Our Neighbor Down Under
March 11, 1942 General Douglas MacArthur and substantial American forces arrived
in Australia, and a little later we learned that our men were in New Zealand as
For many of us this involved one more
course of study in the history, geography, and social conditions of a foreign
land. Till that moment few of us knew much about life “down under.”
Some were probably little better informed than was the American who, discovering
that the woman across the table in the diner was an Australian, immediately said,
“But wherever did you learn to speak English?”
countless books and press dispatches we have learned what our men saw, heard,
and thought of their “Pacific partner.” If they expected to find Australia
a facsimile of home, with plenty of ice cream, hamburgers, iced drinks, and coffee,
and with highly plumbed camp quarters, they were speedily disappointed. But when
the first strangeness had worn off, American soldiers discovered, as did their
fathers in World War I, that the Australian was like the American in many ways.
American officer who watched part of the New Guinea campaign reported that the
Australian soldiers were “even rougher and tougher than our own Marines.”
Australian hospitality has been bountiful and Australian girls are attractive.
Mutton stew is not likely to be a popular dish in the future among those who are
now being overdosed with it in Australia. Steak and eggs became such a favorite
combination among troops sent to New Zealand, however, that it displaced ham and
eggs for the last meal before the landing at Tarawa.