Way back when, Wednesdays

A stylish new school for the modern era

Did you attend Modbury High School? The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper reported on the prospective success of the new Modbury High School on the front page of the edition dated 8 April 1965. This was only the second issue of the North East Leader which had commenced publication on 1 April.

New Modbury High School

Image:  Page 1, North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, 8 April 1965

Modbury High School opened on 9 February 1965 at 62 Pompoota Road, Modbury. Much had changed since Robert Symon Kelly had encouraged the development of and named the little village of Modbury on his farming land in 1857/1858 (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 202-203).  Modbury and it’s adjoining suburbs had grown with sub-divisions opening up for housing. Since 1958 many young couples and families (including immigrants, many from the United Kingdom and Ireland) had moved into the area and by 1965 there a need for a local high school. In 1959 the population of the District of Tea Tree Gully numbered 2,672 living in 765 houses. By 1965 the number of residents had increased to 20,071 people and there were 4,820 dwellings! (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 339-334).

Modbury High School opened on 9 February 1965 at 62 Pompoota Road, Modbury. Much had changed since Robert Symon Kelly had encouraged the development of and named the little village of Modbury on his farming land in 1857/1858 (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 202-203). Modbury and it’s adjoining suburbs had grown with sub-divisions opening up for housing. Since 1958 many young couples and families (including immigrants, many from the United Kingdom and Ireland) had moved into the area and by 1965 there a need for a local high school. In 1959 the population of the District of Tea Tree Gully numbered 2,672 living in 765 houses. By 1965 the number of residents had increased to 20,071 people and there were 4,820 dwellings! (Auhl, Ian, 1976, Settlement to City A History of the District of Tea Tree Gully 1836-1976, 2nd ed. Adelaide: Griffin Press, pages 339-334).

The first principle appointed at Modbury High School was Mr A.G. Strawbridge who held this position until 1975. In 1965 seven teachers were appointed as there were only 99 students enrolled for their first year of high school (now year 8). It seemed that the school curriculum would also grow with its students as children would be able to progress to their second year of high school (now year 9) at Modbury in 1966.

Lessons were taught in what still is the main building at Modbury High School, an E-shaped structure with a façade featuring steel rimmed windows and stone crazy paving. At the time, this style of architecture in the mid-century modernist style was considered stylish and progressive. Modbury residents would have been proud to have such a state-of-the-art school built in their local area. This building picture above had twenty-four classrooms and could accommodate a maximum of 850 students. Students could study traditional disciplines of Mathematics, English, Science, French, Geography, as well as art and craft.

As stated in the article above, in 1965 only three classrooms were in use as well as other facilities such as science laboratories, an art room and a library.

Science class at Modbury High School

Image: Science class. Bottom of page 1, North East Leader a Messenger Newspaper, 8 April 1965

There were also rooms dedicated to the study of crafts and home economics – note the kitchen and laundry rooms were only girls would be taught how to run a household! It would be interesting to learn what activities boys pursued in the craft unit, possibly wood, leather or metalwork. In the following year, students would also be able to undertake office studies in a custom built commercial room.

At the time of this newspaper article, the Modbury primary school was temporarily sharing space and facilities with the high school in the main building.

The North East Leader also printed a photograph depicting local business the Savings Bank of South Australia donating books for Modbury High School’s library on page 2 of the edition dated 10 June 1965.

Books presented to new Modbury High School

Image:  Page 2, North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, 10 June 1965

By 1972 enrollments at Modbury High School had grown to a record number of 1383, so the school expanded out of the main building into transportable unit classrooms. By 1970 Modbury High was able to offer its first matriculation or Leaving Honours class to pupils (now year 12). In 2017 821 students enrolled at Modbury High School. The current principal School is Ms J. Costa (https://www.modburyhs.sa.edu.au/our-school/history).

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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
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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.

 
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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!
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Way back when, Wednesdays

A bigger, better library

In its first incarnation, the Tea Tree Gully Library was a bookmobile. The ‘Municipal Library’ began operating in June 1965. It was a bus that serviced the local community by visiting locations around the local district, Inglewood and Houghton, such as shopping centres, the Council Civic Centre, schools and the Highbury hotel. At this time, Tea Tree Gully had a population of approximately 16,000 residents scattered over an area of 55 square miles. By 1968 the population had increased to 27,000 and Tea Tree Gully had officially been declared a City. The Library’s book stock and the number of borrowers had also increased substantially, making conditions cramped inside the mobile library. Due to its age and poor mechanical condition the bus had to be retired.

Public Library

So the official opening of a new public library made front page news in the North East Leader, a Messenger newspaper on 5 March 1969. The Library was housed in the building which was formerly the Modbury Primary School and headmaster’s cottage, which is now designated as 561 Montague Road, Modbury. It was small compared with our modern library facilities but it had high ceilings, fireplaces and was of solid construction. However, I recall a former Library staff member who worked in the old building shelving books after school commenting that it was cold and that there were mice!

The North East Leader article provides us with some interesting statistics relating to the amount of book stock held by the Library, the number of loans and membership in 1969. Naturally the demand for library services has increased over time. Since 1969 the Tea Tree Gully Library has serviced the community at three other locations. The Library opened on 17 December 1975 at 1020 North East Road, Modbury, adjacent the former Civic Centre and on 28 July 1991 at 98 Smart Road, Modbury, in a joint-use agreement with the Torrens Valley Institute of TAFE. Things have changed quite a bit since the Tea Tree Gully Library moved to our current premises in the Civic Centre at 571 Montague Road in 2003.

As of September 2017 the City of Tea Tree Gully Library has approximately 118,000 items in stock, including not only books and magazines, but also many audiovisual materials which did not exist in 1969. As part of the One Card Library network we can offer our customers infinitely more choice.   On average, the Library issues 75,000 loans per month. We have 28,500 members who have borrowed in the last three years and we enroll around 266 new people per month.

The heritage listed Modbury School House building has been transformed into the Sfera’s 1877 Restaurant which commenced business in 2004. Sfera’s 1877 Restaurant offers fine dining and serves Italian cuisine.

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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

Moonlight flicks in the Valley

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

Valleyline closure

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

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

Valleyline

The Valleyline drive-in theatre

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

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

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

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

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

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