Group M and the Moggs Creek Clickers



Philip Bentley's Thesis Introduction   /  chapter 1  /  chapter 2  /  chapter 3  /  chapter 4   /  conclusion   /  Illustrations  /   bibliography Group M 



Chapter Two

"Moggs Creek forever"


The hamlet of Moggs Creek lies close to Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road, some 130 km south-west of Melbourne. In keeping with much of the local topography the area features a sandy coastal strip, backed by deeply wooded valleys running into the Otway Ranges. However it is from these hills that the creek itself rises running some 10 km south-east to the ocean. The name Moggs is of debatable origins, the creek having been variously known as the McLaren and Bell Bird in the past. Local belief is that Moggs derives from a family of graziers near St Arnaud, of the same name, who used to bring their cattle to graze in the area. John Crook contends that it was the Moggs Creek Clickers’ protracted use of the name that caused the local description to become the official one.[1]

There had only been limited white interest in the area until WWII. Although sporadic grazing was carried out in the nineteenth century there was no permanent settlement until the early twentieth century. The construction of the Great Ocean Road after WWI laid the way for further development, but it was only in the wake of WWII, when most of the original inhabitants had either died or moved on, that the land was subdivided and sold.[2] Lots were chiefly purchased by Melbournians wishing to establish holiday homes. One interested party was made up of a group of friends who worked as industrial scientists and engineers. These included John Crook and William ‘John’ Johnson, an industrial chemist and physicist respectively, from Dunlop Rubber, Jim Nilsson, a physicist from Dunlop Aviation, and three aeronautical engineers from the Government Aircraft Factory: Max and Ron Friedman, and Sam Schofield. They had met through work and a mutual interest in skiing. Johnson and Nilsson had joined the BMW Ski Club, with friends from Melbourne University, in the late 1940s. The others, who had been to Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT), had formed one they dubbed ‘Gliss’ a few years later. Both clubs had built huts at Mt. Buller and the camaraderie experienced in this endeavour encouraged the composite group to seek to recapture the spirit by building a beach house.[3]

The area around Lorne was known to Crook from his youth when he would push his bike along the Great Ocean Road. On more recent car trips he had seen the land for sale at Moggs Creek. The six, their spouses, and two others who had only a brief association in the venture, decided to pool what meagre savings they had. They purchased a property overlooking the sea in 1954 and began building that October. They travelled down for weekends and camped out. No amenities were provided, so as well as the house they had to construct their own well, sewerage system, and arrange to have the electricity connected. To lighten the load friends were invited down to help.[4] Due to a combination of personalities, mixed with the spirit of the times, what they built was more than mere bricks and mortar. A social environment was created which was to provide boisterous entertainment, as well as being the springboard for a number of creative endeavours.

Central to this wider development was the personage of John Crook [Figure 3]. Born in 1927, and growing up in suburban Melbourne, he was blessed with a charismatic personality which drew people to him. It also imbued whatever he did with a sense of infectious excitement. He had had an interest in things scientific from an early age. This had led him to leave school after third form (Year 9) to undertake a Diploma of Applied Chemistry at Melbourne Technical College (MTC). He had found the transition from school to college a liberating one. In the space of a summer he felt he had passed from childhood to maturity. He was engaged in an endeavour he enjoyed and was beginning to read widely. He was especially interested in books which combined science with philosophy. He was also mixing with a wider, and at times wilder, crowd. Two friends in particular, Jack Bacquie and Thomas O’Hearn, displayed a lively sense of ‘ratbaggery’ derived, Crook feels, from a disaffection with their Catholic upbringing. Crook, who had not come from a particularly religious background, found an attraction to the rebellious attitude they displayed. Together they formed a clique they dubbed OCROOBA (an amalgam of their names). They proceeded to indulge in a variety of zany activities, the most notable being the annual OCROOBA lecture: a mock dissertation on a pseudo-scientific theme, based on Crook’s reading.[5] His ability to instigate and embroider a sustained piece of invention, with the support and encouragement of others, was to have a fuller flowering in the Moggs environment.

Upon receiving his diploma Crook found employment at Dunlop Rubber in 1947. His working conditions were easy-going, allowing him to develop interests outside the immediate tasks at hand. He had had a long standing interest in photography, originally fired by a nascent chemist’s curiosity in the development process, which he now combined with his profession. He started the Dunlop Camera Club, became the official photographer for Dunlop News, and with John Johnson, operated a separate company within Dunlop, Industrial Recording Photography. Crook specialised in photographing industrial matters, such as tyre wear, whilst Johnson produced microfilm of confidential documents. [6]

Crook was also interested in the more artistic side of photography, and some years previously had joined the Melbourne Camera Club (MCC) to learn more about the craft. Although initially following the pictorialist line preached therein, he soon became frustrated by the dogged adherence to the Club’s line. As he states: “Here we were in the mid-fifties, there’d been a bloody war, and we were still looking at stuff as though it was 1925!”. It was not that he did not appreciate the technical perfection of this work, merely that he felt the preference for form over subject matter was limiting the full potential of the medium. He was also possessed with an independent mien which reacted strongly against established ways that he perceived to be illogical. Rather than simply criticising, his bent was to take steps to present an alternative view.[7]

Crook therefore resolved to start his own camera club, the Moggs Creek Clickers, in an endeavour to “develop a modern approach to photography”.[8] Interestingly he appears to have been largely unaware of the recent attempts by Australian professionals to develop a documentary style. Instead he derived primary inspiration from The Family of Man, which arrived in Australia as a book in 1955. Reflecting the across-the-board appeal of the work, Crook, who was by no means conservative in his outlook, found much to be impressed with in the exhibition. “Here it was—humanity—the whole post-war dream.” Later he was to discover other documentary photographers, but his first and most influential contact was this work.[9]

He also wished to redress other perceived failings of the traditional camera clubs, in particular their rules, regulations, obligations and incessant meetings. The second issue of the Clicker’s newsletter the Quarterly Clack (a roneoed organ that probably never matched the frequency of the title) suggested that while new members may value constant meetings and outings, more seasoned hands were better left to their own devices. The Clickers therefore sought to offer

the maximum freedom for photographic expression coupled with the minimum of obligatory duties...After all you are out to enjoy photography and if possible to enable your knowledge of it to assist you enjoy living a little more.[10]

Help and advice were available on demand, although it was kept at a personal, rather than institutional level. This was commensurate, Crook feels, with the spirit of co-operation that permeated the group in the construction of the house.[11] Crook believed that the only way to breathe new life into the medium was to bring in new ideas from outside. Therefore membership was open to all. At any given time only a small percentage of Clickers were in fact photographers. Crook began by inviting those closest to him, but had soon attracted kindred spirits from wider afield. He pays tribute to those around him for providing “social and moral support” in the group, to give him a receptive environment in which to develop his often unconventional ideas. In particular he points to Don McDonald, another industrial chemist working at Nicholas Pharmaceuticals, whose broader academic knowledge, and more sharply honed sense of scepticism, provided an anchor in the organisation for Crook’s flights of fancy. It was in collaboration between Crook and McDonald that most of the Quarterly Clack was composed.[12]

Clicker activities were sporadic, and more in keeping with a lively social circle than an official organisation. Two major events were held each year: a dinner in Melbourne mid-year, and a Convention at Moggs in late summer. These could be well attended as at its height, in the mid-to-late 1950s, membership was near two hundred (average attendance however was probably closer to 50). The Convention, held over one or two days, took the form of a giant fair-cum-party. It combined the usual elements of festive Australian outdoor get-togethers—the chaotic jumble of cars, children, barbeques, laughter, eating, drinking and dancing—with more organised activities. These included such diversions as a hill climb up the sand dunes behind the house, car rallies, a sheaf-tossing competition, sand yacht races, wine tasting and much more.[13]

Further activities were prompted by the saga of Sir Samuel Moggs. This was a long running and constantly developing piece of modern myth-making. It declared that the area, and indeed the continent, had been first discovered and settled by this hardy English explorer in 1759. Sir Sam became the mascot of the organisation with songs, ceremonies, festivals, statues and fiction blossoming exponentially in his honour. It was another predominantly Crook invention, showing elements of the same zany imagination evident in the OCROOBA days, with a touch of the Goon Show thrown in. Of particular note was the erection of two memorials in Sir Sam’s honour. The first, a brick cairn, was placed near the bridge over Moggs Creek, in 1956. It commemorated his landing and “...honour[ed] the spirit of the pioneers who by their efforts helped to make the dark a little lighter”. This was followed the next year by a small statue of the peer, jauntily standing on a pedestal, some 100m up the road towards Lorne [Figure 4].[14]

The mention of “making the dark lighter” refers to the Clicker’s motto “The Dark is Light Enough”, borrowed by Crook from the play of the same name by Christopher Fry. In effect Crook was more concerned with promoting the notions informing Fry’s source, a description of the flight of butterflies before an approaching storm, by the French naturalist J.H. Fabre.

The weather was stormy; the sky heavily clouded; the darkness...profound. The butterfly...goes forward without hesitation...So well it directs its tortuous flight that, in spite of all the obstacles to be evaded, it arrives in a state of perfect freshness, its great wings intact...The darkness is light enough...[15]

The notion of succeeding against adversity, seen by Crook as relevant to the Clickers’ and later Group M’s pursuits, has been as much a personal affirmation for himself as anything.

As time progressed other interests were accommodated within the organisation, with the creation of a number of other groups: the Sliding, Moving, and Talking Clickers. Together with the original print-based group (now christened the Still Clickers), they made up what was referred to as the United Moggs Organisation (UMO). These groups would have regular meetings at members’ houses in Melbourne. The ranks were also filled by a plethora of bogus organisations: The Moggs Amateur Whaling and Harpooning Society, The Moggs Own Loyal Territorials, Moggs Free Press, the Moggs Unorthodox Church and many more. All had their activities reported upon in the Quarterly Clack. The newsletter’s basic purpose was to alert members to upcoming events. However much space was also given over to furthering the Moggs myth, or quoting, reviewing and commenting upon literature, events or ideas that Crook and or McDonald found interesting. Crook ascribes much of the admittedly purple prose produced therein to his further developing love of literature and philosophy.[16]

The Sliding Clickers was another of Crook’s ideas, but its development was overseen by Cliff Restarick, a metallurgist at the CSIRO. Born in 1933 he grew up in Ballarat attending the School of Mines. On graduation in the early 1950s he spent two and a half years in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) where he became interested in photography. In particular he was drawn to the medium of colour transparencies, or ‘slides’. These had only become commercially viable since WWII, and provided a cheaper and more stable way of photographing in colour than prints. In a short space of time they became the staple medium for family ‘snapshooters’. The necessity of displaying them via projection lent a communal air to the viewing. It provided post-war society with one of its ritualistic pursuits—the Slide Night. Crook and Restarick however looked beyond this usage. Rather than seeing each slide as an individual entity, they recognised that the means of display lent itself to building a sequential narrative. Restarick therefore led a small but dedicated band in producing audio-visual presentations: assembling slides, developing a script, devising his own apparatus to fade from one shot to another, and recording a soundtrack of music and voice-over narration. All this was achieved in relatively primitive conditions. Whilst the Sliding Clickers only lasted a few years their output displays the capacity to record, display and comment on the world in a unique manner. They may not have been the first to develop the audio-visual idea, but since its primary use at the time was in the commercial rather than the artistic arena, they were one of the first to give it a creative use. The most celebrated presentations were one detailing the “History of Moggs”, and another recording aspects of the 1959 Convention, which commemorated the bicentennial of Sir Sam’s landing (replete with a re-enactment in a bathtub). However other works on nascent social issues were also produced. These included comments on advertising and television, and a debate on heritage conservation overlaid on shots of the CML building in Collins Street just prior to its demolition.[17]

The Moving Clickers, the Moggs film society, was orchestrated by Don McDonald. A trip overseas in the mid-1950s had given him exposure to the wider world of films and film festivals. Local cinemas at this time only showed commercially released English speaking films, and early film societies were conservative in what they screened. As well as screening films the group also made some of their own. The most memorable was the ‘serial’ produced in a round-robin fashion by a different member each month, and screened before the main features. Drawing inspiration from the Saturday afternoon serials of their youth, these works featured adventure stories made on a shoestring budget. The main objective was to leave the hero in a tight spot, by the end, as a challenge for the next member to extricate him from. As the Moving Clickers grew in popularity it began to contain a different membership than the central Clickers organisation. It was increasingly populated by members of the film, television and advertising industries. Those who got their start there included the animator Alex Stitt, and the director Fred Schepsi. More importantly, it still continues to this day, flying the Moggs flag with monthly screenings, and an annual festival at Lorne.[18]

The Talking Clickers, a discussion group on philosophy, religion, and social issues had a much shorter life. It was instrumental though in providing a breeding ground for ideas, some of which would be taken up by Group M. McDonald and Crook were heavily involved, as was Fred Mosse, an engineering draughtsman who worked at Dunlop Aviation. He had been born in Germany in 1924 from which his family had fled in the early 1930s. After spending the war in England he emigrated to Australia in 1952. These experiences had made a deep impression on him and left him with a strong interest in ethical issues. He had read widely in the philosophical area, and is cited by Crook as having had a pronounced influence upon his own thinking. By themselves, or with an invited guest, the Talking Clickers explored subjects such as sex, honesty and comparative religion, drawing no firm conclusions, rather leaving each participant to reach their own understanding of the issue.[19]

The existence of the Talking Clickers illustrates how the Clickers walked a path between conventional social activity and institutionalised education. They had their fun, to be sure, but with people such as Crook, McDonald and Mosse to the fore they never lost a form of intellectual rigour. Importantly it was expressed at a popular level, rather than that of the so-called high culture, the formal arts or academia. Moreover the two aspects, fun and enlightenment, sparked off each other to sustain the organisation further than either one may have separately. In the words of one of their number, the surgeon Nigel Gray, it was “amazing how seriously they took their fun”, but there was also a thread of fun running through their serious moments, enhancing the experience.[20]



What motivated them in this form of expression is a valid question. It is worth exploring further as a way of understanding where the Clickers fit into post-war society, and at a further remove, to better understand the ideas driving Group M.

The 1950s have traditionally been seen as a conservative period lying between the social ferment of the 1930s, and the radicalism of the 1960s. The era is often summed up by references to cold war paranoia, the threat of nuclear annihilation and the dominance of conservative populism, most easily seen in the lionising of the nuclear family and “messianic materialism”.[21] In Australian art circles the division between eras has appeared to be all the more marked. The ferment of the 1930s and 40s, which produced the social realists, has been considered by some commentators to have given way to a “dissipation of energies” in the 1950s.[22] An adherence to this line then could see the Clickers being described as social rebels, boldly striking out against the conservative mainstream. Whilst some degree of reaction against the norm on their part should not be dismissed, to judge them against the above description of the era is to embrace a cliched perspective, both of them and their time. The 1950s were not all “ennui and innocence”,[23] nor were the Clickers, as a group, necessarily seeking social change.

Immediately following the end of WWII there was a feeling of optimism in the air worldwide. Many saw this period of reconstruction as a time both to judge past mistakes and to set about effecting real change. Revisions were proposed by those on both sides of the political spectrum. All were seeking a golden future, but by different means. One area that saw widespread agreement was the need for greater understanding and co-operation between people, both at a national and a personal level. Activities as politically diverse as the United Nations, the International Union of Students and The Family of Man are examples of this direction.[24]

A similar optimism permeated Australia. The high ranking public servant Herbert ‘Nugget’ Coombes has recalled:

the success of the conduct of the war gave a terrific lift to people...[they] believed in social action to achieve purposes, and in the street used to say, “If they can do these things for war, why can’t they do them to make a better life?[25]

Former members of the Clickers share similar sentiments. John Crook speaks of the “utter confidence” of the period, and Cliff Restarick of the feeling that “the world was your oyster”.[26] University attendance increased with the instigation of Commonwealth Scholarships. In the immediate post-war period many younger students were inspired by the energy and experience of the older returning soldiers, who were admitted under a special scheme.[27]

Whilst this spirit of idealism was short-lived, foundering on the rise of the political right with the coming of the Cold War, it didn’t die altogether. It continued to inform and inspire through the 1950s. John Kennedy picked up on it during his presidency, and it was a motivating thread in the rise of 1960s radicalism.[28] Indeed there is a trend among current social commentators to reverse the previously held idea that the 1960’s social revolution appeared seemingly from nowhere, and to place its beginnings firmly in the previous decade.[29] It is more easily seen in the U.S., with the small but potent collection of artists and writers who made up the ‘Beats’, the wider Beatnik movement they inspired, civil rights demonstrations, and the birth of Rock and Roll, but Australia had its moments as well.[30] There was a surge in social realist writing especially in Melbourne, demonstrations to ‘Ban the Bomb’, and protests against the Menzies anti-communist measures, compulsory military training and the crises in Hungary and Suez.[31] There were also others allying zany behaviour with creative expression. John Clare chronicles how jazz musicians in immediate post-WWII Sydney were fond of ‘DaDa’ inspired acts of eccentricity.[32] So the Clickers were not alone in being left-of-centre at the time, in a social more than political sense. They were probably marginally left-of-centre politically as well, but since there was no real combined political agenda this is more a matter of getting a feel for where their individual allegiances lay.[33] Despite the various upheavals quoted above, to say nothing of the nationalisation threat, Labor Party split and the Petrov Affair, Crook remembers the time as being, at a popular level, far less politicised than today.[34] There was, for example, no television until 1956, and ‘current affairs’ appear not to have had such a prime place in the media. It is therefore quite conceivable that a large section of the population, many Clickers among them, could stay distant from politics remaining engrossed in their family, work and outside interests such as photography. The leading Clickers instead were fired by a social conscience drawing inspiration from humanist tenets and post-war idealism, but seeking to enact them more at a local level in an attempt to reform photographic practice.[35]

In certain ways they were also part of the established order. Theirs was a predominantly male organisation, engaging in the traditional male bonding rituals of mechanical matters and drinking. Women were certainly not excluded, but in keeping with the social mores of the time they adopted a more supportive rather than initiative stance.[36] Celine Hampson joined the Clickers with her then husband Tony Taylor in 1959, soon after emigrating from England. She recalls how Conventions, in keeping with standard Australian practice, invariably divided along gender lines, something she had not experienced in her native country. Whilst she was a main player in the Sliding Clickers, it was in a production rather than creative capacity. She remembers very few female Clickers taking more than family snapshots. [37] One exception was Zillah Lee. Despite the invisibility of many women photographers in the male dominated field, she stood out by her active involvement in the more formal camera club scene, as well as in the Clickers. More interested in photography than social activities, her subject matter interests also ranged wider than the documentary with nature studies being a particular attraction.[38]

The Clickers did not indulge in free sexual expression of the sort that apparently occurred in the Heide circle.[39] Whilst certain members socialised with Clicker friends outside formal meetings, major get-togethers were infrequent. No-one proffers any information with regard to illicit sexual activity. Crook considers the men were as “unsophisticated” about sexuality as most males at this time, and in these pre-‘pill’ days women were generally cautious.[40]

Today, no member is keen to categorise the group as being radical. Whilst one has to recognise that there is a tendency to become more conservative with age, even Crook, who has engaged in some more radical ventures since then, is loath to embrace the notion.[41] Cliff Restarick, who has thought about the issue more than most, suggests that while they were not against society itself, some at least were rebelling against their normal roles in society. This provides a useful link to the ideas of Johan Huizinga with regards to the element of play in modern culture. Huizinga sees play—a self satisfying interlude engaged in by humans as a break from their normal reality—as providing a vital balance out of which advances to civilisation can arise.[42] Characteristics of play isolated by Huizinga include its possession of its own rules, boundaries and community, and an element of intense absorption, all elements that can be seen in the Clickers activities.[43] He also suggests that “the outlaw, the revolutionary, [and] members of secret societies...[have] a certain element of play prominent in their doings”.[44] Whilst it is going too far to describe the Clickers as outlaws or revolutionaries, there was a form of social revision at work here. Their activities went further than those of most social networks or hobby organisations. There was a sense that if not rebelling against society they defined themselves as different from it and gloried in the secret society element. A bumper sticker bearing the screed “Moggs Creek Forever” was produced, and John Crook tells of the sense of camaraderie that could be experienced on sighting a fellow traveller on the road.[45]

Huizinga goes on to decry the modernist diminution of the play element in Western society in the wake of the rise of “social consciousness, educational aspirations and scientific judgement”.[46] Given that so many key players in the Clickers came from a technical background it may be that the Clickers sought the element of fun as a way of balancing their lives. Restarick believes that the empirical background was also involved in the group’s exploration of social and philosophical dimensions. He considers that their training to question everything sat uneasily with religious faith, and an attempt to resolve the issue led to projects such as the Talking Clickers.[47]



The Clicker’s primary focus remained photography. As part of an attempt to enlist new members, as well as to promote the documentary style, two issues of a roneoed magazine The Last Shot were produced. These contained a statement of intent, fleshed out by relevant quotations from camera magazines, and were designed to be distributed through camera shops.[48] Those who did join for the photography brought a knowledge of their favourite photographers with them, and so widened the group’s understanding of the field. Word-of-mouth and publications were the chief ways of disseminating information as at this time photography courses were largely technically oriented.[49] Feedback was encouraged about members’ work. Initial exhibitions were little more than displays of prints around the walls of the Moggs house at Convention time.[50] Contact with professionals was limited, although Norman Ikin, a Melbourne professional, who appears to have joined more for the social activities than the photographic, gave advice and criticism.[51]

Eventually the group sought to produce more formal exhibitions. These began in small cafes around the city and suburbs, before launching into a full scale international exhibition dubbed Photovision in 1959.[52] Given that the Melbourne Camera Club had been staging its own International since 1956 it is hard not to see Photovision as being presented as something of an alternative to this. Crook from the beginning had wished to provide another voice to that of the camera clubs. The Clickers also acted as a gadfly towards the umbrella organisation of Victorian camera clubs, the Victorian Association of Photographic Societies (VAPS), which the Clickers had joined on their formation. According to Crook they deliberately set about coming last in the VAPS annual photo competitions by way of protest. Often they did, but on one memorable occasion they were amazed to finish only fourth last. Relations did improve over time with Crook being invited to address the MCC on his approach to photography.[53]

The stated aims of Photovision 59 were to:

broaden the horizons of the photographic arts and to enlarge the field of human thought and endeavour...To encourage photographers to use their medium as an art form in the broadest sense; that is as a means of commenting on life, of expressing the emotions and values of the photographer, of portraying nature in all its aspects...not merely as a means of presenting the visually beautiful.[54]

There were four categories, prints, slides (including audio-visual presentations), films, and a special category for

any attempt, utilising photography to give an insight into the nature of say something new or perhaps repeat some old truths in a new way.[55]

Works were exhibited at the Clickers’ city clubrooms, a loft above some old stables in Pink Alley (a small cul-de-sac off Little Collins Street near the Southern Cross) [Figure 5]. These rooms had been leased in early 1959. The idea had been to use them for regular meetings, but the restricted space available, and the difficulty in finding parking told against them and they were let go after a year.[56]

The exhibition was advertised worldwide and garnered a respectable number of entries. In print however the combination of Moggs’ trademark lunacy and earnestness made for strange bedfellows. What prospective exhibitors made of awards titled ‘Snider’ and ‘Moggs’ is anyone’s guess.[57] Consequently when the Clickers came to plan the following year’s Photovision more thought was given to putting the award on a more formal footing. John Reed at the Museum of Modern Art was approached and he proved agreeable to hosting future events. It was also Reed who suggested that if they were seeking more formal recognition a name change may be in order. No-one is quite sure who thought up the title Group M (M standing for Moggs), but it was used for the first time to identify a group submission to Photovision 60. Shortly thereafter the group had coalesced into a revamped version of the Still Clickers.[58]

By this time the urgency of the United Moggs activities had quietened somewhat. Conventions continued to be held through the 1960s, but with time became more laid back. Zillah Lee in a recollection in the Age in 1987 felt that the entry of those seeking fun rather than creativity was the downfall. However it has been established above that the two branches were always intertwined. Instead the downturn seems to be a result of the main players putting their energies elsewhere.[59]

>>>  Chapter Three


[1] The history of the area is contained in Cecil, K., & Carr, R., Aireys Inlet: a History (Anglesea Historical Society, Anglesea, 1988), pp. 90-98, and McLaren, I., Aireys Inlet from Anglesea to Cinema Point (Anglesea Historical Society, Anglesea, 1988), p. 92. The St Arnaud connection was provided by Albert Brown who believes it was made in “taped the late fifties with some of the early settlers”. Personal Communication 30/4/95. Yvonne Palmer’s history of the St Arnaud district Track of the Years (MUP, Melbourne, 1955) refers to the family, but makes no mention of an Aireys Inlet connection. Crook’s observation comes from the interview with George Bell, Albert Brown and John Crook 27/4/95 (hereafter BBC) 1/305-15.

[2] Grazing- there had been a cattle station at Aireys Inlet from at least 1865, Cecil & Carr, History, p. 93; Dairy- p. 91; Orchards- p. 94; the Great Ocean Road opened to Lorne in 1922, but wasn’t completed until 1932- p. 91.

[3] Holiday homes- Crook in BBC 1/170-85; Bell, G., & Crook, J., “Group M: A Concise History” (unpublished manuscript, 1993), p. 1; early Moggs- BBC 2/1-70, John Crook phone interview 23/8 (hereafter JC 23/8); skiing- Crook in BBC 1/145-70, JC 23/8, Interview with John Johnson 8/9/95, (hereafter JJ) 1/30-50; camaraderie- Interview with Cliff Restarick 27/8, (hereafter CR) 1/30-35. BMW, although originally deriving from the brand of motorbike, was formally dubbed Brighton Mountain Wanderers at a later date. ‘Gliss’ was an invention of Crook’s derived from the skiing term ‘glissade’. John Johnson phone interview 6/11/95.

[4] Crook’s early knowledge- Interview with John Crook 11/9/95 (hereafter JC 11/9), 1/50; amenities- John Johnson phone interview 8/11/95; inviting friends- Crook in BBC 1/360-65. The two other members were Malcolm Judd and Ted Deering. The beginning and first few years of building are recorded in a journal cum photo-album, started by Crook, and now in the possession of Johnson.

[5] Crook’s childhood- BBC 1/1-25, 130-35; Crook at MTC- JC phone interview 13/9/95 (hereafter JC 13/9). The OCROOBA lectures made such an impression on the then students, that when a MTC Chemistry Alumni Organisation was formed in the late 1960s, Crook was invited to re-deliver them. JC 13/9.

[6] Crook’s early interest in photography- BBC 1/20-25; Crook at Dunlop- BBC 1/65-130.

[7] Crook at MCC- BBC 1/210-280, quote-245-50; Crook’s independence- JJ 2/1-10.

[8] Quarterly Clack No. 9, Winter 1957, p. 5.

[9] Interest in Family of Man- BBC 1/140-145, 210-220, quote 215-220; Bell, G., Brown, A., & Crook, J., “The Dark is Light Enough: A Concise History of Group M” (Unpublished Manuscript, 1994), pp. 1-2.

[10] Quarterly Clack No 2, Spring 1955, p. 1. I thank Don McDonald for providing an almost complete set of Clacks.

[11] Ibid.; Bell & Crook, “Concise”, p. 1.

[12] New ideas- CR 1/60-70; percentage of photographers- CR 1/75-80; support- JC 23/8, JC 11/9 1/80-90; collaboration with McDonald- JC 23/8, JC 11/9 1/80-90. McDonald’s voice is one that by all rights should be heard here, but unfortunately he has been silenced by ill health.

[13] Sporadic activities- CR 1/70-75; major events- Quarterly Clack No. 2, p. 1; membership- the highest level recorded is 185 in Quarterly Clack No. 7, Summer 1956, p. 1; Conventions- Interview with Celine Hampson 4/8/95 (hereafter CH), 1/150-200; activities- Ibid., interview with Fred Mosse 11/7/95 (hereafter FM), 1/175-85; Quarterly Clack No. 4, Autumn 1956, No. 8, Feb 1957, Autumn 1958, Feb 1959.

[14] Sir Sam’s exploits are reported in most issues of the Quarterly Clack. See for example Summer 1956, p.1, and the Literary Supplement, p. 6 “The Tripodyssey”. A fuller description is reprinted in Cecil & Carr, Aireys, pp. 99-107. The Moving Clickers have also produced a pamphlet which adds to the saga (and revises part as well) Sir Samuel Moggs: The Man, The Myth (c. 1984). Crook’s major part- CR 2/15-30, FM 1/180-85; Goon Show- BBC 1/365-370; memorials- The first was unveiled at the first convention in February 1956, and judging from a report of its vandalism in the Age 9/11/56, bore a statue as well. See Quarterly Clack No. 7, p. 7. The second was unveiled at the second convention February 1957. See Quarterly Clack No. 8, p. 2. The statue was regularly stolen, but because they had the mould another could be cast to replace it. At a later date a bust of Sir Sam was substituted. It survived the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, and being painted blue in 1987. It is now no longer in place, although the pedestal remains. The cairn is also still standing although now hidden by scrub. There was also the saga of the erection of a statue of Dame Minnie Moggs on the top of Mt. Feathertop [see Figures 1 & 2].

[15] Epigraph in Fry, C., The Dark Is Light Enough (OUP, London, 1954), reprinted in Quarterly Clack No. 2, Dec 1955, p. 2.

[16] UMO- first mentioned in Quarterly Clack No. 2, Dec 1955, but these were all bogus organisations; Talking and Moving Clickers announced Quarterly Clack No. 9, Winter 1957, p. 5; Sliding Clickers announced Quarterly Clack, Xmas 1958, p. 4; Crook’s love of literature- JC 13/9.

[17] Aims- Quarterly Clack, Xmas 1958, p. 4; activities- CR 1/109-340, CH 1/70-100. CML- Crook and Restarick were commissioned by the family of its builder to record it inside and out for posterity, CR 1/230-60.

[18] Moving Clickers- Quarterly Clack No. 9, Winter 1957, p. 5, Moggs Creek Clickers Annual Review 1957 pp. 10-11, Quarterly Clack, Xmas 1958, p. 4; CR 1/80-100, 3/300-350, 4/1-35, CH 1/270-355; changing membership- CR 3/300-320. Restarick remembers Fred Schepsi as joining more for the social life than the film-making, CR 3/340.

[19] Talking Clickers- BBC 2/112-125; FM 1/10-35, 80-90; CR 1/135-180, 4/80-100.

[20] The quote from Nigel Gray is remembered by John Johnson in JJ 1/90-95.

[21] Newton, G., Shades of Light: Photography and Australia 1839-1988 (Australian National Gallery and Collins Australia, Sydney, 1988), p. xii; Guimond, J., American Photography and the American Dream (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1991), pp. 162, 222, quote p. 184.

[22] Haese, R., Rebels and Precursors. The Revolutionary Years in Australian Art (Allen Lane, Melbourne, 1981), pp. vi, 283. The social realists included artists such as Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan and Noel Counihan.

[23] Gerster, R. & Bassett, J., Seizures of Youth: The Sixties and Australia (Hyland House, Melbourne, 1991), p. 21.

[24] Newton, Shades, p. xii; White, R., “The Australian Way of Life” Historical Studies Vol 18, No. 73, October 1979, p. 532; FM 1/275-90; Joyce Evans personal communication 1/8/95.

[25] Coombes, H., & Hill, D., “Nuggets of Wisdom”, Good Weekend, 26/8/95, p. 41.

[26] Crook in BBC 1/365-70; CR 2/370-75.

[27] CR 2/330-375; John Rickard personal communication, 24/7/95; Joyce Evans personal communication, 1/8/95.

[28] Kennedy of course only utilised part of it, remaining conservative in many areas.

[29] L’hamon, W., Deliberate Speed, The Origins of a Cultural Style in the American 1950s (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1990), p. 3; Gerster, Seizures, pp. 40, 47.

[30] Green, J., American Photography: a Critical History 1945-the Present (Abrams, New York, 1984), pp. 77, 84; Gerster, Seizures, p. 40.

[31] Social realist- John Rickard personal communication 24/7/95, protests- Gerster, Seizures, pp. 40, 47.

[32] Clare, J., Bodgie DaDa and the Cult of Cool (University of NSW Press, Sydney, 1995), pp. 2-3.

[33] Ray Lee, a Clicker who was also a union organiser, agrees with this assessment using the term “passive leftist” by way of description. Ray Lee phone interview 8/11/95.

[34] JC 13/9.

[35] Humanism, from its development during the Renaissance, has stressed the human input into creation. In its modern expression it has “often been used to refer to value systems that emphasise the personal worth of each individual but do not include a belief in God.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol 6, p. 137. It is of note that few of the members of Group M whom I have surveyed express adherence to any organised religion.

[36] JC 23/8. Fred Mosse fairly bristles with the thought that the attention to matters maternal and domestic are in some way unnatural for women FM 1/130-145.

[37] CH 1/75-110.

[38] Women photographers- Hall, P., Australian Women Photographers 1840-1960 (Greenhouse Press, Richmond, 1986), p. 111; Zillah Lee- Ray Lee personal communication 15/11/95.

[39] Hawley, J., “Inside the Heide Hothouse”, Good Weekend 23/9/95, pp. 18-27. Heide was the home of art patrons and gallery owners John and Sunday Reed. It was frequented by the leading social realists.

[40] JC 13/9; Celine Hampson phone interview 2/12/95.

[41] JC 11/9 1/125-190.

[42] Huizinga, J., Homo Ludens, A Study of the Play Element in Culture (Temple Smith, London, 1949/70), pp. 12, 19, 26, 32.

[43] Ibid., pp. 21, 28, 30.

[44] Ibid., p. 30.

[45] JC 11/9 1/300-310. “Moggs Creek Forever” was another much used motto.

[46] Huizinga, Homo, p. 12.

[47] CR 2/135-170, 205-240.

[48] The Last Shot (1956), The Second Last Shot (1957).

[49] Albert Brown in BBC 2/270-85.

[50] Quarterly Clack No. 8, Autumn 1957, p. 2.

[51] Ikin had a virtual monopoly on the Hill Climb (see the results in the post-Convention issues of the Quarterly Clack). His love of fast cars would lead to his untimely death in a car crash in the mid-1960s. Interviews with Wolfgang Sievers 10/8/95 1/260-300 and Ray Lee 8/11/95.

[52] The first bistro exhibition was announced in Quarterly Clack No. 9, Winter 1957 and further showings were reported in succeeding issues.

[53] Crook in BBC 1/315-30.

[54] Photovision 59 Entry Form pp. 1, 4.

[55] Ibid., p. 3; Photovision 59 Catalogue, p. 6.

[56] Quarterly Clack, Feb 1959, p. 4; Interview with Albert Brown 11/5/95 1/140-55; CR 2/110-130. Today the built fabric of the alley has been totally reconstructed.

[57] Photovision 59 Entry Form and Catalogue.

[58] George Bell in BBC 2/150-165, Albert Brown in BBC 2/165-175.

[59]McLaren, Aireys, p. 94, Age, 11/3/87, p. 2.

>>>  Chapter Three





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