Tuckshop food through the ages with Rita Langer

There are three certainties at the Blair State School tuckshop – hotdogs, sandwiches and a Friday shift with Rita ‘The Legend’ Langer.

While cakes, doughnuts and lollies have been replaced by fruit, wraps and salads, Rita has stood the test of time, volunteering at the Sadliers Crossing tuckshop for more than four decades.

“When I started here 45 years ago the food was very basic – just hotdogs and sandwiches mainly,” she said, taking a break from lunch prep.

“We did things like little cakes and cream doughnuts but we can’t sell those anymore. Now there’s more of a focus on diet and healthy eating for the kids.

“Back when I went to (Blair) we had similar things, hotdogs and sandwiches, but I didn’t have the money to buy tuckshop.”

Tuckshop orders at Blair are still served in brown paper bags. Last orders are called at 9.30am as volunteers get to work on bread rolls, salad bowls, hot food and a range of daily specials.

Lollies do get a run, but only at big events like sports day, and iconic ice blocks like Zooper Doopers remain solid sellers.

Rita’s specialities are hamburgers, chicken burgers and hotdogs. “I’ve made an unreal number over the years,” she said.

“It keeps me busy and I enjoy it. All the kids know me and when I’m out you’ll hear them say ‘mum, there’s the tuckshop lady’. Then you see the adults and they say to me ‘you used to serve me when I was at school’.”

The Blair tuckshop is adorned with newspaper clippings that celebrate Rita’s many milestones.

A Queensland State of Origin flag flies over the sink and pays humble homage to Ipswich’s favourite son – and Rita’s youngest – Allan.

Then there’s The Legend’s Chair, a place to rest weary feet and enjoy a quiet coffee, as tuckshop convenor Jo Stewart explained.

“Rita is one of our legends, she’s very important to us and she’s even got her own chair,” Jo said.

“I remember she served me tuckshop when I went to Blair, now we’re here working together. The food has changed but Rita has remained.”


The icy icons were unveiled to an unsuspecting public in 1974.

Aussies ate more than 220 million Zooper Doopers in 2015.

The nation’s favourite flavour is raspberry, followed by cola and lemonade.


Sales have spiked more than 20 per cent on the back of the Big Bash League sponsorship deal struck in 2015.

There are six ingredients: Water, sugar, food acid, flavours, colours and preservatives.

The 70ml tubes include about 12g of sugar and 50 calories.

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