Saturday, June 16, 2012


I’ve a fondness for some old movies. Because of this fondness, along with that it’d been filmed on Dunk Island; I watched a re-run of the 1969 movie version of Norman Lindsay’s “Age of Consent” a few weeks back.

Dunk Island is a member of the Family Group of Islands that includes Bedarra, Timana and others. All are anchored comfortably in the Coral Sea, a little north of the majestic Hinchinbrook Island that looms ominously in the distance.

I’d seen the movie a few times over the years, but my memory of many of its details had dimmed between viewings. One important detail was - I’d forgotten how wrong the movie is on so many levels. Maybe I’ve become more critical over the passage of time; perhaps with reason! Parts were embarrassing to watch. I’m not referring to, nor am I concerned by the then 22 year old Helen Mirren’s provocative exposure as a nubile, under-the-age-of consent nymph! One bare fact is, though - much-admired Mirren’s posterior appeared to be much larger in the movie than it is nowadays!

Thankfully, modern day Aussie movie makers no longer feel obliged to include every unnecessary Ockerism they can think of in their films. These days it’s not mandatory for some poor hapless soul to yell “coo-ee” at the drop of an Akubra! The unfortunate culprit in “The Age of Consent” was the late Harold Hopkins in his first movie role after his 1967 NIDA graduation. I had the good fortune to meet Harold only weeks prior to his giant step into his future. Both he and I were holidaying at Moolooloaba on the Sunshine Coast - separately - over the Christmas/New Year period of 1962/63 - he was a callow youth, and I, a fair maiden! He and I became mates for the duration of our holidays. He and his mate joined in with my crowd of friends. Once our holidays were at an end, we never saw each other again. However, over the years, I did often see him in movies and on the television screen - but he didn't know I was watching!!!

Hopkins barely made an appearance in "Age of Consent" without bellowing an awkward “coo-ee”! I kept expecting Chips Rafferty to appear as a shipwrecked stockman!

There’s a lot about the movie I don’t like; for instance, the dreadful acting! The nudity doesn’t bother me; I’d be a hypocrite to say otherwise. I, too, once was a nubile young thing who gamboled sans clothes under tropical rain and in crystal waters. Unfortunately those blissful times are long gone. Also, I doubt my landlords would be in favour of my frolicking like a mermaid in their garden ponds!

I do love the movie’s setting, though; the reason I watched it.

Nude scenes on the silver screen were unusual for the Queensland of those times. Explicitly-written books also disturbed some folk. A ban on Lindsay’s book on which the film was based was lifted in 1962. In 1965 D.H. Lawrence’s scandalous “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was released from the garden shed. In 1972/73 furore erupted within our censorship board; the cause of their fretting - “Last Tango in Paris”. The image of butter deterred members from entering supermarkets for years! I was around 29 years old at the time and was being squired by a mature-aged gentleman; himself a member of the Queensland Censorship Board. He was horrified to learn that I’d seen the movie; that I openly admitted to liking it caused him an apoplectic fit! It’s funny how attitudes change.

Townsville press had palpitations when the cast of “Age of Consent”, having succumbed to the island’s free-spirited ambience after filming there for three months, arrived in town barefooted, wearing sarongs!

One evening in 1986 when I was managing the resort on Hinchinbrook Island I returned to the North after a week-long business trip to Sydney. Staying overnight in Townsville before going back to the island the following day, I donned my stylish ladies’ tuxedo complete with scarlet bow tie and black stilettos! With glamorous images of Monte Carlo floating through my mind, I felt like a million dollars as I strutted into Townsville’s new-opened casino.

I left within minutes; all around me were dressed in stubbies, T-shirts and thongs!

Nude Ravioli: Cook 500g spinach leaves, stalks removed, until reduced volume; cool; drain; chop finely; mix into 400g ricotta, 2 eggs, 3tbs flour, pinch nutmeg, pepper, salt and 4tbs grated parmesan; if too wet, add a bit more flour; form into walnut-size balls using floured hands. Cook a few “gnudi” at a time in boiling, salted water. When they float to surface, boil another 2mins; remove with slotted spoon. Melt 100g butter; add 8 sage leaves; don’t burn; pour over the gnudi; sprinkle with parmesan.

Brown Butter Radishes: Cut off all but ½-inch of tops of 2 radish bunches; coarsely chop tops. Cut radishes lengthwise in half; coat in 1-1/2tbs olive oil. Place cut side down on oiled tray; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt; roast until crisp-tender, about 18mins; stir occasionally. Toss pinch of salt into pan; add 2tbs butter; brown; remove from heat; stir in 1tsp lemon juice; drizzle over radishes; sprinkle with chopped tops.

Butter Chicken: Combine: ½ c yoghurt, 1tb lemon juice, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2tsp each garam masala and grated ginger, 1tsp each chilli, turmeric and cumin in a bowl. Add 1kg boned, diced chicken; chill overnight. Heat 60g unsalted butter and 1tbl sunflower oil over med-heat; add 1 finely-chopped onion, 1tsp ground cardamom, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 Indian or ordinary bay leaf; cook until onion starts to soften; reduce heat to low; add chicken and marinade, 2tsp sweet paprika, 425g tomato puree (not paste), 75g finely-ground roasted cashews, and 150ml chicken stock; simmer 15mins; add 1c thickened cream; cook 10mins; garnish with chopped roasted cashews.

Nude Beach: Shake over ice, 30ml rum, 60ml each pineapple juice and orange juice, dash lime juice and 15ml grenadine.

PS....Painting by Me aka Lee


  1. You are playing with my mind! (I hope you have washed your hands).

  2. Disinfectantedededed, as well, Lee! ;)

  3. Hi Lee,

    I haven't seen that movie, but I am intrigued enough that I might just look it up.


  4. Helen Mirren was 22 years old when she made it, Janice...she played a 14-15 year old. James Mason was the older's a very disappointing movie...but the scenery is good. :)

  5. And again this is all stuffed up!!! As I said in my previous post's comments - "Why do they have to change things" I've lost my list of co-bloggers and I have no idea how to get them back!!!

    I wish the formats hadn't all changed!! Grrrrrrrr!!!

  6. ...lets go back to the once a nubile young maiden part...

  7. Hahahahaha....Cliff! There's no doubt about you! You always make me smile! :)