Big Den’s Sea Monkeys.

Sea-Monkey-Comic

The sea monkeys you ask?
Back in the 1970s there was a fad for things like pet rocks, long hair, floral shirts, pink flares, platform shoes, glowing oil lava lamps, cheese fondue parties, Daddy Cool, Skyhooks and bloody sea monkeys.
You bought  the sea monkeys in a packet, chucked them in water and then after quite some time they started to turn into some sort of creature.
They were actually brine shimp.
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Big Den loved his pet sea monkeys who swam happily around in their bowl in the work room.
But, there were some extremely jealous and psychotic compositors who hated seeing Big Den enjoying the company of his newfound tiny friends.
Den’s precious little  sea monkeys suffered a shocking and terrible fate, just ask him what those bastards did.
Warren

“A Beery Christmas”.

A Beery Christmas

Photo: Don’t forget to right click to view larger format.
Those Monotype blokes loved their Christmas parties didn’t they, but where is the BEER? and Who put that sign up?
The answer is the Overseer said, “No beer to be shown in photos!” And the weak bastards copped it…
Now you can have lots of fun trying to guess who’s in this photograph apart from Paul Korff (in the front, as always) and standing next to him a grinning Kevin (Danny Kaye) McBride.
See how many you can get…
Photo courtesy of the Korff Family.

“I can see The Old Guv.”

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Photo taken by famous photographer Frank Hurley in 1935.
The construction on the new Parliament House hasn’t started yet, so you have a clear view of the Government Printing Office (on the left and next to the park).
Photo from Keith Conlon’s 5AA Website

Old Guv Machine Room, circa 1910.

Image Capture: Excellent quality photograph of what is believed to be the Machine Room at the Government Printing Office when it was situated in King William Road, Adelaide. Photo taken possibly 1910 or thereabouts.
This Photograph was kindly Supplied by Mr Alex Riley, a wealthy resident of one of Adelaide’s more upper class neighbourhoods situated in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
I might just add that the room looks like a workers’ nightmare for workplace accidents, loss of limbs and possibly death.
derwombat

The Curse of the Chinaman.

At the Old Guv when a certain Overseer had no time for a new tradesman or their work ability, he would go to their Leading hand and try and talk them into agreeing with his opinion of that person.
fumanchuThey should be got rid of or be moved on to another area away from him. This Overseer tried this stunt with me about Ken the Platemaker.
Ken worked on the platemaking machine by the eastern wall doorway.
Whilst poor old Ken wasn’t the fastest platemaker in the Universe, he sure wasn’t the slowest or worst tradesman at the Guv.
Every Thursday, while Ken made the Government Gazette Plates for the Machine Room the Overseer would stand next to me.
“How long does he need to make a couple of plates”, he would growl. “We should piss him off, right Warry?”
My standard answer was “don’t involve me.” “If you want him out, you do it!” “Don’t involve me in your cursed treachery”.
After a few weeks the Overseer stopped saying it to me. But, Ken, the Platemaker was moved on.
The late Warren Pietsch

 

Language from the Old Guv.

“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

Cath, Daphne and Max Gill’s Salad Roll.

freshly-made-roll-veg-177Cath Wing collapsed while making sandwiches in the Old Guv Canteen in King William Road.
Michael “Bulldog” Byrne related this story to me recently at The Bunyip, in Gawler, where we work. He actually witnessed this incident back in the early 1970’s.
While making the lunch orders Cath Wing collapsed on the Canteen floor, clutching her chest. Daphne Gsodam her offsider, was quick to the rescue!
Leaning over Cath did Daphne ask the question that any caring person would ask in those circumstances…
No! it wasn’t, “Are you OK, Cath?” OR
“Shall I call an Ambulance for you Cath?” OR
“Can I help you Cath?” OR any other number of caring questions….
…..Leaning in closer to listen to what could possibly be Cath’s last words.
Daphne asked, “This is real important Cath.” “Does Max Gill have tomato on his Salad Roll?”!
“As Cath laid there clutching her chest, she squeezed out the words, ‘Yes, Daphne, Max does have tomato on his salad roll!’
She Lived.
Stolen Biro

‘Best Buddies.’

 

It is no secret that Don Woolman (Flash) and Brian Hartshorne (Grubby) are Best Buddies.

At a recent Old Guv Luncheon Don agreed to be interviewed by Brian about his time at the Old Guv. 

Grubby – Now Don let me say this, in my opinion you were the best Government Printer we ever had, even better than Les ‘The Bull’ Hawes. Did you enjoy getting the job over the  ‘Mushroom’ ?

Flash – Yes, Brian, I was quite clearly the standout man for the job and it was a real buzz coming back as ‘Top Dog.’

Grubby – Is it true that one of the reasons you left the Old Guv was because you ran down Keith ‘Doctor Cack’ Stevenson with your pushbike in the courtyard?

Flash – Yes, that was one of the reasons. But it was after Stevenson told me that I had a bad attitude and would never make it in the printing trade that I decided to ‘piss off’.

Grubby – Now Don have I ever told you that you were the best Government Printer ever?

Flash – Yes, I believe you have on a number of occasions Brian.

Grubby – Don is it true that you were given a free ticket to the infamous and illegal Cricket Club Games night at the Netley Canteen in 1975?

Flash- Now, you well know Brian that I agreed to this interview only if that that question was never to be asked.

Grubby – Sorry Buddy. Were there any low points of your time as G.P.?

Flash – Yes Buddy, in my first two weeks I survived a poisoning attempt by Bert Cotton..

Then the Public Service employed a chap called ‘Ankles’ from Perth as our new Production Manager. This bloke had a shocking memory and a habit of telling porky pies. His employment application was a fabrication and then when he was supposed to be representing the Guv at the Drupa print conference in Germany he ended up enjoying a tax payer funded holiday in Paris. 

Grubby – I’m just so sorry to hear that Don. But you were still the best Government Printer ever. Have I ever told you that buddy?

Flash – For fuck’s sake Grubs, yes you have. Now, could you kindly ‘piss off’?

Grubby

The Old Guv’s Riflemen circa 1960-1980.

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Above Photo: Graham “Sleepy” Mutrie takes aim
If you have read the October 1971 issue of the Old Guv’s “Topical Points” you could be excused for thinking it was a copy of Australia’s “Guns and Ammo”.
At that time rifle shooting was a big thing at the Guv with a number of “elitist” shooting groups all over the building.
But the group that was run out of the “Intertype Room” was the one that everyone fought to get into.
The leader of that pack was our very own Father Christmas, the late Jack Findlay.
People like David Lascelles, and others who could afford the club fee were also members.
Membership was by invitation only, so how did a Binder make the side.
Well, the late Des Brown must have been a good rifle man because he won the Bonython Trophy for being able to shoot a running man at 300 yards.
Brian “Grubby” Hartshorne won the Pat Garrett Trophy for the Best In the Back Shot at 2 yards.
Grubs was brilliant at that, but then he had a good master in Jack Findlay, of course, who won the Clint Eastwood ‘Make My Day’ Trophy for 20 years running.
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Jack Findlay’s mentor was the late Les “The Bull” Hawes, Government Printer. “A nice man” according to our Grubs.
The Bull trained as a urban sniper by practising on an Old Guv “shitboy” known only as “The Toff” as he reluctantly swept up the flame tree leaves on the King William Road footpath outside of the Old Guv.
Then there is the crazy story of the Machine Room Duck Hunters, that’s to come…
derwombat

‘Allan Orrock was Here’

Foo was here” is an Australian graffiti signature of popular culture, especially known for its use during World War I, but also became popular among Australian schoolchildren of post-war generations.
Foo is shown as a bald-headed man (sometimes depicted with a few hairs) peering over a wall (usually with three fingers from each hand appearing to clutch over the wall as well), with the simple inscription “Foo was here”.
When I started working at the Government Printing Office in July, 1973 I worked on the hot metal Bills staff in the comp room.
I was surrounded by a bunch of crazy comps with nicknames like Abo, Rags, Mac, Dago, Sam, Cyril the Clown, Sleepy and Meggsie.But there was a weird thing I kept noticing and it was a little note stuck on the walls, notice boards, toilet doors and tea urn.
On the note there was a drawing of ‘Foo’ (see above) and underneath the words ‘Allan Orrock was Here’ were printed.
Confused, I went off and spoke to the late Warren Pietsch (Abo) and asked who Allan Orrock was. A big mistake. Warren’s reply was, ‘It’s a joke and he’s a make believe person.
Thirty years pass and I went along to the funeral of the late and great Ron Hamence.
After the service we were standing around chatting when a nicely dressed man approached me and introduced himself as Allan Orrock. I rocked back on my feet and said, ‘But you don’t exist’. ‘Bullshit’ was the reply.
Again, I had been hoodwinked by those bastards in the old comp. room. I soon realised that for a ghost Allan was an interesting and intelligent man.
As I understand Allan left the Guv in the 1960s. But, you are getting your chance to meet him at our Luncheon on Friday, 15 November, 2019 at Westies, commencing 12 Noon.
See you then! Rod