a child to a 14 year old girl. This accusation later proved manifestly false, proved by DNA, but the counter evidence  hardly got a mention.

Bill D’Arcy raped a child in front of 20 students? Really?

New accusations emerged, including from a woman who had a thirty seven year old “recovered memory” to the effect that Bill D’Arcy had raped her as an eight year old. He went to trial, no one with knowledge and intelligence, thought that he could be found guilty, but he was. In the light of the media frenzy, it is clear he never had any chance of a fair trial in the first place. 

If you are reading this and you are over twenty you will know immediately how dicey the human memory is. You only have to revisit a scene in a film, which you “clearly” recall to find that it wasn’t like you remember it at all.  “Play it again Sam” – was that what Humphrey Bogart really said?

Bill D’Arcy convicted because of a “recovered memory”? Really?

In the courts in every place in the world except Queensland, Australia, “recovered memory” is a style of evidence, which has been so often discredited, that it has no credence. In the UK and the USA there have been numerous recantations of “recovered memory” by accusers. so often have people been influenced by “suggestion”, and so often has the human memory proved unreliable, that it never gets past first base before the lowest ranked junior magistrate anywhere, except in Queensland.

Bill D’Arcy convicted without any corroborative evidence? Really?

The rape accusation against D’Arcy was patently absurd in itself. How a jury could find him guilty beggars belief. He was found “guilty” of raping an eight year-old girl in front of a class of approximately twenty children of varying ages. None of those children present saw the rape, or anything like it. The eight-year-old (eleven year old?) didn’t scream in pain, or run out of the classroom, or make any sound, or even tell her parents. She told no-one until over thirty-seven years later, and then only when a police person went to her and persuaded her that her current mental troubles must have been caused by sexual abuse when a child – a memory she had suppressed.

Bill D’Arcy was convicted of a crime at a place where he wasn’t and at a time where he wasn’t? You’re joking!

Her evidence, if examined with care, reveals that she is speaking of a time when Bill D’Arcy was not at the school in question, but had in fact left ten months earlier! She describes the school in May 1966 but D’Arcy in fact had left in June 1965. She appears to be describing another male teacher who now lives in Canada and is not available for questioning. (No innuendo of innocence or guilt is made regarding this teacher.) But this should have been evident at the trial? Surely? no these records were “lost” at the time.

About Bill D’Arcy for the record

Oh, and just for the record, Bill D’Arcy, then, in the years since, and up to the present day, (December 2018), absolutely and vehemently denies any and all of it.

Oh and just for the record, his beautiful wife, his lovely children, his circle of friends, his neighbours and everyone who really knows him, doesn’t believe a word of it.

Oh, and just for the record, his fellow prisoners, who usually are merciless towards paedophiles, didn’t believe a word of it, not did the screws, nor did the jail staff.

Oh, and just for the record, he refused to undertake the sexual offenders course which requires inmates to admit guilt, and therefore had his jail time extended.

Bill D’Arcy received an excessive sentence.

The sentence on Bill D’Arcy was excessive, given the comparative sentences given to others found guilty at the time. The original sentence was fourteen years. Even sexual assailants of children who have been filmed on video and the internet doing so, to the horror of the world, received only a third of this sentence. Bill D’Arcy served over seven years in jail, a humiliating parole period, and, to put in mildly, a lost of reputation.

There were so many who accused Bill D’Arcy of lesser offences, he must have done something? Really?
sub-heading: carpet bombing: what it means, and why it is done: Emma Husar.

Emma Husar – carpet bombed within the ALP – photo: Geoff Jones.

Here I must diverge and give a recent example. A federal Labor Party member from Sydney, one Emma Husar, who was “carpet bombed” by persons who wanted to force her to leave parliament. They spread so many rumours about her that she obviously found it extremely difficult to cope with them all. The rumour-mongers succeeded and she declared she would not stand again. The independent enquiry found that most of the accusations were groundless but a few were left hanging in the air. So some of the press and public concluded she must have done something . Right? Carpet bombed – very effective tactic if you want to get rid of somebody.

Bill D’Arcy: the other Trials

There have been a number of trials of Bill D’Arcy, most relatively minor, since the original one. No one can work out why. Having put a man away for fourteen years (later reduced) – why was public money continually spent on more trials? – to send the D’Arcys broke with legal fees? – knowing the contradictories in the main trial, to make sure he was put away well and truly? Who knows?

Bill D’Arcy: the civil “trial”.

The original accuser i.e the woman who claimed to be raped as an eight year old, faced Judge Botting in the civil trial in the District Court. He disallowed this accuser’s attempt at gaining $250 000 in victim compensation. I read his findings. Though carefully worded, the Judge, in summing up, pointed to a large number of inconsistencies in her evidence. In plain layman’s terms he declared Bill D’Arcy “innocent” on the evidence; he refused her application for the lifting the statute of limitations, awarded costs to D’Arcy, stating in his opinion, that Bill D’Arcy could not get a fair trial. No headline for that one.

Bill D’Arcy was not, is not, and never has been a paedophile.

Another aspect disturbs me. Anyone who knows anything, or reads anything, about paedophiles, knows that they regularly re-offend. Bill D’Arcy was examined by a leading Queensland psychiatrist in the area of paedophilia. The psychiatrist told D’Arcy, that he exhibited no characteristics of paedophilia. This has never been clearly evidenced in court, or indeed anywhere else. Unfortunately in Queensland it is virtually impossible to have expert evidence admitted in this type of trial.

In fact in Queensland, the law does not require any evidence of corroboration in cases of alleged child sexual abuse and a person can be convicted solely on the word of the complainant. In the then current witch-hunt mentality (hysteria), this is a sure recipe for miscarriages of justice!

In jail he was again examined and tested by psychiatrists who stated he had no indications of paedophilia whatsoever.

Bill D’Arcy with his lovely wifeNot only is D’Arcy “no paedophile” but he has sustained an admirable 44 year marriage and has raised an admirable family. His wife, and his three grown children, totally love and esteem their father, totally believe in his innocence, are in daily contact with him, and have stuck together, though grievously harmed by his false conviction.

Sexually assaulted children are victims. So are men falsely accused.

There is another factor, which I think is totally central to the incarceration of D’Arcy. The Queensland political scene and the public life of Queensland at the time had been coloured by the campaign against sexual offenders of children. Though the stated objectives of this campaign are unquestionably laudable, the excessiveness and extremism of its methods, so ably criticised by the Journalist Christopher Pearson in the Weekend Australian (A Sad Case of Blind Justice Feb.19-20, 2005), has created its own list of the falsely accused. These are also victims and so are their families.

Bill D’Arcy and the Queensland Police

Let us now look at the role of the police. It is the job of the police to establish whether a crime has been committed and thence determine what action should be taken. It is not the job of the police to target a person, decide a priori that such a person is guilty, and then set out, by selecting evidence against, and ignoring evidence for, to secure a conviction.

Such a tactic is called trawling, i.e.ignoring any evidence in favour of the targeted person, and persuading those who may be persuaded, that they must strengthen their so called “evidence”, or worse, encouraging them to think about making a complaint of their own. They do this on the grounds that “we know this person is guilty but to nail him we need your help”.  The Queensland police task force acted in this manner. Police can be influenced by media frenzy and let’s-find-these-pedophiles campaigns like anyone else! They followed this trawling process for two years. For example, I personally read the attempts to get witness statements from parents and others  at Hendra a school were Bill D’Arcy taught. A whole page of failed attempts! Not one person had bad word to say about Bill D’Arcy, quite the contrary – so they went on to the next school

In November 2002, I personally attended the second trial and sat through it. I witnessed Judge O’Brien disallow Mr D’Arcy’s counsel from cross-examining the police on this tactic. I am still astounded by this and so I wrote to Judge O’Brien asking, as a citizen, for an explanation. I did not receive a reply. 

I have many more misgivings and concerns about these series of trials – I know that much of the evidence is contradictory and faulty. I know the D’Arcy family still believe that within the law they will ultimately find justice. They are from Irish stock so they will keep fighting.

Why hasn’t Bill D’Arcy’s conviction, in the light of new evidence, not been re-examined?

My guesses are as follows:

The Crime and Corruption Commission of Queensland doesn’t want to re-examine it because “carpet-bombing” makes a case very complicated. A lot of work. It would not be popular because the press has caused public opinion to believe that the evidence is cut and dried.

The Police do not wish to be exposed as trawling and prejudiced as it would show them up in a bad light.

The Legal Profession does not wished to be exposed as being incompetent – as well as taking the D’Arcy’s life savings with their exorbitant fees.

The Labor Party does not wish to be exposed again for the ruthless and unethical way  many of tis preselection battles are fought.

The conservative parties do not wish to be exposed as gleefully enjoying an opposition ALP member convicted of a crime.

The media have a lot to answer for their prejudicial coverage of Bill D’Arcy prior to his trial and their using of the rumours to temporarily but massively increase their circulation and viewers.

The protectors of children may not want Bill D’Arcy to be innocent either as the get so much publicity by the conviction of a high flyer.

So it just about suits everybody to keep Bill D’Arcy guilty, even though he is not.


I have been advised that even though many believe Bill D’Arcy is innocent of all charges, they say nothing because they fear the backlash of those who are convinced he is guilty. If by reading this and the website (link below) you are convinced that a fully independent  enquiry is merited please let everyone know. Bring this case up in conversation –
mention the case on talk back radio,
write letters to the editor or MP,
mention and share this page
or a page from the website on facebook, Twitter and all social media.
Public support may begin the process of righting a grievous wrong.

( Further info is on the Bill D’Arcy support group website )

The Funeral of Roger Pryke: priest and social activist

The Funeral took place on July 7, 2009. Celebrant was Peter Phelan

Roger Pryke was a celebrated catholic priest, psychologist and social activist who left an indelible impression on the Australian catholic community. He is best remembered for applying the core values of christianity to the welfare of the individual person and the betterment of society. Many remember him for his peaceful organised mass protests against aparthied in Sth Africa as symbolised by the tours of the All white Springboks Rugby Union teams.

His Funeral was remarkable in that it was in two parts – the first– a concelebrated mass at St Josephs, Hunters Hill. My impression was that there were about twenty concelebrants and several hundred people. Most of these, I imagine, were those who were practising catholics who revered Roger Pryke who, during his priest period, inspired wthem with a brand of catholicism which they still retained. The Mass gave the impression that Roger had never left them – which, in a sense, was true.

The second part at the crematorium was a series of personal tributes by a representative group of his many admirers, who spoke – not only of his time in the church, but of the excellent fearless work he did as a married man and private employed citizen. It was much more of a secular gathering. After an hour and a half the long line of speakers had to be cut off as time had run out.

What was remarkable as far as I was concerned was that someone of his age (a) had so many people. As a funeral clebrant with at least 2000 funerals behind me, old people do not usually have much of an attendance at their funerals. Their friends have died off – usually they just have the widow and children and family.

But Roger’s wife, Meg, had died many years before, she bore him no children, he had had Alzheimers disease for several years and yet he had two remarkable funerals !

At his Funeral there were many excellent eulogies

Here is my Eulogy:

Dally Messenger on Roger Pryke

You remember the days. Catholic priests talked of Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the authority of the Church, and the evils of mixed marriages.

Enter Roger Pryke — and his then unique Christian perspective – he spoke of how the sources of unhappiness, despair, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and mental instability so often could be traced to acts of cruelty by one human being to another.

Happiness and mental balance depends, he said, on “the esteem of significant others in our lives”. That is why I surround myself with you lot.

Roger explained how the maintenance of sanity is to always face reality. Yes, people, I am 71, I am an old age pensioner, I have ordered a hearing aid, I have a history of successes and failures. That’s who I am, take it or leave it. I sleep sane. Thank you Roger.

He taught us to be ourselves — there is no peace in false fronts, airs and graces, or pretentiousness. It is not the Jesus way.

He spoke about good reactions to bad stimuli. We talked about the the blacks in America – how , after generations of slavery and of oppression, and being brainwashed to think of themselves as inferior, how they could then think of themselves as equal in dignity to whites. His answer has stayed with me. “They just made up their minds that they were equal, “ he said.

He held up a penny – if you love, the other side of the coin is that you will be vulnerable. If you love, you will likely get hurt. It is the other side of the coin. All things considered it is best to take the love pathway. This led to one of my first sermons on Simon and Garfunkels’s “I am a rock, I am an island.”

He introduced us to the counselling methodology of Carl Rogers. Counselling in those days meant you went to the priest, explained your problem, and you were told what to do. Rogers, Roger explained, meant you listen very carefully, you helped the person consider all the factors, so that they came to their own solution. So revolutionary.

Somehow, in 1965 or 1966 he got into St Patrick’s College, Manly, the seminary, where the tension, between the old guard thinking and the new philosophy of Vatican II, wreaked its own kind of misery. Roger confronted the then Dean, Pat Murphy, and told him that the atmosphere of oppression within the walls of his seminary was so bad, Jesus would never recognise the place. So courageous!

I so admired the guy — he made such sense to me. He is the only person I look back on as a guru in my life.

Permit me some brief personal memories. When still a seminarian I went walking with Roger at Araluen near Canberra. We were given the use of a country house there — I poured my sincere little heart out to him — his quiet reassurances validated me. I wrote a poem about it.

When, back at the Manly seminary, I used to get to frustration point, I would, after lights out, sneak across the oval, crawl under the fence, and go to visit him in his parish of Harbord. I needed to hear a sane voice. So patient.

Twenty years ago he rang me in Melbourne and said he was coming down south and intended staying with me and my then wife for a week, which he did. I recall feeling so privileged — it is as if Barack Obama rang me and asked me could he stay in my guest room. I recall that at the time he talked about the Progoff Intensive Journal method of gaining self awareness.

I visited him more recently at his apartment in Harbord. We spent the best part of a day together. We walked to Manly and back. It was one of those conversation reminiscent of the Walrus and the Carpenter.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
And much secret men’s business – a occasion to live in the memory.

I thank Tony Newman, Paul Hartigan, especially Peter and Marian Phelan for looking after our mate in his last sad years and days. I thank Ed Campion for writing such an interesting and validating article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The American Indians believe that no one is truly dead. while those who are still alive, hold them in memory. So Roger, you have a few years to live yet. I am not a believer in a sense most people would understand, but I cannot resist the words of our shared cultural tradition:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiscat in pace.

Bill McMahon Letter

Bill McMahon showed me a letter he had received about Roger from Ken Buttrum which I found particularly interesting. An extract:

(I have) fond memories of Roger’s many great leadership skills, and it’s just a shame that his contribution to the development of new services for disadvantaged youth supported by the Department of Community Services in the mid 70s are not (acknowledged). He led a ministerial committee, of which | was a member, recommending major changes to young offender services throughout this state. It was my privilege to then implement these services. What an extraordinary individual of great vision and compassion! | will never forget his humility, great personal strength and personal encouragement as one of my supervisors. The private sector greatly benefitted from his vision, skill and invaluable leadership. 


56 The Sanctuary Drive LEONAY NSW 2750 Wednesday 26 October 2011

Dear Bill,

Just writing a brief note to thank you for loaning me the book outlining the life of Roger Pryke during his years as a priest within the Catholic Church !What a prophet he was understanding the need for change in this authoritarian and male dominated organisation — a man well and truly before his time !

|have just finished reading the book and believe me itbrought back to me many fond memories of Roger’s many great leadership skills, and it’s just a shame that his contribution to the development of new services for disadvantaged youth supported by the Department of Community Services in the mid 70s are not outlined in this book !He led a ministerial committee, of which |was a member, recommending major changes to young offender services throughout this state. Itwas my privilege to then implement these services. What an extraordinary individual of great vision and compassion !| will never forget his humility, great personal strength and personal encouragement as one of my supervisors. The private sector greatly benefitted from his vision, skill and invaluable leadership and |feel this part of his story should have been told to show how his work in the community reflected his many Christ-like capabilities. In remembering his work for young offenders, |am reminded of the words of Isaiah who wrote,

Here is my servant whom |uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. |have endowed him with my spirit, that he may bring true justice to the people He does not cry out or make a show of himself in the streets !
He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame.

He will encourage the fainthearted and those tempted to despair. He will see true justice is given to all who have been wronged. Isaiah 42:1-3

How amazing was itthat we bumped into each other on the streets of beautiful Lennox Head and how wonderful that we had both shared the blessings of working with Roger. Praise God ! Many thanks for lending Helen and me this wonderful story which has brought back some truly amazing memories.

John Murray to Frank Harvey (Author)

Dear Frank and Ed,

Thank you for last night’s splendid event.   You both spoke beautifully and it was a worthy tribute to Roger Pryke, the priest.My partner Maureen and I found it intriguing that no opportunity was given for questions or comment from the audience, a usual feature of book launches in our experience.

You acknowledged, Frank, that some people had expressed disappointment that the book did not cover the rest of his life after the priesthood.  He was a priest for 28 years.  He was “in private life” after his departure from the priesthood for 37 years.  Maureen did the maths.

As a “Traveller to Freedom” what he found was a freedom, not just from the priesthood, but from religion itself.

As believing Catholics, albeit progressive ones, it is hard for you to conceive, let alone acknowledge, that a leading figure of the renewal of the Catholic Church could come to realise that one is only truly free when not subjecting oneself to the external authority of a religion.

Perhaps your carefully constructed control of the evening was aimed at avoiding having this truth voiced?

Roger himself said, as you mention in the book, that he “took it off like an old suit”.  I have always understood that this reference was not just to the priesthood, but to religion as a whole. I have often adopted that phrase from him in describing my own transition from religion to freedom.  Like Roger, I left the whole thing, a few months before he did, as it happens.

The most important point, though, is that the human values Roger taught so many people, myself included, stand on their own without the support of religion.  In terms of values, Roger was the most significant single influence on my life, and I still live by those values today.  He lived out those values in the secular sphere for the rest of his life.  His life did not lose its colour, but those within the church could no longer see it.

Roger, and many others, suffered at the hands of Norman Gilroy, such a limited man.  But his greatest tragedy was not any of that.  It was the untimely and sudden death of his beloved Meg with whom he had found true happiness.

I attach a little piece I penned recently which I think is relevant to the point I am making here. I intend to convey the substance of this letter to other friends who have an interest in these matters. With thanks again for a wonderful book and, as Roger would say,

Warm regards

John Murray.

John M. Murray  BA, BSc (Arch), BArch, Grad Cert Housing Studies, Graduate Architect, 0409 039 495 ,

To Bill McMahon from John Murray (second letter)

Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 10:31 AM

Subject: Re: Roger Pryke

Dear Bill,

Great to hear from you and much thanks for the beautiful letter about Roger.  Perhaps Ken should write the book about Roger’s life free of the Church.

Frank Harvey admitted, at the book launch, that some had criticised the book for not dealing with the greater part of Roger’s life which was after he left the Church.  His rather lame defence was that he was writing about Roger the priest and someone else could write about Roger’s later life.  The reality is that there will probably be only one bite at the cherry.  You ought to send him Ken’s letter.

Roger’s funeral service was in two parts. There was the full Catholic Mass led by Ed Campion at St Joseph’s College all, of course, about Roger the priest with no acknowledgement that Roger himself had rejected the Church’s teachings.  Then there was a ceremony at the cremetorium, simply a series of speeches about Roger.  Some were prearranged and then anyone was invited to speak.  Pretty much all of the speeches were still about Roger the priest.  This was getting on my goat so I got up, happened to be the last speaker, and pointed out that Roger had rejected religion and that the values he had taught me stood on their own two feet without any need for a reference to God or Jesus.  Quite a few people came and thanked me for saying that at the wake.  Needless to say, Ed Campion did not attend this function.

Ed, who had a lot to do with the book, and Frank, cannot cope with those of us, especially Roger, who have given it all away and see it for the sham that it is.  Attached my letter to them.  Ed sent me a curt thank you and Frank didn’t respond.

Yesterday, Maureen and I went to a talk at the Opera House by Daniel Dennett, one of the leaders of the atheist movement.  They have been doing research in America on practising clergy who no longer believe in God. There are a great many of them and they feel terribly trapped.  Being a biologist, he drew an analogy between social cells and biological cells.  A very important part of the cell is the membrane which lets good stuff in and keeps bad stuff out.  He spoke of the membrane between the clergy and their congregations, how the clergy do not share their real insights with the laity.  I remember Jimmy making it pretty plain to us that the theology we were learning in the seminary, which was very different from what we were taught by the nuns at school, was beyond the comprehension of the laity and was not to be shared with them.

Dennett was not stridently against religion like Dawkins is.  He had a gentler approach.  He could acknowlege that religion can have a function for some people, but that it could still have that function while acknowledging that the religious stories are mythology not history, that they express the mystery of the human condition through mythic legend (like the Greek Myths) and don’t need to be reified into facts (this last bit is more me that Dennett, but he did imply it).  He did point out the now well established fact that the need for religion subsidies as security, health and education advance in a society.

That’s enough of a rave for now.  Back to reading DCP’s, another mythic form.

Love to Sue and to all the gang.


John M. Murray  BA, BSc (Arch), BArch, Grad Cert Housing Studies, Graduate Architect, 0409 039 495

The fragile rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and Bill D’Arcy

The fragile rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and Bill D’Arcy

By Dally Messenger III

Everyone is right and everyone is wrong when it comes to long term sexual misconduct accusations. 

I am not talking here of serious misconduct which is cut and clear. Father Ridsdale, for example, had an army of former altar boys with serious accusations. The evidence was overwhelming. Ridsdale  admitted his crimes. Open and shut.

In the history of sexual crimes, the genuine victims have frequently been ignored, disbelieved, even attacked. These wrongs must be redressed. But such redressing cannot mean that every man accused is guilty.

This is the kind of question which is emerging: was that pinch on the behind sexual assault? Was it a welcomed bit of fun and affection? Was it one of those misjudgments or mistaken signals which regularly occur in the interaction of the sexes? Could the accusations arise from the fury of a woman scorned? Could the accusation be based on pseudo-evidence –  e.g. “recovered memory” – which only comes to light when others have suggested it?

There is a corollary question: could it be that occasionally victim compensation gives force and power to an already flowering and embellished victim narrative?

Yes – there are real victims of sexual assault and they must be listened to carefully and sympathetically. The #MeToo movement has opened up a valuable dialogue far too long suppressed. But, as Bret Stephens points out in his incisive New York Times article “The Smearing of Woody Allen”, it is a very serious matter for society to jettison the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof because you do not like someone. The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of our justice system – and hundreds of years of legal experience tells us that we do not have a justice system without it.

My own personal knowledge of a real victim on the wrong swing of Hegel’s dialectic is the falsely accused Bill D’Arcy, one time former leader of the opposition in Queensland. Queensland has a long history of abuse of the legal system and the ignoring of the separation of powers. The Fitzgerald Inquiry, for example,  exposed politicians and business leaders, who motivated by political ambition, or big profits, or media sales, decided to ditch due process.  

D’Arcy had the safest Labor seat in Queensland, Woodbridge, and in the late 1990s he became ill with serious heart trouble. It was the time of the tumultuous and enthusiastic beginning of the nobly motivated campaign to find men who had sexually abused children. D’Arcy was accused on the basis of a rumour originating, as far as the subsidiary rumour has it, from his opponents in the Labor Party. As Stephens says of another, his case played perfectly “into existing biases”.

I have read the eighty eight page report on the Bill D’Arcy case which was written in 2003 by a former senior police inspector of unquestionable integrity. Though the language is careful and respectful it reveals a sorry mess of police “trawling”, a cesspool of contradictions and a swampland of serious anomalies. This former police officer, inter alia, details how D’Arcy was “carpet bombed” with hitherto never mentioned accusations in an atmosphere of “hysteria”. 

Two years of pretrial publicity in the tabloid press ensured that Bill D’Arcy had not a snowflake’s chance in hell of a fair trial, but as he did, amazingly, go to trial, there was not even half a snowflake’s chance of a “not guilty” verdict. 

This short reflection can only handle one specific instance of injustice of the many I could quote. Contrary to tabloid reports Bill D’Arcy was accused of rape by only one woman. This one accusation merited 10 years of his original 14 year sentence. At the time of the trial, the year 2000, the alleged event was 34 years prior to the trial. 

For starters, Dr Daniel O’Connor asserts that raping an eleven year old girl in front of a whole class without anyone noticing what was going on, and without the girl screaming in pain, etc. was physically impossible. As O’Connor asserts – it “beggars belief”.

Fourteen items of evidence given by the accusing woman, place the alleged rape as occurring in May 1966. Evidence clarified since the trial makes it clear that Bill D’Arcy was transferred to another school on June 30, 1965. I have examined the documents and transcripts myself. It is cut and dried, open and shut. To add strength to my conclusion – the accusing woman gives a description of the teacher who followed BiIll D’Arcy. This man, by the way, left the country at the time the accusations started. Everyone I know who has looked closely at the facts of the Bill D’Arcy trial, has decided D’Arcy is innocent.

At the trial the woman herself uttered this extraordinary statement – “when the police identified me as a victim ..” Unnerving, isn’t it? 

Barry Cohen – Minister in the Whitlam Government & Peter Paul and Mary

Barry Cohen, Minister for the Arts in the Whitlam Government

Barry Cohen and an Early Memory 

The year was 1967. Lawrie O’Malley and Tony Sheridan had decided to help  a suave looking young man gain preselection for the seat of Robertson in NSW for the ALP.

My clearest recollection is when we went with Barry to the Wyong and then the The Entrance ALP Branch. There were about 30 members of each Branch where Barry presented his case. We then headed off to another branch – it could have been Gosford – to do the same thing.

Lawrie O’Malley was Cohen’s close friend. They were both in the retail rag trade together. Tony Sheridan, a Labor idealist, was his campaign manager.

Barry had been active in campaigning for the recognition of aborigines.

Barry was the person who invited Peter, Paul and Mary to perform in Sydney to support the aboriginal cause. The performance was held at the Sydney Boxing Stadium in Rushcutters Bay on May 16, 1967.

Peter, Paul and Mary
Folk Singers of the 1950s and 1960s

I clearly remember the advertisements emphasising  the technological wonder of the rotating stage (1) which had replaced the boxing ring. Barry, being a promoter of the event, had as many free tickets as he wanted, so a few of our friends and ALP members, got to see these world top artists, which normally we would never been able to afford. I had a free trip as well from Gosford to Sydney in Barry’s car.

Peter Paul and Mary gave a wonderful concert – singing Bob Dylan songs (“The Times they are a Changin” “If I Had a Hammer” and others). They divided the audience of thousands into three sections to sing in harmony – “Rock my Soul in the Bosom of Abraham”. An unforgettable experience.  Paul Stookey made short speech about respecting Australian Aborigines. Eleven days later the people passed the referendum on the recognition of the Aboriginal people as humans and citizens.

After the performance a few of us were invited backstage with Barry to meet the big three. Peter and Paul went elsewhere but Mary Travers invited us to walk with her up to Kings Cross for supper. Imagine my emotional excitement when Mary took my arm and said: “You are walking with me”. Barry, Lawrie,  and Tony were lagging behind us. The only time I ever upstaged Barry Cohen.

The Whitlam government was elected in 1972. In the middle eighties when I was editor of Dance Australia, Barry Cohen, then Minister for the Arts, gave me a great deal of support. At the ADAMS (Awards by Dance Australia Magazine) he made a wonderful crafted speech, comparing the art of the dancer and the art of my Rugby League grandfather; he described them as kindred artists, and how top sportsmen were all part of the artistic phenomenon of “poetry in motion”. When I watched Billy Slater, years later, I reflected on how right he was.

Goodbye, Barry, Great contribution. (B.C. d. Dec 18, 2017 @82)

Dally Messenger III

The rotating stage can be clearly seen in this youtube  clip – pause it at the zoom out. –


At one concert Peter got the audience to sing “Rock My Soul,” and the noise of stamping feet at the end of the song, a sign of high approval, woke up Mary’s husband Barry napping in the dressing room, who thought a riot had broken out.

3.  The Aboriginal Referendum took place on 27 May 1967


5. (Thanks to Matthew Holle and Jenny Ficarra of the Sydney Living Museum, here are all the dates when Peter Paul and Mary performed in Sydney.)

According to Michael De Looper, PP&M played at the Stadium 5 times over 4 years. –
May 29th 1964
 August 25th 1965
 May 16th and 18th 1967
 August 10th 1968




Lionel Murphy: A man who made life better for all of us.

Lionel Murphy was a man admired, even adored, by almost everyone who knew him.  (The Age – “Murphy papers’ release gives controversy fresh legs” -15-9-2017) Talk to his personal staff, the public servants he won over, or any of his wide range of friends and acquaintances and what do you find? No one who didn’t think he was top of the pops. Lionel Murphy dripped concern for his fellow human beings, as much as today’s leading politicians drip opportunism and expediency.
But he did attract the anger of the upper classes. They loved the old divorce laws as much as they love dirty coal power stations today. (“The destruction of marriage”). He fought long and hard for no-fault divorce, he abolished capital punishment, he established legal aid, he made women and aborigines civil celebrants, and frequently dissented from Garfield Barwick and the other judges on the High Court.
You don’t do those sorts of things without experiencing a backlash from those born to rule.
But let me pick up one part of your story. Even the establishment Royal Commission rejected 21 of the 41 “allegations” on first reading. So these absurd allegations – that he was a soviet spy, that he had Swiss bank accounts full of money etc. were dismissed.
My question is – who made these patently false allegations? What are their names? Why have they escaped punishment? So only 14 of the 41 allegations made their way onto the final agenda – the worst of which seem to be the words – “What about my little mate?“. Why is Lionel Murphy held to this absurd standard? Donald Trump tweets worse several times a day.
Instead of this outrageous anonymous innuendo, why not read scholar and historian Dr Jennifer Hocking’s carefully researched and admirable book on Lionel Murphy – and drink in the true story of a truly great man.
Dally Messenger III

from MUNGO MacCALLUM. (courtesy John hill)
Murphy was a political giant, a man of voracious appetites on many levels.

Sydney Morning Herald
18 September 2017

Murphy may have been flawed, but he was a flawed colossus, a Labor hero. Whatever his peccadillos, history has already redeemed him.  

Thirty years after his death, the archivists have exhumed Lionel Murphy, the incomparable Attorney-General from Gough Whitlam’s government.

Or rather they have not attempted to exhume the man, but only the raft of accusations that dogged him to his early grave.

Many of these were absurd, fanciful to the extent that even his toughest critics admit that they were obvious fabrications. But others have been given some credibility. This is unsurprising because Murphy was never the conventional figure his position, both as a cabinet minister and a high court judge, supposedly demanded.

Murphy was a political giant , a man of voracious appetites on many levels. He craved power and achieved it; but along with his ambition he also loved food, wine, and good company, especially that of attractive women. This infuriated many of his less successful colleagues, who could never understand what they saw in a man who was, let’s be frank, no oil painting; he was once slandered as a puce-nosed jackal.

But Murphy had charm, wit and a blazing intelligence: he considered himself Whitlam’s intellectual superior, partly on the grounds that while his leader had studied arts and law, Murphy had pursued the more arduous pairing of science and law. He was something of a polymath, a man of boundless curiosity and utterly fearless about where it might take him.

And this was the trouble. In his youth he had made some friendships that appeared harmless at the time but were regarded as dubious or worse when he achieved high office. But Murphy, being Murphy, refused to abandon them and at times, in open defiance of those who counseled discretion, even flaunted them.

There was, and is, no serious suggestion of corruption in the normal sense, but there was a feeling that he had crossed the line where cronyism became at the very least inappropriate. And so his enemies pounced, and there were plenty of them.

Whitlam, who had always regarded him as an unwelcome rival, hoped that he had disposed of him by agreeing to his appointment to the high court, to the fury of its then chief justice, the previous Liberal attorney-general Garfield Barwick. But when leaked illegal phone taps appeared in the Melbourne Age, one of which referred to Murphy talking about the overly colourful solicitor Morgan Ryan as “my little mate,” the shit hit the fan.

One trial convicted Murphy and an appeal cleared him, but then further stories emerged and a new inquiry was opened, only to close when it was revealed that Murphy had terminal cancer. And it was the subject of this second inquiry that had the voyeurs of the media salivating last week.

There were allegations but none of them were tested, let alone proved. But enough mud has stuck for some commentators to claim that Murphy would have been struck from the High Court for proven misbehaviour if the case had continued.

Personally, I doubt it: the Murphy I know was certainly indiscreet, even outrageous, but he was above all a lawyer and a bloody good one. I do not believe that he would risk his career and reputation, which remains that of one of the great reformers of Australian politics.

Murphy may have been flawed, but he was a flawed colossus, a Labor hero. Whatever his peccadillos, history has already redeemed him.

More than three decades after being sealed by Parliament, secret allegations levelled against the late Lionel Murphy QC have been described as a tawdry and repetitive exercise to cast doubt on the legacy of the former High Court judge.

New documents released by federal Parliament have returned the spotlight on one of the most controversial political and judicial scandals in Australian history. But the veracity of the archives and what they can add to our understanding of the truth remains contentious.

The Class A Records relate to a 1986 aborted parliamentary inquiry into improper misconduct allegations against the late Lionel Murphy QC (pictured). The former High Court judge and attorney-general, who served in two Whitlam governments, died from terminal cancer in October that same year.

In 1986, the Hawke government legislated to repeal the commission inquiring into various allegations of improper conduct and sealed the associated documents outlining the allegations against the judge for 30 years. That time period expired in 2016 and last week thousands of pages of declassified files were made public.

Lionel Murphy is the only High Court judge to have been subject to a parliamentary investigation that may have resulted in his removal from the bench under Section 72 of the Constitution for “proved misbehaviour or incapacity”.

Historians, academics, journalists and legal pundits have been poring over the declassified files to get a better sense of how these new details add to what is already known about the sensational controversy the High Court judge was embroiled in the three years leading up to his death. He passed away aged 64.

Professor Jenny Hocking, the author of Lionel Murphy – A Political Biography, told Lawyers Weekly that it was incorrect to describe the latest tranche of documents as some final chapter to the affair. She admonished recent media commentary which implied the details of the allegations put to the commission of inquiry offered any kind of “final chapter” to Lionel Murphy’s legacy.

“The documents are, in fact, just the beginning of another episode of what is now another tawdry, repetitive search for error on Murphy’s part. There is no truth in those documents on their own,” Professor Hocking said.

“It is impossible to draw the truth, certainly from these documents because they are only the beginning of a commission of inquiry,” she said.

Writing for The Conversation, legal academic Professor Andrew Lynch said that the release of the documents would “reopen old debates and inevitably lead to fresh appraisals of Lionel Murphy’s life and career”. His assessment of documents conclude that it would have been untenable for the judge to remain on the bench but underscores that the commission did not have an opportunity to complete its inquiry.

“The records bring vividly to life the controversy that by mid-1986 swirled ceaselessly around Murphy. There are 41 separate files of allegations against the judge, as well as a general file of ‘accusations and letters of support’,” Professor Lynch said.

The legal academic from the University of New South Wales explained that a number of the allegations in these achieved files canvassed similar ground to the issues that were probed in two separate Senate committee inquiries two years prior in 1984, and the subsequent criminal trials of which the judge was ultimately acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Professor Lynch added however that some of the Class A allegations did raise new claims of illegal or improper conduct. These included an allegation of attempted bribery of Commonwealth officers or urging them to breach duties of non-disclosure. He also noted an allegation that the judge had tried to get a senior AFP policeman to act as an inside informant to the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Not only have the new public documents raised further questions about Lionel Murphy’s “complex” legacy, but the information has also gone some way to illustrating the scandalous nature of politics in 1980s Australia, Professor Lynch suggested.

Of those allegations which were set aside by the commissioners (comprising three retired judges who were appointed to the role) Professor Lynch listed a range of what he called “outlandish” claims, “reheated from years earlier and already known to be baseless”.

“These included allegations of tax avoidance, improper use of travel entitlements that Murphy accessed through his wife’s work as a travel consultant with Ethiopian Airlines, the provenance of a diamond owned by Mrs Murphy, and, an all-too predictable conspiracy theory given the times – that the judge was a Soviet spy and a member of an espionage ring operating in Canberra,” Professor Lynch said.

The question remains, to what extent can any of the 14 allegations against Lionel Murphy revealed in the past week better inform the historical record.

According to Professor Hocking, the fact that the commission’s work was never finalised is an important issue that must be considered. She noted that another thing to bear in mind was that the parliamentary commission terms of reference were remarkably broad and allowed for allegations against Lionel Murphy to be made in an open slather fashion.

“They were literally inviting people to come forward with any material from any time of Lionel Murphy’s life about any aspect of his life. There was a lot of criticism at the time that the terms of reference were not confined, that they were very broad and literally invitations to allege,” Professor Hocking said.

“You have to remember also that Murphy had already been through three such inquiries, two of them being the senate inquiries (in 1984), which both found the original material being inquired into, couldn’t be substantiated as verifiable material.”

The original material Professor Hocking describes is a series of telephone conversations, secretly recorded and transcribed by NSW Police and then leaked to journalists at The Age. The newspaper then used these transcripts to report that a judge and solicitor had discussed a range of potentially criminal matters, as well as raise the suggestion that the pair had ties to criminal groups.

One tape in The Age tapes supposedly identified Murphy under parliamentary privilege as the judge involved in the reported scandal. He was also accused of attempting to influence other judges who were presiding over a matter that involved forgery and conspiracy charges against solicitor Morgan Ryan, who later famously became referred to as Murphy’s “little mate”.

“There’s a real question mark over that very early material,” Professor Hocking said.

The Monash University academic said that she believed when a determination had been made to discredit The Age tapes, that is where the saga should have ended. But indeed, it continued and resulted in what she described was an unprecedented “reputational inquiry after inquiry”. She added that the shocking, targeted use of Parliament and courts to pursue the High Court judge cannot be removed from the political circumstances of the time.

“There were determined efforts to remove Lionel Murphy from the bench and you cannot separate out the politics from the legal aspects of this in any way, shape or form.

“I think he was treated absolutely appallingly. From the moment he went on the bench, it was very clear from the conservative side of politics that there would be moves made – and this was said publicly – to ensure that he would not remain long on the bench,” Professor Hocking said.

Justice Murphy took leave from the High Court when the second Senate commission of inquiry in 1984 found he had a case to answer. The Commonwealth DPP then laid charges against the judge before Parliament moved to make a decision about what it would do to address the judge’s position.

He was acquitted in July 1985 on one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice but found guilty of another. Murphy successfully appealed the 18-month jail sentence imposed on him and was acquitted at the retrial for the second charge.

“The only truth of a person’s life can be gauged from an examination of their entire life and that’s the only way in which really to assess both the legacy of Murphy as a jurist and as a very successful reforming attorney-general,” Professor Hocking said.

“We also need to understand the context in which these documents have come from and why there was such determined efforts to remove him. Given that he’d been acquitted on the other grounds to come out at trial, the final commission of inquiry [in 1986] was extremely controversial.

“The bottom line is that he was acquitted of the charges he faced at trial and it’s an absolute tragedy and scandal that the matter was not allowed to rest there.”

Lionel Keith Murphy QC – Image courtesy of High Court of Australia

Donald Trump – the Ugly American

Donald Trump
— Trump – “leave the running of the country to me”

Trump is abusive:

  • When the cast of Hamilton asked  VP Pence to respect LGBTI people Trump called in a “third rate show”. In his abuse he is coarse, crude, vain, shallow and simplistic.
  • When Meryl Streep criticised him she was dubbed an “overrated” actress.
  • “Lock her up”. Hilary Clinton deserves to put on trial as a criminal (what for?)

Trump boasts and he  lies:

  • This presidency has achieved more in the first 90 days than any other presidency.
  • More people attended his inauguration than for Barack Obama.
  • He is restoring “clean coal”.

Trump  does things destructive to society:

  • Reversed environmental protections. Companies can now put waste into rivers (“reduced red tape”)
  • Denies climate change.
  • Reversed Dodd-Frank so that banks can take financial risks which threaten society.
  • Stopped funding birth control in countries that need it badly.
  • Proposed a budget which halves funding of Medicaid and decrease by 25% funding for food stamps.
  • tries to get rid of Obamacare such that  23 million would be without health coverage and older and ill people would be paying a lot more.
  • Positively supports the sale of armaments and encourages the war industry (e.g. $148 billion sales to Saudi Arabia – one of the most backward and punitive societies in the world.)

From Jason Bosseau on August 9, 2018

The EPA has issued a SNUR (Significant New Use Rule) that says it will no longer evaluate the toxic effect of substances that are present in the air, in the ground or in water.  One of the substances that will benefit is asbestos since the hazard presented by asbestos occurs when it is entrained into the air. The president does not believe that asbestos is a health hazard and has been saying so for decades.
Almost all of the asbestos imported into the United States (there is no domestic production) is used in the creation of chlorine.  Most of it comes from Russia and is mined by a company named Uralasbest.
Uralasbest can expect a very large benefit to its business from the new rule. 

Trump breaks promises

Obamacare will not be repealed unless something better is in its place – the next day.. (Just repeal Obamacare and we will work out the rest later.)

He will build a border wall which Mexico will pay for.

Trump is unstable: Aug 1, 2017

I write this bit on Aug 1, 2017. Eleven days ago, Sean Spicer his communications director was sacked and replaced by the foul mouthed Anthony Scaramucci.  Scaramucci immediately attacked Reince Priebus (white House chief of Staff). Priebus immediately resigned. Trump replaced him with General John Kelly who immediately requires the dismissal of Scaramucci (terrific name by the way). All this in eleven days!!

Donald Trump is a fear monger: Nov 9, 2018

Fear is the greatest motivator – so if a politician wants to win an election – he needs to whip up fear – and the image of himself as the strongman and saviour, who will save the people from what they fear. Don’t be surprised –  but it is called “fear mongering”.

So Trump looks like he might do badly in the election of 6-11-2018. So he focuses on a group of derelict refugees, mostly from Honduras, who are escaping a basket case country. The Honduran country and economy is riddled with corruption, but worst still, is a country fractured and ruled by lawless criminal gangs. This group of about 5000 people are walking across Mexico, some barefoot, many walking in thongs, begging for food as they go, to seek asylum in the USA.

So Trump turns up to his mad campaign rallies and describes this ragtag group as an invasionery force descending on the United States Border, threatening the very integrity of the USA itself. At the pace they are going this group is still three weeks away from the aforesaid USA border. So, to underline the threat and to emphasise the terror, Trump sends 15,000 (You heard me – fifteen thousand) crack troops to the border to fight the “invasion”.

Republicans (how can anyone vote Republican?) beg him to talk about the economy but Trump is smart. Fear is what works. The election comes and goes, and Trump does very well everywhere he campaigned.

Two or three days after the election when this fake issue (Trump is the master of fakery), has served its purpose, it suddenly vanished from the scene. At the White House press conference a CNN reporter attempted to ask a question about the “invasion”. Trump rips into him, accuses him of faking news, attacks him and bans him from the White House press meetings, on the fake charge that he molested a young woman intern who tried to rip the microphone from his grasp (millions saw the opposite of this charge on video).

In true too-clever-by-half Trump style, he then sacks his Attorney-General, and thus takes attention off this fake issue onto another issue – a ploy he has been doing since elected President.

Obama and economic progress: Some inconvenient truths:
The unemployment dropped 0.66% each year under Obama, and 0.33% under Trump.
Wages went up 0.25% each year under Obama, and they have declined by 0.25% under Trump.
The stock market rose 25% per year under Obama, and and only 15% under Trump.
Obama inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Trump inherited the Obama Recovery.

The Resistance as quoted in John James


The Wentworthville CYO Sunday Night Dance

I was 16. The year was 1954. The 1960s hadn’t even dreamed of starting.

If you put a gun to my head and asked me what activity I most enjoyed in my teenage years, I would have a say it was the CYO (Catholic Youth Organisation) Sunday night dance. It went from 7:30 PM to 10 PM.

It was held in a small church meeting hall or in the complex of property which was the St Columba’s Catholic parish of Wentworthville, a suburb outside Parramatta to the west of Sydney. We, the young CYO members, would get there early and rub kerosene soaked sawdust onto the floor to make it more slippery. There were not many rubber soles and heels in those days. A beautiful man, Jack Walsh, was the pianist. His co-musicians played the violin and the drums. They played the same songs every week. I remember they always played “Jealousy” for the La Bomba.

As for me I would walk home at 10 PM on a Sunday night and I was already was looking forward to the next Sunday night. An older woman of some 19 years, Elsie McMahon, took me under her wing and taught me how to dance. This was the great barrier we had to cross — “learning to dance”. The joy of the evening for an extrovert like me was the Progressive Barn Dance which gave every male a short time with every young female in the room. 25 years later when the CYO had a reunion I discovered to my amazement that each female danced in exactly the same style with eactly the same quirks. We also learned the Gypsy Tap, the Maxina, the Jazz Waltz and many others.

Names I remember were Elsie’s younger sister Maxine McMahon, Peter McMahon, Marie Giblin, Jeanette Smith, Dick Lynch, the Trad family, Portia Trad (teamed up with a Kelly) Verity Trad and John Trad who had heart trouble and who died at a very young age. It was my close friend Dennis Gaul (Jeanette Smith fell madly in love with him), my cousin Annette Dunstan, the fashionable Virginia Ligghezolo and the Maltese members– Charlie Zarb, Charlie Borg, Louis Camilleri, Esther and Melita Camilleri. There was June SpiteriTommy Howard became the President later on, when I was secretary. He married the beautiful Marie DockingJim Docking came to Melbourne and married Faye – they were my first and longest standing Melbourne friends. Johnny and Marlene DoblerAngela Flamisch and Brian McBride, Alan Goode, Ray and Colleen Hunt, Anita Bourke , June Mortlock, Sonia Crowe – my memory isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Eric Valentine, Ray Weidesweiller, Wacka Beach, Billy and Barbara Ericson. Many more names.

Frank Hentschker on Oz

Manus Island and Nauru

Asylum Seekers to Australia — and acting morally

Asylum seeker boat

Mr Malcolm Turnbull,
Prime Minister of Australia,
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Mr William Shorten
Leader of the Opposition,
Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Malcolm and Bill

Manus Island and Nauru

There is some talk of cooperation so, living in hope, I am emboldened to write to both of you. Only by you both working together can this criminal behaviour cease. There are far better ways to stop people smuggling than imprisoning people in third world jails without charge or trial.

I am particularly ashamed to point out that in jailing people who ask for help we violate three international treaties — The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The United Nations Convention on Refugees, and the United Nations Convention against Torture. In simple terms, we are what we erroneously accuse the boat people of being – lawbreakers.  We have become the people who do not keep our deals, who break laws when it suits us, whose word is not our bond. The harm to our reputation internationally which results by these crimes – trashing every law and convention from Magna Carta to Habeas Corpus and “innocent until proven guilty” is immense. Have you any idea the harm you have done, the precedent you have set? (By you, I mean the governments of both persuasions up to now).

I am particularly alarmed to tell you that Eva Orner’s film “Chasing Asylum”, is about to be screened to 10,000,000 cinema-goers in Europe. This will ensure, following the articles in the New York Times, and reports by the BBC, that Australia’s reputation for fairness, decency and respect for the law will be well and truly trashed.

I am particularly embarrassed to remind you that when war criminals were tried at Nuremberg and elsewhere, their pleas that they were only obeying orders from their government was not accepted. Obeying unjust laws was no excuse. They were tried and sentenced. And when Mr Abbott, Mr Morrison, Mr Dutton and others (including public servants and government contractors) are placed on trial in a few years time, in the same way that we catch up with paedophile priests, the defence that everyone thought it was OK at the time, will have no currency.

I am particularly sickened, Malcolm and Bill, to cause you to face the fact that these crimes are all the more hideous because they are enacted by people, like you, who claim to be doing the right thing. Like all criminals committing criminal acts,  there is always the attempt to justify. But all the spin doctors in the world cannot make this one wash.

I am particularly galled to note that the worst perpetrators of this crime are practising catholics and practising christians. How am I supposed to get my brain around that? “Do unto others”, the most basic of all Christian tenets, has become a sick joke. The Good Samaritan has become a fairy tale for gullible “bleeding hearts”. Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem in Terris” bears no weight with these churchgoers whatsoever. The Pope says:

When there are just reasons in favor of it, (a citizen) must be permitted to emigrate to other countries and take up residence there.(22) The fact that he is a citizen of a particular State does not deprive him of membership in the human family, nor of citizenship in that universal society, the common, world-wide fellowship of men.

I am particularly shocked to point out this whole scene, as both of you well know, is filled with stupidities. I know people who have come here by plane on tourist or student visas who have successfully gained asylum with very little trouble. Many many more than those who, misinformed, came by boat. How dumb are we that we do not lock up people who come by plane, but lock up those who come by boat? Why do boat people and not plane people deserve to be sent slowly insane on remote tropical islands because no one told them it was far better to come by plane? What about some full-page Kevin-Rudd-style ads in all the asian newspapers telling people to come by plane? (“It’s cheaper and safer and you won’t get jailed in the swamp infested tropics.”) Do I have to point out that those who came by boat, that minuscule number compared to plane people, are the bravest and gutsiest of them all. Historically boat people have made some of the finest citizens we have.

I am particularly distressed to point out that double demonising of “people smugglers” does not wash with intelligent people. They are criminals but they are not that bad really compared to the crimes of our big corporations who pay no taxes, and the ever ready rabble of “entrepreneurs” who exploit the government such as they did with the insulation scheme, or they now do in the educational sector. These exploiters who are all around us are far worse criminals. But it suited your predecessors to portray people smugglers as the worst kind because it attracted the vote of uninformed and uneducated people. How base is that – you simply did not attempt, or you did not have the skill, to “sell” decency to basically decent people. (Have a chat to Angela Merkel.) And the argument that these crimes we are committing are very effective  in controlling our borders! Mal and Bill, there are lots of crimes that are effective. In all areas of human life crime pays. Where is society heading if you act like that?

And when all this comes out from under the radar and the court proceedings begin, how will we explain how we turned boats around (with the help of people smugglers) and sent people back to certain wars (to which we contributed), or back to almost certain jail, punishment, persecution and/or torture. All this to get a few extra votes?

It’s like this, Malcolm and Bill, the first thing you have to do is to stop this horror, then you must apologise, then you must compensate and assist those you have wronged. It should be pretty cheap given that we are paying $500,000 per year person as we send people crazy by depriving them of hope, depriving them of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

I do understand your job is difficult but this is not a “policy”, it has crossed the line and become a crime. Please get together and fix it.

Yours sincerely

Dally Messenger III

Australian Citizen

Garry Wilson – Legend of the Brisbane Lions Hall of Fame

My friend Garry Wilson has just been named a Legend of Fitzroy (now the Brisbane Lions)

The dedication / tribute says it all.
Congratulations Garry!

Wilson_G1_HOFNominating the best of anything is a terribly imprecise science always skewed by individual circumstance and personal bias. Usually there’s no definitive outcome. No categorically right answer.

Yet a prominent Fitzroy player of the 1980’s recently said of Garry Wilson there were none better in the AFL in his era.

He sat comfortably alongside anyone in the game during his 14 fabulous years at Fitzroy from 1971-84, said his long-time teammate.

Of that, there can be no debate.

Wilson_G_HOFAs courageous and competitive as any player in history, far, far ahead of his time in professionalism, the pocket-sized rover from Preston Swimmers was truly an extraordinary player.

Known simply as ‘Flea’ and recognised by his trademark helmet, he played 268 games and kicked 452 goals for his beloved Lions, ranking third all-time in both categories.

Wilson_G3_HOFHe averaged 25 possessions and 1.7 goals per game, and kicked 30 goals or more in a season nine times – as a rover.

He won the club B&F five times in 1972-76-78-89-80, was leading goal-kicker twice in 1972-73, and was club captain from 1981-84.

He represented Victoria 12 times, was All-Australian in 1979-80, and was named vice-captain of the Fitzroy Team of the Century.

He was third in the Brownlow Medal in 1978, two votes behind Malcolm Blight and one vote behind Peter Knights, and second in 1979, one vote behind Peter Moore.

Five times he finished top 10 in the game’s highest individual honor, polling 161 career votes to rank 17th all-time.

All staggering numbers they are. But more staggering, still, are the numbers from his prime.

In 106 games from 1976-80 he averaged 28.5 possessions and the same 1.7 goals per game. He topped 30 possessions 58 times, or better than every second time he pulled on the boots. And he polled the equivalent of 75 Brownlow votes today. Or three votes every four games.

Yes, indeed, there were none better.

Inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1999, he was an inaugural member of the Brisbane Lions Hall of Fame in 2012, when Kevin Murray and Haydn Bunton were awarded Legend status.

In 2014 Michael Voss received the same very special honor, and tonight we welcome another member of this truly exclusive club.  A football masterpiece and one of the game’s great gentlemen, the fourth Legend in the Brisbane Lions Hall of Fame… GARRY WILSON

Sol Segal — 29-1-1932 — 18-5-2016

Remi and I with our beloved and much admired friends, Sol (right) and Eva Segal (second from left), at the wedding of their granddaughter Talia Weizman to Ben Bachar. Photo by Alida Segal – daughter of our friends and aunt to the bride !

A couple of weeks ago my friend died — and the world is an emptier place. I know I will grieve for him for the rest of my life. From the first time I met him in the early 1980s, I judged Sol Segal to be that rare phenomenon – a genuinely and completely good man. In the early eighties I was editor of a dance magazine. Sol and his wonderful wife Eva, who worked with him as a team, supported a dance company, and had daughters involved in the art form. We did things for each other. Both of us had three daughters.

How many people can you think of like this? if you were to leave your desk now, go to their home, knock on their door unannounced, have the door opened and receive the warmest welcome imaginable? The Segal home was like that.Sol Segal Fune

And what a gentleman Sol was. In a famous lecture John Henry Newman defined a gentleman as follows:

The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he cast — all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint , or suspicion, or gloom or resentment; his great concern being to make everyone at their ease and at home. He has eyes on all his company; he is tender toward the bashful; gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome. He makes light of favours while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring.”

Sol and me at the wedding of his grandson Nick Splitter to the lovely Amelia Plush

There is not a word in this definition which did not apply to Sol Segal. We, his friends, took he and Eva’s hospitality almost for granted. Almost. But in this world of security cameras and video and voice screening – you come to understand what this sort of friendship means.

One of my memories is in the eighties when Sol managed a business known as Van Dyke Fashions in Richmond. He often gave me an open invitation to “drop in”. One day I wanted to ask or tell him something, so I stood outside his warehouse asking myself whether it was fair to interrupt a man in in the middle of his work day. Anyway I gathered up the “courage” to go in. When I entered the door – the warehouse work stopped, I was welcomed like the Grand Rabbi, the Pope, or the Prime Minister. Out came the tea and biscuits etc. He always made me (and any of his friends) feel so very special.

And he became involved in Amway. His very presence gave them a good reputation. I was never comfortable with being a participant, so I decided to support him by buying stuff. When  I left my old office, I was severely upbraided for stocking up on 10 years supply of cleaning liquids, toilet and towelling paper.

And he was so generous it chokes me to think about it. You only had to mention that you liked a special film, or audiobook, or piece of music and before long he had made you a copy or copies – nothing like that was any trouble to him.

At the Funeral Memorial service for Madame Berezowsky: Ilana, Tammy, Sol, Valya Sime (Mme Berezowsky’s daughter), Alida, Dally, Barry Kitcher, Eva

I have so many wonderful memories. In his time he was a very distinguished violinist – I was told by Alida that he ”came out of retirement” and played the violin (having secretly practised with Tammy) at Alida’s 50th birthday. He then played with Emma at her 70th birthday, then at all the major family functions since September 2010. I was there when he played a special piece for Eva at her 80th birthday. (Dec 2014) It was the piece from the night he & Eva met – 58 years earlier! It was very moving, it was very romantic, it was a stark reminder of the shortness of life. Their last anniversary was on January 23rd 2016. It was their 59th, Eva was 81, Sol was about to turn 84 the following week.

When I was moving office about twenty years ago, some labels fell off the magazine collection so that copies of the original Dance Australias were accidentally thrown out as part of the cleanup of the move. As the foundation editor and publisher this was somewhat of an emotional personal tragedy for me. Sol and Eva were the first to insist that I take their collection of the originals  so that I would always have copies. You don’t forget gestures like that.

I remember Sol’s 80th birthday. I remember the Dance Australia times, the Russian/ Bolshoi/Moiseyev connections, the Kolobok Dance company,  and the weddings I performed in the family. Wonderful memories.

A Daughter’s TributeAlida Segal

Dad, I stand here today with your strength and courage…everything I am, and everything I will ever grow up to become is because of what you, together with Mum have done, said or taught me. When I say “I”, it is said in 3-part harmony together with my sisters Tammy & Ilana.

Dad has been our hero in every sense of the word. We remember our childhood wonder at his invented stories; explaining his small scratches and scars as wounds from long past wars & fights with wild animals; gleeful giggles when he announced we could have any chocolates we wanted from the store because secretly, he was actually Mr Darrell Lea; being in awe hearing him speak [what he told us was] Iceland-ish and rolling with laughter at the sound of him speaking Pig-Latin; joyful singing of musical numbers on our week-end family drives…too many fun memories to list. There was also deep admiration while watching & listening to him play the violin during practice sessions, recitals, or on radio & TV. It was indeed a selfless and heroic act to give away his career in music and successfully run a business to support his growing family. All this evolved into an adult respect and appreciation of his depth of character and moral fibre which will always remain a powerful example and inspiration.

Dad always said that we need to do what we have to do before we can do what we want to do…

Take responsibility; be disciplined; serve others…these are some of the values by which he lived.

Nothing comes from nothing, so if you want something, you have to earn it!

  • If you want to be respected; you must first be respectful and be respectable…
  • If you want to be loved; first be loving to others and also be loveable…

He showered all people with love… It’s no wonder that so many hundreds of people all over the world truly adored him. It only took a moment upon meeting him to fall in love – no-one was immune to his warmth & charm. Somehow, he just knew how to make people feel special, that they mattered to him, that he appreciated and respected them. And it never mattered to him who or what you were or where you came from – rich or poor; famous or unknown; educated or not…colour, race, social standing – it made no difference. As wise and pragmatic as he was when he needed to be, everything he did came from his heart. His advice, like his smile, his laughter and his hugs, were all from the very core of his being.

There was a magnetism about him…you didn’t even have to know him to feel that glow of warmth. He would even come across a complete stranger in the street, nod & smile at them or start up a conversation and you could see their face & their mood change. In just that brief moment, they felt better than they had before – he made life better wherever he went.

When you asked him how he was feeling, he’d respond with a “never been better”… or “fan-bloody-tastic”… or “I’m OK – don’t worry about me”. He’d often say something like “she’ll be apples”, even when times were tough and he really didn’t feel good at all. There was rarely ever a complaint from him about anything. For all the years of their marriage, Mum diligently prepared meals and he graciously and gratefully ate whatever she put in front of him with a sincere & genuine “thanks Darl”! It was only a couple of years ago, after nearly 6 decades together, that he quietly admitted he didn’t really like peaches or mushrooms, and even then, it wasn’t really a complaint, he simply said “it’s not my favourite”… To hurt someone’s feelings was something he would NEVER do.

To describe him as ‘one who gave generously of himself’ would be a massive understatement… He gave and gave and gave every day, everything he had, even when there was not much to give. He found a way of giving whatever was needed – whether it be time to talk, play or just hang-out with the grand-kids; funds to charities and to us girls when we were building our own homes; buying and gifting things to a certain person that he knew they’d love; giving a pat on the back; lending a hand, an ear or a shoulder to whomever was in need. Giving thought, giving acknowledgement, giving respect & gratitude to everyone. Knowing that people need to hear their names to feel appreciated, even the last of his nurses on night duty, hours before he passed was greeted with her name (Julie) in his friendly manner, with his cheeky smile!

He would always thank people…we sometimes joke about a young couple who came over for a cuppa… Mum brought tea & biscuits to the table and of course Dad said “thank-you Darl”… the other young lady turned to her partner and said … “oh, isn’t that romantic!” In a way it was funny, but she was obviously not as used to being on the receiving end of good manners as are we…

Speaking of romance, what Mum & Dad have is an all-encompassing, deep, affectionate, timeless & enduring love – it is almost tangible. As he arrived home after first meeting Mum 60 years ago, he announced to his parents that he’d found the girl he was going to marry. They never stopped BEING in love, DOING things & CARING for each other. They never stopped cuddling & kissing, holding hands when walking down the street and laughing together. Dad still referred to Mum as “my little girlfriend” … Their love overflowed into all of us, then cascaded over us and onto our children and grandchildren. To Dad, there was nothing more precious than his kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, each of whom he absolutely adored. May we all grow to be more like him, of people worth & value.

His devotion to his brothers was immeasurable, as was theirs to him. As the oldest of his siblings, he always felt a deep sense of responsibility for “the boys” as he called them, despite their advancing age… Joe was a constant companion through all the years, especially the last 3; Leon was always full of great advice about all manner of things… now I say to you, Uncle Joe & Leon, on behalf of us all, he has trained us well & passed on the baton – we will be there for you always, as would he be if he still could.

I can’t speak highly enough about the entire medical team at Cabrini who did everything humanly possible. The doctors (miracle-workers); the nurses (angels on earth); all the ancillary staff who did whatever was needed… Thank-you!

We can’t think of Dad as separate entity from Mum. If he was our shining light, Mum is his ‘shamash’ candle, his pilot light, always holding steady, supportive, loving, gentle, patient, and a tower of strength. Each light so beautiful in their own right, illuminated & magnified by the presence of the other.

He was somehow always a step ahead of us with a boy-ish hop, skip and a jump, wit, pranks & practical jokes as well as his talent & intelligence. Now he is once again that step ahead of us in life’s journey. The painful void that is left with his passing can only be filled with his reflection behind the smile and love in Mum’s eyes, and we can only be grateful for being his (and Mums) daughters.

Mum, without a doubt, you picked the best man on earth! We can only try to be a strong branches of his & your family tree. There is really nothing any of us could say or do to fill his place – but we can and will continue to bring forth memories of wonderful moments and reminders of him & his awesome life that filled us all with love, inspiration, joy, music and laughter.


Jeremy’s Tribute
A grandson’s tribute

If you didn’t know Sol Segal, you would never imagine that so large a shadow could be cast by someone barely five-foot-tall. He was a true titan, looming large (or small) over the family.  I said to Mum the other day that he was idolised by everyone related to him. Probably everyone who knew him.

It is hard to describe the experience of being related to him without using the word “lucky”.

We are lucky to have had the time with him that we did. In 2013 we were told that our remaining time together would be measured in months, not years; and in the three years since, he got to see his youngest grandchild graduate high school, attend two grandchildren’s weddings – even serving as a groomsman in one – and fall in love with three beautiful great-grandchildren.

We were lucky to have someone with his combination of wisdom and gentleness, who thought and felt strongly but never held grudges and chose not to pick an argument. He and I disagreed on many things – but Opa believed that contentious opinions, much like gas, were best kept quiet and private. I failed to live up to that particular standard with my own opinions (much like he did when it came to gas). But the things we AGREED on were so much more important: The value of simple politeness. Time spent with family, which brightened his days til the last. Good humour. And that everyone is entitled to kindness, compassion and respect; be they relatives or strangers, serving staff in restaurants. He would treat everyone the same, even if they’re from another species: I’m told that, just last week, when I was tragically not in the room, he had a delightful conversation with my dog, which was highly amusing to mum and Oma, even if it was apparently a little one-sided.

We are lucky to have had someone with his sense of humour, from his wonky improvised rhyming slang, to his half-remembered jokes, and his amazing and terrible puns, which usually went over Oma’s head, even after over six decades of marriage.

And just by the way, how lucky are we to have heard him pick up his violin after all those decades, and sound as if he had never put it down. Many of us had never heard him play before, and all of a sudden it was commonplace to turn up at Eastaway St to a house filled with the music of Beethoven or Brahms or Bach.

But maybe most of all, we are lucky to have had his example. Which a privilege and a responsibility; we all have a lot to live up to. But we have a lifetime’s worth of guidance: I can’t think of a situation in which asking “What would Opa do” would lead us astray. Because he wasn’t just willing to give so much of himself for you, he was happy to. Years ago, to make that very point to someone else, I turned to him out of the blue and said “Opa, would you be able to drive me to Sydney and back?” And he said, without thinking, “Sure, when?”

It would have been enough to have all those things, but he gave so much more than there is time to describe. It would have been enough even if he had only been half as affectionate, half as kind, half as generous with his time and attention and energy. Dayenu.

And yet, it could never be enough for any of us. For my brothers, there could never be enough afternoons watching his footy team beat ours. For me, there could never be enough trips to the movies elbowing him every few minutes because the explosions and superheroics have put him to sleep. There was never a risk that he was going to fail to live up to the old showman’s adage “always leave them wanting more”. He gave us so much, but we’ll always want more.

His love for us radiated off him, as it does Oma, whom I am not up here to praise but has always been every bit his equal. Two people who barely come up to our chins, but we will spend our whole lifetimes living up to. How everlastingly, devastatingly lucky we are to have had him, and his bottomless supply of warmth, support, decency, and love, to fill our hearts for the rest of our lives.