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Tag Archives: 1930s

Prewar Interiors of April 1939

Prewar Interiors of April 1939

Hello, again, I know it’s been a while…but I have busy working and setting up my new online vintage store (still hoping for bricks and mortar one day). If you have time please visit at.

Anyway, it’s gray and cold and wet here in usually sunny Mackay, the perfect day to read old magazines and cuddle up with a cat or two.

cats on a sofa
Here three articles on decorating from April 1939. It’s just amazing how modern some of the furniture looks – I swear I saw a chair like that one below right at IKEA!

modern furniture for a flat 1939

We only get a few weeks of winter here, but on a rainy day like this I’d love to be sitting in front of a fireplace. I usually put the fake fireplace on the television (through YouTube) but the television blew up this morning after a severe thunderstorm…Well a chance to make the living room more vintage perhaps!

And to finish here is a lovely ad for floor wax…have a great weekend!

vintage ad for fishers floor wax, 1939


Fashions of February 1939

Continuing on from my post Fashions of January 1939, today a look at fashion from February 1939, the last month of Summer in Australia.


Illustration by Virgil, 1939

Illustration by Virgil, 1939


Suit ideas from London


Light weight wool is a popular Autumn and Spring fabric


I love the high waisted genie pants!


Why don't you wear Schiaparelli's adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm...

Why don’t you wear Schiaparelli’s adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm…


Simple swing skirts


Long gathered skirts for evening wear – what a lot of fabric!


Imagine the blackout curtains you could make from that velvet dress..


And let’s not forget the foundation garments!


Any favourites?

The Death of King George V

It’s eighty years ago that King George V died, on 20 Janaury 1936. 

He died before the start of WWII, although the signs of war were troubling, just as they had been when he became King in May 1910. Although a first cousin of both German Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Kings family connections could not prevent the catastrophe to come.

In 1936, at age 70, the King had been in failing health for some time with a chronic bronchial complaint, made worse because of his “weary heart” due to an earlier infection or abscess in his lungs in 1928 (brought on no doubt by his heavy smoking).  His final illness was brief, however. It was only four days before his death that the Queen sent for Lord Dawson, the royal physician. Dawson’s records, released in November 1986 showed that he administered two injections of morphine and cocaine at about 11 o’clock on the night of 20 January 1936, just after he had written a brief medical bulletin that declared, “The King’s life is moving peacefully toward its close.”

“A Peaceful Ending at Midnight,”said the headline the next morning in the newspaper.

Many believe the King was euthanised, probably so that his death would make the morning rather than the afternoon paper, and therefore be more dignified.  Sounds bizarre to me.

Here is an account of his death from”The Australian Womans Weekly” at the time.

 portrait of king george V  
the beloved passing of king george v in 1936  official story of the death of king george v 1936 We will probably never really know what sort of a man he was – grumpy and domineering like Michael Gambon’s version in “The Kings Speech”, or did he lack(ed) intellectual curiosity and sophistication – but the King seemed to be well loved by the people of Great Britain and Australia.
Read more –

Nothing says Romance like Baked Tripe

Happy Valentines Day all!

Valentine’s Day was making a resurgence in Australia in the late 1930s – magazines from the time often featured ideas for Valentines day recipes or parties, while remarking upon how brief valentine day sentiments had become. This article from February 1938 (Australian Women’s Weekly).


This collection of valentines day cards is from the 1930s – and do show brief messages such as “Will you run about with me?” and “I’m flighty over you”.


This article is from February 1939 (AWW again, and yes it features baked tripe).


After war broke out in September 1939 there was not much talk of Valentines Day in Australia until the 1950s.  It was still a popular holiday in the US though, I believe, and vintage valentine day cards can still be found.  This one is available on Etsy.Image


American forces were even issued with booklets of love poems, can could purchase special valentines day items, such as hankies, to send home to their loved one.



How romantic! I think I would have preferred something like this air-force locket…



Do you know of any romantic Valentines stories during wartime? 

Nancy Bird – Aviator


Nancy Bird, London, 1939 / by unknown photographer via

Nancy-Bird (Walton), (16 October 1915 – 13 January 2009) was a pioneering Australian aviator, the founder and patron of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association. She knew from a young age that she wanted to fly – and with a name like bird, why not?!

A pupil of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith at 18, she became a fully qualified pilot at the age of 19 –  the youngest Australian woman to gain a pilot’s licence.  Nancy bought her first aircraft, a de Havilland Gipsy Moth, in around 1923, and with her friend Peggy McKillop visited country fairs, giving joyrides to people who had never seen an aircraft before, let alone a female pilot.  Bird met Reverend Stanley Drummond while on the country circuit, and in 1935  they set up a flying medical service in outback New South Wales, reaching areas not covered by the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

During WWII she trained women pilots for the Royal Australian Air Force, although they never saw combat and were used mainly for ferrying empty planes, and sometimes cargo and passengers, around. 

In 1997 the National Trust of Australia declared her an Australian Living Treasure.  She died in January 2009, at the grand age of 93, despite being a pioneering aviator and living a decidedly dangerous and adventurous life.  What an inspiration! 

Escape from days of Nazi Terror, 1939

Image Image

Girls Reared in the English Traditon

These photos featured in the Australian Women’s Weekly in October 1939 accompanying an article entitled ‘Girls reared in a Great Tradition’.


According the to the author, Ms Janet Flanner, there were four classes of English women in 1939 –

  • the Royals – a class of their own;
  • the peerage – some who went to university and became professionals,  but others to finishing school and marriage;
  • the lower middle class – they mostly became clerical workers – stenographers and secretaries;
  • the labouring and lower class – the factory workers and servants.

And what separated these classes?  Not just birth, but speech, according to Miss Flanner. “For a cockney girl to climb into the upper class she would be obliged to learn a new language.”  I think I’ve seen that movie!  The war would soon change that idea.

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