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Number of blogs returned: 61 to 70 records of 170

Maria Venuti in hospital: Flashback - on her career!

TEA FOR THE CHILDREN: A KITCHEN SET UP THAT WAS SIMILAR IN STYLE TO THE ONE MANAGED BY RUTH AND HER MATES.

Ruth’s Reminiscences, Part 5: My husband, Jack sailed for Australia and a “new life”

A cable has reached Jack. It said, “I am on my way, Ruth.”

FRANK MORRIS

Ruth never forgot the General Strike of 1926. Then there was a transport strike and it hit hard. Then came the depression. In 1928 the British government gave women over the age of 21 the right to vote. At 26, she was engaged. Ruth continued:

In July, 1928, my intended husband, Jack, who had been unemployed for over four years, had sailed for a “new life” in Australia.

Emigration was being encouraged as a means of, I believe, getting rid of the many angry returned men who were disenchanted with the harsh treatment they were experiencing.

Jack sailed in the Moreton Bay on  one of the Commonwealth Line ships which was sold to Britain in 1928. After a few weeks in Sydney he got a temporary job.

Among Ruth’s papers was a letter she sent to Jack shortly after his departure. He never received it. Apparently, the letter had been returned to her months later.  In his quest for work, Jack had to change his address several times. The letter, which is now among her papers and documents in the National Library, is a moving testament of two young people separated by the difficulties of unemployment and poverty.

LANG'S SACKED

In 1929, soon after the election, Ruth cabled Jack that she “on her way to Sydney.” Ruth continued:

When I arrived in Sydney from the UK we were both involved, like so many others, in the problem of existing. We realised that the depression was settling in, and during the ensuing four and a half years, both of us were employed.

Needless to say, we were aware of the causes of the economic problems and we were always part of the working class movement. My husband’s job in Sydney petered out so we went to Corrimal, on the South Coast, to stay with relatives.

In no time both of us were caught up in local activities.

Seemingly, when Ruth and Jack left the UK for Australia, they had jumped from the frying pan into the fire. In 1930 Prime Minister Scullin’s budget was described as “the most crushing in the history of Australia.”

As a result, two major events were to happen: the State Savings Bank was closed “until further notice”. Then the NSW Governor Sir Philip Game sacked the Lang Ministry.

Thousands of workers gathered at the Sydney Morning Herald office in Hunter Street to catch the latest news concerning “the Federal Government’s attitude toward the State Government’s Mortgagee Taxation Bill.” In l932 Australia was in the depths of economic depression.

WE SET UP KITCHENS

Writes F.K. Crowley, an economics guru: “Thousands of farmers faced imminent bankruptry, profits fell and unemployment rose rapidly.” Ruth continued:

Not long after moving to Corrimal I joined the Cooperative Women’s Guild movement which was prominent in the industrial areas of the South Coast. Later, some of the women (the miners’ wives) became active in the Women’s International Relief Organisation (WIR), which was formed up and down the coast.

We set up soup kitchens. Our menfolk did the heavy duties of chopping fire wood and carrying soup to the school to make sure no child went hungry. The women did the vegetables and generally supervised the soup-making.

We had a system of daily shifts so that the work was evenly shared.

A generous landowner lent us a block of land so the unemployed could grow potatoes and other vegetables for the soup kitchens. We held evening dances in a local hall and managed to raise money to buy material for children’s clothes and women’s dresses”.

As the depression deepened so did the anger of those that were affected. There were increasing demands for action. The Council decided to ban all meetings. But the meetings continued in defiance and summons were issued.

My sister-in-law and another woman were summoned to attend court. They refused to be bound over and they both received ten days for their trouble. They were held-over in a lock-up in Wollongong and then taken to Sydney. Apart from the hard beds they did not mind. The WIR supplied them with food.

November: Conclusion – Australia was told that it was war. Footnote: Ruth and Jack “lived a happy life.”

Pictures: The Big Fella. Jack Lang – the scourge of banks, he was loved or reviled. Down, down. When James Scullin became Prime Minister, he faced rising unemployment and decreasing exports.


RACE OF THE CENTURY: NED TRICKETT PUTS HIS 6FT 4INS OF MUSCLE INTO DEFEATING ENGLISHMAN JAMES SADLER AND BECOMING THE FIRST AUSTRALIAN TO WIN A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN ANY SPORT.

THE CHAMPS: “ARE YOU READY” – ONE SCULLER WILL BE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD! 

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Sculler Edward “Ned” Trickett is acknowledged as the first Australian to win a World Championship in any sport.

On June 27, 1876, he defeated Englishman, James H. Sadler, on London’s the River Thames which was lined by hundreds of thousands of spectators; ferries and smaller craft were swarming the river.

After trailing early, Ned a 2 to 1 outsider, shocked the local crowd with a decisive victory by four lengths in 24 min. 36 sec. Some 25,000 people gave him a hero’s reception upon his return to Sydney. There he stood, Ned Trickett, ‘the first Champion of World’.

Ned stood 193 centimetres, or 6ft 4in, tall and 77 kg when he retained his title against top sculler Michael Rush, on the Parramatta River, in NSW, in June 1877. A newspaper reported that when Trickett went back to his hotel in Pitt Street the band struck up See the conquering hero comes which could be heard from miles away.

DEVASTATING LOSS

In August, 1879, he would outdo his arch rival Elias Laycock in a masterly style for the massive purse of 200 pounds. “More than 40,000 people lined the banks of the rivers to watch the race,” said Ian Heads in Australia’s Greatest Sporting Moments.

“An armada of boats followed the event … Pressman were aboard the launch Prince of Wales where the working arrangements made for them were described as being of the ‘most meagre description’.
In 1880, he accepted a challenge from Canadian Ned Hanlan on the Thames course; but his challenge turned to a devastating loss. He failed to regain the Championship in Ottawa, Canada in July the following year.

He returned to Australia after the Ottawa loss and competed in several races against the subsequent World Champion, William Beach. Ned later moved to Rockhampton, Queensland. He was born in 1851 and died in 1916.

<< Adapted from Hall of the Champions, Sydney; Ian Heads; Frank Morris.

Picture: All sports. Ned Trickett, champion!


C FOR CHRISTIE: IF YOU HAVE A PEN NAME WHICH ENDS IN THE NAME CHRISTIE, AND YOU’RE A WOMEN’S THRILLER WRITER, YOUR BOUND TO BE CALLED ‘AGATHA CHRISTIE’.

AUSTRALIA’S “AGATHA CHRISTIE”, PATRICIA CARLON, HONED HER DRAMA FOR OVERSEAS

Adapted and written by FRANK MORRIS

Patricia Carlon was one of our leading crime writers who was known as “Australia’s Agatha Christie” – because one her pseudonyms was the lyrical Barbara Christie.

Carlon, who wrote her novels between 1961 and 1970, was regarded by the community as an “Australian Ace” thriller writer who is in the league of Highsmith and Rendell.

She resided next door to her parents in Bexley, NSW. At age 11, she was profoundly deaf and her literary success was a measure of her talent in communication through the written word.

In later years, she was referred to as the cat lady by providing a home for a large number of domestic cats.

POPULAR OVERSEAS

“This reclusive and rather secretive author knew her work was more appreciated overseas that in her home country,” said a well-known book reviewer. “Although Carlon did not writer explicitly of deafness, her books are often set in small, isolated towns or empty houses.”

The local residents of Bexley suggested they rename a reserve to commemorate Patricia Carlon. The new name was gazetted in February 2015 and the reserve was officially opened last September.

A colourful new mural at Bexley recognises the life and work of crime writer Patricia Carlon. Said the newspaper: “It was decided to enhance the reserve with a mural on the existing factory wall which dominates the reserve.”

Carlon was born 1927 and died in 2002. She was 75.

<< Adapted from the St George Leader; Frank Morris.

Picture: A string of novels. Patricia Carlon … she’s back!
Some of Patricia Carlon’s novels: The Whispering Wall, The Unquiet Night, Hush, It’s a game and Death by Demonstration. All her books are published by Text Media, Sydney.


DOG OF THE MOMENT: WHILE I LIVED IN A KENNEL A CANINE FRIEND GAVE US A DOG WHO LIKED MOTORCYCLES. ONE SUNDAY, WHEN THE TRAFFIC WAS HEAVY HE DID A LOAD OF DAMAGE. READ THE ARTICLE IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

EL GAURDO … AND THE DOGS IN HIS LIFE!

He can’t be all bad because he likes dogs.

RING LARDNER           Adapted by Frank Morris

“A man can’t be all bad when he is so kind to dogs.”

That is what they generally always say; that is the reason you see so many men stop … when they see a dog and pet it because they figure that may be somebody will be looking at them do it; and the next time they are getting panned; why whoever seen it will speak up and say: “He can’t be all bad because he likes dogs.”

Well friends, when you come right down to cases they’s about as much sense to this as a good many other delusions that we got here in this country; like for inst. the one about nobody wanting to win the first pot and the one about the whole lot of authors not being able to do their best work unless they are half pickled.

But wile I was raised in a kennel, you might say, and some of my most intimate childhood friends was one of the canine gender, still in all I believe dogs is better in some climates than others …

The people that lived 3 houses away … moved to England where it seems like you can’t take dogs no more, so they asked us did we want the dog as it very nice around the children; and we took it and sure enough it was OK in regards to children; but it shared this new owners feeling towards motorcycles.

SUNDAY TRAFFIC

And every time one went past the house the dog would run out … on Sundays when the traffic was heavy they would sometimes be as many as 4 to 5 motorcycles riders standing on their heads in the middle of the road.

One of them finely took offence and told … and the justice of the peace called he up and said I would have to kill it within 24 hours, and the only way I could think of to do same was drown it in the bath tub; and if you done that, why the bath tub wouldn’t be no good no more because it was a good sized dog …

And no matter how often you pulled the stopper it would still be there.

<< El Gaurdo by Ring Lardner; Berkley Publishing Corporation, New York.

Coming: El Gaurdo and some more dogs!

Picture: Reaching out. On the hill top …


HERE IS AN ENTERTAINER: “MARIA BURST ON TO THE STAGE AND LEFT EVERYONE ENTHRALLED,” SAID THE REVIEWER.

FLASHBACK: EVEN A CAMEL CAN’T UPSTAGE MARIA VENUTI

Last Tuesday: News! One of Australia’s most outstanding singer Maria Venuti, 75, has regained consciousness after spending nearly two and a half days in an induced coma. Ms Venuti, who was treated at Royal North Hospital, was suspected to have suffered from a massive stroke. Police have yet to question Ms Venuti about the ‘stalking incident’ at her home at Gladesville.

This article was written in 1986:

FRANK MORRIS

Show stopping singer Maria Venuti is one performer who decided long ago that if she ever was to make it she had to give her best at all times and under all circumstances. And that simple, homespun philosophy stood her in good stead many years later when she appeared on the Mike Walsh show.

“I’ll never forget it,” says Maria, who still manages to crack a smile as she recalls the performance.

Maria was singing the love song If You Go Away, to all things, a camel, “The camel obviously took some of the lyrics to heart,” said Maria. It became very excited and went galloping around the studio. Eventually, it came back and began nibbling me on the cheek – the audience went berserk.”

Not to be upstaged, Maria told the audience that she would do anything to get on television. Maria hit the scene in 1960s ay Sydney’s Skylounge. Later, when she was featured on the late show at the famed Chequers, she was hailed as one of Australia’s most outstanding singers.

25,000 LOVED HER

Up until that time, Maria was employed as a secretary. It wasn’t long before the strain began to show.

After a short holiday in Queensland, she returned to Sydney and joined Two Plus One, which became one of the hottest combos in town. Some months later she was advised to go solo – and has never regretted it.

“Maria toured the Asia circuit and from “hopping from one small spot to another” and was doing hour-long shows in Tokyo, Jakarta, Taiwan and Manilla. “The audiences were superb and the experience was invaluable, “she said.

Commenting on her performance at the Hong Kong Hilton, the Standard’s columnist Noel Perrot wrote: “Here is an entertainer you can’t ignore. Maria exploded on to the scene with a burst of song and a blast of personality that envelops you and keeps you enthralled.”

Picture: Show-stopping. Maria Venuti … loads of personality.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 11 November 16

Great Aussie First: Public opinion forces attacks on rail action!

RAILWAY OPENED: THERE WERE LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF WOULD-BE PASSENGERS LEFT ON THE SIDEWALK ON SEPTEMBER 26, 1855, BECAUSE THEY WERE TOLD THAT ALL THE SEATS HAD BEEN SOLD ON LOCOMOTIVE No. 1.

To mark the arrival of Locomotive No 1, the first rail line – now Central – was officially opened on September 26, 1855.

FRANK MORRIS

From the earliest days of settlement in NSW the transportation of goods posed many problems. The situation worsened when explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson crossed the Blue Mountains in 1813, opening the way to the interior.

As settlement spread quickly, the appalling conditions of the crudely made roads increased the time and expense of transporting goods to and from the major ports.

By the 1830s the railway systems in England and America were being hailed as a fast, efficient and relatively inexpensive means of transporting both goods and passengers over long, inaccessible terrain.

About this time, suggestions were made to government officials that NSW should have a railway.

Over the ensuing years public opinion prompted authorities to give some serious thought to the idea.

But it was not until January 30, 1846, that a positive step was taken with the formation of the Great Southern and Western Railway Company – later the Sydney Railway Company – which undertook the building of a rail line between Sydney and Parramatta.

IT'S LANDED!

An official ceremony in 1850 marked the beginning of construction; but it was not until 1851 that the first sods of earth were turned.

Progress, however, was slow, hindered by a serious labour shortage and ever-increasing internal debates on various issues.

The first orders for locomotives and rolling stock were placed in 1853 with a number of firms in England.

Locomotive No.1 was shipped from England twelve months later and landed in 1855 at Campbell’s Wharf, Circular Quay.

Along with three other locomotives of the same class, No.1 was transported to Slade’s Paddock near the site of the present railway stores buildings at Eveleigh.

Locomotive No.1 began work hauling ballast of broken stone and rock used to form a bed for the rail line between Sydney and Parramatta.

21 YEARS' OF SERVICE

The first rail line from Sydney Station – now Central – to Long Cove viaduct (now Lewisham) was officially opened on September 26, 1855.

By 1870, more than 230 kilometres of track had been opened. Additional locomotives and rolling stock were imported. By 1857, No.1 was used mainly for carrying passengers and goods between Sydney, Campbelltown, Richmond and Penrith.

In its 21 years of service, No.1 had travelled more than 250,000 kilometres.

On May 8, 1884, it was presented to the museum which occupied the Agricultural Hall in the domain behind Sydney Hospital.

Today, No1 takes pride of place in the Power House Museum, Ultimo, a symbol of “one of the most significant” periods of the State’s history.

lIIustrations: Full steam ahead. Only good personnel were employed to drive Locomotive No 1. Top: William Sixsmith, first engine driver; and bottom, William Webster, first fireman.


UP AND RUNNING: ALL THE STATES AND BYLINES OF THE LEADING TOWNS WERE IN FULL SWING TO HAVE THEIR COUNTRY’S RAILWAY WELL UNDERWAY.

GREAT AUSSIE FIRST: RAILWAYS WILL GET STARTED THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA – SOON!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

When the fascinating Locomotive No. 1 landed in Australia in 1854, other States and territories began to make provision for their own railways.

Victoria - The first railway line in Australia opened between Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station and Port Melbourne, then called Sandridge, on 12 September 1854.

Queensland - Ran from Ipswich inland to Grandchester. The system was extended further to Darling Downs before being connected with Brisbane, the capital, in 1875.

South Australia - While South Australia had a horse-drawn railway operating at the mouth of the Murray River in 1854, the first line carrying steam powered trains opened on 21 April 1856 between Adelaide and Port Adelaide.

Tasmania - A railway line 72km long opened between the Northern Tasmanian towns of Launceston and Deloraine in 1868.

Northern Territory - The completion of the Alice Springs to Darwin standard gauge rail link in January 2004 resulted in a National rail network linking all mainland State and Territory capital cities. A railway between Darwin and Pine Creek (253km) became operational IN  October 1889. The Australian government took control of the Pine Creek Railway from January 1911.

It operated until July 1918, when the line became part of the Commonwealth railways. The former North Australia Railway linked Darwin with Birdum – a distance of 511 km – by 1929. It was never profitable and has been closed for many years.

Australian Capital Territory - A 10km standard gauge branch line opened between Queanbeyan, NSW, and Canberra, the Australian capital, in 1914. Only goods were carried initially, until passenger operations commenced in 1923.

lIIustration: Alight: A well dressed passenger watched his partner’s every footstep as she moved from carriage to platform on the first ever steam train in Queensland.


FOR THE PEOPLE: “WE HAVE ESTABLISHED A RAILROAD IN THIS COLONY,” PEPPERED THE HERALD. PEOPLE WHO WERE TOTALLY AGAINST ANY RAILROAD SYSTEM, NOW HAVE A STAUNCH FRIEND IN “RAILWAY ENTERPRISE.”

GREAT AUSSIE FIRST: SERVANT OF PROGRESS – SYDNEY RAILWAY LINE OPENED!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Yesterday’s event was the triumph, not only of science over natural difficulties, but of the spirit of enlightenment and civilisation over prejudice and worldly mindedness, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. The paper went on to say:

The great agent of civilisation, the best and most effective servant of progress, has been retained by the antipodean colonies of Australia within the same quarter of a century in which he became the liveried vassal of civilised Europe.

We have established a railroad in this colony. The length of the main line of railway extends from Sydney to Parramatta … less than 14 miles.

Yesterday’s event was commemorated with a more universal observance of holiday festivities than we have witnessed on any previous occasion in our remembrance. All thought of business, except as it was an auxiliary to pleasure, was abandoned.

SORRY, NO SEATS!

The shops throughout the city were shut from earliest dawn, and there was evidently a restless interest mingled with anxiety as to the result of the “great enterprise” which had never before been excited. The colony has much to be thankful for that the result was propitious.

Thousands who before were adverse to railways, thousands who sneered in their ignorance of the advantages which they offered, thousands who were timid as to the capabilities and safety of a colonial line, now have became staunch friends of railway enterprise.

The morning was unfortunately wet and gloomy. His Excellency the Governor-General arrived at the station, and was received by a salute of 19 guns, fired by the Artillery (Volunteer) Corps. The platform was crowded to excess by those who had purchased tickets.

So that those in the rear had not the slightest chance of a seat.

<< Adapted from the Herald of September 26, 1855.

lIIustration: On the drawing board. How Locomotive No 1 will look when it is finished … an engineering dream! Old spark. Locomotive No 1 was displayed in 1955 to mark the centenary of railways in Australia.


OLD MINING TOWN: SOFALA’S BRIEF GOLDEN AGE BEGAN IN 1851 WHEN GOLD WAS DISCOVERED ABOUT A KILOMETRE THE FROM FRONT DOOR. SOME DIGGERS WERE AT THE MERCY OF THE CUNNING GOLD BUYERS WHO KNEW EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK.

AUSTRALIAN CHRONICLE NEWSPAPER, 1851-1860: THE GOLD RUSH STRUCK RICHES!

Summer Hill Creek and Mr E.H. Hargrave’s lucrative strike.

A Special Correspondent

Bathurst, 1851: On February 12, a great discovery of gold was made at Ophir, in this vicinity. The discovery was made by Mr Edward Hammond Hargraves in circumstances which, if as reported, are remarkable.

Mr Hargraves, having met with some success fossicking for gold in California, where he was attracted by the great gold rush in July, 1849, found a strong resemblance between gold-bearing country in California and the landscape of areas he knew in New South Wales.

Returning to Australia in January this year, he associated with John Lister, a bushman, and went with him to the rugged country beyond Bathurst where he immediately struck gold.

RICH STRIKE

Thereupon, Mr Hargraves returned to Sydney and bargained with the authorities for the sum of five hundred pounds to disclose the gold-bearing localities.

Thanks to the representations made to the British Colonial Office in 1849 by Governor Fitz Roy, it is now the policy of the Government to exploit the mineral resources of our fair land.

Gold has been discovered more the once before today. But the news had been suppressed for fear of the lawlessness it might cause in the community.

Now, however, encouraged by news of Mr Hargraves’s rich strike, and with imaginations inflamed by stories of the great Californian gold rush, people from all locations and walks of life are rushing to this area to fossick for gold.

Mr Hargraves, now 35 years old, was born in England and went to sea as a boy, working as a sailor for some years before settling in this country in 1834.

<< Frank Morris’s Australian Chronicle Newspaper, 1970, Antipodean Publishers Pty Ltd, Artarmon, Australia.

lIIustration: Bathurst gold: Digging can be a lonely pastime.


OLD MINE: LUCKNOW STANDS ON A GRANT OF LAND MADE TO W.C. WENTWORTH IN 1838. AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN 1851, THE OLD MINES WERE SET TO THRIVE UNTIL 1920.

AUSTRALIAN CHRONICLE NEWSAPERS: POWER, POVERTY IN TOWN’S GOLDEN AGE

Wealth has a new meaning here.

FRANK MORRIS

Sofala, 44 km north of Bathurst, is one of a dozen or so townships in NSW and Victoria which dotted the countryside and thrived as boom towns during the gold rush days in the 1850s.

For the thousands of people who were lured to the goldfields “with the promise of easy wealth” it was an unforgettable experience. Vistas of poverty and power were seen side by side.

“Wealth has a new meaning here,” wrote a leading social historian. Diggers who rapidly accumulated riches squandered them in roistering and gambling while failing to seek the comforts of home, furniture and proper food.

Many gold-seekers rued the day they forsook “gainful employment” and joined the chase for the prized mineral. Shanty towns sprang up overnight. Many were almost wholly of tents and, like Sofala, boasted 40,000 inhabitants.

OPENED UP ROAD

A great number of diggers had no luck and were stranded in the bush, some with wives and families; while others were at the mercy of unscrupulous and cunning gold buyers who knew every trick in the book to fleece fossickers.

In his book, Colonial Australia, Tony Macdougall writes: “The townships … thrived as boom town until the gold and silver ran out, or the mining of it became uneconomical.”

Sofala’s brief golden age began in 1851 when gold was discovered about a kilometre from the present site of the town. But the nearby township of Lucknow, around which today stand a few relics of the past, had a longer life.

The old mines there were last worked in 1920.

Despite the evils of lawlessness, poverty, gambling and vice that pervaded these make-shift towns, the goldrush benefitted our land by not only increasing the general wealth but they

<< Frank Morris’s Australian Chronicle Newspaper; Antipodean Publisher Pty Ltd, Artarmon, Australia.

lIIustration: Gold camp. Artist’s impression of the diggers’ field.

November: Life on the diggings … Bushrangers robbed gold’s stage on its way to Melbourne … Carcoar was bushranger-thick with the likes of Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall, the Underwood Gang and many others.


NURSE ALICE: THE STATUE OF WW1 NURSE ALICE CASHIN WAS UNVEILED AT WORONORA, NSW, RECENTLY. ONE OF THE DESCENDANTS WAS JENNIFER FURNESS (PICTURE, RIGHT). PHOTO: CHRIS LANE.

THE GREAT WAR: MEMORY OF WWI NURSE HONOURED

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

World War 1 nurse Alice Cashin has been honoured with the “unveiling” of a bronze stature at Woronora Memorial Park, Sydney. Until now, the Leader reported, Alice Cashin was in an unmarked grave.

Here are snippets of the Leader report:

Alice Cashin was the first Australian to be awarded a Royal Red Cross (RRC 1st class) plus the bar for bravery during World War 1 and the French Croix de guerre.

Cashin was born in Melbourne in 1870 and trained at St Vincent’s Hospital, in Sydney. And during the war, she served in Eqypt. She was serving aboard the hospital ship, HMAS Gloucester Castle, when it was torpedoed by a German U-boat in 1917.

As Matron of the ship, Alice made sure all that 400 wounded were safe on the lifeboats before climbing aboard herself. Later, Alice was in charge of the 400-bed military hospital at Whittingham Barracks, Lichfield, England.
On her return to Australia in the late 1930s, Alice, who was a member of the Marrickville ANZAC Memorial Club, was crowned the Queen of Marrickville.

<< Adapted from St George Leaders.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 04 November 16

Ruth’s Reminiscences, Part 4: General Strike – Police turned a blind eye!

BURNOUT: EVEN THE BUSES WERE TORCHED IN THE STRIKE. THEY WERE STOPPED IN THEIR TRACKS WHEN UNIONITS SET THEM ALIGHT. HUNDREDS OF BUSES – AND CARS – WERE UNDRIVABLE.

Alas, the rot had set in. The union had betrayed and deserted its members.

FRANK MORRIS

Ruth was one of three children born of working class parents in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was 1900. She recalled a tragic happening from the Boer War, the crippling miners’ strike of 1919, and the struggle of the “have” and “have nots”. The deprivation suffered by thousands of families, especially her own with the loss of her brother, William, in the ravaging ‘flu epidemic. “I remember how very much my parents had aged,” recalled Ruth. “It was a bad epidemic; mum, dad and I were all sick at the time.” But a malady of a different kind was just around the corner.

Ruth continues her story:

"When the men came back from the War they had little chance of employment. Jobs were sparse and this was the catalyst of much unrest and hardship.

In her book, The Town That was Murdered, Ellen Wilkinson, has structured a revealing history of the Tyneside (and the small towns). In the book she refers to Jarrod, one of the towns hit by the closures of the shipbuilding yards, and the long march of the unemployed movement of angry, hungry men and women looking for suckling.

The General Strike of 1926 was a period I’ll never forget! The strike was in support of the miners (who were resisting the demands of colliery owners that they should work longer for less pay).

There were restrictions, but I think the police turned a blind eye because we women managed to do a good job. For the first time, my future sister-in-law and I ventured in a pub and sold many badges.

The Transport Union and the Railway Unions soon became involved in the strike. There was a tremendous support among the workers."

TRANSPORT WAS CHAOS

"Organisation in the Newcastle area was excellent and working well. The strike committee room was well manned night and day, a daily bulletin was issued giving vital news of what was happening in other townships.

The view of many unions was (and I think they were right) that it was initially the first time that Britain was near to challenging the Capitalist system.

Largely, transport was in chaos. What newspapers were issued (at the time) gave only garbled reports, many of which were deliberate lies about the strikers giving up and returning to work.

The various strike committees had their work cut out in counteracting the lies.

Alas, the rot had set in! The Trade Union leaders betrayed and deserted their members. It was “Black Friday”* and I remember the day very well.

From that day on the depression worsened"

THINGS DO NOT IMPROVE

The days could not be any blacker for the nation’s workers.

Robert Clough, in his book The Public Eye, detailing the strike and its aftermath, writes: “For ten days the miners had the active sympathy of the nation’s workers before the general strike collapsed. For another thirteen weeks the miners remained defiant until the hunger drove them underground again.”

Writes Ruth: “The depression rolled on and things did not improve while I was living there.”

In 1928 the British Parliament passed the Equal Franchise Bill giving women over 21 the right to vote.
At 26, and engaged, Ruth voted for the first time in the 1929 general election. Industrial discontent and the General Strike proved the downfall of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the rise of Ramsey MacDonald.

Ruth could have been referring to “Red Friday.”

lIIustration: Over. The Daily Mirror says – “The Nation wins – General Strike called off”. Heavyweight: TUC against Constitutional Government … the lever breaks.


GREAT GALLOPER: SASANOF, THE FIRST NZ BRED HORSE (WHO WAS OWNED BY A NZ’ER) TO WIN THE MELBOURNE CUP. SASANOF WENT ON TO GREATER THINGS.

MELBOURNE CUP, 1916: FLEMINGTON WAS POSTPONED!

Written and adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Apart from the good tidings from the Somme Front and the ‘live issue’ of conscription, “postponed” was the news back in Melbourne in 1916. The eastern States had been struck by the wettest season on record … and the Cup was “postponed for the second time in history”.

Flemington racecourse was hit with 2000 pounds worth of damage … and the VRC October meeting “had to be transferred to Caulfield. Equally bad conditions caused the postponement of several meetings in Brisbane and Sydney to be held at a more suitable time.

By November, Flemington “had recovered sufficiently for the Cup meeting to begin as usual on Derby Day.” Patrons were uncomfortable in the “inevitable rain” but the day’s racing was got through without a hitch.

On the following Sunday, it was “miserably wet” and the VRC expressed fears that the Cup was in limbo. By the next day, the weather was much brighter and the sun was making its usual appearance. By the afternoon, the sun gave up the ghost and rain poured down.

The VRC announced that the course “would not be fit for racing.”

STAYING QUALTIES

It was untimely to cancel arrangements for the Cup Day public holiday. For Mr John Wren, proprietor of Ascot racecourse, it was a matter of “good fortune”.

The Cup will be staged about a week later at Flemington for the first time on a Saturday.

Maurice Cavanough, author of the book Melbourne Cup 1861-1982: “Strangely enough, Sasasof, who sprung a curb, escaped lameness from the complaint, and was declared fit to take his place in the Cup field.

“The best backed horses in the race were Shepherd King, who won the Caulfield Cup impressively, and the Metropolitan winner, Quinologist. Quinologist never raised his supporters’ hopes, but Shepherd King looked dangerous at all stages of the race.

“At the home turn, the issue lay between Shepherd King and Sasanof; but half-way up the straight the little NZ, with a weight advantage of 19lb, drew away to beat Shepherd King by two and half lengths, and a distant third was St Spasa.

“A stayer usually requires two to three years of racing to reach his best. But Sasanof was a good galloper right from the beginning of his career.”

<< Quotes from the book, Melbourne Cup 1861-1982, are by Maurice Cavanough; 1983, Lloyd O’Neil Pty Ltd, 56 Claremont Street, South Yarra, Victoria.

lIlustration: Papers rally. The dreaded wet which swamped the three eastern States – particularly Melbourne and the Cup.


MODERN HOME: A NEWLY BUILT VALHALLA IN 1921. OSCAR AND SUSIE BOUGHT THEIR BLOCK OF LAND FOR 200 POUNDS. SANDWICHED BETWEEN THE DEPRESSION AND TWO WORLD WARS, THE COUPLE FOUND THAT MONEY AND FOOD WERE IN SHORT SUPPLY. OSCAR PLANTED A PROSPEROUS VEGATABLE GARDEN ON THE BIG BLOCK WHICH WAS THE FAMILY’S SAVING GRACE.

FLASHBACK: “WHERE AM I,” SAID THE PILOT AS HE MADE HIS IMPROMPTU ‘CHUTE LANDING

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

How the walls could talk? They would share close to a century of stories of one family. They would be the hard times, the good times … and the time when Sir Charles Kingsford Smith dropped in.

Smith made an impromptu landing on what was then a paddock behind the two-bedroom house before stumbling up to owner Oscar Engdahl and asked “Where am l?” Many years later Oscar’s daughters, Necia and Julie, recall the tale of “Smithy”.

FOREIGN PLACE

That much-loved tale came just before the Engdahl family built the house and name it Valhalla – their heaven on earth.

For Julie Engdahl, who has lived there since she was born in 1922, has sold her home; it holds so many fond memories. In 1912, Australia must have seemed an out-of-the-way foreign place to 21-year-old Swede Oscar Engdahl – but it became home.

Oscar met his English wife, Susie, and they agreed to start a family.

<< Information for this story comes from St George Leader, Sydney, NSW.

lIIustration: Famous visitor. Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was all smiles the day he ‘chute landed in a paddock in the suburb of Mortdale, NSW. He asked, “Where am I.”


ALWAYS AN ARTIST:  “FOR MARGARET OLLEY, PAINTING WAS LIKE BREATHING,” SAID BEN QUILTY. “IT WAS PART OF HER EXISTENCE, PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE.”

MARGERET OLLEY: FINAL! “THE TWEED IS REALLY WHERE MY CHILDHOOD BEGAN”

Cudgen was such a romantic place.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Margaret’s life on the Tweed was entering ‘the golden days’. When she was a teenager at Somerville House School in Brisbane, her independent and single Aunt Mary, who often visited the family, became a great mentor.

Margaret had an idea that she wanted to be like her when she grew up.

A visit from her cousin Tom Temperley, who worked in the city in advertising, also sparked her curiosity when he produced art materials to create landscape paintings in the back paddock.

Though a boat was often used to traverse the river, the Olley family did have a car which Joseph Olley had purchased while living in Queensland around 1927. It was a dark coloured Chevrolet Tourer. The top folded down and it became the perfect vehicle for many exciting road trips, picnics and family holidays.

Most weekends the family would head off with the packed hamper via four river punts to cross the rivers and creeks to get to the beach at Tweed Heads, or another beach along the coast.

A BUSY LIFE

The family went on other outings to visit friends and relatives -- to Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lismore and Armidale. Margaret reminisced to Meg Stewart about making her parents stop the car as she had spotted something. A ‘find’, such as a flower, had caught her eye.

Every Christmas, or soon afterwards, the Olley family went camping, usually with the Temperley cousins, for an extended period. Most often this was at Cudgen Headland, at the southern end of Kingscliff.

“Cudgen was such a romantic place with the creek and the long beautiful beach,” said Margaret. “Children now haven’t got the freedom to move about as we did at Cudgen and Tygalgah. It was such a busy life. You were completely absorbed in what you were doing.

“It was really like Zen Buddhism. No one ever said they were bored or didn’t have anything to do. They were golden days.”

In 1935, the Olley’s sold their property at Tygalgah; the Olley family was on the move again.

Margaret said: “Always moving, things changing all the time; that was our life. Moving was very disruptive and it didn’t help with my schoolwork; the only thing that glued it together for me was the art classes.

PASSION FOR ART BEGAN

“I think I’m part gypsy because of all the moves. And we were always discarding. I suppose that’s why now I don’t want to throw a thing out. So those two different aspects of my early life have governed me.”

In either late 1934 or early 1935, Margaret’s mother, Grace, and siblings went to Brisbane; while her father went back to Tully to see to the family properties. Grace and two younger children joined him in 1937.

While Margaret stayed behind to board at Somerville House girls’ private school in South Brisbane. This was when she discovered that art was what she wanted to do in her life.

Margaret’s art teacher, Caroline Barker, was a great supporter and adviser to her mother, especially she should study art after leaving school. Margaret said: “So my first paintings in oils were done with Caroline Barker. They were kept under the carpet in my mother’s bedroom.”

From this time Margaret Olley’s lifelong, fascinating journey and passion for art began.

<< Adapted from Margaret’s early life on the Tweed; Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah, NSW

lIIustrations: All in the family. Margaret, Elaine, Grace and Ken Olley making sure their rowing boat will meet the school bus. I say, I say. Margaret Olley (right), with her hands on her hips, has the same look on her face of 70 years later.


PRISON: THE LAST RESORT! FINAL …

“The oppression is constant and extreme. Word is passed around to all the prison officers,” said a prisoner.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 28 October 16

Now we are sixty – now, he’s decided to have fun!

HOW WOULD A DOG FEEL?:  HAVING JUST TURNED SIXTY, I WONDER WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE AS OLD AS MY PARENTS. WHO WAS I KIDDING. I’LL GO ON AND IMPERSONATE THE DOG! SKETCHES BY DAVID ECCLES.

Pith, wit and pleasure! Each must be tempered with the merest touch of melancholia, says the author.

CHRISTOPHER MATTHEW           Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

The film actor Tony Curtis was once asked by the host of an American TV chat show how he would sum up his life.

‘When I was a very young man,’ Curtis said, ‘I arrived in Hollywood without any money, checked into a cheap motel, showered, shaved and then I came here to talk to you.’

Having recently turned sixty, I know just how he feels. One minute I was looking at my parents and their friends and wondering what it would be like to be as old as them; the next thing I knew, I was.

Mind you, in their day sixty-year olds were old. Elderly, certainly, and resigned to a slow, slippered twilight. I, on the other hand, am nothing if not a product of my age, and thus do not feel a second older than I did ten years ago – or even twenty.

Who am I kidding, though? Another ten years and my Biblical quota will be up. Like it or not I have joined the ranks of the zimmer brigade. This collection is by way of marking, if not celebrating, my new-found status.

THE BEST OF THE POEMS

I could have waited for a year or two to ensure a first-hand account of the pleasures and pains of being an oldie, but decided I’d better crack on while the going is good and before someone asks me to show my bus pass.

How best, though, to run the unfamiliar gamut of geriatricity? A vade mecum for the elderly, however liberally laced with jokes, could all too easily decline into a catalogue of whinge and woe.

Pith, wit and pleasure are more the order of the day – tempered with the merest touch of melancholia.

And then it suddenly occurred to me. Here I am, even more baffled by life than when I was a small boy.

I had already purloined A.A.Milne’s title and twisted it to my purpose, so why not pick the best of the poems he wrote for six-year olds and re-write them for sixty-year olds?

So I have.

<< Adapted from the book Now We Are Sixty, first published by John Murray in 1999.

December: Two of Christopher Matthew’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes rueful and always thought-provoking tales in Greek Tragedy and the Meeting Square.

lIIustration: A dark place: Matthew said, “I’ve been to dinner, and over-eaten, and drunk a brandy or three; then had a jolly good pee.” Cutting edge: A vade mecum for the elderly, a love letter that could have been easily filled with a catalogue of whinge and woe.


ONE SAYING: HIS NAME WAS TED BULLPIT AND HE HAD ONLY ONE SAYING – “DON’T ASK ME FOR A LEND OF THE KINGSWOOD!”

VALE: ROSS HIGGINS GREW UP IN THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMEDY

FRANK MORRIS

Famous actor Ross Higgins said that he loved comedy so much that it often hurt him.

Higgins died last weekend, aged 86. He will be remembered throughout Australia as a comedian and actor with “vast talent”. He started out as a singer, then went to radio, and scored a part in TV’s The Naked Vicar Show.

He was a vaudevillian who was fortunate enough to play the golden age of comedy. Television destroyed many of those careers. But next came Ted Bullpit in the Kingwood Country and that lasted for 4 years.

It was the tele-series that made “Ted Bullpit’s” name.

THE AUSTRALIAN WAY!

Bullpit sporadically went into areas not seen on television. “He was a bit of dinosaur really being dragged into the 20th century,” said his ‘daughter’ on Kingwood Country. Higgins was also the voice for the Louis the Fly commercials.

The first time I wrote anything about Ross Higgins/Ted Bullpit was in 1996. He, as Ted Bullpit, was about to star in Waiting for God, the Australian way. It was only a paragraph:

“Waiting for God, the Australian way! Remember the British TV series, Waiting for God, about the laugh-a-minute contretemps in a retirement village? Well, Ted Bullpit, the character from the popular 1980s Oz series Kingwood Country played by Ross Higgins, is back. But guess what? This time he’s a resident in a retirement village! Bullpit will be screened next year.”

The next year came and went, but there was no Bullpit! One of the foibles of television, I guess.

lllustration: Kingswood Country -- it sporadically went into areas not seen on television. Ross Higgins  -- He went from radio into The Naked Vicar Show.


FRANK MORRIS … ON THE COMING FEATURES

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER: One of the great American authors and journalists, Ring Lardner, left a heavy nostalgia with people from the day he died, in 1933. He was only 48. He lived a tough life. Lardner penned his first novel, You know me, Al, about the tiddlly-winks going of baseball, and was made. Lardner wrote a short piece on dogs; yes, ON DOGS. Says Lardner: “A man can’t be all bad when he is so kind to dogs.” WRECKAGE OF VISCOUNT AIRLINER IN SYDNEY. The Ansett-ANA Viscount airliner, which disappeared over Sydney in a storm, was found in Botany Bay. An explosion theory was blamed. It happened November 30, 1961. My wife and I had just arrived back from Canberra on our honeymoon. That was 55 years ago. We heard it all. A GLANCE BACK – QUEENSTOWN IN 1966. When you walked down the centre of the town you were in the lake district, the southern portion of New Zealand South’s Island, Queenstown.


CELEBRATING A CENTURY: THE SCHOOL MAGAZINE, FROM 1941, SHOWING HOW THE DESIGN HAS EVOLVED FROM THE BLACK AND WHITE COVER OF 1916, OF PURELY TYPE AND DRAWING, HAS DEVELOPED INTO THE MODERN LOOK OF TODAY.

COVERS: MAGAZINE’S 100 YEARS – COLLECTING TALES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO READ

Written and adapted by FRANK MORRIS                                                                                                            

 It is a world first! The School Magazine for 100 years has collected tales for children of Australia, making it the longest-running literary magazine in the world. It became a constant in the lives of primary school students since its beginning in 1916 as a 16-page monthly publication.

The publication’s existing readership is141,000. Its centenary will mark the launch of a new anthology, For Keeps, which, according to the editor Alan Edwards, will raise awareness of the magazine’s contribution to children’s literary resources.

Professor Ewing, one of the magazine’s four ambassadors, said the magazine still had a vital role to play to bring new works of prose, poetry and plays into the classroom and home. For children among disadvantaged families and children from isolated communities it was seen as a real break-through.

“Even though we’ve got fantastic books for children in this country, not every family yet understands the importance of literary texts for children and they’ll not necessarily be in every home,” she said. “It’s the books in the home and what we do with them – the sharing, the reading of them – that is so important.”

WITH DICKENS, KIPLING, ETC

When The School Magazine was first published its content reflected the prevailing literary establishment of Blake, Coleridge, Dickens, Kipling and Shakespeare. The iconic first editions were filled with stirring texts, psalms and prayers.

With the depression and war, the pages shrunk.

In the early 1980s, simple comic strips appeared and character mascots were introduced. A few years later, it became a two-colour publication, before switching to full colour in 1999. The literary magazine has introduced many of our best-known writers and illustrators, like May Gibbs, Ruth Park, Pamela Allen, Kim Gamble, Robin Klein, Tohby Riddle and many more. 

Tohby Riddle, author, illustrator and former editor of The School Magazine, said the school magazine had spoken to generations of children. It played a role in developing Australian children’s literature, which is highly regarded around the world.

“That’s a huge achievement,” he said.

<< The Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Community Newspaper and Frank Morris.

lIIustration: Going modern: Now referred to as Touchdown, the school magazine’s received an intent going-over and introduced colour in l951. It’s raining: A boy in a raincoat faces the touchy weather in an earlier edition of The School Magazine.


A KIWI FIRST: KATHERINE MANSFIELD, NZ’S FIRST WRITER TO MAKE AN ALMIGHTY LEAP TO INTERNATIONAL FAME.

AUTHORS: KATHERINE MANSFIELD – RISE OF THE NOVELIST

A Kiwi First -- People and Events that shaped a nation.

FRANK MORRIS

The enigmatic Katherine Mansfield became the first New Zealand writer to snare international fame.  Born Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp at Wellington in 1888, her short life was full of contradictions; she died of tuberculosis in 1923.

She spent her girlhood in New Zealand and her adult years ostensibly in England and France.

She rejected her country because there was no satisfaction in the life there, which also caused her to forfeit her family; she chose this course so that she could pursue her future and fortune in London.

Ironically, while Mansfield regarded New Zealand as a “lost paradise”, biographer Jane Phillimore explains that her “Childhood memories were her greatest source of literary inspiration and her best work is firmly rooted in the atmosphere of her homeland”.

JEALOUS OF HER WRITING

Such as her short story, At the Bay.  In 1908, Mansfield arrived in London. Writes critic and broadcaster V.S.Pritchett: “She belongs neither to her own society nor in London; but who like some nervous spider lives on an ingeniously contrived web that she has spun between the two places”.

Seemingly, hers was a life of isolation. “I love above all things, my dear, to be alone”, Mansfield wrote to a friend in 1916; the same year her only brother, Leslie, was killed in France.

From her early stories, circa 1918, her work was marred by few failures. Some of Mansfield's best stories, The Woman at the Store, Millie, the Little Governess and others, were lauded for their originality and power.

Later a “new quality” of tenderness and richness became the hallmark of her trilogy, Prelude, a real taperies of life of the Burnell family.

With Prelude, according to her husband and editor, J. Middleton Murry, “she entered, under full sail, a new realm of gold…and afterwards maintained this high level of achievement”.

Many critics and contemporaries compared Mansfield to Chekhov, Woolf, Proust and Joyce.

Woolf regarded her as a rival. While their relationship was one vicissitudes and jealousies she admired Mansfield.

Of Mansfield after her death, Woolf wrote in her diary: “I was jealous of her writing – the only writing I have ever been jealous of.”

<< The story of Katherine Mansfield is from Grand Years, 2007; and was originally used in a travel promotion.

lIIustration: Informal: Mansfield’s childhood memories were her “greatest source of literary inspiration”. Ripe for the picking: Virginia Woolf once said, “She was jealous of her writing.”


PRISON: THE LAST RESORT 3. (CONTINUED) …

“Not drunk and disorderly?” queried the Prison Warden. “How about disturbing the Peace, or …”

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 21 October 16

Ruth's Reminiscences, Part 3: World War 1 - "I remember how my parents had aged"

ARMISTICE DAY: THE CARRIAGE ON WHICH THE ARMISTICE WAS SIGNED. THE PREMIER OF LUTON SAID: “THE GREATEST VICTORY IN HISTORY. THANK GOD.”

One morning I was awakened by the sound of marching.

FRANK MORRIS

Ruth’s “first recollection” of war was when a neighbour who had served in the Boer War told her he had shot a man because he wanted the pipe and tobacco the African civilian was smoking. As a little girl Ruth “did not think he was bragging; I believed he was ashamed.”

Ruth continued:

My eldest brother was called up and served on Home Service ground staff in the Air Force. He told us of a horrific accident he witnessed in which mates were killed. My second brother turned eighteen and he was called up. He left for  training in Yorkshire where he (and many of his mates) died in the ‘flu epidemic.

I remember how much my parents had aged when they returned home from the hospital camp three days later. If William had not died my mother would have stayed there to help the overworked doctors and nurses. It was a bad epidemic. Mum, dad and I were all sick at the same time.

One morning, very early, I was awakened by the sound of marching.

It was a batch of young men moving from the military camp nearby, probably heading for the railway and thence, I thought, to the battlefields of France. I cried bitterly.

All these memories, no doubt, helped to strengthen my beliefs and my determination to do all (that) I could to rid the world of war, poverty and greed.

THE ARMISTICE

Early in the war, while our family was still complete, we moved to another home. We got the opportunity of becoming caretakers in a large two-storey house complete with basement and stairs. The owner was a dental surgeon who practised there.

Later he married and came to live at the house.

Of course, there were advantages: no rent, for one thing, and more room. But there were conditions: cleaning the waiting room and surgery, and the two big brass plates on the doors and front gate.

Ever since then I have loathed cleaning brass! My future husband bought some very attractive Indian brass ornaments. He cleaned as promised – first.

The Armistice ending World War 1 between Germany and the Allied powers was signed on November 11, 1918. Throughout Great Britain office workers and shopkeepers rushed into the streets weeping, crying and screaming as the news of the armistice spread.

TRIUMPH OF LIFE

Writes historian A.J.P. Taylor: “Omnibuses were seized, people caroused in strange garments, and total strangers copulated in the doorways and on the pavements. They were asserting the triumph of life over death.

“The celebrations ran on with increasing wildness for three days, when the police finally intervened and restored order.”

On June 28, 1919, the front page of the Pall Mall Gazette trumpeted ‘PEACE SIGNED’. The paper reported that a peace treaty between the Allied and Associated Governments and Germany was signed at Versailles at 3.12pm on that day, “bringing to a formal end the hostilities which commenced by the declaration by Germany of war on Russia, France, Britain and America.”

Next: Ruth writes about her family’s battle during the ongoing economic depression, the General Strike in 1926 and immigrating to Australia.
lIIustration: Hot news: The war is over, said the breezy Daily Mirror. Mobs rule: Just about every nook and cranny had people who mouthed the words – “it’s over, the war is over.”


PERIOD OF OUR HISTORY: “THESE EVOCATIVE IMAGES OF JACK EDEN’S COLLECTION VIVIFY THE UNIQUENESS OF THE SURFING SIXTIES, “ SAID FRANK MORRIS IN THE BOOK, JACK EDEN’S REVISITED COLLECTION. “IT WAS A TIME OF BEING INDIVIDUAL OR LOOKING LIKE JAMES DEAN OR POSTURING LIKE MARLON BRANDO; IT WAS A TIME OF MORE FREEDOM, ROCK ‘N ROLL, SURFING SAFARIS AND ALL THE REST OF IT; IT WAS A TIME WHEN AUSTRALIA CAME OF AGE ON THE WAVES.”

JACK EDEN’S HISTORIC IMAGES CAPTURE THE SURFING SIXTIES!

FRANK MORRIS the editor of Surfabout

The surfing sixties! The decade when Australia came of age on the waves. The decade of surfing revolution and evolution. Of Midget Farrelly, Nat Young, Garry Birdsall, Bobby Brown, Phyllis O’Donell and surfing legends to be.

There were the long boards, the “brothel creepers”, the James Dean lookalikes, the nose riders and hot doggers – and a thousand other memories.

Those “blasts” from the past are back in stunning back and white.

Jack Eden is a veteran surfer and publisher of one of Australia’s first surfing magazines, Surfabout. Jack was where the action was capturing the people, the icons and the events -- no matter if they held were in Australia or Hawaii – our colourful heritage for future generations.

Tested their mettle

Australia began to flex its sporting muscles in the post-war years. And it didn’t take long for the Aussie’s to make their presence felt on the world stage. They boxed their way to the top, and to fame, against all comers.

They sailed their way into the record books, ran faster than the world’s best and showed other sporting nations that they were there to be counted.

Australians well and truly test their mettle in the toughest sporting area of all --- the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. And it didn’t stop there.

Enter the 1960s, a ground-breaking decade for Australia in another sport which had been primarily the domain of Hawaiians. Surf-riding. Yes, Australia had crashed the wave’s barrier.

The “surfing sixties” heralded the beginning of the surfing revolution, a time when Australia came of ages on the waves. The period gave us images, sounds and a lifestyle like never before.

The champions have become legends.

COMING: The Surfing Sixties, The Jack Eden Story and articles from the Surfabout magazine, published from 1962 to 1964.

<< Mr Paul Scott, of The University of Newcastle, who tutors in design, communication and information technology, told the Griffith University’s Journalism Education Conference*, that from issue 2 Surfabout would “demonstrate a significant number of changes that would be influential in Australian surf magazine publishing.” Eden, who was manager of the magazine, listed ‘John Morris-Thorne’ as the editor which was a nom de plume for Frank Morris.

lIIustration: Eden foursome: Garry Birdsdall (centre) with his other surfing mates pose on board Birdsall’s Morris Minor for photographer Jack Eden. It DID it all: Surfabout, the magazine that was “influential” in surf publishing.

*From November 29 to December 2, 2005.


Next November: Roll up! Roll up! The gold rush and life on the diggings! Come with a Special Correspondent of Frank Morris’ Australian Chronicle newspaper, try a specimen of the goldfields of NSW and Victoria in 1853. You’re in for an unforgettable experience! You’ll read where gold was found, how they behaved at the diggings, bushrangers and how people were pelted with gold nuggets. – FM.


 

NEVER WAS PM: LORD BEAVERBROOK WAS TOO ERRATIC TO BECOME PRIME MINISTER. BUT DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR HE BECAME MINISTER FOR PRODUCTION IN THE CHURCHILL GOVERNMENT. HE MADE SURE THE BRITISH HAD ENOUGH AIRCRAFT TO SEE THEM THROUGH. THE TWO IMPRESSIONS ARE SKETCHES BY LONDON CARTOONIST VICKY.

THE DATE WAS 1964: LORD BEAVERBROOK -- SO EASY TO LOVE, EASY TO CURSE

“My frightful temper,” said Beaverbrook. He sent the offending secretary three dozen bottles of liquor … three dozen of ginger beer and a note which read: “From a bad minister to a fine under-secretary.”

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Whenever Lord Beaverbrook was reported ill, Lord Stanley Baldwin always thought he heard the flames of hell roaring for him and I suspect that the former prime minister rejoiced at the sound.

Because of his Presbyterian ancestry Lord Beaverbrook never quite got it out of his mind that Calvin was right and perhaps hellfire did wait for him if he did not take care.

Lord Beaverbrook, Max Aitken, Ist Baron of Beaverbrook, died on the June 9, 1964.

Never was a man so readily cursed who was yet so lovable. He would burst in a storm at one of his men and then subside and say gently, “Forgive me. I shouldn’t speak to you like that.” The under-secretary in the Ministry of Aircraft production whom he bullied wrote asking to be transferred.

The Beaver read the note, muttered cosily, and sent the message: “My frightful temper, from a bad minister to a fine under-secretary” and sent the offended secretary three dozen bottles of liquor  (and in case he didn’t drink) a dozen bottles of ginger beer.

CHRIST, A WORLDLY MAN

I have never met a man of affairs who knew the Bible better than Lord Beaverbrook. For years he worked on a life of Christ which he published last year as The Divine Propagandist, the story of Jesus, according the Beaverbrook, as it appeared to a worldly man of his generation.

A remarkable book this. He tells us what he thought about Christ: but what did Christ think about Beaverbrook? That is a test we must all face.

I was astonished to hear this millionaire newspaper magnate say: “Politically, I have been a failure.” I enjoyed hearing him talk of his father, a Presbyterian minister in New Brunswick, Canada. He was a one of 12 children and his father’s stipend never exceeded 200 pounds a year.

His mother was a shining spirit. Young Max Aitken (as he was then) looked at the hardships of their home and formed a stern resolution to make money. By the age of 25, he had carved an immense fortune.

He went back to the land of his ancestors.

HE WAS TOO ERRATIC

There he met the son of another Scots minister, Bonar Law, who had lived in a village close to his own. He showed the way to enter politics and Max found himself in the House of Commons – 20 days after he had set foot in England!

He had failed as a politician but he saw that there was a short cut to power by way of Fleet St. He brought about the downfall of the Asquith Government in 1916 and helped Lloyd George to replace him.

One of the first acts of the new Prime Minister was to elevate Sir Max Aitken to Lord Beaverbrook. His gifts were not of the sort that led to ultimate success in British politics. He was too erratic, too ready to trample over opponents. He wanted to be Prime Minister and he never was.

Remember this about Beaverbrook. He built the planes that fought and won the Battle of Britain. When Churchill said, “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few,” he could have added, “and one man above all others made it possible.”

Despite the perversity of some of his policies, he kept afloat the idea that Britain was a great country which need not despair of its future. – The Rev. Dr C. Irving Benson.

<< Adapted from the article of the same title; The Herald, 1964.

lIIustration: Mid war praise: Time magazine and cover story, Lord Beaverbrook. Human conflict: “… so many to so few.” Churchill could have added, “And one man made it possible.”

PRISON: THE LAST RESORT! 2. (CONTINUED) …

“Those who were banished from their own country and sent to live and suffer under harsh colonial regime,” said the goal warder.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 13 October 16

Growing older – there’s something funny about the senior’s card!

DOGS ARE HERE, TOO!: DOGS ARE EVERYWHERE! IN NORMAL TIMES, I’M QUITE HAPPY WITH DOGS AND CATS. BUT IN OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES THE THOUGHT DOES ALARM ME. BEING DETAINED AT THE PEARLY GATES WITH THREE MAD DOGS, HELD BY GUARDIAN ANGELS, WHO TOLD ME NOT TO COME ANY FURTHER. DOGS IN HEAVEN? I MUST BE DREAMING.

Everybody thought it was a great hoot.

FRANK MORRIS

In another journal, I fulminated on those people who can’t abide the thought of growing older. I’m one of them.

“I did not want to own (or possess) anything that signifies age, or growing older. Like, for example, a seniors’ card.” I wrote:

“The only card I want in my pocket is one which will give me an untrammelled passage through the Pearly Gates and no questions asked.”

My reasoning was simple: once you flash the SC in open company, the secret is out. Everyone knows that you’ve hit the big six-o, or eight-o, or ninety-o! In no time at all, this fact is emailed here, there and everywhere. People you’ve never met know how old you are for God sake.

Several of my card-carrying friends chided me over the article -- unmercifully. They would go out their way and talk about it at the pub. Everybody thought it was a great hoot.

But I stuck to my guns.

SECOND NATURE

Growing older is unsettling. Growing older is depressing. Living longer suits me fine. Living longer, aided and abetted by the benefits of medical technology, sounds bloody fantastic.

That’s why I am thinking of pulling up stakes and shifting to the little village of Orroli in Sardinia. That’s right, Sar-din-ia. SARDINIA.

In Orroli, living to well over 100 is a breeze. It’s the thing you do.

Why do the inhabitants there manage to live so long? What is the secret that keeps the population kicking?

Time magazine’s Jeff Israel was told it was the air. Then he was told that the home-grown vegetables had something to do with it.

“For others, it’s the pure ground water or fresh milk, or near obsessive moderation in all things,” he writes.

THE GENES

“Most seem to agree that a daily glass or two of red wine is indispensable. (But) Frau, who is officially the third oldest person in Orroli, has a weakness for the locally produced pecorino cheese and sweet Moscato wine.”

But there’s more. It’s probably none of those things at all, really.

As one local told Time: “The food and the air probably help, but the point is that there’s very little intermarrying with outsiders here. It’s in the genes.”

The island of Orroli, according to Time, “has the world’s highest documented percentage of people who haspassed the century threshold.”

It turns out that “five of the world’s 40 oldest people” live on the island. The oldest of them, who was 112 years, died ten years ago.

Possibly, buried deep among the historical church records in central Sardinia, there’s a document that will throw some light on this island’s secret of longevity, according to a team of researchers.

This elusive piece of paper will hopefully confirm, reports Israel, “a man who died last century had reached the all-time record age of 124.”

Maybe, I’ll stick with my seniors card after all.

Hang on! Maybe, there is something in the air …

lIIustration: Word jumble: Growing older just becomes a tangle with words. Highway to nowhere: That’s what I think age really means. “Nowhere” is when you spend your days just waiting!


HUMOUR -- Signs that you may be among us: Not minding if someone else drives … Deciding you want a younger doctor … Producing a heretofore unheard sound when bending or kneeling … Standing in a room for several moments trying to figure out why you went in there … Calling one of your children by the dog’s name … Saying something for the first time that your father used to say and that you never liked.  – Fred Shoenberg, Middle Age Rage ... and other indignities.


SCRATCH AWAY: LURE YOUR CAT AWAY FROM FUNITURE OR OTHER MORE MOBILE ITEMS, LIKE CUSHIONS OR PILLOWS WITH THE RIGHT SCRATCHING POST. CHOOSE A WOVEN MATERIAL FOR THE BEST RESULT.

NIP IT IN THE BUD: HOW A CAT CAN RID ITSELF OF A BAD HABIT

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

My best friend has cats – two cute, white balls of fluff with manic feline personalities. What isn’t cute is when they turn the furniture into their own personal scratching post. And let me tell you something: it’s not easy to find stylish, suitable scratching posts.

A lot of people will be saying that practicality is the only key here; but for people with a flair for design and a passion for their pets it is a very real struggle.

Online is a great place to start. There is a multitude of online stores where you can buy scratching poles for the cat. Some of them are covered in woven materials – some are more like Velcro. Others are covered in a heavy duty carpet material.

DURABLE TO LAST

Of course, they come in an array of colours and styles to choose from – for us, it was important to stick to a budget. So here are some tips for choosing a scratching post for a cat:

>> Be aware of the space and size: Where are you going to put it? And will the cat fit on it?

>> Choose the right material: Most cat fanciers like woven material. The reasoning was it is loose enough that the cats can really get their claws into it. How durable is it? Durable to last.

>> Colours: It doesn’t matter to the cat – well, depending on who you ask apparently – but try looking for something neutral; or the colours that suit your existing furnishings.

>> Beware of online purchases: You may not get exactly what you ordered. Choose a trusted source --- like a chain of pet shops.

<< Adapted from Fairfax Community Newspapers.

lIIustration: Let me scratch you: Save your furniture from a cat destroyer. Just invest in a scratching post.


FROM GROUND TO WATER: PADDINGTON GETS A RIDE DOWNSTAIRS, NOT ON A BANNISTER, BUT ON … A RIVER! IN ALL HAPPENS WHEN … SEE THE PADDINGTON FILM ON VIDEO AND YOU’LL GET A BIG SURPRISE!

PADDINGTON BEAR – HE ALWAYS LOOKS FORWARD TO A MORNING CHAT WITH MR CRUBER!

These were some of the chronicles in Paddington’s hectic life.

Chosen by FRANK MORRIS

One of the things that made visiting his friend’s antique shop in the Portobello Road so special was the fact that it was never the same two days running. People came from far and wide to seek Mr Gruber’s advice.

It was something to browse through his vast collection of books, which covered practically every subject under the sun. Paddington became quite knowledgeable about antiques himself. He could immediately tell a piece of the genuine Spode china from ordinary run-of-the-mill crockery.

He would never pick anything up; just in case he dropped it by mistake.  “Better safe than sorry,” was Mr Gruber’s motto. They were never short of things to talk about. During the summer months they often had their morning tea sitting in deck chairs on the pavement outside the shop. Here they discussed problems of the day in peace and quiet before the crowd arrived.

Paddington couldn’t help but notice his friend usually had a faraway look in his eyes whenever he spoke of his native Hungary. “When I was a boy,” Mr Gruber would say, “people used to dance the night away. That doesn’t seem to happen any more.”

EAR FOR MUSIC

Paddington … did learn with Mr Gruber’s help … to play a tune called “Chopsticks” on an ancient piano at the back of the shop. It wasn’t easy. Having paws meant he often played several notes at the same time.

But Mr Gruber said anyone with half a ear for music would have recognised it at once.

On cloudy days, when there was a chill in the air, they made a habit of retiring to an old horsehair sofa at the back of the shop. And it was on just such a morning. Paddington arrived rather earlier than usual and found to his surprise that Mr Gruber had acquired a new piano.

It was standing in almost exactly the same spot as the old one had been, near the stove.

There was no sign of Mr Gruber, which was most unusual. So to pass the time Paddington decided to have a go at playing what had become known as “his tune”, when something very strange happened.

As he raised his paws to play the opening notes, the keys began going up and down all by themselves!

A SAD ENDING

He had hardly finished rubbing his eyes in order to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, when he had yet another surprise. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Mr Gruber crawl out from underneath a nearby table.

“Oh dear,” said Paddington, “I hope I haven’t broken you new piano.”

Mr Gruber laughed. “Have no fear of that,” he said. “It is what is known as a ‘player piano’ and it works by electricity. You don’t see many around these days. I’ve just been plugging it in to make sure it works properly.”

“I don’t think I have ever seen a piano that played a tune all by itself before,” said Paddington. “We didn’t have anything like that where I come from. But then we didn’t have electricity either.” This was a sad ending.

<< This is an adaptation of the book, Paddington, by Michael Bond. << See the Paddington Bear movie on video.

lIIustration: Where to go: “Excuse me, where is Paddington Station?” Here you are: You’re in it!


PRISON, THE LAST RESORT (1) …

“Your sentence is finished!” said the warder. “Not exactly rehabilitated. Just too old to do anything!”

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 06 October 16

Great World War: Who was Private Pearson Granger Atkinson?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAME, PLEASE: THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE DOCUMENT THAT PEARSON ATKINSON , OF LAMBTON, NEWCASTLE, HAD TO FILL OUT TO JOIN UP WITH HIS MATES.

FRANK MORRIS

Pearson Granger Atkinson was born in Nymagee, NSW, on July 10, 1890. Atkinson was the eldest child of Pierson Atkinson, a miner, and Nellie Atkinson (nee Spencer). Atkinson, the son, dropped the “i” from his name when he was in his teens.

He went on to spend several years in the NSW Cadet Force and five years in various rifle clubs. His first fulltime job was as an apprentice to the Government Railways and, after 9 years, he finished up as a mechanic and driver.

The war had been going for twelve months by the time 1915 had swung around. He was 25, and he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on September 18. After nearly three months training, Private Pearson Granger Atkinson embarked at Sydney on the HMAS Berrima, where he was shipped to France, on December 17.

The army ordered Pearson to drive a motor lorry. He did this until he was sprayed by a cacophony of enemy shells on July 22, 1916. He received a severe neck and right shoulder gun-shot wound which was serious. He was discharged on May 17, 1919.

He returned to Coonamble and worked on the railways. But in the meantime, he met Bridget.

Bridget Mary Keady, the only daughter of John Patrick Keady, (known as Nan’s “daddy”), was born in 1888.

Enid says: “Nan’s daddy was an old ‘so and so’ and objected to the relationship between Bridget and Pearson.” When Keady died he left the property at Coonamble, Geanmoney , to Jack (his son) and a 100 pounds to Bridget.

The big day arrived. Pearson and Bridget were married in Sydney on January 15, 1920. Pearson at 29, was two years younger than Bridget, who was 31.

They resided at Lakemba, south west of Sydney, at Benaroon Road.
Bridget was fine all through the years she was having children. There were Trish, who was born three years later, in 1922; Jack in 1924; Leo in 1925; and Matt in 1931. When Matt was a baby Bridget was struck by cancer. It was a blow. The doctors reported that Brigid was suffering from bone cancer in the hip.

LOST HIS HOUSE

She was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital for four years. Young Molly Keady was only 18 when she went to Lakemba to provide care for the family, while Bridget was in hospital. Molly was annoyed at Keady’s attitude to Pearson. Enid quotes Molly when she says “Pearson was the nicest man she’s ever met.”

This was months before Pearson lost his house.

Pearson was afraid he could not afford Bridget’s hospital expenses. But Enid believes Keady came across with the money.

This was the early 30s and the nation was in depression. No one was safe. Because of his war injuries Pearson always suffered from poor health. Enid says that he had difficulty breathing due to a severe lung complaint. The word is, he might have been gassed.

He worked as a truck driver. Jack, his son, had to load and crank the truck each morning. Because of his poor health he lost his job. Gone was the money for medical expenses and social welfare. In those days the bank foreclosed on his mortgage and, a result, he lost his home.

Another terrible and woeful event happened to Bridget. She always remembered what her father said her: “You’ve made your bed now you have to lie in it.” Bridget, 46, passed away from breast cancer on March 16, 1935.
With no job, no house and not able to care for his children, they had to be fostered out.

PEARSON HAD REMARRIED

Trish went to Aunty Tot, who lived by the seaside at Coogee; Jack went to Ruby and husband, Jake Pitters, at Belmore; and Leo went to Nurse Wright, at Peakhurst.

Where did Matt go?

Matt was four at the time and must have gone with Trish. Trish, on all accounts, used to take him to work. And when the welfare people were going to take him, Trish took Matt to Coonamble by train and he was fostered out to Jack and Lena Keady; Jack was Bridget’s brother.

In 1939-40, Pearson had remarried. He invited the children to come back and live with them. But they were all settled and preferred to stay. On the other hand, Jack and Leo had enlisted in the war.

Pearson was still having trouble with his breathing. It happened when he was gassed during the first war. He had coughing fits also, and often found it imperative to ‘gulp’ down fresh air during the night.

He went out onto the upstairs balcony of their terrace and he toppled over the railing to his death. This was about 1942. The war years were a turbulent and unforgiving time.  Therefore Jack and Leo were the only offspring who did not attend the funeral.

They were at war.

<< Many thanks to Maureen and Tom Quilty, of Yagoona, NSW, for their untiring efforts in collection of this information; and daughter, Clare, who took the photograph.

lIIustration: Fresh faces: A group of guys line up for the adventure of a lifetime – the Great War. In uniform: No sooner were they out of civvies and they were into uninform.
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ON BOARD: NURSES FIND THE TIME TO RELAX IN BETWEEN A HEAVY SCHEDULE.

THE GREAT WAR: HISTORIAN TURNS HER ATTENTION TO THE AUSTRALIAN NURSES IN ALL WARS

Jan Bassett book, Guns and Brooches, written in the early 1990s, is a candid look at these women who were the victims of some horrendous conditions.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

Matron Grace Wilson, an Australian Army Nurse serving on Lemnos, wrote in her diary on August 11, 1915, that “Convoy arrived, about 400 (men) – no equipment whatever. Just laid the men on the ground, and gave them a drink.

Very many badly shattered, nearly all stretcher cases …

“Tent were erected over them as quickly as possible … All we can do is feed them and dress their wounds … A good many died … It is just too awful – one could never describe the scenes – could only wish all I know to be killed outright.”

Jan Bassett, a school teacher and university lecturer, has brilliantly tackled an area of Australian military history which had been virtually ignored by other historians – the history of nurses serving in the Australian Army, from the Boer War to the Gulf War.

SUPREME SACRIFICES

When you read this entertaining, enlightening text – liberally dosed with period photographs – it is hard to fathom how historians could have possibly ignored the service and hardships of more than 9000 women (and a sprinkling of men) who served in these wars.

Bassett’s Guns and Brooches is certain to open the eyes of many historians and general readers who have overlooked, or were ignorant of the extreme – often supreme – sacrifices made by these women.

Even in selfless service these women were victims of discrimination, down-trodden, low pay and horrendous conditions.

<< Pageant, Australia’s History Magazine, 1992/3. You can secure your copy at a second hard dealer.

lIIustration: Tough women: A group of Aussie servicemen getting last minute care from Australian nurses.

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END OF AN ERA: 68 YEARS OF HOLDEN – A DOMINANT FORCE IN THE FAMILY MARKET

This was reflected in the slogan, ‘Australian’s Own Car’.

FRANK MORRIS and DANIEL OAKMAN

“We love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars …” was a song we would sing every time we saw a Holden. How time flies! The song died out, but the Holden kept getting faster and better.

When the first model was produced in 1948 -- 48-215 later called the FX – the next day’s editorial collectively describes the occasion as “one for national self-congratulation.”

The papers added that “the establishment in Australia of this gigantic industry” was one of “planning, organisation, technical capacity and the skill of many executives and artisans.”

The 48-215 was a medium-sized car with seating for five or six passengers. It had a 2.15 litre six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission. In 1950 the Holden was the most popular passenger car in Australia – with 19,203 sold (14 percent of the market). The 48-215 model range produced between 1948 and 1953 included the standard sedan, the business sedan and the utility.

In total 120,402 were manufactured.

The Holden 48-215 was not only the first mass produced car made in Australia but also the one on which the future success of the company was built. The beginnings of this iconic Australian car can be traced back to 1926 when the

American company of General Motors established a car assembly plant in Australia.

Holden's domination of the locally built family car market, reflected in the slogan “Australia's Own Car” was checked only after the release in the early 1960s of serious competitors from rival United States based manufacturers Ford (with the Falcon) and Chrysler (with the Valiant).

James Alexander Holden immigrated to South Australia from Staffordshire, England, in 1852. He established a saddlery and leather goods business in King William Street, Adelaide, in 1856, naming his company JA Holden and Co.

James died in 1887 and his son Henry, who joined the company in 1879, succeeded him as senior partner. From the mid-1880s Holden & Frost expanded its small-scale ironmongery and commenced repairing and eventually building horse-drawn carriages.

In 1913 the company began production of motor-cycle sidecars and in 1914 built its first car body. Prompted in part by wartime restrictions on the importation of car bodies, Holden & Frost began manufacturing car bodies on a large-scale three years later.

Initially, their bodies were designed primarily for Buick and Dodge chassis. Holden's Motor Body Builders (HMBB) was established as a component of Holden & Frost in 1918.
Holden's plant at Woodside opened in 1924, with a state-of-the-art production line which produced 22,150 bodies in its first year. The plant became the sole Australian supplier of bodies to the General-Motors Corporation (GM).

From 1928 the Holden badge showing a lion rolling a stone – from the myth that man invented the wheel after observing a lion rolling a rock – was first used. Although updated over the years, this badge is still used by Holden.

ROBUST, ECONOMICAL

In 1926, General Motors Australia (GMA) was established and in 1931 GMA and HMBB merged to form General-Motors Holden (GMH).

In the late 1930s, the idea of producing a car made entirely in Australia was first conceived, but plans were put on hold after the outbreak of World War II. During the Second World War, GMH manufactured materials for the war effort including aircraft, boat and truck engines and components.

In November 1948, GMH released the first all-Australian manufactured, the 48-215 (known as the FX). In 1957 GMH produced its one millionth car body.

While General Motors-Holden's executives searched for a name for the new car, the name settled on was Sir Edward Holden, the company's first chairman. Other names considered were GeM, Austral, Melba, Woomerah, Boomerang, and Emu. The car narrowly avoided the name ‘Canbra', a phonetic spelling of Canberra.

The first Holden rolled off the assembly line at Fishermen's Bend on November 29, 1948. Many saw the event as evidence of national maturity, proof that Australia had escaped its pastoral beginnings and embraced the modern industrial age.

The Holden 48-215 – commonly known as the FX – was a robust and economical family sedan, designed for the Australian environment. Combining local production with American styling and technical simplicity, the car captivated many Australians.

Public reaction to the prospect of an Australian-built car had been extraordinary, with around 18,000 people signing up for a Holden without knowing a single detail about the car. Holdens soon dominated the road.

The Holden was a vivid manifestation of Australian dreams of prosperity, made more intense by years of wartime austerity. More than just a car, the early Holdens were complex symbols of freedom and independence, as well as suburban conformity.

Frank Morris: When the Holden goes it will be never forgotten. It’s among the most recognisable of cultural artefacts of Australia from the 1950s till now.

lIIustration: 1948, the dream starts: When Prime Minister Ben Chifley caught a glimpse of first Aussie car in 50 years, he stood back a declared: “She’s a beauty!” End of dream: Here it is: the last …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

2019 INTER-CITY FLEET: THE NSW GOVERNMENT HAS AWARDED A $2.3 BILLION CONTRACT FOR 500 DOUBLE DECK CARRIAGES, WHICH WILL BE BUILT IN SOUTH KOREA AND ROLLED OUT FROM 2019. THE TRAINS WILL HAVE TWO BY TWO SEATING ON UPPER AND LOWER DECKS AND DEDICATED SPACE WILL PROVIDE SPACE FOR SUCH THINGS AS PRAMS, WHEELCHAIRS AND LUGGAGE. THEY WILL ALSO HAVE ACCESSIBLE TOILETS.

EARLY, TIMELY: TANGARA THE 21ST CENTURY TRAIN, BUT THE 2019 INTER-CITY FLEET SAYS IT ALL

Tangara – ready to take on the 21st century!

Sydney’s new futuristic, whisper-quiet Tangara, is all set to spearhead suburban travel into the 21st century. The first of the Tangara glamour trains went into service on the Campbelltown line at 3.03pm on Tuesday, April 12, 1988.

Described as the greatest train in world, the Tangara is poised to take State Rail well into the 21st century.

“We see the Tangara as part of our future,” said a spokesperson for Transport Minister, Bruce Baird. “There are no moves afoot to make any changes. Tangara will provide unparalleled standards of suburban travel. Its passenger comfort, performance and appeal are second to none.”

Over the next eight years, 450 Tangara carriages will be phased into the Sydney system at a cost of $500 million.

TANGARA, MEANS “TO GO”

Not only does Tangara incorporate some of the world’s most advanced technological designs for electric metro trains, but it is styled to reflect its sophisticated state-of-the-art technology.

“Because the Tangara concept was so advanced, turning it into reality necessitated breaking new ground and setting standards that will remain benchmarks for the years to come,” according to the project main contractor, A.Goninan & Co Limited.

Wherever possible Tangara has seats for elderly and disabled passengers. The vestibule area behind each crew compartment has been reserved for wheelchairs – or cyclists if it’s unoccupied. The train also is fitted with both internal and external public address systems.

Tragara comes from an Aboriginal tribal word meaning “to go.” – Frank Morris.

<< Adapted from the State Rail magazine Expressions, Vol 2, Number 2, 1988.
lIIustation: Whisper quiet: In 1988, the Tangara led our suburban travel into the 21st century.

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A DAY AT THE ZOO: THE FIRST ZOO IN AUSTRALIA WAS EVENTALLY TAKEN OVER BY BEAUMONT AND WALLER. THE PAIR RAN A HOTEL. THEY JOINED THE ZOO AND  HOTEL TOGETHER AND IT WAS A GOOD MONEY-SPINNER -- TO SUCH AN EXTENT THEY INVITED PATRONS TO STAY FOR THE WEEKEND.

AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ZOO WAS ORGANISED IN 1848, BUT OTHERS QUICKLY FOLLOWED!            

Taronga Park, on the north side of Sydney, which has operated since 1916, is celebrating its 100th birthday! By 1916, Moore Park Zoo had 177 and 329 birds, and these were transferred across the Harbour to Taronga Park when that place was established as a zoo. Taronga Park is now one the world’s greatest zoos and certainly of the biggest in Australia. It attracts more than one million visitors a year.

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

First zoo in Australia, a small menagerie run by the Australian Museum in Hyde Park, Sydney, was set up in 1848.

The exhibits included a tigress and a bear. Although the zoo attracted considerable public interest, the Museum found it uneconomic to operate.

In 1850, it was presented to Messrs Beaumont and Waller, owners of the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany Bay, NSW. The only condition made was when when the animals died the bodies should be returned to the Museum.

Beaumont and Waller used the gift as the nucleus of an “extensive Menagerie and Aviary” in the hotel grounds.
An advertisement published in December, 1850, claimed that the “magnificent importation” of “a real Bengal Tiger, a

Black Bear of the Himalaya Mountains, and a Ape of extraordinary size and appearance” had arrived in Sydney on the barque, Royal Saxon, on November 1 of that year.

A RARE REPTILE

Patron were charged 6d a head to the zoo. The attractions of the zoo were offered as part of an intensive effort to popularise both the Sir Joseph Banks’ Hotel and the alluring Botany Bay.

In due course, the hotel became a noted holiday resort – catering for banquets, picnics and footraces – and drawing large numbers of people from Sydney. The two patrons of the hotel did so well out of the undertaking that they extended their zoo considerably.

In 1851, they advertised that they were able to declare: “It has now been become a matter of universal notoriety that only at the Zoological Gardens, Botany, is to be found an extensive collection of the beasts and birds peculiar to Australia, as well as contributions from the zoology of almost every part of the world.”

In addition, Beaumont and Waller drew attention to “the recent importation from California, consisting of a grizzly bear, a wild cat of the woods, eight pairs of beautiful birds never before seen in the colony, called crested partridges, and a milk snake, a very rare reptile.”

Cast of admission in 1851 was Adults, 6d and children, 3d.

Later on, Beaumont and Waller sold the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel to Henry Billings.

<< Adapted from The First Zoo, Historical Firsts, Tucker & Co Pty Limited.

lIIustration: Narrow escape: A brown bear gets in a position to grab a fish from the lake’s edge. Big cat: A tiger ready to pounce.
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STREETWIZE COMICS: THE PAY BACK! 6. (FINAL!) …

 

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 29 September 16

Ruth’s Reminiscences: Part 2. Rents fail and dawn of the First World War

 

HISTORIC GATHERING: THIS GROUP OF BRITISH AND GERMAN SOLDIERS PUT A HOLT TO THE WAR DURING THE CHRISTMAS PERIOD AND HELD A TRUCE. BOTH FOES WERE PHOTOGRAPHED TOGETHER AND GAVE EACH OTHER CIGARS AND CIGARETTES, AND HAD PLENTLY OF LAUGHS. THIS IS AN HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPH OF TWO OPPOSING ARMIES STANDING SIDE BY SIDE.

 

Two nations wanted to destroy European life as it was!

FRANK MORRIS

Ruth expresses herself with passion, vigour and grace, and her optimism is incandescent. I was immediately mindful of those words and images in Australia that were captured so poignantly in a book Weevils in the Flour published a few years ago.

Ruth continued:

Newcastle, where I was born, was truly an industrial town – mainly shipbuilding and coal mines. The river was given the name “Coaly Tyne’ because it had shipyards on both banks.

As far back as I can recall the miners seemed to be striving for better conditions and wages. In the early 1900s -- circa 1909 -- there was big miners’ strike and families were living in poverty.

At the same time dinner tickets were handed out at school to the needy children so they were assured of one good hot meal each school day.

I was fortunate in having parents who were aware of the struggle between the “have” and the “have nots”, [and they] were supporting the miners in their rightful demands; seeing the children stay behind for their free dinner left an indelible impression on the other families, which remains today.

Why should many be destitute while the mine owners and other bosses are so wealthy?

We lived in a house which was one of several in the street owned by the same man. Apparently, landlords were proposing to increase the rents. Dad came home from his Union meeting and reported [that] the decision was not to pay the increase.

HE HAD SHOT A MAN

So mum called the six houses in the row and told them [that] she was not paying and advised them not to do so. All but one refused. The others were very happy as no pressure was brought to bear upon them.

They thought mother was wonderful!

One of the neighbour’s daughters was so gratefully surprised at mother’s successful action, she said, “if that’s being a socialist than I’m one too.”

Ruth’s “first recollection” of war was when a neighbour, who had served in the Boer War, told her he had shot a man because he wanted the pipe and tobacco the African civilian was smoking.

As a little girl, Ruth “did not think [the neighbour] was bragging; I believed he was ashamed.” However, the war that was to impact with tragic circumstances on Ruth, her family and her friends, wait waiting in the wings.

In July, 1914, the Daily Mail reported that the British fleet had put to sea “as a precautionary measure.” Prime Minister Asquith told the House of Commons that the situation “at this moment is one of extreme gravity.” On August 1, 1914, Germany declared war on Russia.

WORKING AGE

A few days later, on August 5, the Daily News & Leader reported: “It was officially announced … that war was declared between Great Britain and Germany last night.” The paper went on to state that “the grave announcement was received with loud cheers.”

The First World War, or The Great War, as it was called, was under way. The rivalry between the two nations was to destroy European life had as it had been.

Ruth continued:

We lived between two families, of which the matriarchs were sisters. One had nine sons and the other had nine sons and a daughter. The boys from the first family were older, of working age, mostly miners.

Some went to the war. One was a POW in Turkey. As with some of his brothers he did not return.

During the war … my teacher asked us to write a composition. I wrote about a conversation between a British and a German soldier. The gist of it was that neither wanted to kill the other -- they just wanted to be friends.

My teacher’s comment stunned me.

“Most improbable,” she snapped. The war raged on.

 

<< Ruth’s Reminiscences: Part 3. The Great War – “I remember how my parents had aged.”

lIIustration: The time has come: The start of World War 1 drew on the unique and the ugly of the great war. The Christmas truce: Soldiers, allied and enemy, shake hands, sing songs and play games together.
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VALE: CRIME HISTORIAN WAS ALSO AN EXPERT ON JACK THE RIPPER MURDERS

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

Richard Whittington-Egan, a journalist, biographer, literary critic, historian of British crime and a towering authority on Jack the Ripper, has died aged 91. His work was as remarkable for its singularly convoluted style as it was for his probing, almost obsessive, research.

Whittington-Egan was born on October 22, 1924, in Liverpool, UK, into a fine family of Irish judges, pathologists and musicians.

Whittington-Egan was a shrewd analyst of the criminal mind. He developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Jack the Ripper killings in the East End of London in the autumn of 1888.

Crucial details

He was a dissenting voice when, in 1965, the US author Tom Cullen identified the Ripper as an obscure barrister, Montague John Druitt. “It won’t do,” complained Whittington-Egan, ”it simply won’t do.”

Whittington-Egan represented the non-theory of Ripperology. His insistence on scholarly accuracy led to his 1975 study, A Casebook on Jack the Ripper, the first significant correction of decades of accumulating error.

It dealt with every major theory as to the Ripper’s identity, including not only Druitt but the Duke of Clarence and J.K. Stephen, bringing an acutely critical mind to bear on the crucial details. A Casebook on Jack the Ripper is regarded as a classic.

<< From Timelines in The Sydney Morning Herald; originally published in the Telegraph, London.

lIIustration: 1888 find: Police examine one of the Ripper’s victims.
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GEARS UP: GOSFORD, ON THE CENTRAL COAST IN NSW, NOW SPORTS A CLASSIC MOTOR MUSEUM WHICH IS THE “BIGGEST” IN THE WORLD.

CARS OF THE CENTURY: BIGGEST CLASSIC CAR MUSEUM IN THE WORLD

FRANK MORRIS

Gosford, NSW, has billed its classic car museum as one of the largest in the world. It houses a collection of cars, over 400 of the rarest, most highly sought-after and unusual vehicles ever built worth nearly $70 million.

The museum has something for all. The latest issue of Restored Cars Australia said, “With a range of Holdens spanning 30 years, including the most expensive Australian car ever produced, the Holden VE W427, along with Jaguars, four generations of Lamborghinis and cars from Aero to Zastava.”

Just to name a few models: Chevrolet, Hudson, Chrysler Town and Country convertible, Invicta Black Prince, Porsche, Rambler, Skoda, Toyota, Toyota and VWs. Plus, there are classic motorbikes from around the world.

Lifelong dream

Tony Denny, the man who grew up in Sydney dealing in used cars, is the person behind the Gosford Car Museum. Such a place has been a lifelong dream. After moving to Europe to pursue his profession, he came back to Australia in 2014.

After which he sold his $340 million share in a European used car network. Many of the cars in the collection were bought in Australia, apart from those purchased from former Communist bloc countries.

There a diner style café, a fulltime car detailer and over 25 people are employed. Opening hours and for “appointment only” ring or consult www.gosfordclassicmuseum.com.au

Stockyard Place, West Gosford, NSW. 02 4320 0000.

<< Frank Morris used Restored Cars Australia information for this article.

lIIustration: Rarest cars: The are among the 400 cars on display and some of rarest in the world. Pictured is a Hudson Great 8.
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DATE 1994: IT’S OFFICIAL! MOTOR WORLD, THE FIRST MOTORING THEME PARK, BRINGS THE WORLD TO THE GOLD COAST.

DATE 1994: GOLD COAST THEME PARK (OF CARS) IS A “WORLD FIRST”

This could have been the first in the world, but it wasn’t to be. This is what I wrote in 1994.

FRANK MORRIS

It’s official! Motor World, the world’s first motoring theme park, will open at the Gold Coast in March 1995.

The $120 million development will supplant the existing Sundale Shopping Centre, which is regarded as one of the Gold Coast’s “most strategic” locations. Apart from being a focal point for the motoring industry, Motor World will provide a showcase for a unique collection of vintage and veteran cars and motorbikes.

Australia is reported to have some of the rarest cars in the world “under wraps” in backyard garages.
(A typical find in recent months has been the Southern Cross, a car “sponsored” by the history-making aviator Charles Kingsford Smith, and named after the airman’s famous Fokker monoplane.)

One million visitors

Based on recent projections, Motor World is capable of handling more than one million visitors a year through the turnstiles.

Motor World is the brainchild of Darcy Sutton, who has been described as “a frenetic car enthusiast and moderately successful racing driver.”

“Motor World is not a copy of any attraction in the world,” said Sutton. “It will be a world activity headquarters for everything to do with motoring. This is not just a collection of displays, but a serious attempt to provide interactive elements with the real world.”

(Darcy Sutton passed away only a few weeks after this story was published.)

<< Motor World gears up for ’95 opening; AIRLINES, March-April 1994.

lIIustration: Memorable moment: Charles Kingsford-Smith’s Southern Cross, in front of a crowd of people -- and Smithy own Southern Cross aeroplane -- has featured wooden framework in its sleek lines and a flat-four engine, Sadly Smithy, pictured in front, was not aware of the massive cost.
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ROUND-UP: FAIRFAX LOVED THE AUSTRALIAN BUSH, THE RIVER AND THE SONG OF BIRDS.

HISTORY AS IT WAS REPORTED: FINAL! THE FORGOTTEN FAIRFAX TRAGICALLY TOOK HIS OWN LIFE

John Fairfax has a passionate interest for Australian rivers and wayside places.

FRANK MORRIS

Fairfax operated in this region from 1943 to 1944. Gardner, who contracted malaria, was replaced by Guy Harriott. Harriott was to become editor (1970-79) of the Herald in what was one of the most tumultuous and divisive periods of Australian history.

(Writing in the Herald's 150th Anniversary Supplement in 1981, Geraldine Brooks said Harriott, a conservative, “struggled to keep the Herald's editorial voice consistent through the souring of the Vietnam War, the Liberal leadership struggles, the rise of Whitlam and the Kerr crisis.”

She said the voice of the Herald under Harriott “was often controversial but it was always clear and never erratic. Harriott died in 1981.)

In 1946, the final issue of The Sydney Morning Herald's war service magazine, Boomerang, reported that Fairfax, who was appointed a director of the company in 1941, had taken over his father's duties when Dr Wilfred Fairfax retired in 1944.

A few years later, Fairfax was persuaded to resign as a director and to sell all his ordinary shares. This he was told, would “strengthen” cousin Warwick's shareholding position.

Writes Souter: “The Fairfax board consisted only of his cousins War (Sir) Vincent and John … (who) was popular but erratic, and therefore more vulnerable in the boardroom than the intellectual Warwick and practical Vincent.

HE SHOT HIMSELF

Fairfax was married for the second time in 1948. He had a lot to occupy his time. Apart from his property and a country newspaper (the Bega District News), owned by his wife's brother, which he bought into, he was an adventurous canoeist and had a passionate interest in “Australian rivers and wayside towns and places”.

As an author and journalist his style was enlivened with humour and wit; that was his preference. But his serious writing was “on a high plane and always graceful”.

His impressive book on the founder John Fairfax, published in 1941 to commemorate the Fairfax ownership of The Sydney Morning Herald, was regarded as “a fine piece of work”.

His cousin, Warwick, contributed the foreword, on the Fairfax family.

But the vicissitudes of Fairfax's last years were governed by “moods that became more unstable”, and for which “for a time he underwent psychiatric treatment”.

In a brief news item reporting his death in 1951, the Herald made no mention of the fact that Fairfax had shot himself.

Fairfax was not a ‘public' figure in the true sense of the word, he was a private person “who was devoid of cynicism, worldliness or malice”.

He was a person of great charm who, according to his friend's touching tribute, “valued the simple things in nature and people”.

Next December: Electors! Electors! Vote for Buller’s donkey! In a book by John Fairfax.

lIIustration: What type of bird is this? Fairfax was a self-confessed expert on anything to do with bird life. Out in the open: Henry Summers, Herald war correspondent, quickly types a leading dispatch in the south Pacific islands in 1944. Summers and Fairfax knew each other quite well.
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STREETWIZE COMICS! THE PAY BACK! PART 5. (CONTINUED) …

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 23 September 16

Education: Archivist Evangeline Galettis – joys and challenges

WHAT DO ARCHIVISTS DO?: “OFTEN SCHOOL EXECUTIVES HAVE LITTLE IDEA OF THE VOLUME OF MATERIAL ARCHIVISTS WORK WITH,” SAID EVANGELINE GALETTIS. “IT’S EXTRAORDINARY THAT THERE’S NO AGREED CLASSIFICATION UNDER WHICH SCHOOLS EMPLOY ARCHIVISTS AND NO SALARY SCALE.”

Archivist Galettis was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to community, particularly educational institutions. She worked at St Catherine‘s School, Waverley, NSW for 21 years. She has been an IEU member since 1988. This is an edited version.

BRONWYN RIDGWAY   Adapted by Frank Morris

Teacher, archivist, historian, author and community volunteer, Evangeline is passionate and focused. She has taught in many Sydney schools, -- including Claremont College, The International Grammar School, The Scots College, Ascham, MLC Burwood and St Catherine’s – but has been doing archival work now for many years.

“Some of the joys of being an archivist are creating significant and celebrated places for collections, or simply sifting through stories and researching a particular person. Although that person may have been dead for 50 years, you can get to know him or her from a sociological perspective.

“It’s like working on very big jigsaw puzzle. Information might come through a phone call or a letter, or discovery of an item that’s been tucked away for decades; they’re significant pieces of that wonderful puzzle.

“School archivists create a sense of community wherever they work and we have the opportunity of enhancing collections over time.

Evangeline to help others

“We educate and publish and give value and place for what is the history of education here in Australia. I use all my experience and qualifications in the process, but there are many courses we need to do to keep up with things; and we help each other with our projects.

“I’ve met some extraordinary archivists in Catholic schools, independent schools, and, of course, colleges and universities.”

Evangeline has a Master of Education, a Bachelor of Education as well as a Diploma in Teaching, and she firmly believes archivists need to be part of a strong and supportive network. In conjunction with her union membership she is a professional member of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA), a member of Museums Australia and the History Council of Australia.

Membership of all these groups is not inexpensive, but as Evangeline said, the information you can share with other colleagues is invaluable.

Conferences of the ASA are always interesting, Evangeline said, with some 300 to 400 members gathering annually.

“While the ASA Schools Special Interest Group, with its membership of over 135 archivists from schools throughout NSW and ACT, meets regularly throughout the year.

“Over time, I’ve helped people in other schools who haven’t had specific training but have been asked to work on a project around a centenary or significant event. Some archivists have been teachers, teacher librarians or administrative staff.

Understanding what archivist do

Professional development is the key to keeping abreast of important issues and developments.

They need to be knowledgeable about ICT programs, copyright law, oral history, preservation of textiles and documents, digital archiving, disaster archive management, administration and policy development, project management and sundry curatorial methods.

Archivists need good communication skills to be able to advocate on behalf of their treasure, not just for the present but the future as well.

“There are a number of challenges that face archivists in schools,” Evangeline said. “Sadly, not many employers or school staff know or understand what archivists do; nor do they appreciate that archived materials need to be preserved for decades to come.

Historical goods

“By sharing a school’s history, archivists have the ability to help school leaders work and plan for the future. Our job is about advocacy and it would be advantageous if archivists could be part of leadership discussions, strategic planning and decision making.

“The material we produce for consideration and examination must be accurate and authentic; not many know that we all work to the Archivists Code of Ethics.

“In addition, archivists need more space, resources and budgets. There needs to be careful consideration and planning for housing large quantities of historical goods. I’m very fortunate that I have compactus units with vast storage capacity, as well as a museum that takes pride of place in the school grounds.

Evangeline continues: “Students and members of the community can drop in and view our collections, it help them engage with the history and culture of the school. Often school executives have little idea of the volume of material archivists work with.

“Nor are they aware of the issues of governance or the value of what is being held in storage or on display. We are entrusted to identify, preserve and conserve. Many teach students about the history of their school and archival processes. We also write extensively for school and education publications.

“It’s extraordinary that there is no agreed classification under which schools employ archivists and no salary scale. We can paid at any level – from teacher librarian to clerical assistant. This needs to change. Our work is important and we should be paid at an appropriate level.

“How will schools attract qualified and skilled young people to the position of school archivist in the future?”

<< Joys and challenges for an archivist, can be read in Independent Education Magazine, issue 2, 2016.

lIIustration: Not many people appreciate that archived materials need to be preserved for decades to come.


WOW! WHAT A CAR!: THIS IS THE 1935 PACKARD SUPER EIGHT COUPE WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY GIVEN TO AVIATOR AMELIA EARHART. IT WAS IN A BEDRAGELLED CONDITION WHEN AUSSIES ROSS AND ROBYN MARSHALL BOUGHT AND RESTORED THE CAR IN USA AND AUSTRALIA. IN 1935, THE CAR WAS PRICED AT $2,880. TODAY IT IS PRICELESS!

FLASHBACK: AVIATOR AMELIA EARHART’S 1935 PACKARD SUPER EIGHT COUPE AS GIFT

Kings, presidents, bankers, industrialists, movie stars and people of wealth and importance stood at the top of the pole.                                                                                   

WRITTEN AND ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

A 1935 Packard Super eight coupe, owned and restored on two continents by Ross and Robyn Marshall, has an interesting and intriguing history. It was first given as a gift to American aviator Amelia Earhart and later owned by a well-known Texas gangster. The Marshall’s were the vehicle’s fourth owner.

The Packard, given as a gift from the President of the Packard Motor Corporation, was a Super 8, three window coupe and is one of only four known in the world.

In 1937, when Earhart reported, “We are running north and south”, as her “final” message, nothing further was heard from her aircraft, the Lockheed Electra, again. She never returned home to enjoy the lovely Packard super eight coupe.

Many years later, the Packard was acquired as a restoration project from the rear of a garage storage area adjacent to Love Field. Amelia spent a lot of her time in the Dallas Love Field district; it is also where Earhart’s aircraft was manufactured.

Australian Ross and Robyn Marshall were the fourth owners of the Packard. It was known as Amelia. This 1935 Packard was their pride and joy.

Ross’s interest in cars comes from the family-owned Marshall’s Motors of Parramatta, NSW, established in 1935. Ross had completed a mechanical engineering course at the Standard Triumph factory in the UK in 1956. At that time, he went to Marshall’s.

Classic car, enthusiasts dream    

In 1986, he developed the TD 2000 which happened to be a replica of an MG, and started production in Victoria.

He interest in MGs’ started when he completed an MG/TC restoration in 1957. Having such a background in the car industry it was a natural direction to take to restore such a treasure as the Amelia Earhart Packard.

Back in 2007, Ross said, while leaning of the bonnet of an old car in Knoxville, Tennessee, I was told about a gentleman in Dallas, Texas, with a number of vintage cars – including a Packard! “I was holding in my inventory a lovely 1933 Buick coupe,” said Ross.

Ross thought that if the Packard came up to scratch “it might be a nice exchange for my Buick.”  So, he said, he decided to call the man in Dallas, a retired High Court Judge, where he had a “lengthy conversation.”

After hearing about my Buick, I asked the gentleman about his Packard only to learn it was “a rare 1935 Super 8 three window coupe” and dismantled into a million pieces. Ross said “it had been under restoration for nearly 50 years or more and was far from completion.”

Said Ross: “After a significantly lengthy conversation both parties agreed the best thing for his Packard and my Buick was to exchange ownership respectively.”

The Judge said it was not until after he had “acquired” the Packard from the garage area adjacent to Love Airfield, which the “documents and pictures” confirmed it had been built for aviator Amelia Earhart “as a gift from the President of Packard Motor Corporation.”

Said Ross: “The car still bears her initials.” The rest is history!

<< Adapted from the work of Trevor Poulsen …  1935 Packard Twelfth Series Super Eight and Amelia Earhart’s Packard; and Ross Marshall’s A Classic, Enthusiasts Dream, in Restored Car in Australia, July-Aug 2016.

lIIustation: In a heap: The Packard was found in Texas, USA, and not exactly in showroom condition. Like clockwork: The gauge panel is set centrally with a 120mph speedo and twin gloveboxes; a radio is mounted in the middle.


CARTOON MAGIC: HERE IS ONE OF COLLETTE'S HUMEROUS CARTOON ON THE CONSENUS.

CARTOONIST: AUBREY COLLETTE IN 1965 WAS EARNING WIDESPREAD PRAISE

In an abstract way, the majority of Australians are solidly against any form of Press censorship. But, with comparatively rare exceptions, the reality of censorship of daily newspapers never touches them.

Not, so, however, for Aubrey Collette, staff cartoonist of The Australian. Government censorship forced him to resign his job, leave his home, and eventually his country.

Ceylon-born of Dutch descent, Collette was working on the Times of Ceylon and Ceylon Observer when bitter political upheavals led to the introduction of Press censorship by the government.

“The life of a newspaper cartoonist under censorship has more than its share of difficulties,” Collette said of this period, “so I decided to leave.” He had already spent six months in the US where his cartoons, published in newspapers such as the New York Times and the Saturday Evening Post, attracted notice.

So it was with some confidence that he left Ceylon for England.

A rare honour

But breaking into the established British cartooning field proved difficult, so Collette worked as a freelance in the cartoon and illustration scene.

After eight months -- “I was caught in the worst winter in living memory” – he decided to come to Australia, and found employment as an illustrator with the NSW Department of Education.

Then, in June 1965, he joined the staff of The Australian in Canberra, replacing Bruce Petty, now overseas. Within a few months, Collette’s cartoons were earning widespread praise. Dozens of prominent political and government figures have asked for his originals.

He has also been elected an honorary member of the Cartoonists’ Society of America – a rare honour.

The wheel has now turned full circle for Collette. From being censored he is now fighting censorship with a newspaper noted for its vigorous stand on the issue.

”There couldn’t be a better paper to work for,” he says. “The Australian’s viewpoint is impartial, and I’m quite free to say what I want. And it’s only under these conditions that a cartoonist can do his best work.”

<< inFOCUS, 1965, a newsletter produced by The Australian.

lIIustation: Cartoon creation: Aubrey Collette at work.


STREETWIZE COMICS – THE PAY BACK! 4 (CONTINUED) …

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 16 September 16

Flynn of the Inland: The Flying Doctor Service – Rev John Flynn was the main driver

THE PLANE WITH A MISSION: THE FIRST PLANE CONTRACTED TO DO THE WORK OF THE AUSTRALIAN AERIAL MEDICAL SERVICE FORMED ON MARCH 27, 1928. ITS FIRST BASE WAS AT CLONCURRY, QUEENSLAND AND QANTAS WAS SIGNED TO OPERATE THE CONTRACT.

“The most eloquent cry for the Flying Doctor is a silent one; the station graveyards and the little graves. The whole of the outback is a pageant of graves and their stories of men, women and children who departed this life without the hope of loving kindness in medical care. Too often mother and baby lie together. – Australian writer, Ernestine Hill.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

“As they took off, the pilot, with the doctor and the patient, they flew over where we were standing, and there were two old bushmen with me,” said Rev Fred McKay.

“One was a toothless fellow with only one eye and he was smoking a stub of a clay pipe – a real out-backer. The shadow of the plane, just after midday, almost outlined a shadow of a cross at our feet as it flew away.

“This old bushman took out of his mouth this stub of a pipe, and he pointed it up and said, ‘That bloke’s the flying Christ!’”

Let’s go back to the middle of the First World War …

War, like some cloud that somehow still manages to have a silver lining, it was the war again that was part of the back-story of another of Australia’s great airborne traditions – The Flying Doctor Service.

“Jimmy Darcy had an accident back in 1917,” said John Lynch, of the RFDS. “He was an Aboriginal stockman who was badly injured in a fall; and he was transported by his friends to Hall Creek, probably more than a 12 to 14-hour journey.

“The only person there who had any medical qualifications was the postmaster; he had his first aid certificate. So he tried to contact doctors at both Derby and Wyndham and it was unsuccessful. He finally got in touch with a Dr Holland in Perth.

Patient had died

“Dr Holland gave the postmaster some instructions by Morse Code to carry out (the) surgery because he was badly in need of a bladder operation. He conducted them with a penknife; and, of course, Dr Holland then proceeded with the journey to get to the patient … but the patient had died.

“But he found that the operations were actually successful, and that Jimmy Darcy had died from an undiagnosed bout of malaria and an abscessed appendix,” said Lynch.

That news took the First World War off the front page of newspapers.

Said Lynch: “Then it was clear that that was too great a distance for someone to be away from medical care. The real story has inspired the beginnings of this journey, to be when founded, from 1917 to 1928.

So, this was the beginning of this John Flynn story. When did he realise that flight was the way to provide service to these people of the outback?

“A fellow called Lieutenant Clifford Peel was a Victorian medical student and he’d developed an interest in aviation, and had heard of Flynn’s ideas,” said John Lynch.

“Combining Flynn’s ideas with his own he wrote to the Rev Flynn when he was a boat on his way to France and the war. Peel’s letter was dated November 21, 1917. He hailed in that letter that aeroplanes could overcome many of the transport problems of the inland.

“So Flynn took that on board; then he actually published Peel’s ideas in the church magazine, Inlander. Unfortunately, Peel wasn’t to see us embark on this particular journey about saving people and using the aircraft. He lost his life in the war.”

There was droll in voice

Reverend John Flynn presided over Nancy Bird’s wedding to Charles Walton. In the 1930s, Rev Fred McKay began working with Flynn at the Royal Flying Doctors and stayed as part of the Service for almost 70 years.

When the report of the Australian Inland Mission came in John Flynn was “very critically” discussed.

Rev Fred McKay said: “There were people, leaders of the church who were making statements that the resources of the church were not being wisely spent on pedal radio experiments for the Flying Doctor work.

And I felt that Flynn wouldn’t able to answer these things and I was waiting for him to get up and speak. So were the others. When John Flynn got up to speak … he had a loping stride. He walked slowly to the pulpit. He wasn’t an impressive speaker, nor did he have a commanding presence.

“He went to the lectern and looked quietly around at people; he was not in a hurry. And you would swear that he hadn’t heard the criticism; he didn’t mention people. To my memory, he captured the people by saying, ‘I’d like to tell you some stories about the bush.’

“And with a positive note and a dreary sort of droll in his voice, and gazing with a smile, he told them. And, you know, they voted him his full rations, his budget and everything. And the other people – well, there nothing said about it.

“It was amazing to me as a young student.”

<< The Flying Doctor Service was abridged from Hindsight, Episode 3 – The Australian Landscape: Big Sky Stories; ABC Radio. Also Frank Morris for this article.

lIIustrations: Contact: Rev Fred McKay, in the early days of the of the flying doctor service, using a pedal radio communication devise. Man on a mission: Rev John Flynn wasn’t an impressive speaker, but he had a commanding presence.


BAD HABIT: THE RIGHT SCRATCHING POST COULD SAVE YOUR FURNITURE FROM DESTRUCTION. FOR THE BEST RESULTS CHOOSE A WOVEN MATERIAL.

COMING SOON … LORD BEAVERBROOK ONCE SAID: “SO EASY TO LOVE, EASY TO CURSE”

Whenever Lord Beaverbrook was reported ill, Lord Stanley Baldwin always thought he heard the flames of hell roaring for him and I suspect that the former prime minister rejoiced at the sound, wrote the Rev. Dr. C. Irving Benson … The cat’s bad habit. Scratching post will nip it in the bud. It doesn’t matter what colour it is as long as its woven … The Maori Hey Boy! is back. Maoris in New Zealand don’t usually all live together … Computer Milestones. Our timeline goes back to 1801 and the French Jacquard loom which may have been the first programmable device … Queenstown: high up, down under. Built along the shore of the bottomless Lake Wahatipu and mile-high cliffs. It’s 1966 – and I was there … Rosemary Stanton, the food extraordinaire. Nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM PhD, has been advising on what Australians should be eating for 50 years … Famous visitor: Aviator Charles Kingsford Smith made an impromptu landing behind a house on a paddock … Gateway to the West, Missouri, USA. The Gateway, the largest in the world, rises to a height of 192m, could only be built with stainless steel. Stainless steel was discovered by accident in 1913. – FM.


YELLOW ROOM: MARGARET OLLEY’S FINAL PAINTING WAS DONE IN 2011, COMPLETED THE DAY BEFORE SHE PASSED AWAY. THE YELLOW ROOM – A SMALL, UNASSUMING ROOM DONE IN PALE YELLOW – IS AT THE REAR OF THE VICTORIAN TERRACE HOME IN PADDINGTON.

MARGARET OLLEY: PART 2. “THE TWEED IS REALLY WHERE MY CHILDHOOD BEGAN”

As well as Mt Warning there is a beautiful valley that’s covered in lush sub-tropical rainforest.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

Twenty million years ago, there was a huge shield volcano stretching from Byron Bay to Nerang on the Gold Coast, and out to sea. Over time, the volcano became extinct and the lava washed away to form a fertile caldera.

After which a large volcanic plug remained, known as Wollumbin -- Mt Warning – as well as a beautiful valley and mountains covered in lush sub-tropical rainforest.

The landscape surrounding the district of Tygalgah has changed very little in the 80 years since the Olley family lived there. The Condong Mill is still in operation and the farmers still grow sugar cane in the district.

Meg Stewart, Margaret’s biographer, describes it this way: “By far the most exciting aspect of growing sugarcane and living on a cane farm for the Olley children was the burning of the cane at night.

Cottage on the river

“They’d light it after dark. Very pyro-maniacal, balls of fire lighting up the night. You’d hear it crackle and crisp with all the dry leaves burning. The smell! The whole air was filled with an acrid mixture of sugar and smoke.

“When the trash was burnt all that was left was black ash and black stalks, with maybe a few bits of green.”

The Olley house was low-lying ‘Queenslander style’ timber cottage on a riverside road. The Henderson family owned the property for nineteen years, from 1940 till 1959. John Henderson was a young boy then.

“As far as my recollection goes,” John says, “the house had four main rooms (two bedrooms in the front, lounge and kitchen at the rear) with verandahs on the southern – facing the river – eastern and northern sides.

“Half of the eastern and the northern verandahs were enclosed, the northern verandah had the bathroom on the western end, and I think the other filled in parts were sleep-outs … as far as I remember, no alterations were made to the house during our possession.

“There was a large barn behind the house with the outhouse between.”

Margaret Olley recalled: “The roof of our house was tin. I loved snuggling up in bed, hearing the rain on the tin roof overhead.”

The island was a magical place

The Olley children’s favourite haunt inside the Tygalgah house was the kitchen. They loved watching Grace cooking, especially when she was making cakes and jams, or bottling fruit from the trees. The only food items Margaret remembers being bought were flour, sugar and ice.

Having the Tweed River on their doorstep not only provided the family with an abundant supply of food, but also supplied them with a means of transport for recreation activities.

“What a place for children to grow up – living by a river!” said Margaret. “My father loved fishing … and catching mud crabs in crab pots which we could get because the river was tidal and partly salty. We were always fishing … I learnt to swim there.

“I was just thrown in the river and started dog paddling. There was a tiny island between us and Condong. To us children it was a magical place.”

To attend the primary school and Sunday school in Murwillumbah, Margaret and her siblings had to cross the river in a rowboat to meet the bus which took them into town.

Margaret’s favourite subject at school was art, yet she didn’t have any idea at this age what an artist was.

<< Margaret Olley Art Centre, Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah.

lIIustration: A view from 1930: Murwillumbah and bridge, and to Mt Warning, taken from Reservoir Hill. Just a break: Margaret in the Yellow Room at Duxford St, Paddington, NSW. The Yellow Room has been reconstructed at Tweed Regional Gallery, Murwillumbah, NSW.

VALUABLE KEEPSAKES: A FAN WITH HER TICKET TO THE BEATLES’ 1964 SHOW.

FLASHBACK: THE BEATLES ARE HERE – IOOO POLICE ON GUARD!

Frank Morris

On Thursday, June 11, 1964, it was a typical June day. It was raining all over Sydney but that didn’t stop the thousand-odd teenagers abound in hysteria and uncontrolled panic.”

Here’s how one newspaper reported this sensational happening:

The Premier, Mr Renshaw, today issued a special warning to teenagers who will welcome the Beatles to Sydney. “Crowds can be dangerous if they get out of hand and children could be seriously hurt.

”Renshaw added: “I would not like to see … the ugly scenes which nearly led to disaster in Adelaide and particularly Melbourne. Scores of youngsters could easily have been killed.

”Headmasters of many metropolitan schools today warned pupils against absenteeism to welcome the Beatles.

Nearly 1000 State and Commonwealth police and security officers have been drilled for the occasion. More than 300 police would be on duty at the airport and another 300 would be at the Sheraton Hotel in Macleay St where the Beatles will stay.

When the Beatles touched down at Adelaide’s antique airport … (and they) plunged into an uproarious, uninhibited welcome which staggered even the well prepared police.

“This is the greatest reception we have received anywhere in the world,” John Lennon of the Beatles said. He meant it.

Crowds estimated at between 125,000 and 200,000 lined the street for the six-mile drive to the city. It was better than royalty.

When they arrived at the hotel one girl created an incredible scene when she burst past police and the hotel employees to the Beatles’ upstairs suite. Sobbing hysterically she reached the staircase, screaming: “Where are you Paul, where are you?”

The Weather Bureau forecast a 50 per cent chance of fine weather for the Beatles.

<< Frank Morris and several other newspapers.

lIIustration: Scrap book: This is a memento of the Beatles visit to Australia.


STREETWIZE COMICS: THE PAY BACK! 3 (CONTINUED) …

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 09 September 16

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