Bruce Fisher (Forest Hills, Victoria, Australia)
“Nigel mate, my copy of ‘Good Adventure’ arrived on the 30th December. I have just finished the book, and I have to say, I didn't want it to finish! I wanted you and Tony to continue with your lives after your Mum and Dad’s letters and your young memories ended! Nigel, I felt every and
all emotions as I read the book, and admit the tears fell!
“Nigel, I commend you, Tony, Mum, Dad, and all your family for putting together a really
bloody Good Adventure!!!”
Ann Riddell (Burntwood, Staffordshire, England)
“Finished the book today Nigel. I absolutely loved it. The voyage over sounded like a first class cruise and your time in Australia was fantastic. I feel I've missed out on a wonderful time.
I'm glad you got to spend twelve months with your Nan before she died.
A ‘Good Adventure’ indeed - I hope your return trip lived up to expectations. Thank you."
Dr Sophie Couchman (Exhibition Curator Post WWII British Migration to Australia,
Humanities Department, Museums Victoria, Melbourne, Australia)
“I’m writing to thank you for alerting us to your book via the storyport website we’ve been using to gather stories of post WWII British migration to Australia. We’ve obtained a copy of the book and were delighted to read your account. We are currently in the process of selecting and shortlisting personal stories for our exhibition and are interested in the Crowther family story.
“I’m writing to see whether you would be agreeable if we used some of the material in your book and also perhaps reproductions of your mother’s and also Nigel’s letters in the exhibition? If we were to use your story we might also be interested in interviewing you and also your brother about your experiences in Australia and the impact that might have had (or not!) on your lives after your return to England. Would you be interested in participating in the exhibition in this way?”
Mathew Montebello (Assistant Principal, Williamstown Primary School, Victoria, Australia)
“We would love to promote your book and will do so through our social media platforms.
We thank you for your time and memories.”
Sally J (Kindle purchaser, Birmingham, England)
“An interesting piece of social history told through the letters of a mother and the memories
of a child, interspersed with the odd current event such as the Coronation of Elizabeth II.”
Sallie Morgan (Birmingham, England)
“. . I really enjoyed the book. It was a 'gentle book' - full of loving feelings and concern.”
Sylvia D (Cardiff, Wales)
“I loved your book. Couldn't put it down.”
As stated in the book, music and its associated memories play an important part in our experience. This is how many people feel about different times in their lives, which a melody can instantly evoke and create almost visual recollections of past people, places and events. Sometimes there is an obvious reason why this or that tune would prompt certain memories, but at other times the response cannot be explained and remains locked in one individual's mind, closed to everyone else. Music is subjective so much of the time.
Prior to our setting sail for Australia, songs such as: 'Shrimp Boats Is A-Comin' can recall the days of our sad farewell from Manchester, - obviously because that was on the wireless in those days of October 1951. Likewise no-one needs to wonder why the 'Hokey Cokey' is a memory of the farewell do in some hotel. Also, the 'Maori Farewell', although befitting a trip to New Zealand rather than Australia, was exactly what the musical Crowther family stood around to sing before we left: "Now is the hour when we must say goodbye".
On arrival at Bonegilla, the migrant reception centre between New South Wales and Victoria, we were all very familiar with a popular song which we had thought of as "When you are in love", (its opening line) although it was actually called 'The Loveliest Night of the Year' and was based on an earlier waltz by one Juventino Rosas - 'Over the Waves' ('Sobre Las Olas'). Mario Lanza made the new song famous from 1950, and it was all the rage while we were at Bonegilla! It was not the kind of song which children would appreciate, but grown-ups sang along to its romantic strains!
At our next dwelling place, Williamstown Migrants' Hostel, songs which featured at that time included the Weavers' rendition of the rhythmical African song 'Wimoweh', echoing across the fields or around the hostel alleys.
Then 'Tell Me Why' and 'Wheel of Fortune' would frequently be on the wireless as Nigel had breakfast before catching the school bus into town - not such a wonderful memory! 'There's No Business like Show Business' recalls a musical dancing competition one evening at St. Mary's School right opposite Williamstown State School, and 'There's Always Room At Our House' brings back appropriate recollections of our frequent visits to the Hodgsons' new bungalow when they left the hostel to settle down as Australians.
Over our two and a half years at Nunawading in Victoria, songs of the time were well known and liked, such as
'O Mein Papa', 'Blue Tango', 'The Little White Cloud That Sat Right Down And Cried', 'I'll Be Loving You Eternally' (based on the Charlie Chaplin 'Limelight' theme), the 'Harry Lime Theme' (from the film 'The Third Man') and more. There was the time when songs were recorded being sung just for amateur fun - for example, Ernest singing 'Paper Doll' and Lilian singing 'Maybe', but although these were recorded in the home, no records remain of whether they were ever on sale!
Even instrumental music brought back memories years later and this is explained with regard to Rachmaninov's 18th Variation from the 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini', (accompanying a film of the time, the 'Story of Three Loves') and a melody called 'Swedish Rhapsody' which stunningly brought out a lost visual infant memory for Tony.
Things like this are explained in the book.
Of course, meaningful thoughts were summoned up
by such songs as the one we sang at school for Anzac Day - 'We Will Remember Them' and going back to Williamstown School, 'I will make you Fishers of Men' and then from Nunawading Hostel Sunday School,
'For God So loved the World He gave His Only Son'.
'Good Adventure' recalls all these tunes and how they were part of our story. Millions of other people would have known them at that time,
but their associations and recollections would have been different from what they meant to
us. They are all an integral part of our 'Good Adventure,' even if they were never mentioned
in the actual letters sent home to Manchester.
Blue Tango - Leroy Anderson 'Pops' Concert Orchestra
Harry Lime Theme - Anton Karas
I’ll be Loving You Eternally - Sarah Vaughan
It Takes Two to Tango - Pearl Bailey
Limelight - Charlie Chaplin
Maori Farewell (Now is the Hour) - Margaret Whiting
Maybe - The Ink Spots
O Mein Papa - Eddie Calvert
Paper Doll - The Mills Brothers
Rachmaninov - St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Roll Along Covered Wagon - Harry Roy & his Band
Shrimp Boats Is A-Comin' - Jo Stafford
Swedish Rhapsody - Mantovani & his Orchestra
Tell Me Why - Eddie Fisher
The Little White Cloud that Cried - Johnny Ray
The Loveliest Night of the Year - Mario Lanza
There's Always Room at Our House - Guy Mitchell
Wheel of Fortune - Kaye Starr
Wimoweh - The Weavers
Click any arrow to play the full track!