Way back when, Wednesdays

All alone by the telephone

In the edition dated 18 January 1967, the North East Leader A Messenger Newspaper featured a series of articles about the new City of Tea Tree Gully Council building, which was located at 1020 Main North East Road, Modbury. This address is now the site of the Tea Tree Plus Shopping Centre.

Council building

This impressive new facility was officially opened by Premier Frank Walsh on Saturday 21 January 1967. The modern complex was outfitted with fluorescent lighting, naturally finished timbers, an acoustic tiled ceiling to absorb noise and a public address system.  A wide use of glass provided the interior of the building with adequate daylight.  The Civic Centre cost $140,000 and featured modern offices, a spacious entrance foyer, impressive Council Chambers and a large civic hall to accommodate up to 300 residents at public receptions or recreational functions.

Page 1 of the Messenger newspaper highlighted Council employee Janice Rogers, who operated the busy telephone switchboard and answered incoming calls from the public. As stated in the accompanying caption, Janice’s job entailed managing eight lines and connecting calls to the 28 extensions in the Council building.  We would really like to hear from Janice or from any readers who have recollections of working on an older style telephone switchboard.

Telephone operator

Since 1967 things have progressed significantly at the Civic Centre. Council is now situated at 571 Montague Road, Modbury. There have also been extensive changes to our telecommunications technology. Naturally the population density of the municipality has increased. Here are some fast facts: In 1967 the population of City of Tea Tree Gully was approximately 23,000. In 2016, the estimated resident population for the City of Tea Tree Gully was 99,518 (http://profile.id.com.au/tea-tree-gully).

The City of Tea Tree Gully now employees a total of 13 staff in the Customer Relations Department, who may work in Council’s Call Centre or at Reception in the Civic Centre. The old switchboard and line set-up no longer exists. Customers are automatically placed in a queuing system, which can handle a large volume of calls and redirect your call to the appropriate department. The City of Tea Tree Gully now has approximately 280 extensions throughout the entire organisation. Each month we receive approximately 6,500 telephone calls. That is a lot of people telephoning the Council but consider also that approximately one quarter of our communication with customers is made via social and digital interactions (through email and online).

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Way back when, Wednesdays

R.O.C.K. in the T.T.P

Have you heard of Johnny Cougar? Tea Tree Plaza advertised the forthcoming appearance of pop star ‘cool cat Johnny Cougar’, on page 18 of the Leader Messenger dated 9 August 1978.

Johnny Cougar

Johnny Cougar and John Cougar were stage names used by Indiana born heartland rock musician and singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, early in his career from 1976 to 1982. Believe it; at the age of 26, John Mellencamp visited Tea Tree Plaza, before he rose to fame internationally. Let us know if you went to Tea Tree Plaza to see him or if you attended the Grease themed ball in Adelaide!

John’s professional music career began in 1976 when he secured a recording contract with MCA Records. The company released his first album, The Chestnut Street Incident, which featured some original compositions and cover versions.

John’s manager insisted that he change his name to Johnny Cougar in the belief that it would be too hard to sell a record by anybody who had a surname like Mellencamp, which reflected John’s German heritage. Eventually John would become successful enough to insist on using his real name.  http://www.mellencamp.com/about.html

During an interview in 2005 John Mellencamp revealed “That (name) was put on me by some manager. I went to New York and everybody said, ‘You sound like a hillbilly.’ And I said, ‘Well, I am.’ So that’s where he came up with that name. I was totally unaware of it until it showed up on the album jacket. When I objected to it, he said, ‘Well, either you’re going to go for it, or we’re not going to put the record out.’ So that was what I had to do… but I thought the name was pretty silly.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mellencamp

tumblr_mimrft2DPV1r906l9o1_500

Unfortunately, The Chestnut Street Incident was not a commercial success. MCA Records ended their association with John but supported by Billy Gaff, (who also managed Rod Stewart) he secured a contract with the small Riva Records label. On the advice of his new manager, John moved to England to record his new album A Biography in 1978. He then went on tour to promote it. John had a top ten hit in Australia at this time with I need a Lover. His album A Biography peaked at 19 on the Australian music charts but it was not released in America.

A_biography_(Johnny_Cougar_album_-_cover_art)

John recorded his successful self-titled album in 1979, Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did in 1980 and American Fool in 1982, under the name John Cougar.  I Need a Lover was included on John Cougar and made it to number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1979. US charts. He released Uh-Huh in 1983, Scarecrow in 1985, The Lonesome Jubilee in 1987 and Big Daddy in 1989 using the name John Cougar Mellencamp. John finally dropped the Cougar part of his name with the release of Whenever We Wanted in 1991.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

We are not alone

In celebration of 40 years since it first release on 16 November 1977, plans are in motion to remaster the iconic science fiction adventure film Close Encounters of the Third Kind and re-screen it in cinemas. It used to take some months for a film released overseas to reach Australia. Only selected cinemas had the right to show certain films, so audiences flocked to the Hoyts Regent cinemas in the Adelaide Arcade.

On page 16 of the Leader Messenger dated 5 July 1978, Tea Tree Plaza advertised a promotion designed to tie in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To generate interest in the film, Tree Plaza hosted a display about UFOs, which was put together by the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society, in conjunction with Hoyts cinemas. This promotion also featured a special event, which was a talk by a member of the Society, with the incentive of winning free passes to see Close Encounters.

Close encounters

At this time, people were receptive to new cinematic science fiction experiences. Steven Spielberg had terrified and thrilled audiences with Jaws in Australia in 1975. Star Wars had been monumental – it had set the bar for special effects and excitement, when it was released in Australia in October 1977. Everybody was waiting for the next blockbuster movie. Sessions of Close Encounters of the Third Kind on evenings and weekends would book out in advance.

If you don’t know the story, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is focuses on a group of people who experience some sort of paranormal activity associated with alien contact.

Two parallel stories are told. Strange phenomena and sightings of UFOs are happening around the world, which according to a scale devised by UFO researcher Dr. Josef Allen Hynek, is a close encounter of the first kind. A team of scientists and experts including French scientist Claude Lacombe and his American interpreter and cartographer David Laughlin, are investigating these related incidents. For example, military planes which disappeared in 1945 have suddenly reappeared in the desert but without their pilots.

In Muncie, Indiana, in the USA, Roy Neary (played by Richard Dreyfuss) refuses to accept conventional explanations for his encounter with an unidentified flying object. After this close encounter of the second kind, he becomes obsessed with pursuing the truth. Single mother Jillian Guiler (played by Melinda Dillon) and her young son Barry have similar experiences.

Integral to the film’s plot is a musical sequence of five tones enabling humans and aliens to communicate. In India witnesses report that UFOs make these distinctive sounds. Both Roy and Jillian have repeated visions of a mountain and the five musical notes run through their minds. When the scientists broadcast the musical notes into space they receive a response, a series of numbers repeated over and over. Cartographer Laughlin, interprets this data as geographical coordinates, for the Devils Tower near Moorcroft, Wyoming.

Defying a cover-up and military action by the American government, all of these characters follow the clues they have been given to reach a site where they will have a close encounter of the third kind: contact. The film was groundbreaking in its depiction of aliens as peaceful beings who wish to get to know humanity, rather than trying to take over the Earth or eat us. After their cinema experience, people could look up in the sky and think that perhaps we were not alone.

Alien

These were exciting times. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a critical and financial success. It was nominated for several Academy Awards but the film only won one, for cinematography. It also won several other film industry awards. A disco adaption of the five note sequence charted as high as 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1978.

John Williams would write many other beautiful, memorable film soundtracks and be arguably the best known composer of classical music in modern times. Steven Spielberg would direct a trove of acclaimed and popular films, and become the highest grossing director by worldwide box office ($9.246 billion) wikipedia.org. What would be the next science fiction/fantasy blockbuster? Superman released in 1978, which made a star of Christopher Reeves.

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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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Way back when, Wednesdays

Miss Potato Head

We can all remember what we especially liked to eat as kids. Your tastes can change as an adult and sometimes we cringe at the peculiar foods that we used to crave as children. On the other hand, there are foods that we will always love, such as hot chips!

During the first part of 1969 the Leader Messenger featured photographs of little girls enjoying the hot weather. Like cute Nadene Woods who was pictured on the front page of the edition dated 5 March. Her fondness for potatoes started from a young age and she had developed a curious taste for eating them raw.

Potato feast

Unlike other vegetables, potatoes are seldom eaten raw because of their starchy texture and somewhat bland taste. However, some people like to eat them uncooked, seasoned with salt! Raw potatoes don’t increase your blood sugar and they contain more vitamin C, thiamine and riboflavin than the cooked variety.

For those who enjoy the taste of an uncooked spud, take care. Choose fresh, unblemished potatoes. Wash potatoes thoroughly to remove all traces of soil from the skin and peel them to avoid ingesting bacteria and other microorganisms which are usually killed in the cooking process.

Potatoes are full of goodness but it is advisable to eat this raw vegetable in moderation. They are high in starchy carbohydrates, as the main purpose of a tuber is to nurture a new potato plant. Unfortunately humans digest raw starches poorly. Pieces of raw potato pass through the upper intestine and into the lower intestine largely intact. Intestinal bacteria then start to break down the fibrous mass, starting a fermentation process. Fermentation produces gas, which can cause the raw potato eater to experience discomfort through bloating, cramping and flatulence.

Beware of eating a green or sprouted potato, even if it is cooked. Never eat the leaves and stems of the plant itself or any fruit growing above ground. Potatoes are a member of the nightshade family, which protect themselves by producing toxic alkaloids. Potatoes produce solanine and chaconine, both of which are dangerous to humans. Normally a potato tuber harvested underground contains only small amounts of these chemicals.  However, sprouted or green potatoes become high in solanine.  A tuber that’s been bruised, exposed to sunlight or stored for an extended period of time might develop patches of green. The green pigment is chlorophyll, which enables photosynthesis to take place. Once this happens, solanine is present.  Solanine causes diarrhea, nausea, cramping, headaches and in extreme cases organ failure and death http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com,  http://www.livestrong.com/article/523041-the-risks-of-eating-raw-potatoes.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Waste to wattage

Imagine if you didn’t cringe every time your power bill arrived. And if the contents of your bin was the solution to cheap and affordable electricity! Is this science fiction? One far sighted resident of Ridgehaven wrote to the Tea Tree Gully and Campbelltown councils because he believed that converting rubbish into electricity was not only possible but cost effective.  Mr. J. Sagen’s futuristic plan to burn general refuse in specially designed furnaces at Torrens Island power station, made front page news in the the Leader Messenger on 23 January, 1974.

waste power

Forty-three years later, on 1 March 2017 the Eastern Courier Messenger http://www.adelaidenow.com.au reported on the proposed construction of a $300 million plant in South Australia, where household rubbish would be converted to electricity. Recycling company Integrated Waste Service approached six of Adelaide’s councils, including Norwood, Payneham and St Peters, Unley and Burnside with a view to  purchasing their rubbish. This new incentive could lead to an alternative, reliable energy option for our state.

Peter Dyson, the managing director of the Kwinana Waste to Energy plant, which will begin operating in Perth in 2020, stated that one wheelie bin of rubbish could produce up to 20 per cent of a household’s weekly power needs.

480 plants across Europe generate electricity by burning combustible, non-recyclable residential and industrial waste. The most common way of generating electricity from rubbish is by burning solid waste, which would normally go to landfill. Garbage is incinerated, transforming chemical energy into thermal energy at temperatures of up to 1093 Celsius. The heat then makes steam, which drives a turbine and produces electricity that feeds into the grid. Waste conversion facilities must meet strict guidelines, in order to filter emissions and capture pollutants such as dioxin, from being released into the air. Harmful methane gas is produced when waste decays which contributes to global warming. It can also be used as fuel.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

The naming of cats is a difficult matter

Before the inception of the Facebook lost pets page, many people would take out a classified advertisement in a newspaper. Devoted cat owner Mrs Penning did more than that.  Mrs Penning contacted the Leader Messenger who ran a short article on page 4 of the edition dated 5 March, 1969.  This was probably so her appeal to find her missing cat Pookie-Pookie would be clearly visible to the majority of readers.  Let’s hope that Mrs Penning and her little cat man were reunited.

Pet cat missing Pookie

Babies’ names change with the times and apparently so do the names we give our pets. ‘Bow Wow Meow Pet Names’, which is an online supplier of personalised identification tags, lists the following as being the most frequently ordered names for cats during 2016:   Charlie, Oscar, Leo, Max, Ollie, Milo, Toby, Jasper, Shadow, Simba, Coco, Bella, Luna, Molly, Coco, Lily, Daisy, Lucy, Lulu and Millie, http://www.bowwow.com.au

When naming pets, owners can be influenced by popular culture. For example, lion cub Simba from the Lion King, Milo the kitten from Milo and Otis, Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter or Luna the black cat from the Japanese Manga series Sailor Moon.  People also choose names which are based on a cat’s appearance, their colour and markings, such as Tiger or Leo. For those who want something a little different, you could name your cat Mr Darcy, Pumpkin, Kanye, Laksa, Lord Darth Vader, Marakesh, Burger, Mr Schnitzel, or Qantas!

Evidently Pookie-Pookie has not retained its popularity.

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