Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Thankful Thursday - Childhood Movie Memories - #52SharingMemories -

I am very thankful for all the wonderful memories of my childhood and it would be a shame if these memories were lost so, Sharing Memories is a wonderful way to record your history and the social history of the times that you lived in.  It is these everyday accounts of our lives as children and teens that will some time add colour to our history.

Last year, motivated by Lorine Schulze‘s blog, Olive Tree Genealogy’s prompts of #52 Sharing Memories I started to write some posts on sharing Childhood memories.  I have to admit, I certainly did not meet the 52 posts requirement, however, I really enjoy writing about childhood memories, so will endeavour to write a few more in 2014.  Yesterday, I saw on Lorine's Blog that the prompt for Sharing Memories this week was Movies.   What a great topic!  so I thought I would share a couple of my going to the movies experiences!!

Growing up in the outback of New South Wales meant that heading off to the movies on a Saturday afternoon with friends was not an option.  However, there was always room for innovation and we still managed to have a “Movie” night every now and then. We were living on Nuntherungie Station, about 120 miles from Broken Hill and 45 miles from the opal mining town of White Cliffs. One of the owners of a nearby property Kurrunera Station had a small plane and his flying licence. Recognising that people of the district were missing out the latest entertainment from the Silver Screen, he thought it would be great to provide the local people with the opportunity to see some of the latest movies.  So arrangements were made with the movie theatre in Broken Hill to every couple of months pick up a copy of a movie, and fly it to his property for a “Movie Night”. 

A movie theatre would be set up in his Woolshed. The word having been spread to all corners of the district  by two way radio and the local people would drive for miles over dusty dirt roads to his property for the big night. 

Wool bale - great Movie seats
The children would all sit together on the bales of wool that were set up in front of the screen, and chatter amongst themselves. One has to remember that these children sometimes went weeks without seeing any other children other than their siblings.  The local graziers would catch up on the latest wool prices or discuss the lack of rainfall and the wives, happy to have an occasion to dress up, would compare notes on their children and life on the land, as they set up the plates of cakes, scones and other goodies for everyone to share at interval.

The first movie I can remember seeing at the Woolshed Picture Theatre was the Disney Movie The Miracle of the White Stallions. It must have had quite an impact on me as I remember being fascinated by the fact that the Lipizzaner horses from the Vienna Spanish Riding School were born black and as they grew older turned white.  I also clearly remember the scenes of the second world war and the valiant effort to save the horses from the Nazis.

The second movie that I remember seeing at the Kurrunera Station Movie Night was not such a big affair.  There had been heavy rainfall in the district and many of the roads were cut. This meant the numbers attending were quite low, so the movie was shown in the homestead.   The movie was, The Titanic, again as I was a young girl  the memories of this movie remained with me for a long time. I remember burying my head in a cushion when the ship went down.  (Lucky it wasn’t the more recent version of the movie, as I might of suffocated.)

A couple of years later our family moved from the White Cliffs district and lived on a number of other properties, one of these was near Gulargambone!  Here was another great movie experience, the outdoor and indoor Magestic Theatre.  In the winter the audience sat inside, however in the summer the screen was set up outside with rows of deck chairs set up for the patrons. Nothing better than sitting in the striped deckchairs, with your bag of popcorn, under the starlight watching the latest movie.  As I was the older sister, my job was to chaperon my three younger sisters on our movie outings.  This certainly limited the  opportunity to sit with any of the boys from school that I fancied.

When I reached high school age, my parents sent me to board in St Faith’s Girls Hostel in Dubbo, so that I could attend Dubbo High School, as they felt it would provide me with better schooling options.  St Faith’s was a Church of England Hostel where about 40 girls from the surrounding districts lived under the guidance of Matron.  Every Friday night, the girls were allowed to go to the local picture theatre, We would all assemble with our 40cents admission at the front of the Hostel after dinner, and our Matron and her Samoyed dog called Yetti, would escort us to the theatre and then meet us at the end of the movie to escort us home.  These were fun times, when I was exposed to all the movies of the late 1960’s, with flower power, spies, Easy Rider, James Bond, Dr Strangelove, to name a few.  There was always the smuggling of hot chips into the back seats of the theatre, hoping the usher wouldn’t be able to smell them, and of course the odd rolling of jaffas down the aisles if the movie was a little boring.

Thank you Lorine for posing the Sharing Memories prompt of “Movies”  it has brought back so many fun memories. I would love to hear others childhood memories of going to the movies as  I am sure there are some good stories out there. 

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