CHAPTER 5. Melbourne

The run to Melbourne was good. Everyone enjoyed the deck games and the meals. 24 hours after leaving Hobart we were close to the Victorian coast. We entered Port Phillip on a black night, but this made no difference to our progress. It had been announced when leaving Hobart that we would berth at midnight on the following day and sure enough, at a quarter to twelve on Sunday night, the 27th March, we were being tied up to the pier at Port Melbourne. This unseemly hour was apparently selected by the Shipping Company because they cannot get labour for loading on Sunday and so they start after midnight. We were well aware of this, for those sleeping on the wharf side of the boat were kept awake with the noise of the engines on the pier as they carried out their shunting operations bringing fruit and other produce for export. No one was disturbed at breakfast by the rolling of the boat and after a good meal many left for trips or other forms of enjoyment.
chap5_schoolboyWe waited for Mardi to arrive and she came up one gangway while we were watching another. On account of the infantile paralysis Peter was not allowed on board. Of course, the family reunion was a great excitement when we found each other. Then we started off the boat and to Mardi’s horror she could not find Peter. She said “I told him not to move from the gangway and now goodness knows where the little beggar has gone”. I helped in the search and found one white haired boy, but Mardi would not claim him. There was another boy of the same size and colour who was selling newspapers, but again she refused to own him. We went down to the car, but he was not there. Mardi was picturing accidents and all kinds of unpleasant things. We all went back to the boat. “You’ll know him by his red college cap” she told me. Pushing her way through the crowd she hunted everywhere until the gangway of the boat was reached once more. “Just ask the man at the top of the gangway if he has seen him, will you?” said Mardi. I said, “Is his cap the same as that youngster is wearing down there?” Mardi looked at the bottom of the gangway where I pointed and sure enough right in the very spot where she had originally placed him was Peter, looking absolutely bored through having to wait so long. In her excitement she had quite overlooked the fact of having come off a different gangway.

chap5_shrineThen we had a lovely day. We saw the Shrine, the beautiful war memorial, the Government gardens and even lost our way to find ourselves pulling up at the gate of Government House. We drove through several suburbs and then reached “Hawthorne” for morning tea at 11.40. An hour later we had lunch and a pretty good one too! Then shortly afterwards when we were again driving towards the hills of Dandenong I was accused of not enjoying the scenery because I was seen dozing on the back seat. We went on to Sassafras, where we had another meal of afternoon tea. We came home through Fern Tree Gully to dinner, the fifth meal of the day. After talking about old times and family affairs I said I would have to return to the boat at about 10 o’clock, but Oh dear no! We must have supper first and so after the sixth meal I arrived at the boat just before midnight. Rozie and Lois slept at Hawthorne.

Next morning Brightie and I started early for the shopping we both had to do. Lunch on the boat with two Burroughs men, and then back to the bank to fix up the money matters which had been left over from Sydney. There meeting old friends and getting a few pounds worth of English silver I was delayed so long that I decided to leave the other money affairs until I got to Adelaide.
At a quarter to five I reached the boat and found the others on board. Lois met me with, “Where is Elizabeth?” “She is not on board!” I started a hunt through the crowd on deck and must have passed her as I discovered her just as the boat was pulling out at 5 o’clock. She was disappointed that we had not arrived in time to meet her parents and other relatives, who were down to see her off. It was just as disappointing to us, but we had already found that catching a boat and saying goodbye to relatives and friends was a pretty big task. I saw Jane and Emmie as I was getting on the boat and saw Mardi, Harry and Bubbles waiting for me at the foot of the gangway.
The two days were all too short and we had a delightful time feeling grateful that Peter was not lost after all.



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