Before decimal currency came ...


Last updated 11:15 13/03/2014
Pat Veltkamp Smith
Columnist Pat Veltkamp Smith was Southland Times women's editor until 1997 and is a former president of the Southland Justices of the Peace Association.

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OPINION: If you can remember 1957, that's really something.

My neighbour, helping another to pack up , found a June 57 copy of this newspaper and, no kidding, I was transfixed.

Truly it is like looking back on another era, nothing conveying the taste of society like a good newspaper.

Who would have remembered that in 1957 home owners stayed put for most of their lifetime and drove their cars nearly as long?

There were only a handful of houses for sale and not many more motor vehicles. There were a few places to rent, the odd motor bike and cycle for sale.

So what were we advertising back then? Certainly no "size six newly arrived Asian beauties".

George Bettle, offering to send his products in plain wrapping from his Christchurch postal address, had the personal column pretty much to himself, an itchy piles remedy edged over into a medical personal listing.

"There are 20 good reasons for saying Players Please," said a notice advising the cigarettes as 20 for 2/-.

Sport was to the fore, an international soccer game (Chinese Hong Kong v Southland) at Rugby Park at 3pm on Wednesday June 12 , 4/- a seat in the stand.

When I was at school we knelt to check the hemline of uniforms which should just touch the floor to be the uniform length.

Too long or too short and there was an alteration task at home for mother.

On June 21 1957 a story headlined Why the Fuss about Skirt Lengths? quoted Southland basketball union president Mrs T M Noble saying the length, no more than eight inches above the knee when kneeling, was set at national level. She herself quite liked shorter skirts but emphasised that there should be no gap visible between the top of the stocking and the hemline. Southland players on the whole adhered to the national ruling, she said. Very few wore skirts too short and some wore them longer than advisable. Girls like to wear the length that suits them best but a degree of uniformity is important in a team she said.

Fashions were changing, natural fur coats at Pattison Ede looking set to be rivalled by fur fabric jackets elsewhere.

Yesterday was another country; things were different then.

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- The Southland Times


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