Diane Melloy - Refugees

Running time
1 min 56 sec
Date made
Copyright
Department of Veterans' Affairs

Transcript

Another thing that impressed Bob in the First World War and impressed him all his life was seeing the refugees absolutely fleeing because, and they were old women, sometimes in their beds being pushed along the roads and even dogs carrying parcels on their backs, strapped on their backs and little children dragging along something.

That stood Bob in very good stead in World War Two when he was in the army and detailed to requisition properties, especially in North Queensland, in Townsville when the Battle of the Coral Sea was going to have a lot of casualties come in.

American, General MacArthur and his staff could not come in and say we want that property, it had to go through an American officer then a counterpart, Bob, and then the requisitions were made and he always remembered the refugees, the status of those people and he was telling the people in Townsville to get out of their houses and to get out quickly.

When some of them put up a great protest he said, 'Well we'll call a public meeting and you can tell the public why you don't want to do this.'

And Bob made sure that he listened, he was very good at listening and considering and then he said 'If you don't let me take over your properties that the government needs for the prosecution of the war then the Japanese will arrive and they will take them over.'

And having said that, skilled negotiator he was. He could see very clearly and they said 'Alright Major Melloy, we'll go.'

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