Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Captain Cook connection

The Monthly 

May 2018

“The most frustrating thing is that everyone gets out there for Australia Day, there’s so much controversy, but April 29 comes around and there’s just silence.”

It’s a windy autumn day, and Rodney Kelly is slumped over a wooden picnic table at the Bermagui headland, on the far NSW South Coast. He is trying hard not to be broken by the events of the past two years. “Sometimes I want to give up. And I don’t know why, I just can’t.”

From his seat, Kelly looks out across the wind-chopped ocean, where 248 years ago Captain James Cook sailed on his way up the east coast of the continent. Nine days after passing this point, the British explorer arrived at Botany Bay, and he and his party made first contact with Aboriginal Australians – Kelly’s ancestors.

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Sick on the inside

The Monthly 

April 2018

Over the final few months of his life, 31-year-old David Wotherspoon, an inmate at Cessnock Correctional Centre in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, increasingly believed that prison officers were plotting to kill him: poisoning his food and sending toxic gas into his cell. To protect himself, he barely ate or slept, and armed himself with a “shiv”, a sharpened screwdriver.

In mid March 2013, after months of private torment, he asked to see the mental-health nurse at the prison’s clinic. He was tired and drawn – he’d dropped 7 kilograms – and agitated. “I’m not sick, I know I am not sick,” Wotherspoon told her, continually checking the door, watching for prison officers, worrying he would be overheard. He told her about the plot against him, and about his weapon. “Don’t be afraid, miss. I won’t be using it on you. It’ll be for one of those ones who…

 

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Rush to judgement

Inside Story, August 2017

Originally published in the Griffith Review 

Nowra showground is a ten-minute walk from the centre of town: past Best & Less, Jolly Olly’s Discount Variety Store, the Postman’s Tavern and the Bowling Club, along a wide, tree-lined residential street. The gateway is a towering, seven-metre-high sandstone structure with four entrance archways, topped by parapets and crenellated towers, built just after the second world war. A life-sized bronze statue of a soldier, added after the war, stands in front of the gate. He’s depicted without rifle or helmet; as local historical material explains, “His country’s freedom secured, but forever on alert to safeguard the future.”

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Shadows of the Sheikh: how an Adelaide Imam with a mysterious past became a media star

ABC Radio National Background Briefing

25th June 2017

He warns we’re facing an infestation of radical clerics, and he’s called for Islamic schools to be shut down. But Mohammed Tawhidi has a mysterious history that sits awkwardly alongside his new image as reformer-in-chief of Islam in Australia.

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Housing affordability squeeze pushed down coast as city dwellers flee Sydney

ABC Online

28th February 2017

It’s often prescribed as a solution for those struggling with the lack of affordable housing in cities like Sydney: just move to the country.

However, those people living on low incomes in coastal regions of NSW are faring just as badly as city dwellers as they hunt for an affordable roof over their head.

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No shelter at the showground

ABC Radio National ‘Background Briefing’

26 February 2017

An Australian town rises up against homeless people who set up a tent shantytown at the local showground. Bronwyn Adcock reports on a big city problem that’s come to Nowra on the NSW south coast.

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Sex workers fight against stigma for equal justice

The Saturday Paper

November 26, 2016

It starts out like any other booking. A woman advertises her services as a sex worker – usually online – and a man either calls or texts. She tells him what she’s offering and for how much, and, after agreement, they meet in a small apartment or studio close to Canberra’s central business district.

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