Friday, 5 November, 2021

Secret Santas in Bendigo toy bonanza; good news for the Galapagos; Aussie school kids lend a hand; and in praise of whale poo.



Fred Hollows Humanity Awards:

The Junior Ambassadors:

The Ceremony:


Mariah Carey’s Christmas campaign:


Squiz Kids Instagram:

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]





Christmas has come early for 82 families in Bendigo in Victoria, after a mystery pair of Secret Santas visited the local toyshop and paid for a pile of Christmas presents. 

The staff of the toyshop in Bendigo were still in a state of delighted shock yesterday – as were the many families whose Christmas stockings have been filled two months out from the big day.

According to newspaper reports, the Secret Santas  – who asked not to be identified, and have only been described as a pair of ‘local grandparents’ – told toyshop staff they remember having young kids, and how hard it sometimes was to afford presents for them at Christmas time – and so they wanted to give a little early Christmas gift to parents in their community who needed a little help this festive season. 

The gesture cost the generous grandparents several thousand dollars .. if you’re out there listening, you wonderful gift-giving grandparents – here’s hoping you have a truly excellent Christmas yourselves ..



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops, and today we’ve landed in the Galapagos, a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean that belong to the South American country of Ecuador. 

Waaay back in 1835, biologist Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos and noticed how different the animals were on each island. For example, the beaks of birds called finches had a different size and shape on each island, because they had evolved to best get at the unique food available on each island. These observations led to Darwin developing his famous theory of evolution, which states that all living things develop and change over time. 

Fast forward to yesterday, and Charles Darwin’s great-great- granddaughter Sarah was celebrating the announcement by Ecuador’s government that it is expanding the protected area of ocean around the famous islands. The move will help protect whale sharks, turtles, tuna, and other important and threatened species that live and swim there. 




A new study has found that whale poo is great to eat, and really good for the environment.

Ok – so it’s really only good to eat if you happen to be a phytoplankton – which are microscopic marine algae – and are a source of food for many other sea creatures. 

Scientists have found that whale poo acts like a fertiliser for the ocean. In the same way that cow poo is often used to fertilise gardens, or chicken poo is used to fertilise lawns .. who doesn’t love the smell of Dynamic Lifter? 

And for the first time, it’s been discovered that by eating loads every day and then pooing loads as well – whales play a really important role fertilising the oceans and helping ecosystems to thrive. 

Oh – and here’s a fun fact: whale poo is orange. Euugh.

Let’s hear it for whale poo, people (CHEER)




When it comes to Christmas – there are two sorts of people. Those who say it can’t come soon enough and want to put up the tree NOW … like my Rosie .. and those who think there’s a time and place for all things Christmas and it should never be celebrated too early.

A restaurant in Texas, in the United States belongs in the ‘time and place’ camp – putting a sign on its juke-box this week warning customers anyone who selects Mariah Carey’s festive tune – All I Want For Christmas – on the juke box before December 1 risks having their selection cancelled. 

Mariah herself belongs in the ‘never too soon for Christmas camp’ posting a video to social media this week making it very clear that now that Halloween is over – it’s time to crank up the Christmas tunes .. I’ve stuck a link to the video in your episode notes .. but be warned: once that song gets in your head – it’s hard to get it out. 



And it’s a big Squiz Kids Salute to the 1500 kids in Australia and Hong Kong who entered the Fred Hollows Humanity Awards – which were handed out yesterday – with yours truly as a special guest invitee. 

To the winners –  an extra big salute .. the work you have done this year to help others in your community – is truly inspiring. From Tom in Brisbane who ran 2km every day for a month to raise money for cancer research, to Ilhan in Victoria who raised funds for refugees in Syria, to Scarlett in Adelaide who made earrings to raise money for a women’s shelter and Hamish from the ACT who shaved his head for charity. 

Fred Hollows was an amazing Australian, an eye surgeon who traveled the world performing operations in far flung countries to help people to see again. 

I’ve stuck a link to the list of winners in today’s episode notes – as well as a link to the YouTube recording of yesterday’s ceremony – which it was an honour to be a part of.




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What sort of massive marine mammal helps fertilise the ocean with its poo?
  2. What is the name of the biologist who visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835 and developed his famous theory of evolution?
  3. In which town in Victoria have a pair of secret Santas brought joy to 82 families?




It’s November 5… Jonas brother Kevin’s birthday – and National Donut Appreciation Day in the United States … another holiday I could really get behind if we had it here ..

It’s also a Friday – and you know what that means? An extra long birthday shout out segment … for which I’m going to roll out the birthday reggae tune .. hit it .. 

And it’s a happy birthday today…Jagger and Kristen from Kempsey, Hugo from Yaramula, Luca from Townsville, William from Hampton and Poppy from Canberra.

Not forgetting of course all of those Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday over the coming weekend … Cooper from Broken Hill, Georgia from Stanmore, Claudia from Vaucluse, Naomi from Glen Innes, Ivy-Lulu from Voyager Point, Tanner from the Gold Coast, Thomas from Taralga, Angus from Macleod, Jayden from Wahroonga and Arash from Mooroolbark. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Whales
  2. Charles Darwin
  3. Bendigo