Leaflet issued by the Department of Public Works and endorsed by the Mayor of Prahran to encourage the construction of household air raid shelters.

The leaflet indicates that while some communal air-raid trenches will be constructed by local and state governments, the ideal situation is for every household to have either a trench shelter in their yard/garden or a refuge room. It discourages the use of hired labour to construct these trenches as that will detract from munitions manufacturing and 'essential civil services'. Instead it invokes the Australian initiative and capacity for over-coming challenges. In addition it suggests that the introduction of daylight savings will facilitate trench-digging. Finally it recalls the recent attacks on Pearl Harbour (on 7th December 1941).

Physical Description

Sheet of foolscap folio paper. Off-white, printed both sides: obverse in black ink, reverse in red ink. Folded into fourths. Light foxing both sides. Some tearing at folds and on top edge.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions, Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Rosalind Wallis, 10/01/2013

  • Distributor

    Shire of Prahran, Prahran, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Jan 1942

  • Person Named

    William M. McIlwrick - City of Prahran, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Jan 1942

  • Authorised By

    Sir George L. Goudie - Victorian Government

  • Commissioned By

    Public Works Department of Victoria

  • Inscriptions

    Obverse, in black ink: 'AIR RAID PRECAUTIONS/ -------------------/SHELTERS [Bold & Underlined]/TO THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD---/In the "Advice to Householders" Booklet, the Government pointed out that,/ in the event of air raids here, every home would need to have a place in which the/ household could take shelter. It added that it would let the public know when, if/ ever, the actual construction of shelters became essential./ [5 paragraphs. See scan]/ Refer to your Householders' Booklet; if in doubt consult your local Council/or the District Warden./ The enemy in his attacks always endeavours to introduce the element of surprise./You remember what happened at Pearl Harbour on a peaceful Sunday morning./ IT [Bold]/ IS [Bold]/ WISE [Bold]/ TO [Bold]/BE [Bold]/ PREPARED [Bold]/ PREPARE A SHELTER NOW [Bold & Underlined]/ [Signature of Sir George Goudie]/Minister of Public Works [Italic]/ Chairman, Victorian Shelter Committee [Italic]/ Public Works Department, C.2,/January, 1942/ 395/42 [NB '/' is part of inscription does not indicate line break]' Reverse, in red ink. In Italics except where indicated: 'To the Head of the Household:[Underlined]/ The final words in this appeal of the Minister: "It is wise/ to be prepared," cannot be to strongly emphasised. The threat of/ War is over us and lives are too precious to be lost when for the sake/ of a little trouble beforehand, a certain amount of protection can be/ provided and lives saved./ I appeal to all to carry out the instructions contained in/ this request. /Wm M. McILWRICK, [no italics, last name in bold]/ Mayor of Prahran.'

  • Classification

    Military history, Civilian life, Air raid precautions

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    216 mm (Width), 343 mm (Height)

  • References

    'Air raids on Australian mainland - Second World War,' Australian War Memorial, at: [Link 1] accessed: February 6, 2013 'Air Raids on the Australian Mainland,' Australian War Memorial, at: [Link 1]raids/ accessed: February 6, 2013 'Precautions for Air Raids: Victorian Cabinet Decision,' Barrier Miner (Broken Hill), 17 July 1940, p.3, via Trove, at: [Link 3] accessed: February 6, 2013 'First Complete Blackout' [referring to Melbourne]. (1941, December 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from [Link 4] 'In Case of Air Raids'. (1941, February 18). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from [Link 5] 'Let's Write A Letter,' Standard, Frankston, 28 Feb 1941, p.2, via Trove, at: [Link 6] raids victoria&searchLimits= accessed: February 6, 2013 ' "Build Shelters" Warns Premier,' The Argus (Melbourne, Vic 1848-1957 ), 26 January, 1942, p.2, via Trove, at: [Link 7] 'Geelong Items', The Argus, (Melbourne, Vic 1848-1957), 16 January, 1942, p.4, via Trove, at: [Link 8] 'Australia Under Attack 1942-1943: Air Raid Precautions', Australian War Memorial, at [Link 9]

  • Keywords

    World War II, 1939-1945, Air Raid Precautions, Publications, Emergency Services, Municipal Government, State Government of Victoria