Category Archives: Phenomena

The developing countries are catching up. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For years, the developed western world has been pumping a consumerist message into the rest of the world.  Trouble is that the rest of the world now wants the first world life style that is so costly in terms of the earth’s resources and pollution.

Malaysia is a classic case in point, as it’s economy grows and the standard of living rises, it’s population aspires to live the dream sold to them by the west.

Bukit Bintang

The first image (above) is of the billboards making up the facade of the building housing Mc Donald’s in Bukit Bintang (the very centre of Kuala Lumpur). On the surface things look fairly normal to a western eye but directly behind the Mc Donald’s is a mass of air-conditioners.

As the developing countries get more affluent, they too, just like the developed west, will want to be more comfortable, and I think we all know where that’s going to end when consumption of energy and resources doubles or even triples.

Behind the billboards and Mc Donald's at Bukit Bintang

I’ve always thought it was extremely hypocritical that the west has been trying to tell the rest of the world not to pollute when we are the worst offenders. To add insult to injury, we keep on glamorising consumption.

The roller-coaster at Luna Park, St. Kilda, Melbourne, Vic. Australia

On my recent trip to Melbourne I passed Luna Park (an old amusement park opened in 1912) in St. Kilda on the way to Acland Street and I thought it might be good to get a photo of the entrance.

The entrance to Lunar Park in St. Kilda

As I walked through the car park along the side of Luna Park I noticed the wooden roller coaster and how unsafe it looked (to my untrained eyes at least). Quite a few of the upright timbers of the supporting structure looked as though they were beginning to split. The ends of the many of the cross members were rotting and the bolts fastening them to the uprights appeared to be fairly rusty. I took a few pictures and I can assure you that most of the timber work where I stood looked like what  you see in the three photos below.

The timberwork of the Lunar Park roller coaster

I didn’t have to hunt around to get these shots, they were in plain view as there were so many choices of ratty looking timberwork to choose from.

When I was a kid I thought that those old style roller coasters were dangerous and I didn’t like going on them because I feared that they’d fall apart when I was on them. After looking at the roller coaster at Luna Park, I wouldn’t get on one even if a gun was held at my head.

H.M.A.S. Otway. Holbrook N.S.W. Australia

Considering that Holbrook N.S.W. is over 200 km inland, it is surprising to see signs along the highway connecting the town with the submarine H.M.A.S. Otway. 

The Holbrook Hotel

 It is even stranger to see a full-size submarine surfacing through the grass in a small town.

HMAS Otway

When I first saw the submarine from the car, my immediate thought was how the local Chamber of Commerce had just grasped at a straw of an idea to get passing traffic to stop in their town.  It is a truly surreal sight, and it’s not until you actually take a closer look and read the attached signs that one is made aware of what the connection is between submarines and the town of Holbrook.
The town of Holbrook first started off with the name of Ten Mile Creek but by the mid-1800s there were so many Germans living in the area that it’s name was changed to Germanton.  By the time the First World War rolled around, it was considered an unpatriotic name and was renamed Holbrook after a British submariner named Norman Douglas Holbrook.
 Lt Holbrook was awarded the first Victoria Cross given to a submariner by navigating his obsolete B11 submarine (built in 1905) 

Model of the B11

 through the five lines of mines in the Dardanelles to torpedo the Turkish battleship Mesudiye.

Further attempts by the French and British at a similar feat ended in failure and submarines being sank.  When a British and French fleet decided to take on the guns guarding the Dardanelles three more ships were sunk with a loss of life not seen in the British navy since Trafalgar. That naval disaster consequently led to the idea of taking the guns guarding the Dardanelles by land, which in turn became the great military disaster that we all know as Gallipoli.

So there you have it, Holbrook was named after a British WWI submariner and as a consequence, has a 1960s Australian sumbmarine in a park by the highway.

Large hailstones in Sydney Australia

At two o’clock this afternoon here in Sydney we had quite a violent hailstorm that produced very large hailstones.


In all my life I have never seen such a large hailstones. 


When I’d heard descriptions of hailstones as large as golf balls in the past, I always thought they were exaggerations.  Some of the hail we had this afternoon was much larger than golf balls.  As a matter of fact some of them were approaching the size of baseballs.  Our neighbour Sandra in the picture below is not looking too pleased because her car wasn’t undercover and is now covered in dents.


New Varangian Guard. Blacktown, Sydney, Australia 2007

Blacktown council held a Medieval Fayre this weekend and whilst there I took these photos of some of the members of the New Varangian Guard. These guys are more into “living history” than the Society of Creative Anachroisms and as such they tended to look more “authentic”.




The people running the various stalls were very friendly and offered the public a chance to try on the armour.