Nothing beats the excitement of opening a vintage newspaper. Today I read The Courier Mail dated November 8, 1939. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they don’t do news like they use to! This paper is just juicy with fabulous little stories, local happenings and brilliant advertisements. It gives such a fascinating insight to a period of time which not only saw the Great Depression but also the lead up to World War 2. I can only imagine the hardship and the perseverance for the Australian’s which saw this era through and they have my complete and up-most respect.
The Department of Main’s Roads as cited on their website played a significant role in unemployment relief during the 1930’s. In Queensland, the Story Bridge was built along with Somerset Dam and the University of St Lucia. Brisbane had trams and cars could drive along Queen street. I think we can officially blame the 1930’s for today’s traffic because it was during this time that highway systems and main roads began to take shape.
In saying that, we can’t hold a grudge because I’m sure the foresight of the type of road network that Queensland would require would have seemed a little far-fetched considering that in 1937 the total tally of privately owned cars in Queensland had only just reached 111,000. This is a stark contrast to today’s some 2,756,944 cars travelling on QLD roads – a massive figure in comparison that does not even take into consideration other modes of transport such a motorbikes, trucks and buses.
In 1939 the Judge Mr. Justice Brennan advocated for a special court for motor cases. He believed that people involved in car accidents were certainly not criminals and nor were they the criminal type. He further determined that motor cars were becoming a permanent fixture to Queensland roads and that there would only be an increase in car accidents as more people started driving.
This suggestion came after the Judge discharged Mark Hinchcliff on a bond of 10 pound after he pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm. Mr. Hinchcliff was the driver of a car that struck Douglas Roseta. It was interesting that the Judge came to this conclusion particularly when the Police and medical attendees determined that Mr. Hinchcliff was driving under the influence.
I took this to mean that he was drunk, which could only mean that the Judge was not determining drink driving to be a criminal activity. In fact, the Judge went onto say, ‘If people will gossip on the roads when good footpaths are available they must be anxious to go to heaven, because it is a sure way under present conditions.’ Poor chatty Roseta was a bit harshly done by the Judge although I should say that at least Mr. Hinchcliff paid him a total of 406 pound in compensation and medical expenses.
The RACQ which was established in 1905 opposed the Judge’s desire for a special court for motor cases, the president of the RACQ voiced that, ‘If he is not guilty of criminal negligence then he should not be charged. I cannot see the Judge’s point. If a motorist is charged with a criminal offence there is no reason why he should receive special treatment.’
Potentially I reason that the only types of folk that could afford a motor car were the elite upper class, a class that the Judge would have been apart of. For the judge it must of seemed unfathomable for someone from the white-collar class to be demonstrating criminal behavior. A different time indeed.
Such a fascinating article, but perhaps just for me because that’s what we do at Revolution Law. We advocate the rights of those that are injured in car accidents and drink driving being permissible is just a little far-fetched for the likes of us!
But here’s what you are after, more brilliant moments from November 1939.
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