Way back when, Wednesdays

Not the swinging 60s

‘Fifty Fifty’ was a column in the Messenger newspaper in which “men and women from all over Adelaide speak their minds freely on their hopes, their problems, their fears and what they really think of each other. If you think your parents have complained about how often you go out and how late you get home, spare a thought for this poor woman. Her mother is complaining about her ‘inconsiderate’ behaviour in the North East Leader Messenger, on page 14 of the 2 December 1965 edition.

It was common for young people to live with their parents until they got married, which really wasn’t very long. In 1965, the average age for women to marry was 21 and men 23 It looks like this lady’s parents have gotten the idea that their unmarried daughter was set to look after them for the longterm, rather than having a life of her own.


Way back when, Wednesdays

Bridge of no return    

 Adelaide has recently experienced heavy rain and flooding, with more wet weather forecasted this week.   High water levels in the River Torrens have damaged bridges in the local area. If you travel on Kelly Road which crosses Valley View and Modbury (near the North East Road turnoff) be grateful that you don’t have to travel over this old wreck of a bridge. Probably built for a horse and cart to cross, it looks so old that it was and it could have had a troll living under it.

On page 1 of the North East Leader Messenger on 27 May, 1965 the newspaper reported that in the Spring, the District Council of Tea Tree Gully was set to replace the stone bridge which crosses a section of Dry Creek, with a solid structure made of steel and reinforced concrete. The bridge’s safety rails were falling down and drivers were advised not to travel over it or to reduce speed when doing so. Councillor V.O. Jacobsen, Chairman of the Council told the reporter that despite the safety rails falling over and the apparent poor condition of the bridge, all the timbers were in sound condition. If you cared to take the chance! Let’s hope that the bridge actually lasted the Winter of 1965 without any casualties incurred crossing it.

Driving over this section of Kelly road in 2016, you may not even notice that you have actually crossed a bridge.


3 minutes of poetic fame


The Writes of Spring

Open mic poetry readings at the Library

11800067 - microphone and swirling text

Wednesday 28 September 2016

6.30 – 7.30pm (spectators) 6.00 – 7.30pm (performers)

North Eastern Writers Inc. will be presenting a free evening of poetry at the Library ‘The Writes of Spring’ on Wednesday 28 September 2016.

Come along to the Relaxed Reading Area of the Library and hear a range of emotive poetry and prose readings from members of the North Eastern Writers and the general public.

Or if you are a budding poet why not perform your piece? It costs $5 to participate and there is a three minute limit for each performer.  Registration is from 6pm.  Bare your soul, make a social comment, make us laugh or rap.  Whatever your style of poetry, you will be welcome.

A wine and cheese supper will be served.  Book online or telephone the Library on      8397 7333.





Way back when, Wednesdays

Band, bugs or a Volksy?

The Leader Messenger reported on a pre-wedding function in the edition of 9 August 1967. We may never know if this party actually featured a Beatles tribute band (imagine, your event makes the paper but the reporter or typesetter makes an awful error). Maybe the couple were fans of the Volkswagen Beetle and this vehicle was also used as their wedding car! Or could it be that Miss Mary Christie and Dr John Dickens just loved beetles? Perhaps a shared hobby of amateur entomology brought them together? Did they decorate with colourful ladybird and scarab motifs and snack on Rowntree Hoadley’s Bertie Beetle chocolates?

Mary’s friends prepared her well for her new role as a 60s housewife, with gifts of money and a cookbook. Come to think of it, we still need money in 2016. Many couples set up a ‘wishing well’ at their weddings and home cooking is in fashion again.


Way back when, Wednesdays


Recently the Australian media has criticised our Olympians performance in Rio as they only won 29 metals, instead of the expected 45. Most of us have been brought up with the adage that it’s not winning that is important but competing in an event. The actual saying was coined by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the Olympics “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”

Perhaps little Dawn Starick said something like that to her pet goat in March 1970, when they did not win a ribbon at the Golden Grove and Yatala Vale show. Along with “Never mind, I love you, you are still the most beautiful goat in the world.” I think they deserve a prize, even if it for Dawn being brave enough to stand up and compete with adults. At least they were rewarded by a photograph in the Leader Messenger on 24 March 1970. In the hot Adelaide weather it seems that little girls dressed pretty much the same as they do now.

Nowadays onlookers would have posted their smartphone photographs of this cute scene on Instagram or filmed it for YouTube. Newspapers use digital technology and desktop publishing software to produce each edition.

In 1970 a photographer from the Leader Messenger would have taken this image with a single lens reflex (SLR) camera. The film would then have been exposed on photo paper and in a tedious process set alongside typeface. A process camera operator then made the page into a large photographic negative, which was made into a metal printing plate, which in turn was mounted onto a printing press.


Way back when, Wednesdays

Were things really cheaper then?

On page 7 of the Messenger newspaper of 17 August 1977, Kmart advertised a General Electric blender for $42.89. It caught my eye, as many years ago my mother had bought this blender from Target and it still sits on her kitchen counter. I wondered if $42.89 would have been a lot of money in the 70s. Given that he average weekly earnings for a man  (usually the sole wage earner for a family at this time) in Australia in June 1977 ranged between $181.50 to $198.70, Australian Bureau of Statistics, http://www.abs.gov.au

Recently, I looked at buying a blender but I was surprised to discover that the average rickety looking unit costs over $100. The old G.E. blender may be noisy but at least it is solid and still works. Totally false advertising – despite its seven settings, including ‘Chop’, ‘Mix’ and ‘Aerate’, it basically has one function, which is to pulverise everything!

When we entered the cost of the blender into dollartimes.com we discovered that today you would need $174.31 to buy this appliance. No wonder Mum had to put it on layby.

blender-the-messenger        blender-today

Way back when, Wednesdays

Who rules the world? Girls!

Beyonce released her song in 2011. Recently Britain recently appointed its second female prime minister Theresa May. Should the Democrats win the 2016 US election, Hilary Clinton will be named the first Madame President. Hilary, Condaleeza Rice and Madeleine Albright have all served in the highly responsible position of US Secretary of State, the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. It is a job which involves representing their country overseas and carrying out the foreign policy of the United States.

But in 1977 the idea of women in power was the subject of comedy. The Leader Messenger ran a story on page 22 of the 7 August edition, promoting the first major production of local theatre group Tea Tree Players called No time for Fig Leaves.

By modern standards, it is interesting how the play centres on how women ‘try to run the world’ without success (of course) and that ‘power is in the hands of the least attractive of the women’. For a female, being unattractive equates with being in charge!