Little black box

“When I was a kid, Kembla Radio Service used to build their own bicycles. We used to build them up from scratch – buy the frames, spray paint them ourselves, put on the transfers, make up the wheels. They were ‘Kembla Bikes’.

“My dad had a little black box – I think it was probably an ammo box from the war because he used to buy radio valves off a fellow that used to get war surplus stuff. But this box had all the equipment needed to put the gold lines on the bike. There were two little wheels with a brush on top, so you could run down a perfect line on the bike.

“We built our own wheels. You buy the hubs and spoked up the wheels which is a bit like knitting, you just about do it in your sleep after a while. I used to knit as well but that’s got nothing to do with the shop. My mother was a funny sort of a lady, she taught us how to knit. She taught us how to do a lot of things.”

Ron Southall, Kembla Radio Service, 12 August 2016

Photo of interior of Kembla Radio Service (1950s) from the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society. (P14644)