They were the days before computers and one had to deliver seven carbon
copies of every typed story into assorted wire baskets. The days when
you suffered the humiliation of being “spiked”. The days when the
person on “Dog Watch” (too often me), manned the telex machines until
the early hours of the morning and had to venture downstairs and brave
the hot metal type setters. (It was very challenging for a gal in a
mini skirt!)

In those days we even had a Herald and Weekly Times chaplain and it was
rumoured the company ran a drying out facility for sozzled employees
down near Frankston. There were some real characters in the office then
– Bruce Wilson, Beryl Town, Dasha Ross, Pat Bowring, Mark
Trevorrow (aka Bob Downe ) and Paulie Stewart (latterly lead
singer of the Painters and Dockers.) I recall Stuart Rintoul as a
blonde choirboy cadet and many others who are still in the game.

My favourite person was Geoff Wright (folk balladeer and inconoclast,
one time husband of the legendary Claudia). Geoff would fire up a
durrie, drape himself over his battered typewriter – the
walls behind him papered with yellowed front pages from decades past –
and regale us with tales of the legendary “Harry The Horse”. It
was truly like being a bit-player in a Damon Runyon novel.

Bad canteen food, too much grog, cricket in the corridors, chairs
through windows, falling down stairs, nightclubbing with the coppers…

it was all grist to the mill. But the best part of all? Watching a
demented news editor tearing across the newsroom, dodging the old
wooden desks and waving a red hot telex, screaming : “HOLD THE FRONT
PAGE”.

It did happen and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!