Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Busy Bees of Coburg

Busy Bee Club. Alice Wood, President of Coburg Branch of the Red Cross, is in the centre of the middle row (with white hair). Her daughter Alice (known in the family as Lal) is the last on the right in the back row. Daughter Myra is last on the right in the middle row. Image courtesy Ian Wood.

The Education Department initiated a Young Workers' Patriotic League during the war and the Busy Bee clubs were part of this scheme. You can read more on this, and other things related to the Education Department and the war, in Rosalie Triolo's excellent book Our Schools and the War.

You will see from the photo below that there are a number of school age girls in Coburg's Busy Bee Club. I am guessing that some were from the State School and others from the High School across the road.  It seems that sock knitting was the focus of attention when this photo was taken.

There were also a number of older teenagers and women involved.

I have been trying to establish the location of the photo and think it may have been in what is now Bridges Reserve, next door to the then-High School. I can see that there is a label on the tree behind these women and I can make out the letters '...nycarpus' and what I think is the word 'Excelses' underneath that. It appears to be a native of Japan, but I haven't been able to identify the species. I also don't know whether any of the trees planted at Bridges Reserve would have had labels or whether the plantings would have been this well established in that location. The only other appropriate location I can think of is Coburg Lake Reserve.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can add any information about the girls and women in the photo, the Busy Bee Club, the tree in the background or the possible location of this photo.

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