Looking Back - 1939 to 2011 - the Autobiography of Robert V. J. Padula, OAM

1945 - Auburn schooldays - Part One

1941 - Bikes and Cars
1943 - Hiking - Hills and Coasts
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 1
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 2
1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 3
1945 - Auburn schooldays - Part One
1945 - Auburn Schooldays - Part Two
1945 - Auburn Schooldays - Part Three
1945 - Upwey and the Puffing Billy
1945 - Gramaphones and Record Players
1946 - Flinders St Station
1946 - Astronomy
1946 - Beach and Swimming Adventures
1946 - Going to the Pictures
1947 - Adventures at the Altona Bungalow
1947 -The Listener-In Magazine
1947 - Balwyn WIldlife Sanctuary
1948 - Fishermen's Bend Aerodrome
1948 - Radio Australia QSL cards
1948 - Excursions
1949 - Australian Rules Football
1949 - Radio Monitoring at Auburn
1950 -Trains and Ships
1950 - Radios for Communications
1950 - Radio Listening Clubs in Australia
1950 - World Radio TV Handbook
1950 - Shortwave Radio Propagation Research
1950 - Medium Wave Radio Propagation Research
1950 - Radio and Hobbies Magazines
1950 - Discovering shortwave radio at Auburn
1951 - Photography
1951 - Competitions on local radio stations
1952 - Camp Buxton - YMCA Shoreham
1952 Tennis and Ten Pin Bowling
1953 - Stamp Collectiong
1953 Camberwell High School
1954 - Royal Visit to Melbourne
1954 - Shortwave Radio reception at Auburn
1956 - Melbourne's Olympic Games
1956 - Trainee Telecommunications' Technician
1957 - Trainee Technician - field work
1957 - National Service Registration
1958 - Laverton Air Show
1958 - MOOMBA Parade
1958 - Trainee Technician - field work
1959 - The move to Mont Albert
1960 - Working at Deepdene Telephone Exchange
1963 - Trade Unions, Staff Associations, Industrial Relations
1964 - Senior Technician work in the Melbourne CBD
1964 - Project support for Radio Australia
1964 - Project support for Radio Australia
1964 - Amateur Radio
1964 - Media Writing
1964 -Travels
1964 - Engineering Support for International Broadcasters
1965 - Professional Employment with PMG/Telstra
1967 - Professional Qualifications - Institution of Engineers Australia
1967 - Australian Radio DX Club Photo Gallery (to 1979)
1972 - Wireless Institute of Australia
1972 - Natural disasters in Melbourne
1980 - Australian Radio DX Club Gallery (to 1995)
1981 - Award of the Medal of the Order of Australia
1995 - Padula Books
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Oldtime Australian Radio Drama from the 1930s
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Radio Monitoring Clubs in Australia - 1920 to 1949
SPECIAL CHAPTER - Melbourne Picture Theatres - History - 1906 to 1970

December 1952 - Auburn School on my last day!

My School - no 2948 - a little history!
The emergemnce of a Primary School in Auburn was the result of much lobbying on behalf of the families of the fast-growing Auburn district. Temporary accommodation was opened in 1889 and in October 1890 Auburn Primary school No. 2948 was opened. Additions were made to the school in 1901. Politician and local resident George Swinburne lobbied the Education Department for the construction of a separate infant building which was built in 1913.

The main school is an assymetrical polychrome brick building featuring elaborate traceried gables on the front and side facades. It has a conical tower over its portico entry. The interior retains its original bluestone staircase and cast iron balustrading. Four of the upstairs classrooms retain their coved ceilings and square decorative ceiling vents.

The infant school is constructed in red brick with a Marseilles tile roof. It has a central hall with surrounding classrooms and entry lobby. The hall has a polished timber hammerbeam ceiling and contains leadlight windows featuring Australian birds. The grounds also include a small hexagonal shelter shed of horizontal weatherboard with lattice work above c.1910 and two rectangular timber shelter sheds c. 1920 and c. 1930.

December 1952 - my last day - my Form 2 teachers at Auburn School

1908 - Auburn Rd, chemist at left/

December 1950 - Dux of Auburn Central State School (Fom 2)



I attended the Auburn Central Primary School, no, 2948, in Rathmines Rd, from 1945 to 1952. I had originally attended a religious school for a short time, but was pulled out of that in favour of a Government school. In 1944, I attended the Robert Cochrane Free Kindergarten in Minona St, East Hawthorn.


I recall these events which happened at Auburn Central State!

Ink Monitor Duties
In 1945, fountain pens were not used by pupils and we wrote with thin wooden quill pens with steel nibs for writing in our exercise books. We sat at wooden desks, one kid to a desk. These had hinged lids - the idea was to put your books and other stuff in the shelf under the lids. There was an  inkwell at each desk, which had to be refilled each day by the kid designated as the "Ink Monitor". The ink was black, and was made up in large glass bottles, which the Monitor would bring to each desk each morning and refill the wells.


The ink was virtually indelible and was very hard to remove from your fingers or clothes! I still have some of it on my hands!


We also used sheets of blotting paper as the ink took a little time to dry.


We also had Slate Boards. These were about the size of a modern A4 sheet, made of some sort of grey stone-slate, set in a wooden frame. We wrote on these slates with Slate Pencils, which came in various colors, and were about as thick as a modern knitting needle. We wrote or drew on these slates, and when we were finished, we would wipe them clean with a damp rag.


At the start of each year, we would be issued with a "Book List" which had various items we had to buy at a newsagent, including packets of slate pencils.



We used exercise books which had rows of blue and red lines printed across each page. These lines were guidelines for learning writing.


I remember filling entire pages with sloping "Copperplate" style letters and words, which all  had to be the same size and shape, then join these letters together!


I had a lot of trouble with capital "Q"!


Our language learning topics included Dictation, Reading, Transcription, Parsing, Spelling and Writing,  

Learning Things!
In primary schoool we learned many interesting things! We wrote in Vana-brand excercise books - there were two versions, one with blue lines, the other with red and blue lines. The back cover was devoted entirely to arithmetical and weights and measurements, which we had to memorize,

These books were actually manufactured in Melbourne, at a factory in Bourke St, near Spencer St, and were widely used in most Victorian schools.
We were exposed to the Imperial system of weights - grams, pennyweights, ounces, tons, and pounds. For measurements of area, length and volume, we had to learn rods, poles, perches, furlongs, miles, inches, feet, yards, acres as well as pints, bushels and quarts. 
We learned about money and commerce! In those years, there were half-pennies, pennies, threepences, sixpences, shillings, florins (two shillings), crowns (five shillings), ten shilling notes, pound notes, five pound notes and ten pound notes.:

Prices for many household products were widely shown in "guineas"  - a guinea was 21 shillings. Guineas were used right up to decimalization in 1966. The final edition of the Melbourne Agrus, of January 19, 1957, carries adverts for Stromberg Carlson TV sets, ranging in price from 210 gns to 255 gns, a huge amount of money in those days.
There was no physical guinea, but cheque transactions could be made in either guineas or the equivalent in pounds and shillings.
So, if something was advertised for two pounds two shillings that was two guineas!


The School Paper

This was a glossy monthly publication (not in January) and we had to buy it at the newsgency. It cost 1d. It had many interesting stories, articles, poems and other articles which we were expected to read, and these were discussed in class. There were various editions of the School Paper, which first came out in 1911 - for Classes 3, 4, 5/6, 7/8.



These were cloth-covered books which had started in 1930 (in Victoria). Each book covered a different area of learning, They were designed to be handed down within families. There were eight books in all, known as "First Book", "Second Book" etc. They were purchased at newsagents. In the mid-1940s, these Readers started to go out of fashion, as parents could not afford to buy them as well as the School Paper.


They were eventually abandoned as a classroom aid in 1947 when the "John and Betty" learning books were introduced.


The Strap

Throughout primary school, the Strap was used often as a means of punishment for boys who had not behaved correctly These were lengths of leather, rather like a belt, about 2" wide. The idea was that the offending boy would be paraded at the front of the clas with his arm outstretched and palms facing upwards, to receive the allocated number of "lashes". The hand would be left reddened and often inflamed.


For nore serious misdemeanours, the offending kid would be marched into the Headmaster's office where a "cat and nine tails" strap would be used. These were leather instrumentys of torture. and the ends were cut into thin strips ("tails")


The pain inflicted from these things was intense, and many kids cried put in agony.


I got caught up in this cruelty on at least two occasions. The worst was when I was caught reading a Jules Verne science fiction novel during class, which was on my knee under the desk. This resulted in a trip to the Headmaster's office, for a session with the cat-and-nine tails. I continued to read science fiction novels in class! Despite such indiscretions, I gained the Dux of the School Award at the end of 1952!


In later decades, this form of punishsment disappeared, being replaced by detention and other forms of  correctional behavioural reinforcement.


The Bell Warden

For Foms 1 and 2 (Grades 7 and 8), there were classroom periods of about 35 minutes each. A hand bell would be rung outside the classrooms five minutes before the end of each period. This was done by "Bell Wardens", on a roster, usually pupils who had volunteered from Form 2. . 



In the years I was at Auburn, there wasn't as much emphasis on participation in organized sports, as there is these days. School was based mainly on classroom activities and little attention was extended to other activities. We played "Rounders"  in the quadrangle during breaks and before school - this was based on American Baseball.  We delighted in teasing ths girls!


We played "Cricket" in the quadrangle, with the wickets being the base of a big gum tree (that tree is still there!). At the back of the school, there was an open paddock in which we went through a "hole in the fence" to play.


We played various games in the schoolyard, such as marbles (boys) and hot-step-jump (girls).


We played supervised football at the nearby Auburn Oval in Victoria Rd, and at Stackey's Park, in Rathmines Rd.

1948 - Five Pound Note

1948 - Ten Pound Note

1947 - Ten Shilling Note

Selection of the author's school readers

The School Paper - masthead- Grades 3 and 4

1948 - the Little Black school bus, Canterbury to Hawthorn

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