Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Newsletter dated May 2013

Letters to the Editor

From Chris & Penny Morton

Why come to Hobart? Well, the obvious answer is the conference. A chance to get together with other Shutists, renew friendships, meet new friends and learn yet more about our favourite author, his life and works.

If that isn’t enough here are a few things Hobart has to offer. It is the second oldest capitol city in Australia, and the smallest. Every where you look there are historic old stone buildings, churches, cathedrals, warehouses and government buildings, many convict built, carefully maintained or restored. It is an easy town to get around, has an air about it that is both cosmopolitan and ‘country’. The CBD, while not huge, offers anything you might want or need. There is a good sized waterfront district packed with fishing trawlers, racing yachts, recreational boats and tall ships. Over 60 cruise ships visit Tasmania each year; most of them stop over in Hobart. The harbour is surrounded by spectacular wooded hills and mountains, presided over by the imposing Mount Wellington; parks and open ground abound. Salamanca market operates on Saturdays presenting a myriad of stalls offering all sorts of food and merchandise. As one would expect in a harbour town there are several seafood restaurants not to mention steak houses and ethnic restaurants (dare I mention KFC and Mc Donald’s too?)

Within an hour or so’s drive there is Oatlands with its recently renovated working grist mill, Ross has the oldest stone bridge still in use; Port Arthur penal institute; historic and very beautiful Recherche Bay where Captain Cook and other explorers stopped to replenish their fresh water supplies. Recherche Bay was for many years a busy whaling spot and timber and mining area. The whaling stopped quite some time ago and whales are again frequent visitors. There is an interesting memorial featuring a bronze statue of a Southern Right Whale calf.

I could go on, but will close now by saying to you all - travel easy and get lots of rest; you won’t have time for jet lag. Come as early as you can and stay as long as you can.

Penny and I can’t wait to see you all in October.

John Anderson has done a great job with the conference webpage which, while subject to change, will give you an exciting preview of TAS 2013, "The Rainbow Connection". There are links to both conference venue and Tassie tourist info; (FAQ section to be added soon), so do check it out!

Online registration can now be done through

To expedite booking of rooms at The Old Woolstore and to ensure our special bed & breakfast rates:

1. Deal directly with Groups Coordinator, Courtney Cooke


3. Quote the Nevil Shute Conference booking reference #8434


We don't want any of our delegates to miss out, so please make a note of this! They are holding a block of rooms/suites for us, at special rates, until mid September, so don't wait too long.

STOP PRESS: The presentation of the documentary film "Fallout" by film maker Lawrence Johnson has been confirmed. This film has already been shown at one film festival and has been submitted to others. The film is about the making of the feature film "On The Beach" with which we are all familiar. Lawrence and his producer Peter Kaufmann will both be present for the showing which is bound to be one of the highlights of this conference. Not to be missed ! We are privileged to be among the very first to see it.

From J.B. Robert

Maybe people planning to attend the Rainbow Connection might enjoy watching the movie "The Hunter" starring Willem Dafoe about a fictionalized hunt for the Tasmanian Tiger. Much of the movie was filmed on the Central Plateau.

From Laura Schneider

Linny Fowler, a beloved member of the Tri-State Nevil Shute Book Society, died in early February. Linny attended every Biennial conference since OZ2001 and was an active member of our book group. Linny had limitless curiosity. She always asked interesting questions and offered thoughtful observations. Everyone who met Linny knew she was one of a kind. Her lust for life was contagious and Linny was really fun to be around. Over the past decade, Linny and Beall have hosted our book chapter in their beautiful home. Linny loved their Shore house and they hosted our memorable weekend dubbed, "On the Beach with A Town Like Alice". This one had a happy ending ! We toasted Linny's memory at our Chapter meeting last month and shared some of our favorite Linny stories. There wasn't a dry eye in the room. We'll be toasting Linny in Tasmania, too. We miss her a lot. Our deepest condolences to Beall and the rest of her family.

From Sherill Anderson

Please note this article: Mysterious sundial may be secret to Viking navigation. My interest in the Viking's navigation began with Nevil Shute's "Vinland the Good" and "An Old Captivity". Perhaps others may be interested.

From Cedric

Once an employer of Nevil Shute:

Might be of interest to On the Beach readers:

From Keith Minton

Twelve years lie between the publication of Nevil Shute's less celebrated Ruined City (1938) and what I consider his master work A Town like Alice (1950), but both are my favourite novels of his along with No Highway (1948). I read and reread them constantly as containing elements of vision and sacrifice.

But one thing that has only recently occurred to me is the similarity even in titles between Ruined City and A Town like Alice. Both refer to towns, Sharples in the North East of England where I live, and Alice in the centre of Australia.

But the similarity doesn't end with the titles. Although A Town like Alice is on the surface the harrowing story of the survival of a group of women during the Second World War, forced to walk for six months the length and breadth of Malaya, and half of them dying with their children, the second half of the novel in a very different mood is the romantic story of Jean Paget, the leader of these women and what happened to her afterwards.

Jean is rescuedFrom assault and possible death at the hands of the Japanese captain by Joe Harman who is as a result of his intervention crucified and left for dead. Miraculously he survives in a form of resurrection, and Jean after the War is anxious to seek him out. And he her!

But the heart of this story is the rescue of Willstown the poverty stricken burgh where Joe runs a cattle station resurrected by Jean with the legacy she very conveniently inherits after the War, making her a woman of independent means. Jean uses this money to "save" Wills Town and make it into A Town like Alice…

And similarly Henry Warren the millionaire merchant banker from London finds himself one day in Sharples (Ashington) in the North East of England, and following a successful operation at the hospital there, he determines to bring the town back to life as the thriving shipping town it once was when it had battleships as is many times repeated in the Battle of Jutland.

So the two stories, though on the surface they are quite different are in the end very similar. Henry Warren and Jean Paget have identical roles as saviours of towns. What has happened is obvious. When Shute became really successful as a novelist in the 1940s, he looked back at his story of North East deprivation, and thought it would make a splendid hook to hang another story onto one which basically was very different, a wartime pilgrimage of women. But in the end this part could act as prologue to his other more positive theme, that of rescue and salvation.

It is fascinating that Nevil Shute had a very strong religious sense, and though it became much embittered with On the Beach and Requiem for a Wren, his very late works, in Ruined City and A Town Like Alice, Shute was far more positive, and though he was very aware of the battle that was constantly going on, he was convinced at that time that good would triumph in the end. A bit sentimental perhaps these days, but it is the reason why for me these two novels will always have a special place for me in the Nevil Shute canon.

From Philip Nixon

I am pleased to announce that we have a date and venue for our group to come together and discuss Pastoral.

Nevil Shute’s Oxford alma mater, Balliol College, is hosting us in their Historic Collections Centre at St Cross Church. The centre houses the College’s archives, medieval manuscript collection, modern papers, and many early printed books. Our hosts are kindly arranging to display for us their NSN archive material, such as his admission papers. We can thank John Anderson for catalyzing this event at Balliol.

Location and parking/transport information will be sent before hand.

The date is Thursday 16th May at 2pm.

From W. Cooper

I saw this ad in an Historic Aviation Catalogue:

AS-51 Horsa Glider Mk1/2 Kit by ITALERI

Designed by Airspeed Limited and subcontractors as a troop-carrying glider, the British AS-51 Horsa glider was used by Allied forces to silently deliver parachute troops into enemy territory during World War II.

A replica of one of those stealthy gliders used during the Invasion of Normandy, this 1/72 scale, plastic kit features textured surfaces that simulate the original's fabric-on-frame construction, a well-equipped cockpit with a glazed canopy, detailed landing gear, a choice of authentic markings for U.S. or British gliders, and more. You even get two crew figures! 14½" wingspan; skill level 3. #0096167; Price: $19.95

The Horsa was designed and made after Shute's time at Airspeed. This caused me to see if there were any Airspeed aircraft models availableFrom his time at the helm of the Company.

Yes there is:


Perhaps through e-Bay, a true Nevil Shute fan could get a kit and make one of these little birds. Since some 8,500 Oxfords were made, there are possibly some people still around who trained aboard one.


I’m writing this on April 30. That is Queensday in the Netherlands. This year it was Queensday for the last time, as of today, the Netherlands have a king again. There are celebrations all over the country, and Amsterdam is crowded with people, as the crowning takes place over there. Whatever people think about the monarchy, today seems to be a day of unity in the Netherlands.

See you all next month.