Where is it from?

Association locations map

Similar items over time

Letter - Father to Aircraftman Royce Phillips, Personal, 11 Jan 1942 (Damaged) Document Reg. No: SH 960286

Hand-written two-page letter to Royce from his father, dated January 11 1942. The author hopes that his son is out of hospital and discusses mutual friends and acquaintances. He compares a big dust storm in Kilkenny last Wednesday to those in Broken Hill.

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 probably relates to 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 March 1946. Royce was based at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

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)
Hand-written two-page letter on lined, off-white paper. Large losses from insect activity at bottom of each page and smaller looses elsewhere, and some water damage. Paper browned.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 1991
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 24.70 cm (Height), 19.60 cm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: domestic life, royal exhibition building, wars conflicts, world war ii 1939-1945, -1, 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: Extensive handwritten text in blue ink.
Place & Date Made: Kilkenny, South Australia, Australia, 11 Jan 1942

Kilkenny is a suburb of Adelaide.
Addressed To: Royce Phillips, Kilkenny, South Australia, Australia, 1942
References: Information relating to the service record of Royce Phillips is held in The World War Two Nominal Roll - http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=R&;VeteranID=895551 (accessed 12/1/2009). His service records are held in the National Archives of Australia Series number A9301, Barcode 4572657.
  1. [Book], Mr David Dunstan, Victorian Icon: The Royal Exhibition Building, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 1996, 377-386 Pages

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.


This item is part of the following themes:

Similar items

Yes No