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’.
For early Australian settlers, communication with the rest of the continent, let alone an overseas destinations, was a long and difficult process.
Letters and news could take months to travel halfway around the world. After the death of Charlotte, Princess of Wales, on 5 November 1817, it wasn’t until 2 April 1818 that New South Wales received the news.
But in 1870 that would all change. The South Australian government agreed to build a telegraph line through the centre of the continent to link a new submarine cable – a communications line under the seabed carrying telecommunications overseas – with the existing telegraph system.
The first pole at the northern end of the line from Darwin to Port Augusta was planted on 15 September 1870.
The Overland Telegraph Line crossed 3200km through mountains, flood plains and desert.
It was one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 19th century.
The project was given to the South Australian Superintendent of Telegraphs, Charles Todd.
With only 18 months and a budget of £128,000 ($2,900,000 in 2010 terms) to complete the line, he divided construction into three sections – southern, central and northern.
The telegraph line was made from 36,000 posts, pins and insulators; almost 3000km of galvanised telegraph wire.
The materials were transported to the workers by bullocks and horse drawn wagons.
Afghan cameleers were also recruited to carry food and supplies to workers along the central and southern sections, giving rise to the name of the famous Ghan train line from Adelaide to Darwin.
However, construction was far from smooth says historian Stuart Traynor.
“The biggest obstacle that Charles Todd faced was that he really had very little idea about the terrain on which the line was to be built,” says Stuart.
“No white men had travelled along the proposed route since explorer John McDouall Stuart’s epic crossing of the continent in 1862.
Normally on a project of this type he would have sent surveyors to map out the route, but due to the 18-month time frame this was not possible.
So he sent ahead (explorer) John Ross to check the terrain, but he was only a little ahead of the construction team.”
Photo from the Advertiser. Rundle Street at Christmas in 1957. Cars and people and buses, trucks and bikes.
In 1976, then Premier Don Dunstan officially opened Rundle Mall as a pedestrian only thoroughfare from King William to Pulteney Street and Adelaide and (although there is some debate surrounding this), became home to Australia’s first pedestrian mall.
Rundle Street was named after John Rundle who was a member of the British House of Commons and one of the original directors of the South Australian Company.
The street was named on 23 May 1837, but I understand it was never meant to be Adelaide’s main thoroughfare.
When Colonel William Light laid out his plans for the Adelaide square mile, the wider streets around Victoria Square were to be the centre of the city.
However the land in that part of the young city was far more expensive so the traders of those early days bought the cheaper plots at the northern end, around Rundle Street, and set up business there.
By 1972 the narrow Rundle Street had become so congested with traffic and pedestrians it was reduced to a crawl for a good part of the day and so the government decided to turn it into a mall.