Albany & Visiting Troops 1916
Letter published in the Albany Advertiser, May 6, 1916
Albany and Visiting Troops
(To the Editor)
When I arrived in Sydney just after the men at Liverpool broke camp and rioted the streets in Sydney, a big temperance meeting was held in the suburb where I was staying. One of the speakers said "We should take example from the women of Albany, who, when our troops passed through their town, threw open their Town Hall and gave our men tea and coffee, thus keeping many a lad out of the grog shops and made them feel all Australia was one."
I quote from memory. Another time I was at Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains. A subscription was got up at the boarding-house for comforts for the soldiers. When I put my name and address down, two ladies came to me and told me one had a son, the other a nephew, both from New Zealand and asked me to convey to the women of Albany their hearty thanks for the way their boys had been welcomed and treated at Albany.
One said her son had written: It was a cold, wet day the day they landed at Albany. No one he knew, nowhere to go, nowhere to sit out of the rain. He heard the Town Hall was open for the men and went there, received a warm welcome and cup of tea, which only those who had been on a long sea voyage could understand.
What a treat it was. He would never forget the comfort of that place. Again, just as I was leaving Sydney, I went to one of the large shops and was giving particular directions for a parcel to be packed and addressed. One of the men heard the name of Albany, came forward, and told me he could never sufficiently thank the people of Albany for their kindness in opening their Town Hall for the use and comfort of the soldiers.
His son had written about it and said his last day in Australia had been cheered and brightened by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the women of Albany and the tea they had provided. Many a boy had been kept straight that day by their action in opening a place for them to go that was not a grog shop. I feel I am delivering to the women of Albany these messages in asking you to publish this letter.