An injured Goolwa soldier returns from Tobruk

Goolwa goes to war again 1939-1945 - edited by Frank Tuckwell


On September 3rd, marking the past two years of conflict we have endured in the second world war of the twentieth century, we have seen it spread from Europe, where Hitler’s Nazi forces have overrun its ancient kingdoms and republics and thrust out into Russia and its satellites. The Empire of Japan which has long fought the Chinese Nationalists on the Asian mainland, are occupying the French Indochina colonies and threatening to spread southward. We are not at war with Japan, but the time seems to be running out.

On the high-seas, further tension is rising between neutral USA and Germany, as a U-Boat has fired on the American cruiser USS Greer. The friction will now be heightened as the US commits to convoy escort duties in the North Atlantic and European waters.  President Roosevelt has now ordered the United States Navy to shoot on sight if any ship or convoy is threatened.  The US Naval Command has issued orders for unstinting action on Axis shipping wherever in American waters.      

The withdrawal of the Australian 18th Brigade from Tobruk has now been completed and after a short rest period in Palestine they have re-joined the 7th Division in the Lebanon and Syria region. They are now stationed at Aleppo, near the Turkish border. The purpose of this latest posting is to guard against any move by German forces which may attempt an attack through Turkey.  The Goolwa members of the brigade are fewer now, but this is a new place to experience and add to their story.


Federal Government instability

A series of policy differences occurring inside the United Australia Party (UAP) and Country Party (CP) coalition government has led to the resignation of Robert Menzies as prime minister at the end of last month.  Country Party’s Arthur Fadden has been sworn in on the 29th of last month as Australia’s thirteenth Prime Minister.                                  

Because of fears that Japan, as an Axis power may come into the war, there is a division within the government on whether to form a war cabinet with some opposition members representation, or to form an all-party government.  At the 1940 federal elections, the UAP/ CP coalition had been in power for 10 years but could not form a majority government by itself, so it was forced to get a guarantee from the two elected independents to retain power in a hung parliament. Now in September 1941, Fadden has been able to obtain the assurance of the independent’s continued support, but the government has yet to deal with the question of how to form a stable government with an urgently needed capability to face a possible war with Japan. A greater part of this problem has been worsened by the air crash at Canberra aerodrome just a year ago, in which many of the government’s experienced ministers and top advisers were killed. Fadden is faced with some serious problems to solve and is fully aware that the line-up of talent replacements among the coalition’s numbers are painfully thin.


The homecoming of Sid Amey.

News that Corporal Sid Amey is coming home is cause for a town celebration. Sid has been wounded and evacuated from Tobruk in May this year.  He had lost his left leg below the knee and had a badly fractured right leg in an artillery barrage during their attack against an Italian outpost. He had been interviewed last month in Perth on his way home for treatment and when asked how he felt about his injuries he simply said that he accepted his disabilities adding, “you must expect such things in war”. 

Sid had come to Australia from England as a young man and had worked on the construction of the Goolwa barrages. For sporting activities, Sid took part in amateur boxing matches which were popular during the barrage construction period.  Exhibition matches were staged in the Goolwa Institute and during this time he performed well and was regarded as the local amateur boxing champ.

The Goolwa RSL branch in conjunction with the local Welcome Home committee tended a well organised function for Sid’s homecoming which was presided over by RSL president Jack (J.J.) Spencer. After some well-earned leave he will report for further treatment to prepare him for his return to family and civilian life.


Miss Red Cross 1941

At the recent Miss Red Cross Ball, at least 500 people attended a much-anticipated event held in Goolwa’s Centenary Hall. Despite carefully conserving precious petrol ration tickets, people arrived by cars, trucks and vans, filling every available parking space in Cadell and adjoining streets and any other available off-street opportunity they could find for the purpose. The ball, which marks the finale of the Miss Red Cross contest between the Currency Creek, Port Elliot and Goolwa Circles was jointly organised by the three committees. Supporters attended from as far as Adelaide, Woodside, Victor Harbor and Strathalbyn as well as from the three local Circle’s areas.

Official guests of the evening, Dr and Mrs F.J. Douglas and Mr and Mrs S.D. Bruce (Mayor and Mayoress of Victor Harbor) were received by the presidents of the three Circles, Mrs Jobson (Pt Elliot), Mrs Higgins (Currency Creek) and Mrs Cochrane (Goolwa).

At 8.45pm the three candidates, Misses Mary Higgins (Currency Creek), Nancy Marshall (Pt Elliot) and Peggy Graham (Goolwa) with their parents, preceded by two small girls, Barbara Barrowman and Maureen Thompson, were escorted and presented to the official party.  Mrs Douglas handed a posy to each candidate.

The driving interest in the Miss Red Cross competition was in penny voting which had been going for several weeks. Enthusiasm generated by the display in the Hall giving the progressive totals reached by each quest entrant produced a further high level of votes. At 9.45pm, all voting was closed to allow final totals to be calculated.   It was announced that Goolwa polled 38,889; Currency Creek, 35,688; Pt Elliot, 30,970.

The dancing stopped at 10pm for the crowning ceremony to take place. The crown came forth resting on a white satin cushion carried by a small child and followed by the three candidates. Mrs Douglas then announced the winning candidate being Miss Peggy Graham of Goolwa. Mrs Bruce placed the crown on Peggy’s head, making her Miss Red Cross 1941, then each entrant was presented with a gift as a memento of the occasion. These gifts were donated by Charles Birks & Co., David Bell & Co and Mr Percy Wells.

A lavish supper was then put in place to which the candidates were conducted by their RAAF escorts from Mt Breckan I.T.S.


Vacancy on the Liquid Fuel Committee

The District Council of Pt Elliot at its September meeting discussed the agenda item dealing with a vacancy that occurs on its Liquid Fuel Committee. It was decided that it should be a prominent independent member of the community or a community body nominee. After careful consideration it was decided, the Goolwa RSL be asked to put forward a suitable nominee to fill the vacancy, preferably a resident from Currency Creek.

Council also has been advised that the Liquid Fuel committee has approved the motion from the August Council meeting regarding an extra petrol allowance for ward Councillors to attend meetings has been endorsed and the recommendation has been forwarded to the State Liquid Fuel Control Board.