After we’d moved a tent to the Front Beach it was back to the Grandview to assess the situation. Since the road was roped off at the end of the building, the obvious spot for an Information table was, well, obvious and from there it was just a matter of wandering around and waiting for the hordes to descend on us. Bearing in mind that it was still only about seven-thirty it seemed like there was a while to wait.

We had a rough outline of what was being filmed, and the regular explanation (which I must have gone through sixty or seventy times through the week) went something like this:

Lady Sarah Ashley has arrived on a Qantas Empire Airways flying boat, stepped onto a pontoon, climbed the steps/ladder/whatever to the Darwin wharf (which was in Sydney) and comes into our picture about THERE (pointing to the blue screen on the Bowen wharf). She’s not very happy since there’s no one there to meet her. Hugh Jackman’s in the pub, getting himself involved in a brawl, and as she arrives outside the building he comes flying through the window, lands on the ground in front of her, looks up and says ‘Welcome to Australia.’ 

Sounds rather straightforward doesn’t it?

I arrived for my third stint on Thursday afternoon and they were still shooting the fight scenes, though I gathered that the preceding bit was more or less completed.

Lesson #1: Nothing is as simple as it looks and everything takes longer than you thought it would.

When I arrived for breakfast on my second stint on Wednesday morning, I found out exactly how long some things take - twenty-six takes of a thirty or forty second sequence where a small Chinese boy playing with some pearl shells is told to look at the pretty lady (which turns out, in fact, to be a broom head moving right to left behind the camera),

I must have used that story at least thirty times on Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon. And I reckon I must have heard it another thirty times from the source of the information - Uncle Tony, who’d been the small Chinese boy’s minder.

Lesson #2: There’s a lot of repetition in a gig like this and once you’ve got a basic spiel worked out there won’t be too much variation unless someone comes up with a new question that you haven’t already covered in the standard version.

So that brings us to the next point: What did people want to know?


© Ian L Hughes 2021