Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Photo TimeLine

1941 - 1950 page 8

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Jimmie 'Ringer' Edwards
Jimmie "Ringer" Edwards (1913-2000) during World War 2. ( BJBC )

Shute with Reg McAuliffe in front of Item Willie. Reg was a life insurance agent whom Shute flew around Northern Australia in December 1948. Shute disliked life insurance but obviously liked Reg, later describing him as "a lovable scoundrel". The photo is dated on Shute's 50th birthday, January 17 1949, but I suspect that is the day Reg signed the photo and not the date it was taken which was almost certainly in December 1948. The caption reads "To Nature's Gentleman, Nevil Shute Norway. With Appreciation from Reg McAuliffe 17.1.49". Shute looks very relaxed and happy in the Panama hat he bought in Townsville on December 03. ( HMC ) Shute with Reg McAuliffe

Strand Hotel in Cairns
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The Strand Hotel in Cairns, North Queensland, Australia in the 1940s. Shute stayed at Hides Hotel in Cairns in December 1948 but preferred the Strand and described it well in "A Town Like Alice". Joe Harman and Jean Paget stayed there and drank beer on the balcony. Sadly it was demolished in the 1970s. ( CHS )

December 29 1948 : Shute joins Riddell in Sydney after some serious confrontations with a bloody-minded Australian Customs bureaucracy. He arrives ill disposed to like Sydney. Servicing Item Willie means they must stay a while. Shute later describes Sydney as "an ugly town full of drunks".

January 04 1949 : Shute did two 2 minute radio interviews probably for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Sadly these have disappeared.
January 05 1949 : Shute has lunch at the Rose Bay Golf Club in Sydney.

Item Willie
A signed photo of Nevil and Jimmie alongside "Item Willie".
Photo courtesy: Mrs Ali Riddell.

January 07 1949 : Shute with the Koala found crossing the road near Palm Beach in Sydney.The event inspires a similar one in "The Far Country". Note the beautiful little girl's face just in frame to the left of Shute's elbow. ( HMC ) Shute with a Koala

Shute at Bankstown Airport in Sydney
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In a photo probably taken at Bankstown Airport in Sydney, Australia, Shute shows off his knees and Item Willie. It is probably their departure from Sydney on January 15 1949. According to James Riddell, Item Willie was silver with green registration letters but later color photos taken after Shute sold it show the stripe as red. That Shute had a red stripe and green letters seems, to me, unlikely. ( AWW )

January 15 1949 : Shute and Riddell fly to Melbourne. After only 3 days in Melbourne, a more English Australian city and the home of Old Money, Shute is convinced he could happily live there.
Jan 17 1949 : Shute turns 50 while in Australia. He is charmed to receive a telegram from a 16 year old Australian girl, Margaret Houghton of Tarrawarra, who shares his birth date.
January 22 1949 : Shute is featured in an Australian Women's Weekly article about his trip called "Nevil Shute may write a novel on Gulf country".

In an Australian Women's Weekly article about his trip Shute is described as having hazel eyes and a ruddy complexion and preferring informal clothes. The Australian Women's Weekly, having a circulation of 600,000 in a population under 10 million, the highest per capita circulation in the world, serialized several Shute novels. (Photo: AWW ) Shute in Australian Women's Weekly article

January 23 1949 : Shute arrives in Alice Springs. His 2 day stay in Alice Springs is sufficient to convince him that a good life is viable in an Australian outback town if it is a town like Alice Springs.

EJ Connellan and wife Evelyn
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On Shute's arrival in Alice Springs he meets Eddie "EJ" Connellan and his wife Evelyn. Pictured here in 1957, EJ owns Connellan Airways. Before the day is out Shute likes Alice Springs and the Connellans and is formulating much of the basis of "A Town Like Alice". In "A Town Like Alice", Connellan Airways is called MacLean Airways. I suspect that Shute also used the small-airline-building experiences of EJ in "Round The Bend". ( CC )

Taken in 1948-49, this is a Connellan Airways publicity shot from the time around Shute's visit. Note the predominance of biplanes and that the camel is being greeted by numerous marriage-aged office girls. ( CC ) Connellan Airways publicity shot
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