• The Tawny Frogmouth

Letters to The Tawny Frogmouth: Issue 4, Apr 21

Updated: Apr 22

Response to Johnny’s 'Seal of Disapproval': January edition Whilst Liam might be referring to one incident, I can assure you it is one of many. Last week whilst walking on an oval that is not off-leash, a large dog came barrelling into me, knocking me flat. The owners just called the dog and kept walking. I was too shocked and in pain from a twisted ankle the dog caused to call after them. Then there are the dogs always on Long Reef Beach and Rock Platform off-leash, areas dogs aren’t allowed at all, or off-leash right around Long Reef Headland. Then the dozens of dog droppings to avoid and also the actions of irresponsible owners who collect the poo then throw it in the bush. Or, as I've seen a couple of times, throw the poo bag down the drain. I could go on with so many examples, but hopefully you get the picture that pet owners are by and large irresponsible.


Tony Abbott

To Kevin Begaud, I just don't think Tony Abbott ever really understood all those Mosman women jokes.

Peter Purcell

Australian Date Formats in The Media

In the last 6 months, most Australian media has started using American date formats. Ten advertises shows starting Feb 1 or Jan 3, SMH website talks about Australia Day being Jan 26, Fox do the same and the ABC News website puts American dates in articles that talk about Tasmanian rental rule changes being on January 31. Hoyts give February 21 as a release date for an upcoming movie. This is not acceptable and the longer it goes on, the more it will be followed by high school leavers and uni grads as well as the rest of society. This may be deliberate or coming from outsourcing suppliers to overseas companies. Bring back 26 January for Australia Day, accurately report Government changes as 31 January and advertise movies with their Aussie release dates of 21 February. TV shows are released on 1 March or 3 May. Days precede months in Australian dates. I invite others to email these organisations so we can change this going forward.

Gerard Barwell, Collaroy

Yellow Pages

I was surprised to find yellow pages in the post box. Who reads these books any more? Who pays to put an advert in? Seems such a wasteful use of paper.


The Upside of Negative

The Vote Tony out campaign was negative, says Kevin from Dee Why, and others (letters, Feb ‘21). Well, what else would it be? The whole point of the campaign was to rid us of a man who had become an embarrassment and stopped representing us a long time ago. And representing us was his actual job. But we don’t have to talk about Tony, so let’s not. What the wins by Zali Steggall here, and Kerryn Phelps in Woollahra, showed us is - there’s no such thing as a safe seat if you’ve lost touch with your electorate. And that people power matters. In other words, the last federal election in Warringah was a wonderful example of democracy working exactly the way it’s supposed to. And there’s hardly anything more positive than that. Cheers.

Janne, Manly

New Transport Timetables

Isn’t it amazing just how successfully our Transport Minister, ably assisted by the State Members allegedly representing us on the Northern Beaches, has so changed a bus, ferry and train system which once provided one direct service with perhaps one change and a fairly fast service, for destinations from Narrabeen, Collaroy Plateau or Cromer or any other combination of suburbs within the Northern Beaches, to anywhere else in our region or to the City. Before the light rail commenced building along George Street, City, it was possible to travel on one bus to the Queen Victoria Building or even Central Station, with perhaps one further connection to a further city destination. It now takes three to four modes (buses, trams, trains, ferries), with long walks between connections for services firstly terminated at Wynyard, and now terminated at Warringah Mall. Even a short journey from the three named suburbs to Manly, Balgowlah or Seaforth now requires a minimum of two buses.

I used to look forward to two or three weekly visits to the City (before Covid-19) for lunch time organ recitals in City Churches and Town Hall, and/or visits to the Art Gallery, Powerhouse Museum and Maritime Museum. I travelled on one bus (179 or 180) to Wynyard, with one additional service. Occasionally I took the Manly Ferry route. Now it will take three or four services and double the travel time with lengthy walks and standing time between these services. I probably won’t go as often now.

I suppose younger people do not care about this, but pensioners, seniors and veterans do, who after all are the majority users of these services, we can now look forward to journeys with multiple service changes in all weathers and wondering whether we will be able to get a seat on the next service. On the plus side we can look forward to the extra exercise as we negotiate between connections. It is clear the Minister and our local Members don’t care if our journeys take longer with much added inconvenience.

Arthur, War Vets Village, Narrabeen

Dishonesty in Political Advertising

Mr Begaud (letters, February) is bemoaning ‘negative’ election campaigns. Fair enough, but I do wonder why he's not calling out the utterly dishonest campaigning which was rife in the Warringah electorate in the lead up to the election in 2019. This dishonesty came entirely from the right wing lobby group Advance Australia, closely tied to the Liberal Party, which spent $1.5 million on campaigns, 10 times what Getup spent.

The outright lies told via posters, letterbox drops and vehicle signage by this group, aided and abetted by Clive Palmer’s ads, should have been a wake-up call to voters and to political parties of all persuasions that truth in political advertising is imperative.

Political ads that are dishonest and misleading interfere with voters' ability to make informed decisions and are designed to deceive and to skew elections. Political parties and lobby groups that produce dishonest advertising material should be fined by an independent body such as The Australian Electoral Commission and The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and the advertising material immediately removed from circulation. Democracy suffers when voters lose trust in politicians who are apparently driven by dishonesty.

J Hungerford, Curl Curl

A Proposal

I am writing to enquire whether the Frogmouth would consider introducing some fact checking into the Letters section of your newsletter. I am well aware of the role prejudice has in pre-determining people’s conclusions about the world around them but would politely suggest the Frogmouth could go some way towards differentiating fact from fiction. Consider, for example, Barbara Beavan, a concerned Australian resident, in your last edition. I think it might relieve her of some of her concern to know that the Emerald Class ferries are built in Australia (at least for as long as Tasmania is considered part of Australia). Arctic Fellows, a Dee Why bus driver, should rest easy that privatisation won’t mean three buses driving randomly around the Northern Beaches when STA is privatised, as bus routes and services are set (whether we like it or not), by Transport for NSW, not STA, using Opal data, not guess work. It may come as a shock to Mark Roberts that Transport for NSW also uses Opal data, rather than his, no doubt very accurate, count from his mother’s balcony, to determine how many people use the ferries and when. And as for Annette and Ursula, they clearly have larger handbags than my wife. Many reputable news organisations now have fact checkers – granted, mostly to keep our politicians in line, rather than their readers. It’s time the Frogmouth joined the New York Times and CNN.

John “Not my real name” Smith

Nostalgia, Efficiency and the Manly Ferries

Today (22 Feb) the 9am Circular Quay to Manly ferry was delayed 20 minutes while a maintenance issue was attended to. Apart from contemplating the amount of emissions as the diesel engines of the Queenscliff continued to chug away, it was also disturbing to see the prevalence of rust from bow to stern. Once underway an announcement notified passengers that both engines would operate (more emissions) in an attempt to make up some of the lost time. The result, a 4-minute improvement. With the Northern Beaches becoming an increasingly popular place to live, an efficient public transport system is critical, especially into the CBD. Today's experience would suggest the current ferries can still have a role as an intermittent operator in the tourist space but not as the cornerstone for harbour public transport.

Mike Kenneally, Manly

Fan Paige

Dear Tawny, I’m loving Paige Turner’s book reviews and confess to feeling vicariously enamoured with John “Oggy” Ogden after the February issue’s article. Amidst her eye-candied words was a truism that also deserves a shout out: “It behoves all of us to seek a greater awareness of our nation’s true history.” Yes, indeed!

Admirer from Afar

Dee Why Lagoon Under Siege

This beautiful Lagoon and Wildlife Refuge (created in 1973 in order to protect the lagoon from development) is still under siege from many fronts: sedimentation, water and rubbish pollution via the stormwater drains, dogs, cats, foxes and irresponsible people. The latest occurrence was a motorised paraglider who, on 4 January, flew low over the lagoon terrorising the local birdlife. There is a tension in our society between those who see no value in nature if it is not being used in the service of human beings and those who see natural habitats, and their inhabitants, as having intrinsic worth. Population growth and expanded leisure time add to this tension. Dee Why Lagoon is an amazing accident of history. Visually, the water body and its immediate surrounds remain very much as Captain Phillip saw them in August 1788. All of the other lagoons on the Northern Beaches have been grossly modified, their wetland surrounds filled and converted to playing fields or real estate.

Dee Why Lagoon also has an important relationship with the nearby rock platform at Long Reef, migratory waders using both locations, with the Lagoon providing protection in periods of large seas. It also interacts with the aquatic reserve which exists at and around Long Reef, and the intertidal protected area that exists to its immediate north and south, at Long Reef and Dee Why Headland. The newest sign erected by the Northern Beaches Council states: NO DOGS, NO FIRES & LAGOON OPENING PROHIBITED will need updating. There were no motorised paragliders around at the time of its design.

M Lown, President – Friends of Dee Why Lagoon

Controversial DA

Thank goodness we have you as a Public Forum for developments and situations in the Northern Beaches that affect many but may only be known to a few. One such development is the DA lodged for 25 Nield Avenue, Balgowlah. The existing iconic home is over 100 years old, featuring foundations of beautiful local sandstone, and fits into the local streetscapes of old and sympathetically built and renovated Federation, California Bungalow and Edwardian homes. The proposed destruction of this heritage home and replacing it with a box-like, bulky structure is totally out of context with the streetscape, the local community and most of the Northern Beaches. The plan is for a 3 level, two semi-detached townhouses with two raised swimming pools. The property is of enormous bulk, and most of the landscaped pathways and driveways are non-permeable hard services. This results in a block of mostly concrete and other hard surfaces, pushed to the limit on boundaries and over 15% outside of Council restrictions. Local discussion indicates the Rock Outcrop and natural cave structure at the rear of the block may be of significance to local Aboriginal/Indigenous people, appearing to have been a historic meeting site over many thousands of years as it has sightlines to other historic locations around Tania Park and North Head. The plan proposes the explosive demolition of this natural and historic rock outcrop, which could also impact the stability of the houses backing onto this development. The site is also a natural habitat of Long-Nosed Bandicoot and Bluetongue lizards. This disrespectful and invasive development Does Not, “Protect the Amenity of Existing and Future Residents” as defined by Council and will set yet another precedent in undermining the character of our beautiful streets.

Concerned Local Resident

Tour de Cocky

Perched on my local branch at North Steyne, the precipice of slumber near, I was rudely awakened by a cacophony of noise. I looked to the branch opposite thinking that damn Cockatoo again. A Cocky species for my mind strutting around with that immaculately quaffed yellow crest while firing off that irritating squawk similar to an M60. One could be forgiven for thinking they were a Peacock. Such cavalier behaviour truly ruffles a humble Pelicans feathers. Alas I was wrong, doesn’t happen often, there wasn’t a Cockatoo in sight. I looked down to the source of the noise. Ding, Ding, Ding firing off like a n M 60 while his verbal abuse landed like grenades scattering the footpath of pedestrians. I thought I was watching a scene from Saving Private Ryan. Still in the haze of pre slumber I thought that perhaps the Cockatoo had taken up cycling. This chap was adorned in bright yellow lycra equally as cocky and certainly as rude as my feathered nemesis. To be fair to the feathered Cocky I will admit that he is a sight to behold when in full flight. The cycle Cocky on the other hand resembled a Telly Tubby in tight fitting yellow lycra riding to an All YOU CAN EAT CREAM BUN MUNCHING contest.

The sight of young children and puppies nearly bowled over at 40 km per hour was horrifying. Their only sin exiting their parked cars and stepping onto the footpath. Horrified by this bellicose behaviour, not to mention the sight of Free Willy in Lycra I asked Pigeon for some advice. Pigeon can usually be found on the windowsill of Council chambers perched like an ASIO listening device ready to report. His debriefing was damning. Shared path apparently means not just for cyclists. Speed limit apparently denotes a numerical number deemed as a safe speed to cycle given you are on a shared path. Rather simple really. I then goggled Cocky Cyclists and exposed the imposter. Mario Cipollini is a world famous tour de France cyclist famous for looking like an Adonis beating everyone in a race while smoking a bunger and stealing dozens of wives and girlfriends at events worldwide. Our local Cocky is just a muppet and a grumpy one at that. You will never be the legendary ‘’Cippo’’ mate, you’re not in the Tour de France and ‘’Cippo’’ would never behave like that. You might want to check if your wife’s got company.

Percy Protest Pelican

The Tawny invites the people of the Beaches to send in letters to mail@thetawnyfrogmouth.com.au

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