A transcript is an exact copy of the things said during an interview. These interviews are with people who lived in our area during the 1940s.
What was the Birkdale area like in the 1940s?
Interview with Peter Beer
Fridges came in 1940 during the Second World War. There was no TV until the 1950s. We had radio but some of it was battery operated. In 1942 during the war I can remember I would sneak off to my bedroom and I had a little crystal set and I would listen to the armed forces broadcast from America to the troops who were stationed in New Zealand and the Pacific and of course you have got to remember that in 1942 when all our young men were overseas in North Africa having been driven out of Europe fighting the Germans, the Japanese were coming down the Pacific and were in danger of taking Australia and New Zealand and would have if they weren’t stopped. This would have been a Japanese colony so the Americans came into the war after Pearl Harbour, they mobilised and went into the Pacific and took island by island and fought back the Japanese. The Japanese had come right down South East Asia and taken Singapore down the Malay peninsula and taken Singapore and spreading into the Pacific and got right down just north of Australia and Auckland Harbour even had a sub, it had a net across the entrance by Devonport by North Head to Kohimarama and they think a sub got in you know a Japanese submarine so it was dangerous times, exciting times for young kids you know because we didn’t know what it was all about. We made our own thoughts about the news and so what was I telling you, it was a beautiful place to grow up in.
Merve Morrison grew pumpkins for the war effort. He got a contract to grow them and he used to work till midnight with his lights on in his D-4 Caterpillar tractor, the most modern Caterpillar tractor in those days, all geared up.
He would go right through the night. He would go right through the night and someone else would use the machine during the day. He would work at night. And when Harry Shephard’s mother, the old lady was on her death bed, she couldn’t stand this and Harry went over the said, “Come on, knock it off.” He said, “Oh put cottonwool in her ears so she won’t hear.”
So what was happening during the war while Mervyn was discing between the pumpkins overhead were night bombers practising. Hudson bombers going round and round, doing circuits of Whenuapai at night. Our house was on the corner of their circuit and the sky was full of yellow Tiger Moths earlier than that.