Film ID:
YFA 3343



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A documentary made by former professional cricket player Bill Bowes showing a tour of Australia at the time of the Ashes. The film documents the travel over as well as some action from the test matches themselves.

Title | Australian Tour by Bill Bowes

The film begins at the port at Tilbury on the River Thames in Essex. A passenger boat is moored at the docks as a car laden with suitcases pulls up. The cases are loaded onto a luggage trolley and there are shots of the cases being winched onto the boat.

On deck some well-dressed gentlemen in suits stand in a badminton court and pose for the photographers. They sport ties of the MCC One of the party members is being interviewed by a man with a microphone and the boat sets out, waved off by a large crowd on the harbour.

During the trip the men throw quoits and there are views over the bow of the ship. Five women compete in a sports day-style event where they must pick up potatoes and put them in a bucket before running to the finish line.

The ship comes to dock at Port Said in Egypt, where there is the Simon Arzt building and another ship destined for Vladivostok. The ship then passes through the Suez Canal, whilst on deck, the men do catching practice.

The next scenes appear to be in India, and comprise of shots of busy streets and locals doing their washing in a large public complex of stone troughs.

There are then views over Brisbane in Queensland, since this is where the first test match of the 1958-9 Ashes series was played. Three men walk down towards the sea and the lighthouse there, whilst three women take a walk in the countryside before being joined by four of the cricketers, one of whom is in swimming trunks.

The next shots are taken of an MCC cricket match, taken from two different angles. Following this there are views over the city from an aeroplane including the William Jolly Bridge over the Brisbane River. Back on terra firma, there are further shots of a cathedral and a tram advertising McWilliams Braemar Sherry that is headed for Stafford.

The next sequence of the film is taken at a cricket match where a large crowd has turned out to watch the action - probably the First Test. In the press box there are men watching the action through binoculars, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

Following this there is a close-up of a stone monument in a field inscribed with the names of the Australian Aboriginal Cricket Team that toured England in 1868 - the very first organised group of Australian cricketers to travel overseas. It reads: "The Team - Charles Lawrence, Captain" (Lawrence was a former professional cricketer for Surrey) before listing the nicknames of the rest of the players: "(Johnny) Mullagh; Dick-a-Dick; Twopenny; Red Cap; (Jimmy) Mosquito; King Cole; Peter; (Johnny) Cuzens; Tiger; Jim Crow; Bullocky; (Charley) Dumas; Sundown" as well as the manager "W.R. (William Reginald) Hayman".

The film then moves on to Melbourne, and following a few street scenes there is some action from the Second Test of the Ashes series, taking place in December 1958 and January 1959. The scoreboard shows that England had scored 259 in their first innings and that Australia were at that point on 282 for 6, with Neil Harvey having scored 167. There are further shots of the match taken in slow-motion and from various angles.

Some of the members of the trip then show the camera various ways of gripping a cricket ball and the group practise in the nets. Back in their suits again, they get onto a Tasman Empire Airways Limited aeroplane and we see aerial views over the terrain, as well as some shots inside the plane of the stewardesses and players, most of whom are asleep.

After landing there are shots of a white sandy beach and a blue sea, with men and women in trunks and bikinis surfing and sunbathing. There are then shots of a waterlogged cricket pitch with the covers being removed, followed by some action from the match.

At a ranch men ride horses and herd cows across a stream. Still on horseback, the ranchers herd many sheep over a bridge, and the farm holdings can be seen in the background. There are then shots of sheep being sheared and pushed down a chute before they re-join the rest of the flock, while the fleece is stuffed into sacks.

The film closes with footage of a rodeo event, where the riders must separate a cow from the herd before leading it round a course. The cowboys then try to ride a bull who does not appear to be pleased about being ridden and inevitably throws one of the riders off. We then cut to an intertitle and the film ends.

Title | Interval