Way back when, Wednesdays

Suit up Seventies style

Cord suit

At first glance you might think that the clever lady in the photograph has recycled some bathmats and sewn herself a tailored outfit. This is certainly not the case. In the edition dated 14 July 1971, the North East Leader tells us that Mrs June Cooper is in fact, modelling a stylish suit made from jumbo cord. This photograph on page 19 was taken to promote the Witchery Boutique at Tea Tree Plaza. According to the North East Leader, it was a modish outfit that women would have wanted to wear in the early 1970s.

Corduroy fabric has been used in the manufacture of workwear since the 18th century in Britain and Europe. During the 20th century, factories in many other countries started produced clothing made from corduroy, often for the working classes. In the 1970s garments made from corduroy became incredibly popular. They were easy to launder, soft and warm in winter and affordable. Corduroy garments could also be dressed up or down. Both men and women could wear a corduroy suit to the office or wear the jacket or pants separately on weekends.

Corduroy jeans, jackets and skirts are still worn today. In the cooler weather, corduroy always seems to be a popular choice for jeans.

 

corduroy-fall-2017-2

Corduroy on the catwalk in 2017.  Image:  http://corduroy.in/corduroy-news/

 

If you are not familiar with corduroy, it is a durable cotton or cotton blend cloth, which is basically a ridged form of velvet. Corduroy comes in a multitude of colours and it can be plain or printed. Multiple cords are woven into the base fabric to form ridges or wales, which lie parallel to each other in clear lines. Sometimes you can see channels where the bare fabric between the cords is visible. Corduroy fabric with a standard or wide wale (jumbo cord) is used to upholster furniture, such as sofas, or it is made into trousers. Fabric with medium (midwale) narrow, and fine wale (such as pinwale or pincord) is used in the manufacture in garments worn above the waist. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corduroy (http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/Modern-World-Part-II-1961-1979/Corduroy.html).

 

Corduroy Fabric

Different wales of corduroy.  Image:  http://market-research-explore-report.blogspot.com/2018/02/world-corduroy-fabric-market-2018.html

 

The 1970s was revolutionary for women as it was the first time in history in which it was acceptable for women to wear what they wanted. Asian women had worn pants under tunics for many years. Now western women seemed to prefer wearing pants to dresses and skirts (https://www.retrowaste.com/1970s/fashion-in-the-1970s/1970s-fashion-for-women-girls/). Women wore pantsuits to the city, and some could wear them to the office. A trendy or elegant pantsuit was just the thing to wear out to dinner. As the 1970s progressed, pants for both men and women became low rise and firmer on the hips. Legs widened out and were sometimes cuffed. Eventually, flares came into fashion (http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1971fashions.html).

This issue of the North East Leader also featured an extensive sales promotion for the St. Agnes shopping centre. Take a look at this advertisement for Witchery which was printed on page 11 and the funky bohemian image that this brand was trying to sell. In the 1960s and 1970s Witchery opened retail outlets at many suburban locations such as at the St. Agnes and Ingle Farm shopping centres.

Witchery advertisement
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Way back when, Wednesdays

Funky fashion arrives in the North East

The days are getting shorter and the Autumn/Winter fashions are now in the stores. Let’s have a look at what people were wearing in 1971. The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper covered the coolest threads on offer for men, women and boys, from pages 36 – 37 of the edition dated 14 July 1971.

Knitted suits for men

Yes, these photographs are real. Perhaps these brands of menswear should have been labelled with a hazard warning “Wearing this garment may compel doe-eyed women to hang themselves precariously off your person at any given opportunity.”

Mens fashions knit shirt

These articles focused on how it was essential for a man to be stylish if he wanted to be admired and attract a lady companion. The photographs are over the top by modern standards but we all know that the advertising industry still uses sex appeal and prestige to sell products! John Brown’s smart knitted suits for casual and weekend wear were styled following overseas trends. Note the focus on Australian manufacture, no doubt using fine Australian wool. Maybe these women are not really gazing adoringly up at the male models – they are really just feeling the texture of these garments. For as the article states, women might be coveting the clothing for themselves!

A married man would make his wife’s life at home a lot easier if he chose to wear modern, easy care drip dry fabrics. Synthetic fabrics had been popular during the 1960s. These colourful and distinctive knit shirts in the ‘Summerknits’ range by John Brown were made from high tech fabrics such as Tricel and Teteron.

 

hotpants in crimplene

Conversely, the ladies modelling a new range of women’s clothing don’t need men as accessories in these photoshoots. Wearing funky hotpants, this girl is confident, in style and ready to have fun.

During the 1970s fashions changed greatly from the beginning of the decade to its end. In 1971 the fashions were very much like those of 1969. Garments made from polyester were popular as they were inexpensive and did not need ironing. Bright colours and bold prints were still in demand. Checks and tweeds were in vogue too.

 

Lady with silver buckle

Distinctive fashions by young Prue Acton, the first Australian designer to break into the American market.  Prue embraced both new synthetic and natural fibres, to create her bold and colourful designs (https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/2377).

 

Young women still liked mini-skirts but long, flowing skirts were also worn. Fashion continued to be influenced by the hippie era and ethnic influence of the late 1960s. Women wore long bohemian print dresses with billowing sleeves. Men’s loose shirts in floral patterns had ties around the neck or an open neckline. Not forgetting the leather sandals and scarves tied around your head. And hippie men wore beards and long hair.
Turtleneck jumpers were popular with both sexes and every woman owned at least one cowl neck jumper, to wear with pants or under a pinafore dress. Ladies still liked trendy short hair styles. But long hair might be worn down loose, plaited or dressed in a soft, bohemian up-style for a natural look. Or you could set it in waves.

Another trend emerged – the 1970s was the first decade where women wore pants and pantsuits for work and leisure. Women could wear jeans at home and elegant or trendy pants to a nightclub or restaurant. Some dress codes allowed women to wear business suits with pants to the office. By the end of the decade, women could basically wear what they wanted, which was revolutionary (https://www.retrowaste.com/1970s/fashion-in-the-1970s/1970s-fashion-for-women-girls/).  Trousers for both men and women were low rise, firm on the hips and with a wider leg which was sometimes cuffed. Corduroy clothing or men and women such as jeans, and sports coats with wide lapels, were seen everywhere (http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1971fashions.html).

 

boys 2

Knitwear and shirts by John Brown for little men, made from machine washable wool.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

A leisurely Sunday at your library

Sunday at the Library

Bestselling author Amy Tan has been quoted as saying that “Libraries are the pride of the City.” http://www.azquotes.com/author/14434-Amy_Tan There is also a proverb that says that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Sundays can be a chance to relax, read, put on some music, spend time with family and just enjoy yourself. Which is why many people visit their local library. On 7 February 1979, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, printed an article that focused on the success of opening the City of Tea Tree Gully Library on Sunday. We also learn from the article about the popularity of the library at North East Road and how much it had to offer patrons.  The Messenger story provides modern readers with a snapshot of this era and we can see how some things have changed.

In 1979 the Library was situated at 1020 North East Road, which is now the site of the Tea Tree Plus shopping centre. The Library was housed in a modern building, which opened in 1975, adjacent to, and constructed in the same mid-century modern architectural style as the Tea Tree Gully Civic Centre. The Council building had opened in 1967.

 

PH03979 Facade of Library

The Library at 1020 North East Road Modbury. Image: Community History Photograph Collection, Tea Tree Gully Library. PH03979

 

Most public libraries in South Australia did not open on Sundays until the late 1980s/early 1990s. In the Messenger article the Chief Council Librarian Felicity Langeveldt stated that opening Sundays had been successful because it was a convenient days for residents to use the Library service but also that many of them took advantage of using the listening posts.

In an era where listening to your favourite songs was not simply a matter of downloading music from iTunes or Google Play, the residents of the City of Tea Tree Gully congregated at the Library to put on headphones and sit around a listening station. It would be interesting to find out if you played vinyl records or audio cassettes. Now we can borrow CDs to play at home or in the car. Or you can login to a computer at the Library to play CDs or listen to UTube.

 

 

PH01012 Official opening of the Library at North East Road.

Opening of the Library on North East Road, Modbury in 1975,
photograph PH01012.

 

Sundays continue to be a popular time to visit the Library. In 2017 there was an average of 521 people coming through the door each Sunday (door counts varied from 395 to 625). Our members still love reading and using the City of Tea Tree Gully Library service. The Library remains a community hub and our collections have grown considerably in size and type since 1979! We have approximately 64,000 books for adults, 25000 for children and adolescents, 4,500 magazines and 17,000 audio visual materials (this includes DVDs, CDs and audiobooks). You can now also access audio and ebooks and take advantage of approximately 4 million items through the SA Public Libraries One Card Network.

In 2017 the Library lent out an average of 73,210 items per month. In December loans totalled 53,273, December being our quietest month and the Civic Centre was closed over the Christmas holiday period. Today, most people search for information online as well as going to a public library. Or they can stream web based entertainment.
Thirty-nine years have elapsed since the date of the Messenger article. So if you think about it, the Tea Tree Gully Library must have been a very busy place, lending out 46,624 items way back in December 1979!
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Way back when, Wednesdays

Out there on my own

International Women’s Day 8 March 2018

 

It’s the early 1970s. Imagine being thrown out onto the street by your family because you became pregnant – they no longer wanted you. You only had the clothes you were wearing and some loose change in your pocket. You were homeless and you had no way to support yourself. There was no Parenting Benefit in existence at this time.
In the edition dated 25 August 1971, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper told one woman’s story, which highlighted the plight of young unmarried mothers. In a special report, made up of two articles on pages 1 and 3 the Leader sought to raise awareness of the financial issues, condemnation and social isolation single mothers experienced. A new South Australian organisation called ‘The Council for The Single Mother and Her Child’ could offer these girls help.

Unwed mothers

We have all heard the horror stories of young unmarried women being coerced or forced into giving up their babies for adoption during the 1960s. Children were also put in state run institutions such as orphanages. The Commonwealth Department of Social Services was created in 1939 and became fully operative in 1941. However, the Government did not introduce a supporting mother’s benefit for single mother’s pension until 1973. From 1942 in Australia, a single mother could only receive a small pension if she had been married and was widowed, deserted by her husband or divorced. You were also entitled to a benefit if you husband was in prison or a committed to a mental hospital, Seeing the lighter side, A history of the single parent pension in Australia.

“In 1973 supporting mother’s benefit was introduced for single mothers not entitled to widow’s pension. The new benefit was payable after a six-month waiting period, during which time the States remained responsible for the single mother’s income support under the Commonwealth-State cost-sharing arrangements introduced in 1968. The supporting mother’s benefit was extended in 1977 to single fathers, including widowers and divorcees, and renamed supporting parent’s benefit. The six-month waiting period for this benefit was abolished in 1980 when the States withdrew from the Commonwealth-State cost-sharing arrangements.”  Australian Bureau of Statistics

Unfortunately the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not hold data on the number of babies born in South Australia in 1971 but“1500 illegitimate births” does seem quite high for the population of South Australia. So you might think that having a baby ‘out of wedlock’ was not uncommon. However, Society viewed an unmarried pregnant women as having loose morals.

Birthright

A woman seemed to experience most of the shame, rather than the father of the child. It could also be difficult for the mother of an illegitimate child to find a man to marry her and adopt her child as their own. Living together in a de-facto relationship was socially unacceptable. Unless your family were willing to support you financially and emotionally, a single pregnant woman faced some tough choices.

Sometimes a girl’s parents would insist on a young couple getting married as quickly as possible before her pregnancy started to show – what is known as a ‘shotgun wedding’. This was an attempt to not only hide the unplanned pregnancy or at least regain some of the respect that their daughter had lost by getting pregnant. The girl’s boyfriend was basically threatened by her father and told to take responsibility for the baby! Adoption was a common choice. The girl was supposed to move on with her life, when in fact she would always be dealing with the loss of her child. It should be acknowleged that some  fathers also reluctantly lost their children to adoption.

Legal abortions were not readily available. Never an easy decision for the mother, abortion was legalised in South Australia in 1969. Abortion was only legal if performed in a hospital and it was deemed by two medical practitioners that continuing a pregnancy was detrimental to the physical and mental health of the mother or if there was a substantial risk that the child would be seriously physically or mentally handicapped if it was born, Abortion Law in Australia  Frightened women also sought out illegal abortions, putting themselves at risk of infection and death.

Some brave young women did decide to keep their babies. At least ‘The Council for The Single Mother and Her Child’ was in existence in South Australia to help supply them with baby clothing, and support with finding accommodation and employment. A single mother would have received a child endowment payment as the Commonwealth Government’s Child Endowment Act of 1941 had introduced the payment of weekly sums to mothers of children under the age of 16. But it would have been very almost impossible for a single woman to find somewhere to live with a baby and no other income. Day care centres and government subsidised childcare are a modern invention. A woman would have had to leave her child with relatives and friends or pay somebody she knew to look after them while she was at work.

Note also the small article printed on page 3 about the organisation ‘Birthright’ which was trying to establish a branch in Tea Tree Gully to assist widows and their children. Living on a widow’s pension was not easy either.

Most sole parent families still live on low incomes and those on Centrelink payments face a high risk of poverty. “Unemployment among sole parents is generally about twice the rate across the whole workforce. The reasons for this include their responsibility for caring for a child alone, together with low educational qualifications and the need to live in areas where rents are low but jobs are scarce (such as public housing estates). Many of those who do have a job are vulnerable to unemployment because they work in casual and part time jobs.” Fact sheet: sole parent payments

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Girl with a guitar

Some of our readers may remember watching Franci Chamings on the  Adelaide show for children called Young 7.   Young 7 screened at 9am on ADS Channel 7 in the mornings during the 1970s.

Franci Chamings edit symon

 

In the edition dated 17 November 1971, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper reported on a local girl from Dernancourt who had been singing on Adelaide television. As stated in the article, Franci performed on the children’s program The Super Duper Flying Fun Show and The Tonight Show hosted by radio identity and former footballer Barry Ion.

After gaining a following on a children’s television show, Singer/songwriter Franci also performed live on stage such as at her Family with Franci Chamings concert in 1975.

Franci did go on to make recordings. She recorded the 45rpm single For You (B side: Why) with Pussycat Records, Australia.

In 1976 she made the vinyl LP album for young children entitled Favourite Nursery Rhymes and Actions Songs at Slater Sound in Adelaide. The album featured a collection of traditional children’s rhymes. Maybe you have it in your childhood record collection!  http://www.45cat.com/record/nc168385au

Favourite nursery rhymes

Image taken from:  http://www.tvmem.com/OZST/tv/D/DUDLEYDO/DUDLEYDO.html

 

 

Sammy the Seagull

Sammy the Seagull also appeared on Young 7.  He is pictured here with young Gavin Swindler and Suzanne Fox at Christies Beach.  Photograph B 70869/14138.  https://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+70869/1413

 

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Way back when, Wednesday

Entrepreneurial Elf

Have you ever wondered what the elves do with themselves in the off-season, when they are not employed in Santa’s workshop? In the 2005 picture book The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition by Carol Aebersold, Chanda Bell and Coë Steinwart, the elves visit peoples’ houses. Once adopted, they watch vigilantly to see if children have been naughty or nice, then make a report to Santa.

 

111214-elf1

The Elf on the Shelf.  Reserve this book through the Library’s online catalogue

 

Perhaps a more commercially minded member of the fairy folk may have swapped the elven tunic, leggings and shoes with curled up toes for a suit and tie, then set up his own small business in Adelaide. The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper printed this advertisement for real estate agent Ernie D. Elf on page 25 of the edition dated 4 July 1973.

 

ernie elf real estate

If Ernie Elf sold your house or you bought a property through him, please let us know about your experience. Ernie Elf certainly looks like his name. Notice how his chin-length, Seventies style hair could hide a pair of pointed ears!

Elf real estate no longer operates at 598 North East Road, Holden Hill, this is now the site of a Caltex service station. What happened to Ernie? Although Elf Realty is listed in Queensland, Ernie is not listed as an agent. Maybe Ernie joined another firm or eventually retired.

Thank you for reading ‘Way back when, Wednesday’ this year, best wishes for a Merry Christmas!

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Way back when Wednesdays

Celebrate the season with Pyramid Power

Never mind the Santa hat! Imagine yourself relaxing, after the noise and bustle of the festivities is over, wearing your Pyramid Meditation Hat. The North East Leader printed this advertisement for Experimental Pyramids and Pyramid Mediation Hats on page 37 of the edition dated 20 December 1978.

Pyramid hat

During the mid 1970s people became fascinated with the concept of Pyramid Power. Though not a new idea, various authors such as Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder, Max Toth and Patrick Flanagan wrote books examining the concept that pyramid shapes can focus and generate energy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power.

Pyramid Power Toth         Pyramid Power Flanagan

The design of the Great Cheops Pyramid of Egypt gave rise to the study of Pyramid Power. The construction of the Cheops Pyramid was ordered by the pharoah Khufu (Cheops) during the Fourth Dynasty and completed around 2560 BCE. The Cheops Pyramid is a marvel of engineering and is considered to be the most mathematically perfect structure on Earth. The pyramid is aligned north-south, exactly parallel to the earth’s magnetic axis. The King’s Chamber forms the centre of gravity. Fans of Pyramid Power believe that the other small chambers carved out of the solid rock are recepticles for energy to collect and resonate. In the 1930s Frenchman Antoine Bovis experimented with the idea that small models of pyramids can preserve food. He constructed a scale model of the Cheops pyramid, under which he put organic matter. His work was based on the idea that when locals collected small dead animals which had wandered into the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt, the corpses were mummified, instead of decaying, despite the hot and humid atmosphere, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power

Advocates of Pyramid Power in the 1970s claimed that food kept under a structure designed like the Cheops pyramid kept fresher for longer. The food dehydrated instead of rotting. An intrepid manufacturer produced pyramid shaped canisters designed for better food storage. Even more astonishing was the assertion that razor blades were kept sharp as the pyramid focused the cosmic energy and realigned the crystals in the steel! You could also polish tarnished metal using the power of the pyramid, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PyramidPower

fresher food

Sitting or lying under your pyramid was also supposed to speed up the healing of cuts and burns, lead to better sleep and even improve your sex life.

Sitting under a pyramid

Experimental research claimed that wearing a pyramid shaped hat could help relieve a headache. The pyramid also assisted you with focusing your mind, thereby increasing your ability to learn in the long term. The hat mentioned in the advertisement is not cheap. According to the Reserve Bank Inflation Calculator) you would now need $79.53 to purchase it. Your experimental pyramid would cost $124.29!  One may argue that sitting quietly and meditating is of benefit anyway, even without the hat. During the late 1970s there were even designs for pyramids shaped learning booths in which school students could relax and study, https://futurism.media/what-is-pyramid-power.

There are still people who believe in the properties of pyramids. However it should be noted that there is no scientific evidence to support the concept of Pyramid Power, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power.
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