2. Gunnery school
Melbourne is our head-quarters and our depot, and while we were in Melbourne, I was sent to depot to go through the Gunnery School for “Gunlayer”. I was one of the first two classes of Gunlayers put through in Australia. I stayed in the depot and working in small boats in the Bay from March until July, when I was sent round to Sydney to join the “Sydney” which was getting ready for a cruise up the Queensland coast and the Islands (Pacific Is.) then with the Fleet it was intended to visit New Zealand, then the “Sydney” had a chance, (although it wasn’t decided which ship would go) of getting the trip for the opening of the Panama Exposition, the war spoilt a lot of good times for us, anyway we left Sydney on July 21st for Queensland and went into a small port named Gladstone and then we proceeded to Townsville (N. Queensland) it is a fine little town, semi-tropical and very progressive; when things began to get very warm in Europe, we were showing visitors and school-children round the ship and having altogether a good time, then we started getting rumours and buzzes then the order to fill up with provisions, coal etc., as soon as possible and proceed to Thursday Island for orders, then the fun, or should I say the work began, taking in at Queensland, canned meat all night, and getting as much coal as we could under all kinds of difficulties, then we started our trip through the “Great Barrier Reef” for “Thursday Island” (Thursday Is or Port Kennedy is the most northerly point of Australia). On our way through the Reef we got by wireless the news that we had declared war, the skipper gave us the news from the bridge (a fine fellow our skipper) we all gave a good cheer and from that time until we smashed the “Emden” we were just itching to smash something or to be smashed ourselves in the attempt.
Image of HMAS Melbourne and map of Great Barrier Reef via Wikipedia