Home' Greymouth Star : January 18th 2018 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 18, 2018
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uLetters to the editor
1936 - Author Rudyard Kipling dies in
1945 - Soviet troops relieve Leningrad after a
16-month German siege.
1963 - Government of Charles de
Gaulle in France insists that Britain
be barred from European Common
1968 - United States and Soviet
Union agree on draft treaty to
control nuclear weapons.
1976 - France expels at least 40 Soviet
officials on grounds they have worked as spies.
1977 - Australia’s worst rail crash, at
Granville in Sydney, kills 83 people when a
train hits a concrete bridge.
1996 - Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson files for
divorce from Michael Jackson.
2003 - Four people die and almost 500
homes are destroyed when a bushfire takes
thousands of Canberrans by surprise.
2012 - Italians tally 11 dead, 21 missing from
the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edmund Barton, Australia’s first prime
minister (1849-1920); Alan Alexander Milne,
Winnie-the-Pooh author (1882-1956); Cary
Grant, US actor (1904-1986);
Dannyh Kaye, US actor (1911-
1987); Paul Keating, former
Australian prime minister (1944-);
Kevin Costner, US actor-director
(1955-); Jesse L Martin, US actor
(1969-); Damien Leith, Australian
Idol winner (1976-); Leigh
Whannell, Australian filmmaker (1977-); Jason
Segel, American actor (1980-); Dale Begg-
Smith, Australian Olympic skiier (1985-).
“... be intolerant of ignorance, but
understanding of illiteracy. ” — Maya Angelou,
American writer (1928-).
“He asked them, ‘But who do you say that
I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the
Messiah’.” — (Mark 8:29).
The 1969 New
to be held on Lake
Brunner. The championships, to be backed by
the Rothmans orhganisation, will be organised
and conducted by the West Coast catamaran
squadron, formed only last year.
To be known as the “Rothmans National
Catamaran Week 1969”, the championships
will be held early in the New Year at the
Moana Yacht Club’s headquarters. Officials
of the West Coast squadron expect that
between 60 and 70 boats will contest the
The expected entries will bring well
over 100 yachtsmen and probably many
more supporters. Most of these will be
accommodated in Greymouth.
A sudden violent storm last night brought
down over two inches of rain, isolated
a township, cut the main rail link with
Canterbury and caused several power cuts
throughout the district. A transformer had to
be replaced at Runanga after the first one was
put out of action by lightning. Power was off in
the area for some time.
Extensive slipping prevented miners getting
to the Liverpool State mine this morning.
Some were able to get over the slip last night
coming down, but others slept all night in the
bathhouse at Rewanui.
The Midland Line was blocked by a slip
between Stillwater and Arnold Siding. Slips
at Brunner which took banks of the river away
into the Grey itself, fortunately did not affect
the railway line. There was a serious slip on the
back road to Taylor ville which should take all
day to clear.
This morning the weather cleared a great deal
and was sunny again by 10 o’clock.
uFood for thought
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There is one name that should be
tattooed over the heart of every Labour
Party politician: Rex Connor. It was
Connor’s determination to “buy back the
farm” — i.e. deliver Australia’s mineral
wealth into public ownership — that set
in motion the sequence of events which
persuaded the Australian Governor-
General, Sir John Kerr, to dismiss
Gough Whitlam’s Labor government
on November 11, 1975. The lesson for
all subsequent Labor (and Labour)
governments was clear: Never let
the policy commitments of a single
minister deepen to the point where they
drag an entire government down to
Connor was an old-time Labour
socialist and economic nationalist who
was fond of quoting the American poet,
Sam Walter Foss:
Give me men to match my mountains,
Give me men to match my plains,
Men with freedom in their visions
And creation in their veins.
When the Australian Treasury persuaded
Connor’s Labor colleagues that his plans
to borrow $4 billion (a colossal sum in
1974) were economically and legally
reckless, the bluff old socialist went behind
their backs and attempted to borrow the
money from Middle Eastern potentates,
who, following the dramatic oil price-
hikes precipitated by the 1973 Yom
Kippur War between Israel and its Arab
neighbours, were awash with “petro-
With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear
that the United States government, alerted
to Connor’s intentions, laid a trap for him.
A shadowy Pakistani banker by the name
of Tirath Khemlani was able to ensnare
Connor by promising to arrange a loan
large enough to make all of the Minister
for Minerals and Energy’s dreams come
true. It was the Liberal Opposition’s
exposure (undoubtedly with American
assistance) of the “ loans affair” which
sparked the political crisis culminating in
Why are political events which occurred
in Australia more than 40 years ago being
rehearsed in New Zealand in 2018?
The memory trigger, in this case, was
pulled by the Opposition National Party’s
transport spokeswoman, Judith Collins. In
a media release issued on Tuesday, January
16, Ms Collins castigates the Minister
of Transport, Phil Twyford, for raising
the possibility of diverting motorist-
derived revenues from the National Land
Transport Fund for the purposes of
developing Auckland’s light rail network.
“This desperate grab for more taxes is the
result of this free-spending Government
realising how much it’s going to cost to
build its pet rail line from Auckland’s
CBD to the Airport,” Collins argued, “so
it ’s looking to divert funding from regional
roads as a result. ”
Ms Collins’s criticisms were echoed in a
release from the right-wing lobby group,
the Taxpayers’ Union, which enjoined
Twyford to keep his “ hands off motorists’
Now, this is a very long way from
Khemlani’s false promise to provide Rex
Connor with the wherewithal to “ buy
back the farm”, but every doomed journey
begins with a single step.
Phil Twyford has staked his own
reputation — and that of the Labour-New
Zealand First-Green Government — on
fulfilling not only their commitment to
end Auckland’s traffic gridlock, but also,
and more importantly, to have Labour’s
Kiwi Build affordable housing initiative
well under way by the 2020 election.
The $4b question is: Are there sufficient
financial resources available to permit
the government to meet these (and many
other) policy commitments? The answer,
of course, is yes. All governments have the
power to beg, borrow or steal whatever
resources are needed to implement their
plans. In the case of this Government,
however, the matter is more complicated.
Jacinda Ardern’s cabinet contains many
men and women with “freedom in their
visions” and “creation in their veins” but,
unfortunately, on his performance to date,
her Minister of Finance is not one of
them. Grant Robertson’s determination
to keep his Government within its self-
imposed “budget responsibility rules”
is presently on a collision course with
ministers’ determination to keep their
If the Prime Minister allows that
collision to occur, then the chances of
someone doing a Rex Connor will increase
spectacularly. Whitlam’s fatal error was to
refuse to make a choice between vision
and creation, and the budgetary restraint
necessary to keep the confidence of the
Australian people. Ms Ardern’s challenge
is to decide what sort of government she
intends to lead. Will it be a government
of vision and creativity? Or, a government
which refuses to abandon its commitment
to fiscal rectitude.
If it is the latter, then Jacinda needs to
sack her Rex Connors — now.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Vision and creation — or fiscal restraint?
ead men tell no tales, but
there is new evidence
that somebody aboard
the pirate Blackbeard’s
flagship harboured books
among the booty.
In an unusual find, researchers have
discovered shreds of paper bearing legible
printing that somehow sur vived three
centuries under water on the sunken vessel.
And after more than a year of research
that ranged as far as Scotland, they
managed to identify them as fragments of
a book about nautical voyages published in
the early 1700s.
Conser vators for Blackbeard’s ship the
Queen Anne’s Revenge found the 16
fragments of paper wedged inside the
chamber for a breech-loading cannon,
with the largest piece being the size of a
The Q ueen Anne’s Revenge had been
a French slave ship when Blackbeard
captured it in 1717 and renamed it. The
vessel ran aground in Beaufort, in what
was then the colony of North Carolina,
in June 1718. Volunteers with the Royal
Navy killed Blackbeard in Ocracoke Inlet
that same year.
Tens of thousands of artefacts have been
recovered since Florida-based research
firm Intersal Inc. located the shipwreck off
the North Carolina coast in 1996 but few,
if any, are as surprising as pieces of paper.
To fi nd paper in a 300-year-old shipwreck
in warm waters is “almost unheard of,” said
Erik Farrell, a conser vator at the QAR
Conser vation Lab in Greenville.
Eventually, the conser vators determined
that the words “south” and “fathom” were
in the text, suggesting a maritime or
navigational book. But one word, Hilo,
stood out because it was both capitalised
and in italics, said Kimberly Kenyon, also a
conser vator at the lab.
They turned to Johanna Green, a
specialist in the history of printed text at
the University of Glasgow, who pointed
them to the Spanish settlement of Ilo
fragments eventually were determined to
be from a 1712 first edition of a book by
Captain Edward Cooke titled A Voyage
to the South Seas, and Round the World,
Peform’d in the years 1708, 1709, 1710
It is impossible to say who aboard
Blackbeard’s ship would have been reading
the voyage narrative — a form popular in
England in the 17th and 18th century —
or whether it belonged to a pirate or some
terrified captive. But some pirates were
known to be literate, Kenyon said.
For example, Stede Bonnett, the
“gentleman pirate” who joined Blackbeard
in 1717, had his own library. It is not
known if he brought his books on the
Queen Anne’s Revenge.
A history of pirates written in 1724
mentions a journal belonging to
Blackbeard that was taken when he was
killed. And when Blackbeard captured
a ship called the Margaret in December
1717, the list of items taken from the ship
included books, Farrell said.
“They were literate men,” Kenyon said.
“ People always assume pirates are ruffians
from bad backgrounds, and that wasn’t
always the case.”
The sur vival of the paper fragments is
perhaps even more unusual than their
existence aboard the pirate vessel.
The chamber in which they were
found was a separate piece of a breech-
loading swivel gun that was likely kept
on the top deck because it was used as
an anti-personnel weapon, Farrell said.
Conser vators do not have the cannon
itself, which likely was salvaged or stolen
when the Queen Anne’s Revenge ran
aground. In cannons of that period,
“ wadding” material such as cloth or
paper would usually be stuffed behind a
cannonball. So it ’s also possible someone
just tore up the book without reading it to
use it for firepower.
Conservators had removed a wooden
plug from the chamber so they could
clean it when they discovered the paper
fragments stuffed in there, along with
pieces of fabric in May 2016, Farrell said.
That mass was removed easily enough, but
prying the fragments from the fabric was
more tedious and time-consuming, he said.
The combination of fabric and the plug
likely protected the paper, which normally
would have disintegrated in water, Farrell
But the ability to read doesn’t change the
evil character of pirates, who ransacked,
raped and killed.
“The fact that they’re literate doesn’t
mean they ’re not terrible, marauding
people,” Farrell said. “It just adds some
nuance.” — AP
This undated photo made available by the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources shows a piece of paper from books
found on board Blackbeard’s ship the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Booty and books
A model of Queen Ann’s Revenge, Blackbeard the Pirate’s flagship on display at the
Maritime Research Institute in Beaufort, North Carolina.
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