Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings - in praise of Squatters' daughters

I'm rather fond of squatters and indeed of their daughters. This still comes from the 1933 film The Squatter's Daughter starring  Jocelyn Howarth and Grant Lyndsay.

I thoroughly enjoyed that movie. Not, mind you, when it was first released! Hang on, I'm not that old! But it was a fun movie with a superb bushfire scene.

Much of the film was shot at  Goonoo Goonoo station on the Liverpool Plains near Tamworth. Goonoo Goonoo, pronounced Gunna Ganoo, was the centre piece of the Australian Agricultural Company empire. The station homestead complex includes an historical mini-village, comprising the original 1830s chapel, post office and store.

The bushfire finale was filmed near Wallacia, west of Sydney. To accelerate the fire, the crew placed old nitrate film among the trees. Wooof! Wooof? Well, wooof in two senses. Wooof describes my first reaction
on learning the story of the fire - how bloody dangerous. Wooof also describes the fire. It exploded.

The singed cast and crew, and I do mean singed, kept filming. A bushfire is not something you can stage every day. The result was a superb piece of cinematography. If you go to the Wikipedia page and follow the various links through you can go on a quick cook's tour of aspects of Australian cultural life during the period, including the remarkable story of photographer and cinematographer Frank Hurley. He was quite some man.

I said that I was fond of squatters' daughters. I was/am, but they used to scare the living daylights out of me in my teenage years. They seemed so with it, even sophisticated, elegant. It was several years before I realised that they were as much of a hormonal mess as I was, even that I was a bit scary in my own right coming from a different if somewhat overlapping world.  

I have wandered a little, something that I am prone too do.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have some contract work, once again back in Parramatta. The first two weeks have been very busy. I am also re-adjusting too long travel times. Posting has been a little difficult. It's good that my commenters can carry on a dialogue without me! This is, after all, their site as well as mine.

In the midst of this, I have made some progress on other projects. Last year, I consolidated all my Belshaw World Armidale Express columns into a single working draft as a base for a new book. I have been using the train and bus time to do some editing. I have also been in contact with Janene Cary, a friend and colleague from the New England Writers' Centre who specialises in editing and publishing within an e-environment, about the steps involved in the publication process. July is the target date for release of the book. 

So progress on some fronts, not on others.   



Anonymous said...

Those two stars: Jocelyn Howarth and Grant Lyndsay

Grant Lyndsay was the stage name of Dick Fair who went on to quite a career in radio, noteably `Australia’s Amateur Hour’ - sort of the forerunner of our various current TV talent shows.

Jocelyn went to the US, and had a reasonable, if mainly B-grade, Hollywood career under the name Constance Worth. She married a guy called George Brent (lasted a year, then married for good a bit later). Brent was a sort of 'stock lead male' to many of Hollywood's leading ladies - a picture frame for their talents - Bette Davis in particular it seems. He married five times in all.

Interesting stuff.

Jim Belshaw said...

It is interesting kvd. There is probably a good book, one may already exist, looking at all the cross-relationships.