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Terry Blunsum and Skylab

I was sorry to hear of the death of Terry Blunsum, with whom I worked on the World Desk in the early 1980s. As Ernie Mendoza has noted, he was an imperturbable and effective copy taster whatever the pressure. He always dressed smartly in a jacket and tie and could seem dour, despite being always friendly. But he told one of the most bizarre stories I ever heard on the desk, all the funnier for the dead-pan way in which he related it. Terry worked for many years on the West Australian in Perth and in 1979 was sent into the outback to look for debris from the first US space station, Skylab, which had unexpectedly fallen into the desert. Terry stopped at a small settlement to visit the line of dunnies at the end of the main street. Opening a door he was shocked to see a kangaroo sitting on the toilet, then noticed it had a neat bullet hole through the head. As Terry said, he was never really sure whether somebody shot the kangaroo for trespassing in the toilet or killed it elsewhere and placed it on the seat in a macabre piece of outback humour. ■