BOOK COLLECTION: Stan Smith – congratulations, it was great to catch up with you again

NEW FRIEND: AT RAFFLES HOTEL, STAN SMITH AND I SPENT SERVERAL HOURS TALKING ABOUT THE ODDITIES OF LIFE. THEN THE CONVERSATION SWITCHED TO THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPERS AND THE YOUNG RUPERT MURDOCH.

Former journalist stayed “as a buyer and seller” and made a fortune!

FRANK MORRIS

When I was in Singapore in the mid-1960s, I had the memorable experience of being part of a Malaysian wedding ceremony. It makes an interesting conversation piece to this day! The ceremony was held in the paddock-sized courtyard of a rambling and palatial terraced home, with the lawns and heavily treed gardens slopping down to the South China Sea.

This magnificent property, not far from Changi Prison, was owned by the wealthy Australian expatriate businessman Stan Smith. When I arrived at his home on the day of the wedding, Smith and I had known each other for twenty-four hours!

We had met the previous day in one of the bars at Raffles Hotel; we talked for hours, into the late night, about politics, newspapers, the young Rupert Murdoch and so on.

He was well informed, lucid and had a clipped George Sanders-like accent. He was the archetypal smooth operator. Not knowing at the time that he possessed one of the great collections of antiquarian bird and flower books, the subject of books never came up in conversation.

WORK FOR ‘THE SUN’

When we decided to call it a night Smith handed me his card, with a verbal invitation to be not only his special guest at the wedding, but to ‘play’ a small role in the proceedings. In retrospect, this was a bit of a novelty.

There were about 120 guests, but I was the only Australian.

Smith was a former journalist. Born in Brisbane, he hit the road as a lad of sixteen and worked on the Sydney Sun in the 1920s. As the story goes he headed for Asia where he made his fortune from Japan’s post-war reconstruction boom.

Smith, as I recall, did allude to this fact in a roundabout way. He could have been in the arms business for all I knew. But I genuinely liked the guy; he was likable; everyone seemed to like him; he made friends easily.

“A SUPERB” COLLECTION

When a taxi was organised to take me back to my hotel that night we agreed to keep in touch; but that is as far as it went. I sent him two letters but he did not respond. Exit Stan Smith. That is, until I read Peter Fish’s Appreciation column in The Sydney Morning Herald in October 1998.

Smith, who was in his late fifties when I met him, died two years later, in 1968. He did have a passion for books, after all, expensive tomes at that; he had built up “a superb” library of early volumes on birds and flowers all illustrated with colour plates.

These are, writes Fish, “very pricey collectibles”.

<< Australian Book Collector, February 1999; Editor by Ross Burnet, Uralla, NSW. Email: burnet@ozbook.com

MAY: Final! An Aussie journo rare book collection goes under the hammer.

Pictures: Fast talker: Stan Smith chatted about everything. He wanted to the politicians, newspapers and young Rupert Murdoch.    


THE OLYMPIC FLAME: LIT BY GREEK VIRGINS, THE OLYMPICS FLAME TO BURN IN THE MODERN OLYMPICS WAS INITIATED BY THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT AT BERLIN.

VALE: 1936 OLYMPIC GAMES -- OLDEST SWIMMING GOLD MEDALLIST DIES AT 98

FRANK MORRIS

Adolph Keifer, aged 98, who died at his home in Illinois, was a swimming legend. He had been the oldest living US Olympic gold medallist in any sport, said the International Swimming Hall of fame.

At 17, he won the 100m backstroke at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in an Olympic record time that “stood for 20 years”.

“Adolph embodied swimming and lived it every day of his life,” USA swimming interim executive director Mike Unger said. ‘’He was a pioneer for our sport in the truest sense of the word.”

MASSIVE SHOWPIECE

Kiefer was an instructor in the Navy and a business owner whose swimming products helped advance the sport.

The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was one of Hitler’s massive showpieces and there were swastikas bedecking the stadium. But that was the year that famous American runner Jesse Owens was competing.  Jesse Owens had disconcerted Hitler by winning four gold medals.

He won the 100m and 200m sprints, the long jump and was the final runner in the US team 4 x 100m relay. The only Australian to score a medal (a bronze) was Jack Metcalfe for finishing third in the Hop, step and jump.h

<< Words from the AAP report; Frank Morris.

COMING: 1936 Berlin Olympic Games … Their dreams of athletic supremacy were never questioned.


IT’S THE TOPS! ALAN PORTER’S REPLICA OF GELIGNITE JACK MURRAY’S 1948 FORD V8 SUPER DELUXE. IT WAS USED FOR 1995 MOBIL TRIAL AND WAS NUMBERED 201.

THE FAMILY’S FAVOURITE CARS! GELIGNITE JACK MURRAY’S 1948 FORD AND RECENT REPLICAS

After being retired from active duty in car trials, Jack Murray’s old 1948 Ford V8 Super DeLuxe Grey Ghost was put display in an old car museum, said writer Trevor Poulsen of Restored Cars.

“Unfortunately the loan of the Grey Ghost was on a handshake, which was typically Jack.” The owner of the Museum died some time ago and the “Grey Ghost was treated as an asset of the Museum”. The next step, was the auction.

SUCCESSFUL BID

“John, Jack’s eldest son,” said Poulsen, “got wind of this impending auction that was to be held on the Gold Coast. “ Jack sent a colleague to bid on the car so it could be in the family’s possession once again.

The bid was successful. The car is back in the family.

“After all these years, if you ask the question, ‘Who won the Around Australia Trials in the 1950s?’ the chances are that most people will still remember Gelignite Jack Murray and the Grey Ghost. It made a deep impression in Australian motor sport history.” Adapted by Frank Morris. Information from Restored Cars, May-June 2017.

Pictures: Old mates: Gelignite Jack Murray’s Grey Ghost, the Ford V8 Super DeLuxe.


FAMILY DOUBLE: BSA A10 44 MOTORCYCLE AND A TILBROOK CAR. THE CAR BEARS A FAMILY NAME. IT WAS MANFACTURED BY MY FATHER IN 1953.

THE FAMILY’S FAVOURITE CARS! HE MADE 1000s OF SIDECARS  

Rex Patterson made thousands of sidecars and I have a standard model attached to a BSA A10 44. I have just purchased the one car he made which is described in the Restored Cars Magazine article, said Lyndon Tilbrook.

“The photograph of the car is one I took in 1988 at Rex’s home in Victor Harbour, South Australia. Little did I know that 18 years later, I would own this car to complete my collection?

WHERE ARE THE DOORS?

“The Tilbrook is a small three-wheeler with a Villiers 197cc 2 stroke motor driving the single rear wheel. The degree of ugliness is enhanced by the car only having a single headlight mounted centrally in the grille. There are no doors with cut away sides to ease access in and out of the small roadster type body.

“I have just picked up the car which is now completed disassembled. I’ve got some work ahead to get this up and running.” Adapted by Frank Morris. Restored Cars Magazine, Jan-Feb, 2017.

Picture: Open sesame: Oh, no doors!


GRANDMA OR NANNY: I CALLED MINE NANNY. SHE CAN CHERISH, INSPIRE, PROTECT AND CHATISE. SHE’S A GRANDMOTHER, DON’T YOU FORGET IT!

THINK ABOUT IT! GRANDMOTHERS WITH LOVE

FRANK MORRIS

To place my grandmother in the picture, I’II have to start at my in home in Bexley, NSW. That’s where we lived. I don’t remember anything before that. I resided with mum and dad, Cyril and Iris. I was then only 3 years old. Our home, I thought, was a pleasant, tranquil house-hold.

As I recall Cyril, my dad, worked for Sydney trams as a painter and decorator.                     

I would dress up in my cowboy suit willing to take on the world, like all cowpoke’s do; then I went to my mum’s family who owned a grocery shop. I had brilliant times on all the occasions I went there. I took my prized toys – a fire engine and a spitfire.

One day something got on my nerves. I was walking on the enclosed back veranda and saw the ice chest, airing, with all the doors open. I felt like climbing it. I did.

When I was about to reach the top the whole caboodle came tumbling down; the door on which I decided to climb into the chest gave up the ghost; then there was a wwwhoosh! bannng!

I let out a scream. My mum ran of the kitchen, my dad came from the back yard. They both yelled at me, and laughed. We all laughed. They thought it was picturesque as anything to behold. I was cuddled by my mum for ages.

SO BREATH-TAKING

I was unware of anything drastic taking shape. I lived a quiet, placid life doing what babies or do. But let me tell you, things went slightly off the rail.

The last  several months would be filled with drama. And, for the first time, I looked into my mother’s face and saw the wear and tear that told the story. The thing that really got to me, though, was her straight auburn hair, which looked so breath-taking, was now going the palest of grey. I’ll never forget it.

My mum had contracted a heart condition. She had it, I was told, before she conceived me. Oh, yes, I remember it. It’s was one of the spookiest times of my life.

My mum died when I was 3 years-old in 1940; after I got over the shock of my mum not being around again (I think heaven was used), I noticed that a few cracks were starting to appear from yours truly.

My grandmother was there to pick up the pieces. I’m still not over it; I never will be. I’m still thinking of mum whom I hardly knew. This continues.

Picture: Those were the days. Remember cuddling into your grandma? I do.

Coming: Life with grandma, or nanny, as I used to call her, there for the boy who had much to live for.


THING ABOUT IT! BAKED WITH LOVE IN GRANDMAS’ KITCHENS EVERYWHERE!

Chocolate Fudge

Put into a saucepan and boil for four minutes:

½ cup of milk/2 cups sugar /1 tablespoon butter/1 tablespoon of cocoa.

Remove from heat and add few drops of vanilla essence. Beat until thick, then pour into a buttered dish and cut into squares when set.  To My Grandmother with love, Victoria Avenue Paper Company. Knox, Victoria 3180.

 

 

 

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 19 May 17

Stay Informed

Receive eNews & Special Offers

Brochure Request Order

BLOG: Grand Years Read

Last 12 months


Tags