Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Wine and Cheese Nights

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Location

First Floor, 598 St. Kilda Road - Queen's Lane end (Feedback invited)

History


Again, the Friday evening Wine and Cheese Nights regularly put on by the Social Club rated a mention in two or three of the Misa interviews as one of the regular events that brought the various divisions together.

Rather strangely, despite the evenings being mentioned as a common thread, none of four of five people  that I spoke to  and who were prominent attendees could actually remember where in the building they were held!   Too much wine, too little cheese!

Like a few others, I had a vague recollection of them being in a recreation area on the second or third floor towards the Queen's Lane end, but Back To The Future and an in-depth check of the Between Ourselves newsletters scanned by David Lee reveals the true location as the first floor, the area first used for an Arts and Crafts exhibition staged by the Social Club in August, 1974, later augmented with tables and chairs and “eventually with facilities for pool, chess, drafts and cards for use during lunch breaks”.

The possibility of providing some sort of food facility "was being examined", but like the pool table never happened.

This appears to be the space earlier occupied by the Data Services customer services area, another Between Ourselves in August of the previous year noting the pending removal of this facility from the western end of the building to a similar location on the ground floor behind the reception area.

The September, 1974 article suggests that were over 100 exhibits from 21 contributors, highlighting silverware and jewellery by Jan Lippold, a doll's house made by Jack Tucker, a Spanish-American saddles made to Alan Brown and a series of underwater photographs taken by Peter MacGregor.

Apparently some time after I left, there was an alternative Scotch tasting night where a few people didn't appreciate the difference in alcohol strength between wine and spirits and things got a little messy late in the evening. Would anyone knowing the whereabouts of a few missing bottles of Scotch please contact the author (we'll go halves).

The Between Ourselves report also announced the first activities of the Sydney office Social Club; the president Bill Shepherd, vice-president Paul Wylie and with Heather Hogan and Barbara Barry-Scott as joint secretaries (the Melbourne luminaries were not mentioned).

There was no suggestion of a recreation area in Miller Street, but it was noted that theatre parties, fishing trips, a visit to the Hunter Valley vineyards and a children's Christmas party were being planned, along with regular golf days and a squash club.

I couldn't locate any specific reference to the first Wine and Cheese Night in Melbourne - certainly there were regular events at the time I left in mid-76 and given the regularity with which they were mentioned in the Misa interviews, they must have continued for some time afterwards.

After the move to 493, the Accounts Department barbeques continued in Fawkner Park, but from one report I have seen in Flash that suggested that a pre-Christmas evening function planned as a barbeque would alternatively be held in case of inclement weather as a Wine and Cheese Night in the 2nd Floor Conference Room, it seems that there was no recreation area set aside at 493.   Again, Feedback welcome!

As for the Social Club itself, its origins remain unclear.

The second issue of Between Ourselves in November, 1970 noted plans for a children's Christmas Party at Lower Eltham Park with a nominal charge of 50 cents per child to help offset the cost of a visit by Santa, a puppet show, pony an train rides and refreshments.

"Membership of the Social Club is open to all Victorian employees and there is no annual subscription.  As members of the Club, employees can take advantage of the many benefits available, including not only the entertainment side, but a varied list of wholesalers offering considerable discounts on goods".

The inaugural president was listed as Peter Ansell (not known to me), vice-president, Les Jordan; and secretary Liz Bourke who I'm pretty certain continued in the role as Liz Walton after her marriage.