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Letter - Doreen to Allan, Personal, 5 Feb 1942 Document Reg. No: SH 960270

Four-page letter from Doreen (Priscilla Bradshaw), who lived in the suburb of Marrickville, to RAAF serviceman Allan, dated 5 February 1942. Apart from general family news, Doreen enquires about the servicemen's leave and indicates she is going to first aid classes.

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.

Another letter found there was also addressed to an Alan, who may be the same person (note, though, spelling of name in this instance with one 'l'). Leading Aircraftman Alan Francis Reeves served in the RAAF in World War II - service no. 37765. He enlisted 8 Jul 1941 in Kyogle, NSW and was discharged on 22 Nov 1945.

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)
Four-page hand-written letter on cream deckle-edged paper, unlined.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), 1991
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 22.50 cm (Height), 17.70 cm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: domestic life, royal exhibition building, wars conflicts, world war ii 1939-1945, 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: Text is handwritten in black ink, extensive.

Address in upper right hand corner: '398 Marrickville Rd, / Marrickville. / 5/4/42'
Place & Date Made: Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia, 05 Feb 1942
Place Used: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. [Book], Mr David Dunstan, Victorian Icon: The Royal Exhibition Building, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 1996, 377-386 Pages


Margaret Wilkinson Posted on 23 Mar 2014 7:01 PM
This letter was written by Doreen Priscilla Bradshaw (Mrs Kenneth Owen Conway).
Discovery Centre Posted on 24 Mar 2014 4:36 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi Margaret, thank you very much for this information, much appreciated.

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