Monday, October 18, 2010

Around the New England blogging traps 19 - Armidale sojourn

Again a month since my last blog round-up. This time my excuse is my Greek trip!

Starting in Armidale, detective romance writer Bronwyn Parry has been on a trip to collect material for her next book. While the location is fictional, it is in fact based on the north-west. To collect material, Bronwyn based herself in Inverell and then spent time travelling round the sites and small towns. I look forward to the reports.20100925-11-03-51-guy-fawkes-NP--colourful-caterpillar

Bronwyn's partner, Gordon Smith, has been continuing his exploration of New England's National Parks.   

This, believe it or not, is a caterpillar. Pretty, but formidable. I always admire the way in which Gordon is able to capture colour.

In Old News from Armidale and New England, Gordon has continued repeating newspaper stories from New England's past with a special focus on the Tablelands. In reporting on a sports day held at Walcha in 1851, the Maitland Mercury said in part: 

Fourteenth ditto of £3 – a swimming match, 100 yards-gained by Gullidge, of Sydney. – This match was exceedingly well contested by Mr. Grant, of Emu Creek. Had the winner not adopted the aboriginal mode of swimming for the last 20 yards, viz., rolling, and throwing the hands forward out of the water, he would have been hard pressed by Mr, Grant.

This sounds very much like the Australian crawl. I had thought that this was a uniquely Australian invention. I see from the Wikipedia article that it was not.

In his latest round of newspaper reports, Gordon also reports a 1925 West Australian story about the use of radio waves  to detect metal ores. I quote the start of the story;

Recently newspaper articles announced that a German company had an apparatus for exploring likely localities for metalliferous deposits, and people from the other side of the world testify to the success in Europe of this latest scientific advance. Two Australians, Mr. F. H. Fraser and Major T. I. Farrow, have, however, forestalled the Teutonic radio men. They have proved that the directional beam is the eye that can penetrate earth and rocks, and show the location and extent of lodes and lenses of ore. Recently large scale tests were carried out on the side of a mountain mass near Hall’s Peak, 20 miles east of Hillgrove (N.S.W.), by a syndicate which is opening up a silver-lead deposit there.

I had no idea this sort of thing was done so early!

Staying in Armidale, Paul Barratt returned to the city for the 50th anniversary of his 1960 TAS (The Armidale School) Leaving Certificate Class. This was held as part of Old Boys Weekend.

Paul's post, The Class of 1960, fifty years on, provides a detailed description of the day.

I won't steal all of Paul's thundPaul Barratt, Emma Buzo, the Header, it's an enjoyable post to read, but I wanted to pick up a few highlights. 

One event of the day was a presentation by Emma Buzo of a photo of her father, New England playwright and writer Alex Buzo, from the 1970s, framed with a bio that Emma herself had written. Alex was in Paul's class.

The photo shows Paul as MC with Emma and Headmaster Murray Guest. 

I wrote a little about Alex in Death of Alex Buzo, with an edited version, Belshaw's World - Death of Alex Buzo, appearing in my Armidale Express column while I was away.

Emma herself is going to TAS from the start of next year as drama teacher and manager of the Hoskins Performing Arts Centre. So the wheel turns! For more on Alex, Emma, and the company Emma founded to produce, promote and perpetuate the work of her father, see The Alex Buzo Company.

The weekend was also marked by the launch of A Song to Sing-O,Paul Griffith launches Jim Graham's memoir Jim Graham's memoir of 43 year's involvement with musical drama at TAS. The photo shows Paul Griffith launching the book at the old boys' dinner.

Paul followed his first post up with a later post, Direct from Boggabri, for one night only, providing more information from the Jim Graham book launch including past and present photos

There is no doubt that Jim Graham had a major influence and not just at TAS. Outside touring companies, much of New England's music and drama relied on home-grown amateur productions.

This was true not just for the Tablelands, but across the broader New England. Jim Graham's productions of Gilbert and Sullivan, and the Queen Victoria Music Halls, as well as other productions, brought a highly professional note to local theatre. While school based, they also toured.

The next photo shows the 1960 production of the Mikado. You can see the detail in the costume and the sets.

Mikado 1b

In addition to his his direction, Jim also wrote scripts. His Ginger Meggs and the Missing Link went national.

Finishing this post in Armidale, Le Loup's A Woodrunner's Diary continues his exploration of living history. In What Would You Like To See?, he wrote:

If there is anything that you would like information on or any videos you would like to see that you think may fall within my range of knowledge or skills, please let me know.

There's a challenge that has already been followed up with some questions. 




Le Loup said...

Excellent, thank you.

Jim Belshaw said...

A pleasure!