Every morning 81 year old Dan Quirk goes for a walk from his home at Sunset Caravan Park, along the beach, across the lake, and up to the rocks and back. He carries with him his old Nokia mobile phone that he has had for over 25 years and listens to his favourite tunes from it. The phone holds over 200 albums, so thousands of songs, ranging from Doris Day to the Beatles, The Irish Drovers to Bing Crosby.
He gets great enjoyment out of the old tunes as he does his ritual walk with his mate Pat.
One morning recently, Dan was unexpectedly washed into the lake by a freak wave. It knocked him off his feet and pushed him along a further 50 metres. Dan thought he was a goner. His cardigan was dragging him down, with his pockets full of water. When he did resurface his knees and arms were scraped bare and he had lost his shoes, and his faithful Nokia!
In a bit of shock, Dan walked home barefoot and tended to his wounds, feeling lucky to be alive but ever so disappointed to have lost his collection of old tunes. The next day Dan went back to the Lakeside Caravan Park on the off-chance that someone might have found and handed the phone in. The guy there said no, but he had read on Facebook that someone had found a phone at the lake yesterday playing When Irish Eyes are Smiling!
“That had to be it,” Dan thought.
He went to the Visitor’s Information Centre to see if they could help him find the post which was in the Woolgoolga and Northern Beaches What’s Happening Facebook group.
Karen Dallas from the Woolgoolga Lake Working Group had found the phone on a rock on the other side of the lake about 100 metres from where Dan had fallen in.
Dan stores his phone in a plastic bag. We’re not sure if this story is a testament to the old Nokias or the clip-lock bag but Dan is one happy guy to have all his beloved music back.
Dan with his trusty Nokia Phone
Unison - Out Now
Described as melodic story-tellers, with Julia Wilson on vocals, keyboards and guitars, Marty Bouma on vocals, bass guitar and guitars and John Burnip on drums and vocals. Playing original melodic pop-rock music Unison have released their self-titled album which can be purchased via https://unison1.bandcamp.com/album/unison
An eight-piece melodic raucous folk, hard country, string band featuring lots of locals: two married couples, three people born on the same day, 13 children in all.
They are great friends, loving each other, their kids, tattoos, surfing, fishing and the north coast. They are releasing their new album, The Putdown, at the Seaview Tavern on Friday, July 9 at 7pm. Always a fun night with lots of dancing. Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
Local musician, and our front page guy, Jacob Murray is well known around the Northern Beaches, having performed at an array of cafés, restaurants, markets, pubs, breweries, weddings and other venues up and down the coast.Jacob has a plethora of varied music up his sleeve. From laid-back and rhythmic acoustic covers to upbeat and high-energy roots, as well as dub originals.You would be excused for thinking Jacob has been playing music all his life, but he only realised his talent a few years ago after picking up a ukulele whilst on a surf trip overseas.He now plays the guitar, ukulele, stomp box, drum machines, loop pedal, percussion, and of course, he sings.Following his passion he studied further, and is a qualified Sound Technician, having completed his Diploma of Sound Production. This gives him the ability to loop, record and mix, all at the same time while performing live.Jacob draws inspiration from his local natural environment and the creative individuals he associates himself with. This connection to nature is evident in the lyrics of his original songs, featured on his debut EP album, Simplicities in Life (2018) and his most recent EP, Call Out Freedom For Yourself. He sings about the appreciation of nature and the environment, chasing your dreams and cherishing the simple things. He is set to release this second EP into the world on Saturday, August 21. Jacob has chosen his favourite local café as the location for this album launch which is set to take place at the Black Apple Café in Moonee. He will be performing a three-hour show. Jacob loves this café because he strongly admires its community-minded, ethically aware, conscious business practices. Extremely delicious local and sustainably sourced food, accompanied by friendly professional hospitality.The Album tour then moves on to the Anchor Kitchen and Bar in Woolgoolga on August 22, then travels up the Northern NSW east coast, onto the Queensland’s Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.Tickets go on sale July 17th -The price will include dinner. You can buy your tickets direct from The Black Apple for $50 or via Jacob Murray-Eventbrite.com for $55. CDs will be available to purchase on the night for $25.If you want to hear a little bit of Jacob Murray beforehand you can listen via Spotify or YouTube or follow Jacob on via facebook.com/JacobMurrayMusician and Instagram.
Casey was recently the winner of the Woolgoolga Amateur Talent Quest with his original song Come Home. Casey is only 16 and already making a mark in the music industry. He has released a video single that you can view on YouTube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZVzjrzFMfk or listen on Spotify
28 January, 2021
Today a new Australian movie hits the cinemas.
208 screens Australia wide to be precise.
After nine years in the making, High Ground is finally screening. There were lots of mishaps and false starts along the way. Including an investor dying, the wet season coming early, David Gulpilil, who was going to star in the film, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Jack Thompson almost dying from kidney disease and an international pandemic!
Woopi News was lucky enough to have a chat with the fabulous Jack Thompson, iconic Aussie actor, about High Ground a movie that is very close to Jack’s heart.
We haven't seen the movie yet, so this is not a review but more an explanation of what it’s about and why it is an important part of Australian history.
This movie and the story of the Aboriginal resistance to white settlement is special and important to Jack. He has had a yearning and a love for the indigenous life ever since he was a kid. At about 10 years of age, his dad had been in Arnhem Land whilst working for ABC radio and had brought back some 8mm film of the Yolgnu people living their way on their land.
Jack was fascinated and decided there and then he wanted to learn more. “I just wanted to experience it for myself. I thought, what am I doing at school? I don’t have to go to Africa or Asia or Europe. There is this extraordinary thing right there, outside my door.” So, when Jack was 14 he headed off to work as a jackaroo on a cattle farm in the Northern Territory. This confirmed and strengthened his connection with our first people. He celebrated his 15th birthday there.
Jack has since contributed to and visited Aboriginal communities regularly since. He is a Patron for the Garma Festival which is a celebration of Yolngu culture. He attends this every year and claims it’s more for his benefit than anyone else's. He goes because it’s a reminder to him that this world still exists. “These beautiful people with their own language and rituals, corroborees, initiations and dances.”
At one festival he met Steven Maxwell Johnson who is the director of High Ground. Steven had been living in Arnhem Land since childhood, due to his dad being a teacher there. He was the videographer for Yothu Yindi, the band and foundation of Jack’s friend the late Mundu Yunapingu.
Steven was making a movie Yolngu Boy and asked Jack to play a part in it. It was the only white part and only went for a few minutes but Jack enjoyed it so much he asked Steven "What’s next?" Jack wanted to work with him again.
For a long time, Jack has wanted to make a movie that told the stories of the First Australians, particular one that would speak from the view of the aborigines, rather than the view of the white person. A story that would challenge the accepted notions of settlement in Australia.
There was a particular book that Jack wanted to make into a movie about Pemelwuy the Rainbow Warrior. At the time they couldn’t get the funding to do that particular movie, but High Ground was something they could handle. Hopefully, Pemelwuy will happen soon so keep an eye out for that.
High Ground is based on three true stories that occurred in the early 1900s, gleaned from the book Man Tracks by Ion Idriess which shared stories of the indigenous resistance in the 20s in East Arnhem Land. These stories have been incorporated into this tale about three men who have come back from World War I and find themselves in the Northern Territory as patrol officers. The man Jack plays, Moran, was their sergeant during the war and is now their senior in the patrol.
The movie begins with an incident where the patrolmen are chasing a particular aboriginal man who has been identified as the leader of the rebels resisting the white settlement of their land, burning down houses and spearing cattle, etc. The patrolmen are following the man when it all goes wrong and a patrol man accidently shoots the man. This then turns in to a melee, as Jack describes it, a massacre where the men women and children who were peacefully enjoying their day are killed.
Simon Baker, who plays Travis, head of the patrolmen, has been watching through his rifle scope and helpless to stop what was happening. He was appalled by this and during his sorrowful inspection of the site, he finds a child who had survived by hiding in the reeds of the water pond. He saves the boy, Gutjuk, and takes him back to a nearby mission where he is cared for for years to come. He is believed to be the only survivor of this day but there was also a warrior, Baywarra, who was wounded but alive.
The movie then cuts to twelve years later.
Baywarra is now leading a band of people terrorizing the soldiers who killed his family as his revenge. Gutjuk, played by the very handsome Jacob Junior Nayinggul, has now grown up and is his nephew.
Simon, who had left the Territory back then, due to his disgust over the cover up that followed, is called back to help track Baywarra. This is where Gutjuk and he reconnect.
Then Jack’s deep melodic voice stops and he lightly pushes my arm and says to me … “to find out what happens next you have to go and see the movie.”
Quite frankly I could have sat and listened to Jack all day. He takes a while to tell a story, but we were hanging on to every word.
I mentioned to Jack that I thought parts of the trailer, although beautiful and stunningly filmed looked also scary and heartbreaking. He looks at me and says “it’s not Disney” followed by a gruff friendly laugh. He continues and reassures me that it is more touching than scary, it’s not filmed as a blood bath, but it can be distressing at times. After all, it is based on true events.
I also thought, from the trailers that I had seen, that Jack was a bad policeman. I know, hard to imagine! Jack quickly cleared that up as I was thankfully wrong. He plays the senior patrol officer, “It was all these other idiots that started shooting at the aborigines in an attempt to run them out of the territory.” So even though this was not a authorised operation there was a bit of a cover-up afterwards. Questions were being asked. Like, why were their white man’s bullets in the blacks as well as the whites?
Although I only had eyes for Jack, I had to ask if Simon Baker is actually as nice as he seems. “Yes, he is, he is a really lovely man and a very fine actor. We were very fortunate to have him. He is great in film as he has spent the past five years or more directing some of his own episodes and playing so many different parts. When you see him in High Ground he is just totally different.”
On closing, Jack added,
“The reason I identify with the indigenous people, apart from my early experiences, is also that I am a part of their country that we share now. I am proud of that and I think that the more we know of the truth of our history, the more we will be able to share this country. We should be incredibly proud of the most ancient continuous culture on the planet. Hey, Ancient Greece hadn’t even been thought of when these people established here. I believe it’s something we should embrace and talk about. This is an extraordinary thing we share, that is part of all of us. Because, I’m just as part of this country now as they are, but they’ve been here for a long long time.
We talked for a long while longer about Jack’s life, health, his life in Woolgoolga and why he has a long beard and ponytail at the moment, but I will share that with you in the March edition of Woopi News.
We are releasing this digital story to coincide with High Ground’s opening around the country today and hope you enjoy this great Australian Movie and embrace the reasons behind the making, learn some history and enjoy the stunning scenery of the Kakadu.
Screening at The magnificent Saraton Theatre in Grafton (see sessions http://www.saraton.com/Movie/High-Ground ) and BCC Event Cinemas in Coffs Harbour.
30 January, 2021
Brad and I, along with my dad and step mum, Peter and Ann. went to see High Ground today at the grand old Saraton Theatre.
We all thoroughly enjoyed it. The haunting indigenous music and the beautiful landscape helped us to cope with the sadness of the storyline. It's definitely not a feel good movie but an awakening to the atrocities of our past. Local, Jack Thompson was amazing, and of course almost local, Simon Baker, as was everyone else in particular the aboriginal cast speaking in their native tongue.
A bit of my portrayal above is incorrect but to fix it would spoil the story for those who haven't seen it. Like Jack says ... if you want to find out what's happens next you need to go see the movie.
It only took us 40 minutes to get from Woolgoolga to the Saraton in Grafton and it would only take you 20 or so to go to Coffs Event Cinemas. I'd recommend either but the Saraton is a fabulous experience, being Australia's oldest and largest cinema. The sound, film and seating quality was up to standard and the staff were super friendly, even checking in with us afterwards to see if we enjoyed it. Plus another reason to head north is they are an advertiser in Woopi News.
Woolgoolga Main Beach - December 2019
An early morning in Woolgoolga, the smoke was giving us a reprieve, walkers were enjoying the fresh air, lots of people were out swimming, the Fluro Friday tribe were about to form their anti bad vibe circle when the whole beach’s attention was shifted to a stranded kangaroo at sea.
The roo had been chased by a dog and was struggling in the deep water. Resident Shane Lister grabbed his Stand Up Paddle board and headed out to help the marsupial into shore.
Check out this great video