Monthly Archives: April 2013

Establishment bursts doors to take Civil War outside

Tom and Gai Waterhouse slug it out in Sydney  with John Singleton

Australian actor Gai Smith (now Waterhouse) was Presta in the Dr Who serial The Invasion of Time (1978)

Melbourne, observers say, is the Australian state capital most like London, a city of couth citizens. Paradoxically Melbourne’s establishment has aired its dirty linen in public more than its perennial foe, the brasher Sydney establishment. That was until the feud between the Waterhouses and the Singletons in old Sydney town.

To be accurate, it is only, so far, one Singleton but John is a dervish in a stoush so you can be forgiven for thinking there is more than one of him.
Singleton is also known as Singo, for those who  buy into  the myth of the lovable larrikin, as each of his six wives must have done at some stage. The wealthy race-horse owner said publicly 30-something bookmaker Tom Waterhouse had known Singo’s millionaire mare More Joyous could not win Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Randwick. The bookmaker’s mother, Gai Waterhouse, trained More Joyous along with a brace of other Singleton-owned  neddies.
You could see where Singo was going with this which he aired at Randwick itself on Saturday’s big race day.  Just in case the inference was beyond those who had imbibed too much cool champagne or warm beer, Singleton elaborated. “It’s too much. It’s a conflict of interest.”
He sacked trainer Gai Waterhouse and removed seven horses from the stable on Sunday. Well he did not actually remove them himself but it sounds more dramatic that way.
On Monday, Tom Waterhouse said he was talking with his lawyers about defamation action against Singleton. Tom did not call him Singo.
Randwick chief steward Ray Murrihy wants to see the feuding parties at an official inquiry next Monday.
The media and the public are lapping it up. The media likes to call the Waterhouses “racing royalty”. But that is just cheap consonance, no drilling into national sentiment – Australia is not fancy enough to have Zeitgeist. Most of the public is not talking sides. The more literate are saying “a plague on both your horses”.
The Waterhouse racing royalty, on the paternal side, is actually bookmaking royalty – not much consonance there.
The first king bookie in the family was Charles Waterhouse, who took out a licence in 1898. Son Bill and Grandson Robbie continued the family business. Tom is the son of Robbie and Gai Waterhouse, herself the daughter of legendary racehorse trainer Tommy Smith.
In 1984 Bill  and Robbie lost their bookmakers’ licenses for 18 years when it was found they had “prior knowledge” of the Fine Cotton ring-in when a superior horse was substituted for an inferior one.
The ring-in was a bit of a shambles when, as soon as the substitute horse Bold Personality won, a few people were racing up and down Eagle Farm racetrack screaming “ring-in”. It had the earmarks of a classic double-sting. There was no suggestion the Waterhouses had a part in the ring-in, only that they knew it was on and forgot to tell anyone.
Anyway, Robbie was able to survive the 18 years on his savings and whatever slings his wife Gai, a successful trainer, gave him.
Robbie has a significant financial interest in his son’s bookmaking business, mainly conducted through the internet. Tom Waterhouse, unlike his Dad and Grandad, is not licensed by Sydney racing authorities. His book is registered in the Northern Territory.
We are talking serious money here. Tom ponied up a photo of his book on the All Aged Stakes which he said showed a $300,000 worse result on the winner All Too Hard than if “mum’s horse” – a favourite expression of Tom the son – had won.
He said he had “backed” More Joyous. What he meant by that is unclear. What we do know is that Waterhouse did declare before the race he would “take on” the second favourite All Too Hard. Taking on “All Too Hard” is not quite the same thing as backing More Joyous. The relative outsider Rain Affair was narrowly beaten in the race. How much would Waterhouse have won if that horse had got up?
Owner Singleton is not short of a dollar. He said he was going to put $100,000 on More Joyous until three mates whispered in his ear on the day of the race that Tom Waterhouse had told them it could not win. Of course, Waterhouse strenuously denies this, hence the lawyers.
Singleton maintains Gai Waterhouse never told him the horse had received treatment during the week before being cleared by stable vet Leanne Begg. But More Joyous was also cleared to run by Singleton’s vet John Peatfield. Was anyone telling Singo anything before his three mates saved him a hundred grand?
The answer to this and other fascinating question may or may not be revealed at Monday’s inquiry.

Our song needs no intro…

Horsey tales underpin the Don key

Adman John Singleton races to war with trainer Gai Waterhouse and son Tom
Don Singote

CONVERSATION around water-coolers today is not about television talent show The Voice; it is about a racehorse owner spitting the dummy over his millionaire mare More Joyousfinishing unplaced.

The poor performance has turned disappointment into embittered keyhole accusations of collusion befitting Mafia Dons.
Owner John Singleton says his trainer Gai Waterhouse has a conflict of interest because son Tom is a bookmaker. Singleton removed his seven racehorses from her stable.
Gai Waterhouse is a wealthy Australian racehorse trainer, the daughter of legendary trainer Tom Smith.
She married into the family of legendary bookmakers the Waterhouses and her son Tom is a rich turf accountant.
Racehorse breeder and owner John Singleton has heaps of dough, made from advertising and radio stations.
Singo said he was about to pop $100, 000 on More Joyous when three of his mates told him Tom Waterhouse told them the mare was crook and could not win.
The ad man has been in business most of his life and must have known he was calling foul, illegal foul, insider trading.
Tom Waterhouse lawyered up and threatened defamation action against Singo. The writ is yet to be filed.
The racing stewards have called an inquiry for Monday, May 6. Their previous generation of stewards pulled the bookmaker’s licence of Gai’s husband, Tom’s father Robbie for the best part of a decade.
But that was in the days when bookies bet from racetracks. Tom is an internet bookie and whether the stewards can pull his licence is in doubt. Singleton as a registered owner is more clearly prone to the wrath of stewards.
My betting is Singo will not be able to substantiate his allegations.
The media identified two of his three mates who got the drum from Tom Waterhouse as former champion jockey Malcolm Johnson and former champion rugby league player Andrew Johns. Both have denied saying that to Singo.
Even if they did, it is hearsay on Singleton’s part. If Tom Waterhouse persists in the defamation action, which I do not think he will, I rate Singleton as a million to one on defending the writ.
The question of insider trading is tricky.
Unlike other sports, gambling has been integral to horse racing for centuries.
Britain’s Queen Anne established the public racecourse Royal Ascot in 1711. Shortly after bookmakers plied their trade.
The first official bookmaker Harry Ogden, opened his business in the 1790s.
Bookmakers take up to 20% from the pool before a race begins. Yet astute punters have always overcome that disadvantage and they will continue to do so. They get the “tips”, the “good oil”. the “drum”, emanating from racehorse stables.
Insider trading can be defined as profiting from private information not available to the general public. It is the grease of successful gambling.
I am not suggesting that Gai Waterhouse provided inside information. But they must discuss horses and the son could make of it what he would.
There have been some crook laws in our time but you cannot legislate a bookmaker should not have a licence because his mum is a trainer.
You cannot help but think Singo has shot off a the mouth and a lot of people will be munching on an distasteful can of worms.

Why the sacred fire is important to everyone

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A week ago, Jagera elder, Kevin, was kicked out of his housing commission home. Tonight Kevin is in jail for re-lighting the sacred fire. A little after noon today, West End police arrested a traditional owner of Musgrave Park. Policewoman … Continue reading

Instant karma got me

Publisher’s Weekly reviews Iraqi Icicle as karma stalks the aisles of Woolworths Supermarket

IT was beaut to see a review of my novel Iraqi Icicle in the prized review pages of Publisher’s Weekly.
Perhaps that is why I returned the free groceries to my local Woolworths supermarket.

I WAS shopping for the family groceries today, Sunday in Oz.
I came home with two bags of groceries which I had neither collected from the selves nor paid for.
Top stuff was in the plastic bags – a big bag of black grapes, apples, biscuits, tea, a good-looking loaf of bread. None of it was mine. I was thinking of keeping it when my wife said I should take it back.
Of course I should and I did. It was less than a 10-minute drive back to the Woolies supermarket.
The young attendant at the inquiry counter told me the man who had left his groceries behind to be mixed up with mine had just left.
“We replaced all those groceries from the shelves,” the attendant said.
“Now we will be able to put them back on the shelves. Thank you.”
Wow, I thought, that is pretty cool of a big capo outfit like Woolworths to take the customer’s word and replace all his groceries.
Then I had returned all the items minutes later – without eating one grape, though they looked nice and juicy.
That is the closest I have come to instant karma.
It was less than q week before that American book Bible Publisher’s Weekly reviewed my novel Iraqi Icicle. They say a review in PW can engender 1000 sales. I am not expecting that kind of result but things are looking up and I am on a karma roll.
Here is the review;
Today’s song is a no-brainer:


Foco Nuevo: May Day Special !!

Friday 3rd May, 2013. 8.00 p.m. May Day Special !! Kurilpa Hall at 174 Boundary Street West End. Thanks to everyone who made our April event so enjoyable. This month we have a May Day special, to celebrate through song … Continue reading


Refugee Rights Convergence 2013

As part of the Refugee Rights Convergence 2013 Protest for Refugee Rights outside Brisbane’s Detention Centre Children, women and men are languishing in detention behind lock and key in detention centres in Australia, Nauru and Manus Island, including right here … Continue reading


May 17 Group meeting postponed one week

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This is to say that since the May meeting will be about Alex Macdonald and, if held on the first Wednesday as usual, would unfortunately clash with the annual Alex Macdonald lecture to be held in the TLC Building at … Continue reading

Book lovers warm to Iraqi Icicle

No Life of Pi at Pine Rivers Art Gallery Launch of Bernie Dowling’s Iraqi Icicle

Bernie Dowling launched his neo-noir novel Iraqi Icicle at Pine Rivers Art Gallery on April 20, 2013.

It was not quite the fanfare you might associate with Life of Pi it does have the memorable background of Amada Van Gil’s touring exhibition In Between Places.
Ms Van Gil created the works by interpreting photos of landscapes taking from moving vehicles.
In Between Places is also a cornerstone of a branch of Celtic philosophy which fits in neatly with Dowling’s Irish heritage.
At the launch, Dowling explained his neo-noir novel was at in-between place among the crime thrillers.
Iraqi Icicle can be ordered at any bookshop and from on-line retailers.
AND here is a classic countdown of Aussie in-between places.
Apologies to non-Aussies but with a bit of an Atlas and a lotta luck you might be able to navigate the song. The journey is worth it.

Bryan Law’s spirit goes marching on.

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Bryan Law On Friday 12 April we buried Bryan Law in a Cairns cemetery. Bryan died suddenly in Rockhampton while preparing for his ploughshares trial. Almost two years ago Bryan had ridden his large tricycle (built to carry his large … Continue reading


Book Launch: Iraqi Icicle by Bernie Dowling

A dead actress, a dead gambler, a dead professor, a dead fisherman … With murder following his every step, determined under-achiever Steele Hill is tangled in layers of intrigue and deviousness. Pulled from his cosy world of the racetrack, the … Continue reading


PShift: End to Country — Energy Policy in Queensland

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“If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re heading” — IEA Energy Outlook, 2011 Over the past five years, the Queensland government has spent over $6.9 billion subsidising port, rail, road and other infrastructure for the benefit … Continue reading


ABC: action for Palestinian Prisoners

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If I could feed one ounce of Earth into empty stomachs of stubborn roots would this bide enough time to see wings of hope fly home again? If I could write one song to free souls from dusty dungeons, this … Continue reading


Qld State ALP reaffirms support for uranium ban

“Environmentalists welcome the State ALP’s reaffirmation of their policy of opposition to uranium mining in Queensland” said Friends of the Earth spokesperson, Ms Robin Taubenfeld. Yesterday Jackie Trad, State ALP member for South Brisbane tabled a report, published by environmental … Continue reading


Chernobyl Heart

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6pm Wednesday 24 April lock n’load (upstairs function room) 142 Boundary St, West End How to get there – take bus 199 to Stop 7, Boundary Street, West End. The bus stops outside the venue. Chernobyl Heart is a documentary … Continue reading


Australia and the Bomb

After WW II both Liberal and Labor parties in Australia supported the development of a nuclear bomb – that is why the nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney was developed. They also supported uranium mining and export and nuclear … Continue reading


Thatcher: silver bullets, garlic and a wooden stake

Thatcher is not dead. She is not dead because Thatcherism is going strong. Thatcherism is not dead because capitalism is still fighting to expand. Thatcher was never more than the chair of one executive committee of monopolising capitals. Like Howard, … Continue reading


Palestinian film at GOMA – ‘Salt of this Sea’



Remember Palestine: Al Nakba 2013

Rally Friday May 17, 5:30pm King George Square, Brisbane May 15 marks the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) day. In 1948, more the 780,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homeland and more than 500 Palestinian villages depopulated and destroyed by Zionist … Continue reading


Alex MacDonald Memorial Lecture 2013

Comrades and Friends, Please find attached a flyer for the Alex Macdonald Memorial Lecture, an annual event organised by the Brisbane Labour History Association. This year’s event has been prompted by the decision of the Liberal National government to “move” … Continue reading


The strange trial of Bob Carnegie — which side are you on?

Broadcast on Paradigm Shift 14 April 2013 (4ZZZ fm 102.1 fridays at noon) On 2 April 2013 community organiser, Bob Carnegie, attended the final day of his trial for contempt of an order by federal magistrate Michael Jarrett. The court … Continue reading



I have resisted going here but given the hype and ignorance, I fear we shall need to lean on my little knowledge which remains a dangerous thing. First things first: THE BOMB. The Korean nuclear tests violate no international law. … Continue reading


Celebrate May Day

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CELEBRATE MAY DAY Wednesday May 1st Renew the desire to live in a world where people matter! Rekindle the fire and be agents of that change! This year as we celebrate May Day it is important to keep in mind … Continue reading


The man who shot Don Mackay

Almost 40 years ago I was editor of The Murrumbidgee Irrigator newspaper at Leeton, and I was the conduit for information obtained by the late Don Mackay which I fed to the day editor of The Daily Telegraph, Harry Sherring, … Continue reading


Calling artists for Indigenous war memorial

and about time. our people have fought for over 100 years in others wars yet we still need to fight for our traditional lands and our human rights. my congratulations to the coloured diggers group for helping to push this … Continue reading


May Day Forum: What’s Working? Organising collectively for lives of dignity and justice.

The May Day Group is hoping to contribute to the celebration of May Day by organising two events. A Foco Nuevo gig on Friday 3rd May and a forum on Saturday the 4th. We hope the forum will provide an … Continue reading


Sit Down – these stats will knock you over

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— Pamela Curr Campaign Coordinator Asylum Seeker Resource Centre 12 Batman st West Melbourne 3003 ph 03 9326 6066 / 0417517075 “AUSTRALIA. Built by boatpeople.”


Search – Left Unity

I attended in Sydney the Search (Foundation) Conference. Speaker from SYRIA very interesting – I hope a film of his speech will come out. Here is Search conference statement that I and those attending support – please discuss – Conference … Continue reading

MSM judges Iraqi Icicle

From the Daily Telegraph Sydney
 MARGARET Thatcher’s death caused confusion on Twitter where some users were apparently left with the impression that Cher had died.
That’s a bit like confusing my novel Iraqi Icicle with the Life of Pi.

The first newspaper reviews of Iraqi Icicle are in. As they are from the News Limited stable they are pretty much the same. Take a look.

·         6 Apr 2013 The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) HARRY BRUMPTON
The Courier-Mail Queensland Life 6 Apr 2013 Page 20 BOOKS
Iraqi Icicle
Bernie Dowling Bent Banana Books, $11.86
STEELE Hill hasn’t had a job since he lost his gig as a racetrack bookie, but it’s not for want of talent.
His major talent is his unfortunate but entertaining ability to be in a sorry spot at the most inopportune moment.
The moment is the late-’80s and the spot is Brisbane, in particular its underworld. As young Mr Hill slides through these scenes a string of his acquaintances begin to drop dead in circumstances that leave him looking red-handed. To clear himself, poor Hill is prompted to find the culprit.
The ride is clever but chaotic. It’s a littered with wild divagations and madcap monologues. It’s redeemed by character – often literally, with mentions of local identities including jockey Chris Munce, reporter Phil Dickie and others.
The narrator’s sardonic humour, adult wordplay and jaded world view give Iraqi Icicle a definite neo-noir feel. The pleasure of sorting through these mysteries lies in the story’s steady ascension through the clues. 
Harry Brumpton
The Verdict is interesting. I am not sure it reflects and was probably given by a journo other than the reviewer. What do you think?
Disclaimer: The price of $11.86 is the current Amazon price before shipping. Any bookshop should tell you how much it will cost if they order it in for you.

Here is our song. It is a tribute to the collective amnesia of MSM. For some strange reason, comments on the vid are disabled.

For your viewing pleasure

Some Go-Betweens videos for your viewing and listening pleasure.


And here is one in memory of Grant.

And here is a magnificent song from a britband who named themselves after a Go-bees classic: Cattle @ Cane


John Rodgers: LIFE and MUSIC

This series of three concerts is quite special because John has composed, arranged and/or played with all of his guests: Wiiliam Barton, Genevieve Lacey, Scott Tinkler, Vanessa Tomlinson, Kate Miller-Heidke and Kier Nuttall. They all have international profiles. Whilst supported … Continue reading