Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Murdoch and the Communist

The British blogger Madame Arcati draws our attention to Cruden Park with this beautiful photograph.  It's the road leading to the home of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch the matriarch of the media family and mum to one of the most powerful men on the planet Rupert Murdoch.

Cruden Park will be open for one day on August 28th (co-incidentally grandson Lachlan Murdoch's birthday) under the Open Garden's Scheme.

Dame Elisabeth is noted for her conservative views and is said to have castigated her son for some of the more raunchy parts of his British newspapers The Sun and the News of The World .She's also the patron of the Australian Family Association that was recently outraged by Cate Blanchett's global warming adverts, and which campaigns against same sex marriage, human cloning and euthanasia.
Peter Cundall & Dame Elisabeth ABC TV

How pleasing then to see Dame Elisabeth had once hosted our favourite Communist, the ex ABC gardening guru Peter Cundall at  Cruden Park as our picture shows.

Cundall who has his own exceptional property in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania where he now lives was born into dire poverty in Manchester  and has been a fierce anti-war campaigner for the second half of his life particularly after his various experiences in theatres of war.

He was in the parachute regiment of the British Army in WW2 and in 1946 he was arrested as a spy by Marshall Tito's soldiers in Yugoslavia. He says he was enticed across the border by a beautiful girl who then vanished. Cundall spent a year in solitary confinement in a Ljubljana prison.

After joining the Australian Army as a librarian he ended up as a machine gunner in the Korean War.

He is now active in left wing and environmental causes and once stood as a Communist Party candidate for the Tasmanian Senate and he was a high profile opponent of the Iraq invasion.

In 1969 Cundall began a gardening talk back radio programme and became one of the most loved gardening experts on ABC TV when he fronted Gardening Australia for two decades, retiring in 2008 at the age of 81. Cundall recently led the unsuccessful anti-Gunns Pulp Mill campaign in Tasmania and is never shy for a few words against recalcitrant politicians.
Here he is being arrested at a rally outside State Parliament by some very polite coppers :