Of Mother’s Day and Hammer and Sickle.

Share Mother’s Day with us at Bunnings. (Bring the kids)

It’s hard to believe, but that’s what the blinking sign said. We came home late from Sydney and drove past that sign at Mittagong. ‘Barbeque and jumping castle will be there’, was added for good measure. It just never stops, does it? The barbeque, of course, was meant to entice the forever hungry male partner, the jumping castle for the kids. Nothing was left to chance. It had all been worked out after weeks of doing surveys and conducting polls.

Grey’s advertising team had been working on this campaign (feverishly) and with a $600.000 budget was expected to come up with the goods. The ‘goods’ being a gross return of at least $20.million for that single day of the year spread around Sydney’s suburban stores. There was a palpable buzz of excitement around head office in the days leading up to the big event. Office boys were recklessly flirting with the typists and a team leader had even been so brash as to put his hand on the shoulder of the manager in charge of bolt-cutters and wrenches divisions. This time, she allowed his hand to remain…- Bolt cutters and wrenches are big ticket items for Bunnings, hugely profitable, and at least as big as bananas are for Woolworth. – She was hoping for a bonus and thus allowed his hand to linger longer than she would normally tolerate.

I can never think of wrenches and not come to a smile. Every time we catch the train to Sydney we go past my old stamping ground of Revesby. Not that there ever was a huge ‘stamping’ going on at Revesby in the late fifties, unless of course you consider crawling over a lawn and picking at the grass or staring at petunia beds from behind the venetians enormously  riveting.

However, Revesby is well known for its Workers Club. Many famous artists have performed there including The Bee Gees and Diana Ross. Even today some of the best gigs sooner or later appear at Revesby’s Workers club.  The reason for my mirth when the train passes Revesby is its large cement and white painted emblem at the front of this huge building, high up the façade, facing the railway. It has a hammer and a wrench crossed over. I can just imagine the numerous meetings held by Revesby’s Workers club management, trying to iron out how to put a recognizable face to the club. Clearly the word ‘Workers Club’ indicated an affiliation with ‘workers’, but, at the same time, there must have been some in management hesitant to use the ‘hammer and sickle’ emblem. The symbolism of that emblem could too clearly and too soon be perceived as a possible reversal to communism.  The club certainly did not want to miss out on the thousands of Eastern European migrants having arrived here as a result of the ‘hammer and sickle’. After many meetings and heated arguments a good compromise must have been reached, hence, the crossed over ‘Hammer and (plumbers) Wrench’. A good compromise, don’t you think? One foot in capitalism and yet, still a small lingering and hunkering of that other ‘social’ world.

Have a happy Mother’s Day. (Think of buying mum a rubber plunger to unblock the drain)

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