South Australia’s local royalty
Would you like to be crowned Miss Home Laundry? Is this ultimate glorification of the mid-century domestic goddess or is it a sad reflection on the role of housewives in this era? It’s neither! On the cover of the edition dated 14 July 1971 The North-East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper recognised pretty Elizabeth Chapman’s impressive fundraising efforts. Representing Radio Rentals store at Tea Tree Plaza, her work assisted charities in South Australia, through a partnership between the appliance retailer and Telethon SA.
It appears that the title of Charity Queen, Miss Home Laundry was related to a sales promotion (probably for white goods), given the nature of Radio Rentals’ business.
Telethon SA is a non-profit organisation that endorses and supports ethical fundraising and it has been a leading sponsor of South Australian charities since 1960. Through support provided by South Australian businesses, Telethon assists charities with advertising and promotion and offers them opportunities to participate in various fully managed fundraising projects and events (https://www.telethon.com.au).
During the 1960s and 1970s Telethon SA was renowned for holding fundraising appeals which were televised from the studios of NWS Channel Nine (hence the name Telethon). These annual appeal shows lasted several hours and they featured celebrities and television personalities. These entertainers performed for free and they asked viewers to donate money, by telephoning a number which appeared on the screen. The Telethon Appeal also showed people how their donations had helped others in the community.
Telethon SA ran the high profile beauty pageant, the Miss Telethon Quest. In the newspaper photo above, Miss Sue Dolman, who was named Miss Telethon in 1971, has presented Elizabeth Chapman with her winner’s sash. The Miss Telethon Quest was not just about looks. The young women who entered would compete to raise funds. The entrant who raised the most money would be crowned as a charity queen; she did not have to win the overall competition. The winner of Miss Telethon would be expected to be a dedicated and hardworking ambassador for her organisation. Winning Miss Telethon could lead to other opportunities, such as in the entertainment industry or in public relations. Telethon also conducted charity auctions and the House of Hope competition.
Nowadays you probably would have heard of Telethon SA in relation to the annual Home & Land Lottery. Telethon SA describe the Lottery as the cornerstone of its fundraising activities as it has raised more than $28 million for SA charities since its inception in 1977 (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/telethon-sa-rescued-after-closure-fears/8401562).
In February 2017 Telethon SA announced that it may have to close as it could no longer afford to hold the Home & Land Lottery in the current economic climate. The Lottery relied on the donation of a new house and land package by the residential building industry. The State Government land agency Renewal SA had withdrawn its offer of vacant land. So Telethon SA would have been forced to pay for an allotment.
Fortunately for the charities of South Australia, Renewal SA reversed its decision and made the commitment to donate a block of land for the Home & Land Lottery for a period of three years. Rivergum Homes also pledged its support of a house on the land for each of those three years, in conjunction with its South Australian residential building partners. The board of Telethon SA accepted the offers of free houses and land. The Telethon SA Rivergum Home and Land Lottery 2017 raised $1,027,290. Telethon SA continues its good work for our state.