CONNECTION: Part 1: The DC-3 revisited – the pioneering days were lots of fun!

FAMILIAR: THE OLD DC-3, OR GOONEY BIRD AS IT WAS CALLED, IS SIMILAR TO THE ONE THAT MITZI FLEW ON. AS WITH MITZI’S DC-3, THERE WERE MINOR MECHANCIAL AND OCCASIONAL BREAKDOWNS IN FAR OFF PLACES. Below: MITZI DAVID … “MY TRIP WAS NEVER BORING; TIRING, YES.

Mitzi told the crew that she was on a DC-3 thirty-two years ago which brought her flying career to an end.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

In the days of grass roots flying in DC-3s there was only one way of coping with a plane-load of anxious passengers AND a coffin! How you could a carry the coffin and keep the passengers – and many of them were nervous -- happy at the same time?

Simple. Three rows of seats were removed for the coffin, which was disguised as a coffee table, and no one was the wiser.

As an air hostess on DC-3s, flying from Johannesburg to London in 1952, Mitzi Davis was quite used to unusual situations.

Sacrificial goats, which had free run of the aircraft, would leave their smelly calling cards behind them. Or Muslim pilgrims, all kneeling in the aisle, praying to Allah. Or being caught smuggling cigarettes and whiskey. Or being stranded for two weeks in Egypt with a group of highly-strung film stars.

These were some of the tales Mitzi told when she flew on a DC-3 for the first time since she was badly injured in a plane crash 32 years ago. This affair brought her flying career to an end.

The flight was in the Mackay Air Museum’s DC-3, in 1986, which took part in the 50th celebrations of the first of the legendary Gooney Birds. This and Grand Old Lady of the Skies and Bully Beef Bomber are all nicknames for the DC-3.

This plane was the pioneer of modern aviation service around the world.

For Mitzi, those pioneering days were really fun. It was an exciting era of aviation that has since disappeared from most parts of the world. But being an air hostess was hard work, and not the glamour job it is today.

NEVER BORING

After World War II, many C-47s – the military version of the DC-3 – were converted for use as passenger aircraft. Mitzi was one of the first hostesses on the William Dempster Line Charter DC-3, flying between Johannesburg and London, through the heart of Africa.

The twice-monthly trip took 38 hours and the crew, unlike those on scheduled airlines, had no breaks.
“Tiring? Yes,” says Mitzi, “but never boring.”

Although their stopovers were in such places as Livingstone, Leopoldville, Khartoum, Entebbe and a wadi in the Sahara desert, there was never any danger. The people were always friendly.

“We never dreamed then that so many of our stops would be the scene of horrific bloodbaths in years to come,” says Mitzi.

Livingstone and Rome were mandatory stops; Livingstone, because that was where the radio operator joined and left the plane; Rome, because there were always priests and nuns on board travelling to and from African missions.

Says Mitzi: “Our radio operator was an Indian, so we couldn’t take him all the way into South Africa. We left him each trip at Livingstone, near Victoria Falls in what is now Zimbabwe.”

NEXT WEEK: Mitzi back with a riveting conclusion to her ‘holiday fun.’


AFL/VFL: Alex Jesaulenko – he was the greatest of them all!

PERFECT: ALEX JESAULENKO, OF CARLTON, WITH THE 1979 TROPHY, HAD BEEN VOTED THE FOURTH GREATEST CARLTON PLAYER OF ALL TIME. Below: UP THERE WITH JEZZA.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Jezza became the first player to score more than 100 goals in one season for Carlton.

Carlton’s Alex Jesaulenko, was a handful on the paddock. He was often seen and not heard.

When Carlton played Fitzroy Jezza became the first player to kick 10 goals since Noel O’Brien in 1954 – also against Fitzroy. He brought up his hundredth goal with five against Melbourne on August 29. Jezza became the first (and only) Carlton player to kick one hundred goals in a season.

For many Carlton barrackers, the greatest player … is Alex Jesaulenko. He represented all that was mercurial and brilliant in football; he was a player people came to watch because he did the unbelievable on a regular basis, and the unexpected 10 times a game.

PARTICULAR GENIUS

Like Mozart, the greatest composer all times, Jesaulenko was born of Ukrainian parents in Salzburg, Austria. He came to Australia as a young boy and grew up in Canberra.

There are a couple persistent rumours about the young Jesaulenko and his particular genius at the game. One was that did not pick up an Australian football until he was 15. The Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies personally intervened to have the Manuka-Eastlakes star, and Commonwealth public servant, transferred to Melbourne in time for the 1967 season.

The rest of his story is truthful and needs no embellishment; the soaring mark … of the century in the 1970 Grand Final and the hundred goals in a season. He had the ability to command the ball to do his will, the way his body worked its way, untouched, through marauding packs as if he could disappear ‘underground’ and worm his way up in a clear space.

SHIRT-FRONTED

Not to mention the way he could bring the rest of the team into the play by direct involvement … When called upon to coach Carlton in 1978, it was his being shirt-fronted by Collingwood’s Stan Magro that inspired a win that season, and eventually the Flag in 1979.

He left in loyalty to controversial President George Harris but was still blue through and through. When called upon in another crisis after the sacking of Robert Walls in 1989, he came and the magic worked again.

Carlton finished 8th in 1989 and 1990 before Jezza was replaced by David Parkin. Jesaulenko’s legacy is loyalty over 256 extraordinary games and 424 goals – 115 of them in 1970 and four Premierships in 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1979 – were some of the marks of the century.

Every Carlton player is measured against the standard of Alex Jesaulenko, as in: ‘Yeah, great mark, but not as good as that of Jezza’s.’

<< The Club – The complete history of every club in the VFL/AFL; Viking Penguin Books Australia; 1998.

Coming: Collingwood pushed for a senior football team to carry on the name.


Conclusion: The houses of mystery are still alive and enjoying themselves!

DARK AND SCARY: OUTSIDE THE PRINCESS THEATRE SOMETHING BIZARRE TOOK PLACE. Below: THE MERRY WIDOW WAS A PLAY FOR LAUGHS BUT THE LEADING ACTRESS SLIPPED AND FELL TO HER DEATH.

More favourites from Launceston’s litany of horror.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Launceston undertaker’s C.T. Finney’s, at a former site, had a prop coffin on display in the embalming room. Back in the 1800s, bodies would be pushed through the window like, say, a delivery of fresh meat. The bodies would be laid out on ice and hessian bags.

(Our tour adventurer) Rosemary points out the grilles through which the corpses’ fluids would drain on the mainstreets of Launceston caking the road with blood … God knows, what else!

While we’re imagining the stench of the streets in summer … the coffin lid slams down loudly and everybody who was passing by would hear the screams. And none of tourist was standing anywhere near the coffin.

The groups venture outside.

A TRAGEDY

From there, a place called Peppers was next on the list. Rosemary looks mildly disappointed. Peppers is where I was staying, I told her. Peppers is a newer establishment but not famous for being haunted. Peppers, said Rosemary, is close to a site where parents and children would once gather to watch the weekly public executions … overseen by the local government.

Nearly every place in Launceston is haunted; or where a dead person appeared to the living, it seems.

There is a bizarre and odd turnout at the Princess Theatre that ends up in tragedy. The theatre is haunted by the Lavender Lady, an actress who starred in The Merry Widow. She slipped off the stage into the orchestra pit one evening, fatally breaking her neck.

HIS DAIRIES

Further on, the touring party was outside a grand-looking white building, the former residence of a doctor, who is said to have conducted a number of gruesome “experiments” on the homeless and mentally disabled people.

Rosemary said, “He never got caught – ever. No-one found out what he’d done until he died. Someone read his diaries. His diaries also said he used to put a little instruments up people’s noses and wiggle them around.”

What happens then is too graphic to print. “They died in an awful way”’ Rosemary said.

Afterwards back at my hotel, I stare at the ceiling for a while. It found it hard to sleep when my hands are so cold.

<< Background from this original story from Tasmania – Go behind the scenery.


Part 2. House Proud: A quick overview!

What you can do fix a problem without it costing you a great deal of expense! Remember, an inviting exterior ensures inspection (if that what it is) of the interior which could lead to some big surprises! Make sure the fence is in good order. Does the gate squeak? Or drag? Made sure your yard is tidy. Keeps your lawns mowed and edges trimmed. Look at the flower areas. Do they need weeding? If it’s an inspection, tuck your garbage away out of sight. If your dog/s are not trained, keep out of sight; or made sure the dog/s are secured before the visitors arrive. Give the outside of the house a good scrub.

Next: A sparkling place will make you happy. If your house is for sale, then the potential buyer is of great importance?

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 16 February 18

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