Tune back in time to the wireless

By Celeste Larkins

Did you listen to the radio when you were a child?  If so, what did you listen to?  Did you tune in for the music, or was it the dramas, or sports coverage?

Dane and I had the privilege of being taken back to a time where radio in Australia was the main form of information and entertainment, although back then it was called the ‘wireless’.  Recently we attended a Yarning Circle at the Geraldton foreshore organised by Bundiyarra Aboriginal Corporation.  There we had the opportunity to speak with Yamaji Elder, Rob Ronan.  The stories he shared with us of his childhood and growing up in Geraldton were enthralling, covering topics of environment, pastimes, and the impact of segregation laws on Aboriginal people.  The interview we recorded was used as part of the Yamaji Yarning Project, which HCR are working on in partnership with Radio MAMA.  The aim of the project is to record stories of the Yamaji people, and share them via radio broadcast to promote preservation of these stories for future generations.

Rob shared how the ‘wireless’ was an influential part of his childhood, in particular at night time when he would listen to drama serials, as there was no television.  He emphasised how he would use his imagination to picture the scene in his favourite serials such as Green Bottle, Biggles, and Hagen’s Circus.  Dane and I soaked up every word he spoke.  Not only were we able to picture what life was like in Geraldton back then, we also learned how significant radio was throughout Rob's childhood.

It was incredible to record Rob Ronan’s story and to continue to share his story through radio to the present and future Mid West communities.  Hopefully, people will be able to paint a picture of his childhood in their mind when they listen in, the same way Rob did when he was a child tuning in to Green Bottle.

If you would like to share in Rob Ronan's story of his childhood and his favourite wireless serials, listen in by clicking below.

To listen to the full interview click below.