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pike and his father Leo in the family study at Woy Woy in 1959 (Photo Courtesy Central Coast Libraries Service) pike and his father Leo in the family study at Woy Woy in 1959 (Photo Courtesy Central Coast Libraries Service)
22 August 2017 Posted by 

SPIKE'S legacy: My experience with a manic and brilliant comic

DALLAS SHERRINGHAM
SPIKE Milligan was one of the giants of the entertainment world, with his unique talents influencing everyone from Prince Charles to John Lennon.

And now he is set to bring business to the Woy Woy peninsula thanks to an international class display.
 
He was a complex man with bipolar who could be brilliant one day and totally depressed the next.
 
However I happen to know through personal experience that deep down Spike dreamt of the beautiful Central Coast in his darkest times.
 
You see, Spike would spend part of most years at his home on the Woy Woy Peninsula.
 
And it came to pass that Spike knew of me through my media work on the coast and every year he would send me a Christmas Card.
 
It wasn’t any ordinary card; it was the card of a man full of enthusiasm for his adopted region. He spoke of Woy Woy as a kind of typically Australian seaside town. And how right he was.
 
The cards always contained a little ditty devoted to life in Woy Woy and had a comedic edge…not derogatory in any way, but having a slight humorous edge to them.
 
Spike’s Mum was a long term residence of the peninsula and reveled in the attention, becoming the “Queen of Woy Woy”. 
 
Spike had the occasional argument with his mum and would vacate the house and stay at local homes owned by media personalities such as Mike Willessee
 
An example of Spike’s wild mood swings was the time he phoned me excitedly to say he had a media release on his latest wildlife crusade. I asked if we could take a photo of him next day and he said: “No problem, anything you need is fine with me”
 
Next day, our photography Bill Rosier arrived at the property and Spike was in deep depression, wearing sunglasses and a terry toweling hat and clearly very distressed. He had to be coaxed into having a photo taken and he did it hunched over and turned away from the camera.
 
The good news is Spike’s legacy is to be celebrated with a special exhibition at Woy Woy Library and it is expected to draw worldwide attention as the comedian’s legend continues to draw new generations of followers.
 
The library recently received more than $188,000 under the Public Library Infrastructure Grants program, to create an exhibition space within the library which will showcase a unique collection of original Spike Milligan family memorabilia.
 
 The proposed museum-quality Spike Milligan Exhibition Space (SMES) is set to attract visitors from around the globe, due to the culturally significant collection of photographs, recordings, video, regalia and diaries. 
 
Group Leader Connected Communities Julie Vaughan said the exhibition space was an opportunity to honor the legacy of the world-famous comedian who took Woy Woy to the world stage.
 
“The incredible lives of parents Flo and Leo and brother Desmond will be explored, shedding light on the development of the wonderful Milligan world view. We are very grateful to the late Desmond Milligan and his son Michael for their donation of such a stunning collection.
 
“As one of the world’s most revered and influential comedians, Terence “Spike” Milligan of Goon Show fame was a regular visitor to the Woy Woy Peninsula,” Ms Vaughan said.
 
“Spike had deep personal connections to the district — he wrote books, radio shows and poetry here. He also took a very keen interest in the history and environment of the local area, supporting local causes and immersing himself in the natural beauty of the Central Coast.
 
“Feedback from library visitors over many years has indicated an enduring interest in the Milligan legacy; however limited exhibition space has made it difficult for our unique memorabilia collection to be properly accessible to the public, she said.
 
The new exhibition space will offer a visually engaging, informative and interactive experience and act as a drawcard for fans from across the globe. Coupled with flexible floor space for conducting various programs and events, the space is set to become an invaluable asset within the local community.
 
To allow for the exhibition to be properly housed and displayed, substantial upgrades will be undertaken at the library including revitalization of the existing Spike Milligan room.
 
The SMES is scheduled to open in 2018, which also marks the centenary of Spike’s birth and provides the ideal opportunity to celebrate the existence of this significant collection.

 

 



editor

Michael Walls
Publisher
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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