Newcastle Herald letters to the editor Monday January 22 2018

BACK IN THE DAY: A contributor longs for the days when Peter Walmsley, pictured in 2000 ahead of his retirement, kept the Newcastle Ocean Baths pristine.
BACK IN THE DAY: A contributor longs for the days when Peter Walmsley, pictured in 2000 ahead of his retirement, kept the Newcastle Ocean Baths pristine.

INDEED it is sad to see the state of the beautiful Ocean Baths in the East End, such an historic landmark of Newcastle being let go the way it has for quite a few years now.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s it was always in pristine condition whilst under the guidance of Mr Peter Walmsley and his wife Jan. I can remember a regular and thorough cleaning crew every Thursday afternoon rain, hail or shine. Young fellows with names like Seaweed, The Arab, Daws, Sellick, Parto and a few others, there every week and doing a fine job and having it clean and ready for Friday morning. It was always appreciated by all the regular users and visitors.

A time flashback is in definite need to bring this beautiful pool back to its former glory. It was very well managed at that time by Peter and Jan. Bring back the glory days of Walmo’s Water Wonderland, and may we all send Mr and Mrs Walmsley our best.

David Tinson, Smiths Lake

DUST MYSTERY SOLVED

THANK you to the Newcastle Herald for solving a puzzle. 

When we arrived home on Sunday after a week away, there was coal dust on our balcony which faces due north. This is the first time in the 15 years in our harbour-side apartment that we have had the problem. It was even more of a mystery because the wind had been from the south for a few days, so it wasn’t the Kooragang coal stacks.

But now we know (“Light rail digs up ‘nasties’”, Herald 18/1) that coal tar is being dug up along Hunter Street. I am taken back to the 1950s near my Melbourne home, when old cable-tram rails were being replaced for electric trams. Because there wasn’t any concrete in the 1880s, the old rails were embedded in house-brick-sized hardwood blocks held in place by tar.

People turned up with wheelbarrows, prams, billycarts and even potato sacks, to collect them for the open fire. Times have changed.

Ray Dinneen, Newcastle

A NEW DAY DAWNS

IT appears that the times they are a-changing ? Indigenous folk are seeking the removal of Australia Day. Homosexuals want the name of Margaret Court Arena changed. Non-Christians and atheists propose that Christmas and Easter should be cancelled. Republicans want the Queen’s Birthday cancelled and local business interests propose the Newcastle Show public holiday should be cancelled.  Nobody’s complaining about Labour Day as far as I know, so if this survives we may need to focus our annual festivities on this important occasion. 

The government may get involved here, declaring all public festivities illegal to avoid contention, drunkenness and affray and add a week to everyone’s annual leave.  That’s if there is not a movement to do away with annual leave.

George Paris, Rathmines

SCANDAL LOSES ITS CHARM

AS I sat sipping a drink at a coffee shop the other morning I perused an old version of the Newcastle Herald. When I had finished I collected a more recent version of the paper and did the same thing.

What really struck me was the commonality between the two papers. Not the same stories, but the same reason for the stories. They were "abuse of power" by varied organizations. The main culprits were religious institutions, but now I hear calls for an oversight body for whistleblowers in the public service. This is terrifying prospect as these government departments have access to all of our private data. If, as we are led to believe, there is abuse of power involved, they are a threat to all of us.

When I was growing up the word "scandal" had a different meaning. The front page of the daily newspaper would carry a photograph of a wrinkly grey haired old judge down on all fours sucking a dummy while wearing only in a nappy and a cloth hat.

Madam Lash could be seen in all her splendor beating him with a feather duster. Scandal in those days was fun, now it’s a threat to all of us.

Nicholas Ryder, Booragul

IT’S NOT SELF-SERVING

ON any given day, irrespective of where you are, the increasing use of technology and the problems it creates for employment opportunities in the retail industry is there to be seen. One example of this is your local supermarket. There you will see your fellow shoppers waiting in lines to use “self-service” check-outs, ignoring the sometimes shorter lines at traditional check-outs. Ask many among the grey nomads and other travellers who have chosen to drive around this great brown land of ours about their experiences with computerisation. I am certain they will tell you whenever they purchase fuel or provisions in remote places, a computerised system will first determine whether or not they have a capacity to pay. 

The age of computers, an age we welcomed with open arms a few decades ago, has come back to bite us. It is actually a Trojan horse with the capacity to eventually make the human element in many industries redundant. While it is clearly too late now to change things in total, at least we urban citizens might do our bit to sustain the human element by avoiding “self-serve” checkouts.

Barry Swan, Balgownie

LET KNIGHTS HIBERNATE

REMIND me what month it is, what season are we in? How can the Knights again be on the back page, with an article about a reserve grade player possibly leaving the club? There's a little tennis tournament going on with some of the greatest athletes in the world, and our Jets have been sitting second on the table.

How about we actually get behind them with some coverage like the level we see all through winter for the Knights, and all through summer for that matter?

Mark Mansfield, Hillsborough

I HAD A DREAM

WHO is that on his white charger coming to save us from the ineptitude that is our federal government? Why, its Anthony Albanese. And who is that riding to support him?  Why, it’s a majority of the ALP caucus who now realise how dumb they were to ignore the rank and file and instead installed Bill Shorten.

Then I awoke and found that it had been a dream; the nightmare of Turnbull and Shorten was still there. One making a mess of governing, the other still running second behind the outsider in a two-horse race. I'm going back to sleep.

Mike Sargent, Raymond Terrace

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