VALE RON CASEY: He left a wide mark on the radio dial for people who had problems!

I AM HERE TO EXPRESS MY OPINION AND THAT’S WHAT I DO, CASEY SAID.

FRANK MORRIS

RAYS OF LIGHT: THREE INTERVIEWS WITH CASEY BEHIND THE MIKE IN THE 1980s. Below: LEAGUE CLUB BAN: WHAT CASEY SAYS. Below: I DON’T THINK BRITT’S THAT CRASH HOT, SAID CASEY.

Some people like him, other people hate him. But many people disliked him once he opened his mouth.

“After leaving Channel 9, (Ron) Casey had a three-year stint with Channel 10 before talking on talk-back radio,” writes Ray Chesterton in his obituary. Casey died, aged 89, last week.

After this brief stint, he resumed a relationship that began 1967 “when he was recruited” by legendary program director to 2SM John Brennan.

Casey’s talkback career had begun.

Casey in talk-back radio was an immediate success. His broad-church approach, however, was with 2KY, a station I listened to non-stop. Over the years, I had deducted enough material to fill a book. Here are few instances of him behind the mike:

CASEY vs THE CABBIE: COMPLAINTS OVER TAXIS ‘DRIVING ON’

“Several hundred listeners of Ron Casey’s talk-back breakfast program complained that they were not getting a fair deal from Sydney taxi drivers,” I wrote in 1984.

The following is an extract from that interview:

Casey: What is the legal requirement of the taxi driver? And what is the legal right of the hirer.

Kelly (official, DMT’s Taxi Division): The driver has no right to refuse a fare. My advice to anyone who hails a cab is to get into the cab and then tell the drives where they want to go.

Casey: But some of complaints have been that the taxis weren’t pulling up. They would keep on moving, then drive off.

Kelly: Any complaints the public would like to put to the department will certainly by investigated.

Casey: If the number of the taxi that refuses a fare is taken and reported, your department will do something about it.

Kelly: Yes. But I would impress upon people that they must get the right tie cab number, location and time.

Casey: Do you get many complaints?

Kelly: We do; quite a few. No complaint is shelved or disregarded.

Casey: Is there a condition under which a taxi driver, outside of someone being objectionable or drunk, can refuse a fare?

Kelly: No. The only time if 2pm and 4pm when a lot of shifts are changing over.

“I must say that ninety-nine per cent of taxi drivers I’ve had anything to do with have been people doing a difficult job the best way they can,” Casey said. “But that one-half per cent are the people who are causing the trouble.”

DO YOU REMEMBER: The Casey bags Britt affair?

2KY’s breakfast ‘oracle’ Ron Casey, I reported, obviously does not subscribe to Emerson’s claim that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

When Britt Ekland’s name was mentioned on his open-line this week, Casey began firing from the lip.

“I don’t think Britt’s that crash hot,” he said. “I watched her in the James Bond movie the other night and she had wrinkles under her eyes even then.

“With all the spare time Britt’s had on her hands, I don’t think she’s that much better at 41.”

Thank goodness Britt didn’t wear hair curlers in the movie.

THE GOOD SIDE: Casey goes in to bat for the cabbies?

Outspoken radio commentator Ron Casey, I reported, didn’t pull any punches when he went into bat for Sydney’s taxi drivers on his 2KY talk-back breakfast show.

The issue at hand was the impending introduction of a 50 cents tax on drivers at airport cab ranks by the Federal government.

“It’s obviously the brainchild of some bureaucrat in Canberra who has nothing better to do,” said Casey.

After speaking to several angry cabbies on his open-line, Casey said: “I’m with the taxi drivers all the way.

<< Written for magazines and newspapers.

COMING: SOCIAL JUSTICE – BACK TO WORK FOR WOMAN AGED 74, WHAT ABOUT THE MEN!


MR ETERNITY: The man that Sydney wondered about as he chalked the pavement

THAT SHY MYSTERIOUS POET WHOSE WORK WAS JUST A SINGLE MIGHTY WORD, SAID DOUGLAS STEWART.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

THE MAN: PAINTING CAPTURES THE ENIGMA OF ARTHUR STACE. Below: STACE IS PHOTOGRAPHED FINISHING ONE-WORD SERMON. Below: ETERNITY GETS ALL THE ATTENTION.

Since 1930, the writer with the yellow crayon had kept his identity secret except from a few close friends, wrote Tom Farrell. Stace expressed himself by scrawling a one-word sermon, Eternity, on Sydney’s footpaths, from the 1930s to 1966. Arthur Stace, until then, was an enigma.

But it was the Sunday Telegraph who first unmarked Stace to the Sydney public as Mr Eternity. Farrell said that paper scored the first press interview in 1956 with the man who had masterminded Eternity.

Eternity soon became a power word in Sydney’s mythology. 

As night fell on December 31, l999, five million Sydneysiders looked forward to hours of splendid celebrations, on the eve of the Third Millennium. There had not been a scene like it since the Bicentennial festivities of Australia Day 1988.

THE SMOKE CLEARED

By now, literally billions were watching on television, their attention fixed on Australia … the first of January 2000 would arrive, there came a massive fireworks display – perhaps the most spectacular ever seen in Australia.

And then, as the smoke cleared. It came into view … just below the apex of Bridge’s towering arch ... the first word written of the third millennium, in distinctive copperplate script: Eternity.

The crowds cheered with gusto. This was a word deeply and affectionately associated with the history of Sydney. Using chalk or crayon every day, Arthur Stace had died 32 years ago, but (his name) was far from forgotten.

May Thompson was 84 years-old on New Year’s Eve, 1999. Mrs Thompson watched the television broadcast from the comfort of her bed. She was a frail, silver-haired old lady, a widow of more three decades … had known Arthur Stace intimately in life.

For fourteen years, from 1951 to 1964, her late husband, Lisle M. Thompson, had been Stace’s beloved pastor at the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst. It was the Rev. Thompson, in June, 1956, who persuaded Arthur to ‘go public.’

But for Thompson, it is possible, even likely, that Arthur Stace’s identity would never have been known.

<< Tom Farrell’s The man the Sydney’s wondered about, Sunday Telegraph, 1956; Mr Eternity: The story of Arthur Stace, Roy Williams with Elizabeth Meyers, Acorn Press, Sydney, 2017.


Hazelhurst: It comes to the community as an art gallery – “I think the area love it”

FRANK MORRIS

WISE DECISION: DIX HAWK AT HAZELHURST IN 1995. OPTED FOR GOOD DECISION AT HAZELHURST. Below: ART GALLERY: SPACIOUS GARDEN HAS A SPECIAL VIEW.

What’s the story behind the Hazelhurst Art Centre? It all started in an old Gymea house, largely hidden by tall trees and intervening vines, was resolved in 1995.

After much consultation, Sutherland Shire Council decided to name the property Hazelhurst Regional Art and Crafts Centre. The council announced 80 per cent of the land would be kept as open space, the old house refurbished and new structures built.

“I think the community loves it,” John Rayner, who retired in 2015 as general manager of the council.

The owner of the property, Ben and Hazel Broadhurst “had bequeathed” the area to the council “for use as a community facility and place of culture.” They had bought the land and built a house on it in 1945. They were accused “of breaking post-war austerity rules.”

“To thwart the government and developers, they registered the property as a farm and brought in goats, chickens, a pony and cow.”

COUPLE FORM HAZELHURST

In the late 1970s, when the couple “were unable to maintain the grounds and unpaid rates were accumulating, an arrangement was reached for the council to take over the maintenance of the property on the basis Hazelhurst would be used for community purposes after their deaths.”

Ben and Hazel (his second wife) adopted three children orphaned during a bombing raid on London. Two of the children, Denise and Ralph, lived at Hazelhurst; while their sister was brought up by Hazel’s mother.

Dix Hawk, a Canadian cousin of three adoptees, also came to live at Hazelhurst “and became part of the family.”
Ben was a vegetarian and “greenie” long before it was fashionable.

<< Use of The Leader’s story as a background for this article.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 12 October 18

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