By Stephen Mayne

Did anyone else notice the presence of the anti-gambling
Puritan Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen,
in the front row at the Packer memorial service last Friday? Very odd
for such a wowser to be present, but maybe it was explained by the
involvement of St Andrew’s choir. Presumably he didn’t sing all the
words to The Gambler at the end.

Contrary to our reporting on Monday, Don Burke and David Flint
were both at the memorial service. And the absence of John Laws was
apparently explained by his broadcasting commitments extending until
midday. John Singleton was definitely a no-show, but had sent his apologies several weeks
earlier and certainly didn’t cover himself in glory looking and
sounding like Arthur Daley on that Channel Nine documentary last Thursday.

And did anyone else notice Graham Richardson banished to the back rows with the plebs? He was
sitting a couple along from colourful Sydney lawyer and punter Chris Murphy.
Interestingly, another politician there on the day was Laurie Brereton, Paul Keating’s best friend.

Meanwhile, entertaining Packer family tales continue to arrive at the Crikey bunker.How mean was Sir Frank? Well, the staff
once complained of the stuffiness of the old un-airconditioned Park St
building with its fixed windows and, come one Monday, staff turn up
to discover Sir Frank had employed blokes with sledge hammers to knock
holes in the walls. That was the flow-through ventilation.

Another classic tale was the day Arthur Calwell sent in the troops during World War II. Calwell tried to apply wartime censorship to
a domestic news item, but The Daily Telegraph didn’t like this and, while removing the offending
item, left the space blank with “Censored” written across it. Calwell sent in the
cops to seize all the copies and several photos show the events – cops
with pistols drawn and aimed at drivers’ heads! Those were the days.

Keep these tales coming to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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