Sunday, 11 May 2014

Humble Beginnings - Who Started Their Careers Modelling In Knitting Books?

Firstly, only read this article if you are (a) Australian, and (b) over 50 years of age (or close to it).

Recently, I was looking at the cover of an old Villawool knitting book from the late 1960s or early 1970s that I had just purchased. The gorgeous blonde man on the cover looked familiar. I consulted with my partner, who has an excellent eye for faces, (I am the one for names, so between us we make a good pair), and he agreed with me that it was Tony Bonner.

Tony Bonner was a TV and movie actor whose career was most notable in the 1960s and '70s. I remember him best as the helicopter pilot in the 1960s children's show Skippy, about a kangaroo and the crew at a wildlife sanctuary. Who knew he moonlighted in knitting books?

Here is my Tony Bonner collection:

I have just Googled him, and if you are a fan and you have a Facebook account, you can like his Facebook page:

Bonner appeared in many '60s and '70s TV shows, including Cop Shop and Skyways, as well as movies such as The Man From Snowy River.

This got me thinking. What other actors earned money on the side by modelling in knitting books? I found two other well known Australians.

Rosemary Margan is best known for her appearances on The Graham Kennedy Show, as a TV weather presenter and a radio personality. She famously presented the weather once in a fur coat, which she removed to reveal herself clad only in a bikini. Very risque for 1960s television. Here she is modelling for Patons:

Sadly, I have not been able to find a photo of her in the bikini and fur.

Thirdly, I came across this cover to a Patons book from the late '60s.

Yes, if you are Australian and over a certain age, you will recognise the indomitable Ian "Molly" Meldrum, compere of the weekly pop music show "Countdown" in the 1970s. Meldrum is famous for interviewing a lot of huge international music stars. His catch cry was "Do yourself a favour", and get the album, the ticket to the concert, or the latest copy of "Go-set" magazine. Who knew he was a model? You dark horse, Molly.

Finally, this person is not a TV personality. They are only a little bit famous as a local yoga teacher. It's my friend Sue, in Patons book no.496 from the late 1950s.

Theres' another story. Who was a child model, and who has the pictures to prove it?
If you know of any other "famous" people who appear in knitting books, I would love to hear about it. I don't mean special movie star editions where stars made guest appearances. I have Rita Hayworth, Claudette Colbert and lots of other Hollywood golden oldies doing that. I am interested in people appearing before they were famous. Or you, if you were a child star!


  1. Roger Moore did some knitting pattern modelling at the start of his career I believe, before being James Bond

    1. And I bet that if you can find them on ebay they would go for a pretty penny.