The Mail was founded in 1912 by Clarence Moody. Moody initially set up three newspapers – the Sporting Mail, Saturday Mail and the Mail. The first two titles lasted only two years and five years respectively.
The Mail went into liquidation in late 1914. Ownership passed briefly to George Annells and Frank Stone, and then to Herbert Syme.
In May 1923, News Limited purchased the Mail and moved the newspaper to North Terrace.
By this time the newspaper had developed a strong sporting focus. Results of weekend sporting matches of all types and grades were reported in the Mail.
A particular focus was given to football and horse racing, with many fine sporting photographs and articles being printed. West Torrens footballer and yachtsman Ossie O’Grady became sports writer in 1926 and wrote sometimes controversial sporting feature articles.
In the 1930s Ron Boland began his newspaper career as the horse racing writer, ‘Trafalgar’.
He was later to become editor of the News. Early motoring was another important feature of the newspaper from the 1920s, as was the advent of commercial radio and aviation.
From 1922 under the editorship of George Brickhill, the Mail was a well-presented newspaper with quality reading on a range of topics. No doubt the professionally presented real-estate pages helped fund the improvements.
The much-loved ‘Possum’s pages’ were born in 1921 as ‘the Mail Club’ with letters to ‘Clubmates’ written by ‘Possum’. The page was called ‘Mates own corner’. In 1924 May Gibbs’s gumnut babies, ‘Bib and Bub,’ were the first full-scale comic page in the Mail. They were joined in 1932 by Bancks’s Ginger Meggs.
During the Second World War Lionel Coventry’s ‘Alec the Airman’ joined the pages of the paper. Colour was introduced to the comics at the end of the war. Oswald Pryor was cartoonist for the Mail in 1922-1923, followed by Hal Gye and, in the late 1920s, R. W. Blundell. Harry Longson was cartoonist during the war years.
The Second World War had a major impact on many things, not least on newspaper reporting and production. Although horse racing and other sports were still covered in the pages of the Mail, space was also given to war news and the activities of the armed forces.
During the war the ‘Gossip by Deidre’ page gave way to the less frivolous ‘Diana’s notebook’ with photographs such as ‘Miss Patricia Hubbard at work in her father’s factory’ and other reflections of women’s war effort activities. Even the ‘Suburban acre’ gardening page took on a more serious tone as ‘Weeders digest’.
The paper’s name changed to the SA Sunday Mail on 6th February 1954, and then Sunday Mail in 1955. The original 1912 circulation of 15,000 had risen to 213,000 by 1962.
For its first 60 years the Mail was printed on Saturday nights. Initially two editions were published, with a ‘street’ edition coming out at about 7 pm, followed by a midnight edition which was sold to theatre crowds later in the evening, and distributed throughout the state on Sunday mornings.
The Sunday Mail was first published on a Sunday on 5th November 1972.
In 1924 James Cyril Stobie saw an opportunity to solve South Australia’s problems of limited timber supplies and termite infestations.
An employee of the Adelaide Electricity Supply, Stobie designed a pole made of two steel beams filled with concrete, solving the need for the company to import timber from eastern states.
Application for patent specification for the Stobie pole was made in Australia on 15 July 1924 and in the United Kingdom filed 15 May 1925 by James Stobie and Frederick Wheadon.
The first pole was erected on South Terrace in Adelaide.
Since then poles have been rolled out across the city and state.
“It’s so much a part of the fabric of the cities and the towns in South Australia,” Paul Roberts from SA Power Networks said.
Stobie’s original design remains almost unchanged since its inception 90 years ago, with original holes placed in the concrete to save on overall weight filled in as methods of installing the poles improved.
The poles are primarily found in South Australia, with Hobart, Darwin, Broken Hill and areas of Western Australia’s isolated gold fields also using the poles for power distribution purposes.
Building a Stobie
The SA Power Network Angle Park facility remains the only place to manufacture the poles, with 20 to 40 poles produced each day.
Distribution poles of between 8 and 20 metres are produced in the mainly automated production line, with the 30 metres transmission poles made on an adjoining open air construction yard.
Steel is rolled to taper each end of the poles, with 30 metre finished products weighing up to 18 tonnes.
On the larger poles workers use heat torches and up to 110 tonnes of pressure achieve the bends.
“They cost a little bit more to build, but they last 60, sometimes 70 years in some cases.”
A poll outside of the ABC studios in Collinswood carries the date stamp of 1934, making it 80 years old.
“We’ve got nearly 725,000 poles in South Australia,” Paul said.
Poles are occasionally replaced, with many reconditioned, reinforced and reused.
The Annual Wayzgoose held at Victor Harbor in 1890.
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, generally not finishing until around 10 p.m.
They would gather in the local Pub for a slap up Dinner followed by speeches, readings and musical numbers performed by the tradesmen or boys.
The women or girls from the Office did not attend, until the late 1920s and it was never the same afterwards, so they say…
It slowly developed into the Office Picnic with races, events for the children and of course some boring speeches I have no doubt…
Mary Helen MacKillop (1842-1909), known in life as Mother Mary of the Cross, was born on 15 January 1842 in Fitzroy, Melbourne, the eldest of eight children of Alexander McKillop and his wife Flora, née McDonald.
Her parents had migrated from the Lochaber area in Inverness-shire and married soon after they reached Melbourne. After a prosperous start the family became impoverished.
Mary was educated at private schools but chiefly by her father who had studied for the priesthood at Rome.
To help her family Mary became in turn a shopgirl, a governess, and at Portland a teacher in the Catholic Denominational School and proprietress of a small boarding school for girls.
As she grew to womanhood Mary was probably influenced by an early friend of the family, Father Patrick Geoghegan, and began to yearn for a strictly penitential form of religious life.
Concluding she would have to go to Europe to execute her plan, she placed herself under the direction of Father Julian Tenison-Woods who, as parish priest of Penola in South Australia sometimes visiting Melbourne and Portland, wanted to found a religious society, ‘
The Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart’; they were to live in poverty and dedicate themselves to educating poor children.
With Mary its first member and Superior the society was founded at Penola on 19 March 1866 with the approval of Bishop Laurence Sheil.
By then she was spelling her surname MacKillop. The Sisterhood spread to Adelaide and other parts of South Australia, and increased rapidly in membership but ran into difficulties.
Tenison-Woods had become director of Catholic schools and conflicted with some of the clergy over educational matters.
One priest with influence over the bishop declared publicly he would ruin the director through the Sisterhood.
The result was that Mary was excommunicated by Bishop Sheil on 22 September 1871 for alleged insubordination; most of the schools were closed and the Sisterhood almost disbanded.
The excommunication was removed on 21 February 1872 by order of the bishop nine days before he died.
On 26 June, 1971, The South Australian Hotel in North Terrace closed its doors for the final time, marking the end of an era and bringing to a sad conclusion almost 100 years of Adelaide social and community history.
During the 50th anniversary celebrations of The Beatles’ legendary visit to Adelaide, “The South” – as it was known – was remembered as the place where the famous pop group stayed.
But the iconic hotel has played a much bigger and more colourful role in the history of our city than hosting just that one group of famous visitors.
Photo from the State Library of SA. The South Australian Hotel at the very height of its fame. Photo by Max Dupain, taken in the early 1950s
The story has its beginning in 1879, when a public house was first erected on the site in North Terracce.
It wasn’t long before that original building proved to be inadequate and was demolished to make way for a much larger and more impressive establishment, which opened in 1894 as The South Australian Hotel.
With its proximity to the Adelaide Railway Station, the new hotel did a brisk business, and by 1900 further additions followed, including the three storey verandas.
Soon the hotel boasted 72 rooms with hot and cold running water, seven luxurious suites (each one tastefully decorated), a grand cedar staircase, a magnificent dining room complete with crystal chandeliers and, eventually, air conditioning (a rare luxury in those days) and 24-hour room service.
The original dining room was able to accommodate up to 200 guests and became the centre of Adelaide’s social life. The balconies offered the perfect setting for weddings, afternoon teas and other important social events.
During the 1920s, however, The South’s reputation as the premium hotel in the young city began to fade, its fortunes declining as more modern establishments opened, and gradually over the next few years it fell into a state of some disrepair.
In 1934, the lease was taken over by a very ambitious and determined woman, Louisa O’Brien, who came from a family of hoteliers.
She immediately set about restoring the once grand hotel back to its place as the finest in the city.
Legend has it that on taking control on June 18, Louisa swept in and sacked the entire staff.
Within 48 hours, she had repainted the interior and hired new staff, including Louis (Lewy) Cotton as head waiter.