Forward December 2017 Forward_2017Dec WEB - Page 15

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SENIOR SCHOOL
The Last Great Australian Adventurer is a non-fiction book recounting the story of Ben Carlin , a Guildford Grammar School Alumnus , and his misadventures attempting to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious WWII army jeep that was so slow in the water that production was stopped after only a year . The lump of floating metal was so broken and brittle that Carlin had to come up with an on-the- spot solution every five seconds or so . Gordon Bass , who wrote the book , strays from the stereotypical monotone of biographies , and gives thrilling emotion on every page . He knows all of the in-depth facts and thoughts of the people involved , whether by research , talking to those who knew Ben , or from his family ’ s relationship with Ben . I found a startling comparison between Ben Carlin and Captain Ahab from Moby Dick . They both found a goal they wished to achieve , even though it strays from the purpose of what they were doing , and became obsessed and dedicated above all else to finishing that goal . While Ben was not obsessed with killing a whale , it almost seemed like he was obsessed with killing himself . Whether he be out drinking himself to oblivion , ruining his relationships with people , or roughing it out with whoever disagreed with him , he was always looking for danger , emphasized by his wish to be on the front lines of the war . Don ’ t get me wrong , Ben Carlin ’ s mind was an amazing thing , he was able to learn anything at amazing speed when he wanted to and his ingenuity is astounding , but he was a harsh man . The Last Great Australian Adventurer is packed with personality , and isn ’ t just an unemotional recounting of facts . It shows Ben as he really was , stern , confident ,
Feedback from the author
sexist , drunk , harsh , intelligent , and above all persistent . That yellow half car / half boat sitting in a perspex hut is more than just that . It was a money pit , a home , a death trap and most importantly an obsession . The Last Great Australian Adventurer is the perfect way to tell the story of this man ’ s wild life .
Marcus Outram ( Year 10 )
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Ben Carlin ’ s postwar circumnavigation of the world in his amphibious jeep Half-Safe stretched out over a decade . What started as a wild adventure for Ben and Elinore ended with Ben alone and exhausted . Gordon Bass pieces together from personal interviews and a diverse range of sources , the very human story of Carlin and those whose lives intersected with his , sometimes briefly , sometimes catastrophically .
Thank you for sharing these reviews with me ! I ’ m so impressed by the critical thinking and creative talent on display here . These students write as well as many professional reviewers , and they ’ ve done a superb job in noting the book ’ s balance between adventure and character study .
I hadn ’ t thought of Ben as being like Captain Ahab , but I think that ’ s a spot-on comparison . And I wish I ’ d written the line “ It was a money pit , a home , a death trap and most importantly an obsession .”
Merriwyn Spicer-Wensley says I described Carlin “ as a somewhat tragic figure , almost as a Shakespearean tragic hero , fundamentally flawed and ultimately undone by his own hubris .” That ’ s exactly how I feel about Ben , and I ’ m happy that it comes through in the book .

Please share my appreciation with the Senior Book Club . Guildford Grammar School clearly attracts the best and brightest .
All my best , Gordon Bass
Illustrations of Half-Safe by Guildford Grammar Preparatory School students .
Shifts in time and focus result in a wellpaced read that is filled with pathos . Readers are taken into a world that has changed in so many ways , where the colonial past ensured a welcome from embassies and foreign businesses and where borders could be crossed with a mixture of bluff and determination . Interspersed with the narrative of the journey are answers to the questions that such a journey inevitably provokes . How did Ben come to be the person he was ? How did Half-Safe become the strange vehicle she was and what did some of the people who met , befriended , loved and fought with Ben make of him ? These diversions and links back to the interviews and investigations undertaken by Gordon Bass are intriguing and add real depth to the book , making it more than just a tale of high adventure . However , the adventure is certainly there and one can ’ t help being impressed by the engineering ingenuity of Ben and entertained by some of his mad exploits .
Ben Carlin and his co-pilots accomplished seemingly impossible feats and yet a strong vein of self-sabotage and cruelty runs through his story . Bass is compassionate in his treatment of all the characters without shying away from the darker aspects of their deeds and character . In many instances readers are given insights into both sides of conflicts . Ultimately , The Last Great Australian Adventurer is a sad story of selfsabotage , bravery and endurance . Many of the individuals suffer greatly at the hands of others and as a consequence of the choices they make . You don ’ t have to be a lover of non-fiction to appreciate the oddly moving tale of Ben Carlin and those whose lives he touched .
Alison Spicer-Wensley ( staff )
16
SENIOR SCHOOL The Last Great Australian Adventurer is a non-fiction book recounting the story of Ben Carlin, a Guildford Grammar School Alumnus, and his misadventures attempting to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious WWII army jeep that was so slow in the water that production was stopped after only a year. The lump of floating metal was so broken and brittle that Carlin had to come up with an on-the- spot solution every five seconds or so. Gordon Bass, who wrote the book, strays from the stereotypical monotone of biographies, and gives thrilling emotion on every page. He knows all of the in-depth facts and thoughts of the people involved, whether by research, talking to those who knew Ben, or from his family’s relationship with Ben. I found a startling comparison between Ben Carlin and Captain Ahab from 5Q䁉Ѡչ)ѡݥ͡Ѽٕٔѡ՝)Ʌ́ɽѡ͔ݡЁѡݕɔ)͕͕ѕ)͔ٔѼ͡ѡЁ]) ݅́Ё͕͕ݥѠݡ)ЁЁ͕͕͕݅́ݥѠ)͕]ѡȁЁɥ)͕Ѽ٥ե́ɕѥ͡)ݥѠȁɽ՝ЁЁݥѠݡٕ)ͅɕݥѠ݅́݅́)ȁȰͥ镐䁡́ݥ͠Ѽ)ѡɽЁ́ѡ݅ȸeЁЁ)ɽ ɱé݅́饹)ѡ݅́Ѽɸѡ)饹ݡ݅ѕѼ)ե䁥́ѽչЁ݅́͠)Q1ЁɕЁɅٕɕ)́ݥѠͽ䰁ͻeЁЁ)չѥɕչѥ̸%Ё͡) ́ɕ̰݅ѕɸа)%Ʌѥ́!MեɐɅȁAɕɅѽMՑ̸)͕аչ͠ѕаٔ)ͥѕиQЁ啱܁Ƚ)ͥѥЁ́ɔѡЁѡи)%Ё݅́аѠɅ)Ёхѱ䁅͕ͥQ1)ɕЁɅٕɕȁ́ѡə)݅Ѽѕѡѽ䁽ѡ́éݥ)5ɍ́=ɅeȀ((((() ɱé݅ȁɍյ٥ѥ)ѡݽɱ́́!M)ɕэЁٕȁ]Ёхѕ)ݥٕɔȁ ɔ)ݥѠ ᡅѕɑ )́ѽѡȁɽͽѕ٥)ٕ͔Ʌͽɍ̰ѡٕ)յѽ䁽 ɱѡ͔ݡ͔)ٕ́ѕ͕ѕݥѠ̰ͽѥ́ɥ)ͽѥ́хɽ)ɽѡѡ)Qԁȁ͡ɥѡ͔ɕ٥́ݥѠ'eͼɕ͕ѡɥѥѡ)ɕѥٔхЁ䁡ɔQ͔Ց́ɥє́ݕ́ɽͥ)ɕ٥ݕ̰ѡeٔɈѥѡéݕ)ٕɔɅѕȁՑ)$eЁѡ՝Ё ́ хЁ$ѡѡӊéе)ɥͽ$ݥ͠'eɥѕѡq%Ё݅́аѠɅ)Ёхѱ䁅͕ͥt)5ɥ币Mȵ]ͱ́ͅ$͍ɥ ɱq́ͽݡЁɅɔ)́MɕɅɼչх䁙ݕձѥѕչ䁡)ݸՉɥ̻tQӊéᅍѱ䁡܁$Ё 'eѡЁЁ́ѡɽ՝)ѡ)A͔͡ɔ䁅ɕѥݥѠѡMȁ ՈեɐɅȁM)ɱ䁅Ʌ́ѡЁɥѕи)䁉а)ɑ )Ḿѥ́ɕձЁݕ)ɕѡЁ́ݥѠѡ̸I)ɔхѼݽɱѡЁ́)ͼ̰݅ݡɔѡ)ɕݕɽͥ́)ɕ͕ͥ́ݡɔɑ)ձɽ͕ݥѠɔՙ)ѕɵѥ%ѕ͕ݥѠѡ)Ʌѥٔѡɹ䁅ɔݕ́Ѽѡ)Օѥ́ѡЁՍɹ䁥٥х)ɽٽ̸!܁ Ѽѡ)ͽ݅!܁!M)ѡɅٕ݅́͡ݡЁ)ͽѡݡаɥ)ٕ՝ЁݥѠ )Q͔ٕͥ́́Ѽѡ)ѕ٥ٕ́ѥѥ́չх)ɑ ́ɔɥեɕ)ѠѼѡЁɔѡ)Ёхٕɔ!ݕٕȰѡ)ٕɔ́хѡɔe)ɕ͕ѡɥ)ե䁽 ѕхͽ)̸́) ɱ́́͡)͕䁥ͥ́Ёɽ)ٕ͕ͅхՕչ)ѡɽ՝́ѽ丁 ́́ͥє)́ɕѵЁѡɅѕ́ݥѡ)͡她݅䁙ɽѡɭȁ́)ѡȁ́Ʌѕȸ%䁥х)ɕ́ɔٕͥ́ѼѠͥ)̸Uѥѕ䰁Q1Ёɕ)Ʌٕɕȁ́ͅѽ䁽͕)ͅхɅٕ䁅Ʌ5䁽)ѡ٥Յ́ՙȁɕѱ䁅Ёѡ́)ѡ͕́́Օѡ)ѡ䁵eԁeЁٔѼٕȁ)ѥѼɕєѡ䁵٥)х ɱѡ͔ݡ͔ٕ́)ѽՍ)ͽMȵ]ͱ䀡х(