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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Argonauts Row, Row, Row!




The Sepia Saturday #358 prompt for 11 March 2017 shows a couple listening to weather reports on the radio in Florida, and is dated 10 November 1950.   I couldn't think of anything similar to write about until now, so my post is rather late I'm afraid.  I don't have any photographs of family members listening to the radio, but in the early 1960s I was an avid listener to what was called the Children's Hour, a session that was to be heard at 5 pm, 6 nights a week on the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The clip below gives a few extracts from the show, including the rousing opening and closing theme songs. Then there's a contribution from a member referring to a double-exposed photograph. When I listen to the clip it all comes back and I can remember coming inside, sitting by the radio, listening intently and singing along. I was a member of the Argonauts Club and couldn't miss a show, just in case one of my contributions was read out on air, which it very occasionally was. The show introduced Australian children to the delights of art and literature, as well as running an amusing serial called "The Muddle-headed Wombat" by Ruth Park. 





My Certificate of  Membership of the Argonauts Club. My membership name and number was Timaeus 37.


My membership badge, which I seem to have defaced by colouring green in at some stage, but at least I still have it

Order of the Dragon's Tooth, award for reaching 150 points for member contributions. I was sad to never quite reach the higher award of Golden Fleece (400 points) or the ultimate Golden Fleece and Bar, (600 points).

My Dragon's Tooth badge

One of the books I received as a prize for a attaining a certain number of points for my written contributions to the Argonauts Club

Inside the book



No photographs of  me listening to the radio, but here I am in a school photograph aged about 7, taken in the school library, and I imagine I looked pretty similar at home around 5 pm every night except Sundays, from about 1960 to 1968, although I probably had changed out of my school uniform before sitting down to listen. My mother encouraged me to listen and contribute. No television back then, so if you missed an episode that was too bad, especially as that just might have been the one in which your letter was read out or your points tally rated a mention. 

The Argonauts Club aired from 1933 until the the early 1970s and was very popular. Quite a few of its members went on to become prominent in Australian public life, for example as writers, academics, journalists, actors or politicians.  You can read more about the Club and see a list of famous members here in Wikipedia.  My only claim to fame is that much later in the 1990s we lived next door to one of those mentioned, namely Mike Carlton, well-known in Australia as a broadcaster and commentator. Of course we never discussed our common childhood history as Argonauts. 

8 comments:

  1. This sounds like quite an interesting club.

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  2. An interesting post and your picture is delightful too. Quite a few of the actors and presenters of the programme spoke in a surprisingly British RP kind of way.

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    1. Yes, the ABC presenters used what was known as Received Pronunciation, effectively imitating the BBC, and it was thought to be appropriate to use it in children's programs, to encourage them to speak properly. The extract in the recording from the Brains Trust segment about what to save in a fire dates back to 1945, but the use of that upper class British accent persisted on the ABC up until about 1970.

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  3. My badge is green as well, Jo, just like yours, so I don't think you defaced it.
    It was such a great radio club.Thanks for triggering fantastic childhood memories.

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    1. I think maybe it originally had green enamel on the sails that had come off, and so I coloured it in with a green Texta.

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  4. What a great post...a memory that must have been shared by quite a few children. I never had that level of dedication to a show, but did enjoy listening to after-school programs regularly. Either I could do my homework to them, or I had to finish it before my favorite show came on the air!

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  5. Ah-ha, you are left-handed (unless your picture was reversed?) We have several lefties in our family and good folk they are! The name "Argonaut" caught my attention right away. Two of our grandchildren attend Argonaut High School in Jackson, Calif. with one due there in another year and tonight one granddaughter's varsity basketball team is playing in the semi-final match for a Northern Calif. championship! Go Mustangs!

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    1. Yes, the photo is not reversed, and thankfully we weren't forced to change hands.

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