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? 

Way back when, Wednesdays

Lest we forget – Anzac Day 25 April 2018

In the time of the Vietnam War, the North East Leader a Messenger Newspaper photographed handsome Private Don Goodcliffe of Tea Tree Gully while on active service, on page 3 of the edition dated 3 April 1968.

Vietnam tunnel

Australia committed a contingent of 60,000 personnel to fight alongside the South Vietnamese and American forces in Vietnam from 1962 to 1972, with the aim of suppressing the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Communism in Asia. The Viet Cong (or National Liberation Front – NLF), a common front aided by the North, engaged in guerrilla warfare against anti-communist forces. The Viet Cong fought to unify Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh’s Ho’s Lao Dong (Worker’s Party).

Men fought mainly in the army but navy and air force personnel and some civilians also served in the long conflict. Women went to Vietnam working as nurses in the military,  as civilians working with the Red Cross and as journalists.  There were also Australian Embassy female staff and entertainers.

In 1964 the Australian Government led by Robert Menzies had reintroduced conscription through a National Service Scheme. If you were a male aged 20, you had to register with the Department of Labour and National Service and your name could be randomly selected for national service by your date of birth. This was basically a scheme to increase the number of military personnel the Government could send overseas to 40,000. If you were unlucky enough to be selected, it was likely you were going to fight in Vietnam (https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/conscription/vietnam). Just about everybody would have known somebody who was conscripted, sometimes even a brother or a friend. Australians who resisted the draft were jailed.

The North East Leader makes reference to Operation Pinnaroo in the caption accompanying the photograph of Don Goodcliffe and the Vietnamese interpreter. The Long Hải Hills where Private Goodcliffe was deployed are situated near Long Hải, in the Long Điền District of the Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, in 1967 Brigadier Stuart Graham had ordered Australian forces to plant 21000 M16 mines throughout the hills. The deployment of the mines was supposed to form a barrier to stop the Viet Cong from gaining access to and infiltrating nearby villages in the vicinity of the Australian army task force base at Nui Dat. The Australian troops failed to adequately defend this rugged territory, which was full of thick scrub. The Viet Cong seized control off the Long Hail hills. Their recruits dug a network of tunnels to store supplies and establish a military stronghold from which to plan and stage attacks. Viet Cong troops had learned to reposition the mines and use them against the enemy.

Operation Pinnarro led by Brigadier Hughes in early 1968 was terrible. It was designed to be a reconnaissance and attack mission, to destroy the Viet Cong’s military installation along Long Hai. However, the Viet Cong had anticipated the Australian attack. They did not even need to shoot the Australian soldiers. 15 Australians were killed and 33 wounded by walking in the terrain. 42 allied soldiers were also killed and 175 were wounded. And of course the mines did not just disappear. We have no statistics to tell us how many local Vietnamese people had their lives ruined by encounters with the land mines (http://vietnamswans.com/revisiting-the-long-hai-hills-43-years-later/) More Australians would die or be maimed by the time our forces withdrew from Long Hail and left Vietnam.

By 1969 many people believed that Australians should not be fighting in Vietnam with the United States and that it was a conflict that could not be won. Rallies in the streets against the War and conscription became violent and protesters were arrested. The antiwar sentiment was so strong among the Australian public that our troops who had bravely served in horrific conditions in Vietnam were reviled and they were abused upon their return to Australia. 521 Australians died as a result of the Vietnam War (496 of these were from the Australian Army) and over 3,000 were wounded.

Since Don Goodcliffe’s name is not listed on the Australian War Memorial site among the fallen, we may assume that he came home.  In 1997, the Australian Government signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction which is also known as the Ottawa Agreement.

To find out about Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, logon to these sites:

Australian War Memorial website: https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/event/vietnam

https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/history/conflicts/australia-and-vietnam-war/australia-and-vietnam-war/vietnam-war

Read one veteran’s account of Operation Pinnaroo: http://lachlanirvine.tripod.com/lifestory/id5.html

#waybackwhenwednesdays

 

 

 

 

 

Library closure – Anzac Day

020641-slouch-hat beach

Lest we forget

The Library will be closed on Wednesday 25 April, for the Anzac Day public holiday. The chutes adjacent the car park will be open for return of items. The Library will reopen from 10am – 5pm on Thursday 26 April.

 

Way back when, Wednesdays

Funky fashion arrives in the North East

The days are getting shorter and the Autumn/Winter fashions are now in the stores. Let’s have a look at what people were wearing in 1971. The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper covered the coolest threads on offer for men, women and boys, from pages 36 – 37 of the edition dated 14 July 1971.

Knitted suits for men

Yes, these photographs are real. Perhaps these brands of menswear should have been labelled with a hazard warning “Wearing this garment may compel doe-eyed women to hang themselves precariously off your person at any given opportunity.”

Mens fashions knit shirt

These articles focused on how it was essential for a man to be stylish if he wanted to be admired and attract a lady companion. The photographs are over the top by modern standards but we all know that the advertising industry still uses sex appeal and prestige to sell products! John Brown’s smart knitted suits for casual and weekend wear were styled following overseas trends. Note the focus on Australian manufacture, no doubt using fine Australian wool. Maybe these women are not really gazing adoringly up at the male models – they are really just feeling the texture of these garments. For as the article states, women might be coveting the clothing for themselves!

A married man would make his wife’s life at home a lot easier if he chose to wear modern, easy care drip dry fabrics. Synthetic fabrics had been popular during the 1960s. These colourful and distinctive knit shirts in the ‘Summerknits’ range by John Brown were made from high tech fabrics such as Tricel and Teteron.

 

hotpants in crimplene

Conversely, the ladies modelling a new range of women’s clothing don’t need men as accessories in these photoshoots. Wearing funky hotpants, this girl is confident, in style and ready to have fun.

During the 1970s fashions changed greatly from the beginning of the decade to its end. In 1971 the fashions were very much like those of 1969. Garments made from polyester were popular as they were inexpensive and did not need ironing. Bright colours and bold prints were still in demand. Checks and tweeds were in vogue too.

 

Lady with silver buckle

Distinctive fashions by young Prue Acton, the first Australian designer to break into the American market.  Prue embraced both new synthetic and natural fibres, to create her bold and colourful designs (https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/2377).

 

Young women still liked mini-skirts but long, flowing skirts were also worn. Fashion continued to be influenced by the hippie era and ethnic influence of the late 1960s. Women wore long bohemian print dresses with billowing sleeves. Men’s loose shirts in floral patterns had ties around the neck or an open neckline. Not forgetting the leather sandals and scarves tied around your head. And hippie men wore beards and long hair.
Turtleneck jumpers were popular with both sexes and every woman owned at least one cowl neck jumper, to wear with pants or under a pinafore dress. Ladies still liked trendy short hair styles. But long hair might be worn down loose, plaited or dressed in a soft, bohemian up-style for a natural look. Or you could set it in waves.

Another trend emerged – the 1970s was the first decade where women wore pants and pantsuits for work and leisure. Women could wear jeans at home and elegant or trendy pants to a nightclub or restaurant. Some dress codes allowed women to wear business suits with pants to the office. By the end of the decade, women could basically wear what they wanted, which was revolutionary (https://www.retrowaste.com/1970s/fashion-in-the-1970s/1970s-fashion-for-women-girls/).  Trousers for both men and women were low rise, firm on the hips and with a wider leg which was sometimes cuffed. Corduroy clothing or men and women such as jeans, and sports coats with wide lapels, were seen everywhere (http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1971fashions.html).

 

boys 2

Knitwear and shirts by John Brown for little men, made from machine washable wool.

#waybackwhenwednesdays

 

Way back when, Wednesdays

Easter Bunny or Playboy Bunny?

At this time of the year you might see the Easter Bunny greeting children and handing out chocolate eggs. Usually the character represents a confectionary company and is dressed in a soft, fluffy onesie and wearing a big rabbit head.

On page 2 and 15 of the edition dated 21 March 1967, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper printed an advertising promotion for the Modbury Shopping Centre at Clovercrest. The Easter Bunny would make an appearance on the Thursday evening before Easter and hand out eggs to children. One could argue that there is nothing fluffy about this Easter Bunny, with the exception of the fur trim on her costume and the image she presents.

Easter Bunny in heels

 

 

Easter Bunny with children

When you look at these photographs of the Clovercrest Easter Bunny you might wonder if the target audience of this Easter promotion was really children! The lady’s costume and footwear are more modest than, but reminiscent of a Playboy Bunny’s outfit. The late eccentric American billionaire Hugh Hefner created and published the pornographic men’s magazine Playboy in 1956. Playboy Bunnies worked as cocktail waitresses and croupiers in a chain of mens’ clubs and casinos across the world. Hefner’s first club opened in 1960 and he also used the Playboy Bunny logo on the front cover of Playboy. Not forgetting the Playboy Mansions where Hefner lived, surrounded by his harem of beautiful girls, his ‘Bunnies’.

In 1963 journalist and feminist Gloria Steinam ventured undercover for eleven days, securing a job as a Playboy Bunny in New York. Steinam wrote her two-part article in the form of a diary entitled A Bunny’s Tale, for the May and June issues of Show magazine. Gloria had managed to secure employment as she was physically attractive – The Clubs stated in their recruitment advertisements that ‘homely’ women need not apply. Her writing discredited the idea that working as a Playboy Bunny was glamourous and profitable. Steinam exposed the sexism of the club and the horrible conditions that Bunnies had to work under. It was mandatory for the girls to be tested for sexually transmitted infections when they took up the job. They were told whom they could date, namely the Club’s top tier members.

 

Gloria bunny

Gloria Steinam wearing her Playboy Bunny costume.  Image:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/26/gloria-steinem-bunny-tale-still-relevant-today

 

Besides being ogled and treated as sex objects, Bunnies earned low wages and were allowed only one week’s leave a year. They wore tight revealing costumes that cut into their flesh and high heels on long shifts. The Bunnies had to pay for the upkeep and cleaning of their costumes and the Clubs took a percentage of their tips.
(https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/26/gloria-steinem-bunny-tale-still-relevant-today)

 

Bunny working in Miami club

A Playboy Bunny working in the Miami club during the 1960s

 

By 1967 Hefner operated 16 clubs and two international Playboy Bunny resorts. Hefner was also honoured with a cover story in Time magazine in the edition dated 3 March 1967. The magazine proclaimed him a genius and a “prophet of pop hedonism.” (http://time.com/4515185/hugh-hefner-obituary-playboy/)

Time

Despite Steinam’s article, business continued to flourish. Hefner had created a mainstream brand for the sophisticated man to enjoy and the Playboy Bunny had become an icon worldwide (http://time.com/4963765/no-hugh-hefner-did-not-love-women). The dumb Bunny stereotype was entrenched in popular culture. The Time article pictured a photograph of several Playboy Bunnies sunbaking and exposing their bodies. The caption read “Young, pouty types without excess intelligence.” (http://time.com/3547122/playboy-hugh-hefner-1967/)

Hugh Hefner always claimed that by publishing his magazine and inventing the concept of the Playboy Bunny that he had contributed to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. He had dismissed the prudery and taboos of the 1940s and 1950s by promoting free speech and free love and by having being open about sex and pornography.

Following Hefner’s recent death in September 2017 at age 91, the controversy still exists as to whether this statement was ever true in any way or if Hefner was simply a master businessman who had tapped into an existing market and who knew how to exploit women for profit.

 
#waybackwhenwednesdays

 

 

 

 

 

Way back when, Wednesdays

A leisurely Sunday at your library

Sunday at the Library

Bestselling author Amy Tan has been quoted as saying that “Libraries are the pride of the City.” http://www.azquotes.com/author/14434-Amy_Tan There is also a proverb that says that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Sundays can be a chance to relax, read, put on some music, spend time with family and just enjoy yourself. Which is why many people visit their local library. On 7 February 1979, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, printed an article that focused on the success of opening the City of Tea Tree Gully Library on Sunday. We also learn from the article about the popularity of the library at North East Road and how much it had to offer patrons.  The Messenger story provides modern readers with a snapshot of this era and we can see how some things have changed.

In 1979 the Library was situated at 1020 North East Road, which is now the site of the Tea Tree Plus shopping centre. The Library was housed in a modern building, which opened in 1975, adjacent to, and constructed in the same mid-century modern architectural style as the Tea Tree Gully Civic Centre. The Council building had opened in 1967.

 

PH03979 Facade of Library

The Library at 1020 North East Road Modbury. Image: Community History Photograph Collection, Tea Tree Gully Library. PH03979

 

Most public libraries in South Australia did not open on Sundays until the late 1980s/early 1990s. In the Messenger article the Chief Council Librarian Felicity Langeveldt stated that opening Sundays had been successful because it was a convenient days for residents to use the Library service but also that many of them took advantage of using the listening posts.

In an era where listening to your favourite songs was not simply a matter of downloading music from iTunes or Google Play, the residents of the City of Tea Tree Gully congregated at the Library to put on headphones and sit around a listening station. It would be interesting to find out if you played vinyl records or audio cassettes. Now we can borrow CDs to play at home or in the car. Or you can login to a computer at the Library to play CDs or listen to UTube.

 

 

PH01012 Official opening of the Library at North East Road.

Opening of the Library on North East Road, Modbury in 1975,
photograph PH01012.

 

Sundays continue to be a popular time to visit the Library. In 2017 there was an average of 521 people coming through the door each Sunday (door counts varied from 395 to 625). Our members still love reading and using the City of Tea Tree Gully Library service. The Library remains a community hub and our collections have grown considerably in size and type since 1979! We have approximately 64,000 books for adults, 25000 for children and adolescents, 4,500 magazines and 17,000 audio visual materials (this includes DVDs, CDs and audiobooks). You can now also access audio and ebooks and take advantage of approximately 4 million items through the SA Public Libraries One Card Network.

In 2017 the Library lent out an average of 73,210 items per month. In December loans totalled 53,273, December being our quietest month and the Civic Centre was closed over the Christmas holiday period. Today, most people search for information online as well as going to a public library. Or they can stream web based entertainment.
Thirty-nine years have elapsed since the date of the Messenger article. So if you think about it, the Tea Tree Gully Library must have been a very busy place, lending out 46,624 items way back in December 1979!
#waybackwhenwednesdays

 

Did you know…about video-game movies?

A new film based on the Tomb Raider series of games was released today. A reboot of the franchise that previously featured Angelina Jolie, it will be interesting to see how it performs both at the box office and with the critics.

You see, 2018 marks 25 years since Hollywood began tapping video games for movie plots, of which very few have been successful. That first film based on Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers series of games stared Bob Hoskins in the role of Mario and was a box office failure, costing more than $40 million to make but returning only $20 million. It was also panned by critics and today only has a 15% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes review site.

Financially, the most successful video game film to date is Warcraft by Legendary Pictures. Adapted from Blizzard Entertainment’s Strategy and online Roleplaying game, the film failed to break even in its US release and was only saved by the Chinese market despite the online game boasting more than 100 million active accounts. Critically, the most successful video game film is Prince of Persia with a rating of 36% on Rotten Tomatoes (Warcraft recieved 28%). On average the video game films recieve a 16% approval rating on the review site.

Will the new Tomb Raider finally break this trend?

Only time will tell…

In the meantime, why not check out the history of the Tomb Raider franchise or check out the Angelina Jolie incarnation of the character. Or, if you are brave, see if you can find some other video game movies on the library catalogue