War Years

Jean Hattam wrote: We had to build air raid shelters in our back yards, put up black-out curtains and an Air-raid Warden patrolled the street and would knock on the door if any lights were showing. Coupons for tea, butter, sugar, meat, petrol, clothes etc – we made out alright. They ceased altogether late 1948. Guides were cancelled during WWII as the Guide hall was taken over for Air-Raid Precautions (ARP) – a few Brownies met in the leader’s garage.

Dawn Yeomans wrote: Dad (Leslie) dug our air raid shelter which became half full of water and when we had air raid practice at High School, I made sure I sat in the middle so I would not get shot.

Bob Garvin wrote: Yallourn during WW2: Over 400 SEC personnel joined the armed services of which 16 gave their lives in the war. Air raid shelters were constructed in various locations throughout the town, including a number in the backyards of houses. Most shelters were flooded in the winter months. Shop fronts in the town square were protected by concrete block walls. Houses were provided with black-out blinds which were required to be drawn at night. The headlights of vehicles were covered with hooded slits to provide limited light for driving at night. Anti aircraft gun batteries were located at Yallourn and Yallourn North. Some air raid warnings were sounded when unidentified aircraft were in the area, although these guns were never needed against enemy planes; however they did fire warning shots at aircraft straying into the restricted area. Public Halls became available for casualty clearing stations and Air Raid Precaution bases. Guards made up from the Citizen Military Forces, Volunteer Defence Corps and Army were used to check entry to the Main Office, Power Stations, Briquetting Works and Open Cut.
As a fund raiser for the troops overseas, Sunday Night Concerts were held in the picture theatre, admission two shillings an adult, where newsreels were shown of the allied troops fighting overseas plus local talent performing their acts on stage [My sister, Chris, gave performances of ballet, toe and tap dancing with other pupils of the Myee Huddy's Dancing School]. As elsewhere in Australia, coupon books were issued for butter, clothing, meat, petrol, sugar and tea, which lasted up to five years after the end of the war. Our milk and cream were delivered to our house by Davies Dairies from Morwell Bridge who placed the ordered amount in the billies placed on nails on our front fence. Bread was delivered to a box placed on the fence near the gate. Mr Cincotta came to the house to sell fruit and vegetables from his truck. At the grocery shop when mum made purchases, we received a free bag of boiled lollies, also after school we could purchase a bag of broken biscuits from the large tins at a penny a bag from Amos Woods [also a JP] who was held in awe by those children who were served by him. We also had pan toilets in the backyard at this time and the "Dunnyman" would change a used pan with a new pan.
14 February 1944 - a bush fire entered the open cut and surrounded the Yallourn township, which was severely threatened. As people had been trained in Air Raid Precautions and with outside help from hundreds of army and air force servicemen, together with volunteers from Melbourne, the township was saved from any damage to houses or deaths. I remember my sister Chris, who was a High School student, collected me from Primary School and took me home hanging onto the fences all the way as we could not see through the thick heavy smoke. There were nine deaths and 136 houses destroyed in Hernes Oak, Morwell and Traralgon.

Jack Huxtable wrote: During the war, one day at lunch time home from school, anit-aircraft guns opened fire on an aircraft which had strayed into the no-fly zone over Yallourn. Thought we were being bombed!! Remember the air raid shelters being built in the back yards.

Steve Cox wrote: This concrete signage is right next to the Yallourn Reservoirs. To give you an idea as to the size of the
letters, the arrow between the "4" and the triangle is 4m long. The letters are huge. It is still there today and looks just the same. Originally was lit up at night but the lights were removed about two years ago. It was constructed at the start of World War 2 as direction indicators for aircraft to highlight to them where they were and that they were entering a restricted zone. Yallourn Power Station complex was very well defended.

Kevin Brogan wrote: Its a 2nd World War sign. I believe the sign was to warn (friendly) planes flying in the area of the "no go" area over Yallourn (and to most likely ensure that enemy planes could easily find us). My father (Arthur Brogan) was compiling his Yallourn memoirs but unfortunately didnt get to complete them, however, he has recorded the following:
' Yallourn was a major target for aerial attack and at the start of the war anti-air craft guns were installed around the town, but were old 1st World War equipment. The day Japan entered the war was a Sunday. Yallourn had been declared a prohibited area for air craft, however, about 7.00pm a plane (RAAF) flew over Yallourn and was shot at by Anti Aircraft crews, which was a comedy as the nearest shot to the plane nearly took the top off a Power Station chimney. Ladies fainted in Church and there was considerable panic in the Town as many thought we were under attack. I was at Bartons for tea and was really fortunate I was in the toilet at the time so I was safe from any embarrassing mess.
The Air Defence was later upgraded to 8 modern 3.7 inch AA guns and 12 x 40mm Bofor light guns to combat low flying planes. Army personnel manned the guns until the end of the war and they were never fired at an enemy plane."

Margaret Jones wrote: I recall running down to the general store during war time, the precious coupon book in hand, to purchase tea, butter & sugar. The coupons were cut out by the storekeeper behind the counter with scissors hanging on the end of a piece of string. We would buy a big brown paper bag of broken biscuits for one penny. The money was placed in a cup type container and clipped onto a cord line, which was pulled and it travelled over to a cashier, whose office was on a higher level and she managed the receipt and change.

John Evans: ANZAC Day 2011
Julie, this is an interesting evaluation of John monash's second great achievement!

Soon after, General Monash gained a small but decisive victory at Hamel. It was important for the tactics that Monash used. A combination of infantry, air support, tanks and artillery that had not been used before.

This became the blueprint for the Battle of Amiens, on 8 August, ‘a black day’ for the German army according to General Ludendorff.

The ANZAC divisions (which included one NZ division) along with the Canadians formed the spearhead for this attack and all subsequent attacks right up until October 1918.

The ANZACs formed the main fighting force in the main battles that year for the first and (probably) last time in history. The contribution of their Commander, General John Monash, did not go unnoticed.

On 12 August 1918 Monash was knighted in the field, the first such honour to be awarded by a British Monarch in over 200 years. Fittingly, Monash now graces our highest currency denomination, the $100 note.

But back then, the ANZACs were a part of the British Army. Their victories were therefore attributed to the British. Their heroics were lost to society for many years.

While the mythology of Gallipoli grew, the magnitude of the ANZAC’s feats on the Western Front, particularly in 1918, remained locked in war dairies and history books.

But in recent years that has changed. And that is a good thing.
Happy ANZAC Day.
Greg Canavan
The Daily Reckoning Australia

Year: 
1940
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