There really is more to explore at your local library! Recently, we had the incredible opportunity to delve into the world of Morse code at the Wonthaggi Library, where Vin Tuddenham led two school holiday sessions on the history and practical application of Morse Code.
Vin (92) moved to Wonthaggi as a young man in 1951 as a Morse code operator at the post office. He continued in this role until Morse code was no longer in use in 1959. Vin has many fond memories and great stories from this time, and he joined us at Wonthaggi Library to share them with a highly engaged audience aged 7-70!
We heard about the struggles of a young man learning a new language made entirely of ‘dits’ and ‘dahs’ or ‘dots’ and ‘dashes’. Vin recalls having to use this code fluently in a noisy and somewhat unforgiving environment, sharing the importance of this technology in connecting Wonthaggi to the rest of Australia and the world.
The marvel of sending a telegram from Wonthaggi to outback NSW in half a day might be lost in this era of instantaneous communication, but in its heyday, it was nothing short of revolutionary. After passing through the ears and fingers of at least 3 Morse code operators, your message would be eventually written out and ridden on a bike to its final destination. In his earlier days, Vin remembers delivering a message to a mother whose son was missing in the war for years, saying he was alive and well. It still brings a tear to his eye, and some warm feelings of the ever-present invitation for sponge cake and tea.
Vin’s Morse skills are as sharp as ever, even after not hearing the ‘sweet music’ for nearly 50 years. He was way too fast for us novices to decode, but was patient and supportive as we all had a go of sending and receiving our own messages. A big thanks to Vin and all he continues to offer our local community!