Times Past: The Biggest Change

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Baby Boomer: Australia Suburban

It is hard to pick just one thing that as the biggest change in my lifetime. About the only thing that hasn’t changed is that we still have the same Queen.

One very big change that has occurred in my lifetime is that here in Australia we no longer manufacture goods the way we did when I was a child.

When I was growing up there were numerous factories. In Elizabeth where I lived for several years there were factories making jeans, sewing machines, white goods and of course cars at the Holden plant. I can remember when I was a child that at around four o’clock our normally quiet suburban street would suddenly be full of cars as workers returned home after their shifts at the factory.

An ad from an old Woman’s Day from 1976.

In other suburbs around Adelaide there were more factories, Chrysler, later Mitsubishi with two plants and other factories who supplied them with parts, Actil  made towels and bed linen, Golden Breed made T-shirts and sweatshirts, Perry Engineering, Castalloy, Hills Industries, Simpson, Pope, Kelvinator, Sabco and Clipsal were all names that South Australians knew.

Ford had their factory in Geelong, Victoria and there was another Holden plant at Fisherman’s Bend.  We even had our own toy manufacturers, Cyclops, Metti, Verna to mention a few.

Frigidaire advertisement from an old magazine 1948 so a bit before my day.

Today many of those companies are gone. Cars are no longer manufactured or even assembled in Australia. You can’t buy an Australian made fridge and many other products formerly made here are now made in other countries where labour is cheaper. Even here in Tassie our Blundstone boots are now made overseas.

I think it is very sad. We were proud of our Australian brands and those factories provided employment and a decent wage for many.

Below you can read an article on the closing of the last Holden factory, the one in Elizabeth not far from where I used to live.

Holden made in Australia 1948 – 2017

 

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/motoring/australian-car-manufacturing-reaches-the-end-of-the-line-today-as-holden-closes-elizabeth-factory/news-story/4cf69f8466a9750c690d3775f6487d97

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-11/timeline-holden-history/5150240

Ragtag Daily Prompt: RDP#2 Insight

No Insight at Mattel

In her reply to this prompt Tracy at “Reflections of an Untidy Mind” quoted this unnamed CEO.

“Casual observation and simply having knowledge is not enough. Insight definition takes work; it’s a skill that requires creativity, persistence and deep thinking to craft. The most powerful insights come from rigor and serious analysis to translate large amounts of data into concise and compelling findings. Organizations who want to use insights as the platform for organic growth require a process that is both scalable and repeatable so that it can become routinized within the organization with predictable long-term results. Use written insight statements guided by five key principles to turn research data into actionable insight to inspire new ideas for product and service development.”

This starts off well but descends into unreadable claptrap halfway in my opinion. However, I do agree that businesses would do better if they had a real insight into their customer’s needs and in some cases who their customers are. I won’t turn this into a rant about WordPress because we’ve all been there already.

I am a doll collector and one of my interests is Barbie dolls. I started collecting modern Barbies about 20 years ago and it was fun because I could buy some very pretty modern dolls and clothing in places like Target and Toys’R’Us without having to spend a lot.

Fast forward to today and there is very little I want to buy any more. Mattel and other toy manufacturers say that children are more interested in electronic toys  and they now market Barbie to a much younger age group 3-7 year olds. Consequently they make much simpler dolls with non-removable plastic clothing and lots of gadgets,they are many fairies, princesses and mermaids although lately they are diversifying the playline more. There are not so many outfits you can buy for Barbie and the quality is poor.

Mattel also recognises that there are adult collectors and for that market they sell expensive, better quality dolls in elaborate costumes which are only meant to be put on display and never removed from their boxes.

What they do not have the insight to realise is that there is a large group of adult collectors like me who want good quality dolls and fashions because we customise, redress and photograph dolls. Adult collectors make dioramas and write stories. We don’t want to buy cheap rubbish but we don’t want to buy two hundred dollar dolls that we are going to take out of the box and play with.

I have my doubts that Mattel or for that matter any of the other toy companies will ever realise this but if any of them do they can have my money.

My African American Barbies pose for a group shot.

Daily Prompt: Retrospective

The End?

Just a couple of days ago I posted my fifth anniversary post. By that time I already knew that WordPress was getting rid of the Daily Prompt and Weekly Photo Challenges.

What was different from other times that  we’ve had changes here is that WordPress has not told us that it is an improvement or that some new and better thing will be coming along to replace it. The last topics have been very final.

I’ve read a lot of posts and comments and I know that people are very unhappy about all of this. It seems there will be nobody left at WordPress to listen or care or to reassure us that it will be alright. They already have our money.

The bloggers that I read are not businesses, they are people who like to share their thoughts and pictures like I do. It’s fun to blog but if you are not being read it is a bit like shouting in an empty room. I admit that I did not do the Daily Prompt every day but when I was starting out  I used it a lot for inspiration and most of the people who I follow now I found through their Daily Prompt posts. I’m not sure how somebody starting out now would find other like-minded bloggers. By luck I suppose.

I know all our collected posts on this subject will not matter a jot. The WordPress Team are now packing their cardboard boxes and heading out the door leaving us wondering what’s coming next.

Blogiversary #5 on Our Other Blog

Today is the 5th anniversary of my first post on “Our Other Blog”. Of course it was “My Other Blog” then. I had only been writing the doll blog for about a month and I was itching to write about other things and post photos of non-doll subjects.  However, I wanted to keep the blog on topic so the logical thing to do seemed to be to start another one.
I wasn’t sure how I’d get on as a newbie blogger trying to write and photograph  enough material for two blogs or how long I’d keep it up for before losing interest.  It wasn’t exactly an auspicious start; looking back at the stats I had 9 views of the blog in June 2013, the next two months were no better. My first very modest goal was to be read every day. I hated seeing those blank spaces in the stats graph like gaps in your teeth.

Stats for Our Other Blog

Things picked up though. Six months later I was posting regularly two or three times a week. I’d started joining in the Daily Prompt, thanks Daily Prompt you helped; and I’d hit on the idea of posting a photo every Thursday as a blogging goal.

Messerschmitt car at the National Automobile Museum at Launceston.

Since that time there has been steady though unspectacular growth in the number of people reading the blog and the names of many regular readers feel like old friends now.

I have learned a bit I think.  I take photographs now consciously looking for subjects that will be interesting to use in a photo challenge. Cee’s Photo Challenges in particular have been a big help to me as I now look beyond the obvious for a picture and I have a new enjoyment of black and white photography.

Australian Comedian Roy Rene (Mo),
Australian Comedian Roy Rene (Mo), Hindley St, Adelaide
Hairy Maclairy sculpture in Tauranga, New Zealand

Reading the work of fellow bloggers has helped me a lot too. Sometimes their thoughts trigger an idea of my own to write about; sometimes just an interesting thread of conversation in the comment section.

I know that some people who read my posts are not native English speakers so I proofread for spelling and grammar errors and try to write in language that won’t be too hard to follow. I want us to write the way we speak but to keep it simple. I know that sometimes I write a bit too much so I try to check that too. “Is there an easier way of saying that?” I ask myself.

I’ve probably learned as much from reading the work of others as from reading WordPress articles about blogging.  I want to particularly mention Marilyn Armstrong and her team of writers at Serendipity-Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth because I enjoy the variety of subjects they write about and Marilyn has a lot of good advice for new bloggers as well. Pat, who writes Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss, has shown me that even if you rarely travel far from home you can still write entertainingly about your daily life and the antics of your cat.

Over the past year I’ve learned how to work as a team with Naomi after she joined me in blogging here. In fact Naomi’s first post was on the 31st of May last year so it’s her anniversary too. It’s been a lot of fun to have someone to exchange ideas with.

While thank you’s are being said I also want to mention my friends Ally and Matt Clark and Bruce Laughton who have all generously allowed me to use their photographs when I didn’t have any suitable ones of my own.

I think that photography will be the main theme of this blog  for the next twelve months. I want to keep on sharing photos of the places we know in Tasmania. Naomi is particularly interested in vintage vehicles and we both love to photograph old and interesting buildings and other structures.

MV Cartela-Port Huon Wharf- July 2014 by Vanda
image rowboat
Rowing boat, Franklin, Tasmania by Vanda
image old church
Autumn in Franklin by Vanda
Model Steam engine at Evandale. This engine is called The General. There would be all sorts of bits and pieces inside to move the driving wheels and work the pistons. photo by Naomi
Photo by Naomi
Ooh Ahhh Fireworks! This is a great old sign.Photo by Naomi
More of the cast in their terrific costumes. Photo by Naomi
Callington Mill sign. Photo by Naomi
The Richmond Bridge photo by Naomi

Although we probably won’t include them in our Cruise Holiday posts we do hope to share a bit of the footage Naomi has been taking with her movie camera in the future. She wants to concentrate on editing pictures and sound before we do that.

So finally I’d like to say thanks to our readers old and new for sticking with us and we hope you’ll continue to enjoy the journey.

 

Vanda & Me from Way Back in Sydney

I spent a good part of the evening looking through old photos in the hope of finding something in particular. That did not happen but I did find some very old pictures of Vanda and me on one of our first trips to Sydney together. One time we went over on a coach and stayed in a cheap hotel in The Cross. Vanda took this snap of me at a local café. I’m not sure if it is Jeffries or not but I remember they had the best Black Forest cake ever. The photo of Vanda was taken on the ferry going to Birkenhead Point. At one time they had a great little shopping centre where I bought quite a few clothes and stuff. On the way over it was very windy and when I gave my fare money to the young guy it blew out of his hands and into the drink. I still got my change as he said it was his fault which was very kind of him. It was still paper money in those days. Anyway here are some happy holiday snaps.

Naomi 1985
Naomi
Vanda 1985
Vanda

Conversation Time: Times Past

Conversation Time

Baby Boomer –  Australian City/Suburban

In my family we seem to be kitchen conversationalists. We lived a couple of different places growing up but long conversations generally seemed to happen around the kitchen table.

From the mid sixties to early seventies mum, my sister Naomi and I lived in a Housing Trust rental home in Elizabeth north of Adelaide. It was a semi-detached house and had three bedrooms, living room, kitchen, laundry and bathroom. The kitchen was a large room which incorporated the dining area. It was where we ate all our meals. On schooldays we didn’t linger over breakfast but I do remember mum making toast under the oven grill and that on cold days our dog, Felix, would try to take advantage of the open oven door  by jumping up and sitting on it to keep warm until he was shooed off.

We had a table with a laminated top and metal legs which had four matching red vinyl covered chairs. Actually Naomi still has this table at her house. On weekends when there was no rush mum would cook eggs and bacon in her favourite stainless steel frying pan which Naomi also still has.

Some of Mum’s old pots and pan plus my whistling kettle on the stove. Photo by Naomi

Sometimes we might have boiled eggs with bread “soldiers”,scrambled eggs and toast or maybe porridge. There was always tea, made in a pot and drunk out of mum’s “Weeping Willow” china. Mum liked the Willow pattern china so over the years we had many different variations of it as cups and saucers were broken and needed to be replaced. It ended up that each of us had our own special favourite cup and saucer. As you can see Naomi still has some of this china too.

Weeping Willow dinner set. Photo by Naomi

On those morning we had time to talk. Mum would tell stories about her childhood or about living in England during World War Two. We talked about ghosts and favourite pets and what we would do when we won the lottery. We’d make a second pot of tea and even a third until mum realised that it was eleven o’clock and she had to “get on”.

Sunday lunch was a special meal for us too as we’d always have roast lamb, baked potatoes and veg and Yorkshire pudding. As we played in the kitchen sometimes we were often around when mum was cooking but she didn’t insist that we help with the preparations. We rarely had guests, maybe a little friend of Naomi’s or one of our cousins who lived down the road. That was another meal when we talked a lot.

Later, when mum remarried we moved to another house where the kitchen was much smaller. Although it was a squeeze we often did still sit there to drink tea and talk after a meal.

Even today if I’m visiting Naomi at her house we sometimes sit in the kitchen over a second cup of tea talking after a meal although nowadays we both prefer to move to the living room which is warmer and has more comfortable chairs but the talking continues.

Battlefield Tourism

 

Villers-Bretonneux mémorial australien (tour et croix) 1.jpg
By Markus3 (Marc ROUSSEL) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Introduction:

A friend of mine sent me an article from The Guardian about the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre near Villers-Bretonneux on ANZAC Day. It was an interesting piece. You can read it here.

It made me think about the way that many museums these days have become entertainment venues rather than places of learning and about whether it is really right to do that on a battlefield. I actually tapped out the beginning of this post on my phone while waiting for my ride to the Op Shop and finished it here at home later after I’d done some further reading. You may not agree with my take on the subject but that’s OK you don’t have to.

The Sir John Monash Centre:

I recently read about the new museum in Villers-Bretonneux in France which commemorates Australian soldiers killed in battle there in World War 1. It is called the  Sir John Monash Centre. The museum is said to be an experience and cost an enormous amount of money. A hundred million dollars in fact. It has been built adjacent to the original museum which was built in the 1930’s. My question is why? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to give the original museum a facelift and spend all that money on projects that benefited victims of wars and their families?

In fact the Australian National Memorial has  recently been updated apparently so did we need to spend another hundred million dollars on an “Interpretive Centre”?

Here is a description of the original museum.

AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MEMORIAL

Designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and inaugurated on the 22nd July 1938 by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, this imposing memorial was the last of the Great War national memorials to be built in France or Belgium. The white stone memorial is composed of a central tower, two corner pavilions and walls that bear the names of 11,000 missing Australian soldiers who died in France. In front of the memorial is a Commonwealth Military Cemetery. The top of the tower provides panoramic views of the Somme countryside the Australians helped defend in 1918 and an orientation table signals the direction of other Australian sites of remembrance.

At the bottom of the staircase, a large wall-plaque displays a map of the Western Front and the emplacement of the five Australian divisional memorials in France and Belgium: 1st Division at Pozières, 2nd Division at Mont St-Quentin, 3rd Division at Sailly-le-Sec, 4th Division at Bellenglise and the 5th Division at Polygon Wood in Belgium.

Please don’t think that I’m being disrespectful to the ANZAC’s . I am just cynical enough to believe that this is more about tourist dollars than history. I do think that these men should be remembered and a museum telling their story is a good way to do that. I don’t think it should be viewed as an entertainment venue. Do people really have to be entertained by everything they see? Can’t they just reflect and maybe learn something?

This is what the same website says about the Sir John Monash Centre

http://www.somme-battlefields.com/memory-place/australian-national-memorial-sir-john-monash-centre-villers-bretonneux

 

THE SIR JOHN MONASH CENTRE

In April 2018 a new interpretation centre about Australia’s role in the Great War will open at Villers-Bretonneux. The Sir John Monash Centre tells Australia’s story of the Western Front in the words of those who served. Set on the grounds of the Australian National Memorial and adjacent to the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, the Sir John Monash Centre is one of the key sites of the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front, and establishes a lasting international legacy of the Australian Centenary of Anzac 2014-2018.
This cutting-edge multimedia centre reveals the Australian Western Front experience through a series of interactive multimedia installations and immersive experiences. The SJMC App, downloaded onto each visitor’s personal mobile device, acts as a «virtual tour guide» over the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, the Australian National Memorial and the Sir John Monash Centre. The experience is designed so visitors gain a better understanding of the journey of ordinary Australians – told in their own voices through letters, diaries and real-life images – and connect with the places they fought and died. A visit to the Sir John Monash Centre is a moving experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Many museums now offer a multimedia type experience to the point where it is almost impossible to learn anything unless you download the app or carry the museum’s device so you can listen to commentary and descriptions. I have done this at one or two museums and galleries recently and personally I find it annoying. I like to take my time, read, look and most of all keep away from the crowds so I don’t always take the set route through a museum but may skip a crowded area and go back to it later.

Back in 1990 David and I visited St Petersburg, Russia. It was still known as Leningrad then. We were not doing a tour so some of the things we visited we were not able to fully understand. However we visited the memorial to the people who died in the Siege of Leningrad in World War Two, or as the Russians called it. “The Great Patriotic War”. Although we could not read the information the long lists of names and the solemn atmosphere moved us as much as if we had it all explained to us. It did probably help that we both had read about those terrible years prior to our visit. I don’t know if that memorial has received an upgrade since 1990. If it has I hope it has not been turned into a circus because that would be wrong.

 

Момумент защитникам Ленинграда 1.jpg
By KoMiKorOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

I’d like to think that this huge some of money has been spent purely to educate but I can’t help feeling it’s more about  politics and making money and I can’t help wondering if it was really necessary. I have included links to the articles that I read while working on this post and perhaps after reading some of them you will see how I arrived at my point of view.

Further Reading:

https://www.battlefield-tours.com.au/html/villers-bretonneux-2018.html

https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/100m-monash-centre-to-form-entry-point-to-france-s-western-front-20180413-p4z9cg.html

http://honesthistory.net.au/wp/money-monash-and-motive-analysing-a-project-in-france-i/

http://www.coxarchitecture.com.au/project/sir-john-monash-centre/

http://www.afr.com/news/world/sir-john-monash-centre-brings-attention-back-to-australias-great-commander-20180419-h0z0l7