Monday, July 8, 2019

Australia 1950-1965, Part 1

Friend and colleague Leo M sent me an email with the above title, containing a collection of images from the period 1950-1965 with commentaries. The first instalment of those photographs and comments apearrs below, with additional comments and images by moi. They present a snapshot of the past that will be ancient history for young readers and a trip down memory lane for us older ones. 




Kings Cross, Sydney, 1960

Lots of crooks, gangsters, prostitutes and thugs here even then. The music was better. 

Getting rid of trams, digging up the tram lines and discontinuing double decker buses was a serious series of stupid, short sighted decisions. Melbourne was far smarter. 

In Its heyday the Sydney tramway network spanned almost every major nook and cranny of the eastern suburbs — making it the largest light rail network southern hemisphere. 

While the NSW Government acted to remove tracks and trams from Sydney streets, Melbourne sought to expand its tramway system, and currently has the largest tramway network in the world. 

Additional comments: 

Kings Cross is an inner-city locality of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately 2 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Sydney. It is bounded by the suburbs of Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Darlinghurst. 

Colloquially known as The Cross, the area was once known for its music halls and grand theatres. It was rapidly transformed after World War II by the influx of troops returning and visiting from the nearby Garden Island naval base. It became known as Sydney's night entertainment and red-light district, however many nightclubs, bars and adult entertainment venues closed due to the Sydney lockout laws. Today, it is a mixed locality offering both services such as a railway station, gyms, supermarket and bakeries to nearby residents and entertainment venues including bars, restaurants, nightclubs, brothels and strip clubs to visitors. 

Kings Cross, 1960 

Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross, today 


Mount Panorama Motorcycle Races, Bathurst NSW, 1950. 

Conrod Straight did not have a slow down chicane then and speeds of 180 mph (290 km/hour) were common. 

Narrow gutted tyres and a 500 cc engine – they were fast with no modern day safety features. 

Additional comments: 

Mount Panorama Circuit is a motor racing track located in Bathurst, New South Wales. It is situated on a hill and is best known as the home of the Bathurst 1000 motor race held each October, and the Bathurst 12 Hour event held each February. The track is 6.213 km (4 mi) in length, and is technically a street circuit, and is a public road, with normal speed restrictions when no racing events are being run, and there are many residences which can only be accessed from the circuit. 

Historically, the racetrack has been used for a wide variety of racing categories, including everything from open-wheel racers to motorcycles. However, the factors that make the track so unusual (a 174-metre (571 ft) vertical difference between its highest and lowest points, and grades as steep as 1:6.13), and tighter modern safety standards, make it unlikely that major race meetings in these categories will be held there again, and as such it has become the near-exclusive province of closed-bodied cars. 

Mount Panorama, Bathurst, 1938 Australian Grand Prix 

F.J. Foss Ford V8 Special negotiating Forest Elbow, Easter 1938 


Crowds in the early years 

More early years 

Winning Driver Englishman Peter Whitehead Easter 1938 

Bernie Mack and Frank Goodwin round Hell Corner on there 99 machine. 



RAAF Rathmines flying boat base, 1951. 
Pilot, P.G. Taylor, and his PBY Frigate Bird II. A test flight for the JATO bottles (Jet Assisted Take-off). In March, he departed Rose Bay for Valparaiso in Chile via a number of islands – the last being Tahiti and Easter Island. 

A survey for a future airline route. Easter Island required landing in the open sea, the JATO being vital after fully refuelling. A sudden storm didn’t help and Taylor was washed overboard. They completed the flight and the return to Sydney. 

Taylor was a famous pilot and a hero after transferring oil from the dead RH engine of the Southern Cross to the LH engine (with dropping oil pressure). Six trips outside the aircraft, his feet on struts, with a thermos full of oil each time. 

This all happened half way to New Zealand in 1935. Charles Kingsford Smith was the Captain. They got back to Sydney on two engines. 

A most interesting and experienced pilot who flew in WW1 and WW2 - that few know about today. Read about the man from  Mosman:

Upon the return from Chile, PM Robert Menzies gifted the Catalina to Captain P.G.Taylor. It is now on display in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. 

Additional comments: 

RAAF Base Rathmines is a heritage-listed former RAAF WWII seaplane base and now used as community venues, sports venues and a visitor attraction at Dorrington Road, Rathmines, City of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales. It was in use as an RAAF base from 1939 to 1961. The remains of the former air base was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 November 2005. 

RAAF Base Rathmines was established in 1939 and was the RAAF's main flying boat base during World War II and the early 1950s. During World War II aircraft based at Rathmines conducted anti-submarine patrols along the Australian east coast and the base was home to the RAAF's main seaplane training units. In addition, detachments from Squadrons based at Rathmines flew numerous offensive mine laying missions into Japanese-held territory (due to Rathmines' distance from the front line, these aircraft staged through bases in Northern Australia when travelling to and from their targets). Rathmines was also the RAAF Maritime Section's main training base. 

Rathmines RAAF base, 1940s 

Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor (1896 – 1966), commonly known as Bill Taylor, was an Australian aviator and author. 

Taylor attended The Armidale School in northern New South Wales. At the beginning of the First World War he applied to join the Australian Flying Corps but was rejected. He subsequently went to Britain and was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, joining No. 66 Squadron. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1917 and promoted to captain, also serving with Nos. 94 and 88 Squadrons.

Following the war he returned to Australia and embarked on a career in civil aviation, serving as second pilot or navigator on pioneering flights with Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm and others. During the 1935 Australia-New Zealand airmail flight with Charles Kingsford Smith, the starboard engine failed and the crew decided to return to Sydney, where the aircraft was buffeted by strong winds. It was decided that fuel and cargo must be jettisoned. During these conditions, Taylor made six journeys outside the cabin of the Southern Cross, climbing along the under-wing strut to drain the oil from the useless motor and transfer this to the overheating port motor. Taylor's actions, with the addition of Smith's flying skills, resulted in the plane making its way back to land safely. Taylor was later awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for his actions, which was later exchanged for the George Cross. 

In 1943 he was commissioned flying officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, transferring to Royal Air Force in 1944. During the Second World War Captain Taylor served as a ferry pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary. Taylor was knighted in 1954. 

Bill Taylor 

Bill Taylor re-enacting his heroics for the 1928 flight with Kingsford Smith. He is playing himself in this short film held at the National Film and Sound Archive.



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