Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

March Newsletter

2007-03/March, 2007


Pauline Allen, Ringer Edwards' daughter, will be bringing her mother, Ringer's wife, to the Alice 2007 Nevil Shute conference.
The late Ringer Edwards was the model for Joe Harman in A Town Like Alice.
Meeting Ringer's wife and daughter will be a great highlight of the conference.


Marion Griffin Heinemann of Oak Island, NC, USA is moving to Korea to teach English. Marion writes:

I'm taking my two favorite Shute books... Round the Bend and In the Wet... with me, and will be introducing a whole bunch of junior high school thru university students to the very special English of Nevil Shute.
I'm very glad for the comeback mentioned in this newsletter, as I imagine I've read these two books no less than 12-15 times each.

Editor's Comment: Nothing relieves anxiety and stress like a Shute novel.
The comeback mentioned was that people play their favourite records many multiples of time so why not reread favourite books many times.


Patrick Patton asks where the "There is still time brother" scene was filmed for "On the Beach".
I have remembered it as the Melbourne War Memorial but I haven't a copy of the dvd at the moment and would welcome an authoritative answer from a Melburnian.


Two Aviation Scholarships for 2007 have been awarded to candidates from the Sherburn Aero Club in the UK. Full details and biographies will be provided at the Alice Springs Conference. The scholarships have previously been awarded to student pilots in Australia and the USA.
Sherburn in Elmet aerodrome, where the club is based, is the same airfield where Shute was the secretary of a flying club. The airfield is also mentioned in The Rainbow and The Rose so there is a very strong Shute connection.


Eddie Farrow writes:

I very much enjoy reading Nevil Shute.
I have just read Beyond the Black Stump for the first time. The blurb on the back cover said something about Nevil Shute dying 'tragically'. What was this?

Editor's Comment: While agreeing that all deaths, including Nevil Shute's, are tragic, it sounds like the publishers were trying to sensationalise and cash in on his death to promote the book's sales. As such it verges on bad taste.
This is similar to the story about the two seasoned record promoters at Elvis' funeral. One turns to the other and says "Great career move!"
Nevil Shute died on the way to hospital after having a heart attack / stroke at his desk at home. He had had a series of these over a few years.
For Shute and his family it is tragic that he died so relatively young.
Artistically it also is very sad because it would have been reasonable to assume that we lost a good eight to ten more great novels that he might have produced had he at least made it to 70. I think 60 is, after all, a bit too young to die, especially as I rapidly approach 53. However, Shute was in good company as the number of the 20th century's greats who didn't make it to or barely passed 60 is huge. Personally, I suspect that a mid-century lack of a social emphasis on diet and physical fitness in middle age and the popularity of smoking and a general acceptance of higher alcohol intake generally has taken many of the 20th century's artists just when they had matured and might have produced some of their best work.


Richard Wynn of the UK writes:

Do we have a spot for 'favourite passages' on the website?
Quite often as I re-read NS books a paragraph jumps out at me and I really want to share it with the others.
For instance, in Lonely Road, where Stevenson is walking down from his house to the boatyard he reminisces on the sights, sounds and smells of the sea:
The way the porpoises come up and play around the vessel on a summer evening, diving underneath her keel all silvery and green, and coming up alongside her to blow. The subtlety of the tides and the pleasure of the dawn at sea after a night on deck, and the smell of bacon from the galley. The great loneliness of a bell-buoy, the smell of oilskins and salt water, and the crash and thudding of the cold grey seas when you are beating on a wind in winter. The slow framing of a vessel in the yard, the smell of hot tar, the litter of oak shavings on the slips and the piles of sawdust by the droning bandsaw in the shop...
(from Ch.4)
This of course speaks volumes to me as a woodworker and former sailor.

Editor's Comment:
Although I don't think we have a favourite passages section on the website yet, one is sure to be generated by Alice 2007 where volunteers will be reading favourite Shute passages. These will doubtless be collected by the already overloaded organisers to make the basis for a Favourite Passages page.


Click here to see a built-from-scratch 1/5 scale model Supermarine Spitfire.
It took eleven years to build and is quite extraordinary and the attention to detail is truly Shak-Lin-esque.


Clicke here to listen to an interview on ABC Australian radio's prestigious and popular "The World Today" about the Alice Springs conference at: The interview includes our El Supremo Dan Telfair, Library Manager of the Alice Springs Public Library Denise Senior, and Alice 2007 organiser Laura Schneider.


Cathy Thruelsen writes:

As a long time fan of Nevil Shute Norway and his wonderful stories I am glad to find this website.
Forty-five years ago my father suggested I read The Far Country. I was hooked.
Now I'm scouring my bookshelves for stories to send my youngest son who is away in the army. He is not a reader by experience but I'm confident he'll become a new devotee. Our local library system has very few copies of Neville Shute books and most titles are not available at all. I feel that very few authors have the ability to share a character with the reader as did Neville Shute. Stories today just don't seem to have the depth of his tales.


Susan Batross, the new US Librarian writes:

I will be away from the Library from April 7 to May 13, 2007.
I'm fortunate to be able to attend Nevil Shute's Legacy, being held in Alice Springs, Australia this April.
Anyone wanting to borrow from the Library will be able to reach me before and after my trip. My Post Office is very good, so returns can be mailed to me at anytime. The PO will hold them until I return.
I'm sorry to be away from the Library for so long a period of time, but I'm thrilled to be going to Australia again.
Many thanks to the people who have made requests from the Library. I look forward to fulfilling many more in the future.
Susan Batross US Librarian


Susan Batross, while packing her suitcase, also writes:

Are you traveling to Alice Springs to attend Nevil Shute's Legacy?
Consider joining "Read Nevil Shute".
In the February Newsletter I asked for volunteers to "Read Nevil Shute". Introduced at the Fourth Biennial Conference by Margo Ganster, this popular seminar will be repeated. As in Cape Cod, we will have ten Readers choosing their favorite passages from Nevil Shute books to read for our enjoyment. Each Reader will have eight minutes to read their passage and explain why they chose it.
I need to know who else would like to be a Reader. Even though I've had a wonderful response, there is still room for a few more. Our time is limited to 90 minutes. We will be able to hear ten Readers. At this time, I don't need to know what book you want to read from, but would like that information by March 15th. Please join me and the other volunteers to "Read Nevil Shute". Everyone will enjoy hearing your favorite passage and the reason you chose it.
E-mail me at to volunteer.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
Susan Batross US Librarian


Cedric brings our attention to an article in The Guardian about the World Book day poll showing the top 100 books. A Town Like Alice just makes it at 96.
Go to Books you can't live without: the top 100 to see the entire list.
However, to me it's obvious that someone blundered in analysing the data and that they were counting the books backwards from 100 points for best book to One Point for the least, so Alice really is the Fifth most popular book and not the 96th.


Mike Butterfield of the UK writes:

My late mother used to mention that during the WWII my father was involved with the construction of gyroscopes used in the steering of the smoke laying rocket "the Swallow" and that he drove down to Beaulieu for live tests of it on more than one occasion.
Unfortunately my father died in 1962 when I was eight years old so I wasn't able to talk to him about it.
He used to work before the war at Bassett Lookes (?) and Lines Bros (?) I think on model trains and aircraft etc. and lived in London.
He was a tool engineer/model engineer.
His name was Leslie Butterfield - any information relating to this would be much appreciated.

Editor's Comment:
I explained to Mike that any information we had was already on the website photo album.
If anyone has any additional snippets to help Mike research his father and his work, please email Mike directly.
Please also send me a copy too if your information might connect up with Shute.


Nevil Shute's Legacy - Alice Springs Conference Update:

53 days until the Fifth Biennial Conference begins in Alice Springs! With our esteemed presenters, our fun and interesting excursions, the dedication ceremony of the Nevil Shute Memorial Garden and the finest company one could ask for, the conference is going to be exciting and memorable! Any questions about registration, accommodations, etc. should be directed to me here or here.
Please make sure you have the correct address!
A number or letter can send an email into eternal cyberspace!
Conference details can be found here
Click on HOME to refresh the web page for the latest information and details.


It's yet another perfect day here in Sydney. Sydney Opera House
Hope you are all well.
Richard Michalak


Write in if you want your name listed and would like to get together with other Shutists in your vicinity.


Jim Wells lives in Lindfield, Sydney
Richard Michalak lives in Paddington, Sydney
Ruth Pearson lives in Adelaide
Neil Wynes Morse lives in Canberra


Julian Stargardt


Bruce A Clarke lives in Bangkok


Jim & Kristi Woodward live in Broken Arrow (east of Tulsa), Oklahoma, USA.
Priscilla Pruitt lives near Bellingham, Washington State
Bill McCandless lives in Joliet near Chicago.
Joy Hogg, Harrietta Michigan (northern lower Michigan, near Traverse City and Cadillac)
David B. Horvath, dhorvath in the domain, near Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA.
Al Benkelman Warrenton, Virginia