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Estelle Pinney re Peter Pinney and her novels

Estelle Pinney talks about Peter Pinney's years as a tv scriptwriter for Crawford Productions...

Crawford Productions script writer, Everett de Roche, telegrammed the Pinneys while they were catching crays on the reefs at Thursday Island.
As requested, Peter Pinney contacted him, and de Roche said he had read Peter Pinney’s book, Restless Men (1966) and was interested in trying to get Crawfords to make a tv series out of it.
“Crawfords were extremely extremely interested and of course we’re right up there in the Torres Strait but never mind,” Ms Pinney said.
Unfortunately negotiations between Angus and Robertson and Crawfords productions didn’t come to an agreement so the project fell through.
“So we came back and he was enjoying being in Brisbane. We came back to Brisbane, sold the boat and everything.”
Everett de Roche remained in touch with the Pinneys after they returned to Brisbane.
Peter Pinney was reading Estelle Pinney’s manuscript called Somerset Lost, said it was a great story, and asked if he could work on it. Estelle said she was finished with it, so Peter Pinney started doing his own research and writing for it.
Estelle was working at Myers department store at the time, and he would work on the manuscript during the day and show her how it was progressing when she got home.
Estelle’s writing of the story of Frank Jardine was based on oral research, but Peter Pinney went to the parliamentary library and examined the court transcripts.
Together they rewrote the book, and he added scenes involving ambushes, and the way they were conducted, which Peter Pinney knew about from his days as a commando in WW2 in New Guinea.
The novel was published by Angus and Robertson in 1978.

Then the Pinneys applied for a government grant to make a 13 episode tv series for Channel 7.
Ms Pinney said it was virtually impossible to make a tv series without the participation of a tv channel. The grant was given under the proviso Peter Pinney had an established script writer to work with him.
“So he got in touch with Everett de Roche and Everett came up and he stayed with us for a while and that’s when he started talking about Crawfords.”
Then the Pinneys were appalled when told Channel 7 had dropped the whole project for another tv series.
The film rights for Too Many Spears were purchased, too, but again, as with many purchases of film rights, nothing came of it.
“I’ve still got all the episodes here of Too Many Spears. Anyway, Everett said come down, so Peter went down with him (to Melbourne) and Crawfords took him on.
“He was with Crawfords for quite a few years. He did all of the war things with The Sullivans (the story of an Australian family in the 1940s) up in New Guinea (the setting of the war scenes, where Peter Pinney had been a commando during WW2). And then he did The Flying Doctors and then he did a feature film (I Live With Me Dad 1987). Which I believe is still around in video.
“It went into video. Someone I know had it not so long ago, and when I say not long ago, about 12 or 18 months ago, which is surprising. And Carson’s Law (a tv series for Crawfords Productions, about a legal family, the Carsons). He did a lot for that. Well, that was sort of…Crawfords were very happy to have him working with them, but then things went wrong for Crawfords a lot, too, and they just started using what they had (writers) down there, and that more or less all finished.

“But he was with them for quite a good while, very well paid job, a good job. He did enjoy it very much, and they liked him, and you know they were always fascinated because..no-one would take any notice of it now, but it was always cold in Melbourne, you know, and he’d take down his old flanellette..not his old, but he’d wear flannellette shirts. They thought that was terrific. Pete with his flannels.
“So anyway, that’s how he became a script writer for Crawfords, and that lasted for quite a few years.”


Here’s a list of Peter Pinney’s books:

Dust on My Shoes. 1952 (A trek from Greece to Burma)
Road in the Wilderness. 1952.
Who Wanders Alone. 1954 (Eastern Europe and Northern Africa)
Anywhere but Here. 1956 (across Africa)
Ride the Volcano– a novel, 1960.
The Lawless and the Lotus. 1963. (a trip from the West Indies to Sydney)
Restless Men. 1966.
To Catch a Crocodile. 1976.
Too Many Spears – a novel co-written with Estelle Pinney. 1978.
The Barbarians. A Soldier’s New Guinea Diary 1945. 1988.
The Glass Cannon. A Bougainville Diary 1944-45. 1990.
The Devil’s Garden. Solomon Islands War Diary 1945. 1992.

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