Person - Edgar Penzig

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Edgar Penzig joined NT in 1953 and was a cast member in Strangers in the Land 1953 and Home Brew 1954, was reviewed as clear and convincing as the attorney in Merry-Go-Round 1953, over-acted in Mother Riba 1955, and gave the occasional talk at NT. He developed a trick of discharging a pistol if the audience at his lectures dozed off. Penzig was very tall, ca 6’3”.

A collector of weaponry, Penzig was not particularly popular at the pacifist NT. Nevertheless, for the 1962 production of The Wall his advice on guns was sought and whether he could get hold of Nazi uniforms. Interested in folk culture, he was also asked if he could supply Stetson hats. A man of contradictions, he was not an elegant eater but at a New Year’s Eve party on Bear Island he took his own wine glasses which was seen by some theatre members as pretentious.

Penzig set up an historical museum at Wallacia and organised re-enactments of Ben Hall’s death in a park in Forbes, involving Cec Grivas and his brothers as singers. In 1970 his musical play Pass the Billy was staged at the Henry Lawson Theatre in the western suburbs, its cast again including the Grivas brothers. Penzig thoroughly researched all his projects, self-published books on bushrangers and wrote Australian Dictionary of Biography entries on Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner and John Gilbert.

Penzig grew up in Revesby, attended Bankstown High, leaving at 15 to work as a ticket writer, factory hand and confectionery seller. He rode motor bikes, worked as a magician Penzig the Great, and did Elvis Presley impersonations. In 2009 he was on ABC TV’s Collectors, raising the curiosity of some viewers who questioned his historical credentials.

Penzig died at Oatlands Tasmania on 19 November 2010. His obituary by Michael Duffy was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 December. His first wife Enid Marie née Jones attended some NT functions; their daughter Gail, who joined NT in 1969, died in 2007.

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