Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Years Eve 25 Years Ago: 1991 (With a special VIP visitor)

Above: Hoodlums and drunks were read the riot act as the reports from the December 31, 1991 edition of The Daily Telegraph Mirror show. 
It is the last day of 2016 and its time to wind back the clock 25 years to 1991 to see how Sydney farewelled 1991 marked the start of 1992. Yes, we have come such a long way as I remind readers each year. But while celebrations were not as grand as today, there was a very special visitor that decided to attend. He was US President George Herbert Walker Bush who was visiting Sydney as part of a tour of the Asia-Pacific Region.

To me, the idea of a president being on a tour on New Year's Eve just seems odd to me because usually, the American President is enjoying a break of the Christmas New Year Period. Barack Obama, for instance, likes to be in Hawaii at this time of year. His visit dominated news coverage. The fireworks were second fiddle.

Bush arrived that evening in Sydney on Air Force One before the Presidential Limousine drove him from Sydney Airport to Rose Bay where he boarded a boat to take him to Admiralty House at Kirribilli where a New Years Eve took place. Prime Minister Paul Keating and Governor General Bill Hayden were present. Security on Sydney Harbour was tight. Below is a Youtube Video from Nightline (Nine Network) on December 31, 1991, providing an overview of his arrival in Sydney. Also, there is some footage of the finale of the Skyshow from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


No visiting World Leader since has seen Sydney's famous fireworks display. This is rare. For the rest of us, we had to scramble for other viewing points around the city to admire the thirty-minute fireworks display at 9pm. There was no midnight show like we see today.

Below is some of the advertising promoting the fireworks spectacular - Skyshow 3. No mention of Bush visiting at all.

Like in the previous shows, the Skyshow was the launch event for the Festival of Sydney. The estimated cost of the thirty-minute show was $500 000. Unfortunately, it was not televised like today. You had to be there, or you missed out. Don't forget the radio too as 2DAY FM had a special soundtrack to accompany the display.  

Revelers were encouraged to use public transport to join in the festivities in the city. Below is an advertisement for bus and ferry services. Services were to operate through the evening with some services operating around the clock. Organising public transport was a little easier as there were not the street closures we see in central Sydney like now. However, those departing the last ferries from Mosman, Manly and Neutral Bay before the fireworks were in for a treat. Their service would remain moored in the harbour for the duration of the display - all for the price of a normal fare. 

I couldn't find an advertisement for Cityrail, but The Sydney Morning Herald did report that train services would operate until 2am. 

For drivers, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was still open, but if you stopped your car during the show, it would be towed away.

Source: Jackson, S. & English, B. 1992. "Revellers subdued by rain, alcohol ban". The Daily Telegraph Mirror: 6. 

And what about an overview of the night itself? According to The Sydney Morning Herald (January 2, 1992), an estimated 250 000 were reported celebrating in the city around Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, and Darling Harbour. Numbers were "down" due to wet weather but also the alcohol-free zones which scared those needing a drink away. Arrests were down, compared with the year before. Darling Harbour reportedly did not reach the estimated 200 000 attendees. At least 300 000 are reported to be attending this year at the same location.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Snapshot: 1991

Christmas Day is tomorrow and I thought I'd share with you how Sydney marked the big day 25 years ago.

Australia was coming out of recession by the end of 1991, but the impacts were still being felt. Unemployment was yet to peak and our country and the world saw some big changes.

Just one week before Christmas, Australian got itself a new prime minister - Paul Keating. He defeated Bob Hawke in a leadership ballot 56-51. After more than 8 1/2 years, Hawke became the first Prime Minister from the Labor party to be voted out by their own caucus. Keating would later reign over Australia for four years.

Below is some coverage from the major networks of the change of leadership.

If the political chaos in Canberra or the economy didn't impact on you, you might have had your travel plans thrown into disarray when Compass Airways collapsed on December 20.

And there was the end of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day itself.

You ask with a poor economy - What was on special? If you had a job, how should we spend our dollars? Below are a few advertisements that were published by Grace Bros in The Daily Telegraph Mirror in the lead up to Christmas.

The discount department stores had some of their own bargains.

 Some were happy to wait for the Boxing Day sales to snap up their Christmas gifts.

Source: O'Callaghan, L. 1991. "Shoppers Wait for The Sales". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 19:21. 

Yes, you could shop on a Sunday as shops were allowed special permission to trade on Sunday. Major retail centres in Sydney had been allowed to have their shops trade on Sunday e.g. Parramatta. Within 12 months, all retailers in Sydney would be allowed to trade on a Sunday.

It was interesting to read an article from The Sydney Morning Herald on December 24, 1991, which reported that gifts tended to be geared towards family use. The gift may have been intended for one person, but to be shared around e.g. board games or sporting equipment.

Grace Bros launched the Christmas Season with their 3rd annual pageant on November 24. I couldn't find anything from the papers relating to the pageant itself. 


Carols in the Domain was a near washout with only 4000 braving thunderstorms and rain. In fact, it nearly got called off. Master of Ceremonies was Barry Crocker and Jackie Love.


Source: Gibson, A. 1991. "Singing in The Rain: Only 4000 carolers brave it at the Domain". The Sunday Telegraph, December 22:17. 

I did manage to find a video on Youtube of Judith Durham singing that evening along with the finale.

As usual, British backpackers descended on Bondi and were treated to the perfect summer day with 15 000 present. However they did leave a big mess that lingered into Boxing Day.

Source: Skelsey, M. 1991. "Bondi Rubbished: Anger as beach left like a tip". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 27:3.

It was mentioned that those flying had some problems getting to their final destination if their airline had gone out of business. Train commuters had their issues too if they were heading north to the Central Coast and Newcastle. 

Finally, what were the specials at the Stocktake Sales that followed for those who ended up holding off on their gift buying or had any cash left?

Venture Stocktake Sale Ad December 27 1991 daily telegraph 28-29

Target Ad December 26 1991 daily telegraph 28-29  
They were going for broke... 

Source: Thorp, D. 1991. "Big shops go for broke". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 27:1 & 2. 

And the final wrap up.


I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and keep safe as you celebrate. 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Property Advert of the Week: The Winston Hills Showcase of Homes (1966)

Our last property advertisement of the week for 2016 is again from 1966 featuring an advertisement promoting a home display village at Winston Hills known as The Winston Hills Showcase of Homes. It was managed by the Project Home Builders Group showcasing 12 homes by 8 builders. It was located off Churchill Drive.

  The Winston Hills Showcase of Homes Ad February 1966 daily telegraph Ad 

Source: Project Home Builders Group. 1966. "The Winston Hills Showcase of Homes (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, February 12:29.

Due to Christmas Eve next Saturday, and New Year's Eve the following week, there will be no Flashback entry on Monday to accommodate the flashback features planned to be published for the next two Saturdays.

Next Week (December 24) - How Sydney marked Christmas in 1991.
December 31 - How Sydney bid farewell to 1991.

Monday, 12 December 2016

1961: Plans for Australia Square are unveiled

Australia Square Tower. The photo was taken by the Author (2013).

Harry Seidler's Australia Square Tower (1967) is regarded as a Sydney landmark. Between 1967 and 1973, it was the tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere.

It is regarded as an innovative building for its time and is heritage listed.

Plans to develop the tower as part of the Australia Square complex date back to 1960, but formal plans did not eventuate until 1961. The plan was to demolish the buildings on a block bounded by George, Bond, Pitt and Little George Street's and build two towers around a public square. The taller tower would rise 58 levels above George Street with a 13 level tower rising over Pitt Street.


Source: Anon. 1961. "Skyscraper Project: 58-Storey City Block Planned". The Daily Telegraph, December 5:9.

In March 1962, plans were approved "in principle" by Sydney City Council but it was recommended that 10-15 floors be removed from the final design of the Australia Square Tower. It led to the tower that we see today.

Australia Square Tower (right) with the Plaza Building at left. The photo was taken by the Author (2013).
Construction began in December 1962, with the Pitt Street tower completed in 1964 and the 50 level tower in 1967.

The decision to ditch the setback at the top of the original design was a wise idea because the round shape of the tower is what makes it a great building and the fact it is a simple design.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Property Advert of the Week: Hillcrest Homesites - Liverpool region (1966)

This week, we head to Liverpool where 895 pounds bought you a block of land in 1966. The change to dollars and cents had been made but decided to advertise with the old currency. It was legal to do so until 1968. The details suggest that home sites were at Chipping Norton and/or Moorebank. According to the RBA Inflation calculator, it was equivalent to spending $22 500 today.

Liverpool housing ad September 17 1966 daily telegraph 

Source: Homewise Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Liverpool No Deposit" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, September 17:29. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

1999: The Domain & Royal Botanic Gardens are reconnected

Photo was taken by the Author (2015). 
This week, I focus on a little park right next to the Art Gallery of NSW which is quite popular with visitors. This is accessed via Art Gallery Road.

It was opened on January 12, 1999, by NSW Premier Bob Carr as part of works on the Eastern Distributor, which opened to traffic in December 1999.

The park also happens to cross right over the Cahill Expressway, and reconnected The Domain and Royal Botanical Gardens for the first time in forty years.

Hence the bridge that crosses the Expressway is referred to as a "landbridge".

The cost of building the park amounted to $20 million and was criticised by the NSW opposition arguing the money needed to be spent on rural roads instead. Half of the costs of construction were to be covered by tolls from the Eastern Distributor with NSW taxpayers covering the rest.

But was it necessary if it improved the amenity of the area?  I think so.In fact, its become a nice local lookout to admire the views east towards Kings Cross and Sydney Harbour. Some just see it as a place to just relax and let the world go by.

The landbridge itself also aids in accessing Woolloomooloo if going there by foot.

Source: Bissett, K. 1999. "Motorway canopy bridging gallery gap opened: $41 m cost of Edmund's new lawn". The Daily Telegraph, January 13:7. 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Property Advert of the Week: Hooker Homes Pre-Christmas Sale (1984)

As we start to enter the Christmas season, I managed to find a 1984 newspaper advertisement by Hooker Homes where homes were on sale at selected locations for under $53 000.

Source: Hooker Homes. 1984. "Pre-Christmas Sellout" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, December 1:35.

Monday, 28 November 2016

MILESTONE: ATN7 begins Transmission (1956)

This Friday (December 2), Channel Seven will celebrate 60 years of broadcasting in Sydney, under the callsign ATN7.

It was the third TV station to commence operations in Sydney following the opening of TCN9 in September 1956, and ABN2 (ABC) just a month before. The studios were located at Mobbs Lane, Epping, with the TV transmitter based at Gore Hill. ATN7 would remain at Epping until 2010 when they moved production facilities to the Australian Technology Park at Eveleigh. The original studios is now a housing estate. Several years before in 2004, its news department relocated to purpose-built studios at Martin Place. Local and national news bulletins and programs are produced there.

Source: Anon. 1956. Untitled (photograph). The Sun Herald, December 2:39. 

ATN7 was owned by Amalgamated Television Services comprising of a consortium of various radio, electrical and media interests including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun. It was a subsidiary of Fairfax. The channel would eventually become the flagship of the Seven Network, even though HSV7 in Melbourne was the first channel in the network to go to air in November 1956. ATN7 and HSV7 formed the Australian Television Network (Seven Network) in 1963. It would eventually be joined by BTQ7 (Brisbane), SAS7 (Adelaide) & TVW7 (Perth).

Fairfax would have ownership of ATN7 until 1987 when Quintex owned by Christopher Skase bought out the Seven Network. This was due to changes in Commonwealth media laws which stipulated that Fairfax could only own either print publications or television stations. Fairfax opted for print publications. Today, the Seven Network is currently part of Seven West Media, owned by Kerry Stokes.

Source: Anon. 1956. "Television Station ATN Channel 7 Opened by P. M. G.". The Sydney Morning Herald, December 3:1.  

The transmission on opening night (December 2 ) commenced at 7:30pm with the official opening of the channel by the Postmaster General - Mr. C. W. Davidson. This was followed by A Shower of Stars, which was a live studio program at 7:45pm. The first feature film - It's Folly To Be Wise screened at 9pm. A news bulletin at 10:30pm would close the first night's transmission, closing at 10:45pm.

Source: ATN7. 1956. Untitled (advertisement). The Sun Herald, December 2, 39. 

A special supplement was provided in the December 3 edition of The Sydney Morning Herald to mark its opening. Selected extracts feature below.

Initially, TV broadcasts on ATN7 commenced at 4:30pm with transmission closing at around 10:30pm. On weekends, broadcast times were shorter.

Early shows included:
  • Your Home featuring Del Cartwright
  • At Seven on 7 with Howard Craven
  • This I Believe with Eric Baume
  • Sydney Tonight with Keith Walshe
  • Caltex Theatre (Sunday Evening)

Below is a feature on its mobile broadcast unit (Click to enlarge).

Over the past sixty years, ATN7 has contributed significantly to the success of the Seven Network and bred stars of the small and eventually for some the big screen. Writing its achievements would need to be an essay. It has also been noted for pioneering programming formats on Australian television. For instance, Sydney Tonight was the first "tonight" show in Australia. Where would Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton and Don Lane be if it were not for this? At Seven on 7 was also the first current affairs show in Australia. ATN7 has also been an innovator. They were first with videotape equipment at Epping in the 1950s but also working with GTV9 in Melbourne to broadcast programs between Sydney and Melbourne with microwave links.

Seven Network Headquarters at Pyrmont. Photo was taken by the Author (2011).

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Property Advert of the Week: Westminster Homes (1972)

This week's property advert of the week is one published by Westminster Homes in The Daily Telegraph on July 8, 1972.

Source: Westminster Homes. 1972. Untitled (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, July 8:37.  

Monday, 21 November 2016

1989: Origins of advertising on Sydney Trains.

Advertising on a Sydney Train Carriage. Photo was taken by the Author (2016).
I remember back in 2013 when Sydney Trains decided to allow advertising on trains (inside and out) after a trial of advertising on the exteriors of two trains.

What I have noticed with the Liberal Government in NSW is that a number of their ideas while they may appear to be new, were actually on the drawing board when Nick Greiner was premier. Think of his idea to remove (or reroute) the monorail. It took until 2013 for that to happen. 

So it seems that the O'Farrell/Baird Government has taken credit for ideas that were really Nick Grieners idea after all. 

Advertising on trains was considered back in 1989 and here is some proof. At the time it was being considered to aid in reducing the deficit that was incurred with running trains in NSW. In 1989, the government had undertaken a major reform of rail services across the state including cuts to rural rail services and job cuts as part of reducing operating costs.

Source, Grimshaw, P. 1989. "Sponsored Trains to Cut Costs". The Daily Telegraph, March 16: 1. 

Fast forward to now, Sydney Trains is still in deficit. Advertising revenue has been embraced as an opportunity and not as a negative, with the money to be invested across the rail network. I've included a report screened from Ten Eyewitness News (December 3, 2013) to give an overview of the current approach.


It's an issue that will cause debate, but we have been used to advertising on buses for decades. 

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Property Advert of the Week: Parkview, Drummoyne (1971)

Lets head back to 1971 where $21 000 scored one an apartment with views over Iron Cove.

Click here to see the complex as viewed from the street today.

Source: Burridge Dodd Real Estate Pty. Ltd. 1971. "Parkview" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, May 8:56.