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Pigeon Post

Pigeon Post was first issued on Balikpapan on August 26th 1945 as vol.1 No.1  It was a Roneo news sheet published by 2/16h Btn., HQ Coy "I" section and was issued free to all ranks of the 2/16th Battalion. It was to be published weekly, and as the editor noted at great expense”.

 

Contributors came from all ranks. There was a sporting page provided by the Black Possum This team was made up of Blackie Butler and the late "Possum" Younger who as signallers with access to short wave radio could get all the details of Football matches , Racing Results and other news. They were even able to offer a Tipping service under the name “Black Possum”.


News items included Battalion and Company Notes and world news such as that Peace would be signed in Tokyo Bay on 31st August 1945 Those men who had 5 Years service were to go home. The big news was that EAST FREMANTLE was on top of the W.A.F.L. Premiership table. Forces demobilisation was to commence on the 1st October 1945 at the rate of 4000-5000 per day. 5 Year Veterans were being fare welled by the C.O., who wished them success in civilian life.


PIGEON POST remained in Roneo Form until Volume 1, No. 5 dated 22nd September 1945, when the Battalion began to return for demobilisation. On the formation of the 2/16th BATTALION ASSN.,(A.I.F.) the name “PIGEON POST“ was chosen as the official Journal of the Association priced at a penny, and registered with the G.P.O. as a publication to get cheaper postage rate.

 

Ron Christian M.C. and bar, was behind the naming of the journal. Ron describes his thoughts on page 13 PIGEON POST Vol 2 No 6 dated March 1949. 'As the humble originator of “PIGEON POST” might I be spared a little of your valuable space to enlighten those interested in the reason for that name.'  For the purpose of the exercise, the 2/16th Battalion's objective in the Balikpapan campaign was called “Pigeon" and this was the main reason for the name of the paper. As Merv Jervis stated in your December issue we were influenced by the fact that carrier pigeons were used in the latter stages of the campaign.  However, by strange coincidence and with a little juggling and imagination, the letters forming "PIGEON POST" can be used to just about cover the history of the Battalion in respect to all the places we visited and all our campaigns -thus:


Pigeon (Balikpapan code name)
India (Bombay and Deolali)
Gona (New Guinea)
Egypt (Mersa Matruh)
Owen Stanleys (New Guinea)
Northam (Western Australia)
Palestine (Battle of Tela-Viv)
On leave (Sometimes)
Shaggy Ridge (Ramu Valley)
Tripoli (Syria)

The first printed copy of PIGEON POST was Vol. 2, No 1. December 1947 which had a plain cover with the mast head (PIGEON POST) in bold text.

INTRODUCTION OF COLOUR FOR FRONT COVER
Ron Christian was again instrumental in having an artist named LUNGHI who was employed by Gibney's Advertising Agency design and make up a set of coloured blocks to produce a coloured cover for the magazine. This cover is still in use today. The artist was given an outline of the Battalion's history and the areas of operation and created the image from that information. Like all good Treasurers Stan Jones was horrified at the cost and appealed for all members to bring their five shilling subs up to date as the printing blocks would cost ten Pounds ($20). It is estimated that the cover design has been used 184,000 times. Stan Jones thought that it might be used for a few years. It did a little better than that! Since the same cover is used on every issue of Pigeon Post it takes a little patience to sort and file them into date order. W.E. McMaugh was the first Hon. Editor and with Ron Christian set the literary style of the magazine which is largely maintained today.

 

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