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In early 1972, Snelling wrote to Rex Crookshanks, who then worked for the Hughes Corporation and had invented many patented components for its aeroplanes and spacecraft, to see what he thought about the idea. In August 1972, the entire Snelling family flew to Hawaii for a month, staying at the best hotel on Waikiki Beach, the Halekulani, as part of the boys’ winter school holidays. Snelling arranged with Plooy to meet him there on his way back from a trip to Europe—and then for them both to fly to San Francisco and Los Angeles, where he wanted Plooy to explain his air–conditioning advances to Rex Crookshanks in person. Marion Dudek was asked: ‘how’s about putting some scraps of furniture in your guest room, clean up the house generally, lay in a good supply of scotch and soda and invite Snelling and Plooy to stay for a few days. Please let me know back how this crazy suggestion digs you.’ When Plooy and Snelling visited Crookshanks’ mountainside house, they were greeted by a spectacular aerial prospect, through floor–to–ceiling glazing, across the coastline and plateau of Los Angeles. Crookshanks did not remember the conversation in detail, except that he told his guests that he wasn’t impressed by their advances on existing air–conditioning technologies. Although Snelling stayed in touch with Plooy after their return to Sydney, they did not invest further in this business. Back in Sydney without his trusted associate Whitelock, Snelling decided not to hire another senior architect. But he continued to pursue two Fijian project concepts that Whitelock had earlier drawn: the International Market Place near Suva, and another commercial project in Queens Road, Nadi. Both were for the same client, Aliv P/L, a company based (for tax–reasons) in Vila, New Hebrides. A family connection (who wished to be anonymous) said that Snelling was the principal of Aliv. Gale family lawyer Clive Austin remembered Snelling sketching for a major waterfront development in Dili, Indonesia, to be built on land to be transferred by the Portuguese government to American developer Chick Jonnick’s company, the Fiji–based General Investment Corporation. However, no evidence of the scheme has been found and Whitelock did not remember either Jonnick or a Dili project. After returning from the United States, Snelling also produced a preliminary study for a new subdivision called Rolling Hills, proposed for a three–thousand acre amalgamation of properties on of appointments which delayed his trip for more than a month, Snelling finally met Frawley, who was ‘quite a character’, living with his private zoo on the former Bing Crosby estate in Beverley Hills. However, the hospital project did not go ahead. On this visit, the Snellings again saw much of Marion Dudek—who this time introduced them to an aerospace engineer friend of his, Rex Crookshanks. By now the Dudek brothers and their widowed mother, as well as Crookshanks and his wife, lived in palatial Mediterranean– style houses on Palos Verdes Estates, a community for wealthy hedonists, being developed on the slopes of a spectacular coastal mountain south of Los Angeles. Little evidence has been found of the Snellings’ other activities in 1971, except that the office designed and built two houses in Vaucluse, for Mr and Mrs Blake Pelly (substantial renovation) and Mr and Mrs Paul Smith. Associate Jim Whitelock became alarmed about Snelling’s increasing diversions into parties, travel, diplomatic correspondence and family life, causing an obvious decline of the practice. Also, Snelling had never paid Jim the salary and annual profit share which had been specified in his original letter of employment—despite numerous attempts to discuss the problem. Now Whitelock felt that he was being paid unacceptably badly, compared to other salaried architects in Sydney. As with John Hunt in 1964, Snelling was angry about the resignation of his senior employee. He again agreed to pay Whitelock according to the terms of his written agreement, but could not convince him to stay. Another irritation, as the war in Cambodia escalated, was regularly finding smashed eggs outside the house. Whitelock recalled: You’d never hear any commotion, you’d just find these blessed eggs on the ground. You had to hose them down. Snelling was attuned to new, non–architectural, business opportunities. In April 1970, a small article in The Sun Herald extolled the advantages of a new American automatic swimming pool cleaner, the Arneson Pool Sweep, which Snelling demonstrated in his own pool.33 In mid–1971, he visited the Arneson factory at San Rafael, California, presumably to cut a deal to import the products. A sample was given away at a Black and White Committee Hawaiian fundraising party held at the Snellings’ in early December 1972, but this importing business was never seriously pursued. Douglas also saw potential for business with an engineer, Arnold Plooy, who had an airconditioning concept which they both thought DOUGLAS SNELLING DOUGLAS SNELLING 88 89 1966–1976 1966–1976