Way back when, Wednesdays

Moonlight flicks in the Valley

Do you remember the Valley Line Drive-in? The Advertiser featured a story on closure of the Valleyline Drive-in Theatre on Tolley Road, St. Agnes, on page 111 of the edition dated Saturday 26 April 2003. After servicing the local area since the 1960s, the Valleyline drive-in closed on Sunday 4 May 2003. The final film to be shown was the comedy Anger Management starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. The site was sold to the Stratco hardware chain.

Valleyline closure

If you have never experienced a drive-in theatre, you did not have to buy individual tickets to see a film. Customers just paid for the cost of your car, which was more economical for families. You parked in a designated area within view of the big screen and fitted a speaker to your car. Later, sound streamed through the car radio. In summer, it was pleasant to sit outside. Given that many older cars had a bench seat in the front, rather than two bucket seats, you could fit an extra kid in your vehicle!

What are your special memories of the Valleyline and what films did you go and see there? Members of our library staff remember the drive in as being good fun “I took my wife there on our first date” and “People beeped their horns when something ‘juicy’ came on the screen.” Another staff member recalls her brother hiding friends in the boot, to get them into Valleyline. Then they set up chairs to watch the movie. Or “I took my boys and they would lie on the bonnet of the car where it was warm.”

Valleyline

The Valleyline drive-in theatre

Drive-ins made a lot of money from canteen sales. You could purchase drinks and foods such as hotdogs, fish and chips, and even steaks at some locations. Unhealthy snack foods might seem ordinary nowadays but in the 1950s and 1960s a hotdog was very American and pretty cool. Being a family friendly venue, staff would even heat up your baby’s bottle. The canteens generally faced the big screen and were fitted out with speakers so the customers did not miss out on the film. There were also children’s play areas, such as swings situated under the big screen.

In the United States drive-ins had been in existence since the world’s first Automobile Movie Theatre opened way back on 6 June 1933. It took an act of Parliament to bring the drive-in to South Australia. During the second half of 1954, members of the South Australian Parliament debated the controversial Places of Public Entertainment Act Amendment Bill. In an era where people dressed up to go out, some parliamentarians feared that there would be a decline in the standard of dress.  Dressing casually and comfortably while sitting in your car would appeal to families and it was a major selling point for the drive-in theatre. Then there was the issue of safeguarding the morality of South Australia’s young people. Some feared that young couples would behave inappropriately while alone in a darkened car in a public place.  Future Premier Don Dunstan, who was a young man at the time, spoke in support of the bill.

Adelaide became the second Australian city (after Melbourne) to get a drive-in theatre when the Blueline at West Beach opened on 28 December 1954.  Valleyline commenced business on Friday 3 December, 1965 and it could accommodate 383 cars  http://www.campbelltown.sa.gov.au  Records differ as to how may drive-in we had theatres in South Australia at the height of their popularity. The article from the Advertiser states that South Australia used to have 24 drive-ins. According to http://www.drive-insdownunder.com.au/australian/sa_modbury.htm South Australia used to have 37 drive-ins.  The City of Campbelltown website states that there were 15 suburban drive-ins just in Adelaide.

Today, there are only two drive-in theatres left in Adelaide. Wallis Cinemas still run the Mainline Drive-in at Gepps Cross, even after having to make costly repairs to the main building when it was damaged by fire in March this year.  Cooper Pedy also has a drive-in, which is operated by community volunteers.  It is worth noting that outdoor cinema has made a comeback!  Moonlight cinema in Botanic Park is still popular and suburban councils hold film screenings in local parks during the summer.

So what factors brought about the demise of this cultural icon?  When most people had black and white television, going to see a film in colour was a novelty. By the 1980s people could watch films on video at home.  It became socially acceptable to dress casually when you went to the cinema.  While some drive-ins had two screens, new multiplex cinemas opened in suburban Adelaide, offering patrons a greater choice of films that screened concurrently, from morning to evening.  During daylight saving, movies shown outdoors have to start later, which is inconvenient for families with young children. The quality of the picture and sound of a film shown at a drive-in theatre could not compete with a film projected in a modern cinema. For example, the screen would appear darker at the drive-in. As drive-in theatres aged and ticket sales fell, operators had to make the decision as to whether it was cost effective to upgrade the equipment and facilities.

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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!

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Anirban’s work experience at Tea Tree Gully Library

 

Anirban recently completed a two-week work experience placement at Tea Tree Gully Library. Here is his account of his time:

I am a people person. I enjoy talking with patrons and I enjoy dealing with a diverse range of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. I enjoy giving direct support to senior management, colleagues and co-workers in a way that really makes a noticeable difference. I enjoy challenges, responsibilities, methodical as well as precise approach.

My placement at Tea Tree Gully Library has provided me with an excellent opportunity to develop professional networks with colleagues and library staff members. Over the past two weeks, staff have become familiar with my professional ability, punctuality, reliability, team skills and work ethics. I believe these connections will provide strong references in the future when the time comes to gain meaningful and sustainable employment in the library industry.

Working at the Library has given me a chance to observe how other employees operate and behave in various circumstances. For instance, verbal and non-verbal communication, writing clear business correspondence, observing office etiquette and behaviour patterns, answering telephone calls, dealing with difficult and aggressive patrons and resolving conflicts.

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This placement has been an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge I have learned at TAFE in a professional environment. Applying skills practically has helped me to identify my biggest strengths and areas I can improve in the future. My workplace supervisors have given me the necessary training and induction during my placement. Customer service attendants and other specialist library staff have helped me to complete my work placement through various on-the-job training.

For instance, a WHS representative Stephen Radlett gave me the necessary training for manual handling. The Digital Hub coordinator, Julian Smith, explained vividly how to use various electronic devices for placing a hold, searching the library catalogue and how to use social media platforms for collaboration, communication and effective engagement with peers, colleagues and patrons. Overall, the preparation was insightful and equally comprehensive.

My placement has allowed me to work in different areas in the Library to see what environment suits me most. For example, dealing with children, computers and systems, collections, adult programs and community history. It is practically impossible to know where I will best fit without trying a variety of responsibilities. Moreover, the library has a wide range of patrons and staff from different cultures, ethnicities and educational backgrounds. That has made the internship even more vibrant, stimulating and insightful.

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Placements usually award me with some kind of compensation such as course credit or a professional recommendation. With the Tea Tree Gully Library, I have greatly admired their support, constant cooperation and desire for professional growth in their employees. I was privileged to be able to take advantage of in-house training and flexible scheduling to complete my Certificate IV in Library and Information Services.

The entire purpose of a placement is to gain new skills and apply them to real tasks. For example, during the placement I have learnt the different uses and functionalities of the SirsiDynix Library Management system, how to display an educational event and project management techniques. A placement is like a crash course of working in the real world. I am learning from hands-on experience instead of a classroom-based lesson. Whether it learning big things or little things, I have been learning constantly. In the real world of employment, learning never stops, so it has been great to start adding to my skill set while undertaking my placement as a trainee library assistant.

It is difficult to find a placement in the library industry under the current economic and political climate, especially in South Australia. Placements are all about gaining experience, making professional connections and learning new skills. They involve a lot of work, learning, observation, and involvement.  Whether it is the work I am doing or the people that surround me, there are so many different things to love about my placements.

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The successful completion of a college certificate does not necessarily provide direct entry into a career. I think of placements as career experiments to accomplish long-term educational and career objectives. I have enjoyed my placement and wish to work in the Library industry upon graduation.

Doing something I love and thoroughly enjoy is vitally important because it resembles what I want to do in the future. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I got my approval letter to complete a placement at the Tea Tree Gully Library. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

A placement may often be perceived as an audition for a full-time job either with the same organisation or with a different organisation. My advice for future work experience students is to apply yourself to a placement as if it is a permanent engagement, or if it might turn into one. Libraries are always looking for dedicated, passionate, dynamic, and creative individuals. It is worth remembering that hard work always pays off!

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.

Humphrey

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!

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Diana lookalike

Have you ever tried to be like your favourite celebrity?

Never underestimate the popularity of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The Leader Messenger reported on the engagement of Juanita Steele and Jeffrey Smith, on page 11 of the edition dated 23 November, 1983. I was struck by the resemblance between Juanita and the late Princess Diana. Below you can view photographs of the happy couple and also of Princess Diana taken in 1983.

diana-lookalike

So why did women want to look like Diana and style their hair in the same fashion? If you don’t remember Diana, she was attractive and well dressed. However, she was more than just a fashion icon. The world media presented Diana as the young, innocent girl who had married her Prince Charming. Although born into the English aristocracy, she became known as ‘The People’s Princess’, a modern woman who was more accessible than the rest of the Royal Family. Diana wore party dresses and swimwear, she went out dancing and regularly visted a gym outside the Palace in her exercise clothing.

diana-in-pearls

It has been said that Diana could manipulate the media for her own purposes. Depending on your point of view, this can be viewed as clever or calculating. There are some that doubt Diana’s sincerity but her gentle nature appealed to ordinary people, who perceived her to be genuine and caring.

Diana never behaved snobbishly. She was always happy to stop and speak with people and children in the crowd. As part of her royal duties, Diana became interested in charitable causes and in a break with protocol she let young children touch and hug her. She supported children’s charities but she also took on topical issues, campaigning against landmines and promoting awareness of AIDS, a disease which was surrounded by fear, misinformation and controversy. Diana was compassionate and accepting of others. For example, she visited gay AIDS sufferers in hospices, holding their hands to dispel the myth that you could catch HIV through touch.

Diana was also loved for a role as a mum. Breaking with tradition, Diana refused to leave baby Prince William at home, bringing him along on the trip she made with Prince Charles to Australia in 1983. There are many photographs and camera footage of Diana enjoying time with her two sons, at home and on holidays, behaving naturally and showing them affection, which is in contrast to the restrained mood of the older promotional films, featuring the Queen and her children.

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100th anniversary of Victoria Cross award

Saturday 23 July marked the 100th anniversary of former Redwood Park local John Leak being awarded the Victoria Cross.

John Leak

Private John Leak. There is a framed photograph of Private Leak in the Tea Tree Gully Civic Reception.

Private Leak received the highest award for gallantry for his action during the battle of Pozières in France.

He was born in Portsmouth, England in 1892 and came to Australia as a young boy. In January 1915, Leak enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force  and served on Gallipoli.

He next accompanied his unit to France, in time to be thrown into bloody fighting at an intense battle at Pozières. Leak’s solo attack with bombs and a bayonet on a German post stood out.

His citation reads:

No. 2053 Pte. John Leak, Aus. Infy.
‘For most conspicuous bravery. He was one of a party which finally captured an enemy strong point. At one assault, when the enemy’s bombs were outranging ours, Private Leak jumped out of the trench, ran forward under heavy machine-gun fire at close range, and threw three bombs into the enemy’s bombing post. He then jumped into the post and bayonetted three unwounded enemy bombers.

Later, when the enemy in overwhelming numbers was driving his party back, he was always the last to withdraw at each stage, and kept on throwing bombs.

His courage and energy had such an effect on the enemy that, on the arrival of reinforcements, the whole trench was recaptured.’

Later in the war, after his heroic efforts at Pozières Private Leak was severly gassed, but managed to survive and returned to Australia.

After a few jobs, Leak became a garage proprietor in Western Australia, before retiring to Redwood Park South Australia, where he lived and later died.

Leak suffered greatly from his experiences during the war and tried to sell his Victoria Cross medal several times in his life.

Climate change can be deadly

David Kilner for blog

Adelaide author David Kilner has been writing crime stories for several years. He will be visiting the Library this month to speak about his first novel The Climate Change Murders and about lots of things ‘literary’.

When: Wednesday 27 July, 6.30pm – 7.30pm.

Venue: Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Cost: Free.  Bookings are essential.

“In this light-hearted talk, David Kilner will discuss crime fiction in its many forms, from its origins 250 years ago, through the years to contemporary fiction. Along the way he’ll look at the impact of film and television on crime writing and ask what does reading or watching crime fiction actually do for us?  Finally he’ll talk about his own books – how they came to be written, some of the challenges of writing and why he chose his characters.”  http://www.davidkilner.com

In The Climate Change Murders you can meet the new cop on the beat, Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick.  Like all good fictional detectives, Skyla has a troubled past with a bad romance that she would rather forget about.   But of course, those experiences never really go away for our heroine.

“Somebody wanted Edwina Ling dead and it would not be a pleasant death, that was for sure. But who was the villain? The climate change activist? The professional colleague? The fishing industry guru? The ex-lover? The disgruntled employee? Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick must tackle not only confusing evidence trails and public brawls but also long-buried personal traumas that threaten her objectivity. The only one she can turn to for help is the man who betrayed her.”  http://www.davidkilner.com

David says that he especially loves the British school of crime writing, as these authors explore why criminals act, their psycology and motivation, rather than just ‘whodunnit’.  He especially admires the work of PD James, Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.

The Climate Change Murders could be your next good read.  If you would like to come along to meet David, you can book online or telephone: 8397 7333.  A wine and cheese supper will be served. Copies of The Climate Change Murders will be available for sale and signing by the author.