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Searching for posts in the month of: July 2021

Number of blogs returned: 1 to 3 records of 3

VALE: Brian “Jacko” Jackson, Australian board-building pioneer, died at 85

FRANK MORRIS

BRIAN “JACKO” JACKSON, ONE OF THE “MOST ICONIC” BOARDBUILDERS AND PIONEERS OF SURFING, HAS DIED. HE WAS 85. HIS SUDDEN DEMISE HAS SHAKEN THE INDUSTRY.

BRIAN WAS RENOWNED AS AN “ABSOLUTE GENTLEMAN”. HE LIVED AT SOUTH CRONULLA AND CRESCENT HEAD  AND “FITTINGLY, HIS FINAL RESTING PLACE WAS UNDER A FRAGIPANI TREE AT THE PLACE HE LOVED”, SAID JOHN VEAGE, OF THE LEADER NEWSPAPER.

HE BUILT HIS FIRST SURFBOARD IN THE LATE 1950s AND HE AND HIS BRAND-NAME, SYNONYMOUS WITH PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY, HAVE NEVER LOOKED BACK. JACKSON WENT ON TO BECOME ONE THE MOST ICONIC BRANDNAMES IN CUSTOM BOARDS FOR OVER 50 YEARS.

HE WENT INTO TO PARTNERSHIP WITH RON CANSDELL IN 1962. THE COMBINATION ENDED IN 1964. IN 1974, HE SOLD THE BUSINESS TO JIM PARKINSON AND DAVE MATTISON WHO WORKED WITH JACKSON.
THE JACKSON BRAND BECAME KNOWN ALL OVER AUSTRALIA.

A SPOKEPERSON FOR THE JACKSON FAMILY SAID, “HE HAS ALWAYS BEEN SUCH A MASSIVE PART OF OUR LIVES AND WILL LEAVE A WHOLE A HUGE HOLE IN OUR HEARTS”.

VALE REST IN PEACE, BRIAN JACKSON.

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Film Greats: The Kid Stakes, 1926 – Old Sydney lives again as Fatty Finn brings back hilarious moments of the goat-cart race!  

ROBIN ORDELL AS FATTY FINN.

FATTY FINN GETS A DRESSING-DOWN FROM ‘BRUISER’ MURPHY.

FATTY FINN BEING BACK IN SYDNEY IN THIS ‘EPIC’ OF THE 1920s WITH ITS RAGGED URCHINS, THE BRAWLING, FREE-FISTED WATERFRONT LARRIKINS AND THE FAMOUS DERBY!

ERIC READE     ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

INIMITABLE FATTY FINN, AUSTRALIA’S FAVOURITE SON, HAS BROUGHT THAT ZANY, TUG-O-WAR BILLY GOAT DERBY, TO NEAR PERFECTION – THE KID STAKES. THE CARTOON STRIP OF FATTY FINN WAS CREATED BY SYD NICHOLLS IN 1923.

RIGHT IN THE THICK OF COMEDY, THE RIVALRY BETWEEN TWO GANGS OF KIDS: FATTY AND BRUISER MURPHY. BRUISER WAS ‘KING’ OF ALL THE BIG KIDS. BUT FATTY, CHIEF KID-STAKER AND WILY TO BOOT, REALISES HE HAS TO TRUIMPH OVER THEM BY STRATEGY.

THE CLIMAX OF THE FILM IS THE PICTURERQUE RUNNING OF THE HILARIOUS BILLY GOAT DERBY. HOWEVER, JUST PRIOR TO THE BIG EVENT, SOMEONE HAD SET FATTY’S GOAT HECTOR FREE.

THE BILLY GOAT HECTOR WAS FOUND, HE WAS FLOWN TO THE RACE THAT BRUISER HAD TRIED TO RIG.

OVER THE POND IN CENTENNIAL PARK, THE PLANE DOES A LOOP AND POOR HECTOR FALLS INTO THE WATER. MADE IN THE WOOLLOOMLOO-POTTS POINT AREA -- AROUND THE McELHONE STAIRS, JUDGE ST, COWPER WHARF ROADWAY AND THE OLD FIRST MARKET – WITH SCENES PHOTOGRAPHED IN MOORE PARK AND MASCOT AIRFIELD.

NATURALLY, SOME OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS WORKED ON THE FILM. FROM FATTY FINN TO THE CAMERMAN, EVERY PERSON PULLED THEIR WEIGHT.

HOWEVER, THE BILLY GOAT DERBY WAS SHOT IN ROCKHAMPTON, QUEENSLAND, WHEN 60 GOATS PLUS AN AUDIENCE OF 6000 ODD PEOPLE TURNED UP. THE CROWD LET OUT A VICTORY ROAR. GOOD OLD HECTOR HAD WON THE DERBY. THE RACING OF THE GOATS MAKES THIS A LAUGHABLE AFFAIR.

TAL ORDELL, WHO APPEARED AS THE RADIO ANNOUNCER IN THE FILM, WAS THERE TO DESCRIBE THE GOAT CART RACE AND DOES IT WITH GLEE.

MAIN CAST

FATTY FINN (ROBIN ORDELL, SON OF TAL ORDELL), JIMMY KELLY AS “BRUISER” (RAY SALMON) AND SWEETHEART MADELINE TWIRT (EILEEN ALEXANDER). DIRECTED BY COYLE; TAL ORDELL, SCRIPT AND PRODUCER; CAMERMAN, ARTHUR HIGGINS.

THE OLD FILM HAD BEEN LOST FOR MANY YEARS UNTIL A SYDNEY NEWSREEL THEATRE OPERATOR DISCOVERED IT AND CUT THE ORIGINAL DOWN TO A 20-MINUTE VERSION. A SYDNEY UNIVERSITY TEAM OBTAINED THE FILM AND ALL THE LEFT-OVER PIECES WERE USED TO RECONSTRUCT THE ORIGINAL FILM.

FILM GREATS: Comment …

PUBLISHED IN THE SUNDAY NEWS IN 1923 UNDER THE TITLE ‘FAT AND HIS FRIENDS”, ON AUGUST 10, 1924, THE STRIP TITLE WAS CHANGED TO ‘FATTY FINN AND HIS GANG’. SYD NICHOLLS SET UP THE FATTY FINN WEEKLY. IT SOLD FOR A PENNY AND WAS CALLED THE FIRST ‘LOCAL’ AUSTRALIAN COMIC. IN 1951, FATTY REAPPEARED IN THE SUN-HERALD AFTER AN 18 YEAR LAPSE. IT STAYED WITH THE NEWSPAPER UNTIL 1977, THE YEAR WHEN NICHOLLS DIED. ‘FATTY FINN’, WAS REMADE AND APPEARED IN 1984. ITS CAST WAS TOPLINE. BEN OXENBOULD, IN HIS FIRST FILM, PLAYED FATTY FINN. IN AN INTERVIEW IS 1980, THE ARTIST MONTY WEDD TOLD ME THAT NICHOLLS “WAS A DINKY DI AUSTRALIAN.

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Clipper Ship: Sir Lancelot has a ‘yacht-feel’ that’s pleasing to the eye

Sir Lancelot’s regular routes were to China and the India-Mauritius trading market. She was launched in 1865.

She held in the record in China tea trade for 89 days from Hong Kong.

She was built from wooden planking on iron frames. She was planked with elm below the bilge and teak above that. She carried 100 tons of permanent iron ballast. There is some discussion as to whether Sir Lancelot was an exact sister ship of Ariel.

This is felt unlikely, as the two ships were built for different owners, and Sir Lancelot did not display the tenderness aft that Ariel displayed. But the two ships were remarkable similar.

Sir Lancelot was typical of all of Robert Steele's ships: These ships celebrated for their beauty of shapes, perfection of build, and superb finish.

They were often said to have a "yacht-like" feel; they had lines that please the eye; and plenty of teak and mahogany used for woodwork both on deck and below.

In the poem By the Old Pagoda Anchorage, she is referred to as "Sir Lancelot of a hundred famous fights with wind and wave".

She foundered off the mouth of the Hooghly River in 1895.

COMING: THE 100TH ANNIVERARY OF THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE.

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RUTH’S REMINISCENCES: FINAL. AUSTRALIA WAS TOLD “IT’S WAR”

IT’S WAR: THE ARGUS, MELBOURNE, IS ONE OF THE NEWSPAPERS TO PROCLAIM THE SAD NEWS. ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1939. AT THE SAME TIME, THE PRIME MINISTER SAID THAT AUSTRALIA WOULD ALSO BE AT WAR.

JACK WAS A COMMUNIST ORGANISER, BUT HE WASN’T A COMMUNIST!

FRANK MORRIS

“It was a time of growing action”, Ruth said. “We had to make people aware of the increasing danger of fascism.” Meetings were held in “alternating townships” along the south coast of NSW, from Wollongong to Scarborough.

Ruth continues:

At all times vigilance was needed against brutal attacks on speakers and audience. The World Peace Movement was also organising activities concerned with the attacks of the fascists on the elected government of Spain.

The Spanish Relief Committee was set up. Later, in Lidcombe, a public meeting was held to raise funds for Australian nurses going to Spain.

Ruth and Jack returned to Sydney, living for a short time in Paddington. They became a familiar couple in the Domain where they “met many fine comrades at meeting, rallies, and various other Peace activities.

Jack was lucky to score a temporary job at CSR. They rented a house at Lidcombe and Ruth managed to get domestic work in a confectionery and tea shop.

She earned 15 shillings a week and by the time they paid their rent they had 2 shillings for gas and electricity.

Ruth continues:

We managed, though times were hard. Then the authorities claimed that Jack was defrauding the government by taking the dole. They alleged he was earning 30 shillings a week as a communist organiser on the South Coast. He was not even a member of the Communist Party!

He was later accused of wrongly filling in the “32 Questionnaire” because he had not stated that I was earning 30 shillings a fortnight. This questionnaire was issued to the unemployed, who had to answer all 32 questions.

And they were allowed to earn 40 shillings a fortnight (if they could!) over the dole, but Jack had not stipulated his earnings. However, because I was earning, he was put on a single man’s rate and so was only entitled to one day a fortnight working for the dole.

TWO DAYS LATER, WE PULLED ‘STRINGS’ THAT WOULD GET JACK A JOB. JACK WAS KNOWN FOR HIS ABILITY AS A UNION OFFICAL.

We found it hard to pay the rent and exist. For a time, we were able to pay only half the rent. Then towards Christmas, in 1933, the Federal Government appealed to employers to take back their former employees for a few weeks.

Jack worked for six weeks.

While we were able to pay all the back rent, it soon mounted up again, we were one of the (hundreds of) families threatened with eviction. The following year there were many court cases and evictions. We were granted the maximum time to pay up. But it was impossible. It wasn’t long before we and our possessions – what little we had – were put on the street.

One sympathiser gave Jack a room and I went and stayed with another friend. Two days later “strings” were pulled to get us a home and a job for Jack. Jack was known for his ability as a union official.

The house was substandard but Jack had a job. I eventually found an empty house, which we rented from 1934 to 1951. Jack’s “job for life” as it was called, lasted eight weeks. There were frequent spells of unemployment, broken by intervals of work.

During this period, we joined the Labor Party.

Ruth and Jack continued to fight for a better deal for the unemployed. Relief work under Council supervision – road building and labouring work on swimming pools and sports ovals – was provided.

AUSTRALIA WAS DRAWN INEXORABLY INTO A MAELSTROM OF CURRENT AFFAIRS. AND AT 3 PM, THE PRIME MINISTER GAVE A BROADCAST THAT WOULD ROCK THE NATION.

Depending on the size of the families, men could be lucky and get three weeks employment in five. According to Ruth, some of the “most militant” men were omitted from the roster.

In their book, Australia 1939, Johnson and Nation write: “Much of the confidence and optimism engendered during the ‘roaring twenties’ had disappeared by the mid-thirties, mainly due to the shock of the Depression.

“On an individual level the immense personal hardships resulting from long-term unemployment left a legacy of bitterness and resentment in the minds of many men and women.”

Australia was drawn inexorably into the maelstrom of “the swift moving current of world affairs.” At 3.15pm on September 3, 1939, the Prime Minister Robert Menzies broadcast to the nation that Australia was at war.

Ruth concludes:

“There was only intermittent work until the beginning of the 1939-1945 war. Isn’t it odd that there’s plenty of work when the war is imminent. And yet, the general attitude (at the time) seemed to be “why worry.”

<< Ruth’s Reminiscences. Australian Book Collector, October 2000.

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Razzle Dazzle Olympics: Baton dropped – this cost Australia a Gold Medal!

SPRINTER WINSOME CRIPPS, LEFT, DROPS THE BATON IN THE 400 YARDS RELAY.

FRANK MORRIS

Many athletes have embraced the ideal of the Olympics founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin, and that was, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”

At the fateful moment in the women’s 4 x l00 yards relay final at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, Marjorie Jackson dropped the baton after taking it from Winsome Cripps, robbing Australia of a certain gold medal.

According to a reporter, “Unhappily, Winsome Cripps’ name will always be remembered for an awful mistake.”

That was part of winning, and part of struggling; one had to pay the price.

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Oooops!

MORE GINGER MEGGS COMING UP.

THE NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL APPEAR ON AUGUST 13.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 29 July 21

Cathy’s Holiday …

HOLD THOSE HORSES.

WAVING TO THE VISITORS.

ORANGE, NSW: ON THE ROAD TO MOUNT CANOBOLAS – HORSES TAKE COVER UNDER SNOW-PATCHED TREES. BELOW: TREES, ALL SUPERBLY PLANTED AND THEY APPEAR TO BE WAVING TO PASSING VISITORS. – PHOTOS BY CATHY BARR.

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QANTAS: It took 100 years to go from Winton to the rest of the world!

THE FLYING BOAT CAPENTARIA SERVED IN THE BATTLE ZONES.

QANTAS PREPARES TO ENTER THE JET AGE

FROM THE FLYING BOAT TO THE JET AGE IN ONE MIRACULOUS LEAP!

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

THE WORLD IS AT WAR. THE AUSTRALIA-ENGLAND ROUTE NOW BECOMES A VITAL LINE OF COMMUNICATION. QANTAS PILOTS CONTINUE TO FLY TO SINGAPORE, MAINTAINING THE THRICE-WEEKLY SERVICES.

JAPANESE FORCES WERE ON THE VERGE OF TAKING SINGAPORE; AND THE LAST QANTAS FLYING BOAT WOULD MAKE A DASH FROM THIS BESIGED ISLAND BY MOONLIGHT ON FEBRUARY 4, 1942.

QANTAS CREWS ARE IN THE FRONT LINE OPERATING UNARMED AIRCRAFT ON DANGEROUS MISSIONS; THE ENEMY ADVANCES SOUTHWARDS THROUGH THE ISLANDS.

THE CREW HIDE THEIR FLYING BOATS UNDER TREES SO AS TO ESCAPE ENEMY AIRCRAFT; AS WELL AS SAVE AN EMPIRE FLYING BOAT NEAR A BURNING MUNITIONS SHIP IN DARWIN HARBOUR.

THEY MANAGED TO TAKE OFF MOMENTS BEFORE THE 11,000 TONNE NEPTUNA WAS IGNIGHTED THEN EXPLODED WITH SUCH FORCE THAT THE STERN WAS CATAPULTED TO LAND ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WHARF.

QANTAS CREWS LATER SERVE IN THE BATTLE ZONES OF NEW GUINEA. QANTAS AND RAAF CREWS COMBINED TO FLY EMPIRE FLYING BOATS AND LOCKHEED LODESTARS TO DROP SUPPLIES TO AUSTRALIAN TROOPS WHO WERE FIGHTING THEIR WAY ALONG THE FAMOUS KOKODA TRAIL.

WITH THE WAR NOW FINISHED, IT WAS TIME TO PURSUE THE GOLDEN ERA OF AIR TRAVEL IN THE JET AGE.

BREAKING ALL WORLD RECORDS: THAT’S WHAT NEW JETAGE WAS DOING FOR QANTAS. QANTAS LOVED EVERY MOMENT IT. QANTAS REALISED THAT THIS TYPE OF AIR-TRAVEL WOULD INTEREST PEOPLE TO TRAVEL MORE OFTEN.

THE YEAR IS 1959. QANTAS BECOMES THE FIRST NON-US AIRLINE TO INTRODUCE THE BOEING 707 JET INTO SERVICE. IN DOING SO, TRAVEL TIMES ON THE TRANS-PACIFIC ROUTES ARE CUT IN HALF. THE JET AGE BEGINS. AUSTRALIA’S OBSESSION THE JET RAPIDLY TURNS TO GLOBAL TRAVEL.

THE YEAR IS 1971. QANTAS BRINGS THE FIRST 747-238B ‘JUMBO’ TO ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA. THIS HUGE, WIDE-BODIED AIRCRAFT OPENS UP THE WORLD OF LONG-DISTRANCE AIR TRAVEL FOR GENERATIONS OF AUSTRALIANS.

CAPABLE OF CARRING OVER 370 PASSENGERS – ROUGHLY TWO AND HALF TIMES THE CAPACITY OF A 707 – THE SLEEK AIRLINER MADE AIR TRAVEL MORE AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE.

THE LARGER 747 CABIN INSPIRES QANTAS TO INVENT A BUSINESS CLASS DIVISION, STARTING A TREND THAT WOULD INTEREST AIRLINES GLOBALLY.

THE SIZE OF THE 747 ALSO PROVES INVALUABLE. IN 1974, DARWIN AFTER CYCLONE TRACY HAD HIT THE CITY, QANTAS WERE ABLE TO EVACUATE 673 PASSENGERS IN ONE FLIGHT; THIS IS A WORLD RECORD NUMBER.

NOTABLE EVENTS OF THE 90s: EXECUTING TWO OF THE ABORIGINAL DESIGNS ON ‘DREAMING’ ON THE SIDE OF THEIR TWO 747S BECOME THE TWO LARGEST WORKS OF ART IN THE WORLD.

THE YEAR IS 1989. AGAIN, QANTAS SETS A WORLD DISTANCE RECORD FOR A COMMERCIAL JET WHEN ITS THE 747-438 FLIES NON-STOP FROM LONDON TO SYDNEY IN 20 HOURS 9 MINUTES AND 5 SECONDS – A RECORD THAT STANDS UNTIL JUNE 1993.

THE MOST NOTABLE EVENTS OF THE 90s ARE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE UNICEF CHANGE FOR GOOD PROGRAM AND THE PAINTING OF TWO 747s IN TRADITIONAL ABORIGINAL DESIGNS – WUNALA DREAMING AND NALANJI DREAMING – WHICH BECOME TWO OF THE LARGEST PIECES OF ART IN THE WORLD.

CONTINUING A LIFELONG TRADITION OF INNOVATION, QANTAS AND THE AIRBUS 380 WERE INTRODUCED SETTING THE PACE – GIVING PASSENGERS THE WORLD LARGEST AIRCRAFT – THAT WILL AGAIN ESTABLISH A NEW BENCHMARK IN THE STANDARD OF AIR TRAVEL.

THE YEAR IS 2021. THE SPIRIT OF THE FUTURE IS STILL FLEXING ITS MUSCLE.
THAT’S THE SPIRIT.

<< BACKGROUND FROM QANTAS’ NEWS ITEMS.

COMING: THE GOLDEN DAYS OF RADIO.

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Head to the best snow: Beginners - gear up for the slopes!

BEGINNERS, GEAR UP!

ARE YOU SICK OF THE LOCKDOWNS? WHY DON’T YOU LEARN TO SKI! NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE, COME AND HAVE A FEW LESSONS WITH A PROFESSIONAL.

FRANK MORRIS

ANYONE CAN LEARN TO SKI? ACCORDING TO THE EXPERTS, IT AS EASY AS RIDING A BICYCLE!

“ONCE THEY’VE GOT THE HANG OF IT, BEGINNERS WILL NEVER LOOK BACK”, ONE SKI EXPERT SAID.

BUT BEFORE THE BEGINNER IS READY TO TAKE THOSE FIRST STEPS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT TO WEAR, WHAT EQUIPMENT TO RENT OR BUY – AND WHAT THE FIRST LESSON INVOLVES.

WHEN IS BEST TIME TO LEARN?

SKING IS ONE SPORT WHICH IS NOT RESTRICTED BY AGE. ANYONE BETWEEN 5 AND 70 CAN LEARNTO SKI. THE BEST TIME TO LEARN IS WHEN THE SNOW IS PACKED ANYTIME FROM MID-JULY AND ALL

THROUGH SEPTEMBER IS IDEAL.

WHAT ABOUT EQUIPMENT?

THE BEGINNER MUST LEARN THAT THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT WILL SAVE YOU FROM GETTING INJURED. GEAR UP FOR THE SLOPES BY ALL MEANS, BUT MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT EVERYTHING YOU NEED!

OF ALL THE SKI EQUIPMENT, SKI BOOTS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT. THEY SHOULD FIT COMFORTABLY BUT GIVE FIRM SUPPORT. INITALLY, IT IS FAR MORE ECONOMICAL TO HIRE THEM. ANY RELIABLE SKI SHOP WILL ASSIST FIRST-TIME SKIERS SELECT THE MOST SUITABLE BOOTS, SKIS, BINDING AND POLES.

BINDINGS ARE THE MAIN SAFETY FEATURE OF THE SKI BOOTS. THEY CLAMP THE BOOT TO THE SKI AND WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY RELEASED IN THE EVENT OF A FALL.

WHAT IS THE RIGHT GEAR TO WEAR?

KEEPING WARM AND DRY IS MOST IMPORTANT. ALPINE WEATHER IS UNPREDICTABLE AND CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY IN TEMPERATURE.

EXPERIENCED SKIERS RECOMMEND … WARM UNDERWEAR UNDER A GOOD QUALITY COTTON SKIVVY AND A WOOLEN JUMEPER.

OTHER ESSENTIALS ARE WARM OVERALLS, WELL-INSULATED PARKA, WOOLLEN SOCKS, GOOD QUALITY LEATHER GLOVES. A WOOLLEN HAT, OR BALACLAVA, AND GOGGLES.

HAPPY SKIING!

A GROUP OF LEARNERS (LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THEM) WITH A QUALIFIED SKIER.

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RUTH’S REMINISCENCES: MY HUSBAND JACK SAILS FOR AUSTRALIA AND A “NEW LIFE”

JACK SETS OUT FOR A NEW LIFE FOR BOTH OF THEM.

A CABLE HAS REACHED JACK. “I AM ON WAY” RUTH SAID.

FRANK MORRIS

RUTH NEVER FORGOT THE GENERAL STRIKE IN 1926. THEN THERE WAS A TRANSPORT STRIKE WHICH HIT HARD. THEN CAME THE DEPRESSION.

In 1928 the British government gave women over the age of 21 the right to vote. At 26, she was engaged.
Ruth continued:

In July, 1928, my intended husband, Jack, who had been unemployed for over four years, had sailed for a “new life” in Australia.

Emigration was being encouraged as a means of, I believe, getting rid of the many angry returned men who were disenchanted with the harsh treatment they were experiencing.

Jack sailed in the Moreton Bay on one of the Commonwealth Line ships which was sold to Britain in 1928. After a few weeks in Sydney, he got a temporary job.

Among Ruth’s papers was a letter she sent to Jack shortly after his departure. He never received it. Apparently, the letter had been returned to her months later.  In his quest for work, Jack had to change his address several times.

The letter, which is now among her papers and documents in the National Library, is a moving testament of two young people separated by the difficulties of unemployment and poverty.

In 1929, soon after the election, Ruth cabled Jack that she “on her way to Sydney.”

Ruth continued:

When I arrived in Sydney from the UK we were both involved, like so many others, in the problem of existing. We realised that the depression was settling in, and during the ensuing four and a half years, both of us were employed.

SIR PHILIP GAME AMAZINGLY SACKED THE NSW PREMIER JACK LANG. WHAT’S MORE, PRIME MINISTER SCULLIN’S BUDGET WAS DESCRIBED  AS “CRUSHING”.

Needless to say, we were aware of the causes of the economic problems and we were always part of the working class movement. My husband’s job in Sydney petered out so we went to Corrimal, on the South Coast, to stay with relatives.

In no time, both of us were caught up in local activities.

Seemingly, when Ruth and Jack left the UK for Australia, they had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. In 1930 Prime Minister Scullin’s budget was described as “the most crushing in the history of Australia.”

As a result, two major events were to happen: the State Savings Bank was closed “until further notice”. Then, the NSW Governor Sir Philip Game sacked the Lang Ministry.

Thousands of workers gathered at the Sydney Morning Herald office in Hunter Street to catch the latest news concerning “the Federal Government’s attitude toward the State Government’s Mortgagee Taxation Bill.” In l932 Australia was in the depths of economic depression.

Writes F.K. Crowley, an economics guru, said, “Thousands of farmers faced imminent bankruptcy, profits fell and unemployment rose rapidly.”

Ruth continued:

Not long after moving to Corrimal I joined the Cooperative Women’s Guild movement which was prominent in the industrial areas of the South Coast. Later, some of the women (the miners’ wives) became active in the Women’s International Relief Organisation (WIR), which was formed up and down the coast.

WOMEN SUPERVISED THE SOUP-MAKING TO MAKE SURE NO CHILD WENT HUNGRY; AND DANCES WERE HELD IN LOCAL HALLS TO HELP RAISE MONEY.

We set up soup kitchens. Our menfolk did the heavy duties of chopping firewood and carrying soup to the school to make sure no child went hungry. The women did the vegetables and generally supervised the soup-making.

We had a system of daily shifts so that the work was evenly shared.

A generous landowner lent us a block of land so the unemployed could grow potatoes and other vegetables for the soup kitchens. We held evening dances in a local hall and managed to raise money to buy material for children’s clothes and women’s dresses”.

As the depression deepened so did the anger of those that were affected. There were increasing demands for action. The Council decided to ban all meetings. But the meetings continued in defiance and summons were issued.

My sister-in-law and another woman were summoned to attend court. They refused to be bound over and they both received ten days for their trouble. They were held-over in a lock-up in Wollongong and then taken to Sydney. Apart from the hard beds they did not mind. The WIR supplied them with food.

<< RUTH’S REMINISCENCES. AUSTRALIAN BOOK COLLECTOR, 2000.

NEXT: Australia was told that it was at war.

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Razzle Dazzle Olympics Games: World ranked sportsman is now a polo team Captain

POLO TEAM CAPTAIN PETER BENNET.

FRANK MORRIS

Peter Bennett was one of Australia’s finest all-round sportsmen from the 1950s.

He captained the National water polo team at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki; and was vice-captain at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Bennett passed up the chance of going to the 1948 London Olympics to concentrate on playing football. He suffered serious injuries.

Born in 1926 and died in 2012.

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Humour: Enrichment – there’s more to come!

NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL BE PUBLISHED ON JULY 30.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 15 July 21

ART BEAT: Winston Churchill – reflections about painting as a pastime

THE ARTIST IN HIS ROOM.

A LONG CANOPY OF TREES.

 

REFLECTION ON THE CULTIVATION OF A HOBBY BY A STATESMAN-AUTHOR-AND ARTIST.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

THE CULTIVATION OF A HOBBY … IS THEREFORE A POLICY OF FIRST IMPORTANCE TO A MAN OR WOMAN. THE GROWTH OF ALTERNATIVE MENTAL INTERESTS IS A LONG PROCESS.

THE SEEDS MUST BE CAREFULLY CHOSEN; THEY MUST BE FALL ON GOOD GROUND; THEY MUST BE SEDULOUSLY TENDED IF THE VIVIFYING FRUITS ARE TO BE AT HAND WHEN NEEDED.

THE MUSE OF PAINTING CAME TO MY RESCUE – OUT OF CHARITY AND OUT OF CHIVALRY, BECAUSE AFTER ALL ‘SHE’ HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ME …

SOME EXPERIMENTS ONE SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY WITH THE CHILDREN’S PAINT BOX LED ME TO PROCURE THE NEXT MORNING A COMPLETE OUTFIT FOR PAINTING IN OILS. HAVING BOUGHT THE COLOURS, AN EASEL, AND A CANVAS, THE NEXT STEP WAS TO BEGIN.

BUT WHAT A STEP TO TAKE!

THE PALETTE GLEAMED WITH BEADS OF COLOUR; FAIR AND WHITE ROSE THE CANVAS; THE EMPTY BRUSH HUNG POISED, HEAVY WITH DESTINY, IRRESOLUTE IN THE AIR. MY HAND SEEM ARRESTED BY A SILENT VETO.

CHURCHILL STARTING PAINTING IN 1915. ALL UP, HE PRODUCED HUNDREDS OF PAINTINGS. AN ACCOMPLISHED AMATEUR ARTIST, AND HE USED THE PSEUDONYM “CHARLES MORIN”. MANY PAINTINGS ARE IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS.

BUT AFTER ALL, THE SKY ON THIS OCCASION WAS UNQUESTIONABLY BLUE; AND PALE BLUE AT THAT. THERE COULD BE NO DOUBT THAT BLUE PAINT MIXED WITH WHITE SHOULD BE PUT ON THE TOP PART OF THE CANVAS.

ONE REALLY DOES NOT NEED TO HAVE HAD AN ARTIST’S TRAINING TO SEE THAT. IT IS A STARTING POINT OPEN TO ALL. SO VERY GINGERLY I MIXED A LITTLE BLUE PAINT ON THE PALETTE, AND THEN WITH A VERY SMALL BRUSH, AND THEN WITH INFINITE PRECAUTION MADE A MARK ABOUT AS BIG AS A BEAN UPON THE AFFRONTED SNOW-WHITE SHIELD.

AT THAT MOMENT THE LOUD APPROACHING SOUND OF A MOTOR CAR WAS HEARD IN THE DRIVE. FROM THIS CHARIOT THERE STEPPED SWIFTLY AND LIGHTLY NONE OTHER THAN THE GIFTED WIFE OF SIR JOHN LAVERY.

“PAINTING! BUT WHAT ARE YOU HESITATING ABOUT? LET ME HAVE A BRUSH – THE BIG ONE”.

THE CANVAS GRINNED IN HELPLESSNESS BEFORE ME. THE SPELL WAS BROKEN. THE SICKLY INHIBITIONS ROLLED AWAY. I SEIZED THE LARGEST BRUSH AND FELL UPON MY VICTIM WITH BERSERK FURY.

I HAVE NEVER FELT ANY AWE OF A CANVAS SINCE. IN HIS LIFETIME, CHURCHILL WENT ON TO PRODUCE HUNDREDS OF PAINTINGS MANY OF WHICH ENDED UP IN PRIVATE COLLECTIONS.

<< PAINTING AS A PASTIME BY WINSTON CHURCHILL; SATURDAY EVENING POST, SPRING. 1972.

COMING: ARTBEAT -- ADOPH HITLER AND SOME PEOPLE CALLED HIM A “FAILURE” AND ‘MEDIOCRE”.

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Margaret Olley – life and art are rolled into one

MARGARET OLLEY: WINNER OF 2011 ARCHIBALD PRIZE BY BEN QUITY. SHE WAS A GENEROUS DONOR AND MENTOR TO EMERGING ARTISTS.

THE LIFE OF MARGARET OLLEY CAME TO END 10 YEARS AGO. SHE DIED IN JULY 2011. SHE WAS 88. BARRY PEARCE, HEAD CURATOR OF AUSTRALIAN ART AT THE ART GALLERY OF NSW, WROTE THIS PIECE IN 1996.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

MARGARET OLLEY IS ONE OF THE MOST CHARISMATIC AND RESPECTED PERSONALITIES IN THE AUSTRALIAN ART WORLD. SHE HAS BEEN PAINTEDAND DRAWN BY MANY ARTISTS OVER FIVE DECADES.
PERHAPS THE MOST FAMOUS IMAGE IS THE EARLIEST BY PAINTING BY WILLIAM DOBELL. DOBELL’S 1948 PORTRAIT OF HER WON THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE AND IS ON PERMANENT DISPLAY AT THE ART GALLERY OF NSW.

SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUTSPOKEN. HER FRANK OPINIONS ABOUT THE STATE AND PATRONAGE OF CONTEMPORARY ART ARE RENOWN. SHE IS MAGNANIMOUS WITH HER TIME AND MONEY TO ALL PRACTITIONERS OF ART, YOUNG OR OLD, DEAD OR ALIVE.

SHE EVEN ANTICIPATED DISAPPROVAL OF WHAT SHE MIGHT SEE BUT THIS WOULD NOT PREVENT HER FROM VISITING AN EXHIBITION. SHE SPEAKS HER MIND OPENLY BUT IS RARELY DISCOURAGING.

THIS IS ONE OF THE CONTRADICTIONS ABOUT MARGARET OLLEY. SHE IS MEDIA-SHY. SHE WAS FORTUNATE IN MANY WAYS TOO. HER PAINTINGS REFLECTED ON THE THINGS SHE LOVED.

MARGARET IS ECCENTRIC. SHE IS A COLLECTOR, BON VIVANT, TRAVELLER, COMMENTOR, RACONTEUR, FANTASTIC HOUSE DECORATOR. TO SIT AT HER TABLE IS TO SOMEHOW BE AT THE HEART OF THINGS.

THERE IS A CONTRADICTION ABOUT MARGARET OLLEY. WITHIN HER CLOISTERED AND COLOURFUL EXTERIOR IS AN ELUSIVE AND MEDIA-SHY BEING. THIS IS BECAUSE SHE IS ABOVE ALL A PAINTER; A PAINTER OF THEMES HERMETIC AND SELF-SUFFCIENT.

HER SUBJECT IS TIME-HONOURED AND REFLECTS A WORLD THAT IS VERY CLOSE TO HER.

SHE IS FORTUNATE IN MANY WAYS. THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF COLLECTORS WILLING TO ACQUIRE HER PAINTINGS. HER NETWORK OF FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS IS VAST.

WHILE IT IS NOT EXPECTED FOR EVERY ARTIST TO BE LIKEABLE, TO LIVE WITH A MARGARET OLLEY PAINTING IS TO EXPERIENCE THE TRASFIGURATION OF A PASSIONATE AND HIGHLY FOCUSSED PERSONALITY INTO ART.

HER PAINTING ARE REFLECTIONS OF THE THINGS SHE LOVES, AND WHICH EMBELLISH THE CENTRE OF HOW SHE PREFERS HER EXISTENCE TO BE.

<< ADAPTED FROM WOMEN’S VIEW, 1996, PAGES 28 AND 29. THE SMITH FAMILY FOR VIEW CLUBS OF AUSTRALIA.

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Dazzle Razzle Olympics Games: New sports present gold-medal performance

A BMX BIKE IN ACTION.

SURFING – MEN’S AND WOMEN’S EVENTS ARE EXPECTED TO DO WELL AT THE TOYKO OLYMPICS 2021.

FRANK MORRIS

SURFING

HAWAIIAN ARCHIPELAGO IN THE 1870s IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE FIRST ACCOUNTS OF SURFBOARDING AS WE KNOW IT TODAY. SURFBOARDS MADE THEIR WAY SOUTH, TO AUSTRALIA, ABOUT THE SAME TIME AS THE FIRST SURFING NEWSPAPER, THE SURF, SET THE SCENE IN 1917.

IN THE 1920s, THE UNDISPUTED WAS C.J. (SNOW) McALISTER, PICTURE TAKEN IN MID-1960s, WAS ONE OF THE ALL-TIME-GREATS OF SURFBOARD RIDING. HE HAD BEEN RIDING WAVES FOR 50 YEARS AND STARTED ON A 65LB BROARD MADE OF REDWOOD.

HE WAS UNDISPUTED ASSOCIATION CHAMPION FROM 1924 THROUGH TO 1928.

NOW, AS AN OLYMPIC SPORT, AUSTRALIA IS EXPECTED TO PERFORM WELL.

BMX FREESTYLE

BMX RACING IS ALREADY AN OLYMPIC GAMES EVENT SPORT BUT IT WILL SOON BE JOINED BY THE FREESTYLE COMPETION. HERE THE RIDER WILL DO JUMPS, FLIPS OR OTHER TYPE OF RIDES. THE SPORT IS ADRENALINE-CHARGED AND ENTERTAINING.

CLIMBING

THREE INDOOR ROCK-CLIMBING EVENTS, WHICH WILL TEST A COMPETITORS’ AGILITY AND ABILITY, AND THE DIFFERENT WAYS THEIR SPEEDS, HOW HIGH THEY CLIMB, AND HOW EFFICIENTLY THEY CAN DO THE COURSE. THIS IS A HIGHLY TECHNICALLY AND CHALLENGING EVENT.

<< BACKGROUD IS FROM COLES HEALTH & BEAUTY MAGAZINE, MAY 2021.

COMING: SOME PIN-UPS OF MARILYN MONROE – THEY’RE BIGGER THAT LIFESIZE.

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Ruth’s Reminiscences: 1926 General Strike – police turned a blind eye!

GENERAL STRIKE: MINERS DOWN TOOLS.

GENERAL STRIKE: THE BUSES WERE BURNT IN THE STREETS. IN MOST CASES THEY ENDED UP A RIGHT OFF.

ALAS, THE ROT HAD SET IN. THE UNION HAD BETRAYED AND DESERTED ITS MEMBERS.

FRANK MORRIS

THE STORY SO FAR: Ruth was one of five children born of working of class parents in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was 1900. She recalls a tragic happening from the Boer War, the crippling miners’ strike of 1909 and the struggle of the “have” and “have nots”, the deprivation suffered by thousands of families, including her own, during the First World War and the loss her brother, William, in the ravaging ‘flu epidemic. “I remember how very much my parents have aged,” recalled Ruth. “It was a bad epidemic; mum, dad and I were all sick at the same time.” But a malady of a different kind was just around the corner.

Ruth continues:

WHEN THE THEY CAME BACK FROM THE WAR THEY HAD LITTLE CHANCE OF EMPLOYMENT. JOBS WERE SCARCE AND THIS WAS THE CALALYST OF MUCH UNREST AND HARDSHIP.

In her book, The Town That was Murdered, Ellen Wilkinson, has structured a revealing history of the Tyneside (and the small towns). In the book she refers to Jarrod, one of the towns hit by the closures of the shipbuilding yards, and the long march of the unemployed movement of angry, hungry men and women looking for suckling.

The General Strike of 1926 was a period I’ll never forget! The strike was in support of the miners (who were resisting the demands of colliery owners that they should work longer for less pay).

There were restrictions, but I think the police turned a blind eye because we women managed to do a good job. For the first time, my future sister-in-law and I ventured in a pub and sold many badges.

The Transport Union and the Railway Unions soon became involved in the strike. There was a tremendous support among the workers.

Organisation in the Newcastle area was excellent and working well. The strike committee room was well manned night and day, a daily bulletin was issued giving vital news of what was happening in other townships.

The view of many unions was (and I think they were right) that it was initially the first time that Britain was near to challenging the Capitalist system.

“I REMEMBER ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ PRECISELY HOW IT HAPPENED,” RUTH SAID. “I REMEMBER THAT DAY VERY WELL. ‘BLACK FRIDAY’ COULD NOT BE ANY BLACKER FOR THE NATION AS A WHOLE”.

Largely, transport was in chaos. What newspapers were issued (at the time) gave only garbled reports, many of which were deliberate lies about the strikers giving up and returning to work.

The various strike committees had their work cut out in counteracting the lies.

Alas, the rot had set in! The Trade Union leaders betrayed and deserted their members. It was “Black Friday” * and I remember the day very well.

From that day on the depression worsened, said Ruth.

The days could not be any blacker for the nation’s workers.

Robert Clough, in his book The Public Eye, detailing the strike and its aftermath, writes: “For ten days the miners had the active sympathy of the nation’s workers before the general strike collapsed. For another thirteen weeks the miners remained defiant until the hunger drove them underground again.”

Writes Ruth: “The depression rolled on and things did not improve while I was living there.”

In 1928 the British Parliament passed the Equal Franchise Bill giving women over 21 the right to vote.

At 26, and engaged, Ruth voted for the first time in the 1929 general election. Industrial discontent and the General Strike proved the downfall of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the rise of Ramsey MacDonald.

*Ruth could have been referring to “Red Friday.”

<< The original series Ruth Reminiscences published in the Australian Book Collector, October 2000.’

NEXT: JACK SAILS TO AUSTRALIA, RUTH FOLLOWS LATER ON. MORE GRIEVENCES AWAIT THEM.

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GINGER MEGGS: He’s been around for 100 years!

FINAL.

COMING: GINGER MEGGS: COMIC ART, COMIC STRIPS AND COMIC BOOK ANNUALS DON’T QUITE REACH THOSE RAREFIED PRICES IN AUSTRALIA. BUT THERE ARE PLENTY TO CHOOSE FROM, NOW IN THE 100TH YEAR OF HIS EXISTENCE.

YOUR NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL BE ON JULY 16.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 01 July 21

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