GLORIA Constable recalls the days of early sidecar racing on Mount Panorama when Harry Hinton used to stay with her family. My photo this week shows a motorbike and sidecar parked in front of Norman Jacobs' family home at 10 Church Lane, originally known as Glebe Street, at Kelso.
Their house was transported from the Penrith area on the steam train to Kelso, where Norman Jacobs rebuilt it. All the visitors would camp at the Jacobs' home and Gloria's mum would cook for the whole group. Beds would be spread out everywhere.
The people in the photo are (from left) team manager Eric McPherson; Norman Jacobs; 12-year-old Gloria Jacobs sitting on the motorbike; a Sydney motorbike shop owner; Tom Cooper, a cousin of Gloria's; Harold Jacobs; and racer Harry Hinton, owner of the motorbike, sitting in the sidecar.
Harry is dressed in a leather jacket with goggles and cap, and resting his left arm on the railing in the sidecar. Note the small painting of Mickey Mouse as their mascot on the front of the sidecar. Later this day, Gloria went in the sidecar around the mountain.
Gloria's mum would feed them before they went to the Mount to practise. She spent long hours cooking so that the group would arrive at the Mount with lots of packed sandwiches, cold chicken, cake and fruit. Then she would have a good hearty meal ready for their return, which would often be after dark.
Harry Hinton basically only used Norton motorcycles. His first appearance at Bathurst was in 1937, when he took first place in the Australian lightweight race. He again took that honour in 1940, but not before accepting the first-place trophy in the sidecar event in 1938. The war years found him working on motorcycles for the army.
Gloria recalls that when the Second World War was on, her father built an air raid shelter at the back of their house in case the Japanese Airforce bombed the Bathurst and Kelso area. Typically, the shelters were made from straight and curved galvanised corrugated steel panels bolted together.
Bricks or cement was sometimes used to strengthen the structure. The shelter was usually covered with 18 inches to three feet of earth. If the shelter was built properly, it could withstand the effects of a 100-pound bomb landing about 10 feet away. The shelters did, however, amplify the noise of falling bombs.
There were steps down into the shelter. It was dug out by hand and lined with shelves which Gloria helped fill with many items. She remembers having kerosene lights and lots of candles, Edgell's tinned beans, vegetables, her mum's fruit cake and pudding, milk powder and tins of evaporated milk, dried vegetables and more.
Bedding was brought in and there was a gas mask for each of them. Once the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and invaded Malaya, the threat began to be taken seriously.
Not long after, the public was urged by the government to carry gas masks, although it was not a legal requirement to do so.
Although poisonous gas was never used against Australia, these masks became another symbol of wartime life. Many people found that shelters leaked in the rain and were cold and cramped.
At one time during the war, all vehicles had caps over their headlights to dim them. Once all the blackout rules came in, people had to be very wary even to carry around torches. Over time, the blackout caused a steady rise in accidents and injuries.
Gloria's father became an air raid warden at Kelso. He learnt first-aid and was often out training for emergencies. All wardens were issued with steel helmets with a white "W" on it and whistles, and some with a gas rattler.
He received a higher grade of respirator as a warden. His warden's overalls were made of a heavy cotton material and had several roomy pockets.