Dawn Fraser & Big Pretzel at the Adelaide City Baths.

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A Photo of the Adelaide City Baths taken in 1919 (SA Collections).
The Old Government Printing Office was right next to the old Adelaide City Baths in King William Road.
Both the City Baths and the Old Government Printing Office buildings have been gone for many years now.
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A Slim and Great Aussie Swimmer, Dawn Fraser.
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Adelaide entertainer and celebrity Big Pretzel in Vietnam, 1966.

Photo: The Crazy Horse Striptease Revue, Hindley Street, Adelaide in the 1970s where Big Pretzel danced.
When the weather was hot and it was Ladies and Girls day at the City Baths I am sure there would have been typesetters, comps and binders hanging their leering and sinful heads out of the ground floor window and lusting after the semi nude female talent on display below in the pool.
During the 1950s the centre of attraction was a young and fit Dawn Fraser who was training for the Olympics and was Sunbathing with her mate the equally young “Big Pretzel” a legendary singer, dancer and striptease artist.
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A Photo taken by Paul Korff of the City Baths being pulled down.
It was probably out of one of the Guv’s windows that the late Paul Korff (Monotype Operator) who took the above picture peered down the lane just in time to see his wonderful little car which had just been stolen disappearing around the corner and down King William Road. Gone.
derwombat

Old Guv Slang.

language“wacka” A juicy rumour so important that an instant crowd of workers would gather on hearing the wacka alert whistle. No good ever came out of spreading a “wacka.”
“Like blowflies around a lump of shit” The Dago’s masterly description of a “wacka” crowd gathering and hovering around like eager to hear the latest gossip.
“Clicker” An archaic term used to describe a Leading Hand in the printing trade.
“The Long Weight” A joke played on an unsuspecting new apprentice who was sent off for a long weight. They would be left waiting for bloody ages, until the penny dropped. “Meggsy” Grunert fell for it ten times in a row.
“The Old Guv at KWR” Meaning the Old Government Printing Office in King William Road, Adelaide. It was knocked down by the Government in 1974. One hundred years of history down the drain for a bloody car park. A disgrace!
“The Netley Complex” The new Government Printing Office on Marion Road. Opened in 1974 through to the mid 1990s. Famous as the Home of the largest parquet dance floor in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Things will get better when we get to Monarto” Saying coined by Brian “Grubby” Hartshorne. Monarto was a bush area miles from Adelaide where half the population of Adelaide were to be relocated. It never happened.
“Artful Dodger” one of the young villans from Dickens “Oliver Twist,” also used by the “Flash” to describe a compulsive sickie taker, a work bludger and compo bludger.
“The Fish” Metal bar with a hook eye on the end, it was made of lead, tin and antimony and was fed by a chain into the Intertype typesetting machine’s casting pot. Apart from casting lines of type “The Fish’ were made into the most amazing range of fishing sinkers on the planet. This was illegal of course.
“The Minda Bus” a totally cruel term for anyone born in Adelaide and used to describe the Special Bus from the Adelaide Railway Station to Marion Road where the Old Guv day shift workers could be seen staggering and lurching their way down the steps of the bus.
“The Wayzgoose” Printers’ Picnic where the members of the Old Guv Chapel would travel to a picnic spot or hotel usually miles from Adelaide. Originally for men and boys the ladies and girls became part of the Wayzgoose program in the 1920s. Dinner, speeches, running races and novelty events were the order of the day.
“The Phantom Shitter” This man had the ability to block a loo with ONE continuous loop of poo. A long piece of printing wooden furniture was needed to break up the loop to enable it to be flushed away.
“The Rocket Room” Home of a monstrous vacuum driven delivery system which had a giant clear plastic rocket used to carry Hansard galley proofs across the ceilings of the Netley Complex. You could hear them rattling along a mile away just like the doodle bugs in the London blitz. Our older English comps scattered each time they heard one going over.
“The Log Cabin” A wooden add-on built between the comp room and machine room in the late 1970s. Generally populated with arse crawlers, “yes” men, bullshit artists and no hopers. It was where most of the Bosses were located.
“A Flash in the Pan” Infamous quote from the late 1960s by Brian “Jumbo” James, Govt. Printer and Frank Johnson, Printing Overseer and used by them to describe what they thought of the future of Offset Printing.
“Clang Out” When an old Comp retired his workmates would gather by their work stones and grab any metal object especially type galleys and small chases and proceed to belt the shit out of them creating an avalanche of noise to send our retiring comrade off in a respectful manner. With the advent of cold type technology the “clang outs” became a thing of the past.
“Follow copy out the window” Expression used to describe a comp setting exactly what’s in the copy even when he suspects it is incorrect. Playing it safe!
“Foreignee, buckey, foreign order” Job done done under the lap or under the counter using the company’s paper, ink and materials. Illegal of course, but endemic in the printing trade.
“It wouldn’t happen in Hot Metal” A painful and sad lament offered up by hot metal comps whenever the computer typesetter stuffed up. Eventually, this expression fell by the wayside as the new technology got better and more reliable
Rod Parham

‘The Wacka.’

Caption: “Is that a wacka alert whistle we can hear in the distance?”
In the Language of the Old Guv Printing Office nothing was more important to hear the announcement of a new “Wacka”. Why?
A “wacka” was a juicy rumour so important that an instant crowd of workers would gather on hearing the wacka alert whistle.
Normally they were bullshit and no real good ever came out of spreading a “wacka.”
“Like blowflies gathering around a lump of shit.” That was Kevin “Dago” Stack-Neale’s masterly description of a “wacka crowd” gathering and hovering around eager to hear the latest gossip.
And the English Version goes like this: Whack !– When compositors are gathered together and a tall story is told, or it be doubted that the truth has been told by a speaker, a whack with the composing stick on the frame is given as an indication of unphilosophic doubt.
That is interesting don’t you think?
derwombat

Old Guv Nicknames.

2940869-popeyeHere are just a few that come to mind:

“The Toff, Planner 9 or Cruel Man” – Alex Riley (snob and Jaguar Owner).
“Sputnik” – Edgar Andrews (would only see him once every hour).
“Ankles” – Ron Fletcher (Boss who was three feet lower than a ####).
“The Flash” – Don Woolman (Grubby Hartshorne claims Woolly was the best Government Printer).
“The Bull” – Les Hawes (Grubby Hartshorne claims the Bull was the best Government Printer).
“Jumbo” – Brian James (GP but much better footballer).
“Grubby” – Brian Hartshorne (professional groveller but a lovely man).
“Handbag” – Malcolm Jones (Boss, who needed to be carried).
“Mirrors” – George Sparnon (Boss who was always looking into things).
“The Thief of Baghdad” – Tony Williams (had quick fingers and a slow brain).
“The Thief of Baghdad’s Dad” – Peter Williams (Tony’s Dad, but a very nice man).
“Concord” – Harry van Straalen (Boss who had a very long nose, of course).
“The Garden Gnome” – Rob Davies (small man, would look nice in the front Garden).
“Mushroom” – Don Conigrave (Boss who popped up everywhere).
“Wingnut” – Paul Raby (Ten pound Pom and nice man with big Ears).
“Dr. Cack” – Keith Stevenson, Government Printer (‘orrible man evidently from the old days).
“The Bishop” – Colin Haines (Priestlike and a Saintly fellow. A Perfect description).
“Yank” – Graham Hall (shocking bullshit artist who actually was a Yank).
“Crayfish” – Eric Miles (all arms and legs and a head full of shit).
“Turkey or The Gobbler”- Geoff Murray, Haircut like a chook.
“Fred Lipps” – Lew Morrison (Lew’s Secret Code Name and alter ego).
“Rags” – John Elsdon (as a shit boy bought sanitary napkins instead of headache pills).
“Abo” – Warren Pietsch, threw darts at the dart board as if they were spears.
“Stolen Biro” – Nick Penn (clever one, eh!)
Using the nicknames below could get you punched in the Nose:
“Popeye” – Frank Nelson.
“The Clown” – Cyril Barson.
“The Ape” – Charlie Ludlow.
“Dogs Breath, 1,2 and 3” – take your pick.
And there were heaps of others. Want to help grow the list. Contact me by Email.
derwombat (Rod Parham)

John ‘Whiskey’ Walker.

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The late John ‘Whiskey’ Walker, a hot metal compositor started at the Old Guv in the 1960s.
Canteen lady Kath Wing had a soft spot for John but called him ‘The Cheapskate’.
Every morning John would order a single cut plain bread roll from Kath.
To save money he would take it back to his work frame, make sure no-one was looking and then apply a scraping of Stork margarine and vegemite to the roll and then gobble it down greedily.
Bernie LeFay (an Ancient cheapskate) would regularly bring stale, out of date Choccies to work as gifts for the frugal Whiskey who would throw them in the bin as the ancient Bernie hobbled off.
Once Whiskey, with “friend” John Buckby chased Dennis Bradley, all over the Old Guv trying to get the dough back they had lent Brads before he was to head off to Melbourne. He never paid them.
John loved betting on the ponies along with Harry Kinder, Jack Findlay and Jack Wells.
But he hated trying to listen to a race on the electric wireless under the stairs opposite the Intertype Room.
This was because three young lads, Abo, Meggsie and Danny would stamp up and down on the stairs making it impossible to hear the race.
John’s finest moment was to come at Netley in the mid 1970s when he set up The Walker Cup for Lunch Time Cricket.
It was a highly successful competition providing lots of fun for all those who took part.
One of the highlights was when Reg Handke who won a trophy gave a long, boring acceptance speech and was promptly told to fuck off by the onlookers.
John left the Old Guv in the late 1970s to work at Allen Press, a commercial Printer located at Keswick.
John ‘Whiskey’ Walker, Compositor, Punter, Money Lender and Cheapskate was a gentleman and will always be remembered.
Warren

Hansard Shift 1947.

hansard 1947Don’t forget to right Click to view Image in larger format.
Photo: Ron Hamence, Colin Lindquist and Bob Herriman.
The job of course is Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) and its the Composing Room at King William Road, Adelaide.
This Method of production remained pretty much the same until the late 1970s, early 1980s.

Photo courtesy of Russell Wight (Sojar).