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.

Way back when, Wednesdays

The stressless classroom for seniors

Albert Einstein once remarked that “Once you stop learning, you start dying” (http://www.basicknowledge101.com/subjects/educationquotes.html). There is also the proverb that you are never too old to learn. On page 10 of the edition dated Wednesday 18 February 1987, the Leader Messenger reported on the new Tea Tree Gully branch of the University of the Third Age, where retired people could participate in a variety of courses for learning and recreation and share their knowledge and experience with others.

U3A

The Tea Tree Gully branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A) was established in 1987. 31 years later it is still thriving, with members meeting at 22 Golden Grove Road, Modbury North.

We speak of the Third Age as a time of active retirement. It follows the first age of childhood and formal education and the second age of working life. The Third Age precedes the fourth age of dependence (https://www.u3a.org.au/u3a_movement). The University of the Third Age is an international non-profit organisation which advocates that we should have access to life-long learning opportunities and the pursuit of knowledge, in a supportive environment where mutual learning and teaching flourish. So what feels like the end for retirees is often the beginning (https://www.goodmorningquote.com)

The British U3A embraced the philosophy on which the medieval university was founded: A fellowship of equals who met to share and extend knowledge. The British U3A embraces the principles of self-help and self-determination. Acknowledging that older people have accumulated a lifetime of knowledge and experience, members of each branch develop and structures their own programs, based on the strength and interests of their learning community.  Group members plan and develop a syllabus for each course that the offer and those with specialist experience teach on a voluntary basis. Other members assist in the administration of U3A. Each group is autonomous and manages itself.

Logo U3A 2

University of the Third Age logo

The Australian U3A is based on the British model. In 1984 the first Australian U3A opened in Melbourne. Universities of the Third Age in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and Western Australia have established intrastate networks to support the different branches in each state with a range of resources (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_the_Third_Age).

If you would like more information about the Tea Tree Gully University of the Third Age log on to the website at: http://users.tpg.com.au/u3attg/index.html

TTG University Third Age

The Tea Tree Gully branch of the University of the Third Age situated at 22 Golden Grove Road, Modbury North.

Members pay a membership fee when they enroll in their first course. They can experience the joy of learning for learning’s sake as there are no examinations or certificates to be obtained. No educational qualifications are required. Courses are designed to offer participants a range of educational, creative and leisure activities, with opportunities to socialise and enjoy yourself!

Now there is even a virtual branch of the University of the Third Age at https://www.u3aonline.org.au/  U3A Online is the world-first virtual University of the Third Age to deliver online learning via the Internet. U3A Online is especially suited to older people who may be geographically, physically or socially isolated. The website also provides links for older people to access useful information about different topics, such as news, maintaining good health and staying safe online.  You can also find your local branch of the U3A.

#waybackwhenwednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Way back when, Wednesdays

The gangster of groceries

At one time, almost everybody could say that they had a local Tom the Cheap grocer. On page 7 of the edition dated 11 January, 1967 the North East Leader a Messenger Newspaper reported on grocery specials on sale at the Modbury Tom the Cheap store on the corner of Grand Junction and North East Roads (now the site of Barnacle Bills and IGA).

 

Tom the Cheap advertisement 1967

Note the late opening of Tom the Cheap, Modbury on Friday until 9pm! Usually only delicatessans were open in the evenings in Adelaide during the 1960s. Adelaide had sporadic late night trading before WWII on Fridays (even on Saturdays in the 1920s). Late night shopping was stopped during war time. Trading commenced on Thursday nights in suburban shops and Friday nights in the City in 1977.

 

There really was a ‘Tom’. Thomas Wardle opened his first discount grocery store in North Perth in the 1950s. At this time, Australians mainly shopped at grocery stores which offered over the counter service. There were some ‘Cash and Carry’ stores which relied on self-service but supermarkets were a novelty. On a trip to Sweden with his wife, Wardle was influenced by the European model of shopping where customers could walk down aisles, choosing their purchases (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wardle).

During the 1950s, it was common practice for manufacturers to fix a resale price for their goods. Retailers then resold the goods to consumers for a healthy profit margin. Today, the Competition and Consumer Act (which replaced the Trade Practices Act of 1974) forbids resale price maintenance. Tom Wardle’s main selling point was that he claimed to only mark up his stock by ten percent, whereas the other supermarket retailers usually charged twenty five to thirty percent when goods were not ‘on special’. Tom the Cheap did not sell products below cost but naturally customers loved the discounts.

In a conservative era, manufacturers and wholesalers were outraged by Wardle’s approach and some refused to supply him with goods. So Wardle took to importing merchandise directly and he established relationships with suppliers interstate to make his purchases. Tom the Cheap became a highly profitable business enterprise in WA and by 1959 fifteen stores were in operation. In 1962 Tom Wardle expanded his chain of stores into South Australia. He eventually established more than 200 stores in four states.

 

Tom-the-Cheap sign

 It was easy to spot a Tom the Cheap supermarket when you saw this road sign.  Photo:  https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/tom-the-cheap/

 

Tom Wardle cleverly exploited his notoriety with suppliers and other retailers. Australians love a rebel. Wardle advertised his Tom character as a convict in prison garb, ‘the bad boy’ of grocery shopping who was “Australia’s greatest price-cutter”. Wardle also courted publicity. He openly criticised his competitors, accusing them of greed and fleecing the public. It is reported that when Wardle opened one of his stores he employed the services of marching girls, a jazz band, and a belly dancer. Prominent footballers and a radio announcer also made an appearance.
(https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/tom-the-cheap/)

Australia's greatest price cutter

Tom Wardle was probably guilty of some crookery, as he is reputed to have paid low wages to his mainly female staff. His ‘no frills’ approach to shopping was not limited to pricing. Wardle used cheap advertising and he bought up or rented run down, disused buildings (such as this old theatre on  Anzac Highway at Goodwood pictured below) to set up shop, as they were cheap to fit out (https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/tom-the-cheap/).

 

 

It should be acknowledged that while Tom Wardle became incredibly wealthy, he was also a philanthropist who made sizeable donations to schools, hospitals, sporting bodies, womens’ organisations and the Arts. Tom Wardle even bought his own island (where he later retired) when the West Australian Government sold Dirk Hartog Island in 1968, which is situated near Shark Bay. Tom Wardle was elected Mayor of Perth in 1967. During his life, he was aslo honoured with many important appointments in the service of the public (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wardle).

 

Supertom.jpg

Supertom, , The Leader Messenger, page 28, 6 January 1982

 

In the 1980s the character of Tom briefly reinvented himself as a superhero who fought against high grocery prices. These advertisements were probably influenced by the popularity of the Superman movie series, starring Christopher Reeve. ‘Supertom’, the caped crusader appeared on television commercials accompanied by a robotic companion, which resembled a round vacuum cleaner with metallic arms. If you can remember the name of Tom’s sidekick, or would like to share your memories of Tom the Cheap, please let us know!

Tom Wardle had been interested in investing in property development since the 1960s. In 1972 he purchased a majority share in Westhaven Securities Limited, a property investment company. Unfortunately in 1977 the company defaulted on a substantial loan used to finance property purchases which triggered the collapse of The Tom the Cheap family companies. The supermarkets went into receivership in mid-1978 and they were forced to close (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wardle). Tom Wardle died in 1997.
#waybackbackwednesdays

Way back when, Wednesdays

Suit up Seventies style

Cord suit

At first glance you might think that the clever lady in the photograph has recycled some bathmats and sewn herself a tailored outfit. This is certainly not the case. In the edition dated 14 July 1971, the North East Leader tells us that Mrs June Cooper is in fact, modelling a stylish suit made from jumbo cord. This photograph on page 19 was taken to promote the Witchery Boutique at Tea Tree Plaza. According to the North East Leader, it was a modish outfit that women would have wanted to wear in the early 1970s.

Corduroy fabric has been used in the manufacture of workwear since the 18th century in Britain and Europe. During the 20th century, factories in many other countries started produced clothing made from corduroy, often for the working classes. In the 1970s garments made from corduroy became incredibly popular. They were easy to launder, soft and warm in winter and affordable. Corduroy garments could also be dressed up or down. Both men and women could wear a corduroy suit to the office or wear the jacket or pants separately on weekends.

Corduroy jeans, jackets and skirts are still worn today. In the cooler weather, corduroy always seems to be a popular choice for jeans.

 

corduroy-fall-2017-2

Corduroy on the catwalk in 2017.  Image:  http://corduroy.in/corduroy-news/

 

If you are not familiar with corduroy, it is a durable cotton or cotton blend cloth, which is basically a ridged form of velvet. Corduroy comes in a multitude of colours and it can be plain or printed. Multiple cords are woven into the base fabric to form ridges or wales, which lie parallel to each other in clear lines. Sometimes you can see channels where the bare fabric between the cords is visible. Corduroy fabric with a standard or wide wale (jumbo cord) is used to upholster furniture, such as sofas, or it is made into trousers. Fabric with medium (midwale) narrow, and fine wale (such as pinwale or pincord) is used in the manufacture in garments worn above the waist. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corduroy (http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/Modern-World-Part-II-1961-1979/Corduroy.html).

 

Corduroy Fabric

Different wales of corduroy.  Image:  http://market-research-explore-report.blogspot.com/2018/02/world-corduroy-fabric-market-2018.html

 

The 1970s was revolutionary for women as it was the first time in history in which it was acceptable for women to wear what they wanted. Asian women had worn pants under tunics for many years. Now western women seemed to prefer wearing pants to dresses and skirts (https://www.retrowaste.com/1970s/fashion-in-the-1970s/1970s-fashion-for-women-girls/). Women wore pantsuits to the city, and some could wear them to the office. A trendy or elegant pantsuit was just the thing to wear out to dinner. As the 1970s progressed, pants for both men and women became low rise and firmer on the hips. Legs widened out and were sometimes cuffed. Eventually, flares came into fashion (http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1971fashions.html).

This issue of the North East Leader also featured an extensive sales promotion for the St. Agnes shopping centre. Take a look at this advertisement for Witchery which was printed on page 11 and the funky bohemian image that this brand was trying to sell. In the 1960s and 1970s Witchery opened retail outlets at many suburban locations such as at the St. Agnes and Ingle Farm shopping centres.

Witchery advertisement
#waybackwhenwednesdays

Recipe: winter warmer veggie soup

 

soup 2

I don’t know about you, but this weather makes me crave soup: packed full of flavour and healthy veggies, served hot with a buttery piece of bread or a savoury scone… yum!

The cafe here at the Library, Bake & Brew, were kind enough to give us their recipe to share with you all. Happy soup-making!

Ingredients:

2 Turnips

2 Swedes

1 Pumpkin

2 Zucchini

1 Celery head

4 Carrots

6 Potatoes

Vegetable stock (the amount of stock will be the amount of soup liquid you get)

(This the Bake & Brew suggested veggie combination, but the great thing about soup is that you can chuck so many different ingredients in! Experiment with different veggies if you like)

Note: The veggie amounts in this recipe is for a big serve of soup, if you are cooking for a small group of people, adjust the recipe for less veggies and less stock.

 

Method:

1: Dice all veggies in even sizes.

2: Take pumpkin, swedes, carrots, potato, celery, turnips. In a large saucepan or pot big enough for your soup, saute off in a little butter.

3: Add stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender. Add zucchinis in last few minutes.

4: Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with savoury scone or bread with butter if you like.

5: Enjoy!

Soup 1

Way back when, Wednesdays

A window on the heavens

How many of us have gazed up at the night sky and dreamed? If only you could see the rings of Saturn and the storms on Jupiter. Did you know that you can get a closer look at the celestial bodies right here in the City of Tea Tree Gully? On page 9 of the edition dated 23 August 1989, the Leader Messenger reported on the upcoming opening of a local observatory with a powerful telescope. The observatory had been constructed at the Heights School campus on Brunel Drive, Modbury Heights.

Heights observatory

The Heights Observatory is a joint facility operated by The Heights School and the Astronomical Society of South Australia. It was established with the aims of providing students with practical experience in astronomy and also to promote astronomy to the general public (http://www.adelaideobservatory.org/history.html).

An observatory had been built on the grounds of The Norwood Boys Technical School (now Marryatville High School) which was offically opened in 1964, but by the 1980s the  building in which it was housed had started to deteriorate. (http://www.marryatvillehs.sa.edu.au/_r24/media/system/attrib/file/14/MARRYATVILLE_History_new%20format.pdf

Parents and students at the Heights were keen to provide a location for a new observatory, raising funds for the telescope’s relocation. Science teacher Emanuel Papaelia, who is pictured in the Messenger article, was instrumental in getting the traditional domed observatory built on the school grounds. In recognition of the great amount of work that Papaelia put into the project, the observatory was named after him.

The Papaelia domed observatory was mainly built by the parents of students. As stated in the newspaper article, local businesses and industry organisations donated materials and assisted with its construction.

Since the time of this article’s publication, there have been upgrades to the observatory. In 1996/1997 another building with a roll off roof was constructed near the dome to accomodate a second telescope and a classroom for students. The ‘Ingham Family Rooms’ were named in honour of the dedication contribution by members of the Ingham family.

1280px-Theheightsobservatory

From left:  The Ingham Family Rooms and the domed Papaelia observatory

Once a month you can attend a public viewing night run by the Astronomical Society of South Australia at the Heights Observatory, for a reasonable entrance fee. Knowledgeable, dedicated current and former students from The Heights School’s Star Group also conduct the education and viewing sessions.

For those who are technically minded and know their telescopes, the Papaelia Observatory houses a 14-inch f/10 Meade LX200 GPS ACF Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. The Ingham Family Room observatory contains a scientific quality 12.5inch Ritchey-Chrétien Cassegrain telescope on a Losmandy HGM 200 mount. You can also experience using portable telescopes as well as a selection of other astronomical equipment on the viewing nights.

The next Heights Public Viewing Night will be held on Friday 18 May, providing the weather is good. Bookings are essential.

Find out more at:

https://www.assa.org.au/facilities/theheights/

http://www.adelaideobservatory.org/

https://www.weekendnotes.com/heights-observatory-astronomical-society-south-australia/

 
#waybackwhenwednesdays

High School texts that had a long-lasting impact

Do you remember what books, plays, or films you had to analyse for school or university? While most of us would rather forget the stressful times of homework, study, and cramming before a big test or essay, there is something to be said for casting your mind back to that period.

For me personally, I remember the frustration of getting through the seemingly never-ending Othello. However, in a sea of boring or dry texts I had to read for school, there is a particularly great one that far outweighs the bad ones. I asked myself, and fellow Library staff, about what high school texts we read that really had an impact on us, whether it be a positive or negative one.

Eleanor (me!)

cosi

“I had to read the Australian play ‘Cosi’ by Louis Nowra for year 12 English. The play was set in a mental hospital, where the lead character Lewis directs a play that the patients star in – so it’s a play within a play!

The morals of the story were: there is no ‘normal’, everyone is ‘crazy/different’ in their own way, and that friendship, love, and understanding bridges the gaps and differences between people.

I really enjoyed the play at the time, and as much as we students hated to admit it at the time, we thought it was really clever and funny. I still have Cosi in my bookshelf at home. It is apparently intended to be the sequel to one of Nowra’s previous plays, ‘Summer of the Aliens’, but Cosi works perfectly as a standalone.

Cosi was made into an Australian movie starring big Australian names such as Ben Mendelsohn, David Wenham, Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Barry Otto, Jacki Weaver, and Colin Hay – of Men at Work”

 

Symon

wuthering

“I read Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte  in Year 11.

It ruined classic English literature from that period for me. I found it to be the most boring book I’d ever read at that stage of my life, and felt it was barely a step up from TV soap operas. That being said if I think of dysfunctional relationships I sometimes think of this book. And whenever I think of English moors. Which isn’t often”

 

 

Hayley

z for zac.jpg

“In year 9 I was allowed to read the novel Z for Zachariah as a reward for finishing my assignments early. The book was knocked the wind of me and planted the seed a life- long love of dystopian sci-fi. After a nuclear war teenager Anne lives alone in an isolated valley until one day a stranger in a radiation-proof suit arrives.

The book is tense and frightening. As a reader I couldn’t put this book down”

 

Penny

conrad.jpg

“For me it would be ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad.

It is truly a painful book to read – in every sense. It is long-winded and tedious to start with, you really have to push yourself to get through it. And then it drops – you are in, and it is so wild and lush and sick, you want to stop reading but you can’t because it is so gripping. It’s about a voyage up the Congo River in Africa, where the main character, Marlow, is on a mission to meet the ivory trader Kurtz. Kurtz initially has great plans to colonise the natives and make a better life for them, but in time he succumbs to jungle fever and develops a ‘win at all costs’ mentality. Marlow is mesmerised by Kurtz, who is eloquent and articulate. And yet a barbarian, a total monster.

It’s really painful stuff to read, even today, as you think about what it has taken to have the clean, safe and aesthetically pleasing world we live in here in Australia, and those who have suffered for it”

 

David

mock

For David, high school was a boring time, so it took something special to stand out to him. He was always complaining to the teacher about the books on the syllabus, so his teacher assigned him a few books off the syllabus: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Looking back, these were monumental moments.

Catch-22 became David’s favourite book of all time, and To Kill a Mockingbird had a lasting significant impact on him too: his daughter is even named Jean-Louise, after the narrator, who goes by the nickname Scout.

 

Katy

good

“I first came across the play Our Country’s Good by British playwright, Timberlake Wertenbaker,  in my high school drama class. We had only ever performed Shakespeare plays at high school level but our new and energetic Drama and English teacher was keen to do something different. He opened the class by quoting one of the parts in the play;

“A play should make you understand something new. If it tells you what you already know, you leave it as ignorant as you went in.”

The play depicts the harsh realities of settlement for a group of convicts and British soldiers after transportation from England and is an adaption of the novel ‘The Playmaker’ by Australian author Thomas Keneally (which is available to borrow for our library – click here to place a hold). Whilst there are some comedic and romantic aspects to keep the play light and lively for the audience, it was the clever dialogue and powerful themes that particularly intrigued me. As we studied it more, it made my peers and I really think about the concept of law, order and justice and who holds the moral compass of a society.

My favourite character was the convict, and proud Englishman wordsmith, Mr John Wisehammer, who although considered inferior by the British officers was more often the voice of reason and justice over any of the law makers and enforcers in this new colony. He delivers a closing monologue which highlights the double meaning of the play’s title, ‘Our Country’s Good’ to not only refer to the beauty and bounty of their new country but also the sense of benefit colonialists gained by trading human beings, even its own citizens, across the seas; “true patriots all, for be it understood, we left our country, for our country’s good.”

 

Adrienne

Sartre

“I have not forgotten the play Huis Clos by Jean Paul Sartre, which I read while studying French at University.  Huis Clos is often translated into English as In Camera, which is a legal term referring to a discussion held behind closed doors.

In this play three evil and unrepentant people die and go to Hell.  I love the theatre and I remember Huis Clos because I thought Sartre’s concept of Hell was simple but strikingly original.  There are no devils with pitchforks, fire or showers of brimstone raining down on the damned.  Yet, Sartre manages to create a powerful image for his audience.  All of the action in this play takes place on one set, in just one room.  The three characters enter the room at different stages.  They gradually come to realise that they have gone to hell and admit why they are there. Joseph, Estelle and Inez are in this room to torment each other emotionally and mentally for eternity.  The Valet comes into the room periodically during the first part of the play but there is no escape for our principal characters.  That is their punishment.

Jean Paul Sartre was an atheist and an Existentialist who believed that we define ourselves and our sense of morality by our choices and actions.  Our torment is that we may rely too much on the judgement of others.  I think the appeal of this play is that most of us like to think that there is some form of justice awaiting those who make other peoples’ lives miserable; we say that “what goes around, comes around.”  The characters do not and cannot change their shallow natures as they are already dead.  This is not a play about redemption or forgiveness”

 

Which novels, plays, poetry, or films did you have to study in school that have left a mark on you?