Monday, June 01, 2020

Donald Campbell 1878-1934

Donald Campbell (1878-1934) is my great grandfather on my father's side.

Donald Campbell, from records and notes from my father Douglas, was born in Barogill, Parish of Canisbay (near Castle Mey) on 13 July 1878. He was a champion ploughman and lived near Watten, inland from Wick, Caithness in the north of Scotland. 

When living in Caithness he was a member of the 1st Sutherland Highland Regiment with the Volunteer Rifle Corps (VRC).

He moved to Leith, Edinburgh around or before 1900 where he met and married his first wife Margaret Cunningham (1878-1926) on 1 Jun 1900. He worked as a lorryman at a flour mill. 

His children were:
  • James Campbell (1902-1913) - died young, possibly from cortical syncope and/or insipidus diabetes
  • Isabella Campbell (Bella, 1903 - 1990). I visited Bella in Scotland in 1985, descendents living in Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • William Campbell (1905-1968) - my grandfather who emigrated to Australia, descendents living in Australia, 
  • Donald Campbell (1907-1972) - emigrated to Australia, descendants living in Australia
  • Peter Hay Campbell (1911-1942)  - killed in WW2
The family lived at 25 Halmyre Street in Leith.

Donald transferred to the 5th V.B. Royal Scots (information from war pension record dated 6 April 1908). He was a good marksman.  A relative in Edinburgh sent me these photos of a medal he won in the Royal Scots.

General Competition, 1st Prize, Sergt D. Campbell, 1 Coy, 1907
6th Volunteer Battalion The Royal Scots

General Competition, 1st Prize, Sergt D. Campbell, 1 Coy, 1907

He was injured on the troop train that crashed in the Gretna Green train disaster during World War 1 on 22nd May, 1915. He told his men to put their feet up to avoid injury. Some 500 officers and men of the Leith Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment were on the train. 232 were killed and 230 injured in Britain’s worst ever train crash.

Donald's first wife Margaret died in 1926.

His second marriage was to his first cousin Catherine Campbell in South Leith Parish Church on 4 Jul 1929.

Donald Campbell died of pneumonia in Murray's Royal Asylum, Perthshire, Scotland which was a mental health facility. Margo, a distant relative (4th cousin) in Scotland located these details which were unknown by surviving relatives in Australia.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Peter Dutton, the Minister for Everything except his own portfolio

Peter Dutton seems free and willing to comment on every part of government except his own - the mega Department of Home Affairs.

Peter Dutton (ABC News,: Jed Cooper)

Catastrophic bushfires season of 2019-20

Dutton was mostly silent during the catastrophic bushfires season of 2019-20 even though the federal body Emergency Management is now part of Home Affairs and their brief is to 
"lead the Australian Government disaster and emergency management response."

Dutton did make a false accusation that arsonists were to largely blame for the bushfires.

For the duration of the bushfires, Dutton was simply missing in action.

Early response to COVID-19 Pandemic response in Australia

Peter Dutton was also very quiet during the early response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He did state that in response to people hoarding toilet paper that "We will come down like a tonne of bricks on those individuals because I think they’re the ones that have created this pattern of behaviour with hoarding and clearing shelves and normally sensible people have been wrapped in this because they’ve panicked when they’ve seen the shelves empty" 

On Friday 13 March it was announced the Peter Dutton had tested positive to COVID-19 after returning from the United States. He had met with other government ministers earlier in the week so there were concerns he may have spread the infection.

The Ruby Princess debacle

On 19 March the cruise ship Ruby Princess berthed in Sydney Harbour and thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark without any health checks or instructions to self-quarantine, despite the knowledge that people on the ship were ill with COVID-19 symptoms.

Australian Border Force, also under Home Affairs has responsibility at airports and seaports for: 
  • "We protect Australia's border and enable legitimate travel and trade. 
  • "We safeguard our border from people who seek to commit immigration fraud or threaten Australia's safety and security.
  • "We use the Incoming Passenger Card as a declaration of person's entry into Australia, and to provide information on a person's health, character details and biosecurity information."
Yet the Ruby Princess passengers were allowed to disembark, apparently without any involvement from Border Force, or a decision within Border Force was made to allow them to.

The Ruby Princess cruise ship has been the epicentre of Australia’s COVID-19 outbreak, with 600 cases and 19 deaths recorded from passengers on board.

Dutton refuses to answer questions about this or to take any responsibility for the apparent errors made by Border Force. Instead he has attempted to shift blame to NSW Health and NSW Police.

The distractions

Since the Ruby Princess, Dutton has commented on various matters in other portfolios including:
Peter Dutton weighs in regularly across multiple government portfolios, usually with a strong criticisms, yet he is seeminly unable to answer any questions about Home Affairs.

It is possible that all these attacks are distractions from his own responsibilities.  

Dutton's ambition to be Prime Minister might also be in play, he could be circling for a spill.

Dutton's aggressive stance on China, under the guise of a global #COVID19 investigation, has now started a trade war with China at a time Australia when we can least afford it.

The various ministers listed above should handle the matters they are responsible for and Dutton should focus on his day job.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Sweden has adopted in interesting approach to COVID-19

Sweden has adopted no lock-down and voluntary social distancing for COVID-19.

As at Friday 8 May 2020 11:00 AEST they have 24,623 reported cases and 3,040 deaths. They have less than half the population of Australia (6,900 cases, 97 deaths).

Sweden's daily cases of COVID-19 are not decreasing.

Sweden is conducting an interesting experiment. Not all Swedes agree.

It will be interesting to see in the long term how Sweden's death rate and economic impact compares with countries that have adopted a harder lock-down approach to COVID-19


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities for a new and better future

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic 

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption for life as we know it.  In no particular order:

Economies have slowed drastically due to restrictions on many businesses operating.

Many people have lost their jobs and are now unemployed.  Unemployment is reaching levels not seen since the 1930 depression.

Many shops cannot pay rents as they have no income while they are shut down.

Many housing tenants cannot pay rent as they have no income.

Governments have provided stimulatory spending including providing wage replacements to those who have been stood down by companies due to lack of work.  Some groups of people are not getting payments, including international students and casual workers who have been employed with a company for less than a year.

Social distancing to reduce the spread of infection has halted many social conventions including hugs, kisses and handshakes.

Social distancing has also been introduced in supermarkets and retail shops that remain open.

Panic buying has seen supplies of toilet paper and many food supplies depleted.

Many school and all university students are being schooled from home via the Internet.

People are walking and cycling in local parks either alone, with another person or with a family group from the same household.

People are heeding government advice to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.  The roads are very quiet.

Police are fining some people who break social distancing and other regulations imposed under a state of emergency.

Many people are working from home via the Internet.

The arts and music industries have ground to a halt with all public performances and exhibitions closed.

Sports are stopped and many sporting clubs and organisations are suffering cash flow problems. Some say they won't survive.

The stock market has suffered major losses with share prices falling [link]

Countries have closed their borders to most travel.

People on cruise ships have become marooned when no country will allow them to berth due to concerns about infection risk.

Air pollution has dropped along with automobile and industry emissions.

Families are spending time together with parents and children all at home during lockdowns.

People are cooking more - meals, bread, pastries, cakes etc.

Hand washing has become routine, along with disinfectant hand cleaner in some shops.

A National Cabinet has been formed to expedite decision making and align federal and state policies and actions for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Union leaders are talking to federal government ministers to develop appropriate support measures for companies and employees.

Companies with large debts and/or "just in time" manufacturing/retail models have been hit hard by the lockdowns imposed by governments.  Many, such as Virgin Australia, are in big trouble.  Some will fail.

Opportunities for a new and better future

Individuals, societies and governments can change how things are done when they want or need to.

We can pay a universal basic income to people who are unemployed.

Governments can build infrastructure that generates employment and benefits people including:
  • High quality bike paths, free from traffic
  • High speed rail links between cities
  • More public transport to give people the option for convenient and sustainable travel

Provide a universal public health system that delivers health services for all citizens and provides economies of scale.

Provide more government funding for research and development into various sectors including:
  • Public health and disease prevention
  • Renewable energy and energy storage solutions
  • Rebuilding centralised electricity grids to support micro-grids, distributed storage and distribution of renewable energy
Impose a travel tax on all car and truck travel.
  • Car users and trucks don't directly pay for roads so many people feel they are free to use.  However, increased road usage creates more demands for roads, creating a vicious cycle.

Support work from home as an ongoing arrangement
  • Less travel would free up a lot of time for many people
  • People could work from home, possibly on a roster system, for 1 to 5 days per week
Price air travel appropriately.
  • Excessive air travel is a luxury the planet cannot afford.  It should be priced to cover greenhouse gas emissions, leading to reductions in non-essential trips.
  • Local holidays are a more sustainable option
Protect forests and plant trees
  • Forest provide natural resources and are "services" such as producing water and drawing down CO2.  They also provide habitat for animals and plants and support biodiversity
  • Cease logging of native forests  
  • Plant trees on degraded farm land and public land to generate employment and increase the world's forest cover.

Transition to renewable energy
  • Develop are roadmap to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and transition off fossil fuels including oil, gas and coal.
  • Generate employment in manufacturing and services for renewable energy

Make all elected MPs part of government
  • Reform politics and government so that all elected MPs have a role to play
  • Ditch political parties and "the opposition"

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Keeping schools open during COVID-19 pandemic - pros and cons

There are conflicting opinions in in Australia about whether students should continue to attend schools or do "schooling from home" until the risk of infection from COVID-19 is judged to be acceptable.

In Victoria, Australia, Premier Daniel Andrews has specified that schools remain open for parents that need them (e.g. emergency service workers). For others "if you can learn from home, you must learn from home".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to say that children should be attending schools.

Advantages of children attending schools:
  • less disruption to education
  • reduced impact on parents working from home
  • emergency services workers and other parents can continue to work rather than stay at home to look after their children. 
Disadvantages of children attending schools:
  • infection risk for students
  • COVID19 infection asymptomatic in many children
  • infection risk for teachers, admin staff and cleaners
  • community infection spread via children & staff
  • no routine testing is being done (e.g. temperature testing)
  • some schools have been closed (re-actively) when teacher(s) have tested positive.
  • in a NSW childcare centre 7 daycare workers, 6 kids, and another 13 parents or close family members have been infected.
The Australian Health Management Plan for Pandemic Influenza specifies both proactive and reactive school closures.  In Australia, states are responsible for education. 

Schools are open in Victoria for parents that need them #COVID19 so its difficult to understand why Scott Morrison is calling for "schools to stay open"

See also

Friday, April 03, 2020

COVID-19 and novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 information and links

Some information I have collected about COVID-19 follows.


  • COVIDー19 is a disease (now pandemic), an illness caused by a coronavirus
  • SARSーCoVー2 is a novel coronavirus (type of virus) that causes COVID-19
  • Isolation is for sick people with symptoms
  • Quarantine is for people who are at risk of infection.

Australian government advice and information

COVID-19 disease

  • COVIDー19 is is not the flu, it is 3-4 times more contagious and has much higher mortality rate that is likely to be between 0.5% to 6%. 
  • A vaccine could be 12-18 months away 
  • Among the over 3,700 passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise liner who tested positive for COVID-19, more than 46% were not showing symptoms at the time they were tested.
  • Asymptomatic infection is common in children, occurring in 10-30% of cases.

Current Advice in Australia as at 4 April 2020

  • If you can stay home, you must stay home.
  • Non-essential travel is restricted across Australia
  • All recreational activities beyond basic exercise are not allowed.  This includes fishing, hunting, boating, camping and golf.

Basic protective measures

  • Wash your hands frequently - Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
  • Maintain social distancing - maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When self isolating people should maintain social distancing from other family members within households.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth - hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene - make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Seek medical care early if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing - If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Some questions about COVID-19

Should schools be kept open during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Does everyone who recovers from infection develop immunity?  There are reports of some people developing the disease again after recovering.

Will a vaccine for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 ) be developed?  The common cold is also a coronavirus, there is no vaccine for it.  There is no vaccine for SARS (SARS-CoV virus) or MERS ( MERS-CoV) [link]

Why is COVID-19 so infectious?
  • Infected people can spread the virus while they show no symptoms
  • The virus can be spread on tiny droplets from coughing.
  • The virus can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

How long can COVID-19 persist on surfaces? Reports indicate that the time it survives depends on the type of surface. Under experimental conditions the virus remained viable:
  • in air - for  three hours
  • on copper surface for four hours
  • on cardboard surface after 24 hours.
  • on stainless steel and plastic surfaces - up to 72 hours
Why do up to half of people infected by COVID-19 show no symptoms? (asymptomatic)

Why is COVID-19 fatal for some people? 
  • The virus has caused severe respiratory disease in about 20 per cent of patients and killed more than 3 per cent of confirmed cases [link].
  • Older people, whose immune defences have declined with age are more susceptible
  • People with underlying health conditions (comorbidities) including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer are much more vulnerable [link]
  • Some infected healthy people have an immune overreaction, known as a 'cytokine storm', that can cause acute respiratory distress, which means less oxygen reaches the bloodstream - depriving organs of the oxygen they need.
What is the incubation period for COVID-19?
  • The median incubation period for COVID-19 is just over 5 days and 97.5% of people who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days of infection [link]
  • People may be infectious when they display no symptoms - this is under investigation.
Is COVID-19 like AIDS?
  • Researchers in China and the US have found that the virus that causes Covid-19 can destroy the T cells that are supposed to protect the body from harmful invaders
  • One doctor said concern is growing in medical circles that effect could be similar to HIV [link]


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton are wrong to lock up people at risk of Coronavirus on Christmas Island

1. This will create a pool of people where risk of Coronavirus transmission is increased

2. Christmas Island is remote and expensive to get to and from

3. Christmas Island has limited medical facilities, people needing specialist treatment will need to be transferred to the mainland

4. The facility is not designed to operate as quarantine, it is a prison

5. Its contrary to Federal Govt advice: "People who have been in contact with any confirmed novel Coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure"

6. Appropriate quarantine and health facilities are available in the states

So why do they want to do it?  To justify the $168 million+ expense of reopening the detention centre when only a family of 4 refugees are wrongfully detained there perhaps?

Also, why does  Chris Bowen (Labor) think using Christmas Island for coronavirus quarantine is a good idea?