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The other day, as has been his normal routine for the past few months,
John Mac was working on restoring his old yellow and red Ford Pilot. He
had the side valve V8 donc, three-speed crash box, diff and cut in half
44 in which were a few litres of cleansing petrol, all on the yellow shag pile
carpet in his lounge room as he says the shag pile feels nice between
his toes while he’s working and he also likes to watch and keep up with
Dr Phil on the TV. And being the careful and thoughtful new age guy that
he is, so as not to dirty she who must be obeyed's carpet and to
maintain harmony in the household, very important he says, he’d laid out
pages from Post and Pix magazines on which to sit the bits.
Standing L-R: Lisa Nicolet, Karina Smith.
Seated L-R: Katie Messor, “Man about town” John McDougall,
With the bottom end all torqued up, he was just about to start on the
top end and do a valve grind when he decided he’d had enough for the
day, Dr Phil had once again sorted out two or three miserable lives and
as he wasn’t all that interested in Judge Judy, he decided to take a few
hours off and shout himself lunch at Brisbane’s finest, the Jade Buddha.
Throwing a couple of nicked Queensland Health white towels over the bits, he
hit the shower with the scrubbing brush and tin of Swarfega. 30 or 40
minutes later, with the fingernails scrubbed clean of Rolls Royce
compound and with a clean shirt and undies on, he jumped into the Austin
A30 and headed for town.
Little did he know, that his arrival at the Jade Buddha had been spotted
by several lovely young ladies who work at one of the major banks in the
city. While looking out the window from their 40th floor
smoko room where they were playing 500 while having their lunch and discussing bosoms,
bottoms and babies, the girls spotted the A30 pull up at the kerb and
saw “man about town” enter the restaurant. An irresistible urge over
took them and throwing their banana and sugar sandwiches (on rye bread) and diet
cokes into the bin, they smashed their way into the lift, raced across
the road on the red and entered the Jade all puffing and panting.
“Man about town” was seated near the river, quietly having a cleansing
pre-lunch ale, when the girls swooped on him and couldn’t be re-moved –
see pic above. After an hour or so, management was compelled to call the
Fire department, the Police Swat Team and half a dozen Adgies from
Amberley before “Man about town” could be extricated from the girls’
clutches (or was it the girls from “Man about town”??).
We were told of this disturbing incident by “Man about town” who
suggested Sumpyitis had just as much allure as Radtechitis, but we’re
not sure. After speaking to the lovely young ladies, we’re convinced
they were attracted to his distinctive after shave lotion, which we know
is a 30 : 30 : 30 blend of Avtur, WD40 and Skydrol hydraulic oil.
The girls have all worked at the ANZ Bank in the city for about 10 years
and love it. They occasionally also shout themselves lunch at the Jade
Buddha, and why not.
With lovely staff like that – you’d seriously think about changing banks
The MCG and World War II
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), also known simply as "The G", is
located in Yarra Park, Melbourne. It is home to the Melbourne Cricket
Club, is the 10th-largest stadium in the world, the largest in
Australia, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, the world’s largest
cricket ground by capacity and has the tallest light towers of any
sporting venue. The MCG is within walking distance of the city centre
and is served by both the Richmond railway station and the Jolimont
railway station, East Melbourne. It is part of the Melbourne Sports and
Since it was built in 1853, the MCG has been in a state of almost
constant renewal. It served as the centrepiece stadium of the 1956
Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and two Cricket World Cups:
1992 and 2015. It is also famous for its role in the development of
international cricket; it was the venue for both the first Test match
and the first One Day International, played between Australia and
England in 1877 and 1971 respectively. The annual Boxing Day Test is one
of the MCG's most popular events. Referred to as "the spiritual home of
Australian rules football" for its strong association with the sport
since it was codified in 1859, it hosts Australian Football League (AFL)
matches in the winter, with at least one game held there in most (if not
all) rounds of the home-and-away season. The stadium fills to capacity
for the AFL Grand Final.
Founded in November 1838 the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) selected the
current MCG site in 1853 after previously playing at several grounds
around Melbourne. The club’s first game was against a military team at
the Old Mint site, at the corner of William and Latrobe Streets. Burial
Hill (now Flagstaff Gardens) became its home ground in January 1839, but
the area was already set aside for Botanical Gardens and the club was
moved on in October 1846, to an area on the south bank of the Yarra
about where the Herald and Weekly Times building is today. The area was
subject to flooding, forcing the club to move again, this time to a
ground in South Melbourne.
It was not long before the club was forced out again, this time because
of the expansion of the railway. The South Melbourne ground was in the
path of Victoria’s first steam railway line from Melbourne to Sandridge
(now Port Melbourne). Governor La Trobe offered the MCC a choice of
three sites; an area adjacent to the existing ground, a site at the
junction of Flinders and Spring Streets or a ten-acre (about 4 hectares)
section of the Government Paddock at Richmond next to Richmond Park.
1857 map of the Police Paddock
in East Melbourne
This last option, which is now Yarra Park, had been used by Aborigines
until 1835. Between 1835 and the early 1860s it was known as the
Government or Police Paddock and served as a large agistment area for
the horses of the Mounted Police, Border Police and Native Police. The
north-eastern section also housed the main barracks for the Mounted
Police in the Port Phillip district. In 1850 it was part of a 200-acre
(81 ha) stretch set aside for public recreation extending from Governor
La Trobe’s Jolimont Estate to the Yarra River. By 1853 it had become a
busy promenade for Melbourne residents.
An MCC sub-committee chose the Richmond Park option because it was level
enough for cricket but sloped enough to prevent inundation. That ground
was located where the Richmond, or outer, end of the current MCG is now.
At the same time the Richmond Cricket Club was given occupancy rights to
six acres (2.4 hectares) for another cricket ground on the eastern side
of the Government Paddock. At the time of the land grant the Government
stipulated that the ground was to be used for cricket and cricket only.
This condition remained until 1933 when the State Government allowed the
MCG’s uses to be broadened to include other purposes when not being used
In 1863 a corridor of land running diagonally across Yarra Park was
granted to the Hobson’s Bay Railway and divided Yarra Park from the
river. The Mounted Police barracks were operational until the 1880s when
it was subdivided into the current residential precinct bordered by Vale
Street. The area closest to the river was also developed for sporting
purposes in later years including Olympic venues in 1956.
The first grandstand at the MCG was the original wooden members’ stand
built in 1854, while the first public grandstand was a 200 metre long
6000 seat temporary structure built in 1861. Another grandstand seating
2000, facing one way to the cricket ground and the other way to the park
where football was played, was built in 1876 for the 1877 visit of James
Lillywhite's English cricket team. It was during this tour that the MCG
hosted the world's first Test match.
In 1881 the original members' stand was sold to the Richmond Cricket
Club for £55. A new brick stand, considered at the time to be the
world’s finest cricket facility, was built in its place. The foundation
stone was laid by Prince George of Wales and Prince Albert Victor on 4
July and the stand opened in December that year. It was also in 1881
that a telephone was installed at the ground and the wickets and goal
posts were changed from an east-west orientation to north-south. In 1882
a scoreboard was built which showed details of the batsman's name and
how he was dismissed.
When the Lillywhite tour stand burnt down in 1884 it was replaced by a
new stand which seated 450 members and 4500 public. In 1897,
second-storey wings were added to ‘The Grandstand’, as it was known,
increasing capacity to 9,000. In 1900 it was lit with electric light.
More stands were built in the early 20th century. An open wooden stand
was on the south side of the ground in 1904 and the 2084-seat Grey Smith
Stand (known as the New Stand until 1912) was erected for members in
1906. The 4000-seat Harrison Stand on the ground’s southern side was
built in 1908 followed by the 8000 seat Wardill Stand in 1912. In the 15
years after 1897 the stand capacity at the ground increased to nearly
In 1927 the second brick members’ stand was replaced at a cost of
£60,000. The Harrison and Wardill Stands were demolished in 1936 to make
way for the Southern Stand which was completed in 1937. The Southern
Stand seated 18,200 under cover and 13,000 in the open and was the main
public area of the MCG. The maximum capacity of the ground under this
configuration, as advised by the Health Department, was 84,000 seated
and 94,000 standing.
The Northern Stand, also known as the Olympic Stand, was built to
replace the old Grandstand for the 1956 Olympic Games. By Health
Department regulations, this was to increase the stadium's capacity to
120,000; although this was revised down after the 1956 VFL Grand Final,
which could not comfortably accommodate its crowd of 115,802. Ten years
later, the Grey Smith Stand and the open concrete stand next to it were
replaced by the Western Stand; the Duke of Edinburgh laid a foundation
stone for the Western Stand on 3 March 1967, and it was completed in
1968; in 1986, it was renamed the Ponsford Stand in honour of Victorian
batsman Bill Ponsford. This was the stadium's highest capacity
configuration, and the all-time record crowd for a sporting event at the
venue of 121,696 was set under this configuration in the 1970 VFL Grand
Final. (Carlton 17.9 V’s Collingwood 14.17)
The MCG was the home of Australia’s first full colour video scoreboard,
which replaced the old scoreboard in 1982, located on Level 4 of the
Western Stand. A second video screen added in 1994 almost directly
opposite, on Level 4 of the Olympic stand. In 1985, light towers were
installed at the ground, allowing for night football and day-night
In 1988 inspections of the old Southern Stand found concrete cancer and
provided the opportunity to replace the increasingly run-down
50-year-old facility. The projected cost of $100 million was outside
what the Melbourne Cricket Club could afford so the Victorian Football
League took the opportunity to part fund the project in return for a
30-year deal to share the ground. The new Great Southern Stand was
completed in 1992, in time for the 1992 Cricket World Cup, at a final
cost of $150 million.
The Ponsford Stand undergoing
reconstruction in 2003.
The 1928 Members' stand, the 1956 Olympic stand and the 1968 Ponsford
stand were demolished one by one between late 2003 to 2005 and replaced
with a new structure in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Despite
now standing as a single unbroken stand, the individual sections retain
the names of Ponsford, Olympic and Members Stands. The redevelopment
cost exceeded A$400 million and pushed the ground's capacity to just
above 100,000. Since redevelopment, the highest attendance was the 2017
Grand Final of the AFL with 100,021 (Richmond
– the premier club!!), followed by 100,016 in the 2010 Grand Final.
From 2011 until 2013, the Victorian Government and the Melbourne Cricket
Club funded a $55 million refurbishment of the facilities of Great
Southern Stand, including renovations to entrance gates and ticket
outlets, food and beverage outlets, etc., without significantly
modifying the stand. New scoreboards, more than twice the size of the
original ones, were installed in the same positions in late 2013.
The War years.
In October 1941, the Menzies Government collapsed. For some time, it had
been divided and unable to provide effective leadership. Over the next
four months, the new Prime Minister, John Curtin, faced the worst series
of crises in Australian history. On the 19th November 1941,
after its encounter with the German raider Kormoran, HMAS Sydney was
lost, the Japanese attacked Malaya and Pearl Harbour in December; with
the fall of Singapore on the 15th February, 1942, the AIF
Eighth Division was lost and four days later Darwin was bombed. These
events confronted Australia with two nightmares it had long dreaded, a
hostile Asian power was on the march and the defence shield which
Britain had long provided was now in tatters.
In the midst of these disasters, John Curtin outlined in the Melbourne
Herald policies which were to shape profoundly the immediate history of
the Melbourne Cricket Ground: Without inhibitions of any kind, he made
it quite clear that Australia would look to America, free of any pangs
as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom. Then, in
February 1942, Curtin announced the conscription of all of the nation’s
resources, human and material, for ‘the purposes of war’ and introduced
regulations which enabled the government ‘to require the use of any
property in the Commonwealth for the prosecution of the war.’
Even before Curtin spoke, officers from Military Headquarters inspected
the Melbourne Cricket Ground with a view to using the stands on the
northern sides to house troops. After MCC secretary Vernon Ransford
contacted the Ground’s Trustees on the subject, it seemed that the Army
might reconsider its plans. Late on the afternoon of the 2nd
April, Ransford was stunned to receive notice that ‘the whole of the
Ground was required for Commonwealth purposes as from the 7th day of
April 1942’ and that the MCG was to be handed over to the Port
Quartermaster, United States Armed Forces in Australia.
From 1942 until 1945 it was occupied by (in order):
the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF),
the Royal Australian Air Force,
the United States Marine Corps
and again by the Royal Australian Air Force.
Over the course of the war, more than 200,000 personnel were barracked
at the MCG. From April to October 1942, the US Army’s Fifth Air Force
occupied the ground, naming it "Camp Murphy", in honour of officer
Colonel William Murphy, Signal Corps, US Army, who was killed when the
lone B-18 Bolo bomber he was onboard, was shot down by a Japanese
fighter aircraft on 3 February 1942 over Java. The Bolo was piloted by
Major Austin Straubel.
In 1943 the MCG was home to the legendary First Regiment of the First
Division of the United States Marine Corps. The First Marine Division
were the heroes of the Guadalcanal campaign and used the "cricket
grounds", as the marines referred to it, to rest and recuperate. On 14
March 1943 the marines hosted a giant "get together" of American and
Australian troops on the arena. The Marines were accommodated in the
covered spectator stands at the G while smaller camps were set up at the
South Melbourne Cricket Ground and at Mount Martha and Ballarat in
regional Victoria. Officers lived in greater style, often enjoying
The ground was also sometimes referred to as "RAAF Ransford", after
Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) secretary Vernon Ransford (right). The
modest Ransford was apparently reluctant to use this term in MCC minutes
and continued to refer to the Ground - quite incorrectly - as "Camp
Since February 2, 1942, units of the United States Army Air Forces had
been stationed in Melbourne. Some of these were quartered at the Ground
but they were gone by November 7, when the Ground was declared to be the
home of RAAF’s No.1 School of Technical Training. However, the 1500 RAAF
personnel did not move in until early December.
Possibly the intervening period was used to make some necessary
alterations. The Department of the Interior erected nine hot showers in
the ground level lavatory at the western end of the Pavilion. Sadly,
this luxury did not extend to the Old Public Stand, where 21 cold
showers were installed, with another 12 in the Outer Concrete Stand.
Fortunately for those facing these torrents of cold water, the RAAF
vacated the MCG on January 5, 1943, ‘as it was required for occupation
by US forces.’
The first wave of Marines moved in a day later. The Ground became a hive
of activity. Vernon Ransford reported that: Additional works to
provide all necessary sleeping and messing accommodation for 3600 troops
were commenced on Tuesday 5th ... and such rapid progress was made that
most of the works were completed by Saturday 16th ...
The secretary’s outline of these works provides the most comprehensive
description of the wartime Melbourne Cricket Ground. All the seats were
removed from the lower tier of the Grey Smith Stand, and alternate rows
from the top tier, with double and triple-decker metal bunks being
screwed to the wooden floors. These provided accommodation for 600. The
entire area had to be wired to provide electricity. Tarpaulins enclosed
the front of the Stand. One of the players’ dressing rooms was used by
some sergeants as sleeping quarters, with the other being used as one of
several Quartermasters Stores. Administrative Offices were located in
the Tea Rooms, while the Bar became a Wet Canteen for NCO’s.
In the Pavilion, the Camp Commandant took over the VCA Room as an
office. The rest of the building was used for messing and sleeping
accommodation for the officers. At various points, guards prevented ‘all
but officers from going into the Pavilion’, though other ranks were
permitted to use the bar on the ground floor as a Wet Canteen.
Mercifully, they were given access to the nine hot showers installed
during the RAAF’s occupation. At the western end of the Old Public
Stand, over the Tea Room in the Members Reserve, the seats were removed
to accommodate 125 men. Curiously, only the western side and one tier of
this stand were blocked off to the top. Four other tiers were blocked
only to the ‘height of the pillar collar’, probably to ensure that the
inmates had plenty of ventilation. The Tea Room was a Dry Canteen which,
Ransford noted, was an ‘exceedingly busy section of camp’.
Further east in the Old Public Stand, the RAAF’s cold showers remained.
Ten were in the ladies’ retiring room and the latrine near the Gymnasium
held the others. Each section contained ablution tables. The Gymnasium
was used by the dentist and medical officers, while the public Tea Room
served ‘as a reading and recreation room in charge of Padre Olton’ to
whom Ransford loaned an old piano and 81 wooden chairs. According to the
Secretary, this room was ‘always full’.
On the lower level of the Southern Stand, officially termed the ‘New
Concrete Outer Stand’, double-decker bunks accommodated 1000 men
‘between Bays 1 and 2 to 7 and portion of 8.’ (At that time, the
numbering system for Bays in the Southern Stand began with Bay 1 at the
eastern end.) The front of the lower level was enclosed with asbestos
cement sheeting, which was also used to block the back to a height of
six feet. Bays 8 to 15 provided messing accommodation for 1600. Asbestos
cement sheeting enclosed this area in the front, ‘with 15-inch fly wire’
at the top. In the upper level, Bays 2 to 16 provided sleeping
accommodation for 2000 ‘by means of double-decker bunks (metal) placed
same way as seats. These bunks have 2 short and 2 long legs to provide
for concrete rises and are clipped on to the seats by two brackets. The
seats were not damaged in any way.’ Four rows from the front, the upper
tier was blocked with asbestos cement sheeting 16 ft. high ...’ At the
back, Masonite sheets, four feet high, were tied to the woven wire which
covered the openings.
Three kitchens were built off the roadway under the Southern Stand. One
was equipped with gas, but the others used fuel. While these were being
constructed, cooking was done ‘by means of field kitchens located in the
area at the back of the scoreboard.’ Also in that section were two mess
rooms, ‘fly-wired with seating accommodation for 400 men’, as well as
two cool rooms and refrigerated store rooms. In various sections of the
latrines, 64 hot and cold showers were installed, along with several
ablution tables fitted with mirrors for shaving. A 3000-gallon hot water
boiler, manned by three certificated AIF men, provided ‘ample’ hot water
for the officers in the Pavilion.
Vernon Ransford, always at pains to protect the Melbourne Cricket Club’s
interests and assets, was pleased that all the alterations were achieved
with little real damage. His concerns were shared by the Camp
Commandant, Lieutenant Merles, whom he felt ‘has been most helpful in
many ways and I feel certain that MCC interests will be safeguarded
whilst he is at the Ground.’ Nevertheless, an air of pessimism tinged
the secretary’s outlook:
“In view of the large amount spent in these additions and
alterations, it is quite possible that the Ground will be used by the
Authorities for some time. I understand that the US people are desirous
at present of using it as a rest Camp for troops from the front line.”
Gerald Healy was among the first Marines housed at the Ground. A member
of the 3rd Battalion’s First Platoon of Regimental Weapons
Company, he recalled his welcome in Melbourne as ‘a fantastic event’.
From the pier, the Marines boarded a train for the trip to the MCG.
Somewhere along the route, ‘people put tables across the tracks, which
stopped the train and we partook of wonderful cold beer.’ Everywhere,
there were people hollering, school kids hollering, and most of the
people saying “You Marines are now ‘Our Boys’.”
A week later, the 2nd Battalion disembarked from the train,
to be met with equal enthusiasm at Richmond: “A small Australian band
played music on the pier ... We boarded trains and after a brief ride
got off and formed on the platform of an elevated station across from a
factory that had hundreds of girls hanging out the windows waving and
After unloading in Melbourne, the 1st Service Battalion were taken by
truck to the Melbourne Cricket Club Ground. Scuttlebutt suggested that
the units lodged at the Ground were there because they were led by the
First Division’s senior regimental commander. Colonel Clifton B. Cates
was a World War I veteran who commanded Combat Group B, to which the
First Regiment of the Division belonged. George Shaffer, who ‘rode
shotgun in his Jeep’ on Guadalcanal, describes Cates as ‘a General
MacArthur type ... an outstanding officer and a great man ... brilliant
and fearless.’ It was a common judgment. In March, Clifton Cates
returned to the United States. As a Brigadier General, he led the Fourth
Division at Iwo Jima; then, ahead of 39 other generals, was appointed
Commandant of the US Marine Corps. In January 1943, Shaffer and Dick
Lyons shared the impression that Cates ‘had first pick of quarters for
his men.’ Other regiments went to Ballarat and to Balcombe, where the
Division was presented with a Presidential Citation for its deeds on
Whatever the particular reason for their presence, 1650 Marines arrived
at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the afternoon of January 6, 1943.
Vernon Ransford reported that they ‘immediately took up their quarters.’
Within three weeks, the MCG held 3600 troops, including 184 officers.
In Brisbane, an officer had described the men as ‘ragged, still dirty,
thin, anaemic, sallow, listless.’ Fred Guarino explained that
Guadalcanal had left the men ‘undernourished and dehydrated.’ In
Melbourne, all of these problems remained. A British colonel who watched
the 7th Regiment arrive said that, in the Middle East, he had never seen
men as tired or as worn’. The doctor in charge of the US Army’s 4th
General Hospital told General Vandegrift ‘Had I room I would suggest we
send this whole regiment to the hospital. Lord knows they look as if
they need it.’
The worst cases, of course, were sent to the 4th General Hospital (now
the Royal Melbourne - above). A lot of them experienced the “hot and
colds” along with the shakes, suffering from malaria and it was not
uncommon for the locals unfamiliar with the tropical disease concluding
that the victims were drunk, though, at times, their conclusion was
As late as April 1943, 3000 First Division men were still suffering from
malaria. For some men full recovery took years.
In Melbourne, another problem emerged. ‘Each man was issued nine
Australian wool blankets. They used five blankets as a mattress and the
others for cover.’ A lot of men got scabies after receiving them due to
some not being properly fumigated.’
Australian Air Force personnel who later used the MCG, almost to a man,
spoke first and foremost of the bitter cold. Curiously, the Melbourne
chill figures less prominently in Marine recollections though some
remember it as being cold and very damp. Most wore long underwear,
“Aussie” wool sweaters and six or eight wool blankets on their cot. They
would crawl into bed and shiver for 15 minutes until the bed dried out
... some remember it as like crawling into a tub of ice water.
The MCG’s image as ‘Heaven’ was undoubtedly aided by the absence of
tight discipline in the first weeks. The first month was sort of open
gate policy. The bed was there, food and lodging but little or no
obligation to stand muster. Whoever was in stood roll call. Forty guys
would ‘Yo, here, yes, present’ to any name called. ‘All present and
accounted for, sir’. Then there were the extensive facilities - the
Ground was ‘all set up with plywood shielding their living quarters from
the elements ... The shower and toilet facilities were great and mess
halls were plentiful and even the Lock-up was big ... all the
conveniences needed in one compact area.’
The Lock-up was not without inhabitants. The clank of ankle-chained
prisoners marching lockstep to meals became familiar music in the lower
halls three times a day. The same chains heard at shower times attracted
little attention. Bread and water and solitary confinement men took
their rations in their cells. On the first few nights in Melbourne, the
‘wet’ canteen under the Pavilion, ‘a large room with tables and a long
bar’, was ‘jammed’. Perhaps this was the canteen known as the ‘Slop
Shoot’. Some enjoyed their bottled liquor outside in Yarra Park.
Not all of the drinking involved liquor. Something of a surprise was
experienced by the locals who were serving the drinks that first day. A
large percentage of the Marines in the 1st Regiment were still in their
teens. They had not had any fresh milk in six months or so. Those
fellows poured down milk in astonishing quantities. It was probably the
thing that started them on the road to recovering their weight and
strength and health.
A lot remember Young and Jackson’s, and another pub called Hosie’s
(corner of Flinders and Elizabeth Sts – now gone) The pubs closed at 6
p.m., so they would go to dinner where you drink more beer until 8 p.m.
A restaurant called Ricco’s in Spring St was one of their favourites.
A way from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Marines found a city that
was only too willing to welcome them. They went roller skating at
Wirth’s in St Kilda Road. For ‘tuppence’, they took tram rides to St
Kilda, where they went to the beach or Luna Park or skated on the ice at
the St Moritz. They
met their dates ‘under the clocks’ at Flinders Street and saw the
kangaroos and koalas at the Zoo. At Young and Jackson’s, they drank in
front of the painting of Chloe. They wandered the banks of ‘the
so-called “Dirty Yarra”’ and strolled through the gardens near the
Shrine. At the Trocadero, they danced to the big-band music of Frank
Coughlan and at the Palm Grove, Bob Gibson’s orchestra (See HERE) played
similar tunes, alternating with the First Marine Division Band.
The RAAF at the “G”.
During the War, the MCG as well as the Melbourne Showground were used
for essential purposes and there was no prospect of the US forces or the
RAAF vacating either while the war raged.
No. 1 Engineering School, No. 1 Embarkation Depot, and No. 2 Hospital of
the Royal Australian Air Force occupied the showgrounds from March 1940
to October 1946. The RAAF had spent huge sums on equipping and fitting
up various showground buildings as workshops, while the MCG, was used
mainly as a personnel depot and transit centre where airmen were
mustered before and after movement. The MCG was perfect for this use as
the available space and its location were ideal. Aftr the US forces
left, at any-one time there were usually about 3,000 RAAF members at the
MCG, and 600 airmen from a technical training school were permanently
During the War, the continued use of the Melbourne Cricket-ground as an
RAAF depot was most essential, all buildings were occupied to absolute
capacity. They housed RAAF and WAAAF and provided accommodation for the
movement of large groups of servicemen to and from operational areas.
Because of the high cost of restoring the turf, it was agreement with
the MCC that no use would be made of the grassed sports area, except for
occasional parades and the club, grounds and buildings were maintained
by the MCC's own staff, thus providing added protection.
Approximately 1500 personnel from No.1 School of Technical Training were
located at the MCG from 3 December 1942 to 5 January 1943 after which
the RAAF's No.1 Embarkation Depot moved in from 3 November 1943 to 30
April 1944. No.1 Personnel Depot (1 PD) took up residence from 1 May
1944 to 29 October 1945.
Early in the war, throughout 1940 and 1941, the ground continued to host
first-class cricket and League football. In February 1940, there was a
cricket match between the Second AIF and the Third Division. In August,
a VFL Patriotic Premiership was held, with all proceeds going to
patriotic funds. The contest, billed as the first time that all twelve
teams would appear on the one ground on the same day, was won by St
Three months later, Prime Minister Menzies performed the Opening
Ceremony of the First Athletic Championships of the Australian Fighting
Forces, with the Army’s Lieutenant Don Bradman making the Declaration of
Loyalty. In August 1941, the VFL conducted another Patriotic Carnival,
but by then it was becoming harder for Australians to escape the
seriousness of the war and its growing impact on their existence. The
Melbourne Cricket Club’s Roll of Honour listed nine names, with several
other members reported either as missing or prisoners of war.
of new arrivals, a WAAAF and an Airman about to start their clearances.
portrait of WAAAF personnel who were domiciled in the Ransford barracks,
Melbourne Cricket Ground area of No. 1 Personnel Depot. March 1945.
Voluntary Aid Detachment
(VAD) members at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during an inspection by
the Governor General.
The most popular men of the day at the get together function when the
United States Marine Corps entertained Australian Servicemen at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground, these marines had no need to turn off the tape
between cups, as business was so brisk. (Nothing’s changed). The
Australian sailor toasts, and congratulates, the Marines on their
The get together function at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when the
United States Marine Corps were hosts to Australian servicemen. Here
Marines demonstrate American hospitality to members of the Australian
Forces and are doing so in a most appropriate manner. This gallon jar
was replenished several times during the evening to the satisfaction of
the very appreciative guests. March 1943.
Australian and United States Servicemen toast each other at the allied
forces get together night at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Popular (at the time) singer Gladys Moncrieff
with servicemen at the allied forces get together at the Melbourne
wonderful Australian women answered the call to war service in their
thousands and have joined an organisation known as the Australian
Women's Legion to work as nurses, Air Raid Precaution Officers and Army,
Navy and Air Force Auxiliaries. This group is marching along a suburban
street en route to take part in a parade of the organisation at the
Melbourne Cricket Ground which will be reviewed by the Governor-General
of Australia, Lord Gowrie.
the Australian Women's Legion on parade at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
for inspection by the Governor-General of Australia, Lord Gowrie. These
women answered the call to war service and many thousands worked as
nurses, Air Raid Precaution Officers and Army, Navy and Air Force
Auxiliaries. April 1941.
A group of
members of the Australian Women's Legion wearing their gas-mask satchels
while on parade at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for inspection by the
Governor-General of Australia, Lord Gowrie.
At war’s end, the “G” was
used as a demarcation centre, with RAAF and WAAAF personnel being paid
RAAF airmen outside the reception area of the Discharge Section of No. 1
Personnel Depot RAAF Ransford, Melbourne Cricket Ground, prior to
commencing their discharge process.
WAAAF airwoman and a RAAF aircrew trainee handing their documents to
RAAF staff members on arrival at No. 1 Personnel Depot RAAF, Ransford,
Melbourne Cricket Ground, to commence their discharge procedure - 1945.
A WAAAF Airwoman and
an RAAF Airman receiving their final pay after de-mob. 1945.
Control of the MCG reverted back to the Melbourne Cricket Club on the 29th
As Greg Baum, from Fairfax Media once said, “The MCG is a shrine...It is
to this city what the Opera House is to Sydney, the Eiffel Tower to
Paris and the Statue of Liberty is to New York; it symbolises Melbourne
to the world. It inspires reverence.”
Some interesting facts:
The MCG arena measures 173.6 metres long x 148.3 metres wide from fence
to fence (approximately 20,000 square metres in area). The boundary
line is located five metres inside the fence.
There are 114 sprinklers on the ground.
Approximately 350 man-hours are spent per week maintaining the turf,
which includes rolling, cutting, line marking, fertilising, repairing
irrigation, deploying artificial lighting rigs, re-turfing, match
preparation, equipment maintenance, planning and scheduling.
The grass is cut daily in summer (to a height of 11 millimetres) and
twice a week in the winter (to a height of 27 millimetres).
The MCG siren controls are located in the Ron Casey Media Centre on
Level 3 of the Olympic Stand and are operated by pressing two red
buttons simultaneously. There is a UPS system in place to guard against
In 1959, during the Billy Graham evangelistic crusade, a total of
130,000 packed the MCG.
Official attendance figures are governed by the bar code scanning
turnstiles and other devices at all entry points around the ground.
The first full colour scoreboard in Australia was housed in he MCG
In 2021, when the RAAF turns 100 – the Radschool Association will hold a
major celebration in the Melbourne area, a part of which will be to
watch a game of Australian Rules at the “G”.
More on that later.
How U.S. Special Forces get their
utes don’t look any different but can pack nearly two tons of armour.
U.S. special forces don't just ride around in any old ute. Their
vehicles, which may appear normal from the outside, are anything but. A
new video shows how one company takes civilian utes and SUVs common in
combat zones and turns them into undercover rides for the CIA, Delta
Force, Navy SEALs, and other operators. The vehicles are stripped down
and then built back up again with special mission equipment and up to a
ton of armour plating, all of it nigh invisible to the untrained eye.
Vehicles like Toyota HiLux utes and Series 70 Land Cruisers, are
extremely common in the Third World, often used cast-offs from wealthier
Western countries and Japan. The difference between a Land Cruiser
driven by a SEAL and by a local warlord, however, is about 1,700 kg of
hidden equipment, including armour, reinforced struts and suspension,
tactical equipment, and an electrical system that can drive high power
Battelle, an applied sciences and technology company based in Columbus,
Ohio has put out a video explaining how it turns ordinary vehicles into
extraordinary ones. According to the company, it’s been creating what it
calls “non-standard commercial vehicles” since 2004.
Battelle sources Toyota HiLux utes and Land Cruiser SUVs, as well as
Ford Ranger utes as a baseline to create their “non-standard” vehicles.
As part of the design process, Battelle creates CAD models of the models
they modify. It also stripped them down to understand how the parts
interrelate, and how modifying one part of the vehicle could impact
another—and the vehicle as a whole. Adding nearly two extra tons that
permanently reside on the vehicle makes a HiLux that weighs nearly 4,000
kg stock. Out in the field, that vehicle will routinely carry an extra
ton of people, weapons, and supplies across dangerous territory.
The vehicles are stripped down and individual parts modified with the
new equipment. Battelle outfits vehicles with about a ton of extra
armour, slipped between the vehicle frame and interior, out of sight and
out of mind. For doors, that means bullet-resistant glass and armour
Other upgrades are carefully hidden under vehicle interiors. The
electrical system also appears to be upgraded to handle power draws such
as satellite radios, land navigation and tracker systems, long-range
surveillance system, and other equipment. A steel push bumper, designed
to encourage other vehicles to get out of the way, is hidden behind the
face bar. Holding it all up are beefier shock absorbers and springs and
a reinforced metal frame. Although the video doesn’t mention it, a 2016
report mentions the vehicles are also fitted with run flat tires
designed to keep them rolling even with tire damage.
In 2016, Battelle won a $170 million contract from U.S. Special
Operations Command to build up to 556 Non-Standard Commercial Vehicles.
That comes out to $305,000 per vehicle—a pretty good deal for an
armoured workhorse that can blend in with local vehicles.
One of the places these vehicles have been deployed is Syria, in the
fight against the Islamic State. Several photos of U.S. forces standing
conspicuously near Hiluxes and Land Cruisers have filtered out, some
with curiously blue-tinted windows, a tipoff that the glass is armoured
and the exact same model roof rack Battelle mounts on their modified
Perhaps not surprisingly the Islamic State itself uses similar vehicles,
particularly HiLuxes, to the point where the U.S. Department of Treasury
was investigating how terrorists got their hands on so many of them.
Click the pic above to see the video.