Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Assassinate PROTUS Unbelievable !!!!

 A group of American soldiers formed an anarchist militia and spent $US87,000 ($83,922) on weapons in an elaborate plot to overthrow the government and ultimately assassinate the president, a court heard. The soldiers allegedly made themselves into a group called FEAR, standing for Forever Enduring Always Ready, and bought land in Washington state from which to launch attacks. They were said to have planned to blow up a dam and poison apple crops in Washington state, bomb a park in Savannah, Georgia, attack vehicles belonging to Department of Homeland Security employees, and take over an ammunition control point at the sprawling Fort Stewart army base in Georgia.

OK! They are regarded as traitors and likely to pay dearly bur consideration should be given to how stupid they are - They all branded themselves with Anarchist tattoos (I wonder how many US troops are buying skin abrasives right now!) and they also published their own book about true patriots which they called "The Manuscript".

On top of that they murdered a 19 year old soldier and his 17 year old girlfriend who had stumbled upon their plot.

The leader of the group  Pte Isaac Aguigui, funded the group from $500,000 insurance money he received from the death of his pregnant girlfriend - as tho' insurance investigators would have ignored the payout!

Link to story -

Monday, August 27, 2012

More Memories - Immigrant Liners

As a comment on More Memories I wrote:

JohnD said...
"Jo - it was fairly common back in those days. Mostly it was still the era of the P&O cruises to England - the liners would bring out migrants during the 1950's and load up with tourists, mostly young Aussies and Kiwis for the return trip. "
To which Sue replied:
"John. I would have been on one of those liners full of immigrants. The Seven Seas."
That got me thinking about some of those immigrant/tourist liners. In Sue's case, the MS Seven Seas.

MS Seven Seas

The Seven Seas was originally laid down as a standard C3 class cargo ship and was built in the United States for Moore-McCormack Line as the MS Mormacmail. She was built by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, in Chester, PA – Yard 184 and was launched on January 11, 1940.
However even before her completion she was transferred to the US Navy and she was totally transformed to become an auxiliary aircraft carrier at the famed Newport News shipyard.
On June 2, 1941 the US Navy officially commissioned and renamed her as the USS Long Island. She had a massive flight deck topside and she had the capability to accommodate 21 aircraft in her hangers below decks. She was armed with one 5-inch gun and two 3-inch guns and she was dispatched to the Pacific where she spent the war years being involved in the famed Battle of Guadalcanal as well as in other conflicts. Thankfully unlike so many other ships of her kind, she served her wartime duties and returned to the United States to be decommissioned!

images of the USS Long Island as an Auxiliary Aircraft Carrier
a "GP or 'Jeep' Carrier that ferried replacement aircraft into the
Pacific war zones.

On March 26, 1946, the Long Island was released from service and laid up. Two years later on March 12, 1948, she was purchased at action by Caribbean Land & Shipping Co (a Swiss based company) and was renamed MS Nelly. She was extensively rebuilt to operate migrant services to Australia.
When completed she could accommodate up to 1,300 in the most basic of accommodations. MS Nelly was placed on the migrant trade to Australia. Her first voyage was from Naples to Australia was in June 1949, sailing via the Suez and Fremantle, completing her voyage inMelbourne on July 17. In 1949 her schedule was extended to Sydney with her first arrival there on January 15, 1950.
MS Nelly seen arriving in Sydney in January 1950

She continued on the Australian run, including a special voyage to Jakarta to bring Dutch nationals back to the Netherlands. In addition to her Australian operations, she also operated a number of Trans-Atlantic crossings to Canada. However, on  January 1953 the Nelly departed Southampton for Canada for the last time under that name for upon completion of that voyage she was withdrawn from service and she returned to Bremerhaven to be comprehensively rebuilt and upgraded to operate both migrant and passengers services.
Upon completion she was renamed MS Seven Seas and her decks were extended forward and aft as well as her bridge house being enlarged. In addition she was now a two class liner having accommodations for 20-first class and 987 tourist class passengers. Her accommodations and lounges were very modern and rather attractive.
She departed Bremerhaven for her very first voyage as the MS Seven Seas on May 9, 1953 and headed for Australian sailing viat the Suez and Fremantle, arriving in Melbourne on June 12.
Upon return to Germany she was chartered to the Europe-Canada Line, which was jointly owned by Holland America Line and Royal Rotterdam Lloyd, although the Europe-Canada Line was established especially to provide inexpensive student/migrant travel to Canada, but during her career she frequently operated student voyages to North America, etc. Thus the Seven Seas commenced operating Trans-Atlantic voyages.
MS Seven Seas ready to depart for her Trans Atlantic voyage on March 1, 1957

With the decline in immigration numbers and cruise ships struggling to compete with airlines, the Seven Seas was broken up for scrap in the 1960's 

My older sister did her UK trip on the Orcades

SS Orcades was an ocean liner serving primarily on the UK – Australia – New Zealand route. She started service as a British Royal Mail Steamer (RMS) carrying first and tourist class passengers. Orcades carried many migrants to Australia and New Zealand  and was later used as a cruise ship.
During the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne the Orcades served as an accommodation ship.

I was one of the 'airline tourists', flying the return trip to the UK, however, I later took a young Greek man home after he severely shattered both legs in a car accident while visiting Australia. We did that trip to Greece on the Oronsay, with him in his cabin in traction - but that's another story LOL!


SS Oronsay was the second Orient Line ship built after World War II. A sister ship to SS Orcades, she was named after one of many islands called Oronsay on the west coast of Scotland.
The liner was completed in 1951 at Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness; but several months behind schedule due to a serious fire while in the fitting-out berth. The Oronsay operated the UK to Australasia service, via the Suez Canal until 1953. Her accommodation set new standards, in both first and tourist class, with decor by Brian O'Rourke. In 1960 the Orient Line was absorbed into P&O and Oronsay continued as a cruise ship, but, with declining passenger numbers, she was broken up in 1975. Oronsay was the ship used in the British comedy film "Carry On Cruising".

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More memories

Last night I managed to transfer some more of my old hard copy photos to digital images. Some of them were not very good photographs lol! 

Here are some more from my trip to the UK and France in 1959 (These days they call those trips "Gap Year Tours" - to us it was an excuse to get away from our parents and to head off for the 'Exciting Adventure").

Leaving UK and the White Cliffs of Dover

Nord Pas de Calais - bad exposure but it was a stormy day!
Many of the remnants of the WWII German defences were still
visible but most were barricaded off.

City Hall, Calais
Church de Notre Dame, Calais - not far from the WWI cemetery

WWI cemetery, Calais

Bridge over the Seine, Paris

Old buildings, Plaine de Monceaux, Paris - 66 th administrative
district of Paris located in the 17 th arrondissement .

Under the bridges of Paris, River Seine - not a good exposure
but I wanted to capture the strength of the river's flow.

Eiffel Tower in the distance - Taken from the rooftop
restaurant/cafe I worked as a kitchen hand

Returning to Dover - I had never realised how starkly beautiful those
 "White Cliffs" actually were until I saw them for myself!

Considering I was not much more than a kid, I was using a pocket Minolta camera with black and white film, my only other 'photography experience' had been with a Brownie Box camera, I reckon I did pretty good. I'm glad I've started converting these images into digital formal 'cos the old hard copy versions are about to 'expire'!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Moose in a pool

Who left the pool gate open?

Heyyy! Stop it! I haven't finished my swim yet!


While going through my old photo albums to find images I wanted to scan as digital images I came across this image. It was one I took early one Sunday morning around 6 AM in summer in an area on the west bank of Paris known as the "Parisian Narrows". It would have been around the summer of 1959 as I  found my way home after working all night in the scullery of a French restaurant - (spewwww!).

It was taken with a pocket Minolta and shot on an automatic setting. I had to play with the 'effects' a little bit when loading it as a digital image and the sepia tones worked out best to reveal most of the image. You can just make out the water from the mobile mini-street cleaner in the gutter, bottom left, so the street had been cleaned about a half hour before I came along. There are 'service taps' at regular intervals so that the street cleaner can refill his water tank. Everything goes into the sewers and, I guess, from there to the Seine.

These streets/lanes are (usually) one way traffic with traffic light controls fixed to the buildings at intersections, probably every 300 to 400 metres. During the day you hear the approaching vehicles, mostly very small Fiats, Citroens and Renaults as they accelerate rapidly through their low gears as the negotiate these carriageways.

In all the 'pensions' adjacent there seems to be innumerable little old ladies with their very small dogs who they take out every evening for their 'walkies' and to do what they 'need to do'. No-one seems to pick up the dog dropping and as the cars come very fast the LOL's keep their doggies up on the narrow footway - which becomes littered with dog droppings. People walk along the road surface but when you here the roar of the accelerating vehicles you have to jump up onto the footway out of the way. This becomes a gymnastic feat as you seek to avoid firstly the racing cars and, secondly, the dog droppings.

I found several more photos which I must load up into a digital album - the Seine, its bridges,  the Eiffel Tower, etc.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A visit to Campbelltown

Well, last Sunday it was off to Campbelltown, just on the very outskirts of that sprawling metropolis of Sydney, to visit our daughter Kat, her partner Anthony and our two grandsons Aidan and James (Jimmy). The trip started off in overcast and rain drizzle with wet roads as we left home and headed cross country to the Hume Highway. We were rugged up and had the heater/demister working, Rhonda's Mazda 6 needed a really good run as since she had ceased working in Canberra it was only doing short local runs.

Driving down the Valley Way

We reach the Highway

Climb up to 700 metres over the hill

And, Off to Sydney - Yep, that's a lone semi-trailer in the distance
A few of the many wind turbines between Gunning and Goulburn

One and a half hours into the trip and past the Goulburn off-ramp

Approaching Marulan and the skies are clearing

Roadworks at Marulan. The "Thank You" sign had just read our
road speed at below the roadworks speed limit.

Acacia baileyana (Cootamundra wattle), blooming along
the roadside in the native vegetation plantations separating
the two carriageways. Wattle is Australia's national emblem and
It is a tree which flowers in late winter and spring, producing a mass
of fragrant, fluffy, golden flowers.

Traffic increases as we approach Sydney

Our off ramp, two and a half hours into the trip

Getting closer as we reach a critical turning point

Sydney traffic as we near our destination.

Finally, we arrive and everyone is pleased to see us. Aidan and Jimmy run to their bedrooms, we were too early as they were working on a 'surprise present' for us.

Jimmy                                                                             Aidan

Big welcome from  Anthony (He's what we refer to in Australia as a "Big Unit") and Kat.

Rhonda and Anthony

Kat and her mother

Jimmy and Aidan get ready to make their presentation

Our present, some home made 'spiderman creatures'

And then it was the boys lunchtime fresh bed rolls with ham and tomato
and chicken and cheese fillings

We stayed longer then we intended but finally we had to take our leave. We wanted to stop off in Mittagong, a highway 'by-pass town' and check out a restaurant we had been  told about - . Esco Pazzo

Dining room

Reception room

Esco Pazzo is situated in the historic 1890 granite Georgian building, located in picturesque Mittagong on the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Esco Pazzo offers an extensive menu featuring a delectable selection of handmade pastas, stone fired pizzas and authentic Roman Italian entrees and mains. One of the dishes that Esco Pazzo is renowned for include the Pappardelle Duck. Unfortunately we arrived there at 2.30 PM and they close their lunch service at 3.00 PM on a Sunday. We could have stayed but we would have been the only customers and I sensed the staff were wanting to close up (150% penalty rates for restaurant staff on a Sunday!).

We walked down the street to Gilbert's Cafe. It had been written up as:
"Gilbert's Mittagong Main St, Mittagong. Gilbert's in Mittagong offers exquisite cuisine at affordable prices." 
Someone was being optimistic, I reckon. As a member of "Trip Advisor" a web site for reporting one's travel experiences, this was my posted review of Gilbert's Cafe:
"Sunday afternoon, grubby premises - needed a good vacuuming - and lots of tables with the remains of previous diners meals not 'bused' away and we had to clean off space at a table to sit down by piling it onto the mess left on an adjacent table. We ordered afternoon tea of scones jam and cream with a pot of tea and a long black coffee. A pimply faced youth deposited one scone with heaps of jam and cream on the side - I said "We did order "Scones" (plural)" and he said he would go back and get us another one. I told him not to bother - we shared the one large scone with one of us using the plate and the other the paper napkin.
I also have a great dislike, when ordering a pot of tea, to be served that with a small coffee cup! For goodness sake, if you do not have teacups in Tea house, give your customers a coffee mug - not a piddling little coffee cup.
Needs the 'female touch' instead of all male staff!"
Well, after that experience we decided to find our way home. We had one slight problem leaving Mittagong as "Ellie" our Sat-Nav unit kept wanting to direct us back to Sydney. I eventually remembered that we had lent that particular unit to Kat and Anthony when they moved their belongings from Hobart, Tasmania to Camplelltown and it had "Home" programmed as their home address. Quickly sorted, we found our way back to the Hume Highway and home.

Denny was very pleased to see us but he gave me a good 'sniffing' over my trouser legs as I obviously had the smells of Caddy (his best mate) and Candy. Kat's two dogs on me.

Tired from all the car travel and our days experience it was off to the local Vietnamese restaurant for dinner that night and then home to rest and relax with our feet up in front of the television.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Its wet and its cold

We've had rain, sleet and snow in the past 24hour - it's not nice outside at all with grey overcast skies, strong breezes coming down off the Australian Alps and it is wet.

That large white 'hook' you can see (bottom right) off our east coast is the very cold low front that came through from the Great Australian Bite and South Australia in the past 24 hours and it looks as though it is probably heading for New Zealand.

Time to rug up and stay warm inside.

Today I'm going to joint and slow cook a rabbit for our dinner. 

Tomorrow we are driving up to Campbelltown (three hour drive) to visit daughter and grandsons and I'll be taking my camera along with me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Twitter abuse ...... Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson - "Top Gear" host

'A nation of bastards': Jeremy Clarkson hits out after Twitter abuse over dead dog
Published: August 17, 2012 - 8:05AM

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has called Britain "a nation of 62 million complete and utter bastards" after claiming people abused and made jokes when he announced on Twitter that his dog had died, UK media report.

Jeremy Clarkson@jcrclarksonesqMy dog has just died17 Jul 12

"A few moments ago , my dog died, and, as an experiment, I announced the fact on Twitter," he wrote in the latest edition of Top Gear magazine, London's Daily Telegraph reported. 

"Now, everyone must have known that when a family pet is put down, the family in question is bound to be upset. So you'd expect a bit of sympathy. And, in America, that's what you'd get. Not in Britain, though. Moments after I posted my Tweet, a man called Ryan Paisey asked: 'How does she smell?' Adam Farrow said the news was 'kinda funny'. Phil May wanted to know if it was James May's fault, and Tom Green said simply: 'Good'. All that in less than what Twitter calls zero seconds.

"Five minutes has now elapsed, and still it's a non-stop tirade of abuse. Which confirms my theory."

Clarkson, 52, who is known for his outspoken comments, including suggesting that public sector workers on strike should be shot in front of their families, said the comments about his beloved black Labrador Whoopi showed to him that "Britain is a nation of 62 million complete and utter bastards".

"We are the country that invented the concentration camp, and international slavery. Hanging, drawing, quartering: that was us too. And who was it that sent the White Russians home to be slaughtered by Stalin? Yup. Us," he wrote.

Abusive tweets have been in the spotlight recently after a 17-year-old boy was arrested for comments he directed at British diver Tom Daley following his performance in the men's synchronised 10m platform final at the Olympics.

The boy, who is on bail to return to court in November, sent 18-year-old Daley the message "you let your dad down i hope you know that", which the diver retweeted to his 1.5 million followers with the note: "After giving it my get idiot's sending me this." Daley's father died of cancer last year.

Tom Daley@TomDaley1994After giving it my get idiot's sending me this...RT@rileyy_69@tomdaley1994 you let your dad down i hope you know that31 Jul 12

The boy also sent other tweets to the teen diver, but Dorset Police did not say which of the tweet or tweets prompted them to arrest him "on suspicion of malicious communications".

In March, Swansea University student Liam Stacey, 21, was jailed for 56 days after posting racist tweets directed at Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba, who had suffered an on-pitch cardiac arrest at that time. Another football fan was given a four-month suspended jail sentence and a third fan a two-year community orderfor their tweets.

In early August, Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton said she was quitting Twitter as a result of the amount of abuse she had been receiving.

"Turns out I don't have very thick skin after all so I am closing my twitter account. Enjoy the games. Signing off, skelts x," she wrote.

Kitchen Cook-off

Young talent … clockwise from left, Nicholas Gardener, Michael West, Chase Lovecky, Oli Hassig and Laura Baratto. Photo: Ben Rushton
Story from the Sydney Morning Herald, today:

WITH creativity and expertise beyond their years, a handful of Sydney's hottest cooks will bring their talents to the table for the 15th annual Young Chefs Dinner.
The six chefs, aged from 21 to 25, have been selected from some of the most talked-about restaurants in the city to take part. They have developed a degustation menu to be served to 100 guests on October 15, with each chef contributing one dish. The dinner is part of Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Tickets for the dinner go on sale when the festival program is released in the Herald tomorrow.
It will be hosted by the Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide - Porteno in Surry Hills.
The chefs hail from a range of culinary backgrounds.
Chase Lovecky, 25, moved to Sydney from the US to join the Momofuku Seiobo team as sous chef in 2011. He previously worked in New York, spending a year at Jean Georges. ''I really like veg-based cooking - working with Ben [Greeno, head chef] has opened my eyes to the different ways you can use vegetables,'' he said.
Nick Gardener, 24, grew up cooking in the kitchen with his father. He has been sous chef at Tetsuya's since October. ''I've really been enjoying fine dining and using concentrated flavours and serving them in small, neat packages,'' he says.
Laura Baratto has been sous chef at Chiswick in Woollahra since it opened in March. The 23-year-old said it was a nice surprise to be included in the line-up.
Oli Hassig will have a home town advantage on the night as he is already well acquainted with Porteno's kitchen. The 22-year-old, who moved to Australia from the Philippines six years ago, has been part of the restaurant's team since July.
The youngest of the chefs, 21-year-old Michael West, worked at the Four in Hand before moving across to work at Colin Fassnidge's second restaurant, 4 Fourteen, in May. Pastry chef Julie Niland, who has worked at Rockpool, Marque and Sixpenny, makes up the group.

World War II tank gets a 745kW engine.

What do you get when you cross a monster truck with a Stuart army tank and a supercharged 7.0-litre V8 engine? 
The bizarre mix, devised by Victorian monster truck enthusiast and self-confessed “mad scientist” Sam Xuereb, results in a car-crushing machine that can go almost anywhere and punch a hole through virtually anything. 
The engine that powers the tank is based on the same Chevrolet LS7 unit used in the HSV W427, which with 375kW stands as the most powerful production car ever built in Australia.

The altered Stuart Tank

Latrobe Valley mechanic and inventor Xuereb went several steps further, supercharging the Chevy-sourced powerplant to almost double the output.
Bolting the engine and a specialised gearbox into the tank, he retained the rest of the World War II relic’s original running gear and stripped off the armour plating. The process took about two years and wasn’t without its difficulties. “As you can imagine, it’s not easy to source the parts,” Xuereb says.
The result is a six-tonne World War II tank, dubbed MegaTrax, that can accelerate to 100km/h in seven seconds - quicker than a six-cylinder Ford Falcon. But it’s the MegaTrax’s ability to jump - and destroy things - that is its show-stopping trick.

The Tank in action

Xuereb has completed a ramp-to-ramp jump across three cars in his tank, but if he falls short it’s no problem because car-crushing is another of MegaTrax’s specialties. He has also been known to punch holes through caravans and schoolbuses.
“It makes a bit of a mess out of things,” Xuereb says. “Caravans just explode when I hit them.”
Xeureb has five trucks in total in his stable including traditional “monsters” Sampson, Tropical Thunder and Devil’s Taxi, plus the MegaTrax and a wheelie-popping Jeep. He has always had an inventive streak, starting to build vehicles from the age of three, and constructing a go-kart from milking machine parts when he was 12.

The Stuart army tank has a supercharged 7.0-litre V8 engine.

The MegaTrax has appeared at a few smaller shows but will make its first major appearance at the National 4x4 and Outdoors Show at Melbourne’s Showgrounds on August 24-26, alongside Xuereb’s monster truck, Devil’s Taxi.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I heard this again this afternoon and I had forgotten how mournfully significant this song was - real American heritage stuff!

Sweet stuff!

Quick post

Hi all! Off to Canberra today - have a new client making her first HLSS trip to a medical specialist centre in Canberra, so not much time to post.

Thought you may like to view Tourism Australia's latest advertisement "There's nothing like Australia!"

C'ya all later today!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Country - Vienna Boys Choir rendition

The Vienna Boys choir have set Dorothea MacKellar's cult poem "My Country" to music. One of the highlights of the upcoming tour of Australia by the Vienna Boys choir will be singing the poem "My Country" by the beloved Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar. Australian Composer Elena Kats Chernin discusses the challenge of writing the music to this iconic Australian poem.

My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Canbrrrrrra Region - Snow and Fire

File photo of wallabies sitting among fresh snow in Namadgi National Park. Photo: Lannon Harley

The bracing weather of recent days (Thursday evening when the temperature went from something balmy to something Siberian in a trice was especially character-building) is a reminder of how the federal capital city was deliberately plonked down in a chilly-in-winter spot.

The Honourable 
''I want to have a cold climate chosen for the capital of this Commonwealth,'' the famous and Canberra-influential King O'Malley told the House of Representatives in October 1903 during a debate on where the federal capital should be built. 'The history of the world shows that cold climates have produced the greatest geniuses, all of whom were born north of a certain degree. Take the sons of some of the greatest men of the world and put them in a hot climate like Tumut or Albury [two of many spots being considered, while O'Malley himself was a champion of chillier Bombala, the place he felt God had chosen for the city] and in three generations their lineal descendants will be degenerate.''

While not everyone agreed, while sites were being considered (from 1899-1909), with O'Malley about Bombala being God's chosen place (many thought He, in his infinite wisdom, had chosen Dalgety while others who went to Dalgety thought it the most God-forsaken of places) everyone shared O'Malley's beliefs about cold climates being best for our race. Look at the Vikings, everyone said. Look at the Scots.

For someone who grazes in this field the unanimity in all this is extraordinary. In this period of the Battle of the Sites this writer cannot find anyone arguing for a beautiful, balmy seaside federal capital site in New South Wales (the federal capital territory had to be somewhere in NSW) while everyone in the debate is a champion for one or other of the far-inland, elevated, frosty places on the short-lists that arose.

It's a great venue for sailing, rowing, canoeing and kayaking and the cold climate does not deter the early morning rowers.


Photographer Paul Jurak takes his routine early morning Kayak on Lake Burley Griffin
Photo: Jay Cronan, The Canberra Times

Even now, in mid-winter, our volunteers of the Regional Rural Fire Brigades prepare for the approaching roaring hot summer. We recall with trepidation the disastrous fires that smashed the region in 2003.

Fires rage through western Canberra and turned day into night at 2pm in the afternoon.

The mountain ranges around the region were an inferno.

For decades firefighters protecting the territory's western flank have operated out of a broom-closet shed on a privately-owned farm. Now the Tidbinbilla brigade, a cornerstone of Canberra's rural fire-fighting arsenal, have got flash new digs worthy of the key role they play in fire management.

And yesterday's unveiling of the new shed has come at an opportune time, with the territory on the cusp of what could be a challenging fire season.

The $2.1 million facility was formally handed over at a ceremony yesterday, along with the keys to three new tankers worth about $180,000 each. ACT Rural Fire Service chief officer Andrew Stark said the new shed was a welcome addition to the territory's firefighting infrastructure.

Captain of the Tidbinbilla Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade, Arthur Sayer, with his 18 month old grandson, Thomas Anderson, outside the new facility. Photo: Graham Tidy