FLASHBACK TO 1961: Plastic bag controversy – what will be the outcome?

THE LAST BAG: SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BAGS FROM THE TWO GIANT STORES WILL BE PHASED OUT BY JUNE 30, 2018. OTHER STORES WILL FOLLOW SUIT. FIFTY-SIX YEARS AGO, I WAS INVOLVED IN THE REAL BEGINNINGS OF THE PLACTIC BAG WAR.

The number of lightweight supermarket bags Australia use annually – 4 billion. The number of bags for every man, woman and child – 170. How many supermarket plastic bags are recycled – 3%. The proportion of dead turtles in Moreton Bay, off Brisbane, found with plastic bags in their stomachs – 40%. How many years plastic bags take to break down – 200-l000.

FRANK MORRIS

The plastic bag “controversy” hit Australia hard when it started to become a serious issue in 1961, fifty-six years ago. As editor of Plastics Retailer, I was a shown a thing or two about decreasing one’s tone in my criticism about the whole affair.

At the time the issue was the number of children dying because they used the plastic bag as a toy.

The Plastics Institute of Australia’s Federal Branch sent out a warning to parents, that “to avoid danger of suffocation this bag is not a toy.”

One story I wrote in July 1961, I said, “Grave doubts have already been expressed upon the effectiveness of the Industry’s campaign to prevent further fatalities from the misuse of thin plastic bags.

NIGHTMARE

“It’s been said that the campaign is a sop to public opinion and will produce no lasting public benefit. It will certainly be under close scrutiny; and by a proportion of very unfriendly observers too, who will be quick to point out failure,” I said.

Scant attention was being paid to the environment. The inhabitants of our beaches and rivers were being overlooked.

After 56 years, the plastic bags sequel had simply turned into a nightmare.

Pictures:  The first step. The Plastics Retailer and one of the historic pages.

PLASTIC BAGS, 2O17: BIG STORES TAKE ACTION TO BAN THE BAGS!

Across Australia single-use plastic bags will be phased out in 12 months’ time by the supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles. Single-use, or thin, plastic bags will be “things of the past” the officials announced the dramatic change last Friday.

That means, by June 30 next year plastic bags will be limited.

RIGHT TO THE END

“The move is welcomed by environmental groups,” one Sunday newspaper said.  The groups have long campaigned against plastic bags.

The supermarkets giants, apart from Queensland, will have implemented “state-wide bans” to take place next year. There are plans in place for Queensland to do the same thing.

All through the plastic bag procedure in NSW, the Government remained silent.

PICTURE: No go. After all the continual parry and thrust of media, concerned citizens, environmentalists and assorted groups comes the end of the plastic bag reign in 12 month time.


IT BEEN 200 YEARS since Jane Austen’s death on July 18, 1817. Austen expert, Professor Devoney Looser, flew into Sydney to give a keynote speech at the University of Sydney, which had just discovered an original first edition of Austen’s Mansfield Park published in l814. The book is now in their rare books collection. In letters to one newspaper, it was said that “Jane Austen has brought the enjoyment of reading to millions of people around the world, myself included … The world needs to continue to promote reading books and the masterpieces of this brilliant writer.” In another: “Jane Austen was a brilliant social commentator and observer … Her writing is timeless.” – FM.


INSIDE NEWSPAPERS: INTERNATIONAL EXPRESS, LONDON – WHAT A BREEZE SAID SUPERHERO!

A girl of seven who is a carer for her disabled older brothers has been turned into a superhero character in the Beano comic. Breeze Martin helps her parents look after wheelchair-bound Coast, 9, and Blue, 10, who battle severe autism and need 24-hour care.

In her spare time Breeze loves to read the Beano, which she has adored since buying an old annual at the school fair when she was four.

She wrote to the Beano revealing: “I like looking after my severely disabled brother Coast … I also like drama and roast dinners.”

I’M FAMOUS

Bosses at the comic responded by dedicating at entire page to Breeze. In the cartoon Breeze has the “amazing” ability to “fix things and make people feel better” and helps Beano’s Minnie The Minx mend her catapult.

In real life Breeze is devoted to helping mum Becky, 42, and dad John, 55.

Breeze said: “It’s really fun being in the Beano. My friends think I’m famous.” She was made “Beano Boss” for the issue.

Beano’s editorial director said: “If we do a tiny thing that makes a kid like her happy, it’s top notch for us.” –Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< From International Express, June 29-July 5, 2017.

Picture: Beano fun. Hero Breeze and the comic she starred in for being a carer.


ON THE RUN: FEBRUARY I, 1919, THE 18-FOOT CHAMPIONSHIPS OF AUSTRALIA ON SYDNEY HARBOUR. BOATS FROM MOST STATES SAILED. WINNER WAS MAVIS OF NSW.

FLASHBACK: MARK FOY, FATHER OF THE 18 FOOTERS

(They were our glory days! Sailing has been a popular pastime in Australia since the early days of settlement. These photographs were contributed by Lyne Hirsch who recalls some of the sport’s glory days of the last century. “My grandfather, Henry Carl Press, was involved in the establishment of the Sydney Flying Squadron and sailed 18-footers,” Lyne said. “Our amazing grandfather also built boat at Woolloomooloo, had ferries on Sydney Harbour, as well hire boats at picnic grounds. A boat named in his honour, the HC Press ll, won many big races during the 1920s and ‘30s and was known as “The Phar Lap of the 18-footer world.’”)

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Born on the Bendigo goldfields in Victoria on February 2, 1865, Mark Foy came to Sydney in 1884 with his brother Francis, where they began business under the name ‘Mark Foy.'

Regarding Sydney Harbour as the world's finest aquatic playground, he had ample means and sufficient leisure to indulge his hobby – sailing.

To his great disappointment, he learned that sailing attracted practically no public interest – reasoning it was mainly because yachtsmen did not cater for the public.

The major problem was producing a faster boat, but Foy solved this with the first of the 18-footers. It was an open, centreboard boat with a very light hull, an 8 ft beam and only 30 inches amidships.

It carried a crew of 14, at most (compared to the previous boats' 25) and had a huge spread of sail which gave it a sensational aquaplaning speed downwind.

Foy catered for the enthusiast who liked to follow his fancy throughout a race. His first idea of striped sails as identity marks was dropped, due to the prohibitive cost of manufacturing varying designs for registration, and later replaced with the colourful emblems which are still the distinguishing badge of the racing 18-footers.

FOY’S FIGHTING BLOOD

In the eyes of the Anniversary Regatta committee of 1892, the ‘gaudy' emblems constituted heresy toward the traditional numbering, All entries from Sydney Flying Squadron members were rejected on the ground that “such large badges were not in keeping with the dignity of the oldest regatta in the southern hemisphere”.

This got Foy's fighting blood up and he announced, “We'll run our own regatta on Anniversary Day. I'll pay for it and we'll give the public just what it wants”.

A triangular course of about three miles was plotted. From a start at Garden Island, boats would round Pinchgut, run into Mosman Bay and then past Clark Island to the finish.

The course would be sailed, according to official direction, either clockwise or anti-clockwise. The prime purpose was that close handicapping would bunch the field for a spectacular, downwind run along the “straight”.

Clark Island, which offered an excellent view of the whole race, was vital to the success of Foy's plan. By chartering every available ferry for the day of the regatta, he aimed to pack the natural grandstand with paying spectators. Each 1,000 ferry fans would add 50 pounds to profits, which would enable more prizemoney to be given.

Foy whipped enthusiasm to fever pitch. He hired bands to play on Clark Island, at the major ferry terminals, on the ferries and on the specially chartered flagship for the day.

Hire-pressure publicity given to Foy's plans paid a big dividend. On regatta day, Clark Island was packed to capacity. Crowded, moored ferries provided additional accommodation, while every jetty and vantage point from Mosman to Milson's Point and Darling Point to the Rocks was thronged.

The crowd was without precedent in the annals of yacht racing in Australia yet most of the spectators knew little about the sport and less about the official regatta.

The vast majority were there to thrill to the excitement that Foy had promised. By evening they were the forefathers of the 18-footer enthusiasts, participants and spectators of today.

Wisely, Foy allowed the official yacht to steal the initial thunder. Waiting until the competing yachts had disappeared towards the Heads, he cashed in on the public's boredom.

BOW TO BOW FINISH

Prizemoney totalling One hundred and twenty six pounds had attracted Squadron skippers and Foy was able to stage three races over his triangular course with no distraction from the vanished official fleet.

The public got its money's worth. The coloured badges of the 18-footers were an instant success and excitement ran high when the closely packed fields turned downwind for the run home.

At the start there had been less than three minutes between the scratch and the limit boats. Now, a dozen boats raced for the line in a bow-to-bow finish. By nightfall, the success of 18-footer racing on the Foy system was assured.

Foy had demonstrated emphatically that 18-footer racing was the most exciting participant and spectator sport ever seen on Sydney Harbour. Its status has never been seriously challenged since. Sydney Flying Squadron entries were accepted without quibble at the next regatta.

Foy did all in his power to lease or obtain Clark Island as a fixed grandstand to view races with the Squadron's own ferries transporting patrons. This request was refused, sympathetically, as all islands are public parks.

<< Adapted from Mark Foy, Father of the 18-footers.

Picture: Home and away. The H.C Press ll, with double stripes, surges in a race on Sydney Harbour. H.C. Press ll was shown is the Sportsman in August, 1932, with skipper, Chris Webb, who was described as “the famous old man of The Spit. I did it. Mark Foy, organiser of the 18-footers.


COMING! THIS THE FIRST TIME THAT SHERLOCK HOLMES AND FRIENDS WILL BE PUBLISHED.

In one part of the Sherlock narrative, the visualisation of Holmes was still an untidy affair. Conan Doyle sent the first six Holmes stories, published under the collective title of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in The Strand, and posted them to Alfred Harmsworth, the future Lord Northcliffe, the owner of the journal. Harmsworth wrote back: “I agree with you that the illustrations have to be excellent. Sidney Paget is the name.” The first instalment is published in July. – FM.


 

 THAT’S ALL, FOLKS: TOMMY BURNS WAS WELL BEATEN BY JACK JOHNSON UNTIL THE POLICE STOPPED THE FIGHT IN THE 14TH ROUND.`

THE FIGHT: NOBODY WANTED TO MISS IT – POLICE CALLED IN TO STOP THE BATTLE

FRANK MORRIS, ERIC READE

On December 29, 1908, it was left to Sydney Stadium of all places to screen the sporting classic of the year The Johnson-Burns Fight. This contest had taken place in the ring of the stadium three days earlier, when the police stopped the fight and Johnson was declared the winner on points.

Film pioneer Eric Reade, who wrote about the tussle, said: “Hugh McIntoch, who refereed the fight, was dressed in a white suit to make him more conspicuous in the film” and The Sydney Morning Herald, which described the film ’as the greatest series of pictures since motion photography became a fine art.’”

HIGGINS TO THE FORE

Reade said: “It showed every face in the 20,000 present, the crush outside, the advanced trained tactics of both champions, and every detail of the 14 round battle until police stopped the fight.”

It was this film that brought Ernest Higgins to the fore as one of truly ace cinematographers on the Australian circuit.

Higgins, born in Hobart, became a bioscope operator in his home town in 1903. He and his brothers Arthur and Tasman, were “to raise the standard of Australian photography to equal, often better, the efforts of cameramen overseas.”

<< The Australian Screen; Eric Reade; Lansdowne Press, Melbourne 3000; 1975; Frank Morris.

*More episodes of The Fight coming up.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 20 July 17

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