‘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’?


Popeye, Wingy & The Lolly Box Disaster.

Cath Wing and Frank “Popeye” Nelson (Association President) decided that on the Monday before payday they would send cardboard boxes with sample lollies and chocolates to each floor of the Office.
The goodies would be discounted and by putting your name down on the list you could order what you wanted and pay for them on pay day!
When the samples got to the Gazette Staff, Alan Orrock grabbed a Violet Crumble and smashed it with his rubber mallet. Abo found a way to get the jelly beans out of the packet without opening it. He always left a few jelly beans in the packet.
Rags and Macca took the Cherry Ripe out to the Back Press, put it on the rollers and made it magically 18 inches long. Dago just grabbed a chocolate bar opened it and ate it, leaving the wrapper in the box.
Everything went back empty, busted or eaten to Wingy and she went “Nuts”.
Popeye said to Cath, “From now on the Comp Room are barred from the discount lollies.
After about two months Popeye relented and said to Wingy, “I think they have learnt their lesson.”
The following Monday the comps got a Lolly Box and Order form.
When it reached the Gazette Staff, Allan Orrock busted up the Violet Crumble, Abo ate the Jelly beans, You know the Rest…
That was the last of the cheap discounted Lollies and Chocolates experiment. Popeye resigned as Association President and life went back to normal.

‘Beware – Snake Gully Sluggers,’

In every work place there is always a group of Renegades who bond in their bastardry.
This is the story of one such group at the Government Printer in the 1970s, known as the Snake Gully Sluggers.
John “Rags” Elsdon. A follower and distinguished by his inability to tell Jokes. Could have been a great footballer so he says, but the piss and fags got him. Carpet Snake.
Rod “Sam” Lawn. Also known as “The Ape”. This bloke was dry, sarcastic and a real mystery at times. For a short period of his life he was known as “The Wild One.” Apologies to J.O.K. Boa Constrictor.
Jimmy “Jock” Tennant. A Wild and lovely Alcoholic Scotsman. Unfortunately, suffered a very serious heart condition from birth that sadly cut his Life short. Toy Snake
Albert Wellman. The Boss and Clicker, evidently a Champion Rower when he was young. Liked the North Adelaide Wine Bar, but a very bad person to get on the wrong side of. Rock Python.
Warren “ABO” Pietsch. Could have fought for either the British or French armies at The Battle of Waterloo. The best Cannon and Bullet Loader bar none. Elephantic memory with a “pay back” mentality. Rattlesnake!
Lew “Banjo” Murray. Apprentice Bastard back then, but hit his straps in the 1980s and became “a real bastard”. Puff Adder.
John “Macca” McInerney. An inspiration to the Snakes, sort of their Unofficial King. His wicked brain hatched most of their foul deeds. King Cobra.
It’s a pretty brutal assessment, but they deserve it, they crushed so many people as well as chocolate bars and type gauges…

Ron ‘Snevets’ Stevens & the Wig.

img_6141-900x598_1-scaled500“Snevets” was Ron Steven’s signature when he wrote poems and stories.
It was, of course, Ron’s surname spelt backwards. Ron was yet another 10 pound tourist who joined the Comp Room in the 1950s.
Our Ron fancied himself as a Ladies Man who loved to chat up the young girls who worked at the Guv.
Now poor old Ron was as bald as a badger on top, but his body from the neck down and back was covered in grizzly bear hair.
One morning Ron arrived at work with grey hair on the top of his bald head.
It was a wig, of course. He stood in the Gazette Area waiting for the work bell.
In we all trooped and there was Ron, a huge beam all over his face.
No-one said a word, we just stared at him.”Big Dogs” was the first to speak. “There’s something different about you Ron.”
Ron just smiled and moved his eyes upwards.
Big Dogs continued. “Ron there’s something different about you!”
Ron couldn’t contain himself. “I’ve got hair he cried!” ”And so you have,” said the Dog and with that we all gathered round Ron touching and caressing his wig.
The downside to Ron’s wig was when the temperature got above 90 degrees fahrenheit, a yellow gooey, gluey substance would run down the side of his face.


Old Guv Wayzgoose, Port Elliot., 1894.

Having the Annual Wayzgoose outing at Port Elliot in 1894 would have required quite an effort on the part of the Old Guv workers and bosses back in those times.
They were still working a 48 Hour working week (up until 1927) when it became 44 Hours a week,
I would think that there must have been a deal done on making up time to allow the men and boys to leave early by train on the Saturday morning.
I am sure they would had an absolutely Wonderful day with plenty of tucker, booze, games and no women.
Rod Parham

The Old Guv Wayzgoose, Port Victor 1890.

A Beautiful example of the work that went into the production of the 1890 Wayzgoose Programme.
It is interesting to note that they went to Port Victor which I read as Victor Harbor.

It was their Tenth Wayzgoose with the first Official Wayzgoose being  held at Clarendon in 1881.
The Wayzgoose or Printer’s Picnic was celebrated at the Old Guv in King William Road for quite a number of years.
It was based on an old British custom where the men and boys (generally from the Composing Room) would gather once a year with their Master Printer for an excursion, dinner and a few ales.
They would travel in horse drawn drays to the country town of their choice or travel by steam train to places like Mount Barker, Willunga or Victor Harbor. It was a long day,not finishing until around 10 p.m.
They would gather in the local Pub for a slap up Dinner followed by speeches, readings and games.
The women or girls from the Office did not attend, until the 1920s and it was never the same afterwards, so they say…
Special Thanks to Grantley Hofmeyer in putting this post together.
Rod Parham