A is for Argonaut

“Fifty mighty Argonauts, bending to the oars,

Today will go adventuring to yet uncharted shores.

Fifty young adventurers today set forth and so

We cry with Jason “Man the boats, and Row! Row! Row!”

ship

 

This stirring song was part of the Childrens’ Hour, a radio program for children running from 1939 to 1972.  I came upon it fairly late, in 1961.  I was ten years old and entering sixth class at Primary School.  My father had just died of a heart attack and my mother was busy trying to sort out our future.  The cheery voices of Mac and Jimmy, Lyn and Sue drew me at five o’clock every afternoon to listen to an hour of serials, singing, discussion of music, art, nature as well as good natured banter.

the cast

I didn’t know it at the time but the presenters on this program were extremely talented and some my fellow Argonauts have been and are significant members of the Australian community.

dragons tooth

What was intriguing was the theme of Jason and the Argonauts.  Each member was given the name of a ship (from Greek mythology).  There were fifty rowers in each ship so in my case my ship was Oricus and my number was 28.  Every contribution, be it a letter, a painting, an outline for a charade or a prayer for Sunday night, earned points.  Once 150 points was achieved an award of the Dragon’s Tooth was presented, at 400 the Golden Fleece and at 600 the Golden Fleece and Bar.  Maybe it is a reflection of the lack of other things to do but shortly before I turned 17 I achieved the ultimate goal and became Golden Fleece and Bar Oricus 28.

golden fleece

 

As well as points, blue and purple certificates were awarded for contributions, which were often read out over the air.  Six blues could be used to choose a book written by many of the wonderful Australian children’s authors of the time.  Ivan Southall’s books were a favourite of mine and I worked very hard to earn as many certificates as I could.

book prize 2

 

The influence of this ABC program on the lives of many isolated and country children was immeasurable.  In an environment where access to concerts, galleries, books, zoos and even people was limited, the Childrens’ Hour opened up a whole new world and inspired   children across Australia to “share much of wonder and delight, merriment and loveliness with fellow rowers”.

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14 thoughts on “A is for Argonaut

  1. I too loved Ivan Southall’s books.

    I can’t believe it – another Australian Curry (my maiden name) in the challenge! I’m adding you to my RSS feed so I don’t miss any of your posts.

    I am doing the challenge at CurryAus.wordpress.com.

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    1. Thanks for the response. Reading other people’s blogs and writing them is time consuming but fun. Are your Currys from Newcastle, NSW? That is where my husband’s family came from although they originally came from the north of England (Yorkshire I think – will have to check).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My Currys were from Camden but I am trying to sort out all of the Currys in Australia. I’ve a lot of work to do before I publish the database I am putting together. I have sorted out some of the Newcastle mob but it is
        time consuming .

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  2. WoW! This sounds like such a fun, lovely experience! I love the look of all those certificates too. It all looks so authentic. Glad you have such a lovely childhood memory.:D

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  3. wow, what a really great program to have been a part of! Those certificates are really neat. I had a children’s story record set in the 1970’s and I wish I could remember what it was called, I can still hear the voices of the actors doing the stories, I’d love to share them with my kids. Anyways, I’m here from the A to Z challenge, I’m a bit late and finally getting my A post up, it’s on Anne of Green Gables- I love books, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to read your post on Anne as I’m going to Prince Edward Island as part of a cruise from Montreal to Boston in June. I just reread the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. My six year old granddaughter wanted me to read it to her but I had to tell her parts of the story as the language was far too difficult.
      BTW I have two WordPress accounts and the wrong one has been coming up so I will put the other in just in case.
      https://argonautsite.wordpress.com

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I suppose it depended how much time you had or if you had TV. I used to listen to the radio serials before Argonauts but I think it was the change in circumstances that also changed my listening habits.

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  5. Linda, what a great first post for the A-Z.
    Were the Argonauts on radio or TV? I had never heard of them even though I grew up at the same time as you and in in the same region of the state. I have heard and read many comments in various sites about peoples’ memories of belonging to the Argonauts Club, but only heard of them when I was in my fifties! I think I would have loved it! 🙂

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