The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
From "One of the Girls"
From "One of the Girls".
It's one of the girls "down South" speaking, and she's awfully pleased to have this opportunity of saying "How do you do"?
To-day is a typically Australian one and I wish you were all here to enjoy it, too. Lately we have been having a good deal of rain, but now that the sun has emerged again, everything looks beautifully fresh. It seems quite peaceful after the terrific storms we have been experiencing. We have not fared quite as badly as Queensland, down here in Victoria. From all accounts, the central and coastal parts of the former State are having a pretty bad time of it. Perhaps, though, some of the Queenslanders are revelling in the opportunity of getting out in this hot weather in their bathing togs! At least, that's what I'd like if I was there.
There's a band playing some stirring music down in Collins Street, and I must go and see what's happening. It may be some or the Boys returning, and it's always good to go down and see their glad, brown faces. You feel you'd like to hug every one of 'em, but you can only stand there with a great big lump in your throat when you think of all they've gone through, while your blood boils with rage and hate against the slackers who will not go and release the war-weary ones, and give more of them a chance to see the Homeland, if only for a short visit. "Never mind, Boys, we'll make those same shirkers sit up when we get you all back again. There's a good time coming, and we must see that they do not share in it. Meantime, we are giving them the coldshoulder.
That band was just heading a little body of recruits on their way to the depot.
I wonder have any of you ever visited the Soldiers' Lounge on the Lower Esplanade, at St. Kilda? It's a great place to pass away an hour or two, and you're welcome there any day (including Sunday) from 10 a.m. till 10 p.m. There isn't another place quite like it anywhere else, and the Interstate Boys especially find it a pleasant rendezvous when they may have an hour or two's leave on the way to or from the Front.
Jove! you'd have laughed there one Sunday recently. Every Sunday afternoon a fine concert is provided by various artists from the local Beach Shows, or talented amateurs. This particular afternoon, though, the concert party was late. I suppose, really, it was the poor cable trams that were to blame. They've got a habit of dropping the cable, or doing something silly, whenever you have an important appointment to keep. At least, you can always blame the vagaries of the cable trams when you've kept your best "pal" waiting half an hour or so, while you've lingered to put that final dab of powder on your nose! Of course, he doesn't believe you, but you generally get the benefit of the doubt! And the trams don't mind
Anyway, the party was late, whatever the cause, and the Lounge Committee called on some of us girls who help down there to give an impromptu concert until the others turned up. It's all very well if you have brought along some music, and are prepared for a sing-song, but we were not. However, refusals wouldn't be listened to, so four of us had to get up there and play what we could remember. There was quite a large audience, and the Boys gave all our items a good reception. We'd been playing the latest songs and the old favourites when one of the girls unearthed "Waiting at the Church", from a pile of dilapidated music in the corner, and dared me to play it. Well, I did, and, honestly, the roof nearly came off! Everyone of the Boys yelled the chorus at the top of their voices, and we were all nearly convulsed with laughter. The Concert Party arrived just in time for the closing bars, which lacked nothing in volume if they did in harmony. I'm afraid they thought our taste was very depraved. We surrendered the platform to the newcomers, and went back to our tables to dispense tea, sandwiches, etc., and admire photos, of the "Best Girl".
Talking of "Best Girls", our noses are right out of joint, aren't they? If marriages are made in Heaven, the Staff up there must be working overtime to keep pace with our Boys. The latest press cables have it that 800 a month are marrying in England. Good luck to them, any-way. So long as our Boys are happy we won't hold any ill feeling towards the girls who are making them so, and I'm sure the Australian hand of welcome will be offered to the wives of our men when they come to us out here. Still, one can't help admitting that looking very chic in the latest thing in hats and the shortest thing in skirts will lose half it's joy when there is no one left to admire the eftects!
Dunno' how much space I'm allowed, but if I don't stop now no one else will get a word in edgeways. All my good wishes go out to you, and I can assure you that we very much appreciate the splendid progress you are all making over there, and trust that complete victory will soon crown your efforts.