Search results for ‘Homes’

Baby Zaca

03 Jun

cheerio 2

Dear fellow Flynn fans,

here is flynnfinite more info on one of Errol s lesser known yachts. A topic that has been targeted terrificly by Tugboat Tim here:…

Cheerio II, the 46-foot yawl owned by 1992 Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club’s Members of the Year Juanita and Dick McNish has been designated as the State of California’s 66th historic vessel and landmark. The distinction is only bestowed upon those boats that were built before 1940, are of wooden construction and demonstrate significant historical connections with state history.

The functionally elegant classic sailboat was once owned by silver screen idol, swashbuckler and rogue, Errol Flynn. The McNish’s bought the boat in 1980. Patriarch McNish is also affectionately known as the Admiral of the “McNish Navy” due to the family’s commendable devotion to the restoration and maintenance of traditional sailing vessels.

In 1988, Cheerio II was treated to a complete restoration. The effort helped to capture the Corinthian Classic Yacht Race’s “Bristol Boat Award” in 1989. More kudos followed with a “Best Restored Sailboat” honor at the Victoria Wooden Boat Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It should be noted this last award came while Cheerio II was in the midst of a 120-day cruise of Desolation Sound, the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Any old salt knows a boat at sea is anything but bristol.

More than 60 years old, the vessel is a yar example of maritime heritage. Designed by Edson B. Shock, Cheerio II was built in 1931 by Fellows & Stewart in San Pedro, California.

The vessel is renown among the wooden boat crowd and is one of the oldest sailboats in the Channel Islands Harbor. Unlike yachts bought for status, Cheerio II is meant for slicing through the sea with great agility.

For 15 years Dick and Juanita did a crack job of organizing the annual Classic Corinthian Yacht Race, an event that brings together sailors and landlubbers alike from all over the west coast. Through their company, Strathmore Homes, the McNishes donated the Strathmore Cup, a silver bowl given to the winner. For years, McNish has tried to win the cup back. He came close at the 1991 event when Cheerio II was first to finish. However, since McNish had given such generous handicaps, Cheerio II ended up third.

Cheerio’s restoration included replacement of its decks, deck beams, cockpit and transom, replanking the aft one-third and selected forward planking. New water and fuel tanks were installed along with a pressurized water system with “on-demand” hot water in hopes that Juanita, would come aboard more often. New countertops, cabin sole and engine stringers also appeared. McNish dismisses the monetary aspect of the restoration, thinking of the effort in terms of preservation duty.

Sail No:7465
Rig: Yawl
Material: LOA: 46′
Displacement: Builder: Fellows & Stewart

A model of some kind had been auctioned of some time back: Sea for yourselves:…

Furthermore Errol used a vintage style wooden handle flare gun whenever on a voyage with the Cheerio II as remembered by Life Magazine photographer Alan Grant, since he ended up with it as a gift from our Hollywood hero.


— shangheinz


Steve Hayes on the Airwaves!

13 Feb

SUNDAY, February 14, 2016 at 7PM PST & 10PM EST Jack Marino Warriorfilmmaker Show on… on Channel 2

My guest is writer Steve Hayes, the British born Ivan Hayes first arrived in Hollywood in 1949 and moved there permanently in 1950. An actor for ten years, he worked in movies at MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, Columbia, RKO, Universal Studios and the Samuel Goldwyn Studios as well as in early network television and radio.

While he was under contract at 20th Century Fox, the studio insisted Ivan find a more American-sounding name. He chose Steve, after the name of his friend Steve Reeves, a former Mr. Universe who later became world-famous as “Hercules.”

When not acting or writing books and screenplays, Steve helped support himself by working in restaurants and parking cars at Hollywood’s glamorous Sunset Strip nightspots like the Mocambo, Ciro’s, Villa Nova, and The Players. He also did detective work for the Fred Otash Detective Agency and painted movie stars’ homes and famous places like the Garden of Allah.


Then, in 1954, he became night manager of Googie’s, a popular coffee shop next to Schwab’s Drugstore that was made famous by James Dean, John Saxon, Natalie Wood, Rod Steiger, James Garner, Jayne Mansfield and other celebrities like western writer Louis L’Amour and Hollywood gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky.

During that time Steve befriended numerous movie stars like Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Lana Turner, Sterling Hayden and Robert Middleton, all of whom influenced his life and gave him material for his recently published two-volume memoirs, Googie’s: Coffee Shop to the Stars.

A world traveler, Steve has explored the Amazon river by small boat, dug for gold in Alaska, climbed Kilimanjaro, ridden elephants at India’s Tiger Tops game preserve, photographed the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, been on safaris in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa and trekked in Tibet and the Himalayas. In 1958 he went to Cuba, where he met Ernest Hemingway before joining the Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara and the American Army deserter, William Morgan.

An adventurous, oft-married raconteur, Steve still writes novels and screenplays and presently lives at the beach in Huntington Beach, California, with his lovely wife of twenty-five years, Robbin.…

Steve just turned 85 on Jan 31, 2016

Show call in number: 1-818-602-4929
Jack Marino’s Warriorfilmmakers Show

if you missed the LIVE show you can always go back to the archive and hear it then…

Jack Marino’s Warriorfilmmakers Show
Show call in number: 1-818-602-4929

Jack Marino

— David DeWitt


Rory & Sean in Coronado!

19 Jan

Rory & Sean have been a Very Big Hit in Coronado this Weekend, at all the VIP Ceremonies, Rory’s sensational Show about Errol, Dive Bomber, introduced by Sean, and a “The Baron of Mulholland” Meet & Greet/Book Signing.

Chris Lemmon and Leonard Maltin were around. Legendary Flynn-Fan Richard Dreyfuss met with Rory & Sean before the show.

Several festival guests had great stories about Errol. One was a little girl at her aunt’s home in Holmby Hills when Errol came by and read all the kids Peter and the Wolf. One fellow’s father used to watch Errol play tennis at the Hotel Del and said he was incredible, one day nearly beating the top ranked player in California/one of best players in the world. Also heard about Errol socializing with Naval officers at North Island Officers Club, at the Hotel Del bar, and at their homes on Coronado.

P.S. Dive Bomber is extraordinary on the big screen.


— Gentleman Tim


The ashes of Lady Hedy

12 Nov


Dear fellow Flynn fans,

the ashes of Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, also known as Hedy Lamarr, have finally been buried in their homesoil two days prior of the 100th birthday anniversary. Half of them had been scattered in the Viennese Forest some 8 years ago by her children. Austrian documentary “Calling Hedy Lamarr” shows in part the odyssey of the remains of the actress once deemed “The most beautiful woman of Hollywood”.

The city of Vienna sponsored an honorary grave at the Wiener Zentralfriedhof, burial ground of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss and Franz Schubert. The grave lies in the proximity of another actor great “the devil`s general” Curd Jürgens.  Anthony Loder, author of his mother`s biography “Hedy Darling” attended the rites. It has yet to receive a tombstone.



— shangheinz


“Little Sirocco” – Errol’s Fishing Boat from Florida

02 Oct

Further Research from Florida:

As we know, Errol owned some top of the line watercraft. One that has been almost entirely forgotten, however, is the 22-ft, ~ 3000 lb. fishing cruiser made for him by legendary Miami boat racer & builder, Paul Prigg. On April 15, 1940, Errol purchased from Prigg Boat Works (then located on the Miami River) a very highly regarded Prigg Deluxe Cruiser, specially outfitted for off-shore fishing with a top-of-the-line Gray Phantom Six 125-HP Motor and swivel fishing chair. It cost Captain Flynn $2466.60 and could be seen in the early & mid Forties in and around Newport Beach & Catalina, as well as very prominently in Acapulco, where he kept it at the Acapulco Yacht Club.

Errol named it “Little Sirocco”. I have no photographs to post (yet), but it would have looked very much like the one in the photo in the bitly link below – except with a far more dashing captain & & attractive crew!…

Paul Prigg Advertisement


Here’s some further info on the well-respected boat maker, who also pioneered airboats, motor homes, and unique 1940 speedboats pictured below! Errol likely met a few of those lovely riders!…


— Gentleman Tim


Posted in Main Page


Mailbag, Harry Eiler & Navy Island!

07 Jul

It’s interesting how one thing can lead to another … I was delivering a pendant to Rory Flynn from a chum of mine (Dennis Mullen, a Canadian Ghostwriter, editor, branding expert, and tea producer) containing sand from Navy Island where her father lived in a house that according to several accounts was situated opposite the Titchfield Hotel, and people commonly say that Errol paddled a rowboat across the channel often to get to the Titchfield Hotel. Rory told me she didn’t think her father ever built a house on Navy Island. Oh! That was news!

The very next day, I received an email from Harry Eiler, out of the blue, and his topic was Errol Flynn and Navy Island. He wrote:

There is so much that is in error about the Errol Flynn house on Navy Island, etc. that I felt it is important to take pen in hand.

1.  The ruins of a ‘proper’ house at the eastern end of Navy Island is NOT what remains of a house built by Errol Flynn. The The house was designed and constructed during the late 1970’s by William (Bill) and Natalie Tritt after they purchased a lot from Jamaica Islandia, a Nevada Corporation, with Len Koutnik as principal stock holder. While all the other ‘cottages’ along the harbor facing Titchfield were considered as vacation – rental homes, the “Tritt House” was conceived and occupied year round by Bill and Nat and their young son.

Since there was no water available at that end of the island (rain catchments supplied water to the other homes), the house featured a roof that was used to convey the water into a large catchment under the house. Mr. Tritt was a boat builder originally from Santa Barbara and environs, and had contracted with Mr Koutnik to design and build a personnel carrier to bring staff and visitors back and forth across the channel to the mainland landing site. The boat never completed one trip, having sank at the dock before launch.

In time, the Tritts sold the house back to Mr. Koutnik and it was occupied by then island manager, Captain Robert (Bob) Hanley, wife wife, Karen, and their son. When Mr. Koutnik came into financial difficulties, he ceded controlling interest of Jamaica Islandia to Mr. Joseph (Joe) Casey who authorized some limited continuation of the elaborate plans of Koutnik under his son.

Casey’s son, Darren and his wife, Anna, of the local Chin family, lived in the house during his tenure as Island Manager. After Darren had unsuccessfully planned the sale of a large truck on the island (the truck was to be driven onto a large flat floating platform to be ferried across the channel when the platform shifted and dumped the truck into the marina), Mrs. Gertrude Casey, widow of Joe, had evidently had enough and accepted the offer by Mr. Henry (Harry) Eiler to lease the island and build a small resort, using much of the incomplete structures as best he could.

Harry and his wife, Alice, would now be developers and managers with full time residency on Navy Island.  While the attractive thatched-roof cottage with sliding walls was attractive as a vacation spot, full time occupancy with necessary business related needs required that they occupy Tritt House as their residence and offer their home, Look Back House, as one of the vacation rentals.

After the labor riot that demolished Harry’s plans and goals, Harry and Alice left Jamaica and the Tritt House was used by native manager Mr. Derek Samson and his family for approximately one year while Mrs. Casey attempted to continue some type of operation of the island.

At long last, Mrs. Casey foreswore putting any additional funds into Navy Island and the entire island was closed down. Sometime later, an American developer was interested in purchase of the Navy Island but decided that the conditions imposed by the local authority (that anyone could use the facilities of the resort in like manner as a guest) and the noise sounding well into the early morning hours from nightclubs in town were enough to discourage him from actually buying the island. Today Navy Island belongs to the Government with little to no chance of ever becoming the island paradise once envisioned by Mr. Koutnik and then further promoted by Harry Eiler. Ergo …

All signs, etc. to the contrary, Errol Flynn NEVER had a house on Navy Island.

He used his yacht, Zaca, moored to a dock where the Admiralty Club once stood, as his residence when on Navy Island ….  with a circular thatched room-hut built upon a living tree nearby as an outside rec area. It was from this idea that Len Koutnik arrived at the circular thatched roofed cottages that were purchased by Mr & Mrs. Eiler, Mr. Charles Leeds, three young men from Los Angeles and Mr & Mrs. Joseph Casey … in that order.

2.  The Ghosts of Navy Island. Yes, there is more than ONE ghost … or so the stories go. Early in the 1960s, there were stories that a pirate captain appeared to Mr. Koutnik and Mrs. Mia Smith when they were in Look Back House at the Bottom .,..  using the master bedroom of the Eiler’s home at a time when the house was unoccupied … otherwise. The ghost was friendly, dressed in his usual bucaneer garb and seemed to be in search of his crew. He passed through the wall and went away. A second sighting of a similar vision was reported by a guest staying at one of the cottages during the time the Admiralty Club was operating. However her sightings were not reported and these may have been prompted by excesses in island rum or ganga.

A second ghost seems more creditable. During the time the Hanleys were living in Tritt house, they used the artist’s studio as a study and put up photographs of friends to make the room more cozy. Among the pictures was a portrait of Linda, sister of Mis Smith, co-developer of Jamaica Islandia, and one time resident of the island for about a year after her divorce in California. Linda had also worked for Harry Eiler at Artel Publications as a typist for about a year plus before this. One day, with a boyfriend in Port Antonio, Linda was instantly killed in an automobile crash en route to the local airstrip to return to the USA for a visit. Years later, the Hanleys were entirely alone on the island … except for some night watchmen who traditionally fell asleep as the evening wore on.

All the other cottages were vacant.

One night, a visitor came to Navy Island to see the Hanleys … which meant he had to walk the long stretch along Royal Palm Lane, past all the cottages along a path dimly lit by a few diesel fuel tiki torches. Along a stretch between the jungle on one side and a mowed area on the other, he saw a lovely young lady also walking along the path. However, as he neared, the vision seemed to disappear from view. Upon entering the Hanley’s home, he immediately told Bob and Karen that he saw a young lady on the road outside their home.

The Hanleys immediately said that this was impossible since there was no one else on the island.  Entering the studio with pictures, the friend looked over them in casual conversation and, suddenly, he pointed to the picture of Linda, saying, “That is the girl I saw on the path”. Linda had been dead for about two years before this event happened.

Yous, Harry Eiler


I followed his email asking about the photo of Flynn sitting in the yard area in front of some windows with a makeshift desk writing at what has been assumed was his Navy Island home within view of the Titchfield Hotel.

Dear Dave … That is NOT Tritt House …  the windows are different (Tritt house had swivel windows with wooden louvers beneath) and there was no grassy area immediately outside …. the deck was cemented (or at least used cement blocks) right flush with the house.    I have been to Comfort Castle… but cannot for sure identify the house. Flynn was long dead before any construction was made on Navy Island …. except for a shack occupied by his watchman and the make shift room beneath a thatched roof surrounding a living tree. He did own the Jamaica Reef Hotel on Titchfield and he may have rowed across to Navy island … frequently … but there was no operating bar at the time … only the area he used as a ‘rec room’ near the present ruins of the Admiralty and the moored Zaca.

Alice and I were at the Jamaica Reef Hotel .. successor to the Titchfield Hotel … before it burned down and for the first few years of occupancy at our home, Look Back House, on Navy island, we often would enjoy the music and lights from the hotel directly across the channel ….. before it burned down.

We had no electricity at the time …. only candles and kerosene lamps … so the activities at the Reef were our TV in the evenings. Btw. The photograph of Flynn at the Port Antonio Marlin Tournament mentioned on one of your blogs, was a copy from of an original owned by Errol Chung, who owned and operated the hardware store adjacent to the mainland landing site of Navy Island.

Yes, you may indeed published anything I have written …. except “Terror in Paradise” and :Magnificent Roque:  which still need some polishing.

I have never seen any pictures of our lovely home, Look Back House, since the day we left Jamaica.    I think I would cry with remorse to see it overgrown and in shambles …..  in fact …. seeing the jungle encroach upon everything that I was attempting to do only brings sadness to all the wonderful memories of what was for me … and many,… truly a Paradise.

Best regards, Harry

From Harry Eiler’s writings, Copyright Harry Eiler, 2014:


Just a few hundred yards off the Northeast Coast of Jamaica lies lovely 64-acre Navy Island which stretches across the harbor of Port Antonio making it one of the safest ports of call in the Caribbean during a hurricane. Once given to Sir Thomas Lynch for services to the British Crown, the island was originally called ‘Lynches Island’  In the early 1700’s, the Royal Navy wanted to ensure that neither Spanish nor French men-of-war would threaten their newly acquired foothold on Jamaica.  They built Fort George with 22 cannons mounted on ten- foot- thick walls at the end of the peninsula protecting the entrance to the West Harbor.

On the island, the British constructed a small gun battery to provide early warning and a cross-fire capability to cannonade any hostile ship attempting to enter the East Harbour.  In only a matter of a few years the island was newly christened “Navy Island” unofficially and retains that name today.

However it is not at all an historical fact that its current sobriquet is its proper name, except by popular conception. The island has also been called, “Flynn’s Island”, from the time that swashbuckling movie star, Errol Flynn, once used the island as his personal Paradise.

It was during the British occupation as a Naval Station, that Captain Bligh landed in Port Antonio and off-loaded his cargo of breadfruit trees.  Afterwards, he beached his ship on the shallows off Navy Island while the crew removed the barnacles and other growths that had accumulated on the wooden hull during their long trip from Tahiti.  Later, the Royal Navy abandoned its fortifications and the island proceeded from several private hands until Flynn sailed into the harbor one fateful day. Errol Flynn acquired the island during his expansive involvement in Jamaica, especially the Port Antonio area, when he purchased the Titchfield Hotel (later to be renamed The Jamaica Reef Hotel), Navy Island and plantation properties to the east in 1946-1947.

However, the financial demands of his scandalous lifestyle included alimony to three ex-wives; unpaid income taxes and huge legal fees, left him broke..   When he died in October 1959, he was virtually penniless except for his yacht, Zaca, and the heavily mortgaged ranch properties.

Flynn was forced to sell his interests in the Hotel and Navy Island long before his untimely demise. He had only his yacht Zaca  and his heavily-mortgaged ranch properties ..and was trying to sell the boat when he died.  At the time of his death the movie star was barely fifty years old,  … however his health and body reflected so much abuse so that he appeared many years older.

During his tenure, Errol kept Navy Island as a “Garden of Eden”, planting Royal and Coconut Palms and introducing exotic birds and other animals. Len Koutnik, a California developer, saw Navy Island almost by chance during a return flight from Brazil soon after Flynn had sold it.

Mr. Koutnik, like Flynn, fell immediately in love with the property and formed a  Nevada corporation, “Jamaica Islandia”, with Mrs. Marianna Smith to promote and develop the island.   Alice, my wife, and Mrs. Smith had been housemates years prior and during our frequent visits to her home we gradually became involved in the exotic project of Islandia. In 1967, Alice and I had been married less than a year when we had opportunity to join Len and Marianna for a second-honeymoon in Jamaica.   Our trip was made glorious by the attentions of these two perfect hosts and we became thoroughly enchanted right from the first day when we breakfasted at Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay with actor John Mills and his wife, Mary.  They had been expecting Sir Noel Coward’s chauffeur to pick them up at Montego Bay; however the car never did arrive and they joined our entourage as far as Ocho Rios where Mr. Mills hoped Tommy Sands could arrange further accommodations. We proceeded on to Port Antonio.

Since there were no accommodations on Navy Island, we stayed at one of the villas at San San and … commuting daily to the island.  Once we left mainland Jamaica, we could put aside all the unusual odors from Musgrave Market; forget garbage littered everywhere in the streets; put out of mind pitifully unfed mongrels covered with mange.  On Navy Island we could spend the day in mind-boggling solitude and beauty, …enjoying an idyllic existence of private beaches, manicured walks through towering jungle growth on each side, and gentle, constant breezes that cool throughout the heat of day.

There were no buildings erected except an inconspicuous wooden affair that served as the home of the permanent Jamaican caretaker. Flynn and his guests would stay aboard his ship, Zaca, which was moored to a make shift dock near the south-central part of the island.  Adjacent to this mooring, Flynn constructed a thatched-roof building using a living tree as its central pole.  The remainder of the island was laid out into gardens and boulders were brought in to protect the small, intimate beach now known as Trembly Knee Cove.  These large stones protected bathers in this secluded beach from prying eyes. In Jamaica…not too frequently … the full moon turns Navy Island into a dazzling diadem… gilding all the swaying palm fronds with delicate silver.

We had the good fortune to experience several of these magical evenings during our first visit toon the “enchanted island” and I knew,  … .like Flynn and Koutnik before us  ,… that Navy island was would become a part of my life from thereon after.  My two years on Guam in the Air Force had given me a terminal case of ‘island fever’. Alice and I discussed purchase of lot and house with Len and Marianna; the terms were acceptable and we decided to build the second house on Navy Island as our vacation home and rental.

During the last several days of this first visit, we planned and designed our new round vacation home with thatched roof.  It was to something akin to that erected by Flynn but was to contain butane stove and refrigerator, two bedrooms and no exterior walls so that all the charm and scents of the garden … as well as the refreshing breeze … could waft through the house unimpeded.

That was in September 1967 and we spent the first night in our new home, alone on the island except for Neil and Myra Kilgore, resident Managers, in March of the following year.

Harry provides some photos, too. All Copyright Harry Eiler, 2014:


IMG_20140707_142826   IMG_20140707_142519   IMG_20140707_142418 IMG_20140707_142734   IMG_20140707_142627   IMG_20140707_143145







Thanks so much, Harry!

— David DeWitt


Errol ninth home! 1925

01 Nov
Errol and
is father
ided in
house named
Pressland House on 33 Melv
Street in 1925 and it appears
ived there until
1930 or there about and
is mother resided
stretches at the t
even years
Europe with Errol's sister

— Tina


Errol's very first home until age five! 1909-1914

25 Oct

Some references call the house “Villa Mildura” on 52 Warwick Street,
others just “Mildura”, but the house has that name to this day.  They
are semidetached elegant homes, it is not clear how many, but Prof.
Theodore Thomson Flynn rented Villa Mildura in April 1909 shortly after
his and his wife's arrival in Hobart. Come June of the same year Errol
inspected his very first home and he stayed there until 1914 as proven
by Errol himself.  Stated by Bob Casey that apparently a few years ago
at a renovation of Mildura, which must have been around 2004 as Bob
Casey's book was published 2008 and states there that the owner found
edged into the concrete floor under a carpet “Errol Flynn 1914.” Five
year old Errol could print his name very well – picture page 109 – a
very clever kid! Obviously he must have sensed already then that he
better proves his whereabouts!

— Tina


A Biography of Theodore Thomson Flynn!

24 Oct
A Biography of Theodore Thomson Flynn!
I hope this works! Within this article is also
interesting information on Errol.

Biography of
Theodore Thomson Flynn

father of TT flynn mother of ttflynn ttflynn as a boy
Unnamed lantern
slides from Theodore Thomson Flynn's personal collection, thought to be
T.T.’s father John Thompson Flynn, his mother Jessie and himself as a
child, but this has not been confirmed.

Theodore Thomson Flynn was born in Coraki, New South
Wales on 11 October 1883, son of John Thompson Flynn and his wife
Jessie, née Thomson. Educated in Sydney, he received his BSc from the
University of Sydney in 1909, and taught high school science before
being appointed to the Newcastle and Maitland Technical Colleges as a
lecturer in chemistry and physics. His appointment to the lectureship in
Tasmania began what became an eminent career in biology. 

marelle flynn

marelle and errol flynn
Lily Flynn (later named
Marelle) with baby Errol
aged five months, 1909.

queen alexandra hospital

Thomson Flynn’s wife Lily
who later changed her name to Marelle.
Alexandra Hospital, Hampden Road, Battery Point,
c.1909 when Errol was born there.


Flynn’s wife Lily (later called Marelle) accompanied him
to Tasmania, and their son Errol
was born at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Hobart, on 20th June 1909.
Errol attended several schools in Hobart, and reportedly trapped
bettongs for T.T. Flynn’s research into the reproductive biology of

In 1910, the university received a substantial donation
from the estate of John Ralston, a wealthy pastoralist from St Leonards,
who left £8,000 to further scientific research. These funds, the first
major bequest to the institution, were directed towards support of the
new discipline of biology. The majority of the funds went to endow a
chair, and the remainder were spent on a biology laboratory and the
purchase of equipment. Flynn became the Ralston Professor of Biology and
inaugural chair of the fledgling department in 1911.  

appointment of flynn appointment of flynn
of T.T. Flynn’s appointment as Professor of Biology at the University
of Tasmania on the 29th June 1911

Under the original terms of the agreement, Flynn was to
carry out research into
1. “diseases of plants and animals
2. anatomy and development of marsupials unique to
3. any other research approved by the trustees”.
In 1921, a new agreement with the Ralston Trustees added a
4th category of approved research:
4. research on commercial food fisheries in Tasmania.

Photographs of the University of Tasmania around
the time of T.T.Flynn's employment:

university of tasmania university of tasmania
University of
Tasmania, 1907
University of
Tasmania – Domain site
university of tas plan 1928
of the University of Tasmania – 1928 enlarge


biology building biology building
entrance to biology building biology laboratory
Top: Photos of the
original Biology building, the lower storey was built in 1909, the
upper storey in 1936,
the entrance and the Zoology (left) and the Botany
laboratory (Right) (V.V. Hickman photographs)


aerial view of university of tasmania 1939

Aerial photo of University of Tasmania, 1939 – enlarge

Tasmanian Field
Naturalists Club

‘Soon after his arrival in Tasmania in 1909 Flynn had joined
the Field Naturalists Club. ..In 1909 Flynn had participated in the
Easter excursion to Freycinet Peninsula, where he led the discussion on
invertebrates. In November he addressed the monthly meeting on the
subject of flounder. This is an early indication of his interest in
marine biology and fisheries. He told members that there was plenty of
scope for dredging in the Derwent Estuary to collect specimens for
study. In 1910 Flynn led the Club Easter excursion to Wineglass Bay. The
steamer Koonookarra was used during these Easter camps for dredging
marine life under his leadership. Field Naturalists, under his direction
carried out some of the first scientific dredging along Tasmania’s
coastline.His ten year involvement with the Field Naturalists culminated
in his election as Chairman in 1918, and again the following year’

As well as the Field Naturalists Flynn developed
other important links with the wider Tasmanian scientific community
outside the University. He was first elected to the Council of the Royal
Society in 1911 …[and] through [this] position became a Trustee of the
Tasmanian Museum and Botanical Gardens in 1911. Flynn took on the work
of curator and was active in supporting its functions and adding to the

tasmanian field naturalists 1909

Tasmanian Field
Naturalists – Easter camp-out April 1909

Photograph of group of 84 Tasmanian Field
Naturalists with T. T. Flynn on the far left (see detail below) (Sir
William Crowther Collection, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office).


TT flynn
T.T.Flynn (detail)

(Right) Tasmanian
Field Naturalists Club illuminated address

Theodore Thomson Flynn was one of the signatories to this illuminated
address presented to Leonard Rodway by the Tasmanian Field Naturalists
Club, congratulating him on being appointed a Companion of St Michael
and St George in 1917 and expressing the club’s gratitude for his work
and support.

leonard rodway
Leonard Rodway

illuminated address

dredging expedition 1913 (left) ‘Field Naturalists, under the
direction of Professor TT Flynn of the University of Tasmania, carried
out some of the first scientific dredging along Tasmania’s coastline.
The only man who can be identified is the photographer Beattie, a member
of the Club who took many photographs of their activities.’ The
Companion to Tasmanian History

– online version.


(Right) Tasmanian Field Naturalists
dredging expedition 1913

W. Lewis May [centre] in the battered hat, &
Professor T.T. Flynn on the right at Safety Cove onboard the Koomela in
1913. (Private Collection – May family).

Tasmanian field naturalists 1913

Thylacine skull (Thylacinus cynocephalus)
Flynn held the post of honorary curator of the Tasmanian
Museum from 1912-1918. The Museum has in its collection a complete
thylacine skeleton collected by T.T Flynn in 1919. He was one of the
first advocates for the protection of the thylacine. In 1914 he
suggested that some should be captured and placed on an island, a
strategy being considered today as a means of protecting the Tasmanian
devil. (S. Jones – School of Zoology)

thylacine skull
Thylacine skull collected by T.T
Flynn in 1919
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collection.

Birth of the Kangaroo
by T. T. Flynn, 1928

‘Flynn became famous for his work on the embryology of marsupials and
echidnas. He became determined to educate the public that kangaroos were
not born on the nipple and went so far as to publish a Workers
Educational Association (then a forerunner of Adult Education) booklet
on the Birth of the
. I fear that it was not too widely read because around
1950 the locals in Ouse still adhered to the incorrect view.’ (E.
Guiler – School of Zoology)

Bettong (Bettongia gaimardi)
‘Professor T.T. Flynn published a paper on the
reproduction of the Tasmanian bettong that summarized much of his work
over the previous 10-15 year period in 1930. His infamous son the
film-star Errol Flynn, often assisted his father in capturing bettongs.

‘When school finished, I raced home to be at his side, to
hurry out into the back yard, where we had cages of specimens of rare
animals…Through Father’s activity I made my first venture into commerce.
He bought all the kangaroo rats [bettongs] he could get hold of for
Hobart University. I learned to set box traps in the hills of near-by
Mount Wellington. He paid a shilling a head.’ (Errol Flynn, My
Wicked, Wicked Ways
). No further scientific work was carried out
(on the Bettong) for the nearly 50 years or so until I started my
studies in the late 1970s.’ (Randy Rose, School of Zoology)

bettong skeleton

Bettong skeleton (Bettongia gaimardi)
bettong young

Bettong – Bettongia gaimardi
Specimen of baby on pouch from School of Zoology collection.
( NB : pouch specimen says cuniculus)


Bettong – Bettongia gaimardi
Furry mount from School of Zoology collection.

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)
Flynn’s first paper on the anatomy of the Tasmanian
devil was written in 1910 from a specimen given to him by Colonel JEC
Lord. In the introduction to the paper he indicated that he had
intended to delay publication until he could dissect a number of
specimens but had found that the species was already so scarce that
further specimens could not be obtained. In these circumstances Mrs.
Roberts’ Beaumaris Zoo in Battery Point was a most valuable facility. In
1910 she had been asked by the Director of the Sydney Zoo to try and
obtain specimens of the devil and the thylacine for the London
Zoological Society. This prompted her to begin holding these animals in
her zoo and to try to breed the devil in captivity’.

‘Flynn was particularly interested in discovering all he
could about Tasmanian marsupials, as he feared for their survival. After
he left Tasmania the devil population grew quickly but while he was at
the University they were quite scarce’.

tasmanian devil

Tasmanian Devil skeleton (Sarcophilus
tasmanian devil
Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus

Specimens and scientific papers
Flynn is considered to be one of the pioneers of research
into the reproductive biology of marsupials and monotremes. He published
an important work on the early cleavage of the monotreme egg, and was
awarded a DSc in 1921 for his work on the embryology of marsupials. His
interest in the placental structure of blue-tongued lizards is echoed
today by the School of Zoology’s strong research focus on the ecology
and evolution of viviparous lizards. 

In addition, he published an eclectic series of papers on
the fauna of Tasmania, including sea spiders (Pycnogonida) and
a freshwater sponge. Flynn also described a fossil whale from Fossil
Bluff on the north coast of Tasmania. The
fossil Prosqualodon davidis
is c.23 million years
old, and is held in the collection of the School of Earth Sciences,

Flynn’s classic paper on the yolk sac and allantoic placenta in the
barred bandicoot which appeared in the prestigious Quarterly Journal
of Microscopical Science
in 1923 was awarded the University Medal
when presented to the University of Sydney as a thesis for the degree of
Doctor of Science.

theodore thomson flynn 1923
Professor T.T. Flynn
Illustrated Tasmanian Mail,
19 April 1923


Henry Crouch brass binocular microscope (c.1890) and
microscope slides prepared by T.T. Flynn from the School of Zoology.

Lantern slides from T.T.
Flynn’s collection brought back from Queen’s University, Belfast by Eric

Detail of Henry Crouch brass binocular microscope



university staff c.1924
University staff and
students with car

Group of staff and students at the University on the Domain c. 1924.
Professor Flynn is in the back row on the far left. (Tasmaniana
Library, Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office) – enlarge

students and staff and car pump c.1924

The brass car pump belonged to the
Departmental car shown in this photo. (Pump now held in
the School of Zoology)
staff group photo 1924

University staff, 1924; (l. to r., top) Dr. A.L. McAulay, H.P. Tuck, C.
Malthus, Prof. J.B. Brigden, J.A. Johnson, Prof. Burn, Prof. D.
Copland,; (centre) A.R. Hewer, P.L. Griffiths, Lt-Col. Thomas
(Registrar), E.A. Counsel, C.C. Dudley, G.S. King, L. Rodway; (bottom)
Prof. R. Dunbabin, Prof. Williams, W.J.T. Stops (Vice-Chancellor), Sir
Elliott Lewis (Chancellor), Prof. McDougall, Prof. T.T. Flynn, Prof.
 University staff 1924
flynn tarn (left) Flynn

Photograph by Fred Smithies of Lake Rodway and Flynn’s Tarn (named
after Professor Flynn and Leonard Rodway, two of the most important
biologist of their time) from the summit of Cradle Mountain. (Archives
Office of Tasmania)
macquarie island
Flynn Lake, Macquarie Island,
named after T. T. Flynn – enlarge

Aurora Expedition to Macquarie Island

In May 1910 at a meeting of the Royal Society Flynn
seconded the motion to set up a committee to promote Sir Douglas
Mawson’s Antarctic expedition. He and Mawson had been at school and
University together in Sydney. In November 1912, Flynn joined Mawson’s
Australian Antarctic Expedition as the biologist in charge for the
second summer research cruise on the S. Y. Aurora.

The decision to accept the leadership of this program was
somewhat rash. His experience in marine research was limited and
confined to the inshore waters off the east coast of Tasmania and
Sydney. He could not have been prepared for the tumultuous seas between
Macquarie Island and Tasmania in a vessel not built or crewed for the
task, but having found his sea legs he began the dredging program.
In June 1913 he addressed the Royal Society on the results
of the five weeks of dredging and illustrated it with lantern slides.
Flynn’s Antarctic connection is commemorated in the name of Flynn
on the west coast of Macquarie Island.

He developed a considerable interest in marine science,
and became a strong advocate for science-based development of fisheries
in Tasmania and at the national level. He undertook a review of the
Tasmanian fishing industry, and proposed some priority scientific
projects, including comprehensive studies of the biology of the oyster
and the crayfish, to underpin effective fisheries management.

In 1931, the Ralston Trustees cut their funding to
support only a lectureship. Flynn left the university to take up a chair
at the Queen’s University, Dublin, where he continued scientific
research for anther ten years before retiring in 1948, that event being
noted in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, Vol 162,
July 24th 1948.

tt flynn
T.T. Flynn, Queen's
University Dublin
flynn tt flynn and marelle flynn
T.T. Flynn and his wife
taking friends from St Albans to
visit Errol’s film set.
Detail: T.T. Flynn and his wife
errol flynn and tt flynn
Errol Flynn and T.T.Flynn
tt flynn
T.T. Flynn on Errol's yacht 'The Zaca', 1952

Impressions of T. T. Flynn

‘T.T. was full of pranks and at one staff dance he produced a small
marsupial out of his pocket much to the consternation of all. Something
must have gone wrong with the joke when he appeared with a black eye’
(Eric Guiler – School of Zoology)

‘Flynn established a research reputation for zoology in
Tasmania and the Department has always flourished in this field. He was a
flamboyant teacher in a time when the University had several such. He
stands tall among his successors being a stronger character than most of
them. In some respects he was careless of administration but in those
days the running of the University was largely left to the Heads.’ (Eric

‘The rapport was with my father. He looked Irish. He had
red, bushy eyebrows, black hair; he was lean, angular, full of charm,
good will, and a certain professorial quietness. He spoke with a clipped
British accent, tinged with touches of Irish brogue.’ (Errol Flynn,
My Wicked, Wicked Ways)

‘Vernon (VV) Hickman, who succeeded Flynn in 1932, was a
student in the early years and remembers Flynn as an excellent teacher
who took a great interest in his students: at least those who showed an
interest in the subject.’ (Anthony Harrison, ‘Climbing to the top:
T.T. Flynn in Tasmania, 1909-1931’

‘Theo Flynn was tall, slim, broad shouldered and
blue-eyed; softly spoken, charming and witty. He was very industrious
but also gregarious and friendly, enjoying dancing and tennis, as well
as his academic interests’…Guiler knew him as a ‘very powerful
personality full of drive and energy that led him into many adventures,
credible or otherwise’.(E. Guiler, Sunday Tasmanian, 8 July

Transcription & letter (pictured below) about
T. T. Flynn to Professor Eric Guiler from Louis Bisdee, July 1990

letter letter2

Kelvin Grove,  
Melton Mowbray,  
Tasmania 7030.  

Dear Professor,
Having read the article in the Sunday Tasmanian
(8th July 1990) on the life of Professor Flynn it has prompted me to
write to you with a little information about the Professor. He boarded
at the same guest house where I was, Pressland House in Melville Street,
Hobart. That was in 19?1. He was at the Tasmanian University just above
the Hobart Railway Station on the Domain. He was a very fine well
groomed man. Always wore a black bowler hat. He never ever mentioned his
wife but he was always greatly admired by the ladies of Hobart. He
seemed to take great pride in himself and led a good life. He used to
tell me about his son Erroll. Apparently he was often a great worry to
his father. Father never knew where he was or what he did but he always
had an appointment to meet outside McKeans boot shop in Elizabeth Street
(now the Mall) at twenty minutes past eight. They had very little to
say to each other except of course Erroll was always ‘broke’. The
meeting took place every Friday evening. He thought a lot of his son, so
I guess Erroll was the cause of father having difficulty in meeting his
debts. I thought this information might be of interest to you. At the
time I was working in a wholesale grocery business in Hobart. Times were
bad: right in the big Depression.

Yours faithfully,
Louis F. Bisdee

Pressland House
‘Pressland House’, Melville Street, Hobart as it appeared in an
advertisement in Walsh’s Almanac of 1899. This is where Errol and his
father boarded in the 1920s when Errol attended Hobart High School.

The Geology Department’s
acquisition of the remains of Prosqualodon davidis Flynn
Prosqualodon davidis was described in 1923 by
Prof. Flynn who was Professor of Zoology at the University of Tasmania. 
When originally found in Miocene sediments at Fossil Bluff, it was
virtually complete.  After description, it was held in the Zoology
Department collections in the old part of the Sandy Bay campus, near the
sports oval.  It was one of the best-preserved squalodont whales
known.  There is some confusion about the name (davidi or davidis)
but I believe the latter is correct. 

In approximately 1966, I was visiting Dr John Hickman of
the Zoology Department and passing through a roofed, but otherwise open,
space when I noticed what appeared to be bone from Fossil Bluff.  I was
told that the fragments were the remains of the specimen studied by
Flynn.  I was horrified by both the condition of the specimen and lack
of care.  The bone was breaking up under the influence of varying
temperature and humidity.  Pyrite oxidation probably was the cause. I
came back to the Geology Department, reported to Prof. Carey, and we
quickly arranged for the remains to be brought here and placed in our
vault where better (if not perfect) care could be taken of the

When brought over, we found that most of the original
specimen did not exist and we were told that much of it probably had
been taken to the rubbish tip at some stage.  More horror! Dr John
Cosgriff, a vertebrate palaeontologist, was here at the time and took
some steps to improve the condition of what was retrieved but the
remains are a sorry remnant of the original. The Tasmanian Museum and
Art Gallery has an excellent cast of the skull and that is worthy of
[Notes by Patrick G. Quilty AM, Honorary Research Professor,
17 June 2004].


Flynn, T.T., 'Squalodont Remains from the
Tertiary Strata of Tasmania'

from Nature, November 25th, 1929
whale jaw fossil
T.T. Flynn' s photograph of
jawbone of fossil whale
Prosqualodon davidis

Whale fossil specimen

Prosqualodon is a whale, not a dolphin.  It is
referred to as a primitive toothed whale probably with lifestyle and
body shape very similar to a modern dolphin – an example of convergent
evolution. It is a squalodont with triangular, sharklike serrated teeth
and thus unlike modern dolphins although modern dolphins probably
evolved from this group. [Patrick G. Quilty].



Comment notifications for this article: 

Re: A Biography of Theodore Thomson Flynn!
on Sun 23 Oct 2011 10:34 AM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
Wow, Tina, what an enormous amount of work! You
must have gone through hundreds of sources to piece this together!
Great job!

Re: Re: A Biography of Theodore Thomson Flynn!
Tina Nyary
on Sun 23 Oct 2011 11:13 AM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
No – No – No!

I used to have the habit – a long time ago – when I found something
interesting I copied and paste it into a word document and that is one
of it. I learned better since. I tried several times to get it on the
blog but it wouldn't take it, it would either disappear or it would
display an error message when I wanted to publish it. David tried to
help me too – thanks David – but just one of those things.

Finally it worked – here it is now! Maybe some of our members will enjoy
it too like you do!

Re: A Biography of Theodore Thomson Flynn!
David DeWitt
on Sun 23 Oct 2011 12:12 PM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
This is an extraordinary posting! Fascinating
material, Tina! We know that father and son had a sometimes rough time
the bond between them was very deep. You can see it in the way Errol has
been photographed just looking at his father, and he did often writer
to his father throughout his life.

Re: Re: A Biography of Theodore Thomson Flynn!
Tina Nyary
on Sun 23 Oct 2011 12:56 PM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
Thank you David!

I have a few more of these articles in my word documents which we maybe
could put under one tab – maybe “Prof. T.T. Flynn”? Maybe you have a
good idea!

Re: Re: Re: A Biography of Theodore Thomson
on Sun 23 Oct 2011 11:03 PM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
What about a “family” tab? Oh, there is one
already I see. Wouldn't it go there perfectly?

Re: Re: Re: Re: A Biography of Theodore
Thomson Flynn!
Tina Nyary
on Mon 24 Oct 2011 08:52 AM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
Hi Inga;

David obliged already and as you see he made a sub-tab under “Friends &
Family” and I will transfer my post and post others there too.

Funny enough there are always nice and interesting remarks about Errol
contained in his biographies or write-ups.

For example like this one:

“Prof. T.T. Flynn – Fisheries Commissionaire”

The election of the Labor Government drew Flynn into public life. One of
the many community functions to aid the War effort was the Carnival
Queen competition run by the Lord Mayor of Hobart. Enid Lyons,
the new wife of the Premier, was one of the entrants and accompanied by
six year old Errol Flynn.

Interesting isn't it – I wonder if there is a picture of this event? Six
year old Errol in the limelight with no less than just
the Prime Ministers new wife!

It is surprising what tidbits about Errol one can find in his father's

Re: Re: Re: A Biography of Theodore Thomson
Tina Nyary
on Mon 24 Oct 2011 07:48 AM PDT |  Profile |  Permanent
Hi David;

Thanks for making the tab so fast! The sub-tab under Friends
and Family is a perfect fit and I will transfer it.

While we are on the subject of tabs, do you think you could make a main
tab in a slide show format (not a sub-tab) titled “Errol Flynn's Homes”
or “Errol's Homes” what ever suits better? I have some good information I
could post.

Take care,


— Tina


More from the Errol Flynn Mailbag!

29 Jan

Here are two photos that our pal Chris Driscoll says may be a bit grainy but show the outside and a room inside of a house that Errol lived in with his parents in Hobart. Chris writes:

David, I found these photos of one of Errol's childhood homes in Hobart. Don Norman originally showed me the house from the street and on another occasion I returned and asked permission to photograph the house from the street and the current owners asked me in and showed me up to Errol's bedroom. His bedroom was upstairs and facing the street.
Apologies for the grainy quality of the bedroom shot, but at least you'll get ( I hope ) a feeling or some resonance of Errol's journey.

The street shot is better quality though. It was really exciting to be in his home. It's not the home
where he set fire to the garage though. I cant exactly remember which Hobart suburb it's in but suffice to say it's walking distance to the city centre. I think it's in the vicinity of Sth Hobart. It was definitely south of the central business district.

— David DeWitt