Topic: Gillanders WD - WWI letter 1916

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Transcript of letter written while aboard troop transport around Australia on way to Egypt.

I will enclose photo receipts in the morning, W.D.G.
REPLY TO Nothing as yet

16294
16th reinfs
16th MR

GPO Wellgt

Dear Folk

We are now on the high seas again & well on our way to Melbourne due there tomorrow morning. I don't seem to have written you a decent letter since I left NZ. But I have written plenty scraps & hope you got mem all. We had a splendid time in Sydney I think I told you we were sleeping in the show grounds two sections on the trams from the centre of town. There are twelve miles of streets all asphalted & pretty well every kind of firm have stands there. For instance rubberoid. People have houses built and roofed with the above & there are reinforced concrete milking machines stands plows & in fact everything imaginably I would like to be here at Easter time when the show is on. The sheds for horses & cattle are worth seeing even empty & the place for pigs must have been about half an acre & in every pen mere is a shower for keeping the pigs cool we used to go there for a shower & wash every day.

We slept in the Pigeon & Canary shed, had our meals in the sheep shed & so on. There were a lot of Senior Cadets camped there same time as us & the last night a draft of Queenslanders came & slept in the Canary shed with us. All the Mounted & Artillery soldiers wear brown boots & leggings & the Infantry brown boots & putters but we look far flasher than them with our black boots polished & all our brass cleaned up they are not allowed to wear any thing bright at all not even nickel spurs.

We were all given brass buttons with our second issue if we wanted them. There was a great piece in one of the Sydney praising us up,about the way we marched when we had an inspection the other day. They are a very happy lot these Australian boys & very friendly. Even the people in the streets stop you & ask after their relations in N.Z. some of them have the idea that NZ. is about the size of Te Kuiti & that every body knows every body else of course they pick us straight away as New Zealanders as our uniform is quite different from any Australian uniform.

There tunis button at the cuffs like Rod's cadet, & there is a belt sewn on to the tunic made of same stuff just like a norfolk jacket. Our reinforcement is bigger men in height & width than the average Australian I feel quite big since I came here but our mob are mostly big men more the average I think. This draft of Queenslanders too are much bigger than the N.Z.20 Light Horse & all tanned like niggers. They look well with the feather plumes they wear in their hats. I think there are about five hundred of us on this boat altogether. We are supposed to have two convoys with us.
All we have seen of them so far is some flash signal with lights on the horizon last night We have not lost sight of land yet since we left Sydney except for a few hours through the day & every now and again we see a light house. We are not allowed all over the ship we are situated right up in the bows of the vessel. This boat has carried troops for several trips now & is all fitted out with tables. It is great sleeping in the hammocks, it is a job to spread out your blankets & then climb in with out tipping it all up or out on top of you, but I expect we will get used to it through time. There are about 200 of a coloured crew running around here all the time so a chap does not want to have anything lying about that he wants again.

This is a bosker boat she is rocking all the time but so slowly that you can't tell it is moving except by looking out the windows or port hole I should say. I forgot to say I couldn't find Mr Smith anywhere I went over to North Sydney on the ferry boat & searched all Victoria street but could find no Arpaphaeli or what ever the name is. I think it must be a different district or else he has left the district I couldn't find his name in the telephone book & the Insurance man Peter knew did not know him; but I can find my way about Sydney now & around the suburbs nearly as well as I know Te Kuiti so next time you are over for a trip just let me know & I will meet you at the wharf & show you round.

Well I think I better stop before I get talking to much rot. Did Gipsy finish all the oats yet, I hope she is looking well Meg because I will put jumps up next time for sure. Well best love to everyone over & over again from
Will

P.S. I hope you have noticed my name printed on top you did not know I was so important did you?

I posted my last letter by giving it to a man who was going ashore it was written on small paper so tell me if you get it or not

Yours aye
Will

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