Derham Groves

Derham’s Run for Moreland Council

The final election results for the three councillors from the City of Moreland’s South Ward are:

FORSTER, Martin 1512 9.83%
RATNAM, Samantha 3579 23.27%
HOPPER, Meghan 2580 16.78%
FARRELLY, Liam Shaun 985 6.41%
GROVES, Derham 1314 8.54%
CARMODY, Michael 1315 8.55%
GRAEFE, Narelle 261 1.70%
TAPINOS, Lambros 3832 24.92%

While I didn’t win the election, I was pretty happy with the result. 1300-odd votes in only a 2-month campaign from a zero base and no political party brand or backing was very respectable in my view.

When you come to think about it, there is the equivalent of a small country town out there supporting me. Now all I have to do is find out which country town! (A colleague of mine suggested that it might be Mirboo North, population 1300!)

My wife Ping did a fantastic job of campaigning on my behalf and I saw her in a new light after 34 years of marriage, which is truly something.

Despite having to endure some dirty tricks by one odd ball in particular, running for Moreland Council was a worthwhile experience. Indeed, I’d like to write a George Plimton-style journal article from the point of view of a truly independent candidate (which is a badge of honour in my opinion), albeit an unsuccessful truly independent candidate.

I say “truly independent” because the Labor Party disingenuously refused to endorse its candidates, which then enabled them to claim to be “independent,” something that wasn’t really true — a clear case of having your cake and eating it too.

Sincere thanks to those Moreland residents and ratepayers who voted for me. Your votes profoundly influenced the outcome of the election. Let me explain.

The preference voting system basically works like this: the candidate with the lowest number of votes is “eliminated” and his/her votes are then distributed to the candidate he/she has nominated second on his/her how to vote card. Then this process is repeated again and again until, in the case of the South Ward, three candidates have gained the required number of votes to be elected.

It was always extremely likely that Labor’s Lambros Tapinos and the Greens’ Samantha Ratnam would be elected, which is exactly what happened. However, the third spot on council was up for grabs. I was eliminated from the contest following the Greens’ candidates Narelle Graefe and Liam Farrelly. Where my 1300 votes went ultimately determined who would be the South Ward’s third councillor.

I first proposed swapping preferences with independent Martin Forster. An obvious strategy for the two genuine independents in the race; a real “no brainer.” But he declined and put me number eight. Wrong decision Martin. If you had accepted my offer you would have been the third councillor from the South Ward.

It is a pity that at least one independent candidate was not elected in the South Ward. Now you know why this did not happen. Unfortunately there is no accounting for people who foolishly won’t listen.

I next proposed putting Labor’s Michael Carmody number two in return for putting me number four. (Labor Party rules meant that number four was the best I could get from any of the three Labor candidates running.) He also refused and put me number eight as well. Bad decision Michael. (In fact, one of your closest Labor colleagues described it as “very stupid.”) If you had accepted my offer you would have been the third councillor from the South Ward.

Finally, I proposed putting Labor’s Meghan Hopper number two in return for putting me number four. She accepted my offer and became the third councillor from the South Ward. Congratulations Meghan! Good decision. Something for both Martin and Michael to think about over the next four years until the 2016 council elections.

My thanks to Francesco Timpano and Charles Car, my two independent “running mates” in the North East and North West wards respectively; and many thanks to everyone who helped me hand out how to vote cards on election day, I really appreciated it.

Following are some of the things that I’ll be donating to the Political Ephemera Collection at the State Library of Victoria:

Listen to Derham speaking to Glen Ridge on mymp.

WARNING. We are now known and formally registered as “The Moreland Ratepayers Action Group.” Sadly, our former name, “The Moreland Residents and Ratepayers Action Group,” has been “stolen” by a candidate for the North East Ward (and perhaps others) who is now sending out bizarre and mischievous emails under that banner. We have nothing whatsoever to do with these grubby emails.

Welcome to local government politics in Moreland! Surely, obviously, it is time for a change!


Geelong was almost “gone” in the second quarter — three goals down and Podsiadly stretchered off — but the champion side that it is, the Cats fought back and overran Collingwood in the final quarter by six goals — SIX GOALS! — a blow out! But it stood to reason really: Collingwood lost only three games in 2011; Geelong beat Collingwood three times in 2011. And three premierships in five years — how good is that? “Fairdinkum unbelievable.” GO CATTERS!

Mum watching the Cats win the 2011 premiership at home. “Don’t look so worried Mum. We’ll win!”

For the Third Grand Final in a Row: Go Cats!

Grand Final postscript: How good was that! What a great team Geelong is. Two out of three premierships on the trot. Absolutely fabulous. GO CATS! Let’s make it three out of four in 2010.

Vale John Michell, 1933 – 2009

fortean_times_3442_124.jpgjm_self2.jpgI was very sad to learn of the death of John Michell, the eccentric ‘Dr Who-like’ author of many books on geomancy and sacred geometry. I corresponded with him when I was doing my Masters on building ceremonies in the early 1980s, inviting him to give a lecture at the University of Minnesota in 1984. When I picked John up at the airport, he had a brown paper bag full of clothes and a suitcase full of books. His lecture at the university was the best … and the worst. He needed a heliograph (?), and when I asked him what that was he said after a moment’s thought, ‘A toaster for books’. And he was absolutely right! The spine of the book he was projecting broke, the extreme heat melted the glue, and the in-built fan blew the pages out of the machine one after the other while he was speaking. It was hilarious! But John wasn’t fazed one bit. He stayed in our tiny one-bedroom flat in Minneapolis for a couple of days, and there were stories galore concerning that. For instance, he slept in the nude, blanket-less, on our sofa, waking very late, while we woke early and had to ‘divert our eyes’ as we tip-toed around him! Then in 1992, when I was doing my PhD and flat broke, I stayed with him for a few day in London (his house was just around the corner from the Portobello Road Market) and he was an extremely gracious host. What a colourful character John was!

Go Cats!

cats.jpg Grand Final post script: What a disappointing game for Geelong. Where were our forwards? Where were our goal sneaks? What really hurt us was scoring only one goal nine behinds in the second quarter. It should have been nine goals one behind! Oh well, never mind. Gary Ablett, you’re still a star. Tom Harley, you’re still captain courageous. David Wojcinski, you were very unlucky to miss out. But let’s not forget, there’s always NEXT YEAR! Go Cats!

How Sweet It Is!

save0387.jpgYesterday I arrived home from China at 7.00 in the morning and I went to the AFL Grand Final at 1.30 in the afternoon to see the mighty Cats give the Port Power-less an absolute shellacing, 163 to a miserable 44. I was completely buggered by the China trip, but I wouldn’t have missed Geelong’s premiership for the world! By half-time my voice was completely gone from cheering so much. Sol Traheo, Telstra’s CEO, was on the same flight home as I was, no doubt to attend the Grand Final as well. However, unlike me, he didn’t fly econony and I’m sure he didn’t have a standing room Grand Final ticket either. But I can almost guarantee that I enjoyed the Cats’ record breaking win more than he did. After all, I’ve been supporting them for as long as I can remember. I just wish Dad could have been around to have seen it. At least Mum saw it on TV. The Cats were absolutely magnificent! Let’s make it back-to-back premierships guys! GO CATERS!

You’ve Got to Laugh … or Cry

I’m committed to the notion of everydayness and to recording day-to-day events on this blog. Most things that happen are good, but occasionally you’re served a shit sandwich. My car was stolen in front of our house on Friday night. It is the second car I’ve had stolen in 12 months. I’m not rich, but regardless of that I actually like driving old cars. The first car stolen was Dad’s old Holden. To my surprise I got it back after three weeks when the police caught the drongo who nicked the car driving it in Ascot Vale. In the meantime, though, I’d bought another old Holden, which was the second one stolen. Today I got a call from the police to say that it had been found burned-out in Roxborough Park. It was a nice car. There are some fucking nasty mongrels in the world, let me tell you.


Lewis Vincent Groves

Dad died two years ago today. He was a lovely bloke and I miss him a lot. He had simple pleasures, like having a bet on the horses. ‘It’s an interest,’ he used to say. When he got sick towards the end and couldn’t go to the TAB, he’d write down his bets on a scap of paper and I’d put them on for him.


What Pro Hart Told Me About Ants


‘That’s only a subject. People think I’ve got something about ants and dragonflies. I haven’t. I couldn’t care less about the damn things. Except that it’s a subject to paint, and there’s plenty of the coots around the place. I had one in my studio the other day, a bulldog ant, a big one, about an inch-and-a-half, nearly two inches. You know, they send a scout out looking for a new place. The thing wanders in me door. Massive big thing it was! And the worst part of it, they watch you. Oh ho, the head goes around and they follow you around, mongrel things! Fancy having an ant watching you! Keeping an eye on you! And they watch the dogs and the cats. Terrible things! Ever seen one, a bulldog ant? You wait until one bites you mate! Eight of them will kill you! I tell you what; we get them. That one ant, you know, if I hadn’t seen him, they could have set up a nest somewhere around my studio, because he’s a scout, they send out a scout, you know, he watches you. Fancy having an ant watching you! Oh ho, yeah. And if a dog walks past, you see all the [ants’] heads turn [to] watch the dog, for goodness sakes! It’s very dangerous for babies and kids, because if they lay on a lawn one bite could kill a kid. You know, bulldogs are very…well they’re around here. They’ve got them down town. There’s a bus stop down here, had a seat outside the bus stop, and they’re all crawling around the seat. Some ladies jumped around there when they sat down on the seat, because they come up in your clothes and bite chunks out of you, you know! Oh, it’s the worst bite you can get. Very, very deadly blooming bite, you know. Green heads are the same, little green heads, the mongrel things. Anyway, I don’t like bulldog ants. And we’ve had a few nests in our yard too. Awful things they are.’

Harry’s Bow Ties


While architect Harry Seidler’s impressive body of work cannot be denied, I must confess to having been more interested in his trademark bow ties than his buildings. I own about 250 vintage clip-on bow ties, and in 1999 I wrote him a letter asking if he would donate one of his to my collection. ‘Sorry to disappoint you,’ he indignantly replied. ‘I have never worn, nor will I ever wear, a “clip-on” bow tie! I only ever use “tie yourself” ties exclusively.’