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Looking Back
Looking Back 

Western Mail, Thursday 23 November 1933, page 2

Looking Back.

On a vacant block of land on the northeast corner of William and Murray streets, nearly forty years ago, I listened in to a recorded speech by Gladstone. At that time, Gladstone was the political god of our elders and could do no wrong, but of what his speech was about we youngsters knew nothing and cared less. Sufficient for us was the fact that one of the wonders of the world - the phonograph - was there for us to .listen to and gape at. For the sum of threepence we were allowed to plug our ears with the old-fashioned ear phones and be thrilled by a voice, recorded in England.

This vacant piece of land, by the way, was the happy hunting ground of aspiring politicians and stump orators with a grievance against society. It was on this ground that the late Mr. Vosper opened the eyes of the natives by his forcible utterance and his unique appearance-having hair which hung down over his shoulders


To-day (Armistice Day), I listened in again at the same spot, but with vastly different surroundings. Shops, and a theatre have taken the place of the Aunt Sallys, the shooting galleries, and the soap boxes. Instead of the phonograph, a splendid radio was sending out songs we marched to in the war years, and I was the only listener, at that particular spot, who was being informed that "one grasshopper jumped right over the other grasshopper's back."

A stream of people, fresh from the two minutes' silence pass by, a little thoughtful, perhaps, but uncomprehending m their pitying glances at the wayback, listening in, and enjoying the wealth of memories of the city, of its inhabitants, and of the boys, who, with him, had paid their threepences to hear that first record.

Some of those boys we remembered today. In that brief two minutes' silence, as the years rolled back once more I ran wild with them in the shadows of the Town Hall. In those shadows to-day I stood stock still as a bugler sounded their requiem, and, then, awakened them into immortality.

"Omrah," Maylands.