Soapbox Speakers

What is Speakers’ Corner?

In Speakers and hecklers. on March 8, 2015 at 11:51 pm

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” 
Gerry Spence.

Every Sunday, from 2pm until 5pm, people gather in Sydney’s beautiful Domain park to discuss matters. The ones standing on ladders are ‘the speakers’, and they believe it’s their job to educate  their ‘grasshoppers’ or ‘groundlings’.  The ones sitting in chairs believe it’s their job to point out why the speaker is wrong, and to heckle. Both parties are kept busy.

This sums up the relationship between the speakers and the hecklers.

This sums up the relationship between the speakers and the hecklers.

Click here to see their 2015 highlights.
Click here to see their 2014 highlights.
Click here to see their 2013 highlights.

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The Speakers and Hecklers.

Steve Maxwell, historian and political commentator.

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell, legend.

In various personas, but always engaging, Steve talks about religion, Australian history and politics. Click here for highlights. To see more videos of Steve, go to the archives site. From his book, ‘Soapbox Oratory‘ Steve writes: ‘In a modern city, there must be a place where strangers can meet and discuss the issues of the day without fear of persecution; where the right to retain one’s individuality is allowed.

Helmut Cerncic, metaphysicist.

Helmut 4

Helmut used to be a professional wrestler going by the name of Helmut Rommel. He took on the likes of Killer Karl Kox, Mario Milano and Spiros Orion. And, he once beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in a body building contest.
More importantly, Helmut knows a lot about metaphysics (more than Arnold Schwartzenegger and Killer Karl Kox combined), and he is happy to explain why Isaac Newton was an ignoramus.
His battles with hecklers are fun. He calls his listeners his ‘groundlings’. Here are some highlights.
For more videos of Helmut, go to the archives site and to his own site, Is Science the New Religion?’.

Mirko Terzič, 21st Century inventor.


Mirko has created a phonetic alphabet to be used world-wide, and it’s better than Esperento. He has solved the problem of perpetual motion and has diagrams explaining how to get free unlimited energy from hydropower. Mirko knows how to think outside the square. Here are a few highlights of Mirko. For more videos of Mirko go to the archives site. To contact Mirko:

Ray, Christian.

Ray is concerned about your soul.

 Ray is passionate about spreading the word of God. He takes the task seriously but isn’t confronting. He is a gentle man willing to answer your questions. Here are a few highlights. For more videos of Ray, go to the archives site.

Mark the Grinner.

As a heckler, Mark regularly gets a hearty laugh from the crowd with his meticulously crafted questions. As a speaker his humour is still there, but his talks have substance. He comments on human behaviour and attitudes, and he doesn’t hold back.

Click here to hear why Mark comes to Speakers’ Corner.

His companion, Sue, is less vocal, but she has no trouble speaking her mind when she has something to say.

Mr Bashful, epiphany specialist.

Epiphany specialist Mr Bashful tells us he is the spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama, though that’s yet to be verified. He calls his listeners his ‘grasshoppers’ and his foes ‘garden gnomes’.
  Mr Bashful’s favourite topic is his evolutionary approach to happiness and resilience, but he ends up talking about almost anything else.  He has presented an Ockham’s Razor talk on ABC Radio National and believes we should burn the Mona Lisa.

One thing he isn’t, is bashful.

To learn more about him and see videos of him in action, click here.

He now has a Facebook page but rarely contributes to it.

John August (Occasional speaker)

John speaks earnestly on a wide range of subjects, and if you’re in Sydney you can listen to his radio program on Radio Skid Row, 88.9 FM every Tuesday, from noon until 2pm.

John is an active member of the Pirate Party, which is a serious political party devoted to making Australia more democratic. He and other pirates speak at the Domain now and then about their policies and other topical matters. (That’s ‘topical’, not ‘tropical’.)

To see videos of John performing at Speakers’ Corner go to his Youtube channel.
John also has a website in which he comments upon current affairs, both here and abroad.
He is a busy man.


Uncle Pete (heckler and occasional speaker)

Peter - best

During the week Uncle Pete teaches students, and if he teaches them with the same verve he has for Speakers’ Corner, they are lucky students indeed. Click here for a few highlights. For more videos of Uncle Pete, go to the archives site.

Tony, atheist.

New-Zealand born Tony used to be a speaker but now he heckles the other speakers.  In this video  Tony expresses a few of his well considered opinions. For more videos of Tony click here.

Max (Quiet listener)

Max is one of the gentler regular visitors. Says little, but when he does speak, it’s sensible. Click here to discover why he visits Speakers’ Corner.

Jack (Quiet observer)


“The old grey owl sat on an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird?”

Click here to hear a few words from Jack.

Peter the Younger


The well-read Peter knows an awful lot about many subjects, and in particular: geo-politics and U.S. shenanigans.  Click here to hear why Pete comes to Speakers’ Corner.


Howard is always polite and reasonable, yet despite that he fits in well at Speakers’ Corner. His contributions are appreciated by all. Click here to hear why he comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Ben the Whisperer

Although Ben is softly spoken, when he does speak, people listen. Click here to hear why he likes Speakers’ Corner.


Click here to hear why Kieron likes Speakers’ Corner.


Jean 2

Jean tries so hard to be feisty, but she’s just a big softie. Click here to hear why she comes to Speakers’ Corner.
Her husband Albert is below. Both of them are excellent value at Speakers’ Corner.


Albert 3

Albert may be 94, but he is as alert as anyone, and fit. When he helps Mr B unload the chairs he carries six at a time.
Albert wrote an absorbing book titled, ‘Civilisation Hijacked’. It explains how good men are persuaded to do bad things.

If  you would like to buy a copy ($20) email Albert:
Albert is the husband of Jean.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 8th December.

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 9, 2019 at 12:01 pm

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
Japanese proverb. 

1. Ever heard of Joseph McCabe? We haven’t either, but every year the Rationalist Association of NSW has a lecture in his honour, and today Steve Maxwell began the meeting by informing us that this year’s lecturer will be Adam Reakes, president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia.

“Upselling to Reality” or “How well do you know your washing machine?” Adam’s lecture will be a humorous, sceptical discussion about the things we purchase and the beliefs we adopt. What is the intersection between belief and material things?

Relax! Don’t have an envy attack! You’re invited too! It’s this Saturday, 14th December, at 5.30pm. 10 Shepherd St. Chippendale. The cost? As you know, the best things in life are free.

And there’s finger food!

Max: 0418 939 539
Steve: 0404 009 294

Steve Maxwell entertaining the passers-by.


Drawing by Steve Maxwell

2. On the Ladder of Knowledge 
Mr B lambasted our current politicians and his grasshoppers for voting for them. He then proposed an alternative form of government in which people vote for policies, not politicians.

3. You have heard of rational beliefs and irrational beliefs, but have you heard of emotional beliefs? Here is another chapter from Mr B’s book for young people.

4. Mr B took me aside today and objected to the comments I made last week on this blog, about his flabby chest. Today, as if he had to prove something, he revealed his chest again. (Admittedly, the crowd were baying for it.) However, nothing had changed; his chest was still flabby. But as I write these words, Mr B has emailed me a photograph of his chest. So, dear reader, you decide for yourself.

Mr B.

5. Other topics discussed:
– “The expense of going to court derails justice”, said Mr B, citing the example of Rugby Union Australia’s cave-in to Israel Folau.

– Across the way, John August spoke for an hour about climate change, atheism and economics.

– Mr B provided other examples of why ‘the law is a donkey’. He says he will provide more examples this coming Sunday

– Mirko spent ten minutes on the Ladder of Knowledge explaining the relationship between his phonetic language and a man’s Adam’s apple. Bizarre stuff.

– Ray yet again had to deal with Atheist Eddie. Will either man come to the lecture on Saturday?

– What will be the best day of Mr B’s life?

– Helmut spoke about tennis and why the top tennis players purposely lose matches.

– Two people, on different occasions, said it would be a shame if Mr B died. Who would bring the chairs?

– Why didn’t the jury find Elon Musk guilty of defamation after he named the Englishman ‘Pedo-guy’?

– Should we try to save our native wildlife by putting feral-proof fences around the areas burned by bushfires? Can we let the forests regenerate without feral cats, foxes, dogs and pandas?


6. This week’s unusual animal from our Unusual Critter Series is the Tasmanian Black Eastern quoll. This one sponsors our Facebook page.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 1st December

In News for Speakers' Corner on December 2, 2019 at 10:04 am

“The things that make me different are the things that make me.”
‘Winnie the Pooh’.
A. A. Milne.

1. seoga0fjtyi rivn dlg;hpdk hsAfter hearing Mr B’s talk about the typewriting monkey two weeks ago, your scribe figured I’d try it for myself. If I took the place of a monkey and randomly typed letters, could I, with a touch of good luck, type this week’s post? I have been typing randomly and it seems to be workz

Bother. Let’s start agaix

After hearing Mr B’s talb

After hr

Forget it. I’ll do it the proper way.

2. Mr B began the meeting by giving an update on Tony, who likes to give a running commentary on the people he’s observing, whether it be the geriatrics in the old folks in the home he lives in, or on the beleaguered souls attending a hospital’s Emergency Department. In a loud voice he holds nothing back.

Then Mr B asked the question, “Are men attracted to women’s breasts for cultural or biological reasons?” Unfortunately, Mr B felt the need to take off his shirt and ask the audience to pretend his pectoral muscles were a woman’s breasts. The trouble was, they weren’t pectoral muscles, they were breasts. Hairy ones. Five people groaned and turned their heads away, two people at the back nearly chundered, and the rest shut their eyes and implored him to put his shirt back on. But Mr B was undaunted. “It’s for science,” he explained. From then on, every time he made a point he squeezed a breast for emphasis. It was awful. But when he caressed his left nipple, to prove breasts are an erogenous zone, it was too much for one audience member and she did her block. Jean was livid. Her long harangue brought Mr B’s talk to a standstill, and when she paused to take a breath he felt the need to squeeze his breasts together, wantonly. It was so uncalled for.

Your scribe thinks the main problem is Mr B’s self-perception. Mr B seems to think he has the body of the Greek youth, Adonis. You don’t, Mr B. You have the body of the middle-aged Adonis, ran to fat long ago. Just saying.

As for the topic itself, Mr B concluded that men are attracted to women’s breasts for biological reasons. Of course, he was met with disagreement.

3. We have another lookalike. Here are photos of Mr B and Karl Pilkington when they were younger. You have to admit, there is a striking resemblance.

Mr Bashful, aged 32.


Karl Pilkington, aged 32

4. Steve Maxwell was away today but we had Ray near the Kiosk, and two other speakers who weren’t Mr B. 94 year-old Albert was one of them. Although Albert was invited to talk about his pet subject, collective consciousness, he instead chose to talk about humanity’s stupidity. Humanity should not be wasting trillions of dollars buying armaments, he said. When asked if Australia should have an army, navy and airforce he replied, “No.”

Thanks, Albert. We’ll call you.

5. At 4.30 Mr B handed the Ladder of Knowledge to Mark the Grinner, who responded to Mr B’s talk with a criticism of current day capitalism, neo capitalism and meaningless labels. He entertained the crowd for an hour!

Mark the Grinner shocks and entertains. Often at the same time.

6. Other topics discussed:
– How is money made? (Mary and Jim are the only people living in Australia. Mary has $100 and Jim has no money. Mary puts the money in a bank (run by a robot, Philip) and Jim borrows $50 from that bank. With the fifty dollars he buys something from Mary. Mary now has $150. Yet, they only started with $100. $50 has been created. How? Jim’s labour (or time?) will in time repay the bank.
Albert pointed out that the bank would happily lend Jim ten times Mary’s $100.

– Mr B explained the merits of capitalism, and why he thinks all three systems, communism, socialism and capitalism would work well if they were applied correctly. That’s a big ‘if’, Mr B! Mark the Grinner disagreed with him, saying capitalism would have to include socialism if it were to have any chance of working.

7. This week’s unusual creature in the Unusual Critter Series is the ghost pipefish. Note that it’s not a pipefish ghost, it’s a ghost pipefish. Two very different things. This one can’t look at our Facebook page because it has no internet access.


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