Radar at Point Lookout

The SCR-268s

The SCR-268 (Signal Corps Radio no. 268) was the US Army’s first radar system. It was developed to provide accurate aiming information and used in gun laying systems and directing searchlights against aircraft.

An external view of the Radar Transmitter

Rod Griffin RAA (Royal Australian Artillery) elaborates:

‘Several SCR-268s were landed with other cargo in Brisbane in January 1941 – if not earlier. The equipment was intended for the Philippines but was diverted here (to Brisbane). One set was sent to Amberley for the RAAF to play with and another to Redbank. The Redbank set was assembled a la jigsaw by Lts Ian Mckenna and Alan Charity (both of whom had previously attended a Radiophysics course in Sydney) but despite assistance from CSIR radiophysics an error was made in phasing connections of the elevation aerial. When we (the NSW group) arrived at Redbank the set had been erected and trials were then commenced for AA (Anti -Aircraft) use but because of the aerial error they were abortive as the set would not track for elevation. So the set was moved to Caloundra. 

‘Another set was sent to Point Lookout. This was done prior to Easter 1942. Bill Lovell’s section operated the set until the arrival of 103RS RAAF, which was formed on 6.4.1942. Bill’s section remained with them until some-time in May.

‘At about the same time the Caloundra set was moved to Point Danger. The RS103 was disbanded on 29.7.1942.

‘RS101 – RS108 were the designation of RAAF units operating MAWDs (modified air warning devices i.e. SCR 268s modified by reducing the pulse recurrence frequency to give a range of 100 miles in lieu of the gunnery set’s range of 22 miles).’

An external view of the Radar Receiver

Getting the 268 up to the Lighthouse at Point Lookout

Bill Lovell RAA relates:

‘From Amity Point to Point Lookout we struck some sandy patches and had to use metal strips which I think were called Marsden Strips. We had four. Originally they were meant to be used side by side to make a bed for aircraft to take off (doesn’t matter how they get down). We used ours the long way. When the truck got to the end of one set the other was put in front and so on and eventually to Point Lookout. Now just south of the guest house (where we were housed) was an old track that went somewhere up towards the lighthouse. At the start of the track a tree had grown which we had to remove.’

The Rufus King

Floyd Gilmer RAA: ‘Salvage of the Rufus King commenced on 15.7.1942 approximately 48 hours after going aground. Rod and Phil started to signal the Rufus King with an Aldis lamp. Waves up to 14 feet high were breaking over the ship and they had difficulty working out what their signalman was saying. The ship was starting to break up when they chucked it in for the night.’

(Bill Lovell explains: At that time, the Americans used a different signaling code from the Australians, who had adopted the British code).

‘The first Americans I saw on Stradbroke was the morning after the Rufus King ran aground, which, by the way, was tracked by our boys working the midnight shift until it stopped. I would hazard a guess that the authorities would have probably got word from us first that the ship was stationary, as all our contacts were sent to somewhere in Brisbane. Anyway, those of us who were not due to go on duty until the afternoon decided to walk the beach to Amity to see what was coming ashore.  As we could see the ship was broken in two, the sea on the bar at the time was very rough and breaking over the ship. It had a couple of Kitty Hawks lashed on its forward deck. When we got to the beach leading up to Amity the Americans were everywhere retrieving 44-gallon drums of aviation fuel coming ashore. Also, there were heaps of tins of coffee coming in, but they were only concerned about the fuel.

‘I well remember how they commandeered us for an hour or so to help in the search for a drum of fuel. It could be plainly seen that a drum had been rolled up to the edge of the beach and had disappeared (some local got it for sure) however a search of the area was fruitless.

‘Anyway, back to the RAAF: they were not on the island when the ‘Rufus King’ ran aground, that’s for sure. 

‘The RAAF took the operation over from us some time after 17 July. Probably arrived on the Monday after that date (20th July). We were with them for abut a week or so before we left, handing over, then getting familiar with the equipment.

‘I became friendly with a chap in the RAAF crew, Wally Bond, who told me that the RAAF was taking over all long-range RDF establishments. I was disappointed when we handed over to them as we had pioneered the first long range RDF into operation at Caloundra, Point Danger, and Point Lookout.’

Extracts from documents supplied to Peter Ludlow by Bill Lovell, November 2013

Inside the Radar Receiver

‘The Bunker’

During a recent visit to Greenslopes Private Hospital, I paid a called in to ‘The Bunker’ – the hospital’s museum residing in one of the two original air-raid shelters established during WWII. The entry of Japan into WWII at the end of 1941 saw the hospital, then known as 112 Australian General Hospital (112 AGH), become virtually a front-line hospital. There was a real possibility of Japanese bombing raids on Brisbane and this air raid shelter was one of two added to accommodate patients and hospital staff.

‘The Bunker’ Museum at Greenslopes Private Hospital, Brisbane

It all started in 1940 with the plan for a hospital that could accommodate 600 patients, an administrative block, pavilion style blocks for the wards and two brick buildings. One of the brick buildings was to house Australian Army Medical Corps Officers and the other for Sisters and Officers of the women’s services. In November 1940 Theiss Brothers started the first excavations of the site and worked 24 hours a day until the excavation of the Administration Building was complete. The earth removed was used to build up the terraces on the hillside on which the three ward blocks were to be built. During 1942, fearful of a Japanese invasion, work stopped on the Administration Building and the centre terrace (wards 7 to 13). When Ward 7 was completed the first patients to occupy it were wounded Japanese prisoners of war. By 1944 the Administration Building and wards 14 to 19 were completed.

A 1943 photograph of the 112th Australian Military Hospital. The Guardhouse can be seen on the left of the picture off Newdegate Street. A Voluntary Defence Corps (VDC) Guard Unit was already installed at the new Greenslopes Hospital by the time the first 35 patients were transferred from Youngaba at Kangaroo Point to the 112th Australian General Hospital on 2 February 1942. Part of the VDC’s function was to man the guardhouse.

Peter Ludlow

‘Marion’ by Any Other Name

The vessel ‘Marion’ was owned by Hector Tripcony and like many other small craft during World War II it was requisitioned by the Navy in July 1942.

Hector was not impressed when he heard rumours that the Navy was going to compulsory acquire his boat so he hid her in mangroves at the mouth of the Brisbane River (somewhere in the Boat Passage) but this was to no avail. The navy also took his tender which was equipped with a Johnson outboard motor, a prized possession at the time.

 After the War ‘Marion’ was taken over by Qld Department of Harbours and Marine 

in 1946 and used as a Survey Vessel with the surveyors and crew living on board for up to 3 weeks at a time. She was renamed ‘Ferret’ and was used in surveying almost all Queensland ports and made regular trips north into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Eventually she was declared beyond reasonable repair, with the stem and keel eaten out and around 1973 she was donated to the Maritime Museum at South Brisbane.  It is understood that the Maritime Museum removed the echo sounder and subsequently burnt the vessel.

Marion was equipped with mainsail and headsail and on one occasion Hector and a fishing party were outside deep-sea fishing and they had engine trouble so the vessel was navigated across the South Passage Bar and back to Breakfast Creek entirely under sail. Such were the lessons in seamanship and self-reliance, learned from his father Con Tripcony and Grandfather Thomas Martin Tripcony that this was considered an unremarkable event.

‘Ferret’ on the Brisbane River in 1952

Post War Brisbane

To the left Eagle Street to the right trams running up and down Queen Street 1962 (Qld State Archives)

When I grew up in post WWII Brisbane, it had the reputation of being ‘Australia’s biggest country town’. I don’t know what contributed to this idea: perhaps it was its laid-back lifestyle, a lack of restaurants, no nightlife (apart from ‘going to the pictures’), its overall lack of sewerage, streets almost deserted of road traffic jams, with many roads of bitumen down the middle and dirt to the gutters. Brisbane was largely a city of branch offices with Sydney and Melbourne vying for their headquarters. 

Then came along Clem Jones as our Lord Mayor and he transformed Brisbane into a modern city with the introduction of fully sewered housing, fully bituminised roads, the abolition of trams and trolley buses to name just a few of his many accomplishments. 

Then Brisbane hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 1988 World Expo. Both these events helped to catapult our city onto the world stage. 

Brisbane has never looked back since then. Unfortunately, our very liveable city has become too popular and traffic chokes our streets. The pace of life has picked up and competition is keen. But I guess that is the price we pay for success.

Ralph Munro’s Reminiscences – Part 1 – Early Days

Right from when I was just three weeks old, I have had a close association with boats and the water. Our family boat was the Seamark. Dad bought it after World War II at the Government sale of commandeered boats. For some reason all the motors had been removed and these had to be bought separately at auction. Dad had to make do with a Grant petrol motor for the first few years until he could get his hands on a Grey marine diesel. We had the fuel tank on the footpath, which we used for ball games. Dad was always paranoid about the boat catching fire from the petrol motor.

We regularly went down the Bay for weekends or weeks at a time. The 18-foot skiffs club at Bulimba now owns our former house. While I was still a baby, dad used a wooden fruit crate which he lined inside and out with canvas to swim me ashore in. Seamark was known as dad’s nappy boat because he had bought it off the NAP at auction – and because it was always festooned with my nappies. (Editor’s note: – During WWII, inspired by the British small ships evacuation of stranded troops at Dunkirk, the Naval Auxiliary Association of Queensland (NAP) was formed. Its duties in Moreton Bay were mainly civilian patrol work, but it was limited by the small number of vessels left available after most had been commandeered by the Government. It continued after the war as a ‘men only’ club and is now the Little Ships Club at Dunwich). 

NAP 582 exploding a depth charge off Mud Island (photo courtesy Ralph Munro)

My first recollection was of porpoises. We never called them dolphins then; always porpoises, and I thought a porpoise was a truck tyre with 5 or 6 fins, because this is the way they looked rolling through the water. 

About the age of three, I was diagnosed with nock knees and put in steel braces, but when dad found me hanging off the stern plate of the boat unable to clamber aboard, he took them off, never to be seen again. They’re still on the bottom off Peel Island. Dad had polio when he was four years old and had a massively built-up boot and steel leg support but he still took me sailing in a little 9 foot open dinghy then training in 20 knot breezes. If we had of capsized, the weight of his steel boot and leg would have taken him straight down to the bottom. But this didn’t stop him. Nor did it stop him taking me fishing. At Point Lookout on the south side of the gorge there was a one-inch cable strung out to the outer rock and he would go hand in hand along it with his fishing creels and me around his neck. There was also the added problem, if there was a good catch of fish, of getting them back again. Once Lennie and Wendy Goebbels caught 64 big ones and it took them all afternoon to take them back, four or five fish at a time, across the rocks and up cliffs to where they live in North Street. 

Life at Work

I started work in the family typewriter business but soon after my father died, I parted ways and went to Olivetti who sent me to North Queensland. Later I went on to Papua New Guinea and got into the prawn trawling on two American boats Bulolo I and Bulolo II. After New Guinea I moved back to North Queensland to Port Douglas then to Townsville. Then I went to the Gulf of Carpentaria prawning for three seasons where I worked on the bigger boats. That’s where they brought in skipper tickets in 1974/5. Because they couldn’t shut down the entire industry for the want of tickets, the test they brought in was originally quite simple. We all had to go into Cairns, do a one-day course, then answer a verbal questionnaire, and we got our tickets. Captain Bauer did the verbals because some of the fishermen couldn’t read or write. The forms were printed, “can/cannot read or write” and of course we all ticket “cannot” to get the easy exam. 

Most people thus employed started working in Brisbane and slowly worked their way up the coast, but I started at the top and worked down the coast. 

In the 1980s I was working a prawn trawler out of Southport when my right arm was caught in a winch and I spent the next 33 months in the Gold Coast Hospital. I was one of the first patients to get the infection Golden Staph. What an honour! While my arm was healing, I came home to Thornlands and went to work at the firm of Golden Cockerel. 

Later I helped Joe Dryberg run schools to teach people going into the fishing industry as deck hands. Joe would teach the engineering theory and I would teach the practical side such as making nets, rope splicing etc. Most of them came from CES (Commonwealth Employment Service). 

Although the trawlers where primarily prawn trawlers, they were fishing boats and prawns would be about 60% of the catch and the rest would be the off catch such as crabs, squid, fish, and returnable soft drink bottles, but politics have slowly banned the off catch. Then I got back into yacht racing in the 1986 Brisbane to Gladstone with Ron Doolan for whom I worked at Golden Cockerel. He had been desperately looking for crew and when he was told that I had the experience, he told me that I was racing for him! His yacht was the 28- foot Bolero and we were the smallest in the race. We won on handicap that year. In the five races I went on that boat, we never came in lower than sixth on handicap. 

Ralph Munro 12 January 2008 

(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)

Wartime Brisbane, Through the Eyes of a Lad (by John Thornton)

The definitive histories of Brisbane during World War II have all been long written, sometimes accurately, so these are just the recollections, often inaccurate, of what Brisbane looked like to a schoolboy and youth of that era.

We lived in New Farm from the early 1930’s. New Farm was a very river-oriented suburb; the wharves and warehouses were a big part of life. Big liners like the Strathnaver and Strathaird seemed to tower over the whole suburb. Each year the Navy sent the Canberra and Sydney at Ekka time, and we would visit them at New Farm wharf. It was a personal thing when each in turn was lost during the war.

Things were looking up in the late 30’s, the Depression was over, buildings were going up, and I could watch progress on the Storey Bridge from my classroom at St James in Boundary St. But war was obviously coming, there was no euphoria about it, just dread, an attitude of “oh no, not again”. And so, it started, slowly at first. Evans, Deakin finished their Storey bridge, and were persuaded that ships were not much different from other tanks and silos, so Kangaroo Point got its shipyard.

            At Nudgee in 1941, we farewelled two members of the previous senior class, and within 6 months had memorial services for them. Things then got really bad. Sydney was lost with all hands, then Parramatta with heavy loss, then came the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, the fall of Singapore, and their repeated attacks on Darwin – all within a few months. Current history writers talk of cover-ups, that’s nonsense, information was plentiful, it’s just that disasters were unremarkable, there were so many.

It was a bit of a worry as all our trained forces were half way around the world. Us school kids were sent bush, heaven knows why. But sanity prevailed and by Easter we were back home. The digging of slit trenches was begun around the schoolyard, but boys turned practice drills into a re-run of WW1 trench warfare, so they were stopped.

One day I was watching two fighters stunting over Sandgate, when one nosedived, followed by a thump. He was gone.

            There was a big anti-aircraft unit, searchlights and guns, near Nudgee Station, and for most of 1942 they practiced on aircraft, we thought this more fun than homework. I left school and started work as an apprentice Toolmaker at the Rocklea ammunition factory in early 1943. They were making 3.5 million .303 shells per week plus .38 and .455, and 25 pounder shells. And this was the smallest of 7 factories in Australia! Where did they all go? At the end of 1943 they had enough, and switched to rebuilding aircraft engines, with test bays in the bush at the end of Compo Rd, now Evans Rd. The factory hadn’t really get going properly when the war moved too far north to make it worthwhile, so it closed and I shifted to Evans-Deakin shipyard.

Brisbane was a real mess by this time. It was the first decent port this side of the troubles, so things tended to concentrate here. Macarthur turned up, Canungra was set up for jungle training, all wharves were occupied and other temporary piers were put in wherever possible, USS Benson (or was it Benton) arrived at New Farm with its submarines, Eagle Farm grew new hangars and became the major bomber base, Archerfield housed fighters, and light bombers. I think the river could dock over 1000 ships, and the Bay was thick with others waiting.

I recall watching the arrival of a spectacular mass ferry flight into Eagle Farm of light bombers, mainly Mitchells and Bostons that took most of one day to get in and down. Crashed aircraft were stripped and piled four high in dumps at Eagle Farm, Bulimba, Enoggera, and Meeandah, each of 20 or 30 acres – a lot of grief there.

All this stressed Brisbane quite heavily. The civilian population was only about 250 thousand, and I was told once that about 1 million troops were quartered within 50 miles, a 4 to 1 ratio. All these fit and trained men were very toey, so the brawls were legendary. It was almost an entertainment to go into the Valley to watch the fights. The best riot, because it was harmless, was by the entire 7th Division. They had been overseas since 1940, did Kokoda, and were not allowed beer in camp. They all marched out of Enoggera, down Queen St, acquired a large keg from a pub near the Post Office, broached it there, and went back to camp. They got their wet canteens.

Brisbane was dim and gloomy, and not pretty. The combination of aboveground water mains, ugly concrete blast shelters, blackout lighting, lack of upkeep, and shabby austerity made for a general run-down look, and it did not really brighten up for another 20 years. The Americans kept their black troops, who were mainly labour battalions, segregated on the south side, and they were quite severe on any transgressions. A workmate told me that he saw a Negro shot on Victoria Bridge over this. In fact, the treatment of their blacks probably did more harm to our opinion of them than any other single factor. Actually, the individual American was usually a very nice bloke, but in the mass, they were a lot more foreign than Hollywood had led us to expect. Just in odd little ways. Macarthur himself was too flamboyant for our taste and his army was not much respected, but the air force and navy, and especially the Marines were highly regarded.

I joined the Evans Deakin shipyard late in 1945, installing the main engines in HMAS Murchison, a sister ship to the frigate now permanently on display at Southbank. I was thus a little late to be personally involved in their wartime work, but I knew and heard much about it and it was magnificent. There were few trained tradesmen, so apprentices matured early and it was nothing to see a handful of 17 year-old’s under one or two tradesmen heading off to Colmslie Dock to do a major job on a crippled ship. The submarine flotilla could provide some nasty jobs, like flooded compartments with dead crew, and one had its whole forward compartment blown off, which Evans Deakin rebuilt.

Shipbuilding was very satisfying: to see a pile of rusty steel take shape, get launched, fitted out, and then come alive as the boilers fire up and the engines turn over, is one of life’s great experiences. Sea trials were always a great day, I was out with Murchison, then DalbyDubboBinburra and Bilkurra – all good ships that gave no trouble. It was a pity that the yard could not last, but too much of inefficient work practices, demarcations, and union restrictions had been inherited from the Clyde so it had to go.

            Even though the Mirimar had been impressed for wartime service, it continued to service Amity and even in the black days of 1943 a group of fellow apprentices introduced me to beautiful Pt Lookout. Not that it was any picnic getting across the island, I recall midnight in winter, pouring rain, on the back of an Army FWD truck, bashing through bush. On a later visit we were standing on the beach looking at the half of the Rufus King wreck, then quite close inshore, when some air force planes turned up for target practice. First came a Spitfire, very pretty and interesting to watch. Then a Mosquito. Lots of guns, its speed would check noticeably when firing. Then a Liberator bomber. Gun turrets all over, all firing. Now there were spurts of sand kicking up not far away, so time to drop the rods and run.

One day it was all over, they all left, and we wondered at the quiet. Brisbane slept for years.

USS Chicago in Brisbane River (photo courtesy Ralph Munro)

John Thornton

21.8.2007

(Extract from Peter Ludlow’s book ‘Moreton Bay People 2012’ (now out of print)

Moreton Bay Mysteries – 4 – The Wreck of the Rufus King

In the early years of Moreton Bay’s European settlement, it was customary for vessels to use the South Passage between Moreton and Stradbroke Islands. However, the loss of the paddle steamer Sovereignon 11 March 1847 led to the closure of the South Passage, with the shipping lane being moved to the bay’s northern entrance between Moreton and Bribie Islands. Poor visibility and rain, however, could continue to deceive ships’ masters into mistaking Point Lookout on North Stradbroke for Cape Moreton, and during 1853–1889 no less than half-a-dozen vessels came to grief on the South Passage. And it was such a fate that befell the American Liberty Ship Rufus Kingduring the night of 7/8 July 1942, as it approached Brisbane with a cargo of vital war materiel from Los Angeles. 

The site of the wreck of the Rufus King

Aboard Rufus Kingwere nine crated B-25 Mitchell bombers plus aviation fuel, and medical supplies and equipment sufficient to outfit three army field hospitals totalling more than 4,000 beds (or more than 17,000 boxes in all). At this time, the Japanese were on Australia’s doorstep to the north, and the Battle of Midway had been fought only the previous month; the Second World War still hung very much in the balance.

Captain Muller, his crew of almost 40 and vital cargo aboard a ship less than four months old, came to an abrupt halt in less than four fathoms (7m) of water, barely 18 miles (30km) from their destination. As rescuers began taking off her crew, 12 hours later the Rufus Kingbroke in two.

Fore and aft halves of the Rufus King (photo Val Knox)

A 200-strong team of Australian and US Army Medical Department personnel in the recovery of the ship’s cargo, the Americans based at Amity and the Aussies on Reeder’s Point. The drifting 330ft (100m) long forward section was taken in hand for salvage; and within four months, it had been sealed, towed into the Brisbane River and converted into its surprising second life.

Salvage workers aboard the Rufus King (photo Val Knox)

The Courier-Mail newspaper reported Captain Muller was taken back to America under arrest; others said he was incarcerated there for the rest of the war. Graham Mackey who had worked on the salvaged section, heard at the time: “we were told by a Yankee officer that the skipper … was a German descendant and had run her aground purposely.”

Whether the wreck of the Rufus King was just an accident or a deliberate act of war still remains a mystery. Perhaps the answer can be found the fate of Captain Muller back in America.

(Extracted from the book ‘Queensland’s German Connections’)


Moreton Bay Mysteries – 2 – The Underground Hospital at Fort Bribie

At the ruins of Fort Bribie in 1993, John McKenna and Dr Noel Ure (photo Peter Ludlow)

In my 2001 book ‘Moreton Bay People – The Complete Collection’ I made the following reference to the underground hospital situated at Fort Bribie situated at the northern end of Bribie Island:

The existence or otherwise of the underground hospital is a topic currently hotly disputed by Bribie’s residents. Many vehemently swear (literally) that years ago they descended its steps. Some entered and found it still set up and ready for use. Others could not open the door because sand had collected against it. All had returned years later only to find its steps completely covered by sand and, with fading memories and an overgrowth of scrub, its location ‘lost’.

And there are also those who just as vehemently swear (literally) that the underground hospital never existed. They say that all army personnel requiring hospitalisation were taken to Caloundra, so why should another hospital be built at Fort Bribie?

Perhaps the answer rests with Doctor Noel Ure, medical officer at Fort Bribie in 1943. He says: “The underground hospital DID exist because I set it up at Fort Bribie in 1943. It was a large underground room with steps descending into it. There were about 15 stretcher bed set up inside.

 “It is quite true that sick personnel were sent to the hospital at Caloundra. The purpose of the underground hospital was for emergency use in case of an enemy invasion of the Fort. We now know that this never occurred, and so the hospital was probably never used as such. But in 1943 at least, it DID EXIST!”

  Fifty years later, on June 18, 1993, we trek with Doctor Ure to the site of the underground hospital. He remembers it to be no more than 50 feet from the entrance to the Officers Mess hut. We use a site plan to locate firstly the foundations of the enlisted men’s latrines, and then work our way through thick entanglements of lantana across the foundations of the sergeants’ latrines, officers’ latrines, and finally their mess. There is a lantana-covered mound of sand where Doctor Ure remembers the underground hospital to be. It all looks so different. With a probe we search for cement beneath the sand. There is nothing, not even air vents common to the other underground structures of the camp.

Then, about 50 feet south of the officers’ mess, our probe hits something solid. We quickly shovel off the sand covering a cement slab.  About 2 metres long by 1 metre wide its pebbly texture resembles that of a path. Could it lead to the steps going down into the underground hospital?

We are hot, tired, thirsty, and scratched by lantana. Our shovel is no match for our imaginations. The hospital must still remain a mystery. Perhaps time, a metal detector, and a team of shovel and machete wielding volunteers may one day answer this intriguing question.

Reminders of Peoples Past – 10 – Pebble Beach Memorial

Pebble Beach Memorial unveiling 17.9.1995 (Photo courtesy Albert Jeays)

As in so many other cities, suburbs, and towns of Australia, it is fitting that war memorials have been erected to honour the sacrifices of those men and women who have served in our armed forces. The Northern Moreton Bay Region is no exception, and here I have chosen just one example: the Pebble Beach Memorial at Toorbul Point

Pebble Beach Memorial (Photo courtesy Albert Jeays)

The inscription reads:

Erected by the Caboolture Shire Council

as an “Australia Remembers: 1945 – 1995 Project

to commemorate the Toorbul Point combined operations centre

and to the many allied personnel who engaged in amphibious training exercises here

during World War II.

Unveiled on September 17th 1995.

Fallen Statues

Moscow’s Park of the Fallen Heroes (Photo Paul L Dineen)

With the fall of the USSR, thousands of Soviet statues were destroyed or dispersed. Some ended up in Moscow’s Fallen Heroes Park. It displays more than 700 sculptures saved and preserved from the Soviet era. Walking through the park is like visiting a cemetery, bronze and stone sculptures loom from every corner. The park has mutilated busts of Stalin, as well as those of Lenin and a statue of Dzerzhinsky, the founder of what became the KGB. There’s a massive Soviet emblem, and clusters of modern art contrasting with the very non-conceptual Communist monuments.

Further to my blog of 09.09.2017 – Centenary of a Revolution, my son Trevor informs me that Melbourne’s Heidelberg Gallery (The Heidi) has a Constructivist Display of artworks mainly from the Russian Revolution. No doubt many of the items on display would have come from Moscow’s Fallen Heroes Park.

I have never felt a great emotional attachment to statues. My first was probably the dog sitting on the tucker box five miles from Gundagai.

The Dog on the Tucker box (photo courtesy AYArktos)

For me, it always the highlight of our road trips to Melbourne.

The other  statue that has triggered my emotion was seeing Winston Churchill’s statue on a Paris footpath as our tour bus flashed past. It was so unexpected, considering the historic rivalry between the English and the French, but a touching acknowledgement of France’s gratitude for Churchill’s help during WWII.