1h Background

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COMMEMORATING AUSTRALIA’S
ONLY EVER EPOCHAL MILITARY
VICTORY CLIMAXING WITH THE
CONQUEST OF DAMASCUS
1 OCTOBER 1918

Exploits of the Billjim – 1916 to 1918
(24iii, 15m 33s, 98.9Mb)

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http://www.youtube.com/user/billjim1plugs42

It’s worth noting straight up that we sent a bunch of letters to Canberra in early in 2010 about the looming Centenary to get the government to pull their finger out, and bli’me, they suddenly created the Anzac Centenary Commission. Obviously some high-salaried crony got the credit for our idea, a bit like the raw deal the Billjim have been getting for 100 years!

Anyway, in March 2011, this new Commission submitted their Report to the Federal Government, our Submission, No. 50 “Tara and Peter Hogan”, appears on p. 56, see their PDF:
http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/subs/2010/reports/anzac_centenary_report.pdf
Full details of our official submission can be found at:
http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/subs/2010/aug/docs/hogan.pdf
which is basically as laid out here:
https://australiansofarabia.wordpress.com/aoa-anzac-centenary-submission/
Except, that is, for some interesting editing over the ultimate far reaching achievement of the Billjim, namely, ending the 400 year Ottoman Empire domination of the Middle East by pushing all the way to Damascus, just before the Great War was halted. Thereby opening up things for you know who… who got the spoils and who got shafted?

The Billjim Song is now the spearheading force of our project as it is the most lucrative for eventual self funding.
By adapting a forgotten 1918 era ditty, Billjim, by Edward Dyson (1865-1931) we are developing the natural fair dinkum Theme Song for the Anzac Centenary – a model for greater Mateship in the modern Australian school and workplace. It has potential to be the No. 2 National Anthem. A famous Australian musician is very interested in composing original music.
The eventual official promotion music video will feature diverse modern Australia – each of its 56 lines will be recited by a different Australian – a mix of cultures, ages and locales – small and big towns, cities / suburbia, the Outback.
We hope to get famous Australians on board to do their personal version of the climax lines, including the Prime Minister.
See more details in our Billjim Prospectus on the Home page.

We could also produce a  Documentary with a companion Book. If we get a positive response, we could look at an Theme Park and/or Museum located in a lucky Council, which would help Tourism and create jobs. It would be great to develop it into a TV series. The ultimate goal would be to raise funding through a National Lottery (like they have in Britain) to make a feature Film. All to coincide with the looming lucrative WWI/ANZAC 100th Anniversary celebrations market.

In the pipeline is a Billjim Rock Opera that would tour around the country.
And of course, the TV Series – or even a Trilogy of Movies like Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings – because it could start in say 2011 and parallel our stars, especially bonding of ‘soldier & his horse’,  in 1911 – i.e. follow their lives, pre-war all the way to 1918/2018.
Topped off with the Movie (or final part of a trilogy).

All will lead to the climatic race to Damascus, and the “Killer” tear-jerker last scene, when our hero (little known Major Arthur Olden from WA of the 10ALH) is ordered to shoot his horse, after all they have been through together.

..

Major Hollywood Film and TV production companies are already working on their blockbusters and remakes about Lawrence of Arabia, including the 50th Anniversary of David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962-2012). Again blatantly ignoring the historical facts and the true heroes, the Australian Light Horse and Camel Corps.

Even Peter Jackson (director of “Lord of the Rings” which made well over $1 billion at the box office) said as much in a recent interview on the ABC (with Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report) – saying “we are rapidly steamrolling towards the 100th anniversary”, and that the Peter Weir film, Gallipoli (1980) was really quite narrow covering just 2 days really, leaving a lot still to tell.
Apparently Jackson is now in pre-production on his World War I movie – is Australia going to be upstaged yet again by our cousins across the ditch?!
It’s also interesting to note that in his early days Jackson got his start by constantly pestering New Zealand Film Commission to give him a chance, and back his “Bad Taste” horror movie.

It all started with $7,000 and foresight from Jim Booth at the NZFC leading to Lord of the Rings and a vibrant New Zealand Film Industry, and along the way totally embarrassing the mucher greater resourced Australian ‘crony run’  system.

The concrete historical facts of who got to Damascus first on 1 October 1918:
In early 1916 it was the allied force spearheaded by the ALH, that began pushing the Ottoman Empire back out of Egypt all the way to kicking them right out of the Middle East by October 1918.   The historical evidence clearly shows the greatest military victory in modern history was executed by uncouth Australians, thereby making possible the new State of Israel. Not Lawrence, who was ‘created’ by an American journalist after the War. So let’s also begin the difficult task of replacing the Gallipoli defeat as our No.1 ‘achievement’ in the national psyche.
We have an obligation to restore the honour of the Billjim – by coming up with our own film, “Australians of Arabia – The Movie”. All of us, can make some kind of contribution to make it happen.
There are increasing signs of interest. At the ABC for instance – see their News report of 29 April ’08:
Pratt funds Light Horse commemoration in Israel
(http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/29/2230111.htm?section=world)

 With Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s support we can expect that she will prod her son Rupert Murdoch  to get his media empire behind us too.  We just need to demonstrate commitment and that we are as fair dinkum as the Billjim.

Theme Park / Museum in your Council.

Attracting upmarket tourism like the Japanese and the lack of skilled interesting jobs in country Australia is a perennial problem. Our project has the attributes to start straight away with a small amount of capital. Your Council will be headquarters not only for our Theme Park and/or Museum, and perhaps later our Film Studios for producing our Movie, TV and Internet output and Factory for manufacturing all our promotional products. Our Theme Park will incorporate our movie sets that recreate the WWI Palestine Campaign – 1916 Suez – Beersheba – El Arish – Jerusalem – Damascus 1918.

The Council will over the years reap a major economic injection from construction, tourism and day to day operations as National Headquarters of our operations.

Sure, it doesn’t all happen overnight. It will be a just like the Light Horse a century ago, a modernday “Great Ride” – a long campaign, but we will make progress step by step. But by it’s very nature it has the propensity to snowball with time. The closer we get to the release of WWI Centenary Hollywood Blockbusters the more interest there will be in Australians of Arabia – The Movie.

Already films exploiting the Billjim spirit have been released – Baz Luhrmann just happened to call his epic “Australia” – and National and State Tourism chiefs have joined forces with the federal Government to cash in on the November ’08 release. “The release of Australia offers the Australian tourism industry one of its greatest promotional opportunities in many years,” said federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson. “This movie will potentially be seen by tens of millions of people, and it will bring life to little-known aspects of Australia’s extraordinary natural environment, history and culture.”

Just look what the Australia film has done for Tourism WA in the Kimberleys and Bowen NQld which was used to recreate the bombing of Darwin.

Free Publicity – Change town name to “Damascus”
We have to always be thinking-outside-the-box to outdo the competition, an outrageous but effective way to get free publicity is to change the town name to “Damascus” especially for 2018. It works, just look at the success ‘Matamata‘ has had with the change to “Hobbiton” to take advantage of Lord of the Rings.

Nobody had ever heard of ‘Moama‘ either until the change to “Motown” for Movember re the Prostate Cancer Council of Australia project.

And getting our Theme Park going is not going to be as complicated as the “Steve Irwin Park”. We can pretty quickly get to the first stage, a design based around horsemen in uniforms on their horses for closeup viewing and re-enactments like the famous Beersheba Charge; museum and theatre for showing their equipment, old films, photos, maps, old newspapers, etc. Our sets have to look old – shacks and tents – not modern buildings, so there’s a cost advantage right there.
It will not take much to have it setup enough to start attracting tourist dollars. And this is where Pete can help the project and the region with attracting the all important big spending Japanese tourists, having lived in Japan for several years in the 90s. He can even travel to Japan and promote the region personally at very low cost.

At a time of high unemployment our project also opens up opportunities to restore self worth with lots of volunteer work in the early stages, particularly for the early Theme Park shows from construction of sets to the involvement of country Light Horse Troops – that are sometimes seen on the news, especially on ANZAC day.

Merchandising items will be simple to manufacture and would include specially branded WWI era Billjim Tin Mugs, Billy Cans, T-Shirts, Tea Towels, etc., can start straight away, with an eye on the XMas market.

How it all started

It all started when Pete returned to Australia from living in Japan for most of the 90s. In Japan there is ingrown respect for ancestors. In their Shinto religion and festivals – the annual OBon when everyone returns to their furusato (hometowns) and visit the ancestral graves. He came to realize the importance of respecting origins in society. As a nation, only by knowing your roots, can you build a future. So when Pete got back he began researching his family history – his great grandfather, James Hogan (1833-1899) was one of the first pioneers into Byron Bay in 1882 .
Later, the family expanded their holdings north to the Atherton Tablelands. This was done by the sons, Jack, Jim and Matt. Not surprisingly for the era, they were all fine horsemen. When WWI broke out Jack volunteered to go half-way round the world to fight for the freedom of other peoples. He barely survived, came back, founded and named El Arish (N.Qld) in honour of his war experiences.  A glance at a street directory for El Arish shows that many are named after famous ALH commanders – Chauvel, Ryrie, Royston… and just south of these streets is Hogan Road, off the Bruce Highway.

El Arish Qld Palestine WWI..

El Arish Street Names ALH Chauvel

What else is out there with our kind of commercial potential (Gallipoli has been flogged to death) if we don’t get funding real soon Australia will be upstaged, not just by Hollywood, but our little cousins New Zealand, again.

National Lottery Film Funding
We need a National Lottery Film Funding system anyway, like they have in the UK, where any Australian can submit a Film Synopsis for funding – let the public decide what is fair dinkum, not the elites – see separate page here.

~Lest some of us forget~

Peter n Tara Hogan Billjim Pluggers

Peter & Tara (11 yo) Hogan
Billjim Pluggers

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