Summary

Wooden toy van, painted red with 'P.M.G.' painted in black letters on each side. On the base are stamped the letters 'W.O.I.' and 'Permit N. 160'.

Toy specialist Marjorie Fainges says 'W.O.I.' stands for 'War Organisation Industry', and without this permit one could not legally manufacture toys between 1942 and 1944 in Australia.

Physical Description

Wooden toy van, painted red with 'P.M.G.' painted in black letters on each side. Flat bottom; curved top which ends in a point at one side. Van made out of one piece of timber. Has four wheels made of masonite. Each pair of wheels, front and back, are joined by a metal rod. A metal hook at the back may have been intended to pull the van along.

Significance

World War II changed life for everyone - including children. While fathers were away fighting 'Mr Hitler', many mothers worked long hours in offices and factories. Food and clothing were rationed, and children helped grow vegetables in backyard 'victory gardens'. After Japan entered the war in 1942 and invasion threatened, the fear of bombing hung in the air. Some city children were evacuated to rural areas. Many families built air-raid shelters in suburban backyards. Trenches were dug across school playgrounds, and air-raid drills were held. Yet wartime could be exciting, too. Military marches through the city streets, fireside games of strategy and battleships, and heroic tales of soldiers in far-off lands - all lit the imagination of many a Melbourne child. But reality hit hard for those children whose loved ones did not come home. (Melbourne Story exhibition label, 2008)

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