Gough Whitlam kiss stays fresh in Helensburgh cafe wall clippings

The clipping of former prime minister Gough Whitlam giving Helensbugh local Pat Teudt a kiss with husband Harry Teudt in the background. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The clipping of former prime minister Gough Whitlam giving Helensbugh local Pat Teudt a kiss with husband Harry Teudt in the background. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

In 1972, Pat Teudt had no idea her embrace with Prime Minister Gough Whitlam would be shared with strangers in a Helensburgh cafe more than 40 years later.

Mrs Teudt (pictured below), watched by husband Harry, was among the supporters at Helensburgh Workers Club who Mr Whitlam thanked for helping to sweep him to power.

It is one of the moments captured on the wall of a new Helensburgh cafe, Chikki Burgh, that tells the story of the town's development, through the eyes of Mercury journalists and photographers.

"My in-laws were active members of the local ALP branch and knew Gough personally - in fact he attended Pat's funeral in the early '90s," said Suzanne Teudt, who still lives in Helensburgh.

Suzanne Teudt who is daughter-in-law of Pat and Harry Teudt holds a napkin signed by Prime minister Gough Whitlam to her husband Stan Teudt. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Suzanne Teudt who is daughter-in-law of Pat and Harry Teudt holds a napkin signed by Prime minister Gough Whitlam to her husband Stan Teudt. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Mr Teudt accompanied Mr Whitlam on his first door-knock campaign when he was seeking pre-selection as an ALP candidate for the seat of Werriwa in the early '50s. And afterwards Mrs Teudt served him morning tea, according to the article.

Cafe part-owner Charlie Daoud said he first wanted just images on the wall, but after a day sifting through Wollongong Library's Mercury archives, he decided the articles and advertisements were far more interesting.

"I grew up in the Sutherland Shire, so this was a good lesson in local history for me and many others who view it," he said.

At a time when news pages like this all over the world are giving way to digital platforms, Mr Daoud recognises that the wall decoration will become more of a novelty.

"We've found a lot of the customers who are waiting on food and coffee like to browse the articles," he said.

One such customer, Russell Penton from Caringbah, said the wall "made good reading" while he was having lunch.

"It's great, but I would have liked a bit more sport," he said.

The print pages go back to 1900 when the Mercury cost one penny and the front page was covered in classified advertising about wonder pills and grocery bargains such as "grateful, comforting Epps's cocoa".

Mr Daoud said he planned to use the many articles he had accumulated on a second feature wall a little later.

This story was published July 13, 2013.

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