Title Details

Bill Roycroft Out Takes

In this interview and in life, gold medal Olympic equestrian Bill Roycroft displays all the qualities of the traditional bush hero - endurance, courage and laconic humour.
Series : Australian Biography Series 7 | Year : 1999 | Total Duration : 26 Minutes | Producer : Robin Hughes
Director : Robin Hughes |
Tape 1 - Interview Bill Roycroft about growing up in a little place called Flowerdale until he was 14, riding to school on horseback with his brothers and sisters, breaking his arm, school days, living on dairy farm, his father and mother, family breaking up when mother went off with a brother of her husband, leaving school at 14 and breaking in horses as a first job, being a messenger boy with the Irrigation Commission, rabbit trapping, working with horses on big properties and doing all sorts of other jobs / chores, shearing sheep.
Access No. 132067 | 33 mins 1 sec | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 2 - Interview Bill Roycroft about rural life during the Depression, building a hut, different enterprises such as share farming to make money, breaking in horses, sheep shearing, being good with horses, war / WWII breaking out, no need for Light Horsemen, enlisting with the Infantry, going AWOL with friends for six days and having to do pack drill as punishment, not making it into the Second 22nd Division, serving in New Guinea.
Access No. 132068 | 33 mins | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 3 - Interview Bill Roycroft about time in New Guinea during WWII, manning the guns, mateship, having denghi fever and then contracting malaria, return from New Guinea and guarding Japanese prisoners in Victoria, dislike for Japanese people, remembering announcement of end of the war, opinion that there should never have been fighting in New Guinea and blaming General Blamey, fighting with the Yanks / American soldiers, being in Darwin during air raids.
Access No. 132069 | 31 mins 53 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 4 - VS Mavis Roycroft gardening, pruning and watering hedge and roses, Bill Roycroft doing tricks with dogs in garden, talking about dogs, cracking whip, various still b&w photographs Roycroft family, Bill Roycroft in various equestrian events and with equestrian teams, colour photo Bill competing.
Access No. 132070 | 31 mins 30 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 5 - Interview Bill Roycroft about WWII Japanese bombing raids on Darwin while he was posted there, cattle runner in NT who didn't know there was a war on, visit in New Guinea from Duke of York, posted on guard duty at POW camp on return to Australia, dislike of Japanese, description of camps for Japanese, Germans and Italians, meeting girls as a young man at shows and dances, asking girls to dance, country dances, meeting Mavis and decision to get married during the war, birth of first son Barry while he was serving in New Guinea, beer rations in army, getting a job managing a property, applying for a soldier settlement / selection.
Access No. 132071 | 33 mins | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 6 - Interview Bill Roycroft about applying and getting a soldier settlement property after the war / WWII, moving with Mavis and two sons Barry and Wayne to the property which was a dairy farm, building cowshed closer to road, running the dairy, acquiring horses to enter shows and gymkhanas, polo cross ponies, first time entered in gymkhanas as a boy in Flowerdale, competing with Mavis after being married, no dressage events in the country, competing with Olympic equestrians, joining Olympic team despite age, aged 45 when he went to Rome, struggle with keeping the dairy property going.
Access No. 132072 | 32 mins 40 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 7 - Interview Bill Roycroft about deciding to go to the Olympic Games and all the preparations involved, hardships for equestrians, financial challenges, amateurs going to Olympics in that era, acquiring various horses and getting them ready for competition, importance of a good rider on a good horse and being well acquainted with the horse, transporting horses to Rome for Olympic Games, Mavis coming over later to the Games, winning Badminton prior to the Olympics, learning dressage.
Access No. 132073 | 35 mins 4 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 8 - Interview Bill Roycroft about reasons for sending horses far in advance for the Olympic Games in Rome, preparing horses, feelings of excitement when arriving in Rome, horse stables being 30 miles from Rome, dressage being the first event he rode at the Games, program of events being known as military, taking a short-cut in the steeplechase, having an accident during the cross-country event when his horse fell at a jump made of concrete pipes, getting back on horse although being badly injured and concussed, and finishing course, sent to hospital in a helicopter, leaving hospital in order to complete the showjumping competition.
Access No. 132074 | 33 mins | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 9 - Interview Bill Roycroft about his final ride whilst injured, at the Rome Olympics equestrian event resulting in the Australian team's gold medal, thoughts on why the Australian's won, the Australians being good at cross country riding, surprise at how his last ride made him a hero, decision to go to the next Olympics in Tokyo, terrifying flight with horses on way to Tokyo, performance at the Tokyo Games, going to Mexico Olympics, ands winning bronze, going to Munich Games at age of 57 and coming fourth , missing out on gold because of regrettable error.
Access No. 132075 | 35 mins 53 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 10 - Interview Bill Roycroft about going to Montreal Olympics at age of 61, tight security, meeting Queen and other Royal family members, having dinner with the Queen, winning bronze in Montreal, having a fall, selling horses in Canada after Games, boycotting of Moscow Games, friendliness of the horse world, carrying the flag at Mexico Olympics with a broken toe, controversy over expenditure on the Mexico Games, joy in the fact that his sons are involved in horses and the resulting good relationships with them, affinity with horses, breaking in particularly difficult horses, friendship with his small horse Solo which he rode at the Rome Games, admission to not being sentimental about horses, story about horse called Stony Crossing and describing how you can pick a horse and train him very quickly.
Access No. 132076 | 36 mins 3 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 11 - Various still photographs Bill Roycroft and equestrian teams at Olympic events. Footage Bill Roycroft in paddock feeding horses, vs handling pony with wife Mavis assisting, vs tending horse's shoes. Various still photographs Roycroft family, Bill in army, competing, newspaper clippings.
Access No. 132077 | 36 mins 4 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia; various locations | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 12 - Interview Bill Roycroft about lack of attention for equestrians compared to other athletes, description of what is involved in transporting and dealing with horses during Olympic Games, quarantine for horses, being a dairy farmer and making a success of it, buying up more acreage / land, family by name of Rantles looking after their property when they are away, running dairy and working horses at same time, managing financially, sometimes racing horses, mainly in steeplechase, being tied down more as a dairy farmer, comparing schooling in Melbourne with the country, comparing city and country life, fondness for his dogs.
Access No. 132078 | 32 mins 22 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 13 - Interview Bill Roycroft about growing up in small place called Flowerdale, riding horses to school with siblings, Irish father who was very gentle, helping with milking the cows as a boy, family breaking up and going to Leeton with his mother, travelling between Flowerdale and Leeton on horseback, incident at Murrumbindi Gordon Station losing cook's false teeth in dam, description of the three day event at the Rome Olympics and having fall at concrete pipes then going on to complete event and winning gold medal, discharging himself from hospital to compete although injured and concussed.
Access No. 132079 | 36 mins 3 secs | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |
Tape 14 - Interview Bill Roycroft about injuries received from fall at concrete pipes during equestrian event at Rome Olympics, discharging himself from hospital in order to complete the competition although concussed and in a good deal of pain, opinion on dressage, defending two young men who were being teased about their dressage top hats, past injuries that have strengthened him when it comes to challenges for endurance, looking forward to 2000 Sydney Olympics, losing balance now that he's 83, his age having been an issue during his sporting career, advantage of being older and having more experience, not being religious, and not believing in God, one regret in life being the mistake he made in Munich, being proud of his marriage to Mavis, receiving an OBE from the Queen, Australian no longer a free country but like a police state.
Access No. 132080 | 36 mins | 1990s | VIC, Australia | © NFSA | Colour |