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The Magpie

Sunday, July 29th, 2018   |   122 comments

From Ashes to Ashes: The Fascinating Background To The Proposed Crematorium In Railway Estate.

Seems we’re in for a bout of Crematorium Wars … there’s a lot more to this development proposal than you’ll ever learn in The Townsville Bulletin … indeed, the paper appears to be complicit in a biased campaign courting this developer at the possible cost to well established businesses.

The proposed site has a chequered history in Townsville, and current owner Townsville bizoid-about-town Simon Fraser must be celebrating an amazing stroke of luck.

Is legal foghorn Big Bazza Taylor about to come a gutser in court over his well known ‘over-enthusiastic’ charging habits? It could very well be on the cards. The details of a matter currently before the Supreme Court will make your eyes water.

And in light those details, The Magpie has an urgent message to Rabieh Krayem …

Mayor Mullet’s new gambit to deflect attention from her scatterbrained performance … blame the hired help. Yup, she reckons bureaucrats are sacking staff and plan to send the remainder out of the CBD to the ‘burbs. One problem – it is utter bullshit.

And another Trump gallery from around the world … this pictorial essay may well become a weekly feature.

But let’s stay local first, there’s plenty happening …

… Or, In Mayor Mullet’s Case, Cackle About What Is NOT Happening …

The vagueness is mind-numbing, proving Jenny Hill really does think we are idiots.

Jenny Hill

During the week, our hapless mayor wasn’t so much flogging a dead horse so much as taking her favourite vote-catching unicorn out for a canter, i.e that $2 billion ion lithium battery factory supposedly to be build on a gift block of council land in the scrub at Woodstock. Like all other figures and statements in this saga – a thousand jobs, anyone? From which arse was that figure daintily extracted? – you just have to take the ‘$2billion factory’ on trust. $2billion, really? REALLY? Pull the other one, it yodels.

There is absolutely nothing in all this amateur-hour theatrics that inspires confidence in our city leadership. Even Bentley is skeptical – although he doesn’t see the horse as quite dead yet.

Jen of arc fin small

See the Jen of Arc breastplate? Gotta love ya, Benters!

Some background. Last Thursday, the Astonisher ran a breathless story about Magnis Resources, the main spruiker for the proposed ‘super battery’ factory at Woodstock they ‘might’ build in Townsville. The thrust of Tony Raggatt’s story – that Townsville is the focus ofglobal’ financial players – was based on this:

Listed development company Magnis Resources told the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday the proposed Townsville factory and two others of its projects in the United States and Germany were attracting “considerable interest” from equipment manufacturers, potential strategic investors and fund managers.

“As a result, potential investors, both domestic and international, are now undertaking various forms of due diligence with a view to making an investment in Magnis,” the company said in a statement.

The company aimed to announce a “definitive investment” shortly, it said.

It is an absolutely nothing statement – words like ‘potential’, ‘various forms’ ‘with a view’ and the how-long-is-a-piece-of-string ‘considerable interest’ that we are supposed to accept as some sort progress are way too rubbery to be taken seriously as a forward move in what so far we are entitled to believe is sheer fantasy. These assertions alone raise many questions, none of which it has either occurred to, or been entertained by, the Bulletin. Just for starters, the vague and meaningless phrase ‘considerable interest’ means absolutely NOTHING in the hard-headed world of the share market, and if there were any facts to back up that phrase, Mr Raggatt failed to enlighten us.

That last sentence is a doozy – ‘aimed to’ and ‘shortly’ leave one hell of a lot of wriggle room when things go tits up.

It is a safe bet that the statement to the ASX by Magnis was aimed at quelling any nervous nellies who hold Magnis shares, and discourage any sell-off. Maybe even get a few new punters in on a blue-sky promise. But it is one of those statements where you can say what you like, because the punters are the ones who have to make up their minds about such woolly claims.



But it was certainly good enough for our publicity hound mayor who offered the following highly qualified words.

‘(I am) confident studies into the Townsville project would show it is viable. We are still waiting for the State Government to agree to the terms for their ($3 million) contribution (to the feasibility study). Once we have, then (proponents) will press forward for the full feasibility,” Cr Hill said.’

Astonisher reader Gary summed it up neatly:

And they chose Townsville because? Cheap wages? No. Central location? No. Skilled workforce? No. Cheap power? No. Abundant water? No. What am I missing? This sounds like a scam.

Hard to argue with you, Gazza. Or with Bentley.

But If You Think All That Is Far-Fetched … This Is Pure Manufactured Fantasy


 CBD fronter

The CBD to become a wasteland, with scores of public service sacking and the remaining jobs heading out of the CBD and heading for the suburbs. Oh, woe, the end is nigh.

Except it isn’t and they aren’t.

In a yarn that could have well been written in the Mayor’s personal PR dream factory (actually it probably was), dastardly moustache-twirling ‘bureaucrats’ were ‘plotting’ to cut staff and  head out from the centre of town. But we are more than halfway into the story after several paragraphs of vague tough-talkin’ from the mayor before we have a clue what’s she’s on about. Turns out the public servants in this instance, according to completely unnamed and unidentified sources (put your money on the Mayor) are the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services mob (actually in South Townsville not the CBD) and the Queensland Police Service.

But to summarise a massively puffed up non-story, official spokesmen for both the QFES and the coppers said … in more polite words … it was complete crap, no one had any plans to go anywhere.  A relevant minister said the same thing. Just why the paper would go on with all the foot stamping kiddy play from Jenny Hill, and then quote the responsible executives saying she bullshitting is anybody’s guess. Certainly one way to contradict any claim to credibility.

But here’s the kicker, which gets the quote of the decade. Mayor Mullet’s muddled virtue signaling was topped off with this gem:

Cr Hill said she had heard threats departments could move and was concerned about the “shrinking” number of staff employed by the tax office.Council has played a big role in moving more of our workforce into the city, investing in infrastructure and encouraging new developments in the CBD.

Oh, really? Where has that concern closer to home over the past year, m’dear? Listen, me little mongoose, moving council staff from Thuringowa to Walker Street was more than offset by your wholesale callous sackings of so many (about 300) knowledgeable and dedicated council staff, very few of whom were ‘dead wood’. And your political duck-shoving for years on the bus hub (which will do absolutely zero for the CBD) and trashing the Perc Tucker Gallery’s attraction – a big CBD drawcard –  earns you the title of Mayor MealyMouth.

As said, Jenny, you REALLY do think we are fucking idiots, don’t you?

A Job’s Footnote

Did you see in the paper that the Townsville Bulletin sacked another six people a week ago, including Third Reich columnist Julian Tomlinson?

No, you didn’t, the paper followed its usual practice of finger wagging at others who give people the arse, or even fictious threats to do so (see previous piece) but staying mum when they do a bit more editorial cleansing. It ain’t called the Bully for nothing.

And not only that but a Magpie mate dropped a line during the week saying Jason Scott, former Bulletin GM and now making a hole in the air down in Brisbane doing something or other for News, visited both Cairns Post and Townsville Bulletin recently and blew up at them.  He informed them that there is a good possibility that reporters may soon be paid per story. (Love to see you try that one, you buffoon.) In the last round of performance reviews all reporters were asked if they would be happy to undertake basic photography training.

The desperation can almost be tasted, the digital take-up is woeful. Otherwise, why this as just one example …


… that, at the current discounted rate of about $5000 per page (down from $8k or so in arrogant times) is a cool $20,000 trying to wheedle folks into digital subs … and that on a slow week day.

Is Something A Bit Whiffy About The Railway Estate Crematorium Proposal?


One can’t help thinking there’s a few unanswered questions about the proposed crematorium on Railway Avenue, on the site of at various stages of its history was a cinema, a skating rink and a ride-on mower sales room.

Let’s look at a few things that haven’t been aired around the matter.


First up, no one’s mentioned that there is another development application for a crematorium in the suburbs, this one by Morleys the funeral people over on Martinez Avenue on The Lakes in West End. They want to extend their funeral parlour to include cremations, but although lodged 12 months ago, there has been no decision on the development application (Ml16/0037). One imagines the locals may have had something to say on this matter, which raises the issue of fairness … you know, what’s good for the (char-grilled) goose is good for the (barbecued) gander.

And then there was this in the Astonisher in January.

Screen shot 2018-07-29 at 12.10.10 AM

This was a carefully manufactured story of blatant self-interest aimed at damaging an established and well respected business with a bizarre claim. This is evidenced by the fact that the claim was made by Neville Boyle, the operator of Burdekin Funerals and Townsville Cremations, which ships the bodies to Bowen to be burnt. Boyle’s trumped up allegation was that the Woongarra Crematorium at Julago dumped ashes because they used urns that were too small – a claim described by a director of Morley’s with an interest in the current Julago crematorium as ‘utter nonsense, which I completely deny.’ The State Coroner seemed to think it was a bit weird too, and was unimpressed with supposed photographic evidence Mr Boyle supplied, telling him ‘it is unclear what the photos are depicting.’

But now, with this development order, it seems clear what he was trying to achieve.

So it’s reasonable to join the dots and see this as a prelude to a development order, obviously given the blessing of the buildings owner, local bizoid-about-town Simon Fraser.

Then there was the statement in the paper from in the past week from Lori Boyle, who runs Townsville Cremations in which she was quoted as saying ‘At the moment, bodies have to be taken to Bowen to be cremated.’ It was this comment that piqued The Magpie’s curiosity, because he assumed, although he hadn’t heard about it, Woongarra at Julago had gone out of business and left a burning hole in the local market. Or not, as it may be.

A call to the Julago establishment, which has been there for almost 50 years, assured The ‘Pie is crisp and salty terms that they were indeed still there with the firelighters at the ready, in fact doing up to 10 cremations a day (typical that the one growth industry in Townsville is dying).

Ms Boyle then clarified matters, agreeing that while she did see she was quoted as above, ‘in actual fact my words were to the effect “bodies WE cremate are taken to Bowen as we do not use the local facility as it is owned by Morleys.” That makes sense, and given our beloved paper’s track record for accuracy, it’s a toss up whether it was a deliberate slip of her tongue or of reporter Chris Lees pen. But it can’t be denied that the quote in the paper furthered the cause for the developers.

Simon Fraser

Simon Fraser

But how some fortunes turn around. Spare a thought for emotional roller coaster ride that owner Simon Fraser must have endured in the past year. There he was, just about to have a ten year lease signed and lock in long standing and reliable tenant –  Anna’s Skin and Beauty – in the building on Boundary Street side of the site when this happened.

Salon fire. Jan 29 2018jpg

To make Mr Fraser’s anguish worse, there were those early suggestions of arson, he must’ve been doubly distraught to think that someone would do that deliberately, but we haven’t heard anything further. So how lucky is he to have Mr Boyle come along and turn his property’s fortunes around.

Buy a lottery ticket, Simon, you lucky devil.

So now there’s a petition got up on the matter, with more than 100 concerned locals opposing the idea.

Screen shot 2018-07-28 at 9.45.01 PM

Submissions on the development application close on August 13th.

Bazza’s Big Bucks Policy Under Legal Question

Barry Big BazzaTaylor

It is a statement of fact that Barry The Legal Foghorn Taylor has never been shy in seeking an exorbitant dollar from his clients. Even the Bulletin, back in its relatively free spending days, dispensed with his on-call services because of the swingeing value he put on himself. Stories of his epic charging are legend around this town.

It now seems he may have gouged the wrong people. A fascinating matter has just unfolded in the Supreme Court sitting in Rockhampton.

Tony and June Hood own (or did own, The Magpie is unsure if they are still there) a Ravenswood cattle property, Kirkton Station. Tragedy struck Mr Hood in 2007 when he became a quadriplegic through an accident involving a cattle trailer.

Mining company Carpentaria Gold had for some time had a mining lease covering part of Kirkton Station, and in 2011 started legal action to renew the lease.   Move along to 2014, and enter Barry Taylor. This from the record of court proceedings.

Screen shot 2018-07-28 at 9.39.08 AM

Screen shot 2018-07-28 at 9.49.04 AM

Phew! So much for a measly hundred grand – or less!! Almost $400,000 for unsuccessful negotiations and no trial!!!

In essence, the Hoods want the five costs orders set aside AND AN ITEMISED ACCOUNT OF THE COSTS. The judge has the power to order this, especially if he concludes the costs were ‘not fair and reasonable’.

There will be a fair bit more duck shoving and legal tap dancing before this is over. Interesting to note that the solicitor for Enema Legal is one Vanesa Gleeson, the same vampirena handling Rabeah Krayem’s defamation case against The Magpie. And against The Magpie’s totally uninvolved daughter. Vile tactic, you should be ashamed of yourself, Mrs Gleeson. But you’ve obviously found the right firm to work for.

Message for Rabeah Krayem; get out while you can, Rabster, you’ve been sold a very expensive pup in your action against The Magpie, who is sure Barry Taylor, when he actively sought you out to sue this blogger, didn’t give you all the ramifications. Win or lose, you’re in big financial danger now because of this vindictive and rapacious arsesole, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Two messages to Mrs Gleeson: don’t believe Barry when he says he only takes on cases he knows he will win (you’re not looking too flash in this one, and you sure as hell haven’t a hope of a satisfactory outcome in your action against The Magpie). The second mssage? Buy your husband some decent clothes, he looks like a down-at-heel, ill-kempt used car salesman when he squeaks his way through his segments on Sky News.

Speaking Of Which …

Peter Gleeson

From comments during the week.
The Magpie

July 25, 2018 at 7:16 am  (Edit)

Here it is, in all its bright shining hypocrisy, the man who bullied my daughter in the News Ltd workplace, although she had done nothing to him and he didn’t even know her, he still threatened her job because of something I said this blog. At the time, he was in Townsville, she was in Melbourne at the Herald. And now on national television (well, Sky, anyway) HE’S decrying workplace bullying  … and by a woman. Peter Gleeson really does have issues on both these fronts. In the instance involving my daughter, he was forced to apologise, and subsequently lied to a News Ltd columnist about me, costing his employers an estimated million dollars in costs, their own legal fees and damages for defamation. All because he was a proven workplace bully … and now he is lecturing us about the issue on television? That’s about the speed of Sky News. If this doesn’t open, paste into your FB page.


Finally, Comrade Trump’s Week in Pix

Still they keep coming about his  travels. Satirist Andy Borowitz nails the best headline, in the New Yorker.

Screen shot 2018-07-18 at 8.21.02 AM

Trump putin PHOTO-2018-07-19-11-25-56 Bashing our Allies Trump by nicola jennings guardian PHOTO-2018-07-16-09-30-54 weyant_lemonade 25_jones Reump job figures 20180725edshe-b Trump no collusion……………

That’s it for this week, lots of really interesting stuff in comments flowing through during the week, check it out and drop in any tidbits of interest. If you have a mind to be your secret generous self, do help the blog along with a donation … its easy, the how to button is below.









The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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