Notes from the Northern Territory: Jim Toner

March 2015

Just before Christmas Mike Press, ex-kiap, breezed in bearing a gift, neither gold, frankincense or myrrh but a six-pack of ‘greenies’, which went down very well indeed. It is forty years since you could mumut around at the dimly lit rear of Alec Fong Lim’s store on the Darwin waterfront and discover half-concealed South Pacific cans and bottles of Buka Meri. Treats to tickle the tonsils of TPNG topers transplanted to the NT. All changed now, modern Darwin has lost its ‘quaint’. Mike was lucky to have a wantok bring the nectar south.

For a 78-year-old man to golf his way round 18 holes in a score (77) less than his age is a rare feat but Harry Coehn, ex-chalkie and well known at the Rabaul and Moresby clubs, has done it. On the back 9 he shot 40 but of course a wife always has the last word and on the same sunny Darwin day Ann, admittedly playing off a handicap, shot 39. A good afternoon for both retired teachers.

Last year PNG’s Prime Minister issued a statement about scams within his Government’s Finance Department, which had been revealed by a Commission of Inquiry. He said, “If I have to sack everyone including the tea boy at Finance, I will do so to clear the place up”. This year, Mr O’Neill found himself summoned to appear before a Leadership Tribunal of three Judges in relation to improper conduct in the acquisition of a billion dollars loan. In literature of the Victorian era, this circumstance would have been described as ‘the biter bit’. To be fair to the Member for Ialibu-Pangia he has insisted that the decision to borrow the large sum in question was a Cabinet decision not his alone.

The letters page of The Australian is a venue for Grumpy Old Men and recently it featured a few words from Owen Henney, one-time kuskus at Kandrian Sub-District Office. No surprise there. Owen, now of Woody Point, Qld, could grump for Australia.