“It was in Canberra wild rocker Jimmy Barnes met his wife, then 21-year-old uni student Jane Mahoney – a diplomat’s daughter – at an after-gig party,” writes Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH

THE devotion of some rock fans is mighty impressive. Forty-something Cold Chisel devotee Madelin left her Cootamundra home before 6am and headed for Dymocks at Westfield Belconnen.


Arriving at 8.30am Madelin – who has been attending Chisel concerts since 1987 – landed the coveted top spot in the queue to meet her hero Jimmy Barneswho wasn’t scheduled to rock up until 12.30pm. But rock up Barnes did and cheerfully signed copies of his latest book “Working Class Man” and posed for pics for over two hours.

CANBERRA is a significant chapter in the extraordinary Barnes’ life story. It was here the wild rocker met his wife, then 21-year-old uni student Jane Mahoney – a diplomat’s daughter – at an after-gig party, a meeting the Cold Chisel frontman will never forget: “Sitting in the corner of the room, not saying a word, was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She looked like a princess, not someone you would see in a Motel 7 in the outer suburbs of Canberra”.

ANOTHER famous Australian with a strong Canberra connection also recently returned to his old stomping ground. Former PM Kevin Rudd was back at his alma mater, the ANU, to plug his latest book “Not for the Faint-hearted”.

Demonstrating the famous Rudd humility the former Lodge dweller charmed a near-capacity Llewellyn Hall audience including a 22-year-old woman wearing a “Kevin 07” T-shirt. During the “Conversation with Stan Grant” Rudd shared opinions of Tony Abbott: “the most destructive and negative politician we’ve produced”, Donald Trump: “a madman” and the Murdoch press as “a cancer on our democracy”.

CANBERRA bashers and cynics were quick to fire up on social media in the wake of “Lonely Planet” listing the capital as the world’s third best city to visit in 2018. Canberra curmudgeon Bernard Keane clearly disagrees, tweeting to the universe: “Memo to the rest of the world: @lonelyplanet is full of s*@t. Canberra is a great place to bring up kids, but ain’t no holiday destination.”

But “Lonely Planet’s” Chris Zeiher says: “The city has been hiding in plain sight. Rich with history, culture and entertainment, it offers something for every kind of traveller.”

CANBERRA lawyer Mark Blumer has broadened his legal horizons. The founder of personal-injury lawyers Blumers has financed a play being staged by the Tasmanian Theatre Company dealing with one of that state’s most controversial and divisive criminal cases. Blumer is executive producer of “An Inconvenient Woman”, which spotlights the judicial system surrounding the case of Susan Neill-Fraser, who is serving a long prison term for the murder of her de-facto Bob Chappell on Australian Day 2009.

THE mystery of a lush green tree sprouting from the top floor of the 20 storey Infinity Towers construction at Gungahlin has been explained. According to Wikipedia, the practice known as “topping out” goes back to ancient Scandinavia where a tree was placed at the top of a structure to appease the tree-dwelling spirits displaced during construction.

AN un-raced and un-named greyhound will soon be carrying the fortunes/future of local greyhound racing. Liberal spokesman for racing and gaming Mark Partonpromoted the syndication of the dog (20 members paying $300 each) designed to keep alive a campaign to prevent the Barr government from closing the industry. The Community Values syndicate – so called after Regulatory Services Minister Gordon Ramsay claimed the sport was “out of line with community values” – was reportedly oversubscribed within an hour of release.

AND talk about giving a dog a bad name; I was recently mistaken for a Liberal Party flunkey. Filming a lunchtime Unions ACT rally outside the Assembly – in the wake of Opposition Leader Alistair Coe’s inflammatory comments about unions – I was approached by a union official who demanded my credentials. When he became aware of the facts he backed off with: “That’s okay, then; I thought you were one of Coe’s team”.

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