Thursday, June 30, 2016

Croc spotting

The spotlight catches sparse fog and insects hovering above calm water as it illuminates tangles of vegetation on the banks of the pitch-black Russell River.

As the light constantly sweeps back and forth, the only thing breaking the silence of a still Winter night in far north Queensland is the buzzing of the boat motor slowly pushing us downstream.

What we're looking for, Queensland's principal wildlife officer Matt Brien tells me, is the one "chink in the armour" of an animal whose reputation is largely centred on camouflage and stealth.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Under an eerily-dark Tour Eiffel, tourists pose for photographs as police sirens echo through the arrondissements.

Millions before them have taken exactly the same images, but when these people look back on their souvenirs, something will be missing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


It looks like an autopsy table, but where there would normally lie an entire human body, there are just 17 fragments of bone.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

'Where do these hillbillies come from?'

He sat in the back row of the public gallery in the Magistrates Court, combing his whispy black mullet, visibly nervous as he awaited his moment in the spotlight.

I'd been sent to the court to monitor the developments after a string of bikie arrests, but out of a room literally full of social misfits, it was this mullet guy that held my attention.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A skeptic's guide to a ghost tour

About half an hour into a ghost tour through one of Australia's most prominent historic sites, I'm adjusting my gloves as my sister sneers "are you a little bit scared?"

Her predatory sarcasm seems to be designed to scare me if I'm not already, but it fails.

"No, I'm just cold" I reply.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On the campaign trail

As I get on a bus that's parked on the runway at Brisbane Airport, part-way through what will soon become a 77 hour week, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy sparked by what would be, in any other circumstance, an unremarkable sight.

The bus has a toilet.