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Postcard from the Magic Cave
Title : Postcard from the Magic Cave Postcard from the Magic Cave
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Creator : John Martin & Co
Date of creation : 1914
Format : Ephemera
Dimensions : 138 x 88 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Donated by : John Martin & Co.
Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of David Jones Ltd. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from David Jones Ltd and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

A postcard, printed in England by Raphael Tuck & Sons, and featuring an 'Oilette' image of Father Christmas on the front with an over-printed 'Got your message, Father Christmas' message on the back.

From its humble beginnings as a small drapery store, John Martin & Co. (known more commonly as John Martin's) grew to become a grand department store and South Australian institution.

Established in 1866 by Otto Peters and John Martin, the drapers were located at 94 Rundle St, Adelaide.

In 1871 Peters sold to Martin, and when Martin died in 1889 the business passed into the hands of EW Hayward and remained in the Hayward family until 1981.

The company continued to expand both its premises and workforce. It was during some restoration and renovation work in 1901 that the area known as the 'Magic Cave' was excavated, although it wasn't until 1905 that the area was decorated and named as such.

As the name suggests, the 1905 renovations fitted-out the area to resemble a cave, featuring grottoes, waterfalls and fish pools; the columns and ceilings covered to give the appearance of rocks.

Over the years the space was used to house live shows, sales, exhibitions and, most famously, it was the home of John Martin's Christmas displays, including Father Christmas. It was logical, then, that when John Martin's conceived of the pageant its terminus should be there and so since 1933 the start of the festive season in Adelaide has been marked by the pageant and the arrival of Father Christmas at the 'Magic Cave'.

Generations of South Australian children have written letters to Father Christmas at this address, or lined up to sit on his knee and pour out their Christmas desires. The tradition continues today, with the pageant safely delivering Father Christmas to the 'Magic Cave's' new home at the David Jones department store.

Related names :

John Martin & Co.

Coverage year : 1914
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

'60th John Martin's State Bank Christmas pageant 1933-1993', Sunday Mail, 31 October 1993, 24 p. supp.

Adelaide's once-a-year day, Adelaide: Commercial Printing House, 1978.

'Street pageant delights crowd', Advertiser, 20 November 1933, p. 16.

A touch of magic [videorecording] : [the story behind the Christmas Pageant], West Lakes?, S. Aust. : Cine News Productions, 1993.

Internet links :

Credit Union Christmas pageant

John Martin's first pageant: 1933 [State Library of South Australia]



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