CONNECTION: Oswald Mingay, Aussie, becomes an early wireless broadcaster

ON THE BEACH: OS MINGAY INSTRUCTED ADVERTISERS HOW TO REACH PEOPLE --ANYWHERE. Below: THE ONLY RADIO MAGAZINE IN AUSTRALIA, WIRELESS WEEKLY, SHOWED TOM FERRY AT WORK ON THE FRONT COVER OF ITS 1927 ISSUE. HE WAS THE FIRST. Below: WIRELESS WEEKLY’S FOUNDER, WILLIAM MacLARDY, NEVER SAW THE MODERN VERSION OF HIS MAGAZINE WHICH WAS PUBLISHED WITH A SELECTION OF ARTICLES FROM 1922 UNTIL THE JOURNAL QUIT, IN 1927.

Mingay’s “shock decision” on how he would sell advertising to business was accepted!

FRANK MORRIS

Os Mingay was a lucid writer and had a sense of humour. He was thoughtful and quick-witted; his mind was as sharp as a tack. He simply was an amazing character. Mingay was a radio pioneer in the early 1920s. Eventually, he was to organise many of the historic wireless transmissions in Australia.

It was Mingay, to the chagrin of newspaper proprietors, who suggested ‘selling’ broadcasting time as a way of financing the service.

Dealers, otherwise, would have to pay a 10% levy on their sales of sets. The practice, which was adopted in England, hit the dealers’ pocket nerve. It was “unacceptable to Australian wireless traders”, quoted the daily press.
Mingay’s scheme was that provided permission to advertise was granted, that broadcasting stations could fund their service from advertising revenue.

“We go to the theatre, which is essentially an amusement place, and we don’t complain about the advertisements used at interval,” said Mingay. “With wireless, providing the management uses discretion in regard to advertising, who should complain?”

“If the listener-in does not wish to hear, he or she could easily turn off the set.”

LECTURES ON WIRELESS

The diminutive Oswald Francis Mingay was born in 1895 at Peak Hill, NSW. He served on Western Front and, after Armistice Day, resumed duties with the Postal Department.

At the same time, he was writing a wireless column for the Daily Telegraph.

By the 1920s, he had become a highly skilled radio pioneer who had organised many of the historic wireless transmission in Australia. An executive from radio station 2UW said: “Mr Mingay is to be congratulated on his transmitting. He is giving a series of lectures on wireless.”

He served as an AIF signalman in the Second World War and when he returned to Civvy Street he continued with his publishing venture, which he had set up in 1931.

Mingay was a lucid writer. He had a sense of humour, and was quick-witted and thoughtful, and he had a mind as sharp as a tack. He could be rather pugnacious, too, if he ever got himself into a corner. I don’t know whether he attempted to write his life-story or not, but it was certainly a shame if he allowed this one to slip pass him.

The flagship of his company was Mingay’s Electrical Weekly, a trade news-magazine, which was the ‘bible’ of the radio and electrical industry in Australia.

IT WAS A EUPHORIC YEAR

Mingay patterned his weekly on Time magazine, of which he was a great admirer. He was dedicated to quality reporting and Time-style layout, simple and unadorned. “It’s the articles that count,” Mingay often said. His Observations column was compulsive reading, even by the office boy.

The august editor J.C. Squire, of the New Statesman and later, London Mercury, described of his fellow scribe, thus: “He wrote admirably, pungently, eloquently, wittily … I found him unique; and there are men alive, much more widely known than he ever was, who would bear me out.”

The more I think about, that's Os Mingay.

The company celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1956. It was a euphoric years. The Anniversary issue of his great weekly -- a thick, spiral-bound edition -- which was appropriately printed in silver ink.

In the 1960s, Mingay’s periodicals were taken over by the giant Canada-based Thompson group, as part of its huge UK operation. Mingay’s served as a platform for Thompson’s multi-million dollar expansion into Australia.

(Eventually, Thompson’s was swallowed up by IPC-Reed, now Reed.)

Mingay’s deputy editor, Arthur Hoad, who was employed in 1953, left after the takeover and started his own electrical industry magazine; it was titled Hoad’s Read Out.

Mingay died in 1973.

Frank Morris comments: I joined Mingay Publishing Company and did my cadetship in 1956. I was 16. I remember the so-called “Chief” episode very well. I called him Mr Mingay once, when I got the job and, thereafter, I referred to him as “Chief”. When I left five years later, he wished me luck. My reply was: “Thanks, Chief.” Everyone called him Chief. As I entered the building that day in 1956, which I recall, was next door to a cigarette shop, there were about 20 steps to the first floor. The building was just like it belonged to a newspaper of that period. I remember well all the newspapers I went to over the years. All that I heard was lots of talking and the clicking of typewriters. For five years, I must have gone up and down those steps umpteen dozen times.


Dear Reader -- I am heading on a three-week break to go to that other part of our great nation, Melbourne. My next column will be April 13. Meanwhile, I’ll keep the pot boiling with a good supply of articles. Until then have a Happy Easter!


MASON KNIGHT: Ace reporter, found working out a mystery is a great pastime!

EVERYBODY’S FRIEND, UNTIL: MASON KNIGHT, ACE REPORTER HERE. I’M ABOUT TO NAIL THE RUTHLESS GANG! Below: KNIGHT’S 1936 BUICK. Below: KNIGHT WATCHED FROM THE SIDE AS THE BULLETS FLEW.

You be the reporter.

FRANK MORRIS

I got in the front door and the phone rang. “It’s Mason Knight here!” Then dead silence. “Bernie Squires, your favourite editor. I just …” Knight coughed. “… I just wanted you to know that four crooks, headed by McCann, are meeting at Towong Shopping Mall early in the morning. So be there!” Squires rang off.

Squires must think the four crooks are going to explode, thought Knight. They just as well might, you know, he thought. Four murderers with guns are down there for a reason, he thought again.

I’ll bet they are going there to gun down someone else, according to my favourite editor. Knight ran the story through his head. He could be a bastard at times, thought Knight.

Knight gleefully put his hatted figure on the unmade bed. He then went to sleep. In no time at all, he was awake. Knight lifted his sprawled figure off the bed, gave his face a wash in cold water, and a quick shave. He was already attired.

He marched to the car, a maroon 1936 Buick sedan, and was off. Knight headed straight to Towong Shopping Mall, stopped the car, and ran to an escalator coming in the opposite direction. He rode up and down before he spotted the four bandits.

Earlier on, the four men started a serious argument that resulted in a fatal shooting of one man by the others. All of the others ran away after the shot, but were eventually rounded up by police and brought to headquarters.

POWERFUL GANG

Knight took in all the action, including the fatal gunshot. He took in who was killed and by whom. The police brusquely rounded up the gang and an innocent man, not one of the crowd, who was unfortunately among the suspects.

Knight saw who the murderer was, who the victim was, and who the innocent man was.

McCann, the boss of a powerful gang, was an escaped convict. He was the first one found by the police. Evans, who stood behind the murderer when he fired the shot, was sure that Barker had done it. Barker, who had just met the murdered man and knew he controlled a gang, wouldn’t dare tell on the killer.

Carter is a pal of McCann’s and a cousin of the murdered man. He hated the murderer whom he had known for four years. Gates was in Melbourne with his girl the evening of the murder and hadn’t seen Carter for two years. He was arrested in Sydney two days later.

Mason Knight made his presence felt among the police. He introduced himself to Police Inspector McCraddock. They talked for a while, got the nitty gritty of the shootout and even eventually asked Knight for his solution.

HE WAS INNOCENT

Knight then stated: Evans was neither the murderer nor the victim, as he stood behind the murderer when the shot was fired. Barker could be neither, since he had just met the murdered man and wouldn’t dare tell on the murderer.

Gates must have been the killer. He could have been in Melbourne the evening of the murder and still committed the crime and fly from Melbourne to Sydney. There is nothing to indicate Carter’s presence at the scene so he must had been the innocent man.

McCann must have been the victim since all the others are obviously alive.

Knight was happy to receive a “well done” by some of the police. Even the Inspector joined in. “That’s the beauty of these cases,” the Inspector said. “You know what the guys ate for breakfast.” Said Knight: “Better still, you’ll be able to read my account in tonight’s Inquirer.”


SCAMMERS: When you think you’ve got one, be careful

SCAMMERS ARE AT IT: DON’T START YOUR DAY BY BEING DUDED. Below: LOOK WHO’S FALLEN INTO A MISHAP – A GROCERY SCAM? WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IT SAFE – REPORT IT.

But now, it seems, it’s all year round.

FRANK MORRIS

A great deal has changed in the art of scamming these day. Scammer’s are far more professional than they once were. Some are not.

When the computer and internet were invented scammers used the devices to cook up a reason that shows that you owe money on something you didn’t know anything about!  There are many occasions when you don’t know you have been duded.

The best idea:  DON’T READ IT! If happens again, report it.

When the hard times hit the bogus charities proliferate like mushrooms. Christmas and Easter proved to be the periods of the year for easy pickings.  But now, it seems, it’s all year round.

While it’s a great feeling to be the good Samaritan, a little scepticism goes a long way.

Don’t be taken in by somebody approaching you on the street or knocking on the front door, asking for money.

There are certain people wandering the community ready and willing to cash in on your good intentions.

“Consumers of any age can become victims of a con artist - older adults who become victims of fraud may experience feelings of hurt, anger, grief, loss, guilt, betrayal, or embarrassment,” said an Ageing Network official.

“These feelings can be used constructively to keep you, a friend, or a family member from becoming a victim of consumer fraud.

“Remember, if something sounds too good to be true - it probably is.

“The good news is you can protect yourself. Ask questions before you make a decision. Never allow others to pressure you into making quick decisions. Talk to a trusted friend of relative before responding.

CREDIT CARDS

“Remember, con artists rely on getting you to trust them and make a quick decision without thinking it through.

“Con artists may call you on the telephone, come to your door, speak to you in a parking lot, or contact you by email.

Don’t let them take advantage of you.”

Here’s what you are up against:

SOLICITATIONS are designed to prey on your sensitivities.

VAGUE claims are made that proceeds from the sale of a product will go to a charity.

NEVER release any financial details relating to credit cards or bank accounts.

BE CAREFUL of charities with names that sound like other charities.

Checking out charities bona fides on the spot is not an easy task.

Choice magazine advises people to ask for the collector’s identification card and a receipt. The receipt, says Choice, should display a registration and tax deductibility number.

THINK BEFORE RESPONDING

Also, you should:

ALWAYS take time to read contracts and verify the legitimacy of companies and individuals.

TALK to a trusted friend or relative before you make a decision.

BEWARE of an offer that is only good if you respond right away.

AVOID impulses to donate, repair, or purchase items.

BEING asked for personal information does not mean that you have to share it.

KEEP door-to-door salespersons or unknown callers outside your home.

THINK before you respond. Protect yourself.

“If you become a victim of a con game, report it”, the Ageing Network official said.

“Do not be afraid or embarrassed, because you are not the first person to fall victim to a scam.

“The people carrying out scams are professionals at what they do and practice their schemes in all parts of the country. It can happen to you.

“Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

<< Written for Grand Years


SHOP WINDOW: Heritage Places – A gift to the Nation

Cooktown, on the far north coast of Queensland, has a special place in the history of Australia. Captain Cook guided the Endeavour there after hitting a coral reef in June, 1770. Cook and his men spent six weeks making repairs to the ship, a far longer time than they had spent at Botany Bay. Cooktown was rapidly established as a port to service the new goldfield at Palmer River. Eventually, after much hardship, about fifty-tonnes of gold was extracted, and fortunes were made. Above: A fine heritage building in Charlotte Street, Cooktown. It was built in 1886 for the Queensland National Bank. Frank Morris; Australian Pathways, spring, 1998. Back after the Easter break.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 22 March 18

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