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

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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.

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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

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

You spin me round

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On page 18 of the edition date 18 July 1973, The Leader Messenger advertised a sales promotion for the Hills Hoist at Myer in its feature Tea Tree Plaza News.  Did you know that not only was the Hills Hoist a revolutionary invention but that it was created in Adelaide?

When her washing kept falling off a propped up clothes line, motor mechanic Lance Hill created the first ‘Hill’s Hoist’ for his wife. He built it in the back yard of his home on Bevington Road, Glenunga in 1945.  Mr Hills was not the first person to come up with the idea of a rotary clothesline.  Gilbert Toyne of Geelong had patented four rotary clothes hoists designs between 1911 and 1946.  In 1925 Toyne had designed a rotary hoist with and enclosed crown and a wheel and pinyon winding mechanism.

On Lance Hill’s original structure metal ribs spread out from a central steel pole. He strung rust-proof wire between the ribs, on which the clothes could hang. Lance Hill invented a way to raise and lower the height of the hoist and he attached a handle to make this happen. You could hang the washing on the lines with the hoist set to your height, then wind it up higher. Combined with the rotating square structure, this feature allows your washing to dry more effectively in the wind.  His design was so successful that Hill’s neighbours started putting in orders and he happily manufactured the hoists from scrap metal in his shed workshop.

In 1946 Lance Hill and his brother-in-law, Harold Ling, established the Hills business in Glen Osmond.  They bought some army surplus trucks to make deliveries. Lance and Harold opened a factory at Edwardstown to manufacture steel tubing in order to create a quality product at a reasonable price. Demand was high, even though the hoist sold for 11 pounds, which in 1948 was twice the weekly wage. Hills then expanded its operation to include the manufacture of other laundry products. Lance Hill was awarded a patent for his Hills Hoist in 1956. Renamed Hills Industries in 1958, the company exports its range of clothes lines around the world. The Hills Hoist is listed as a National Treasure by the National Library of Australia.

In recent times, with the rise in construction of medium density housing in Adelaide, such as townhouses, there is usually only room for a pull-out clothes line. Let’s hope that we will continue to see the Hills Hoist as an iconic fixture in the Australian back yard.

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Way back when, Wednesdays

women at TTPOn face value

On page 18 of the edition dated 1 August,1973, The Leader Messenger interviewed two women for their feature ‘Tea Tree Plaza news’. Fay McGilvray was in charge of three departments at Myer and Paula Darby was employed as the Promotions Coordinator at Tea Tree Plaza.

The article was entitled ‘Attractive women who work at TTP’. Reading this title might give you a chuckle but then you would cringe and reflect on the sexism of the past. Were these ladies considered attractive just because of their physical appearance, because they were successful, or was it a combination of both? How did the Messenger Press select the women featured? Did they approach Centre Management at Tea Tree Plaza to ask if any female employees were interested in taking part or just walk around the shops looking for potential ‘talent’?

In 1973 the Women’s Movement was active in Australia. Internationally, large numbers of women campaigned for change and an end to discrimination. Some women strove to get an education and forge a career, when the workplace was still dominated by men in senior roles. Women were paid a lot less than men. Many women became homemakers once they married and had a child. Germaine Greer’s monumental book ‘The Female Eunuch’, which was published in 1970, encouraged women to embrace their sexuality and to not hate themselves. But this is different to being portrayed as a sex object. One of my colleagues once remarked that in the 70s sexism was rife “You were just a piece of meat at work.” Note that both Fay and Paula were photographed in poses which we could describe as alluring. They are not standing tall and proud.

Whatever the intention of the journalist, in modern times you would not usually read about women in business described as attractive. Nevertheless, based on the experience of another of our staff members who has worked as a newspaper journalist in Queensland, the media is still focused on appearance, because that is supposedly what readers want. Newspaper picture editors were invariably male and they would only select photographs of attractive girls and women for publication.

We still have much to achieve.

 

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Do I have to go back?

On page 13 of the edition dated 30 January, 1974, the Leader Messenger published a large advertisement, which used humour to tell readers that you could buy everything that you needed to start the new school year from Tea Tree Plaza. Of course the advertisement is targeted at parents but it features a glum boy sulking about the prospect of being ‘institutionalised’ once again. He just has to face up to reality and look at what school supplies he needs to survive the experience. Modern ‘Back to School’ themed advertisements depict enthusiastic girls and boys heading off to school or enjoying themselves while learning in the classroom. Companies also run associated marketing campaigns which aim to entice parents and children to buy their products so they can receive bonuses such as free school name labels, books or lunch packs.
Look below and you will note the amazing transformation in your child’s demeanour, once they are outfitted with new uniforms and stationery, purchased during your shopping trip to Tea Tree Plaza.
back-to-school
Is school more fun than it used to be? Going back at the start of term 1 in 1974 usually meant spending long days in a hot classroom without even a fan. Maybe the school curriculum and teaching methods have changed to become more stimulating for students. Or perhaps kids used to be reluctant to return to school, just because they got used to spending a long summer break simply enjoying life, seventies style. Before the implementation of four terms during the school year, the school holidays ended shortly before Christmas and extended into February. Plenty of time to visit your friends, ride your bike around the neighbourhood, spend the day at your local pool or simply run around under the sprinkler in your back yard!
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Way back when, Wednesdays

Holiday fun with ‘Cubing’

Before the current system of having four terms during the school year was implemented, the long summer holiday break used to extend into February.   On Wednesday 3 February, 1982, the Leader Messenger pictured 9 year old Jarrod Young attempting to solve the Rubik cube puzzle, when he attended a school holiday program held at Tea Tree Plaza. This would have been a very popular event.

jarrod-cube

Anybody born into Generation X will remember the Rubik’s Cube! You just had to have one.  The objective of the Rubik’s Cube puzzle is to rotate the 26 brightly coloured smaller cubes that make up the larger structure, so that each face of the cube features a different uniform solid colour. Amazingly, there are more than three billion possible combinations to the puzzle.

Architect Ernő Rubik invented his Magic Cube in 1974 in communist Hungary. It was designed as an innovative way to teach his students at the Budapest Academy of Applied Arts and Crafts about 3D objects. Their positive reaction to his creation inspired Rubik to take out a patent.  In conjunction with a state-run company, Rubik began marketing the cube as a puzzle in Europe in 1977. When American company Ideal Toys negotiated with Rubik to produce and market the puzzle, it sold over 4 million cubes in 1980. Cheaper unlicenced copies such as the Wonderful Puzzler also appeared on the market. The Rubik’s Cube became a worldwide obsession and global cultural icon and made Professor Rubik a millionaire at age 36.  He also created spinoff puzzles from his original design such as Rubik’s Race and Rubik’s Revenge. The first international world championship was held in Budapest in 1982.

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The New York Times reported that by June, 1981, the Ideal Toy Company had sold 30 million cubes, accounting for about 25 percent of their sales, which earned $216.8 million for the company. However, by 30 October 1982, sales of the Rubik’s Cube were in decline. New electronic video games were top sellers, as well as the Smurfs and merchandise associated with the movie E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial.   (Rubik’s Cube: A craze ends http://www.nytimes.com/1982/10/30/business/rubik-s-cube-a-craze-ends.html).

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