Saturday, 19 April 2014

Introduction and contents page

Harry Gordon Gracie's letters.
These are letters and postcards from Harry Gordon Gracie, aged 24, to his parents and family from a 5½ month world trip in 1924.  Although the family was not wealthy and he was a bank teller, circumstances took him on this 'trip of a lifetime'.  He was asked by the Treloar family of Tamworth to accompany their son, Bill, whose doctor had advised treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  He apparently suffered from chronic dysentery following his time in the Light Horse Brigade in the Great War.  Specialists found it could not be adequately dealt with in Australia.  Thus he was sent to one of the world's centres of learning and healing, the Mayo Clinic.
Most of the letters were addressed to his father Arthur Gracie, at "Abergavenny", French St, Artarmon, NSW, Australia.  This is now a mixed residential and industrial suburb five minutes on the freeway north of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened later (in 1932). 
RMS Tahiti                                2p                    letter                            17/08/24
RMS Tahiti                                6p                    letter                            22/08/24
RMS Tahiti                                6p                    letter                              3/09/24
San Francisco Hotel Whitcomb  5p                    letter                              9/09/24
San Francisco 'Cliff House'                                postcd                         10/09/24
Rochester (plain paper)              7p                    letter                            23/09/24
Hotel Campbell, Rochester        4p                    letter                              1/10/24
Hot C, Rochester (p. Chicago)   3p +snap          letter                            15/10/24
NYC, Hotel Martinique               6p                    letter                            26/10/24
3 colour postcards of New York sights - blank.
White Star Line S.S. "Homeric"   4p +pstcrd        letter                              3/11/24
Regent Palace Hotel                  2p                    letter                              9/11/24
Australia House 3p                    letter                 27/11/24
Regent Palace Hotel                  7p                    letter                              3/12/24
Folkestone (odd notepaper)       2p                    letter                            11/12/24
Paris, Hotel St Petersbourg       4p                    letter                            12/12/24
Paris, Hotel St Petersbourg       7p                    letter                            15/12/24
Helston, Cornwall                      2p                    letter                            23/12/24
Perth Orient Line                        3p                    letter                              3/02/25
Photo album contains snaps from the return voyage which is not detailed like the forward journey.  The reason was that his letters would have reached home after him.  These destinations included Gibraltar, Naples, Pompei, Suez, Colombo and Perth. 

Letter number 1 - Sydney to Wellington, NZ

R.M.S. Tahiti

Letter number 1.

envelope and folded writing paper marked RMS Tahiti. postmarked Wellington NZ 3pm Au 18.

At sea on Sunday 17/8/24

My dear Mother,

The writing room is full up so I know that under the circumstances you will forgive a letter in pencil since we are to reach Wellington only tomorrow morning and that means being able to post this.

We are both well and have not been too bad. It was very rough after leaving Sydney and this is really the only decent day we have yet had. Friday was a rotten day rain and wind all through and very rough. We stayed in bed all day and had three good meals. Yesterday was bleak and cold and the smell of ship permeated everything. We did not attend the saloon that day either but had them in our cabin. So we did not lose them. I have only lost one and Bill still has all his. Mine went west at 9.52pm on the night eve sailed.

The best thing about this ship is our bedroom steward. He is a corker. Nothing is a trouble to him and he is always bright and happy and a man that knows his job.

The crowd on board are all wolis but thank goodness most of them leave us in NZ and we are hoping for a big improvement from then on as we will get a lot more flash ones then.

Life on board ship is a very lazy one and not much to my liking. One thing does appeal to me however and that is the hot salt baths in the morning. They are great especially when you are called after morning tea and fruit with "the bath is now ready for you sir".

The meals are not bad but the cooking could be better in some lines but there is plenty to choose from.

Well no more to say this time but will write decently from Tahiti after our first port of call.

Hope you are all well at home

Love from


Kath Broome [ed: his future wife and my grandmother] gave me a bonzer travelling [?amoir? sp] on the boat and it is handy.

Letter number 2 - abord ship, Wellington, NZ

[postmarked 'marine post' RMS Tahiti.2? Aug 1924] envelope printed on back R.M.S. Tahiti. 6 pages on two folded sheets (2 blank)

R.M.S. Tahiti

Still at Sea

22nd Aug 1924.

Dear Father,

Again I am forced to write in pencil as the writing room (four tables) is full up as this morning it was announced a mail would close at 5 this afternoon so we are all busy.

I doubt very much if I could write in ink as it is a very rough day and the old ship is both rolling and pitching so you can picture me on the couch in the cabin with the paper on my knees rolling first one way and then the other. I am quite a good sailor after all and have felt no ill effects since the first night and even then I was not too bad.

So far it has been a rotten trip no one on board worth bothering about as they are all either very old or very young and the weather has been far from the best, nearly all dull days and lots of misty rain and consequently we spend lots of time in bed as there is nothing to do when we do get up.

Bill is goodo and now concentrates well enough to read books and magazines and he also butts in now and again in different conversations. He is going to see the Mayo Bros however as soon as we get to the Eastern side of the States which I think will be about the end of September.

We had about 30 hours at Wellington and it was about 28 too long for me. It rained and blew the whole time and was bitterly cold.

It is a very quaint place with streets similar to Sydney in so much as they twist and turn all over the place. The buildings are all small and nothing higher than four storeys. Bricks are seldom used and there are very few reinforced concrete buildings. The finest public office is the Post Office and the poorest the Railway Station. The latter is woefully small and falling to pieces. It is not as good as Warialda or anywhere near it. It puts me in mind of the old Point Station in appearances only and only has one platform.

We spent the morning looking around the town and in the afternoon took the tourists bus around the outlying surroundings and drove for 2 hours for 5/- which was reasonable. There are no homes of any great beauty that I saw but they certainly have some fine scenery as the town or City rather is built on the edge of the harbor and is surrounded by high towering mountains on all sides and I certainly would not like to have to reach some of their homes if I had a few aboard.

Their trams are owned by a Corp'n and are very nice and clean but I think much dearer than ours. Safety first is their motto alright and they close the blind side of the tram up so there is no getting on or off the wrong side and nobody moves from their seat until the tram has stopped. Their harbor is a very fine one indeed and they try to class it with ours but I still remain firm for Aussie. Ours is much prettier I think and certainly in made more use of.

We saw lots of snow on a mountain quite close to Wellington.

At night we went to Fullers Vauds show and saw Jim Gerald. He was awful but quite took with the crowd there and was recalled time and again for singing Mr Gallagher and Mr Shean and other songs about the same calibre and maturity. It was a pleasure to get to bed at the Grand Hotel where we stayed as there was plenty of nap on the bed and after being there about 2 hours for the first time I was warm. The next day was cold bleak windy and rainy so after a few purchases we came back to the boat and have been here ever since.

We have Steward Dawson aboard of Ambassador fame and Davies and family of Davies and Davies the Ford car kings of NSW. and Stfansson the Artic explorer and Miss Steinberg late Sec for Melba.

I am excelling myself today but the seat is comfortable and so I roam on. I hope you can read it at all as the boat is as rough as bags and one wants a good saddle and a pair of spurs to stick on with.

Tomorrow we lob in at Rarotonga and if fine and calm enough we can go ashore in a boat from the ship for about 3 hours but if it is at all rough or likely to be we will not be allowed off as there is no wharf and if it blows up at all they are forced to put to sea at once. So that is that.

36 hours after that we land at Papeete for a day and then the long 10 day stretch to the completion of our long first stage of the journey. This will be the last time you will hear from me before San Fran as there is no other mail I can catch.

I hope you are all well at home and that Fred is in some small way making up for my absence. Love to Mother yourself Chas (when you write) and Fred.

I will write to Chas when I reach San Fran.

Tell Mother to tell Mrs Day I will write her later on when I get some dry land under me.


Letter number 3 - abord the Tahiti

R.M.S. Tahiti

At Sea Still 3rd Sept 1924

My dear Mother,

We will be in San Francisco in two days now (Friday 10am) so that is good news as we are both a bit tired of the boat and looking forward to a day or two at least on dry land. It is now nine days since we saw the last palm tree of the wonderful South Seas Islands.

To retrace our steps a little. I think the last time I wrote was a day out from Rarotonga and it was posted there to catch the boat back in about 2 days so I will carry on from there and tell you a few of the things that have happened since.

We first sighted Cook Islands about midday and anchored off the reef at about 2pm as there is no harbor there and all copra and fruit comes off the island in surf boats and these land passengers on the return trip. It is a thrilling ride as the surf is always fair and a big swell runs. We had a safe trip and then had our first taste of island life. Rarotonga is only small but very pretty and abounds with nigs who all play Ukulele or guitars all day long even returning from work on the plantations. They are a very happy crowd and there seems to be no discontent among them. The population of the island is distributed amongst 4 villages none of any size so we took a car and toured the island going right around the island in under 1 hr and a half 20 miles so you can imagine it is not very large. On our return we looked around the villages and it was then time to return to the ship as we sailed again at 6.30pm that night on another 3 day stretch to Papeete on the island of Tahiti and this place I am sure must be wonder island of the Pacific.

We picked up the island about midday and sailed through the Straits with Tahiti through the shadow of its mountains on one side of us and the lofty needle like pinnacles of the Morea on the other. The coral reef encircles these islands also but Tahiti has a break in the coral 40 yards wide which forms a natural harbor for the ships and through this we sailed and berthed along side the wharf right in the town. Coming in to Papeete was the prettiest sight I have yet seen. The water was a rich colour blue, the houses beyond with red tiled roofs and behind the great mountains covered with coconut palms and tropical vegetation of all description and then the great ravines and gorges between the mountains was sufficient alone to turn a perfectly normal suburbanite like myself into a bushman right away to explore this wonderful island.

I will have to wait until my return to tell you about all the things we saw and did there as it was great. Why the best champagne there is only 5/- per large bottle but one is hit well to leg for other things. We spent the afternoon firstly in the glass bottomed boat out on the coral reef to see the wonders of the deep and then we explored the town. At night we went to the pictures and the fight and had a great time as everything was in French except the fight. That was Aussie from start to finish, (in the sixth round) when the nig had had enough and so lay down and took the count then got up and retired smiling to the crowd. We slept on board and next morning took a car and went to Venus Point where Cook landed to observe the transit of Venus. It was a great drive full of interest as we crossed gorges and mountains in profusion and finally came back to the sea about 14 miles from Papeete at a lighthouse and monument erected to commemorate the voyage of Capt Cook. We returned in time for lunch and left Tahiti at about 3pm on the long run of 11 days to 'Frisco and we arrive there on Friday morning at 10am we hope and this is Wednesday.

Since leaving our last post, games have been started on board and Bill and his partner beat my partner and me for the final of the mixed doubles in the quoit championship which is not too bad for us.

Last night was the fancy dress ball and it was a great success as nearly everyone dressed for it. I rigged out in a sheik outfit made up of and pair of highly ornate silk pyjamas and a sheet and a large scarlet silk h'chief and a multicoloured head band all from around the ship and together made rather an attractive outfit.

Well that is that and it brings me I think up to date and if you will keep all my letters till my return I will fill in in detail where required on my return as I find it impractical to write a diary so far.

We are both well and I think Bill is improving but we intend going straight to Rochester in Minnesota to see the Mayo's and then enjoy the trip after.

I hope you can read this as the boat is rolling and pitching this afternoon and it makes hard work of writing letters.

I hope you are all well at home, even Mack.

Love to all,


You have not forgotten my address c/- American Express Co Broadway, NYC.

Letter number 4 - San Francisco

[5 pages - 3 hotel letterheads and 2 obverse plus one blank letterhead with names of buildings and position of hotel suite rooms indicated - postmarked '10 Sp 24' Marine Post Office, NZ RMS Tahiti to Mr C. A. Gracie, The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Ltd, Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia]

Hotel Whitcomb

San Francisco, Calif 9th Sept 1924

Dear Mother,

We are well and truly on land at last and having a great time. After a rotten trip of bad weather and no lively passengers we finally came ashore at San Fran at about four p.m. on Friday last and came straight to the above address.

After a clean up we visited the main street of the City or rather should I say part of it as this Street, Market, is 4½ miles long.

She sure is some place and as I have not three or four days to spare at present to write about all I have so far seen I will tabulate them here and explain in detail on my return.

On Friday night we visited Chinatown which is a fine place in this city and then after a walk about retired for the night. We made a late start of Saturday as we did not arise until 9am and then had to get our laundry ready and that was a big job after our three weeks travelling then down town to see the sights- wandered around all day part of the night trying to get our bearings in such an immense place. On Sunday we made an early start for Oakland on the other side of the Bay. Starting with a streetcar ride from the pub to the Ferry thence by boat and then in to 12th Street Oakland by electric train. The fares for the whole trip return was 28¢ or 1/2 in our money at par. This City is nearly as big as 'Frisco which has a population of 600,000. The population around the Bay is about 2 million.

On our return to Frisco we saw a picture show, had tea and saw another. It seems strange to see business going on on Sunday but the residents only have three watchwords. Grow quick, get rich quick and die quick. The greatest of the three is the middle one and they live up to it hard.

Some of the banks keep open all day and all night and advertise the fact with electric signs. Only one thing talks here and that is the almighty dollar.

The cafeterias are great fun here. You wait on yourself have anything you can reach from the shelves and pay accordingly. First you take a tray and knife, fork etc. Then set out on the foraging party and eat it after having first had your dinner priced by a lassie who gives you a ticket from a machine and then when the inner man is satisfied you pay on leaving and the stuff one eats is truly amazing. Fancy having buckwheat cakes with maple syrup served with your pork sausage in the morning and its goodo. But the unbroken rule throughout all the eating houses and Sundaes shops is a glass of iced water first. No matter what your have ice cream, ginger beer or dinner it is always started with iced water.

10/9/24 up at 7am to finish this as the Tahiti returns today and we are seeing it out so will post this on board. We are going down to see Boy Charlton off.

To return to the story, however on Monday we made arrangements for our trip onward in the morning and in the afternoon west sightseeing in a car but what a car it was as it held 25 and was beautifully finished and did 40 per hour without one knowing it. We saw the Presias (military reserve) Cliff House, Seal Rocks, Golden Gate and G. Gate Park on the Twin Peaks 1200 feet above sea level. from which a great view of Frisco is obtained and then on to the old Mission Church and thence via Market Street home.

At night we intended writing letters but a far distant relation of Bill's had been chasing us all over the City (6 Hotels) and had called 5 times here when we were out, finally found us at home so we were invited out for the evening to Oakland reaching their home at about 8.30pm we talked for awhile and they then took us for a spin in their bus through the business part of Oakland seeing the big radio station, General Electric Station KGO, Chevrolet works Derrant and Star works and then back to catch the train home.

They are very nice people and we were sorry we did not meet them earlier.

Yesterday we did another sightseeing trip of 112 miles seeing the world I thought. We started from town crossed the Bay to Oakland throughout the Millionaires suburbs of Piedmont and Clairmont up to the Greek theatre Skyline Boulevard of 1000 turns in about 10 miles, both to Clairmont Hotel for lunch through the Californian University grounds and then on the Standard Oil Co works crossed the Bay again to San Quenton prison on through the Main County of beautiful Avenues back to the Golden Gate across the water and home again at 5.30 when I commenced this letter to you.

Last night we were very tired and after a walk around after dinner retired to bed early as we have a lot to do today fixing up our trip on. We leave tomorrow morning 7.30am for Los Angeles arriving 7.30pm stay for four days and then to Grand Canyon for 1 day Colarado Springs 2 days Denver 1 day Ohamaha 3 hours and Rochester to see the Mayo's re Bill. So from there I will next write to you as we will most likely be there some time as it is not very large I will have lots of time.

Bill is very well and is enjoying himself but as we have come over for a special purpose we are not wasting much time reaching our main destination and after that we will be free to go where we like. We are not doing Yosemite Valley as it takes four days at the least and we have not the time to spare.

Of course I am having a great time and as I cannot write at length of all my doing I am jotting them down in these letter and will talk for weeks later when I can go into detail.

I am writing to NY today to send our mail to Rochester so we will have some home news when we arrive.

I have marked our room on the other side of this sheet so you can see how we are living. We have a big wardrobe of the variety one walks into and washbasin etc built in with H & C water and a bathroom and toilet right alongside the latter also with H&C water on tap. Of course we are paying for it.

Well that is all I think for this time. Please ring Tom for me and tell him I will write from Rochester as time will not permit from here. Give him any news you think may interest him. Also the office and tell Mr McDonald I have not forgotten the lads. I will drop Chas a note. Hope you are all well. Love from


Letter number 5 - San Francisco

Postcard of Cliff House, San Francisco, Cal.

10/9/24 or as they put it here 9/10/24

Dear Chas,

There is not much time to write as it is on mail time but this will let you know how I am and also show you. We are having a great time of course and as we only landed on the evening of 5th my head will burst before I return with the things I have seen. A 30 mile drive the day this was taken, Monday, one of 112 miles yesterday and tomorrow we are off to Los Angeles for 4 days and then by stages to Rochester Minnesota where the Mayo Bros are and where Bill I hope will get fixed up and from these I will write more fully. We are both well and enjoying it greatly. Sent this on to Mother so as she can see her dear son is not yet fading away. Hope you are well. Your loving brother Gordon.

(superscript:) We were at Cliff House about 10 minutes and this was sold as we were leaving the place. She sure is some place for speed.


Letter number 6 - Los Angeses, Omaha, Rochester

Rochester 23rd Sept 1924

[postmarked Sep 26 ?pm Rochester Minn]

Dear Mother,

The first part of our journey over we are resting off for a little while and Bill is attending the Mayo Bros clinic, so far with good results. To continue the narrative from our last letter we left San Fran on the Thursday after I wrote you, in the Daylight Ltd for Los Angeles and arrived 12 hours later at our destination which was 571 miles away. The train stopped once during that time so you can imagine we did not waste much time. At Los Angeles we put up at the new Rosselyn Hotel which was not nearly as good as our San Fran pub but as we were not there much it did not inconvenience us much. On the Friday I presented a letter at the picture house in Los Angeles and received a permit to visit Famous Players Gasty* Studio and we went to Hollywood by electric train that afternoon about 6 miles away and then down to the Studios. It sure is some place. We were taken over it by a chap who explained everything. We saw Betty Compson making the picture "Garden of Weeds" with Creaves as Director and then on the next stage where Pola Negrie was a work on "The Tsarina". From there back to town and on to Saturday we did two sightseeing tours around the place: the one in the afternoon was through Hollywood taking in all the movie people homes. Doug and Mary* have the finest of all we also saw the Bernheimer Gardens. This is a japanese affair build by two old bachelors at an enormous cost and they are now both dead so the estate has been opened to the public at a small cost, for inspection. The pagodas through the gardens are roofed with gold. On Sunday we went to Venice about 20 miles away from Los Angeles and this place is the Manly of the district. It is built after the style of White City with every kind of amusement possible in it. On Monday afternoon we were out at Universal City Studios but as all the actors etc were some distance out shooting pictures in the field we did not see much except some of the stages and street scenes they use.

On Tuesday we set sail for Grand Canyon and after a very trying trip across the desert we arrived early on Wednesday morning and stayed at the Bright Angel Camp at the head of Bright Angel trail. Bill had developed a bad cold by this time so he spent the day in bed so I did not go far away but in the morning took a short trip around the rim of the Canyon and returned to lunch and in the afternoon just hung around with another chap I met there that night I attended a lecture and found out a lot about the history of the place. The North Rim is 8000 feet above sea level, the South 7000 while the depth of the Canyon from top to the bed of the Colorado River below this way ["V" diagram] is just over a mile. I think 5580 feet so she is some gutter. It is 20 miles across in the widest place and 8 is the narrowest measurement and it is 250 miles long. I cannot describe the place as is it so wild and rugged so have enclosed some postcards of the place instead to convey some idea of the grandeur. On Thursday Bill and I took a car ride the other way and back and then off that night to Colorado Springs which we reach on Saturday morning. That afternoon we took a drive and some drive too up to the top of Pikes Peak and that the sight around here I might state that the Peak is a small mound arising behind the town to a height of 14109 feet above sea level of 2½ miles it takes 32 miles to reach the summit but the air line is 13 miles. It is the highest highway in the world and of course there was lots of snow and ice although in the town it was quite hot. We registered our names for the paper that is published there and in due course you will receive a copy of it. They hold speed races to the summit from 18 miles off and the record is held by DePalma driving a Exington and the time 18 2/5 minutes. It sounds incredible but I am told it is a fact. We returned to the Springs and caught the train again to Denver but we did not seen much at that place as it was after nine when we arrived and raining so we first went down to the main street by street car and then came back to the station and got into our bunks ready for it to leave at 11.30 and the arrived in Omaha next day, Sunday at 3.30 p.m. As our train on did not leave till 7.45 that night we took a run out to Krugs Park by street car and quite enjoyed our little excursion so the Park was very similar to Venice at Los Angeles and the weather was perfect. Then to here at 8.50am Monday. Bill went straight to the Clinic and they started on their examination of him in the afternoon and it is some examination as it will not be finished until Friday next and they will then have his case diagnosed. So far everything is going as well as can be expected and from the doctor's (who is looking after him) advice he seems to think it will not be long before he will be quite OK. again or rather the treatment he will prescribe for him will not prevent us taking up our trip again.

Bill was up at the Clinic again the morning a while and when he returned we took a car without a driver and spent the remainder of the morning driving around the town seeing the sights. The total cost for the hire of a Ford Coupe nearly new in this fashion was 9/- so that is dirt cheap we consider.

So far we have received no letters from Aussie although we wrote to the Express Co at New York and asked them to forward our letters on to us here.

The Mayo Clinic here just keeps the town. It is a marvellous place with 300 doctors employed all under the direct control of the Mayo's and the people flock to them in thousands every day. The town lists its population at 13,000 while there is always at least 25,000 in the place. Of course it is full of hotels and hospitals and cripples of all sorts abound. It is a pitiful sight to stand outside the clinic and watch the hundred pouring in and out of the place the whole time suffering from every known form of disease and lots I suppose unknown and line up in queues to wait their turn. It puts one in mind of Hickson's Mission on a very larger scale.

We are neither overstruck with America and are looking forward to hope of seeing England in a short time. Their scenery is very fine their cities very large and convenient and their people are all only too willing to explain anything to you and take you about when you come to their home town. (I am speaking of travelling Americans as I know nothing of the citizen). but everything in the place is artificial they talk and think of nothing else but the almighty $ and the shortest way to pack up a stack of them. There is nothing substantial about the places we have so far seen. They are all jerrybuilt homes and buildings put up in quick time.

Well I think that is all the news for this letter so will close and write again next week if we are here or sooner should we move on.

We are both well. Bill brighter that he has previous been by a long way while I have put on 5lbs since leaving Sydney.

Hope you are all well at home even to Mack

Love from


Luckily I did not post this last night and today received your first letter. Bill also got one from his Mother. I am sorry to hear you have a bad cold and sincerely hope it has now quite left you. Please to hear the remainder of the family were in good nick. I am sorry I did not cable you but I have explained that already so will let it go. You were a bit anxious to hear from me and the Oceanic boat left Auckland for Sydney on the day we arrived at Wellington so that was impossible to catch and no doubt by this you have received three from me at least. I hope Fred did not get too full at the Artists Ball with that wild cobber of his and that if he did I hope the effects have quite worn off!

Often I would give a pound for a long iced lager. One can get lots of alcohol in this place and good stuff too I believe but not for me thanks. Everyone laughs at the Prohibition laws here and drink hard. Well that is that so I will get some dinner and post this. Lots of love. Gordon





[*Douglas Fairbanks junior and Mary Pickford.]

Letter number 7 - Rochester

1st October 1924

Hotel Campbell, Rochester, Minn

[postmarked Oct 3 6.30am Rochester Minn - encl snap of Grand Canyon]

My dear Father,

We are unable to tell in this place when a mail goes out to Australia so am forced to take the risk and trust to luck.

Well we have been here a little over a week now and Bill is ever so much better after the doctors had finished their examinations of him They put him on a diet for a week and he finishes the course today. On Friday next Bill goes back to the Clinic and has his final instructions given him and we are hoping to leave this place about this day week to continue our trip.

You will be pleased to hear that I have received two letters from home so far. Mother's came to hand first and yours arrived a few days later and I was pleased to hear Mother's cold was much better. Also to hear you had received first letter posted in NZ.

We have not been doing much in this place as there is not much to do but we are both pleased about the rest we are having as we had been going hard since leaving Australia.

Our long suit in this place is to rent a Ford and Bill drives it all over the place yesterday were at a sale about 5 miles out and on the way home called into a stud farm of Holstein cattle owned by the State Hospital. It is a wonderful affair. The patients (all mad) milk 150 cows twice a day by hand and the milk is used in the hospitals around. The bails are enormous as they bail all the cows at the same time and they always go to the same bail and their milk is tested etc every time. Last night I went to a village dance in town with some girls from the hotel. They are nurses from the clinic. Bill went to bed.

We have just about seen all there is to see in this place as an old chap who devotes his life to wheeling patients about for the love of it, has taken a great fancy to us and has shown us all over the town. One day he took us to the basement of the colonial Hospital and from there through a subway to the Kahler Hotel. We went up to the top and saw all over the city from the 14th floor. The Kahler is a combination affair. The basement is set apart for nurses rest rooms etc. The first floor is lobby and offices the next six are hotel then to the roof is hospital. In a corner of the roof garden are four operating theatres and while we were up there one of the theatres was in full swing and was full of doctors watching the operation. From the roof we went back to the basement and then more subways to the Damon Hotel across the street. It is practically wholly devoted to hospital uses. More subways from there to the Clinic which is 3 blocks away from the Colonial Hospital where we entered so you can imagine how far we travelled underground.

In England all roads lead to London but in Rochester all subways lead to the Clinic. From the Clinic I went to St Mary's Hospital by jitney. This is the largest surgical hospital in the world under one roof. You can imagine the size of the place when there are fourteen operating theatres in it. They are all fitted with a gallery for onlookers and the largest of these theatres has a gallery built of marble leading up from the main floor and operating table, that will hold 240 people. One doctor alone in this hospital did 20 goitre operations in one day. I forgot to say this big operating theatre cost $60,000.

St Mary's is run by Catholic sisters and it is here the Mayos' do all their own operations. In fact they refuse to operate elsewhere. They are Protestants but when they first commenced practice in this place these Sisters helped him so much they stick to the sisters now.

Then there is Worrell Hospital where a lot of the X ray work is done and also the contagious diseases are kept. 9,000 cases in one month of one disease alone.

These are only a few of the hospitals that keep this place of 5,000 inhabitants alive. There are also the Curie, Samaritan, Zambro and many others.

In fact the town is full of hospitals drug stores (as they call chemists shops) and undertakers not forgetting hotels.

The country around here is the best and prettiest we have yet seen in the States and the weather is all one could wish for. We have worn our rain coats once since landing from the boat.

From here we go to Chicago for 2 days then to Detroit to Buffalo, Niagara and New York and then to England until about Xmas. Through France home. That is as far as we know at present. But you will hear as soon as we leave the States.

Well I think this is all the news for this time so I will close. Hope Mother's cold is now quite O.K. and that everyone at home is well. I know I am. Love to all from



Letter number 8 - Rochester

15th Oct 1924

Hotel Campbell, Rochester

[postmarked Chicago Oct ?18 6.30pm. incl. 2 snaps, one 3 adults next to car, other 3 standing adults.]

My dear Mother,

We do not know when the mails go out to Aussie since arriving here so we are forced to take pot luck and write at intervals. Since my last letter I have receive yours telling of the Artists Ball. It must have been some show. I was very pleased to hear that you were all well and that your cold had completely gone. I have a bit of a one at present be nothing to worry about, still I am doping it so as to be quite O.K. then I leave for Chicago tomorrow night. Bill is showing a big improvement and will be nearly right again I think when we leave this place where everyone spends their time talking of their ailments. We expect to be in New York in about 10 days time after having seen Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and Nigara and from there we go on to England so from now on our address will be c/o Bank NSW 29 Threadneedle St, London EC but you will have a wire from the Treloar's saying we have left America.

Well for news I am a bit stuck as nothing much happens in this town of cripples so this letter needs must be short I think.

We have made good friends with the hotel (arrow to letter-head) keeper and his wife here and they have given us a great time during the last week. On Sunday last they were taking their daughter (18) back to college about 75 miles from here and asked us to come along with them in their care, a big 6 Nash closed in coach. It was the best corking bus I have yet had the pleasure to ride in. We left Rochester about midday and went to their summer home on Lake Zumbro for lunch and what a lunch it was. Cold chicken, duck, dressings, salads, cakes, scones, etc and then we continued our drive up towards Minneapolis and St Paul. We reached the college at 4 o'clock and attended an organ recital in the college chapel at 5 o'clock and then started back for home about 5.45pm and arrived about 8.10. It was great trip we both thoroughly enjoyed as the leaves are now falling from the trees and the colours in the woods beggar description. On Monday we were taken back to the summer cottage to clean up the remnants of the feast of the previous day and we went fishing but as soon as we got the launch going a fishing rod fell overboard and we spent the rest of the day in a fruitless dragging operation for it. Yesterday however, we went out with some long poles and your xx truly was the lucky man xx find it in a very few minutes so we then went for a lake ride in the launch and returned to fish off shore without success however.

Well I think that is all the news but the next time I will be able to give you something more definite and interesting as we will have seen Chicago etc and so will have something to write about

I am so pleased you like Mollie Gillies She is not a bad kid at all and easily the best of the family in the girl dept I mean.

We have met a very nice girl (married) in hospital here. She is the Icon of Cork and we have great times with her. She is only 25 and treats life as a big joke and her sayings and slang are worth recording. She has been married five years and when I asked why she married so young she said well everyone else does it so I said yes to a girl of 25 here is an old maid.

Well I guess that is all so will close hoping all well.

Love to all


[note this letter contained two snaps, one of the Nash with party of 3 and other party of 7 or 8 nearby. Text of snaps obverse: (1) This is the party. On the end of the line is the proprietor of the hotel and I am between his wife and daughter. (2) This is the bus we drive around Rochester in and the other two are - the old man is Johnny McBride "Angel of the Wheelchairs" at Rochester and a chap we picked up at the clinic. - This letter posted from Chicago as I waited for the snaps to send with the letter. We are having a great time here and Bill is the best he has yet been. Love to all.]



Post card photograph of Woolworth Building, NYC written: "Express to 36th floor all floors to 54th change lifts to express to 58th and lookout"


Photograph of HGG in long coat endorsed in handwriting: "$200 Buffalo Coat Do you think I am looking well __"


Letter number 9 - Chicago, Detroit, New York

26th Oct 1924

Hotel Martinique, Broadway and 32nd St, New York City.

Dear Mother,

I can write faster with the old pencil and so as I had a lot of news and lots of correspondence to get through I hope you will excuse it.

I posted my last letter from Chicago as I waited for some snaps to be developed and then enclosed one or two but since then lots has happened.

We left Rochester on the Thursday night and got into Chicago the next morning - spent the day in looking around the city. It is some place and quite easy to find one's way around in. In the morning we visited Marshall Field & Co retail store which is the largest in the world so you can imagine what it is like in size. They employ 9,000 hands, the building is 13 stories high with 3 basements and occupies an entire block in the busiest part of Chicago. They have 9 refreshment rooms continually in operation and 3 cost price cafes for the employees. They have their own schoolroom in the building a nursery for patrons kids and music room, rest rooms of great size and in fact are a complete world in themselves.

On Saturday we took a rubber neck wagon around the city but it proved to be a dud as the guide had no voice for this job and we could not hear half he said but the drive was good. On the Sunday we went to church in the morning and I am enclosing a folder we received there. She is some church. In the afternoon we did a vaudo show and at night a theatre. On Monday we visited the Camerons stock yard and saw that. It is the largest plant in the world. They kill 1200 pigs an hour. 350 cattle and 1000 sheep and we saw right through the whole of the processes but will tell you more of this on my return. We left that night for Detroit but while in Chicago we saw four theatres in the four nights and they were all good. The ones we saw in order of my preference were: Zeigfeld Follies (opening night), Topsy and Eva (Duncan Sisters), No, No, Nanette and Abies's Irish Rose. The first two were especially good.

Detroit is a dirty city and very cold the two days we were there. It is hard to find ones way about as the streets go in semi-circles but we saw Dodge Bros plant where they employ 19000 hands and put a car out every 50 seconds. The next day we saw Fords plant where they employ 70,000 and put a lizzie in the freight cars every 15 seconds. They are both marvellous plants with wonderful systems. Later that afternoon we sailed from the car city on the "Greater Detroit III" down the lake for Buffalo. It was a great trip and a great boat and arrived at 8.30 next morning. A chap we had previously met on the train and who lived at Buffalo met us at the hotel and took us in his car to see Niagara 23 miles away. We went over the border into Canada and saw the falls from there and here words fail me. It is a sight of wonderful grandeur to see the tons and tons of water tearing over the top of the falls to fall hundreds of feet below and throw up a spray that hangs continually over the surroundings. We came back to Buffalo and were treated to lunch at the Buffalo Athletic Club. We spent the afternoon around the town missed seeing Jack Demsey by half an hour at night and raced for the train to New York and arrived here at 7.50 next morning and this is the city of cities to date for us. 

 Broadway is 14½ miles long and the avenues branch out from it in this fashion [Z-diagram] so for a start it is a bit hard to find ones way around. However so far we have been in their taxis street cars, elevated and subways or tubes as they call them and have only got out of our way in the tube system and that was because we could not see where we were going. On Friday night we saw Tex Austin's Rodeo (the one that was at Wembley) is it at present a Madison Square Gardens and it is a good show as the broncos and steers can buck like fury and the boys and girls can ride and so we spent a good night. Last night we went to the world largest theater to see Berne or Vaufo rather the theater was good the show was woeful.

Yesterday we spent in making a few purchases and also preliminary arrangement for our passage to England on Saturday next. Tomorrow we will finish all our business and then start to see things in this berg.

I called into Cooks yesterday to see if Jack Sulman had gone through yet and apparently he has not as there is mail waiting for him there so I may see him before we leave.

I received a letter from you in my arrival here but methinks some of your letters must be going astray as I have only received 4 letters in 8 weeks!

Kath Broom is my best correspondent and I got two from her to your one which to me does not seem right as you are a good correspondent and not likely to miss a mail. However I was glad to hear you were all well even to Mack but sorry to learn Miss Benson has rather a fancy to Fred. She is likely to prove expensive unless closely watched but pleased to hear he is still playing good tennis and I hope he beat Skvenson. I sent him (Fred) a card but am still waiting for hear from him and also Chas to whom I also sent a card and a letter.

Bill is still improving and I think can go fairly well now although he still has to keep to the vegetarian diet. He does not think he is coming home with me but will stay in England for 3 or four months and then come home.

I forgot to say out of Chicago we went to a Closed Motor Car show and it was good as all the American cars were there and I saw the Ford Lincoln for the first time. It is good looking but I still prefer the RR for looks.

Last night was Saturday and we saw Broadway at its best. It is a wonderful sight I'll tell the cockeyed world. It is ablaze with electricity and the advertising stunts are marvellous. As far as one can see is nothing but electric lamps of every colour and not here and there but in the millions on both sides of Broadway.

I never dreamt it could be as dazzling although I had often heard of the bright lights on Broadway.

This is a big city full of jews and dark skinned races from Southern Europe. Nearly every second person is a foreigner as we understand Americans although I suppose they are naturalised subjects or born here and therefore a dinkum bit of Uncle Sam and no wonder they are chary about picking a brawl with other nations as no matter who they picked on there would be a million or more of that nationality resident in the States that could cause a lot of internal trouble.

We went to see a chap yesterday who came over with us on the boat and it was quite good to hear a bit of real English spoken again. We are going out with him again tomorrow.

There is no class distinction in this place as far as we can see. They all mix up together and the only thing that counts is the $. The more of these one has the higher he rises in society no matter what his real social standing would be in our country.

Well this is the result of an hour and three quarters effort I think that is quite sufficient for once and so will close as I will be writing again before we leave for London on Saturday next. I hope you are all still keeping well. I am as fit as can be and still putting on weight I think although we have seen no scales to try ourselves out on since leaving Rochester when I tipped the beam of 9-11.

Love to all


Bill joins me in his kind regards and well wishes to the family.


Letter number 10 - New York

[First 4 pages on single folded White Star note paper, continued on 'Homeric' postcard and thence continued further on 9/11 on Regent Palace Hotel stationary single octavo sheet written on both sides.] postmarked London W1 Nov 10th 1924 7.15pm

White Star Line SS Homeric

3rd November 1924

Dear Mother,

On an ocean liner again on our way to London this time and we hope to reach there on Saturday next 8th if lucky but this trip has been rough crossing for quite a while now I am told and the big ship "Berengaria" was a day late coming into New York on Saturday last as we were leaving instead of Friday as scheduled.

This is a big lump of a boat as you will see from the card I will enclose. It is only a week across so we are going second and it is not too bad in fact nearly as good as the Tahiti's first.

I am sorry I have to revert the old pencil again but the pen was beyond me. The vibration of the boat combined with the roll and pitch is too much for a median penman like myself. Well since last writing we have received no more mail from you so suppose there are no more boats in from Aussie so have left word at the Express Co to send in all on to the Wales in London for us and by this time you will have had word from Mrs Treloar to the effect that we have left America and will be sending your mail on to London.

Well to get back to figures again I spent the whole of last Sunday writing letters at the hotel in NY on Monday we spent the morning in booking our passages to England and all the lot with the Customs and Tax people and at night we saw a show called "Scandal of 1924" a scene in which the scenery and dressing was very good but beyond that it was not anything to write home about. On Tuesday we spent the morning shopping in the afternoon had tea with a woman we met off the "Tahiti" and at night we took the trip to New York Chinatown down in the slums of the city. We saw the renowned Bowery and then on to Pell St where the underworld of N.Y. have their headquarters. The place was alive with police in consequence of the Tong riots and murders that were in progress there at the time. It is very interesting as we saw the breadline and all the poor devils down and out coming in for shelter in the missions for the night and from that we visited the Doss house and a cafe run Chop Suey fashion.

Next we returned to civilization via the Bowery and Broadway seeing all the wonderful lights of the latter. Saw the largest electric sign in the world advertising Chico and Ginger Ale composed of 28,000 bulbs a wonderful affair. Thence on to see New Yorks night life at a cabaret but as it was not as good a place as our Palais I was disappointed and returned home at about midnight.

Wednesday we spent sightseeing around the city. We went up 5th Avenue to 114th St and then through Columbia University to Riverside Drive and Grants Tomb back to the City again and down town seeing all the large buildings and having them described to us. We saw the aquarium, ?Songer Building, Woolworth, City and Metropolitan Life Buildings and thence over to Brooklyn via the Manhattan Bridge across the Hudson thence back home via the Jewish Italian and Negro sections of the city and being a bit tired went to bed early as were to have a big day on Thursday. In the morning we took ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and inspected that, came back and saw through the Aquarium and in the afternoon took a tube to Coney Island which is about an hours ride from N.Y. All the amusement places are closed now for the winter but it must be a great place when in full swing as it is an enormous place entirely devoted to amusing the young and old. On our ride to the island we went underneath the Husdon River so on our return we took an elevated and crossed Brooklyn Bridge. At night we met a chap who came across with us on the Tahiti and took two Australian ladies and a Yank to the theatre "Passing Show of 1924" which was very ordinary.

Friday was a busy day packing and saying goodbye to our acquaintances and at night we saw a nigger show [continued on postcard p5] which was not too bad. They called it "from Dixie to Broadway". We quite enjoyed it. Saturday we came aboard this tub at 9.30am and have been here ever since. It is not much chop but alright for the 8 days we have to spend aboard her. We have the ugliest woman in the world aboard. The poor thing has been to Coney Island trying to earn a living by her misfortune. She is awful to look at. Well must close it is too rough to write longer. [to the top] Hope you are all well. We are Bill not quite so well as he was but that is ship life I suppose.

Letter number 11 - London

9/11/24 [Regent Palace Hotel stationary] Letter number 11.

This is a continuation I am able to write since landing as the mail does not close until tomorrow.

Well we landed at Southampton yesterday afternoon at about 4pm and were up at this is hotel by 7pm and we stay here until we go on to Paris in about 3 or 4 weeks time. We intend staying there about 8 or 9 days then back to London and down to Cornwall for Xmas. After that back to London and at the beginning of the year I start back for home. Bill may stay longer for a while and come on about May or June.

Today we visited the Palace at Hampton Court and saw quite lot of quite different scenery. It is great to see all those old fashioned buildings with the moss and ivy of centuries all over them and we quite enjoyed the change. The weather of course is bleak and cold but all the people say it was a great day so we are wondering what a bad day is to be like. Tomorrow we start buying our suits and clothes generally getting things squared up. I think we are going to like London best of all the cities as to date we are more than pleased with our reception.

The London police are all they have said about them and more. They are wonderful and most courteous but Oh boy, the women are an awful lot. The beer the ladies in this hamlet consume in a day would keep the whole of Aussie going for a month and they are "ugs" after their American sisters.

Well no more so will close,

Love again


Letter number 12 - London

postmarked London WC ... Nov 27 1924 in envelope marked Australia House.  

Dear Everybody,
This issue is to be for the whole family as I have not time to write individually or even to two of you.  Since last writing I have not received any mail from Aussie except for Fred's record breaker of 4 pages full of news for which I thank you.   

I am still having a good time of course but Bill is in dock again.  Keep this little lot strictly to the family as I do not want anyone else to know as should it get back to the Treloar family they may be annoyed.  It is nothing serious but he was not improving as rapidly as he though he should and attributed it to the old trouble of his nose and so saw a specialist here who advised an operation to remove a septum from the back of his nose that prevented the normal use of his nostrils and the matter was being swallowed and perhaps poisoning his stomach that way.  He went into a private hospital on Sunday last and was operated on last Monday morning.  He was pretty sick for a couple of days but yesterday and today has been as fit as possible and a bit better now I think than ever before and he thinks so too which makes a lot more noise than what I think as now it is only a matter of his mind over his ailment.   

I go twice a day to see him and try to keep him cheered up so that keeps me going some and leaves little time to write letters as hospitals do not exist in the heart of London and I have a long way to go to see him.  Excuse the scribble but I still have to write to Mrs Treloar and make some excuse for Bill not writing.   

The fact of not telling them is Bill thinks they will worry and think he is not as well as he is and he does not want that as in reality he is nearly right again.   

In the intervals between going up to see Bill I have been looking around this little old place and general seeing the sights.  It is always smoky and cloudy in this place of course and to see anything you have to get right on top of it.   

I employ the bus service to get around on and last Sunday we went to the Crystal Palace and saw it from the outside only as there is nothing on there at present.  It is a wonderful place built entirely of glass and covers quite a few acres.  We also saw the fine Westside homes at Wimbledon and Putney and also the old women's shopping centre at Tooting.  I think I told you in my last letter that I had seen over the King's Stables so I will not repeat myself.   

Bill will not now come to Paris with me as he has been advised to get out of the cities until his nose is quite healed again so intends going straight to Cornwall and let me go to Paris on my own if I am unable to find a mate to go with me. I will get there somehow even although I go alone as Bill will be quite alright down in Cornwall with his people. and I will follow down there for Xmas and perhaps New Year.   

I have just had two good suits made and so I look the cat's whiskers these days and I now have sufficient clothes to last me for ages to come.   

Well must close this up and pen a few lines to Mrs Treloar.
Hoping you are all well and that the summer is not too hot as yet.   

Love to all

Letter number 13 - London

3rd December 1924 [Regent Palace Hotel, Piccadilly Circus, London, W1
[postmarked London W1 Dec 3]


Regent Palace Hotel,
Piccadilly Circus,
London, W.1.

3rd Dec 1924 

Dear Family,  

I received a letter from both Mother and Father and as I owe Fred one this letter will serve to answer all I hope as letter writing while on these trips is still inconvenient.  We had had no mail from Aussie for a fortnight until yesterday so it was good to know everyone was well at home and Father should be quite an apt pupil for Yankee slang judging by his outburst that preface his remarks on the back of Mother's letter.  It is also pleasing to hear that the natural increase in the McMullen family was not attended by any accidents.  I hope Fred gave a good account of himself at White City and that his surf career is still showing the same success as he was enjoying around the Spring Carnivals.  It is bad luck Mother being the only worker these days but should you want a holiday and there is sufficient in the old account of mine why fire ahead but leave a quid or two for my return as I may want a few bob until I earn a bit and on my return you had better bring a fiver to the boat as I may want it to go through the Customs as I have bought quite a few things that I am bound to be forced to declare and they may not accept English money.   

Well since last I wrote quite a lot of time has been taken up in visiting Bill but that is now all over and he came out of hospital yesterday morning and is feeling very well but still a bit weak after his week in bed and is off the Cornwall on Monday next and leaving me on my own for 10 or 12 days when I shall join him down there after seeing Paris and the battlefields of Flanders and Belgium.  I will then stay in Cornwall for Xmas and N. Year and come back to London to catch the "Ormonde" on 3rd.   

I had quite an interesting afternoon with all the notables at Mme Tussaud's Wax Works last week and thoroughly enjoyed it as the representations are really lifelike even to Stanley Bruce, Bill Massey, the heads in the Byswater case, Bill Tilden and their Majesties in full robes of office.  I think everyone of note in the world is there and lots of the ropes that hanged some of the said notables also.   

Another interesting afternoon was spent in the sorting rooms of the London GPO and it sure is a wonderful place with four basements and 6 floors where they handle 366 thousand million letters per year.  Their machines for cancelling the stamps on letters handle 300 letters per minute each and they have lots of them going all the time.   

We still have to see the Tower of London and the Mansion House.  The latter is where all the plate etc. of the Royal household is stored and where State receptions are held so that should be interesting and we are hoping to do both of these places this week as on Monday I track Bill to Cornwall in the morning and I think attend a jazz at the Savoy at night on Tuesday I hope to see over Cambridge Uni or see a footy match between Oxford and Cambridge and then on Wednesday to go to France. 

If possible we are going to see the Sth Kensington Museum but as it was full of historical relics, Tutankamen recoveries and Musty books it did not over impress me as my idea of a museum is a place full of stuffed animals and showing different stages of mankind etc. and not filled with musty books written by some bird who died B.C. and did the deed in a language as dead as himself.   

I have a great time here in the tubes.  They are great affairs and much better cleaner and nicer than the Yanks.  Passengers go down to the trains in lifts + are about 200 feet underground.  The system leaves no room for any person who can read and is intelligent, taking the wrong train and they sure do move.  Last Saturday we went to see a football match out at Richmond between Oxford Uni and London Scottish and took the underground and were there is not time although to take a bus or tram there would have taken over an hour.  Oxford got *towelled up but then Pup Raymond was not playing for them although most of the best players that day were Rhodes scholars from Aussie and N.Z.   

I note Chas brought his girl out to you for approval one night but you are evidently not over shook on my sister-in-law to be as you did not give me your idea of her.   

I will also bet that the Terrigal party of his did not come off as Bowie would forget to get his holidays or someother thing that seems characteristic of that person.   

Well that is the lot I can think of so will close this missive up hoping you both enjoyed the Bulli trip.  What did you think of the Pass?   

Hoping all well  

Love from

Yesterday we had a London fog.  It is all we have heard of it and more.  It rained in the morning and about 12.30pm it came down a beaut fog.  I went out to lunch at 1.45 and the street light were on and also the electric signs and the lights of vehicles.  It was just like night with gusts of the soupy stuff called fog all around.  They stayed on until night fall and I have not been out today so do not know what the weather is like today but it certainly is brighter.   

This weather would kill me in about 12 months and I am longing for the sunshine again - hope to be lucky enough to get some in Paris next week.   

I am going over on my pat if I cannot find a mate but think I have one, a young NZ doctor of about 25 summers so we should have a good time.