Photo: Rob and Wendy Powell. 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. His first print office was 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 N.T. Government Printing Office. Arriving back in Adelaide he had a short time at Robinson’s before being interviewed by George Sparnon for a Jobbing position at the 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 Comp Room Mafia.
He managed to get involved with the Office Association and the Social Club. He organised a very weird 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 as Bacardi at the Guv Cabarets.
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 a brief 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 quite some time and like most rich people have had some enjoyable world cruises.
In Canberra, Wendy (who was an important public servant in Canberra) had a moment of horror when she was pushed into shaking the hand of the then Prime Minister little Johnnie Howard. Sadly, a True Story.
Rob Powell you are indeed an Old Guv Legend.
The unfortunately named ‘Minda Bus” was late and had just unloaded its cargo of “Incurables” on the wet slippery footpath on the corner of Richmond and Marion Roads.
The rain was belting down on this cold wintry day in the City of Churches.
Then they were off, galloping wildly down the road to the Government Printing Office entrance.
I was waiting to see the Superintendent. I was in the foyer and I could see the main entrance gates!
I looked down at my watch it was getting terribly close to 7.55 AM.
I watched the ungainly mob struggle into the home stretch.
Some with their work bags on their heads and others with sodden copies of that morning’s “Advertiser clutched over their eyes.
They were saturated, wet all the way through, they looked miserable and lonely!
They were within feet of the glass front door entrance. Ah! Warmth and dryness beckoned inside.
I looked at my watch again as the minute hand clicked on to 7.55 A.M.
Then a ghostly white Bert Cotton hand flicked the front door lock shut with a resounding “CLICK!”
The first of the Bus riders slammed into the glass door! What the flippin flop, it was locked!
The others arrived banging on the glass and shaking the door.
“LET US IN,” they cried in unison.
But Bert “the flipping security man” looked up, tapped his watch and said, “You’re late and You All know the Rules.” “Go around to the other entrance”.
And with that flopping Bert walked off!
The last thing I saw was a group of dripping wet angry workers with murder in their eyes chasing Bert down the machine room passage.
WARNING: If you trust your best mate. Think Again.
What if, you had a mate that you worked alongside for years. What if, after work and on the weekend you socialised with that mate and his family.
What if, your mate won a 2 week Pacific cruise in a Lottery draw, and What if, your mate had a stupid and dopey Afghan Hound (remember when they were popular in Oz?).
What if, your mate asked you to look after the dopey Afghan for the 2 weeks they would be away on the cruise. You Agree! Woops! Big Mistake!
What if, after 4 days the Afghan had broken a priceless vase, shit in your bedroom, terrorised the kiddies and pissed in every corner of the house. What if, you couldn’t stand the sight of the dog!
What if, you were so upset you had a lapse in judgement and decided to go “wabbiting”. Take the dog? Bad idea! So you grab your old single shot Lithgow .22 and go “wabbiting with the “Dope.”
AH! The fresh air and what is that I see. A Bunny, A Wabbit, stand still little wabbit. You take careful aim and POP! It falls dead, a neat hole in the head. But it’s not the wabbit because the Afghan lies motionless, it had jumped headlong into the path of the bullet.
The wabbit hops slowly away, wondering “what the fuck.”
You wonder? Hmmm! That Afghan could never have bin huntin’ before… Oh! well! Them’s the breaks! Your mate arrives back from the cruise.
“I am sorry to inform you that your Afghan got under the fence and runned away.” “Heartbreaking, it was….”
The late Warren Pietsch
How many of our former Netley employees could confess to spending many hours at the now demolished DCA club, the current site of IKEA.
Lots I would think.
It was the favourite watering hole for Johnny Bryant (Mooster) for decades and he regularly invited his many friends at the Guv to join him on Friday nights for a long session of booze at cheap prices.
Colin Rawlings used to frequent the DCA club regularly and the end of year deli shows were held there on several occasions.
In the 1980s, members of the Netley Printing Office even fielded teams in their 8-Ball competition on Wednesday nights.
Johnny Bryant played for various teams for years, whilst Mike Pearson, Doug Long and Rob Davies formed the nucleus of a team, which I think was called the DOTOPS. Robert Padfield even played for a period of time.
Rod Stone, Russell Wight, Lewis Murray along with a few relatives played one season as TYPE HIGH and after a change of name to RCs, took out the Division 2 premiership and then defeated the Division 1 Premiers to take the overall title.
They were great nights.
Russell Wight is often reminded of the night that Rhonda Wilson beat him to the delight of everyone there.
Rhonda was a great friend and neighbour of John and Margaret Bryant, and probably only ever won one game in her whole career.
Another highlight was the night Mike Pearson only had to pot an absolute certainty on the BLACK to win the game.
He started to celebrate a little too early so Rod Stone picked up the cue chalk and dropped into his beer just before took his shot.
It worked, Mike missed an unmissable shot, and we went on to win the game. Mike’s wife was livid. Winners are grinners.
An unconfirmed story suggested that the day the demolishers moved in to knock down the old DCA club, they had to prise Johnny Bryant off the stool at the bar.
Their wives got on famously as well. The two families would have barbecues together at each other’s house and celebrate their birthdays when they came around.
John and Robert even played Golf together (poorly) at Kooyonga Golf Course where Robert’s rich Dad had got him a membership.
After years of friendship they decided to go on a holiday together. It was going to be a Driving holiday all over Tasmania for two weeks.
They went in Roberts car, which was a small Four Cylinder Noddy car (I can’t remember the make or model).
Now, there was ample room in the front, but for the tall and lanky John and Suzanne in the back, they were packed in like Sardines in a Can and very, very, uncomfortable
UP and DOWN Tasmania, they went. Robert drove always at the wheel and in the front with his wife Pauline.
In desperation John would drop huge hints to Robert that he and Suzanne could drive for a while but the Padfields ignored them and stayed in the Front the whole trip?
When John got back to work I asked, “How was the Trip?”
“Never Again!” he said. “Never, ever fucking again”.
John started to go downhill physically after that experience, all that travelling cramped up in the back of Robert’s Noddy Car had taken its toll on his back!
The late Warren Pietsch
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’?