Summary

Black and white copy of an original photograph of a group of RAAF personnel digging trenches while stationed at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, at Easter, 1942. The men are holding a sign which reads 'R.A.A.F Trench Diggers 1942 Champ Team' with the names of the four servicemen in the corners; Keightley, Hammill, Varigos and Walton.

These are probably Graham Douglas Keightley, Ted Hammill, Dennis John Varigos, and Alan Laurence Walton. The donor, Mr Jack Emden, is believed to be taking the photograph of the men.

The RAAF occupied the Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens between 1941-1946, initially as No.1 School of Technical Training under the command of Wing Commander R.G. Francis (17 March 1941 - 8 October 1945) and Flight Lieutenant B.H. Pascoe (13 October - 22 November 1945), and subsequently as No.1 Personnel Depot under the command of Wing Comander R.K. Bazley (27 October 1945 - 8 October 1946).

Description of Content

Four members of the RAAF champion trench digging team, wearing military shorts but bare-chested, sitting on recently dug ground in front of the Exhibition Building. The young men are holding picks and a piece of wood on which is painted their names and the date.

Physical Description

Black & white photograph of four young servicemen, wearing military shorts and bare-chested, sitting on dug-up ground, a wire fence behind them and behind that the facade of the Exhibitio Building. The young men are holding picks and a piece of wood on which is painted their names and the date. On the reverse of the photograph, handwritten, the date Easter 1942 and the names of those in the photograph. The men were evidently the champion trench digging team.

Significance

From 1941 to 1946 the Exhibition Building was occupied by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as No.1 School of Technical Training, and subsequently as No.1 Personnel Depot. About 500 to 700 lived in for varying periods of time. This photograph records one of the many ways in which the Royal Exhibition Building has been used since its construction in 1880. The building's size and space proved vital in times of crisis, such as World War II and the 1919 influenza pandemic, times of celebration such as Federation and the great exhibitions of the 1880s and for sport, such as the 1956 Olympics. In this way, the Royal Exhibition Building has played a central role in the social/commercial life of Melbourne.

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