Explore Melbourne Polytechnic

Did you know? – 1940s


February 1942: once the Japanese had attacked Darwin there was a genuine fear in Australia that attacks could come at any time and to any place.

In Melbourne, people were required to take precautions, and the Collingwood Technical School was no exception. Trenches were dug in the area adjacent to Wellington Street and it was the job of the staff to get the boys into the trenches should the air-raid sirens sound.

Alexander Strang, the School Principal, was not pleased. He recalls in his diary…
‘It was going to be a job to get boys there in case of necessity, as they will either traverse the roundabout way of the streets, or be jammed in the narrow passage between the Defence Training Depot and Tonini’s stone wall. I was not consulted concerning the matter in any way.’

Coltech Lathe contributes to the War effort…

The Coltech Lathe (five and a quarter inch swing lathe designed by Collingwood Technical School teachers) went into wide production during the war years. The lathe was approved by the Commonwealth Department of Defence and even enlarged to a six inch lathe and used at the Footscray Ammunition Factory in the manufacture of bullet cartridge cases. The lathe’s design was also made available interstate and in New Zealand.

Collinwood Tech Gets the ‘Thumbs Up’ from Uncle Sam…

Electroplating facilities at Collingwood were used to train RAAF personnel as well as those from the US Army Air-force. Collingwood Technical School received acclaim from United States officials because of the training it provided to American ex-servicemen, through to the end of 1948.

The School Council received advice from the American Consulate in Melbourne on the 16th of August 1948, that Collingwood Technical School had been added to the list of institutes approved for the education of American ex-servicemen under the GI Bill of Rights.

Ready Set Go

The first annual sports meeting for Preston Technical School was held at Preston City Oval on 20 August 1937.

Hoist the flag for Australian ingenuity

In 1946 an Australian, Lance Hill, invented the now iconic Hills Hoist – clothes line that dominated the Australian suburban landscape for the next half-century.

Aussie lawn icon invented

In 1948 Sydney engineer, Lawrence Hall, designed a petrol rotary lawnmower, the ‘Mowhall’, which became the prototype for the famous Victa lawnmower

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Last Modified: June 14, 2013

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