Poverty to be eliminated by 2030

The pledge by world leaders to end poverty by 2030 is one of the good news stories of the latter half of 2015.

The new UN agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which apply to both developing and developed countries. Although the United Nations has set out an ambitious list of goals, its plan will be backed up by trillions of dollars in development spending.

Pope Francis, making his first address to the UN urged leaders to take “concrete steps and important measures” because solemn commitment was not enough.

According to UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, the “to-do list for people and planet’’ is not only to end poverty, but ensure healthy lives, promote education and combat climate change.

The UN heard that 836 million people live in extreme poverty, mostly in the sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Wordsmith leaves legacy of years of wisdom

Farewell  to former The Advertiser What’s Your Problem editor, Barbara Vivienne Ross, who died on October 18 in Adelaide, aged 82.

Barbara was Adelaide’s local Dorothy Dix with all the answers to myriad questions presented to the What’s Your Problem column, which she edited for more than 20 years.  When she retired in 1989, she had amassed thousands of readers who read her missives faithfully.

Born in Tasmania, Barbara joined Launceston’s The Examiner newspaper as a cadet journalist. When she met Peter Ross, who worked at the local radio station, they married in 1955 and later moved to Adelaide.

When they separated in 1962, Barbara was left with two children to raise alone.  In 1968, she joined the Advertiser as a journalist, taking over What’s Your Problem, which had started the previous year.

Over time, she made it one of the most popular columns of the paper. In 1982, she produced a book of the most popular questions and answers and it sold out in one day.  A second print run followed and Volume II in 1985 was just as popular .

Barbara retired in 1989 and spent her retirement gardening, reading and completing The Advertiser crossword daily. She died of a stroke and is survived by Nicholas and Caroline and her five  beloved grandchildren.


Pretty Pink makes perfect pad for Gurley Brown

The vibrant foyer of Helen Gurley Brown's apartment in New York.

The vibrant foyer of Helen Gurley Brown’s apartment in New York.

The plush pink pad of renowned Cosmopolitan magazine editor, Helen Gurley Brown, who died three years ago, is up for grabs in New York.

The American author, editor and businesswoman,  who was 90 when she died in August 2012, had a fetish for pink. And she lavishly splashed 50 shades of pretty pink all over her famous  four-storey “pink penthouse’’ in the Beresford Apartments at 211 Central Park West, in New York.  Now it is being sold “as is” in all its pink splendour with a $27.85million price tag.

Gurley Brown, the author of the sensational Sex and the Single Girl,  was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years and her spunk and racy bon mots revolutionised women’s magazines.

She lived in the apartment, which has stunning views, for 40 years of her life.

When Vanity Fair asked her in 2007 where she would like to live, she responded: “Exactly where I am living—the Beresford Apartments, on Central Park West and 81st Street. We have the top four floors of a tower apartment. I’m slightly prejudiced, but I think it’s the best apartment in New York.”

Terrorists take terrible human toll in Paris


Paris's iconic Eiffel Tower

Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower

Paris, the City of Light, has been plunged into darkness, fear and grief by a series of terrorist attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers, which have left 129 dead and 352 injured – 99 critically.

In the wake of the shocking news which gripped the world this morning, comes the realisation that it was naive  to think that the massacre earlier this year of journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, was a once-only attack.  Instead Black Friday ushers in a new terrorist modus operandi reflected in the discovery that at least 3 of the murderous gang of 8, came into Europe via Greece registering within the flood of refugees. What is so frightening is that the Black Friday murderers intended to show that no one venue was safe from terrorism in Paris.  They murdered  Parisians indiscriminately in their beloved cafés, restaurants, and bars and, particularly, the creative heart of Paris – the concert hall and its beloved national sporting  venue, the football stadium.  These are the magnets for Parisians as they enjoy their lovely lifestyles in what has always been known as the City of Lovers. Now so many deaths of Parisians of all ages, seems to fulfil a forecast in March this year by Islamic State that the streets of Paris would be filled with the dead.  News coverage of the carnage – lineups of ambulances and paramedics carrying sheets of alfoil for the injured and others bearing body bags of the dead has cast a pall of grief over the city.  French president, Francois Hollande has declared the terrorist attacks as “an act of War”. He has declared a state of emergency and a three-day period of mourning. All schools and universities have been closed. The Eiffel Tower, the iconic symbol of France, has been closed indefinitely.

France has closed its borders in a vain bid to stop any repeat attacks. But, alarming questions need to be addressed. How could such a wide-spread simultaneous terrorist exercise be mounted so successfully without France’s sophisticated surveillance and security system detecting a whisper of “chatter’’.

At just the moment that we are led to believe perhaps the roll-back of Islamic State has begun in Syria and Iraq through a successful campaign to re-claim one of its strongholds, its leaders seem to have moved the goalposts, mounting a terror war on the world – carrying out its merciless acts in our own Western backyard – in the most beautiful city in the world.

Coat of Arms of Paris at Sacre Coeur

Coat of Arms of Paris at Sacre Coeur

It is at catastrophic events in history that Paris citizens should cling to the 15th century message of the city’s Coat of Arms (seen here at Montmartre) which means “Paris is tossed by the waves, but she is not sunk”. However, today, we must heed the message of social media – Nous sommes Paris and pray for Paris and its citizens.

There is hope that the imminent G20 meeting of the world leaders in Turkey will devise a miraculous solution to the threat to world peace posed by the growing numbers of radicalised young Muslims in western society.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was right when he said we must stand up for our freedom and our basic right to feel safe in our community. Meanwhile, the world weeps as one with the French innocents killed on Black Friday – Vendredi noir.

Mother koala and baby make a house call

Mother Koala and baby visit my home.

Mother Koala and baby visit my home.

The other night, at the height of a vicious storm, I had startling house visitors.   I took this photograph of a mother koala and her baby terrified by the storm and trying to get into the house. Mother koala was  literally pawing on my door and pacing back and forth.  It was as if she was the universal animal mother imploring “Please let me in so my baby will be safe from the thunder and rain.”

Initially, I couldn’t stop my dog Oscar going absolutely berserk and barking loudly outside my bedroom. It was midnight. Very cross with him, I got up and I found the koalas crouched at  the side of the house. Mother koala had somehow landed inside the slatted gate, which encloses the rear patio defined by a high cement slab fence.   Oscar had them bailed up. So I picked him up and  locked him up in the laundry.  Then mother koala  continued her journey to my rear sliding glass door, clearly wanting to come in from the fierce weather.

I had no idea what to do, but sensed her need for help. Then I thought of Animal Rescue and RSPCA and telephoned for help to a recorded message.  As I watched her powerful paws on my door,  I thought of a solution. While she was at the rear door, I raced around the front  and opened the side gate. I suspect she heard the latch go, because then I coaxed her back around the corner to freedom.  It was an amazing spectacle to have this wild animal with the wisdom to approach a human being and then to watch her march back into the night, baby firmly latched onto her back during all the excitement.   So I didn’t have to phone Koala Rescue after all. And I have a photograph to rival that classic shot of the cyclist sharing his water bottle with the parched koala on the road during one of our hottest days.

My night visitors were the most exciting thing to happen to me up here at Belair for a long time and reflect  why I am so happy up here living among the gum trees.


A “Sparkie” life of family and faith for Frank

Father Frank and great grand-daughter Scarlett

Father Frank and great grand-daughter Scarlett

My father Frank Buxton, who died on October 1, aged 96,  was a cheerful character whose sense of humour reflected a certain Britishness.  He was born in Sheffield, England, on October 22, 1918, however, when he was a two-year-old tot, his parents Emily and Harry Buxton brought him to South Australia on board the SS Beltana with his babe-in-arms brother Lesley. Dad’s British auntie had lived to 100 years, and as the years added up and Frank had no great disease diagnosed, we half expected him also to get a telegram from the queen.

However, his vital organs simply wore out and as my siblings and I sat with him during his last few dying days, we agreed that we had never heard him complain, even though his was a difficult life of a small businessman with a large family. Even though he was born with a lazy eye and in later life he went blind through glaucoma. Even though his hearing faded by the time he was 90. Dad would claim he was a lucky man, that I was his “sweet daughter”.

It was because of that lazy eye that Dad met our mum, Florrie Fiegert, because he failed his medical for military service in World War II.  Florrie lived on a farm in the Mallee near Loxton and when she  went to Renmark to pick apricots with the Women’s Land Army, she met Frank.  We grew up with the romantic story – how dad was working on the adjoining fruit block owned by his married sister Lilian. One day on the local bus for the workers, he caught sight of  “a gorgeous black-haired beauty” and enquired of his sister who it might be.  Soon a ladder, borrowed from the neighbours was returned and dad met mum. He wooed Florrie by letter, the “city slicker” initially frightened by the draught-horses on the Fiegert farm.  He would travel to Pata in his much-loved Nash with its gas producer and wartime blacked-out lights.  He had to join the Lutheran Church to claim her heart, but they married at the Concordia Lutheran Church, Loxton, on July 10, 1943 – despite the warnings of his mates on the assembly line where he worked as a tool and jig maker on aircraft production.   They thought he was mad joining a “German church” in wartime.  However, dad became a stalwart leader at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was a member of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association.  Throughout his life, he sang gospel songs around the home.

I was the first-born of the union and mum took me home to their rented rooms attached to a dairy farm in Islington, across the railway line from my grandparents.

Mum and dad had four other children, my three brothers, Dallas, Andrew and Mark, and my sister Anne, born on my 16th birthday.

I had a good childhood with dad before he became consumed with his growing electrical contracting business. Each Friday night he took us youngsters to grandma’s place and then we would go to the Rowley Park speedway to get covered in dust.  (Dad had had a wild youth before meeting our mum and raced motor bikes in “scrambles”, a dangerous sport racing across open country).   Every Saturday afternoon we would go to the Central Market to buy the cheap vegies. But our big outing of the week was going to church.

Dad was a “sparkie” and had a few strategic “breaks of luck” to raise him up from his poor childhood.   He had been very bright at Prospect Primary School, winning a scholarship to attend Adelaide Boys Technical High School. He completed an apprenticeship with Adelaide Electric Supply Company, now SA Power netowrks and after the war, he became a tutor at the electrical trade school.   Soon my father went into business on his own as an electrical contractor.    As dad’s business, Buxton Electrical Company Pty Ltd,  burgeoned and his staff grew to sometimes 20 electrical tradesmen and apprentices, he became less emotionally engaged with his family.  Our mum was a director of Frank Buxton Electrical Company, so ours was a very busy household as she handled school routines, new babies and the business.

My father was so proud of marrying Florrie, his business, his Church leadersip and the two houses he built for his growing family at 137 Galway Avenue Broadview. He and mum built the first humble cottage on the big corner block after the war in the barter system of the SA Home Buiilders Association. Dad told me he took five years to pay back all his subbies with electrical services.

When I was about 8 years old, dad built the big freestone home in front of the cottage, facing Galway Avenue and the cottage became his business workshop.

His life force, though, was his electrical contracting business, which he ran for more than 50 years.  He was immensely proud of being “the bloke who wired Woomera” and he had seven electricians in Woomera with a site office and workshop there.   He saw his legacy to the electrical industry to be the 17 apprentices he trained, including his own three sons.The business moved four times along Main North Road, but the workshop and retail store was at 109 Main North Road, Nailsworth for 18 years. The company handled diverse electrical jobs throughout South Australia from Kangaroo Island to Ceduna to Bordertown. He was a kind boss as he managed a large work force on difficult jobs such as lighthouses, supermarkets and multi-storey buildings. He became renowned in the electrical industry and “wired Target” at Sefton Plaza. He  held the maintenance contract for all the northern metro Woolworths stores.

When our mother became ill, dad closed the business, which had been transferred back to the little cottage a few years beforehand.  When mum died in 1997, dad met a Renmark lady, Elizabeth Schloithe and when she proposed to him on Valentine’s Day soon after they met, dad accepted. We were very shocked, particularly as I had bought Galway Avenue, my childhood home to live with my dad, who was 81 years old.  Instead, in August 2000, he married and moved to Renmark. He acquired three adult step-children. Dad was married to Elizabeth for 10 years and became her carer until she died.  For the last five years of his life, dad lived in nursing homes – at Renmark and for the past three years at Glynde Lutheran nursing home where his sense of humour became legendary.

He always claimed to be 105 and that he travelled to Sheffield to get his birth certificate to prove it.  Yet he died three weeks short of his 97th birthday. Our dad was a true gentle man, who leaves behind his five adult children, in-laws, 13 grand-children and 13 great grandchildren.

Dad and me on his 94th birthday

Dad and me on his 94th birthday