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Adelaide’s Favourite Personalities, Past & Present. Pt 1

Who is your favourite Adelaide personality? The person who you think most personifies the city.

It’s a tough question! There are so many people who immediately come to mind but I thought I’d get the ball rolling with a few names and photos. Please list the personality you think should be in the list and later next year we’ll feature your suggestions in a post. Meantime, here are a few names that have featured on our Facebook page over the the past 12 months and made it into the recent Adelaide Remember When book. They are in no particular order.

Jane Reilly, popular TV and radio presenter. Jane was Miss Australia Beach Girl in 1974

Jane Reilly, popular TV and radio presenter. Jane was Miss Australia Beach Girl in 1974

Jane Reilly rose to local fame after being crowned Miss South Australian Beach Girl in March 1974. She went on to win the national title. She was just 18 at the time and was studying law and modelling part time. She was the state’s very first national winner of the competition and from there branched out into the media as firstly hosting children’s programmes with Fat Cat, followed by several stints on radio, then back to TV as Channel Ten News weather presenter and currently back on radio as a high profile news and talk presenter on the breakfast programme at 5AA.

Jane’s contribution and dedication to her work in the media has won her a host of awards and accolades including the prestigious MBF national media award, two years running, and in 1995, she was named a Family Ambassador for the Office of Families.

Photo from the Advertiser. South Australia’s most loved wordsmith - columnist, journalist, novelist and poet.

Source the State Library of South Australia. Max introducing a younger generation to his typewriter. He was Adelaide’s most loved wordsmith – columnist, journalist, novelist and poet.

Max Fatchen was South Australia’s most loved wordsmith – columnist, journalist, novelist and poet. He also was the columnist with the longest output, producing columns in The News from 1948 and The Advertiser from 1955, right up until, aged 92 when he reluctantly retired his faithful old Imperial typewriter.

Max started out as a general reporter on The News, Adelaide’s afternoon newspaper, and he was there when a young Rupert Murdoch arrived to take on his first newspaper business in 1952.
In 1955 he joined The Advertiser, where he continued writing columns until he retired in 1984 and his career as a children’s book writer then blossomed. His book, The River Kings, was published in six countries and four languages and the ensuing television series was screened in more than 40 countries.
Max died on 14 October 2012.

Kym Bonython cuts a dashing figure on two wheels

Kym Bonython cuts a dashing figure on two wheels

What an amazing man Kym Bonython was.

Probably best known to most Adelaideans through his involvement with Rowley Park Speedway fans he was also an art promoter and a great lover of jazz music.

Kym had a wonderful rapport with the speedway crowds and we were often referred to as ‘the bloody pie-eaters’. He was one of the main instigators of getting the Grand Prix to Adelaide and was a member of the GP board for some time. Kym hosted his own ABC radio programme for 39 years, headed South Australia’s Jubilee 150 celebrations, and chaired the No Republic committee.
He was a decorated wartime fighter pilot and in the 1983 ‘Ash Wednesday’ bushfires, he lost his Mt Lofty home and a lot of very valuable art as well as his personal jazz collection. He died in March 2011.

I can think of another hundred people at least. Who do you think I should include in this list of Adelaide’s Favourite Personalities – Past and Present?


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12 Responses to Adelaide’s Favourite Personalities, Past & Present. Pt 1

  1. Diarmuid Shaw December 20, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    Ann Wills Willsy

  2. Rob Kelvin December 20, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    i admire him (and his family) after what they had to endure. He still read the news for years after, along side another top bloke, Kevin Crease.

  3. Gail December 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    Kevin Crease

  4. Samantha December 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Willsy, of course! She won 19 Logies for being South Australia’s most popular TV personality!

  5. Trish Cooper December 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    On 5AD there was the Kangaroo Club and Gandy who used to “visit” and leave chocolate frogs for children’s birthdays.

  6. Bev Smith-Trim December 21, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    A couple of people who were my idols during my childhood days were Bob Fricker and Roberta Russell from 5 AD. I didn’t meet Bob but had the pleasure of meeting Roberta once. I was amazed that someone who was a radio star would speak to me in such a friendly way. Roberta had a pet budgie but I can’t remember his name but he used to come into the studio with her and we could hear him talking while she was on air. It is scary that these memories are from about 60 years ago!

  7. dean bennett December 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Greg Rowe.(Storm Boy)

  8. Simon December 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    Jane Reilly. Such a nice lady. She was our guest of honour at my schools fate back in the eighties. She didn’t want any money. Ann Wills would only come to our fate if she was paid!

  9. Cathie May 3, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Anne North
    Ian Fairweather
    Glenis O’Brien
    Winky Dink

  10. Steve Wray, now in England September 1, 2017 at 2:13 am #

    Kym Bonython, of the Hyphen-Bonythons (as the Adelaide Uni rag called them), did a fine job with his weekly jazz program, called “Tempo Of The Times”. It wasn’t easy to get most jazz LPs back then (1960s), but Kim had contacts in the States and he used to get the latest Blue Note and other albums and play them on his show. He introduced me (a teenager at the time, with limited money to purchase LPs) to a lot of major jazz artists.

    He also had the money to bring some big jazz names, such as Duke Ellington, to Adelaide. That was my only chance to see these legends.

    I was a first-year uni student in 1965, and the uni hosted a jazz get-together from all States. I played in that. There was an original jazz composition competition, and Kym was one of the judges. I entered one of my compositions in that, as well as playing in a group that played another entry. I remember that Kym liked that piece and he commented on it being in the Horace Silver style.

    His jazz collection, that was destroyed in the fire, must have been amazing. What a loss.

  11. Andy January 21, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

    Hedley Cullen?
    Not sure if he was an Adelaide bloke, but he was on Adelaide telly as “Deadly Ernest”!

  12. Janette November 25, 2023 at 11:37 am #

    I was in the beach girl quest with Jane Reilly at Grange Beach

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