Way back when, Wednesdays

Retro style at Myer

Did you used to enjoy eating at the restaurant in the Myer store at Tea Tree Plaza, Modbury? On page 22 of the edition dated 15 August 1973, the Leader Messenger promoted the Myer Restaurant in its regular feature Tea Tree Plaza News.

Myer restaurant

The Myer Restaurant was situated on Level 3 of Myer, in the area that is now Ladies Fashion. It offered patrons panoramic views of the Adelaide Hills from a large, rounded rectangular window. You can still see where the restaurant was located if you drive down Smart Road towards Reservoir Road and look for the window above the entrance to level 2 of the store, that faces the car park.

The Myer restaurant was self-service. Self-service was very much in vogue at the time. A customer at the Myer restaurant would line up, take a tray and push it along the guided rails as they proceeded along the servery and selected their meals, paying for their purchases when they reached the cash register.

The advertisement pictured says that the Myer Restaurant would appeal to families but it was a comfortable place for anybody to sit and relax during their time browsing the store. Dining there would transform your shopping trip into a special outing.

You could choose from a range of reasonably priced meals and beverages, including hot food, sandwiches and treats like cakes and colourful jellies. Part of the appeal was looking at the presentation of all of the different foods and choosing what you wanted. The décor was very fashionable for the time, with funky chairs and tables and burnt orange tiles on the walls.

My personal recollection of the Myer Restaurant in the 1990s is enjoying the huge square-cut scones, topped with jam and fresh cream and accompanied by a big mug of hot coffee on an icy winter’s morning. What are some of your memories of dining there?

Myer renovated the restaurant in the years preceding its closure and it introduced table service, which was what customers expected in more modern times.

Some readers might also remember that when the restaurant closed in approximately 2005, Myer donated several large photographic prints depicting our local history to the City of Tea Tree Gully Library. If you know when the Myer Restaurant ceased trading, please let us know.

Everything old is new again. Nowadays we have the IKEA restaurant which is also self-service and offers a range of interesting cuisine, cakes and on occasion that 70’s favourite, chocolate mousse. If it was still in operation, we might view the Myer restaurant as being retro and hip!


Way back when, Wednesdays

What a funny old fellow

On page 6 of the edition dated 2 May, 1973 the Leader Messenger advertised that Humphrey B Bear would appear at St. Agnes Shopping Centre. His visit was in celebration of Mother’s Day and a retail promotion.  Despite being a children’s character, we all know that mums love Humphrey!  Everybody wanted a photo with Humphrey and a big bear hug.


If you did not grow up with Humphrey, he is a local television legend. He does not speak but communicates through gestures.  Humphrey wears a tartan waistcoat, a big yellow tie and a straw boater.  In true bear style, he loves eating honey.

Perennially young at heart, Humphrey turned 50 in May last year. Here’s Humphrey first appeared on Australian television on Monday, 24 May 1965, televised by Adelaide’s NWS9. Each episode of the show aimed to both entertain and educate its preschool audience while making children feel good about themselves.  Young children could identify with Humphrey as he explored his world of the Magic Forest, meeting friends, dancing and singing.  Humphrey learned from his mistakes but also had lots of fun.  Humphrey was always accompanied by a human companion who narrated his adventures.  One of the writers of the show, Anthony O’Donohue, also hosted it for an extended period.

Humphrey last aired on mainstream television in 2009. Humphrey became an international celebritity when an american version of his show was translated into different languages and screened in several countries. Humphrey was honoured to be declared official ‘Ambassabear’ for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation in 2012. He was introduced to a new generation of children and the hospital successfully raised funds from sales of a limited edition plush doll and DVD.

In July 2013 Humphrey returned to television when his show was screened on Community Television stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. In May 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on plans to produce a high quality Humphrey themed animated television series or film.

Humphrey B. Bear is still making public appearances and drawing crowds at community events and school performances. He even has his own Facebook page.  Humphrey does lead a very exciting life!


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.


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