Father played role in war story

Brought to life: (Above) The poster for the movie Beneath Hill 60, telling the story of the miners of the First Australian Tunnelling Company and their daring exploits in World War I.
Brought to life: (Above) The poster for the movie Beneath Hill 60, telling the story of the miners of the First Australian Tunnelling Company and their daring exploits in World War I.

NO-ONE is looking forward to seeing the new Australian movie Beneath Hill 60 more than Pat Harper.

For Pat, from Lower Southgate, the movie will provide new insight into the World War I experiences of her father, Thomas Henry Smith, an Australian sapper on the western front.

Harry, as her father was known to family members, was part of the First Australian Tunnelling Company, whose role in one amazing WWI incident – where they tunnelled under German lines in Belgium in 1917 to allow for the explosion of 19 mines with devastating results – is the subject of the movie.

It is a little-known part of our nation’s war history and was as much a mystery to Pat and her family until recently.

“My father never talked about his war experiences, other than to say how cold the mud was and that nothing like it should happen again,” Pat said yesterday.

“We’d ask him about the war but he’d just say ‘you don’t want to know’.

“It’s upsetting to learn so much about it now – I wish we’d known when he was alive.”

Harry’s large family – he fathered 15 children, 13 of whom survived infancy – had never heard about the explosion at Hill 60, which was then claimed to have been the largest man-made blast in history and was reportedly heard in London.

Pat, the seventh of the surviving children, had heard about a different Hill 60.

“Growing up at Casino there was a tussock in the back yard and my father said ‘I think we’ll call it Hill 60’ but that was as much as he said about it,” she said.

The movie was shot near Townsville and two of Pat’s sisters will be at its premiere in that city this week.

Pat will wait for the movie to come to the Clarence.

Son of Ibrahim's bodyguard gunned down in Coffs Harbour

SHOOTING VICTIM: Nemilote 'Nim' Ngata (right) with John Ibrahim. Ngata was shot in Coffs Harbour on February 10, 2018.

The son of Semi Ngata, shot three months ago, was hit by a shotgun

Top jobs going on the Coffs Coast

Become an Airport operations supervisor at Coffs Harbour Regional Airport.

Take a look at what jobs are on offer along the Coffs Coast.

Support for palliative care patients in memory of Deb Barrie

LOVING LEGACY: Jim Barrie and Lorraine Hemsworth present a donation in memory of Deborah Barrie to Macksville's Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant Dianne Green and Palliative Care Counsellor Melissa Hilson.

Mr Barrie said his wife was a remarkable woman, always smiling.

Local Partners

Date set for Gold Coast Logies

FIVE months after it was announced that Queensland would host this year’s Logies, Channel 9 has finally announced the date.

Kylie reveals ‘nervous breakdown’ over split

Kylie Minogue and Joshua Sasse split in February last year causing Minogue a ‘nervous breakdown’. Picture: Mark Milan/GC Images

'My physical system was compromised. I think it’s called a nervous breakdown'

I’m a Celeb outrage: ‘You’ve hit rock bottom’

David and Lisa Oldfield pose for a portrait at their home in Belrose.

VIEWERS vent their anger and disappointment at the latest intruders.

Shock twist: MAFS affair explodes

A mess.

The final decision left everyone stunned.

Stone the flamin’ crows: Home and Away actor's new project

Ray Meagher has launched his own line of hot sauce.

Stone the flamin’ crows! Actor releases own line of hot sauce

Audience member shocked penis puppeteer

Rich Binning and Barry Brisco from Puppetry of the Penis.

It takes a lot to shock Rich Binning who appears nude on stage

What’s the greatest 1980s movie ever?

That lift, featuring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, back when she had a normal nose.

From Dirty Dancing and Crocodile Dundee to Die Hard