Person - Tom Salisbury
REGINALD THOMAS SALISBURY
Of interest to ASIO, Tom joined NT in October 1947 after which he was involved in 72 plays, his first as sound operator on Deep Are The Roots. Onstage he played small parts and was in crowd scenes in productions including The Governor of the Province 1948, a Workshop All Aboard 1948, The Lion on the Square 1949 (also assistant stage manager), the Waiting for Lefty tribute to Edgar Yardley 1949, and a Workshop Hope is a thing with feathers 1950. He directed a Workshop Andeganora 1950, stage managed a Workshop Girl in the Coffin 1951, directed a Workshop The Morrison Case 1952, stage managed School for Wives 1952, was involved in a Workshop Box and Cox 1952, stage managed United Notions 1953, directed a Workshop The Trap 1981, and directed a Workshop The Laundry Girls 1982.
As one of only three members with a licence Tom was the regular driver of the theatre's open flat-top truck. He took Oriel Gray, her sons and furniture from Herne Bay to Newcastle to join John Hepworth. In 1958 Tom drove the cast in an Arts Council truck to and from Lithgow for Black Diamonds. He also owned a motor bike on which he gave Shirley Falconer a lift to a NT party.
Born on 9 November 1925, Tom was the namesake son of Reginald Thomas Salisbury (born on 19 January 1894 in Surrey) who served in the navy in the First World War. The family migrated to Australia as “ten pound Poms”. As a child Tom had an unpaid gig as one of the “orphans from bankrupt bookies” in Centennial Park in Strike Me Lucky made by Cinesound Studios at Bondi Junction, its stars Roy Rene and Fifi Banvard. A dance sequence filmed in Centennial Park ended up on the cutting room floor because the kids were "untrained and hopeless". Parents were invited to the opening in the State Theatre.
A bricklayer by trade, Tom was in the army for three years during the Second World War. After discharge he boarded at Coogee where a fellow lodger was Alan Herbert. Tom saw Woman Bites Dog 1947 and was hooked. He was in a NT cricket team captained by Arnold Butcher, a good batsman. Others in the team were Ken Crozier, Bob Sweeney, Graeme Stewart, John Armstrong, Leon Sherman, Mel Lowe, Sid Feldheim and Clive Young. They practised at Moore Park near Sydney Boys High and sometimes played against the wharfies.
In 1955 Tom married NT member Silvia Meech. He and Silvia sang at NT fundraising functions and were regular marchers on May Day. In 1980 Tom helped with building repairs at King Street, and in 1987 he and Silvia were made Life Members.
Tom's parents divorced in 1947. Tom and his mother moved address often as she did up houses and resold them. In 1959 she married Leonard Charles Stokes, born in 1902, anti-English and a Wobbly. Nell Stokes became a NT associate member, involved in fundraising activities and cleaning the theatre at St Peters Lane. A painter in oils and some watercolour, she moved to Umina where she conducted art classes.
Tom Salisbury was the subject of several ASIO reports, one agent noting that he was a non smoker and non drinker and that "flattery has no effect on this person". He first came to the attention of Security in 1948 when he signed a NT petition protesting against the public screening of Iron Curtain.