From Mrs H Hickman
Pottery Rd Lenah Valley
17th March 1942
Darling Boy. We received a letter from you this morning dated 27th December 1941, in which you describe your leave in Palestine. You seem to have had a marvellous time. If you have received our previous letters telling you of your mother’s operation you will be pleased to know that she is till making good progress. Mr & Mrs Elliott came up last Thursday and drove her to town, took her to afternoon tea and brought her home again. What do you think of that service by old Ted in these days? You mention Ken Jenkins in your letter. Well he’s going the pace alright. He went to a show – a dance I believe – in the Derwent valley (Fentonbury). They consumed a considerable amount of bottled liquor and afterwards had seven men besides himself in his baby car. The door came open and one fell out- a man named Walter Browning of National Park. He was so seriously injured that he died shortly after they got him to hospital. Colonel Clark has adjourned the inquest to find out how much drink was consumed. Jenkins told the magistrate he was practically a teetotaller. I think Max, Jenkins and his wife are a good pair – not worth knowing. He had a lot of genuine sympathy when he came back but I think this will quickly disappear. Mrs Schultz rang us on Wednesday evening. She was very(?) jubilant as Dick had rang her from somewhere in Australia. She got a telegram shortly afterwards to say he would be seeing them soon so you can imagine how Maggie Dunn (?) & Co would be. A couple of people rang to know if you were back in Australia. So you can imagine how we are living in expectation at the moment. Mrs Mason rang your mother this morning. She has received a letter from you and is coming out tomorrow. She is quite a good sport I consider. She paid two or three visits to your mother when in hospital. Old Tom Cooper was up here on Saturday night for a little while. He is a genuine sort – none will give you a more sincere welcome than he. Your mother says she has not attempted to walk to town yet. Of course she means to the tram and back but will do so next week if things go along all right. Jack Chandler has a baby girl. He made some very disparaging remarks about her but you can put that down to love. Laurie Fisher is still down at Jones & Co. He goes away every weekend. He has never bothered about seeing your mother since she went to hospital but there is no love lost. The dogs are all fit and well and we are living in hopes of seeing you soon. So will now close Max. With best love from Mum & Dad. God bless and keep you.
Dick Schultz phones from ‘Somewhere in Australia’
As mentioned previously, the bulk of the Battalion, indeed the Brigade, travelled back to Australia on the Mount Vernon, arriving in Fremantle on March 4 and Adelaide 4 days later. Dick was well known for his diplomatic skills, so if anyone was going to be able to phone home from the first port, it would be Dick.
From Mrs H Hickman
Pottery Rd Lenah Valley
23 March 1942
Darling Boy. Once again we write hoping to find you fit and well as it leaves us at present. As quite a number of the boys from Syria and Palestine are back home in Australia, every time the telephone rang your mother thought it might be word from you. Quite a number that we know of have rung from Adelaide. Schultz has rung Maggie several times. He is trying to get leave and I guess he will succeed. I am expecting to hear of him being home any old time now. They are also expecting him up at the club. By the way the beer output in Australia has had to be reduced by one third so there is no bottled beer including ale being sold at the pubs now. When their allowance of beer runs out they dish out the bottled stuff, seven glasses to the bottle. What they lose on the roundabouts they will make up for on the swings. Your mother is still making wonderful progress so much so she is going to do her washing in the morning. Mrs Elliott and old Ted were up to see her on Friday afternoon. I think old Ted is cracking up fast. Mrs Mason was out here yesterday afternoon. She stopped till nearly six o’clock. They had received a letter from you and a photo of you having your boots cleaned. She has another parcel ready to send and so has your mother but they don’t know what to do about it as there are so many conflicting rumours about to say you are all on then way home and others differ so we have decided to wait till we get something more definite. Anne stayed with us last night while May and Laurie went to the pictures. Everybody is promptly kicked out of the pubs at ten o’clock now, so Laurie finds it hard to put his time in. Mick Mason has not been called up by the military yet although he has passed the medical test A1.
I was talking to Dorrie Hickman yesterday. Old Tom has dug an air raid shelter in his back yard for himself and her. I must go and have a look at it. It will give me some idea of how things are here. You can see trenches being dug everywhere in Hobart – in fact, all over the country. We had a letter from Ivy during the week. She seems to be putting a lot of time in the garden. She must be somewhat improved in health but she did not say so. She says her roses are beautiful and she has a lot of vegetables in the garden. Accommodation must be frightfully hard to obtain in Melbourne at present. Mrs Cockburn our tenant that was in Courtney Street arrived there in the morning. They rang every estate agent in Melbourne and at 8 o’clock at night did not know where they were going to sleep. We have quite a farm yard now. The dogs are all fit and well and mother is just going to get tea ready. We are living quiet lives : everything is in darkness at night. We will now close Max. Keep your chin and tail up. God bless and keep you. With best love from Mum & Dad.
Photo of you having your boots cleaned
There is no caption for this photo, but I assume it is the one mentioned above.
Beer production was slashed by on third to conserve grain. See http://meandmybigmouth.com.au/1942-beer-rationing/
Trenches being dug everywhere in Hobart
Photos from the book Hobart at War 1939 to 1945 (C J Dennison) – trenches for students of Forest Road School and Hobart High School, and in Franklin Square:
Old Tom has dug an air raid shelter
I imagine Old Tom’s shelter would have followed one of these plans.
Everything is in darkness
Notes from a display in the Anglesea Barracks museum: The Duty Officer at the Barracks had the responsibility of advising the Premier if an air attack was imminent, and to direct the state to be blacked out. The test on February 12 1942 blacked out Hobart within 3 minutes and the whole state in 10 minutes.