THE OUTBACK AND ALL THAT: Why I loved the inland part of Queensland

FRANK MORRIS

REWARDING: “My association with the Bushies” has always given happiness.” Below: “Without the “Bushies” some of the situations could never have eventuated.”

“After 34 years, I called it a day,” said Sir Sydney Williams. As Chief Executive, of the Queensland-based airline, he’s had the chance to “seek out” some new and exciting destinations. The one that struck him the most was the outback region of the state.

“My association with the ‘Bushies’, the Bush Pilot Airways, has given me happiness of a very rewarding nature! I’ve seen the joys of Outback mums and dads being serviced by a single engine Ausler and Tiger Moth to service 15 cattle stations and Aboriginal Communities in one day.

Homemade airstrips were almost at the front gates, and there was Mrs Hayles of Musgrave Station waiting with tea and scones.

OUTBACK PRIVILEGE

In return, all Mrs Hayles wanted was some link with “the outside world” and “an urgent supply of mail” for the kids who were doing correspondence courses on the popular and easy-to-listen to School of the Air.

“To be associated so closely with people of the Outback is in itself a great privilege. And my love for those people of those vast and open spaces has guided my footsteps for most of my life.”

Sir Sydney William believes that “without the Bushies and its people some situations could never have eventuated.
“Things like these could not be done alone.”

<< Queenslander Magazine of Air Queensland, January 1987.


FILM GREAT: Fatty Finn, comic ‘king’, zooms into film world!

FRANK MORRIS

PIN-UP: POP ORDELL STARRING AS FATTY FINN IN THE KID STAKES. Below: ONE OF THE MANY THEATRES SHOWING THE KID STAKES. Below: FATTY BEING TOLD OFF BY A CRANKY STORE-KEEPER.

“2FC speaking … listen folk! The greatest race of the year is about to start.” It was a billycart derby. An excitable radio announcer was cheering on the goats and riders. This coveted race, critic Judith Adamson says,” earned the film’s racegoers title”.

The first Australian comic strip character to be elevated to film stardom was Fatty Finn. Chief kid-staker Fatty, and his gang of weedy lads, made their debut in Kid Stakes in 1927. “Kid Stakes brings back the Sydney of the 1920s,” said the defunct weekly-pictorial, Pix. “They were all on parade; the ragged urchins, the brawling and the free-fisted characters of the waterfront.” Aside from Fatty, there were Headlight Hogan, Bruiser Murphy, Algie Snoops, and many others, and Hector the goat.

Kid Stakes has been described as “a happy, irreverent piece of suburban Australiana with series of lunatic subplots”.
The film was shot entirely on location at Wooloomooloo, Potts Point and Rockhampton, Queensland, which was a region, at the time, teeming with goats.

Created by Sydney Wentworth Nicholls, Fatty first appeared in the Sunday News in 1923 as Fat and his friends.
Nicholls changed the title to Fatty Finn in 1924.

Kid Stakes, still hailed as “the film that everybody loves”, is today considered somewhat of a classic.
“The director, Tal Ordell, showed unusual skill in translating the new medium of comics into live action film, “writes comic buff and collector John Ryan in his book, Panel by Panel.

NEVER CHANGE STYLE

Nicholls never changed his style of drawing. For fifty years he went on drawing the strip in exactly the same 1920s style, till his untimely death in 1977.

Writes Ryan: “By the late 1920s Fatty Finn had become, perhaps, the most visually pleasing strip in (Australia).
“Nicholls” fine draftsmanship and experimentation with long sweeping panels and tall, column-like frames were complemented by vibrant colouring.”

In the late 1920s, Nicholls published the Fatty Finn Weekly. Containing eight pages and selling for a penny, it is today recognised as the first comic book published in Australia.

Fatty Finn was later published in the Sunday Guardian from 1934. When the Guardian folded the strip re-emerged in 1951 in the Sun-Herald. And there it stayed until May, 1977, when Nicholls died.

The comic was set in the 1930s when times were tough and kids wore hand-me-down clothes.

Monty Wedd, one of Australia’s leading black and white comic artists (Bold Ben Hall, The Making of Australia, Captain Justice), worked with Nicholls in the halcyon days of comic book publishing.

In an interview in 1980, Wedd told me that Nicholls “was a dinky di Australian”.

“He was a real Australian in every way. He just loved his country and everything about it.

“To my mind Nicholls was a legend. And Fatty Finn was the King comic of its day.”

(Fatty Finn was remade in the early 1980s starring Ben Oxenbould as Fatty, Bert Newton, Noni Hazlehurst, Gerard Kennedy and Lorraine Bayly.)

<< Grand Years.


BERNARD LESER: He was the creator of Vogue Australia

FRANK MORRIS

THREESOME: CONDE NAST, CENTRE, WITH DOROTHY PARKER AS HE DISCUSSES SOME OF THE FINER POINTS OF A MAGAZINE FEATURE. Below: THE PERSON WHOSE NAME IS ENGRAVED ON VOGUE AUSTRALIA, BERNARD LESER. Below: FIRST ISSUE OF VOGUE AUSTRALIA PUBLISHED IN 1964.

The CBD column in the Sydney Morning Herald implied that one of the shareholders of a certain media company was the “founder of Vogue, Bernard Leser.”

Really. No -- He was the FOUNDER of Vogue Australia, the magazine that would eventually become the blue-horse of the fashion world.

In 1959, to put the record straight, Leser established Vogue Australia for the US-based Conde Nast organisation.
The title made its inaugural appearance as a supplement inside the British edition of Vogue.

But as a glitzy title of the 1960s, Leser, it is reported, had a battle with the magazine.

UPMARKET BOY

Leser said readers were primed for a high-quality fashion magazine, but advertisers, propagandised by the influential mass-circulation Women's Weekly and New Idea, didn't realise they were paying for people who weren't interested in up-market merchandise.

The Conde Nast organisation in 1971 threatened to close the magazine. Leser formed a consortium and bought the business from Conde Nast.

By 1989, Leser sold the company back to Nast. The consortium “did well,” Leser said.

Arthur Baldwin Turnure, a New York socialite, founded Vogue in December 1892, as a fashion weekly for “the cultivated and money class.” In other words, the social elite.

The magazine's first editor, Josephine Redding, is credited with choosing Vogue as the title, with the assistance of the Century Dictionary (“the word “vogue” fitted her fledging to a T.”)

CONDE NAST

The entrepreneurial whiz kid Cone Nast (who in 1907, was business manager of Collier's at a salary of $40,000!) became a publisher in 1909 when he bought Vogue, three years after Turnure's untimely death, and turned it into “a synonym for elegance and style.”

When Nast took control Vogue had been published consecutively for 14 years, had a circulation of 14,000 copies and advertising revenue of $100,000 a year.

According to magazine historian, Theodore Peterson, Nast saw in Vogue “a chance to test his theory…that money could be made from a medium which efficiently brought together the buyers and sellers of luxury goods.

When the high-flying New York newspaper publisher Samuel Nowhouse bought 66 percent of Conde Nast publications in 1959 (as a thirty-fifth wedding anniversary present for his wife Mitzi) Vogue's circulation had grown to about 500,000 and its advertising revenues were $8.4 million.

British Vogue started in 1916 when the submarine menace prevented the import of the US edition; and French Vogue started in 1922.

<< Grand Years.


VALE OF TIMES PAST: The King is dead, long live the Queen

SPLASH: KING GEORGE DIED.

The year is 1952. “The King died peacefully in his sleep early this morning.” Before he retired last night, he appeared to be in his usual health. Princes Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, now becomes Queen Elizabeth 11. The Queen is in Kenya and will leave by air for London and is expected to cancel her planned tour. Before the King died, she was expected to sail from Mombasa to Australia and New Zealand. Adapted by Frank Morris.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I HAD ANOTHER AMAZING TWELVE MONTHS. I HOPE YOU DO, TOO?

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 27 December 18

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