Way back when, Wednesdays

You spin me round

Hills Hoist at Myer.png

On page 18 of the edition date 18 July 1973, The Leader Messenger advertised a sales promotion for the Hills Hoist at Myer in its feature Tea Tree Plaza News.  Did you know that not only was the Hills Hoist a revolutionary invention but that it was created in Adelaide?

When her washing kept falling off a propped up clothes line, motor mechanic Lance Hill created the first ‘Hill’s Hoist’ for his wife. He built it in the back yard of his home on Bevington Road, Glenunga in 1945.  Mr Hills was not the first person to come up with the idea of a rotary clothesline.  Gilbert Toyne of Geelong had patented four rotary clothes hoists designs between 1911 and 1946.  In 1925 Toyne had designed a rotary hoist with and enclosed crown and a wheel and pinyon winding mechanism.

On Lance Hill’s original structure metal ribs spread out from a central steel pole. He strung rust-proof wire between the ribs, on which the clothes could hang. Lance Hill invented a way to raise and lower the height of the hoist and he attached a handle to make this happen. You could hang the washing on the lines with the hoist set to your height, then wind it up higher. Combined with the rotating square structure, this feature allows your washing to dry more effectively in the wind.  His design was so successful that Hill’s neighbours started putting in orders and he happily manufactured the hoists from scrap metal in his shed workshop.

In 1946 Lance Hill and his brother-in-law, Harold Ling, established the Hills business in Glen Osmond.  They bought some army surplus trucks to make deliveries. Lance and Harold opened a factory at Edwardstown to manufacture steel tubing in order to create a quality product at a reasonable price. Demand was high, even though the hoist sold for 11 pounds, which in 1948 was twice the weekly wage. Hills then expanded its operation to include the manufacture of other laundry products. Lance Hill was awarded a patent for his Hills Hoist in 1956. Renamed Hills Industries in 1958, the company exports its range of clothes lines around the world. The Hills Hoist is listed as a National Treasure by the National Library of Australia.

In recent times, with the rise in construction of medium density housing in Adelaide, such as townhouses, there is usually only room for a pull-out clothes line. Let’s hope that we will continue to see the Hills Hoist as an iconic fixture in the Australian back yard.

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Did you know…about the Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny?

Everyone knows the Easter Bunny, right?

Cute little fuzz-ball that delivers chocolate eggs on Easter…but…rabbits don’t lay eggs! Where, then, did this idea come from?

It would appear that the tradition comes from Germany, with one of the earliest references to the Easter Bunny turning up in a mid-late 16th century text. Another text from the late 17th century entitled ‘About Easter Eggs’ by Georg Franck von Franckenau makes reference to the German tradition of a Hare or Rabbit bringing eggs for children.

The eggs themselves tie into the tradition of the fast of Lent, during which ‘rich’ foods such as butter, sugar and eggs are forbidden (see Did You Know…About Pancake Day for more). As part of the tradition people would decorate eggs (usually by boiling them with flowers to change the colour which was typically red, representing the blood of Christ) and give them as gifts.

But how does one link a rabbit and eggs?

In ancient times it was believed (by the likes of Pliny the Elder and Plutarch, among others) that rabbits and hares were actually sexless and reproduced by laying eggs! This sexless reproduction was linked to the Virgin Mary by the early church with rabbits and hares appearing in paintings with Mary and the Christ Child.

So there you have it!

Why not checkout some more Easter Traditions, or pick up some cute Easter Bunny stories to read to the kids?

Way back when, Wednesdays

Your friend in the kitchen

Kenwood Chef advertisement.png

Kmart advertised the Kenwood Chef Food Preparer on page 17 of the Leader Messenger dated 16 December, 1970.  One reader of Way back when, Wednesdays recently commented that she asked for a Kenwood Chef mixer, rather than a ring on her first wedding anniversary.  And with good reason.  Generations of cooks have used the Kenwood Chef. It is not only a well-built, highly efficient mixer but a classic piece of versatile cooking equipment.  The Kenwood Chef remains very popular across Australia, the United Kingdom and Europe.

The Kenwood company was founded on the guiding principles of quality, innovation and design. Managing director, Ken Wood began trading in the English town of Woking, Surrey, as Woodlau Industries Ltd in 1947. His aim was to produce luxury items and promote them as necessities. He began marketing a toaster and a food mixer with two beaters. In 1950 Mr Wood completely redesigned the mixer.  He added other functions besides beating and he called it the Kenwood Electric Chef.  The Kenwood Chef would go on to provide genuine competition for the American made Sunbeam Mixmaster.

An ultramodern design was needed for the modish 1960s. So, Ken Wood commissioned Kenneth Grange to restyle the Kenwood Chef in 1960. The rounded curves of the 1950s mixer were replaced with a high-tech squared off look which is still in use today.  1960s housewives aspired to own a Kenwood Chef, which wasn’t cheap, hence the payment plan advertised above.  This ‘Food Preparer’ was the ideal labour saving device in an era where home cooking and dinner parties were fashionable.  The mixer was marketed as having ‘planetary action’, scientific jargon which appealed to 1960s shoppers. The beaters moved in an elliptical orbit, while rotating at the same time, like the celestial bodies. The Kenwood Chef came with several mixing attachments, including the logo stamped K-beater and a dough hook.  If you purchased extra attachments the appliance could even peel, mince and slice. The liquidiser could make breadcrumbs, purees, soups, mayonnaise and cocktails! Advertising for the product used the slogan ‘Is there anything the Kenwood Chef can’t do?’

1970 Kenwood Chef

The Kenwood Chef in 1970 (www.museumofcroydon.com)

 

Surprise book of the month

Beautiful Goats cover.docxBeautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds

Written by Felicity Stockwell  and photographed by Andrew Perris

I have noticed that Library staff love putting Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds on display and it always gets borrowed. So what is so appealing about this unusual title?

I asked myself “Why do we love goats?” They eat almost everything and can butt you in the backside, then appear to laugh about it.  However, goats are also sweet natured and have pretty faces. They have personality. Maybe they are endeared to us from childhood, when we listen to the story of the brave Billy Goats Gruff outwitting the vile troll on the bridge. One of my colleagues also told me that goats have become nearly as popular as cats on the Internet.

In the first few pages of Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds, Felicity Stockwell looks at the history and cultural significance of goats. She writes about the agricultural products derived from goats, goats as pets, wild goats and show competitions. However, the greatest part of this book is devoted to showcasing 40 breeds of goats. Photographs are accompanied by specific information about each breed that is featured.

These goats are simply photogenic and definitely beautiful. Each goat is photographed against a simple grey background, which reflects the colour of the book’s covers.  They do not require any other artifices. Andrew Perris skilfully manages to capture so much expression on each of these animal’s faces.  The goats look proud and happy to be photographed on set. They raise their heads in regal poses as if to say “This is my good side”.

The final section of the book ‘Reportage’ takes a fun look inside a goat show, where black and white snapshots are posted billboard style, accompanied by cute captions.

It is worth browsing through this lovely book, whether you have an interest in agriculture, you would like a cheeky pet or even if you just enjoy clever photography. You can reserve Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds. Or enquire next time you visit the Library.

 

 

Way back when, Wednesdays

Adelaide’s famous duckling

TTP Children's show with Winky Dink

On page 16 of the edition dated 17 January 1973, in the section entitled Tea Tree Plaza News, The Leader Messenger promoted its forthcoming school holiday programs.  The caption accompanying the photograph stated that kids could see shows featuring celebrities such as Channel 9’s Hot Dog and Cheryl.  But who is that little bird sitting in a bucket, pictured in the centre of the photograph?  If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s and watched Channel 9 after school, you will probably remember that small pink duck with fondness.

Winky Dink was a sweet-natured, happy young duck. The puppet was operated and voiced by children’s author Wendy Patching. Winky starred on the Adelaide children’s show the Channel Niners, produced by NWS-9.  The show screened in the afternoon from Monday to Friday.

Pam Tamblin and Ashleigh Mac originally hosted the Channel Niners. They were later replaced by Patsy Biscoe and Ian Fairweather.  The final presenters of the show were Joanna “Joey” Moore and “Robby” Robin Roenfeldt. Channel Niners was repackaged during the mid 1980s as C’mon Kids, screening from 1986 to 1990.

Winky often made references to the duckpond where he lived, looking down through the aperture in the desk. Winky Dink’s favourite treat was sugared worms.  I remember one episode of the Channel Niners in which a young viewer once sent Winky a small box of sugared worms.  The contents resembled Allen’s Snakes coated in sugar!

Pink Winky Dink

The fabulous Winky Dink

 

If you found Winky Dink to be too sweet or you just didn’t like his voice, the early days of the show also featured zany, rude Wilbur Worm. Wilbur would make funny, insulting remarks to Winky (by the standards of a children’s program) which their human comperes would have to counteract. However, Winky had pluck. Winky could hold his own and was usually ready with a quick reply to Wilbur’s jibes, creating a humourous interchange between the two characters.

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From left:  Channel 9 children’s characters: Wilbur Worm, Humphrey B. Bear, Hot Dog and Winky Dink

Way back when, Wednesdays

Look who’s talking

Page 13 of the Leader Messenger dated 30 November, 1983 featured an interview with talented young ventriloquist Linda Jane and her friend Charlie.  Does anybody remember watching Linda Jane and Charlie on Channel 9’s talent show New Faces?  The article focused on Linda’s emerging career in ventriloquism and on her childhood experiences.  Linda Jane and other artists were to appear in a series of concerts to entertain inmates and staff in Adelaide’s gaols.  A brave girl!  Prisoners at Yatala Labour prison had been rioting and lighting fires.

A ventriloquist can change their voice and make it seem like the words they are speaking are coming from a puppet or dummy, which is commonly referred to as having the ability to ‘throw your voice’.  The technical term for a ventriloquist’s dummy is a ventriloquial figure.

In the 1940s and 1950s ventriloquism was incredibly popular in Australia. Hundreds of people performed the art of ventriloquism on stage.  Ventriloquism became a novelty, when electronics used in modern film made it easy to convey the illusion of a non-living character having a voice.  Less people visited the theatre to watch comedy and musical acts.  Fortunately technology and the Internet have created new opportunities for ventriloquists to build new audiences and connect with fellow performers.  Carrying on the tradition, Darren Carr and David Strassman are two ventriloquists who are popular with Australian audiences.

If you find ventriloquist dummies creepy, you are not alone. Fear of ventriloquist’s dummies is known as Automatonophobia.  People who suffer from this phobia feel stressed in the presence of ventriloquilist dummies.  They may also dislike animatronic creatures, dolls or wax statues.  Anything that resembles a sentient being.  Symptoms range from feeling uneasy when looking into their glass eyes, to experiencing panic attacks, an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath or nausea!

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Jailhouse dummy

Way back when, Wednesdays

women at TTPOn face value

On page 18 of the edition dated 1 August,1973, The Leader Messenger interviewed two women for their feature ‘Tea Tree Plaza news’. Fay McGilvray was in charge of three departments at Myer and Paula Darby was employed as the Promotions Coordinator at Tea Tree Plaza.

The article was entitled ‘Attractive women who work at TTP’. Reading this title might give you a chuckle but then you would cringe and reflect on the sexism of the past. Were these ladies considered attractive just because of their physical appearance, because they were successful, or was it a combination of both? How did the Messenger Press select the women featured? Did they approach Centre Management at Tea Tree Plaza to ask if any female employees were interested in taking part or just walk around the shops looking for potential ‘talent’?

In 1973 the Women’s Movement was active in Australia. Internationally, large numbers of women campaigned for change and an end to discrimination. Some women strove to get an education and forge a career, when the workplace was still dominated by men in senior roles. Women were paid a lot less than men. Many women became homemakers once they married and had a child. Germaine Greer’s monumental book ‘The Female Eunuch’, which was published in 1970, encouraged women to embrace their sexuality and to not hate themselves. But this is different to being portrayed as a sex object. One of my colleagues once remarked that in the 70s sexism was rife “You were just a piece of meat at work.” Note that both Fay and Paula were photographed in poses which we could describe as alluring. They are not standing tall and proud.

Whatever the intention of the journalist, in modern times you would not usually read about women in business described as attractive. Nevertheless, based on the experience of another of our staff members who has worked as a newspaper journalist in Queensland, the media is still focused on appearance, because that is supposedly what readers want. Newspaper picture editors were invariably male and they would only select photographs of attractive girls and women for publication.

We still have much to achieve.

 

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