Old photos, probably taken mid-late 1940s.Lower right is my old school! Something that does sit high in my memory of my childhood is the strong community spirit. Oh, sure, there were a few disagreements between people and there were quite a few who hated the place and could hardly wait for a transfer to some other (probably not much different!) town. Remember, too, that the 1930s were the depression years and half of the 1940s were spent at war. The world over, people wanted,needed a new and better life. But with rationing of staples still in force in many places, it was a case of make your own fun. And we did, from picnics to dances. And it was not just the fun and games spirit; all of the farmers and shopkeepers were Returned Servicemen. It was a way to repay some of the fighting men who had come home from the horrors of Europe and the Pacific. Un-worked land was surveyed,divided and made available to interested servicemen who were selected from a ballot. The truck drivers (we’d probably still be building the dams had we not had heavy trucks!) and the store owners were also ex-servicemen. How were men transported daily to work sites some 10 or 15 miles away? By a twentieth century version of the covered wagon!

These canvas shelters could be easily removed once the men had “gone to work” and the trucks then used to cart gravel, timber, whatever throughout the day, then the whole process would be reversed to bring the men home in the evening. Church picnics, miles out of town? Sports matches? Marching girls competitions? We’d travel in the “covered wagons.” Access was via a wooden ladder at the rear. Once you were safely on/off, someone stamped on the floor and the driver moved on. Please, don’t bug me about “Health and Safety ” issues! Dances were held in “the gym” which was also the venue for Junior Gymnastics (6pm Fridays), indoor basketball, boxing, judo and probably other things I’ve forgotten. One event I do remember were the ANZAC DAY concerts. My god! We had some talented people in town! For readers who may not  know, in Australia and New Zealand, April 25 is probably more sacred than any other day you care to name. A solemn remembrance of those who died in  uniform. Our shopkeepers would decorate their store windows as a token. Sometimes, just a simple wreath and scattered leaves, sometimes elaborate dioramas. And the concerts – admission was by “silver coin” with proceeds going to war veterans’ causes. And a woman who did more than anyone, I think, to keep this going was Alma Braddock  http://www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au/trial_mobilgas_1956.htm who ran the pharmacy. Alma also ran a lucky dip every Christmas. And I’m not talking a tuppeny bar of chocolate. One year, I won a gold watch! Far too sophisticated a watch for a child, Alma happily allowed me to choose my own wristwatch. And she was a leader in fashion – I’d never seen a woman in matador pants. Added to that, she drove a zippy little Ladies Nash. I wanted to be like her when I grew up!

24 thoughts on “WHEN I WAS YOUNG(ER)

    • Well, I doubt I’d ever drive in one of those “reliability trials” which were the fore runners of today’s rallies, but I could probably match her for outlandish outfits! (Not today, you understand.)
      And I daresay she’d know how to fix this annoying WordPress lack of paragraphs!


      • I love your reminiscences. Thanks for this.

        The secret to those WordPress @#$%! annoying lack of spaces is to go into html view (html tab) and add:
        where you want the break (ampersand and semicolon included). @#$% pain it is, but it works… at least for me. Fortunately, I now usually get a line break where I want it as I type in Visual mode (but not always!), but they are still missing from my older posts. WordPress…. grrrrrrrr….


      • Thank you, Ellen. It seems to have happened only on this post;possibly because I was called away and WordPress shoved it into my drafts folder…when I returned the line breaks were gone and I had neither time nor patience to fiddle!


      • Hmmmmm….. I guess the comments work like html mode… it converted the html secret I was trying to give you for a line break…. into a line break. (Duh–it now occurs to dingleberry here that of course one can use html in comments!) Hmm. I guess that shows it works! In html mode try (ampersand)nbsp(semicolon) (but converted into the appropriate symbols, of course), all on its own line where you want the line break.

        Geesh. I also wanted to mention that Ramblers bring back quite a hit of nostalgia at this end–I never drove one, but they are so intertwined in my memory of cars on the road when I was little… although now that I know, thanks to your link, that their history is also strongly intertwined with Romney senior…. [blerch…. insert sounds of dyspepsia] …..


    • Our answers crossed. It also occurs to me that I am just now finishing up a post myself and WP was driving me crazy tonight. It kept dumping my edits, over and over again. Including, but not limited to, a line break or two. Maybe it’s just possessed today.


  1. I used to enjoy travelling in vans when I was a child – all that room in the back to jump up and down and run about… health and safety issues indeed!! And I seem to remember that the driver’s door used to slide open… and my Uncle used to drive with it open.


    • That sounds like an old Bedford or VW Kombi. I used to hang about with a drummer in a band and we went to gigs in one of those. Someone always had to sit by the drum so it “couldn’t roll loose and be damaged.” 🙂


  2. We had an old Bedford truck in the 40s, no car of course. My Dad set up the open back with cushions and we all sat there, kids and adults, tied down so we wouldn’t fall off. It was the greatest fun. I have a photo which I must find. No health and safety for us either. What memories!


  3. what a delightful read! and so very interesting. I can recall certain things that were similar here for me as a youth (unworked land for ex-servicemen; dances & sporting events in the gym; silver coin admissions) … oh my gosh and the matador pants I haven’t thought of or heard someone mention those in years! decades. I remember those little Nash cars — I believe Rambler made them. My uncle had one.


    • UB, you are far from nuts! But I think you’re right…many today have never had to make anything from scratch and probably would not know how to go about it.I know children who do not have to “earn” their pocket money. They simply say”I want” and they get. Hell! I know kids who use cards! But anything I wanted I had to save for.As did we all;there was no easy credit. Some items would be held until you’d paid off the balance(usually, weekly or monthly payments were made, with little or no interest charged if you met the deadline), but otherwise it was cash or go without.


  4. Ah, Ramblers. My very first car was a Rambler Ambassador with push button transmission. My father bought that from my grandmother. The next car was a Rambler American with the gear shift (it was a three speed manual) on the steering wheel column.

    And, yes, Mitt(ens) isn’t even a tenth of a man that his father was. I’m unfortunately in a swing state this election year and so I’m inundated with Romney ads. I’ve turned off the TV for the interim and will turn it back on the after November 6th. If Romney should win, do you have a spare room you’d care to rent out?


  5. This post is the perfect complement to the bio of Churchill I’m currently reading. My very British grandfather insisted on sending his children to boarding school at the end of the war but sending them to war-ravaged England didn’t seem an option (they lived in Mexico) so he sent them to Canada instead. And here we are!


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