The Daily News (Perth) on 16 May 1950 reported how Les O’Connell and Jack Maskiell, both former POWs in Changi Prison, began making a ukulele in Changi to past the time. They used a knife, coconut shells and bits of old tea chests to make their first ukulele. Upon returning to Western Australia, they took six months to build their first uke for sale. Their ukes sold well in Australia and South-East Asia, and by 1950 had sold 3000 ukuleles and 700 guitars.
And here they are:
The craftsman at left is John Hetherington, at right is Jack Maskiell.