Johnny Ashcroft – Little Boy Lost 50th Anniversary
Laurie Barber—My Word:
Another interesting Little Boy Lost story is included in some of the best stories from fifteen years of Laurie Barber’s Australia-wide My Word newspaper columns. These have been brought together in this entertaining book, which deals with a word, a manner of speech or an issue that will interest all Australians.
Following My Word, Laurie Barber wrote Ringo, containing some more of his weekly newspaper columns published over the past 20 years.
Laurie Barber—Massacre at Myall Creek:
An interest in the Myall Creek Masscare of 1838 led Laurie to produce an Australian history book, Massacre at Myall Creek, which enjoys excellent sales. Seven people were hanged after the brutal massacre of Aborigines in northern NSW.
Find out more at Sid Harta Publishers.
The following are a selection of Johnny Ashcroft's Little Boy Lost 50th anniversary radio interviews and blogs
RAY HADLEY INTERVIEWS JOHNNY ASHCROFT ON THE RAY HADLEY MORNING SHOW, 5 Feb 2010
KELLY FULLER INTERVIEWS JOHNNY ASHCROFT ON ABC NEW ENGLAND: MORNINGS, 5 Feb 2010
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the search for a four-year-old boy who was reported missing in the New England Ranges.
The search by thousands of locals inspired Johnny Ashcroft to pen the hit "Little Boy lost".
Steve Walls was found four days later on Monday the 8th.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Johnny on the Morning Show this week.
He lives on the Gold Coast now, but said the memories of that day are just as vivid as if it happened last week.
"I used to be rabbit trapper in that area in my wild and wicked youth. Out along the Tingha Road from Armidale there is place called Kangaroo Camp. In the winter of 1945, I trapped rabbits and that is adjacent to the area that Steven was reported lost from."
Steven and his father were out rounding up sheep on their property at Llangothlin and a small number broke away from the main flock. Jacko, Steven's father said, "Matey (which was Steven's nick name) get Bing the dog and round up the strays". Jacko told Steven to meet him by the farm gate with the big log when he had found them.
Johnny told us that's where the confusion started.
"There were two farm gates with big logs and Steven waited by the wrong gate and after waiting for a long time, Steven decided to go and look for his father. And four days later he was still looking for his dad."
"When he was found he was saying 'Where's my daddy? Where's my daddy?' And Bill Scrivener, who found him, said 'Why do you want your daddy son? And Steven said 'Because he's lost and I've been looking for him."
Johnny received a phone call not long after Steven was found asking him to help write a song about the search and he said he knew instantly "Little Boy Lost" was the title for the song.
"The song is really about the searchers. Every verse is about the searchers and I wrote it as a tribute to the them."
When Johnny recorded 'Little Boy Lost' it was the first country-rock song. It topped the charts for six weeks. It was awarded the first 45rpm Gold Records struck in both Australia and New Zealand.
Johnny said the song was a very important song in his career, but it also had a strange affect.
"Little Boy Lost has in some ways been like a brick wall in some senses to other songs. Everyone compares everything I've ever written to it, but in my opinion I've written a lot better songs than 'Little Boy Lost' over the years."
We also heard from many listeners who remember the search.
Ron Mortimer told us he remembers flying his Auster-Aircraft VH-ARX during the search for two or three days at less than 30 miles an hour at about 40 or 50 feet above the trees.
He's sent us a picture of the plane; it was taken by Lynette Clancy. Ron tells us Lynette's Uncle Jack Clancy was the first engineer for Charles Kingsford Smith and she was a personal friend of Nancy Bird.
Another listener, Louise told us she also remembers the search. Her cousin Hugh Pearson was involved in it and she helped make sandwiches in the local church hall.
Morrie said he remembers his father and several cousins being involved in the search. He said lots of good horsemen from Warialda headed over to help and when Steven was found all the men gathered on the local oval for a photo together.
John Ryan also told how he was only new to Black Mountain and joined the search on the first evening. He said it was pretty rough country and there were lots of good horseman on the ride. He said everyone was very exhausted, but there was great joy when they heard the news the boy had been found.
JOHNNY ASHCROFT INTERVIEW ON 612 ABC BRISBANE : BREAKFAST WITH SPENCER HOWSON, 5 Feb 2010
It's the 50th anniversary of a four-year-old boy going missing in the New England Ranges of NSW, the search for him inspiring Johnny Ashcroft to pen the hit "Little Boy lost".
Coincidently it was a Friday the 5th of February that year too.
Steve Walls was found four days later on Monday the 8th. Johnny Ashcroft now lives on the Gold Coast with his wife Gay. He's just celebrated his 83rd birthday.
I was nine when all that happened, and remember it clearly. I have never been able to listen to that song without tears, and this morning was no exception.
(Posted by Cathy: 5 February 2010 at 01:38pm)
Yeah, me too Cathy–I was thirteen at the time and the song moves me to tears, too. I know that area pretty well down there as I have quite a few relatives there.
(Posted by Jeanne: 6 February 2010 at 08:41am)
I grew up at Glen Innes amd was 5 at the time and remember my father going out to join the search. The song certainly brought back lots of memories.
(Posted by Carolyn: 7 February 2010 at 05:29pm)
INTERVIEW WITH JOHNNY ASHCROFT AND GAY KAYLER ON 936 ABC HOBART: STATEWIDE MORNINGS WITH TIM COX, 11 February, 2010
Tim spoke with Johnny Ashcroft yesterday, singer and songwriter of the song "Little Boy Lost".
"Little Boy Lost" was written about Steven Walls who, as a small child, became lost in the New England Ranges of NSW.
Tim also spoke with the other half of the country duo, Gay Kayler.
Among her recorded work, Gay is famous for her version of The White Magnolia Tree, which she recorded with a 32-piece orchestra for EMI. It was in the EMI/Readers Digest catalogues for 33 years.