Thursday, October 20, 2016

THE ART OF GROWING UP...ONE STEP AT A TIME....Chapter Two...



Me in 1963
Goggomobil Dart
Me on left, Vicki, one of my workmates at Tozer & Jeffery and Evonne whose sister worked with Vicki and me at T & J.  Taken at a party shortly before I left Gympie in 1965.  Evonne married Graham Jeffery and they remain in happy wedded bliss to this day.
4IP Colour Radio Guys
 
Randall, Me and the Austin Healey Sprite. And Randall in his Colour Radio Blazer middle photo above.

The five years I worked at Tozer and Jeffery, Solicitors – from July, 1960 to July, 1965 - were, without doubt or argument, some of the happiest years of my life.  It was a great place to work; and my co-workers, as well as my boss, John Jeffery and his wife, “Ted” aka Mrs. Edna Jeffery were wonderful people.  Mrs. Jeffery, of course, was always “Mrs. Jeffery” to the staff.

She and I got on very well, to the extent she told me as she was driving me home on the night of my send-off party shortly before I left Gympie for Brisbane she’d always looked upon me as the daughter she’d never had.  She and Mr. Jeffery had two sons, one of whom, the eldest, Graham also worked within his father’s firm, as I mentioned in my previous post.  

As a parting gift, with tears in her eyes, Mrs. Jeffery gave me a pair of pearl earrings.

On reflection, I often wonder when or even if my “partners-in-crime” – the three other girls in the office – the three other legal secretaries and I ever got any work done.  We must have done so, of course, but we certainly had a lot of fun while doing so.  I think we managed to fit the work in between the fun!  We got away with blue murder.  We became experts at it.  Naturally, I won’t divulge who the ring-leader was.  I swore myself to secrecy with the threat of dire consequences if I dobbed on myself.

Morning tea, which, in normal circumstances and in normal workplaces, usually is of 10 minutes duration. Not so at Tozer and Jeffery when I was in their employ.  Our “staff room” was downstairs in the “dungeon” as we called it...the basement below street level.

Like regulars at a pub bar, we each had our own special chair and place to sit, and woe behold if anyone stole someone else’s chair and place!  Mine was a high, swivel chair that stood a number of inches above the rest, which meant when I sat in it I was towering over proceedings...holding court! The conductor of a symphony orchestra would've been proud!

I concocted a plan with the other girls, telling them I’d give them a sign – a head’s up - when my game was set in place, about to begin.  They knew not to react, but to go along with the plan. It was a plan, to our amusement, I often put into play.  We all deserved Oscars for our performances.

Very often our morning tea breaks extended far beyond the normal 10 minutes.

As soon as I’d notice Mrs. Jeffery stirring in readiness to go back upstairs, to return to work I’d raise a controversial subject, one I knew would stimulate Mrs. Jeffery’s interest.  My wicked strategy worked every time without fail.  It was akin to catching fish in a bowl.

Within seconds, Mrs. Jeffery was sucked in and a lengthy, in-depth debate ensued. 

If she ever did wake up to my contrived schemes she never let on.  We were often down there in the “dungeon” for an hour or more solving the world’s problems.  Many interesting, intelligent conversations were conducted.  And those amongst us who had their lunch hours between 12 noon and 1 pm had little time to knuckle down to their typing between morning tea and their lunch break!  Our lunch hours were staggered. Some took the earlier hour, and others, like me, took the 1 pm to 2 pm break. 

We were a wickedly, mischievous lot, of that there is no doubt, but we did get our work done and done successfully, otherwise we’d been shown the door.  We never were.

I’m still friends with a couple of the girls with whom I worked, and Graham Jeffery is still a cherished friend, too.  When the subject of those morning teas arises we laugh and wonder how the hell we got away with our nonsense for so long and so often!

In 1963, a new boy arrived in town, drawing much attention to himself, not only for his good looks, but also because of the car he drove...a little white Goggomobil Dart.  It was the first one, and probably ever the only one, seen in Gympie.   

Randall was his name; he joined the radio announcers at the local radio station, 4GY.  

Long story short, that handsome young fellow and I eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend; and eventually he sold the Goggo and bought a Austin Healey Sprite.  We loved the Sprite, but missed the dear little Goggo.

In January, 1965, on his 21st birthday, we became engaged.  Shortly thereafter Randall left Gympie to take up a position at Radio 4IP in Ipswich as one of the “Colour Radio” guys.  In those days 4IP was a major force in the radio world in Queensland.

Mid-1965 I decided the time had come for me to leave Gympie.  With Randall working in Ipswich, Brisbane was my choice, my obvious destination.  Fortunately, through a friend, I found a flat (and a flatmate) in Toowong, an inner, western suburb of Brisbane.  Toowong was about 30kms, give or take from Ipswich...a lot closer than the 209kms between Gympie and Ipswich

On reflection, once my mind was made up all the pieces fell into place, one by one.

To all and sundry I announced I was going to move to live and work in the city, Brisbane. Immediately I started turning the wheels towards that direction.

My boss, John Jeffery, upon my handing him one month’s notice, said he wasn’t surprised at my decision. He’d been expecting it.   

While I sat in the chair before him in his office, he picked up his telephone and called a solicitor/lawyer friend of his who was a partner in an inner-city Brisbane law firm.  

 John Jeffery called Tony Atkinson, one of the partners in largest law firm in Brisbane at the time, and supposedly, in the southern hemisphere....Morris, Fletcher & Cross.  Morris, Fletcher & Cross are now MinterEllison.


From Wikipedia:-  MinterEllison is a multinational professional services firm based in Australia. The firm has offices in five countries and 15 cities, including in every Australian capital city, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Ulaanbaatar. By number of lawyers it is the largest provider of legal services in Australia. In the 2016 Acritas brand index, the Firm was named in the top 10 law firm brands in the Asia Pacific region, being regarded for "top-level litigation" and for "high-value work".
For the 2014/2015 financial year, MinterEllison acted on a large number of M&A transactions with a total deal value of A$30 billion as well as A$34 billion worth of infrastructure projects during the year. It also advised 70 per cent of the ASX 50 companies, a group that represents the large-cap component of the Australian stock market.

Formerly known as Minter Ellison Lawyers, MinterEllison was a member of the Big Six leading Australian law firms before that term was superseded by a series of international law firm mergers.  In March 2015, MinterEllison dropped "lawyers" from its name, along with the space between "Minter" and "Ellison". The firm announced that these changes were part of its new strategy of both emphasising diversification into non-legal services such as project management, consulting and other professional services, and also no longer insisting upon widely-accepted grammatical conventions. Chief Executive Tony Harrington told the Australian Financial Review that the change in branding and strategy is the firm adapting to "phenomenal change in the market: change that encompasses technology-driven standardised products, increased in-house capacity at clients, increased liberalisation of syntactical norms, and ever-consolidating larger businesses." MinterEllison is aiming for substantial growth, planning to increase revenue from roughly A$400 million to around A$600 million by 2020. In April 2016, Minter Ellison launched a contract lawyer business, Flex, to provide clients with an alternative cost model for legal services.

MinterEllison's origins can be traced back to 1827, when Frederick Wright Unwin was admitted to practice in New South Wales. Its first international office was opened in London in 1974, and its roots in China date back to the 1980s, when it was part of the Beijing Interjura consultancy (1987-1993) and though a co-operation agreement with Great Wall Law Firm (the law firm of China's Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade) signed in 1990.

In 1986, Ellison Hewison & Whitehead merged with Gillotts and with Minter Simpson & Co to become Minter Ellison.

In 1992, Minter Ellison and Morris Fletcher & Cross merged to become Minter Ellison Morris Fletcher and in 1995, the firm officially becomes known as Minter Ellison. In 2000, the Canberra office merged with Deacon Graham & James.

The firm established offices in Hong Kong in 2000, Shanghai in 2001, Beijing in 2010, and Ulaanbaatr in 2012.

On 1 September 2001 the New Zealand (Auckland and Wellington) law firm of Rudd Watts & Stone changed its name to Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (this firm is a member of the MinterEllison Legal Group and as an 'associated' firm does not form part of the integrated MinterEllison partnership.)

I sat transfixed as Mr. Jeffery spoke on the phone. “I’ve a lass here who wants to live in the city. Do you have a place for her there? You do! That’s great!” 

Looking to me, he said, “When can you start?”

“Umm…six weeks, I…I guess…I’ll need a little time to settle in etc.  I’ll have to find somewhere to live...” I stammered in return.

“Okay….Lee will be there at “such–and-such-a-time at such-and-such-a-day”,” he replied.

That was it! As simple as making a telephone call, I had a job. No interview was required. In those days, in the mid-Sixties, country girls were snapped up by city law firms like we were rare pieces of gold.

Now, all I had to do was find somewhere to live, again by remote control.

I wanted to “flat” by myself. (a “flat” is a unit or apartment to those of you who have never heard of this description).

Even back then I wanted desperately my own “space” and didn’t take kindly to the idea of sharing my living area with anyone else. My mother and grandmother wouldn’t hear of it, though. That was one thing they put their collective “foot” down upon.

Begrudgingly, I telephoned a girl I used to know.  Glenda had moved to Brisbane a couple of years earlier. Explaining my plight to her, she agreed to help me out if she could.

Again, my timing was perfect.

Fortunately, a workmate of hers had a younger sister who was looking for a “flat-mate” to share her living expenses etc. Everything was falling into place for me, and as yet, I’d not even left Gympie to put the square pieces into the square holes or the round pieces into the round holes.

All I needed to do was work through the four weeks to the day of my departure, pack my meager possessions and buy a train ticket.

Once more, the winds were blowing favourably for me.

A neighbours’ house was being painted during this period. One of the painters drove back to Brisbane each weekend to spend time with his family. 

Willingly, he offered me a lift whenever I was ready to leave Gympie.

PS....Randall headed off to New York in late November, 1965...returned to Australia in late November, 1974....we eventually married in 1976...then separated in 1986...but we've remained friends to this day....

30 comments:

  1. In some ways, the word of mouth system worked (and works) really well. And in my experience, speaking of work, a lot of lenience was given to those who did 'work'. Lenience which continued, unless and until it was taken advantage of.

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    1. That is true, EC.

      Yes, we did our work, but we knew how to throw the fun into the mix when we did it! We had lots of fun.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. Your stories are always so enjoyable to read. My mother's name was Edna and the 20th, the date you posted, was her birthday.

    You have been very fortunate to meet and work with such wonderful people. I enjoy reliving it through your stories.

    Many blessings to you.

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    1. Hey there, Gail. I was very lucky to have had my first job in the big world with those people and those I worked with. We had it pretty good - better than pretty good, I reckon. They were good days/years.

      I'm glad you enjoy my stories...I enjoy reliving and sharing the memories. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. It has been quite a while. I hope you have been doing well. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to your home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at SiteHoundSniffs.com.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi there Jerry...yes, it has been a while. When I get a chance later today I'll have a look at what you're suggesting and I'll get back to you.

      I hope all is well with you and Arlynda...take care.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
    2. Thank you for being so cordial. I deeply regret blowing up at you back then when I should have just kept my mouth shut (so to speak...er, write). I hope you will give permission.

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  4. I couldn't get past the one hour lunch breaks! In my entire working career, I never had that. In factories you get a half hour and if you're not working again when the whistle blows, the boss ain't happy!
    But like you, I loved my job and would still be there if the factory hadn't closed and moved its operations overseas.

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    1. I'm surprised you were surprised at the mention of one hour lunch breaks, River. It was the norm then, and no doubt still is in many areas. As I went on through the workforce in other various roles lunch breaks didn't exist at all in some...but in the offices in which I worked that was the norm. Not always did I take the whole hour, but during my days/years with Tozer and Jeffery that is what the staff, and our bosses did in most instances.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. Your life has been so interesting - I love reading this latest chapter. And so nice that you and Randall are still friends.

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    1. Hey Lynn...my life now is no where near as interesting (to others, anyway)than it once was...but I like the quiet life...and make the most of it!

      Thanks for calling in. :)

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  6. I have a confession to make... I did not read all of the Wikipedia article you pasted in but as usual I read everything else. I hope you won't strike me with your riding crop.

    I had never heard of a Goggomobil Dart and for a moment I thought you had just made up the name. But then I googled it (or goggomobiled it!!!) and discovered how modern and distinctive these cars were - fit for a radio DJ playboy and his moll (Hopkirk).

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    1. Oh, the Goggo was so much fun, Yorkie. No doors...in the days of tight, straight skirts, too, which made it fun to climb aboard! The seats could slide back and up which made climbing aboard easier...a bit! A fibre-glass body (the car, not me), they were as light as a feather. Fun! Fun! Fun!

      I forgive you for not read all the Wiki data...I probably wouldn't have done so in your position, either! I only included it for ease of information...saving me having to write it all. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. Networking has been the thing to do in the Internet age, but it was done long before that, but as you demonstrated, in a more personal way.

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    1. Hi Arleen...our office had a lot of contact with city solicitors in one way or the other and we had city-based "brother/sister" firm that acted as our city agents when the need arose.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. It's always enjoyable to read your life stories. As for the Goggomobil I was curious because I'd never heard of the car either.

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  9. Hi Graham...You've probably by now looked up the Goggomobil on Wikipedia...but just in case you've not....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goggomobil

    You will note that the Goggomobil Dart was produced here in Australia only...about 5000 in total...between the years 1957-1961. They were such a fun, pretty, unique little car.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. Oh my! I don't remember from which blog I hopped, but I'm so glad to be here.
    I absolutely love bloggers who look back into their history and print out their memories for us. It's so wonderful to be a voyeur, huh!

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  11. Hi Bluebird...I have no idea from wherein you flew as I see no familiar names on your list...but that's fine...thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. Cool cars. And that was back in the days when everyone noticed the car you were riding in. Such an adventurous life you've led. It seems like like an old Gidget movie from the 60s.

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    1. Hi Dave...We were all mad for our cars in those days...and the cars were fun. Now all cars look pretty much the same. We lots of good times back then.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. I used to fancy young men with sportscars too...and eventually married one too ! He had an Austin Healy 100/4. It didn't last long once we were married though !!!

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    1. Hi Helsie....I went for a ride one night the the first ever E-Type Jag in Queensland. I wasn't interested in the fellow who owned it, though...not romantically. And coincidentally, many years later when I returned to Gympie in 1998 my next door neighbour (the husband of the couple) was the E-Type owner's brother.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. All that gossipping over tea made you forget the recipe!

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    1. No recipes were applicable to this post, Mr. Ad-Man. If you're hungry make yourself a Marmite sandwich!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. Blimey, it's a long read.

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    1. So is the daily newspaper, Treey.

      Thanks for coming by. :0

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  16. I think having good friends at the office makes your time worthwhile and your work easy no matter how hard the tasks are. Oh, I remember my office days. :)

    I miss that part of eating lunch and laughing together. Working at home though makes me hang out with our dogs more often. So i think it's just as good.

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    1. Hey Lux...yes...those were good years. I loved my first job. I was very lucky in that regard, I believe. I worked with great people. It was like a family.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  17. there are seen fine vehicles in this post. Hope all is well.

    Rollright stones.

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