Featured Image: Advertisement for the showing of Smiley – The Scone Advocate, Friday 16 August, 1957
Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society; ‘Moving Images and the Theatre’; The Shiralee; Filming in the Upper Hunter; Scone’s Civic Theatre: Heather Ashford assisted by Mary Woodlands: Federation Publication No 1 Scone and Upper Historical Society Incorporated, Scone NSW 2337 Australia. 1997. ISBN 0 949187 14 3. © Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Incorporated. Designed and printed by Pritchard’s Press Pty. Ltd. 206 Kelly Street, Scone NSW 2337.
Gundy was again chosen as the location for filming Smiley produced by Anthony Kimmins, The Shiralee being partly shot there earlier in 1956. The budget for Smiley was £250,000 ($500,000) partly provided from Twentieth Century Fox’s accumulation of revenue frozen in Australia by government restrictions on dollar (pound) exports. Reference: Australian Film 1900-1997 by Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper.
Anthony Kimmins arrived in Australia and was immediately surrounded by about half-a-dozen eager youngsters. This was just the vanguard of about 2500 children he interviewed over six weeks to choose a youngster to play the part of Smiley. He eventually chose nine-year-old Brisbane boy Colin Petersen. The latter later became a drummer for the ‘Bee Gees’.
Apart from Ralph Richardson who played the Reverend Lambeth the cast was entirely Australian. John McCallum returned from Britain to play Jim Rankin. Several locals were offered ‘bit parts’ or lent horses. Ian McCallum of Mandalea loaned ‘a big quiet grey horse’ for Chips Rafferty (Sergeant Flaxman) to ride during the filming at Gundy.
Smiley Gets a Gun 1958
The sequel to Smiley was also filmed in Gundy. Well-known actors included Gordon Chater, Leonard Teale, Ruth Cracknell, Chips Rafferty (Sergeant Flaxman) as well as Keith Calvert as Smiley. As well as the local village for a backdrop a church service was filmed at St Mathew’s Church of England with a congregation of locals in the cast. ‘Sergeant Flaxman’ was mysteriously tripped by a wandering goat while taking around the collection plate! He fell flat on his face much to the obvious amusement of the children in the church. (See Featured Image).