Way back when Wednesdays

Celebrate the season with Pyramid Power

Never mind the Santa hat! Imagine yourself relaxing, after the noise and bustle of the festivities is over, wearing your Pyramid Meditation Hat. The North East Leader printed this advertisement for Experimental Pyramids and Pyramid Mediation Hats on page 37 of the edition dated 20 December 1978.

Pyramid hat

During the mid 1970s people became fascinated with the concept of Pyramid Power. Though not a new idea, various authors such as Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder, Max Toth and Patrick Flanagan wrote books examining the concept that pyramid shapes can focus and generate energy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power.

Pyramid Power Toth         Pyramid Power Flanagan

The design of the Great Cheops Pyramid of Egypt gave rise to the study of Pyramid Power. The construction of the Cheops Pyramid was ordered by the pharoah Khufu (Cheops) during the Fourth Dynasty and completed around 2560 BCE. The Cheops Pyramid is a marvel of engineering and is considered to be the most mathematically perfect structure on Earth. The pyramid is aligned north-south, exactly parallel to the earth’s magnetic axis. The King’s Chamber forms the centre of gravity. Fans of Pyramid Power believe that the other small chambers carved out of the solid rock are recepticles for energy to collect and resonate. In the 1930s Frenchman Antoine Bovis experimented with the idea that small models of pyramids can preserve food. He constructed a scale model of the Cheops pyramid, under which he put organic matter. His work was based on the idea that when locals collected small dead animals which had wandered into the Cheops Pyramid in Egypt, the corpses were mummified, instead of decaying, despite the hot and humid atmosphere, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power

Advocates of Pyramid Power in the 1970s claimed that food kept under a structure designed like the Cheops pyramid kept fresher for longer. The food dehydrated instead of rotting. An intrepid manufacturer produced pyramid shaped canisters designed for better food storage. Even more astonishing was the assertion that razor blades were kept sharp as the pyramid focused the cosmic energy and realigned the crystals in the steel! You could also polish tarnished metal using the power of the pyramid, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PyramidPower

fresher food

Sitting or lying under your pyramid was also supposed to speed up the healing of cuts and burns, lead to better sleep and even improve your sex life.

Sitting under a pyramid

Experimental research claimed that wearing a pyramid shaped hat could help relieve a headache. The pyramid also assisted you with focusing your mind, thereby increasing your ability to learn in the long term. The hat mentioned in the advertisement is not cheap. According to the Reserve Bank Inflation Calculator) you would now need $79.53 to purchase it. Your experimental pyramid would cost $124.29!  One may argue that sitting quietly and meditating is of benefit anyway, even without the hat. During the late 1970s there were even designs for pyramids shaped learning booths in which school students could relax and study, https://futurism.media/what-is-pyramid-power.

There are still people who believe in the properties of pyramids. However it should be noted that there is no scientific evidence to support the concept of Pyramid Power, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_power.
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Way back when, Wednesdays

What every child wants for Christmas

What would your children like for Christmas? Parents start putting toys on layby from the time of the mid-year sales. Or they race around the shops in December looking for the popular and sometimes expensive toys.

Search online and you will discover that a range of toys such as the Slime Factory, the Furreal Roarin Tyler and the Robo Alive lizard are in demand this Christmas. Santa is also stocking up on the cute L.O.L Surprise Dolls, the My Little Pony: My Magical Princess Twilight Sparkle and the Hatchimals. Lego and Star Wars related merchandise are listed as perennial favourites.

Would you like to encourage your children to play outdoors? Perhaps Santa could bring each of them a pair of stilts and they could have races! The North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper printed this advertisement for Gimpy brand stilts on page 17 of the edition dated 7 December 1966.

Stilts

In a simpler time, kids probably had a lot of fun playing with their stilts over the summer holidays. Library staff who were children in the 1960s reflected on some of the Christmas presents that they received. Most parents never bought anything on credit. Only store-cards (which could be used exclusively in the issuing store) were available in Australia up until 1974 https://www.finder.com.au/credit-card-history and people usually could not afford to buy expensive gifts. Some toys were homemade. Intrepid woodworkers made and sold playsets such as a wooden hand-painted service station for toy cars. One member of our staff remembers that her uncle made her some furniture for her doll, a small wardrobe and a bassinet. Or you might gladly receive homemade clothes for your dolls. And you would have been very fortunate to receive several presents in your Santa Sack.

8f1559f2e1ec35a4997d251d3525845b--tonka-trucks-tonka-toys

Recollections of commercially made Christmas gifts include skipping ropes, Tonka toys, little cars, minature toy household appliances including a sewing machine and washing machine. There was also a treasured spinning top!

 

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A metal spinning top

 

little washing machine

Mini washing machine that really worked!

Childlike dolls, Mattel’s Barbie and Skipper and Sindy manufactured by English company Pedigree were on many girls’ wish lists. Board games such as snakes and ladders and quoits were popular gifts as they encouraged family interaction.

Snakes and Ladders

Skipper

Or you could have lots of fun with dress up outfits like cowgirl and cowboy costumes or a nurse’s uniform (perhaps you were lucky enough to also own a toy medical kit with a stethoscope).

Most toys manufactured in this era relied on children using their imaginations or being physically active to have fun, rather than the use of technological components.

You can still buy stilts for kids online. The design is still basically the same. Modern stilts are made from metal or plastic and the height can be adjusted to fit the child. Some can also be strapped on. Parents might be concerned about accidents and broken bones. Unlike in 1966, it is now recommended that children wear safety gear when using stilts, such as elbow and knee pads and a helmet.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Married at the Mall

Organising a wedding is usually expensive. It can be difficult to find a venue and you will probably need to book months ahead. Have you considered getting married at Tea Tree Plaza? One Adelaide couple did! During July 1975 the North East Leader Messenger reported on the ‘Wedding of the Year’ that took place at Tea Tree Plaza.

On page 25 of the edition dated 9 July, 1975 the North East Leader featured the wedding celebration of Marcella Denengelse and Robert Scott. The ceremony took place on Friday 4 July in the mall on the upper level of Tea Tree Plaza. The couple had won the Wedding of the Year competition and all of their expenses were paid for by the shopping centre. Adelaide socialite and television personality Jaye Walton was invited to attend Marcella as her matron of honour and Adelaide journalist Paul Makin acted as Robert’s best man.

Wedding ceremony 2

The Wedding of the Year competition was essentially a sales promotion, designed to advertise the wares of businesses at Tea Tree Plaza and bring people into the shopping centre. In the week before the wedding on 2 July, Tea Tree Plaza and the North East Leader focused on the local traders who would be donating products and services for Marcella and Robert’s wedding.

Wedding prducts from local traders

A large number of businesses, many of which were situated at Tea Tree Plaza, sponsored the competition.

Adelaide icon Balfours used to have bakeries and tea rooms around Adelaide. Balfours at Tea Tree Plaza supplied the two tier wedding cake, which the public were invited to share after the wedding ceremony.

Orlando wines, from Rowland Flat in the Barossa Valley, provided tastings of the popular sparkling Orlando Starwine. Started by the Gramp family, Orlando Wines is now owned by an international company controlled by Pinot Ricard but it is more commonly known by its brand Jacob’s Creek.

 

nla.int-ex8-s33-item Starwine

Wytt Morro Sparkling Starwine, colour print on paper: 11.4 x 10.1cm, South Australiana Collections, State Library of South Australia

Joseph’s Gallery of Beauty dressed the hair of the bride and her attendants. Italian hairdresser Joseph was well known in Adelaide at the time. He owned several salons and had his own regular television segment on Channel 10.

 

More wedding

Marcella and Robert, their attendants and the Mother of the Bride were outfitted by Katies Vogue, John Cook Suit Hire, Myer and Witchery. Who knew that Katies used to sell formal wear and wedding apparel? Katies has now closed. Zamels, which is still in business at Tea Tree Plaza, donated the wedding rings.

Drumminor restaurant held the wedding reception. The historic building which used to house the Drumminor Restaurant on Golden Grove Road, Ridgehaven is now part the Harrison’s Funerals complex. Built in 1843, it was originally the home of Scottish immigrants Robert and Alison Milne. The Milne family lived at Drumminor up until 1937.

 

drumminor_gardens_house

Drumminor Gardens, Harrison Funerals Ridgehaven

 

The couple spent their wedding night at the Town House at 164 Hindley Street. This hotel and conference centre still operates as the Adelaide Rockford. You may not think that it looks particularly glamourous but remember that in 1975 Adelaide did not yet have prestigious hotels such as the Hilton International and the Stamford Plaza.

 

 

Rockford Adelaide

Adelaide Rockford, present day

 

This competition proved so popular that Tea Tree Plaza planned to hold it again in 1976. Notice how the advertisement states that the organisers are looking for a young couple. The Equal Opportunity Act of 1984 (SA) would now make it unlawful to publish advertisements that indicate an intention to discriminate according to different criteria, including age http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au/eo-you/what-discrimination/places-discrimination/advertising .

 

Wedding of the Year competition

North East Leader, page 15, 2 July, 1975

 

In more recent times, a British couple decided to get married at their local supermarket where they had visited the in-store café on their first date.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Extra duties at work

When you look at the issues of the North East Leader Messenger from the first two months of 1972, they are filled with photographs of fresh-faced children of all ages enjoying the summer heat, usually swimming at the local pools, or taking part in fun activities at Tea Tree Plaza. Looking at these images can evoke fond memories of your childhood. You might reflect that kids never change, no matter the era in which they grow up.

Fortunately some things that were not so wholesome have changed. The North East Leader at this time often pictured photographs of staff at Tea Tree Plaza, wearing some of the outfits on sale at different stores. Most of these depict ordinary people modelling dresses or casual wear. They are usually female staff.

On page 20 of the North East Leader dated 16 February 1972, Tea Tree Plaza featured a sales promotion for the big sidewalk sale. In conjunction with Hooper’s Furniture, Sussan advertised ladies nightwear. In the accompanying photograph young sales assistant Wendy Cummings is pictured in an alluring pose, wearing a short nightdress and showing off her legs. Besides her is another set of nightwear. During the 1960s and 1970s Sussan was a major retailer of lingerie and the place to purchase your wedding ‘trousseau’. We cannot know if Wendy volunteered for the photo opportunity or if modelling Sussan’s stock was just part of her job.

Sussan nightdress

Two of my colleagues recall how much sexism they experienced in the workplace during the 1970s. The advertising industry still uses sex appeal to sell products and objectify women. Thankfully today we do not usually see this type of image in the Messenger newspaper, with its focus on family and the community. When you work in the retail industry it is no longer considered acceptable to ask your female staff to promote your shop’s stock by being photographed wearing a little nightie. You also have the right to say no to such a request.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Special times at the Show

What are your special memories of the Royal Adelaide Show? One of our staff members at the Library was reminiscing about the Show. She mused about how she always loved the fairy dolls on sticks that you could buy there. She proudly displayed her doll in her bedroom.  On the front page of the edition dated 12 September 1973, the North East Leader pictured Anne Marie McArthur from Ridgehaven holding a fairy doll at the Show. Lots of little girls would have been envious. Their mothers also loved these dolls!

Fairy doll

The fairies on sticks were actually Kewpie dolls. They came in various sizes and the large ones were more ornate. These dolls had glitter painted on their heads and they were dressed in pretty colours, amid several layers of net skirt. The doll was fixed to a piece of cane shaped like a shepherd’s crook, so you could hold it easily and then hang it up at home.

70s girl at the Royal Adelaide Show

“In the 1970s and 1980s plastic showbags promoting snacks and lollies competed with showbags for rock groups, celebrities, television programmes and movies” http://www.nma.gov.au/kspace/teachers/adelaide/learning/showbags

 

Today Adelaide hosts a myriad of activities for children but in 1973 when your parents took you to the Royal Adelaide Show it really was a special experience. Families were larger so you were fortunate if you could afford to go every year. Children would save up their pocket money for months in advance, in anticipation of purchasing lots of showbags. With the school year having three terms, the Show also fell during the September school holidays.

Some older people might even remember the days when companies gave out free sample bags at the Show to promote their products, which contained mainly food samples. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-31/six-things-you-should-know-about-the-royal-adelaide-show/8859878 This would have been a boon for poorer kids, especially during the hardship of the Great Depression. These bags were the forerunners of our modern showbags.

Some things have remained the same at the Show. It is still primarily an agricultural event. The price, contents and design of showbags have changed over time but there are still so many to choose from. The ferris wheel and dodgem cars have been refitted and showgoers can play games such as the iconic laughing clowns. However on the map of the Wayville showgrounds Sideshow Alley is now called the Carnival. Patrons can purchase many new types of food are now available at the Showground but you can still enjoy Fairy Floss, waffles, hot cinnamon donuts and even the Dagwood dog.

Some things have gone. The art-deco edifice Centennial Hall was built in 1936 and closed in 2005 because it became structurally unsafe. It has been replaced by the modern Goyder Pavilion. I think that the horticultural displays have downsized but there are still competitions for needlecraft and cookery.

The Mad Mouse, which was the original roller coaster at the Royal Adelaide Show, ceased operation in 2007 and Kewpie fairy dolls have been replaced by toys depicting characters from film and television. The days are over where the Commonwealth Bank used to produce plastic elephant money boxes with the slogan “Get with the strength”. You could also get an iron-on transfer of Humphrey B. Bear for your t-shirt in a showbag from the Savings Bank of South Australia. I used to get excited about visiting the RSPCA shop in the Grandstand complex to build up my collection of Britains brand farm animals. And everyone knew that it was worth getting the Golden Eggs showbag from the egg board – not only for the recipes but because inside the bag you would find a cute molded plastic eggcup with shoes and stockings on its legs.

Eggcups final

Eggs with legs

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Blue jeans with bling – Eighties style

Was this the height of fashion or just a 1980s fashion which is still in dubious taste?

On page 13 of the edition dated 23 February 1983, the North East Leader ran a feature on diamond studded jeans which were reported as trending in Paris.  In her column titled In Style Jaye Walton wrote about a collaboration between diamond merchant Bruce Portner, Californian jeans label Tres Jolie and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to mass produce diamond trimmed jeans.

Jeans with bling final.jpg

Former model Jaye Walton was the original host and producer of the popular Adelaide television show Touch of Elegance. Touch of Elegance screened at 11am on SAS Channel 10, from 1968 until 1980. Having a woman as the principle host was a first for Adelaide television.  The show featured fashion and lifestyle segments, musical performances and advertorials. Jaye Walton interviewed a series of special guests, including celebrities and promoted local events.  Some people thought Jaye Walton was stylish and sophisticated but others considered her to be a snob who was out of touch with the average income earner.  She is reputed to have said “If you want to be truly successful, you need to have half the audience loving you and the other half hating you, then they all talk about you”   This strategy probably worked for her. Jaye Walton died in March this year, aged 88.

Hopefully wearing these fancy jeans did not usually result in being grabbed around the waist by strange men.  North East Leader certainly needed more accurate type-setting, printing the not-so-elegant phrase “proving that denims can be a girl’s brest friend”.  “Shrila Chan” is probably well-known Hong Kong actress Sheila Chan. Sheila Chan has appeared in numerous films and on television and she was elected First Runner-up and Miss Photogenic of the 1988 Miss Hong Kong Beauty Pageant.

Though not a mainstream fashion item, it is still possible to buy rhinestone studded jeans online.  However, wearing upmarket denim adorned with precious gems does not seem to have been a lasting trend.  If you could afford to buy the jeans you had to be prepared for the cost of regularly dry cleaning them too.

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