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.


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.


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.


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.



Who were YOU in the 1990s?

Celebrate SA History month this May

staff montage

Recognise a few faces in this montage?This May we’re having a Ninetiespalooza in the library. There’s a call out to customers to send us their 1990s photos, to add to our ‘Who were YOU in the 1990s?’ photo album.

Staff from Tea Tree Gully Library have blown the dust off their old photo albums and uncovered evidence of their 90s lives. There’s baby snaps, school days, frilly formals, moody university shots and of course, the daggy family photos – everyone’s got one it seems.

You can also relive 90s video games from May 16-22, when a special Timezone parlour will be set up in the library.

You may also enjoy:

  • Author talk: Women at Gallipoli
    Tuesday 10 May
    Historian and author John Howell will speak about the role of women in the Gallipoli conflict
  • Brandy to box wine: a history of Angoves Tea Tree Gully 
    Wednesday 11 May
    Join wine expert Roger Wyatt for a fun and informative evening that will look at the history of wine
  • History at 100km per hour
    Friday 13 May
    Uncover the history of one of Adelaide’s greatest transport systems as you speed along the O-Bahn.
During History Month this May, loads of events will be taking place all over South Australia, including walks, talks, tours, exhibitions and performances, in what is the biggest program ever.Download the free app ‘History Festival’ for iOS and Android and use it to plan your itinerary, receive event reminders, get directions, make a booking and more.

SA History Festival Manager Allison Russell says, ‘Make the most of May: it is your best chance for time travel.’ It’s one of the best times of the year to get stuck into the history of the incredibly rich and diverse state that is South Australia.

See the full SA History Month program here

We got a puppy as a wedding present – Amanda’s story raising a Siberian Husky puppy

Work experience student Amanda shares her adventures and learnings after she and her husband received a new Siberian Husky as a wedding gift. 

2015 was a very big year for me. I got married and I got a dog.

The funny thing is, and this is something most people don’t understand, is that getting our dog was larger, more daunting and more challenging than planning, saving for and pulling off our wedding.

Rubi the puppy

Rubi’s evil puppy face

Our wedding and our dog go hand in hand because she was given to us as a gift for our wedding. Normally I hate pets as gifts, so if you ever think about buying anyone a puppy, just don’t. This situation was slightly different as Kelly the lovely gifter, breeds Siberian Huskies. She suggested this gift to us when we got engaged and before her dogs were even pregnant! This gave us from February to July to figure out if this was what we wanted.

When you decide that you want to bring a fluffy bundle of ‘joy’ into your home you need to do breed research. This I STRESS. You need to write a list. What kind of house do you have? What kind of yard do you have? How much time can you take out of your day for outings? Do you have children? Do you want children? Do you have a cat?  What do you want from a dog? Do you want a lap dog, a dog to run with, a companion? Or in our case, another cat in dogs clothing.

My husband and I wrote this list long ago when we were deciding to get a dog. Well before our engagement and well before Kelly’s offer. We have an old house that is a pet friendly rental. Our backyard is smallish but I (not my husband) do enjoy a long walk. We both work casually in retail so one of us is normally home and we have heaps of spare time.

We have no children, we want children but not until we are much older and more mature. I have a cat, his name is Louy, he is a giant and he doesn’t like dogs. We want an all-rounder dog. Active but still up for pats, intelligent, able to be left on their own on rare days we work the same shift, able to stay outside so not to traumatise the cat. With these stipulations in place, we made another list.

Cute dogs! What are they and where do we get them! I really love Great Danes, with their big drooling faces and their friendly cuddly personalities. Ben wanted a Siberian Husky because they are exotic, beautiful and interesting. I wanted a German Shepherd, mainly because their ears are floppy as puppies then they stand up, one at a time. So they go through an awkward teenager stage.  Ben wanted a Boxer, because his parents own them and he has had them all his life. Armed with our lists… we made more lists!

The Great Dane pro and con list was up first. So we researched, researched, researched.  YouTube is a great way to find out about dog breeds. Dogs 101 has a whole set of short clips talking about breed personalities, health, costs etc. with a neat little summary at the end.

I found a YouTube channel called Honey the Great Dane, which is basically about a family who have video-blogged their journey with their Great Dane Honey, from puppyhood to adulthood. From these videos and other websites I learnt that Great Danes really aren’t the dog we need right now. Because? They are $2500 to buy, which is more than my car is worth and it does not include spaying or vaccinations.

They only live until they are 7, so not too much bang for your buck and I am not ready for that heartbreak. When they are puppies and they break into a run they can break their big gawky legs and be crippled for life. If they eat too much, they can get bloat and die. If they eat puppy food their joints can become engorged and they can die. So you can see where this is going – two casual retail workers can’t afford the Great Dane vet bills!

German Shepherd list:
Heavy chewer, hip dysplasia, fear biting, $1500 outright cost! Ugh.

Boxer list:
General consensus is this dog is as dumb a doorknob, which was further proved by Ben’s lovely parents buying a boxer puppy. His name is Harvey, and he is an absolute idiot who can’t breathe out of his own nose or eat proper dog food because of the shape of his snout.

At this point we’re hoping Siberian Huskies are perfect. Or we’re just getting cats. Hundreds of cats.

Husky list:
Escape artists, cat-like personality where they don’t care what you think, need hours and hours of exercise, will eat my cat if given the opportunity, will cost $1000, difficult to train. Dogs 101 described the husky as ‘a real dog’. Which I think means maybe they aren’t as domesticated as an Australian Silky Terrier (my beloved previous pet, Aussie).

After all this research Ben and I were pretty down in the dumps. No dog for us just yet.

Then we got engaged, and Kelly said, “Hey do you want a puppy for free?”

We had already done the research, and huskies did have more pros than the other dogs mentioned. So we asked our landlord and he said yes. So we said yes.

Kelly went on to give us plenty of husky tips and tricks to help us cope with the new addition to our family. She said to get a girl because boys are bigger and stronger and more difficult to deal with. So we said “Pick us your favourite gal and we will come to Mildura and get her when she is ready.”

When Rubi turned 8 weeks old we made the trip to Mildura to pick her up on a weekend, where we had family plans. We picked her up in the morning and she came to every house we visited, she was kissed and cuddled and she played with Golden Retriever friends, Sausage dog friends and everyone thought she was beautiful.

By the time it was time for the four-hour drive home, Rubi was pooped. So she slept like a baby all the way home, and went on to sleep comfortably in the laundry all night long, and we thought… “Well she seems pretty chill.”

Nope. This dog had to be the most not-chill dog ever to reside on this earth. The first day we had our baby in our house was typical of new puppies. They aren’t like cats that use a litter box – they need to be trained. The best way to train any animal if you want a loving relationship is positive reinforcement training, which means every 30 minutes (because puppies have very small weak bladders) you need take your puppy outside and wait.

Somehow, Rubi’s bladder always had a different schedule than our backyard outings. We would take her out after she had eaten and wait. Sometimes for hours. Then we would give up and go inside (we have things to do you know).

As soon as we entered the house. Oh! Suddenly her bowels worked and she took a turd on the rug. The rug, the only piece of carpet in the entire house! If you’re going to have accidents, dog, have them on the 100 square metres of floorboard!

On the rare occasion she was outside and went to the loo, we would drop what we were doing and immediately rush out and say “You go Rubi!”

To this day she still isn’t house trained.

Rubi the husky

Rubi in the car – covered in dog park filth.

Another thing we learned about Rubi when we brought her home: after living with two children who fawned over her and then switching to two adults who need time to do things alone … she had severe separation anxiety. Lucky I like research because I needed all my skills to figure this one out.

On our second night together, she was certainly not as tired because puppies can’t really go into the world until they are 16 weeks old, due to vaccinations. So we set her up all comfy in the laundry, closed the door and went to bed. She started howling and sooking which is expected from puppies at bedtime.

Normally they quiet down after 10-20 minutes or so and snooze. Not Rubi. Four straight hours of screaming and throwing herself against the door! It’s now 3am and I start work in two hours, so we let her into our bedroom and she went to sleep. We gave up. We also almost had a divorce before we were even married. We felt like teens with a toddler. It was too much.

But it’s important not to give up – if she was a toddler we certainly wouldn’t give her away. We would keep going. So we did.

I made Rubi a mix tape, of calming tunes that dogs apparently like. She yelled at most of them, but she really liked Linkin Park’s In The End for some reason. To this day I can sing it to her and she calms down. So now the plan: put her in her bedroom with Linkin Park playing by herself, pop our heads in five minutes later and tell her we love her, and slowly the times between seeing us would get longer. It took us weeks. But she got better and soon we had a dog that is so independent, sometimes I feel like when I go out to see her I’m interrupting her plans for the day or something.

Another of the most important parts of a dog’s life is socialisation; dogs need to play with other dogs. Luckily for Ben and I, we have a dog park nearby, so when she got all of her shots, we took her down to hopefully meet some doggy friends.

When we arrived we were overwhelmed, there were probably about 40 dogs there. Not small dogs either! I know now they are regulars so I can easily list them: a Burmese Mastiff called Fred, a German Shepherd (the leader of dog park) named Flynn, Luna the Labrador, Bella the Golden Retriever, Milo the Groodle (who is massive much to his owners surprise), and what feels like hundreds of others.

Rubi spent the hour between my legs just watching. But after a year of going everyday she now has more best friends than I do and she gets upset when we don’t take her to catch up with her mates. And when she is upset she eats the sheets off the line, so we try to keep her happy.

Beach Dog Days

Beach Dog Days

Despite all the trials and tribulations of owning an ADHD puppy with the strength of the ox … Rubi is a very much-loved member of our family. Her crazy personality can be wearing some days, but most days we find her entertaining.

The best part is she got us off the couch. This dog took a couple of humans who lived watching TV and playing video games, and dragged them outside for long walks, beach days and sometimes, even some running.

She made us more active and healthy and provided us with a routine. She also has given us the responsibility of looking out for her. She may be only our dog, but we are her world and therefore we’re charged with making that the best world possible. The responsibility is nerve-racking to think about, but really, she is 18 months old now and she is happy and healthy. The vet even said “Perfect!”

So my husband and I have nailed it, and there is no better feeling. So if you are thinking of adding a fluffy member to the family – be prepared. Be prepared for anything! It’s all trial and error. Do your research and good luck!

Safe Four Wheel Driving


Monday 9 November 6.30 – 7.30pm

Imagine sitting around a campfire, under a myriad of stars, away from the glaring lights of civilisation, in the company of family and good friends.

Four wheel driving can take you to some unique, amazing places off road that you just can’t access in an ordinary car, such as remote beaches, the outback and some fabulous fishing spots.

4WD poster photograph small

Joining a four wheel driving club is also an excellent way to find out how to properly operate your vehicle and learn about the regulations involved in four-wheel driving.  You get to meet and socialise with people with similar interests and go on trips. And driving is fun!

So whether you already own, or are considering buying a four-wheel drive vehicle to hit the open road, this session is definitely worth attending.

Greg Chase, vice president of 4WD Adventurers Club of SA, will speak about topics such as:  Different trip destinations, driver training, responsible 4WD activities, insurance, potential dangers and how to deal with them, such as how to recover your stranded vehicle.

You will also learn about the benefits of joining a 4WD club, what 4WD clubs do and how to choose and join one.

So why not come along and begin your adventure?  Book online or telephone the Library on 8397 7333.

When: Monday 9 November 6.30 – 7.30pm

Where:  Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library

Cost:  Free.  Bookings are essential.

Shock, soldiers and seances – Attempts to contact the dead after WWI

Explore a different dimension of our nation’s past on Friday 13 November, at the Tea Tree Gully Museum. This historical talk will look at some of the supernatural methods used by grief-stricken families to try and make contact with loved ones after World War I.

Please note this event is an information session only – no seance or supernatural acts will be performed.

When: Friday 13 November 6.30-8pm

Where: Tea Tree Gully Museum, 3 Perseverance Road Tea Tree Gully

Cost: $10 (to be paid at arrival)

Book online or phone 8397 7333