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The Rock-itt : December 2009
e are into the second part of the "Hobart to Hollywood" feature on our famous Aussie swashbuckler, Errol Flynn. Carrying on from our November issue, we know that Errol was born in Hobart, Tasmania and was dumped in Shore Grammar School in his teens by his mother and father who then headed for England to do their own thing. After being expelled for bad behaviour at age 17, Errol ended up sleeping in a cave in the Domain Park which I think might have been the Botanic Gardens. Errol somewhere in between all this managed to get engaged to a young Sydney girl by the name of Naomi Dibbs. However, not being able to keep up the social demands expected of him by his young socialite fiancé Naomi decided to terminate their relationship, actually wrenching the engagement ring that Errol had bought for her from her finger flinging at him, she showed him the door. But Errol was not daunted by her dumping as he had heard about a big gold strike in Papua New Guinea, and after selling the ring, borrowed the remainder needed for the fare on a boat to take him there. At the tender age of 17 Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn set off in search of fortune and adventure in the wild jungles of a primitive New Guinea. Errol landed at Rabaul, East New Britain which is a volcanic island approximately 400 miles from the New Guinea mainland. With the paltry sum of two pounds in his pocket and only a few possessions, he knew to get the rest of the distance to the gold fields he would have to find some way of getting the funds together to buy the equipment needed to mine and also stake a claim. Using a letter of introduction from a woman who he met on the boat, he managed to secure a position as a probationary Sanitation Officer with the government department. His duties consisted of travelling to villages in his precinct to teach the people the good habits of sanitation and personal hygiene. Dressed in the all white attire of the local official, complete with the customary pith helmet, Errol would be chauffeured from village to village by two armed bodyguards. He then actually taught the villagers to make soap from coconuts to wash their bodies and their clothing. He instructed them to dig sewerage latrines and bury dead animals which were usually left to decay and rot where they had died thus spreading disease carried by maggots and flies. He told the villages to cook their pork properly as a lot of the villages were dying of pig belly, a sickness caused from under cooked pork. Everything went well for a while and Errol enjoyed doing his work but being young, this soon became boring and he started playing hooky from his job, choosing to swim in a secluded waterhole where he met a beautiful young woman of Polynesian, Melanesian heritage. Her name was Maura, and Errol in his memoir, recalled her like this. "Maura was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Honey skinned with freckles and long wavy hair and a waist you could span with two hands". He got to know Maura quite well from frequenting that swimming hole. One day as he came up from a dive into the cool water he was met by the face of his superior officer who demanded that Errol report at 9am next morning to his office. Errol thought the worst that he would be sacked which meant his chance of getting over to the mainland would be dashed. Maura took his arm and said compassionately that the whole thing was her fault and she had encouraged him to swim with her each day. She offered to ask her husband to talk for Errol and perhaps he could get him off the hook. She told him to come to her Bungalow that night to discuss it. At 9 pm that evening Errol arrived at the Bungalow, Maura was alone and in the dimness of the evening they soon found themselves in each other's arms. In his memoirs Errol didn't say exactly that they made love but he did say it was a beautiful evening that they spent together and in the course of them being together they lost all track of care and time. Suddenly the door of the room swung open and in the doorway stood the large thick set frame of Maura's husband. His fists were clenched and his face began to redden as he saw his young wife in the embrace of this brash young Australian. What happened next was anyone's guess, so read January's Rock-itt to find out. Errol Flynn 1927