Tuesday, 14 February 2012

World Radio Day

You read and hear so many stories of how families huddled around a radio for entertainment and listened to world events such as the declararation of war, and the all important cricket scores!

My English great-great grandmother had bought a radio on a rental plan in the 1930s where she paid a weekly fee to a  company which repaired the radio if there was a problem. Interestingly she kept paying this fee for about twenty-five years. The radio was showing great signs of age but the company kept fixing it until one day they gave it to her becasue it was costing too much to maintain and the weekly fee did not cover the cost.

Apparently Alice was quite upset about this as she felt the company wasn't keeping to their side of the bargain! This was a story my father, who emigrated to Australia in 1949 had told to me. 

In passing one day my mother, born 1940 in Brisbane, said to me that they didn't have a radio at home until 1948.

This seemed quite surprising to me as I knew that radios had become quite standard household items well before then. At this time my mother and her parents were living with her grandmother Violet Weeks,  within the inner city Brisbane suburb of Red Hill. Then my mother explained that Violet  was scared of electricity and would not agree to have it connected to her home even though it had been available in the area for around twenty years. She had gas heating and lights and they had a wind-up gramaphone for music and of course, you could not run a radio on gas!

It is these stories we lose, when we don't manage to speak with our families before we get totally caught up in the chase to find out about our distant ancestors.