A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary


After about a week of these diary entries, they go to the archive.
8 August '04
Matt and wife Clare onstage at the Last MM partyYou'll notice this entry jumps back a few days but I've just  found time to write about The Last Murdoch Magazine's Party I went to in Sydney.

Last? Well, Matt Handbury,  (Rupert Murdoch's nephew) and Matt's first wife, Fiona, bought the Australian magazines from his uncle along with the Murdoch Books division in 1991. He's just sold the magazine titles Better Homes & Gardens (along with its TV show), Men's Health and marie claire, to Pacific Publications (Channel 7). He's kept the book division.

I joined the company in 1995 when Matt purchased Australian MultiMedia Magazine (MM) that I was editing for publisher Stephen Moignard in Melbourne. There was no real reason for the purchase, other than the fact that Matt liked the publication He'd been an AOL subscriber for years and very computer literate. (Ok, we did have great design and were more than a bit like WIRED, and we used the letters MM as our masthead.)

It was later justified and promoted as adding a 'multimedia information source' to the magazine group, as all the other titles were women's and homemaker magazines. Looking back now, it was clearly just part of a push to that old chestnut 'digital convergence' that we knew was going to happen. Matt wanted to play with that change and learn from it, and the magazine was one easy way to do it. Each time something like a new CD or product would arrive we'd call Matt and Tim Trumper and do a demo.

Tim Trumper (now managing Time Inc. Australia) was the manager at Murdoch Magazines at that time. We had a pretty good presentation that we took around to advertisers and industry groups to show how we thought the Internet and CD-ROM multimedia was going to change things. The magazine didn't have any promotion sold about 5,000 copies and Matt dropped it when it started to cost him money, but I stayed on as 'web master' and writing the online edition of MM. I left Murdoch Magazines in 1997 when Jan took the job at Grey Canberra and we moved to Bungendore.

In that short time we got to go to a few great parties. Murdoch Mags knew how to put on a party. And more often than not, the night would include a session by a staff band that included Matt on guitar and vocals. So of course that had to be part of the final party you see here. (There's more photo's if you'd like to sneak a peek here. Opens new window)

Sunday 15 August '04
The BMX track isn't just for bikes, if you've got a friend, it's a lot of fun to just run up and down those bumps.
This is the last goose of a gaggle of four (maybe five). It lives at the rear of one of the houses with the 1/2 acre deep yards that back on to the lane between Rutledge and the Highway. We walk the dogs through there before heading down into the village.

One day I found one of the geese wedged in a gap in the wire covered gate and got pecked a few times for the trouble of releasing it. Strong neck and hard beak. Dogs or foxes seem to have killed the others over the years judging by the occasional feathers and carcasses I've seen. This last gander (?) was out in the lane and didn't want anyone to go past, even someone with two dogs on leads (scary those small dogs. Not.)

Working at home, I've been tied to the computer a bit, and the cold days mean that I shut the door to my workroom. Each time I get up to make a coffee or some lunch, I head outside for a bit. At the end of the working day when I know at least the govt. client's have gone home, I set the instant messaging on my computer to 'Away', and take the dogs for a walk. The advantage of leaving it until after 5.00pm is that as the days start to lengthen, that's when the evening light is at its best. Toss in a black sky and this photo is what you get. This obviously was a railway house in a past life and is next to the community centre. Its central chimney would mean there were fireplaces in each of the rooms, a practical design when that was the only heating in a Bungendore winter.
20 August '04
This shop next to the Royal has been vacant for a while and looks like it has new owners who are stripping back the paint and patching holes. The local history says it was built in 1922 as a miniature of the original store that was on the block and has been "a barbers, SP betting shop, dressmakers, second hand clothing, shoe repairs, greengrocer, veterinary clinic" and then the standard Bungendore pottery/craft/gallery that rarely last a year.
21 August '04
The salad greens are ready to pick. We usually buy/make up a mixed salad at the Fyshwick markets that lasts a week between visits. It keeps ok in a plastic bag in the 'fridge but you have to pick out the little wilted and slimy bits by the end of the week. This will top up the supply quite nicely, and by the time we finish them, the garden ones will be ready. Roll on Spring.
I saw this possum on top of a cupboard in the back shed. It had kicked off all the containers and plastic bottles and made a bed out of some old painting t-shirts. It stayed there all day, and seemed to be sick, or dying with short breaths and it didn't want to move. There was no hair on the underside of it's tail. When it started to get dark however, it was gone.
It was this human like paw that prompted me to get my camera. There's been a possum living in the cavity of the shed wall for some years now, you hear it scratching itself on hot days. It's a tiny space but they wedge themselves in, like cats who like to curl up in cardboard boxes way too small. Maybe this is that possum who can't get into the wall space anymore?
Fred Harden    
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden