The following is a transcript of the speech given by Dame Edna Everage at the opening of the shopping complex at the Jam Factory in 1979:
'Ode to the Jam Factory' by Dame Edna Everage
Long before the second world war I remember as clear as a bell
This factory of brick and bluestone and its motto: 'I excell'.
I would sometimes go as a special treat
With my wonderful white haired gran
And the chimney that towered over Chapel Street lent a strawberry smell to Prahran.
I remember my solemn childish prayer in the rumbling cable tram 'Give us our daily bread' I said
'And don't forget the jam'.
This was like a cathedral
To sensitive kiddies like me
The source of the scrumptuous sacrement
The climax of Sunday tea
For jam was Australian caviar
It was almost a personal friend
And we'd all pray at the break of day
That we'd come to a sticky end.
There was apricot jam on Sundays
When the Aunties and Uncles had gone
And what a relief after cold corned beef
Was the jam on a hot date scone.
There was Victoree Jam and Rosella Monboulk and A.J.C.
And Clegg and Kamp's in a thick glass jar
With chunks of fruit you could see.
On a Winter night by the fire-side light
We'd like our supper or lump it
We'd cling to our hotties and gobble our Cottees
There was home-made raspberry conserve
With a white and waxy seal
(We were somewhere taught that the jam you bought had pips that were not quite real)
On a winter night by the mallee root's light
We'd like our supper or lump it
How we'd cling to our hotties and gobble our Cottees
In the squelchy holes of a crumpet.
Then at dawn round a gallon of ginger and melon
The family like blowies would flutter
Deep our knives would thrust Dodging bits of burnt crust
And large lumps of VERY OLD butter.
Best of all was the jar from the Church Hall Bazaar
With its label hand-written and mottled
How long is it since
You've had a good quince
An old lady has lovingly bottled? ... (change of metre)
The jams that I sing of I don't see a thing of
Now I'm star of the stage screen and telly
They bring me instead
When I breakfast in bed
Plastic sachets of sterilized jelly.
What an insult to jam
Is this synthetic gram
To spread it needs minutes of toil
You should hear my wails
As I rupture my nails
Merely trying to wrench off the foil!
Today you've all flocked in here off the street
To watch me take the lid of something sweet
A brand-new shopping, tourist entertainment venue
That spells 'good taste' on any city's menu.
And yet remember not so long ago
The Voice of Progress said this place should go
For in our town it's always been a battle
To save us from resembling Seattle In Collins Street Greed won- No-one said STOP
We lost the middle, bottom, and the top. And though we all spread conserve on our bread
Conserving buildings fills us all with dread!
Here are the arcades and shops beneath one roof
So dignified and yet so un-aloof
To think that centuries hence some grateful buyer
Will praise the plans of Peter McIntyre.
And so do I, neath Melbourne's Springtime blossom Say:
Well done Peter, clever little Possum!
You have excelled, brought Melbourne a new glamour
And saved this factory from the wrecker's hammer,
Let's celebrate where once they filled the tins
It's nice to know IMAGINATION WINS!
Dame Edna Everage c.1979. Dame Edna Everage is a division of the Barry Humphreys Group.