It’s been Christmas here of course. And in case that time of year isn’t busy enough, it also coincides with end of school year graduations, suppers, dinners, etc. Just as well I am a social being.
Anyways … one of the graduation events for my boys took place in the Richmond Hotel in Rundle Mall, a prime shopping spot in the heart of Adelaide. On that evening, the Smiggle shop was getting a makeover, in the form of a new overhanging verandah. And for a very short time, a section of the original shopfront was exposed.
Wonder of wonders, a sign for my favourite chocolate – Haigh’s – established in 1915, and the oldest family-owned chocolate maker in Australia. Their chocolate speckles and scorched almonds have got me through many a crisis, and the cinema mixture has something to please everyone. As for the rocky road which is only made from Easter to the end of September – it (and its heat-intolerant marshmallow) heralds the beginning of autumn, a season which I far prefer to the arid Adelaide summer.
As you may have intuited by now, I have given the Haigh’s range a fair go over the years. However, back to the revealed sign. The Smiggle shop is at 134 Rundle Mall, but the history page on the Haigh’s website doesn’t refer to a shop at that location, and a search on Trove doesn’t find any easy reference to it either. However, the opticians is easier to locate. It seems to have been there since the 1930s, and in January 1953, FB Holding & Son advertised for a capable junior to act as receptioniste [sic] for their optician’s rooms at that address (at that stage Rundle St was still a street, it didn’t become a mall until 1976).
In March 1953, a girl, aged 16, working as an optician’s receptionist advertised for board and lodging, giving her contact details as Holding’s at 134 Rundle Street. It may not have worked out for her, however, as Holding’s were advertising for another junior receptionist within the year in January 1954. Perhaps she left before Haigh’s moved in, because who would leave after? In December 1954, Haigh’s advertises its chocolates as ‘The perfect gift! Delicious assorted chocolates or the original chocolate fruits in a wide range of beautiful gift boxes’ – that at least has not changed.
When we walked by Smiggle again, just over an hour later, the sign was completely covered, and was once again a part of Adelaide’s hidden heritage.