I am getting in early this week for Show and Tell Friday.
So early that Kelli over at There Is No Place Like Home doesn't have Mr Linky up yet for this week so I will have to go back later and do the link up.
My Show and Tell this week is centered on Bowen, in North Queensland. Miss Eagle was born in Brisbane and lived there - at Wynnum and at Manly on the shores of Moreton Bay - until, in 1955, at the age of 11 she went to live in Bowen because her father, Jack, got a very good job there. There Miss Eagle grew up and married Joe, the Dear Departed Dearly Beloved - Phyl, her mother, said she married half of Bowen when she married Joe and she wasn't far wrong - and Herself, the first of three children was born in Bowen in 1964.
Miss Eagle and Herself, Bowen, 1964
In 1968, we left to follow the now widowed Phyl to live in Toowoomba where my sister, The Director, was now in high school at St Saviour's and two sons, The Nerd and The Actor, were born. So the thirteen years of my life lived in Bowen were formative - to say the least.
Bowen is a quiet tropical town at the northern end of The Whitsundays. One of its nicknames is Sleepy Hollow - not without justification. There is also the joke that it used to be called Blowen but it blew so hard it blew the 'L' out of it. That's not wrong. In Miss E's childhood, Bowen had three cyclones in three years. The first was an afternoon breeze by comparison with the next two which were severe and without any meaningful warning. The up-to-the-minute warnings that there are to-day have their genesis in the Bowen experience.Our family home, 46 Powell Street , Bowen - destroyed cyclone, 1959. Could have been worse except for a new roof holding walls up.
Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman starring in Australia
Quiet Bowen is now in the spotlight. It is the site and set for Baz Luhrmann's latest film Australia which is due for release next year.
Australia is an historical drama set in northern Australia prior to World War II and centres on an English aristocrat (Kidman) who inherits a cattle station (ranch) the size of Maryland, USA. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle driver (Jackman) to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier. It stars some Australian greats including Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Brian Brown, David Wenham. For more, see here.
Now the story has nothing to do with Bowen. It is centered on Darwin. Bowen was selected because of its round-the-year good weather - well, not counting those strong south-easterlies. Darwin is in the wet tropics; Bowen the dry tropics. And needless to say the filming is the talk of the town, the talk of North Queensland, the talk of Australia. Welcome to BowenWood.
Over the years much of the major industry and employment in Bowen - sugar, beef, railway - has declined. Tourism is an important lifeline for the town and Baz Luhrmann and his movie have undoubtedly given that a boost. But tourism is a major industry for the real Australia and it looks like "Australia - the movie" is going to be the central theme of tourism promotion to attract visitors to this country. It is expected to have an impact comparable with the impact of Crocodile Dundee.
Back to the Bowen of Miss Eagle's memory - explaining the picture at the top of this post.
In the background is the facade of a movie theatre. It is the Summergarden at Queen's Beach. In Miss Eagle's youth, this was the only movie theatre to screen on Sunday nights. But...it did not commence screening until 8.15pm on Sunday nights. This was because the last church service in town, at St Mary's Catholic Church, did not finish until 8pm. Then there was the travel time from town to the beach and the houselights dimmed and the movies were on.
The man is holding the poster of our Nic is Ben de Luca. Ben owned the Summergarden in Miss E's young days and still does. His brother, Frankie, was in Miss E's Grade 8 class. The rushes of Australia are being shown privately to the relevant film personnel at the Summergarden.
And if you are one of those who chooses your tourist flings around movie themes, here are some Australian suggestions:
Wolf Creek - South Australia, Northern Territory and Broome, Western Australia The Proposition - Winton, Queensland
Kenny - The Melbourne Cup, Calder Park Street Drag Racing, Australian International Airshow, St Kilda Festival , Murchison