HAPPY EASTER! The Black Rabbit discoverers a Mulberry Tree!

A MULBERRY TREE: ITS THE ONLY ONE IN LA LA LAND. Below: WELL STOCKED. Below: I FEEL LIKE DANCING AROUND IT, BLACKIE SAID.

Jolly is a happy word. He feels it in his bones.

FRANK MORRIS

The Black Rabbit was feeling marvellous. Jolly marvellous.

“Absolutely, stupendously jolly marvellous!” he yelled. “That is a jolly happy word,” he said.

He could feel it in his bones.

What he could see of La-La-Land, it looked perfectly fine, too.

As he looked over La-La-Land, from his front porch, he saw that every animal was leaping around.

They must be caught up in a kind of merriment.

I wonder whether it’s something in the grass.

“How ex-tra-ordinaaaary!,” he said, with a modicum of goodly mirth. "How ex-tra-ordinaaaary.”

The Black Rabbit felt like leaping too.

He tried it. He leapt very high.

He tried it again. He leapt even higher.

He thought he might try it again. He did. He leapt so high he thought he would never come down.
He plummeted down to earth and rolled all the way to the river.

“How ex-tra-ordinaaaary!” he said.

“Those animals must be in peak form”, he muttered to himself.

With all that leaping around the Black Rabbit began to feel tired himself.
Fatigued, in fact.

He looked at the other animals and they were still leaping.

All of a sudden he stopped walking and yelled out, “Where am I, where am I. I know La-La-Land like the back of my hand, but this is ridiculous.”

He looked up-the-hill, down-the-hill and to the left and right.

SING AND DANCING

He sighted the Mulberry Bush. Only one. Oh, and four rabbits popped out.

The rabbits were bright-eyed and full of smiling. Each rabbit was standing around the bush holding a piece of multi-coloured tape.

And then they were off … singing and dancing.

“How ex-tra-ordinaaaary!” he said, in a rather high voice.

Next, the rabbits were singing in front of a wash tub, with a new verse to the same song.

“How ex-tra-ordinaaaary!” he said, in a higher voice than last time.

The four rabbits were busy hanging their clothes on the line to dry.

And all were singing a verse of the same song.

When they finished, the four rabbits darted into their house.

They emerged minutes later with a pile of school books, some wrap and string. And off to school went the four rabbits. All were singing, quite happily, “going to school on a cold and frosty morning.”

Next moment, he was alone. “I wonder how long they’ll be,” he thought.

HEADING FOR HOME

I hopped back to the Mulberry Bush and tried to emulate the rabbits singing and dancing.

I tried singing.

I tried skipping and hopping to the same tune.

The next thing I knew I was doing it. I was doing it … singing and dancing.

“How ex-tra-ordinaaaary!” he said in a voice that would have drowned out all of La-La-Land.

At last, just over the hill I heard the four rabbits heading for home.

They were singing and dancing.

“This is the way we come out of school on a cold a frosty morning,” all four rabbits sang.
I ran to meet them. And I joined in.

They laugh at me. I laugh back.

All five of us were singing and dancing. “Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush early in the morning …”

They were out of sight.

“I got my wish”. “How ex-tra-ordinaaaary! How ex-tra-ordinaaaary!” was the familiar tone that I heard echoing from on high.

<< From Grand Years 7 years ago.


COMING: Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables, the story of insurrection in Paris, in 1845. An outstanding feature. It will be a six-part series. More soon.


BUSHRANGER: Ben Hall was the first “criminal of the bush”

THE FIGHTER. HALL ONCE SAID, "I'LL BE DEAD BEFORE I'M THIRTHY. Below: A BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE: CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT WAS DEAD. Below: DAN MORGAN IS THE NAME. JUST CALL ME "MAD DOG."

FRANK MORRIS

Ben Hall was only young when he was shot by police. Ben made the statement that “you’ll never hang Ben Hall.” Hall was called upon by authorities to surrender or became “our” outlaw.

So Ben became the first bushranger to be outlawed. A week later, he was dead.

At the age of 27, shot dead by police on the morning of May 6, 1865. Police knew of his whereabouts at Billabong Creek, near Forbes, NSW.

OFTEN BEFUDDLING POLICE

He appealed to the tracker to finish him off but suddenly there was another hail of bullets and Hall was dead.

There were 36 bullet wounds found in his body. For 3 years the Hall gang audaciously plundered the area around Forbes and often “befuddling” police by stealing their uniforms.

Some of Ben Hall’s exploits can be read in Rolfe Bolderwood’s Robbery Under Arms which he penned in 1888. Hall was born in 1838.

In 1910 there was a spate of bushranging films to add to the drama already on display. Both in television and movies the spectacle has never stopped.

Out they tumbled, starting with Moonlight, King of the Road, Starlight, Thunderbolt, Captain Midnight and Ben Hall.
With Ben Hall, the producer says “thanks” to his production team for their “down to earth” work in playing and photographing the Ben Hall production.

In Ben Hall and His Gang, while there was scant attention that the film was Australian but, nevertheless, the publicity for the picture was “colourful and intriguing.”

CRIMINAL OF THE BUSH

The career of Hall covers his escape from prison, the sticking up of the Eugowra Mail and his “death by 30 bullets.”

Two days later, at the Glaciarium, a large audience witnessed the first production of an Australia Biograph film.

The picture presented a seamy side to the life of Ben Hall – the Notorious Bushranger. Unlike the usual bushranging films, which glorified the villainy of the criminal of the bush, this one recorded a “triumph of the law over lawlessness.” Scenes reflected great credit to the producer, Gaston Mervale.

Among the early films to open in 1910 was one that would have the bushranger mutter “Thank God … free at last” and the curtain comes down.

People talked about it for ages.

In The Life and Adventurers of John Vane, which premiered in Melbourne, was the first of the bushranger’s type movie ever screened.

The newspaper critics highly praised the film and the fact that a record number of spectators, and the “inclement” weather, didn’t stop them attending.

KEIGHLEY HOMESTEAD

One critic said that a man, despite the fact that he may have led an evil life, “may nevertheless … be possessed of sterling qualities.”

For John Vane, he did not lack exciting incidents, despite its conventional ending. Here is synopsis of the story: Beginning a downward career, John Vane bails up a Chinaman. Vane captured by police.

Vane is then released by his sweetheart. Vane, after robbing banks, joins Ben (“You’ll never take me alive”) Hall for the raid on the Keightley homestead.

Vane suffered from remorse and leaves the gang. Vane surrenders to Father McCarthy and is sentenced to 15 years.

When he’s released, he mutters, “Thank God, free at last.” Who was it who said, “Often from evil cometh good.”

<< The bushranger story is an adaption of three profiles on Hall which appeared in Grand Years.


LET’S LAUGH! First aid kit – how much can you drink?

Alcohol – moderation is the key word. How much can you drink? Large amounts depress the appetite and habitual heavy drinking will cause liver damage, leading to impaired digestion and detoxification of harmful substances in the body. This, in turn results, eventually in physical and mental deterioration. There is no simple no safe limit – it will not only vary between individuals, but on mood. And how much have food you have eaten. Is alcohol a problem? Experts agree that a person drinking more than six schooners a day or a bottle of wine, is running a risk. If alcohol is affecting your life, it’s about time you saw a doctor. He or she will most likely send you to an organisation who will help you to stop drinking. – FM; Retirement Pack.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 06 April 18

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