Daily Mail

Thorn Birds nest in U.S.

- Compiled by Charles Legge

QUESTION Did the same building feature as the homesteads in TV’s The Thorn Birds and Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia?

These farms resemble each other, but each was constructe­d especially for filming. As the country’s best- selling novel, The Thorn Birds is a cultural institutio­n in Australia, but the 1983 TV series was filmed in America.

Colleen McCullough’s family saga about the Clearys spans 1915 to 1969. Much of the action takes place at the Drogheda sheep station in New south Wales.

On TV, Richard Chamberlai­n starred as Father Ralph de Bricassart, who breaks his vow of celibacy after falling in love with Rachel Ward’s ingenue Meggie.

Drogheda was purpose-built at Big sky Ranch in simi Valley, California. Formerly owned by J. Paul Getty, it has been a set for movie production­s since the 1950s.

It was most famously home to Little house On The Prairie, but has also played host to Rawhide, Gunsmoke, highway To heaven, Dallas and Westworld.

The Thorn Birds’ building was removed after filming to make way for eddie Murphy’s palace in Coming To America.

The Faraway Downs cattle station in the film Australia was purpose-built on Carlton hill, a farm near Kununurra in the north-west of the country.

Lady sarah Ashley, played by Nicole Kidman, inherits the farm and enlists the help of drover hugh Jackman to save it while World War II rages. Unsurprisi­ngly, they fall in love.

It was planned that Faraway Downs would be retained as a tourist attraction, but this did not prove to be cost-effective and it was dismantled in 2011.

Tom Davies, Gerringong, New South Wales.

QUESTION What is the oddest thing decided by the flip of a coin?

The coin toss that has probably had the greatest impact concerned the naming of the U.s. city of Portland, Oregon.

In 1845, wealthy landowners Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove were planning a new town on the West Coast near the end of the Oregon Trail. each wanted to name it after their hometown. Lovejoy

was from Boston, Massachuse­tts, and Pettygrove from Portland, Maine, which had been named after the Isle of Portland in the english Channel.

Pettygrove won two out of three tosses of a copper one-cent coin.

Portland began with a few hundred inhabitant­s, a hotel, sawmill and local newspaper. Today, the vibrant city is home to more than 650,000 people.

The coin used to settle the argument, the Portland Penny, is on display in the Oregon historical society museum.

Ian MacDonald, Billericay, Essex. BeFORe the introducti­on of penalties, football matches that failed to be resolved after a replay or extra time were settled by a coin toss.

The most important came in the semifinals of the 1968 european Championsh­ips. After drawing 0-0 with the soviet Union following extra time, Italy progressed to the final after captain Giacinto Facchetti correctly called tails. They went on to win the tournament.

Returning officers are legally obliged to settle elections immediatel­y if recounts fail to establish a winner. This has never happened when electing an MP, but it has in local elections.

In Lincolnshi­re, the Worksop North-east seat in Bassetlaw District Council was won by Labour on the toss of a coin in 2000 after three recounts. Conservati­ve councillor Christophe­r Underwood-Frost held his seat in West Lindsey, Lincolnshi­re, with the toss of a coin in 2007.

The control of stirling District Council was decided by cutting a deck of cards in 1988 and 1992.

Mike Brown, Malvern, Worcs.

QUESTION Why were British aircraft in the 1960s named after dog breeds?

TheRe were a large number of British aircraft manufactur­ers until the mid-1960s and most had their own house style for naming aircraft.

several used alliterati­ve names, with the first letter of the company name as the initial of the aircraft type.

Beagle Aircraft (British executive And General Aviation Limited) took over Auster, the builders of high-wing spotter aircraft for the Army.

It named its aircraft after dogs as a nod to its company name. The first was the Airedale, which had been developed from an earlier Auster model, the D8, and went on sale in 1961.

The husky and Terrier were high-wing, three-seater single-engine monoplanes.

When Beagle Aircraft ceased trading in 1969, scottish Aviation took over its aircraft manufactur­ing arm and decided to stick with dog names.

The Bulldog was a two-seater training aircraft built for the RAF. It first flew on May 19, 1969, and continued to be built until 1980. It was also sold to a number of overseas air forces, including sweden and Malaysia. It is still in service, but not with the RAF.

The scottish Aviation Bulldog shouldn’t be confused with the Bristol Bulldog, which was a pre-World War II biplane fighter bomber.

Other aviation companies adopted names starting with the same letter. Gloster Aircraft’s Gladiator and Grebe; Bristol Aeroplane Company’s Beaufighte­r and Britannia; and hawker Aircraft’s hurricane and hunter.

shorts named its planes after cities, including the stirling and Belfast. Vickers favoured the letters W and V, such as the Wellington and Valiant.

De havilland was more random and its memorable names had little consistenc­y. They included Dormouse, Dingo, Gipsy Moth, Puss Moth, Mosquito, Dragonfly, Comet and Vampire.

Avro also tended to be random, giving us the Lancaster and Vulcan.

Bob Cubitt, Northampto­n.

 ?? ?? Forbidden love: Richard Chamberlai­n and Rachel Ward in The Thorn Birds
Forbidden love: Richard Chamberlai­n and Rachel Ward in The Thorn Birds

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