Archive for June 28th, 2008

Updated: Explosives found in Hughes, residents evacuated: Exclusive Audio

Explosives were found in a home in Jess Place, Hughes yesterday causing police to evacuate residents while they attempted to safely remove the explosives. It is believed that the deceased resident of the house may have been collecting explosives for a number of years.

Residents were evacuated and handed this press release to explain the situation, while an ACT Government Evacuation Centre was setup in the Hughes Community Hall.

I spoke to one of the evacuated residents this morning:
Download MP3

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, here’s an overview map that I created:
Hughes, ACT

The interviewed Hughes resident, who does not wish to be named, has also kindly provided me with a map of the affected area:
Explosives found in the suburb of Hughes, ACT
(Click image to enlarge)

Red is the confirmed initial roadblocks I saw at 3.30pm, with the one on Brand street to stop people walking into the area through the nature strip rather than a traffic road block.

Blue were the roadblocks when i returned at 7.

Orange was the staging area, I assume will be the same place today. Kent St was covered in emergency service vehicles there yesterday so it’s hard to miss.

Yellow is the house someone said they strongly believed was the house in question, however when I passed last night on my way home I don’t recall many officers at that particular house, it may have been the one above it.

The house shaded in yellow is number 4 Jess Place, and the one above it is number 6 Jess Place. I will endeavour to bring you an exact address. Update: Address detailed below End Update

Residents are expected to be evacuated again today as the police and the army work on removing the explosives. Further updates as they come to hand.

Update 2:55pmThe activity has certainly died down in the area and only a handful of police and explosives experts remain on the scene. Marked police vehicles are intermittently in the area however it is two unmarked vans which seem to be the resident official vehicles of the operation.

I can now confirm that the house is number 2 Jess Place, Hughes, shown on this map in yellow:
Explosives found in the suburb of Hughes, ACT
(Click image to enlarge)

The scene is very quiet and the word is that any evacuations this afternoon are likely to be confined to Jess Place and neighbouring houses.

2 Jess Place Hughes ACT
The police talk to a neighbour about the situation.

2 Jess Place Hughes ACT
Number 2 Jess Place, with the explosive-laden garage visible between the vans

2 Jess Place Hughes ACT
The scene from Birdwood Street

It’s a pity that I don’t have a time machine as the scene was apparently much more interesting last night, with many emergency service vehicles on the scene and a staging area which was being used rather than being completely cleaned up as was the case this afternoon. End Update

Further Update 10:21PM: No wonder it was quiet when I was in the suburb between 1pm and 2:30pm. The Australian Federal Police have issued a press release declaring the area safe:

Conclusion of Hughes incident
Saturday, 28 June 2008

ACT Policing has completed the search of a Hughes home for commercial explosives and military ordnance.

The search was completed about 2.30pm today (June 28) and all suspicious items have been removed from the area.

The items included a quantity of gelignite and a World War II era hand-grenade.

No evacuations of Hughes residents were required today.

Superintendent Matt Varley praised the Hughes residents saying, “We are grateful to all the residents of Hughes who were affected by this incident, for their patience and cooperation. This was a difficult situation which had to be dealt with in a slow and safe manner.

“This incident highlights the seriousness of collecting dangerous ‘souvenirs’ which put police and other members of the public at risk. The disposal of these items causes significant disruption to the community.

“If people are in possession of explosives in any form, they should contact police to discuss their safe disposal.

“I highly commend the officers involved in this operation for their hard work under trying circumstances,” Superintendent Varley said.

The explosives will now be disposed of at an undisclosed location by the AFP Bomb Response Team.

And so, without taking away from the seriousness of the matter, one of Canberra’s more interesting news stories this year, draws to a close. End Update


June 28th, 2008 at 11:18am

But our accountant said half a discount is better!

Nick sent in a picture of this morning’s rather unusual discount at the Caltex Woolworths pertol station in Weston Creek:
Count to

Maybe they forgot to change one side of a sign…
Count to
Nope, looks like we can rule out that theory.

So, if the normal price is 165.9 cents per litre and a four cents per litre discount brings the price down to 163.9 cents per litre, that probably makes for one very happy accountant. It would certainly help with that profit outlook Caltex were so worried about yesterday.

I wonder if the “half of the discount is to be paid for by the purchaser” clause is in those “in-store terms and conditions” that the big green sign mentions?


June 28th, 2008 at 09:44am

The Wheel is off air again

It lasted two weeks longer than I expected, but that’s made up for by it being axed effective immediately.

Channel Nine’s awful attempt to revamp Wheel Of Fortune by sticking the words “Million Dollar” in front of its name, having the tackiest set and version of the wheel that the show has seen in decades, and finding the worst possible host for the show, has finally met its fate.

I caught glimpses of the first show, forced myself to sit through the entire second show and attempted to watch it again in the second week to see if it had improved at all, and the result was my personal bewilderment that:
1. Somebody at Channel Nine actually thought that it was a good idea
2. Fremantle Media, who own the rights to Wheel Of Fortune in this country, allowed the format to be degraded and tarnished in such an awful manner.

Even though Channel Nine wanted a show to compete with Deal Or No Deal and give their news a better ratings lead-in, they shouldn’t have so blatantly targeted the show at a young adult audience. Wheel Of Fortune has never been a show aimed at a young adult audience, the key demographic is older, and if done properly it will attract others as well. Part of the key to this is the host, Rob Elliott was very good at it, so was John Burgess, the same thing applies to Andrew O’Keefe on Deal Or No Deal…they know how to host a game show and to interact with the guests in (at least what appears to be) a natural manner.

It also helps if you actually have a set which doesn’t look like you brought in the team from (the now defunct game show) Changing Rooms to decorate it, and having a wheel which lights up was just plain odd. Speaking of the wheel, why Nine had to revert to having the wedges cling to the pegs is beyond me as it made it noticeably difficult for the contestants to remove special wedges, and made the whole thing look rather cheap and nasty. I don’t know for sure, but it looked like Seven’s wheel had magnetic wedges as they weren’t connected to the pegs and were much easier to remove.

Also, and I doubt this affected the ratings at all, why was the wheel flat? Seven worked out many years ago that the wheel is easier to work with from a camera perspective if it’s tilted…it looks better on the set too as you can look across at the contestants and read the wheel at the same time.

Personally, I think Nine would have been better off with a more experienced host, a different timeslot (probably 7pm, much like Sale Of The Century/Temptation), and a less deranged production team. Originally the show was (apparently) promised to John Burgess (click here to hear Burgo’s version of events, as told on 3MP Breakfast, March 25 2008), he probably would have made a good host reprising his former role, or perhaps Bert Newton who is still on Nine’s books.

Sadly, Nine botched the show badly, and now after a less dramatic failure with Larry Emdur and Laura Csortan on Seven in 2006, Tim Campbell and Kelly Landry will be known as the hosts who finally managed to consign Wheel Of Fortune to Australia’s “Do not touch with a ten foot barge poll, lest you face the wrath of the ratings” television show bin. Wheel may return somewhere, at some stage, but after this disaster, you can be guaranteed that no television executive will be brave enough to go near it for many years to come.


4 comments June 28th, 2008 at 03:58am

Tours of the Mount Piper Power Station

I must thank Stuart Bocking for talking about tours of the Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor this evening because it reminded me of a story I saw on Channel Seven’s Sydney Weekender a couple weekends ago.

The Mount Piper Power Station is a new power station near Lithgow, operated by Delta Electricity, and they run free tours daily at 11am. Unfortunately they don’t allow anybody (except television travel programs) to take cameras on the tour, but it would be good to go there and have a look around anyway. Even though I don’t like power lines, I’m fascinated by power stations and substations.

The fact that it is free and that you don’t need to book makes me inclined to disappear to Lithgow on an upcoming weekend as I would like to see the insides of a power station. I’d also be interested in touring a telephone exchange at some stage…not that Telstra run tours of them, although it couldn’t hurt to ring them and ask I suppose.

I had a strange dream about touring a power station the other night. In this dream, if you drive through a tunnel somewhere near Gungahlin, you end up in a power station which has a “drive-by tour” track. I think I’d rather walk around a power station though…I’d see more and it would be much more interesting.


June 28th, 2008 at 12:05am


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