Letters to the editor

Treat tax dollars with respect

South Australians' cannot continue to sustain the massive government budget blow outs, like those exposed in the Health Department, (The Advertiser 17/11/18).

Making purchases outside of normal procurement processes, without oversight or accountability is unjustified, needs to be stopped immediately and stringent practices, which are actually observed, put in place.

Government ministers, department heads and all government employees must treat our tax dollars with greater respect and ensure that all spending is judicious and targeted to meet essential and prioritised needs.

An important, and urgent, lesson should be taken from private enterprise, whereby if the same situation occurred, chief executives  and accountants would be sacked or the business declared insolvent.

Like shareholders do when public companies perform incompetently, taxpayers need to make their governments more accountable.


IAN MACGOWAN

Ceduna

Theatre rich with historical worth

How sad that the Flinders Theatre is lacking support (Port Lincoln Times, Tuesday 11.12.2018).  

Built in 1929 the Flinders Theatre played a big part in entertainment of the day, not only in Port Lincoln but to somewhat remote areas far and wide. 

Whilst researching the history of the mid-north town of Yongala (for the book ‘Fading Footprints’ by Dennis and Pam Parker) we came across pieces of unique personal art on the walls of the projection room of the Yongala Institute/Hall, amongst them, an outstanding one (of three) still in pristine condition sketched by M. W. Forster of Port Lincoln.   

Morris Forster blessed the Yongala projection room on several occasions, his job was branching out from the Flinders Theatre, to travel the country with movies/talkies of the day, and using facilities in the local Institute, display these movies for the enjoyment of the locals, and what an event it would have been.

To attend the local institute, sit back and watch a film (movie and sound), such entertainment played a huge part of community life in those days, so the entire district (and possible many from beyond the district boundaries) would put on their glad rags and rain, hail or shine, have an enjoyable and relaxing night out.   

Local institutes of that time, when built, were not set up for movie projection, probably, when these community buildings were built, the builders and district leaders had never heard of moving films (picture shows) let alone make provision for them, so alterations and additions had to be made.   

In the case of the Yongala Institute, the projection room was erected in the front foyer, above the internal entrance door, in about 1914/15, this would have meant that appropriate apertures had to be cut through thick stone walls, opposite end to and facing the stage, for the purpose of projecting the film down over the heads of the audience onto a special purpose screen usually suspended at the back of the stage.

So people like Morris Forster, from Flinders Theatre Port Lincoln, would advertise in advance that he would be showing ‘such and such’ film (possibly a double feature) at Yongala Institute on the night of Saturday (so and so) commencing at (probably) 8pm, tickets available, in advance (perhaps at the post office or local store) and also at the ticket window on the night.

Morris would arrive during the day and set up his ‘Hanz Gorez B10s projector’, then at 8pm prompt (give or take 10 or 15 minutes) the showing of the film, such as perhaps ‘Pandora’s Box’, with Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, or perhaps ‘The Kid’ starring Charlie Chaplin, and featuring Jackie Coogan as his adopted son and sidekick. 

There would be the usual breakdown through the evening, when the audience (usually at a most crucial and absorbing moment of the story), following some moments of flashing and confusing screen activity, would be left in the dark while the projectionist repaired the break in the film.

During this time all the kids, usually congregated in the front seats, or ‘the spits’ as it was known, would voice their disapproval, or just carry on with Tom-Foolery as kids do, which in turn would cause the usher to advance menacingly along the isle shining his/her torch towards the epicentre of disturbance which would quickly cause quiet (lasting for about two full seconds).

Morris William Forster was born in Port Lincoln on February 6, 1908 to Charles Forster and Agnes May nee Murray.

Morris, a travelling projectionist from Flinders Theatre in Port Lincoln, travelled the regions in the (perhaps mid) 1920s well into the late 1930s bringing the outside world into the lives of otherwise remote societies.

What a wonderful era of social history to have left behind; both by the Flinders Theatre and the projectionists, whoever they may have been.

DENNIS PARKER

Yongala

Letters to the editor

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