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Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Typewriter Eye Candy from Canterbury

Here’s an image to make every typewriter lover drool. It was taken in Christchurch, the capital of the Canterbury province in New Zealand, on Monday, February 4, 1974, two days after the Commonwealth Games had closed. Terry O’Cain, who worked for Turners Ltd, a printing, stationery and office equipment company on the corner of Colombo and Tuam Streets, is seen laying out some of the 350 Olympia SG3 typewriters used by the news media at the various venues during the Games. About 150 were used at Queen Elizabeth II Park, where this picture was taken. Most were headed to the Christchurch Technical Institute. The 10th Commonwealth Games were held in Christchurch from January 24 to February 2, 1974. The main venue was QEII Park. Early plans for the same stadium to host this year’s Commonwealth Games were in hand when in September 2010 an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude hit near Christchurch and damaged the facility. The more devastating February 22, 2011, damaged the entire facility, already weakened, beyond economic repair. After laying abandoned for three years, the stadium was demolished and by 2016 the ground stabilised in preparation of more economical facilities and a connecting high school.

An interior shot of Turners Ltd on the corner of Colombo and Tuam Streets, Christchurch.
Some of the Auckland Star sports writing staff covering the Christchurch Commonwealth Games in 1974. At the Olympia SG3 is Phil Gifford, with whom I worked at The New Zealand Herald in the late 1960s. At the far left is Peter Snell, the great middle distance runner who set two one mile records and won three gold medals at the 1960 Rome and 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.Third from the left is Roy Williams, who won the 1966 Commonwealth Games decathlon and who was the brother of 1952 Olympic long jump winner Yvette Williams. 
The 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch were most notable for the thrilling 1500 metres final, in which Tanzanian Filbert Bayi led from the start to smash the world record. Behind him is the fast-finishing John Walker, later to become the first man to break 3min 50sec for the mile and winner of the 1500 metres at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.
My friend Dick Tayler was a surprise winner of the 10,000 metres, from England's world record holder Dave Bedford. Writing about this exciting race minutes later, Jim Shrimpton of Australian Associated Press was struggling to find something to say about Tayler, about whom he had previously known little, when a friend walked into the Press Centre and said, "He's from Timaru." "So what?" asked Jim. "That's Phar Lap country," said the friend. The noise made by Jim ripping a sheet of paper out of the platen of his Olympia SG3 could be heard around the stadium. He quickly replaced it with a clean sheet. Phar Lap was Australasia's most famous race horse - and Jim finally had the lead-in for his report.

1 comment:

Ixzed23 said...

It's a striking difference to the 60's to 80's Olympic games typewriters you wrote about, where Brother and Olivetti had provided portables.