Time and Dust

The January 1942 dust storm covered much of Victoria in a blanket of red Mallee topsoil. The Age newspaper suggested wryly that the red dust was the cause of something troubling Melbourne residents

Untitled.pages
‘Disordered March of Time.’ The Age, 9 January 1942, p.2. Reproduction of newspaper article found in Trove. Courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

 

The “blackout blues” referred to the blackout preparations in Melbourne, in place as a defence against bombing raids, that increased nervousness and anxiety, and reduced opportunities for normal socialising in the evenings.

 

 

 

 

 

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Leaving School

In 1936 Rene reached the school-leaving age of 14 and was sent to learn dressmaking with local identity, Miss Connie Russo. It was probably her mother Jane who arranged this loose apprenticeship. Jane’s own work as a laundress had given her independence and allowed her to travel. It was still helping to put food on the table. It is easy to imagine Jane impressing upon her daughter, “A woman has to have a livelihood”.

Rene Duncan 1936
Rene Duncan 1936. From the author’s collection. Copyright Andrew Palmer.

In her spare time Rene took violin lessons, also from Miss Russo. Rene played violin at the Beaufort Methodist Church, and as part of the Beaufort Municipal Band.

Band Rotunda, Beaufort, c. 1935. Rene Duncan would have played here as part of the Beaufort Municipal Band. State Library of Victoria Image No: pc004305
Band Rotunda, Beaufort, c. 1935.
Rene Duncan would have played here as part of the Beaufort Municipal Band.
State Library of Victoria Image No: pc004305

Featured image: 1936 ‘WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE OF YOUR GIRL?.’, The Don Dorrigo Gazette and Guy Fawkes Advocate (NSW : 1910 – 1954), 6 November 1936, p. 4.