Happy Little Vegemites hit 60

by Maren Rawlings

Sibylesque vegemite quote

When I was young, I loved Vegemite. It was applied so liberally to my sandwiches or sangers that I was excluded from the lunch swaps. “Eerk, she’s got too much”. My father had several tropical diseases from his war service in the Pacific Islands and New Guinea and my mother appeared to be influenced by the pre-war “health” messages in its early advertising. As with all good campaigns, this began with appeals to the women who controlled the petty (literally) cash on which households ran in the meagre days of the depression.

Sibylesque Happy Little Vegemite Video link 2

See video link to ‘A rose in every cheek’ here.

The era of emotional brainwashing began subtly. Pictures of plates of sangers surrounded by green leaves did not cut it for the exuberant post war years. A joyous jingle ran through our heads as we munched away in the allotted playground eating areas. We’re Happy Little Vegemites was our Marseilles, so that Men at Work’s “man from Brussels” could be expected to hand us a Vegemite sandwich, presumably in acknowledgement of our accent. It did not work for me incidentally and I had to remark in bad schoolgirl French, that I was not British but Australian and we grew vineyards thank you, to source some decent wine in the main square. I must have lost my down under “glow”.

It is really an addiction you know. When the spouse’s activities exiled us to the United Kingdom, I had to buy it in a 4 litre paint tin (beautifully sealed down against the six week sea voyage – where’s a chisel?). By the time we had worked our way to the bottom, the salt had absorbed the humidity and diluted it sufficiently to act like Agar agar. I rang the distributor in London. “Waddya mean it goes off?” We could grow our own antibiotics. My children with their sangers, were envied by those still convicted to school dinners (“You over there with packed lunches, put your rubbish in the bin”). You cannot food fight with a stew, easily anyway.

Sibylesque Happy Little Vegemites

Now when I look at my old love, I find I can friend it on Facebook! I have imagined many personal permutations through a long life and this was a surprise that put a whole new slant on the word “spread”. The third wave of advertising is “relationships”, apparently (after “facts” and “emotions”). Is your personal space occupied by the wholesome and worthwhile? Do you love your Vegemite? Are you personally fulfilled as it caresses your gullet? Or have you had an affair with Nutella? I was a wine snob in Belgium but I can be a yeast purist anywhere in the world, sent from my iPhone.

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Maren RawlingsMaren Rawlings is a fabulously diverse educator and music devotee. She has taught at city and country schools including a 22-year stint at MLC, Melbourne. She has lectured in psychology at RMIT University and Melbourne Uni, written Psychology textbooks and, in 2011, graduated PhD in “Humour at Work” at Swinburne University where she currently tutors.

Maren is President of the Star Chorale, a community choir and this year they sing Verdi’s Requiem with the Zelman Orchestra.

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Photo Source: TV pinterest, Tangalooma volunteers dressed as vegemite, Weekendnotes blog.

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Fifty Years Ago Today, The Beatles Came Here to Play

by Kerry Cue

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purple quote 1Those who do not move,

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………………do not notice their chains.

     ………………………..Rosa Luxemburg, Polish Jewish Philosopher, 1871 – 1919.

Sibylesque Signature purple

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Fifty Years ago and Far, Far Away!

On 12 JUNE 1964 the Beatles landed in Adelaide to begin their month long Australian tour.

Beatles Melbourne

The Australia of the time was rigidly conservative. In his book, The Lucky Country, published in 1964 author Donald Horne wrote ‘Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.’  

Although The Beatles were mobbed on their Aussie tour, more Australians turned out a few years earlier, in 1959, to hear American evangelist, Billy Graham preach the word of the Lord. In fact, 3 million Australians (Aus Pop: 12 million) attended Graham’s sermons.

Billy Graham MCG 1959

Billy Graham Rally MCG 1959

The Beatles music, including the 1964 tour, was simply the pop music fanfare announcing the massive social and political change sweeping through Australia in the 1960s. Australians were, at last, in Rosa Luxomberg’s view (quote above) beginning to move. The changes included the Sexual Revolution (The pill hit the market here in 1961, ironically, that was the year Marriage rates peaked at 62% of Aussie adults.), Civil Rights (All Indigenous Australian adults got the vote in 1962), anti-war protests (Starting around 1962), feminism (Starting with The Female Mystique, Betty Freidman, 1963), environmental protection (Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, 1962), Gay Rights (Groups formed at the end of the 1960s but laws took much longer to change.) and more.

Some changes were slow. In 1963 pubs still closed at 6pm perpetuating the 6 o’clock swill in Qld, Vic and SA. City centres were dead on Sundays. The shops closed at 12pm Saturday. Then again, there were no credit cards. No credit. You paid cash.(That’s in £sd. $ arrived in 1966) But you could smoke anywhere!

student protest Sydney Uni 1962

Look at these uni students of ’62. They are conservatively dressed. Some are even wearing ties! In the early ‘60s young people dressed like their parents. Boys wore ties. Girls wore suits. The fans that mobbed The Beatles in 1964 dressed like their parents. Even The Beatles wore ties! The Youth Culture, however, was about to begin. ( See 1964: The year fashion promoted a revolution, not just a brand! )

In 1964, conservative Australia was crumbling, but it took time. In June 1964, I watched The Beatles arrive in Melbourne on a Black and White TV set with my friend Lynette screaming ‘Ringo’ and sobbing into a hankerchief. I was in year 8 at the Sacred Heart Convent Kyneton. The nuns didn’t teach maths to girls just arithmetic and needle work! (See Bimbos 4Eva)

My parents let me leave the convent to attend the local high school where they DID teach maths to girls and I went on to study maths at University. But I was fortunate. Girls’ choices were still limited in 1960s. We were guided into ‘family friendly’ occupations such as hairdressing, nursing, teaching and secretarial work. These were perfectly fine occupations, but often poorly paid. Meanwhile, married women could not work in the Public Service (until 1966). Equal pay was not ratified until 1974. (Many female occupations were exempt until that date.)

Perhaps, we should have listened more closely when in 1968 The Beatles sang Lady Madonna:

The Beatles Lady Madonna
Who finds the money when you pay the rent

Did you think that money was heaven sent

Despite being taught arithmetic and needlework, finding the money is something we’ve had to deal with ever since the ‘60s.

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Photo source: 1. Britishbeatlemania blog, 2. Wheaton College Archive, 3. Wheaaton College Archive, 4. Sydney Uni Archive. 5. Unsourved

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1964: The year fashion promoted a revolution, not just a brand!

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dark green quote 1Clothes make the man but often imprison the woman.
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………………………….Kerry Cue, Sibylesque (Written for this post).

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This is the story of a Fashion Revolution

1. How our mothers dressed in 1960.

1 Melbourne Cup 1960  island continent blog

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2. How we dressed in 1964.

1a Beatles Concert Brisbane 1964 qsl archive

 

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3. We wore the same clothes as our mothers and the same UNDERWEAR too!

2 panty girdle barbarafalconernewhall

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4. Ads were patronising. This was pre-feminism! Women, apparently, didn’t have brains back then.

3 Berlei Sarong Girdle  pinterest

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5. Mothers bought girdles for their girls, but they were a fashion statement!

4 1960s Girdle eBay

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6. Bloomers could be wore over the ‘tarty’ suspender belts!

5 witches britches eBay

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7. 1964: The revolution begins ….

6 Anita 1964 Flikr Paul Galesko photostream

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8. 1965: Now hemlines go up, Up, UP!

8a JeanShrimpton Derby Day 1965  The Vine Blog

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9. 1966: Mother cannot wear this new mini-skirt fashion!

7 Mini skirt is born vintageeveryday blog

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10. 1967: The mini-skirt becomes the hottest fashion.

9 Melbourne Cup 1967   pinterest

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11. 1968: The mini-skirt goes mainstream

9a  mini 63highlanders blog

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12. 1969: The mini-skirt defines Pop Culture

10 Go Go Dancer Sandy    Goretro blog

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13. Don’t forget the boots …

11 Go Go Dancer Boot

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14. 1970: Mama don’t rule no more!

12 Hot Pants  dellamoda blog

Photo Source: 1. Islandcontinent blog, 2. Queensland State Library Archive, 3. barbarafalconernewhall blog, 4. pinterest, 5.eBay, 6. eBay, 7. Flikr Paul Galesko photostream, 8. The Vine, 9. vintageeveryday blog, 10. pinterest, 11. 63highlanders blog, 12. goretro blog, 13 eBay, 14. dellamoda blog

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