Book of the Week, and a contender for Book of the Year.

Cover shows author working from home writing programs to analyse the Concorde’ black-box recorder

Ann Moffatt was born in England in 1939 without an entitled childhood, having worked part time from an early age to assist with household finances. An accident which fractured her skull crushed her dreams of studying for a maths degree, and she filled in the days by reading books about computers. With her aptitude for maths and ability to learn on-the-job, Ann became one of the UK’s first female computer programmers, and was soon recognised as a leading authority on software development and the emerging field of database management.

Her first pregnancy prompted the company for which she was working to pioneer teleworking. That is, retaining women in the IT industry by allowing them to work from home whilst caring for their children, ultimately proving more productive than in-house.

In 1974 she came to Australia as a “sponsored expert” after being headhunted to work on the biggest computer implementation in the country (IBM), later moving on to roles including Director of the Institute of Information Technology and National Development Manager for the Australian Stock Exchange.

Moffatt’s professional experience includes as a programmer, analyst, designer, project manager, company and manager, as well as establishing and managing her own ICT service.

Over the years Ann has received many accolades. She is a Fellow of both the Australian Computer Society and the British Computer Society. She was a Board Member of the NSW TAFE Commission from 1998 to 2000 and a Board member of the IT&T ITAB from 1999 to 2000. She was also a member of the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE Council & the Hervey Bay TAFE College Council from 2001 to 2005. From 1998-2010, she was a Director of the Australian Computer Society Foundation, which advances IT through Education and Research.

In 2002, Ann was inducted into the Australian ICT Hall of Fame as the first female inductee. In 2005 USQ awarded Ann an Honorary Doctorate, which was conferred in May 2006. In 2011, Ann was inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame, which is the highest Australian professional award for a lifetime achievement in the ICT industries.

In May 2014 Microsoft listed Ann as one of 10 Australian Innovators, and in 2015 during her retirement, Ann established the Silicon Coast Extracurricular Code School (SCXCS) to teach students in Regional and Rural Australia how to program. In March 2016 Ann was named as one of Advance Queensland’s Community Digital Champions.

She remains active in the organisation she co-founded in 1990, FFIT, or Females in IT and Telecommunications, which has grown to more than 4,000 members.

During retirement she also found time to write this book, a fascinating read about her life and career challenges, and working alongside men who both adored her and abhorred her.

Here is a quote from a male colleague that Ann took to an Equal Opportunity Seminar sponsored by her employer in the mid 1980’s. You will either laugh or cry.

Well, it doesn’t work for me. At least my wife is female.She sits by the pool getting brown and plays tennis most days. She is there for me looking beautiful when I get home from work and when it’s time for bed she is ready for sex”.

494 pages in length and despite still being totally clueless about what computer coding is, or even does, this is an inspirational look at a life well lived.

What’s Your Funeral Song?

I’ve had my mind on music for my funeral this week. No, I’m fine, thank you. No impending doom and gloom – at least that I’m aware of. Health situation remains static. Sprained back muscle from carrying a bag of potting mix gives me the odd twinge but other than that I am fine. Fine and dandy.

I’m off to a musical performance on the weekend : Australian country singer John Williamson. Old guy, not to be confused with that other Aussie country singer, Keith Urban. * Be still, my beating heart….

There was a time when there was a rush on funerals and they all seemed to feature John Williamson songs. If it wasn’t True Blue it was Flower On The Water which Williamson wrote and performed for the first anniversary of the Bali Bombing. In Bali. Where friends, family and strangers gathered to throw flowers on the water. I appreciate his songs much more now that I’ve reached mature aged status -the simple structure allows me to remember all the words.

To hear your voice, to see you smile

To sit and talk to you awhile

To be together the same old way

That would be our greatest wish today

To hear you laugh, to hear you cry

Or just a chance to say ‘goodbye’

To say the things we didn’t say

That would be our greatest wish today

But all we can do is throw a flower on the water

Look for the sun through the rain

Lay a little frangipani gentle on the water

Remember how we loved you.
– J Williamson

Lists of popular Funeral Songs include many that you would expect:

Frank Sinatra : My Way
Vera Lynn : We’ll Meet Again
Sarah McLachlan : Angel
Ed Sheeran : Supermarket Flowers ( which he wrote for his Mum)

All good songs. Fine sentiments. But not my kind of music for a rollicking good Wake.

I am selecting a tune by Irish band Flogging Molly : If I Ever Leave This World Alive.A tune which works well with a glass of bubbles in your hand, in song, and on the dance floor.

What’s your funeral song?

P.S. Umm, not game to share the song I got married too. That might give you the wrong impression.

Easter 2021 Favourites.

Brisbane emerged from a shotgun Lockdown to an Easter of rain. And it’s still raining. Apologies to all those (un)happy campers out there but I’ve loved it. Rain, as well as being good for the garden, slows you down. It limits your activity options. Yay.

And the garden is thriving. Pumpkins and rockmelons galore.

Read Daniel Keighran’s autobiography for Bookclub, Courage Under Fire. Keighran was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award in the Australian honours system, “ For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER” on 24 August 2010.”

This young man is only a few years older than my daughters. The message I took from his story is that despite being brought up in abject poverty within a dysfunctional family – and we’re talking with a capital D – he was able to make something of himself to ensure a better life. 

The book is dedicated to his grandfather who was a softly spoken, self contained gentleman who served in WW2 and provided gentle guidance in young Dan’s life. He passed away only months before notification of the award. 

Based on a true story, the movie 0n Wings Of Eagles takes up where Chariots of Fire left off with Scottish athlete Eric Liddell having won gold for Britain at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Liddell, played by Joseph Fiennes, returns to his birthplace, China, to follow in the footsteps of his missionary parents. As World War 2 looms the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 brings great hardship to the locals and Liddell sends his family off to Canada to safety whilst he continues to minister at a school and is imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp. Enduring dreadful conditions Liddell remains a leader of men, providing lessons to the children in camp, and by his patient endurance.

Released in 2016  this movie is often bleak though there are also moments of great beauty. Fiennes has never been on my radar because of the “hungry look” about him. I’ve always thought he could do with some of my Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pud. It works well for him here.

Getting Out And About or More Positives From Covid

I recently read The Battle of Brisbane – Australians and the Yanks At War. See here: .

One of the positives from Covid and its lingering presence is that in order to survive and remain relevant organisations of all shapes and sizes are having to change with the times. A case in point, the Museum of Brisbane, totally seperate to the Queensland Museum, has recently added some fascinating events to retain interest and to educate.

One of these is a Walking In Wartime tour that steps back through time to look at Brisbane during World War 2 and includes the sites of the infamous Battle of Brisbane.

Other venues include a Dance Hall, a Church which was instrumental in the supply of war brides, Aussie Code breaking secrets, and the Douglas MacArthur Museum.

Now just hold on : 25 years living in Brissi and I’ve never previously heard of this place. What’s going on????

Of course I’ve booked.

The other innovative event I’ve only discovered with 24 hours notice is the Farmgate Trail in the Scenic Rim, only 90 minutes west of Brisbane. The idea being that you pack the esky and travel west to meet primary producers selling their wares : meet the farmer and buy from the paddock with fresh vegetables, cheeses, wines, and camel and beef meat on offer.

What a great little excursion, and a fun way to show the kiddies where their food comes from.

On a personal note Brisbane is back out of Lockdown. Just in the nick of time too as I attended my zoom book club in pjs with a glass of wine…..

Kultya At Last.

I was planning on sharing my pleasure having attended several live performances in the past fortnight. You can tell that everyone is as pleased as punch to be out and about when a capacity crowd sings along with an Irish pipe band…..

Margaret Fulton The Musical was great fun, probably more so because the young performers were obviously overjoyed to be back on stage, which rubbed off on the audience. Who was Margaret Fulton? She was the cook who taught a generation of women that meals did not have to consist of meat and three veg. She introduced Paprika and other spices to the palates of Australian women as well as the Pressure Cooker. ( Never used one as I remember as a young child a catastrophe in my mother’s kitchen).

The local Community Theatre put on a production, Women Of Their Word, featuring the writings of Australian women such as Judith Wright, Dorothy Hewitt, Mary Gilmore and others, who were not only poets but activists. Wonderful stuff and included Devonshire Tea.

And an Irish pub band had everyone in fine spirits with their songs of rebels and treason. Nothing warms the heart like the odd rebel or two.

Yes, I was going to tell you all about these events which reignited an old girls spirit. Unfortunately, South East Queensland has just gone back into a hard three day Lockdown. Hoo-bloody-ray.

Just as well I managed to pick up a few books and DVDs on the weekend……

PS. Stay courageous fellow Brisbanites. It was time to start on a new project anyway.

Darmongah Lookout Park At Mount Mee, Qld.

Mount Mee is approximately 90 minutes drive north west of Brisbane and is part of the beautiful D’Aguilar Range with spectacular views of the Glasshouse Mountains. 

View from Woodford

From the top of Mount Mee, expansive and picturesque views of seaside Caloundra and beautiful Moreton Bay can be enjoyed – except on rainy, misty days like when we visited. 

As well as the scenery there are numerous road stalls selling fresh eggs, pumpkins, and local honey. You know I just have to stop at these, don’t you?

The biggest win on this road trip was discovering the Darmongah Lookout Park on Mount Mee Road. After all the rain the rolling hills were green and littered with fat, fluffy lambs. No photos : it was too pea soupy.

Attached to the Lookout is the Mount Mee War Memorial which is just delightful.

The war memorial is in three parts; a memorial dedication, a growing pine tree and the Mount Mee Roll Of Honour. 

The pine tree was planted on Anzac Day in 2008 by local war veteran, Mount Mee resident Sapper Len Pedwell. The tree is a direct descendant of the last standing pine tree on the Gallipoli Peninsula that was destroyed by gunfire in the battle that later became known as the Battle of Lone Pine. 

Behind the tree a large iron bark log (Eucalyptus crebra), in honour of the township’s timber felling history, under an open gable-roofed shelter, which bears the Mt Mee Roll of Honour, for the First World War, Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and East Timor.

The boulder carries three plaques: one commemorating the dedication of the memorial; one describing the Battle of Lone Pine; and the centrepiece, stating:- “We remember with gratitude those who served without counting the cost, in times when people’s freedoms, beliefs and ways of life were under threat. Lest We Forget”.

And then there is this :

Sir – would it help if I shed a tear

I swear it’s the first time since this time last year

My spine is a tingle – my throat is all dry

As I stand to attention for all those who died

I watch the flag dancing half way down the pole

That damn bugle player sends chills to my soul

I feel the pride and the sorrow – there’s nothing the same

As standing to attention on ANZAC Day

So Sir – on behalf of the young and the free

Will you take a message when you finally do leave

To your mates that are lying from Tobruk to the Somme

The legend of your bravery will always live on

I’ve welcomed Olympians back to our shore

I’ve cheered baggy green caps and watched Wallabies score

But when I watch you marching (Sir) in that parade

I know these are the memories that never will fade

So Sir – on behalf of the young and the free

Will you take a message when you finally do leave

It’s the least we can do (Sir) to repay the debt

We’ll always remember you – Lest We Forget

Damian (Dib) Morgan 1998

It really is coming across the unexpected that makes these little road trips so extraordinary.

What’s On My Book Shelves?

Primarily a lot of dust. I’m a big believer in open windows and fresh air. The Domestic Goddess within withered away many years ago.

When I downsized four years ago I ditched a lot of books. This is how the concept for the Little Community Library in the local parkland began. I didn’t ditch the book shelves – they were upcycled as storage units for wine glasses.

I don’t own many books anymore though they slip through my fingers like quicksand. The pile of books at the end of the bed continues to grow ( currently sitting at 21 items) and last week I purchased a few more at the local Rotary fundraiser. There’s another book sale next weekend to assist the High School support their Chaplaincy program. This is a pretty controversial topic within Queensland schools. I’m totally lacking any religious convictions, and my kids never had to make use of these services whilst teenagers, but with the number of incompetent and dead beat parents in abundance I’m happy to support any program, religious or not, that works to keep our young people out of crisis mode.

End Of Rant.

The She Shack is my sanctuary. It houses my music, most of my movies and Flynns. I’ve been decluttering this area too by sending stuff to the daughters to enjoy. Especially little Harry Kilom. Afterall, you are never too young to watch Casablanca.

My Warries and other books that I’ve been collecting for thirty odd years are down to one book case also. I’ve retained the ones I believe my daughters will be interested in because of family history.

I just have to figure out how to house the TBR pile a bit better.

Darby O’Gill and the Little People

It was only months ago that the entire world awakened to the news that 90 year old actor Sean Connery had passed away. Connery, tall, dark and with a Scottish accent as soothing as butterscotch was the first actor to portray fictional British secret agent James Bond on film, originating the role in Dr No and going on to complete a further six titles in the series. To be honest I was never a fan of Agent 007 and his Martinis. Nor was I hugely impressed with him in most of his other films though as he aged and gained that slightly grizzled appearance and opted for more quirky roles I tended to warm to him. Roles such as Indiana Jones’ eccentric father and as the political prisoner in The Rock. Unlike many I didn’t mourn Connory’s death, preferring to reflect that he seemed to have lived a good life.

A few days afterwards I suffered one of my manic decluttering sessions. These are slap hazard events and generally occur when I’ve been advised to expect house guests. It meant that the complete contents of all storage units, shelves and the book case in my lounge room were dispersed across the floor with no space available to move. With no room to walk the cloud of dust was thick and played havoc with my sinuses as I began to fill a cardboard box with items for the charity bin.

Amongst the Neil Sedaka cassette tapes and a Playschool CD, I came across an old Sean Connery DVD that I had purchased when DVDs were the latest big thing when my daughters were both just toddlers over thirty years ago.

Darby O’Gill And The Little People is a Walt Disney movie released in 1959 when Connery was still fresh faced and well before the statement moustache. It tells the story of an irishman, Darby O’ Gill, with his taste for liquor and tall tales, including his encounters with King Brian of the Leprechauns. It is a movie full of whimsy, rollicking irish music, a scary-as-hell banshee and the proverbial pot of gold. Young Connery played the love interest to O’Gill’s pink cheeked daughter with a decidedly odd Irish accent.

It’s funny how memories can be triggered from nothing, isn’t it?

I remember having been enchanted with this movie as a child, back in the days when television was new to Australia and the whole family would gather around on a Sunday evening to watch Disneyland.

My father must have enjoyed this movie too as he was forever reminding my sister and I to “keep an eye open for the Leprechauns who live at the bottom of the garden”. Along with the fairies of course.

Sometimes, early in the mornings or towards sun set, he would hold my hand and quietly walk me down towards the back of the family property just to look for leprechauns. This was an area which was less manicured with fruit trees and wild flowers in abundance. At times the vegetation was so wild that I was too scared to visit that part of the yard by myself in case lions and tigers were hiding in the long grass.

Television has a lot to answer for really……

My Dad was a hard man, a man’s man, who always believed in Luck. Although he never spoke of his time in Bomber Command and Pathfinder Force during World War 2 he often repeated that it was just good luck that had him survive flying over the night skies of Germany. Luck. The Luck of the Irish. A lucky leprechaun.

When my own daughters came along they too were introduced to the mysteries and beauty of the garden. Didn’t matter which garden, whose garden, or where the garden was located. There were always butterflies to watch, magpies to chase, leaves to collect and the ongoing search for the elusive King Brian and the Little People.

On odd occasions I still find myself daydreaming in my own garden and wondering if a leprechaun will present. It’s one of the reasons that I put the effort into the yard that I do. The results are well worth the effort and provide much pleasure.

I haven’t caught a glimpse of King Brian yet, though I regularly listen to Bing Crosby crooning Galway Bay whilst weeding. Or The Pogues.

This movie will not be going the way of surplus books and Conway Twitty albums. It is now destined for my baby grandson who can look for Leprechauns amongst the red soil and rock faces of Arnham Land.

And so a new generation of Sean Connery fans begins.

Another Project or Who Said There Was Nothing To Do In Retirement ?

One of the projects I’ve undertaken recently came to mind during Lockdown. I’de been reading a lot, particularly on social media, about the wonderful deeds of women in the past, particularly women from overseas. The Americans and the English seem to honour and celebrate the achievements of both their men and women whereas we Australians tend to be a little too “laid back”.

My friend Bernadette studied History at University. I opted for Geography and mostly courtesy of those great movies and television series during the 1960’s. Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan was all I needed to pass exams about the Amazon and John Wayne movies filmed in Monument Valley also contributed greatly to my success in the subject.

Together we thought we should highlight our Aussie women, past and present, who have done so much to change our landscape. Today, after four days of continual rain I am thankful for Myra Juliet Farrell (1878 – 1957) who came up with the idea for an indoor folding clothesline.

We would love you to join us here:

Trailblazing Women Of Australia at

No femminazi here’s a photo of the most important young men in my life.

Harry Kilom and Bentley

Kilcoy , Queensland

Kilcoy is a small township, with a population of less than 1500, and is situated on the D’Aguilar Highway 95 kilometres north west of Brisbane.

In the early days it was a timber and dairy town. In recent years Kilcoy’s claim to fame is its abattoirs, including one of only two in Australia that are accredited to export horseflesh.

Why am I sharing this information? Because if you happen to be driving through town it is a must to stop at one of the butcher shops. OMG. Let’s talk about meat that melts in your mouth : Wagyu beef with the marble score of 9. Or you can do what we did : a Steak Dinner at the Exchange Hotel on the main drag through town. Delicious. Easily the best steak I’ve eaten for twenty years.

The Exchange is a lovely old pub built in 1901, which has been renovated over the years as required. The interior walls are covered with old black and white photos which tell the history of Kilcoy and surrounding districts. Fascinating stuff. For those taking an interest in Women’s History Month one of The Exchange’s licensees was Olga Brett, one of Australia’s youngest women ever to do so.

May I add that I was totally impressed that this pub out in the middle of the sticks had a courtesy bus to transport its clients to and fro free of charge. I live near four hotels, three of which are high profile, attracting entertainment and both national and international tourists. Do you think any of these offer the services of a courtesy bus? Not on your life! High Five to The Exchange.

Although past its prime since the closing of the railway this little country town with its picturesque views of rolling hills in close proximity to Somerset Dam is very proud of its history. The walking trail around the township is flat with places of historical interest highlighted.

This is a RV Friendly town with a couple of Motels and Pub accomodation. There is a historical museum as well as two wineries. Yes, I said wineries.

In this decade the cow is king, though it wasn’t always so. Kilcoy is also known as the Yowie Town with the last reported sighting in the 1970’s. For those unfamiliar with Yowies they are comparable to a Yeti or the Abominable Snowman (without the snow.) Although mythical the aboriginals stated they too saw Yowies in the days of early settlement.

If travelling around the area may I also recommend carrying a purse full of gold coins. There are road stalls along the way where you can pick up pumpkins, local honey, fresh eggs and plants. I do so love a road side stall, don’t you?

Kilcoy is another rural town with more than meets the eye. And if you’re local mark April 17th in your diary for the Digger’s Race Meeting at the Kilroy Race Track. This is an event designed to recognise and honour veterans, exservice personnel and peace keepers with Military Bands and protocols.

I think I’ll require a new frock.!

TIP: We Aussies have taken to the road in the thousands. If you aren’t in a caravan or motor home you are going to find it very difficult to find accomodation. Book ahead.