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New Year's 1943 Celebration in Sydney, Australia: December 31 - January 3. . . for about an hour, but seemed more interested in the drinks than in me. Something I can fully understand. He finally left without having asked me a question. Ham, Ferguson, and I were joined by three America army nurses: 2nd Lt. Rose Koma and her friends, 2nd Lt. Mary S. Gill of Oxford, N.C. and 2nd Lt. Jean Holzknecht of Forest Hill West, Long Island, N.Y. Three nice, clean American girls.
New Year's Eve is celebrated in Sydney from 11 P.M. Dec. 31 to 1:00 A.M. Jan. 1. So Ham and I went down to the lounge about 10:45. Mr. Young, the hotel manager, joined us for a few minutes and we had a highball on the house . After he left, one of our Australian girl friends came. There was much singing, joined in by all (except me); and at midnight, Mr. Young proposed two toasts -- the first to President Roosevelt, the second to His Majesty the King, during which we stood and sang God Save the King. Our National Anthem had been sung following the toast to the President.
Around one o'clock, January 1, the party broke up: and Ham and I walked the streets until 2 o'clock in the rain with the girl trying to get a cab to send her home. Cabs are few, far between, and independent as a hog on ice in Sydney. Most of them are equipped with things that resemble a Rube Goldberg invention in which charcoal is turned into motive power. Those burning petrol are so limited by rationing that they are very choosy about where they will take fares. Some of them wouldn't carry a "Yank". Probably had had a girl friend taken over by an American soldier.
There were hundreds of people on the streets trying to get cabs. At last we gave up and returned to the hotel. After a long argument with a walrus mustached old fellow who was combination night clerk and janitor, I finally persuaded him to give the girl a room. Throughout, he was watchful of the hotel's reputation. The whole thing looked immoral to him. When he eventually gave in, he insisted on taking me to my floor and Ham to his before delivering the girl to an unknown destination.
This New Year's Day produced a lovely Labour scandal. The fourth holiday the previous week had been in lieu of a holiday on New Year's Day. It was a government order and was well understood. But 37,000 essential defense workers refused to work January 1st. At the abattoirs, the men would not even slaughter enough cattle to feed the army -- their own army. "Shocking", one Australian described it to me.
At 11:30 that morning, George Folster, NBC and Chicago Sun, sent his car for me, and I was driven to his apartment at Darling Point for thin hot cakes and maple syrup! Also, good old Hills Brothers' coffee, with Scotch and champagne as added attractions. His other guests were Syd Albright, NBC; Bill Dunn, CBS; Pat Robinson, INS; Loyd Ring (Deke) Coleman of Brockport, N.Y., and his wife, Louise, formerly of Paris; Edmee Monod de Troideville of The Hague, Holland; Patricia Holmes and Phyllis Voin of Utan, Simpan Estate, Kuang, Malaya. The last three were refugees from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies who had fled before the Japs. There are several thousand of these refugees in Sydney. Mostly woman and children, many whom have not heard from their menfolks since they left them and do not know whether or not they are still alive. It was a nice party, and I stayed all afternoon. one of the girls drove me back to Usher's.
On the 3rd (January 3), Ham and I walked through the Botanical Gardens. they are very beautiful, with innumerable trees and shrubs unfamiliar to us. Some of them might have served as models for Jack's Inner World and Martian landscapes.
Sydney Botanical Gardens
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