Dear John Hamblin

Dear John,

I saw your book in the store a long time ago, but as usual had no money. I often thought I must read that book, but it disappeared from the shelf and unfortunately I haven’t read it till now.

I am halfway through your story and what an interesting life you have lead. I only know you from Play School, so to read about all your earlier endeavours is wonderful.  I am loving the book so far.

When I saw Play School was bringing out a 45 year anniversary DVD I knew I had to have it. I needed to introduce my kids to the fantastic funny John I remember as a kid, and let me tell you they loved it.

I listened as the presenters talked on ABC radio about their job, and especially listening for Benita, talk about her wonderful time with you.

When I went to our local bookstore to buy the DVD the older gentleman behind the counter fondly recalled he had a big crush on Benita, and I told him I was buying the DVD because I loved John.

My Nan’s fondest memory of me as a child is singing “Open Wide, come inside, it’s Play School”. It also runs in the family, all my children have loved Play School and I was lucky enough to go to a Play School concert when Benita was still doing them.

Just last year I gave my daughter the day off school just to go watch a playschool concert (her last show) before she grows out of the Play School stage.

My third child who is almost two also loves Play School, and the first thing he does in the morning, after eating of course, is bring me the remote and ask for “Cool Cool”.

I can’t help but compare every new presenter to you. I look at the new ones, judging their awkwardness, (they usually settle down after a couple of years) but no one has yet lived up to you or the likes of Noni, Benita, George and Don.

So why am I sharing all this with you? I am not sure, I am reading your life story and perhaps wanted to share a piece of mine, perhaps it’s the re living the childhood memories, making me feel young again. Those blissful moments of being a child without a care in the world.

I hear you live in Tasmania now, and are an artist. I also live in Tasmania, and if I ever get the chance I would love to meet you, and see some of your wonderful art work.

I read in your book that you still get fan mail as the ABC still pass them on to you, so I hope this letter finds you well.

Kind Regards,


I was not asked to post this but as I have missed several Play School concerts just beacuse I didn’t know they were on, I wanted to tell you all that PlaySchool are touring Tasmania again so be sure to get to a concert. I know I will be going!

Details can be found at

Also to read about John’s life you can find the book here

13 Comments Dear John Hamblin

  1. Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right May 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Aw, I loved John too! My old school friend tells a lovely but sad story about when she met her father for the first time. She was about 6, and she expected him to look like John Hamblin because that was the only adult man she’d “known”. She was devastated because he didn’t look like John.

    1. Nicole Hastings May 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      Awwww, I would have wanted my Dad to look like John too.

  2. carmen May 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I remember him all too well! We had the record with him on it too… my mum had a crush on him and would race to watch it with us. *sigh*
    I guess I would have to:
    a. Turn TV on to watch Playschool these days… and
    b. Have a child of the appropriate age to ratify a. 😉

    1. Nicole Hastings May 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      I still have a cassette tape somewhere of old songs!

  3. penny @ Wildlife Fun 4 Kids May 18, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Oh is it childhood week at FYBF? I use to call play school ‘Gooss school.’

    I just let Miss Possum watch half of that you tube clip and she aksed me their names and then said ” I love them’. He’s still got it with the younguns in 2012!

    1. Nicole Hastings May 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      Aw bless! I know it was a long clip, and I didn’t intend to sit down and watch it all, but I did!

  4. Grace May 18, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Oh, Nicole!! I loved this post ! And that clip! How nostalgic! I loved John and Betina too. To me, they were and always will be quintessential Playschool.
    You’ve inspired me to go and read John’s book!!!

    1. Nicole Hastings May 19, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      You definitely should, I borrowed mine from the library, but would love a copy one day.

  5. Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky May 20, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    John was my favourite when I was a kid and I still love Play School today. It’s the only TV I don’t mind my daughter watching 🙂

    1. Nicole Hastings May 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 There are a lot of very annoying shows, but not Play School, I still sing along!

  6. Steve June 21, 2017 at 7:00 PM

    Also it is not commonly known but John Hamblin was a master cook.You should try his recipe for the famed West country stockpot dish, Door snake soup. He was always sharing his sausage and other ingredients with Bonita. A very giving man.

    1. Nicole Hastings July 26, 2017 at 2:04 PM

      Thanks for visiting Steve! He was rather “sharing” with Benita wasn’t he 😉 hilarious to watch as a parent

  7. STEVE July 27, 2017 at 6:28 AM

    Yes Nic, he’s a classic rascal God love him.
    My father, a Cockney expat, used to always say he took Bonita out when they were young too. As they were both good friends of Phil “Alderman” Halderman Col Joye and Chris Beard (his sister is still “Soaking in it ,”What? dish washing liquid?)crew before he left for Hollywood where the weather was Sunny and Cher so they “Laughed in”; I grew up playing with Vivian, Tony and Arky Whitely at Lavender bay in the 60s. They used to also have the TRAD Jazz festival a few times in the 60s and 70s.
    Thanks for writing it up, it was lovely to reminisce about it all.


Leave a Reply to Nicole Hastings Cancel reply