May 27, 2009

Clive of Queensland

Clive Palmer is the richest man in Queensland.

He seems a rather jocular fellow; I guess you'd have reason to be if you were a billionaire with a private jet, a Gold Coast football team and a brand new $7bn dollar thermal coal mine about to get underway in Central Queensland's Galilee Basin.

Most of the project's financing is coming from China; and at today's launch, Clive seemed to take some iconographic inspiration from the Good People's Republic:

But I couldn't help noticing the stark contrast between the pictorial representation and his actual visage. Particularly when it comes to his hair. It would seem Clive of Queensland has gone a little alternative - growing his locks out and dying them a fetching shade of emo black. The white regrowth was particularly obvious up a bit closer; and although he was answering questions good-naturedly, I restrained myself from bursting out with "Clive, what on earth is the story with your new 'do?"

It guess it could've been worse - at least he wasn't attempting a comb-over.

Clive may be a champion of free-market capitalism - he is a life member of Queensland's conservative LNP opposition - but it seems to fit perfectly with the current preferred model of the CCP. A question about any ideological differences between the two sparked a discussion about fear of the Chinese within Australia - an argument not without merits. Clive was making a point about China's investment in Australia being nowhere near as extensive as Japan's - but somewhat undermined his point by referring to the origins of a Brisbane suburb.

Trouble is, that's not true. Toowong is an Aboriginal word meaning "place of doves". All my best Googling can find is that Toowong is one of many Brisbane suburbs given indigenous names (my favourite is Indooroopilly - "gully of leeches"). It seems that yes, there once was a Chinese market garden off Vera Street in Toowong, but I cannot find evidence to back up Mr Palmer's claim that it was there in the 1890s. Moreover, Toowong seems to have been named in the 1860s, meaning the Wong Brothers, if they existed, probably had to deal with more jokes about their unfortunate nominal coincidence with their suburb than Clive will have to about his hairstyle.

But it seems to be that Clive in fact has heard of one these jokes and inadvertently remembered it as fact.

It's not unheard of, I guess. Things get twisted and confused in the brain sometimes, and rumours and whispers can become veritable truth. I read a humourous history book in my early teens, and for years believed that the motto of the Order of the Garter was "Once a Knight is Enough".

Anybody else not gotten the joke?


  1. That looks TERRIBLE. I suppose he's an international superstar football club chairman type now with the GC A-League club starting up, he's pulling his moves from the Roman Abramovitch playbook (Chelsea owner). Next he'll have one of Marat Safin's ex girlfriends on his arm.

  2. Rich fuckers don't care. champion of free-market capitalism, jesus h christ! Maybe he is just trying to get over the Dick Cheney look that has been so popular the past 8 years. It has been dubed, Outdooroopilly - "dancing in a gully of leeches".

    Or maybe he might rip a page out of Max Mosley's book and hire five whores to whip him to submission, with tea afterwards?
    I love reading about Assuies, make this Florida boy feel closer to the world's understanding of hairy old men.

  3. Does that mean Yerongapilly is "Nope, no leeches here".

  4. As promised:

  5. Having over the years spent a fair amount of time researching various "origin stories", my conclusion is that (a) most of them are false and (b) any story that relies on a pun or cute story is almost certainly made up.

  6. I thought that it was an aboriginal name too. Funnily enough, there is an Asian restaurant in the foodcourt of Toowong Village called "The Two-Wongs".