Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Photo TimeLine

1951 - 1960 page 7

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September 1959 : Shute writes a 25,000 word memorandum to Prime Minister Robert Menzies about the economic condition of artists in Australia. He argues strongly against writers getting financial aid.
October 01 1959 : Shute's letter to the Model Engineer is published describing his adaption of a small power-shaper to a hacksaw machine. The article shows a view of his workshop at Langwarrin.

Shute's model workshop at Langwarrin
Shute's model workshop at Langwarrin in 1959 His powered hacksaw is visible on the left. His Myford Super 7 Lathe is on the right. The photo was taken by Frances. (Photo: FN / ME )

Frances's July 1960 pilot's license. ( DT ) Frances's pilot's license
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November 1959 : Shute begins work on "Incident at Eucla".

Portrait of Shute by G A Thorley
This 1959 portrait of Shute by G A Thorley was entered in the 1960 Archibald Prize in Sydney. Now owned by Dan Telfair it hangs in a place of honour in the Land of Enchantment. (Photo: DT )

December 08 1959 : Shute declares that he will not attend the premiere of "On The Beach".
December 17 1959 : The film of "On The Beach" premieres at the Regent Theater in Melbourne under the same title. Produced and directed by Stanley Kramer at United Artists it starred Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins. Shirley Norway believes that Shute's intense anger over the film version, in which it was made clear that Dwight and Moira's had sex, hastened Shute's death. To his credit, Gregory Peck fought the changes but lost out to Stanley Kramer.
1959 : Shute's income well exceeds 40,000 Australian Pounds. In 1959 Shute paid 39,000 Australian Pounds in income tax.

Frances driving the Jaguar. Also notice, behind her, the fabulous piece of 1950s feature wall with, soon to be hip again, diagonal latticework, a designer door and a carriage light. ( INSS ) Frances driving the Jaguar
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Shute's Ham Radio
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Shute's Hallicrafters Ham Radio. (Photo: DT / FGC )

January 11 1960 : Shute writes a friendly letter to David Martin who is writing an article on him for Meanjin. After Shute's death Martin writes an admiring article / obituary called "The Mind That Conceived "On The Beach"".

Shute, at the workbench in his toolroom at Langwarrin. The model appears to be the Edgar Westbury designed 30cc Seal Major four-cylinder petrol engine that he left unfinished at his death. The model was finished by Shute's friend L R East. ( INSS ) Shute, at the workbench in his toolroom at Langwarrin

Nevil, Frances and Heather
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Nevil, Frances and Heather on a cold day at a beach probably near Langwarrin in the late 1950s. Shute, wearing thicker clothes, seems impervious to the obviously biting wind. ( FGC )

January 12 1960 : Shute falls ill at his typewriter having written the following sentence in the unfinished and unpublished "Incident at Eucla". "There was a fluffy haired young girl with them, helping somewhat ineffectually and she was weeping, the tears running quietly down her cheeks." An ambulance is called about noon. Shute loses consciousness in the ambulance. He dies that evening at the hospital.

Shute was taken ill at home in Langwarrin on January 12 1960 and died later that day in hospital. In 2001 the trees have now fully grown. Originally 100 acres and 200 acres at its peak, the property is now only 25 acres and no longer owned by his family. Shute indicated in his novels that his ideal house was, like this one, a single storey house at the corner of two streets and preferably near an aerodrome. (Photo: RM 2001) Langwarrin on January 12 1960
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