Pte Max Hickman
I was very agreeably surprised to get your letter yesterday, written while you were in Melbourne. It’s easy to understand now why I didn’t get many letters in England – nearly all the letters since August have been sent here. Since we came here a fortnight ago I’ve had forty four letters, a lot of cables and newspapers and one parcel (two pair of socks sent by May inAugust). Some of my letters date right back to June so they must have intended sending us here [then].
Ivy sent me some snaps in a letter that arrived the same time as yours. There’s one of the house – it looks a good sort of place and Camberwell is a good suburb. I suppose land values there would be pretty high – the only thing I don’t like about it is the tiled roof. It’ll be a great thing for them to have a home of their own. The other snaps taken at the Brewery and in the Park are also very interesting.
As you say in your letter I am lucky to have been in England for seven months. It was a wonderful experience and my ideas of the English people have changed a lot. The way the civilian population have stood up to the drubbing is wonderful with people being killed all around them the nation as a whole remains very calm and determined. I suppose you thought I was hitting the high spots when I got the bank to transfer some money but the position was that I was the only man in the platoon drawing only two shillings a day.
Shortly after we went over to the seventy-second – now the 33rd – there was a job going for a draughtsman. It carried a corporal’s pay and I would have taken it but the CO of the Company said he’d rather I didn’t because the OC of the platoon had a field promotion for me – A corporal in the carrier platoon is a wonderful job so I let the draughtsman job slide – then a few weeks before the promotions were made the CO was transferred to another company and the Lieutenant in charge of the platoon became Adjutant…As you know I’m not very diplomatic and cut no ice with the new platoon commander and when the appointments were made I was not mentioned so with things at high prices – tobacco 1/11 an oz, matches 3d a box and so on, it was impossible to go out at all and as I thought I might never get another opportunity of seeing England wrote to the bank and they arranged the transfer.
As I have told you in other letters I had two trips to Scotland. I would have liked to call on Mrs Morley’s sister but didn’t get the address till I came here. I saw a lot of Scotland and met some fine people. I still write to several of them.
On the way to England we called at Cape Town and coming East we called at Durban. From seeing these two cities and speaking with the people and reading their papers I’m quite convinced that South Africa will be the best country in the world for a white man after the war.
I’m sorry to hear of Old Jim going – he was a jolly fine fellow. Was he still at the Zinc Works or had he retired? I haven’t had a chance to go to any of the other camps but I believe there are a lot of other Zinc Workers in them – a fellow named McQuiltan was up here to see Nuggett Geeves and McDonnell the other day. He asked how you were getting on. He’s in an ammunition supply unit and is as fat as a seal.
I had a letter from Mick Mason the other day. He said he’s been out to see you and made a very heavy recovery next day. Both your letter and his say that building is booming in Hobart and that the paper works are very busy. I think I’ll be looking for something other than building when I get back – by the way when I told Schultz and Co that you’re not making any wine this year they were very disappointed as they were all looking forward to a cellar reunion when they get back.
If you’re in town Dad call at the Barracks and get them to show you the will I made. If there is anything I have not covered let me know as soon as you can will you because I don’t know how long we’ll be here – they’re driving us pretty hard now and it might mean we’re going into a show and that’s one thing I do want to be in order.
Take good care of yourself dad and look after Mother. Best regards to the boys.
Your loving son
PS Sergeant Schultz & Corporals Jenkins and Geeves send their best regards
The paper works are very busy
This comment would have referred to the production of newsprint, as the ANM factory at Boyer had opened in February 1941 – like the Zinc Works, attracted by cheap power, plentiful water and easy access for shipping (barges):
Australian Newsprint Mills, Boyer (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)
The Australian Newsprint Mills evolved from the need for an Australian paper industry. In 1920 the Melbourne-based Mussen Group funded research at Kermandie to make newspaper from Tasmanian hardwoods. A breakaway newspaper syndicate led by Keith Murdoch (Herald & Weekly Times) and Warwick Fairfax (Age) formed the Derwent Valley Paper & Pulp Company (1932) and negotiated extensive forest concessions in the Florentine Valley with the government. The two groups came together as Australian Newsprint Mills and began building the Boyer Mill in 1939. A residential suburb for workers’ families was constructed at New Norfolk. The mill opened in 1941, and ten Australian daily newspapers used Boyer newsprint, averting serious war-time newspaper rationing. http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/A/Australian%20Newsprint%20Mills.htm