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Aussie Bears and the war effort

A recent acquisition by the Library is an album of photographs dating from the mid-1940s of the head office and factory of Thurlstane (Aust.) Pty. Ltd..   The Sydney-based company produced the “Aussie-Bear”, a toy koala made from kangaroo fur with a distinctive gum-leaf tag.  In 1945 the bears cost 52 shillings and sixpence, about twice the price of other soft toys.



Above: Repatriated Services Rehabilitation Department, showing manufacturing process of “Aussie-Bear” Australia’s own koala bear.



Left: An Aussie Bear


The company was also involved in the manufacture of army and air force supplies during the Second World War.  An indicator board on the wall of the photograph below kept a tally of the numbers of items made with the rallying cry “machine for victory”.  At the time the photograph was taken the factory had produced 55,550 tow targets and 18,492 canvas water bags.  They also manufactured tents and hospital marquees.  Several of the photographs in the album show employees of the factory making these items.



Above: Scene from the main machining section…including Defence Contracts Indicator

Photographs of head office, factory, and works offices of Thurlstane (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., Sydney, New South Wales, and Aussie Bear toy koala, ca. 1944-1945 / photographed by Milton Kent and Noel Rubie is an interesting addition to our pictorial record of manufacturing industries in Sydney during the Second World War.

Megan Atkins, Pictures section