Doug gets posted to Air Defence HQ, Madang via Bradfield Park (Sydney), Townsville, Cairns, Port Moresby and Lae. Promoted to Flight Sergeant. Football accident. Moved to Admiralty Islands, a tour around Manus, Lorengau, Lombrum and Seeadler Islands.
Doug is enlisted into the War in April 1940 and in September is sent to 28th Infantry Battalion in Perth. Training, vaccinations, infantry battle practice and a big parade before call-up to the RAAF.
Doug was a lifelong Aussie Rules fan, barracking for West Perth in the WAFL. He played amateur footy in the Band of Hope Association at age 14, the Towns team in Coolgardie, Railway Rovers in Kalgoorlie and Towns at RAAF Geraldton. In later years Doug umpired matches, was a vice patron of the West Perth Football Club a patron of the Osborne Park Sunday League Football. #WAFL #AussieRules @WestPerthFC
Dating back to his early days in Canada, Doug’s father was involved in horse racing. In Perth they had success with many horses, most notably the 1932 Easter Cup win with Dainty Princess. There were hard times and some bad accidents for father Walter. Doug has some betting wins and after the war was a ‘betting clerk’ for a friend.
Doug’s cycling life starts in his early teens with the Malvern Star championships. Doug wins the Arrow Consistency Cup and gets his photo in local papers. In Coolgardie he races the Widgiemooltha-Coolgardie (75km). In Norseman it is the longer Norseman-Higginsville (129km). In Kalgoorlie as Secretary for the Eastern Goldfields Cycling Club helps organise the Menzies to Kalgoorlie. Many tales of Hubert Opperman, a later friend and political colleague of Doug’s. In later years Doug was patron of the League of WA Wheelmen from 1959-1976.
In the days before TV, radio was the core of the family home. Doug talks about homemade crystal radios, Kriesler cabinet radios, the radio stations of the 1930s such as 6WF, 6ML, 6PR, and 6IX, and the ‘actuality’ broadcasts of sporting matches. Also radio in Kalgoorlie and Madang during the War.
Doug tells us about the films and music he watched and listened to in the 1930s and 1940s and also of his favourite actress, Alice Fay, and singer, Bing Crosby.
Theatres of Perth such as Grand Theatre, Prince of Wales Theatre, Ambassadors Theatre, the Royal, Metropole Hotel, Piccadilly Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Plaza Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Embassy Ballroom, Regent Theatre (later the Metro). Suburban theatres such as Amusu Theatre and the Broadway in Vic Park, the State Theatre (later The Astor) in Mt Lawley, Rosemount in North Perth, Wests in Subiaco, New Oxford (now Luna) in Leederville and the Princess in Fremantle. In Norseman it was the Criterion Talkies.
Aged 15 Doug joins the Postmaster General’s Department as telegraph messenger. Many of the messenger boys would go on to prominent positions in the public service. Passes exam and made permanent. Moves departments including to Tax. Then sent to Coolgardie, to Norseman and finally Kalgoorlie until the War. After the war asked to move to Leonora which he refuses and quits.