A 35-page booklet outlining air raid precautions, issued by the Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence in April 1941.

The foreward of the booklet was written by the Hon. Sir John Harris, KBE, MLC, the Minister of Public Instruction and of Public Health, who was the Chairman of the Victorian State Emergency Council for Civil Defence. According to Harris' forward the booklet was published at the behest of the Federal Government based upon information received from the heads of the Australian fighting forces. The booklet details air raid signals and their respective meanings, what to do should an air raid occur and information about lighting restrictions. The last section of the book is devoted to diagrams for risks from air raids and sketches of air raid shelters. The back cover counsels that the precautions may prove unnecessary and that the public would be informed should the government decide the precautions should be put in place.

According to the Argus newspaper, the Victorian State Government was planning air raid precautions as early as 1939 with particular focus on Melbourne and Geelong. By 1940 plans for blacking out Melbourne were in place and the first black out test was made in Wattle Park at 2am in February 1941. Depsite this a letter published in the Frankston Standard later that same month comments about the seeming lack of 'State encouragement' whilst commending the air raid volunteers for their enthusiasm and commitment. The letter also notes that it was unlikely that Victoria would suffer an attack, but still important that precautions were undertaken. Such precautions appear to have increased in fervency following the attacks in the northern regions of Australia, including plans for the evacuation of children from Melbourne.

Australia suffered from 96 air raids on the mainland, concentrated on the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, during World War II. However, it is interesting to note that the booklet was published in April 1941, before Japan entered World War II and before any air raids had been launched against Australia. Instead the booklet was published in light of air raid attacks in Europe.

The booklet is associated with a collection of material used by Air Raid Precaution warden Herbert Leslie Blakeley (1890-1973), son of William Henry Blakeley (1839-1921), founder of the saw manufacturing empire WH Blakeley & Company Pty Ltd.

Physical Description

Thirty-five page booklet with green cover printed in black entitled 'Air Raid Precautions'. Coat of arms above inscription. Tear at centre front and on back cover. Paper yellowed.

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