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Monday, 6 August 2018

"An Author for All Seasons" Proudly Presents: Suzy Zail: "From Auschwitz to Africa: Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone" - 11am, Saturday, 25 August 2018

Mentone Public Library Presents 

"An Author for All Seasons"

Series Eight

  Mentone Public Library's

Winter Edition

Proudly Presents:


Bookings are essential 

due to the cozy nature of our space.

Phone Tony: 03 9583-8494

Entry: Gold Coin 

Time and Date:  
11am, Saturday, 25 August 2018        

RSVP: Thursday, 23 August 2018      

Venue: Mentone Public Library

Address: Rear, 36 Florence Street, Mentone 3194


*Book Sales and Signings
*Biscuits, Beverage and Brilliant Banter!


Mentone Public Library…

Where Print Becomes Personable 

Friday, 3 August 2018

From Legends of the Scripts to Legends of the Skies: Up, Up and Away with Our Local Playwrights & Aviation History

Audience Vantage Point 
by: Paul Karp
- Saturday, 28 July 2018

LOTS Theatre Company Inc. Producer and Writer Jim Williams together with Artistic Director and Dramaturg Maggie Morrison sound take-off with a rousing opening number from their most recent production

Legends of the Skies (LOTS) Theatre Inc. are enthusiastic local theatre volunteers who perform among exhibits at the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin Airport.

The Australian National Aviation Museum situated in Moorabbin, 
Melbourne Australia, opened in 1960, evolving from the Aviation Restorer's Group. 

Historical aircraft are on display as well as exhibits such as WWI fighter plane wings and The Red Baron's fuel tank (95% verified). 

Launched in 2013, LOTS annual productions feature original scripts by local authors presented by local actors about Australian aviation stories that deserve to be told.
Cheryl Threadgold, Jim Williams, Maggie Morrison - Founders & Writers of LOTS

Today, four LOTS alumni spoke about their group’s origins, achievements, aspirations, and their individually written and collaborated scripts.
Members of the company from left to right: Justine Gorny (performer and publicity), Alison Knight (writer), Neil Follet (writer), Jim Williams (writer, producer), looking on as their flight's commander; Maggie Morrison, commences proceedings.

Artistic Director Maggie Morrison discovered that her Mordialloc house was built on the site previously occupied by Gertrude McKenzie's home. Gertrude was an aviatrix during the 1940's and 1950's who ran a flying school with eight Tiger Moths and in 1959 became Mayor of Mordialloc. Maggie wrote a play about this feisty woman to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Maggie and her fellow scriptwriters shared insights into the techniques and challenges of bringing scripts to life for the theatre audience. 

Dry, factual information is lightened with comedy and song. 

Involving children creates the opportunity for questions to be asked that the audience would ask. Dressing up in period clothing, such as play acting a stock man, is another useful illustrative device. Planes are sometimes character props, such as 'Baby Bristol Beaufort'. 

Lighting highlights specific parts of an aircraft such as the cockpit to focus audience attention. Sound effects add authenticity to a recreated flying event. The audience move through the museum to view scenes across different sets.

Neil Follet grew up on a farm on Lower Dandenong Road. With the airport over his back fence, his interest in flying was evident in his preparedness as a youngster in the 1950s to pay 10 shillings for his first flight. He became a pilot in 1964 and he edits the periodical 'Aviation Heritage'. He has written ten scripts, eight of which have been performed. He related several stories including that of Bluey Truscott, a Melbourne footballer who was an ace fighter pilot in Europe and New Guinea.

Alison Knight's father worked at Avro and Hawker. 
He helped design the Hurricane fighter. 

Alison is a playwright and the author of two books:
"Peter Stone" and "The Undiscovered Room and Other Stories". & 

One of her scripts celebrated Maurice Guillaux, the engaging and conceited French pilot who pioneered air mail delivery between Melbourne and Sydney. This script was narrated in a French accent.
Another was based on James Knight (no relation). On a flight from Melbourne to Perth his compass went 20 degrees off tack and he disappeared in the desert. His plane was discovered years later, his journal scratched into the fuselage, ending with a love letter before he perished. Alison wrote his story as a poignant 10 minute acapella style bush ballad.
Charles Kingsford Smith's well renowned achievements and bravery were tempered by the pressures of celebrity, alcoholism and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His plane disappeared over Port Phillip Bay in 1935.

Frederick David was an Austrian Jew born in the early 20th century. He worked for Heinkel in Germany, then designed bombers used by Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbour. He was later interned in Australia, then adapted Boomerang aircraft to bomb Japanese.

Thomas White married former Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin's daughter, Vera. He conducted reconnaissance and sabotage in WWI behind enemy lines. He taxied his damaged plane for 15 miles past enemy encampments near Baghdad, was captured in Turkey, jumped off a POW train, bribed Russian soldiers and arrived at Odessa by war's end. His story lent itself to cheerful Biggles 'jolly old chap' 'boys own adventure' style dialogue.

Jim Williams taught Maths and Chemistry at Mentone Girls High School with Maggie Morrison who taught Drama. His first play about a hijacked plane that travelled around the world was a great success for the school. He has also performed in numerous local productions.

One of his LOTS scripts told the story of Robin Miller who almost single-handedly eliminated polio in Northern Australia with her innovation of adding serum to sugar cubes. Her plane was recognised approaching outback settlements by children who hailed her as the 'Sugar Bird Lady'.

Another script was about stockman Jim Darcy whose malarial ruptured bladder was operated on at Halls Creek by the postmaster on the Post Office bench with directions sent by Morse code by doctors in Perth. To send a doctor in those days was a nine day journey. He didn't survive the operation, but to Reverend John Flynn it was the catalyst for the formation of the Royal Doctor Flying Service.
Reverend John Flynn

LOTS Co-Founder and Scriptwriter Cheryl Threadgold turns the attention and deserved accolades to an unsuspecting Justine Gorny

Scriptwriters Cheryl Threadgold and Maggie Morrison paid tribute to  Mentone Public Library regular, Justine Gorny, for her recent acting contribution (a 15 minute monologue even seasoned actors weren't game to try). However, LOTS has no star system, their ensemble style requires each actor to assume several roles in any production.
Justine Gorny rises to express her gratitude for the acknowledgement and opportunity to make a contribution to community theatre and history.

Today's lively and informative LOTS presentations were roundly enjoyed by our highly appreciative audience.

We look forward to this year's production scheduled for October. 

Tickets will be available in September. 


Saturday, 28 July 2018

PAUL'S PICKS [Book Reviews of Publications by Local Authors]: "The Undertaker's Mother" by Denise Tobin Shine


 Book Reviews of Publications Penned by 

Our Community's Local Authors

Visit Paul Karp's Poetry Website at:

Mentone Public Library is committed towards promoting local history and the local literary talent of the City of Kingston and surrounding municipalities of Bayside, Glen Eira and Port Phillip in the Bayside region of Melbourne Australia.

Mentone Public Library is pleased to have recruited 
Paul "Percussion & Poet" Karp 
to source and review the local literary pearls of publications you might be yet to discover.

This month Paul's book review pick is by 
local author: 

And the book:

Denise is a local author and regular at Mentone Public Library's 'Page Turners' Writing Worksop Circle. 
Her 2012 novel is much livelier than its title and sepia-toned cover suggest.
She traces her family history from her paternal grandfather, Thomas, who emigrated from Ireland to Australia in 1889, and her Melbourne-born grandmother, Alice. Their sons established the well-known funeral directors, Tobin Brothers. 

The novel begins with a beguiling portrait of 1889 Melbourne through 16 year old Alice's eyes. 
Her view of family life growing up in South Yarra is evocative, with descriptions of the 'Royal Botanical Gardens' and 'The Tan' perimeter track.
'Doing the Block' was where eligible young men and women paraded on Melbourne's Collins, Elizabeth, Flinders and Swanston Streets block dressed in finery in search of the beau of their dreams – a courtship equivalent to today's 'Tinder'.  

I enjoyed Thomas' and his first wife Maria's accounts of their journey by sea to Australia. The exotic Middle East, unimaginable tropical heat, characters on board and friendships forged are all vividly portrayed.

Initially settling in Melbourne, they seek a better life in Western Australia during the 1890s depression where Maria tragically dies in childbirth. Bereft of a wife and carer for his young children, Thomas writes to Alice's parents to seek her hand in marriage. Initially reluctant, she accepts his offer. Her journey from Melbourne to Fremantle is engagingly written. Her tribulations of sea travel are more than offset by meeting Eliza, with whom she forms a lasting friendship, and finds valued solace and advice during confinement and child-rearing. 

Richly sourced by first-hand accounts and extensive research, 'The Undertakers' Mother' offers a highly authentic glimpse of one Australian family's life and struggles over the past 130 years.    

About Denise Tobin Shine

Denise Tobin-Shine presenting at Mentone Public Library - Saturday, 28 September 2013

Now in retirement, Denise Tobin Shine is a former primary school teacher and for many years owned and operated caravan parks with her husband. 

During this time she wrote an Accreditation Manual and Emergency Management Plan, both of which helped to stimulate her love of research and writing. 

She always enjoyed writing as a child and over the years, while attending creative writing courses, has written several short stories many of which have an historical theme. 

She enjoys travelling overseas and her love of canal boats in England resulted in a published article in The Victorian Senior.

With the original concept being a small booklet to accompany a family reunion, The Undertakers’ Mother is the result of four years of intensive writing and six years research of scraping the roots of family trees, searching for hidden morsels of interest.

When time allows, Denise potters in the garden, reads and enjoys classical music. In her youth, she performed in many amateur musical productions. Denise lives in Melbourne, Australia, with Frank, her husband of 41 years. With four children and eight grandchildren under nine, for relaxation they love to escape to their boat on the Gippsland Lakes at Paynesville.

To purchase copies of "The Undertaker's  Mother", 
please visit Denise's website: