TENNIS CHAMPS: Margaret Court is voted Australia’s greatest women’s tennis player

MARGARET COURT … ONE OF THE BEST ALL-ROUND WOMEN’S TENNIS PLAYERS AUSTRALIA HAS PRODUCED.  Below: BILLY JEAN KING AND MARGARET COURT HAD SEVERAL DOUR STRUGGLES IN THE GAME.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

TALL AND ATHLETIC, COURT PLAYS MORE IN THE STYLE OF MEN’S TENNIS PLAYERS.

In Australia, the administrators of tennis were lucky. Even though the top players kept joining the professionals, equally brilliant players continued to come along to take their place.

Margaret Court won her first Australian singles titles in 1960. At this point, she was described as one the best tennis players Australia had produced.

Court was certainly the greatest Australian woman player of her time. Her record is extraordinary. She was the second woman to win a Grand Slam.

Over 14 years, she won all the major championships a number of times.

Tall and athletic, Court … played an attacking game which owed a lot to men’s style of tennis more than to women’s. She was a serve/volley player who would take more chances; staked more on being able to make that first volley count.

She played more volleys that any woman player up to her time.

In 1970 she emulated the feat of the late Maureen Connolly, of the US, by winning the Grand Slam – the Australian, French, Wimbledon and US singles titles.

On three occasions she won three out four in 1962, 1969 and 1973. Overall – singles, doubles, and mixed – an unprecedented 61 “big four” titles.

She played overseas numerous times (Italy, South Africa and Germany) and the total jumped from 61 to 90. Court won the Australian singles crown a staggering 11 times – seven in a row.

Against the famous Billie Jean King, Court had many dour struggles. She came out victorious in 21 of 34 tournament matches played.

Court had no weakness in any facet of her game, even though she had been on the world circuit since 1960. No woman played the game like Margaret Court – exceptional dedication, determination and domination.

She was born in Albury in 1942. She later settled in Perth. She was awarded an OBE in 1967.

<< Adapted from Tennis: The Greats–1920 to 1960, by Adrian Quist and Jack Egan, 1984, ABC Books, Sydney; Hall of Championship, Sport House, Sydney.  Watch for Tennis Champs later in the year.

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IT’S THE OLYMPICS …
AUSTRALIA WAS THE VENUE, AND MELBOURNE WAS HOST CITY, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 1956. OUR OWN BETTY CUTHBERT IS THE “GOLDEN GIRL”. WHILE VLADIMIR KUTS, ATHLETE, GIVES THE USSR TWO GOLD WHEN HE TOOK OUT THE 5000m AND 10,000m WITH A MINDBOGGLING PERFORMANCE. CONTINUED.
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COMING: ARTBEAT. MOVED TO MARCH 6.


FLASHBACK: Final. Fantastic Voyage – La Balsa charts a long journey on mountainous-sized seas

THIS UNIQUE 1970 PRESS PHOTO WAS TAKEN AFTER THE CREW LANDED AT MOOLOOLBALH, QUEENSLAND.  Below: THE MUCH-PRAISED LA BALSA RAFT NOW ENSCONCED AT THE BALLINA MUSEUM.

IT WAS A GREAT RELIEF WHEN THE MADNESS AND MAYHEM OF THE SEAS WOULD EVENTFULLY RELENT. BUT THE MEN WEREN’T CERTAIN FOR HOW LONG. SOME OF THE WAVES STILL CAME RUMBLING DOWN WITH A ROARING, EAR-SHATTERING SOUND!

FRANK MORRIS

La Balsa’s adventure began on a dark moonless night at 2am on May 29, 1970. It quietly slipped away from the dock on the unpredictable tidal currents of the “brackish” Rio Guayas River, with the help of a dumpy tugboat whose captain had plenty of local knowledge of the river.

The 120-mile journey alone down the Rio Guayas across the turbulent palm-fringed Gulf of Guayaquil took almost three days before the expedition confronted the open sea.

For the next five months they would battle over 5000 miles of ocean that “would be both friend and foe” -- treacherous, unrelenting and unforgiving.

Its huge coral reefs, often hundreds of miles long, Alsar wrote in his diary, were “blocking our path like jagged petrified monsters half-submerged in a perpetual spray of angry waves.” And tropical squalls blowing at full gale force, creating waves as tall as mountains, “whirling La Balsa around like a matchbox.”

It was a great relief when the madness and mayhem would eventually relent. But they were never certain for how long.

In his diary, Alsar recorded that some of the waves thundered towards La Balsa at such high speed that “they would build to a giant crest of thrashing foam, then come rumbling down with a roaring, ear-shattering noise; there was power enough in each wave to light a small city for an hour.”

When the hundreds of well-wishers at the dock in Mooloolaba Harbour got a closer look at the raft, there were gasps of astonishment: 8564 miles of this!

Alsar said he and the crew were “very proud” of the condition of the raft. “Magnfico La Balsa” he said.

The 30ft raft was constructed from balsa logs, which were bound together by hemp ropes. It was fitted with a main mast, supported by bamboo guys, and a missen mast. No nails, bolts or other metal parts were used in its construction.

At first sight La Balsa looked in remarkable condition for a raft which had such an incredible journey, reported one newspaper.

“The balsa wood logs are virtually free of weed, and the hemp ropes which bound the logs together were covered with some slime”, the newspaper said.

When it docked the raft, commented the lens-man, look strangely pre-historic.”

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IT’S THE OLYMPICS …
IN 1956, BETTY CUTHBERT WON HER FIRST THREE GOLD MEDALS. SHIRLEY STRICKLAND ADDED ANOTHER TWO. MURRAY ROSE WON HIS FIRST OLYMPIC GOLD AND DAWN FRASER MADE HER FIRST “TRIUMPHANT” OLYMPIC APPEARANCE. UNTIMATELY, SHE WON EIGHT GOLD MEDALS, MORE THAN ANY OTHER AUSTRALIAN TO DATE. THE MEDIA DESCRIBED THE GAMES AS “BELOW THE EQUATOR AT LAST’. THE NUMBER OF COMPETITORS WAS, DUE TO “AUSTRALIA’S REMOTENESS”, ONLY 3342 BUT IT ATTRACTED 69 NATIONS TO DO THEIR STUFF. CONTINUES.
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Where is La Balsa today?

Ballina, located on the Richmond River, NSW, is a major port for fishing and recreational vessels in the region.

At one of the town’s main attractions, the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum, is the “showpiece La Balsa”, say Chris Whitelaw, of AFOAT magazine.

“Many people of all ages will know of Thor Heyerdahl’s legendary Kon-Tiki expedition in 1949. But few … will be familiar with the La Balsa expedition 20 years later that eclipsed Heyerdahl’s feat by a proverbial country mile.

In AFOAT magazine, Whitelaw said “in 1970, the Spaniard Vital Alsar and three companions sailed a balsa wood raft from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

“The trip was an amazing feat of seamanship, spanning six months and the world’s largest ocean”.

Ballina’s museum has as excellent display of numerous vessels to enthral boaties of all ages. It is open 7 days a week from 9am to 4pm.


BUSHFIRE RELIEF: Liquor industry get its reward 

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

NATIONAL LIOUOR NEWS

Adelaide Hills winemakers and producers are working together to assess the damage caused by the devastating Cudlee Creek fire that tore through the region just before Christmas.

Around one-third of the Adelaide Hills’ vineyards stood in the path of the fire, including more than 60 grape growers and producers, many of which are small family businesses that are now dealing with the shock of having lost everything.

Many of the grape growers that have been affected have no public profile, no brand to get behind and no wine to sell. Some of these family businesses are considering their future --destroyed vineyards can take years to regenerate.

The devastation is also great for many apple, pear and cherry growers, equally so for dairy and beef farmers in the Adelaide Hills.

A Viticulturist and Co-Director at Henschke said … new growth is already beginning to peek through the badly burned vines and that the Adelaide Hills community has rallied to rebuild and prepare for the future.

The liquor industry is one of the many to have shown its generous nature with suppliers, producers and individuals who are giving time, money and resources to those need it most.

Below: A GROWER VISITING HER PARTIALLY BURNT OUT VINEYARDS.

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‘BLACK FRIDAY’ BUSHFIRE …
‘BLACK FRIDAY’, JANUARY 13, 1939, THE FULL HAVOC OF BUSHFIRES WERE REVEALED BY NEWSPAPERS AUSTRALIA-WIDE. THE NATION WAS REELING FROM THE HUGE LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY IN VICTORIA AND NSW. IN VICTORIA, 66 SOULS PERISHED AND NSW LOST 5. SOME RAIN WAS A RELIEF FOR SEVERAL AREAS IN BOTH STATES. A HORRENDOUS SIGHT WAS STILL AHEAD. IN VICTORIA, THE WIND INCREASED TO MIGHTY GALE-FORCE STRENGTH WHICH DID LOADS OF DAMAGE. IT WAS A PERIOD OF TERROR. – FRANK MORRIS.
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IT’S THE OLYMPICS …
IN 1956, ALSO WINNING THE GOLD ON THEIR HOME SOIL. WERE ATHLETES N. CROCKER AND F. ELLOR, WHO, WITH SHIRLEY STRICKLAND AND CUTHBERT, WON THE 100m RELAY. SWIMMERS: JON HENRICKS, D. THIELE. THE MEN’S 200m. RELAY TEAM: J. DEVITT, K, O’HALLORAN, M.ROSE AND J.HENRICKS. THE 100m WON BY L.CRAPP. THE WOMEN’S RELAY: DAWN FRASER, L.CRAPP, F. LEECH AND S. MORGAN WON THE 100m. CYCLISTS: WON THE 2000m TANDEM.


THE SHOW-OFF!

THE END.
<<
From the 1968 issue of Surfabout Magazine.

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NZ: TREATY OF RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
THE TREATY OF WAITANGI HAS A PERMANENT PLACE IN HISTORY, WAS SIGNED ON FEBRUARY 6, 1840. THE FACT THAT ONLY THREE MAORI WOMEN WERE ALSO ALLOWED TO SIGN THE TREATY AT THE BAY OF ISLANDS, WAS CONSIDERED “A PRIVILEGE OF SIGNIFICANCE.” SHORTLY AFTERWARDS, ONE OF THE WOMEN’S HUSBAND, CHIEF NOPERA PANAKAREAO, UTTERED THE NOW FAMOUS WORDS: “THE SHADOW OF THE LAND GOES TO THE QUEEN; THE SUBSTANCE REMAINS WITH US”. FRANK MORRIS.
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IT’S THE 0LYMPICS …
1960, AND THE OLYMPICS COME TO ROME. IT COST THE ITALIANS $30 MILLION TO STAGE IT THERE. THE OLYMPIC’S BECOME THE MOST WIDELY TELEVISED EVENTS AT THE TIME, AND ALSO THE COSTLIEST OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS. THIS IS WHERE THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT “BROUGHT HOME THE GOLD”. MOST OF THE SWIMMERS WERE CHUFFED AT THEIR RECORD-BREAKING EVENTS. EQUESTRIAN, BILL ROYCROFT, WON GOLD DESPITE HAVING A BROKEN COLLARBONE.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 14 February 20

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