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Letter - Roma Wright to Roy, Personal, 1941-1945 Document Reg. No: SH 960281

Letter of two hand-written pages to 'Roy' on Monday (no date). Later page(s) missing. Almost certainly from a girlfriend who lives in Clarence St, East Brunswick, who describes domestic activities and disasters, photos, etc. She mentions that they went out last night, and wants to know when his (military?) trucks will travel along Sydney Road so she can see them. She mentions that she keeps making mistakes like spilling a kettle of water - 'some one said its because I'm too much in love'. She mentions that one of 'the girls' had left an iron on' - suggesting she lives in shared accommodation.

The letter was found under the floorboards of the balcony level of the Gallery, Great Hall, Royal Exhibition Building, when replaced in 1989 as part of a restoration program. Many other items dating back to the 1940s were also found, providing an insight into the lifestyle and interests of RAAF personnel stationed in the building.

The letter was apparently written by Roma C. Wright, who sent Roy several other letters also found under the floorboards. The addressee may be Royce Phillips, who served as a Leading Aircraftman (AC1, or Aircraftman) in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II, service number 47290. He enlisted on 9 December 1941 at Kilkenny, SA, and was discharged 5 Mar 1946. The suggestion of addressee is supported by a later letter clearly addressed to him that asks 'what has happened to Roma?' in response to a letter from Royce about a new grilfriend (SH 960274).

The formal wartime occupation of the Exhibition Building began in October 1940, when it was requisitioned for the RAAF under the National Security (General) Regulations. Partitioning work began in January 1941, and on 15 March the RAAF no.1 School of Technical Training was moved to the Exhibition Building from West Melbourne Technical School. Before long the Great Hall and surrounding areas were crowded with Air Force personnel. About 500 to 700 men lived there for varying periods of time; numbers peaked in 1942, when about 2000 personnel were accommodated. The central part of the building was a mess hall. The arena was occupied by a kitchen, laundry blocks, a storeroom and a playing field. The southern and eastern sides of the building were used for parades and drilling. The RAAF remained in control of the Exhibition Building until October 1946. (David Dunstan,1996, Victorian Icon)
Two-page hand-written in blue ink on white lined paper. Letter is yellowed and faded.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 1991
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 24.20 cm (Height), 19.40 cm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: royal exhibition building, wars conflicts, world war ii 1939-1945, letter, love letter, making history - war diaries and correspondence
Themes this item is part of: Royal Exhibition Building Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Personal Effects
Tertiary Classification: correspondence
Inscriptions: Hand-written text in blue ink.
Author: Roma Wright, East Brunswick, Victoria, Australia, 1941-1945
  1. [Book], Kate Darian-Smith - University of Melbourne (The) Australian Centre, On the home front: Melbourne in wartime 1939-1945, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1990
  2. [Book], Mr David Dunstan, Victorian Icon: The Royal Exhibition Building, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 1996, 377-386 Pages

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