Bruce Kutcher was born at Kadina under the shade of the Wombat Hotel. He worked for a small print shop before moving to Adelaide and settling in at the Old Guv.
As a jobbing comp, Bruce was well skilled and no job was beyond his talent. He was placed under the watchful eye of Fred Hardwicke, who looked after and stood up for his group of comps.
Bruce loved his cigarettes and was a chain smoker. Some days he had a fag in his mouth, another on the Ludlow and one alight in his frame next to me. He also had a love for a beer and every lunch break was off to the pub.
Even on overtime, during the tea break he was off to the pub. Bruce won a prize in a Cricket Club raffle (3 bottles of sherry). Did he take it home? – well no, as Bruce and I consumed 2 bottles during OT. Boy! was I pissed. On arriving home I said to my wife ‘Hi I’m home’ and promptly passed out – she was not happy.
Bruce was a skilled fisherman – knew every knot in the book and often made up fishing lines for Fred and others. Bruce would take our wooden forme furniture and turn it into amazing ‘floats’ to take to fishing.
Some Saturday mornings Roger Francis, Bruce and myself would go to Outer Harbour to fish. It wasn’t long before Bruce would produce a bottle of grog and the fishing became enjoyable. One morning Bruce hooked a seagull and all hell broke loose.
Bruce was seen limping quite badly one morning on the Jobbing floor. On closer inspection Bruce Lockier informed Bruce that his shoes were on the incorrect foot. Another time Bruce arrived wearing two different brown shoes.
Bruce turned up one day clearly not well. Ron Evans told him to go to the Railways Tavern and have a stout and port wine poured into a glass. Hours later he returned so pissed that Fred ushered him to the bus stop.
Bruce and I used to buy fireworks in November, especially throwdowns, and constantly tossed them at others. Also flower pots, jumping jacks and squibs were tossed under the dunny doors causing mayhem.
Bruce loved the Cricket trips to Melbourne where he could drink constantly and one trip he fell out of the bus head first, missing all the steps.
Moving to Netley was Bruce’s downfall as the bus stop to Netley was close to the Majestic Hotel. He would alight from the bus from Nailsworth and enter the pub for a drink or two.
When he finally arrived at Netley Bert Cotton had sealed the doors, so if the doors did not open, Bruce just turned around and went off home via a pub or two.
In the end Bruce gave up coming to work as the doors were continually locked, his marriage broke up and he spent his final days living with his aged mother, yet Bruce was never sacked, simply taken off the ‘books’.
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.
John was born on 5 May, 1936 in Croydon. He was the last of five children (Olga, Dorothy, Bill and Frank). His father was Head Bird Keeper at the Adelaide Zoo and the family lived in a small cottage in the zoo grounds.
Because he was born in South Australia’s Centenary Year he was given a bank book and two shillings and six pence, that money is sill in a sock underneath his bed.
His first school was St. Cyprians in North Adelaide and after one year he moved to Christ Church Primary School. He spent two years at Adelaide Tech and at the age of 15 was apprenticed as a compositor at the Old Guv.
He was nicknamed “Dingo” by Frank Lock. John spent a number of some years on the Comp floor working with people like Fred Hardwicke, Ron Hamence and Jack Wells.
After he finished his apprenticeship he earned a reputation as a bit of a “tightarse.”
He pursued apprentice Kevin “Dago” Stack-Neale for years for a penny change that he claimed that Dago owed him from the 1950s.
Kevin repaid that penny plus a halfpenny (interest) at the OGL Luncheon on 24 February.
Living at the zoo was a great life and he was never short of friends. He helped his Dad with the bird collection and when a bird died his dad’s taxidermist friend would stuff them and then John would box them up and send them to the Bremen Museum in Germany. The Museum rewarded him with a free Leica camera. He keeps that under his bed as well.
The family were often non paying guests of Wirth’s Circus who pitched their big top near the Morphett Street Bridge.
On one occasion the family were having their evening meal when Lola the Chimpanzee walked in. John’s dad calmly rose from the table and took Lola by the hand back to her enclosure.
Cricket was his favourite sport. He played a few games with Adelaide C grade whose coach at the time was Clarrie Grimmett. He also studied at the Adelaide College of Music and was chosen to perform solo in a concert at the Adelaide Town Hall.
During the performance a side door was opened and the music blew off the stand but John finished without a mistake.
John with good friend Don “The Flash” Woolman frequently met at the 50/50 dances at the Bay Town Hall where Frank Buller’s big band was playing. He travelled by tram to the dance and Don would drive him back to the Zoo in his tiny Austin 7.
At the age of 27, John left the Old Guv and entered the newsagency business. He spent 42 years in the industry.
John’s first newsagency was at North Adelaide which he started in 1963 and then in 1976 moved to McLaren Vale where he built three shops.
In 1967 he met Antonia (Toni) an Italian lady who owed him a whole 20 cents for newspapers.
However, knowing that he would never give up asking for the 20 cents she paid the debt. This gave John the opportunity to ask her for a date.
They were engaged in December and married n 1968. Marrying a Sydney girl was a big plus for the Dingo as it meant holidays in Sydney and not having to pay for accommodation.
He joined Rotary and after completing 25 years was made an honorary life member. He served as President of his Parish Council and as President of the Cardijn College Parents and Friends group.
At the age of 78 while out walking John who was a mad golfer fell resulting in a severe shoulder injury so he joined the Willunga Bowling Club with wife Antonia.
Together they now enjoy cruising around Australia and the South Pacific . They have been to the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Sicily where Antonia visited the graves of some her ancestors.
On the occasion of Dingo’s 80th birthday, daughter Josephine and the entire family spent a memorable weekend at Bungaree Station.
John Dingo Manfield, you are a true Old Guv Legend.
Rob Powell was born at Semaphore on 2 January,1943 to parents Horrie and Del Powell. Horrie who was a required worker during WWII played footy at full back for West Adelaide and South Australia and was a life member of the SANFL.
Rob attended Grange Primary School, Findon High School and the Printing Trades School during his Composing apprenticeship at Bowden Printing. After Bowden’s he moved to Mitchell Press in the City and then to Bird Printers at Port Adelaide.
In 1966, Rob, along with his three brothers went to Darwin and he spent the next four years at the Northern Territory Government Printing Office.
Arriving back in Adelaide he had a short time at G.W. Robinson before being interviewed by George Sparnon for a Jobbing Composing position at the Old Guv.
At Netley, Rob worked in Jobbing, Monotype Keyboard and the Reading Room and like many others before him was told to “slow down” by the print Mafia.
He managed to get involved with the Office Association and the Social Club. Also, he organised a strange train trip to the Barossa Valley, but had much more success with the Kids Christmas parties, Netley Cabarets and Office Picnics.
Rob and an unknown person took up bootlegging with Hamilton Winery and they passed off White Diamond Rum and other cheap spirits as Bacardi and Johnnie Walker at the Cabarets. Good times were shared.
In fitter days he played amateur footy for Henley Footy Club where he was known as “Gus” and umpired in Adelaide and Darwin.
Rob and Wendy have two children, Jayne in Cairns and Ben in Canberra. After ten years at the Guv he and Wendy had another short stint in Darwin and then 20 enjoyable years in Canberra with Rob working in Government Publications.
Rob and Wendy have been back in Adelaide for the past 13 years and do “Meals on Wheels” and like most rich people have had some enjoyable world cruises.
Rob’s good memories of the Guv was the skylarking and shop for banter which took place daily.
The Powell’s one claim to fame was when Wendy,who was an important public servant in Canberra was shoved into shaking the hand of the then Prime Minister little Johnnie Howard. Sadly, a True Story.
Bruce was born on 24 June 1928 to parents John and Lilian Lockier at a Maternity House in Maylands.
His twin sister Nancy was born half an hour before him. Thank goodness she was a twin sister and not a brother.
Bruce began his education at Magill Primary School and later attended Norwood Tech where he gained his Technical Certificate after two years which included subjects in woodwork and sheet metal work.
At 15 years of age Bruce arrived at The Old Guv in May 1943 and started out as a “shit” boy in the Comp Room, sweeping the pavement, filling the wash basins in the ladies rest rooms, filling enamelled jugs with clean water for the overseer and foreman.
On completion of his apprenticeship Bruce worked as a compositor, linotype operator, a Hansard proof reader and at times acted as a clicker.
Bruce played a major role in the decoration of the Old Guv building during the Queen’s Royal Visit in 1956. The Government Printer (Doctor Cack) and Bruce received all the appreciation for doing a great job in decorating the building.
Some say Lew Morrison actually should have been the person to get all the credit as it seems Lew did all the work while Bruce gave orders.
Bruce at work was a practical joker and no one was safe, whether you were a machinist, binder or comp.
I can remember a day on the Jobbing Room floor when Bruce came up to me and asked me what day it was.
I said it was Friday; why? He told me that Des Woods another comp on the Jobbing Room Floor and a devout Catholic had just eaten a meat pie. In those days it was absolute sacrilege to eat meat on a Friday.
When Chippsie Woods came back from lunch; Bruce asked him what day it was. The reply was it is Friday. Bruce came back with what did you have for lunch? A look of horror came over Des’s face.
Bruce then lit a ball of cotton waste soaked in kerosene, put out the flames, with smoke pouring out of the cotton waste and threw it in Des’s composing frame.
Des asked the obvious question of why Bruce would do such a thing. “To drive out the spooks because you ate a meat pie on a Friday”, Bruce replied.
Lew Morrison for his 90th birthday received a special card signed by all his old work mates. Unfortunately, most of the names on the card were deceased.
As President of the Office Association Bruce got rid of smoking in the toilets. Smoking in the toilets was one of the greatest scams that was around. Someone would head off to the toilet with a piece of strawboard under an arm to dissipate the smoke from the cigarette. Office picnics and Children’s Christmas parties improved.
With great shock to all Bruce tendered his resignation in the mid 1960s and left for ‘better things’. He joined the Apple and Pear Board as a Section Organiser. Some say he couldn’t tell an apple from a pear. However Bruce became highly successful in improving the organisation.
I had left the Old Guv and was working for Collies Inks and was on my way back from Melbourne on a flight when the hostess came up to me and told me that a another passenger had requested that I change seats and join him for a drink. It was Bruce Lockier .
Sadly, Bruce’s wife Dulcie passed away from a long illness. Loneliness set in, but Bruce’s life changed when Joan lovingly entered his life and they married.
Bruce you are indeed an Old Guv Legend and rate up there with the best.
This is one of the Best and Funniest True Stories from the Old Guv.
Before he left the Guv in the 1990s after accepting a redundancy package “Bettsy” had a few last words to say to the Old Guv House Magazine.
For those who remember the late Colin Betts in the Comp Room it should not come as any surprise. But, it is very funny.
What have been your Career Highlights whilst working here? Being told by an “arsehole boss” that I would never get anywhere in this place and then waiting and waiting to be retrained in Desktop Publishing.
What are you going to do Next? “Dunno”. I might have stood some chance of getting another job if only I had got that bloody training in Desktop Publishing!
Any special Words of Encouragement to those who are Staying On? “I’m telling you, don’t believe a bloody word they say about getting you retrained in Desktop Publishing”.
Any Special Goodbyes? “NO! I thought that with my vast experience in this place and the printing trade I might have got retrained for Desktop Publishing.
So that “arsehole boss” was right after All?”
Colin was a strange bloke indeed. I remember him telling me about the time he made himself a cheese and onion sandwich.
But, he mistakenly used a daffodil bulb in place of the onion. He was as sick as a dog. Rod Parham