“Agony Aunts”: Part 2. Pearl Turton would speak to women about their surfing problems

PEARL TURTON AS A PIN-UP CHAMPION.

PEARL TURTON … ALWAYS A SMILE.

SURFABOUT MAGAZINE OF THE 1960s: CHAMPION SURFER, PEARL TURTON, “SPEAKS TO THE GIRL!”

PEARL TURTON

WITH SUMMER CONDITIONS HERE AGAIN, IT IS NOW TIME TO PLAN YOUR WARDROBE.

The fashions for beachwear this summer have not altered a great deal, except that board shorts and tops are, you guessed it, “American” in style, and bikinis are more of the covered-up type – that is, compared to previous years.

For men, however, there appears to be a terrific variety this year and men are showing more and more interest in what they wear. The girls, therefore, will have to keep on their toes and see that they do not slip-back in fashion.

Dear Pearl
I was reading your recent Surfabout Magazine where a lass was wishing to join the ASA. I have written to the ASA and now after reading your article know you do not necessarily need to be an expert at board riding. I love your magazine. I keep most of the pictures … pinned around my (bedroom) room.

THERE’S ONLY ONE PERSON WHO TEACHS YOU ALL THE TRICKS OF THE OF THE SURFERS – ME. GOOD LUCK AND GOOD SURFING.

Dear Jan
Thank for your letter. You will be kept busy this summer. Your room must look bright with the murals pinned on the wall. Hope to hear from you again. If you have any surfing problems at all, do not hesitate to write to me.

Dear Pearl
I am a 17-year-old South Australian girl who is keen on surfing. Near Port Lincoln, where I live, there are many surfing spots … which have proved (to be) extremely popular in the surfing set. I would like to correspond with an Australian or American boy or girl with the same interests. Anyone interested, my address is -----------, Port Lincoln, South Australia.

Dear Gail
Thank you for letter. I would like to hear how the girls in SA are surfing.

Dear Pearl
Several girls who surf at Queenscliff, Sydney, are interested in forming an- all-girls surfboard riders’ club. We are all keen surfers and would like to know how to go about it. Would you please give us some information to help us arrange a club?

Dear (Her name withheld)
Sorry that I have not answered your letter sooner. In fact, I can hardly think of what to suggest now. If you want affiliate with the ASA, get in contact with the Secretary Mr Ray Young and all ask for the particulars on how join … But good luck and good surfing.

<< Surfabout Magazine, Vol 3 and Vol 4. 1964, 1965.

COMING: More “Agony Aunts”: Daintree Coast Chronicle, Queensland; My Weekly, England, 1926.

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Clipper Ships: Flying Cloud -- known as a classic speeder

FLYING CLOUD AND THE WOMAN WHO STEERED IT TO FAME AND FORTUNE.

FRANK MORRIS

THE FLYING CLOUD MADE A BRILLIANT RUN IN 1851. SHE TRAVELLED FROM NEW YORK TO SAN FRANCISCO, A DISTANCE OF 17, 597 STATUTE MILES, AT AN AVERAGE OF 222 MILES EACH DAY.

THE CLIPPER WAS BUILT IN BOSTON TO CARRY PASSENGERS AND CARGO THAT WAS GOING TO THE WEST COAST.

THIS WAS AN ERA OF FAST SHIPS THAT SAILED AROUND CAPE HORN TO ARRIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO, OR OTHER PORTS, AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION.

ACCORDING TO ONE NEWSPAPER, THE BOSTON DAILY ATLAS, OF 1851, FLYING CLOUD WAS OF “GREAT LENGTH … WITH PROPORTIONATE BREADTH AND DEPTH WHICH IS CONDUCIVE TOP SPEEDS.

“THE FLYING CLOUD MUST BE UNCOMMONLY SWIFT … SHE’S A GREAT SHIP”.

SHE REELS OFF SOME REMARKABLE TIMES THAT SEEM TO MAKE HER UNBEATABLE. SHE WAS ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS CLIPPERS OF THE CENTURY!

Flying Cloud set the world's sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco, 89 days 8 hours. The ship held this record for over 130 years, from 1854 to 1989.

The ship was the most famous of the clippers built by Donald McKay.

She was known for her extremely close race with Hornet in 1853. Having a woman navigator, Eleanor Cressy, wife of Josiah Perkins Creesy, who skippered Flying Cloud on two record-setting voyages from New York to San Francisco; and for sailing in the Australia and timber trades.

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INSIDE COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS …

A NATIONAL SURVEY BY DEAKIN UNIVERSITY HAS REVEALED THAT 80 PER CENT OF ITS RESPONDENTS HAVE MISSED READING THEIR COMMUNTY NEWSPAPERS. NO MATTER WHERE IT IS, THE PAPERS HAVE SOMETHING THAT GETS CLOSER TO THE “HEART OF WHAT IS GOING ON THERE, POLITICALLY”. WE ALSO LEARNED THE 80 PER CENT OF RURAL READERS MISS HAVE A “LOCAL” NEWSPAPER. –FM.

COMING: INSIDE COMMUNITY PAPERS.

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Ruth’s Reminiscences: How a pursuit became really humbling?

NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE AND THE TRAMS IN 1900s.

“WHAT NUMBER OF SENTIMENTS HAVE LIVED AND BEEN REVELLED IN”, AN 18TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHER SAID.

FRANK MORRIS

THE DAY THIS REMARKABLE DOCUMENT ARRIVED MY IMNITIAL REACTION WAS TO TOSS IT ASIDE. BUT I DIDN’T; I COULDN’T.

Alas, to do so would have been to waive an opportunity to connect with someone who, as Southey says, “remembers the days that are no more.”

I was intrigued to admit that I would want to know more about this courageous yet seemingly unassuming person who had apparently lived every minute of her life to the hilt.

The envelope contained nine typewritten pages, the first of which was headed with “Ruth’s Reminiscences”. Instantly, I became locked into Ruth Philpot’s self-effecting reflection on her life.

I was carried by her experiences, which she had recorded only a few years before she died, and the literary maturity with which her story unfolded.

She expressed herself with passion, vigour and grace; her optimism is incandescent.

I was immediately mindful of those words and images of the depression years in Australia that were captured so poignantly in the book, Weevils in the Flour, published a few years ago.

What I had thought was to be an utterly trivial pursuit became at once instructive and deeply humbling.

RUTH’S WRITING IS A MOVING TESTAMENT TO THE COURAGE OF TWO YOUNG PEOPLE. “SHE HAD THIS OUTSTANDING PERSONALITY!” SAID A CLOSE FRIEND.

Born in the north eastern country borough of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Ruth migrated to Australia in her mid-twenties in 1929. When she arrived from England she settled in Corrimal, near Wollongong, NSW, on the south coast, for a short time.

She moved to Sydney, living in the south-western suburbs for most of her life. She died in August, 1994.

This remarkable document is a moving testament to the courage of two young people, Ruth and her husband. He died in 1975.

Some of Ruth’s writing was based on letters, cards and pieces of paper authored by her husband, which are now in the possession of the National Library, Canberra.

“These papers are a tribute to this outstanding personality and his fine contribution to the working class struggle,” writes a close friend, Joyce Clarke.

Ruth writes:

Time is running out, so also is my hearing and sight. Where to begin and end? Many folks live just because they were born. I was fortunate in having parents who were interested and active in the working class movement and this gave meaning to my life.

Looking backward to the early years of this century -- the 1900s -- is not easy.

We were all offspring, born off working class parents who, fortunately, were well aware of the class division, so we were Labour party supporters. In those days to be Labour was, in the opinion of many, the same as being communist.

My father having left school at eleven, was very much self-educated and keen to encourage us likewise.

LATE IN THE 19TH CENTURY WE, AS MOST FAMILIES DID, LIVED NEAR THE LIBRARY AND HAD ACCESS TO ALL THE GREAT NOVELISTS AND WRITERS OF OUR TIME.

He urged us to “think before you speak” and “think for yourself.” I have tried to follow this advice – not always successfully regarding the former. However, he was a great reader and so were we.

Fortunately, most towns had Carnegie Libraries. In the early years of the 19th century, it was a great advantage for working people and families have free access to books -- fiction and non-fiction.

Ruth indeed was fortunate to have access to the Carnegie Libraries, which stocked all or most of the leading authors of the time: Verne, Bennett, Hardy, Trollope, Poe, the Bronte sisters, Wilde, Shaw and so on.

In fact, a number of them were known to offer books that were “no better than instruments of debauchery.” In a late 18th century play, Polly Honeycombed, the heroine’s father cries out, “A man might and well turn his daughter loose in Convent Garden as trust the cultivation of her mind to a circulation library.”

Well into the 20th century, this sentiment still prevailed.

My mother was not a reader of books. I guess with five children there was not much time. She was a very practical woman. And though my dad’s wage was not large, we were always plainly but suitably dressed and well fed.

<< Ruth’s Reminiscences was written for the Australian Book Collector, October 2000.

Next: Part 2, Ruth’s Reminiscences – The dawn of the Great World War.

GREY STEET, NEWSCASTLE-ON-TYNE.

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Razzle Dazzle Olympic Games: The unassuming Shane Gould shows her mettle at Munich

SHANE GOULD WITH PARENTS AT THE GLOROIUS MUNICH GAMES, 1972. Below: SHANE PROUDLY SHOWING OFF ONE OF HER GOLD MEDALS.

“OH, TRAUMAS OF TRAUMAS! HOW CAN I GET DAD TO REALISE … THAT I AM NOT A KID ANYMORE”. SHANE GOULD’S DIARY ENTRY AUGUST 5, 1974.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

SHANE GOULD WAS AN ADOLESCENT GROWING UP IN THE LIMELIGHT. THE OLYMPIC SWIMMING CHAMPION AND HER FAMILY WERE ALWAYS UNDER CONSTANT PUBLIC SCRUTINY.

BY THE AGE OF 15, SHE HAD WON THREE GOLD MEDALS AT THE MUNICH OLYMPIC GAMES AND WAS ALREADY CLOSE TO RETIREMENT. THE NORMAL PRESSURES OF ADOLESCENCE WERE EXACERBATED BY THE EXPECTATIONS OF A NATION.

LIKE ANY OTHER TEENAGER, HER QUEST AT GROWING UP WAS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE.

BY INDEPENDENTLY REACHING MATURITY AND WANTING TO BE ‘TREATED LIKE AN ADULT’ AND BREAK FREE OF PARENTAL CONTROL AND AUTHORITY, IS WHAT SHE SOUGHT.

HOWEVER, SHE HAD TO DO IT UNDER THE MEDIA SPOTLIGHT.

BY AND LARGE, SHANE GOULD WAS A QUIET, UNASSUMING 15 YEAR OLD WHO WAS THE ‘GOLDEN GIRL’ OF THE 1972 MUNICH OLYMPICS. SHE WAS THE ONLY AUSTRALIAN TO WIN THREE GOLD MEDALS IN INDIVIDUAL EVENTS AT THE ONE OLYMPICS.

SHANE WON THE 200m MEDLEY, 400m FREESTYLE AND 200m FREESTYLE IN CHAMPION-STYLE. IN A MOST DEMANDING PROGRAM OF 11 RACES IN EIGHT DAYS, SHANE WON THE SILVER MEDAL IN 800m FREESTYLE – SWIMMING HER PERSONABLE BEST. SHE ALSO WON A BRONZE MEDAL IN THE 100m FREESTYLE.

SHANE WAS A WONDERFUL AMBASSADOR FOR AUSTRALIA. SHE SET 11 WORLD RECORDS AND, FOR EIGHT MONTHS IN 1972, SHE HELD WORLD BEST TIMES FOR THE FREESTYLE DISTANCES.

IN SUCH A SHORT CAREER – SHE RETIRED WHEN SHE WAS 16 – AND IT IS DOUBTFUL WHETHER ANY OTHER PERSON HAS ATTAINED … OR CAPTURED THE IMAGINATION OF THE SPORTING PUBLIC MORE THAN SHANE.

SHANE WAS NAMED AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR IN 1972; AND HONOURED IN THE INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING HALL OF FAME IN 1972.

<< THE ALBUM OF PRIVATE LIVES: FAMILIES OF NSW, STATE LIBRARY; ALL OF CHAMPIONS, SPORT HOUSE, SYDNEY; FRANK MORRIS.

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Skippy, the bush kangaroo …

CONTINUE...

YOUR NEXT GRAND YEARS WILL APPEAR ON JUNE 4.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 20 May 21

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