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

  Thursday 21 August 2003
Now I don't want to give the impression that Bungendore is stranger than any other country town but we have our share of 'endearing' qualities. The penchant for garden sculpture and the looping footpath in Malbon Street are just two that come to mind.
The Beery Hogget Manifesto! 

It was strange that it took until the July edition of the Bungendore Bulletin for Beery Hogget's letter to achieve such notoriety. When we read it in June I'd already planned the sticker I wanted to plaster over the Canturf sign, (you know the -snigger- one about rooting). I'd talked about it with local friends but they hadn't taken Beery's Manifesto as seriously as I did.

Here, I believed was the man to be the next Mayor of Yarrowlumla, a man of the people with strong ideals, with a desire to preserve the town from unsuitable encroaching development, a family man (obviously) and down to earth, no nonsense, God fearing. Some of his ideas were a touch strange, but I'd happily buy him and his clan a meal or two, explain the menu if required and talk him through the issues.

Then they took down the Canturf sign and I forgot about it.

In the July issue it was clear that Maurice and Dougal (who obviously have fun editing the local paper - the anti-Queanbeyan joke on the front page of the July edition is a case in point, but that's another story), had hit a nerve. The Bungendore Bulletin swings between a university rag with awkwardly drawn cartoons and serious political comment, and a country news sheet, with vet warnings of snake bite, and the Bowling Club and CWA news and recipe. The regular changing ads are also content. A large section of the paper is council news, and there is usually at least one page with Dougal's rambling, word by word re-telling of the local history of public crockery, drawn from the exciting minutes of the Hall committee. Some bits we slide over, but we always read Charlie who writes both the motorbike news and the garden column (which we find more interesting), but most editions are a lively enough mix. Quirky but useful.

Beery Hoggett's comments however, stirred up pages of reader's letters. It included one in 3/4 blank verse, 1/4 doggerel that seem an obligatory part of a country newspaper. Most were long, so I liked this one from a couple (using their real names, many chose a nom de plume for some reason) who said ...

We have the pleasure of not knowing your recent contributor Beery Hogget (correct title unknown) and for this we are extremely grateful.
Greg and Suzanne White

Another, from a Beery supporter said,

"there is an increasing feeling that Bungendore is becoming a rural sub-division of Canberra plagued by its black skivvy brigade"

and then railed against fancy restaurant food, and the proliferation of coffee types,

"I've almost had to take off my socks to count with both fingers and toes the different varieties of coffee ordered with combinations of short, long, white, black and so on".

So, I figure that while 4500 homes receive the Bungendore Bulletin each month, it is not a wide enough forum deserving the thoughts of Mayor-to-be Beery. I'm reprinting it here in full, so that you too, can enjoy it.

For a larger printable version of this image, click here.


Surely I can't be the only person in Bungendore who is sick to the back teeth of how the town is going? Firstly and most obviously is the huge number of godawful subdivisions attracting builders of vulgarians' palaces, huge brick venereal monstrosities with tens of metres of roofline and half a dozen garages that would be more at home in Swinger Hill than in Bungendore. No doubt their owners moved to Bungendore either for the 'Country Lifestyle', (excuse me pass the bucket!) or to try to make a killing on the real estate market now that Bungendore has become an 'Address' darling! Well in my humble opinion these foul enormities and the endless clutter that comes with them are destroying the whole character of the village!

I won't argue about whether such unpleasantness is sustainable development, I don't know enough about town planning or the necessary infrastructure to tell. What I can see with my own eyes, every day, is that people no longer stop and chat, eye contact is generally avoided, hold open a door for someone and you are more likely to get a glare than a thank you!

I've also had it pointed out to me that no-one complains about the increase in the value of their property! Come again? Perhaps these people should pull their heads out of their fundaments and understand that not everybody is on a crazed, competitive race to see how much wealth they can accumulate screwing other people of gleefully increasing the rateable value of their home. Some of us just wanted to live close enough to major amenities where life was quiet and we could be left alone. Huh! Fat chance of that in Bungendore. Especially since the 'Tweeification' of the place began a decade or so ago.

It all seemed to start when the Chamber of Commerce decided to start putting up those repulsive signs describing various "features" of the village. What, pray tell is a Rail Heritage Area'? I always thought it was a station and a disused goods marshalling yard. Silly me! And was I the only person who, when a sign was put up describing Turallo Terrace as 'Garden Place' wanted to immediately buy a block there and fill it with rusting car bodies and savage dogs? The list goes on...

There is a volcanic eruption of hideous Cafes competing with each other to produce ever more pretentious menus using a whole load of yuppified names for things. God give me strength! Look, if people can make a living from it I'm all for it. I just don't see why it has to be so sickeningly 'Black Skivvy and mobile phone set'. (I particularly detest having waiters and waitresses read me out what's on a blackboard. Can none of the people who regularly frequent these places read?)

"Oh," I was told the other day, "But we all used to complain when there was nowhere to go and eat in Bungendore." (Gurgle!!) Did we really? Just call me 'Mr. Stupid', but I never noticed any great lack of eateries. Good, solid, wholesome and imaginative scoff has always been available at the Gibb St. Cafe, Rina's was there, then we had the French joint and stolid but fairly unimaginative stuff was available at the pubs, but then the 'Black Skivvy' set don't 'Do' pubs, do they? Far too plebian, Dahling! I probably eat out only a couple of times a year, because (a) I can cook just as good grub at home for a fraction of the cost and (b) I can't afford to take my hideous gluttonous brood out and squander $150 on a meal every couple of nights. I reckon anyone who can afford that is obviously being paid way too much.

With the Cafe explosion has also come a constant nagging, bleating and puffing up of themselves by the clueless and talentless who profess some interest in 'The Yarts'! The Woodworks has always had a fine selection of nice stuff, way beyond the price range of mere mortals but nice none the less and it's always good to have a peer through the window, but now, clustered like flies around a bull's bum in the hot season there have sprung up seemingly dozens of tawdry trinket emporiums and purveyors of dross. Hand in hand with this seems to have come a blossoming of 'New Age' nonsense. "Angel Readings', Psychics, 'Drum Workshoppers' and a host of other charlatans, quacks and oxygen thieves who seem to think it is OK to try and peddle their nonsense and ask for PAYMENT! The cheek of it!

Goofy 'Buskers' also appear from time to time. I actually saw a sword swallower plying his filthy trade outside the bottle shop a couple of weeks ago! What next. Clowns? Fire Eaters? Unicyclists? These people should all be sent off to re-education camps and their filthy practices ruthlessly stamped out, without mercy!!!! Have you noticed that any time you see the term 'Tantric' it is usually connected with a toothless harridan with frizzy hair and not enough clothes. And the expression 'Shamanic' can usually be sheeted home to a fat, middle aged white bloke in smelly sandals wearing a Sarong?

All I can say is thank heavens for 'Crackers Caf' ! While I approached 'Crackers' and tried to convince him that a change of name for his establishment to 'Swimming in Fat' would be an astute move, he for some reason failed to see the logic. Never mind. What you see is what you get. Sure it's crass, vulgar and outstandingly loud but it surely makes a marvelous counterpoint to the suffocating, mincing, niceness that has become so prevalent in the last few years. All power to the philistines! Bring it on. bring it on!!

Beery Hoggett. June 2003.

Footnote: Beery was given right of reply in the August issue but never reached the fervor behind the manifesto above. We did however get introduced to his 'lovely child bride' Sweaty Hogget, their son Scrawny Hogget, daughter Flouncy Hogget, 'single-digit aged' Piglet and Old Ma Hogget.
















There's photos of Turallo Terrace in this diary entry, 2 August 2002









The passing of Rina's and new cafe's was the subject of this diary entry 7 June 2003

Angels in Bungendore? See this diary entry 19 January 2003


Crackers was the subject of this diary entry 13 May 2003
  Fred Harden 2003 <thinktag> After a few days, these entries are added to the Archive Menu

Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden