Way back when, Wednesdays

What every child wants for Christmas

What would your children like for Christmas? Parents start putting toys on layby from the time of the mid-year sales. Or they race around the shops in December looking for the popular and sometimes expensive toys.

Search online and you will discover that a range of toys such as the Slime Factory, the Furreal Roarin Tyler and the Robo Alive lizard are in demand this Christmas. Santa is also stocking up on the cute L.O.L Surprise Dolls, the My Little Pony: My Magical Princess Twilight Sparkle and the Hatchimals. Lego and Star Wars related merchandise are listed as perennial favourites.

Would you like to encourage your children to play outdoors? Perhaps Santa could bring each of them a pair of stilts and they could have races! The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper printed this advertisement for Gimpy brand stilts on page 17 of the edition dated 7 December 1966.

Stilts

In a simpler time, kids probably had a lot of fun playing with their stilts over the summer holidays. Library staff who were children in the 1960s reflected on some of the Christmas presents that they received. Most parents never bought anything on credit. Only store-cards (which could be used exclusively in the issuing store) were available in Australia up until 1974 https://www.finder.com.au/credit-card-history and people usually could not afford to buy expensive gifts. Some toys were homemade. Intrepid woodworkers made and sold playsets such as a wooden hand-painted service station for toy cars. One member of our staff remembers that her uncle made her some furniture for her doll, a small wardrobe and a bassinet. Or you might gladly receive homemade clothes for your dolls. And you would have been very fortunate to receive several presents in your Santa Sack.

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Recollections of commercially made Christmas gifts include skipping ropes, Tonka toys, little cars, minature toy household appliances including a sewing machine and washing machine. There was also a treasured spinning top!

 

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A metal spinning top

 

little washing machine

Mini washing machine that really worked!

Childlike dolls, Mattel’s Barbie and Skipper and Sindy manufactured by English company Pedigree were on many girls’ wish lists. Board games such as snakes and ladders and quoits were popular gifts as they encouraged family interaction.

Snakes and Ladders

Skipper

Or you could have lots of fun with dress up outfits like cowgirl and cowboy costumes or a nurse’s uniform (perhaps you were lucky enough to also own a toy medical kit with a stethoscope).

Most toys manufactured in this era relied on children using their imaginations or being physically active to have fun, rather than the use of technological components.

You can still buy stilts for kids online. The design is still basically the same. Modern stilts are made from metal or plastic and the height can be adjusted to fit the child. Some can also be strapped on. Parents might be concerned about accidents and broken bones. Unlike in 1966, it is now recommended that children wear safety gear when using stilts, such as elbow and knee pads and a helmet.

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Harry Potter, the illustrated editions

You can now borrow the wonderful illustrated editions of the first three Harry Potter stories through the One Card Library network:  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

HP trilogy

These books are illustrated in full-colour and are accompanied by J.K. Rowling’s original text. We have grown used to picturing the novels’ characters as played by the actors in the Harry Potter films. British artist and illustrator Jim Kay presents the reader with a new, unique interpretation of the magical world we love.

 

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The Owl Post

 

Jim’s style appears fresh, spontaneous and sometimes whimsical. However when you examine his captivating pictures, you discover how Jim achieves an amazing amount of detail and texture through brushstroke. Jim’s images could even be used as the foundation for an animated version of the Harry Potter films.

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The Sorting Hat

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Buckbeak the Hippogriff

Peruse and enjoy some excellent features such as the Marauder’s Map, portraiture and detailed schematics of magical creatures, such as the Phoenix and the Grindylow.

snape

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The illustrated editions offer readers a wonderful way to revisit the Harry Potter stories or introduce new young readers to the series. Read them as a family or to yourself, curled up in your favourite armchair, in the company of your magical familiar.

Reserve the Harry Potter illustrated editions through the Library’s online catalogue.

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On the Pottermore website you can  read a fascinating interview with Jim Kay, in which he discusses how he is inspired by real people to depict the characters in the Harry Potter books.

 

 

Hello Kitty!

If you love Hello Kitty come and take a look at our display in the Library, on show until 15 November. Sonya has kindly brought in some items from her comprehensive collection. Sonya has been collecting the sweet Japanese merchandise since 2000. She tells me that “Hello Kitty was created in 1974 and is a white, bobtail cat with no mouth! The Japanese describe her as Kawaii (which means cute!).”

display

Sonya is a keen traveller and while jet setting around the globe she has added to her collection and immersed herself in the world of her favourite character. “Hello Kitty has stores (Sanrio) all over the world and I have visited them in Tokyo, San Diego, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Orlando. I have also visited Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo which is a theme park based on Hello Kitty and her friends. ”

So what is her favourite Hello Kitty piece? She has several of course but Sonya loves to wear her cosy Kitty slippers.

Hello Kitty truly is a modern cultural icon. In 2008 Japan named Hello Kitty the ambassador of Japanese tourism in both China and Hong Kong, where she is incredibly popular with children and young women. UNICEF has also awarded Hello Kitty the exclusive title of UNICEF Special Friend of Children.

You can read some strange and macabre stories about her online but they are not true. Hello Kitty was created by the Japanese Sanrio company in 1974 who manufactured stationery for children. When they first put her picture on a coin purse under the word ‘Hello’, sales were phenomenal.

Hello Kitty leads an active life. Several different animated television series, a webcomic, video games and songs, a Scottish tartan and a sculpture exhibition have been created in honour of her. Sanrio has also stated that Hello Kitty is in fact not a cat, but a cartoon character who is a little girl. She lives in London, attends school and has a twin sister.

There is even a Hello Kitty themed hospital in Taiwan and an airliner decorated on the fuselage and inside the cabin with her image. Like our own Anstey the Echidna, Hello Kitty has even ventured into space. A 1.6-inch tall Hello Kitty travelled about on the Hodoyoshi-3 satellite in 2014.

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Born into a world of cuteness at the Hello Kitty hospital in Taiwan

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Hello Kitty and friends decorate the Taiwanese EVA AIR jet

Way back when, Wednesdays

The fast and the far-fetched

Every now and then, the Adelaide media report on some unfortunate car driver who has misinterpreted road signs, taken the wrong lane and become stranded on the tracks of the O-Bahn busway at Hackney Road. If you drive a regular vehicle onto the O-Bahn tracks instead of a specially modified bus, a car pit mechanism situated just before the Hackney Road tunnel will tear out the oil pan on the underside of your car’s engine.

On the front page of the edition dated 12 July 1989, the Leader Messenger reported on a somewhat eccentric plan for the Sunday preceding the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Formula Holden racing cars and even a Formula One racing car would drive down the O-Bahn tracks to the Paradise Interchange, then travel on the road to their destination at Tea Tree Gully. Not only would this event promote the car race and the busway, it would bring out local residents and tourists to the City of Tea Tree Gully.

Formula OBahn

Aside from having to lift the racing cars onto the tracks by crane to avoid the pit mechanism, there are some obvious flaws in this plan. Saloon cars and especially a Formula One racing cars are incredibly expensive to manufacture. Each Formula One car is worth approximately $2.6 million in material costs. The engine of a Formula One racing car is an example of engineering excellence. A steering wheel alone can cost up to $50,000 (http://autoweek.com/article/formula-one/why-do-formula-one-grand-prix-cars-cost-so-much). It is highly unlikely that the Grand Prix Office and Holden would risk damaging these precision vehicles for such an exercise. Would the width of these cars’ axels and the wheels even be the same as the span of the O-Bahn tracks?

There is no indication in the article of who devised this plan but as the saying goes, somebody thought that it like a good idea at the time. A week later on 19 July 1989, the Leader Messenger reported on page 1 that the State Government had vetoed racing cars driving on the tracks for safety reasons. Transport Minister Frank Blevin stated that racing cars driving on the tracks would be dangerous for O-Bahn commuters and “put ideas in other people’s minds.”

Grand Prix cars

If you did not experience the Grand Prix it began in November 1985 when Adelaide hosted the last race of the Formula One championship season. This was the time before the Adelaide Fringe, Womadelaide and the Clipsal 500. The Formula One race showed that Adelaide could stage a world class event. Over 200,000 spectators attended the four-day event.

The atmosphere in the city was exciting and you could easily hear the roar of the car engines (I remember my fellow Adelaide Uni students imitating the noise for fun). There were tourists visiting from interstate and overseas. The slogan ‘Adelaide Alive’ was used on promotional materials and merchandise. There were flags flying and posters promoting the race were displayed everywhere in the city centre.

Adelaide Alive

At the glamourous Grand Prix Ball, fans paid $400 for a ticket to dress up and mix with drivers and pit crew, while being entertained by Australian and international artists. Ordinary people held their own grand prix themed barbeques or parties while watching the action on television.

The colourful yet challenging street circuit ran through the east parklands and Victoria Park Racecourse. The racing drivers praised the street circuit. Their cars could reach high speeds of over 322 km/h along the fast wide straights and they needed all their skill to maneuver around the twisting turns of the hairpin and chicane.

During the era of the Formula One Grand Prix, Adelaide was privileged to watch drivers from all many different countries compete, such as Keke Rosberg, Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Damon Hill. Spectators experienced the rivalry between speed demon Ayrton Senna and the tenacious Alain Prost. Many people had little prior knowledge of Formula One before the race was held here but it did not matter as you soon became familiar with the various car manufacturers and racing champions.

Adelaide continued to hold the Formula One Race until 1995. In 1996 the race moved location to a circuit in Albert Park Melbourne, following negotiations between the Head of the Formula One Constructors Association, Bernie Ecclestone and the Victorian government.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Vintage baking

Here are recipes for two old fashioned baked treats: Rock cakes and Gingernut biscuits. They are easy to make and moreish to eat. I have taken the recipes from my mum’s venerable 1961 book of home cooking Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium, which was first published by the Good Housekeeping Institute in London in 1952. The book’s aim is to teach the inexperienced beginner or the more experienced cook how to produce the everyday dishes needed in an average home. Although it is produced to meet the needs of every member of the family, there is emphasis on demonstrating home cooking to the young housewife or daughter living at home, as was the custom of this era!

Rock cakes originated in Great Britain. If you have never eaten one, a rock cake or rock bun, is a small fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. During the rationing of provisions in World War II, the British Ministry of Food promoted baking rock cakes, as they require fewer eggs and less sugar than ordinary cakes. Bakers would also use oatmeal in the recipe when white flour was unavailable.

This type of Gingernut biscuit is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and in many countries of the former British empire. It is believed that they were originally named Gingernuts because they were quite hard to break, like a nut. The amount of syrup that you use in the recipe influences the texture of the biscuit.

All measurements in these recipes are in the Imperial system so you will need to convert them if your scales are in metric.

Rock Cakes

 

Ingredients
12 ounces self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice
6 ounces margarine
6 ounces sugar
3 ounces currents
1 ½ ounces chopped peel
1 egg
Milk to mix

Method
Sieve the flour, salt and spices.
Rub in the butter and add the sugar, fruit and peel.
Mix the beaten egg and just enough milk to bind.
Using a teaspoon and a fork, place mixture in rocky heaps on a greased baking sheet (modern equivalent is to line a tray with baking paper or use a non-stick baking sheet).
Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit or 232 degrees Celsius) for 15 – 20 minutes or until they slide about on the baking tray and are slightly brown underneath.

 

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Rock Cakes

 

Gingernuts

 

Ingredients
8 ounces flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 ounces butter
2 ounces sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
The above quantities should make 8 -12 biscuits.

Method
Warm the syrup in a small pan.
Rub butter into the sieved dry ingredients. Add sugar.
Mix with the warmed syrup to form a dough.
Knead dough lightly in the mixing bowl. Form small portions of dough into balls and put them on onto a greased baking tray, flattening them slightly and allowing room to spread (modern equivalent is to line a tray with baking paper or use a non-stick baking sheet).
Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius). Let them cool a little before removing the biscuits from the baking tray to a wire rack.

Gingernuts

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Feline stud gets wired for sound

We all know that cats are arguably the most popular animals on the Internet. It seems like the local print media also never missed out on an opportunity to report on an extraordinary feline. On page 10 of the edition dated 2 August 1989, the Leader Messenger featured an article about handsome white Yuri, a show cat who enjoyed listening to music on the radio through his headphones. Yuri’s favourite radio program was the SAFM Morning Zoo. So who was “Max the Stereo Cat”, we wonder?

Yuri

Triple SA-FM was the first commercial radio station to broadcast on the clear sound of the FM bandwidth in Adelaide in 1980. The radio station later changed its name to Double SA-FM and then SAFM and dominated Adelaide’s ratings for many years.
The Morning Zoo was a new style of breakfast show. Lead by radio veteran John Vincent with newsreader Anne Fullwood and Grant Cameron, the Morning Zoo show was a mixture of music, news, absurd comedy segments and crazy stunts. For example, there were no shortage of listeners who signed up to go on the station’s Magical Misery Tours (the title of which was based on the Beatles’ song Magical Mystery Tour). Participants were taken to dubious destinations around Adelaide, including the Bolivar Sewage Treatment Works! The Morning Zoo eventually became the popular breakfast show on Adelaide Radio. SAFM is now called Hit107.

Perhaps Yuri was lucky enough to be listening to his owner’s personal stereo. The 1980s was the decade for being ‘wired for sound’ that is, having your own personal stereo. Before the Ipod, there was the Sony Walkman, technology which changed the way people experienced and enjoyed music. Cliff Richard even released a song and album called Wired for Sound in 1981. The video clip for the song features Cliff Richard on roller skates, listening to music on a Walkman cassette player.

Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel is credited with obtaining the patent for the Stereobelt, in 1977, the original concept for a portable stereo. On 1 July, 1979, Sony Corp. introduced the Sony Walkman TPS-L2, a compact, lightweight, blue-and-silver, portable cassette player with chunky buttons, headphones and a leather case. The Walkman was powered by two AA batteries. It featured a headphone jack but as there was no external speaker you could listen to your music in private. Using a second earphone jack two people could listen in at once (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkman).

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Before this time, people had to play vinyl records on a turntable with attached speakers or carry around a cumbersome cassette radio to enjoy music. You could carry the Walkman in your bag and listen to it while commuting. It was just what you needed to help you exercise during the aerobics craze of the 1980s. Or you could clip the device onto your belt when you went walking or running.

During the 1980s Sony added features to its original design, such as AM/FM radio, receivers, improved speakers, bass boost, and an auto-reverse function. You could even purchase a solar-powered or water-resistant Sport Walkman.

Sales of the Walkman were phenomenal. It was known by other names in different countries, as the Soundabout” in the USA, the Freestyle in Sweden, and the Stowaway in the UK. Other companies created their own personal stereos manufactured under brand such as Toshiba and Panasonic. (http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1907884,00.html).

With the introduction of compact discs in 1982, Sony also manufactured a portable CD player (known as a Discman for a short time). Later the company marketed MiniDisc and MP3 players under the Walkman brand.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Special times at the Show

What are your special memories of the Royal Adelaide Show? One of our staff members at the Library was reminiscing about the Show. She mused about how she always loved the fairy dolls on sticks that you could buy there. She proudly displayed her doll in her bedroom.  On the front page of the edition dated 12 September 1973, the North East Leader pictured Anne Marie McArthur from Ridgehaven holding a fairy doll at the Show. Lots of little girls would have been envious. Their mothers also loved these dolls!

Fairy doll

The fairies on sticks were actually Kewpie dolls. They came in various sizes and the large ones were more ornate. These dolls had glitter painted on their heads and they were dressed in pretty colours, amid several layers of net skirt. The doll was fixed to a piece of cane shaped like a shepherd’s crook, so you could hold it easily and then hang it up at home.

70s girl at the Royal Adelaide Show

“In the 1970s and 1980s plastic showbags promoting snacks and lollies competed with showbags for rock groups, celebrities, television programmes and movies” http://www.nma.gov.au/kspace/teachers/adelaide/learning/showbags

 

Today Adelaide hosts a myriad of activities for children but in 1973 when your parents took you to the Royal Adelaide Show it really was a special experience. Families were larger so you were fortunate if you could afford to go every year. Children would save up their pocket money for months in advance, in anticipation of purchasing lots of showbags. With the school year having three terms, the Show also fell during the September school holidays.

Some older people might even remember the days when companies gave out free sample bags at the Show to promote their products, which contained mainly food samples. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/six-things-you-should-know-about-the-royal-adelaide-show/8859878 This would have been a boon for poorer kids, especially during the hardship of the Great Depression. These bags were the forerunners of our modern showbags.

Some things have remained the same at the Show. It is still primarily an agricultural event. The price, contents and design of showbags have changed over time but there are still so many to choose from. The ferris wheel and dodgem cars have been refitted and showgoers can play games such as the iconic laughing clowns. However on the map of the Wayville showgrounds Sideshow Alley is now called the Carnival. Patrons can purchase many new types of food are now available at the Showground but you can still enjoy Fairy Floss, waffles, hot cinnamon donuts and even the Dagwood dog.

Some things have gone. The art-deco edifice Centennial Hall was built in 1936 and closed in 2005 because it became structurally unsafe. It has been replaced by the modern Goyder Pavilion. I think that the horticultural displays have downsized but there are still competitions for needlecraft and cookery.

The Mad Mouse, which was the original roller coaster at the Royal Adelaide Show, ceased operation in 2007 and Kewpie fairy dolls have been replaced by toys depicting characters from film and television. The days are over where the Commonwealth Bank used to produce plastic elephant money boxes with the slogan “Get with the strength”. You could also get an iron-on transfer of Humphrey B. Bear for your t-shirt in a showbag from the Savings Bank of South Australia. I used to get excited about visiting the RSPCA shop in the Grandstand complex to build up my collection of Britains brand farm animals. And everyone knew that it was worth getting the Golden Eggs showbag from the egg board – not only for the recipes but because inside the bag you would find a cute molded plastic eggcup with shoes and stockings on its legs.

Eggcups final

Eggs with legs

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