Pooh Reflecting

Pooh Reflecting
Pooh Reflecting

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Live Theatre

When I was a child we lived in the country in Morwell.  My only grandparents, Mum's parents, lived in Surrey Hills in Melbourne.  We had regular visits to Nan's, either with Mum and Dad, or sometimes we got to stay by ourselves.  I guess my brother was with me each time we stayed by ourselves, and I remember the cousins being there sometimes.  I can't imagine that all six cousins ever stayed there at the same time, with or without parents.
Tram at Wattle Park
One of the highlights of a visit to Nan's was going in to 'the city' (Melbourne CBD) for the day.  We usually went by tram, walking from Nan's to the tram stop in Riversdale Road, opposite Wattle Park.  Quite a long way I seem to remember, but always walked willingly.  I think it was a number 76 tram we caught into the city and back.  I think this photo shows the tram at the end of Riversdale Road - we used to catch it one stop back from here.  No, just found that it is a number 70 tram to Wattle Park.
More often than not Nan took us to the pictures, or a live show.  The live shows were particularly special.  How Nan managed it I don't know because she certainly didn't have money to burn, yet what she did for one of us she must have done for all of us (just not at the same time).  I know that there is no way I could afford to take 5 grandchildren to a live show - even when I was working and earning good money.  Yet Nan did it, so the cost of the tickets must have been proportionally lower compared to Pop's take home pay.
I remember seeing Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, I "think" with Patti McGrath (now Patti Newton).  That's just a vague thought in my head that she was the star.  The only reference I can find is that in 1963 Patti was going to sing some songs from Snow White on the Tarax Show in 1963.  I remember Nan took me to see "Man of La Mancha" - and her being very concerned because there was a 'rape' scene.  I think I was about 14 at the time.  I can't think specifically of other shows or films we went to see.  Yes I can - Fiddler on the Roof was another favourite.  Found this on the net about J. C. Williamson's who put on most of the live shows in those days.
From the 1970 program - Charles West as Don Quixote
J.C. Williamson's continued to stage accurate reproductions of London and New York musicals and plays. Among the most successful were My fair lady (Her Majesty's, 1959), Oliver! (Her Majesty's, 1961) and Man of La Mancha (Comedy, 1967).
It would have been in 1967 that I saw La Mancha. It seems Charles West played Don Quixote, as he did in the return season in 1970.
Another treat was going to the Myer Bargain Basement - where you really could get bargains.  The only way you could get to it was to walk down the sweeping staircase just inside the front door of the Bourke Street store.  I'm not sure if it was in the basement, but I fondly remember the hot nut bar, where you could buy scoops of freshly roasted nuts.

Coles Cafeteria in Melbourne

Coles Cafeteria c1953 (from SLV Victoria)
A real treat when I was a child was being taken to the Coles Cafeteria for lunch.  This would have been in the 1960s.  Often it would be my Nan who took me, or my mother, or both.  It was so exciting being able to choose what we wanted as we slid the tray along the counter rails.  Sometimes we must have had to tell Mum or Nan what we wanted because we would be given 'table duty' - i.e. we had to sit at the table chosen, minding Mum and / or Nan's parcels while they got the food.  Funnily enough I can't remember what we did choose.
I do remember the 'S' shaped chairs with red seats and backs - not sure if they were leather or vinyl.
When I was a young mum myself I remember taking my daughter to Coles Cafeteria too.
I loved 'the city' when I was a child and a young mum.  Now it is so different, and hardly worth visiting.