Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Magic Cave

I couldn't believe my eyes when I found this little Santa for $6 in the glass cabinet at the front of a local op shop. He is like new and he is from the MAGIC CAVE John Martins era!

Father Christmas in action.

This Father Christmas toy was originally purchased at John Martins Magic Cave for $1.35 (still has the price on it!). So glad I found him.

John Martins was an iconic department store in Adelaide, South Australia that opened in in 1866 and closed in 1998.  John Martins would  hold the famous Adelaide Christmas Pageant every Christmas (starting in 1933). It still runs to this day but it is now the Credit Union Christmas Pageant. Once Father Christmas has appeared in the pageant he would set up in the Magic Cave at John Martins (or Johnnies as it was known). When we were kids we would visit the 'Magic Cave' and have a ride on Nipper and Nimble the huge rocking horses that  featured in the pageant, get a pic with the big man and wander around the Magic Cave checking out the crazy mirrors and animated Christmas scenes.   The Magic Cave is now located at David Jones  but hasn't really changed a lot from when I was young. This year Little Miss enjoyed her first ride on Nipper the smaller of the two horses.  Christmas starts in Adelaide once the Christmas Pageant has been.

Little Miss on Nipper.

John Martins Christmas Pageant 1966
This old footage is fantastic (apart from some politically incorrect costumes in there).

Nellie the mechanical elephant

My favourite (and many others favourite) in the pageant is Nellie the elephant. Best known for breaking down in the early days. She is powered by a vintage car engine. Her story below is quite interesting and worth having a look (don't worry it's short).

Nellie in action.

Wishing everyone in blog land a safe and happy Christmas! x


  1. You have a wonderful blog. Very creative. Come visit my Sixties and Seventies blog for a groovy vintage time.

  2. Wow, great find! Merry Christmas to you too!

  3. My kids and I so enjoyed watching all those videos. How lucky are you to have such an amazing pageant continue in your home town for all these years. Nellie is incredible, especially how she walks/rolls. Makes me want to come to Adelaide (one place i have never been). we just have the second largest solar powered tree in the world, nothing to your pageant really. mel x

  4. How did I miss this most wonderful post Sherry. I love everything about it, childhood nostalgia, the Christmas Pageant (Perth has one too), Nellie the mechanical Elephant (brilliant!), The John Martin's Santa (what a find!) and your gorgeous little ginger nut who reminds me of my own. Adelaide is one of my favourite cities btw. I think the old Christmas Pageants are alot better than the fancy new ones, don't you? Sometimes technology wrecks things...
    Merry Christmas Sherry, so glad you've started to blog again - hope you keep it up next year x

  5. Gorgeous Santa find,nice and noisy too!Love the nostalgic pageant footage,one of the benefits of city living. We have a few strands of colourful lights and a tree in our little town.Wishing you and your little family a wonderful Christmas,catch you next year.

  6. Oh, the Santa is just fantastic! I hope you all had a lovely day, it sure has whizzed by. Happy New Year I hope it is full of wealth, health, happiness, and looking forward to lots of great posts in 2013, Tam x


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