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

1956 - Melbourne's Olympic Games

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

1956 - the Olympic Flame - author's pic

For those of us fortunate enough to have been part of Melbourne's 1956 Olympic Games, the memories will never be forgotten.
The Games took place between November 22 and December 8 - I had just turned 16 and was in my first year of full-time employment as a Trainee Technician with the PMG's Department.
Planning for these Games, the first to have ever been held in the Southern Hemisphere, had been progressing for several years, with several new sporting arenas and venues being constructed.
The main venue for Track and Field events was the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where a brand new multi-tiered Northern Stand had been built. These works began jjust after the completion of the 1955 Australian Rules football season, with the demolition of the very old wooden stand which had been there for hundreds of years!
During the 1956 footy season, matches were still played at the MCG, but the entire northern stand area was a major construction zone. 
After the 1956 footy season ended in September, the entire arena was dug up and relaid, with track and field tracks being installed. 
Other new venues built included the Olympic Swimming Pool in Batman Avenue and a vast athletes' accommodation village in the northern suburb of Heidelberg.

The four track Cycling events were held in December at the The Melbourne Olympic Velodrome (or Olympic Park Velodrome).  One main grandstand on one side with seating on the other gave the venue an estimated capacity of between over 10,000. The venue was demolished in 1972.
The finals of the Soccer were held at the MCG.
Many events were held at country and subueban locations.

The Melbourne CBD was decorated with banners, bunting, signs. artwork, and commemorative structures. Huge flags were placed on many city buildings. The Navy came to Port Melbourne - many suburban town halls were illuminated at night for the Games.

The Games opened on Thursday November 22 with a massive attendance at the MCG. The day had been declared a Special Public Holiday for the Melbourne Metro area - gazetted as "The Olympic Day".
For the following ten days, Melbournians went wild, fuelled by Australia's amazing successes in many events, especially swimming and hurdling.

Despite the international tensions of 1956 – or perhaps because of them – a young Melbournian, John Wing, came up with a new idea for the closing ceremony. Instead of marching as teams, behind their national flags, the athletes mingled with one another as they paraded into and around the arena for a final appearance before the spectators. That began an Olympic tradition that has been followed ever since.
Entry to the events at the MCG was by tickets, which were sold at Myer's Department Store in Bourke St - the Cafetaria had been converted into a huge ticketing agency, and we stood in long queues for hours.
The opening ceremony was sold out months in advance, but I managed to get a ticket for the MCG for Tuesday December 4. My seat was in the southern stand, in Bay 12, about ten rows back from the fence. As well as Track and Field events, a final of the Soccer Tournament was played on that day, bertween India and Yugoslavia.
During one of the breaks, I walked around to the new Northern Stand, and climbed to the top deck, just above the Olympic Flame, for a big view of the arena..
Many employers were sympathetic to staff taking time off to attend the MCG events during working days - I recall that, as Trainee Technicians, were were given an extra holiday to go to the MCG!
On the evening of Thursday December 6, with two PMG mates, we went to the Cycling at the Olympic Velodrome, in Swan St, just across the way from the MCG. 
The Men's Marathon was held on Saturday December 1, along Dandenong Rd, 30 km from the MCG to the SE outer suburb of Dandenong. I recall that I went with a mate, on our bikes, to Caulfield,  to watch the runners go past.
Television officially started in Melbourne on the opening day of the Games, November 22, when the ABC's  ABV2 and the commercial station HSV7 went on the air. I can remember looking in the windows of electrical shops which had TV sets to watch the Games, and we jostled for good positions!
So, I have fond memories of the 1956 Summer Melbourne Olympic Games, an experience to remember.
The images below are from my own album!

1956 - the first TV!

1956 - MCG - international soccer tournament - author's pic

1956 - Olympic decorations at Flinders St Station

1956 - Olympic decorations at Foys', .Swanston St

1956 - MCG international soccer - author's pic

1956 - MCG viewed from the top deck of the then new Northern Stand

1956 - cycling at the Velodrome

1956 - main entrance to the Velodrome cycling

Most of the images in this site are thumbnails. Click on any image to see a full size verson in a new window

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