Ken Meldrum

Ken was born in Fremantle in 1926 and was bought up in Subiaco. He obtained work at Foy & Gibson’s Department Store as a messenger boy and worked his way up to become Department Group Manager. He witnessed the coming of WWII and remembers how the City and its people responded. Ken served in the Australian Air Force during WWII and returned to Perth to work at Foy & Gibson’s.

Listen to Ken speak about being an air-raid warden, the preparation of the Foy & Gibson store in response to war, Percy Button hand-springing down St George’s Terrace, White City & air-raid shelters, joining the Australian Air Force, where servicemen could get some R&R, the Embassy Ballroom and many other significant buildings that were utilised during the war period.

Throughout this extract, Ken speaks of various places were servicemen could get some much needed R&R. You can visualise these on the map below. Al Schutte, who donated this pamphlet, provided the History Centre with its context:

“My dad was on the US ship going from Calcutta, India to Tinian Island in March 1945. Perth was the port of call. The airmen on the ship were not allowed to disembark on their way to India. They pulled into Melbourne but never left the boat. So when they arrived in Perth, it was the first time any of them had been in a Western environment for over a year”

Photograph – Foy & Gibson winter fair, 1902. City of Perth History Centre Collection.
Pamphlet – The Citizens’ Reception Council Welcomes You to the West. City of Perth History Centre Collection. Donated by Al Schutte.

Access the transcript here: MELDRUM

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