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   Aug 21

Fifty years on and Maitland’s city centre still cause for public discussion

The 50-year-old cartoon. SAME OLD JOKE: Margaret McKenzie of Rutherford with the old Mercury cartoon from 1965. Picture by CATH BOWEN
Nanjing Night Net

A 50-year-old cartoon has been unearthed that proves history does repeat.

A Mercury reader has found a copy of a ­cartoon that was published in the Maitland Mercury in November, 1965, that ­satirically depicts Maitland City Council and the changes that were taking place in central Maitland at the time.

The cartoon depicts Maitland council as a toy store that sells items such as “The Kill High Street Game”, “Supermarket Monopoly”and a kit to “build your very own life sizesupermarket”.

It reflects a time when there was community debate over developments in Maitland, similar to the public discussion that has been taking place in the city in recent months over The Levee.

A large box in the corner of the cartoon could even be mistaken for an early concept drawing of the High Street kiosk.

The cartoon was uncovered by 81-year-old Rutherford woman Margaret McKenzie, whose father Peter Ziforich was a Maitland alderman for nine years in the 1960s.

Mrs McKenzie said she found the cartoon in a scrapbook of newspaper clippings that her father had collected during his time as a representative of the city.

“I’ve got no idea what happened in Maitland that year, but the cartoon is relevant to what’s going on today, 50 years later,” she said.

“I just thought it was funny and hoped people would get a laugh out of it.”

Mr Ziforich was a Russian immigrant who came to Australia as a 12-year-old.

As an adult, he owned the Shell service station at Rutherford for about 20 years from the 1940s to the 1960s.

He worked in the orphanage at Monte Pio and served as an alderman on Maitland council, in a time when the elected representatives did their jobs for no pay.

“He would have been horrified to see what has been happening in Maitland,” Mrs McKenzie said.

“He was very well-liked and respected. He was an all-round good bloke.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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