Grand Years with Frank Morris

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THE “VOICE”: Marconi wireless will be retrieved from Titanic

THE VOICE OF THE TITANIC, ONE OF THE HIDDEN TROVES.

THE REMOVAL OF THE TITANIC MARCONI WIRELESS, ONE OF THE HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE WRECK, WAS DECIDED IN A LANDMARK COURT CASE. A US JUDGE “GRANTED PERMISSION FOR A SALVAGE FIRM TO CUT INTO THE VESSEL AND RETRIVE A MARCONI WIRELESS,” REPORTED THE TELEGRAPH, LONDON.
FROM GOVERNMENTS AND LEADING ARCHAEOLOGISTS APPLICATIONS WERE SWEPT ASIDE. THE PAPER REPORTED, THE RMS TITANIC INC SAID THAT THE TITANIC IS DETERIORATING SO QUICKLY THAT PRECIOUS ITEMS, INCLUDING THE WIRELESS, MUST BE RESCUED” FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. – FM.


FLASHBACK: Titanic, 100 Years ago … The man who never was!

THE TITANIC WRECK: HANGING ON LIKE GRIM DEATH. Below: THE LONDON HERALD REPORTED THAT THE SINKING WAS ALL-OUT “MURDER”! CITY, REGIONAL AND COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CARRIED THE STORY.

" I COULDN’T CONTAIN MYSELF. THE SHIP, WHAT SHIP?”

FRANK MORRIS

The autumnal afternoon shadows begun to fall like a damask curtain over this city. The year was 1974. It has been otherwise a perfect April day. It was mid-afternoon when I walked out of the building and headed for the bar. Today was a slow-news day. It left me feeling bedraggled.

When I reached the wine bar the shower, which wasn’t there, had now accumulated enmasse. When I walked in there were a few people talking to Wendy, the hostess. Wendy spotted me. She poured a white wine and pushed it towards me, and disappeared.

I looked at the old railway clock perched on the far bar-wall. It was 3.30pm. I flicked through the late final editions of both newspapers. Newswise, it had been a slow day.

Rain is a funny thing. It comes and it goes. I found myself humming this poem:

The rain has drifted,

The cloudless heaven shines softy.

The air is still, the sea is calm.

I hummed away.

Then I searched for my papers. I was going home.

“Are you looking for these,” he asked. His presence had snapped me out of my reverie. He was clean-shaven, had thin hair and dressed in an expensive suit.

He made himself comfortable.

“You don’t mind if I berth here, my friend. I need to rest awhile.”

Can I buy you a beer? He shook his head.

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ABOUT US IN 1973 …

MASSIVE INCREASE IN SPENDING OF $67 MILLON ON ABORIGINALS … LIZ REID BECAME THE FIRST WOMEN’S ADVISER TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT … QUADRAPHONIC SOUND INTRODUCED COMMERCIALLY … NEVILLE WRAN BECOMES OPPOSITION LEADER IN THE NSW PARLIAMENT … PATRICK WHITE’S VOSS WINS NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE … GOUGH WHITLAM SPENDS $1.3 MILLION ON BLUE POLES FOR THE NATIONAL GALLERY. PURCHASING ARRANGEMENT BEGAN IN THE LATE 1960s.
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“April is a very sad period for me. My mother and uncle drowned sixty-two years ago. As old as I am, I find it hard to go to asleep at night. I was in a small boat with seventy-odd survivors when the ship went down. I was six at the time.”

I couldn’t contain myself. The ship, what ship? The gentleman was pulling a yellowed fragment of well-thumbed newsprint from his wallet, and handed it to me.

It was the Sydney Morning Herald, April 15, 1912. It showed a photo of the Titanic leaving Portsmouth and a smattering of several decked headlines about told the Titanic sunk and over 1000 lives were lost, and so on.

“The night is as vivid as this minute and it was over sixty years ago,” he said. “I see the rest of the family from time to time …”

I interrupted the storyteller.

I want to race back to the office a get my tape recorder. I’d like to write a story about you. He shrugged his shoulders; his eyes glazed over. I was gone about 10 minutes. When I got back to the wine bar the old man was gone.

He was no where to be seen. He had scarpered; done a bunk.

I caught Wendy’s eye. What happened to the old gent who I was talking to a few minutes ago? What old guy?

This is Twilight Zone stuff. Did I imagine this encounter? I headed for home.

But it wasn’t over yet.

I glanced at the date on my newspaper, just to make sure. It was April 15 – the day the Titanic sunk. It was a day I’ll never forget.

Frank Morris: This is a true story. It did happen … or, I think it DID happen. It’s a conundrum. But I’ll never forget it. Now, see if you believe it.

(THERE IS SOME ALARMING NEW EVIDENCE ON THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC THAT HAS COME INTO THE EQUATION: A FIRE THAT WAS BURNING IN THE HULL OF THE SHIP, UP NEAR THE FRONT, LEFT A NOTICEABLE UPWARDS MARK ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE VESSEL WHICH WOULD STRETCH SOME THIRTY FEET LONG.
THE FIRE, IT WAS REPORTED, BECAME CATACLYSMIC IN ITS INTENSITY. IT WAS FURTHER REPORTED, THAT THE TITANIC HAD BEEN ABLAZE DOWN IN THE FRONT SECTION, FROM THE TIME THEY DEPARTED LONDON UNTIL THE VESSEL SANK. ALLEGEDLY, THIS IS WHAT MADE THE TITANIC SINK SO QUICKLY.) – FM.

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ABOUT US IN 1974 …

CINEMA PAPERS, THE PREMIER MAGAZINE TO REPORT ON THE GLOBAL FLICKS INDUSTRY, BEGINS PUBLICATION. IT DELED INTO THE FABRIC OF THE INTERNATIONAL FILM BUSINESS. KERR IS APPOINTED AS GOVERNOR-GENERAL. REPORTER SAID THAT KERR HAS A ‘CLOAK-AND-DAGGER BACKGROUND.


MISTER NOOSTI: Phar Lap – “The greatest run I have seen”, said American racing chief

PHAP LAP, INTO THE HOME TURN, WAS STARTING TO MAKE HIS RUN AT THE BACK OF THE FIELD.

PHAR LAP’S BLISTERING RUN SCORES HIM A THREE LENGTH VICTORY. Below: MISTER NOOSTI’S TRADEMARK!

I’VE SELECTED A YARN THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO WANT TO MAKE YOU CHEER! 

MISTER NOOSTI    

The Agua Caliente Hippodrome is a quintessential gambling mecca just south of US border.

Agua Caliente, now called Tijuana, attracted prostitutes, alcoholics, high rollers and, in those days of American prohibition, mobsters who made a killing out of illegal booze and crooked card games.

In Los Angeles, the newly established film colonies were seen roaring down the border for a bet or two at the race track. The Aqua Caliente Handicap was worth $100,000. Phar Lap’s arrival in America had created more interest than his departure.

There was nationwide publicity in the months before arrival. His star billing hailed him as the “Red Terror from the Antipodes”. It was race day at Agua Caliente, the atmosphere was electric.

Would the wonder horse from Australia beat the best in the world? The odds were stacked heavily against him. Tommy, his strapper, told the US jockey, Billy Elliot, to stay behind the field until they run down to the finish.

As they turned for home Elliott shook the reins and the mighty chestnut, with his enormous kangaroo-like bounds, surged through the field. Nothing, not even a severely damaged hoof, was going to stop Phar Lap from winning the race.

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ABOUT US IN 1974 …
IN DECEMBER, THE HEART WAS RIPPED FROM THE CITY AS THE SCALE OF CYCLONE TRACY DESTROYED MUCH OF DARWIN. THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED THROUGH THE CHRISTMAS DAY DISASTER WERE STILL IN A DAZE AND STUNNED AT THE LEVEL OF THE DEVASTATION. CONTINUED BELOW.
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Phar Lap passed the second horse, Reveille Boy, the mobs favourite, and with a blistering burst of speed, he won the race by three lengths.

Francis P. Dunne, American racing authority, said: “Phar Lap’s was the greatest run I have ever seen in any race by any horse – I’ve seen them all, Phar Lap was the greatest”. Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< Phar Lap, published by Budget Books, 1983.

LET’S LAUGH!

Zig-zagging his way home through a cemetery on a winter night, a drunk tripped and fell into a freshly-dug grave.

Stretched out in the deep hole and too drunk to get up, he began to yell for help. Soon, a second drunk appeared at the top and asked, “Wash the matter wish you, lo’ boy?”

“Help me out like a good fellow,” answered the distressed victim. “I’m getting awfully cold down here”.

The other drunk took a closer look and answered. “No wonder you’re cold you mug – you’ve kicked all the dirt off yourself!”

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ABOUT US IN 1974 …

THE OUTLOOK WAS GROTESQUE. IT APPEARED THAT NATURE HAD GONE MAD EVERYWHERE. SMALL PLANES WERE SCATTERED AROUND ON THE AIRPORT TARMAC. HANGARS HAD CAVED IN. HUGE FUEL TANKERS WERE HOISTED AND THROWN ACROSS THE TARMAC. TREES WERE STRIPPED. HOUSES WITH IRON ROOFING WERE RAISED AND TOSSED AROUND LIKE LOLLY PAPERS. DARWIN WAS A MESS. CONTINUES BELOW.


VISIT A COUNTRY PUB: It’s amazing at what you’ll see!

THE PUBLICANS STEPHEN AND AMY OUTSIDE THE ROYAL STANDARD HOTEL, TOORA, VICTORIA.

THE COUNTRY PUB IS STRUGGLING! IT’S TIME TO PROP UP THE BAR IN THE RURAL COMMUNITY! THE COUNTRY PUB IS NO LONGER AN ANTIQUATED WATER HOLE.
IT’S CHANGED. THE PUB IS NOW A MEMBER – OR LIKELY TO BE -- OF AIRBNB. THEY BELIEVE IT’S TIME TO REDISCOVER THE CHARMS OF THE GOOD OLD DOWN-TO-EARTH COMMUNITY PUB.
ACCORDING TO RESEARCH, 70 PER CENT OF AUSTRALIANS WANT TO SEE MORE OF THE RURAL AND REGIONAL AREAS, BUT ONLY 14 PER CENT HAVE STAYED AT A COUNTY PUB. THE PROJECT HAS MORE OF THE SITES SIGNING ON EACH DAY. CONTACT AIRBNB.


FAMOUS WOMEN: Part 2. The brilliant career of Miles Franklin

FRANK MORRIS

MILES FRANKLIN WAS NOT A WRITER THAT LIVED ON HER NATIONAL SUCCESS WITH HER QUIXOTIC MY BRILLIANT CAREER -- ALTHOUGH IT WAS A LONG TIME TO WAIT FOR ANOTHER BOOK. BIBLIOPHILE WALTER STONE SAID CRITIC A.G. STEPHENS WAS ABLE TO SENSE THAT THE FERTILE IMAGINATION OF “MILES FRANKLIN’S PLACE IN AUSTRALIAN WRITING IS NOW ASSURED”.
AT ONE TIME SHE ESPOUSED AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE WITH A PASSION, ESPECIALLY THE ‘BUSH’ NOVELS WHICH SHE SAID WERE “ESSENTIALLY AND DISTINCTIVELY AUSTRALIAN”. SHE DECIDED TO GO OVERSEAS.
SHE SET SAIL FOR MELBOURNE (1903-1906), CHICAGO (1906-1915), AND LONDON (1915-1933); AND THEN BACK TO LIVE WITH MUM IN SYDNEY WHO DIED IN 1938. FRANKLIN TUMBLED OUT BOOKS AND STORIES AT A FAST RATE, INCLUDING THAT EPIC NOVEL, ALL THAT SWAGGER.

Below: ALL GARBED UP WHEN NURSING IN LONDON.

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ABOUT US IN 1974 …

THE DEVASTION AFTER DARWIN’S CYCLONE TRACY STRUCK HAD TO BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED. THE RESULT WAS THE WORST NATURAL DISASTER AUSTRALIA HAD EVER EXPERIENCED. THE STATISTICS TELL THE STORY: WINDS OF UP TO 250 KILOMETRES WERE ESTIMATED TO HIT THE CITY. TOTAL DAMAGE SOARED TO $1000 MILLION. 65 PEOPLE WERE KILLED. ABOUT 26,000 PEOPLE HAD TO BE EVACUATED. 16 PEOPLE WERE LOST AT SEA; OVER 90 PER CENT OF ALL BUILDINGS IN THE CITY WERE SERIOUSLY DAMAGED. MAJOR GENERAL ALAN STRETTON WAS CALLED IN, AND THE RESCUE AND EVACATION WAS A SUPERB EXAMPLE OF EFFICENCY.


NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL APPEARS ON JULY 24.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 09 July 20

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