1970’S Adelaide hippiedom

Greetings happy Vege-mites,

Irritated by signs proclaiming vegan mascara removal wipes, vegan soaps and organic every and anything I have been contemplating truth in advertising while making a note to myself not to invest in shares that are connected to chemicals: there is no apparent market for chemical anything anymore – unless they are vegan of course.


Is there, I ask, anything sold today that is not organic, paraben-free, ozone safe, at least semi-vegan or recyclable? If statements made by manufacturers on their recycled and recyclable, bio-dynamic (?) packaging can be believed, why then is the planet in such an unholy mess?



BACK IN TIME: pre plastic bags, let me describe something of 1970’S Adelaide hippiedom to you: commune agreed packaging options were paper-bags, string bags, canvas (real) carry-alls, trollies on rubber wheels. We shopped at ClearLight in Rundle Street East which sold herbs (legal!), pulses, flours & dry goods direct from hessian bags and huge bins. Despite the inference in the name the shop always seemed very dark – perhaps eschewing electricity? Frickers for organic vegetables in the Central Market was the place to go for really good, seasonal green goods. Lucia’s for coffee – much smaller but great coffee way back when!


In the commune grounds we had a limited organic vegie patch ourselves but pre TV gardening shows, the internet and much scientific development there maybe there is a question mark as to just how organic our patch actually was! What can I say – our intentions were honourable. We  even ripped commercial labels off goods until the day I mistakenly added an unlabelled crystal substance to my 18monthold daughter’s milk drink believing it to be sugar. We ended up at the Children’s Hospital having her checked for poisoning. (even though the substance proved to be benign it is still NOT a good memory!) Subsequently, everything remained labelled.


Were we Adelaide hippies paragons at the vanguard of sustainability? Certainly not. We were young and there was so much we didn’t know. There was so much more to come that we could never have imagined. But, we did try for a level of truth in our lives.


Today’s teenagers are shocked by 1950/60’s advertising which lauds smoking as good for your health, alcohol as an excellent tonic for pregnancy and asbestos as a great insulator and perfectly safe. Despite all our 21st century legislation and consumer protections has advertising really changed all that much?


So, do I propose a return to hippie values of the 60’s/70’s. Well, yes and no….HOWEVER, what can we promise you at Gallery One in 2021 is great whale watching, tree-hugging, koala loving, cotton wearing (from anywhere but Australia!) wool fancying, plastic limiting, paper book reading company!!


If you are carnivore, eat KFC, love fried eggs on white toast with salt and butter and bacon or don’t mash your avacados we will still love and welcome you. Gallery One is ever a community for one and for all.


GALLERY NEWS: there is now confirmation that a PORTRAITS session will recommence. This will be a monthly session scheduled for the 1st Thursday evening of each month and running 7.00-9.00pm. As in previous years these sessions are untutored and the fee is $8.00. No bookings required and as with other classes, distancing will be required and your COVID19 check-in as you arrive.


PORTRAITS – Week 1: Thursday 4th March, 7.00-9.00pm (model booked.)


Requests have also been received to run at least one Life Drawing marathon during the year. Much will depend on the COVID situation. The Committee and Sanya the Industrious are very hopeful this will happen soon so we will keep you informed on progress.


COMMITTEE NEWS: reactions to events by committee members can sometimes prove to be unexpected. So, Week 1, we are back and I demonstrate to long-standing Committee member, Helen Black, how my ancient, orange, hand-held DonkeyKong still works really well once fitted with new batteries. Shockingly, I see tears well in her eyes. Full of soulful caringness and sensitivity, I say. ”Helen! What on earth is wrong?” “It’s the gorilla.” she replies. “He just never wins out against the barrels. I can’t bear it.”



I had forgotten and roundly cursed myself and creeping age: Helen is our own true champion of the plight of gorillas. In the past she has thrown herself bodily against the rails of gorilla enclosures at zoos; to bear witness to these wonderful creatures she has trooped to Uganda with gun-slinging guides and climbed in the heady mists carrying with her bananas grown and ripened organically by Helen herself in Mitcham, all to witness the life of the silverbacks among their families. If you are quick and look closely in the movie Gorilla in the Mists you can catch a glimpse of Helen’s hand reaching out to one of the female gorillas. Oh, how in the movie, we all cried and Kum Ba Yah’d together! (Sigourney wears nail varnish – Helen does not, so we know it is Helen’s hand we see and not the hand of Sigourney as the Dian Fossey character.  Also Helen has slightly finer fingers than Sigourney)


When you encounter Helen in the Gallery, scratch your armpits – she will connect and understand immediately your empathy.



OUTSIDE THE GALLERY: there is a casual bridge club which meets every Wednesday at 1.00pm in the Mitcham Village main hall. It has been running for 100years but is now facing its greatest challenge – to keep going. Sanya the indefatigable is desperate to save the bridge club. Any suggestions or new members, please call Sanya at the office on 82724504


The Book Worm

Leonard Cohen’s, Death of a Lady’s Man- A Collection of Poetry and Prose


Leonard Cohen’s, Death of a Lady’s Man- A Collection of Poetry and Prose, lives by my bedside.  It has been that way for many years now, in several houses.  There is much of Cohen’s writing that I still do not understand despite often diving in for either solace or inspiration, as the mood takes me.


If you like Cohen the lyrics in Cohen’s music you will also likely respond to his prose and verse. The words are often mystic, sexual, beautiful, if sometimes elusive.


I like the way you opposed me when you thought I had fallen into silence. You were so happy I had nothing to teach you, and nobody spoke of my exploits. ……….She said, Leonard, whenever you leave the room an orange bird comes to the window. (pg108)


Cohen reminds me that sometimes it is enough not to know everything about the ones that you love. Poetry is good for your life.


ps gorillas remain a critically endangered species. Their natural habitat is severely threatened. I respect and honour all research and activities aimed at protecting these wonderful animals.


Video of the Week

Artist J A Arnott



Play the video or watch in YouTube



Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels Gorilla

Photo by Sean Hayes from Pexels Vegan

Photo by Vasilios Muselimis on Unsplash Hippy Van

Helen’s Photos Gallery One