Dear Santa, please send me a railway smash


Stuck for last minute presents for a child in your life? Maybe the Kalgoorlie Western Argus of 1904 can help:

Some very ingenious toys are on sale this year, those of the mechanical order being very predominant and very novel.

Among the expensive things is a perfect model of the Decapod, the huge tank engine built by the Great Eastern Railway this year to cope with suburban traffic.

The child of an energetic disposition will enjoy himself in a motor car, big enough for him to ride in. It is propelled by pedals like a bicycle horse.

There is the diver, a little man arrayed in complete uniform, who takes his plunge, remains below for a while, and then returns to the surface like his human counterpart.

The clockwork ‘airship’ is having a very large sale. It is suspended from the ceiling by a string, and, on being round up, sails round and round in a most realistic fashion.

A remarkable piece of mechanism is a clockwork train which climbs and descends inclines by means of a cogwheel underneath. This cog wheel only comes into action when on an inclined track, where it encounters a rack-rail.

The latest train novelty is called the ‘railway smash.’ This wonderful toy consists of two carriages and a goods van, so constructed that when the train is in motion an accident occurs, and the train smashes up in quite a realistic fashion. Of course it can be put together again.

Another novelty of the year are the electric tram-cars. They meet each other on a single line, with an occasional double track for passing. The first tram to arrive on the double portion of the line comes automatically to a standstill until the other has passed the points safely, and then glides away again.

Stocking up for Xmas


She’s got legs, she knows how to use them

There is a silly media cliché that men are useless at shopping for presents, and usually leave it until 4.30pm on Christmas Eve to start. Unfortunately, the men in the Dodgy Perth office are living examples of this cliché. There is nothing more they would like than a 1930s “office girl” to send out into the hell that is the shopping mall at this time of year.

Speaking of men and shopping, in 1938 the newspapers were full of advice on how to make life easier for the hairier sex.

Christmas comes but once a year—thank heaven! Such is the sentiment of the average man when faced with the annual problem of buying something for ‘her’.

At this time of year miserable specimens wander helplessly among the stocking, handkerchief, perfume and novelty counters, desperately in search of appropriate gifts for women folk. Having failed they either send their office girl out for “anything” or simply buy a couple of pairs of stockings—“you know the sort that women wear nowadays—from a sympathetic saleswoman.

As any woman will tell you, no one can have too many stockings, but there perhaps this year it is time for something different. Something she wouldn’t buy for herself. To our great surprise in this office, it turns out that shops have so many things other than stockings for sale…

not even a mere man should be stumped for ideas this Christmas.

Perth has jewellery counters where you can buy something for even the “most fastidious of wives”. Would you prefer imitation gems or just severely plain? A string of synthetic pearls would make any woman squeal with delight. If not jewellery, how about a dainty evening bag or a handbag in one of the smart new shapes?

Fortunately for us muddle-headed males of the species, it was slowly explained that shops have something called an “assistant” who could aid in the choice of such a gift.

Now, where’s that office girl?