Tuesday, April 8, 2014

1967: When Hedgehogs were Sprogs

In January 1967 approximately 184 boys aged between 15 and 17 joined the Royal Australian Air Force and travelled to RAAF Base Forrest Hill a short distance from Wagga Wagga as members of No. 21 Apprentice Intake. We were called Hedgehogs and our number included 5 boys from New Zealand. If I recall correctly one of these was aged 14 yrs and 9 months. In June 1969, 154 of these young men graduated to commence their careers in the RAAF and the RNZAF. Only 19 intake (Snails, 165) and 20 (Squirrels, 157) graduated more tradesmen for the service.

Below I have listed some of the music, sporting highlights, movies and news of the day. For most of these I have been able to find  a video clip from the time on YouTube. I hope you get as much enjoyment out of this as I have putting in it together.

This is a sampling of the music we listened to back then.
Where better to start than with the song rated no. 21 for the year, ‘Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie’, by Jay and The Techniques

We learnt to tell the difference between a ‘Sir’ and a ‘Sergeant’ and Lulu’s ‘To Sir With Love’ was the years no. 1 hit. This clip includes both the song and scenes from the movie.

We came to respect WOD Dexter Dutton. Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ was ranked no. 13. Dedicated to Mr. Dutton.

Johny Farnham released ‘Sadie the Cleaning Lady’ and we were busy cleaning every Monday night.

Groovin’ by the Young Rascalls (no. 9) seems most appropriate. Certainly we were both ‘groovin’’ and ‘young rascalls’

‘Love is Here and Now Your Gone’ by the Supremes probably reflects how our parents felt (no. 28).

For us, it was certainly all happening. ‘The Happening’, the Supremes, no. 29.
Perhaps some of us, especially in the first few weeks, felt All You Need Is Love, the Beatles (no. 30)

Some of us tried to find ‘Somebody to Love’, Jefferson Airplane (no.33)

And finally, while The Happenings were singing ‘I Got Rhythm’ (no. 37) we were really getting into the rhythm on the bull ring.


Some of the sporting highlights of the year.

South Sydney defeated Canterbury Bankstown 12-10 to win the NSW Rugby League Grand Final. This was the first live television telecast of a football grand final in Australia.

Red Handed, ridden by Roy Higgins and Trained by Bart Cummings, won the Melbourne Cup.

Movies We May Have Watched

I have listed below the top 10 movies of the year. I assume all were shown in Australia. We may have seen some - or all - of these in the RAAF Base Forrest Hill cinema.

Other Stuff

Harold Holt disappeared trying to cut the cable that held Tasmania to the mainland.

2 Sqn Canberras were deployed to Vietnam. In  1970 the crew of one of these, Michael Herbert and Robert Carver, went missing in action. In 2009 their remains were found and returned home.This news clipping telling the story of the discovery of their bodies and repatriation home contains some historical footage of operations in Vietnam.

Ronald Ryan was the last man to be hanged in Australia

And things I have not been able to find clips of:
  • Prince Philip visited Australia
  • Indigenous Australians were given the right to be counted in the census
  • Australia Square Tower was opened
  • Don Dunstan became premier of South Australia - remember the pink shorts?

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