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Adelaide’s Favourite Personalities – Part 2

This is the second of a series of ‘Adelaide’s Favourite Personalities’, part one was posted last month (December).

In that first post I asked readers to nominate their own favourites, the people they felt most personified Adelaide during the baby boomer years. Here are some of the personalities nominated in no particular order;

A newspaper cutting of Anne Wills during her television days

A newspaper cutting of Anne Wills during her television days

Anne Wills, best known to Adelaide TV audiences as ‘Willsy’, started her career as the weather girl on Channel 9 back in 1965.

It wasn’t long however before her natural talents were recognised and she was making regular appearances on Adelaide Tonight variety show with Ernie Sigley and Lionel Williams. She also presented and appeared on many other locally based Channel 9 TV programs, including AM Adelaide.

She later moved to Channel 7, also as a weather presenter on 7 Nightly News and made regular appearances on Adelaide radio, including co-hosting the 5DN Breakfast Show with Geoff Sunderland.

Anne has been part of the Adelaide entertainment scene for many years and during that time has won a total of 19 Logies, an Australian record.


Voted as South Australia’s ‘best-known and most admired person’ back in the 1980s, Advertiser columnist Des Colquhoun

Voted as South Australia’s ‘best-known and most admired person’ back in the 1980s, Advertiser columnist Des Colquhoun

There was a survey conducted back in the late 1980s to find South Australia’s ‘best-known and most admired person’.

The winner on that occasion was Des Colquhoun, who wrote the front page column for The Advertiser every day for many years.

Most people will remember Des for his incisive and witty articles on the daily trials and tribulations of living and working in Adelaide.

Des started at The Advertiser in 1948 at the age of 17 as a copy boy and later began a four-year cadetship as a journalist. After stints in Melbourne, London and New York he returned to Adelaide in 1966 as the editorial manager, later becoming general manager of the newspaper.

He continued to write his popular column right throughout the 1980s.

Des died in 2006.


Sir Edward Hayward and his family were associated with one of Adelaide’s most-loved institutions, John Martins department store, from 1876.

Sir Edward Hayward of John Martins, instigator  of the annual Christmas Pageant and recognised as South Australian Father of the Year, despite having no children

Sir Edward Hayward of John Martins, instigator of the annual Christmas Pageant and recognised as South Australian Father of the Year, despite having no children

Edward was educated at St Peter’s College and joined the family business in 1931.

One of his first duties was to visit North America and gather ideas from department stores in the USA and Canada. The plan for his most enduring legacy, the Adelaide Christmas Pageant, came from that first trip.

South Australia was still recovering from the Great Depression and Hayward wanted to create an event that would help people smile again. He conceived the idea of a parade of floats based on fairy-tales and nursery rhymes with marching bands escorting Father Christmas to John Martins.

Since the first Adelaide Christmas Pageant was held in 1933 it has become a much-loved annual tradition.

Sir Edward was a great lover of art and built up a world-class collection of works that he bequeathed to the state, along with his home ‘Carrick Hill’.

In 1973 he was recognised as South Australian Father of the Year, despite having no children, for his role in bringing so much joy to the children of Adelaide with the Christmas Pageant. He died in 1983.

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10 Responses to Adelaide’s Favourite Personalities – Part 2

  1. Dwayne Fuller January 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi Bob, a personality I’d love to see Is a singer from Country and Western Hour. Her name is Jill Freeman.Do you have any information on Jill, I know she was very popular on that show.



    • christine navarro January 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      i remember jill freeman as well….my father joe eltham played banjo on the country ad western show….jill living close to our place at semephore park…and she used to come over to practice her singing….

      • Lindsay Barton May 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

        Hi Chris i would love to hear from you Lindsay

      • Ian Barton January 16, 2020 at 6:17 pm #

        Hello Christine
        I saw your reply and you mentioned you were the daughter of Jo Eltham. I recall when I used to live at Angle Park back in about 1969 and somebody poked their head over the back fence saying they had a car for sale. I went and had a look at it and it was a beautiful old black Ford Consul and when I went to pick it up Jo signed the registration papers over to me. I’m not sure if it was his car or what the story was behind the car but I definitely recall that occasion and also Jo Eltham as a banjo player.

  2. Sue Jaynes January 7, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I loved Anne Wills and her sister, but Anne was a little bit more of a bubbly personality. I also liked Pam Western and Ian Fairweather. I don’t know what became of them.

  3. Peter January 7, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    As a young journalist newly arrived in London at the start of 1965 I went to look up the fabled Des who I had heard of but never met in Adelaide. I should never have done it. We were supposed to have lunch at midday on one of my first trips down to London from where I was staying. About 2pm Des arrived back at the office in Fleet Street, apologised for his lateness and immediately took me out on a pub crawl of London. Even though the pubs were then shut in the afternoons, he knew where to get a drink. We even ended up playing snooker in The London Press Club – not for the likes of we mere journalists – this was the place for the newspaper barons of the day and the editors in chief. Being approached by the manager as to our bona fides, Des said “Charles, good to see you again. Des Colquhoun, Herald and Weekly Times, Australia.” Charles scurried off to check on this person. The third person in our group, Lee Bottrill, was a bit worried. “Des, he’ll find out you’re not a member and we’ll be chucked out”. “Don’t worry,” says Des, “how long do you think it’s going to take him to find Colquhoun in his members book!” More pubs and more drinking. After trawling through newsrooms up and down Fleet Street late at night the usual response was along the lines “oh he’ll, it’s that bloody Colquhoun looking for drinking mates”. At a bit after 4am Des deposited me on the platform for the first train of the day to Luton. The first of a few such encounters to my young liver’s horror. Des was one of Adelaide’s best treasures and one of the best journalists I’ve run into. Those who worked under him as editor in chief of The Advertiser revered him.

  4. Helen sheehan December 29, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    Is Lionel Williams still alive. I cannot find anything on him on Google. He had the most beautiful voice. any information on him would be appreciated

  5. ken August 1, 2017 at 4:44 am #

    Anne Wills, what can I say? Lovely, sexy, petite, could sell a song, equal to her old mate (Ernie Sigley) even better. weather girl, that scared TV wearing a bikini, gave love to our boys in Viet Nam. I could go on but Bev Harrell would kill me.

  6. Steve Wray, now in England September 1, 2017 at 1:59 am #

    I was very fond of dear old Lionel Williams. We arrived in Adelaide in 1954, and he was a regular on radio station 5KA in the mornings. Nice, friendly guy. When TV arrived, in 1959, he went to NWS9, where he hosted “Adelaide Tonight”, a rather lame variety show which went out live. We once went to sit in the audience.

    There is a clip of Lionel, with Kevin Crease, on Youtube, from Adelaide Tonight. They are doing an ad for Viscount cigarettes. (“The best of them all”.)

    My aunt once won a radio competition, and Lionel himself visited her at home to present the prize. You wouldn’t get that nowadays.

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