Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Feedback from Alice Springs Conference 2007


  1. How easy did you find it to register for the Conference?
    • 18 x Very Easy/Very simple/Quite Easy/Easy/Straightforward Extremely easy/no problems.
    • "Easy as pie-Dan did the registration"
    • Easy. That's why we were first in line! (I am still waiting for the cash prize.)
      (Note: Keep watching your mailbox..)"
  2. Did you use the NSN Website to look up any other conference information prior to attending?
    • 11 x Yes
    • "Yes - several times".
    • Can't say we remember exactly, but we did look at everything on the site.
    • 4 x No
    • No, I don't think so; just to look for new info
    • 3 x Maybe/probably
    • "If I remember correctly, I checked on the town of Alice Springs"
    • "Can't recall - probably"
    • I do not recall a specific search.
  3. If yes to question 2, did you find what you were looking for?
    • 13 x Yes
    • "In general, yes. However, the hotel telephone number was not available".
    • "Absolutely, but then there were a few changes. c'est la vie"
    • Mostly, however for our own planning purposes, maybe it would have been better to have more info on the "mystery" evening in advance
      (Duly noted. It WAS a mystery so there was no information on purpose. )
    • 1 x "I think I did"
    • 1 x Yes and no.
  4. If yes to question 2, what were you looking for?
    • 6 x Information about the agenda, hotel,
    • "Mainly, detailed info on the hotel".
    • 1 x Presenters, attendees, outings
    • 1 x "Oops - don't remember."
    • Maps
  5. Is there any other information that would have been useful to have on the NSN web site or the Official Conference web site,, prior to the conference ?
    • 7 x Not really/No We looked up a lot of information on the area - places to visit, etc. - but that was not directly conference related.
    • "I ordinarily like to know the topics of the papers in advance. Knowing that someone will be speaking on, say, Most Secret (which I had not reread recently) encouraged me to reread it before the conference. I did have time to reread everything I wished to reread, but a bit more time would have helped".
    • "Generally no. However, a more detailed speaker and event schedule would have been helpful."
    • "No, but it said breakfast was extra, and then when I paid the bill, I was told it was inclusive! Not a big deal though".
    • "Seemed fine."
    • 4 x List of those attending
    • "The Official NSN website was useless. It still refers to the "forthcoming" Alice Springs Conference! I'm glad we did the "Atlantic" website and think we kept it up to date pretty well."
      (Note: David Dawson-Taylor was NOT the webmaster at this time. He would have kept everything up to date!)
    • "I kept checking and refreshing the NSN website but the program area I was looking at didn't appear to mention the Welcome Reception details. It was apparently in another area". (see Laura's note above)
    • "No thanks, you were nicely informative".
    • Not really, everything was covered


  1. What is your overall assessment of the conference site (Alice Springs Resort)? (Out of 10)
    • 1 x 10++
    • 12 x 10 Excellent/Splendid
    • "10 - Accommodation and service were both excellent"!
    • "10 - The size and ambiance were great. I loved the sense of being almost outdoors in the conference room (as opposed to being in a downstairs, windowless, featureless space. The resort felt relaxed, light, and welcoming. I feel relaxed just thinking about it. Ah, wouldn't it be lovely to take a dip in that pool right now"?
    • "Very good conference; in general I thought the presentations were a cut above those at previous conferences. The entertainment items were not as interesting as some of the previous conference. Obviously this was a function of the location. In particular I would have liked one of the productions done by the Aboriginal groups".
    • Must be a 10.Just right
    • The hotel was perfect
    • 3 x 9
    • "9/10 Yes - apart from being given a room with bedbugs! (Speedily moved to another room)".
    • "9 (only because someday there may be something even more awesome)"
    • 1 x 8-9
    • 1 x 8
  2. What is your overall assessment of the length of the conference? Was it too long, too short or just right?
    • 14 x 10
    • "Considering the distance travelled to get there and back it was about right".
    • "10 - Just fine as far as we were concerned".
    • Just right .Definitely a 10.
    • Wonderful 10
    • just right.
    • Too short - I wanted a fortnight there, listening to speakers
    • "The length was about right or just a tad long; again the location didn't provide a great many exciting things to do".
    • 1 x TOO SHORT and JUST RIGHT
    • "Too short (because I hate to say goodbye for two years) and just right".
    • 2 x 7; finishing by midday Friday would have been preferable.
  3. What is your overall assessment of the organization of the conference?
    • 16 x 10
    • 10 again excellent
    • 10 - Very well organized. No noticeable glitches.
    • Excellent with the exception of the audiovisual equipment.
    • The conference was well organized and seem to stay on schedule
    • Excellent
    • Another 10
    • Vonderful, vonderful
    • The conference was very well run. 10
    • 10; very well organized.
    • Just right
    • 1 x 9
    • 1 x Good. The problems with the electronic AV support could have been avoided though.
      Laura's note: Actually, no. Our Local support failed to deliver so the capable men of NSN stepped in. This cropped up BEFORE the conference began and there were no tech problems DURING the conference. The AV problems were unpredictable but fixed before the beginning of the conference
  4. Is there anything you would have changed about the organisation of the conference? If yes, what?
    • 4 x 10 Overall the organisation was good.
    • 9 x No rating - No, nothing we would have changed.
    • No, no suggestions.
    • No, everything was spot on.
    • 1 x "I would have provided an open afternoon at mid-week. In desperation,I finally skipped a bit of Friday's presentation to have some free time".
    • 2 x "Make sure all equipment is checked out at least 24 hours before it is needed. (It was, which is how we got everything fixed)"
    • "Having an expert on hand to set up, pretest, and assist with audiovisuals". (.and hope that expert shows up!)
    • Would have been nice to have a few more Shutists attend!
      (Laura agrees!)
    • 1 x 7 More time available to view Shute movies, or arrangements for repeat viewings
  5. Do you feel that overall the conference was good value for the money?
    • 18 x Yes/10
    • "10 Yes excellent value for money - helped by a favourable exchange rate AU$ to £ This is my main concern for 2009 if the pound remains strong against the US $".
    • "10 - Overall trip was a bit pricey, but that was not the fault of the conference. Good value for the money".
    • "Absolutely".
    • Yes, absolutely. 10
    • "Given the exchange rate with the Aussie Dollar, I felt it was a very good value".
    • "Cheap at any price".
  6. Would you have preferred a cheaper conference using a more basic hotel and without extras, such as gifts and Devonshire tea (scones, jam and clotted cream)?
    • 16 x NO
    • It was a great hotel; had everything I could have asked for INCLUDING kettle and makings for tea, hooray!! Fab aircon system which let me chill out at night. They also had something I've never seen before, and by which I will now measure every other hotel, to wit: a proper extendable washing line in the bathroom for smalls etc. Usually you have to drape any washed items, tights or such, across radiators in bedroom, this was a great system. Good old Aussies! Of course, then I had to wash things: blouses, antimacassars from the back of the easy chairs, rugs, curtains. If I'd known I would have brought fewer clothes with me (see, grumbling again.) The scones I could do without but I understand the power of ritual and tradition which you meddle with at your peril.
    • "I usually like basic, but in this case would not have wanted to have been in any other location. I can always do without gifts and Devonshire tea (although I enjoyed them)".
    • "No! If I'm going to travel a third of the way around the world I want to be comfortable and enjoy myself".
    • No the hotel was perfect
    • The hotel was very nice and we enjoyed that fact. Re: scones-they were very good; one of us is still paying the price of eating them twice a day though!
    • "No, but okay with me if that would allow more participants".
    • "NO, NO, NO. If we are going to spend several thousand dollars, it would be penny wise and pound foolish to save a few bucks by skimping on the event".
    • "Given the length of the conference and the fact that travel is the greatest expense, I do not think that saving money by choosing a basic hotel or foregoing scones would have been my choice".
    • 9 - (Devonshire tea could have been interspersed with cherry cake!!!)
    • "Well I don't do rich teas, but some fruit could have made a nice alternative. The gift was brilliant!"5
  7. What is your overall assessment of the Registration Packet?
    • 6 x 10
    • "10. Loved (and listen to regularly) the Music CD".
    • Excellent 10
    • "Very well done."
    • Useful, interesting, and worth keeping. I like the music-a pleasant surprise.10
    • I think that the Registration Packet is very useful for sending valuable items through the post.
    • 2 x Very Good
    • 2 x Good
    • 3 x Fine/ Liked it fine.
    • What registration packet?? Oh yes, the green bag. First, I like the bag itself: a good size, and capacious. The pen is a great writer, and I like the heft of it in the hand. The A4 binder looks stylish. The materials inside were useful at the time of the conference and will be helpful in reviewing the events of the conference. The motif, which has been used throughout the packet, the music CD and the recordings of the sessions, is simple and elegant. Well done to all who compiled the various components.
    • 3 x 9
    • 1 x Sufficient, but not outstanding
    • 1 x Registration packet was good; I'm not sure what I would have added or deleted.
  8. What is your overall assessment of the Welcome Reception?
    • 2 x 11 - Excellent!
    • 9 x 10/ Excellent
    • "I was tired from all the flights, and might have preferred a well-lit setting. The dark made me more tired, just when I was trying to make out the faces".
    • Excellent/Lovely/wonderful/
    • Fun
    • "Fun. Let's do it again".
    • "The reception was fun. Having attended previous conferences, I knew many people. It might have been a help tom have some form of introduction for the new attendees".
    • Very Good. I could have used more food. (But then, I can always use more food.)
    • "Good - I was quite hungry after all that setting up in the afternoon"!
    • It was right good, a chance to meet old friends and make new.
    • 1 x 8
    • 1 x 5 - Only because when we were late as we hadn't known time and venue. We expected to see a notice at Reception regarding the Welcome gathering, but nothing.
      (Laura's note: Good suggestion for next time!)
    • Nice party
  9. What is your overall assessment of the content of the Speaker Presentations?
    • 2 x 11 - Excellent! (NOTE: This is NOT a typo!)
    • 7 x Excellent
    • I was always interested in what I was hearing. This is not consistently the case at professional conferences in my field! 10
    • I thought that they were fascinating, glad I have ordered my very own copy and will be able to listen again. I particularly thought that Joost's and John's presentations were outstanding. (But I haven't reviewed the programme yet and look forward to engaging with all the talks again.)
    • 3 x Very good.
    • "As stated above, I thought it was very good."
    • 1 x 9.5/10
    • 3 x 9
    • A 9 due to one presentation
    • 1 x 8 Very good.
  10. What is your overall assessment of the quality of the Speakers?
    • Very good. I would single out Joost who did a great job. Very daunting when English is not your first language.
    • 2 11/10 (Again, this is NOT a typo!) - "Excellent!"
    • 67x 10 Excellent/Great/10
    • "10 All very knowledgeable and well prepared (and brave!)"
    • "People had different styles, and I believe that this variety is a plus.
    • Beall Fowler's talk gave us perspective and insight.
    • Joost Muelenbroek's talk was a mystery with a happy ending.
    • Zia Telfair's talk was a change of pace, with both literary and personal contributions.
    • The archival presentation (John Anderson, Andy Burgess, and Mike Meehan at least in spirit) was another mystery with a happy ending.
    • Alison Jenner's talk showed how a narrow angle can nonetheless yield a new view. A
    • ndy Banta's talk made me want to order the book (and I did!).
    • Dan Telfair's talk made me more familiar with him, with the terrain, and with the incomparable Slim Dusty. (Yes, my one-click relationship with is useful again.)
    • Philip Nixon's talk both satisfied and stimulated my curiosity about Cobham.
    • Robert Wester's talk (I'd reread Most Secret not long before) was provocative in the best sense.
    • The readings and the "round" allowed us to enjoy ourselves and each other.
    • I enjoyed my own talk, too, including the Q & A, and I appreciated the chance to combine my interests in two writers whose novels are both similar and different".
    • "Quantity was about right. Amazingly, there seems to be no end of things to talk about Some were better than others but I'm not willing to make any specific comments".
    • "Excellent (Especially me)"
    • "Great (excluding my own, of course!)"
    • "Very high quality, university professors and talented, professional experts".
    • "I'm still amazed that there are quality, informative, new presentations each conference".
    • The speakers were excellent; very professional, informative and entertaining.
    • 1 x Very Good
    • 4 x 9
  11. What is your overall assessment of the format of Speaker Presentations?
    • 9 x 10
    • The format was good - most speakers had plenty of visual aids which always helps.
    • Very good
    • Very good.
    • Nice mix. Don't change it"!
    • I think the format allows speakers to choose the time allotment and media (slides, music, whatever) they prefer.
    • I enjoyed the readings of passages, as well as the single-speaker presentations.
    • I also observe that we are a congenial group, and the Q & A period is typically a big plus.
    • There was a pleasing variety in the format of the presentations: while some chose to deliver talks, others used a/v aids. I'm glad that not all the speakers used computer presentations as it ensured a varied set up.
    • 2 x 9
    • 2 x Fine.
    • 1 x "The format was appropriate for this type of conference and the setting".
  12. What is your overall assessment of the length of each session? Were they too long, too short or just the right length?
    • 12 x 10 10/Just Right/ Good length/About right.
    • "About right. Time for new information and comments". Format's excellent.
    • "In principle I would say that 90 minutes sounds too long, but the time almost always went quickly, so I would say that the length is fine"
    • 3 x 9. "Perhaps just a little long - but interesting questions lengthened each session".
    • 2 x 8; some shorter presentations would also be nice.
  13. What is your overall assessment of the conference facilities? (The room, chairs, tables, etc.)
    • 10 x 10/Excellent.
    • We had more room than I've experienced at any previous conference. I thought the hotel staff effort to block the sunlight coming into the room was a very nice touch. Well done.
    • "I like the arrangement of tables & chairs seating 6-8 people - apparently it's called Cabaret style in the Conference trade! Sweets and bottles of water on the tables a good idea".
    • " I was comfortable. The temperature was even comfortable almost all of the time. This is always tricky because people have such varied preferences. I personally am most uncomfortable with air conditioning, so was happy that the room was not overcooled". "Plenty of light, plenty of water, casual arrangement. Everything was fine".
    • There was a pleasing variety in the format of the presentations: while some chose to deliver talks, others used a/v aids. I'm glad that not all the speakers used computer presentations as it ensured a varied set up.
    • 4 x Very good/Quite good.
    • " Must have been OK, since I don't remember any problems"
    • 2 x 9
    • 1 x "8
    • Perhaps more comfortable chairs for all day talks".
    • "They were comfortable, clean, adaptable, efficient, not too much".
    • Facilities were reasonable, not bad but nothing special
  14. Is there anything you would have changed about the conference facilities?
    • 14 x No/Not really/It was perfect
    • No it was perfect.
    • "The set-up was good for our conference".
    • I don't think anything needed to be changed"
    • "No, that is a 10".
    • 1 x 8 "It would have helped to have two or three microphones for people making comments".
      (Laura's Note: There were two microphones)
    • 1 x Lighting, seating, orientation of the screen, etc. in the conference room should have been checked out before they were needed.
      (NOTE: This was done on Sunday before the conference began)
  15. What is your overall assessment of the Town Like Alice Tour? (Royal Flying Doctor Service, Lunch at RFDS, School of the Air, ANZAC Hill, John Flynn's Grave, The Telegraph Station)
    • First class - many people have commented on the excellence of the tour drivers - guides. Lunch at the RFDS was excellent.
    • 14 x 10 /Excellent/GREAT!/Bonza!
    • "It was magical".
    • "Bonza! Especially with Harry as the guide".
    • "10. Have always loved Alice Springs and the centre of Australia (core of my heart, my country - to quote from Dorothea MacKellar's 'My Country')".
    • Very good sites, a 10
    • 10 Oh, I feel happy just reading the list of the places we saw! Don't' forget the Nevil Shute Memorial Library.
    • Excellent; we had time to look round at everything.
    • 2 x Very Good/Quite good
    • "It was quite good (even though I'm not wild about tours in general.)"
    • "It was fun. Given the location there wasn't much choice. Having been to Alice previously, I had seen some of the things before and they don't change much."
    • 1 x 7 "I had done each of the tours the week before, or I would have been more impressed."
  16. Is there anything you would have changed about the Town Like Alice Tour? If yes, what?
    • 12 x NO/None
    • 2 x 10
    • "10. A nice tour".
    • I can always use a tad longer with the aviation content, still a 10 though
    • "I can't think of anything. The only other option that comes to mind is the rail and truck museums which would be of interest to some but certainly not all. (We did visit them on Sunday before the conference)"
    • "Nothing other than it would have been very nice had you been able to get both of the museum hangars open for us".
      (Laura's Note: By prior arrangement, both hangars were opened for us by the historian on staff. He could only monitor the locked hanger for a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, those who arrived later found they had been locked up).
    • "A delightful day".
    • 2 x Cool it down 10 degrees at the Telegraph Station ;-)
  17. What is your overall assessment of the Mystery Dinner at Ooraminna Homestead?
    • 14 x 10/Excellent/Great
    • "10 Quite an adventure, with a personal connection for the 2003 conference veterans. The environment, the food, and the entertainment were lovely".
    • " 10 - Excellent. We had kind of guessed what was in store based on prior conversations and email exchanges with Laura, but that did not diminish in the least the enjoyment of the evening. And we even saw wild kangaroos on the way to the venue"!
    • "Really good a 10"
    • "10. Loved it - and especially seeing Saturn with rings through the telescope. Very special. Touristy and fun, Just right for OZ".
    • 10; loved it all, just wish the skies had been clear.
    • Very pleasant
    • I really enjoyed it. When we first arrived and there were so many flies about, at first I thought it was going to be like that all evening and got ready to be unhappy. The chap there said they would go away at sundown but I didn't really believe him. He was right! So we had the Great Australian Salute - but not for too long!! Then the short walk in the outback to Ooraminna at dusk; a wonderful dinner under the stars. The real Billy Hayes! And then we even looked at the stars through the telescope. Magic! The chap gave us a talk about the routines and economics of running a station which was fascinating and I wish I had a record of what he said, it was really helpful in trying to understand the region.
    • 2 x Good.
    • 1 x Again it was fun; the meal was good and the talk about the station was quite interesting.
    • 1 x 7
    • 1 x This was not a high point for me. The dinner was fine and the rendition was interesting. After that, it was mainly sitting around waiting to go back to the hotel
      (Laura's note: This event was chosen to give an experience on an Australian Station. This particular site was chosen because it was owned by Billy and Jan Hayes. Billy was the subject of a popular Australian poem called, "Turbulance" and the Mayor of Alice Springs, Fran Kilgariff, read the poem at UK2003, when she was our Banquet Speaker. This was a nod to Billy and to Mayor Fran. We had an astronomer as a speaker for the evening and unfortunately, the skies did not cooperate. It was the only night of our conference where the sky wasn't completely clear. Had I only been able, I'd have cleared the skies!!! We did see a couple of kangaroos on our way to Ooraminna!)
  18. Is there anything you would have changed about the Mystery Dinner at Ooraminna Homestead? If yes, what?
    • 9 x NO Change nothing,
    • 2 x "A clearer sky for star gazing through the telescope - but even you couldn't lay that on!!"
    • " Yes, I would have liked a perfectly clear night but even our conference director could not guarantee that !"
    • "I wish I'd known to bring the fly-net to place over my hat."
    • 2 x " It lasted longer than I would have liked"
    • "Either more of a presentation there, or less time before returning to the hotel".
    • 1 x "Food was ordinary; venue not so great".
    • 1 x "The legendary Aussie Barbie didn't come up to expectations".
    • 2 x Just don't make it a mystery. We really loved the evening, though.
  19. What is your overall assessment of Thursday's excursions: The Mbantua Gallery, Araluen Cultural Centre (including the Connellan Hanger), Desert Park.
    • 11 x 10 "Again excellent".
    • 10. "Another nice excursion".
    • "Excellent as well".
    • "Superb selection of attractions"
    • "10 I had a wonderful time, and I learned a lot. The combination of nature, art, culture, and history was excellent".
    • I could have spent longer at the Mbantua Gallery; it was fascinating. But then I could have stayed longer at each of the other centres too. So the answer is: I wish we had longer there!
    • 2 x "Very enjoyable /"Very Good - Although I was away part of the time trying to find a suitable Joe Harmon for the banquet presentation. For a guy we picked up on the streets, I thought he did pretty well. I have sent him pictures from the affair, along with a thank you note".
    • 1 x "Fine. Not as interesting as the other tour. I was somewhat restless, but then I'm not a fan of tours"
    • 1 x "I would have preferred some other Aboriginal event. Desert Park was quite interesting; it was a bit warm".
    • 1 x 8.5
    • 2 x 8
  20. Is there anything you would have changed about the excursions to Mbantua, Araluen and Desert Park? If yes, what?
    • 11 x NO/Nothing/Nothing comes to mind,
    • 3 x No rating -
    • "It would have been nice to have more time to shop at Mbantua, but I don't know where I would have taken the time from for that".
    • "I had a fly-net to place over my hat; I think that I would have been unhappy at the park if I hadn't been prepared".
    • "Desert Park. Interesting but I'm more an aircraft person, still it is part of Alice and needed seeing and appreciating".
    • "The time to do the desert park did not allow for a full walk around and the screen show (but that's ok .I need something to go back to!)"
    • No, except I wish we had had twice as much time in Alice Springs.
    • 1 x 7 "Just that it might have been better to do the Desert Park in the morning when it was cooler.(The tour bus guide should have suggested this however). However, this is just nitpicking - the tour was great".
    • Would have liked a bit more time at the Mbantua Gallery and more time for shopping.
  21. What is your overall assessment of the Banquet?
    • 9 x 10/Excellent
    • Excellent, I really enjoyed it. Very glad that the Mayor came and gave that speech; that made it 'official.' You know, I don't think you'd get the mayor of a town in Britain go out of their way to extend such a welcome (although it might be worth a try next time)
    • "Fran is a jewel. Hurrah for Joe Harmon"!
    • "10! Lovely - good food and good company. Loved the visit by "Joe", the quiz, etc".
    • A most enjoyable 10
    • "10 Very enjoyable. Good food, good company, clever prizes for the quiz".
    • 3 x Very Good.
    • "The banquet was very good; I thoroughly enjoyed it".
    • 2 x Good "It must have been good, as I don't remember too much"!
    • 2 x 9 - Very well done.
    • "My only disappointment was that the Fran's talk dealt almost solely with political issues in Alice Springs. Probably just a sign of the times".
    • 1 x 8.5
  22. Is there anything you would have changed about the Banquet?
    • 15 x NO
    • I would have happily had it go on for another couple of hours
    • Can't think of anything.
    • No suggestions.
    • 1 x Bar in the banquet room but then, I like to drink more than most.
      (Laura's note: Beer and wine were served before dinner and wine was served with dinner. Waitstaff got drinks for those who asked)
    • 2 x 9
  23. What is your overall assessment of the Film Festival?
    • 6 x Excellent/10/Just right/Always fun
    • "Always excellent a 10"
    • "10 I'm always glad to see the hard-to-find films, and it's also a pleasure to watch the tried-and-trues in the company of fellow enthusiasts".
    • Very good; for the first time ever I watched a showing of On the Beach and found it not as dire as I expected. The format was great; using DVD and projector seemed better to me than watching videos on tv set as done previously in Southsea.
    • 1 x "I only watched a couple of films, but it was good to have new stuff such as the documentary film of Alan Cobham".
    • 5 x Did not attend any of the film showings, having already seen them at previous gatherings.
    • "It always seems to be an appreciated feature".
    • "I have seen all the films and only attended the one short film".
    • 3 x 8
    • "Only managed to see one film, but enjoyed it immensely. Would have loved to see "Pied Piper", but was committed elsewhere at the time".
    • 1 x "Very good, other than the initial teething problems with equipment, window lighting, etc".
      (Laura's note:The Alice Springs Resort sent staff up on the roof to put black paper over the windows to darken the room - TWICE!)
    • 1 x "Do you mean the videos of Shute films"?
  24. Is there anything you would have changed about the Film Festival? If yes, what?
    • 10 x NO
    • "Nothing to change"
    • 1 x Somehow make provision for repeating films
    • 1 x Checking out the audiovisuals well in advance.
    • "Did we have the new Pied Piper (Peter O'Toole)? (Did I miss it because I was tired?) I like that one, and haven't seen it lately".
    • We did stay to watch films; in retrospect, we probably should have gone out into town at least one of those nights.
  25. What was your highlight of the conference?
    • The sight of 37 people have a great time. This was definitely the "friendly"conference. We bonded together as a group so well
    • I really enjoyed the whole experience. Meeting the Edwards girls was really good; they were both very knowledgeable and willing to share their experiences of life in the outback. Seeing the apparently effortless ease with which Laura managed the whole set up was extra ordinary. And the thoroughgoing friendliness and engagement of all the participants was truly magnificent - you don't get quite the same sort of mutual support in most conferences I go to.
    • 2 x "Meeting new Shute fans and visiting with old friends"
    • "Seeing so many fascinated Shutists especially those attending for first time".
    • No rating - Hard to pick just one. The library dedication event was a class affair. The visit to Alice Springs and the Old Telegraph Station was moving. The visits to the Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air were memorable. The Mystery Dinner at Ooraminna Homestead was most interesting. All of the talks were interesting; "Readings from Shute" remains a favourite session. Joost's take about Shute's boat read like a good detective novel. Anderson's presentation was (as always) exceptional. Shoshana's paper, too, was (as always) most interesting. And, of course, the overall organization was simply terrific!
    • The Presence of the Mayor and the favourite readings section
    • 4 x Spending time with Pauline and Ann Edwards.
    • "Enjoyed meeting Ann and Pauline (real life daughters of 'Joe') - absolutely lovely women.
    • Too many highlights - but I really enjoyed meeting the daughters of Ringer Edwards".
    • "There were many but I think the thing I remember best is the Anzac Day celebration at dawn. I found the Australian approach to war very sobering".
    • "The quality of the papers was so uniformly good, it is invidious to select any one".
    • "Connellan hangars, Anzac Day, Telegraph station"
    • Dan's presentation.
    • ANZAC Day Service and the Gunfire Breakfast at the RSL Club-hiccup;-)
    • "Just one? I guess that would have to be the encounter between Laura and "Joe." I was also amazed to be able to meet the daughters of Ringer Edwards. But the truth is that I had a wonderful week, and I wouldn't have missed a minute of it".
      (Laura's note: At the Banquet, Joe Harmon came in just as I was welcoming everyone. Joe, (decked out in his khakis, sporting an Outback suntan and a grin as wide as a mile), had come to visit me. Apparently, a certain Dan Telfair arranged this during that afternoon...I was told it was quite a sight to behold. I only remember a lot of camera flashes in my eyes, commands to pose and Joe being told to kiss me. Being the gentleman he is, he gave me a polite kiss on the cheek..)
    • Everything was a highlight but one of my favourite parts of the conference was the Dedication of the Nevil Shute Memorial Garden at the Alice Springs Public Library. It was a special moment.
  26. With the exception of Nevil Shute, Heather Mayfield and Shirley Norway, is there anything you feel was missing from the conference?
    • 4 x No
    • 5 x Richard Michalak!
    • "Richard Michalak, the mad Australian!
    • And, of course, Fred Erisman"
    • 4x Mike Meehan! (Mike Meehan through no fault of his own)
    • "Can honestly say I missed Mike Meehan not being there".
    • Mike Meehan was sorely missed; hope he's at the next Gathering. Ditto Richard Michalak (Mike was with us in spirit )
    • 1 x Puppies
    • 1 x "I missed seeing some of the people I've met at other conferences but I understand they had various good reasons for not attending".
    • 1 "Bit of free time some how! i.e. an afternoon to chill out or wander the town (useful if not staying advance or after the conference)"
    • 1 "Uhh, some other old friends"?
  27. Are there any other comments you would like to make about the conference?
    • It was great - a real life changing experience. Thank you very much for all you did to make it happen.
    • 2 x "No thanks". "No"
    • 1 x "I am infinitely grateful to have had this reason to return Down Under. The Australia connection runs deep. After the other Gatherings I wondered if things might get repetitive, but then I enjoyed the talks and especially enjoyed having time to connect with the participants without having any organizational duties".
    • "Just that it was a great event. Many thanks, Laura!"
    • "Outstanding commitment by the organizers".
    • "Thanks for doing a great job of organizing a great conference. Given the location it must have been a huge undertaking".
    • "You done good!"
    • "It was great. Fantastic venue, friends and content .and all thanks to the organizer"!
    • "Yes, the conference was beautifully organized in every respect from many thousands of miles away but also included long distance research trips to Alice to set everything in motion. That is total dedication which gains my highest possible admiration and praise".
    • Very well organized. A credit to Laura.
    • "Alice Springs exceeded all our expectations and some. Nothing is perfect but this really was an experience that Christine and I will cherish for ever. We can only look forward to the next one".
    • "It was super - in addition to seeing friends and Shuting, it gave an opportunity to see and experience the outback".
    • "I was very moved by our visit to Anzac Hill on Anzac Day. How lucky that we were there at that time.
    • I liked the idea that our group was NEWS. I was also touched by the opportunity to visit the Nevil Shute Library and to see Mayor Fran again. It was, of course, an adventure to be in Australia, and I am glad we had as many Australians with us as we did".
    • "You're going to be a very tough act to follow in 2009!"!
    • We loved this conference like no other and doubt it can ever be topped as far as our personal experience goes. Both of us had wanted to go to Australia for many years and this conference really gave us the impetus. Wonderful to see Alice and to plan the rest of our journey down under!


  1. What specific activities from Alice Springs or other previous conferences would you like to see continued at future conferences?
    • 5 x "Readings from Shute - this remains a favourite of many who attend (we believe)".
    • "We seem to have settled into a good format. Certainly keep the "reading Nevil Shute" session".
    • "I could see another edition of Favorite Passages (or some variation thereof). I could even imagine it being early in the conference rather than at the end because it allows people to express what is meaningful to them-an excellent way to foster connections within the group".
    • 5 x Keep format the same
    • "I think we have it up to a science: papers, readings, outings, exhibits".
    • "The general style is good and should be preserved"
    • "Pretty much the same format - interesting speakers and topics, mixed with tours and other activities".
    • 2 x Mixture of presentations and visits with local people and content.
    • "Obviously the presentation, the banquet, at least one day of out and about. If possible it would be nice to have more memorabilia. (Me too but what we had was spectacular. The files John Anderson procured and all of the Jimmy Edwards/Nevil Shute letters/books/communication/etc.) I assume the film festival is of value to those who haven't seen the films previously. Again, I would strongly recommend some open time midweek in the conference".
    • "Hard to say as each conference is unique but of course the cream scones are essential".
    • "All the good bits"
    • Speakers talking passionately about their interest; lots!
    • Magical mystery tour
    • Banquet
    • Show and tell sessions, exhibitions
    • Fixing blue plaque to Shute's house
    • "Just the nice mix of talks and excursions. Perhaps Laura could give an illustrated talk about her visit to the Australian National Library to view the 'Holy Grail' ???" (NOTE: Stay tuned!)
    • "I liked having meals at the hotel included in the room rate".
    • "My responses to the survey would be meaningless because I'm not a member of the group, but I will informally tell you that it was a wonderfully rich experience for me. Perhaps you would enjoy reading the little write up I did of the conference as an email missive to friends and family. I'm grateful that the group was willing to include outsiders and pleased that everyone was so welcoming".
      (NOTE: OF COURSE you are a member of the group. EVERYONE is included - no one is an outsider!)
    • "Perhaps we could look into copying videos/CDs of Shute movies for private sale to conference attendees. I know most are available for borrowing but in Australia only a recent version of "A Town Like Alice" is available".
    • "I am so glad that you made the most of every minute we were in Alice; I wouldn't have wanted to waste a moment of our conference schedule and I'm glad too that I planned an extra day to get some non-Shute sight-seeing in"
  2. Do you think you will attend the next conference in the U.K.?
    • 16 YES/Definitely!
    • 2 x Will certainly try!
    • "Yes, depending of course on where life has taken us by then. I have been so impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the European contingent and would not want to miss out on spending time with them in the U.K."
    • "Given unforeseen difficulties I have every intention of being there"
    • "I certainly intend to do so".
    • "I hope to be there.
    • "I may have a competing conference in Boston, July 3-11, but if the UK Shute conference is before or after or not-much-overlap, I won't miss it".
    • "Since I'm organising it I better had be!!"