Matron Herries Cairns Lying-In Hospital for extremely expectant mothers-to-be

Matron Herries sure knew how to pick a location for her “lying-in” hospital:

Its hapless inmates must have gazed with morbid trepidation at the vista set before them by the McLeod St cemetery just across the road, speculating as to what lay in store for them both before and after their demise, and assisted in their deliberations by the formidable array of proto-industrial medical appliances all too conveniently on display or within earshot in this cramped facility.

For the less worthy or the less certain, the belching smoke stacks of the old Cairns Power Station adjacent to the cemetery offered a terrifying prospect of the eternal punishment awaiting them, perhaps driving them either to religion or to drink, whichever was the most convenient or tasted better.

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Commotion in a Cul de Sac

Exercise for 26th September 2014:

Write 500 words or less based on the following email received by David:
am witnessing a very odd situation unfolding at the moment out in our quiet little cul-de-sac – there are two police and two ambos and a dark-windowed Honda hatch with a small (?) child and dog inside – with the engine running. The mother is outside with the police and ambo officers pleading with the child to unlock the door so they can turn off the engine – saying that they don’t want to have to break the window.
They’ve been repeating this request for about ten minutes (!!) with no result so far.
Not sure why the ambos are there – maybe they can crack into doors without breaking windows?
I’m just wondering how the situation started – why did the mother leave the child in the car with the keys and engine running in the first place?
and WHY has she not got a spare set of car keys??

Wil’s Response:

My dear Mrs Nosworthy,

I regret that a fortnight has passed since your urgent email seeking reasons for an upsetting incident in your peaceful cul de sac.

Alas, I received your email far too late that day to be of any practical assistance, preferring instead to leave the matter in the capable hands of authorised officers already at the scene, as well as the mother, and hopefully the hapless and perplexed occupants of the entrapping vehicle.  However, I have meticulously checked the local news outlets, and found no mention of the incident, even with their predilection for sensationalising the banal and the trivial.  (My goodness, we already have enough to worry about these days haven’t we?)

I therefore surmised all had ended well, except perhaps for window repair bills, counselling for all concerned, a criminal charge of child neglect, and, to complete the smorgasbord, a summons from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A fine day’s work indeed, for all concerned, I must say!

Madam, I implore you not to succumb to the transient and self-indulgent pleasures of impotent spectatorship, nor to submit to suffering the everlasting ignominy of calumnious commentatorhood arising from dwelling upon the circumstances and motives of others with lives less ordered than that of your good self.  Endless embellished speculation, conjecture and rumour-mongering would become rife in your suburb, not to mention the decline in property values that always ensues from localised criminal activity involving wilfully-damaged vehicles, hysterical women running amok through the streets, neglected children, dogs in confined spaces without adequate conveniences, the wailing of sirens, as well as fearful yet inquisitive residents peering from behind carefully drawn curtains.

To set your mind at ease, Mrs Nosworthy, and to put an end to all this nonsense (which, I believe, has even drawn in members of a once sedate Writers’ Group), I have obtained the confidence of the local police sergeant in this matter….

He informs me that the dog has been charged with unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, obstructing the lawful owner in resuming possession of said vehicle, disturbing the peace, and wasting police time.

Penalty: one pound.


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Homework: Film Intro

This piece was supplied by one of our fine published authors, and valued member Kate Wright, and a topical piece indeed.




Film Intro

Pleasant Garden Setting with the gentle sound of water dancing in a fountain, the buzz of contented bees, and the creak of a child’s swing. A fat pompous man is sitting beside a small table with a half full glass of whisky on it, relaxed in comfortable garden chair surveying it all with a smile of smug satisfaction on his face.

Camera pans across the garden settling for a fleeting moment on points of interest i.e. the fountain, a butterfly, bees, the unoccupied child’s swing gently moving as if just deserted by its owner. Then focuses on the man in the distance gradually zooming in to get his full-face smugness.

Man – Well that is a good job done. No one can accuse me of unfairness, constructed to achieve the most from those who are unable to do anything about it. He chuckles No one noticed I didn’t hike cigarettes, tobacco or alcohol excise duty up. Takes out cigar and lights it. Not enough people smoke these days to make it worthwhile. He lifts the whiskey glass and toasts himself before savoring a large mouthful. I’ve earned it, probably loose my seat next election but doesn’t matter I’ve plenty stashed away. He leans back contentedly and closes his eyes.


Pause – then gunfire from off screen man topples onto grass, screaming and clutching his knees from which blood is streaming.

He struggles to reach his pockets being unable to spreads blood across cloths and face. Camera stays focused on his disbelieving face. Slowly he brings his hands up and looks at them sobbing.

Man – I haven’t got seven dollars on me.



Next Scene

Hospital emergency ward two doctors talking as man lies on bed.

First Doctor – Kneecapped, haven’t seen injury like it since I left Ireland.

Second Doctor – Never walk properly again, but I don’t suppose he’s learnt anything from it. Typical of his profession all talk, but he’s lucky, he won’t need to go on disability, he would have done if they’d been better marksmen and hit his tongue.

First Doctor – Well we’d better get him into surgery; after all he’ll expect us to do a proper job even if he can’t.


Word’s 375 © OBE Pensioner

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Never Trust a Stranger.

This short story was written by one of our valued writers group members Bob, so we thank him for this piece, and know that he would greatly appreciate some feedback.

So please feel free to post a comment.


“You’d be wasting your time there mate, she won’t go out with you,” Mick commented between slurps of beer.  “Oh I don’t know, she might,” replied Tim, turning to steal another glance at the gorgeous new barmaid.

He’d only just met Mick, his drinking companion who seemed certain that Pamela the new barmaid wouldn’t go out with him. Tim had been enjoying a quiet drink after finishing his nightly session as the hotel’s entertainer. He’d casually mentioned to Mick that Pamela looked a bit of all right, and he was thinking of asking her out.

“Tell you what,” Mick continued, “why don’t we make it interesting, I’ve got fifty dollars here that says she won’t go out with you, classy bird that.”

Tim thought the situation through; as a singer he could write a love song that would melt the hardest of female hearts, then he’d ring the hotel, tell Pamela what he’d done, offer to sing it to her and then ask her out. “Ok you’re on,” he heard himself say.

Tim devoted the next morning to writing his song; Pamela’s heart would melt when she heard it. She’d go out with him, he was sure of that. Now where was his phone?

After an hour’s frantic searching failed to produce his missing phone he came to the conclusion that he must have left it at the hotel the night before. How on earth was he going to ring Pamela? He didn’t want to lose fifty dollars, not to mention the prospect of a romantic stroll along the beach with her.

No matter, he’d include his new song with his repertoire that night, make it the last song of the evening, then ask her out. He could almost feel the fifty dollars burning a hole in his pocket.

The song was everything Tim wanted it to be, the applause made his heart sing. He only had eyes for Pamela though as she stood behind the bar clapping enthusiastically. She’d go out with him alright; he was almost doing her a favor by asking her.

“Go out with you!”  Pamela replied. “Oh I don’t think I could do that, my husband wouldn’t like it.”

“Your husband,” Tim gasped, wishing the floor would open up and swallow him; he was starting to feel very foolish.

“Yes that’s him over there,” Pam replied, pointing to where Mick was sitting, a gleeful expression on his face as he waved Tim’s missing phone at him.

“You miserable bastard,” Tim said as he walked over. “How come you’ve got my phone anyway?”  Hooked it off the table last night when you were ogling Pam,” Replied Mick. “You didn’t think I’d make it easy for you to phone my missus and pester her for a date did you?  Now there’s just a small matter of the fifty dollars you owe me.”

Bob Banner ©

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Cairns Wedding Notice


21st June 1896

Marriage –

One Aloysius Marmaduke “Bertie” Brown, recent arrival from Irvinebank in the Herberton Mining District was joined in Holy Matrimony to Miss Alice Smith, youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs William Smith of Spence Street in a ceremony conducted at St. John’s church, Cairns.

Poor Brown, who did not look at all well, was assisted into the church by the bride’s sturdy brothers, with Smith snr taking up the rear guard.

It was an otherwise quiet wedding, made noteworthy however by the vigorous participation of the elder Smith both during the service and at the reception which followed at the Gaiety Cafe in the aptly-named Sach’s Street. Old Smith in his self-appointed role of Master of Ceremonies ensured that all the contractual formalities of the occasion were completed to his satisfaction, barring the consummation itself, upon which point all were agreed that this condition had already been well and truly fulfilled.

The happy couple (Brown having recovered his spirits somewhat during the conviviality of the evening) then departed by dray for a short honeymoon in Room 38 of Mrs Doolan’s boarding house at Smith’s Creek.

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Ode to an Historian

Perch’d in yon bracken-bowered abode
The rustic muse compiles his weighty tome
Concatenating chronicles and photographs of old
To grace the mantel of each Bellthorpe home.

Oft would we meet him on his fervid quest
In lane and field from East Bellthorpe to West,
Or in some shaggy dell of weed-choked ground
Bearing strange tales from hoary pioneers
Or photocopied missives garnered from the town.

With raven mane and studded leathern belt
He roved from gate to gate through drought and wet.
The children huddled at their mother’s knee
If his gaunt form they did perchance to see.

He set about the task with tape and quill;
His notebooks did the general gossips fill.
Through quavering lip the past it did unfold
To twitching nib unloos’d upon the scroll.

At last with fact and fancy quite replete
Our sated hero lurches to his feet;
And trailing ravelled lists he doth repair
Unto his blu-tak postered hilltop lair.

Then would he there with scale and glass assess
The ancient feuds teased out from ‘broidered texts;
And he would weave each time-worn tale anew
Till across the hills the wonder ever grew
That one small head could hold all that he knew.

So let our village Hume in glory bask –
He hath but hied to his appointed task.
Those who scoffed – they shall remain to pay,
To purchase Kitchener’s “Bellthorpe Yesterday”.

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Synopsis of “The Boozerville Cavalcade”

Between the tidal estuaries of the Pumicestone Passage in southern Queensland, and the wild ranges to its west, lies the mythical village of Boozerville together with its adjacent provinces. Unmarked on most official maps, unseen and unimagined by those who drive quickly through it on their way to the popular tourist destinations, it is a region steeped in myth and history, where legends of fabled peoples and strange beings still hold sway over the lives of its inhabitants.

This story revolves around the Boozerville Cavalcade, a brave but ill-considered attempt by its Bush Fire Brigade to go to the aid of their colleagues in the Canberra fires of 2003, and its rapid descent into chaos and disgrace. The book consists mainly of transcripts of conversations by local observers.

Also included are current and historical tales of The Coochin Fens, settled 2000 years ago by sea-borne raiders from South East Asia, as well as anecdotes of the stately home of Langley Hall, and the less salubrious Blue Moose Bar and Grill in Maleny.

The book’s main character is the unassuming and sorely put upon Constable Ben, Chief Fire Officer and draught horse of the Brigade.

A comprehensive set of maps is included, as well as an index of significant places, and excerpts from local newspapers. These should provide valuable reference material for serious students of Australian history and folklore, and in particular, previously unpublished details of the The Lost City of Campbellville, discovered by Forestry workers in the 1990s.

One bizarre feature of this book is a cobbled-together attempt by the author to justify his claims of the existence of Boozerville.

The author acknowledges with respect the assistance and more than adequate conviviality provided by the descendants of the Traditional Invaders of the region, in particular “Captain” Jacko Wilson.

This book is not recommended for reading by Reality TV competitors and spelling contestants, and readers are strongly advised not to emulate the practices of members of the Boozerville Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade in either their official or unofficial capacities.


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