No time left for some jobs

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

WHERE did my job go? Many years ago, when my Dad was still with us, he’d de­light in tak­ing our dog to the ton­so­rial artist. Lately I’ve been feel­ing I might be a bit over­due for a trip to the ton­so­rial artist.

So what ac­tiv­ity could I share with the fam­ily dog?

A trip to the hair­dresser. In times past they let blood, set bones and cut hair.

The red and white striped bar­ber’s pole sym­bol­ised blood and bone, the bowl on the top was for the blood.

All this think­ing started me won­der­ing which pro­fes­sions had be­come ‘‘ re-badged’’ which led to the ques­tion, ‘‘ Which had com­pletely dis­ap­peared?’’

I re­mem­ber years ago we would chat to the trunk calls op­er­a­tor while wait­ing for her to con­nect us to my grand­par­ents in Wales.

The ad­vent of email has wiped out the need for copy boys in news­pa­per of­fices and is mak­ing in­roads into the work of the post of­fice as we seem to turn away from the gen­tle art of letter writ­ing.

Those of you who go ten-pin bowl­ing may be in­ter­ested to know that up un­til 1946, the pins were set up by girls and boys em­ployed to do the job. Some places had a semi-au­to­matic setup, but most were en­tirely man­ual.

I won­der where the lamp-lighters went, and the bot­tle wash­ers who ini­tially washed and re­cy­cled our milk and other bot­tles by hand, then su­per­vised the ma­chin­ery, and, fi­nally, were au­to­mated right out of ex­is­tence.

Who em­ployed all the con­duc­tors from trams and buses?

Per­haps they just went the way of the ice-men who used to de­liver the ice.

I re­mem­ber as a child en­ter­ing the lift with my Mum and be­ing asked by the driver what we re­quired so he could de­liver us to the right floor.

A trip long ago with my Nanna to a depart­ment store in the city also holds mem­o­ries of a floor walker of­fer­ing her a seat while she waited to be served.

Those were slow, gen­tle and con­sid­er­ate times.

It seems that these jobs have passed as our de­mand for ‘‘ faster’’ in­creased.

I en­joyed the slower times and the in­ter­est­ing peo­ple who worked within them.

Feel­ing con­cerned, I started writ­ing a list of van­ished jobs but it be­came too long and I won­dered when ‘‘ col­umn writer’’ might join the list so I stopped.


Sue-Belinda Meehan

words and trivia:

asksue-belinda. com

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