As you probably know, the good citizens of Guildford are rejoicing over having fought off plans for a 24-hour Maccas to be built at the back of the Guildford Hotel. Even the local MLA, Michelle Roberts, is against any new fast food outlets in the town.
One of the reasons given for opposing the chain was that it was too close to a primary school. In other words, “Won’t somebody think of the children?” But this is far from a novel complaint about hamburger bars.
Although the media had regularly written accounts of how exciting Americans found them, the first burger bars seem to have arrived in WA only during World War II. And, just like the proposed Maccas, these were all-night joints. Which some sections of society found problematic.
In 1943, the head of the Salvation Army demanded that Perth should ensure all burger bars were closed at midnight, or society would be destroyed. How? you might ask. Well, they are “places of temptation”. And not just a temptation to supersize your order, oh no, temptation between the sexes.
You see, burger bars had become pick-up joints. (For young people: a pick-up joint is like Tinder, but without the need to register your email address.) “Perth has held such a fine place in moral standards that it ought to be the vital concern of every citizen to keep it in that position,” thundered the Salvation Army’s commissioner.
And he was not alone. The Women’s Service Guild wanted early closing on hamburgers, as did the Children’s Court magistrate and the Child Welfare Secretary.
Won’t somebody think of the children?
We suspect that the problem with burger bars was they were simply too American for the taste of Perth’s leading citizens. What was more likely to corrupt young minds than being exposed to Yankee food?
Anyway, Guildford has managed to protect young people (at least for the moment) from both the pleasures of a thick shake and the pleasures of the flesh. So we salute them.