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Booklet - 'Air Raid Precautions', Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence, Apr 1941 Document Reg. No: HT 32794

Summary:
A 35-page booklet outlining air raid precautions, issued by the Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence in April 1941.

The foreward of the booklet was written by the Hon. Sir John Harris, KBE, MLC, the Minister of Public Instruction and of Public Health, who was the Chairman of the Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence. According to Harris' forward the booklet was published at the behest of the Federal Government based upon information recieved from the heads of the Australian fighting forces. The booklet details air raid signals and their respective meanings, what to do should an air raid occur and information about lighting restrictions. The last section of the book is devoted to diagrams for risks from air raids and sketches of air raid shelters. The back cover counsels that the precautions may prove unnecessary and that the public would be informed should the government decide the precautions should be put in place.

According to the Argus newspaper, the Victorian State Government was planning air raid precautions as early as 1939 with particular focus on Melbourne and Geelong. By 1940 plans for blacking out Melbourne were in place and the first black out test was made in Wattle Park at 2am in February 1941. Depsite this a letter published in the Frankston Standard later that same month comments about the seeming lack of 'State encouragement' whilst commending the air raid volunteers for their enthusiasm and commitment. The letter also notes that it was unlikely that Victoria would suffer an attack, but still important that precautions were undertaken. Such precautions appear to have increased in fervency following the attacks in the northern regions of Australia, including plans for the evacuation of children from Melbourne.

Australia suffered from 96 air raids on the mainland, concentrated on the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, during World War II. However, it is interesting to note that the booklet was published in April 1941, before Japan entered World War II and before any air raids had been launched against Australia. Instead the booklet was published in light of air raid attacks in Europe.

The booklet is associated with a collection of material used by Air Raid Precaution warden Herbert Leslie Blakeley (1890-1973), son of William Henry Blakeley (1839-1921), founder of the saw manufacturing empire WH Blakeley & Company Pty Ltd.
Description:
Thirty-five page booklet with green cover printed in black entitled 'Air Raid Precautions'. Coat of arms above inscription. Tear at centre front and on back cover. Paper yellowed.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Helen Blakeley, 2012
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 213 mm (Height), 139 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: world war ii 1939-1945, air raid precautions, emergency services, state government of victoria, publications
Themes this item is part of: Domestic & Community Life Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Civilian Life
Tertiary Classification: air raid precautions
Inscriptions: Printed in black ink on the front cover of the booklet: 'STATE EMERGENCY COUNCIL FOR CIVIL DEFENCE / VICTORIA / AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS / ADVICE TO HOUSEHOLDERS / PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE / GOVERNMENT OF VICTORIA / APRIL, 1941 / H.E. DAW, GOVERNMENT PRINTER, MELBOURNE.'
Printed in black ink on the back cover of the booklet: 'Consider the contents of this booklet carefully. / Plan thoroughly what you would do in case of an / emergency / The Government will tell you when, / if ever, it considers you should put the suggestions / herein into effect.'
Person Named: Sir John Harris, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Apr 1941
Commissioned By: State Emergency Council for Civil Defence, Victoria, Australia, Apr 1941
Printer: H.E. Daw, Government Printer, Victoria, Australia, Apr 1941
References: 'Air raids on Australian mainland - Second World War,' Australian War Memorial, at: http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/air_raids/ accessed: February 6, 2013

'Air Raids on the Australian Mainland,' Australian War Memorial, at: http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/air_raids/raids/ accessed: February 6, 2013

'Precautions for Air Raids: Victorian Cabinet Decision,' Barrier Miner (Broken Hill), 17 July 1940, p.3, via Trove, at: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48354631 accessed: February 6, 2013

'First Complete Blackout' [referring to Melbourne]. (1941, December 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17778580

'In Case of Air Raids'. (1941, February 18). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68493975

'Let's Write A Letter,' Standard, Frankston, 28 Feb 1941, p.2, via Trove, at: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/75038530?searchTerm=air raids victoria&searchLimits= accessed: February 6, 2013

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