Ashes to ashes

As the Ashes start tonight, we thought it only right to look back at one of the most important cricket matches in Western Australian history.

In October 1954 the 10,000 ton freighter Paloma was en route to Fremantle with her cargo of frozen meat to be picked up at Wyndham. While the meat was being loaded, Captain Perry offered his traditional challenge to the Wyndham Cricket Club.

The match was played in extreme heat on a bumpy ground covered with a large number of trees. Because there was no discernible boundary, every run had to be sweated out.

One Wyndham batsman was hospitalised by an over-enthusiastic fast bowler, and everyone's heads were sore following the clubhouse drinks.

The game was close, but finally won by the men of the Paloma by seven runs. The only time a meat ship eleven had ever defeated a local side.

In celebration, a screw top jar was filled with The Ashes of Wyndham and presented to Captain Perry.

Now, it might be unfair to note that the Paloma was carrying the English cricket side, which had already won the other Ashes, even before playing at the WACA. You might even use the words 'eleven ring-ins'.

But at Dodgy Perth we prefer to remember it as one of the few times an English team has won on WA soil. Just because we can.



Halal, is it meat you’re looking for?


Halal certification is the new burqa.

Organising boycotts of Aussie companies trying to export their goods is the new opposing a local mosque for ‘parking reasons’.

Few things make our blood boil at Dodgy Perth HQ, but racists pretending not to be racist because “Islam is a religion, not a race” is definitely one of them.

So with all the current fuss over halal certification, you might be forgiven for thinking this is something brand new. Something that Australian exporters have only started doing in the last few years. While they also enjoy funding terrorism. Apparently.

Well, no to all of the above.

WA’s ‘Afghan’ camel drivers must have had sources of approved foods. But it appears they often turned butcher themselves when meat was required.

The first halal certification scheme in Australia seems to have been in Queensland in 1905. Four Muslim butchers were brought over to certify the meat was prepared appropriately, so that exports could begin big time.

You will never guess what happened next.

Protests. And outrage. So much outrage.

Not because halal meat is cruel. Or that we were funding ISIS.

Just because the butchers weren’t white. Oh yes, it was White Australia time.

So, when a canning plant was planned for Wyndham, here in Western Australia, it didn’t take long for the exporters to start drooling at the thought of the tens of millions of Muslims in Malaysia, India, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

All they would need was halal certification and East Kimberley would boom.

In 1909, this was exactly what was proposed.

A Pilbara resident, H. Musa Khan, said that bringing over a couple of ‘educated and religious’ Mohammedans to supervise at Wyndham’s slaughter yards would enable all the canned meat (except pork, obviously) to be sold anywhere in the world.

Mr Khan was keen to stress that only a couple of Muslims would be needed, so White Australia would still be white. And this was not a job which could be filled by a white local anyway.

No one listened. Jobs and exports were not as important as racial purity.

Instead, by the 1920s live exports were thought to be the way to go. (And mainly, still are!)

After the Depression, some bright spark suggested again that perhaps a single Muslim might be brought over to WA. That way, halal certification could start and we could climb out of poverty and misery.

We suppose you can guess that no one listened.

White Australia 1. Beef producers 0.