Green Tomatoes, Obstructions to the War Effort

Here are some reports from the home-front – from the 20 February 1942 edition of The Age. Tomato growers trying to circumvent wartime regulations on tomato sales face tough penalties.

Officers of the Commonwealth Investigation Branch took drastic action at the Melbourne wholesale fruit market yesterday morning by direction of the Government. They received instructions to arrest on the spot any growers or dealers who commit breaches of the regulations. It was emphasised by the supply department that such action was taken solely for the purposes of ensuring that adequate supplies of canned tomatoes were available for the fighting services. The main difficulty at present being encountered was the continued picking of green tomatoes by some growers. Green tomatoes were useless for canning purposes and consequently were being rejected by canners. Some growers were deliberately picking the tomatoes green in the hope that they would be rejected and then be available for sale to retailers. A warning was issued by the department that appropriate action would be taken at once in co-operation with army authorities to check such practices. Investigation officers would also visit retail fruit shops. If tomatoes were exhibited for sale in shops they would be confiscated and action taken against the shopkeepers concerned.

In another article, prams are banned from trams, because in the instance of an air-raid over Melbourne, trams would be used to quickly get people back to their homes.

From Monday week the Tramways Board will refuse to carry prams on trams with the exception of those used for taking infants and children to hospitals. In addition, the special pram bus on the city-Northcote route will be transfered for other use elsewhere. The chairman of the board (Mr. H. H. Bell) said yesterday the board was most reluctant to introduce this ban, but it was believed that, with the possibility of daylight air raids, it was in the interests of the safety of the mothers and children themselves to enforce it. In the event of a raid over the city the function of the service would be to move the public as rapidly as possible to their homes, and the less congestion prevailing the better for all concerned. Referring to the same subject, one of the Railway Commissioners (Mr. M. J. Canny) said yesterday that no alteration in the present practice of carrying prams in off-peak periods would be made on the railways as yet.

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