Grand Years with Frank Morris

Searching for posts in the month of: September 2018

Number of blogs returned: 1 to 4 records of 4

Miles Franklin, author: The last words she spoke …

PUBLISHED ON THE RED PAGE OF THE BULLETIN NOVEMBER 17, 1954.

P.R. STEPHENSEN     Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

SHE MEANT WHAT SHE SAID: MILES FRANKLIN WAS VERY CONCIOUS THAT SHE WAS GOING TO DIE SOON. “ARE YOU DONE?” SAID P.P. STEPHENSEN. “MY OATH,” REPLIED MILES. Below: “LOOKING AT MILES, IT WAS HARD TO BELIEVE,” SAID P.P STEPHENSEN.

I gave some expression, however inadequate, to feelings of personal and the Nation’s loss, when I heard of Miles Franklin’s death.

In June, l954, three months before her death, Winifred and I visited her, for the last time at her home in that Grey Street of a drab suburb of Sydney (Carlton, NSW), and had tea from her Waratah Cup.

“I’m a fallen log,” she said, and meant it. There was not a grey hair in her head. It was hard to believe that she was nearly seventy-five years of age.

“My time’s up!”

SO LONG

“You’re not done, Miles,” I argued. “You’ll never be done. You’ll live as long as you’ll be remembered, and that will be until Australia itself is a mossy log.”

“Do you believe that?”

“My oath, I do.”

Then, in the vernacular of the bushwhackers, but with question, “So long?”

“So long, dear Miles.”

<< P.R. Stephensen interviewed Miles Franklin in June, 1954. He was a best-selling writer and far-right activist and publisher and member of the Communist Party. He aided Norman Lindsay in The Franfrolico Press and edited the London Mercury magazine.

COMING: Miles Franklin tells her story of Henry Lawson and Me.


PLEASE NOTE: THE FEATURE, MR ENTERITY, THE STORY OF ARTHUR STACE, WILL BE PUBLISHED SOON.


AUSTRALIAN CHRONICLE: From 1947 to 1948 – More migrants from Europe

FRANK MORRIS

SETTLING IN: A FAMILY OF NEW SETTLERS FROM OVERSEAS.

1947

To boost Australia’s population, the Commonwealth Government decided that the 12,000 displaced persons to be brought to Australia annually from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia should be increased to 20,000.

The first ship, General Heinzelman, arrived late February carrying 843 European migrants, 729 male and 114 female, all single and with an average age of 24.

They were accommodated in former military camps at Bonegilla, near Wodonga.

This was in addition to the general migration program.

40-HOUR WEEK APPROVED BY COURT

The Commonwealth Arbitration Court deliberated on the question of the 40-hour working week for 22 months and finally declared it approved on September 8.

Australia had worked a 44-hour week since the 1920s.

GOVT ATTACKED: STIR OVER POST

The Chifley Government was strongly attacked by the press, non-Labor politicians and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Menzies, when it elevated the Premier of NSW, William McKell, to the Governor-Generalship in late January.

McKell was the second Australian-born appointee to take office. Sir Isaac Isaacs was the first.

Mr Menzies considered the selection not only “shocking and humiliating” and also “… the most deplorable incident in the Government’s growing record of political jobbery.”

Mr Chifley told the House of Representatives that “any Australian citizen of sufficient ability, reputation and integrity is entitled to occupy the position of Governor-General.”

TOP SCORER IN A SINGLE MATCH

In a Victorian Football League game between Melbourne and St Kilda, F. Fanning, playing for Melbourne, scored 18 goals, the highest number kicked by one player in a single match.

 

1948           

SEPARATE STATE LOBBY

A conference was held at Armidale to form another movement to make northern NSW a separate State. It has to do with the object of decentralising administration, industry and population.

The proposal had been investigated years earlier without result.

YACHTING NOW AN OLYMPIC SPORT

For the first time Australia was represented in the yachting event at the Olympic Games held in London.

A Victorian, A. S. Sturroch, jun, competed in Moorina of the international 23-foot Star class.

He came seventh.

AUSSIE CAR: The first Holden says “Hi” to all its would-be clients!

NEW HOLDEN: AUSTRALIA ON THE POST-WAR ROAD IN A BRAND NEW CAR.

When Prime Minister Ben Chifley took the wraps off the first Aussie car he stood back and declared, “She a beauty!”
General Motors-Holden unveiled its new Australian-made car, the Holden at a special ceremony attended by the Prime Minister on November 29.

At 760 pounds on the road, the price of the Holden “proved to be more than was initially thought likely,” the Melbourne Age said yesterday.

The first Holden had a six-cylinder motor and was capable of a maximum speed of over 80 mph.

THE GOVT WAR ON TUBERCULOSIS

The Commonwealth Government launched the anti-tuberculosis campaign in an effort to eliminate the disease within 20 years.

In Australia, tuberculosis was the greatest individual cause of death among adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years.

WIDER CONTROLS: REBUFF TO GOVT

The Commonwealth Government sought a referendum to gain wider control over rents and prices, the last of three unsuccessful attempts to enforce economic regimentation.

The Government was rebuffed on the same issue in 1944 and 1946.

Regarding the clear No to the 1948 referendum, the Melbourne Age said it was “… a heavy reverse for the Chifley Government and the Federal Labor Party …

“Seldom, if ever, was a proposal so firmly and unequivocally rejected in the proper democratic process ….

FIRST LADY, FIRST MINISTERIAL OFFICE

Dame Enid Lyons, widow of the former Prime Minister, Joe Lyons, and a member of the Federal Parliament, became Vice-President of the Executive Council and the first woman to assume ministerial office in Federal politics.

<< Frank Morris, The Sun, Friday, June 8, 1975.

PICTURE: FANNING WAS FANTASTIC AS A GOALIE!


SAYINGS: Where have all the readers gone? Even though the mass has declined, the readers have other ways to keep informed. There was a time – and it wasn’t all that time ago – when Women’s Weekly, Readers Digest, Woman’s Day, and a few other titles, sold over 5.5 million copies every month … INDEPENDENCE, says Mary Caldbeck-Moore, is asking for help when it is appropriate. Mary was at one time a community radio presenter on issues and concerns of older women. 


AUSTRALIA 1961: Ban the Bikini!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Australia was a different planet in 1961. The PBL’s intrepid Archive Detective, Ian Loading, has trawled the dusty files of the ABC for fledging TV program, Four Corners. Four minutes of one program actually sets out to prove how alien it really was then.

Said Ian: “Have a look at the autocrat with the yak black and white hat exercising his authority … I would have made his life difficult back in the day!”

This how Four Corners described the segment:

CONTROVERSIAL BIKINI

In the early years of Four Corners, there was a recurring “Voice of the People” segment in which a reporter – usually Keith Smith, who was well known for his ability to talk to just about anyone – went out into the streets.

In this segment from September 30, 196l, Keith asked the denizens of Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach whether they think the bikini should be banned? At that time, there were regulations about how skimpy the controversial bikini swimsuit could be; beach inspectors roved the sands to enforce the code.

<< pacificlongboarder.com/new


THE GLOBE pops up in Australia

HOLY WILLIAM!: COME AND SEE SHAKESPEARE AS HE REALLY WAS? IT WAS LIKE GOING TO A PARTY!

How would you like to see William Shakespeare’s plays just as they used to be? In Sydney. It’s alive, like a party. This is Shakespeare! Prices start from $29.51. Limited season. Tickets are selling fast.

The Globe Theatre, London, an Elizabethan playhouse, was associated with the plays of William Shakespeare. It was opened in 1599. Destroyed by fire in 1613. Rebuilt in 1614. Closed in 1642 by the Puritan Government.

 

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 27 September 18

COMING SOON: Titanic disaster – Carpathia to the rescue

FRANK MORRIS

SAVIOUR: THE CALL OF THE SEA. MODEL MAKER, MIKE KELLY, WITH HIS PRIZE-WINNING MODEL OF THE CUNARDER CARPATHIA. IT WAS THE CARPATHIA THAT CAME TO RESCUE THE SURVIVORS OF TITANIC IN 1912.

Wireless messages were soon received from the various ships at the scene of the disaster of the Titanic in 1912. Titanic had hit an iceberg estimated to be 30 metres high above the water and 120 metres long when the boats were ordered out at 11.45am. There was no panic or rush to join the boats.

At 12.05, there was mass hysteria. At 1.40am, water started rushing over the break between the stacks. At 1.50am, she slowly tilted straight on end … and the lights went out. At 2.20 am, with a quiet, slanting dive, she disappeared beneath the seas.

BEHAVED GALLANTLY

The Cunarder Carpathia was first to reach the spot. But the Titanic had disappeared. Eventually it picked up seven hundred Titanic passengers, mainly women. Over 1500 men and women were lost.

And the Titanic men; the men who went down with the ship behaved gallantly.

And the Carpathia?

Let us frog-leap forward to the war years. There is a drama there awaiting the Carpathia.


YOUR HEALTH & FITNESS: Exercise for grace, balance and co-ordination

MOBILITY EXERCISES OR RUNNING ON THE SPOT. THEY’LL STAND YOU IN GREAT STEAD. DO EXERCISES AT LEAST ONCE EACH DAY.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

LET’S HELP: SOME FITNESS EXERCISES TO KEEP YOUR BODY IN FINE TRIM.

This is your chance to stretch and balance and improve grace -- and co-ordination -- in your everyday stance.

SIDE BENDING

Stand with your feet apart and hands at your side. Lean first to the right, then upright again, then to the left – as far as is comfortable. Slide your hand down each leg as you lean over.

ARM SWINGING

Still with your feel apart, raise both arms in front of you. Lift them above your head, then lower them down to your sides and round behind you. Take this slowly until you develop an even gentle swing.

TRUNK TWISTING

Standing as before, hold your arms out in front of you. Keeping your eyes on your right hand, swing your right arm as far as it will comfortably to go the right, and then back again. Repeat this with your left arm.

TRUNK, KNEE AND HIP BENDS

Stand with your hands resting on the back of a chair. Raise you left knee and bring your forehead down to meet it. Do the same with your right knee.

This movement should be slow and unhurried. Eventually, when you are used to this exercise, try it without the chair. Start from a standing position, but only if you are confident that you can balance on one leg.

All these warm-up exercises can be part of the beginners’ program to improve general suppleness.

MOBILITY EXERCISES

Do these at a relaxed pace. They can done up to 10 times each at first. Keep your breathing free and easy. You will find that you are able to do more with practice. But do not attempt too much at first.

EXERCISING THE LEGS

Stand behind a chair, holding the back. Lower yourself to a squatting position. Gradually, straighten both legs, raising yourself back to a standing position. When your legs feel stronger, try this without the chair.

WALL PRESS-UPS

Stand with your hands against a wall, about 30 cm apart at shoulder height. Stand on your toes, then bend your arms until chest and chin touch the wall. Return to upright position by straightening your arms.

RUNNING ON THE SPOT

Gently run on the spot. Keep your arms loosely by your sides. Aim to raise your knees higher gradually. Start by doing this exercise for thirty seconds, then extend it slowly.

<< Retirement Pack, London.

NEXT: Mr Eternity, the story of Arthur Stace. That was his motto, Eternity, printed on the Harbour Bridge every years. It is also planned to name a new eatery on top of Central Station, the Eternity.


LES MISERABLE: Ten years of history … and the insurrection of 1832

POLICE AGENTS WOULD HAVE SILENCED LE NATIONAL, THE NATIONAL NEWPAPER. BUT THE OFFICE OF THE JOURNAL WAS SITUATED IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE BARRICADES.

LOUIS BLANC             Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

HAVOC: THE PRESS PLAY MAYHEM WITH THE TRUTH ABOUT THE INSURRECTION IN 1832. Below: SMASHING THE PRINTING PLATES OF THE TRIBUNE.

Louis Blanc made several references to Le National and its editor Armand Carrel.

The men of battle were left unsupported by the men of council. The office of the Tribune had been entered by the agents of police, protected by a detachment of national guards, an all the presses had been sealed up, despite the energetic protests of MM Sarrut and Boussi.

A similar visitation was made upon the Quotidienne, and would have silenced Le National, but the office of the latter journal was situated in the immediate vicinity of the barricades.

It was to the office of Le National, then, where had already assembled several persons, not connected with the party that some of the influential republicans proceeded about eight o’ clock on the evening of June 5.

Here was discussed, amid the confused sounds from without, the question of a general rising.

The start had been made, the impulse, a powerful one, given; why any delay in carrying it out? The Revolution of 1830 had not begun under auspices more favourable. Such was not the opinion of Armand Carrel.

WE’LL DIE TO THE LAST MAN

On this occasion, Armand Carrel was too eager to decide as a military man, a question which was presented to him as a conspirator; or, whereas, the principles which assure victory to an army in the field are quite different from those which give success to a popular insurrection.

Audacity … the genius of Danton, audacity is the soundest prudence for parties engaging in such struggles. For, in revolutions, confidence has all the chances in its favour.

The meeting at Le National office broke up, without any other result than that of making more obvious the fatal dissensions which prevailed among the opposition.

An order of arrest was issued against the chief editor of Les National, Armand Carrel. Several journalists were seized and the homes of honourable citizens were brutally violated. The arrests became so numerous that, to convey the prisoners, it was necessary to call the public conveyances into requisition ….

In Les Miserables, author Victor Hugo, wrote, “So much was it – the spirit of those at the barricade of Rue de la Chanvrerie – in tune with the mood of that June 6, 1832. That, at almost the same moment, defenders of the St Mery stronghold, raised their voices in a bellow that has gone down in our history. No matter whether they come to our aid or not, we’ll die to the last man! As we see, the two strongholds, separated though they were, were together in spirit.”

<< From Cullen Publications Pty Ltd, 1987. Some of the paragraphs have been changed.

Next: Louis Blanc writes about some of the actual persons recognisable as Les Miserables characters.


NATURE CALLING: Help us, help us

KOALAS NEED YOUR HELP. SIMPLY, SUPPORT YOUR FAVOURITE KOALA FUND.

 

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 21 September 18

UP, UP: Trans Australian Airways has taken to the air. Story further down.

AUSTRALIAN CHRONICLE 2: LABOR RETAINS POWER IN “A STEADINESS” OF POLITICAL OUTLOOK.

KEEPING TRACK OF NEWS FROM 1946 TO 1950.

FRANK MORRIS

1946

The Chifley Labor Government returned to office on September 28 with a substantial majority in both Houses and, according to the Canberra Times, the nation had “displayed a steadiness of political outlook …”

The new Liberal Party’s platform made little impact on the electorate, and the two Opposition parties were disunited.

Labor also held power in NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia.

In 1946, the Commonwealth Government:

CONTINUED general demobilisation.

DEVELOPED plans to encourage immigration to build up Australia’s population.

BY a referendum obtained wider powers in regard to social services.

SET UP a Commonwealth Forestry and Timber Bureau to research the supply, production, distribution and the use of Australian timber.

INTRODUUCED a hospital benefits scheme to pay 12 shilling a day for patients in public hospitals and 8 shillings a day for other enrolled patients.

STEPPED up work on the postwar housing program, completing 25,000 homes during the year.

BOUGHT out British shares in Qantas.

TAA TAKES TO THE AIR

Trans Australian Airlines began to operate on September 9. The name was the trading name of the Australian National Airlines Commission.

The first flight was from Sydney to Melbourne in a 21-seater Douglas DC 3.

Delivery of the 44-seater Douglas Skymasters was expected later that month.

By the end of the year, TAA had services in operation in all States.

METAL STRIKE SPREADS TO ENGINEERING TRADES

A long metal-trades dispute disrupted production in Victoria. It began with an iron-makers and moulders’ dispute in two iron foundries in October and within a fortnight spread to all engineering trades.

The dispute lasted until May, 1947. As a result prescribed margins were considerably increased. Other industries obtained similar increases.

BOOST TO RESEARCH: DEDMAN PLAYED A KEY ROLE

A mayor advance in Australian education and research was the establishment of the Australian National University, created by an Act of Parliament.

The original purpose of the University was for post-graduate studies of physics, medicine, social services and Pacific matters. Its scope quickly widened. The foundation-stone of the university building was laid in October, 1949.

Mr John Dedman, the Minister for Postwar Reconstruction, played a significant part in launching the project. Dedman was to return in his sixties as the university’s oldest student.

RECORD CLIP: Fleeces were a breakthrough in history

The Australian wool clip, estimated at three million bales, brought nearly 80 million pounds at the September wool sales, the first in seven years.

It was a world record clip.

A pastoral journal described the season as “the most momentous in the history of the wool-growing industry” and predicted it would help place Australia’s economy on a sound and satisfactory basis.”

THE HOUSE IN EVERY HOME

By a Special Writer

The Minister for Immigration and Information, Mr Calwell, asked Parliament to consider a bill which would authorise the Australian Broadcasting Commission to broadcast parliamentary proceedings.

Mr Calwell said the views expounded in both Houses should be heard in the homes of most Australian families.

Mr Calwell told Parliament that New Zealand adopted the practice in 1936 and “the debates have become a popular feature of broadcasting programs in that country.

“And it’s enabled the people to become better informed.”

AIR ROUTE, JOBS SERVICE

The air service by Qantas to England had been kept up during the war by flights via Perth, Cocos Island and Ceylon. In 1946, flights resumed on the route via Singapore.

Locally, the Commonwealth Employment Service was inaugurated.

CENTRE FOR TESTING MISSILES

The Prime Minister, Mr Chifley, announced the joint venture with Britain to build a missile-testing complex at Mt Elba, in South Australia at the estimated cost of eight million pounds. The project later to be known as Woomera.

<< Australian Chronicle, 1946, by Frank Morris.

NEXT: Les Miserables – Louis Blanc’s History of ten years. Coming: Australian Chronicle from 1948.


MAEVE BINCHY:  Final. The Irish Times and long after. She loved being a columnist!

I FEEL ESPECIALLY LUCKY THAT WE MET!

GORDON SNELL          Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

SHE’S ABOUT: GORDON SNELL – “I CAN STILL FEEL HER PRESENCE. Below: MAEVE BINCHY – MY CHILDHOOD WAS IMPORTANT.

No wonder her readers were delighted with Maeve Binchy. She told it all with the eagerness and enthusiasm of someone who says, “Just wait till I tell you what happened …”; and she goes on to tell an enthralling and often hilarious tale.

She brought the same directness to her many serious reports for the paper: on the bombs in London and other cities, the capsized ferry disaster, and the savage war in Cyprus.

Maeve followed the advice she often gave to aspiring writers – to write as you speak.

Her view of the world and the people in it was the same in her writing as was in her life: she was compassionate and perceptive; she treated everyone with the same considerate interest; and her humour was uproarious but never sneering or cruel.

VERY HAPPY WE MET

Her capacity for friendship seemed limitless, and hundreds of people from all over the world, who never knew her, have written to say that they thought of her as a friend.

I can almost hear her say, ”That’s enough of that! You make me sound like some kind of saint!” Indeed as a schoolgirl, sainthood was a role she considered aiming for, but decided against – partly on the ground that it could involve martyrdom, but really because it just wasn’t her style.

We must all be glad she took on the roles she did, as teacher, writer and friend to so many; and I above all feel especially lucky that we met and spent so many happy and loving years together.

I hear her voice and feel that she is back with us again, in all the vivacious joy that she created around her. In her words, and in her many novels, short stories, plays and films, Maeve lives on – and always will.

<< Gordon Snell’s Introduction is taken from Maeve’s Times, Orion Publishing Group, London, UK.


AUSSIE POEM: I’m going to be as joyful as I can …

BERYL THOMPSON as told to Frank Morris

MY POETRY: I WAS ALWAYS IN TOUCH WITH REAL LIFE, SAYS BERYL. Below: BOND A FRIENDSHIP, LIKE I DID.

My mother stood by me through the dark times. My dear late mother Ella. She lavished me with love, devotion and with wisdom in abundance. Mum never stopped encouraging me to do the very best I could manage.

Looking back now, my endeavours were ahead me. She regarded it as her responsibility, and hers alone, to make sure I prized the value of every minute of my pursuit. The sage, Dr Samuel Johnson, once remarked, a few hundred years ago, “let not a particle of time fall useless to the ground.”

I never forgot that saying. Or was about. I wanted to be a fur buyer for a large department store. I was introduced to Mr Ken Cook at Farmer’s-Myers. He was to launch me on my career; it was job I aIways wanted.

It was Farmer’s, later Myers, where I started anew. I was literally overjoyed. And, admittedly, I had my poetry will keep in touch with ‘real’ life.

SMILE A WHILE

Life is sweet, however short;

Why don’t we live the way we ought?

Why do we fight and row all day?

Instead of showing each the way

To peace and happiness.

The gloom that overshadows life,

The suffering and endless strife

Could easily be made much lighter,

The bonds of friendship so much tighter

If the right path we but chose.

As the years go winging by,

Dearest don’t you sit and sigh;

But scatter smiles along the way

So all mankind will pause to say

You make my lot much lighter.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 14 September 18

RUTH PARK: New stage version of play wins the hearts and minds of the audience!

“WOMAN WINS MAJOR AWARD IN NOVEL PRIZE”, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD SHOUTED.

FRANK MORRIS

THE BACKSTREET: AUTHOR RUTH PARK TOURED THE STREETS OF SURRY HILLS TALKING TO RESIDENTS IN THE 1950s. IMAGE: FAIRFAX. Below: RUTH PARK HAS A LAUGH WITH A RESIDENT. Below: SURRY HILLS WAS A QUEER… LITTLE VILLAGE HALF HIDDEN BY A PROPEROUS CITY.

Controversial Ruth Park did not make public appearance until 1947. That’s when Park won the Herald inaugural annual award for the novel The Harp in the South and received two thousand pounds from newspaper’s editor Hugh McClure Smith.

The paper was soon inundated with angry letters “claiming Sydney has no slums.”

Written in New Zealand, the author airmailed The Harp in the South to reach Sydney just before closing time of the competition.  The newspaper announced the winner in December; and that The Harp in the South would be serialised during January.

In her book, Park describes the backstreets of Surry Hills in the 1950s as “a queer, disreputable little village, half hidden under the hem of a prosperous city … places of scrawny terraces, ruinous cottages far older that the terraces, sagging roofs, snaggletooth fences and warped green shutters that always dangled idly from one rusty bolt.

SUCH NEGLECT

She went on to compare the many houses like the one that the Darcy’s lived in at twelve-and-a-half Plymouth Street.

“There were many houses … smelling of leaking gas, and rats, and mouldering wallpaper which has soaked up the odours of a thousand meals … Such neglect! Such disrepair!

“No one had cared for Surry Hills since Victoria was on the throne.”

Living at twelve-a-half Plymouth St, the Darcy’s had grown up and grown old “amid brothels and sly grog, the pious and the violent, the opportunists and the desperate,” the Sydney Theatre Company said.

DIFFERENT TWIST

The play was adapted from the trilogy -- Missus, The Harp in the South and Poor Man’s Orange – by celebrated playwright Kate Mulvany.

In part one, the Darcy family saga begins with a love story in the 1920s. It’s a rural, dusty NSW town where young Margaret Kilker falls for one called Hugh Darcy. Newly married, and in search of a brighter future, they move to Sydney’s Surry Hills.

The play takes a different twist in part two. Amid the changing world in the 1950s, the shadow of the war lingers. And, suddenly, there is a new threat on the horizon. The homes of Surry Hills’ poor are threatened by government plans for redevelopment.

Playwright Mulvany says: “I hope this play makes you look at the person next to you and smile”.


FLASHBACK: Gwen Plumb setting the pace as Gran

FRANK MORRIS

ACCLAIM: GWEN PLUMB PLAYED THE PART OF GRAN IN THE TOP-RATING SERIES THE HARP IN THE SOUTH. Below: FIRST AUSSIE WOMAN TO TACKLE AN OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENT.

Actress Gwen Plumb had been at the forefront of Australian TV and theatre for over 60 years or more. In the 80s, she won acclaim for her part of Gran in the top-rating mini-series of Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South. Ms Plumb became professional actor in 1948.

After studying drama at Doris Fitton’s Independent Theatre, her first role that year was in the farce See How They Run at the Minerva Theatre, King Cross.

In her radio days, Ms Plumb played Emmie in the Australia’s longest-running serial, Blue Hills.

BITTERSWEET

In 1953, she went to London for 2GB to cover the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2 and stayed there for 5 years for sending back tapes of main celebrity events. She was the first woman in Australian broadcasting to tackle such an assignment. She was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1973.

The Harp in the South was one of the best television programs adapted from a book, ever, in the annals of television. As far as Gwen Plumb’s role was concerned, looking deeply into Grans’ eyes: they express the bittersweet outcome of the Darcys. Gwen Plumb as born in 1912; died in 2002.

<< The Sydney Theatre Company; part of Frank Morris’s article on Gwen Plumb which was done in 1988.


NEXT: A NATION REBORN – The Australian Chronicle (new edition), which begins at 1901, will continue with its news items. Each year will be random … LES MISERABLES will continue the week after.


MAEVE BINCHY: Part one. The Irish Times and long after! She loved being a columnist!

THE COLUMN WAS THE START OF HER BRILLIANT WRITING CAREER.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

A GAME: AUTHOR MAEVE BINCHY TAKES TIME OUT TO PLAY A CHESS GAME. Below: GORDON AND MAEVE -- VERY HAPPY.

In October, 1968, the Irish Times got a new Women’s Editor. It was Maeve Binchy.

As a young teacher she had loved both her job and her holiday travels; she had been a favourite contributor ( to the Irish Times) since her first travel letter, sent in by her father, was published a few years earlier.

On her appointment, the then News Editor Donal Foley, declared, “Won’t she be a great crack to work with? And she’s a brilliant writer!”

Both proved true over a career which lasted the best part of fifty years.

Maeve Binchy wrote for and edited the daily Women First page until 1973. She transferred to the London office as a columnist, feature writer and reporter. She balanced the day job with her rapidly growing career as a writer of fiction and drama.

FUTURE GENERATIONS

In the 1980s, when she resigned … from the Irish Times, she retained her close association with the paper as a regular contributor. Maeve and her husband, Gordon Snell, moved back to Ireland.

In  2013, Gordon Snell, wrote the Introduction to the Maeve Binchy book, Maeve’s Times, because he knows the writings of Maeve Binchy are “universally cherished” and “will be for generations to come.”

Gordon Snell said:

From her earliest childhood, Maeve loved stories – and wanted to be part of them. When her father started to read her some tale of two children wandering through a wood, she asked at once, “Where was I?”

SETTING THE SCENE

He would say, patiently, “You were sitting in a tree beside the path.” And with Maeve happily located the story could go on.

When she grew up and became a storyteller herself, she made her readers feel that, like little Maeve in the tree, they were on the scene, among the action and the characters. She did the same in her journalism, writing with on-the-spot directness of the people and events with whom she come into contact.

It was her father’s enthusiasm that led to Maeve becoming a journalist in the first place. As a teacher she used her long holidays to travel all over the world, on cargo ships, cheap flights, trains and hitch-hiking.

She worked in school and holiday camps, on a kibbutz. And as a tourist guide, in North America, the Middle East and Asia. Her father sent some of her long, lively letters … to the newspapers who published them as articles.

HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

That was the start of her career as a columnist. It was a job she kept doing happily even after she had become a celebrated novelist.

Whether she was observing a couple having an angry but icily polite disagreement, or a feeling the panic – including her own -- brought on by the trials of air travel, or watching the outlandish fantasies of the fashion industry; she had a unique ear for the quirks, intensities and absurdities of human behaviour.

No wonder her readers were delighted with her; for she told it all with the eagerness and enthusiasm of someone who says, “Just wait till I tell you what happened …” and goes on to tell and enthralling and often hilarious tale.

NEXT WEEK: Final. “Her capacity for friendship seemed limitless,” wrote Snell.


BRIGHT SPARKS: This is what happened in 2018

FRANK MORRIS

 A LONG WAY: COUNCILS HAVE COVERED SOME DISTANCE SINCE MY COVER STORY ON THEIR PROGRESS IN THE 1960s.

A plan to “replace” high-emitting street lighting in Parramatta is nearly completed. A more effective LED lights program, which is part of the street-light replacement scheme, is one of Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils projects.

“We are currently working with a number western Sydney councils who need further lighting upgrades, solar installations and energy efficiency measures.”

Councils have come a long way in 60 years. In the 1960s, it was “plastics in lighting” test installation that was tried out by the Electricity Authority of NSW. It was a huge success. I recall, in The Plastics Retailer magazine, I published a glowing article by our staff writer on the project.

REWARDING ADDRESS

“It is estimated that over the next few years one hundred and seventy six thousand pounds will be spent yearly on street lighting in Sydney alone, and that a considerable portion of this sum will go on plastic components,” the writer said.

“The same speaker pointed out that the use of acrylics in lighting had doubled since 1958 … Plastic diffusers had increased 60 per cent since 1960. The plastics diffusers can be used up to a number of years.”

The writer said it was “the most rewarding address I had heard for some time.”

LED. Not a bad leap forward. 

<< Sydney Morning Herald. September, 2018; The Plastics Retailer, August, 1961.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 07 September 18

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