‘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’?


Bags Baker and the ElevatorTrick.

To this day I do not know how “Bags” Baker and “Meggsie” Gow performed this trick but it was truly amazing stuff and I always wanted to see a replay.
They would stand, on a table I think, behind the door going from the Typesetting Room towards the kitchen and toilet. They would have pieces of cardboard and they would move these pieces of cardboard so that you would swear you watching two people going up in an elevator.

It was fantastic, even if I was probably half pissed. But if you tried to get Bags to repeat it, he just dug his heels in. “Be thankful you have seen it”, he would say. Ginger Meggs just apologised.
I remember well another night after the numbers had lessened with the departure of many of the staff to Riverside.
We had finished our cookathon and were having a few ambers in the little back room off the typesetting which became the reading room after “JB” decided readers were no longer necessary.
We used to put a metal rubbish bin against the door so if the security guard ventured in we would hear the door bang against it and we would quickly hide the evidence.
This particular evening we heard no noise and next thing there was the security guard standing at the door. Well I sh*t myself but “Mork” cool as you like said, “Do you want a drink mate?” Next minute the security guard said he best be off then and he did, never heard another thing about it.
Two months later the same security guard cut his fingers off doing a “foreignee” down in the SACON workshops.
They were great nights but not to be associated with those naughty card nights which preceded SOMEONE becoming COMP ROOM OVERSEER.

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.


‘I still Walk to Work, Frank.’

001-scaled696-1-scaled5001A Wonderful Bloke was Takis …
Takis Lavithis lived in a cottage in Halifax Street in the City. He would walk to work at The Old Guv everyday.
When the news came that we would moving to Netley in about two years, Takis had to put up with Frank Lock’s jibe, “You won’t be walking to Netley, Takis.”
Sometimes Takis would answer, “You never know, Frunk”.
When the first day at Netley arrived, Frank sidled up to Takis and said, “How was your Bus Ride?”
Takis just smiled and said, “I bought a house in Richmond and I walked to work today Frunk!”
It shut Frank up quick smart.

‘Machine Minders’ or just plain Printers 1965 & 2010.

Left to Right: Ian Russell (Print Apprentice), Barry O’Donnell (Print Apprentice), the late Alec McDougall (Letterpress Printer) and at the back (obscured) is Dennis Duthie (Print Apprentice). Photo was probably taken in the mid 1960s.
Picture Courtesy of Ian Russell.

From Left to Right: Bob Downs (Printer), Rod Parham (Hand Compositor), Barry O’Donnell (Printer) & Ian Russell (Printer). Photo taken at the Old Guv Reunion in 2010 at the Buckingham Arms Hotel.
Picture courtesy of Mark Noble.

Pictured: Dennis Duthie as we know him.

“Wheels” Part 2.

11. Don Woolman, Austin Wasp, The Flash bought his first car for 100 pounds in 1951 by asking the previous owner whether he wanted to sell it when it was parked out the front of the Old Guv in King William Road. Originally it was red but he rolled it at Murry Bridge and painted it a two tone blue. After four years he sold it to Des Woods, a jobbing comp, for 90 pounds.
12. Cyril Barson, EH Holden, Cyril couldn’t park for nuts. So comp apprentices did it for him. Car may still be running and owned by Cyril’s grandson Paul.
13. John Buckby, (OPC’s) Other Peoples Cars, Got a regular lift in with Paul Raby except when Paul got a flat tyre Bucko would go home with anyonewho was handy leaving Raby in the shit.
14. Nick Penn (again), The God Mobile, came to work with three “born again” Printers. Singing along in the car with his holy brothers to the sounds of their recorded Revivalist Meetings.
14. Rod (Sam) Lawn, Morris Minor, drove his poor little Noddy car for years, years and years.
15. Peter Humby, The Humble Pushbike, his first million dollars was made collecting cans and bottles on his way to work.

16. Alex Riley, Jaguar X Type, This horrible bastard always went out of his way to make his workmates feel inferior by dragging them off at the traffic lights in his father’s X Type Jag. The picture above shows The Toff and car in the driveway of Government House, Adelaide.
Original article written by the late Warren Pietsch