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

1972 - Natural disasters in Melbourne

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

1972 - the Big Flood

Thursday February 17 1972 was the day in which central Melbourne experienced the "Big Flood".

During late-afternoon, a huge storm passed over Melbourne, bringing with it a torrential downpour, which lasted for some 17 minutes.

I was working at the PMGs' Engineering Workshops, in South Melbourne, just across Princes Bridge, in City Rd, and around 4.30 pm I left the office with another Engineeer, for the 15 mins walk to Flinders St station.

When we reached the Bridge, we looked out acrfoss the Flinders St railway yards, to discover that they had become a vast lake!  By this time, the rain was pelting down, like a monsoon, and our suits, shoes, and leather briefcases were saturated.

All train services through Flinders St had been stopped, and trams on nearby Alexandra Avenue had also stopped.

So, with many other drenched commuters, we walked and squelched our way along Alexandra Avenue to Richmond Station, where we jumped onto the train tracks and walked to Hawthorn Station, about 2 km further on. Trains coming in to the city from my line (Belgrave/Lilydale) were stoppped at Hawthorn, which had become a termporary terminus! So we got onto a waiting train, and continued to my station, Mont Albert.

My shoes were ruined, my leather briefcase had become a sodden mess, and my suit looked like it had been washed up from the sea!.

The Award winning picture by a Melbourne Age staff photographer, which was published the next day shows Elizabeth St, City, which had become a fast flowing river. Water flooded over the tops of cars - the Degrave's St subway had become submerged.


February 1983 - the Big Dust Storm

1983 - the big dust storm






On February 8, 1983, Melbourne was virtually buried under a massive dust cloud.

The 1983 Melbourne dust storm was a meteorological phenomenon that occurred during the afternoon of 8 February 1983, throughout much of Victoria. 

Red soil, dust and sand from Central and Southeastern Australia was swept up in high winds and carried southeast through Victoria. The dust storm was one of the most dramatic consequences of the 1982/83 drought, at the time the worst in Australian history and is, in hindsight, viewed as a precursor to the Ash Wednesday bushfires which were to occur eight days later.

During the morning of Tuesday February 8 1983, a strong but dry cold front began to cross Victoria, preceded by hot, gusty northerly winds. The loose topsoil in the Mallee and Wimmera was picked up by the wind and collected into a huge cloud of dust that heralded the cool change. At Horsham in western Victoria, raised dust was observed by 11:00am. Within an hour, it had obscured the sky.

Fed by the strong northerly, the temperature in Melbourne rose quickly and by 2:35pm it had reached 43.2 C (109.8 F), at that time a record February maximum. Around the same time, a dramatic red-brown cloud could be seen approaching the city.

The dust storm hit Melbourne just before 3:00pm, accompanied by a rapid drop in temperature and a fierce wind change that uprooted trees and damaged houses. Within minutes, visibility in the capital had plunged to 100 metres (330 ft). City workers huddled in doorways, covering their mouths from the choking dust, and traffic came to a standstill.

The worst of the storm was over by 4:00pm, when the wind speed dropped. The dust cloud was approximately 320 metres (1,050 ft) high when it struck Melbourne, but in other areas of Victoria it extended thousands of metres into the atmosphere.[

It was estimated that about 50,000 tonnes of topsoil were stripped from the Mallee (approximately 1,000 tonnes of it being dumped on the city). The combined effect of drought and dust storm inflicted damage on the land that, according to the then President of the Victorian Farmers and Graziers’ Association, would take up to 10 years and tens of millions of dollars to repair.[2]

The exact weather pattern that had caused the dust storm was repeated one week later, when the Ash Wednesday fires caused enormous destruction and loss of life.

On the day of the Dust Storm I was working in the CBD, but managed to find my way to Flinders St Station for my train to Mont Albert!


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