It has been my experience that those little country towns that are nothing more than a small dot on the map are often the most interesting.
Harrisville is a quaint country town only an hours drive west of Brisbane making it on the outskirts of Ipswich. Never heard of it, had you? It was named after the Harris brothers, John (1819–1895) and George (1831–1891), who established a store and cotton ginnery in the area at the time when the American Civil War had created a worldwide shortage of cotton.
There are numerous Heritage sites within Harrisville including:
13 Church Street: Courthouse and Police Lock-up 5 Hall Street: School of Arts 16 Hall Street: Masonic Hall 34 Queen Street: Commercial Hotel 35 Queen Street: Former Royal Bank 43–47 Queen Street: Memorial Park 54–58 Queen Street: Sacred Heart Catholic Church 1–5 Wholey Drive: Royal Hotel
Harrisville is flat which makes it ideal for exploration by walking. Allow a couple of hours to investigate as there are places for refreshments and retail outlets, including an Art Gallery and Lead Light Workshops, that will pique your interest.
So what was it in rural Harrisville that saw me have conniptions at high noon in the main street?
C’mon. I have refrained from mentioning the love of my life, Errol Flynn, for months. Is it any wonder that a girl suffered a major nervy turn, requiring far more than a G&T, when I found this?
Stay At Home orders have meant the consumption of lots of books and movies; the good, the bad and the ugly. This post may surprise you as it pertains to an Errol Flynn movie which I can only describe as the Ugliest Of All Time. You never thought you’de hear that from me, did you?
The Adventures Of Captain Fabian was released in 1951, during which time I suggest rigor mortis had started to set in.
Flynn plays a sea captain (Fabian) whose late father has been defrauded by a wealthy New Orleans family. Upon his return to New Orleans he becomes embroiled in a court case as a matter of revenge in which the Creole servant girl of said wealthy family is up for murder. She too is after revenge and what follows is illogical claptrap
Micheline Presle plays the servant girl. Beautiful looking lass but talk about a whiney, bitchy, evil mess. Definate bi polar. Let’s just say it isn’t her brains that attract Captain Fabian…… (She’s still alive at 98 years so lets leave it at that).
Oh, and she was married to the Director William Marshall at the time.
Flynn is credited with the adaptation of the screenplay. Oh, Errol mate, why would you put your name to that rubbish? What an appalling piece of drivel that makes little sense. Old Errol’s brain was on holidays in this one.
Vincent Price was the wealthy, fraudulent character. Playing a weakling with a murderous streak (literally), his performance must have rated as I was itching to hit him over the head with a cricket bat. That’s a good thing, right?
Back to my boy Flynn. *Still shaking my head in horror.
First of all there’s a bath scene. Flynn stands up and is wrapped in a towel. Looking at him at 42 years of age I likened it to an old man getting a sponge bath at the local nursing home. Sadly, it is an image that I will carry with me forever, though I have to question who was responsible for this exploitation. Shades of elder abuse….
Flynn’s performance lacks energy and indeed cracking a smile even seems beyond him. The youthful spring-in-his-step has gone and I wanted to recommend an orthopaedic surgeon.
At the conclusion of the movie, Fabian’s ship has been blown up and he is a criminal on the run, Vincent Price has been murdered, and the whiney but beautiful Creole dies with “Fabian” “Fabian” “Fabian” on repeat. At least ten times, still lisping to the very end. If that flag pole hadn’t killed her I would have……..
Then the piece de resistance : Fabian goes to pick up the body of the whiney one. Errol’s knees are buggered and it is so very obvious that his stunt double has to do the heavy lifting for him. Doesn’t even look like Flynn from the back except he’s got two arms, legs and black hair.
Or maybe Flynn finally regained his senses and just wanted to escape the whining one despite her ample….err….charms.
Interestingly, Errol made several movies when he was older and even more rugged around the edges such as Against All Flags and The Master Of Ballantrae, which still showed the remnants of his vigour and charm and are worth watching.
Captain Fabian can walk the plank for all I care. Absolute rubbish.
With ANZAC Day on April 25th and all in isolation I lost a week watching war movies, specifically Errol Flynn war movies.
Errol did battle and lost to the Red Baron in The Dawn Patrol, won the war over Germany in Desperate Journey, had the Japanese on the run in Objective, Burma! and solved all of Norway’s issues working with the Underground movement in Edge Of Darkness. Oh, and Dive Bomber with Fred McMurray. That was 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back. So it was a busy week for Errol, I tell you.
Change of direction last night with Flynn in a delightful little romantic comedy called Never Say Goodbye. Never heard of it? No, you wouldn’t have : critics panned it as “unoriginal”. To quote : It took five writers to concoct this rehash of tired plot machinations, time-worn gags, and padded situations. Bugger the reviews- this movie was never meant to be * high art, just good fun.
Never Say Goodbye (1946) tells the story of a divorced man (Errol Flynn), whose profession is drawing beautiful women for magazines who is trying to win back the love of his ex-wife (Eleanor Parker) with the help of his daughter, a restaurant owner (S V Sakall) and an unsuspecting GI (Forrest Tucker) home on leave. Errol Flynn’s mother in law and Eleanor Parker’s current boy friend, who just happens to be the couples divorce attorney, try to sabotage all efforts in reuniting the couple. The couple’s 8 year old daughter lives 6 months with Dad and six months with Mum, has two imaginary friends and writes to a marine for morale boosting purposes though includes a swimsuit photo of Mum.
Errol is at his most Flynnesque and doesn’t have to extend himself in this movie : he flirts beautifully, the banter is quick and fun, and he looks damn fine. Parker is absolutely beautiful as the society girl and there is no doubting “still waters run deep”.
Yes, the critics are right, we’ve seen the dining with two different women at a restaurant at the same time before, and we’ve seen the mimicking of someone else in a pretend mirror. Does it matter if it’s done well and we are entertained?
When Forrest Tucker makes moves on Parker, Errol pretends he’s a tough guy, which makes the daughter laugh.
Flynn : Well, you believed me as Robin Hood, didn’t you? Daughter: Yes, but that was just make believe.
Errol also mans up against a six foot five Tucker by morphing into Humphrey Bogart , with Bogie doing the voice over. Not high art but good fun! Interestingly, Errol was not a little fella. With his shirt off in Gentleman Jim he looked simply delicious, hang on, I have to sit quietly for a few minutes to catch my breathe…………Next to Tucker Flynn looks a right weed, especially when he is picked up off the floor like a rag doll.
Of course there is a happy ending. After a week in the trenches it was well deserved.
* Also watched a movie made after 1962. I know, some of you just wont believe it. Most boring film I’ve ever sat through. Hated it, and laughed at the actors who thought they were doing Shakespeare. 1917 : don’t bother. Life is too short.
Survived Easter thanks to an in-house Russell Crowe Festival and the odd cheese platter.
I do like Russ. He’s very normal. And look what he achieved for a languishing football club in the south of Sydney. Talk about cultivating societal change. Kudos for helping the * Firies too. Sure beats flogging coffee machines on the tele.
Just love Cinderella Man, a loose account of the rags-to-riches story of boxer, James J. Braddock. A day labourer during the Depression he flukes a win in the ring which sees him go on to challenge the heavyweight champion, Max Baer. And win. (Like duh).
Must admit that I also enjoy Crowe’s Robin Hood. It must say something when every time the movie comes to the finish line the entire lounge room erupts into cheer when a certain baddie cops an arrow through the neck. Now that’s satisfaction.
Talking of Robin Hood, recently received a lovely little Corona 19 Survival Pack. It ‘s also known as a stimulus-package-without-the-stimulus.
Now that certainly beats a coffee machine, doesn’t it?
The only issue is that I’ve had to rearrange the She-Shack, which came very close to becoming The Flynn Room, except it is now full of projects for the duration. Didn’t your parents drum into you that idle hands were the devil’s playthings?
Watched DesperateJourney last night with Alan Hale and Ronald Reagan.
Laughed my head off which probably isn’t a good thing in a war movie though the comic book ease with which these downed Allied airmen outwit, out maneuver, and out punch the Nazis is good fun. Just leave your brain at the front door and go with it.
The last scene has the surviving heroes fly into the setting sun over England, thousands of Nazis on their tail, when Flynn, in very Flynnesque mode says, “Now for Australia and a crack at those Japs!”
Errol won the war – again!
*Firies, or Fire Service. We’re a slack lot and abbreviate everything. Cya.
My eldest daughter, Pocohontas, thrilled me with the news that Bentley, my Grandfurbaby, is going to have a sibling in Spring. The two legged variety.
Of course I’m excited, though also living in trepidation. You see, I’m too young to be a grandmother according to my head. The calendar may suggest otherwise but I’m definitely no Nanna nor Grandma. I think I will be a Meemaw
I do not knit or sew. Since retirement I’ve been very fortunate to attend numerous Workshops to learn new skills. Like making gravy boats out of clay and building bee motels and fantasy writing workshops. I have no compunction whatsoever to learn how to use a crochet hook or a sewing machine.
I do paint ceramics. But how many egg cups does a child need?
I like painting and working with colour though am not good at it and blame those early school years when the teachers used to hit us on the knuckles with a ruler for colouring outside the lines.
The old brain is creative enough, it’s just that my body parts don’t seem to connect. A platter I painted as a wedding gift makes a fine dish for their pot plants.
She sent me a copy of the scan to put on the fridge door. We didn’t have scans back in the day. They were the days you could eat Camembert cheese and eat shellfish which was just as well as I craved prawns. It was an expensive pregnancy.
Apparently, it’s unacceptable to proclaim “ oh, so you’re having a penguin”.
So when I asked my daughter if it was acceptable to start a collection of Errol Flynn movies for the imminent eminent she said “ of course Mo, Errol and Audreys please. You can never start with the classics too soon”.
Just over twelve months ago my first task upon retirement was to head to the New South Wales South Coast, my old stomping ground and source of many wonderful memories.
It was an opportunity to revisit this part of the world as well as reconnect with two beautiful lasses who played a major role in my life some forty five years beforehand.
The beautiful south coast has been under siege for days. New Years Eve saw the residents and holidaymakers of one coastal township flee to the beach for safety from the raging bushfires. The battle continues with the navy enlisted to relocate people to safer shores.
So frightening, so compelling, so awful. I had to switch off the tele for some respite from the news.
Thinking of one of those childhood friends I put the same Errol Flynn DVD that we watched together just twelve months earlier. * Errol, chocolate, and pink champagne – what a way to spend a day together.
This beautiful friend still has no power connected and sleeps on the couch watching for embers. Two houses in her street were lost to the fires and despite a call to evacuate this brave, headstrong woman chose to stay and defend. Vision impaired and a widow. No snowflake this lass.
My other friend still has no power. Food and fuel are low, but positivity and kindness are abundant. She can’t get out of her pocket of the world as the highway could be closed for weeks.
Another heatwave looms this weekend. My thoughts are with those doing it tough, and the firies and emergency service personnel who have been kept on their toes for weeks. To my two gal pals, to a blogger friend with the chocolate labs, and to all those affected……….no words. Just hang in there……..
*I also wanted to share a traumatic scene involving crabs with my daughter which to this day frightens the bejesus out of me and caused lifelong scars. I’m pretty fearless, except for seaweed which is where octopi and crabs lurk. Blame Against All Flags and Reap The Wild Wind and a lack of parental guidance.
But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my adrenaline loving child was only interested in recipes utilising crab meat. My neurosis was quickly sideswiped. And yes, my Thai Crab Balls were a success.
Watched the 1987 Australian movie The Lighthorsemen last night. October 31st is the anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, a part of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in World War 1.
It’s become a family tradition – a bit like viewing Die Hard just before Christmas.
Funnily enough, I saw the movie through different eyes this time. Not sure whether to put that down to retirement and being more relaxed or just getting older. ( Rhetorical only – no comments required).
I can confirm, following my recent visit to the Summer Land Camel Farm ( where I had conniptions after discovering Errol Flynn had slept at the property when it was owned by Charles Chauvel, nephew of Sir Henry), that camels did get a nod in the movie. It was only a two second scene, but there they were representing the Imperial Camel Corp. No embarrassment whatsoever jumping out of my seat at the time and doing a little jiggle with excitement.
All the young actors were my age when they made the movie and at their prime. Well, all except Peter Phelps who is obviously a late bloomer. Gary Sweet, who played Frank, had hair for goodness sake! John Walton (Tas) was the dreamboat who played Doctor Rothwell in the soapie, The Young Doctors. Dead now. And Sonny Blake, who played Irishman Scotty Bolton and was damn impressive sans shirt, and was left paralysed after a car accident on the way home from filming, is another we recently lost.
Beautiful Sigrid Thornton was our girl before Our Nic with her big brown eyes and pursed lips. Did you happen to watch the series of Seachange twenty years on earlier this year? Might have needed to top up her superannuation.
I have no recollection of Halloween as a child. Not sure when it actually became a thing. Or why.
A girlfriend with week on, week off custody arrangement of her daughter tells me that said child is trick and treating with her father on the night and that she will hold a Halloween party over the weekend. Halloween Parties ??????
Must be me. I don’t comprehend how it‘s law that kiddies under 12 years of age are not allowed to walk to school unsupervised, or that schools can dictate what a kid can or cannot have in his lunch box, though door knocking for sweets is okay.
I hope all those on the other side of my world enjoy their fun. And the flesh of all those pumpkins.
Personally, I’m all for this idea of wrapping up brussel sprouts in chocolate wrappers.
A road trip just days into Spring and we’re already hitting temperatures reminiscent of Summer. This apparently means that bushfires are our new normal and there have been multiple blazes raging across Queensland and New South Wales for the past few days. Not fun on the wide open roads nor those that are winding, single lane through the country but more on that later.
First port of call was only 45 minutes from Brisbane, just outside the small town of Harrisville, off the Cunningham Highway.
Summer Land Camels is absolutely fascinating and well worth a visit. Yes, camels. Those ugly big things that spit. Really interesting – who knew?
And camels don’t spit. That’s Alpacas, their cousins. Bulls get frothy mouths when they’re “romantically inclined”.
This Camel farm is the biggest in Australia and third biggest in the world. They milk them on site to produce cheese, yoghurt and gelato – Camel gelato for goodness sake ! – as well as skincare products and leather goods.
The tour around the milking facilities is well worth taking and I was fortunate to learn all the goss from one of the partners of the enterprise who has a background in Biochemistry, Physiology diagnostics with a particular expertise in the innate immune system, gut and organ health, Nuclear Medicine, Physiotherapy and Masters in Sports Science. Seriously, it was love at first adjective.
I was totally ignorant of the fact that Australia had a Camel Corp in World War 1 that participated in the Charge for Beersheba. This means that they’re going to have to remake the movie The Lighthorsemen and I have to drop by the Library ASAP.
So yeah, there’s all these other touristy activities that you can participate in, like feeding the beasts or going on a camel ride. See here for more information : http://www.summerlandcamels.com.au
I enjoyed a Devonshire Tea with homemade jam and Fromage blanc courtesy of the camels.
So this was a truly enjoyable start to my road trip with my excitement only heightened when I learned that the property used to be the residence of Australian filmmaker, Charles Chauvel. There may have been a hint of conniptions when told that Errol Flynn was an overnight guest before his Hollywood days.
Next trip I will take an esky and ice and purchase some Camel meat. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a Camel recipe but I’de give it a go. My daughters haven’t yet forgiven me for serving up Roasted Skippy with baked veges. A Mother’s payback.
Summer Land Camels is located at 8 Charles Chauvel Drive, Harrisville, Qld.
My daughters, the Gadabout Girls, are big on travel and experiencing different cultures. Add the label Adrenalin Junkie to my eldest who does all kinds of horrific things that she doesn’t even share with her mother these days, such as jumping out of planes, hiking through South America and driving Go Karts through the streets of Tokyo. She unashamedly admits bonding with her partner when they patted a shark together whilst surfing off North Stradbroke Island.
When she told me a few years ago that she and her military lad were touring Europe she mentioned Switzerland. Switzerland. Stupid mother asks, “why Switzerland?” The reply? “Large dairy industry and great cheeses”. Mother was stupid AND naive. They jumped out of a plane, landing in water, and floating down an icy river. As you do.
So today, on the 110th Anniversary of the birth of Errol Flynn I thought I’de share the souvenir the daughters brought back for me from their trip to Greece via Egypt.
Yep, these they found in Athens. Better than a miniature sphinx or a snow dome, hey.
I’ve been away for a few days to a beautiful part of our world though home earlier than expected. Bit of an issue so a bit blahhhh.
In an attempt to lift my spirits a friend jokingly said “ what we need is some Errol music, but we haven’t got any”.
I was gifted a copy of Australia’s Sweetheart on the basis that Mary Maguire “socialised with everyone from Charles Kingsford Smith, Errol Flynn and Donald Bradman”. Indeed, I went straight to the Index which listed thirteen references to Errol Flynn. Thirteen. Hold that thought.
Never heard of Mary Maguire? Neither had I!
Still, let’s not dismiss this 2018 effort by journalist, screen writer and author, Michael Adams. It’s a fascinating read.
Mary Maguire was a teenager when she starred in two Australian movies made in the mid 1930’s. Her first major role was in Heritage, produced by Charles Chauvel, just after he had discovered a young Errol Flynn and directed him in In The Wake Of The Bounty.
Mary became a household name at a time when 3 million Australians went to the movies each week and when there were over 1,200 movie houses across the country. Hard to picture really, pardon the pun. It seemed logical then for Mary to try her luck in Hollywood in the latter part of the 30’s. Especially considering her social connections……
Her father, Michael, was a popular AFL footballer, boxer and publican and her mother rather a beauty. When Mary was a teenager the family relocated from Melbourne to Brisbane to run the Bellevue Hotel, an inner city establishment renowned for its clientele and which in recent years had been listed as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a “Defining Moments”. (Locals may remember it was later demolished in the dead of night by the Deen Brothers to make way for another ugly Government Office Block – another defining moment in Queensland history.)
Russian ballerina’s stayed at the Bellevue, as did the English Cricket Team involved in the infamous Bodyline incident, Australian sporting hero Donald Bradman, and aviator Charles Kingsford Smith. Royalty supped in the Dining Room of the Bellevue Hotel, and one of Mary’s beaus was the young aviator that was killed in an air crash in the Lamington National Park ( located by the O’Reilly’s)
Mary lived on three continents : Australia, America, and the United Kingdom and she lived parallel with seminal incidents of the twentieth century: the Spanish Flu; the Great Depression; Australia’s early radio, talkies and aviation; Hollywood’s Golden Era; the British aristocracy’s embrace of European fascism; London’s Blitz; and post-war American culture and politics. It’s this information which is the backbone of the book and makes it such an interesting read.
My favourite piece of trivia revolves around Mary’s Australian friend, Margaret Vyner, a super model before the term was even invented and fellow actress. Such was Vyner’s beauty that Col Porter added her name to the list of wonderful things about the world in a version of his song You’re The Top from his hit musical, Anything Goes:
You’re the top, You’re an ocean liner, You’re the top, You’re Margaret Vyner.
Mary mixed with many Hollywood movie stars, including Ronald Reagan, Marion Davies, Gloria Swanson, Maureen O’Sullivan and Judy Garland. Her first husband was a Nazi sympathiser and her second husband, an engineer, invented Mr Bartender.
Thirteen Index references to Errol Flynn. Mary Maguire “left behind no known diaries or letters”. There is nothing to indicate that Flynn and Maguire did anything more than share an employer and workspace. Flynn has most certainly been used as a yard stick and the author has obviously done much research utilising media reports. I’m just not so sure this conveys the actress’s actual life as opposed to the life publicity would have us believe she lived.
Regardless, an engaging read and insight into earlier times.