Friday, May 22, 2009


Two brothers, one island and 500km of coastline. Well, it started as two brothers, but Jake Giles had to pull out because of illness. Follow the final stages here as brother Tom becomes the first person to complete a lap of KI on foot.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


No, not the stockmarket meltdown. We're talking the real thing. Glaciers and the like. Only in the land that brought you Sarah Palin would evidence of looming global eco-trauma become a story about new golf course opportunities. The New York Times has the story.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Now we know for sure: money doesn't grow on trees. As foreshadowed last week, the receivers moved in yesterday to try to sort out the mess that is Great Southern. The company's debt stands at $826 million. The environmental costs to us all are probably incalculable. And another 240,000 hectares of Blue Gum plantation ends up . . . going nowhere?

UPDATE: Here's a Kangaroo Island perspective. And then there's this prescient Stateline KI report from 2006. No doubt there will be a lot more fallout nation-wide. But, in the confined spaces of KI, the long-term loss of good farm country and the sorry tale of such schemes are starkly revealed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The whole 'cabin in the woods' thing is very American, very ye olde frontier spirit. But if you're into the simple verities of solitude, nature and escape it can still be a compelling fantasy - wherever you live. All those timber interiors, the cosy wood fire and a big wild world just beyond the door . . .
Boston-based journalism teacher Lou Ureneck has an interesting blog running in the New York Times about a place in Stoneham, Maine he's building with the help of his brother. They've nearly got the roof on so you'll have to backtrack to see the progress.
On the subject of cabins, you might want to check out this one on Martha's Vineyard used by Livingston Taylor (brother of James).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


In WA they've got a Great Southern wine region. Here in SA there is a Great Southern Railway. And there's another mob called Great Southern who look after investment schemes in assorted corners of 'rural' Australia. The schemes include timber plantations that have gobbled up big chunks country everywhere from WA to NSW and the Tiwi Islands to Kangaroo Island. According to some observers the fate of some of these tax minimisation cum investment outfits doesn't look too flash. Businesses come and go. Nothing new there. But if these schemes fail, what happens to the trees in the ground? What about the productive land covered in Blue Gums busily sucking the water table dry? On what balance sheet do the losses to nature and the community appear?