Way back when, Wednesdays

Remembering the Old Mill

Did you know that there used to be a chaff mill in Ridgehaven?  On page 3 of the edition dated 24 February 1966, The North East Leader reported on the possible demolition of the Old Mill building on the North East Road.  The building had served as a chaff mill and a hay store.

Old Mill

The Old Mill was originally built and run by the Lokan family.  The Lokan family had several sons. William H. Lokan set himself up on the section of land designated number 1578, in the vicinity of the North East Road, Ridgehaven.  The North East Road has been widened considerably since the time of this article, so the Mill was set a little way back from the road’s current location.   The chaff mill was built by 1875, on the Lokan property which extended back into the area where Old Mill and Douglas streets are located.  All of William Lokan’s sons worked in the chaff mill, as it was a family business.

From as early as 1912 the Lokan brothers also went into the freight business.  This proved to be a highly successful business venture “Indeed, the six Lokan brothers by 1921 had established the largest cartage business in the district.” (page 272, Auhl, Ian, From Settlement to City, 1993).  Ian Auhl describes how using teams of horses and carts, the Lokans were employed to carry wine to Port Adelaide, pipe clay to Bowden, almonds to the city and hay to the chaff mill on the North East Road.

Unfortunately for heritage lovers, the Old Mill was demolished in the late 1960s when the North East Road was widened.  One can only imagine how we could use the building, if it was still in existence.  A cafe or restaurant, art gallery or stylish retail outlet perhaps?

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Old Mill photograph

Chaff Mill on North East Road, Ridgehaven, just before it was demolished in the late 1960s. City of Tea Tree Gully Local History Collection, PH: 00812.

Way back when, Wednesdays

Santa loves his hock

We all know that Santa drinks more than a few glasses of port, beer and other beverages that have been left for him, when making his special deliveries around the world.  But did you know that Santa also enjoys drinking hock?  The Australasian newspaper printed this advertisement for Seppelts Great Western Sparkling Hock, featuring a not-so-jolly looking Santa (his expression is rather disquieting) dressed in a hooded robe, on 14 December, 1929.  So what exactly is hock?

Santa and his hock

Hock wine is derived from the name of the town located in the German wine region of the Rheinegau (Rhine district).  During the 15th century, Hochheim am Main became a major producer and exporter of white wine.  The trade grew when Britain brought over members of the German Protestant aristocracy to join their royal family.  George I, George II, and George III of the House of Hanover, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria of the House of Saxe-Coburg  and Gotha, were German born or of German heritage.  When Queen Victoria visited Hochheim and its vineyards during the grape harvest of 1850, wines from this region would probably have become more popular.

In Britain the English called Hochheimer wine ‘hockamer’ or ‘hockamore’, which in the common speech then became hogmar, then eventually hock!  At first hock referred only to white wine from the Rhine region, usually Riesling.  By the 19th century, any white wine imported from Germany became known as hock.  Initially German wines were expensive and considered even more prestigious than those from the French wine regions of Burgandy and Bordeaux.  What was once a quality import eventually gave way to transports of cheap inferior wine, which of course, sold widely.

If you have ever eaten wine gums manufactured by the Waterbridge company in England, you might have noticed that one of the sweets is even stamped with the flavour Hock!  White wine was also an ingredient used in the old fashioned Australian drink ‘hock, lime and lemon’.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hock_(wine)

http://www.drinkingwinewithfriends.com/?p=563

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Way back when, Wednesdays – Christmas feasts that you may not want to share

In the weeks before Christmas, we seem to inundated with sweet treats like mince pies, cake and chocolates.  We look forward to a splendid meal on Christmas Day, whether that be of turkey, seasoned chicken and ham, or seafood such as prawns, accompanied by an array of salads or vegetables.  This monumental meal is usually followed by desserts such as pavlova and Christmas pudding.  Many of us are fortunate enough to be able to purchase and enjoy a wide range of delicacies.

It seems that tastes have changed.  The curious world of Christmas, celebrating all that is weird, wonderful and festive by Niall Edworthy, gives us an insight into the not so delicious fare which was on offer in times past.

9781446422236 Curious world of christmas

In the Middle Ages, roast peacock meat was served with great pomp and ceremony in the castles and manor houses of the nobility.  Peacock meat was tough and dry but the idea of presenting an exotic, colourful Indian bird to guests must have appealed to the rich of this era.  Sometimes the peacock was made into a huge pie.  Its feathered head with a gilded beak would protrude from one end of the pastry with its tail sticking out of the other end of the crust.  As peacock meat was unappetising, cooks would sometimes substitute chicken or goose meat for the pie filling and attach the head and tail feathers of the peacock.  An awful end for such a beautiful bird!

peacock-vow-featured

Image: ‘The Peacock Vow’ a 15th century illustration from ‘Le Livre des conquetes et faits d’Alexandra.’ Currently held in Paris. muse du Petit-Palais, folio 86 recto. Painter. Anon. https://hforhistory.co.uk/article/roast-peacock-medieval-christmas/

Wealthy people in the Middle Ages would enjoy eating a range of foods over the twelve days of Christmas.  Geese were basted in butter and saffron, which is still the most expensive spice in the world.  Cooks stuffed lemons into the mouths of whole pigs or wild boars.  Sometimes only the boar’s head would be presented on a large serving dish, as a festive symbol.  A medieval Christmas ‘pudding’ was a great treat but the principal ingredients were cracked wheat boiled in animal stock, mixed with egg yolks and threads of saffron.  The mixture was left to set before serving as an accompaniment to roast meats.  As time went by, people replaced the costly saffron with other sweeter spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and added dried fruit to the recipe, such as currents.

So what did the ordinary people, the peasants, eat at Christmas?  Certainly not roast meat.  The average person worked hard every day for their local lord, usually farming his lands or labouring at a trade that benefited the estate.  A peasant would not get to eat a lot of meat, unless they poached an animal off a noble’s estate, a serious offence for which they could be harshly punished.  Peasants ate mostly dark, coarse rye bread and stew.  The stew, known as pottage, was usually made up of onions, peas and beans that people grew in their gardens.  If you lived near the sea or a river, you could catch some fish.  If peasants kept chickens or livestock they would have eggs and milk.  However, you could not afford to kill your animals for meat.  In the Middle Ages it was considered a privilege to eat meat, whereas dairy products and vegetables were viewed as foods suitable for peasants.

Sometimes the rich landowners would give the innards of their venison to their tenants who would make them into pies.  The offal was called ‘umbles’, from which the expression “to eat humble pie” is derived.  Unfortunately for the tenants, Christmas Day was one of four days each year on which they had to pay their lords rent for the hovels in which they lived.

Niall Edworthy also quotes an English saying of page 50 of his book “A dog isn’t just for

Christmas.  It’s jolly nice cold on the 26th as well.”

 

You can reserve The curious world of Christmas, celebrating all that is weird, wonderful

and festive by Niall Edworthy online or enquire at the Library.  Discover many more

interesting traditions and quirky facts about Christmas.  And enjoy your modern

Christmas dinner!

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Locals expose alien’s nocturnal reconnaissance flight

If extra-terrestrials decided to visit Australia where do you think they go? The nation’s capital perhaps? The outback? The City of Tea Tree Gully? In a scene reminiscent of a vintage science fiction film, the North East Leader reported on sightings of a mysterious saucer-shaped flying object, on page 4 of the edition dated 27 July, 1966. Was it an alien visitation or something else?

UFO 1966

The first ten-second sighting of the saucer shaped flying object was made by local resident Mr. L.G. Bradbook and his young son. Mr Bradbook alleged that at 8.30pm, in the week prior to the article’s publication, the UFO shot across the night sky in the vicinity of a reservoir (possibly now the wetland) At first sight, the UFO appeared to be very large but then diminished greatly in size when he saw it ascend and fly off over his car in a northerly direction. Miss Imelda Steinmueller, a young woman from Vista, also reported seeing a strange white object slowly flying high in the sky over North East Road, Tea Tree Gully at 7.15pm.

Enthusiasts from the Flying Saucer Research Society of Australia were soon on the scene to investigate – an impressive feat in the days before social media and news on demand. Vice President Colin Norris surmised that both Mr Bradbook and Miss Steinmueller could have seen the same object. There had been many sightings of UFOs near bodies of water, even near large water tanks. Colin Norris provides rather hazy information about how various bodies had been established to document these sightings, just that you could read reports through ‘official sources’. He suggests that extraterrestrials could be flying over the local area doing survey work, and while they were here, they needed to take on water for their own mysterious purposes. Some may remark that aliens may have been disappointed in the quality of Adelaide’s water in those days, should they have sampled the Murray River.

Note how the North East Leader did not interview anybody who could have offered another explanation for the flying objects. Nowadays the media would probably get also reports from the Bureau of Meterology and other scientific organisations, to investigate if the UFO might really be a weather balloon, a satellite in orbit or a piece of ‘space junk’ entering the Earth’s atmosphere before burning up.

The photo accompanying the article shows another mysterious round, flying object which was taken nearby in the Gilles Plains area in June 1965.

So how did our fascination with UFOs start? TIME magazine describes what is credited to be the first modern sighting of a UFO and the ‘flying saucer’ phenomenon. On 24 June, 1947, an amateur pilot named Kenneth Arnold saw a bright blue flash of light in the sky near Mt. Rainier in Washington State, U.S.A. He then saw nine more flashes of light in rapid succession. Arnold calculated the speed of these flying objects at over 1,200 mph, which was nearly twice the speed of sound; unheard of at a time when planes had not yet cracked the sound barrier.

Arnold compared the way the lights flew over the sky with somebody throwing a saucer over a body of water, which then skipped over the surface. A reporter for United Press misinterpreted what Watson had said, describing the lights in the sky as ‘saucer like’ unidentified flying objects and further reports called them flying saucers! Within a month, Americans had reported hundreds of sightings of flying saucers across the sky.

The obsession with spacecraft and extraterrestrial life forms intensified when a rancher from New Mexico reported finding what he thought was the crash site of a flying saucer near Roswell. There are reports that the Air Force initially supported the Rancher’s claim, then refuted it, saying the wreckage was the remains of a weather balloon. Let’s just say the rest is history but in 1994, the US Air Force declared that the wreckage was more likely to be one of a train of high-altitude balloons, carrying acoustical equipment to monitor Soviet nuclear testing at the beginning of the Cold War era (http://time.com/3930602/first-reported-ufo/).

It looks like our visitors may have returned. A local resident lodged a report more recently on the UFO Hunters website. On 9 January 2016, they spotted a pulsating, spherical object in the sky near the Tea Tree Gully area. You might enjoy reading about other possible alien encounters in South Australia in the ‘Curious Adelaide’ page of the ABC news website.   Maybe we are really not alone…

 
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Way back when, Wednesdays

Finnish librarian takes to the road

At the Tikkurila library, which is situated in the city of Vantaa in southern Finland, customers can sing along to pop tunes or to a selection of Finnish favorites in a custom built soundproofed karaoke booth.

The City of Tea Tree Gully may not have a karaoke booth but we can say that we have had a Finnish librarian employed here! On page 4 of the edition dated 25 November 1965 the North East Leader reported on the appointment of Miss Ulla-Maija Salonen to the City of Tea Tree Gully mobile library service.

IMG_0003 Finnish librarian

Image courtesy of the State Libary of South Australia, North East Leader, page 4, 25 November, 1965

As stated in the newspaper article above, Ulla-Maija Salonen was a highly educated and accomplished young woman. She was also multilingual. The District Council of Tea Tree Gully was fortunate to have her in its employ. Ulla-Maija Salonen was also the first female librarian to work for the Tea Tree Gully Library. Ms Salonen held the equivalent of a Master of Science degree from the University of Helsinki and she had taught science at schools in New South Wales and Finland. She had worked as a medical science technician. Ulla-Maija had also joined the department of Botany at Adelaide University, before taking over from the Mr. Keech, Tea Tree Gully’s first librarian.

The Minister of Education, Mr. R.R. Loveday, officially handed over the mobile library to the Chairman of the District Council of Tea Tree Gully on Saturday 12 June, 1965, in the vicinity of a community centre on Memorial Drive at Tea Tree Gully. The bus began servicing the local community on Tuesday 15 June.

Mobile public library 1965

Image:  North East Leader, page 1, 3 June, 1965

It was the second mobile library service to operate in South Australia, the City of Marion ran the first. The Library was actually a refurbished Department of Health vehicle which had formerly operated as a mobile x-ray unit!

The bus was a gift from the C.M.V. Foundation. Sidney Crawford established the C.M.V group in 1934 in South Australia, selling commercial vehicles to the transport industry. He set up the C.M.V. Group Foundation in 1953 to assist charities and those in need in the wider community. In total, the C.M.V. Foundation contributed 16,000 pounds towards establishing free public library services in the South Australian metropolitan area.

So where did all the books come from? The State Library of South Australia has provided this information about how public libraries were funded. In accordance with the Library (Subsidies) Act of 1955 and a 1958 amendment, the State Treasurer could subsidise local government to meet the costs of a establishing and running a public library, provided that the amount of funding did not exceed what Council spent in any financial year. A substantial amount of the books had to be of an educational or literary nature.  The Annual report of the Libraries Board of South Australia of 1964/65 states on page 11 that “The Libraries Board supplied initial bookstocks new libraries at Millicent, Enfield and Tea Tree Gully.” Councils such as Tea Tree Gully paid money to the Libraries Board to be supplied with books; the amount of which was subsidised by an equal amount from the South Australian State Government.

The Mobile Library’s initial book stock was valued at 5000 pounds, which was a substantial investment in 1965. And the Library was fully air-conditioned, a very modern feature. When it was introduced, the Library service would have 5000 books in its collection. The bus was to hold 2,500 volumes on the shelves (a considerable amount) with the remainder of the books placed in reserve in storage (Page 1, North East Leader, 3 June, 1965). A driver-assistant library was also employed.

People of all ages were able to use the Library for free if they lived in Tea Tree Gully and surrounding areas. This was of great benefit to residents as at this time there were still Institute based libraries in South Australia, where people had to pay a subscription fee to borrow books and use the reading room.

The Mobile Library stopped in many locations around the district, for the convenience of residents:  On streets, at local schools and post offices.

Mobile Library new itinerary

Image:  North East Leader, page 8, 24 March, 1966

In the edition dated 24 March 1966, the North East Leader reported on changes to the mobile service timetable on page 4. This was to accommodate the librarian going to lectures in the city. We can presume that at this time Ulla-Maija commenced her course for the Libraries Board Registration Certificate at the public library in the Adelaide city centre, as referred to in the article from November 1965.

Mobile library changes to to schedule

Note the amount of loans just for February: Members borrowed 1176 books for adults and 1,345 books for children! The new library was obviously very popular with younger readers.

For your interest, here is an article about new books which were purchased for the mobile library, printed on page 8 of the North East Leader from 28 April, 1966. It seems that historical romance was popular at the time.

Mobile library new books

As employment records are confidential, we do not know how long Ulla-Maija Salonen remained working for the Tea Tree Gully Council. However, by 1969 the North East Leader reported that Mr W. Bustelli  was employed in the Library’s new premises, in the former Modbury school house at 561 Montague Road, Modbury.

Perhaps Miss Salonen secured a better job or one which was closer to home in Alberton. If she had married and started a family in the 1960s, Ulla-Maija would also have had to leave the workforce. Or she could have returned to Finland.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

What goes around, comes around

Lately you can’t but help notice the stories in the media, books and online content which focus on maintaining good health by selecting a diet which is high in protein and low in carbohydrate. Advocates of this approach to nutrition claim that it can help you to lose weight and manage your cholesterol and blood sugar. Eating a moderate amount of whole grains and stopping your intake of white flour is advised. There are several baking companies and at least one supermarket chain in Australia which have brought out innovative products to help you embrace this lifestyle:  loaves of bread and bread mixes which are high in protein, low in carbohydrate and contain fats which are good for you!

If you think that this type of specialist bread is a modern phenomenon, take a look at this advertisement for the Procera brand of bread printed by the The North East Leader, a Messenger newspaper on page 9 of the edition dated 4 October, 1967.

Procera bread 2

Production of the Procera loaf led to the development of the first franchise opportunities in Australia. During the 1930s, a baker in New Zealand, Henry Maltwood Williams developed a way to enrich flour with gluten, thus boosting its protein content and decreasing starch, which improved the texture of a loaf. Williams took out a patent on his baking process, which was implemented worldwide and Australian bakers could apply for the patent-licensing to produce Procera.

Procera logo

An article in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in 1935 explained why Procera was supposed to be good for you:

“PROCERA BREAD THE NEW PROCESS …the new Procera (pronounced Pro-cera) process of bread-making, which is protected throughout the world, is now in operation in Rockhampton. The sole rights have been procured by Rickert’s of manufacturing Procera white, wholemeal, slimming, and diabetic bread. The virtue of the process lies in the regulation of starch and protein content of the loaf, making it lighter and more easily digestible. A slight reduction of starch and increase in protein makes a marked difference in the bread and is particularly noticeable when it is toasted.

Using 100 per cent wholemeal, and no white flour, the Procera method produces a delightful wholemeal loaf, light in texture in contrast to the somewhat heavy nature of the ordinary wholemeal bread. The germ, minerals, vitamines, etc., of the wheat grain are incorporated in the Procera Loaf, making it light and pleasant to eat as toast or bread and butter. The Procera process enables a pure diabetic loaf to be made, with eating qualities similar to those of ordinary bread, which should be a boon to people who suffer from diabetic troubles. Samples of this bread have been submitted to eminent medical men and health authorities in Sydney who have reported favourably.”

Procera was marketed as being particularly beneficial for people who were trying to lose weight and for diabetics. And of course, Procera was approved by doctors and health professionals, though no actual sources are noted!  (https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/procera-bread/)

If you are curious, it is worth comparing what the advertisement in the North East Leader in 1967 says about Procera with the nutritional claims made by today’s baking companies about their high protein, low carbohydrate loaves. Technology has improved and the manufacturing processes may have changed to produce the different brands of loaves. However, from my search online, the benefits seem similar with regard to lowering calorie intake, building muscle mass and lowering blood sugar. Products from both eras supposedly also make great toast!
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Surprise book of the month

New York Pigeon. Behind the feathers. By Andrew Garn

In our urban landscape, pigeons are scorned as feral, dirty pests. Dedicated pigeon fancier, author and photographer Andrew Garn sets out to destroy this misconception, presenting the noble pigeon as beautiful, intelligent and a friend to the human race. The population of pigeons in New York City exceeds one million. These are their stories…

New York Pigeon 2

This book is something different. Amazing and comprehensive, it is full of superb photographs which highlight the beauty of these birds, the luminosity of their feathers, jewel toned eyes and their majesty in flight.

In the first section of his book Andrew Garn examines the history behind the pigeon and how they have been an integral and valued part of human society – a bird whose remains have been discovered in archaeological digs dating back to the Ancient Egyptian and middle eastern civilisations “It might be surprising that a plump, multi-hued bird that wanders our sidewalks, perches on our buildings, and flutters all about, could have the bloodlines of a dinosaur, and be a gourmet food. Also used in religious sacrifices, this bird has been both a war hero and the focus of Charles Darwin’s experiments on natural selection.” (Page 17, Garn, Andrew, The New York Pigeon. Behind the feathers, 2018).

We have heard stories of homing pigeons carrying coded messages during World War II. But did you know, that using positive reinforcement, pigeons were trained to guide US Navy missiles with an accuracy surpassing human ability? Or that they also have much better sight than us. A pigeon can see five colour spectrums from infrared to ultraviolet.
Garn examines the physiology of the pigeon (Columba livia domestica) to explain how these birds are perfectly efficient flying machines with sustained speeds of around 50mph. They can outperform any other bird in aerial acrobatics and survive in a variety of environments. He also explains how pigeons hatch and grow.

3-pigeon_baby-walks_garn

Baby pigeon takes its first steps.  Image by Andrew Garn

Pigeons flying

In flight.  Image by Andrew Garn

The second section of this book features stories about birds who have been rescued and rehabilitated at the Wild Bird Fund in New York. It is easy to tell how much the author values pigeons, from his stunning portraiture that captures their individual expressions perfectly, to the accompanying captions which relate each bird’s name and courageous journey. Garn’s striking work is reminiscent of a photoshoot in a fashion magazine.

Humans are not left out. Garn volunteers at the shelter. He relates his experiences treating birds and the dangers that they face living among us. You will feel empathy for these creatures. “They are struck by cars and bicycles, attacked by our dogs and cats, removed from the nest when the air conditioner is cleaned, entangled in our litter, sickened by toxins, particularly lead, which we put in the environment, and suffer abuse at our hands,” Rita McMahon, executive director of the Wild Bird Fund. (Page 143, Garn, Andrew, The New York Pigeon. Behind the Feathers 2018).

Pigeon 3

Brooklyn. Image by Andrew Garn

 

Marilyn

Marilyn.  Image by Andrew Garn

pigeons

Apollo. Image by Andrew Garn

Elmer

Elmer.  Image by Andrew Garn

We also read about the dedicated staff and other volunteers who care for the sick or injured pigeons and other city birds. And there are also New Yorkers who keep pigeons as pets, with coops in the city neighbourhoods, even raising them in apartments.
Lastly the book features a series of photographs which centres on the daily lives of pigeons set against the backdrop of the buildings and skyline of New York City.

pigeons

Image by Andrew Garn

You can reserve The New York Pigeon. Behind the Feathers online. Or enquire next time you visit the Library.