Telefolmin men from the highland valley near the source of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea, September 1914. Image by Dr Richard Thurnwald
A small number of an historic hoard of rare images taken in German New Guinea at the outbreak of WW1 are now understood to have been looted, by an Australian military expedition, from German ethnologist Dr Richard Thurnwald.
And so, another intesting chapter in the life and times of Thomas James Rodoni (1882-1956) and his fellow troops in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) has now emerged thanks to Dr Barry Craig, Senior Curator, Foreign Ethnology at the South Australian Museum.
Following the launch of Rodoni’s digitised photographic glass and film negatives in the freely accessible Rodoni Archive, Dr Craig commented on the site’s pages in May/June 2015 that he had recognised that a number of Rodoni’s images had not been taken by him, but, in fact taken by a German ethnographer Richard Thurnwald possibly in Sept-Oct 1914. He stated:
“Thurnwald had returned from his exploration to the source of the Sepik, apparently leaving his photographs at his base camp, and set off up the Sepik again in November to explore the Sand and North Rivers (the latter as far north as the Bewani Range). While he was away, the AN&MEF arrived (with Rodoni) on the Nusa and took all of Thurnwald’s boats, his engineer Theodore Fiebig, and supplies, collections, notes and images back down the river, eventually to Madang. When Thurnwald returned to find his camp ransacked, he went down river in a paddle canoe, sustained by a few cans of beans, and reported to the police station at Angoram, and then went on to Madang where he was befriended by Captain Walter Balfour Ogilvy, the District Officer there. Thurnwald then attempted to get all his things back but it took many years and not everything was returned. It seems these images in possession of Rodoni were part of the looting.” – Dr Barry Craig Wednesday, 20 May, 2015 at 10:57 am
Colin Anderson (Photograph courtesy of Robert Eather)
The late Dr Colin Robert Anderson, pictured above in his younger student days, passed away in 2014. He was the director and prime mover of the early Newcastle University College Revues. The Newcastle University College, established in 1951, was the precursor of the University of Newcastle.
Thanks to the efforts of Robert Eather, Ken Longworth, Moira Gordon, Marilla North and others, we have been able to gather a number of the original recordings and related programmes and reviews of these theatrical performances. It has taken eight years to get to this point, since Ken Longworth first contacted us in 2008 about having this material digitised.
Thanks to Moira Gordon, (wife of the late Professor Barry Gordon, a producer for the first production) who tracked down the first ever University College Revue booklet for “Abandon Hope” we now know the original intention of the creators.
“THIS IS the first University Revue that has been presented by Newcastle University College. Since its inception in 1951, the College, through the determined efforts of its student body, has introduced and developed those activities which so soon became a traditional part of University Life.
Notable amongst these are the student newspaper, “Opus”, which was first published in 1954, the annual day of “celebration”, Autonomy Day, July 1st, on which day students hit town, generally with a procession – so far we’ve attacked the Transport Department (1956) and the rock’n’roll craze (1957). These celebrations culminate in the Cabaret on the same evening.
Now Revue is joining this list of “traditions”. The aim of a University Revue is to rend(er) limb from limb politicians and professors, fascists and physicists, liberals and communists – in fact any one and anything that has of late been before the public eye and is worthy or unworthy enough to deserve satirizing. Revue also presents a number of items which rely solely on the talent of the actor or singer for their success. For thee acts, we need talent and have been lucky enough to find in our undergraduate ranks singers and dancers of note.
We of the Newcastle University College hope that you will enjoy our Revue and join in the spirit of the evening – one of gay banter and light-hearted fun. If you see someone vaguely resembling yourself on stage, be flattered; if you don’t feel relieved. If you don’t understand some of our more subtle jokes, don’t worry about it – it’ll hit you in about a fortnight’s time.”
However, there are gaps in the archives, and so we are very interested in hearing from past performers, collaborators, family and fans who may hold material relating to them.
Below you can see what we do have, if you see gaps that can be filled, or errors that need correction, or memories that can be added please let us know.
Cheers and please enjoy.
Gionni Di Gravio
Abandon Hope Revue Programme (Courtesy of Moira Gordon)
Abandon Hope! Original Disc (Courtesy of Ken Longworth)
Programme: None Available Recording: None Available
Ken Longworth’s Reminiscences on the Newcastle College Revues
“I have recordings of songs and sketches from the first two Newcastle University College revues, Abandon Hope (1958) and The Third Degree (1959).
The Abandon Hope recording is a 12″ LP, while The Third Degree includes a 12″ LP and a 45rpm EP. The last has a long sketch called My Fair Bookie, which uses the music from My Fair Lady’s songs for a story about bookmakers. Margaret McDermott, later Margaret Bowman, was the female lead in that and some other sketches of the first two years.
The late Vic Rooney is among the other performers on the recordings, which were made by Vista Records, a Cooks Hill based recording studio.
I was the first person on stage in the first revue, Abandon Hope, playing the title character in a sketch called A Technical Barbarian. I was cast as a technical college student at Tighes Hill who reluctantly got caught up in the Uni revue and was pushed unwillingly on stage at the start of the show each night. I had to be literally pushed on stage every performance because it was a bit terrifying for a 17-year-old to be alone in front of a packed audience of 900 at the original Roxy Theatre in Hamilton who expected to be laughing from the first seconds after the overture. I suspect I was cast as the tech student because I was the youngest cast member of the revue, the only first-year student who went along to the auditions.
I wrote my first revue sketch for the second revue but unfortunately it wasn’t among those recorded. It had a lot of visual comedy, as well as funny lines (virtually all lifted from Tennessee Williams’s play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, where they were all serious – it’s amazing what a difference a change of context can make!).
I was involved in the third revue in 1960 but, from memory, there was no recording. Everybody got a bit too ambitious in the third revue and some of the sketches, including two I wrote and directed, were yanked late in the piece because they weren’t working, with a melodrama replacing them in the middle act. I still think the sketches were among the best I wrote but I didn’t have control over the casting and some of the performers didn’t get the style that was needed.
I also wrote sketches for the fourth revue in 1961, the first staged in the then new auditorium/student dining room on the Tighes Hill campus, but I wasn’t too involved in the physical production and I’m unaware of a recording being made (although I do recall my voice being used in a recording done at the venue of a Dragnet send-up – it was a radio-style play and I think the voices were used offstage) . If there was one, I’d love a copy. My two sketches (neither listed in the program under my real name but under a nickname and a pseudonym) were among the show’s biggest hits and it would be great to hear them.”
Ken Longworth (March 2008)
Ken Longworth’s Notes on the Digitisation of Abandon Hope! and The Third Degree Vinyl Recordings
“The vinyl recordings made of the first two Newcastle University College revues (1958, 1959) are at last ready for me to hand over to the Newcastle University archives.
Adrian Gregg, a Newcastle theatre participant who is also involved in restoration of films and recordings, has cleaned the vinyl disks and transferred the recordings to compact disks.
There are three vinyl recordings: a 12-inch 33rpm LP of sketches and songs from the first revue, Abandon Hope, and a 12-inch LP and 45rpm EP featuring the second revue, The Third Degree.
The Abandon Hope recording was made after the revue, in a hall in Hamilton, when someone decided that a recording should be made of some of the production’s highlights. The Third Degree recordings are live, made during a performance, and, while they include the audience reaction, the sketches and songs vary in volume and clarity.
Adrian warned me that current styluses used for playback of vinyl recordings are different to those from the period when the recordings were made, so that playback with contemporary equipment might not be as good as with use of older turntables and styluses.
He made me several CD copies of the recordings, so I’ll also give the archives one for each revue. (And he photographed the labels on the vinyl disks and used them for the CD case cover inlays). Adrian also made long-life masters on disks that are supposed to have a 300-year life. I’ll hang on to those, in case problems develop with the other disks.
There are track listings on the labels and he’s also put them in the back of the CD case inlays. However, the track listings for The Third Degree do not include the EP sketch, My Fair Bookie. As a result, there are two unlisted tracks on that CD.
Abandon Hope plays for about 37 minutes, while The Third Degree is about 62 minutes.
Unfortunately, there was no accompanying info with the recordings. I should have the revue programs in a box somewhere, so when I get the time I’ll look for them.
Playing the CDs, I recognised the voices of Vic Rooney and Maggie McDermott (now Bowman, after whom the Bowman building is named.) Boxhead O’Shea, who was also a first-grade rugby player and later a coach and who is still around Newcastle according to a Herald story earlier this year (I think his name was John but he was never called anything other than Boxhead), (ED.- “Boxhead” was Brian O’Shea, thanks Moira Gordon) plays Liberace in a sung sketch. I was also horrified/fascinated to find myself in a sketch that I’d forgotten about.
There are references to lecturers – Cyril Renwick, or characters based on him, featured in both revues – and there is a sketch called Face the Mess, which was based on the TV interview show Meet the Press, which includes a breathy guest called Norma Sykes. I eventually remembered that Norma Sykes was the real name of Sabrina, a chesty British celebrity.
A song in the 1958 revue, Don’t Take Your Cars To Town, has a reference to parking meters in Newcastle that suggests 1958 was the year they were introduced.
A lot of the people and references to events are, as you’d expect, of their time, so some sort of research could be needed into the recording contents to make them truly valuable archive records (no pun intended).
I can deliver the recordings and CDs when you are ready for them. It would be good if the ABC could be persuaded to do something on them, and if Margaret Bowman could be induced to talk to an ABC presenter
about the revues.”
Barry Gordon’s Observations on the student ‘Revue’ in Newcastle (From Barry Gordon’s “The Gordons of Merewether”, selected by Moira Gordon)
In late 1993, Professor Barry Gordon set about writing a family history, commencing with his graduation in 1956 and his move to Newcastle to join the staff of Newcastle University College. At the time of his death, he had carried this project up to the early 1980s. Barry scoured a wide range of sources to build up a chronology of events and happenings, using his skills built up working with historical material. He commenced with mining his own old diaries and those kept by Moira, photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, calendar charts used to plan activities while of overseas trips, the memorabilia kept from these travels, expenditure records, taxation returns, school reports, trophies, magazines and papers which had been kept, publications, unpublished papers. Then, as he faced the task of clearing out his room at the University of Newcastle at the beginning of 1994, and thereby sorting through papers and correspondence files built up over thirty-five years, this had meshed well with Barry’s project, and much material relating to his professional and university associations emanated from this. From this history of “The Gordons of Merewether”, Moira Gordon has selected Barry’s observations about the early occasions of student ‘Revue’ in Newcastle.
In Autumn  Barry [Gordon] resumed as captain-coach of the reserve grade rugby side, and a group of students approached him with the idea of mounting a university revue. He agreed to co-direct the production together with one of the students, John Hartigan. In this undertaking his prior involvement with Sydney University Revue was an important factor. Scripts for sketches were contributed by two brilliant Sydney satirists, Philip Grahame (known as “Chester”) and John Cummings. Robert Hughes, who later became art critic for Time magazine and a high-profile author and presenter of TV series on art and culture, came to Newcastle to paint the back drops. Barry wrote scripts and song lyrics, co-compered the show, and appeared in some of the sketches. Moira volunteered her services backstage as call-girl. Intensive rehearsals for the revue began in May. (p.11)
The Revue “Abandon Hope” opened for a four-night season at the old and cavernous Roxy Theatre, Beaumont Street, Hamilton in early July. It was a cause celebre with full houses after opening night. Newcastle had not seen a production of its kind, in which fast-paced, topical satire of the “intimate revue” variety predominated. The cast and stage crew were drawn mainly from members of the rugby club and the university’s ladies hockey team. Their exuberant style was irresistible. Stand-out performers were Margaret McDermott (subsequently, Bowman), Brian O’Shea, Colin Anderson and Vic Rooney, all amateurs at the time. The last two went on to professional careers involving theatre and TV. (pp. 11-12).
The first university revue had been so successful, and the participants had enjoyed the experience so much, that a second was staged [in 1959]. Barry wrote scripts and lyrics, and directed some of the sketches. “The Third Degree” opened at the Roxy in late July. An even better production than its predecessor, it played to enthusiastic audiences and congratulatory reviews. The proceedings were recorded live and issued on L.P. for private circulation. (p.15).
The third University revue “Brainwash”, opened at the Roxy in July . Barry was not as heavily involved as in the past, but contributed lyrics and a sketch, “Gunn with the Bourbon on Beat Hunter Street” which mingled scenes and characters from two private-eye TV series with Newcastle personalities and events. At the end of the Winter, rugby coaching concluded with a premiership win, and Barry wrote a review of the first six years of the University Rugby Club for Opus, the College newspaper. (p.19)
He [Barry] wrote on a variety of subjects during the year , including an article on jazz for the University arts magazine Nimrod, a piece on hire purchase for the Melbourne-based Catholic Worker, and with Moira, a paper on marriage for a conference of the Sydney Newman Society. Another paper was “Kingship, Priesthood and Prophecy in the Lord of the Rings”, a lengthy analysis of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic which was yet to become widely celebrated. There were also some long lyrics for the University revue. (p.24).
These interviews were recorded by Ken Longworth on the 4 April 2009 at a reunion held at the Central Coast of students of Newcastle University College.
“Our Mister Anderson” Uninews No 17 March 1991 pp.18-19
Production: John Bushelle Production Pty Ltd Sydney Australia.
Produced for The Hunter Valley Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd.
Description: 1 film reel (29 min.) : sd., col. ; 16 mm.
Summary: Opening scene depicts arrival of Endeavour to the shores of Australia followed by scenes (possibly) inside Glenbawn Dam’s Museum of Rural History (?) and a survey of the Hunter Valley’s natural features including Glenbawn dam, and water’s importance to primary producers including agriculture (Maitland district), horse studs, wine and vineyards, beef cattle, historic homesteads, wool and sheep, dairy cattle, milk and butter production, Oak vehicles and factory, showtime, rodeo, woodchopping, Sydney’s Royal Easter Show, Newcastle, Port, Coal, Power Stations, B.H.P. Steelworks, Milk and butter production and distribution, homes, civic pride, Oak milk bars, beaches, Lake Macquarie, Sailing Clubs, Aerial fly over to Port Stephens, conclusion.
Subject: Hunter Valley (N.S.W.)
This is a 16mm film colour film reel that forms part of the collection of Archives of the Hunter Valley Co-Operative Diary Company Limited.
It was digitised in April 2014 for the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) Australia.
This is a 16mm film reel that forms part of the Archives of the Hunter Valley Co-Operative Diary Company Ltd.
It was digitised in April 2014 for the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library) Australia.
The original black and white 16mm film is not in the best condition, but our digitisers did the best they could, the quality does get more stable as the film proceeds.
Title: Valley of the Hunter River
Script and Production by Fred Whatham
Commentary by Roger Climpson
Australia : Cine-Austral, 1960.
Description: 1 film reel (38 min.) : sd., bw. ; 16 mm.
Notes: Distributor: F. W. P. Whatham.
Summary: The geography and geology of the Hunter River Valley showing the river system, the dams and the activities of the area such as coal mining, race horse breeding, dairying, fat lamb raising, lumbering, wine making and vegetable growing.
The Australian Assistance Plan (AAP) was piloted in 1973 by the Whitlam Labor Government and was subsequently extended nationally. The Plan created Regional Councils for Social Development (RCSD) and funded the employment of a social planner and Community Development Officers within each Regional Council. The Hunter Region was one of the first areas that this plan was placed into practice.
The film was mostly shot in and around Newcastle and across the towns and centres of the Hunter Region featuring appearances by Dr Tony Vinson, Director NSW Bureau Crime Statistics; Brian Brinley, Adult Probation Officer; Susan Hellyer, Social Planner, Hunter Region; Dixon Park Community Group; Wickham Primary School; Gloucester; Maitland; Windale Progress Association; Bill Plaizier, Newcastle Youth Service; Newcastle Learning Exchange; Pete Meehan 2KO Radio; Newcastle East End; Trinia.
This film was digitised as part of the University of Newcastle (Australia) Archives of the The Hunter Regional Council for Social Development.
Thanks for the following information from the National Film and Sound Archive.
Title: A Say In Your Community With The Australian Assistance Plan
Release Date: 25 March 1975
Produced as: Lindfield, N.S.W. : Film Australia for Social Welfare Commission, 1974.
Summary: The Australian Assistance Plan (AAP) was piloted in 1973 by the Whitlam Labor Government and was subsequently extended nationally. The Plan created Regional Councils for Social Development (RCSD) and funded the employment of a social planner and Community Development Officers within each Regional Council.
Country of Origin: Australia
Production company: Creators:
· Baker, Suzanne. (Producer)
· Tarrant, Crea, (ed.)
· Howes, Oliver, 1940- (Director)
· Australia. Social Welfare Commission
· Film Australia
Sponsor: Film Australia
Notes: Lindfield, N.S.W. : Film Australia for Social Welfare Commission, 1974.