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 his hands in Vietnam and had not made any bombs that week.
The security guy went ballistic and said that he could have him frog marched out of the airport and made to appear in court the next day.
The Toff clamped up and offered only one word answers from then on.
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 same question again. This time the Toff replied cautiously and said he was a 75 year old pensioner with “disabilities”. The guy said he was only doing his job. The Toff was not amused.
Well f**k me, then this happened.
A couple of years went past and then The Toff received a letter from a Bad Debt agency.
The letter stated 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 letterbox asking the Toff  to call him. This bloke David, said there was a victims of crimes case against the Toff regarding his assault of 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 – we will not pursue you anymore.
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!

Dear Editor, “My Confession.”

I have been the victim of a whispering campaign for the past 44 years.
The Fire
I want my old workmates to know that I didn’t start the Fire in the Electricity Area of the Old Government Printing Office way back in 1970.
BUT, I did alert everyone by running through the Machine Room, screaming like a little girly.
The Fire Brigade put out the fire and at the same time filled up the well outside the basement window with water.
Barry Cagney nearly opened the window, which would have seen him flushed away forever.
Longest Serving Shit Boy
I believe that when I was at the Guv I was the longest serving shit boy ever! Forget the Flash, and dirty David Barber.
For two and a half years I worked very hard at becoming a great shitboy which meant a lot of arse kissing, crawling and never saying “NO!”
I became so famous that people came from all over the world to study me.
Luckily, they never gave me a Spelling Test.
Several times I was asked to be a Guest Lecturer at Adelaide University lecturing on the subject of “What makes a Perfect Shitboy”.
So, it broke my heart that I was wrongly accused of being an arsonist.
The vicious whispering campaign started back then and has haunted me for 44 years.
I do hope you publish this article so people can know the Real Truth.

Reflections by Sojar.

B63015_29jpgscaled10001_zps3ce4a8ffby Sojar,
When I started at the Guv, the tradesmen and apprentices on the Jobbing Floor I can recall were Bruce Lockier, John Buckby, Vic Byford, Charlie Hewett, Jack Van der Schanns, Ted “The Red” Sobolowski, Alex Riley, Jeff Brand, Bruce Kutcher, Jack Wells, Ray Stagg and Dennis Bradley.
In addition there was one of the nicest persons I have ever met Joe Schoberg.
Fred Hardwicke was one of the clickers then and he was the best teacher an apprentice could have ever had, you were there to learn the trade and not have fun.
At the back of the Jobbing Floor there were two guillotine operators, Con Mohr and Ben Bey.
Fred Pretty was in charge of the Monotype keyboard Room and his staff were Ted Burkert, John Hunkin, Alan Swinstead, Paul Korff and Ralph Hannant.
Bill Wallace was in charge of the Mono Casters who comprised, Cecil Dodd, Bert Tinkler, Neil Cross, Peter Reeve, Alex Crawford and later John “Mooster” Bryant.
I remember well the trips over to the smelting room to empty the type boxes. Firstly you had to wait an eternity for the lift driven by Bill McKenzie.
Then you had to hope that Rozario was not in the lift because Rozario was always wanting to kill Bill with the bale hook every time they shared the lift.
On Monday nights the apprentices had to attend Kintore Avenue Trade School. I remember spending several nights having drinks at the old Rundle Hotel along with a counter meal so we could face the likes of teachers Bob Green and Bill Sims.
I recall the daily double cards for the horses that were run on Friday afternoons, by Ted Burkert and Jack Findlay and then later by Dennis Bradley and John Buckby.
Dennis Bradley resigned, got as far as Murray Bridge and lost all his pay on the horses and started back again as if he had never left.
Ken Arnold and Dick Radford were in charge of the Binding Room, a chap called Bert Parsons was one of the Machine Room bosses,
Norm Trigg was in charge of the Despatch, Peter Shepherd was in charge of the Store, assisted by Jean Neumann.
Ken Nancarrow and Bob Herriman ran the Composing Room, along with Jim Hosking, Frank Lock, Albert Wellman and Graham “Yank” Hall.
Ron Hamence was the reader on Hansard and I think Ivan Merrett was the clicker at that time.
Clarrie Stone was the smelting man before Bob Miller and I remember he had green teeth, not surprising when you think what impurities those guys must have inhaled daily. The carpenter then was Len Wallace.
Jim Walker was in charge of the Intertype Room along with the likes of Jack Findlay, Max Gill, Stan Sharman, Roger Radbone, Charlie Ludlow, Don Loose, Brian Hartshorne and the legendary Frank “Popeye” Nelson who could set the Police Gazette, and read a car magazine at the same time. The end result often showed it.
Howard Nilsson and Howard Bateup were the mechanics at the time.
I well remember Dick Stockdale as the head reader and Kay Thorpe. Dick religiously walked from Mile End to and from work every day.
The Jobbing Room reading staff was Ron Lahiff, Colin Haines and Iris Morgan.
Who can forget trying to keep pace with Alf Slender who would park his car down near the Adelaide Oval and walk, more like run, up to the old office in King William Road.
There is the priceless story of Monotype Keyboard operator Paul Korff who was looking out the window and said to his offsider that the car going around the corner looked like his car.
Very observant, and it was his car being stolen.


“Dawn Fraser and Big Pretzel at the City Baths.”


A Photo of the City Baths taken in 1919 (SA Collections).
The Old Government Printing Office was right next to the old City Baths. Both buildings have been gone for years now.
A Slim and Great Aussie Swimmer, Dawn Fraser.
Adelaide entertainer and celebrity Big Pretzel in Vietnam, 1966.
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 Dawn Fraser who was training for the Olympics and sunbathing with her was an equally young “Big Pretzel” singer, dancer and striptease artist.
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) peered down just in time to see his wonderful little car which had just been stolen disappearing around the corner and down King William Road.

Rats, Dags and Duthie.

rat-fink-scaled500Hi, my name is Grant Hofmeyer.
In 1964 I lived at Blackwood and caught the train to work at Leals Printers.
Joining the train at Eden Hills was Barry Cagney (Dags) who caught me reading some of the trade school texts and determined that I might end up being a printer like him.
At some time after that, our Trade School class walked over to the Old Guv to have a go at the 3M over-lay/infrared thing.
It didn’t work too well on that day, but we dutifully brought our make-ready over-lays back to the school and tried to use them. Very limited success.
Barry spotted me while we were at the office, and after that we chatted a bit on the train.
At the end of my apprenticeship, I had a chance association with a friend of my father and in the course of other conversations, he asked me was I going to stay at Leal’s.
I  wanted to move on from bus tickets and Commercial Bank cheques.
He had some association with the GPD through some accounting  job, so I wrote to enquire what the employment situation was.
I was given a time and date to attend for interview.
The interview was a walk around the Machine Room with Allan Morris and there seemed to be a feeling that I’d got the job.
Brief waves and hello’s from Dags and Dennis Duthie (from Trade School) This seemed to be confirmed when a voice said, ‘so how soon can you start’?
What a filthy and shocking mess the place was. I was soon made aware of rat catching competitions and the difficulty of moving formes around on the horrible asphalt floor.
Within a few days, I’m watching Clarrie filling in holes with boiling lead from the smelter.
Crumbling rubble from the walls was swept up every morning and the cloud of dust settled on any available inky surface.

Nice Frank meets Crazy Dennis.


Frank Harding “Mister Nice Guy.”
It was around 1969.
Frank Harding was an English Gentleman who had been brought over from the Old Dart to raise the standard of the comping skills in the Jobbing Room.
Now Frank was a bloke who fainted at the sight of blood and any creepy crawly insect that moved.
So when he spied a moth in his frame, he near shit himself. Hearing all the commotion coming from the frame behind him, Dennis Starr asked Frank what the problem was?


Frank’s shaky finger pointed to the large moth in the corner of his frame. Dennis stared at Frank and said, “Don’t worry, I eat live moths,” and with that he grabbed the moth and calmly put it in his mouth and ate it.
Frank staggered back to his stool and sat down.
Next day we were all paying Dennis 20c each to watch him eat live moths, bugs and frogs. He would put Salt on the frogs and then chomp them up.
For Lunch he would eat sandwiches that looked like they had ants on them. They stank as well.
He once went solo to Western Australia by hitchhiking and got there and back for only ten dollars.
When told by his local council to remove an old wreck of a car from his front lawn he put chicken wire around it, got some chooks and then told the council it was a chook house.
Yes, Dennis Starr was one out of the box and so was Frank Harding.