The Best of Bob Byrne’s Boomer Columns

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       January 4, 2017


Author  Bob Byrne

Distributor:      New South Books
ISBN:                 9781742235271
Publisher:         New South Publishers
Release Date:   December 2016  

Website:    http:/,au 

Every now and again, as a Baby Boomer reading this book,  I will come across a word, or a photo, and it will trigger such memories, that it is hard to move on. Sometimes it is a phrase (Like Heckle and Jeckle), that tickles a memory, but not enough to remember why. One has a real sense of ownership and loyalty when one recognized people, places, and events that were in our past. This book is every bit as good as Bob’s last book, and may they keep coming.

 In 2013 Bob was invited to write some nostalgic articles for Adelaide Now. The column became very popular. Bob had previously played on radio old news clips, then asked listeners to call in with their memories of that time. Much later he started a Facebook website, Adelaide Remember When. This book looks at “People, places and events and experiences that shaped our city and a generation.”

 Some of the chapter headings give rise to memories and it is absorbing to read of other people’s experiences. “Here comes the neighbourhood”, is the first chapter. The photo show a children’s party with food on the table and mum in the background, having a smoke. The hot summer nights without air conditioning meant that many people sat out on their front lawn, or seats on the verandah, and chatted as neighbours walked by. Neighbours seemed to be much more involved with each other, and families had many extensions.

 Some of the following chapters will generate different memories, but everyone who was in Adelaide at the time will remember the humble beginnings of TV, and also many of the lost icons around the city. John Martin’s Store, The South Australia Hotel, Magic Mountain, and the old Pie Cart are just a few of the pictures shown, with accompanying stories. Stories of football, when a radio announcer called one of the ruckman slow; the following week the footballer rode his bike onto the oval, is just one instance that will never be forgotten.

 The chapter talking about Bex and Vincents Powders is rather chilling, as many people died from kidney disease after becoming addicted to the powders. Many of the local buildings (now knocked down), are shown as photos. The York Theater, The Adelaide City Baths, and the Imperial Hotel, are just a few of them. Transport is shown, with buses, cars, and trams shown and discussed. “Scary School Memories” is another chapter where children are shown drinking the milk that was left for them, playing marbles, and skipping in the playground.

 This is just a fantastic way of spending a few hours reminiscing, or laughing with friends over the fashions and hair styles. Keep them coming please Bob!