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I started out hating it, but now I dinkum love ‘Packer’s Pecker’

That’s true, it is very Sydney, and here is a mix of the rest, the good, the bad and the . . . “Ugly because its purpose is ugly.”

“Once completed it is supposed to look like a yacht’s sail. I can’t wait, I think it’s a unique building that will add to the cityscape.”

“Barangaroo is a charmless overpriced monstrosity devoid of character. The casino represents how dark interests own NSW politics.”

“Working on Hickson Road and watching the construction past few years including the park I have to say it’s brilliant. Buildings, ferry terminals, open space etc. a massive credit to PJ Keating. It has its own ecosystem.”

“I hate casinos but the building is a classy architectural beauty.”

“Despise gambling and hate that a casino got such a prime piece of land but I actually think it’s an impressive building.”

“I also like it. The big question is – what should its moniker be? Gherkin is taken. Maybe the Twisted Pickle?

And the answers came . . .

“We call it the Crown Lager as it resembles the well known beer bottle.”

“The cheese stick”

“Packer’s pecker!”

Cook verballed

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Well I never. The response to my piece last week saying that while it is definitely time for Sydney to have a statue to the likes of First Nations’ resistance leader Pemulwuy, attempts to make Captain Cook out to be a monster are simply beyond the historical record . . . drew a phenomenal response.

In a pleasingly nice change, most readers seem to agree with me. There remains, nevertheless, a quote that Cook critics constantly attribute to him – calling the First Nations people “some of the most rude and uncivilised people on the earth” – that he never actually said.

See, after Cook returned from his first Pacific voyage, it was decided to put out a comprehensive account of the voyage. A British book editor, Dr John Hawkesworth was given charge of and spliced together the journals of Cook, Joseph Banks and Dr Daniel Solander mixed with some of his own ponderous prose, all put out under the title of Cook’s Journal in 1773, and that is where the quote comes from. Cook, when he found out, was horrified. It is exactly the kind of thing Joseph Banks did say, but not Cook.

We have a date

Wonderful news this week that Professor Jenny Hocking now has a date – late July – when the correspondence between Buckingham Palace and Sir John Kerr leading up the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam in 1975 will finally be revealed. When I asked her for her feelings this week, she replied.

“I’m absolutely delighted. All Australians can now know the full story. It is quite extraordinary that they had been kept hidden from us for 45 years because of the Queen’s embargo over them. It is simply intolerable that the Queen has for decades denied us the right to access vital historic letters held in our own National Archives, denying us the right to know our own history.

“It will be of great interest and significance to read the ‘illuminating observations’ made by the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Martin Charteris, and to know the Queen’s response to the concerns and options that Kerr related to her.

Professor Jenny Hocking in August, when the High Court decided to hear her case.

Professor Jenny Hocking in August, when the High Court decided to hear her case.Credit:AAP

“I expect the letters to tell us just what Kerr meant when he wrote of ‘Charteris’ advice to me on dismissal’, and they will also reveal Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen after the dismissal and his justification for the actions he took.

“Of particular interest will be how the Queen responded to Kerr’s decision that he would not speak to his own prime minister, Gough Whitlam, about these matters. Did the Queen remind Kerr of his duty as governor-general to speak to his prime minister? I hope and expect to see all 211 letters, any redactions would be a travesty after a four-year legal battle and an emphatic High Court decision.”

Stand by, sports fans. It stands to be fascinating.

Joke of the Week

The rain is pouring down outside O’Connor’s Pub, down Jervis Bay way. There standing in front of a big puddle outside the pub is an old man, drenched, holding a stick, with a piece of string dangling in the water. A passerby stops and asks him gently, “What are you doing old fella?

“Fishing,” replies the old man. Feeling sorry for him, the gent says, “Come in out of the rain and have a drink with me”.

In the warm ambience of the pub, as they sip their whiskies, the gentleman, being a bit superior, cannot resist asking, “So how many have you caught today, old man?”

The old man takes a long sip, let’s out a satisfied sigh and says happily, “You’re the eighth.”

Quotes of the Week

“I said, well, you know, if he were just better looking.” –Alice Cooper about his reaction when it was suggested that Johnny Depp play him in a biopic.

“He was a nasty piece of work.” –Ben Wyatt, Labor Party member for the seat of Victoria Park in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, summing up King Leopold II of Belgium as pressure mounts to rename the King Leopold mountain range in Western Australia.

“There really isn’t any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what’s good for Donald Trump’s re-election. He was so focused on the re-election that longer-term considerations fell by the wayside.” – Former National Security adviser John Bolton in one of his kinder comments about Donald Trump in his tell-all memoir, The Room Where It Happened.

“We wish for the students to come back. All around Kingsford is the University of NSW. If UNSW is successful, we are successful. They affect the whole suburb. We really want them.” – Sharon Chan, who works at a Chinese restaurant in Kingsford, about how the lack of overseas students is affecting business. Up to 60 per cent of her customers were overseas students, while a further 10 to 20 per cent were overseas visiting family members.

“I will be very clear tonight, compatriots: the Republic won’t erase any name from its history. It will forget none of its artworks, it won’t take down statues.” – French President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address to the nation.

“It’s time to get the show back on the road. From July 1 the vast majority of our new, socially distanced economy will be back open for business in a COVID-safe way. We must be agile, we must be safe, and we cannot afford a foot out of place. With constrained fiscal capacity, and new challenges for businesses and employees ahead – like the winding back of JobKeeper – now is not the time for reckless spending. But it is not the time for austerity either.” – NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

“While we appreciate that the people behind Colonial Brewing had no malicious intent in their choice of brand name, words have power. We’ve had discussions with Colonial in the past with concerns about their name, but with their branding remaining the same our decision was clear. ‘Colonial’ is still a problematic word that speaks to a broader history of colonialism and colonisation that has caused irreversible harm to the First Nations people in Australia and Indigenous populations around the world.” – The owners of Blackhearts & Sparrows’ chain of bottle shops, saying that the stores will no longer stock Margaret River brewery Colonial Brewing Co’s beers after complaints about the brand name.

“In fact, get that f–king bitch Gabrielle out. I hate her guts. She went around parliament last week saying, ‘Adem’s trying to knock off Daniel Andrews’. They’ve got no idea. Daniel is going to go soon. She is just so f–ked. They don’t know. They’re dumb, they’re stupid. All these little f–kers, like Gabrielle and all, they don’t know how f–ked they are. I will force her out of the ministry, that f–king stupid bitch, when Andrews goes. She’s a stupid, stupid mole.” – The ever-charming Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek in a recording released this week, referring to Gabrielle Williams, Victoria’s Minister for Women. Charmed, we’re sure.

“Words matter. Violent, misogynistic language perpetuates the attitudes and behaviours that enable a culture of violence against women. Whether at home, in the street, at work or in the halls of Parliament, this language is unacceptable – when it does occur, it must be called out. No one deserves to be threatened in this way.” – Gabrielle Williams in reply.

“I think it’s truly remarkable, and, umm, to see the contravention of the rules, to see how they have been manipulated, is quite gobsmacking.” Steve Bracks, ALP administrator and former premier of Victoria, shocked, I tell you, shocked at the branch stacking in his state.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

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