There was a time when you knitted clothes for a baby but it is not done so much today as there are lots of fabulous clothes to buy for a baby that are easier to wash, have lots of bright colours and cute pictures on them. I came across some old knitting books together with a few balls of white Patons knitting wool from many years ago.



The balls of knitting wool still had the label on them and a piece of paper tucked under the label with information about the shade of the wool plus instructions on washing and drying the garment when knitted. This knitting wool was Patons Baby Wool with Nylon Made by Paton and Baldwing (Australia) Ltd. It was Shrink Resist, Patonised Finished, Mothproofed and 80% wool 20% nylon with a picture of a baby on the label. White was a very safe colour to knit baby clothes as it could be for a boy or girl.


balls of wool


The knitting books have patterns for jackets, dresses, booties and bonnets which were all items you would knit for a baby. If you had lots of time you could knit a LAYETTE for a baby which often included a Jacket, dress, bonnet, booties and a shawl to wrap baby in. A pair of knitted booties was a popular gift to make for someone expecting a baby.


I received two lovely handmade bassinet rugs from a couple of Aunties when I was expecting my first child which I treasured and used when the children were babies. I kept these rugs as they wonderful reminders of two lovely ladies who have since passed away.

Read more

resizeNew Idea01resizeNewIdea02

I across this magazine from the 1950s which is a great snapshot of fashions, advertisements and what was in Women’s magazines at that time. It is The New Idea for Women dated June 19, 1957 and cost 7d (pence).

The back page is a full page advertisement for learning the piano in just 6 weeks with the Latest Home Study Lessons saying you will start to play in 30 minutes and soon you’ll be an accomplished Pianist, popular, sought after and be able to earn up to 8 pound weekly spare time playing and teaching. The course was just a few pence weekly ( it does not mention the exact cost) and it’s free if you don’t succeed (limited offer) to those who write for particulars withing the next 30 days.



The inside front cover has an advertisement for New Idea Pattern Service with a coupon at the bottom to complete with the size required and your name and address. All you need to do was fill in the coupon and enclose a 2/6 Postal Note or money order for each pattern ordered. The picture on the right is a pattern for an Enid Gilchrist party dress which you had to draft and make up the pattern yourself using the measurements in the magazine, not as easy as just buying a pattern from a shop. The home dressmakers of this time had some skill to be able to do this and I wonder how many people today could do it.



The page on the left is tips on how to look after your hair with details of The New Page-Boy look hairstyle at the bottom of the page.

The first page in the magazine lists the contents as well as an advertisement to reduce weight without drugs, very strenuous exercise or starvation diets. I read all through the ad but could not find out how you lost the weight as it was not mentioned in the ad or testimonials just that you COULD DO IT SECRETLY IN YOUR OWN ROOM and watch the bulging hips disappearing.

The magazine had a romance story ( the picture below), a serial (continuing story), recipes, a page where you could write in with a problem, handy woman page with lots of household tip and lots more.

I was surprised to see The Mere Male page (the picture below on the right) as I remember reading this in the 1970s and 80s when I bought the New Idea and did not know it had been in the magazine in the 1950s. It was a page where you could write in and share funny things a male, often your husband or son had done.

NewIdea 1957 009NewIdea 1957 005


A couple of the Mere Males in this magazine read…

Suggested to my young Mere Male that he come home a little earlier at night, as I lie awake worrying until I hear him come in. “What on earth do you lie awake for Mum?” The police would let you know if I was in an accident?”

Mere Male had a bilious attack on night and woke me saying, “Make me a cuppa. I’ve been awfully sick.” So I did. Several months later I had a bilious attack. Did he make me a cuppa? No. But he did suggest I make one for myself.

The winning Mere Male which won 1 pound 1 shilling for the contributor was…

Returning from an outing, I went into the kitchen to find parts of my Mixmaster strewn about. On asking Mere Male what he had been baking (knowing his love of food), I was completely floored when he replied, “No-thing. I’ve been mixing the paint with the Mixmaster, as it should make the paint nice and smooth.”

I hope you enjoy looking at this 1957 magazine as I found it lots of fun and an interesting look at life in the 1950s .

Read more

Robyn 003


I found an old photo recently of me with a teddy bear taken when I was a little girl. The teddy bear was my fathers so he had been around for a while before I got to play with him. A couple of years ago I came across this teddy again when I was visiting my mum and brought him home. Poor teddy is a little delicate these days with wear on the nose but he is not doing to bad for a fellow of his age.


I had fun taking the photo of teddy as he is sitting on a lovely old picnic blanket which would have to be from 1950s and it also belonged to my dad.

Read more

50and40 pages 00350and40 pages 002

I could no resist buying this old retro picnic set with it’s bright colours and sturdy suitcase. It had cups, plates, a lunchbox, thermos flasks and cutlery which all fitted into a slim suitcase making it easy to store and carry to a picnic. I love the bright orange as it reminded me things I had in the kitchen in the 1970s.

The picnic set made a great present for my daughter who loves the old retro stuff and will be used for some great family picnics.


Read more


I recently came across this old red phone box in the main street of a town I was visiting and could not resist taking a photo. It did not have a phone inside but is was fun to see it as you were walking down the street. I remember using the old phone box many a time and feeding the money in if you were making a long distant call or “trunk” call as it was known.

My husband worked for the post office as a parcel delivery driver many years ago and one of the jobs he had to do was collect the coins from phone boxes. There was a metal box that the coins dropped into which slide in and out so it was the job of the drivers to do a run to collect these boxes and replace them with empty ones. All the boxes were taken back to the Post Office where someone then had the job of counting all the coins.

mobile 9 Mar 014

A couple of years ago I came across a building that still had the old stamp dispensing machines in the wall. The building was no longer used as a Post Office but someone had thought to keep this bit of history. I remember buying stamps from these machine as it meant you did not need to line up in the Post Office and you could buy stamps out of business hours.

Read more


Robyn 006Robyn 007

I love this cute Baby Record book which was given to mothers in the 1950s by the State Saving Bank of Victoria. It belongs to my husband and the first couple of pages have been filled out with interesting information including date of birth which we knew of course but also it had the day of birth, time, as well as the name of doctor and nurse.

Robyn 010Robyn 011

The first page of the book read…

This little booklet is presented to Mother and Baby by the Commissioners of the State Savings Bank of Victoria.
It is sincerely hoped that it may serve to record the healthy, happy unfolding new life, and that Memories herein stored may become increasingly fragrant with the passing of the years.

On the back of the book is an advertisement for The State Savings Bank of Victoria which states that…

Ten shillings deposited in the Bank weekly will amount to over 690 pounds in twenty-one years time.

Robyn 012

Read more

robyn 002robyn 001

I was born in a country town in 1954 and grew up in the same town enjoying a great childhood in 1950s and 60s. I moved to Melbourne in the early 1970s when I finished school to begin working as a office junior or “Girl Friday” as it was called back then.

I have fond memories of a childhood when children could play outside all day with the other kids who lived in the street day only coming home when it was dark. The corner Milk Bar had a large display of lollies in boxes so you could choose the ones you wanted to buy. I remember listening to programs on the radio as a child and the excitement when we got a TV at home.

The photos above are my first baby photo which was taken in the kitchen as you can see part of kitchen cabinet in the background. The second photo was taken in the front garden at my grandparents house with my favourite doll. I am wearing my good “Sunday best” clothes including a ribbon in my hair and there was always an expectation that you would not get your good clothes dirty which at times was difficult when you are a child.

Read more