VIETNAM WAR: The End. The living-room war -- television brought new conflict into our lives

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

GETTING READY!

NIGHTLY WE COULD SEE THOUSANDS MARCH FOR “PEACE” IN THE STREETS OF AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA. AUSTRALIA’S INVOLVEMENT BEGAN WITH 30 MEN IN 1962 AND FINISHED IN 1972 AFTER 50,190 AUSTRALIANS HAD SERVED.

By 1972, all Australian combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, and after the election of the Labor government in 1972, the last advisers were also discontinued.

Counting the cost of the number of men that were killed was hard for incumbent politicos to take.

Over the ten years, they were involved in Vietnam the Australians lost 424 killed and 2369 wounded. Altogether 50,190 men serves in Vietnam, 15,542 of whom were conscripted.

Many casualties did not emerge until later. Illnesses arising from tropical diseases and the effects of chemical defoliants started to come to the fore.

Given this record, one must ask if it was worth it. In military terms, the whole episode was a failure.

As we all know, the South Vietnamese army proved incapable of turning the tide; and in 1975, Saigon was occupied by the armies of North Vietnam. In social terms the effects of the war were disastrous.

Australian society was divided by the war. One side calling the others ‘commies’ and the other imperialists.
Young men were placed in jail for the refusing to enlist and ‘draft dodging’ became a common offence.

Most importantly, the Vietnam War was the first conflict in its history that Australians felt ambivalent about.
What’s happening in America?

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RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPICS …
IN THE 1880s, BARON PIERRE DE COUBERTIN INTRODUCES THE IDEA THAT THERE SHOULD BE A WORLD SPORTING FESTIVAL – ALL SPORTS – TO THE PEOPLE OF THE GLOBE LIKE THOSE OF ANCIENT GREECE.  IN THE 1890s, SOME OF EUROPE’S ROYALTY AND A GREEK TYCOON, EXPRESS INTEREST AND MONEY IN THE IDEA. – FM.
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In 1961, reporters W.E. Garrett and Peter White went to Vietnam to report on how “South Viet Nam Fights the Red Tide”.

This piece, published three years before Congress passed the Resolution … authorising presidential action in Vietnam and four years before a large-scale commitment of US troops, accurately and eerily warned of what was in store.

While Garrett’s photographs were of the conventional travelogue variety, White’s text was conspicuously grim.

”Quietly and relentlessly, without the world hardly aware of it yet, the rich country in the south was slipping ever deeper into a calculatedly cruel civil war.

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RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPICS …
THE FIRST MODERN OLYMPIC GAMES WAS STAGED AT ATHENS IN 1896. THE KING OF GREECE PRESENTS WINNERS WITH A GOLD MEDAL AND AN OLIVE BRANCH. AUSTRALIA’S EDWIN FLACK WAS A MEMBER OF NEARLY 300 ATHLETES FROM 13 NATIONS TAKING PART. FLACK BECOMES THE WORLD’S FIRST DOUBLE GOLD MEDALLIST, WINNING THE 800M AND 1500M FINALS. – FM.
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“From dusk to dawn, the Viet Cong ruled nearly half of South Viet Nam”, wrote White.

Further on in the article, White wrote: “What will happen to Vietnam!” The person replied: “I hope for a miracle to save us.”

White ended his article this way: “As our old primers say: Man is born good, but life makes him bad.”

It is estimated that between August 4, 1964 and January 27, 1973, 8,744,000 Americans saw service in Vietnam.

Nevertheless, on April 30, 1975, South Vietnam surrendered to the communists.

SOURCE: Australian Two Hundred Years; The National Geographic Magazine.


SHAPES & SIZES: The fast clipper ships! They ruled the world with their speed and sailing prowess

This is the Flying Cloud, it was one of the winged messengers of man. The clipper ships from the 1830s through to the 1860s were also the loveliest of them all.

The Flying Cloud made a brilliant run in 1851 from New York to San Francisco in 89 days, sailing 17,597 statute miles at average of 222 miles each day.
 

COMING: Clipper Days – the winged messengers of man!


FLASHBACK: Cabbie was his name, but finding fame was not easy!

FRANK MORRIS

‘CABBIE’ WAS A GRADUATE OF HARD KNOCKS!

"‘CABBIE’ WAS A SPITTING IMAGE OF A MATE OF MINE”

He lived in Mortdale but he moved round a lot. But to set the record straight: I’ll introduce him as Sydney cartoonist John Neal.

Well, Neal is as knockabout as some of the characters that come off his drawing board.

And Cabbie, his latest protégé, is no exception.

In the short time that Cabbie’s weekly adventures have been played out, his popularity has soared.

An RSL driver told Front Lines (a column I used to write for the newspaper) that Cabbie “was the spitting image” of his best mate.

“We’re thinking of starting a fan club,” another driver said.

Neal was amused but not surprised at Cabbie’s new-found fame. “I had an idea he’d make a name for himself someday.”

Neal describes Cabbie as a “street-wise little bloke” who become the victim of situations, no matter what the circumstances.

“But Cabbie is a graduate from the school of hardknock and he keeps bouncing back for another serve,” Neal said, with a slight smile.

Since leaving school at 14, Neal’s occupations have been many and varied – printer, journalist, truckies’ labourer and part-time parrot shooter.

He started taking cartooning seriously during a stint in the Army. His work was soon in demand, and his interpretation of military life began to appear in Army publications throughout Australia and in Vietnam.

In 1970, he won the Bicentenary Award for a cartoon depicting the problems and aims of the Australian Aborigines.

For many years he drew Bert the Boardman for Surcharge, a newspaper published by the NSW Water Board Salaried Officers Union.

Bert’s antics actually averted several industrial disputes and he was finally nominated for a Walkley Award – Australian journalism’s Oscar – before he punched the Bundy clock for the last time in 1980.

In the late 1970s Neal breathed new life into the famous comic-duo Bluey and Curley for the Sydney Telegraph, following in the footsteps and Les Dixon and the late Alex Gurney.

The comic finish when Neal went on strike with the journalist’s on the newspaper. He returned to journalism.

I will always remember my mate, John. My association with John Neal goes back 33 years. 

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AT THE CLUB …
COMING SOON! CLUBS ARE ONE OF THE GREATEST HARBINGERS OF ALL-ROUND SONG AND DANCE TALENT IN AUSTRALIA. I PENNED OVER 2500 AT THE CLUB COLUMNS IN EIGHT YEARS.
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We worked together as journalists on freelance projects as well. Neal was not an only colleague but a friend and good mate too. He was generous to a fault. But Neal preferred to be known as a “knockabout cartoonist” rather than a journalist.

In an interview before he died, he explained himself: “The whole point of the exercise was to gives people a good laugh and at least for a while forget their hassles.”

John Neal’s “new chum” was called Cabbie.

Like Neal, Cabbie was a typical knockabout Aussie. This is one different, though: he’s a taxi driver. You can laugh at him. Laugh with him. It made little difference to the number one standover man.

John drew the popular Bluey and Curley strip during the late 1970s, so he knew what “having a laugh on us” really meant.

The devil has his way, in more than one.

I recall a conversation with John in which told me he experimented with the devil.

He was going to sign his name “O’Neal” -- using the devil’s “6” to form the “O”. He used “the devil’s influence” right through the Cabbie series, but nothing much seemed to happen.

“How’s the devil going in your life,” I asked.

He looked at me. Nothing had happened, so it must be working. We left it at that.

John Neal died in June, 1997. He was aged 54.

Below: Les Dixon, Eric Jolliffe and Jim Russel – all leading cartoonist. John followed Les Dixon in doing Bluey & Curely for the last time.

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RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPICS …
IN 1900, THE SECOND OLYMPIAD, DESPITE GREEK PROTESTS, WAS HELD IN PARIS, FRANCE. SWIMMING, FOR THE FIRST TIME, APPEARED ON THE CALENDAR. AUSTRALIA’S FRED LANE TOOK OUT THE GOLD FOR THE 200M OBSTACLE RACE. – FM.
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Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 23 August 19

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