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

1944 - Growing up in the War Years - Part 2

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

2011 - Luna Park - Scenic Railway

1915 - entrance to Luna Park

Melbourne's Luna Park was started in 1912 and has seen many changes and facelifts since! My first visit was in 1946.

The activities I liked best were the Scenic Railway, the Big Dipper (now demolished), the River Caves, the House of Mirrors, and the Dodgem Cars!

1926 - Wirth's Circus promo

1945 - Wirth's Circus - elephant!

Wirth's CIrcus was located in St Kilda Rd, just across from the Yarra, and began in 1907. It's forerunner was Fitzgerald's Circus, which started in 1901 at the same location. It operated up to 1953 when it was destroyed by fire, and the site was then used as a car park. The Victorian Arts Centre was built on the site on the 1960s.  I recall being taken to this amazing circus in the late 1940s, where we watched performing elephants, lions jumping through hoops, jugglers, clowns, horses, acrobats - all these events took place in a huge tent, the "Big Top"!

1940 - entrance to the Zoo

September 1957 - concert at the Zoo (my pic!)

The Melbourne Zoological Gardens are located just north of the CBD in Carlton. and opened in 1862. I recall my first visit there around 1945 - my second visit was in 1950 - then, my last visit in 1957 - strangely, I have not been there since! My impressions of that first visit were of elephants, snakes, lions, monkeys, hippopotami, giraffes, and other strange beasts! Nowadays, there are lots more residents there, and it is a world-famous tourist attraction!

1915 Royal Show

The Royal Melbourne Show is an agricultural show held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds every September. The Royal Show began in 1848. The focus of the show is the display of rural industry, including livestock and produce. There are associated competitions and awards. It is a time when the country comes to the city, and the foundation of Australia's economy in rural industry is celebrated.

Like other Royal Shows, the show features amusement rides and a sideshow alley, as well as the peculiarly Australian tradition of 'Showbags', carry bags full of goodies produced by various commercial enterprises.

A prominent feature during showtime are the many rides including a permanent wooden Mad Mouse roller coaster which resided at the grounds till 2001, owned by Wittingslow Amusements. A permanent chairlift also resided onsite until 2005. The site has its own railway station, used during special events located on the Flemington Racecourse line.

1908 Royal Show

2011 Royal Show

1893 Royal Show

1948 - one of my party invitations

1948 - one of my party invitations

In the mid-1940s it was customary for kids aged six to ten to invite their school friends over to their places for parties. Invitations would be posted or delivered giving the details of the date, time and place. These were often very colorfully printed cards. The parties woud be arranged by parents, who would put on a lavish spread of cakes, sandwiches, and soft drinks. These parties did not celebrate any particular occasion but were "kid's' gatherings" ! still have many of the invitations I received!

Typical Coolgardie Safe of the 1940s

Ice chest like ours - 1948

In the 1940s we used Coolgardie safes and Ice Chests to keep food cool and crisp, as there weren't many fridges around then! Our Coolgardie safe stood on a small cupboard, and kept vegetables quite cool.

The Coolgardie Safe was made of wire mesh, hessian, a wooden frame and had a galvanised iron tray on top. The galvanised iron tray was filled with water. The hessian bag was hung over the side with one of the ends in the tray to soak up the water.

Gradually the hessian bag would get wet. When a breeze came it would go through the wet bag and evaporate the water. This would cool the air inside the safe, and in turn cool the food stored in the safe. This cooling is due to the water in the hessian needing energy to change state and evaporate. This energy is taken from the interior of the safe (metal mesh), thus making the interior cooler. There is a metal tray below the safe to catch excess water from the hessian.

The Coolgardie safe was a common household item in Australia until the mid-twentieth century. Safes could be purchased ready-made or easily constructed at home. Some of the metal panel safes are highly decorated, showing the creativity of their makers.

The Ice Chest was wooden, with a hinged lid at the top, and a block of ice would be dropped into the compartment, which was over the shelves for the food. To get the ice, my brother and I had to pull a billy-cart about 1 km to the Glenferrie Ice Works.

I small block of ice cost one shilling, which had to be ordered from an attendant who had a long pole with a metal end, and the ice had to be dragged from a platform onto the billy-cart.

By 1950,  the process became self-serve - we put the money into a slot and a block of ice would be disgorged from a chute, which we manhandled into our billy cart. The block was about 18" x 12" x 12" and we had to put it into a hessian bag for the trip home.

Ice could also be bought from the  "Iceman", a horse and cart which would proceed slowly down the street, with the driver yelling out "Ice...ice...ice". He would deliver the ice to houses, or residents would come out to the cart to pick up their blocks.

Glenferrie Iceworks - about 1920

Pre-1901 - Exhibition Buildings

The first Aquarium in Melbourne was located in the Eastern Annexe of the Exhibition Buildings, just north of the CBD, in Carlton, and opened in 1893. It was destroyed by fire in 1953. A new Aquarium was built next to the Yarra in 2010. I remember being taken to the Aquarium in the late 1940s - there was an external area with rows of seats surrounding a large pool, where seals performed. Inside, there were rows and rows of tanks containing all kinds of fish. The tanks were located either side of walkways - the roofs and walls next to the walkways were made of artificial stone.

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