While the future of this blog is unclear, I’m going to continue posting colourful snippets and mementoes of the exhibition. Here’s the first ‘post-show’ offering, a poster from Marilyn Birmingham along with a couple of pics generously supplied by Dennis Elton.
Rough cut movie poster for Dennis Milne’s and Dennis Elton’s locally shot ‘New, Different’ super 8 double bill in 1963, Surf Stomp / Follow the Surf, clipped into an early 1960s scrapbook by Marilyn Birmingham (nee Bennett), courtesy Marilyn Birmingham.
Dennis Elton 1963, photo, courtesy Dennis Elton
Bronte Boys 1961, hand coloured photo, courtesy Dennis Elton
Sad news today that Michael Peterson has just died. Here’s a Peter Crawford photo from the Telegraph article, showing MP out on the point at Dee Why around the mid 1970s. One of the very few ‘really interesting’ Australian surfers. Will be plenty of obits and retrospectives coming our way in next few days and weeks.
Tracks cover February 1972 with Michael Peterson doing ‘that cutback’ at Kirra in Morning of the Earth, shot by Albe Falzon. Magazine courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum.
Here’s the board that kick-started modern surf culture in Australia back in 1956, when Bondi boardmaker Gordon Woods managed to convince the visiting American surfer Bob Burnside to part with his Joe Quigg balsa ‘malibu’ and then use it to churn out a handful of plywood knock-offs, called hollow mals, following the same rail, rocker, tail and fin specs. Australians to this day still use the word ‘mal’ to describe a longboard.
MANLY 1956 :: Bob Burnside carrying his balsa ‘malibu’ built by Joe Quigg, in Manly around September 1956, movie still from Greg Noll’s Search For Surf 1958.
BONDI 1957 :: Bondi lifesaver and surf rat Scott Dillon in 1957 with the Burnside balsa ‘malibu’ (circled) and Gordon Woods on the left with one his plywood ‘hollow mals’, built to match. Photo courtesy Gordon Woods.
DEE WHY 1958 :: Gordon Woods with his Quigg ‘malibu’ at Dee Why, Sydney, around 1958. That’s future ad-man Ross Renwick on his right with a Gordon Woods balsa ‘teardrop’, featuring the next generation of pintailed, wide bottomed hot-dogger plan shape. Photo courtesy Gordon Woods.
Well there it goes. End of a great innings. Almost 600 eager visitors over the weekend. As I write, boards are getting wrapped and addressed, objects are being checked and processed with arrangements underway for their prompt return home. Fittings, iPads, screens and showcases are being ‘bumped out’ and already the gallery is emptied of all valuables, with drop sheets, dollies and ladders poised for action. I’ll post the time lapse video in the next few days.
Came across this great 60s advert here. Maybe right, maybe wrong, not sure. Tracy looks pretty nervous as the first couple of shories froth around her waist and her absorbant swimmers start swelling, just like those ‘transpiration’ experiments in year 7 science, wondering what’s she’s gonna be left with in a few minutes – no doubt a soggy and tattered film of printed paper delaminating about her privates…oh well there’s another pair in the bucket Trace.
photo courtesy Valentin Sowada, many thanks to Karin Sowada
As Valentin put it…from the Swiss Alps to Bondi Beach. Having arrived in Sydney in 1956, from his home town of Lausanne, by way of North Africa, Paris, India and East Asia, followed by a stint working in the Snowys before finally settling down in Tamarama in 1962, Swiss wanderer and photographer Valentin Sowada was eager to absorb what he regarded as Sydney’s very non-European qualities.
Here’s one of Valentin’s photos showing the great sandy patchwork of cultures and characters around early 60s Bondi. I’m wondering if the leopard print boardies and biblical tats on this bonafide greaser would have raised a few eyebrows.
Congratulations to Valentin, who turned 80 the other day, for your fantastic photos, your work with Qantas and other local magazines and more recently, your contribution of several photos in Surf City.
1950s Ray Leighton photo of Pat Crum, Lillian Galvin, Pam Toyer, Pam Inch and (Lillian’s sister) Dorothy Galvin on hollow boards at Manly
Allan Jackson sent me a note recently about his mum, Lakemba femlin Lillian Jackson (that’s her second on the left, cool smile), immortalised in this 1950s photo, and offered to ask Lillian to provide added info on the photo.
Here’s what she wrote… I have been in touch with Betty Leighton regarding the names of the girls on the boards. Pat Crum, Lillian Galvin, Pam Toyer, Pam Inch and (my sister) Dorothy Galvin.
Dorothy (my sister) and I went for a ferry ride one Sunday afternoon and from then on surfed at Manly for years. Met Ray Leighton fashion photographer who took our famous photo on boards on beautiful Manly beach. He was a member of the surf club. I remember the saying Seven miles from Sydney a thousand miles from care.
On a stage near the club one Sunday I sang Lovely Hula Hands with leis and hula skirt and a musical accompaniment. Still dream of going to Hawaii. All this in the fifties – always loved the Harbour cruise (who wouldn’t?). The Corso and the pine trees and walks along the promenade.
Lakemba is a long way from Manly ferry ride tram and train then bus or walk a mile home. Too expensive to live there then and still is. Sadly Pam Toyer, Pam Inch and Pat Crum now deceased. Did meet Rex Mossop in the early days. Dorothy and I purchased a booklet on Ray Leighton’s life and gave 5O dollars to the surf club. Betty Leighton was a really good surfboard rider and is shown in the book.
Hope my memories of Manly will assist you with the work you are doing at the Museum. … Regards from Lillian.
Huge ‘surf city’ thanks to Allan and Lillian Jackson for the support and contribution.
Allan also mentioned a short bio piece he had made recently of his mother Lillian (aged 88) and aunty Dorothy (91).
Another boy’s bottom slithers out of a wetsuit in Tracey Moffatt’s 1997 movie ‘Heaven’
HEAVEN, HELL AND BRA BOYS MOVIE SCREENING
We’re screening Tracey Moffatt’s 1997 movie Heaven, and Nell Schofield’s Hell, alongside the 2007 insider biopic Bra Boys this Saturday at the Museum of Sydney with commentary from broadcaster, writer and critic Nell Schofield and Bra Boys co-director Macario De Souza.
Saturday 25 February 2012
Museum of Sydney
Cnr Bridge and Philip Street, Sydney
Surf City will track Sydney’s dynamic surf scene through the 50s, 60s and 70s: spanning an amazing period of social upheaval, post war optimism, teen angst, rock and roll, prosperity, drugs and shifting cultural frontiers. We'll feature Sydney's surfing hubs, hot spots and cultures along with the movers and shapers who stirred the pot during these vivid and volatile years. We'll also show what surf-crazed Sydneysiders wore, watched, made, rode, heard and read and even reveal how surfing changed Sydney. The exhibition will contain boards, movies, photos, magazines, music, clothes, everyday surf wares and treasures. So watch out for the show, coming to the
Museum of Sydney
in September 2011.