Table Tops

This news sheet was published for the Australian Troops in WW2 by the 1st Australian Press Unit, AIF. Its significance is clearly in its front page reporting of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1942.

I came across it over the weekend when I was rummaging around my study and cleaning out a lot of stuff that I no longer needed. It was in an old box of letters that my Mum had kept from when Dad was serving in Borneo.

Wikipedia reports that Table Tops was a free daily newspaper produced for Australian Army personnel, and was published in the Atherton Tableland Training Area in Queensland, with regional editions produced abroad for serving personnel. It was produced by the staff of the AIF News, who were part of the First Australian Army Printing and Press Unit.  The newspaper was produced seven days a week: weekday and Saturday editions were four pages long while Sunday editions were eight pages.  It contained news on the progress of the war, as well as home news such as current events in Australia and sport results.

It was typeset on Linotype machines and then printed on an old Wharfedale printing press on overnight print runs so that the paper was ready to be sent to units for breakfast.

Regional editions (like this one) were produced in places such as Morotai, Balikpapan and Brunei for serving personnel. These were produced in camps, with mobile generators and truck-mounted printing equipment.  News was collected by listening to short-wave radio broadcasts from India, Hawaii, the BBC and Australia.

It was interesting (and gratifying) to me to see how much our attitudes have changed since those days. See the article on immigration on Page 4, for example. I also found it interesting to see that things at home went on regardless, despite the war. Look also on Page 4 at the detailed report of the cricket test between Australia and England, and the reports on industrial relations on the second page.


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