20th Jan 44
I am trying to write this in the correspondents dormitory. Three or 4 of them lie about spine bashing – Others reminisce of their experiences in the area. It is about 4.30 pm & it is still hot – albeit not so bad as Townsville where on Tuesday the water out of the taps (when one was allowed to use them) was 92º.
Left about 6 in the morning & we here for lunch. It’s quite a treat to see land after flying over the sea for a couple of hours. There were lots of clouds about & occasionally you could get glimpses of the barrier reef below – not that its much to see from the air. Circled the town & landed amongst hills very little different from those down south. The foliage & earth are much the same colour as that around Darwin. However it is a picturesque spot as the mountains run fairly close to the sea & are an ominous blue under the clouds. Long long off above the clouds can be see peaks jutting through – I guess they must be plenty high!
Tried to ring Tommy [O’Dea] but they said they hadn’t heard of him so I suppose he has not arrived yet. I would have rung him in Brisbane but didn’t.
I don’t know that there is much I can tell you about this place. Letters take some time to get down to you from here & God knows how long from other areas. If you do not hear from me for a while don’t worry because it will be purely a matter of mail difficulties. I ……[torn]…….. will not be writing much under …………………….. I shan’t be able to get many ………[torn]………………d… 10 days so don’t bother ………[torn]………… feel like it.
Am leaving here tomorrow for more important spots. Have been issued with jungle green clothing – that beautiful aspidistra leaf trembling in the breeze over there will be me. I don’t feel like doing anything here – even writing – it’s such a dead end. When I move off I shall probably be too tired to send much.
There were 2 correspondents here who were at Darwin. Caught up again with Trotter yesterday but he moved out today. Bill Dargie official war artist called in on me yesterday & we passed the time of day. Roy Hodgkinson called this morning & I lunched with him at his mess up the road a bit. He and Alice are divorced. She is about to marry the Yank corpl (?) Roy seems quite happy about it all.
Saw a native sing song which was turned on for Stella Wilson who is up here at the moment. It was interesting enough but somewhat scrappy around the edges. Not the real McCoy. Hardly get the best effect when the music consists of a boong banging a bucket with sticks and another playing a drum like the one we have at home.
Am going tonight with the rest of the gang to hear the final concert from Stella Wilson and Edwin Styles.
Reg Harris who used to work in the office has just stuck his head around the door & sends his regards to you & Petrovs [Geoff and Molly Turton], etc. You probably don’t remember him but what the hell! He is not a reporter. Has just returned from Shaggy Ridge after months of front line fighting. He very decently gave me aluminium mess tins to save on weight. Said you can buy him a drink when he gets back.
I’ve had a rest – a shower – a shave, etc. Tea – & the rest.
All are getting ready for the show so bye-bye for the present dear. Hope you are well and are being careful with Junior. Not too much work – grog – travel – and contemplation.
Lots of love, darling