It Was Sunday Best When ‘Going to Town’

There was a time when people always dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ whenever they ‘went to town’.

Whenever we went to town in the 50s and 60s it was always in our Sunday best. Photo from State Library of SA.

This photo of the Adelaide Town Hall, taken in 1962, during the Festival of Arts is from the State Library of South Australia’s collection and shows a group of people, in town for the day and going about their business.

Now, the thing that strikes me about this photo is how well dressed everybody is, especially compared to today. I recall as a kid when my mother would go to town she always wore her Sunday best dress, including hat and gloves. That was in the 50’s but people still continued to dress well and men wore a suit and tie and women wore their best dresses if going to the city to shop or going out on a Saturday night right through the 60s.

Even into the 70’s and 80’s people still dressed up to go to the pictures or a special event. I was walking through the city on my lunch break today and I think I saw 2 men in smart suits but not one woman in a hat and gloves. It was mostly jeans, in some cases torn and dirty jeans, and assorted clothing that we would probably not have worn to do the gardening in the 50’s and 60’s.

When this subject came up on our Facebook page last year, some of our posters yearned again for those days; Yvette Swingler commented “We always had to dress in our best to go to town. I look back on those photos of us and smile. Today people even wear jeans to weddings and funerals, so wrong. I wish fashion could go back to being stylish, with people taking pride in their appearance

What really bothers Merrilyn Greer is how no occasion is good enough to dress up for anymore. “I was at the ballet the other night and the majority of the audience was in jeans while 4 were in TRACKIES and UGGBOOTS! I was offended”!

Jan Meyer recalled; “We never went out unless we had our best clothes on. I have fairly recently been to a wedding where people turned up in T-shirts and thongs. Ughh. I wouldn’t have let them in the door”.

Denise Trent sent this photo of herself and her sister ready to go to town with Mum

“Sadly, it’s that way all over the world now” posted Amy Lynn Yeager. “Personally, there’s a time for jeans and a time for getting dressed up & many people cannot discern between the two anymore. I love the styles of those bygone days, just love it”.

And just finally Mihailo Stojanovski mused, “I think that the life style has changed due to the increasing omnipresent feeling that we must live in a casual way in this fast paced world of ours. Thus we’ve created a laid back thing that has spread into fashion. I see nothing wrong the way we now wear things. Different times, different lifestyle and that’s OK. It’s called progress. Who knows, in 100 years from now everyone will walk around naked, and laugh at us, or they would be nostalgic “OMG, look at them, they all wore clothes back in the day! How bizarre”!!

Are We There Yet?

Do you remember childhood holidays with the family in the 50s and 60s?

They generally included long road trips by car, sometimes with a caravan in tow, and the only entertainment was provided by mum, usually sitting in the front seat next to dad, as he drove the car on to the destination.

Kenny Peplow sent in this photo from “about 50 years ago, this is how we went on the family holiday”

Unlike today where kids can choose from a plethora of digital games and gadgets, we filled the time playing games such as ‘Spotto’, I spy with my little eye and Riddle-me Riddle-me Ree. There were lots of arguments between siblings about who was taking too much space and eventually all the kids joined in the chorus to ask repeatedly, “Are we there yet?…..Are we there yet?

There were no seat belt regulations then and the only air conditioning on a 40+ degree day was to wind down the four windows to let the hot air flow through the car.

My own recollections of childhood school holidays includes mile after mile on the gravel roads of Pitchi Ritchi Pass as it wound its way through the beautiful Finders Ranges through Quorn, Hawker and on to Wilpena Pound, big old cast iron beds with steel springs and flocking mattresses, the smell of lavender from the heavy old wardrobes and chests of drawers.

There was always an old maiden aunt who smelled of powder and made a pot of tea, served in china cups with home-made biscuits and buttered jubilee cake.

BP Spotto, played this for hours during long car trips with the rest of the family

Adelaide Remember When Facebook poster Carolyn Swannson also remembers travelling to the Flinders Ranges as a child on holidays; “It was in our lime green Holden Kingswood with us 3 kids in the back seat playing ‘I Spy’ on the way. We camped in a Gorge (which you can’t do now) in our caravan & heated up the water for showers on the fire. Such simple, no fuss, non- expensive holidays back then and a heap of fun”!

As the mid-1960s rolled around Golden Fleece service stations introduced roadhouse-style outlets with restaurants and for the first time there was somewhere to break the long and tedious family journey.  An advertisement from a Golden Fleece brochure about their roadhouses from the era talks about the family road trip to distant places ‘being a part of Aussie life in the 60s and 70s’.

Many readers might even recall the TV commercials with ‘Stanley’ who offered “golden service at Golden Fleece”.

Another photo from Kenny’s album; “Dad’s FJ taxi (with water bag on the front) returns from a trip in the Flinders Ranges. As a kid where did your family take it’s holidays?”

After a whole day in the car and even though they represented added expense, the roadhouses were eagerly looked forward to, not just by the children but the travel weary parents as well.

So much has changed now with the family touring holiday. Cars are bigger, more comfortable and fitted with all the latest safety equipment, seat belts for all, air conditioning and some even have individual DVD screens for the children in the back seats. There are also iPads and iPhones, tablets or hand held mini-computers on which to watch movies, play games and listen to music.

There is so much for the kids to do while travelling in the back seat now.

And yet, I saw a new television commercial recently, new car, modern day family and there was still the chorus from the kids in the back ….”Are we there yet?….Are we there yet?

Your First Car, A Rite of Passage

I came across a fascinating newspaper article recently which asked the question: “Do young people of today still think of a car the way we baby boomers used to?”

I paid £150 for my first car, a 1949 Austin A40, 60 mph flat as a tack, with the big ends knocking. Photo from Google Images.

When I was a young teenager in the early 60s, owning a car was a rite-of-passage into adulthood. I was just 16 when I sat for my driver’s license, not even able to drive, and within a week I had bought my first car.

A car to the baby boomer generation represented so much freedom, and we loved our cars, it was an extension of who we were!

We couldn’t afford to buy really ‘cool’ cars, sports cars or powerful V8s (although some kids soon had twin-carbies and the like). We were happy to settle for an FX or FJ Holden, Ford Consul, a Zephyr or Prefect, an old Vauxhaul or Vanguard, or whatever our parents drove (usually dad) and had in the garage for us to borrow.

Experts say that a car now is less important to today’s teenagers due to the explosion of social media. Car ownership just may not be as socially important as it used to be.

“What we used to do in cars, young people are now doing online,” said one analyst at a recent oil conference.

The ability to meet and interact with people on the Internet is largely replacing the need to hop in a car and cruise down the main street.

Couple that with more recent restrictions on driving — later ages for licenses, limits on how many people can be in the car, restrictions on mobile phone use — and the Internet may be surpassing the car in the category that gave cars so much appeal: freedom.

Remember when we had the early Holden a ‘column stick shift’?

“When I got into a vehicle, it represented me going to meet my friends,” said Craig Giffi, car practice leader at the consultancy Deloitte. “For them, it cuts them off from their friends.”

This is particularly true for the youngest, most digitally-connected members of Generation Y. Forty-six percent of 18-24 year-olds would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to a recent Deloitte study.

It’s a trend the car companies are noticing as well. “With this generation, what owning a car means is completely different from previous generations,” said Annalisa Bluhm, a spokeswoman for General Motors. “It was a rite of passage. Now the right of passage is a mobile phone.”

With the Baby Boomers, Bluhm said three-quarters had obtained early life’s five big rites of passage by the time they were 30 — buying a car, leaving school and getting a job, getting married, buying a house and having kids. Now less than 40% of the under-30 crowd has all these things.

What’s more, 30% of Baby Boomers considered themselves “car enthusiasts,” said Bluhm. Less than 15% of Gen-Yers say the same, and they’re flocking to more practical models.

“They have a number of things that validate them,” Bluhm said. “The car is no longer their first purchase, they’re more likely to prefer a computer.”

I paid £150 for my first car, a 1949 Austin A40, 60 mph flat as a tack, with the big ends knocking and yet I still remember that car to this day and some of the experiences I had in it!

What memories do you have of your first car?