news in 2013
check out the new
the new book is called The
Big Book of Lunn
Someone has put pictures to Macca's
Spies Like Us song and put it up on youtube:
wonderful outcome the 7-acre
Ken Fletcher Park
is on the river opposite the Queensland Tennis Centre at
Tennyson. All that hard work by everyone paid off.
The bloke who
got the ball rolling is Peter Rasey. Now he wants to raise
money to secure a copy of the Bust of Ken Fletcher
that is on display in the Tennis Hall of Fame at Melbourne
that, he has set up the
Ken Fletcher Park Trust Fund
target including GST, Freight and a Plinth is $25,000.00.
But it is the intention of the Trust Fund to also populate
the park with brass or bronze plaques with quotes from
“The Great Fletch” to bring alive Fletch and a unique
period of tennis in Australia.
So any over-
subscriptions will be put to good use. (Any final surplus
would revert to the Qld Tennis Museum.)
Australia Bank (NAB) Deposit-only account details:
The Ken Fletcher Queensland Bust Fund Trust
As a special
incentive the first 100 donations from individuals (multiple
individual donations treated as one) will go into a draw to
win a Rare Book signed by the Queensland Treasurer, Tim
Nicholls, and Brisbane
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
dated 5/2/13. The Book is called A Century of Queensland
Channel has been set up, showcasing: the Chuck Feeney
tree planting; Hugh Lunn speaking at the Park; The Lord
Mayor’s Park opening speech; Ken Laffey, State President
Tennis Queensland, speech; and Community Day promotions.
unique channel, for a New Super Park for Brisbane. See
Pictured on the
official “Opening Day” 30/12/12 -- see
Mayor Graham Quirk, former Wimbledon champion Ashley Cooper,
Queensland Tennis President Ken Laffey, and state Tournament
But the news gets more exciting!
Soon to be seen
again at Milton: “The Stefan Racket.”
Why is this
Important? Because Brisbane visitors will have a feast of
Tennis, past and present, to talk about during the annual
Brisbane International and Ken Fletcher’s legacy will be to
continue to promote Brisbane, Queensland and Australian
tennis in perpetuity.
State of Origin -
Small things are happening!
A couple of Arts people are looking at it.
Whenever I tell a journo about the idea, they
almost jump into my lap with enthusiasm.
The Courier-Mail in Brisbane is now
onto the story of my cunning plan.
The only negative anyone can come up
with is: "Will they like it down south?" But the whole point
of State of Origin - the Musical is that: it's for
us. Just for us.
All Queensland songs, actors, singers,
bringing Sport and The Arts and the entire State together.
We've all seen King Wally and Billy Slater on
Now let's see them singing on the stage.
What a moment when "Billy Slater" --
Innisfail boy -- walks out carrying his Maroon jersey and
sings Bill Scott's song: "By the Yarra now the cold rain
falls, and the wind is bleak from the Bass Strait
squalls.... but I dream of Tully when the sun goes down..."
Vale. Bille Brown. Actor.
To listen to the recording of Bille Brown's
memorial service at QPAC on Monday 4 February 2013, click on
the link below:
Bille was not only a great Queensland actor,
but a Rugby League tragic since his days as a referee in his
tiny Queensland hometown of Biloela, or "Bilo" as he called
He clung to that memory as would a child.
Bille Brown was the director and script
consultant on my play of Over the Top With Jim for
the first Brisbane Festival in 1996.
He sent me to Lang Park to get an
official Queensland Rugby League referee's cloth badge from
the 1950s, a red poinsettia one, which referees had sewn to
their white jerseys.
Bille tried to teach me about the theatre. We
sat on my front patio eating meat pies, talking about how
the script was progressing, when Bille suddenly looked up
and said: "I'll tell you what, let's have the first rugby
league match ever put on the stage... Mary Immaculate
Convent versus the State School Kids."
It was a difficult assignment. But Bille
auditioned boys from my old school, Gregory Terrace, to play
the State School Kids. Then he choreographed a rugby league
scene with our our convent coach Sister Vincent as referee.
[Bille had created the role for himself. But
he was recalled to London to finish filming on John Cleese's
For dramatic impact, Sister Vincent
blows the whistle, discards her nun's habit, and steps out
in the full referee's regalia: white shorts, white shirt,
with the blood-red poinsettia badge over her heart.
She also stiff-arms a State School Kid who is
about to score, turning to the audience to say: "The Lord
moves in mysterious ways."
then filmed the rugby league match and sent the video to
schools on the Gold Coast, Caloundra and Rocky, Townsville
and Charters Towers for boys there to learn the drill for
the match on the stage in their town.
Bille told us that his mother
always advised him "don't make yourself too high or too
low". At the family funeral, I asked Bille's sister
Rita Carter what their mother had meant, and she said it
was: don't get too
haughty and proud nor too obsequious and self-hating. You
are from a farm in the bush, that's as good as anyone else;
no need to pretend to be otherwise.
Bille certainly never
made himself superior to anyone else. He was very very
inclusive and generous with his time.
When he was on the set of
Fierce Creatures with Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis
and John Cleese in England, Bille's mother fell ill and it
was Jamie Lee Curtis who marched on to the set and said to Cleese, "get this man on a plane to Australia straight away!
Bille needs to be with his mother!" Bille was really
impressed with Jamie Lee for her compassion. Bille's sister
Rita Carter was then a teacher at a primary school in
Kenmore. It was Rita who sent Bille a little yellow copy of
"Over the Top with Jim" when he was at the Royal Shakespeare
Company. Bille said theatre is meant to make you laugh and
make you cry, and he said that's what the little yellow book
The Great Fletch - The
news, there is movement at the station for a Kenny Fletcher
had several meetings with entrepreneurs.
of all I have met the man who will write the script if the
movie gets financial backing. He really understands Kenny.
scriptwriter glides through all the detail and static and
gets to the kernel of the character and the times.
actors: New York TENNIS Magazine wrote in its review of "The
Great Fletch": ..."Think Russell Crowe in tennis whites". I
know everyone wants Russell Crowe but he is THE ONE to play
Fletch in his life after tennis.
KEN FLETCHER PARK OPENS
AS SOON AS THE TEMPORARY FENCING CAME DOWN, IT WAS FULL
OF KIDS AND MUMS
My tennis mate Kenny Fletcher has at last been
honoured in his home town.
The Ken Fletcher Park at the Queensland Tennis Centre at
Tennyson, Brisbane, Queensland, was officially opened on
Sunday 30 December 2012. The ribbon was cut by Brisbane Lord
Mayor Graham Quirk, Kenny's son Julien Fletcher, and Kenny's
partner Cathie Creagh (see link below).
Also present were former Australian tennis greats Ashley
Cooper and Tony Roche. Tony Roche -- who was in Brisbane to
coach indefatigable Australian champion Lleyton Hewitt at
the Brisbane International -- spoke about Ken Fletcher's legacy
(see link below).
Previously, on Monday 3 December 2012, Kenny's old mate from
Hong Kong days, philanthropist Chuck Feeney, and his wife
Helga Feeney, planted a tree in Ken's honour at the park
(see link below). You can give it a drink when you are
there: it's a banksia just near the Pat Rafter Arena and the
coffee shop, near the ampitheatre.
They were invited by Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk,
who is a mean hand with a shovel.
On Wednesday 5 December 2012 Chuck and Helga
opened the new building at the Queensland Institute of
Medical Research for their friend Prof Lawrie Powell.
Chuck Feeney's Atlantic Philanthropies contributed $27.5
million to the new building at the QIMR.
The links below will take you to some youtube films
and radio interviews put
together by reader Peter Rasey who got the ball rolling for the Ken
Fletcher Park, and kept it rolling:
Interview about Ken
Fletcher with Tony Roche on 30 December 2012 at official
opening of Ken Fletcher Park:
Transcript of Tony Roche speaking 30
December 2012 at ribbon cutting for the Ken Fletcher Park,
"First of all, it’s great that you are
honouring Ken with this fantastic park, congratulations to
"Look, I have very fond memories of Ken
because when I first came on the scene, my first overseas
trip was with Ken.
"He taught me many things, good and
bad, I guess. But he said he would go through, give me a
history lesson. He said: ‘Son, you know, you’re from the
bush and you don’t know anything; just stick with me and
I’ll teach you everything.’
"So he was fantastic to be in a team
with, a great team man.
"That year he was seeded 2 at
Wimbledon, my first year, that’s how good a player he was.
Unfortunately he came down with tonsillitis and didn’t give
his best account.
"One other good memory I have of Ken is
that we were about to play the Davis Cup in Adelaide and (Harry)Hopman
was after a doubles team for a big tie against America.
"Fletch was playing with Roy Emerson at
the time; they had pretty good success; but Hop split the
team and had Emerson play with I think (Fred) Stolle and
then (John) Newcombe was teamed with Owen Davidson and
Fletch got stuck with me and I was only a young kid at the
"It shows how good Fletch was -- and I
was only a junior at that stage -- we went on and won the
"He taught me many good things about
the game of doubles and was just a fantastic guy. I think
the game of tennis misses characters like Fletch; I wish he
was still here with his good humour and the way that he
played; he was just a great person to be around."
Also present: Peter Rasey recording; TV
news crews; Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and wife Ann, Tennis
Australia’s Chris Freeman, Tennis Queensland’s Ken Laffey,
Ashley Cooper, Kenny’s partner Cathie Creagh, Kenny’s son
Julien Fletcher, biographer Hugh Lunn
interviews Hugh Lunn,
Ken's son Julien
Ken's partner Cathie Creagh on 30 December 2012:
American tennis champion Serena Williams took a celebratory
stroll through Ken Fletcher Park after she won the
Brisbane International in January 2013.
The Hugh Lunn website is getting a spring clean. So
any day now (we hope) it should look very different. And better.
Meanwhile, Hugh was on stage when Ian "Macca" McNamara
brought his concert tour to Brisbane. Macca is touring with
his band and Digger Revell. They hit QPAC in Brisbane
on Sunday November 25th. You can hear more on Macca's ABC Radio programme Sunday mornings from 5.30 - 10
am. or go to the ABC Events homepage. Macca has invited
Hughie to appear at his Twin Towns concert on the Australia
Day Weekend this year, 2013 and then probably in Toowoomba
A Lunn family Christmas
Hugh spoke at Brisbane Libraries in
December sharing reminiscences about Christmas celebrations
in Queensland during the 1950s and 1960s.
There's a pic of
Hughie and the library crew at Kenmore Library on the
In October, Hugh Lunn was interviewed about
journalism by Leah White, a University of Queensland
journalism student. You can watch Leah's great show and see her other interviews at:
LOST FOR WORDS: Australia's lost language in words
and stories has now been reprinted 11 times.
Deakin University set up a "Contemporary History Unit" in June
and I was invited as Guest of Honour to the launch in
Melbourne to speak about writing "The First Draft of
History" to a room full of academics.
I spoke about the difficulties of telling
the REAL story... to illustrate why the truth is so hard to
come by, and how it is not enough for a journalist to record
what a lot of liars say.
They were mainly interested in my Vietnam
book so I told a few stories from that time -- and
contrasted that with our newspapers today and how they keep
writing on every Vietnam War anniversary about "The Winnable
War". Anyone who was there in the field knows it wasn't
winnable -- about as winnable as the war now in Afghanistan
where everything is improving, but the mountains are still
Talking about how history is continually re-written, no one
seems to want to acknowledge the fact that I was the one who
talked Ron McAuliffe into holding the first State of Origin
match in July 1980 -- it took me 90 mins and he invited me
to dinner in the Board Room before the first match and to
sit next to him in the grandstand during the match. (See my
1984 book "Queenslanders" for the full story. Ron attended
the launch of that book in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens.)
In 1981 in an interview he told 612 ABC Radio that I had
talked him into the first match.
Well, today (July 11) I got an email from an old
colleague from the 1970s in Brisbane, Don Davies, who was
sent up by Rupert Murdoch from Sydney as General Manager of News Ltd
in Queensland while I was a reporter on The Australian
newspaper. Don was
heavily into rugby league in Sydney -- his favoured club was Souths. I hadn't heard from him since 1987. He wrote:
"A voice from the past. I remember our
friendship in the 1970s..etc etc ... ..Incidentally I will
always remember Ron McAuliffe telling me how you used to
drive him mad about a State of Origin. You should be very
chuffed about that".
If you want to see the film of
the speech I made to graduates at the University of Southern
Queensland in 2011 at the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba, the
university put it up on youtube. It's in two parts, the
links are below.
New York TENNIS Magazine said
of "The Great Fletch" -- "Think Russell Crowe in tennis
The SMH said: "The life of a working-class kid from
Brisbane who, with only his talent and charm, conquered the
world... so compulsively entertaining... imbued with warmth
Kris Humphreys wrote in the Sunday Age: "This
book had me wishing I could race out and buy tickets to the
tennis... Ken Fletcher was the James Bond of the tennis
world mixing it up with film stars and royalty, yet worried
that his mum would disapprove of his glamorous life."
Sims, "Inside Sport": ..."As good as it gets... you will be
genuinely moved by the mad, magic rollercoaster of his life.
They don't make 'em like The Great Fletch anymore."
LATEST BOOK is "WORDS FAIL ME:
a journey through Australia's lost language"
WORDS FAIL ME is the sequel to "Lost for
Words". After "Lost for Words" came out, readers inundated
Hughie with more old words and phrases, plus stories, so he
put them together in WORDS FAIL ME.
WORDS FAIL ME revisits the
rich, inventive and roguish language Australians used to
speak before globalism stole it away.
So many phrases arrived, it
was like trying to take a sip out of a fire hose. Some were
so obvious, if they were snakes they would have bitten
Hughie by now.
FAIL ME intertwines the sayings and phrases of yesteryear
with true stories and anecdotes which recapture what
Australia used to be like back when. These contrast with
modern language madnesses: the road signs, the asterisks,
the gobbledegook, jargon and corporate-speak that have
replaced the way we used to speak. we used to have our own
lingo --- clear, joyful and exaggerated.
Forgot to mention
department: Two of my books -- Over the Top with Jim and
Lost for Words -- were named in the "50 books you can't put
down" as part of "Books Alive".