When I was a kid, I briefly had a job as a paper boy. This holiday job involved selling Brisbane's daily newspaper on the platform of a suburban railway station. My friend, who got me the job and worked with me on one of the other platforms, gave me the drum - "the papers cost one shilling and sixpence, see, and the punters normally give you two bob, see, and if you can't find the change before the train goes, you can keep the change, see?" I saw, alright. I developed rifling through the pockets of my apron looking for sixpence into a very theatrical art form. Trains galore left the station with commuters holding pleading hands out the window waiting in vain for their change. I was extremely disappointed (and a fair bit poorer!) when those holidays ended and I had to go back to school. Anyway, I would have given up all of my sixpenny "tips" to be a paper boy like this. Just click on the picture to see it in a larger size.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #181342)
Here we have the paper delivery boys of Lucky Mac's Casket Agency & Newsagency in Oxford St, Bulimba, just up the road from the ferry. Four cool-looking types on army surplus Harley-Davidsons, complete with side-cars. This photo is dated 1953, probably just before blokes like this on bikes like these would have been called "bodgies", but I'm sure they did a sterling job for the proprietor, Mr Mackenzie. I can just imagine myself being the barefoot boy standing importantly amongst all of this fabulous machinery. I have another photo of the newsagency here.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #181308)
I'm not sure whether one of the gentlemen standing outside the newsagency is Mr Mackenzie, Himself. I'd like to think so. I love the bicycles scattered about the shop - actually, Mr Mackenzie had better get Himself straight back in there, because I'm sure there are a couple of kids in his shop right now, probably stuffing Superman comics down their shirts. (How would I know that?)
The building that was Lucky Mac's newsagency can still be seen at 78 Oxford St, and here it is. (Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)
It is now "Thai Legend" restaurant and takeaway, and seems to have a somewhat more startling colour scheme than when it was a newsagency. The house next door in the earlier photo survives, too, although it is now a business premises rather than a residence. But, I don't care how vibrant the shop is now, to me it can never be as colourful as when it was a newsagency that delivered the Courier-Mail by Harley-Davidson.
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