This was a war savings street

WWII had started.
It was a time of Bonnington’s Irish Moss made from pectoral oxymil of carrageen, a seaweed found on the coast of Ireland, Doctor McKenzie’s menthoids, Figsen, Dewitt’s Antacid Powder, Fry’s Balsam, the Rawleigh’s Man, Loy Brothers soft drink from Burnley with their specials, Football Punch and Winter Cheer. Coca Cola had arrived in those waisted bottles delivered in bright red trucks and Ace Chewing Gum was dispensed from machines fitted outside the local shop.

It was a time when you were either too busy or too poor to be unwell. Mum did the washing in a copper on Mondays, I think she chopped up the wood for the fire underneath as well. The war increased her burdens, a land of plenty suddenly changed. Oddly, the official notice appearing in the Butchers shop said Help win the war in your kitchen, eat more lamb – this came about with a loss in overseas demand.

The kindness disappeared overnight. Restricted were the sales of clothing, travel fuel and clothing and simple things like tennis balls. Mum was knitting for other people now, she made soap out of fat and caustic soda, tea by roasting wheat and The Australian Comforts Fund emerged.

Signs appeared on street lamp posts – This is a War Savings Street. There were volunteers wearing the badge with War Savings Certificates ready to collect the money for the official stamps. Two Lancaster Bombers came to Australia for back up publicity, G for George, still in Canberra and Q for Queenie.

Barry of Jerrabomerra in the ACT remembers saving up to buy the special stamps at the Post Office from Mrs Nelson to stick on a card. After reaching a target of 16 Shillings, this could be exchanged for a one pound, (20 Shillings) Savings Certificate redeemable in 7 years.ar

Keith Smith
Return to Bulletin #100