Sunday, 29 December 2013


Advance Australia fair by including Kiwis

Australia and New Zealand have a long tradition of close friendship, family ties and wartime unity. But recently, Australians have prevailed on their government to put New Zealanders at arm’s length.
A country that needs more people. Many Kiwis drive
trucks in the Australian Outback, but they are second class

It’s about uninformed opinion, and demands to stop Kiwis being a drag on the welfare system, and/or taking away jobs for Australians, and/or protection for Australian goods and services.

That is all absolute nonsense. Australia became a strong nation due to immigration, competition, expanding markets, and helping people no longer able to help themselves.

The close ties between New Zealand and Australia go all the way back to the arrival of the First Fleet (eleven convict ships) in 1788. Arriving in Port Jackson (Sydney), Captain Arthur Phillip declared the eastern half of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand to be part of the British Colony of New South Wales.

Typical of colonial powers of the time, consultation with the indigenous people came later through the gun barrel.

As the colony population grew Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand were spun off as separate British colonies. South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory were colonized separately from Britain and were never part of New South Wales.

The early days in Australia were noted more for hard times than good. Trade barriers between the colonies, a harsh land and climate, and a sparse population were the cause. Sir Henry Parkes understood the problem and he devoted his life to creating a single nation from the seven colonies. The seven included New Zealand, but not the Northern Territory which came into existence later.

Parkes was finally successful in his campaign in 1901 when the Commonwealth of Australia came into being on New Year’s Day. The new nation comprised only six former colonies with New Zealand opting out. The New Zealand Premier, Richard Seddon, had his own designs of grandeur. While he titled himself Prime Minister and fancied himself leading a new Pacific nation, history has titled him King Dick.
Mount Somers, Canterbury, New Zealand

But the close ties between Australia and New Zealand continued for the rest of the Twentieth Century. Many people believed that the two belonged together and would eventually be united constitutionally. The ANZAC spirit, born at Gallipoli in 1915 and continued in World War II, was something that made brothers from cousins. People continued to move freely (without passports) between the two countries. There were no restrictions on residency, employment, pensions or welfare.

From 1788 until the latter part of the Twentieth Century New Zealand had a net gain in population from the two-way flow. But then in the late 1970’s the flow was in Australia’s favor as Kiwis went across the Tasman Sea for higher wages and a better lifestyle in the Lucky Country.

But that is when the uninformed opinion started hitting the fan, the crap spreading far and wide. The people who jumped on the protection bandwagon failed to grasp basic economics: New arrivals don’t take jobs away from the locals; they create extra jobs. New arrivals don’t cause local businesses to close; they create extra trade for businesses. New arrivals don’t strain the welfare system; they work hard to get established. New arrivals don’t put a strain on housing; they help build new houses.

So come on Australians. What is all the fuss about? If you can’t open your economic minds to this way of thinking, do the decent, fair-dinkum thing and open your hearts.

Click here for another voice: Aussie-Kiwi Relations

Read about the founding of a great nation
in Peter Blakeborough’s historical novel:


Tuesday, 24 December 2013


The night before Christmas -
Air New Zealand style

Sent in by Dave Findlay

Twas the night before Christmas, and all round the stands,
Not an aircraft was stirring, and no Caravans.
The aircraft were shivering quite stiff on their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.

Operations, had nightmares back home in their beds,
While pilots and broken planes danced round their heads.
And AOC stacking the paperwork up,
Were just about ready to close and lock up.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
They turned up the volume to find what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land down at Auckland below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick"
He called his position, not too close or far,
"St. Nicholas One cleared via the STAR."

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head,
They phoned AOC, who then wrote down with dread,
A message that was very urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, and then took Alpha six,
Down Bravo and over to men waving sticks,
He called out to ramp as he came onto blocks,
And ground crew came placing the cones and the chocks.

His put on his hat and then without a sound,
He zipped up his high vis and did his walk round.
He was merry and jolly in his suit of pride,
And he called out “please add in, three twenty a side."

They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
Then they closed up the doors, which locked with a jerk.
And all thought as he silently scribed his log,
These reindeer could land in a four hundred fog.

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
“Clark one alpha departure, the southbound direction,
Turn left three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's an Airbus, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed through the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! Go Beyond Tonight!"

Best wishes for the festive season to all who read Peter Blakeborough’s Blog. More posts coming in 2014. Have a good one.

Monday, 23 December 2013


Friday the 13th facts and fallacies

All months beginning on a Sunday will have a Friday 13th, sometimes known as a Black Friday.

The danger of Black Friday is a superstition that appears to have gained some traction after the publication in 1869 of the biography, Gioachino Rossini by Henry Sutherland Edwards. Rossini had the misfortune to die on a Friday 13th and an enduring superstition took off like Icarus on wings of wax.
Gioachino Rossini

Mythology records that Icarus flew too close to the Sun and his wings melted. It is not recorded if it was a Friday 13th on the Sun.

The first recorded Friday 13th disaster occurred in 1869 when a financial crises hit the United States after gold investors Fisk and Gould tried to manipulate the market.

The next recorded Friday 13th disaster was the death of 189 Scottish fishermen at Eyemouth. But wait. The storm that killed them blew up on the 14th.

On Black Friday 1910, 200 suffragettes, protesting at the delay in the British Parliament of a bill that would have extended the vote to women, were assaulted by police.

In Australia on a Black Friday in 1939, 71 people died in bushfires in the state of Victoria. Five towns were completely destroyed in the January 13 fires.

The heavy casualties during an unsuccessful raid by Allied Bristol Beaufighter aircraft on a German destroyer Z33 in Norway became known as another Black Friday disaster. But the raid took place, not on the 13th of February, but the 9th.

Then we come to Hollywood Black Friday when set decorators, who had been on strike for six months, started a riot outside the Warner Brothers studio in Burbank, California. The riot occurred on October 5 and not on the 13th.

Black Friday 1978 is another misnomer. A protest against the rule of the Shah of Iran in Jaleh Square turned ugly. The reported number of deaths varied from 86 to 15,000. Once again the date was not the 13th but September 8th.

Friday July 31st 1987 was the date of Edmonton, Canada’s Black Friday. A tornado ripped through the Alberta city, killing 27, injuring 300 and destroying 300 homes. If the tornado was unable to distinguish between 13 and 31, it must have been a dyslectic tornado.

From the eight events listed above from the last 144 years it must be safe to assume that Black Friday is no different from any other day of the week, or month. In fact, according to insurance companies, Friday 13th may actually be a safer day to be out and about. They say that many people tend to take more care on Friday 13th.

While researching this article I found a list of notable people who died on Friday 13th and I decided that I must always be extra careful on all Fridays the 13th. But then I discovered a list of notable people who were born on a Friday 13th. So I’ve come to the conclusion that millions are born and die on every of the week or month.

I also concluded that any day is a bad day to die and I absolutely refuse to participate in it.

Never mind Black Friday.
Everything in life is a gamble,
even getting out of bed in the morning.
Read about the ultimate risk-takers 

 Available now as an Ebook from:

Friday, 20 December 2013


A town that shall remain nameless

Place names in America can be odd, mysterious, wacky and even humorous, but 80 miles from Nashville in the hills of eastern Tennessee is a town with no name, or at least it was without a name until they called it Nameless.

Nameless is quite shameless about being nameless. The locals in Nameless are quite proud of their nameless status. After all, sticks and stones may break your town but names will not put a shirt on you.

The name Nameless really is unique. Almost every one of the fifty US states can claim a Springfield, Centerville, Columbus, Greenville, or a Cleveland, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, or Washington who, unlike some present day politicians, were not ashamed of being named.

So how on Tennessee did Nameless happen?

Well the good citizens of Nameless are hesitant to name names, but it would seem that back in 1866 when the locals wanted a post office they neglected to name a name of the application for a post office. It was then left to a nameless official at the US Post Office Department to write Nameless in the blank space, and Nameless it became.

Naturally, a lot of people think that the rural town of Nameless is just an urban legend and there is no such place. But Nameless is alive and well in the hills north of Interstate 40 a few minutes drive from Cookeville. It is too small to find a place on some road maps, but zoom in on Google Earth and there it is as large as life . . . . Well, perhaps a small life. From space you can see Dry Fork Road, Spring Fork Road, Billy Flatt Lane, Jackie Branch Road and Charlie Brown Lane.

But Nameless’s best claim to fame came when travel writer William Least Heat-Moon (now there’s a name) included Nameless in his 1982 book Blue Highways: A Journey into America.
In its heyday Nameless had its post office, a school, two stores and 250 people. One of old the stores is now the Nameless Museum.

From the Ebook
Highway America – the adventures
of a Kiwi truck driver
It was cloudy in the Toledo area while waiting for a new dispatch. Eventually the OBC bleeped and dispatcher, Cheryl Reed, had a load of new Honda bikes going from East Liberty, Ohio, to Jacksonville, Florida. The distance was 835 miles. I was going back to the sun.
Now where the hell is East Liberty? Out came the Rand McNally Road Atlas again. A casual search of the Ohio page proved fruitless so a search of the index turned up a grid reference and East Liberty was located near the centre of the state midway between Middlesburg and Zanesfield, two more remote villages that most people, including myself, had never heard of.
     America has some truly unique and fascinating names as well as some that are just plain boring. For example Plain City can be found in Utah a few miles north of Salt Lake City while Boring is a place in Oregon. On a more positive note Georgia has a Hopeful, which John and Bev Glover can attest to after being sent there for a load of corn. The state of Indiana has a Boggstown, Dillsboro, Oldenburg, Santa Claus and a Birdseye. In Ohio they also have Singing Hills and Dry Run. A traveller can have Tea in South Dakota but will have to drive almost 2,000 miles to find Toast in North Carolina.
Meanwhile a person from Hornytown in North Carolina can find Friendship in populous New York State, Intercourse in Pennsylvania and Climax in Michigan before going back to New York to recover at Sleepy Hollow.
 Missouri has its fair share of odd and unusual place names too with Black Jack, Peculiar, and Useful to mention a few.  Utopia is found in Texas but so also is Cheapside, Hell and a place called Cut and Shoot. Kentucky has Cranks, Ages, Dwarf and Fancy Farm while Virginia has Rustburg, Assawoman (to encourage suffragettes) and Goose Pimple Junction (to encourage the men). Luck is found in Wisconsin, Shady Cove in Oregon, Flasher bares all in North Dakota, What Cheer takes heart in Iowa, but Dismal is a place in Tennessee. Kill Devil Hills (the actual place where the Wright Brothers first flew) is near Kittyhawk in North Carolina along with Intelligence, Blowing Rock and Chocowinity.
Georgia has a Handy, an Enigma and an Experiment as place names. One could go on forever with names that point to some now obscure historic disaster or misfortune such as Bad Axe, Michigan; Bayonet Point, Florida; Skull Valley and Surprise, Arizona; Accident, Maryland; Bitter End, Tennessee; Hazardville, Connecticut, and Big Ugly, West Virginia. Among the more puzzling must be Chicasaw, Alabama; Wabbaseka, Arkansas; Copperopolis, California; Apalachicola, Florida; Bogue Chitto, Mississippi; Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania and Frog Suck in Wyoming.

Get your Ebook copy of
Highway America - the adventures of a Kiwi truck driver
today from:

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Judicial review of freedom camping by-law in New Zealand

Freedom camping in New Zealand, a political hot potato for a number of years, is about to boil over into the judicial system.
New Zealand has an abundance of great camping sites,
local councils are overriding the right of New Zealanders
to freedom camp.

In an update to members, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) have advised that the Association’s legal counsel has filed for a judicial review of the Thames-Coromandel District Council’s freedom camping by-law.

The by-law has been contraversial since its adoption by the council in 2012. The NZMCA’s stance is that the by-law contravenes the Freedom Camping Act that was enacted by the New Zealand Parliament in 2011. The intention of the Act was to protect the right of New Zealanders to freedom camp (away from commercial camp grounds) with restrictions.

District and city councils were charged with regulating camping, but not with total bans across their districts. But some councils, including Thames-Coromandel, did just that. One South Island council with a similar total ban backed down when faced with a judicial review and the NZMCA is working with that council to create a workable by-law.

For generations of New Zealanders, camping away from commercial camp grounds  was considered to be not just a right, but a way of life. However, to many non-camping New Zealanders, campers are a nuisance, a danger to the environment, and a bunch of free-loaders.

But motor-homers challenge that view and are quick to draw attention to the self-containment certificates displayed on their homes-away-from-home. The NZMCA requires all its members (33,000 of them) to only operate fully self-contained and certified vehicles.

Successful prosecutions of motor-homers for breaching national and local laws are extremely rare and there is a very good reason for that. Motor-homers by and large are responsible, caring people who like to preserve the environment for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone.

There is, however, a growing problem with many rental campers that are not self-contained. There is also an increasing problem with car drivers and passengers who picnic, party and even sleep in cars in parks and rest areas.

In some circles there is a huge bias against campers, but self-contained motor-home should be subject to the same parking rules as cars. If it is legal to park a car somewhere for 24 hours, it should also be legal for a motor-home to park there.


The Great Aussie Bloke – Living the Dream  
The Great Aussie bloke is now immortalized in the new 2014 calendar blockbuster, ’Living the Dream'
The Great Aussie Bloke's new flag
For too many years now the Great Aussie Bloke has been down trodden under the pointy toes of the chardonnay sipping, café late slurping, back waxing, boutique beer guzzling, and metrosexual hordes.

Enough is enough...and Blokism is making a comeback via the spectacular and culturally rich 2014 Calendar titled, The Great Aussie Bloke ''Living the Dream''. Produced right here in the Northern Territory and distributed nationally, this visually very exciting and completely tasteful chunk of classic Australiana, contains brilliantly captured shots of the life and times of the Great Aussie Bloke, and to add even more depth to this fair dinkum masterpiece, there is a generous sprinkling of philosophy, history, and even the odd recipe.

Yes fellow Australians, it was only a matter of time...the revolution has begun, Blokism is about to roll over our society and our newsagents like a tsunami.

In a stop press announcement the Governor General is already looking at this calendar as a 'cultural guide' for new migrants coming into Australia. The Education Dept. is seriously considering integrating 'Living the Dream' into its school curriculum for 2014, and our defense forces are planning to hand them out in Afghanistan as an act of good will. Yes fellow Australians, the future looks very bright for The Great Aussie Bloke and why shouldn't it ...he's a bloody good bloke!

'Living the Dream' was the vision of Territorial raconteur Phil O'Brien, in collaboration with Sydney based publishers Bartel Publications, and photography was done by local Darwin photographer of note Ric Benson. Gracing the pages alongside the Great Aussie Bloke is stunning French born Alizee Sery, who by her own admission can't resist the strength and sensitivity of a 'Great Aussie Bloke'.

RETAIL $14.99     300X 300 FULL COLOR 
Just contact me if you'd like one

Phil O’Brien:

It wasn't easy for the old time Aussie blokes, and there was little time for dreaming in the land of the scorching sun

Monday, 16 December 2013


How the Commonwealth has changed since it was the British Empire

There is an inevitable movement toward democratically elected heads of state in the Commonwealth. All Commonwealth member states recognize Elizabeth II as the leader of the Commonwealth, and having their own elected head of state does not disqualify them from Commonwealth membership.

Here is the full list of Commonwealth countries with their constitutional status:

Member                                 Status                        Head of State           Head of  Govt.
Antigua and Barbuda          Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Australia                                Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Bahamas                              Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Bangladesh                          Republic                    President                  Prime Minister
Barbados                              Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Belize                                     Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Botswana                              Republic                    President
Brunei                                    Kingdom                   Sultan of Brunei        Crown Prince
Cameroon                             Republic                    President                  Prime Minister
Canada                                  Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Cyprus                                   Republic                    President                  
Dominica                               Republic                    President                  Prime Minister
Gambia                                  Republic                    President
Ghana                                    Republic                    President
Grenada                                Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Guyana                                  Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
India                                       Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Jamaica                                 Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                Prime Minister
Kenya                                     Republic                    President
Kiribati                                   Republic                    President
Lesoto                                   Kingdom                    King                            Prime Minister
Malawi                                   Republic                    President
Malaysia                                Kingdom                    King                            Prime Minister
Maldives                                Republic                    President
Malta                                      Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Mauritius                                Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Mozambique                         Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Namibia                                 Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Nauru                                     Republic                    President
New Zealand                         Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                 Prime Minister
Nigeria                                   Republic                    President
Pakistan                                Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Papua New Guinea              Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                 Prime Minister
Rwanda                                 Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Saint Kitts and Nevis           Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                  Prime Minister
Saint Lucia                            Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                  Prime Minister
Saint Vincent & Gren.          Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                  Prime Minister
Samoa                                   Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Seychelles                             Republic                    President
Sierra Leone                         Republic                    President
Singapore                             Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Solomon Islands                   Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                 Prime Minister
South Africa                          Republic                    President
Sri Lanka                              Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Swaziland                             Kingdom                    King                           Prime Minister
Tanzania                               Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Tonga                                    Kingdom                    King                           Prime Minister
Trinidad & Tobago              Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Tuvalu                                    Monarchy                  Elizabeth II                 Prime Minister
Uganda                                 Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
United Kingdom                  Monarchy                   Elizabeth II                 Prime Minister
Vanuatu                                Republic                    President                   Prime Minister
Zambia                                 Republic                    President

32 Commonwealth countries are republics with an elected president.
16 Commonwealth countries retain Elizabeth II as their head of state.
5 Commonwealth countries have their own king.

Readers can join or support a republican movement in these countries:

Available now from: