By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin January 14, 2010 at 11:54AM
During my recent cruise around New Zealand and Australia, I learned a great deal about our various ports of call, but I had one lone piece of knowledge about Hobart, Tasmania before we arrived: it was the birthplace of Errol Flynn. Our tour guide during our day in port, Heather Henri, was very savvy, and told us that Hobart had never exploited, or commemorated, its native son until just recently. In fact, she said, a colleague of hers had launched an Errol Flynn Tour at one point, traveling to the many places he lived with his parents around the town…
but there wasn’t sufficient interest to keep it going. The one marker in the city is fairly new; it commemorates the beach where young Errol used to go with his mother when he was a youngster. It is now officially named Errol Flynn Reserve.
The harbor at Hobart is second only to Sydney in its beauty (and size), which helps explain Flynn’s lifelong attachment to the sea. His mother was the daughter of a sea captain, and his father was a noted marine biologist. After being kicked out of a number of schools and failing in his first jobs, he bought a boat in Sydney, named it Sirocco, and sailed with some friends to New Guinea; he later described this seven-month adventure in his first book, called Beam Ends, published in 1937. He played Fletcher Christian in his first movie, the Australian-made In the Wake of the Bounty (1933), and achieved stardom in the title role of Captain Blood two years later.
And now, finally, visitors as well as natives of Hobart can take pride in their bad-boy-made-good, who said that the one true love of his life was the sea.