SURF SCENE – NOOSA 1965

 

Robert Conneeley – a similar shot taken from Ron Taylor’s  moving boat became a Surfing World cover.

Hastings Street, Noosa Heads in the background.  Originally the street was full of large Queensland-style holiday homes which could be rented cheaply – all had several rooms, ideal for two teams of surf film makers.

The Paul Witzig crew: Robert Conneeley, Russell Hughes and Kevin “The ead” Brennan.  Paul had been shooting footage for Bruce Brown Films as well as distributing Bruce’s movies via his company Surfing Promotions Pty Ltd.  Noosa Heads was still a very secret surf location in July 1965 when Paul arrived with a carton of Commercial Ektachrome and his Bolex camera’s.   The broken arm in plaster was a souvenir of a car prang whilst driving a load of his Midget Farelley Skateboards down to Melbourne.

Ron Taylor crew was wife Valerie, underwater photographer John Harding and surf model Tanya Binning.

The Taylor team and film production was sponsored by Speedo Knitting Mills.  Ron and John had their 5 meter dive boats with 40 HP outboards on each  which would be useful in getting the team to Double Island Point to investigate reports of good surf.

Ron was shooting with Bolex and  Beaulieu hand-wind 16mm camera’s using Kodachrome II film stock – a less expensive choice but in the long term a good one as Kodachrome colors are less inclined to fade or change.

In addition to filming at National Park, Laguna Bay (ski shots) and Double Island Point, the teams moved to Point Lookout at North Stradbroke Island and from there dived Flat Rock and Cape Moreton for the shark sequences used in both films.  Paul had access to any of Ron’s underwater material as part of the joint venture.

The joint venture project could be credited as having been initiated by Tanya Binning who suggested the dive team view The Endless Summer movie at the Union Theatre, a 624 seat university cinema in Sydney. (The Endless Summer in 16mm – before the 35mm blow-up version,  had been setting box office records around Australia).

Viewing the film excited Ron and Valerie and led to a meeting with Paul Witzig at the Associated Motor Club in George Street, Sydney and the resulting joint venture and long term friendships of all involved.

The original version of “Surf Scene” was released with two documentary shark hunting films.  Narration was by leading disc jockey Ward Austin but that version only with a magnetic soundtrack.  A second version for TV has an optical soundtrack with an ABC-type voice doing a poor impersonation of Ward Austin’s style and humor.

Paul Witzig’s production was very successful as The Hot Generation.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/57961100?searchTerm=diver%20john%20harding&searchLimits=



Cameramen Ron Taylor and Paul Witzig during first day of shooting. Rented beach houses in background where today the most expensive seaside real estate in Australia exists.  Did surfing put Noosa Heads on the map – it sure did.
 North coast film shows December 1967 and January 1968

Womens Weekly story by Valerie Taylor

Robert Conneeley, Val Taylor, Russell Hughes, Tanya Binning and cinematographer Paul Witzig

Tanya Binning. Kevin Brennan , Russell & Robert with boards.

Russell Hughes
Diver Peter Kemp run the boat for Ron Taylor while he filmed Russell having a tow.

Head north to Double Island point from Laguna Bay, Noosa.  Two boatloads of surfers and cameramen.

There was an underwater Grey nurse shark in Surf Scene – filmed at Flinders Reef (Cape Moreton) Queensland – the only known copy exists in Paul Witzig’s DVD “The Hot Generation” (part of a three movie set).

THE PERFECT WAVE (Womens Weekly – Surf Scene)