Author Archives: johnblack

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CLERKS REPLACE TRADIES AS DOMINANT ALP BLOC

Category:Election Profiles,National 1966 to 1980

One in four women work as professionals. Their support for Labor candidates steadily increased from 1980 under Coalition Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and by 2004, this support had levelled off to split 50/50 between Labor and the Coalition.

However, the inner-urban professional seats – such as Melbourne Ports and Brisbane – swung to Coalition Leader Malcolm Turnbull in 2016, bucking the national swing back to Labor in 2016.

About one in four men work as Tradies and one in four women work in clerical and admin jobs.

Since the 1966 election, Tradies have been seen as the pro-union, working class foundation for Labor campaigns, with the politically non-aligned female clerks successfully targeted in 1972 and 1974 to provide the more volatile winning margin in the outer suburbs.

The political significance of these two demographics switched after the period 1977 to 1980, and by 1998-2001, we were more likely to see safe Labor seats dominated by female clerks than by male Tradies, as white-collar workers became more unionised, and many older, blue collar workers such as the Howard Battlers, switched to the Coalition in the outer suburbs.

These two groups have remained the ALP’s campaign focus as Labor’s Working Family Stereotype and in 2016 seats containing the highest proportions of Working Families -such as Burt and Macarthur –  swung strongly to Labor and Bill Shorten, even as former pro-Labor professionals moved in the reverse direction towards, small-l Liberal Malcolm Turnbull.

So, the Coalition lost Working Family seats across Australia’s outer suburbs, but clung to power by its fingernails across wealthier, inner urban professional seats.

In this ADS update, we’re publishing the last instalment of John Black’s demographic profiles of Australian voting behaviour, stretching back to the 1966 Federal election.

This instalment covers the period of 1977 to 1980, the mid-point of Malcolm Fraser’s Prime Ministership, which marked a watershed era for the demographic alignments of Australia’s biggest occupational voting blocs: Tradies, Clerks and Professionals.

These three groups determined the outcome of the last election, and they are also likely to determine the outcome of the next election. Read how they came of age here.

PROJECT 4 –  Australia : 1977-1980  Project 4-Part One   Project 4 – Part Two

 

 


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Australian Labour Force May 2017

TRADIES UP, BUT CLERKS & SALES JOBS DISAPPEAR

Category:Labour Market,Labour Market 2016,Labour Market 2017

The national Year on Year employment to population ratio and the participation rate stopped their downward slide during the February labour market quarter and during the May quarter both were moving in a positive direction.

If we smooth the original data out to a 12-month moving average we see the start of what looks like an upward turning point in the employment trends to the end of May and the national figures for June and July were reasonably encouraging.

But a detailed examination of the figures by industry and occupation infer some caution should be exercised.

Industry and Occupational Breakdown of National Data.

By industry, over the past year, agriculture continued what looks like a long term structural decline in jobs, manufacturing showed some signs of life, but construction was still in good shape, as was hospitality.

IT and Media had some short-term gains, but the only consistently strong private sector industry remained Professional Services, (such as lawyers, architects, engineers, accountants) with nearly 63,000 jobs created over the past year and 300,000 jobs in the decade since the GFC.

The predominantly public sector funded or regulated industries of Public Admin, Education and Health remained the biggest drivers of jobs growth, with 45 percent of all jobs created over the past 12 months and 50 percent over the past decade.

When we look at the ABS labour market table showing the narrowly defined version of public sector vs private sector for Occupations, rather than by Industry, we see 41 percent of jobs by occupation last year were created directly by the three differing levels of Government in the public sector, instead of the long-run figure of about 12.5 percent.

In the private sector, 138,400 jobs were created and 74,500 were professionals, but private sector managers (and farmers) went backwards by 13,100 jobs. The hollowing out of female middle-class occupations by digital disruption continued, with 41,800 clerical and receptionist jobs going, virtually all of them full time, even as 42,200 sales jobs also disappeared.

The positive figures in the private sector side of the occupation table came from the creation last year of 76,600 full-time jobs for Tradies and Technicians. There were also an extra 91,200 mostly full-time jobs for the semi-skilled and unskilled blue-collar workers (machine operators, drivers, labourers and cleaners). However, the bulk of these jobs were low paid and those that weren’t, such as Tradies, were coming off a very low base in mid-2016, keeping wages low.

So where were these middle class white collar jobs lost and where were the blue-collar jobs gained?

Regional Variations.

The earlier post-GFC map link and the latest map link are shown here.

https://educationgeo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=de5ec5b142644631976efa3b384f6948

Australia Labour-Force-2008-2016

https://educationgeo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=0a950e5ff5bc4ff2adff2c76baac084a

Australia Labour-Force-May-17

The online maps show the more recent national recovery in blue collar jobs seems to have also driven up employment levels and participation rates in many mixed working class and agricultural regions on the fringes of our major cities, like La Trobe – Gippsland in Victoria and Logan – Beaudesert in Queensland.

In New South Wales, the formerly hard hit and relatively low SES remote and rural regions like Murray, and Far West and Orana have shown a post GFC recovery and a bounce-back of jobs under threat from technology which is supported by both the national summary data and the regional data.

Well outside the capital cities, we saw a strong local recovery in the jobs market include many working-class economies which had been doing it tough in the eight years since the GFC and these include Townsville – which is genuinely heartening to see – along with other Queensland regions like Toowoomba, Ipswich, Cairns and Mackay. So, we’re seeing some growth, but from historically very low base levels.

When it comes to job losses, it’s a little surprising that some of the richer inner-city regions of Sydney, Brisbane and Perth were shedding jobs in the 12 months to May 2017.

Demographic Profiles.

After running these figures through our database for some simple correlations, we saw that the (lower SES) regions which gained the most jobs in the 12 months to May 2017 were those containing lower income, young parents, with few educational qualifications and little vocational training and living in what seemed to be often overcrowded, State rental housing, with younger children.

We saw a mix of the more evangelical religions, like Seventh Day Adventist and Other Protestant, which we note often in the urban fringe seats of south east Queensland, along with Aboriginal Traditional Religions and Languages from regions like the NT Outback and Far West NSW.

Those regions heading backwards during the last year were older, specifically aged from 55 years and above. They were also reasonably well off. Their residents tended to be retired, relying on superannuation and Government pensions for income.

Mortgage stress made a showing here and this could be a pointer to middle class persons in their late fifties, transitioning to retirement and building up super balances to discharge their mortgage only when old enough to receive the aged pension.

Finally, we should note that, while there were only small drops in the national summary figures for women in full time real estate jobs, those regions across Australia with the greatest proportion of real estate agents were shedding jobs over the past year and it was statistically significant to 99.9 percent confidence levels.

The bounce back from blue collar jobs during the past year is a welcome sign of some recovery in the private sector, but strong bias towards public-sector jobs growth over the last 12 months infers that the apparent healthy recovery in the national labour market figures may not be sustained.

 


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JOB MARKET CHANGES HIT SCHOOLS & UNIS

Category:Education

Only about 45 per cent of year 12 students from Government schools in 2015 said they had a Bachelor degree as their main post-school destination, but the equivalent figure from non-Government year 12 completers was about 63 per cent.

Our company Education Geographics profiles non-Government schools and we currently have about ten per cent of the Australian Independent student market. And what happens in our market affects yours. From our national research and our individual school profiles we are picking up significant changes to the profile of students at all three sectors which can be traced back to long run cultural changes and to the impact of digital disruption to the jobs and incomes of Non-Government school parents.

Read More of this Article …  >Click Here

 

Click to view the full Go8 News Magazine.

The story has been run with the permission of the Go8 News.

 


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MIDDLE CLASS JOBS HOLLOWING OUT

Category:Labour Market,Labour Market 2016

78,300 full time jobs were lost for Tradesmen and Tradeswomen in the past year, virtually all of them in the private sector.

65,700 of these full-time jobs lost were formerly held by Tradesmen.

55,500 full time clerical and admin jobs were lost last year.

51,400 of these were former full time jobs in the private sector and 43,800 of them were formerly full time jobs held by women.

A family made up of a Tradesman dad and a mother with a clerical job makes up 22.2 percent of the workforce and 2,669,200 jobs. This is the key middle Australia voting demographic which makes or breaks Government.

In terms of its percentage of the workforce, this demographic has been declining since the GFC, when it was about 25 percent of the workforce.

This is why Governments representing the status quo are not getting re-elected.

Australian Labour Force Regions - Changes November 2008 to 2016

The private sector over the past year grew by 131,300 part-time workers, but lost 50,100 full time workers, with a net growth of 81,200 workers. This casualisation of jobs is why incomes are flat.

The public sector grew 28,700 full time jobs and lost 22,600 part-time jobs, with a net growth of 6,100 jobs.

So, all the growth over the past year in full time jobs has been in the public sector, with the private sector going backwards by 50,100 jobs.

The big growth in high wage jobs continued among professionals where some 47,300 jobs were created in total and virtually all of them were for women employed in the private sector.

There have been an extra 102,900 jobs created in past year for semi-skilled and unskilled blue collar workers, with two-thirds of them part time.  Virtually all of these jobs were in the private sector.

When we look at Industries, we saw a major recent jump in manufacturing jobs in the past year of more than 100,000 workers, with a similar rise for the public-sector trio of public admin, education, and health. These are the industries where the union movement still has strong representation and which support Labor or Green candidates.

So, during the past year, Green voters have been travelling well in the inner cities, Labor voters (and the unions) have been doing ok in the outer industrial suburbs, but working family jobs continue to be hollowed out in the middle-class suburbs.

 

 


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OWEN RIVER LODGE HIGHLIGHTS 2015/16

Category:Fly Fishing

Owen River Lodge - South Island, New Zealand

Owen River Lodge Fishing, South Island, New Zealand

Running a fishing lodge can be a complex thing. There are so many variables to take into account, without doubt, the weather has a significant impact on the trout fishery and therefore the fishing.

In our early season the weather cooperated brilliantly. November & December saw clear rivers, sunny days and little wind. The results speak for themselves…….

14lb_wild_brown_trout_owen_river_odge, south island, new zealand

Andrew from Sydney’s first trip to ORL was for his honeymoon in 2010. He’s subsequently stayed with us a further 3 times including a quick 4 day trip in early November.
He landed 11 wild brown’s in his 3 days fishing including a sensational 11 lb monster and 2 x 8lb, 2 x 6lb 3 x 5lb and a 4lb wild brown !

In early December, 3 anglers landed 3 wild New Zealand browns and each of them set apersonal record. The 3 browns weighed in at 9lb, 12 lb and new lodge record of 14lb.
There was no expensive helicopter required, as all these browns were caught in our local, drive to rivers!

fly_fishing_dry_fly_NZ, Owen River Lodge, South Island, New Zealand

To be honest during our summer (January > March) the weather was rubbish. It was unusually windy and wet. This made the fishing, at times, challenging, however with the help of the wonderful fishing guides that work with us our guests still caught fish and had some memorable moments on the river.

Vaughan and Bess are regular Australian guests @ Owen River Lodge. Whilst Bess went horse riding, Vaughan had some sensational fishing over 4 days of angling adventure. In a 2 day period he landed over 25 wild browns in the 3 > 5 lb range !

fly_fishing_Owen River Lodge, South Island, New Zealand

Robin & Andrew, from the UK, stayed and fished with us in February. They had some unbelievable fishing, landing 20 browns averaging 4lbs in one day and landing over 50 browns in 6 days

Howard, one of our most regular guests, had four sensational days fishing with his guide David in late March. In his 4 days fishing he landed 24 wild browns including an 8lb & a 9lb caught on consecutive days in the Owen River !

_Owen River Lodge, South Island, New Zealand_Fishing_Owen_River_November_2015_Rene_Vaz


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WE’RE BACK! SPATSIZI LODGE, BC

Category:Fly Fishing

Now I’m a sensitive Green kind of guy, but when you’re up this close, I think it’s fair to say that Grizzly Bears look much better stuffed and inside a glass case.

This big fella is part of the welcoming committee at Smithers Airport. It reminds you that you’re a guest here in this part of the world and also that it pays you to keep your eyes and ears open.

The welcoming party at Smithers Airport. Fortunately for us, this one was in a glass case.

Also joining us at the airport was our expeditor Wendy, who was a lot friendlier than this bloke.

All I needed to do was stand next to anyone I saw carrying a fly rod for the expeditor to find us, load our bags and whip us off to the local hotel for dinner.

The next morning saw us at a local lake getting loaded aboard Wendell’s wonderful Turbo Otter, for the 90-minute flight to Spatsizi. While the rest jumped in the back, alongside our groceries for the week, I got to ride in front with Wendell and I felt like the honorary co-pilot. Wendell even let me pull on the heater control for the rear cabin …

Flyfishing Spatsizi BC, heading off to the lodge in Wendell's Turbo Otter..Woo Hoo

But seriously, I was loving all of it: the noise, the whiff of plane fuel, the power of the take-off over water and then the climb, and finally the scenery below and the anticipation. I was a big boy on an adventure!

 

Fly fishing at Spatsizi. Brother Steve with catch of the day...an eight pound bull trout. With gun guide Florian.

Brothers are brothers, aren’t they? It would be an exaggeration to say my brother Steve was a gun fly fisherperson. He turned up in all the wrong gear but evidently the right attitude and caught the biggest fish on the first day, a bad-tempered Arctic Char.

I sniffily told him it was all about the quality not the size.

Fly fishing at Spatsizi BC today with very cooperative rainbow trout. Great first day in a beautiful part of the world.

Now this was definitely the prettiest fish caught by yours truly on the first day. An absolutely beautiful rainbow trout, held gently for just long enough for our guide Florian to take this shot and then released from a barbless hook. Like I said, it was all about the quality.

 

Fly Fishing Spatsizi BC. Day 2, Sun rising over Spatsizi Lodge. Another beautiful day in paradise.

Heading down to the Lodge for another of Chef Jesse’s wonderful breakfasts.

Fly fishing at Spatsizi BC. A rather irritated rainbow trout in the Rognass River today ....released soon after.

Today we fished the Rognass River adjoining Lake Kitchener and the Rainbow Trout chased flies voraciously, but then turned nasty when the fly didn’t stay eaten.

 

Fly Fishing at Spatsizi BC. Big Brother at evening post dinner drinks outside the Lodge. Another beautiful day.

Well, here we were, with my Big Brother and fellow director Steve, finding time to chat about company marketing and contracting strategies. Our main items of discussion centered on the impact of the new US Administration on inflation in the US and its impact for our CPI. With no local inflation to speak of, we have been using five-year fixed term contracts for our dashboard modelling. The clients love it.

But if the new Administration actually starts to simulate the US economy, we need to start marking our product to the prices in the marketplace. But will Trump really deliver?

Our fellow fly fisherpersons were all from the US and tended to have a bit of skin in this particular game, so it was all research. Aided by Oban on ice at this particular meeting.

 

Flyfishing at Spatsizi BC. Nature studies of local lupins after streamside diversion while working out how to do up the waders.

My Great Grandfather and Father were botanists. I’m more of a stats man, myself. But these lupins were just plain pretty and worth sharing.

John Black - just finished four day fly outs at Spatsizi. Loving it. A man's best friend is a float plane.

Well, here we were, mid-week, back outside the Lodge for another scheduled board meeting to discuss international inflationary trends and the gig economy.

Man, by this time, I was feeling the vibe. Pass me a cigar.

Roughing it as Spatsizi Lodge with the local version of Caesar Salad. Thanks to Chef Jesse.

Our Chef Jesse Phillips was a culinary genius and a perfectionist of the plate. Now this, apparently, was a Caesar Salad. The trip was worth it for the food alone.

Camp fire last night at Firesteel River Lodge.

I must confess, my idea of roughing it these days, is going without the heated seat on my Japanese Toto bidet toilet. But Firesteel Camp was an experience I’d repeat in a heartbeat … even with the long drop and the animal scratch marks on the dunny door.

This is the camp fire outside our hut, with the river in the background. Why the morning camp fire I hear you ask? See next Instagram shot.

 

Spatsizi - 9 am this morning at Firesteel River ...mid Summer in north BC. If you look closely you can see the little red bar at 5 degrees centigrade. It warmed up to 6 degrees by 10.00am.

Well, here’s the reason for a morning camp fire at Firesteel Camp. Five degrees! And this was summer! It was colder than the winter mornings we’d left behind in Brisbane.

We mooched around camp until the sun was well and truly up.

 

#Spatsizi - Firesteel river rainbow ....small but perfectly formed.

Firesteel has squillions of these little three-quarter pounders … and they all think they weigh five pounds and feel obliged to fight like it. It was a grey, windy day, which pushed most of the fish down deep, where we chased them on nymphs, but on a warm, sunny day, you’d be catching and releasing 50 of the little blighters.

 

Spatsizi....beaver lodge on the Firesteel River. These little guys would definitely not win the better housekeeping award.

These beavers are odd little creatures. They tend to gum up waterways and spawning grounds for the fish with their wood-reinforced dams and lodges so they aren’t the favourite animals for fishing guides. And are they messy! Worse than teenage boys.

I fished near this beaver lodge and had to make sure that I didn’t fall into their access hole, about a metre in diameter.

 

John Black - yours truly today catching rainbow trout number 30 at Sheep Creek and Lake Kitchener #Spatsizi BC. It was 3 degrees with a 15 knot wind and driving rain. Completely nuts.

Now I know fishing isn’t about the numbers of fish you catch in a day and nor is it about the size of the biggest fish … although the size comes close.

But sometimes, after months of fishing on tranquil Aussie high-country trout streams, where you might land a couple of careless, one or two-pound fish on a really good day, well, you just want to feel you haven’t lost your touch.

On days like this, personal comforts come last and numbers do count. It’s a man-hunter thing I guess.

In this case – at the Sheep Creek outflow into Lake Kitchener – our personal comfort level was at an all-time low, with three degrees the top temperature and a chilly 15 knot wind blowing straight in our faces, but Steve and I pulled in and released 40 fine, fat, and ultimately very relieved, Canadian Rainbow Trout.

Towards the end of the day, Steve had broken his rod and the stump had to be pulled from his frozen fingers to make him to stop.

In my case, my waterproof jacket had started to leak icy water down my back and arms and my teeth were chattering so much I couldn’t speak. Did I mention my Hardy Hip Flask was also empty?

There were no arguments then. It was time to go.

 

Spatsizi - After a day's fishing in 3 degrees and wind chill here's our entree from Chef Jess: Capresse Salad with tomato three ways, smoked Buffalo Mozzarella and Balsamic reduction. Yum..

Here’s another entree plate from super Chef Jesse. What a guy! I realise now that I only ever took pictures of the entrees, because the main course and deserts just got scoffed down.

 

Spatsizi- Our fishing companion. Carl yesterday with four pound rainbow trout from Lake Rainbow ...where else?

On this particular day, our patience was well and truly tested by some very fussy Rainbow Lake trout. At the end of the day, I was calling it No Rainbow Lake. I think I hooked three two pounders, which is pretty good by Australian standards, but well below the bar set by Spatsizi’s bountiful lakes and rivers.

To make matters worse, our very gentlemanly US fly fishing companion for the day Carl, a retired Academic, seemed to have no difficulty pulling in some plump and friendly Canadian Rainbows.

These trout were simply too discerning to be more readily hooked by a couple of big boofy Aussies. Bah. Humbug. And well done Carl.

 

Spatsizi - Steve pats Abbie our travelling companion for today's pursuit of grayling.

Today we were off with senior guide Luke and Abbie the wonder dog, to pursue the beautiful Grayling, a salmonoid species I’d never hooked before. However, no one seems to have told Abbie she was definitely coming with us.

 

Spatsizi - Our fantastic foodies. Chef Jesse and assistant Twila preparing our breakfast today.

Our Heroes of the Kitchen. Jesse and his Assistant Twila. I go all misty eyed just thinking about the food they served us, morning, and night.

 

#Spatsizi - loading up with Royal Humpies to chase Grayling today.

We had the tip-off from the boys who had been chasing Grayling the day before: It was Royal Humpies all the way. So, yours truly, in a spirit of down-under sportsmanship, bought every Royal Humpy in the Spatsizi fly shop. Hey! Someone had to have them.

 

#Spatsizi - Abbie is keen to get started with Steve and I today, chasing Grayling.

Abbie was pretty keen to come Grayling fishing with us. This was her at breakfast. By this time, she was getting a tad neurotic at the thought of missing out.

 

Abbie the Spatsizi Lodge mascot looking pensive this morning...do I get to come Grayling fishing with Steve and John?

Abbie started to tense up as we loaded the boat. Room for me? Room for me?

 

A relieved Abbie got to come Grayling fishing -#Spatsizi today.

Yay! This was one very happy pooch, as we set off up the Stikine River to chase Grayling on our last day.

 

A bear proof food locker @Spatsizi on the walk to the Grayling hole today...I'd have opened it to show you if I could have, but it was a little too complicated for me.

Words fail me here folks. This is a true story. Your humble scribe from down under could not open the bear proof locker, provided for overnight campers to store their food.

Now, that means that the local bears are very smart or your local scribe is very … where was I again?

 

One of 30 Grayling your humble author caught today #Spatsizi

Here I am with one of 30 Grayling hooked and released on our last day, along with 12 Rainbow Trout and two Arctic Char. These Grayling were just beautiful little fish. And the greatest gutses for a Royal Humpy (Shame Steve didn’t have one). They fought like little Bonefish too.

Looking back on this picture, I may have overdone it with the zinc cream, but it was a hot day. And a great day.

 

Petunias et al on the verandah #Spatsizi ...trip completed and we're now waiting for Wendell and his Turbo Otter to start the trip home. Well, this is it. The fishing is over and we’re waiting for Wendell to take us on the first leg home. With no fish on the line, I’ve been reduced to photographing Petunias. Still, they were pretty.

 

Wendell arrives #Spatsizi - we're heading home.

Here comes the Turbo. Here comes the Turbo. Woo Hoo! Homeward bound.

 

Just back home from Spatsizi northern BC, Canada. My five favourite flies from the trip: from left Tom Thumb, Royal Humpy, Prince Nymph, Mouse and Woolly Bugger, which between them cause and released 100 Grayling, Rainbow Trout and Artic Char. All of them were thoroughly mangled out the bit marks on the Mouse.

Now the caption says it all really. These were the flies which were really hammered by the local piscatorial pirates during our Spatsizi stop over.

The mouse fly was a complete write off and the cork you see here is now blue tacked to my central computer screen as I type. Ah, the memories. Enough to keep me sane for another year. I’m already booked for 2018.

 

A few facts.

You can find out most of what you need to know about Spatsizi at http://www.spatsizi.com/ Seven days of fly-in, fly out fishing will set you back about $8,000 Australian dollars and the Aussie dollar now (August 2017) has parity with the Canadian dollar. Allow about 10 to 15 percent cash for gratuities at the end of the trip.

Our Air Canada flight flew nonstop Brisbane to Vancouver. We went business class and it was a hoot. Sets you back about $6,000, but the beds were comfortable and the service friendly and practical.

We left mid-morning and arrived 14 hours later about four hours before we took off. Something to do with datelines. There’s a bit of a wait before the afternoon flight to Smithers, which you can fill in however you like. I think we got liquored up in the business lounge.

On the trip home, book the afternoon flight back from Smithers and make sure you pay a bit more to have the option of the later flight if the weather delays your trip in from the Lodge.

The flight back from Vancouver to Brisbane was a real treat. It leaves Vancouver at midnight and gets in about 7.30 am Brisbane time a couple of days later – where did that missing day go? Basically, you knock over a few wallbangers after take-off and hit the sack for about nine hours, before being gently woken up for breakfast, just before you land in Brisbane. Worked for me.

For Travel bookings, I contacted my old mate Emily, from Tripaway at Emily@tripaway.com.au

She did all the bookings and travel advisories and talked to Jacki at Spatsizi to make sure it all went well. There’s no hurry booking flights, but Spatsizi fishing places tend to fill up a year in advance, so get in early there if you want to try it in mid-2018.


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FINALLY GOING BACK IN 2017 TO REVIST SPATSIZI

Category:Fly Fishing

Twelve years ago at a Vancouver airport lounge, a tall Prussian looking gentleman strode past me, carrying a four piece fly rod tube.  At the time, I was carrying a six piece fly rod tube, so we started talking, as fly fishermen tend to do in out of the way places.

Herbert by then was in his seventies and had been on his annual visit to Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge, 300 km north of Smithers, British Columbia high up on the Spatsizi Plateau. The plateau featured a myriad of interlocking crystal clear river systems, teeming with fat and wild rainbow trout, beautiful arctic grayling and cannibal bull trout. Fly fishing heaven.

Guests could only get to the lakeside lodge by a commercial Otter float plane, which also brought in the weekly supplies of fuel and food. Every day for a week, Herbert had climbed up into one of the lodge’s smaller Piper float planes, scooting at low altitudes between snow-capped mountains before dropping down to a different lake and river, and catching and releasing up to 50 fish a day. He fly fished all around the world and Spatsizi was one of his favourite spots. I put it on the list.

Blog Darting between mountains

Now, 12 years later, I had just left Vancouver airport and was flying north to Smithers on an Air Canada Dash 8. The two men in front of me were speaking Swedish or German and reminded me of the rich cultural diversity of the Canadian west, where European ethnic and religious minorities came to get away from the majority and themselves became the new majority … but a more tolerant version.

Then I noticed many of the passengers wearing lightweight quick drying clothes, fishing caps and then I saw the four piece rod tubes … I breathed a little easier … I was among my own kind.

Part way down the peaks, the glaciers were collapsing under the summer sun, melting like brown and white turkey necks, down into the valleys, taking topsoil and vegetation under them. I took a look out the window …climbing to full height the mountains were black granite spires, with hard edges sharpened by millions of years of glacial drift, the peaks flecked by snow and cradling small fluffy clouds … I felt like one of the winch men on a rescue helicopter, getting lowered down into rough black seas with white caps and fluffs of spray, but still, as if captured in a digital freeze frame.

And there, deep down in the mountain swell, very deep, lay some delicately braided rivers fed by snow melt – magic waters for trout and spawning salmon. At full cruising height of 7500 metres it was bloody beautiful.

Now, at this point, I should tell you a little bit more about the residents of northern British Columbia. They breed em tough up there. Surviving winters at 40 degrees below freezing, surrounded by animals that see you as an ingredient, does tend to toughen you up somewhat.

Counting the wolverines, wolves, cougars and three types of bears, I’d done some research on the sorts of animals that regard humans as finger food and the apex predator is the boar grizzly bear.

They weigh up to 500 kg, stand up to four metres tall and can charge at 65 kph. They have claws as long as a man’s fingers which can rip a plane apart if they sense food inside. If the thought of meeting one of these critters concerns you at all, close your eyes as you arrive in Smithers airport, because there is a very large and very lifelike stuffed grizzly in a glass cage which was shot in 2001, about the same time I met Herbert.

As a marketing ploy, I thought it was up there with having a stuffed white pointer at the Gold Coast Airport, but it was certainly memorable. I won’t forget it.

This Grizzly, called the Hungry Hill Phantom, had chomped his way through 30 head of local cattle over three years and was shot trying to add two conservation officers to his menu.  The officers saw him at 24 metres, trapped in a steel cable leg hold snare which was wrapped around a large tree. He had been chewing on the steel cable and when he saw the two men, he became enraged as only a boar grizzly can, broke the steel cable and charged them. He got within seven metres before the high calibre cross fire stopped him.

Standing by the bear was our welcoming party or ‘expeditor’ a very nice lady who declined offers of assistance and effortlessly threw all our bags into the back of a small bus and whisked us off to the Hudson Bay Lodge.

The night was young, so I checked out the guest directory and counted 12 different mainstream and evangelical churches, and almost as many gun shops. Off to bed then.

Blog Spatsizi Cabins

Next day Thursday, we were finally loaded onto our turbo otter and away we went, with a French Canadian pilot called Wendell, a weeks’ worth of groceries and assorted hardware items and spare parts tied down by cargo nets around us. Everybody apart from me knew somebody on the plane and it was like heading off to summer camp for grownups, but with our very own plane. It was a real blast.

The scenery on the flight into Spatsizi was unforgettable. The lodge is in a saucer shaped valley, ringed by glaciated black granite mountains, flecked with patches of a pure white snow. Below the tree line was a Bristol green ribbon of Douglas fir trees, then more flat, olive green grassland with splashes of purple wildflowers. The lake itself was a pure processed blue and nestled at the far end were Spatsizi’s yellowed brown pine log cabins with their bright ferric red steel roofs. It was prettier than a box of crayons.

The lodge itself was great. In this neck of the woods, a flushing toilet counts as a luxury and six guests shared two of those. Each guest had their own cabin, with private showers, log beds, and wood stoves. Meals were served in the main building that has a lounge area, fly tying bench and a pine dining table which seats up to 20 guests and staff. The chef provides fine cuisine, freshly baked breads, and homemade desserts. And in this neck of the woods, they eat a lot.

After a lunch I had enough food on board to choke a fully grown goanna and I waddled off for an afternoon of fishing with our host, the legendary outfitter and patriarch Ray Collingwood. Ray is a small, wiry man in his seventies and very tough indeed. When he talks, the sentence starts out kind of slow and gravelly, a bit like an avalanche, grinding down a mountain. You tended to listen respectfully. Especially as he carries the bear bangers and pepper spray.

Blog Pix with Bull Trout

That afternoon, I caught about six big rainbow trout, up to five pounds. There were also lots of what the locals call white fish, which were, funnily enough white. And one big, bad bull trout, which was actually an arctic char.

I had run across the bull trout earlier, chasing my rainbow trout after I had hooked them. The bull trout were attracted to the struggling fish and bit savagely at them while the rainbows were otherwise engaged with my hook and line. This began a frantic game of me trying to save the fish I wanted to catch and release, from a real life predator lower down the feed chain, which preferred to catch and eat.

When I finally hooked one of these predatory monsters, it began with a soft nibble, like a white fish, but when I tried to pull it in, dived down and dug in, like a cranky old brown trout. When it decided to run, there was nothing I could do but give it line and trust in my knots. With a lot of side tension, the monster relented and decided to take a breather in some shallow water, where I was waiting. Then it was grip and grin and release and start again.

I got back to the lodge and enjoyed a hot shower and cold beer, long with some comfortable company from the blokes in quick drying gear and a four course meal, accompanied by half a bottle of a very pleasant, understated red, from a nice US winemaker called Jim who brought along a case. See earlier comments about being amongst friends.

Blog land plump rainbow twoAfter that, every day was a new adventure … we climbed aboard the little float planes and zipped in between the mountains, scanning for moose, elk and goats, before swooping down onto one of the 30 different rivers, lakes and streams.

On Saturday, we fished Tatlatui Lake and it was the kind of fishing day you only dream about Australia or New Zealand. When we landed I was buzz bombed by three cm orange stoneflies, so on went an orange stimulator fly and then followed six hours of non-stop hits from some crazy rainbow trout.

Instead of dead drifting dry flies, I was told to hold the line at the end of the drift and let the fly swing in a circle, creating a pointer shaped wake on top of the water. This runs counter to all the theory, but the guide called it the Spatsizi swing and it worked a treat. By the way, the guides also fly the float planes, which keep the costs down to about a grand a day and given our exchange rate this is better value than New Zealand at the moment.

At the end of the day, I’d missed some 60 hits by trout, hooked another 20 and lost them, but caught and landed 41 beautiful big rainbow trout, all over three pounds … it was my best day ever on the water, in terms of numbers … about 120 hits in total over six hours on the water …one hit every three minutes … my life was complete.

Blog Ray Collingwood Perfect HostOn Monday we visited Firesteel camp. Ray had flown in earlier in his little Piper float plane, with his new red dunny door tied to one of the floats and his favourite pooch as his fellow passenger.

Firesteel reminded me of the cabins I love in the Victorian high country …except this one had more mosquitos, no flushing toilets, no solar panels and no electricity. The emergency skis leaning against the cabin were a couple of old sand shoes nailed onto metre long pine planks. Like I said, they breed ’em tough up there.

Ray turned out to be a magnificent host. The moose steaks were delicious … the beds clean and dry and after dinner Ray lit a campfire and rasped out a few yarns about surviving black bear attacks and winters at 40 degrees below freezing point. He even produced a Cuban cigar from his root cellar. It was just like a cubby house for grown-ups. Or men who had never grown up. You can count me in there.

Now I knew why Herbert loved the place. I’d like to have thanked him, but he died a couple of years ago, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Give it a try. It’s nourishment for the soul and we all need more of that.

Copyright John Black 2013.

 


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DEMOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO 2016 ELECTIONS

Category:Election Profiles

ADS, in conjunction with ESRI and Map Data Services, have produced a dashboard and linked interactive maps, to show you the key voting stereotypes for the 2016 Australian election and where you can find them. Click on the icon above for the Post Election ADS.Elect Dashboard and Maps. You will find all of the vote and swing stereotypes and related maps for every Australian electorate.

Post Election ADS.Elect Dashboard

Click on Post Election ADS.Elect Dashboard for full screen viewing.

 

Pre Election ADS.Elect Dashboard

Click on Pre Election ADS.Elect Dashboard for full screen viewing.


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Photo Essay From Kiwi Guide Zane Mirfin

Category:Fly Fishing

Brown-Trout-Heaven-top

This summer – apart from a brief early season trip to Owen River Lodge – I haven’t had a chance to fish for trophy trout in New Zealand’s famous South Island waters.

So here are some (painful) reminders for me of what could have been my summer from Nelson guide Zane Mirfin, who actually gets paid for having this sort of fun.

If only I could persuade him to swap jobs for just one summer. I’m sure he’d enjoy the statistics. Oh well.

Here is Zane’s photo report from Brown Trout Heaven, New Zealand.

Wilderness Magic: Master angler Skip Herman, IL, USA, enjoys success with Zane in March 2016. Skip & Zane must have been fishing together for close on thirty years.

It’s been another action-packed fishing season and that’s why you haven’t heard from us for awhile! We really enjoyed the company of our anglers, and as usual, had plenty of great fishing action and adventures.

We were everywhere January – May with too many success photos to ever put in one newsletter. So we’re doing Part I now (January – March) and Part II (April – May) later in the month. We hope you enjoy the images.

Next year is looking like being another big season too, with world tourism on the up and up, assisted by a favourable exchange rate. We’re a year-round guiding operation, with year-round opportunities throughout New Zealand: October, November, and December are always the best trout catching months, with January, February, and March being the most popular months with our northern Hemisphere anglers. April – September we have plenty of wonderful saltwater fishing action in Tasman Bay and the Marlborough Sounds, plus great alpine hunting & waterfowling on public wild lands, and private properties alike.

Making a booking with us has always been easy. We just do direct bookings these days and can advise on all logistics and arrangements. As a result we can craft special experiences for each and every customer and ensure that you get to the best fishing, at the best times. You’re always our number one priority, and we’ll put you on the best water every day.


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Don Dunstan

SA 1973 to 1977

Category:Election Profiles,SA 1973 to 1977

Project One – The South Australian Research

south-australian flagThis is the original research carried out by John Black while working on state and federal ALP campaigns in eastern Adelaide between 1971 and 1977. During the early part of this period, Black was a politics student at Flinders University under Neal Blewett and Dean Jaensch, who co-wrote Playford to Dunstan.

Black then became an adviser to the ALP Deputy Premier Des Corcoran and ALP Premier Don Dunstan. During this period Black profiled the 1973 and 1975 SA state elections and devised the original version of elaborate, drawing from the work of Blewett and Jaensch and UK work by Butler and Don DunstanStokes.

Black provided demographic advice to the Cabinet Campaign Committee for 1977 on demographic and spatial targeting and the refinement of local campaign techniques, such as swinging voter campaigns and voter enrolment drives. These techniques involved the first amalgamation of printed street order electoral rolls, the telephone white pages and the Australian census, to locate and target key groups both centrally and down to the local street level.

This work laid the foundation for the early versions of campaign software, which has since evolved into the more individually focused product used by all major parties. In the early days this was all done with paper and pen, craft glue, scissors and hand held calculators. Data was stored on punch cards in shoe boxes and super computers for the major number crunching programs had to run overnight to complete calculations which now take seconds on a home computer.

Black delivered a series of papers on these profiling and campaign techniques to the ALP Federal campaign committee between 1974 and 1977 and prepared the demographic research component of the ALP submission to South Australia’s first one vote value electoral redistribution.

The late John Lockwood assisted with the statistical analysis and data preparation for this work and Kevin Harris advised on the geographical implications.

Read more…PROJECT 1 – SA 1973 to 1977