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August 2006





You can assure your preferential room rate by booking now. The Brisbane organising committee has secured highly discounted rates at two of Brisbane’s leading hotels, Sofitel and Novotel. The hotels are just five minutes apart and are adjacent to Central Railway Station and the Brisbane CBD. As there is a large competing conference, and once the rooms are filled that’s that, early reservations are encouraged.

Booking code ASO1007

Rooms on Floors 10 - 21 cost $195 per night for single, double or twin. There are also Concierge Rooms (above the 21st floor) for $235 and Club Rooms, which include access to the Sofitel Club on the 30th floor, for $270 single and $300 double. Club Room accommodation includes free breakfast in the Sofitel Club and afternoon canapes and cocktails.

You can make a reservation by paying the first night's accommodation in advance with the remaining payment to be made on arrival or when checking out. Bookings can be made by credit card or bank key card.

Book through Jade Thompson at email [email protected] or by phoning her on 07 3835 3535 or 07 3835 4959. Remember to quote the booking code.
And if you decide to extend your stay before or after the reunion period, subject to availability the Sofitel will extend the same room charges.

Booking code ASOPA 2007

The room rate is $150 per night for single, double or twin. You can make reservations by giving credit card details and paying on arrival.

Book through reservations sales manager Laura Ousby, who can be contacted at email [email protected] or by phoning 07 3309 3309. Remember to quote the booking code.

If you want to extend your stay before or after the reunion, the Novotel will extend the same room charges for the 11th and/or the 15th.


Friday 12 October
Meet & Greet: Chez Bar & Bistro at the Sofitel. Pay for play: food around $15, desserts $7, coffee $3. The foolhardy or bored can fight with poker machines! Plenty of scope for night owls.

Saturday 13 October
Morning: Golf at Indooroopilly.
Lunch: Options include the River Canteen, Newfarm Park, Regatta Hotel, a rail journey to North Brisbane or up the river on ‘The Island’.
Official Dinner: To be held jointly with the Class of 1960-61 in the Grand Ballroom of the Sofitel. The package, at about $94 per person, includes a three course menu and beverages from a private bar.

Sunday 14 October
Lunch: Ferry or walk to Southbank (to be confirmed).
Dinner: Bow Thai Restaurant. The whole restaurant has been booked for a set banquet. Drinks to be paid for at the bar.


COL BOOTH [Port Macquarie NSW] - We had a lovely day with Colin (Huggibear) Huggins and Bill Welbourne in Brisbane. We walked the walk: Queen Street Mall, waterfront, Novotel/Sofitel, Ibis/Mercure. The Brisbane chapter has certainly picked a top locale for Event 3.

Master Huggins certainly has turned on the charm, as the Sofitel lady treated us with great courtesy and made us feel very important. The prices Colin has negotiated will blow you away.

Wendy and I stayed at the Mercure and paid $180 per night. That was after receiving our Accor Advantage. While at the Sofitel, I checked the standard rate and nearly fell on the floor - $595. Novotel nearly as bad. Huggibear has talked his way into a Sofitel reunion rate of $195 and Novotel of $150. Very, very cheap!

We were pleasantly surprised that Paul Brigg was able to join us for lunch. Paul was head teacher at Tavui Girls School (near Rabaul) in 1964-66 when the Bodmans and then Wendy and I were at Tavui Primary T. We hadn't had contact with Paul since we left Rabaul in December 1966. Paul, ASOPA 1960-61, seems to be progressing well coordinating the gathering of his crowd in Brisbane at the same time as our reunion.




The organising committee of David Keating, Ron Antoine, Di Harwood (nee Withers), Bob Schultz, Merv Dunkin and Peter Stuckey has negotiated excellent accommodation at very favourable rates at the Cedar Lake Country Club at Advancetown via Nerang.

Accommodation for two nights in a two-bedroom apartment will cost:

  • exclusive use of 2 bedroom apartment (1 person) - $280
  • exclusive use of 2 bedroom apartment (couple) - $140
  • share 2 bedroom apartment (2 singles) - $140
  • share 2 bedroom apartment (2 couples) - $70

Other costs will include:

  • catering [2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch] - $130.
  • participation services [name badge, room provisions, transport, prizes etc] - $70.
  • Asopians gift pack [gift satchel and inclusions, reunion polo shirt] - $40 (this will not apply to partners but non-Asopians can order a polo shirt for $30)

1961-62 Asopians need to make a deposit of $100 per person when confirming attendance and advising preferred accommodation. If you have arranged share accommodation this should also be advised when you forward your deposit. Cheques payable to 61/62 ASOPA REUNION and sent to 61/62 ASOPA REUNION, PO Box 73, New Farm, QLD 4005.

Depending upon numbers, it is the intention to arrange a mini coach and driver to do pick-ups from Coolangatta Airport and Nerang Train Station on the afternoon of Friday 24th August returning on the morning of Sunday 26th August. On average it takes about an hour and a half on the train from Brisbane Airport to Nerang Railway Station. Nerang Station is only about 20 minutes from Cedar Lake Country Club.

If you are flying to Queensland you should investigate flying into Coolangatta as fares are often cheaper and transport is easier to Cedar Lake.




Paul Briggs and Dick Arnold and their committee have been successful in locating all but 5 or 6 of the Class of 60-61. They have experienced the thrill of the chase and record the ‘small world’ impression as leads and connections link up in the most unexpected ways.

It is estimated that an expected 25 couples will attend the reunion but this could grow as the event draws closer.

The 60-61 group will hold their first Friday night get together independently but will share the Saturday night ‘Official Dinner’ with the Class of 62-63.




COL BOOTH [Port Macquarie NSW] – Wendy and I have just returned from the Port Macquarie Eisteddfod, where I made myself known to the adjudicator. Noel Cislowski told me that he is well up with things ASOPA , and that he is aware that he appears on the website. He told me he is trying to locate Shirley Buffet through a contact. Trouble is that she is now married and he doesn't know her new name. We only had a very short conversation as the show was about to begin. He assured me he had very fond memories of ASOPA. He also went on to say that he is aware of Event 3 in Brisbane next year and expects to be present!


RICHARD JONES [Bendigo VIC] - Two of our old ASOPA comrades and spouses will be in Turkey come October. But their itineraries won’t allow them to meet up. Dave and Elissa Kesby will arrive in Istanbul on 6 October for a week’s stay. They leave via ferry for Samos in Greece before spending six days in Athens. Judyth and Richard Jones won’t arrive in Istanbul until 23 October after a week in London catching up with daughter Daria and her partner David. Sadly the paths of the Kesbys and the Joneses won’t mesh.

Dave and Elissa’s son Pete works for Emirates Airlines based in Dubai, so they have been able to snag some great trips in recent years. They intend to spend five days in Dubai with Pete on the way back to Sydney. The Jones will to travel clockwise around Turkey, Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Aspendos, Pamukkale and Kusadasi returning to Istanbul via the Aegean and Mediterranean coastline. The trip will include Ephesus, the ancient site of the fabled Troy, and the hallowed ground of Gallipoli. Dave and Elissa will also visit Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Kusadasi and Pergamon.

Recurring bomb explosions in Turkey is causing us some furrowed brows with our trip only 6 weeks away. They seem to be targeting tourist destinations along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts where the resorts are. And it is still August, the boom period of the northern tourist summer season.
However, I see in news stories that Geelong's AFL president Frank Costa is presently in Turkey on holidays so that's a bit of a relief to hear.

For people north of the Murray ditch, Costa is a multi-millionaire green grocer. He made his fortune flogging caulis, tomatoes and lettuces and now has massive organisations in fruit and veg wholesaling and retailing, transport operations, cool stores - the lot, really.


GEOFF CONLON [Sydney NSW] – I am getting together some family info on Alfred Conlon who proposed the establishment of ASOPA to General Blamey. Alf could drink red wine by the flagon. He got sick of trying to get funds for research projects by travelling to Canberra. He got a boot load of red wine, took it to the Members at Parliament House and drank it with them until they agreed to his projects. The rest is history both official and unofficial. I think there are quite a few laughs in the unofficial history and some startling facts - some not too bright, others of amazing significance, if I do say it myself as a nephew.

Actually Alf was a red and green man from wayback. His father (my grandfather) Arthur Conlon was centre in the winning Souths first rugby league premiership in 1908. Alf was born a few weeks after that. Ten years later in 1918 Arthur Conlon died of Spanish Flu - and that really knocked the family for the best part of the last century.


DAVE KESBY [Berowra Heights NSW] - As well as being the editor of our much-loved The Mail, Keith, in a previous life, mixed with the powerful. There was a great story in the Sydney Morning Herald of 5 August of how our editor was in a meeting where Bob Hawke was tearing strips off the management of the ABC over a story that ABC’s four corners did on Bob Hawke’s best friend, Sir Peter Abeles.

It was Keith’s meticulous notes that were used to show that Bob Hawke used undue pressure on the ABC. Great stuff and a great insight into Keith’s previous life. The article was written by Alan Ramsey who writes angry articles each week. He dislikes most politicians but has a huge loathing of both Bob Hawke and John Howard. I love the articles anyway.

All is well in the Kesby household. Am grandfather again. Elissa and I are off to Dubai in October to see our son Peter. We’ll also visit Turkey and Greece.

Dave's reference is to this extract from Ramsey’s article:


“Ken Inglis, a former professor of history at the Australian National University and professor of Australian studies at Harvard, has just published his second ABC blockbuster. The first, in 1983, titled This is the ABC, covered the ABC's first 50 years from 1932. The second completes the next 23 years. And on page 155 of his latest book, Whose ABC?, there is a wonderful excerpt from the diary of Keith Jackson, a senior ABC management figure of the 1980s.

“Inglis recounts a meeting by Somervaille and Jackson with Hawke in the prime minister's Canberra office in late August 1987, the detail of which Jackson later committed to his diary.

“Inglis quotes Jackson's diary: "The prime minister began [the meeting] with an 'intemperate attack on Four Corners as a nest of vipers'. Says he knows there is a program in production on 'the friends of the government' and advises ABC to seek the counsel of defamation lawyers. Expresses repugnance that 'public funds should be used to underwrite people whose purpose is to undermine the fabric of society'. Somervaille placidly absorbed all this, and more, and responded with words to the effect: 'I hear what you say, prime minister, but I know you would be the last person to want me to interfere in ABC programming.' "


ANN PRENDERGAST [Waverton NSW] – Thank you for keeping all of us informed about the doings of PNG/ASOPA people and thanks also to those people who write regularly and tell us about what they are doing and whom they have met. I saw in Alan Ramsey's article ‘Aunty bashing’ in the Sydney Morning Herald that you have been writing a diary. Perhaps you could publish some more extracts for us on the ASOPA website.

I know you are friendly with the producer of Lateline, Peter Charley. The program is usually excellent. Last night Tony Jones interviewed Amanda Vanstone. Her attack on the Edmund Rice Centre's report on what has happened to some of the Afghanis who have been returned from Nauru will not go down well with Catholic Liberal voters. The Centre has a reputation for good work on social justice issues.
Thanks again Keith and congratulations on the 100th anniversary of The Mail.




BARRY FLANNERY [Nambour QLD] - I am trying to find Brian Smith and Ted France for the 2007 reunion. Would you please ask readers if they could supply information on their present whereabouts.

This is a real hard one. If anyone has any info you can contact Fluffer at [email protected]. You can let me know, too.

SCOTT ROBERTSON [Sydney NSW] - Robertson & Hindmarsh Architects have been commissioned to prepare a Conservation Management Plan for the ASOPA site on Middle Head. We would like to contact any former staff or students who have photographs of the buildings in use. The images on your web site have been really useful. We were wondering if there is anyone who can tell us who planted the tropical vegetation beside the walkways.

If you’re able to assist Scott, you can contact him on 02 9439 7779 or at [email protected]