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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

Ruth’s Reminiscences: Part 1. How a pursuit became humbling?

WHERE’S THE PUB: RIGHT IN THICK OF NEVILLE ST IS THE STATION HOTEL, NEWCASLE-UPON-TYNE, 1929.

I was intrigued to admit that I would want to know more about this courageous person, Ruth.

FRANK MORRIS

The day that this remarkable document arrived my initial reaction was to toss it aside. But I didn’t; I couldn’t.  Alas, to do so would have been to waive an opportunity to connect with someone who, as Southey says, “remembers the days that are no more.”

I was intrigued to admit that I would want to know more about this courageous yet seemingly unassuming person who had apparently lived every minute of her life to the hilt.

The envelope contained nine typewritten pages, the first of which was headed with “Ruth’s Reminiscences”. Instantly, I became locked into Ruth’s self-effecting reflection on her life.

I was carried by her experiences, which she had recorded only a few years before she died, and the literary maturity with which her story unfolded.

She expressed herself with passion, vigour and grace; her optimism is incandescent.

I was immediately mindful of those words and images of the depression years in Australia that were captured so poignantly in the book,

Weevils in the Flour, published a few years ago.

What I had thought was to be an utterly trivial pursuit became at once instructive and deeply humbling.

Born in the north eastern country borough of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Ruth migrated to Australia in her mid-twenties in 1929. When she arrived from England she settled in Corrimal, near Wollongong, NSW, on the south coast.

Outstanding personality

She moved to Sydney, living in the south-western suburbs for most of her life. She died in August, 1994.

This remarkable document is a moving testament to the courage of two young people, Ruth and her husband. He died in 1975.

Some of Ruth’s writing was based on letters, cards and pieces of paper authored by her husband, which are now in the possession of the National Library, Canberra.

“These papers are a tribute to this outstanding personality and his fine contribution to the working class struggle,” writes a close friend, Joyce Clarke.

Ruth writes:

Time is running out, so also is my hearing and sight. Where to begin and end? Many folk live just because they were born. I was fortunate in having parents who were interested and active in the working class movement and this gave meaning to my life.

Looking backward to the early years of this century the 1900s is not easy.

We were all offspring, born off working class parents who, fortunately, were well aware of the class division, so we were Labour party supporters. In those days to be Labour was, in the opinion of many, the same as being communist.

My mother was not a reader

My father having left school at eleven, was very much self-educated and keen to encourage us likewise.

He urged us to “think before you speak” and “think for yourself.” I have tried to follow this advice – not always successfully regarding the former. However, he was a great reader and so were we.

Fortunately, most towns had Carnegie Libraries. In the early years of the 19th century it was a great advantage for working people and families have free access to books -- fiction and non-fiction.

Ruth was indeed fortunate to have access to the Carnegie Libraries, which stocked all or most of the leading authors of the time: Verne, Bennett, Hardy, Trollope, Poe, the Bronte sisters, Wilde, Shaw and so on.

In fact a number of them were known to offer books that were “no better than instruments of debauchery.” In a late 18th century play, Polly Honeycombed, the heroine’s father cries out, “A man might and well turn his daughter loose in Convent Garden as trust the cultivation of her mind to a circulation library.”
Well into the 20th century, this sentiment still prevailed.

My mother was not a reader of books. I guess with five children there was not much time. She was a very practical woman. And though my dad’s wage was not large, we were always plainly but suitably dressed and well fed.

<< Ruth’s Reminiscences was written for the Australian Book Collector, October 2000.

Next: The First World War: Two nations wanted to destroy Euroropen life as it was.

lIIustration: Show of shows: 1929 -- There’s something for everyone. Hop, step, jump: Newcastle from Rabbit Run.


REMEMBER THIS: IN THE NOT TOO DISTRANT FUTURE, MANY DEPARTMENTS IN AUSTRALIA WILL BE RUN BY MULTINATIONAL CONGLOMERATES OF ROBOTICS-MADE, IN THIS CASE, ROBOCOPS. THERE’RE COMING …

FILM GREAT: COP THIS! CYBORG STAR IS NUMBER ONE COP IN THE CITY!

“MRS MOVIE”

Robocop, the cyborg star of the video scene, was in the winner’s circle at the sixtieth Academy Awards in 1988.

The movie, which has been the number one in America, collected an Oscar for its incredible special effects. Robocop is described as the “toughest, grittiest action flick” to hit the screens in recent years.

The R-rated version, and NOT the theatrical M version, was released Australia.

Dark humour

A modern day version of the knight in shining armour, Robocop is programed to “uphold the law, protect the innocent and serve the public trust.”

“Robocop has plenty of action, some slices of dark humour and deep emotions beneath its stylised surface,” says the director who put this part man, part machine through his paces, Paul Verhoeven. – Frank Morris.

<< The full series of Robocop films are available on video.

lIIustration: Robocop, the present day knight in shining armour, who made his re-appearance in 2014, is the cyborg of the future.


A MESSENGE FROM DALLY: “I’VE GOT TO KICK THIS BALL RIGHT OUT OF THE STADIUM. THAT’S WHAT THEY EXPECT DALLY MESSENGER TO DO!”

SPECIAL! DALLY MESSENGER WAS A “BORN FOOTBALLER” WHO MADE A DEEP IMPRESSION

The man credited as being the father of rugby league in Australia, Dally Messenger, is now a bronze life-statue unveiled outside the Sydney Football Stadium. A newspaper once describes it as a fitting tribute to the “first and greatest hero” of the game. – FM.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

The photo hanging in the NSW Rugby League offices of Messenger with simply has the caption ... The Master.  No-one has to ask who the stocky player is, for no other player in the history of the code has ever earned that title.

Clive Churchill, the brilliant South Sydney and Australian fullback came the closest when he was nicknamed The Little Master.

But the title of The Master belongs to one man, the incomparable Dally Messenger.

Messenger was a freak footballer, a centre of unrivalled ingenuity capable of producing the unexpected and unorthodox.

League historians have often pondered whether Rugby League would have taken its grip in NSW and Queensland if Dally Messenger had not agreed to join the breakaway movement in 1907 and play the new code.

At that time Messenger was well established as a superb Rugby Union player, and when he switched to Rugby league the crowds followed him.

Messenger played in the first League matches against A.H. Baskerville’s New Zealand All Golds who were en route to England to play there.

Messenger made such a deep impression on the New Zealand tour leaders that they asked him to join their party.

Baskerville realised that a player of Messenger’s wonderful ability would almost certainly ensure the success of the tour.

And Baskerville proved to be 100 per cent right. Messenger was a sensation on the tour and scored 146 points which was more than 100 points than any other member of the team.

It was Messenger’s remarkable play and his uncanny goal kicking that played a major part in the success of that tour.

Messenger was back in England the following year with the Australian touring team, and again he was a sensation. He slashed the opposition defence with his runs, producing the unexpected and kicking some amazing goals.

Sleight of hand

He scored 155 points on that tour and this stood as a record until Dave Brown eclipsed the total on the 1933 tour by the Kangaroos.

As a player with Eastern Suburbs, Messenger was a legend.

Stories about his sleight of hand with the football – when he bamboozled the opposition, his own team mates and the referee – are liberally sprinkled through the old newspaper cuttings about his play.

There was the time when Easts were playing South Sydney and Messenger made a break down the middle of the field with his team made Dinny Campbell backing him up.

When Messenger came to Souths fullback he gave a perfect dummy and Campbell admitted later he thought he had the ball.

And so, too, did the referee who ordered a scrum although Messenger had put the ball down between the posts.

Even the referee thought Campbell had the ball, and had dropped it. Then there was the time he was tackled around one leg and calmly drop kicked the ball over the posts from about 35 metres out with his free leg.

A memorable time

Twice in different matches Messenger “conned” the opposition that he intended to take a kick at goal but instead kicked the ball a short distance forward, gathered and planted it over the line before anyone knew what was going on.

Some of Messenger’s tries were masterpieces of speed, footwork and cleverness.

Like the time against Wests, when Messenger charged towards the fullback with the ball tucked under his left arm, the fullback moved in to tackle him but suddenly the ball was gone.

On the first Australian tour of England, Messenger, in the game against Hull, and with the aid of a strong wind, kicked a goal from about 70 metres out.

In an exhibition at Headingly, Messenger, in near gale force winds took the ball a yard out from the try line and close to the corner and kicked 11 goals from 12 attempts.

And there was another memorable time, in a match against South Sydney when he kicked a goal from half way and on the touch line to give his Eastern Suburbs team a win.

During his career Messenger performed man spectacular feats, sometimes beating a whole team in a length of the field run.

How he did it, he could never explain. The Master was a born footballer.

<< From the book Golden Player from Rugby League’s Golden Years, 1970. Frank Morris was Editorial Manager.

lIIustration: The Messenger and ‘JJ’: Dally shakes hands with James (JJ) Giltinan. The hole deep enough: Dally Messenger prepared to kick off for the match.                


COMING: GOLDEN PLAYER FROM THE BIGGEST GAMES IN THE WORLD – RUGBY LEAGUE AND VFL

“The stars come and go like the roar of a crowd. But the golden names live on forever.” These are the opening words, from the Golden Player’s introduction, I wrote in 1970. Any “golden player” from whatever sport he and she plays, you could write those word for. Next year, In the Club, there will be a mixture of personalities from the olden days of Rugby League and VFL to “excite, dazzle and excite” the readers’.  FM.


WEDDING DAY: NOVEMBER 20, 1947 WAS THE GRANDEST DAY IN THE QUEEN’S 90 GLORIOUS YEARS WHEN SHE WAS TO MARRY PHILIP, THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH. ON THE MORNING OF HER WEDDING DAY, SHE TOLD CRAWFIE HER GOVENESS. “I CAN’T REALLY BELIEVE IT IS HAPPENING.”

 90 GLORIOUS YEARS: THE QUEEN’S LIFE DECADE BY DECADE

A fairy-tale wedding. On July 9, 1947, three months after Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday, the world learned her very thrilling secret: she was officially engaged to dashing Philip Mountbatten who was the love of her life.

In accordance with royal protocol, he was created His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh shortly before the wedding.

The wedding reception was at Buckingham Palace and in honour of the happy couple the dinner included Fillets de Sole Mountbatten to start and Bombe Glace Princess Elizabeth as dessert. They honeymooned in the UK at Broadlands, the home of Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the bride close to take her favourite corgi Susan with them.

End of a life

The young naval couple lived first at Windlesham Moor near Windsor Castle and then in Clarence House in London. But Philip was still a serving naval officer, the second in command of the destroyer HMS Chequers, which was based at Malta.

She spent her stays there at Villa Guardamangia, another home owned by Lord Mountbatten.

Almost a year to the day after her wedding, the Queen gave birth to Charles on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace. Princess Anne was born on August 15, 1950, at Clarence House.

Life was cut short for George VI. He was becoming frailer so Elizabeth was increasingly involved as a stand-in at royal events. In 1952, she and Prince Philip were on their way to Australia and New Zealand … when news was received on February 6 that lung cancer had ended the King’s life.

His health undoubtedly suffering from the strain of being a dutiful king through the difficult war years.

<< 90 Glorious years, a YOURS Souvenir Edition; Bauer Media Pty Limited, Sydney.

lIIustration: The King and I: George VI and Princess Elizabeth share a few words.


SURROUNDED BY FLOWERS: THIRTY MINUTES DRIVE FROM PARIS THERE IS AN ANCIENT MILL THAT THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OWN. “THIS IS WHERE THE DUCHESS AND I SPEND WEEKENDS AND THE SUMMER,” SAID THE DUKE.

AN EX-KING’S LIFE IN EXILE … PART OF THE QUEEN’S 90 GLOROURS YEARS

The ex-King Edward, whose dramatic broadcast in 1936 as would lead to troubled times, as the UK reeled as his official abdication was announced. Twenty years later: the Duke of Windsor speaks on recreating an English country garden in France.

A garden is a mood, as Rousseau said, and my mood is one of intimacy, not splendour. It is a very tranquil place, where one can garden as one should, in old clothes, with one’s hands among familiar plants.

For me, it is a fascinating place where I can immerse myself in day-to-day detail. For the Duchess, it is a source of supply for the vases which dot every room in the mill. For our pug dogs, it is a private playground.

I loved the place

Our first real home, says the Duchess, was the little mill. I saw the mill in 1952. I loved the place immediately. This is the first (and only) home the Duke and I have owned since we were married; even our house in Paris in leased. She said:

It is so different from any house we have lived in before, because it is small and intimate and informal.

We’re used a great deal of furniture from Fort Belvedere, the Duke’s home when he was Prince of Wales and King.

<< Women’s Weekly Treasures; The voice of women since 1933; Bauer Media Pty Limited, Sydney.

lIIustration: “We love our furniture, big or small,” says the Duchess.


THE GREAT ESCAPE … TO NOWHERE: McQUEEN’S PREPARED FOR HIS DEATH-RIDE ADVENTURE.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: THERE’S NO ESCAPE FOR STEVE McQUEEN ON 1940’S TRIUMP T6

FRANK MORRIS

What inspired this interest in the movie, The Great Escape, was a letter to a columnist in a weekend travel magazine. It said: “My father was interned during the last war in Stalag Luft III in Zagan, Poland.

“He was the inspiration for the film, The Great Escape. I know nothing is left of the camp but I believe there is a museum. I am planning to visit Zagan soon.”

The columnist replied: “There certainly is a museum there. It is at Zagan. It tells the story of the German POW camp at Stalag Luft. The museum has done a fine job of recreating the watch towers and barracks that once stood on the site … for the Allied airmen imprisoned there.

McQueen doomed                                                                                         

“Harry” Tunnel, the one depicted in the movie, was a true highlight. Possibly, one of key scenes in the film was actor Steve McQueen’s death-ride on the motorcycle. Here’s the blow-out of what the reviewer wrote:

“The film’s most totemic scene and the biggest diversion from the real-life escape was McQueen’s doomed motorcycle leap over the Swiss border fences. The exercise was carried out by the stunt man, Bud Ekins. Which is not say that McQueen couldn’t have pulled it off.

“Ekins was an accomplished biker. But the film insurers, however, refused to allow McQueen take the final leap.”

lIIustration: The Great escape: McQueen does a last look around.

STREETWIZE COMICS: THE PAY BACK!  2. (CONTINUED) …

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 02 September 16

History As It Was Reported: The Forgotten Fairfax tragically took his own life

STREET BUNGLE: IN 1929, ON THE CORNER OF O’CONNELL AND HUNTER STS, NEWSPAPER TRUCKS CAUSING THE USUAL HAVOC OF MAKING A BUSY CITY STREET UNPASSABLE TO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC AT PUBLISHING TIME. JOHN F. FAIRFAX, THE NEW RECRUIT, KNEW THIS SCENE WELL.

He had matinee idol looks, thick-set body and a slicked down hairstyle.

FRANK MORRIS

Friendship, it is recorded, was his forte. That is to say John Fitzgerald Fairfax was at ease with any man or woman in any station of life.

“Perhaps the secret of his charm was that he valued the simple things in nature and people,” wrote a friend in a newspaper tribute shortly after his death.

Fairfax loved the Australian bush and its wildlife, the rivers and “the song of birds”, all of which he made the subject of most of his writings.

For him, the lyricism of Lord Grey's “River, what a beautiful word river is” said it all.

Born in 1904 John F. Fairfax, the son of Dr Wilfred Fairfax and a grandson of the founder, John Fairfax, died young.

At the age of 47, on October 31, 1951, Fairfax tragically took his own life on his property near Tumut, New South Wales, which he loved, and “where he enjoyed the pleasures of country life.”

Fairfax was educated at Geelong Grammar School, and at Pembroke College, Oxford. He joined the literary staff of The Sydney Morning Herald in 1928 where he carried on “the high traditions of the family with unwavering loyalty.”

In his eulogy, Major-General the Reverend C.A. Osborne said, “(He) knew practically all the members of his staff and by his warm, personal interest enriched a working comradeship that will be remembered.”

Gavin Souter, in his history of the Fairfax organisation, Company of Heralds, writes, “Fairfax stopped a young journalist on Mrs (Connie) Robertson's social staff abruptly in the corridor one day and entreating her earnestly: “Don't ever get a Sydney Morning Herald face!”

Bloodiest Action

Fairfax had matinee idol looks, the kind, undoubtedly, that would have made any woman buckle at the knees.

His last company photograph showed the clean-cut appearance of good breeding, strong broad shoulders and thick-set body, slicked down hair-style of the period and an impeccable moustache.

He served in the Armoured Division of the AIF from 1941 to 1943, during which time he edited the divisional magazine, Ack Willie (later Stand Easy); he was later an accredited war correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald, an assignment he shared with a Herald colleague, E.D. Gardner, covering action in the Solomons.

The country's morale in the early 1940s was shattered by the Allied debacle in Asia, in particular by the fall of Singapore, which had been regarded by Australians as “the keystone of their security”.

By spearheading an advance from Rabaul it was Japan's object to seize the islands of Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomons, and then onwards to Port Moresby.

The Japanese at that period were poised “to gain mastery” of the Coral Sea. But the Coral Sea marked the turning point for the allied forces.

In his short story, “Song of War”, Russell Braddon writes that the Japanese had never heard “… of Australia or New Guinea or the Solomons …Many of the Japanese soldiers in New Guinea, for example, were told by their officers that actually they were in Australia and they believed it”.

The Pacific correspondents were part of some of the bloodiest action of the war. They covered the fighting in the swamps and jungles for long and unbroken periods. Many of them contracted malaria and other debilitating diseases.

Out of this fray, however, came many of the war classics, like Osmar White's best seller, Green Armour.

<< Next: The Forgotten Fairfax – “He was a person who valued the simple things in nature and people,” said a close colleague.

lIIustration: Famous move: Herald opened its new building in 1856. Famous Fairfax: John Fairfax – he was fully conscious of his responsibilities; and he was John F. Fairfax’s ancestor.


FRIED CHICKEN: WHO HAS COLONEL SANDERS’ WORLD BEATING CHICKEN RECIPE?

GREAT SCOTT! COLONEL’S SECRET RECIPE FOUND IN BOOK!

Who has the Colonel’s famous 11 herbs and spices? They were handwritten on paper.

The word is: Colonel Sanders’ “secret recipe” has come to light!, revealed the Chicago Tribune. The 11 herbs and spices are part of the Kentucky fried chicken “world beater” recipe.

Colonel Harnland Sanders’ nephew, reported the Tribune, found it in a scrapbook “belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife.” The nephew says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous fried chicken and the recipe is genuine.

Reported the paper: “The 11 ingredients were handwritten on paper and could be the secret blend. But does the recipe match the real thing?” The paper put it to the test. 

Overpowered the taste

“Several batches of chicken were prepared. Staff tasted each batch, comparing it with a bucket of KFC Original Recipe. But the team found the taste wasn’t quite right. It turned out the frying oil was too hot, causing the breading to brown too much, which overpowered the taste.

“With the oil temperature just right at 350 degrees, the chicken soaked in buttermilk and coated just once in the mixture, tasters agreed the fried chicken was even better than the Colonel’s. But more importantly, did it taste like the Colonel’s secret blends of herbs and spices?

“It came very close, yet something was still missing.

“That’s when a reporter grabbed a small container of the MSG flavour-enhancer Accent (how did that get in the test kitchen?) and sprinkled it on a piece of the fried chicken. That did the trick.”

<< Chicago Tribune, August, 2016; Frank Morris.

Illustration: The taste of the chicken was compared to a KFC Bucket of Original Recipe.


PAINTER’S PROLOGUE: TO EVOKE SOMETHING OF A SPIRITUAL BACKGROUND RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN, THE CREATORS OF THE MUSICAL FLOWER DRUM SONG, ASKS CHINESE-AMERICAN ARTIST DONG KINGMAN TO PAINT A WATER-COLOUR OF THE PROLOGUE OF HONG KONG. THE ARTIST IS DONG KINGMAN JR’s FATHER.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: IT’S 1966, AND DONG KINGMAN JR SPEAKS OUT

In 1966, Dong wrote a column for the Hong Kong Standard called Follow Me Around in which he covered a variety of topics. He is the son of Dong Kingman, a highly talented Chinese-American artist. I have come to admire Kingman over the years, even since he painted the Time cover on Hong Kong in 1960. Here’s Kingman Jr on one of his items from the column. His cat, Cecil, is getting married. – FM.

DONG KINGMAN JR

To be or not to be …

My cat Cecil wrote from London saying he was working with a very staid Siamese firm which dealt in catnip and snob appeal cat-food. He’s making good money but there was one drawback with the reputable firm – he couldn’t marry any old alley cat or even a black or white one.

He wrote that the firm didn’t believe in mixed marriages. As a matter of fact, he said, they would go as far as to keep an employee’s chances of promotion down.

Cecil, who has some royal Egyptian blood in him, is in love with a girl which the firm considered beneath his station. He now has a choice of marrying the girl or advancing his career by not marrying her. He wrote:

“My firm hasn’t actually told me not to marry the girl, but one of the partners told me, friendly-like, that my chances of promotion were slim if I did.”

Black-and-white spots

“I would still get minimum increments, housing and fringe benefits, but as far as getting to the top my chances are negligible if I went on with the mixed marriage.

“She’s beautiful and has a wonderful personality, but the firm thinks there would be a conflict of values and environmental factors once the kitten love wears off.”

However, Cecil thought differently.

He said his girl has black-and-white spots and when they did have kittens his would wind up with polka dots. “They’re really afraid of an employee having polka-dotted kittens. This is considered to be very low class.”

I wrote Cecil and asked him to return to Hong Kong because these problems hardly exist here. – Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< Hong Kong Standard, Saturday, June 18, 1966.

lIIustration: How would you like a batch of black and white polka dotted kittens!


Streetwize Comics: They’re funded by the Government the purpose of which is to provide important and practical information in a stimulating and accessible format. They are designed to help young people cope with the evil that is spreading around like flu – like getting credit, gambling, smoking, the usual home and away issues, and more. The Pay Back … starts this week.


AMERICAN FLEET: THE ILLUSTATED ‘WELCOME’ BANNER TO THE GREAT WHITE FLEET AT ELIZABETH ST ENTRANCE TO FLINDERS STREET RAILWAY STATION, MELBOURNE, IN 1908.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: AS 1908 DAWNS, THE GREAT WHITE FLEET READY TO VISIT MELBOURNE

People could see the American Fleet as they sailed up Hobsons Bay to the City of Melbourne!

KATE PRINSLEY

The Victorian Railways had erected a large painted and illuminated signboard to welcome a fleet of American battleships to Melbourne. The night photograph shows the hoarding with a prominent arch and symmetrical ends with flag crests.

In the centre was an illustration of a ship sailing up the bay with bright electric globes lighting up the structure. The line of timetable clocks can be seen at the bottom left of the photograph.

Prime Minister Alfred Deakin had invited the American President, Theodore Roosevelt, to send a  fleet of battleships to Australia as part of the country’s early nationhood. This was a sign of Australia’s strong connection to America and desire for naval and military protection.

There was, therefore, a great excitement in Melbourne, on August 29, 1908, when 16 battleships glided through Port Phillip Heads and sailed into Hobsons Bay, as Port Phillip Bay was then known. The fleet became known as The Great White Fleet!

Great pageant

Led by the Kentucky and completed with the Connecticut, the ships initially entered the bay, four abreast, then went down to two abreast and finally, in a single line of 16 ships, as they arrived in Melbourne to dock.

The Age newspaper proclaimed The Great Fleet a “great pageant in the bay, 16 battleships in line, and an imposing spectacle with hundreds of thousands of spectators.” The paper reported that many pleasure steamers and other boats circled around the ship as they arrived. The bands played the Star Spangled Banner.

The City of Melbourne and the whole of Victoria embraced the visit of the ships and their 13,500 crew. There were many celebrations in the city until the fleet’s departure one week later.

Under Admiral Charles S. Sperry, the visit of the fleet to Melbourne was preceded by visits to Auckland and Sydney.

Open Monday-Friday 10am to 4pm at A’Beckett Street, is the RHSV, the historical society for the city of Melbourne.

<< Kate Prinsley is executive officer of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

lIIustration: The Great White Fleet – from Auckland and Australia. The next stop, home again.


OUTBACK PEOPLE: “CERTAINLY, SITTING ON THE BOARD OF THE RFDS AS PRESIDENT FOR MANY YEARS I WAS ABLE TO WORK CLOSELY WITH ALL THE WONDERFUL HELPERS WHO WERE DEVOTED TO THE OUTBACK PEOPLE,” SAID DESMOND.

THE FLYING PROFESSOR: FINAL! HEROES OF THE OUTBACK AND OTHER ADVENTURERS!

The author talks to an amazing 89-year-old academic and adventure writer.

JOHN McNAMEE

“As a youngster I … took special in Boys’ Own-type of adventures. It’s only recently that I thought, well I reckon I can do just as well as those authors,” Desmond O’Connor says.

I said to him, it’s a pretty difficult market, aiming a book at the mid-teens, as you don’t see too many kids these days walking around with books in their hands!

“True,” he laughs, “but I thought, well it’s maybe something they haven’t experienced before and they might just like a change from all the electronic stuff.”

Along with his academic life during which he was founding professor of environmental science at Perth’s Murdoch University, Desmond was a fully-qualified commercial pilot who spent many years flying over the Pilbara province inspecting mine sites for the large iron ore companies.

Before that he was professor of engineering and surveying at the newly established University of NSW in the 1950s. He worked there for 10 years as a consultant with the US Army’s Corps of Engineering and was then involved in such projects as the Alaskan oil pipeline and Arctic constructions.

He was born in the Picton area west of Sydney back in the 1920s. His parents settled there following World War I and is father had been was badly wounded both at Gallipoli and in France; and later, while recuperating in London, he met and married an Irish nurse.

Awe-inspiring wilderness

“They did it pretty tough, especially during the Depression; but I remember having a wonderful childhood although we didn’t have much money or any luxuries,” Desmond says.

“It was there during those early years that I developed my love of reading which has stayed with me all my life. I was a real bush boy and my first effort at writing a few years ago was an autobiography called Boys from the Bush; but it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped.

“In later years, as a long-term academic, involved in not only engineering, surveying and environmental science, I was able to combine all my love of the bush into exploring the outback, both in field teams and as a pilot.

“It’s out there in that awe-inspiring wilderness that you gain a massive respect for the country. It was part of my job to ensure that the mining companies who consulted me were able to manage the habitat issues such as dust control when they sited their iron ore operations.

“I’m pretty happy to say that in all the years I was flying over the remotest parts of this land, I never got involved in any dramatic accidents. So I was lucky,” Desmond said.

“Certainly, sitting on the board of the RFDS as president for many years was an exciting and rewarding part of my career. I was able to work closely with all the wonderful pilots, doctors and nurses who devoted their lives to helping outback people,” he said.

Desmond has a son who is a doctor and a daughter who’s a specialist nurse and six grandchildren.

Since his wife died, he’s been living in a retirement village and dreaming up more plots for his next novel.

<< The Flying Professor and the Heroes of the Outback by John McNamee; GO55s newspaper; Bondi Junction, NSW.

lIIustation: In control: Desmond O’Connor in the heyday at the business end of his aircraft. RFDS: Working with the Royal Doctor was an exciting and rewarding part of Desmond career.

NEXT: The Royal Flying Doctor – another of Austalia’s great airborne traditions.


STREETWIZE COMICS – THE PAY BACK, 1 (CONTINUED) …

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 26 August 16

THE GREAT WAR: FINAL! LETTER FROM HAROLD “POMPEY” ELLIOTT ON ‘LONE PINE’

REAR GUARD: HAROLD “POMPEY” ELLIOTT, COMMANDER OF THE 7TH AUSTRALIAN BATTALION, IS “PROTECTED” BY A GROUP OF LOCAL CUBS.

Three times I, myself, thought it was all over …

Adapted by Frank Morris

We reached the trench … it was only a very few, not more than six, who were brave enough to jump into the trenches on to the bayonets and in practically every case they were dead before their feet touched the bottom.

In one place a line of dead men with their bayonets still over the parapet held about 20 or 30 yards of trench.
In the early morning a machine gun swept that part of the line and killed every man at that spot – the trench sloped forward and as they died each man so suddenly that he simply leaned forward on the parapet.

And in many cases their hats and bayonets could be seen standing steadily behind the parapet; and curiously enough, that part of the line was avoided by the enemy.

I had supports in the rear ready to rush anyone who came in there but I did not replace the men owing to the fact that the trench was shallow and exposed to fire from the left rear of the position; while the Turks still had a position with machine guns.

These men were all shot through the back of the head; but apparently, the Turks in front of them did not know this and thought that they were dead. After a few hours sleep, we were again sent back and again lost men from bombs; but no sustained attack was again made.

Bodies bloated

But these partial attacks were sufficient to prevent us attending properly to the wounded and from removing the dead. The weather was hot and flies pestilential. When anyone speaks to you of the glory of war picture to yourself …

… narrow line of trenches … with bodies (of) boys who become mangled and torn beyond description by the bombs and bloated and blackened by decay and crawling with maggots. Live among this for days … such is glory – whatever the novelists may say.

Eventually, we buried hundreds by the simple method of digging the fire trench a few feet deeper and covering them over; but the smell still persisted. In one place we found a sort of underground cellar used by the Turks for disciplinary purposes.

Looking back now I still cannot understand how, unless, their eyes were blinded, we could have eluded their vigilance for in many places the trenches were only a few yards apart. Finally, all the Reserves and Supports went sent off at night, until they were gradually thinned out and all got away.

Your brother has just seen me. I have arranged for him to attend an NCO’s class. He will be useful as an officer later if he survives.

We have orders to move from here very shortly; our destination is secret. Don’t know if there will be any fighting, but I suspect plenty of sand and digging in.

Kindest regards to

Yours very sincerely,

Pompey

<< Behind the Lines: Revealing and uncensored letters from our war torn world, by Andrew Carroll; First published by Ebury Press, Random House, London SWIV 25A.

illustration: Home at last: Harold is joined by the wife and two daughter at the end of the war. As strong as steels: Harold “Pompey” Elliott in full uniform


NEXT: JOHN HICKLEY JR BROUGHT TO TRIAL OVER STOOTING PRESIDENT REAGAN. COMING: FEDERAL LABOR LEADER, ARTHUR CALDWELL, WAS SHOT IN THE FACE BY A WOULD-BE ASSASSIN IN 1963.


SHIP ON A MISSION: GRIM FACED AND ALERT, FRANCISCO PELSAERT, THE SHIP’S CAPTAIN, ARRIVED IN TIME AND HEARD WEIBBE HAYES’ GRUESOME ACCOUNT OF THE MURDER OF 125 PEOPLE.

SCRAPBOOK: FINAL! THE BATAVIA TRAGEDY – WHAT FOLLOWS NEXT WAS GRUSOME!

Then the killing began. First to die were the strongest.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

The survivors started to die. And perhaps much of the terror that followed would not have been, except for what appeared to be a miracle. After six days rain fell and was collected … and they fought for survival.

Food was not the real problem. There were eggs, fish a-plenty, and seals for the taking. The planned mutiny had become common knowledge to the survivors, one of the mutineers having spoken about it openly while drunk.

His reward was a knife between the ribs. But now Cornelisz felt himself committed to take over and kill all who opposed him.

It took him 20 days to establish a plan which offered some prospect of success. But his main problem was that his group amounted to about 20 men and opposed to them were 150 people, some of them disciplined soldiers and seamen.

Cornelisz was an under-merchant, and in the absence of Pelsaert and Jacobsz, was the senior survivor and, until such time as he made an overt move against the welfare of the group, was commanded by authority of the company.

Throats cut

He ordered the soldiers to search outlying islands for water and told them to leave their arms behind so that they could carry more water.

The soldiers under Weibbe Hayes, set off; and Cornelisz then split the other survivors into groups which he distributed around three islands on the pretext that the original island was overcrowded.

Then the killing began. First to die were the strongest, murdered stealthily and at night. If any questions were asked they were told that they had gone to another island. As the numbers were reduced the killing became open.

People were struck down where they were caught, and the sick had their throats cut in the hospital. Expeditions were sent to the other islands and the survivors there were hunted and slaughtered. Cornelisz had only one problem – Weibbe Hayes.

He and his men had found water and were able to survive. Remember, they had no arms yet they made pikes, clubs and spears and repelled repeated attacked by the mutineers. Hayes called his men the Verdedigers, or Defenders.

What Cornelisz could not do by force he tried by treachery. Under a flag of truce he tried to buy off the Defenders and was taken prisoner.

Hangings began

On September 17, the balance of the mutineers mustered for a final, desperate attack on the Defenders. And then the unbelievable happened. A sail appeared. It was Pelsaert. He had amazingly covered 2000 miles (4000 k) of ocean in his tiny boat and arrived with 45 people in Batavia.

The Governor was not impressed by his story – less so his actions. He recognised the most important matter was to get help to the survivors. Grim and white-faced, Pelsaert heard Hayes’ gruesome account:

“(He) furthermore told that he was Captain over 47 souls, who had kept themselves so long on one island in order to save their lives as the scoundrels had murdered more than 125 persons … and that 14 days ago he captured Jeronimus Cornelisz, under-merchant and chief of the scoundrels.”

Dutch law of the time allowed torture to be used to determine the truth or otherwise of such charges. Cornelisz was tortured five times over 10 days before the hangings began.

Cornelisz was hanged first on October 2, 1629.

<< The Batavia Tragedy adapted from Australian Studies, Victoria.

lIIustration: Just made it: Francisco Pelsaert arrived in time for Cornelisz’s hanging! Great ball of fire: The killing began.


WELL, DID I? HENRY SUTTON SEEMS TO BE ASKING THIS QUESTION – WELL HE DID! ALL THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE SIMPLE FACT, HE DID INVENT THE TELLY JUST LIKE HE ‘INVENTED’ A LOT OF THINGS, INCLUDING THE FIRST FRONT DRIVE MOTOR CAR IN THE WORLD.

GREAT AUSSIE FIRST: TAKE A BOW, HENRY!

Who invented the television set?

Frank Morris

Who should get the credit for inventing television? If dates mean anything, the honour should go to an unassuming Ballarat-born Australian.

The first “feasible scheme” for television was devised by inventor Henry Sutton, in 1885, according to Dr Clive Coogan, of the CSIRO, Melbourne.

A quick look at an encyclopaedia reveals this was three years before the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird was born.

Baird took television as a scientific novelty out of the laboratory and produced a regular commercial service.
Sutton made his historic breakthrough by scanning the image frame by frame and synchronising the scanner at the transmitter and receiver.

The key component employed by Sutton, according to Dr Coogan, was a selenium photo cell which had only been invented a decade or so earlier.

Was Sutton’s invention really first?

Speaking on ABC radio’s The Science Program, in 1988, Dr Coogan said Sutton “deserves the plaudits.”

Marvellous inventor

Said Coogan: “While it is my unwashed opinion that he was the first the guru of television history, Shears, believes it too.

“We’ve got fairly good evidence that Sutton had the thing going in 1885 because a government astronomer said he saw the machine there.”

The astronomer, R.J. Ellery, was on the council of the Ballarat School of Mines where Sutton was an honorary lecturer.

Born in 1856 Sutton has been variously hailed as a “marvellous inventor,” “a genius,” and “a gifted innovator and developer.”

Described as a shy and modest person, Sutton and his three brothers were mainly educated by their mother.
Sutton studied unaided from the age of 11. He was a voracious reader, and by the time he was 14 he had read all the science and engineering books in the well-stocked Ballarat Mechanics’ Institute library.

“Although he had little access to current literature, his own models and machines were ingenious and his drawings revealed great talent,” said the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Sutton is also credited with designing 23 different kinds of telephone within six months of Alexander Graham Bell’s invention; installing the first telephone system in Australia, perhaps the world; and building the first car in Australia and pioneering, among other ideas, the use of the four-wheel drive.

He worked tirelessly all his life. His outpourings of inventions and scientific papers, which were published in Britain and France, were prodigious.

“Eight hours work won’t lift a man in this world,” was one of Sutton’s often quoted remarks.
Henry Sutton died in Malvern in 1912.

<< This was a syndicated magazine story.

lllustration: Telly, cars you name it: Henry Sutton invented to the first front drive motor car in the world.


RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPIC GAMES …

In 1928, sculler BOBBY PEARCE triumphed. In his prized Dewar sculler built by George Towns, Bobby Pearce won Australia’s first Olympic Gold Medal for rowing at the Single Sculls at the Amsterdam Games in 1928. It was lone victory for the Australia.

And if one success wasn’t enough, he scored at the 1932 Los Angeles Games, both times beating an American opponent.

Bobby won all major World sculling titles during his career, including the Philadelphia Gold Cup (Sculling Champion of the World) in 1928 and 1932; Empire Games Gold medal at Hamilton, Canada, 1930; and the coveted Diamond Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta, England, 1931.

Undefeated

A most dedicated trainer, Bobby was coached by his father, Harry Pearce, also an Australian Champion sculler; and paced in training by his uncle Sandy Pearce the International Rugby League hooker.

After the Los Angeles Games, which was in times of Depression, Bobby accepted employment at Toronto, Canada, from where he held the World Professional Sculling Championships from 1933 to 1948. He died just prior to the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Bobby was undefeated as a World Champion sculler – both amateur and professional – in a career extending more than 20 years. << Frank Morris; Hall of Champions, Sydney.

Illustration: Hello!: Bobby Peace was met by friends at Grafton, NSW.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 19 August 16

HMAS Australia II: Why the story needed to be told!

INSPIRING SAGA: HMAS AUSTRALIA II WAS RIPE FOR THE TELLING, SAYS AUTH0R MIKE CARLTON. HUNDREDS OF AUSSIE SERVED ON AUSTRALIA II AT THE “VERY HEART” OF THE PACIFIC WAR.

Journalist and author MIKE CARLTON turns his attention on Australia II and why it is relevant today.

CASSIE MERCER, Editor of Inside History

What inspired you to start researching HMAS Australia II?

I’d written two books of naval history, one on the cruiser HMAS Perth in World War II, and another on the great battle between the cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German raider Emden in World War I. They sold pleasingly well, so a third seemed like a good idea.

The story of HMAS Australia and her sister ships Canberra and Shropshire was ripe for the telling. Thousands of Australians served in them, from the early Depression years to the very heart of the Pacific War at its most violent.

Which resources did you find most helpful during your research?

Survivors are always best. It’s such a privilege, and a delight, to talk to men who were there, and their families. There are not many left now, but I was lucky to find some truly wonderful people keen for the story of their ships to be told.

There is an extraordinary amount of stuff on the web these days, too. The ships’ logs. Captains’ reports of proceedings, are all available.

What resources did you came across when researching your book that haven’t been widely used by others?

There’s some wonderful stuff buried away in the US Navy’s Heritage and History Command. Reports of battles and the like. But you have to dig for it.

Was there any information you uncovered that stopped you in your tracks?

The gay stabbing murder on board HMAS Australia in 1942 was startling. And almost lost to history. Two stokers, Gordon and Elias, killed a third, Stoker Riley, shortly before the great battle of the Coral Sea. It was buried under censorship at the time, and almost forgotten later. The survivors never talked of it, for they felt it shamed the ship.

It was not only a gruesome crime; it raised huge constitutional questions about our links with Britain.

Which stories affected you the most while researching the cruiser’s history?

The kamikaze attacks on these ships in 1944 and 1945. They must have been absolutely terrifying. HMAS Australia was hit time and again.

Which personal stories amused you the most in the course of your research?

There were quite a few, some of them entirely trivial. I really like the one about the cook who went after an admiral’s wife with a meat clever after she criticised his food.

If you could track down on thing you haven’t you managed to find out, what would it be?

I would like to know what happened to Gordon and Elias, the murderers. They went to jail in New South Wales for 12 years, then vanished without trace in the late 1950s.

How did you go about bringing the history to life?

I like to write history with a feel of a novel to it. The facts have to be all present and correct; but I hope to deliver them as a storyteller. In the end, it’s got to be an absorbing yarn. In this I’m inspired by such great novelists of the sea as Nicholas Monsarrat and Patrick O’Brian.

First published in Inside History; insidehistory.com.au << Flagship: The Cruiser HMAS Australia II AND THE Pacific War on Japan by Mike Carlton; Random House, Australia, $49.99.

Illustrations: The interview: Inside History. The scribe: Mike Carlton.


FIRST TIME: THE BEGINNING OF THE DATE FAMILY – ALFRED AND MURIEL.

VALE ALFRED DATE: OLDEST MAN IN AUSTRALIA DIED

FRANK MORRIS

Alfred Samuel Date passed away at his retirement village aged 110. Alfred Date was always courteous to women’s in their 80s and frequently called them “young ladies” as he strolled round the village.

Alfred Date used to reside at Davistown in NSW before he shifted into the village 3 years ago.

He was born in 1905 when Alfred Deakin was Prime Minister. He could remember the sinking of Titanic in 1912 and the declaration of War in 1914.

Alfred married thrice

The picture at the top shows him standing tall and erect and his bride Muriel Gladys. They are flanked by the father of the bride and the bride’s sister, and brother of the groom. Alfred is 22 and Muriel 25.

They were married for 40 years. In September 1967, Muriel passed away, aged 67. Alfred married 3 times.

My wife and I lived opposite Jim Date, and his father used to visit there to see the family.

Illustration: I’ve seen it all: Alfred Date.


HINCKLEY, WHO TRIED TO ASSASSINATE PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN, FREED

John Hinckley Jr, 61, who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan and three others outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in 1981 – 35 years ago – has been freed by a federal court judge. Hinckley said he shot the President in an effort to impress Hollywood actor Jodie Foster. – FM.

COMING: Leader of the Federal Opposition, Arthur Caldwell, was shot in the face by a would-be assassins in 1963.


I’M A FIRST: “’MIDGET’ TURNED ON HIS BODY MOVEMENT AND CLASSY RIDING STYLE TO NOTCH UP HIS FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

VALE: ‘MIDGET’ FARRELLY, FORMER WORLD SURFING CHAMPION, DIES

FRANK MORRIS

Former world surfing champion, Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly, 71, who still played a leading part in an era of the surfing revolution, has died.

Pacific Longboarder’s Tony Morris said, “It’s a sad, sad day. He did so much for surfers and the industry.”

Farrelly grew up almost at the centre of the change. With all the north-side beaches at his disposal, there was something in the air: there were moves afoot that would explode the industry “from obscurity” in the late 1950s.

Born in 1944, Midget’s spotlight burst on to the world surfing scene when he won the 1962 Hawaii International Championship at Makaha Beach. He was the first non-Hawaiian to snap up this prestigious title.

“Midget” continued in his trail-blazing role for Australia. He notched up Australia’s “first” when he won the first officially recognised World Title in May 16-17, 1964, at Manly, NSW. “Farrelly put in his most brilliant performance of riding,” said Lord James Blears, American correspondent of Surfabout.

He always shows his body movement and his classy riding style which were truly epic.

Pursued World Championship

An estimated crowd of 60,000 watch the final event. ‘Midget’ defeated hot internationals, Americans Mike Doyle and Joey Cabell.

Over the next five years he contested five World Championships for Australia, finishing equal first in 1968 at Puerto Rico only to be “relegated” officially to runner-up. He was placed second at Bells Beach, Victoria, in 1970.

He won the Australian Championship in 1964 and 1965.

‘Midget’ regarded the late fifties and early sixties as “a special time in surfing.” The great transitions were set up for the sport, he said, that had been the obscure domain of the surf lifesaving movement.” All of a sudden, “new characters appeared in the surf.”

The surfing skills, ‘Midget’ pointed out, that were created “reflected a carefree hedonistic lifestyle” of the surfing fraternity. He continued: “All too soon this special decade had vanished. It wasn’t until the nineties that the real value of the time was realised.” – Hall of Champions; Frank Morris.

lllustration: On top: ‘Midget’ Farrelly clasped the winning trophy.


COMING TO GRIPS: ELIZABETH GETS INTO THE THICK OF THINGS WITH SOME ENGINE TROUBLE AS SHE SERVED WITH THE ATS DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

90 GLORIOUS YEARS: WAR AND DUTY – A TIME TO GROW UP

On October 13, 1940, the 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth gave the first of her many public speeches with sister at her side. Elizabeth addressed homesick children everywhere who had been evacuated.

On the BBC’s Children Hours radio slot, she spoke of the difficulties of being away from family, explaining, “My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all.”

National catchphrase

She rounded of her speech by saying, “My sister is by my side and we are going to say goodnight to you. Come on, Margaret.” A loud, sprightly voice then pops up: “Goodnight children.” Elizabeth then finishes, demurely, “Goodnight, and good luck to you all.”

The speech was a huge success, prompting telephone jams on the BBC as listeners rang in to beg for a repeat broadcast. “Come on Margaret,” also became something of a national catchphrase.

PRINCESS ELIZABETH REGISTERED FOR DRIVING COURSE

On her 16th birthday in 1942, Princess Elizabeth registered at the Windsor labour exchange in accordance with the law. And despite her father’s concern for her safety, in 1945, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

After a six-week course in driving and vehicle maintenance in Camberley, Elizabeth was due to take her final exam, which involved driving a truck round busy central London. But, whether or not it was too dangerous for the Princess, she was apparently already at the gate, going on regardless.

Good night sleep

She completed the journey in heavy traffic, driving twice around Piccadilly Circus and passed her exam with flying colours.

From then on, Elizabeth dedicated herself to toiling over oil, engines and valves for seven hour a day before returning home to Windsor to sleep each night, at her father’s orders.

<< 90 Glorious Years: The Queen’s life decade by decade; Bauer Media Pty Limited, Sydney.

Illustrations: The Royal Family appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day.


 

 

 

 

 

 

CHATTER: THE FUTURE WORLD …

In the 1970s, to make work under water easier, Lockheed’s research submarine, “Deep Quest”, has a diver support module. This will help move divers and equipment from the surface to underwater work stations and transfer men and material from one underwater site to another, enabling men to work at a depth of 600 feet.

Also in the 1970s, Autec, another deep-ocean submarine is fitted with mechanical arms which can select tools from an external storage tank and use them on jobs. The forward section of the craft can be detached to enable the three-man crew to escape to the surface rapidly in case of emergency. The US Navy will have two such subs operating soon.

<< Living World Magazine, March 1971.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 12 August 16

Razzle Dazzle Olympic Games: July 26, 1952 -- the “Lithgow Flash” does it again!

LEGEND: MARJORIE JACKSON BECAME AN OFFICIAL LEGEND AFTER WINNING THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S 200 METRES IN WORLD RECORD TIME AT THE 1952 OLYMPIC GAMES IN HELSINKI. JACKSON HAD WON THE 100 METRES DASH IN RECORD TIME.

The song went: “When all is said and done, there is really only one, Margie, Margie it’s you.”

Adapted by Frank Morris

Australia’s champion sprinter Marjorie Jackson brilliantly won the Olympic 200 metres final. The 60,000 who packed the vast stadium stood and cheered as the “Lithgow Flash” raced through the tape to complete a great double – the 100 and 200 metres, and two world records.

Marjorie’s time was 23.7 seconds, .3 sec. slower than the world record time she ran in her semi-final yesterday. But because of steady rain which had slowed the track, it was another magnificent run.

A heavy shower fell just before the final, and made the track muddy.

This did not allow Marjorie to stretch out to the full in the straight, but she won by five yards. Bertha Bouwer (Holland) was second, Nadezhda Khnykana (Russia) third, and Australia’s other representative, Winsome Cripps, a close fourth.

All were credited with the same time, 24.2 seconds. Today Marjorie drew the inside lane. She flashed from the starting blocks and was never headed. Winsome Cripps’ run was her best at the Games. In the semi-final she had chocked 24.3 sec.

Marjorie wore a real victory smile as she mounted the dais to receive her second Gold medal. When she saw a group of reporters waiting she was startled and sought shelter in a corner.

Greater than Blankers-Koen

She said: “It is the proudest moment of my life to become the first Australian girl ever to win two gold medals at any one Olympiad.”

Marjorie, who will celebrate her 21st birthday on September 13, said she found the track a little heavy. “”I was really getting tired down the straight. Now I am looking forward to a third gold medal as a member of the Australian relay team tomorrow.”

Athletes of many nations rushed up to congratulate her.

During her press interview a big man pushed through reporters and grabbed Marjorie by the hand. He said: “I am a Dutchman and I to want to say you are a great runner, even greater than our Fanny Blankers-Koen ever was.”

Helsinki is crazy over Marjorie – ever since her first run in the 100 metres early this week.

Every day crowds have flocked round the slim young Australian in Helsinki streets and in the Olympic Village. Autograph hunters stop her whenever she leaves the nursing home where she and Shirley Strickland, Verna Johnston and Winsome Cripps are living.

The shy girl from Lithgow never refuses autographs. All Helsinki wants is the name “Marjorie Jackson” … a memento of the heroine of the 1952 Games.

<< From the Sunday Telegraph, July 27, 1952.

Illustrations: Well out in front: Champion Marjorie Jackson, on the inside track, in her second world time triumph in the 200 metres final at the Helsinki Games. All smiles: Jackson after her in the 100 metres final at Helsinki Games. 


THERE’S REALLY ONLY ONE!: MARJORIE TOUCHES DOWN, ALL SMILES, LOOKING LIKE "A LADY OF CHIVALRY"

RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPICS: MARJORIE REMEMBERS HELSINKI

How I didn’t break a leg I don’t know?

Adapted by Frank Morris

(Marjorie) Jackson’s memories of her preparations for the Helsinki Games are worth hearing, Sarah Potter, of The Times, said. “We only ever ran on grass in Australia,” Jackson said. “The track for the 1952 Games was cinder. And when the people of Lithgow heard this, they built me one to train on.”

Jackson continued: “But there wasn’t enough money left for lights so I trained, in the middle of winter, with all the snow and fog in the mountains, by the lights of an old motor car.

“Sometimes, it was like pea-soup and I had to feel with my feet and hope I was in the middle of the track. How I didn’t break a leg I don’t know.”

She also met Peter Nelson, writes Potter, her husband-to-be, a fellow Olympian.

Sprinting spotlight

“He was in the cycling team and I met him on the aeroplane,” Jackson said. “During the three months away, we’d stopped in London and he asked me out to the pictures. After six weeks, he proposed. Looking back, I really didn’t know much about him.”

“But I was one of the lucky ones because he turned out to be a wonderful human being.”

The married in 1953 and moved to his home town of Adelaide, Potter said. She retained those titles at the Commonwealth Games, Vancouver, in 1954. She was awarded the MBE in the Coronation Honours List.

“Athletics was a fleeting thing,” she told Sarah Potter. “My marriage was more important.” Jackson retired. She was undefeated, winning 9 Gold medals in all, 2 Olympic and 7 Commonwealth. Potter said: “They had three children and a flourishing sports business when Nelson died of leukaemia in 1977.”

Jackson burst into the world sprinting spotlight when she twice defeated the dual Olympic Gold medallist Fanny Blankers-Koen, who was making a tour of Australia. Jackson was only a school girl of 17 at the time of her victories over Blankers-Koen. She was tagged ‘The Lithgow Flash’ forever!

Illustrations: Togetherness: Peter Nelson and Marjorie Jackson. Off and running – Marjorie Jackson.


64 NATION SAY NO: THAT’S WHAT THE NATION’S FELT WHEN RUSSIA WAS HOST TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN 1980.

RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPIC GAMES: FINAL! THE “WORST CASE” IN GAMES HISTORY

Cold-blooded propaganda put to the test.

FRANK MORRIS

An estimated 1 billion viewers watched spellbound as tragedy overshadowed triumph at the 1972 Munich Games.

Arab terrorists invaded the Olympic village, kidnapping 11 Israeli athletes, two of whom were fatally wounded in a shootout.

“The Olympic Games finally lost the battle to disassociate itself from the pernicious influence of world politics on sport,” it was reported.

“The Olympics … became the platform for political propaganda of the most cold-blooded variety.”

American swimmer Mark Spitz’s tally of seven gold medals is unlikely ever to be equalled.

Australia’s Shane Gould made a creditable attempt to emulate Spitz by winning three golds, and establishing three world records, for the women’s swimming events.

Tracey Wickham, 13, the youngest swimmer at Olympics ever!

Canada played host to 88 countries at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.

John Bertrand, who skippered Australia II to victory in the Americas Cup in 1983, won a bronze medal for yachting.

Swimmer Tracey Wickham, then only 13, was the youngest competitor to represent Australia at an Olympics. “She didn’t get past her heats of the 400 m and 800 m freestyle,” said a writer. “But the experience gained was invaluable.”

When she returned to Australia she was given a “ticker-tape” home-coming by the people of Brisbane.

Wickham did not go to the Moscow Games but a close rival did – Michelle Ford. Michelle was in fine fettle.

64 nations said “nyet” to the Bear

Moscow played host for the first Games to be held in a Socialist country.

But politics intervened and 64 nations, including USA, West Germany, Canada and Japan, withdrew.

The main of bone of contention was Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. Australia athletes felt the Games should not become a political area and decided to compete.

For the Australians, the collecting of gold was few.

Michelle Ford won gold for winning the women’s 800 m freestyle. And the men’s relay team for the 400 m freestyle.

<< Part 1 and 2 combine, this article was syndicated in July, 1984.


CATCHING UP: THORA DENNIS LISTING TO HER SISTER CLARE’S RACE ON THE RADIO.

LOOKING BACK OVER THE OLYMPICS GAMES …

The 1932 Los Angeles Games. Swimmer CLARE DENNIS was Australia’s only women’s success at the Games. Clare’s victory in the 200 metres breaststroke at the Los Angles Games, has span of 40 years.

Barely 16, Clare was the youngest competitor at those Games; and remained Australia’s youngest Gold medallist until Shane Gould in 1972. She led throughout the race, withstanding challenges, and defeating the Japanese champion Hidekeo Mahata in Olympic record time of 3mim.06.3 secs.

Clare also won the Gold medal in the 200 yards breaststroke at the London Commonwealth Games in 1933. Again, she broke the Games record time of 2mins. 50.2 secs.

Clare got it!

She loved breaking the record barrier, too. In 1933, Clare held two World records in the 100m breaststroke of 1min. 24.5 secs and the 200m breaststroke in 3mim. 08.4 secs. made at Sydney on January 18, 1932.

She held the Australian 200 metres breaststroke championship from 1931 to 1935.

Clare’s swimming prowess was first noticed by the sports mistress at Clovelly School, NSW. She married fellow Olympian George Golding, the quarter mile flat and hurdle champion. – Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< Information from the Hall of Champions, Sydney.

Illustration: Clare Dennis after she won the 200 metres breaststroke at 1932 Los Angeles Games.

 


                                                                                                                              

RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPIC SUPER-HERO …

WHAMM, SLAMM! Captain America (Steve Rogers) is the only super-hero with a secret weapon – a virtually indestructible Vibranium shield device. This gives Captain America power and abilities that are beyond his wildest dreams. He could be an Olympic marvel. The shield-device is 76cm in diameter, 10cm in depth and 5.4kg in weight. Collect them all! Captain America and the other Ultimate Super Hero’s at your newsagents now. – FM.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 05 August 16

‘Mrs Movie’ Film Great: Casablanca, a melodrama, flawlessly acted!

SELECTED: CASABLANCA WAS CHOSEN AS THE MOVIE OF THE 1940S. BOGART WAS HE HEAD OF THE PACK … AND BERGMAN HIS BITTERSWEET EX-LOVER.

Bogart’s façade of neutrality begins to weaken as he recalls bittersweet memories.

Selected by “Mrs Movie’

Casablanca, released in 1943, has became a recognised screen classic and is considered by many to be the representative picture of the forties. Humphery Bogart played Rick, the owner of Rick’s Café Americain, a night club and focal point for intrigue in Casablanca.

A glossy, star-laden sentimental melodrama it owes it success to a gallery of fine performances and to their almost miraculous interplay with each other.

The plot revolved around an assortment of strongly delineated characters coming into Rick’s night club … as refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe (seek) to gain exit visas to Lisbon. Bogart, playing the café’s owner, is a former soldier of fortune and one who has grown tired of smuggling and fighting …

Even loyalty to a friend doesn’t move him as he refuses to help Ugarte, Peter Lorre, a desperately frightened little courier who is fleeing from the police. Ugarte is shot and killed only moments later, but not before he has given Rick two letters of transit.

Emphatically, Bogart says, “I stick my neck out for nobody.”

Past love affair

But we know he will do just that …with a beautiful woman, Ingrid Bergman; he still loves and bitterly remembers.

Bergman is married to an underground leader, Paul Henreid, and desperatety needs those papers Bogart conveniently now has in his possession. The cynical Bogart’s façade of neutrality begins to weaken as he recalls the bittersweet memories of his past love affair.

(They were memories triggered repeatedly by the theme, As Time Goes By, which comes from Sam, his piano-playing confidante, played by Dooley Wilson.)

Bogart refuses to help her, still resentful of her desertion of him on the eve of their departure from Paris. She explains that she was married to Henreid at the time she fell in love Bogart; she had believed him to have been killed.

But when she found that her husband was alive, she felt obligated to return to him. Bogart is convinced she is telling the truth. He finally sets up an involved plan which succeeds when Bergman and Henreid are safely placed on the plane to Lisbon.

Intermixed with this intrigue are all the fascinating and beautifully acted supporting roles. With his customary skill, Claude Rains as Major Renault, a prefect of police, who is like Bogart in many ways, claims neutrality but is definitely against the Nazis.

Magic! Bogart and Bergman

He is Bogart’s most devoted adversary, tauntingly calling the man a “sentimentalist” and delivering his share of cynical and amusing lines.

Rains shares the final memorable scene of the film: after Bergman’s plane takes off, he and Bogart walk off into the misty night, two men who are sentimentalists and now share the common bond of being patriots.

As Major Strasser, Conrad Veidt was the very essence of German rigidity – unfeeling, unconcerned about life – but firmly believing in the foolish ideology of his Nazi compatriots. Sydney Greenstreet, as Senor Farrari, a black marketeer who is on good terms with Bogart.

The magic that developed from the teaming of Bogart and Bergman was enough to make a new romantic figure out of the former tough guy. He now added the softening traits of tenderness and compassion and a feeling of heroic commitment to the cause.

Casablanca brought Bogart his first Academy Award nomination. He lost to Paul Lukas for Watch On the Rhine. – Adapted by Frank Morris.

<< The adaption of Casablanca came from the book, Humphrey Bogart by Alan G. Barbour, published as The Pictorial Treasury of Film Stars; Galahad Book, New York; 1973.

Illustrations: A line or three: Bogart is unrelenting about what he says to Bergman. Loyalty: “Emphatically, no” said Bogart to Ugarte.


MEMORIALS: ALL THE MEMORY OF AN AFFAIR THAT COMES GOOD AFTER SO MANY YEARS.

COUCH POTATO: MATURE ROMANCE STILL CHARMS

It’s a gentle and loving look at a how a mature romance develops.

JULIE HOUGHTON

A favourite film, or book, deserves more than one viewing. Occasionally, a series pops up that is the television version of a comforting cup of delicious hot chocolate. For me, that is the British sitcom As Time Goes By, starring Dame Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer.

Both actors received gongs for services to drama; it’s the way they play their characters that gave this series an original long run of 10 years, from 1992 to 2002. A follow-up special came in 2005.

The premise is simple, but ingenious. Palmer (Lionel) and Dench (Jean) were lovers in 1953. She was a nurse and he a soldier. Due to a letter lost when Palmer is posted to Korea they lose touch for 38 years.

Fast forward to 1992. Palmer is writing his memoirs and hires a secretary to help him from an agency run by Dench.

After a bumpy start, as both are free and available, they explore the possibility of resuming their romance. The spark of attraction is still there and the scene is set for humour, pathos, drama and several misunderstandings that our heroes survive.

Large-than-life characters

As Time Goes By is beloved of audiences around the world with devoted followers in England, America, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Finland. (It frequently pops up on our trusty television, recently on 9Gem in Australia.)

Set in London, the series is about average people who could be your next door neighbours -- and that’s a large part of its appeal. The dilemmas they faced are ones to be re-ignited in the 1990s.

For readers who remember the show, there’s a lovely bit of trivia about the opening. It shows a photo of the current Jean and Lionel juxtaposed with their younger selves in 1953.

Rather than book any lookalike actors, the producers as used Dench’s actor daughter, Finty Williams, and Palmer’s director son, Charles. Talk about a family business.

The concept of the importance of family pervades the series. In between the misunderstandings, larger-than-life characters and the electric frisson of romance between Dench and Palmer, we see how love in all its guises, mixed with a large pinch of patience, underpins each episode of this charming series.

“Faith, hope and love … but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians Chapter 13 Verse 13).

<< WARCRY, May 21, 2016.

Illustration: Three of the stars – Jenny Funnel, Moira Brooker and Philip Bretherton.


FATAL FIGHT: THE FIGHTER WAS A COMING CHAMPION BUT THERE WAS ALWAYS A MARK HANGING OVER CHUCK WILBURN.

FLASHBACK: GOLDEN AGE OF BOXING – DEATH OF FUTURE CHAMPION

He was savagely beaten by a heavy hitter.

FRANK MORRIS

Some experts in the fight game claim that there was a question mark hanging over Chuck Wilburn. The 22-year-old American boxer died in April, 1976, from damage suffered in a fight at Blacktown RSL, Sydney. It didn’t have anything to do with his ability; only his record in the ring.

Wilburn had reportedly been slogging it out since he was 17; and, up until the time of his fatal bout, had 12 wins to his credit.

In July, 1972, he was savagely beaten at the hands of the heavy-punching Estaban De Jesues. Although touted as a coming champion, he only managed to notch six fights after that bout, to the moment he climbed into the ring at Blacktown RSL. Why? Why indeed.

Naturally, some of Australia’s top fight critics have post-mortemised the fatal fight and as a result many alarming questions have come to surface. But that’s history.

Typical letter

Chuck Wilburn will probably not be the only fighter to die in the line of duty at a licensed club. That, in itself, is a chilling thought. But patrons are aware that they’ll be watching a club-promoted draw which will be a dinky-di contest.

Here’s a special letter written in 1976 relating to this fight. “Our 12-year-old son wants to become a professional boxer. His father encourages him. How dangerous is boxing as an occupation?”

When you see somebody like Chuck Wilburn get savaged in the ring it is not worth thinking about. I don’t recommended that any youngster – boy or girl – deserves such encouragement. This letter is typical of the comment which I received in those days.

Buy a new tennis racquet or set of golf clubs, or cut out every boxing clip from the newspaper and leave them on his bed. Times haven’t changed.

<< This article was syndicated in 1976.

Illustration: Just about everybody who was somebody in the fight game did their share of soul-searching after the fatal Wilburn-Thompson bout.


GO FOR YOUR GUNS: ZANE GREY FILMING RIDER OF THE PURPLE SAGE IN 1918. GREY WASTED LITTLE TIME UNTIL HE BECAME QUITE FAMILIAR WITH THE WILD WEST.

AUTHORS: ZANE GREY, US NOVELIST -- GREY KNEW THEM ALL!

Good guys, bad guys, he knew both kinds and lived to tell the tale!

FRANK MORRIS

Zane Grey actually stood face-to-face with gunslingers, gamblers and lawmen passed on to him by men in the know. He hunted mountain lions with Indians and outlaws with the Texas Rangers. He knew the good guys and the bad guys of the West – Grey knew both kinds. And he lived to tell about it.

Grey sought out men, real men, and what that had to tell him about Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, Captain McNelly of the Texas Rangers and General George Armstrong Custer left nothing to the imagination.

He would play poker with Arizona card sharks. He would talk and walk with the dance-hall girls until there their pretty lips would say, “I’ve told you everything”; and cowboys, who had looked into the icy eyes of William Bonney, Billy the Kid. He got the fair-dinkum facts about the most gruelling episodes in the history of the West, firsthand.

Take a novel like The Border Legion, for instance. It is based on eye witness accounts of how an outlaw army, led by Henry Plummer and Boone Helm, robbed, murdered and terrorised the town of Alder Gulch on the Idaho-Montana border.

In the end, Plummer and Helm were captured and hanged by a group of vigilantes who took the law into their own hands.

Vivid detail

Lassiter, from Riders of the Purple Sage, was one of the most feared guns in the West and gambled his life, and the woman he loved, for one last chance at freedom. This has been perhaps the most popular Western ever written.

The book captured the drama and the nuances of the Mormon struggle for existence that ever took place in the bleak and hostile Utah territory.

Hide-hunter Tom Doan, the figure head of the novel The Thundering Herd, rides to rescue a kidnapped girl, but Doan is trapped between rampaging Comanches and miles of stampeding buffalo.

Grey describes in vivid detail the methods used by hide-hunters as well as virtually every aspect of their lives; his realistic accounts of the killing and skinning of the buffalo have never been surpassed.

There also Wildfire, Arizona Ames, Maverick Queen, The Vanishing American and The Hash Knife Outfit, and many others, each written with the hell-for-leather realism that makes Grey one of the most popular of all Western scribes.

In his lifetime, Grey originated more than 90 Western novels. His last abode in Pennsylvania has been taken over by the National Parks Service and turned into a museum.

Grey died in 1939. He was 67.

<< Written from the material of The Grey Zane Library, 1976.

Illustration: Zane Grey at the peak of his career. Cold eyes: William Bonney and his alias Billy the Kid.


COME TO RIO: IN A FEW DAYS, THE RIO ARENA WILL BURST INTO EXOTIC SONG AND DANCE ON THE EVE OF PRESENTING THE RIO OLYMPIC GAMES WHERE TOP ATHLETES WILL PROVIDE THEIR BEST PERFORMANCES.

PART 1. RAZZLE DAZZLE OLYMPICS: IS RIO GOING TO BE THE WORST GAMES IN “LIVING MEMORY”

Tracey Holmes gives a broad-brush analysis of the Rio Games.

FRANK MORRIS

Is the Rio Olympics “on track to be quite possibly the worst Games in living memory?” asks commentator Tracey Holmes.

Holmes said, “The 1936 Berlin Olympics were hijacked by the Nazi propaganda machine; the 1970s Games are remembered as the era of East German doping and the Israeli hostage crisis; the 1980s were the boycott Games.

“And now, at the 2016 Rio Olympics (which start on August 5) we face a Games beset by security issues, political turmoil, the Zika virus, doping sagas and more.”

Since the Munich massacre in 1972 when a Palestinian terrorist group killed 11 Israeli team members, 5 terrorists died. Security has been of “prime importance” to the International Olympics Committee (IOC).

Australia has competed in every Olympics Games since Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Games in 1896.

Here’s a run-down on the Games from 1900 until 1980. Many world competitors did not attend the Russian Olympics in 1980 after the fracas with Afghanistan. In Australia, the 1956 Games got off to a “late start” because it was being covered on television for the first time.

FREDDY LANE - HE WAS THE ONLY AUSTRALIAN SWIMMER!

Despite protests from the Greeks, the second Olympiad was held in Paris in 1900. Swimming appeared for the first time as an Olympics event.

The rugged Freddy Lane won Australia’s first title for swimming, by winning the 200 metres freestyle and the 200 metres ‘obstacle’ race, the only one.
Lane became the first of Australia’s long list of swimming Gold medallists when he won the race. In 1902, at Manchester, he became the first person to swim 100 yards freestyle in one minute flat, defeating fellow Aussie Dick Cavill.

In the pre-crawl era Freddy, only 61 kg, swam a double over-arm similar to the trudgen
-- but with a narrower kick.

Freddy is credited with the first official World time for the 200 yards, which he held for 6 years.

Apart from four England Championships, Freddy won Australian titles in 1898, 1902. In 1969, he was Honoured in International Swimming Hall of Fame.

He was born in 1880, and died in 1969.

1956 GAMES GOT OFF TO A LATE START

The 1956 Olympics Games were the first to be staged in the Southern Hemisphere and also the first to be held as late as November and December.

“Ten of the previous twelve Games had been held in July and August,” according to Martin Tyler and Phil Soar in the History of the Olympics.

That didn’t stop 67 nations sending some 2800 men and 370 women to compete in the 16 sports.

Three counties also were represented for the first time – Kenya, Malaya and Ethiopia.

“The suppression of the Hungarian uprising by Russia and the British and French adventure in the Middle East had resulted in the withdrawal of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, The Netherlands and Spain,” according to the book.

The MCG’s newly laid track was described as “a fine setting” for open-field events.

And at the new 5500-seat swimming pool at Olympic Park, the Games “were an unqualified triumph for Australia and an equally disastrous event for the United States.”

<< Tracey Holmes is from ABC news radio. Part 2, next week: In the Razzle Dazzle Olympics, the world would see a tragedy.


CHATTER: 1. LES DIXON JNR’s A BLAST FROM THE PAST...                        

I remember when Uncle Cossie went to the outhouse and caused a stir. He was only there a few seconds when his ‘effort’ caused the frail outhouse to mushroom into the sky!`

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

90 Glorious Years: The Queen’s Life – horses and success a fine tribute!

SENSE OF HUMOUR: AN ANGELIC-LOOKING ELIZABETH, AGED 1, AT HER MATERNAL GRANDPARENT’S HOME IN HERTFORDSHIRE. A CHILDHOOD PLAYMATE ONCE SAID, THAT “THE QUEEN WAS A SWEET CHILD AND GREAT FUN … HAD A SENSE OF HUMOUR AND A VIVID IMAGINATION.”

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

Born, the first daughter: In 1926, on April 21, at 2.40 am, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London, the first daughter to the Duke and Duchess of York. The non-royal house belonged to her maternal grandfather, the 14th Earl of Strathmore.

Elizabeth was named first for her mother, then Mary after the current Queen consort of George V, and Alexandra after the consort of Edward VII.

But as befits a royal child, she was christened in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace on May 29. The mix of the family first, but royal connections a close second, would set the tone for Princess Elizabeth’s early years.

It was her uncle David, and not her father, who was the heir to the throne, so protocol could be more relaxed.

The Duke of York was anxious that his children should have a happier family life than his own had been. His parents had been distant disciplinarians and he and the Duchess wanted to create a pleasant home.

Dramatic broadcast: In 1936, on January 20, the nation and British Empire learned that “The King’s life is drawing peacefully to a close.” George V … died age 70. He was succeeded by “Uncle David”, the Duke of York’s elder brother, Edward VIII.

A great crises was brewing

The Duke and Duchess of York had hoped that the Princesses (Elizabeth and Margaret) would go to a private school and enlarge their view of the world; but the new king didn’t think this would be a good idea; so Crawfie (Governess to the Princesses) stayed on.

But as the year rolled on, the relationship of Edward and American divorcee, Mrs Wallis Simpson, became public knowledge.

On December 3, 1936, newspaper headlines declared “A great constitutional crisis” was afoot, and Edward VIII was about to abdicate and the young Elizabeth would be heiress presumptive to the throne.

The family moved to Buckingham Palace.

When it became clear that their father was going to be the next king, a young Princess Margaret asked Lilibet, “Does that mean you will have to be the next queen?” “Yes, someday,” replied Princess Elizabeth.” “Poor you,” declared Margaret.

<< 90 Glorious Years; Your Souvenir Edition; Bauer Media Pty Limited.

Next: Princess Elizabeth – War and duty.

Illustration: Troubled times: Taken in 1936, the young Princess Elizabeth with her Uncle David, who abdication was the change the course of her life. Constitutional crisis: The Daily Express was one of many newspapers world-wide to that would feature the line: “I could not carry the burden without her.”


COUNTRY? YOU CAN BET ON IT:  BUDDY WILLIAMS, TEX MORTON AND SMOKY DAWSON LEAVING THEIR HANDPRINTS IN THE AUSTRALASIAN COUNTRY MUSIC HANDS OF FAME ‘CORNERSTONE’ AT THE INAUGURAL CEREMONY IN 1977.

SCRAPBOOK: COUNTRY MUSIC ON THE WAY UP

In the mid-1960’s, Heather McKean, was present when country music was “taken to the people”. In the 80s, it was “on the way up”. The period is 1987.

FRANK MORRIS

The popularity of country music in Australia has surged to an all-time high over that past few years according to Heather McKean, chairperson of Country Music Australia. “Country music has touched every facet of society,” Ms Kean said.

She said the music had come a long way since the 1940s when early ‘hillbilly’ songs were battling to be heard.

However, it was during this period that the ‘King of Australian country music’, the late Tex Morton, sold more records than Bing Crosby. ”The enthusiasm and interest we enjoy in 1987 was not there at the time; our artists recorded on 78rpm with only a solo guitar for accompaniment,” Ms McKean said.

“Many performers took to travelling with rodeos, carnivals and circuses to publicise their recordings.”

The upsurge came in the 1950s and again in the 1960s when country music was “taken to the people.” Said McKean: “The performers took the bit between their teeth and hitched their cars to their caravans and hit the road.

Pop-country style

“They covered every state in Australia, playing in local halls and pubs in the remote outback towns, suburbs and big cities.”

One of Australia’s biggest names in country music, Johnny Ashcroft, believes one of the problems with C & W is its “image in the eyes of the public.” This is why Ashcroft remained unperturbed when a critic wrote that “he (Ashcroft) didn’t sound like other country singers.”

The critic went on to ask: “Could it be that Ashcroft takes the country out of country music?”

For nearly a decade, Ashcroft has settled for the pop-country label which puts him on the same plateau in style as Rita Coolidge, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell and expatriate Aussie Diana Trask. He feels it is arguable whether their music is country or pop, or a mixture of both styles.

“I don’t think anybody has been able to define it; it’s almost an impossibly.”

It defines itself

For at least fifty years, experts have been striving to define or explain the derivation of country music. But, not surprisingly, they have had minor success. In his book Country Music in Australia, Eric Watson points out that a “woolly-minded confusion still exists.”

Writes Watson: “The name ‘country music’ is a form of definition in itself.

“It seems to refer to music of the country … and we would be entitled to expect that it would have its roots in the country soil, be recognisably a product of the rural areas and their people and tell us something about the environment and attitudes to people.

“But if country music is the indigenous music of any rural people, then ours originated in the early 1800s when the selectors and teamsters began to make up songs about life around them,” he said.

“I believe there was a wealth of country music in Australia for a least 100 years before the first commercial recording was ever thought of.”

Says Heather McKean: “Country music is hitting greater heights than ever in Australia.”

Some of the popular country music performers currently on the club circuit include Slim Dusty, Reg Lindsay, Greg Anderson, Judy Stone, Graeme Shiels, Allison Durbin, Smokey Dawson, Johnny Ashcroft and Mick Hamilton.

<< Interview done in 1987.

Illustration: The awesome four: Reg Lindsay, Smoky Dawson, Slim Dusty and Chad Morgan. Pop style: Johnny Ashcroft – “The image of country music is in the eye of the public.”


BALL OF MUSCLE: THE MARMON 34 WAS ONE OF THOUSANDS OF CARS THAT MADE A FORTUNE FOR PEOPLE AND PROVIDED JOBS. THE STYLISTIC VARIATION APPEARED AND THE MARMON BLOOMED. THAT IS, UNTIL THE DEPRESSION RANG THE DEATH KNELL.

CARS OF THE CENTURY! THE MARMON – IS IT A CAR GATSBY WOULD BUY?

The Marmon had physical presence even when it was up against other cars that were excellent.

FRANK MORRIS

“The Marmon was one of thousands of cars made in thousands of towns all over the country,” says a popular weekly magazine. “Long before Detroit became the big cheese they were turning out beauties like this in Akron, Columbia (South Carolina) and Indianapolis.

“Compared to the cornucopias of Detroit dream boats Marmon didn’t make many, but they made fortunes for people and provided jobs. They come out in many stylistic variations -- and they bloomed.

“There are still people named Stutz and Dort and Jordon in some particular towns, and their neighbours will say, ‘He’s very rich; automobiles you know.’”

You don’t know, of course, and imagine a used-car lot by that name. But if you see any of these cars, the Marmon, you wonder how people ever let them stop making them.

In the Restored Car Australia magazine, writer Igor Spajic comes up with an inventory of cars Jay Gatsby might have had on his shopping list.

He says in his article that “the 1919-1921 Marmon 34 would have been the choice of the thoughtful, wealthy buyer who sought … engineering excellence about physical presence. It is unknown from the subtext whether Jay Gatsby was that kind of buyer.

Coil ignition, front wheel brakes

“(For all) the advanced use of aluminium alloys and efficient design it might not make it as a preferred Gatsby car.”

The car was designed by innovator Howard C. Marmon. Marmon started with air-cooled automobiles in 1902 before shifting to Indianapolis-winning 6 cylinder engines. In 1916, the Marmon 34 used aluminium alloy wherever possible.

In 1920, Marmon 34 had installed coil ignition, and in, 1923 front wheel brakes.

“Marmon was force to raise prices after the war … from $5000,” Spajic said. “Which put Marmon 34 up there in the high luxury market. Unfortunately, the cars were physically too small to be suitably imposing for that market and sales dropped markedly.”

In 1927, the updated version of the Marmon 34 was replaced by straight-eight powered models. Says Spajic: “For a fine carmaker, this belated move was too late for the market’s taste.”

What with organisation still losing money, Howard Marmon was “eased out of control”. His culmination ‘of a private’ automotive masterpiece, the Marmon Sixteen, appeared in 1930. Says Spajic: “Unfortunately, it was trumped by the earlier release of the Cadillac.”

The Cadillac V16 had sold 3000 units before the Marmon Sixteen hit the market. “And of course,” Spajic said, “The Depression rang the death knell for the small manufacturer.”

Illustralion: The Great Gatsby: What cars were on his shopping list? Was the Marmon 34 or the Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8. Or whether Jay Gatsby was that kind of buyer!


CHATTER: 1. THE FUTURE WORLD …

In the late 1960s, Gateway to the West, USA. When Eero Saarinen, the famous Finnish architect was one of the judges of the Sydney Opera House he got space loads of publicity from the media all over the world. Saarinen also designed this slender by imposing arch, with a span of 630 feet, built at St Louis, Missouri, USA to record the city’s boast that it is the Gateway to the West. It’s called Gateway Arch.

<< Living World Magazine, March, 1971.


THE GREAT WAR: FINAL! BENITO MUSSOLINI’S MY WAR DIARY

One can speak to an officer without having to stand stiffly to attention,” says Mussolini.

BENITO MUSSOLINI

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

September 19: I have observed with pleasure and with joy that the most cordial camaraderie reigns between officers and men.

The life of continual risks binds hearts together. The officers seem to be brothers rather that superiors. That is fine! All the disciplinary formalism of barracks is done away with. Even uniform is almost done away with. It is forbidden, even in the shelters, to wear the fez cap.

Traditional plume in the hat is done away with. We wear woollen caps instead, which the men aesthetically decorate with a star. One can speak to an officer without having to stand stiffly to attention. It is difficult in the mountains to stand stiffly to attention.

With such officers, those who talk of a strengthening of militarism with the inevitable victory of Italy are simply amusing themselves in following delusions. The made-in-Germany militarism has struck no root in Italy.

Besides, this war, waged by people and not by armies out of barracks, marks the end of professional or caste militarism. The vast majority of Italian officers came, on mobilisation, from civil life.

The forgotten corpses

The whole of the junior officers consist of temporary lieutenants and sub-lieutenants who fight and die like gallant men. Some of the officers want to make my acquaintance. There is a sub-lieutenant, Lohengrin Giraud. Young and brave. Recommended for the silver medal for military valour.

“I should like to have you in the 7th Company.” Giraud says to me.

Lieutenant Cauda, of the Carabinieri, has come to fight as a volunteer. He is a Sardinian. Exceptional courage and coolness. He speaks slowly, like an Englishman. Lieutenant Corbelli, a Romagnole, from Russi.

A voice: “Is Bersagliere Mussolini here?”

“Here I am.”

“Come and let me embrace you.”

And we embrace. It is Captain Festa, of the 10th Company of the 157th Infantry, who are occupying our positions.

“Your journalistic campaign for intervention honours you and Italian journalism,” he adds. “This is a terrible war … We have in front of us barbarians who are up to every trick of war.” He goes away. His men speak of him with veneration.

My company is ordered to the advanced post, on guard. Sunset. It is truly a war of giants which the splendid soldiers of Italy are waging. It is not fortresses that we take by storm; we have to storm mountains.

Here, the rock bowler is a weapon and as deadly as a gun! The evening wind brings up on high the cold and the reek of the forgotten corpses. A clear night, starlit.

<< My War Diary by Benito Mussolini; The Saturday Evening Post, August 9, 1930.

Illustrations: Fighting man: Benito Mussolini in 1914 at the front before he was made Colonel of the Bersaglieri. Time man: In 1923, Mussolini was a cover feature on Time magazine.


MATE, THERE’S A WAR GOING ON HERE …

SURPRISE ATTACK: THE ZEPPELIN -- MAKING ITS WAY TO BOMB LONDON. ETHEL DESCRIBES IT AS A MOST ‘EXTRAORDINARY PHOTOGRAPH’.

Ethel Bilbrough, of Britain, kept a diary of the Great War. It is March, 1916. This is really a most extraordinary photograph! It was taken during one of the actual raids on London. These most vile implements of modern warfare have been rife lately. And rarely a month – or even a week – passes without a barbarous raid on some perfectly peaceful town or village, by means of which about 200 people (many of them children and babies) have been done to death; to say nothing of those who have been injured and maimed for life. What a degrading war this is: bloodthirsty and terrible. The poisonous gasses, the Zeppelins, the torpedoes, and the hidden, treacherous mines all strike a note of mean unfairness. In modern slang it’s simply “not cricket”.

<< The Diary of the Great War.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 22 July 16

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