History under the Lino

It is amazing what you can find under the lino ! The son of one of the members of our Historical Society was renovating an old house and when he took up the old Linoleum he found lots of old newspapers in quite good condition. They dated from about May,1955.

In 1955 the “Cold War” was at its hottest and there were was lots of talk about what would happen if an atom bomb was dropped on Sydney. Maps appeared in newspapers Illustrating how far out you would have to be to not be affected if the worst happened.

Dural was just beyond the outer radius. The headlines in the Sydney Morning Herald for 18 th May, 1955 … “Government to build Ammunition Filling Factory at St. Mary’s…..Fears that a single factory could be easily pinpointed and wiped out in an atomic attack”. Just at this time a certain young couple with great plans to build a home, decided to buy an old citrus orchard . covered with blackberries, for one hundred pounds an acre, at Dural. They too, had noticed the atomic attack warning.

The other big announcement was “ State Cabinet ( Mr. Cahill was Premier) has decided that the Sydney Opera house will be built on the site of Fort Macquarie tram depot at Benelong Point (sic)” There had been 20 other sites suggested. They decided to have a competition to determine the design. It was to have 2 Halls, one to hold 3,500, the other 1,200 and parking for 200 cars. The public would be invited to subscribe towards the cost. In this article they seemed to be more concerned about shifting the trams than anything else. As it was the last trams ran in Sydney in February 1961 In this same paper there is a photo of a cage of Cynomolgus monkeys that had been imported for the manufacture of Salk Polio Vaccine.

All this happened before television in Australia, which started in September 1956, in time for the Melbourne Olympics. Just imagine life without T.V and mobile phones and computers ! The main way of communicating was through radio and newspapers. And people wrote letters, which were written with a steel nib pen and ink, or perhaps a fountain pen. The biro had not been invented. The typewriter had been invented back in the 1880’s and was used for all official documents, with the use of carbon copies for keeping records.

Ah! The good old days ! Perhaps we need to “look under the lino” occasionally to realise how far we have come in the last 60 years The Annual General Meeting of the Dural and District Historical Society will be held at the History Cottage on Saturday, 8 th October at 2pm. A “Show and Tell”, when members show some of their treasures, and tell the stories behind these objects, will follow. All welcome.

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