Dad And Dave Country – Nobby, Qld.

Two hours drive west of Brisbane lies the township of Nobby on the Darling Downs, population few and far between. Why visit Nobby? This is where author Steele Rudd was said to have written many of his stories ensconced at the local pub.

Rudd’s Pub is an interesting spot with its farming memorabilia filling the walls and ceiling space as well as references to Rudd’s iconic characters, Dad and Dave.

Steele Rudd was the pseudonym of Arthur Hoey Davis (14 November 1868 – 11 October 1935) an Australian author, best known for his short story collection On Our Selection.

The Barmaid battled to find a clean glass. Wonder why?

The stories contained in this book provide a humorous account of life on a plot of land ‘selected’ in the late 1800s. Apart from the humour of life in the bush and of yokels visiting the city, these stories also included Dave’s awkward romance with local lass, Mabel.

The 1920 movie On  Our Selection and 1932–1952 radio series Dad and Dave helped turn the characters into Australian cultural icons before the days of television. A Selection referred to “free selection before survey” of crown land under legislation introduced in the 1860’s to encourage settlement and agriculture.

The movie was remade in 1995 starring Leo McKern, Joan Sutherland, and Geoffrey Rush with the theme song by John Williamson. No-one ever said it was a good movie and harking back to more simple times it would not sit well with todays audience though it would have resonated with the previous generation.

JW took several decades to reach his prime.

The refreshing bevy at Rudd’s Pub was pleasant, as was the walk around Sister Kenny Memorial Park and Museum (in a nod to her work with poliomyelitis).

Our real find was Steele Rudd Park which sits on a corner of the original Selection on Steele Rudd Road, East Greenmount.

The park features replica historical buildings and information about Rudd’s childhood and later life. It includes a picnic table and gas barbeque as well as bathroom facilities – though be careful where you sit : bush facilities have a tendency to attract frogs 🙂

This is pretty country surrounded by gently undulating plains with its pastures full of fat cattle. Still, it is not difficult to imagine the hardships endured by our pioneers attempting to raise large families on these plots fighting constant battles against dust, drought, snakes and heat.

Lets finish with a typical Dad and Dave joke :

Dave decided to take Mabel to the Snake Gully Café for lunch. Dave looked at the menu and said, “They’ve got sheep tongues on the menu, Mabel. I think I’ll have that. What about you?” 
Mabel said, “No Dave, I couldn’t eat anything that came out of an animal’s mouth.” 
“What would you like then, Mabel?” said Dave. 
Mabel said, “I think I’ll have an egg.”_

* Well worth a visit.

**Worth watching the 1995 version if only for the line up of Australian actors : Ray Barrett, Noah Taylor, Barry Otto, and my 80’s crush, Rory O’Donaghue from The Aunty Jack Show. Do you remember Aunty Jack ?Even named a cat after him.🥰

Welcome To Spring

These cheerful Wattle Babies are the most good-natured of all of May Gibbs’  Bush Babies. Their bright yellow clothes brighten the bush on a Winter’s day. In Spring they love to go boating and swimming with their frog friends and have fun playing hide and seek with the baby birds. 

May Gibbs (1877-1969), author and illustrator, has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of Australians with her lovable bush characters and fairytale landscapes. She is best known for The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

September 1st is Wattle Day in Australia.

I love everything about the Wattleit’s simply sensational.

My Wattle Sapling in flower for the first time

Banjo Paterson Has A Permanent Spot On The Bookshelf

I was recently reminded of a pair of books that I’ve been carting around for nearly twenty years though with over 1,500 pages between them they are not the type for genteel bedtime reading.

Fellow blogger Kevin Adams is a lover of all things music with a particular bent for traditional folk, with a tendency to write music of a historical nature. I particularly enjoyed his album A Crossword War – Bletchley Park Remembered In Song and his more recent  homage with Pegasus, A Song For D Day.

https://kevadams.co.uk/2020/06/05/pegasus/

But back to the books : Singer Of The Bush, the complete works of Andrew Barton Paterson from 1885 – 1900, and Song Of The Pen covering the period 1901 – 1941. First editions, they were a gift for my father when he retired and cost me $40 each – a hellava lot of money when I was earning only $116 per week!

Paterson, fondly known as Banjo,  (17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941) was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on rural and outback areas. His more notable poems include “Clancy of the Overflow” (1889), “The Man from Snowy River” (1890) and “Waltzing Matilda” (1895), regarded widely as Australia’s unofficial national anthem.

He was a war correspondent during the Boer War, an ambulance driver in the First World War and honorary vet for the Light Horse Brigade as well as a farmer, lawyer and massive sports fan.(His nickname came from a racehorse he’d won a few bob on).

Copies of Paterson’s published submissions to The Bulletin, considered the premier news magazine at the time, include illustrations by famous artists such as Norman Lindsay. There is also a wealth of history within these tomes including the poet’s friendships with fellow balladeers Henry Lawson and Breaker Morant.

I find it disappointing that copies of these volumes are regularly on throw out tables at charity book sales. If you find a set in reasonable condition they are well worth picking up to be reminded of an earlier Australia.

Add To Must Do List :

Yeoval NSW.      Banjo Paterson Cafe and Museum

Yass NSW.          Banjo Paterson Park

Orange NSW.      The  biennial Festival of Arts presents a Banjo Paterson Award for poetry and one-act plays.

A Positive Beginning To The New Week

Firstly, a new children’s book: Tippy and Jellybean by Sophie Cunningham.

Based on the true story of Tippy the koala, and her baby, Jellybean, which was one of the tales that broke hearts all around Australia during our devastating bushfires last summer.

Tippy was found by rescuers in the Snowy River National Park just after the fires raged through the area with a burnt back and paws. She was crouched over her joey, Jellybean, who was unscathed.

Sadly, many of our koalas were lost when they made the mistake of scrambling for the top tree branches when fires went through, offering them absolutely no protection whatsoever.

Tippy and Jellybean have since recovered and have been released back to an area with eucalyptus trees.

Proceeds from this book will raise money for the Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund.

Meet the real Tippy and Jellybean

And another Iso-Project successfully completed.

Rabbit Proof Fence

Indigenous Author Doris Pilkington was born Nugi Garimara under a Wintamarra tree in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. At four years of age Doris, her mother Molly, and her baby sister were taken against their will to the Moore River Native Settlement in Western Australia. This is where many children of mixed race families were interred in the early 20th Century to be trained as domestic staff and which we now know as the Stolen Generation.

It wasn’t long before Molly escaped the Settlement with her baby, though Doris remained incarcerated until she was twelve years of age at which time she  was transferred to a nearby mission. Conditions at the mission were worse though she was given the opportunity to train as a nursing assistant in Perth. 

It took 21 years before Doris was reunited with her mother and some time after her Aunt Daisy shared the story of how her mother Molly had previously been a captive of the Settlement as a child and had escaped with her half sister, Daisy, and cousin Grace. These three little aboriginal girls trekked over 1600 klms following the rabit proof fence, a massive pest-exclusion fence which crossed WA from north to south, in order to return home.

Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence, released in 1996, is the true story of Doris’ mother and her Aunties. Three little girls pulled from their families, desperate to return to the only world they knew, walking across rugged outback terrain, often eating off the land and chased down by black trackers. The book includes copies of Government documentation and newspaper clippings from the 1930’s which confirm the story of these three brave children. It’s a confronting, shameful story and one which should be shared.

The film, Rabbit Proof Fence, directed by Hollywood-based Australian, Philip Noyce, was released in 2002 and is based on the book. Both the book and movie are worth while visiting – just ensure there is a box of Kleenex handy.

Interestingly, after having raised her family, Pilkington completed secondary education, going on to complete a Degree in Journalism. She was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to the arts in the area of Indigenous literature, particularly through the genre of life-storytelling to raise awareness of Indigenous history, culture and social conditions.

TRIVIA:

Rabbits were an introduced species and were both devastating and destructive. The Australian Government decided to build a barrier fence from a point on the south coast through to a location on the north coast which became known as the No.1 Rabbit-Proof Fence. Completed in 1907, the Rabbit-Proof Fence was the longest unbroken line of fence in the world. Today, long sections of the original fence are still maintained as a barrier against wild animals, particularly the Emu.

Screenwriter Christine Olsen felt that the fence was very symbolic in that “the fence is always such an amazing symbol for the Europeans’ attempt to tame the land: to draw a line in it to keep out rabbits, the pests they had introduced. It is such a magnificent symbol for a lot of what’s happened to Australia.”

Rachael Maza , drama coach, said the three central young Aboriginal (untrained) actresses had an innate understanding of the story. “That’s one thing I don’t have to teach them. I don’t think there’s an Aboriginal in this country who doesn’t understand this story, if not them personally, their parents or their very immediate family. It’s something we all share.” 

The Strange History of Possum Island Free State by Tim Slee

Tim (TJ) Slee is the Australian author of Taking Tom Murray Home, released in 2019, and the winner of the inaugural Banjo prize.

His latest novella has been released to support participating Australian Book Sellers. The author receives no royalties and requests that you support a local bookstore when they re-open for business. Go here for your free copy from Book Funnel:

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/g0hwxd6dec

The blub for The Strange History of Possum Island Free State states:

Sometimes you pick a place, and sometimes the place picks you.

Red Rigney was given five years to live. He didn’t expect to spend it living on Possum Island. But Possum Island had plans for Red Rigney.”

I read this in a single sitting. Loved it – just so Aussie in both tone and topic. Student squats in inner Sydney, the avant-garde arts scene, an island in the middle of the harbour, native title disputes, remnants of a convict past, the red tape of bureaucracy………. All so very familiar………

Slee sure knows how to tell a good yarn !

The Bombing of Darwin

Today, the 19th of February, is the 78th Anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin

This was the largest single attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia. On that day, 242 Japanese aircraft , in two separate raids, attacked the town, the ships in Darwin Harbour, and the town’s two airfields. This was an attempt to prevent the allies using them as bases to contest military developments close to Asia.

Darwin Harbour

The Japanese inflicted heavy losses upon Allied forces at little cost to themselves. The urban areas of Darwin also suffered some damage from the raids and there were a number of civilian casualties. More than half of Darwin’s civilian population left the area permanently, before or immediately after the attack.

Beautiful Mindil Beach was the site of mass graves, as it was following the devastation of Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

A memorial ceremony has been held every year since early on in the 21st Century. At the Cenotaph in Darwin, at 9:58 am, a World War II Air Raid Siren will sound to mark the precise time of the first attack.

Cenotaph, Darwin. NT.

I’ve read three novels by Australian authors this year (Territory by Judy Nunn and The Last Mile Home by Di Morrissey), which have featured the Bombing of Darwin. It appears that the Government censored information about losses at the time so as not to frighten and panic Australian citizens.

Belinda Murrell’s The Forgotten Pearl is Historical YA Fiction which I highly recommend giving insights into this period, and includes the Fall of Singapore and the mini submarines in Sydney Harbour. If you’ve got a teenager battling with history classes at High School this sure as hell beats dates written in chalk on a blackboard.

*In October 2015, the Chinese-owned Landbridge Group won the bid for a leaseof Port Darwin. The Northern Territory Government granted the company a 99-year lease for A$506 million.

No Comment.

Libraries, Linguistics & Fantasy

A couple of years ago I attended a talk given by Roly Sussex about the role of Libraries in future years given that the world is becoming so heavily digitalised.

Roland (RolyDenis Sussex is Emeritus Professor of Applied Language Studies at the School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies of the University of Qld. He hosts a talkback radio program broadcast across the country and has a weekly column in newsprint. Comparative Linguistics may sound a little on the dry side but this fella is as fascinating, and as funny, as all getup.

I was reminded of this outing when I accompanied a friend to a Fantasy Writing Workshop on the weekend at one of Brisbane’s outer suburban Libraries. A newer Library than my local it was connected to a swimming centre, just as Sussex indicated in his discussion of Libraries becoming the community hub of suburbs in the future.

And what a lovely, little, user friendly venue it was too!

My local Library hosts numerous Clubs – writing, jewellery making, chess, mahjong, robotics, crafts – and supports a diverse demographic. Next weekend they are even showing classic black and white movies on a regular basis which will be beaut with a coffee from their Cafe.

The Logan North Library at Underwood just changed the playing field. Fantastic and fully utilised on a Saturday afternoon which was good to see.

Why the Fantasy Writing Workshop? You’re right : it’s not my thing. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins is about my only foray into fantasy. 

Many years of assisting people with their career choices means that I was fascinated to learn what motivated young author, Tara Ingham to get into fantasy writing. Old habits seem to die hard…….

Ingham started writing at 14 and is an inspirational speaker. We sat with three young high school lasses who were fully engaged with the proceedings.

I had better try to order Once I Rise and Once I Remember from the Library.(refer http://www.taraingham.com).

Museums Aren’t Dead

The Redland Museum is my local history museum and is situated in the suburb of Cleveland, Brisbane. It specialises in preserving the Redland’s social history from 1842 to the present day.

Each year the Museum hosts the local community theatre group who perform an Australian-themed play over a period that includes January 26th – Australia Day. The event is a fundraiser for both the theatre group and the museum and is an example of community working together at its best with meals being prepared, cooked and served by both volunteer museum staff and the performers.

With the rain we were prevented from eating alfresco under the towering eucalypts, and instead dined amongst the Cobb and Co Carriages and fencing wire display. As always it was a hugely entertaining night.

The Museum takes pride in regularly changing its exhibits.

Room For Reading explores its large collection of children’s Annuals and favourite books such as Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ together with nostalgic Christmas cards and postcards sent from France by soldiers in the First World War.

Extended to February29th.

Publishers of magazines and periodicals introduced ‘Annuals’ during the first decades of the 19th Century. By the late 1800s, the genre of children’s annuals developed rapidly. Publishers competed for their share of this emerging, and increasingly literate, reading audience. The ‘Boy’s Own Annual’ and the ‘Girl’s Own Annual’ engrossed young readers with adventure stories for boys and educational articles for girls. I always opted for the Boy’s Own myself.


Who would buy a bag from Harrod’s when this was on offer at Notting Hill?

Other books on display include Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and W.E. Johns pilot and adventurer ‘Biggles’ as well as  children’s books by Australian authors such as ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’, ‘The Magic Pudding’ and ‘Blinky Bill’. I will forever remain enamoured by the Gumnut babies….

It’s a small exhibition but it brought back many memories.

NOTE: I was talking to an English lass today who was unfamiliar with May Gibbs and her gumnut babies. So, for cultural exchange purposes a photo of gumnuts, which were the idea behind Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Radio Plays : Then & Now

The Argonauts Club was an Australian children’s radio program, first broadcast in 1933 on ABC Radio Melbourne. It became one of the ABC’s most popular programs, running six days a week for 28 years until October 1969, when it was broadcast only on Sundays and was finally discontinued in 1972.

When I was very young, and before my fascination with Daniel Boone, Jungle Jim, and Jim Bowie on the tele I was an Argonaut. It’s what we did in the early sixties. My allegiance switched to the Mickey Mouse Club.

Last year one of the local community theatre groups held an evening of radio plays at the local museum. Originally written by Steele Rudd, the pseudonym of Arthur Hoey Davis (14 November 1868 – 11 October 1935) an Australian author, was best known for his novel On Our Selection.

Staged as a broadcast from a radio studio with one stand-up microphone, actors with scripts in hand and the indispensible sound effects, the four episodes followed the process of Dad’s  deciding to shift from the horse and buggy into a new-fangled piece of machinery, with everyone offering help or an opinion.

It was a fun night with the presentation by The Forgetting of Wisdom, a collective of semi-retired professional actors who made it entertaining as well as educational. Afterall, Dad and Dave were well before my time!

There will be another Radioplay at the Gold Coast Little Theatre on February 26th.

Based on the story by Dashiell Hammett, and the 1936 movie starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, The Thin Man centres on Nick and Nora Charles, a rich and glamorous couple who solve homicides in between cocktails.

If you’re looking for something to do these are good fun.

Retirement : it’s tough:)