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Blue Heelers is an Australian police drama series.  Produced by Southern Star Group and ran for 12 years on the Seven Network, from 1994 to 2006.

The series depicted the everyday lives and relationships of the residents of Mt Thomas (Williamstown), a fictional town in Victoria. The opening title sequence was filmed at Castlemaine, Victoria. 

The series focuses on the daily lives of police officers working at a police station in the fictional town of Mount Thomas.

Each episode is presented from the perspective of the officers.

On average, 42 episodes of Blue Heelers were broadcast per year on Australian television, with each episode comprising fifty scenes. One episode was made every week.

The scripts were written to a formula which allowed one day for rehearsal, two days on location and two days in the studio.  Episodes were shot eight to ten weeks ahead of their scheduled broadcast date.

Apart from the regular cast members, the show employed 4,300 guest actors annually, plus 30 extras every week. A total of 150 people were involved in the show’s production each week, including cast members, crew, wardrobe, publicists and writers.

Blue Heelers is regarded as one of the most successful programmes on Australian television.  Winning many awards, including 25 Logie Awards.  Blue Heelers was voted 37th greatest show on Australian television in the 50 Years 50 Show poll in 2005.

visit www.twistedhistory.net.au

Big Girl’s Blouse is an Australian skit program that aired on the 13th of October 1994 on the Seven Network.

The show was created by Gin Riley, Jane Turner and Magda Szubanski who all went on to star in Kath and Kim. The show ran for one season with 9 half-hour episodes. 

The phrase “Big Girl’s Blouse” is a British English idiom meaning “ineffectual or weak, someone failing to show masculine strength or determination”.

Riley, Szubanski and Turner had all become recognisable faces from their time on sketch series Fast Forward, the creation of Steve Vizard and Andrew Knight.

Amidst the largely male team of comedians writing and appearing in the series, the trio (along with Marg Downey) had some of the most memorable characters and sketches, but it wasn’t until they were given their own series in 1994 that they carved out their own voice — the subtly subversive voice that would go on to be at the core of Kath and Kim.

The three comedians had to work hard to convince Vizard and Knight to give them their own special on Channel Seven, which was eventually turned into a series.

That series struggled in the ratings — it was scheduled up against the first season of ER — so was cancelled after just one season.

But the eight episodes were released on DVD in the early 2000s (after Kath and Kim became popular) and many of the sketches and characters have taken on a cult following thanks to YouTube.

visit www.twistedhistory.net.au

Angel Baby is a 1995 Australian drama film written and directed by Michael Rymer. The film was produced in 1993–94 with a budget of A$3.5 million. 

The film is a love story of two people with schizophrenia.  Although the film did not do well at the box office the film swept the boards at the 1995 AFI Awards winning all the major categories as well as several major international film festivals.

Angel Baby tells the story of Harry (John Lynch) and Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie), who meet at an outpatient clinic in Melbourne for mental patients. 

Harry falls instantly for Kate when he sees her at the clinic, but she doesn’t hang around with psychos, she tells him, but her feelings change when she receives a sign from her guardian angel, named Astral.

His method of communication is the Australian version of “Wheel of Fortune.” As the letters are turned over and the underlying phrases are revealed, Kate takes careful notes; she learns she’s pregnant, for example, when the Australian version of Vanna White turns over letters spelling out “Great Expectations.”

She believes it is Astral who is residing in her womb.  She and Harry decide to move in together, despite the reservations of Harry’s protective brother Morris (Colin Friels) and his wife Louise (Deborra-Lee Furness).

Harry gets a job in a computer firm, they set up house and Kate becomes pregnant and seem for a time to be blessed with each other, and who then make the mistake of growing overconfident and discontinuing their medication, the results are disastrous, with both ending up back in hospital.

Harry re-stabilises himself, then rescues Kate from the mental ward. They hide in a tall building site and wait for their baby – called Astral – to enter the world.

This film is important as shows what it takes to overcome a mental illness and what affects they can have on your life and those around you. 

visit www.twistedhistory.net.au

Animal Kingdom is a 2010 Australian crime drama film written and directed by David Michôd, and shot on location in Melbourne with a budget of A$5 million from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, Screen NSW and Showtime Australia.  The film premiered at the 26th Sundance Film Festival on the 22nd of January 2010. 

Michôd’s script was inspired by events which involved the Pettingill criminal family  of Melbourne, Australia. In 1991, two brothers Trevor Pettingill and Victor Pierce (along with two other men: Anthony Leigh Farrell and Peter David McEvoy) were acquitted in the 1988 shooting murder of two Victorian police officers.

After his mother overdoses, 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville) asks his estranged grandmother, Janine “Smurf” Cody (Jacki Weaver), for help, and she invites him to move in with her.

Smurf is the affectionate matriarch of a Melbourne Crime family that uses her home as a base. Her home is also being watched by cops who are looking for the oldest son, Andrew “Pope” Cody (Ben Mendelsohn), who is in hiding. The volatile middle brother, Craig (Sullivan Stapleton), deals drugs successfully enough to have bought the house for his mother.

The youngest brother, Darren (Luke Ford), follows the lead of his siblings, while family friend “Baz” leads the gang, which specializes in armed robbery. Craig takes J along to meet with a crooked cop from the drug squad, who tells him that renegade cops on the armed robbery squad are on the look out for all of them.

Later, Baz goes to meet Pope at a shopping centre, where they discuss quitting crime and going straight. As Baz gets in his car to leave, police approach and shoot him dead. Angry and distraught, Pope and Craig want revenge, and ask J to steal a Commodore and bring it to Darren’s place.

The car is then planted in the middle of a night-time street as a lure. Two policemen are soon drawn to the scene, where they are ambushed and shot dead by Pope and Craig. The next day, Pope, Darren and J are taken in for questioning, where J meets Detective Senior Sergeant Nathan Leckie who also leads the armed robbery squad. Leckie, one of the few non-corrupt police officers, recognizes J’s predicament and begins to lean on him. The three are later released from custody, but J returns with his girlfriend Nicky to her parents’ home.

Craig, who has avoided being picked up by the police, Pope, Darren and Smurf meet at a diner, where they recognize J as the weak link. When told by Smurf to give himself up for questioning, Craig panics, and meets a friend in rural Bendigo. He learns that the house is already being monitored, and as the police arrive tries to flee through a field but is gunned down.

Pope and Darren take J to meet their solicitor Ezra. He coaches him to not tell the police anything and pressure him to break up with Nicky, which he does. Leckie takes J into custody again, where he proposes that J be moved to witness protection, but J turns down the offer. Meanwhile, Nicky, unsure what to do, shows up at Smurf’s home, where Pope gives her heroin, questions her, then smothers her to death to keep her silent.

When J returns to Smurf’s house the next morning he discovers Nicky’s bracelet outside the house. He calls Nicky’s phone, and realising something is not right, flees to Nicky’s parents’ house. Pope gets Nicky’s address from Darren and arrives in time to intercept J. J flees on foot and is taken into a safe house. With Craig and Baz dead, Pope and Darren imprisoned, and J potentially being the star witness for the prosecution, Smurf decides, “J needs to go”.

Smurf uses her connections to procure J’s address, and persuades the corrupt cop to help her. Police from the drug squad then raid the safe house. J jumps a fence and returns to Smurf’s house, saying he wishes to help free Pope and Darren from jail. To do this, the family’s barrister then coaches J’s answers.

After his day in court, Leckie sees J before his departure from the safe hotel, and asks him if he has found his place in the world (a reference to Leckie’s animal kingdom metaphor for J’s predicament). Pope, Darren and Smurf celebrate with champagne while being interviewed after their controversial acquittal. Smurf later sees Leckie in the supermarket and taunts him. Later again, J returns to Smurf’s home asking to stay, before going to his room.

Pope enters and begins to talk to him, but is cut off when J shoots him in the head. In the final scene, J returns to the living room and embraces a now silenced Smurf.

Animal Kingdom received 18 nominations for the 2010 Australian Film Institute Awards, across all major feature film categories – a record achievement. On the 11th of December 2010, Animal Kingdom won a record 10 awards.

The film received several other film awards to Jacki Weaver who was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. Weaver was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. It was also named one of the Top Independent Films of 2010 at the National Board of Review Awards.  All up the film received 36 awards and 39 nominations. 

Quentin Tarantino listed Animal Kingdom as his third favourite film of 2010, behind Toy Story 3 and The Social Network. 

On this day …….. 22nd of December 1967

A memorial service for Prime Minister Harold Holt was held at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Melbourne on this day in 1967, only five days after his disappearance. The service was attended by 10,000 people and a number of international dignitaries including former and incoming Prime Ministers of Australia.

Those attending included:

President Johnson of America, President Văn Thiệu of South Vietnam, President Chung-hee of South Korea, President Marcos of Philippines, Vice President Yen of Taiwan

New Zealand prime minister Mr Holyoake, Britain’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Prime Minister Mulinu II of Western Samoa, Prime Minister Kittikachorn of Thailand, Prime Minister Yew of Singapore, Dep Prime Minister Rahman of Malaysian

Prince Phurisara of Cambodia, Prince Charles of England, Governor General Lord Casey

Former Prime Ministers of Australia – Robert Menzies Arthur Fadden Frank Ford

Incoming Prime Ministers of Australia – John McEwen Billy McMahon Gough Whitlam Melcolm Frazer

This was the first event to be transmitted from Australia to other countries via satellite.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 22, 1912

ALBERT PARK
DEATH SENTENCE FOR MURDER.

At the Criminal Court Joseph Victor Pfeffer, 32, butcher’s assistant, was charged with having on the 22nd of December, at Albert Park, murdered Florence Victoria Whitley, aged 23, domestic servant and sister-in-law of the accused. The Crown Prosecutor stated that the murdered girl had for three or four years prior to the tragedy been living at the accused’s house. During lunch hour on December 12 Pfeffer clambered over the back gate of Kennett’s house, in Mill-street, Albert Park, and made his way into the kitchen, where the maid and her mistress were seated at a table together. Then the accused shot the girl. Evidence in support of the Crown case was given by a number of witnesses, and the defendant made a statement from the dock. He said, ‘From when I woke up on the morning of the murder until I saw the police I remember nothing of what happened. I have my brother here in court. He has wandered out of his mind, and has roamed about the country in that condition for three weeks before being arrested. At Geelong I had an accident before I went to the war. and was laid up in the hospital for a fortnight. While in South Africa, I had several bullet wounds, and was hurt inwardly through the fall off a horse. Another time when taken prisoner I was hit on the head with the butt end of a rifle, and I have since suffered from headaches off and on, and I really think there are times when I don’t know what I am doing. There was insanity on my father’s side and on my mother’s. One or my relatives hanged himself, another shot himself, and my brother has been in a lunatic asylum for some years. I do not remember anything at all about the murder. After rather more than an hour’s retirement the jury returned with a verdict of guilty, adding a rider expressing regret that in view of the character of the defence, no evidence had been brought forward to settle the question of the accused’s sanity. Mr. Woinarski said the Crown, was in a position to rebut any evidence on that point that might have been brought forward. His Honor would take a note of the jury’s rider. He then passed sentence of death upon the accused,

 

ON THIS DAY – December 22, 1908

TONGALA WEST

At Bairnsdale Court, before Mr Justice Cussen, Edward Chomley was found guilty of having on the 22nd of December, attempted to murder John Hickey, husband of the licensee of the Mount Hepburn Hotel, Tongala West, by administering strychnine to him. Sentence of death was recorded, and the case will be considered by the Executive Council.

 

ON THIS DAY – December 22, 1908

TONGALA WEST

At Bairnsdale Court, before Mr Justice Cussen, Edward Chomley was found guilty of having on the 22nd of December, attempted to murder John Hickey, husband of the licensee of the Mount Hepburn Hotel, Tongala West, by administering strychnine to him. Sentence of death was recorded, and the case will be considered by the Executive Council.

 

ON THIS DAY – 22nd December 1939

Morris Ansell aged 19, labourer, of Victoria St., Carlton, was charged in the City Court on the 22nd of December 1939 with having murdered Alfred Thomas Atherton near Ferntree Gully. He was remanded until December 29, for sentencing. Mr. Justice Martin sentenced Ansell to death and told him that the jury’s recommendation would be sent to Executive Council, due to his age. Ansell was calm when the jury announced its verdict after a retirement of two hours and 20 minutes.

 

On this day …….. 22nd of December 1923

Madge Bolton, 21 years, was injured at Luna Park on this night in 1923, her forehead being badly cut and her nose smashed and cut, and her forehead requiring 14 stitches. Lorna Eyres got into the water chute boat at about 10.30 pm the seat at the other end being occupied by Robert Williams, 27 years, and Bolton. The boat after leaving the water, landed safely, but in negotiating a sharp turn, after landing, the occupants were, jolted out of their seats. Each clung to the hand rail, but Miss Bolton’s head-struck a beam. When the boat pulled up she was lying unconscious, huddled in a corner, her head hanging over the side. Miss Eyres was slightly injured about the head, and Williams had two teeth knocked out.

 

EXECUTED THIS DAY – December 22, 1941

ALFRED BYE – MELBOURNE

Alfred Bye, 42, formerly a military transport driver at Darley Camp, was executed at Pentridge on this day in 1941. He made no final statement. Bye was sentenced to death for the murder of Thomas Edward Walker, 45, a soldier, of Broadmeadows Camp, in a reserve near the Government Printing Office on September 19. Walker died from a number of knife wounds. No appeal against the sentence was made by Bye, but requests for commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment were made by the Labour party and the Howard League for Penal Reform.