Is the Toff a Crook or a Bullshit Artist?


Photo: The late Harry “The Horse” Kinder (left) warned me many years ago about what a bastard Alex “The Toff” Riley (right) could be.
Is The Toff a Bomb Maker, Vandal, or Peeping Tom or simply just a bullshit artist?
THE story begins on a visit to the Adelaide Airport when The Toff was pulled aside and asked if he had any objection to being tested for bomb making residue on his clothing.
The Toff sarcastically replied that he was a 90 year old retired “Planner in Charge” who had lost the use of both of his hands in the Korean War and had not made any bombs that week.
The security guy went ballistic and said that he would have him frog marched out of the airport and be made to appear in front of Tony Abbott the very next day.
The Toff clamped up and offered up only one word answers from then on. Luckily the State Governor put in a good word for Alex and he walked free.
Well f**k me, then it happened again.
The very next time The Toff returned to the airport he was pulled aside and asked the very same question again.
This time the Toff replied cautiously and said he was now a 75 year old pensioner with “disabilities” and had fought in Vietnam.
The security guy apologised and said he was only doing his job. The Toff was not amused and muttered under his breath “moron” as he walked away.
Well f**k me, then this happened.
Some months went past and then The Toff received a letter from a Bad Debt agency.
The letter demanded how and when was he going to pay the $2,500 fine for the shop window front in the Riverland town of Berri that he tossed a wheelie bin through on New Year’s Eve.
The Toff was shattered as once again he was being accused of something he did not do.
Really? He phoned the agency and said you have the wrong man as he the Toff was a 80 year old pensioner who could not lift an empty wheelie bin, yet alone throw it through a plate glass window.
The Toff said he could prove that he was at Seaton that night at a New Years Eve  Party for geriatrics, some 150kms away. Fortunately the dumb guy agreed and no more was heard.
Well f**k me, and then this happened.
Some bloke left his business card in the Toff’s “letterbox asking the Toff  to call him. This bloke David, said there was a “victims of crimes” case against the Toff regarding his assault on a woman called Elizabeth.
This time the Toff explained to the bloke that he was a 85 year old pensioner with dementia, a heart problem and had recently undergone brain surgery.
Oh! said the bloke – sorry about that but a number of people have said they think you look like a sexual predator. 
Well f**k me said The Toff, how many more bastards are using my name out there.
by Anonymous in the Interests of Public Safety!

Paddy Hickey, “Rat of Tobruk” and Time Docket Bandit.


The stars of the 1944 Charles Chauvel-directed The Rats of Tobruk (Grant Taylor, Peter Finch and Chips Rafferty).
Paddy Hickey was a Printing Machinist who worked on Miehle 2.
Like a lot of blokes in those days he was a World War II veteran and was one of the original “Rats of Tobruk”.
When he was short of time on his work docket he would make up a job docket number for example G1436 or something similar or any other number he could think of to help make up his time.
Bert Parsons, our Foreman would check our time dockets and quite often he would go over to Paddy and ask him where he got his job number from.
“Buggered if I know”, Paddy would reply and go about his work and wouldn’t miss a beat.
This routine would happen over again and again.
I heard a whisper that there was a very well known and flamboyant Compositor who would pull the same sort of stunt.
His theory was that it would take ages for the office people to discover what he had done.
When I was an apprentice I worked with Paddy Hickey and he was a really great bloke to work with.
 Bob Downs

Jackie Veitch, Overtime and the “Bunnies.”

Jackie Veitch did his apprenticeship at The Old Guv and stayed right up to his retirement in 1973.
He would work out his pay to the cent, and get time off to take up underpayments with the pay office.
He just loved Overtime and was always the first in line for the overtime roster and would get terribly upset if he was forgotten or overlooked.
Jackie would be immaculately dressed every day, do all the press maintenance, wash-ups etc, and seemingly never get a spot of oil, ink or dirt on him.
On the day of his retirement, after 50 plus years of service I arranged for him to be interviewed by a distant relative of mine who was at the time, ‘Features Editor’ for the ‘News’.
Jackie got his picture in the paper and it was revealed that this was not his first job.
He started as a rabbit catchers’ assistant in the West Parklands at age 14 or so.
This fits for me, as my grandparents lived in Thebarton and I remember the ‘rabbito’ coming to sell rabbits out of a little horse drawn cart.
The other big Meihles had a roving population of operators, even down to Paul Raby keeping his hand in on overtime when he was Association Secretary.
Hans Roling did the Allison Ashby wild flowers post cards for the Art Gallery gift shop. Separate blocks for the 4 colours and possibly about 12 to 16 up.
Quite a register and make-ready and register task. In those days the Yellow was put down first and was viewed through a blue glass round window to give some contrast against the white coated card.
In the small offset area when printing electoral rolls they worked at least two shifts. Around 10pm towards midnight, the wood barbecue would be fired up in the courtyard and any amount of broken pallets and other scrap wood helped cook the food.
Reg Hartshorne supervised this area with John Cronin, Ron Mitchell and Geoff Clarke.
Ron Mitchell was called ‘Running Ron’ because he was always looking for something to do other than print and Reg used to call out to him, “Are you running Ron?”
Facing the Miehles near the office was the forme lift.
Most of the small jobbing work did not cause too much problem but some of the bigger book formes ended up with type over the place when the lift hit the bottom and the lock-up wasn’t too flash.
Other big formes came to grief when they were taken out of the lift and put on to the little forme trolley.
People performing this dangerous manoeuvre then came unstuck when the trolley hit the first and successive pot-holes in the floor.
Grant Hofmeyer


Great Shot of the Government Printing Office in Adelaide, 1905.

Image: A Wonderful and detailed picture of the Old Guv supplied by David “Gunna” Copley. Well, at least we know he took something from The Guv when he left. Right Click to see the Image larger.
Seriously though we may take the piss out of Copley for being a flashy, suave bullshit artist who wouldn’t work overtime at the Guv.
Much to Fred Hardwicke and Merv “Nobby” Clark’s disgust.
The reason was simple, apart from annoying Ralph Hannant during working hours, he was out at night playing his drums with DC5 (not Dave Clark) and earning big dough in the old days. He wasn’t bad either.
I call him “Gunna” because he is always going to come to our Old Guv Luncheons but never does.
Perhaps on 18 August, 2017 we might be lucky.
Oh! Your comments on the Photograph would be warmly welcomed.
Rod Parham

The Bastard’s Reward.

ogl_riley_plaque_21_10_12-scaled1000Mr Alex Riley (The Toff) received this wonderfully mounted Celebrity Quoin Key Presentation (created by Mr Grantley Hofmeyer of Darwin) in recognition of his time at the Old Guv being a Miserly, Cruel and Hurtful Bastard.
He was very rude indeed to the late Mr Les Hawes, (a very nice Government Printer).
He physically swamped the good hearted late Mr Bob Miller, Storeman, smelter and cleaner outside the Rex Hotel by driving through a huge pool of dirty water during a rainstorm. 
He was verbally abusive to Mr “Flippin/Floppin” Bert Cotton (our so called security attendant) just for Bert doing his job.
But most importantly he set up a 52 year long feud with the highly respected Brian “Grubby” Hartshorne all over some lousy flame tree leaves he planted outside the Old Guv to get Brian in the shit. It worked. What a Bastard.

“The Long Weight” A Workplace Prank.

img_0101-111One of the Jokes played on unsuspecting first year apprentices was “The Long Weight”.
The lad would usually be sent first to the Machine Room where Brian Long or Reg Francis would sit him down in a chair , then continue on with their work.
After about 20 minutes he would then be sent to the Mailing Room where Bruce Brown or Bob Allen would repeat the process.
Then it would be on to the Bindery where Jack Taylor would sit them down for “The Long Weight”.
By now the apprentice would slowly start to realise that he had been “had”.
He would slink back to his work frame, hoping that the person who had sent him, did not notice how long a weight he had.
But they always did, and then would proceed to bollock the lad very loudly in front of a bunch of leering workmates!
There was one person who was stupid enough to have the highest number of “weights” and that was Ian Grunert (pictured above).
He went to eight different areas before he woke up to the joke.
But then he was a real Dickhead!