Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Youth: The Day James Bond Came to Toombul

You Only Live Twice. What a great movie! I remember sitting in the cool air conditioned Winter Garden Theatre in Queen Street at the start of the  Christmas school holidays.

I so looked forward to those Bond movies… and those 6 week  holidays too!

There is a scene in the movie where Bond calls for Q to send Little Nellie to him in Japan. Now Little Nellie is a Benson Gyrocopter equipped with rockets and all sorts of incredible gadgets. In fact there are two Little Nellies in the movie. One that packed down into a few suitcases and the real one that Bond flies over a fake volcano in Japan.

The owner of the real Little Nellie who actually flew the gyrocopter in the movie, brought it to Australia. And so it came to Brisbane in 1968. The DCA would allow him to only fly it over the lower car park at Westfield Toombul Town shopping centre between Sandgate Road and Widdop Street.

Wow.. to a teenager this was a sight to behold. So my mate Wayne Pinna and his younger brother Glen jumped on the push bikes and headed off to Toombul. And me with my 127 TLR around my back. My parents had allowed me a couple of rolls of colour film to shoot this beast on the day. Just could not get that Massey pushbike to go fast enough.

We get there… and here it is before us! We are kept a fair way back.. a pity as there is no telephoto lens on the old TLR but what a morning it was. This little beast powered by a VW flat four zoomed backwards and forwards over the car park and   we just couldn't believe we were actually seeing the same aircraft used in the movie!

So here is one of the old faded colour prints from Mr Kodak. As a matter of interest the film was handed into Mr McSweeny's Pharmacy at Clayfield for Kodak processing… where Deb's shop is now located.

The sad sidebar to this story is that the Benson crashed a year or two later killing the pilot!

The Pilot preparing to board the little beast!