A photo essay of home: Elaine Thomson

(from the left) Elaine, Margaret, Estelle & James - 1953

(from the left) Elaine, Margaret, Estelle & James – 1953


Elaine's home in Wagga until she was married in 1944

Elaine’s home in Wagga until she was married in 1944


(from the left) Estelle, Margaret & Elaine

(from the left) Estelle, Margaret & Elaine


Glenn's 21st Birthday - (from the left) Craig, Grayham, Elaine, Glenn & Kirsty - 1982

Glenn’s 21st Birthday – (from the left) Craig, Grayham, Elaine, Glenn & Kirsty – 1982


photo 9

Christmas at Willow Bend – 1981


Willow Bend - The family restaurant 1969 until the 1980s.

Willow Bend – The family restaurant 1969 until the 1980s.


Family photo from Willow Bend - 1982

Family photo from Willow Bend – 1982


The couple's first getaway - Kakadu 1989.

The couple’s first getaway – Kakadu 1989.

Grayham relaxing.

Grayham relaxing.


Bellbrae in Torquay - Elaine's home 1992 - 2001

Bellbrae in Torquay – Elaine’s home 1992 – 2001


Nan & Gramps with grandchildren – 1995


(from the left) Keegan, Glenn, Grayham & Kim. Christmas in Bellbrae - 1995

(from the left) Keegan, Glenn, Grayham & Kim. Christmas in Bellbrae – 1995


Grayham & Elaine's travelling home - 2001 until 2005

Grayham & Elaine’s travelling home – 2001 until 2005


Grayham & Elaine - 2005

Grayham & Elaine – 2005



Eight of the best road trips to do on your mid-sem break

Mid-semester break is the perfect time to get away from your studies and explore this pretty awesome country of ours. Grab a few mates, a banging playlist, some camping gear, and head out on a road trip. Here are eight of the best around the country that you can easily squeeze into a week.

Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales

Starting in Sydney’s Royal National Park and finishing in Nowra, this sweet little drive down the NSW south coast drops some amazing scenery. Some of the highlights include the gravity-defying Sea Cliff Bridge, the famous Kiama Blowhole and the pristine white sands of Hyams Beach.

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Departing from Melbourne, you’ll forge along the coast and enjoy some of the most amazing ocean views and natural formations in Australia. Make sure you take a break at the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet – it’s the one featured in our favourite childhood classic, Round The Twist.

Continue on to Port Campbell National Park, where you’ll find many reasons why the Great Ocean Road lives up to its name. Check out the decaying Twelve Apostles and the tragedy-struck Loch Ard Gorge. Finish off in Warrnambool, or loop around and follow the route inland back to Melbourne.

Sydney to the Gold Coast (or vice versa), New South Wales/Queensland

The mid-semester break is the best time to check out the beaches, national parks and campgrounds along the NSW north coast. Stay a couple of nights in chilled out Byron Bay and hang out with the hippies. And make sure to keep an eye on the horizon; it’s whale-watching season.

The trip will take you past a number of famous ‘big’ landmarks, including the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the Big Prawn in Ballina, the Big Axe in Kew, and the Big Bull in Wauchope.

Red Centre Way, Northern Territory

From Alice Springs, you’ll head off along the dusty red roads and soak up the iconic landscapes of Uluru,Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon and Standley Chasm. For lovers of the outdoors, spring mid-sem break is an ideal time to camp in the Red Centre, and there are plenty of camping facilities along the way.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Home to some of the most natural animal environments in Australia, Kangaroo Island offers up so much for animal lovers. Take a walk along the beaches and see if you can spot local colonies of fur seals, or spend an evening watching the fairy penguins return from the sea to their burrows. Flinders Chase National Park hosts quite a few sleepy koalas in its eucalyptus forests.

The Nullarbor Plain, South Australia/ Western Australia

Set off from Ceduna in SA and continue 2,000 km to Perth. Chase the Great Australian Bight and you’ll find yourself driving along the longest continuous straight road in the country. You’ll come across the odd mob of kangaroos, wild camels, and even some wedge-tailed eagles.

Perth to Broome, Western Australia

With the longest coastline in the country, WA has some of the most secluded and untouched beaches in Australia. This 3,900 km stretch of coast will take you to the turquoise waters of Exmouth, where you can do a whale shark snorkel safari to get up close to the biggest fish on the planet. If you’ve got time, detour through the Karijini National Park and the popular Rottnest Island for some extra sightseeing.

Heritage Highway, Tasmania

Tassie is teeming with history, and you can see it, smell it and feel it along Heritage Highway, the road between Hobart and Launceston. Built by convicts during the early 1800s, the road still has traces of their workmanship. Stay the night in a cosy stone cottage and feast on the region’s stellar cheese and wine, or simply take in the wonders of the ancient Tasmanian forests.

Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Queensland

Tropical North Queensland is a must-see destination. A trip from the chilled-out tourist hub of Cairns all the way up through the rainforest to Cape Tribulation is a colourful journey.

Check out the Barron Falls lookout in Barron Gorge National Park; it makes Niagara Falls look like a babbling brook. The next stop should be in Port Douglas, where you’ll find weekly wild toad races at theIronBar hotel.

Cross the croc-infested Daintree River into the dense and prehistoric Daintree Rainforest. Keep an eye out for cassowaries crossing the road, and make sure you explore the boardwalks over the mangroves. From Cape Tribulation, you’ll have crystal clear views over the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Just don’t go in the water – marine stingers and crocs lie waiting for unsuspecting tourists.

This article originally appeared in Hijacked.


The girl, the boy & the zine

Here is the editorial for the first issue of The International Blotter, a Zine that I’m co-publishing. Check the link and follow the blog for more updates.  

There once was a girl from England. One day this girl from England was on holidays in Australia when she was invited to go and play a game of trivia at a bowling club. Excited by the prospect of showing off her knowledge of poetry, the English language and paper plane making, she trotted off to the local club for a few rounds. But what she found at this club was something that she didn’t imagine.

There once was a girl from England. One day this girl from England was on holidays in Australia when she was invited to go and play a game of trivia at a bowling club. Excited by the prospect of showing off her knowledge of poetry, the English language and paper plane making, she trotted off to the local club for a few rounds. But what she found at this club was something that she didn’t imagine.

There once was a boy from Australia. One day this boy from Australia suggested to his friends that they go to their weekly trivia game at the local bowling club. He was excited at the prospect of winning the $300 that his mother had dreamt of one night, and he was interested in showing off the latest paper plane design that he’d come up with. But what he found at this club was something that he didn’t imagine.

There once was a girl from England and a boy from Australia who met in a bowling club whilst playing trivia. They cemented their love with a little playful paper plane throwing and a brief conversation about books and publishing. From this conversation and subsequent long distance relationship came the idea to make this little magazine (or as the cool kids would call it Zine).

There once was a Zine called The International Blotter. And right now you have in your hot little hands the first issue. The International Blotter was spawned from the collective juices of the girl from England and the boy from Australia and they would both like to thank you for consuming their written content with your wet little eyeballs.

Thanks for reading,


Cats to spend 24 hours in the dog-house under new government scheme

No matter what side of the cat-dog argument you sit on, cats are killing our native Australian animals and the federal government wants to stop it.

Gregory Andrews, Australia’s first federal threatened species commissioner, has said cat owners who live in areas containing endangered native Australian species should keep their cats locked inside for 24-hours a day.

Andrews says the cat curfew would not only help rejuvenate local endangered native animals, but it would also make the cats ‘happier and healthier.’

The government has recently released a threatened species plan detailing new ways to combat both the decline of native animals and the problem of feral cats.

According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, 15 million feral cats in Australia impact on an estimated 75 million native fauna and flora daily.

Additionally, Australia has one of the largest cat-to-people populations in the world, with the RSPCA reporting 3.3 million domestic cats in the country, or 15 cats per 1000 people.

The plan recommends methods such as 24-hour domestic cat curfews or cat lock ups in areas ‘particularly close to identified conservation areas of significance.’

Other methods involve the culling of feral cats across the Kosciuszko national park with the use of trained dogs, the testing of new eradication baits in the Kimberly and aerial cat baiting in the Northern Territory.

Kate Win, a cat owner who lives in the Blue Mountains, is worried these new cat laws might affect her and her feline friends, “I don’t have an easy way to lock up my cats if they’re outside,” she said.

Ms. Win is concerned about keeping her cats indoors, saying it would affect their mental health.

“When my cats are locked up for too long they get agitated, keeping them indoors isn’t good for their natural instincts. They’re not supposed to be locked up, it’s just down-right inhuman.”

Defending the plan, Mr. Andrews said he would work with local communities in order to deliver the best result for the environment, “We will not tell people what to do with their animals,” he said.

He believes the cat curfews should become a part of our culture, “It’s a journey that Australia has to go through.”

Feline lock up laws are already enacted across 12 suburbs in the ACT adjacent to natural reserves and national parks.

With the threatened species plan in mind, local ACT governments plan to introduce more restrictions to the domestic cat population of the capital.

Numerous local vets have spoken out against the plan, saying by locking up their cats, pet owners risk stressing their pets and potentially introducing behavioural problems.

So far the federal government does not have the power required to enact the domestic cat lock up laws, but Mr. Andrews has said he plans to work with local and state governments to introduce the cat containment laws.

Internship diaries – The Media Club

Sitting on the train my mind was running as fast as the streets flew by.

I was reflecting on my internship and this new found Media Club that I’d wandered into.

The Media Club is the name for the collective of individuals who manipulate and broadcast opinions, facts, stories and agendas across all consumable mediums.

It is exclusive, it is sometimes elitist and it is always moving.

Across the week my involvement in the Media Club was shallow yet immersive, from the Monday morning I was thrown into the deep end and expected to swim.

My welcome party into the Club was a fast tour around the office, each member had a name and their membership identification, Joe Blow from International News, Jane Doe from SEO and so on.

During my tour I perfected my induction speech, ‘My name is Keegan and I’m a student from the University of Western Sydney. I’m studying journalism and I want to work in radio journalism.’

After the induction and the tour around the office I knew where I stood and where my membership would take me.

Across my week I surveyed the Club internally noting down all the influential movers and shakers, and who are the quiet underdogs.

From my observations it seems that some of the members of the Media Club hold higher memberships due to their connections, their sources and most importantly, their twitter followers.

Though whenever a group discussion or team meeting was called everyone’s voice would be held to equal regard.

That was the beauty of this glimpse into the Media Club, everyone was equal – even the intern.

Sometimes the experiences and confidence of others around me would make me second guess my own skills, and even in these drowning moments those around me would lend a helping hand and reinforce my skills whilst teaching me new things.

Because in the Media Club we’ve all worked for free, we’ve all interned and we’ve all been thrown into the deep end a few times.

When I left the office on Friday afternoon my membership was a little downgraded, but I now knew what it was like to hold such optimum status.

I guess the next question I ought to be asking myself is, what level of membership do I now want to aim for?

Internship diaries – Newsroom back and forth

Team work. That is how a newsroom runs. I found out about this during a daily news conference. Editors and journalists from each branch of the Guardian came together during the news conference to present their daily objectives. Editors from news, culture, video, international, comment and interactive all came together to talk around a table. Skyping in for the conference was the political editor, who was reporting from Canberrra, and the Melbourne editor.

During the conference the editors threw stories back and forth. They worked as a team to draft out  new angles for stories. All the editors contributed to a story idea, no matter what aspect of the newsroom they worked in.
Later I was thrown into something that was more up my alley. I edited video and audio. This might sound predictable but it was incredibly exciting to see my videos go from one side of the newsroom to the other side and then onto the front page of the Guardian.
Bellow you’ll find the video content that I created: