Part of first page of handwritten letter to Royce, the writer's son, in reply to his welcome letter. He hopes his son is out of hospital. He enclosed 5/- postal note. Mentions letter from Royce sent to Alice. The letter is dated 14 January 1942.

The letter was found under the floorboards of the balcony level of the Gallery, Great Hall, Royal Exhibition Building, when replaced in 1989 as part of a restoration program. Many other items dating back to the 1940s were also found, providing an insight into the lifestyle and interests of RAAF personnel stationed in the building.

The formal wartime occupation of the Exhibition Building began in October 1940, when it was requisitioned for the RAAF under the National Security (General) Regulations. Partitioning work began in January 1941, and on 15 March the RAAF no.1 School of Technical Training was moved to the Exhibition Building from West Melbourne Technical School. Before long the Great Hall and surrounding areas were crowded with Air Force personnel. About 500 to 700 men lived there for varying periods of time; numbers peaked in 1942, when about 2000 personnel were accommodated. The central part of the building was a mess hall. The arena was occupied by a kitchen, laundry blocks, a storeroom and a playing field. The southern and eastern sides of the building were used for parades and drilling. The RAAF remained in control of the Exhibition Building until October 1946. (David Dunstan,1996, Victorian Icon)

Physical Description

Hand-written letter on lined paper. Extensive water damage and staining. Long diagonal tear from left to right. A large section is missing from the bottom of the page.


Reason for Acquisition: Transfer from the Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building
From 1940 to 1945 the Exhibition Building was occupied by the Royal Australian Air Force as a training schoo. About 500 to 700 men lived in for varying periods of time. When the floorboards on the balcony level of the Great Hall were replaced as part of the restoration program, many items dating back to the 1940s were found. These provide an insight into the lifestyle and interests of RAAF personnel stationed in the building.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Royal Exhibition Building Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions, Royal Exhibition Building

  • Acquisition Information

    Transfer from Trustees of the Royal Exhibition Building (REB), Sep 1991

  • Addressed To

    Royce (Roy) C. Phillips - Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Kilkenny, South Australia, Australia, 1942

  • Inscriptions

    Handwritten top right: 'No 4 Service (?) St / Kilkenny / Wednesday 14th' Handwritten: Dear Sir / Just a few lines in answer to your most kind & welcome letter which I hope wil find you quite well again and out of hospital. Well Sir I can send you a ( ) of which I hope you will beleive all of it . I did not send you written (illegible water damage) to ask you can (illegible water damage) when you (illegible water damage) all gone have to (illegible) to Mick it to the Melbourne Post office But that (illegibel) to sign it at the Bottom. Well (illegible) everybody at home as well and wishes (illegible) to you. (illegible) got a letter from you at last (illegible) they had (page missing) the other day (Illegible) Royce do (?) be careful (page missing) St Kilda and (illegible) you (page missing, remaining words illegible).

  • Classification

    Military history, Personal effects, Correspondence

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • overall dimensions

    19.6 cm (Length)

  • Exhibition Collection Management

    196 mm (Width), 248 mm (Height)

  • Dimensions

    245 mm (Length), 194 mm (Width)
    Measurement From Conservation. Measuring Method: Maximum dimensions of pages

  • References

    [Book] Dunstan, David. 1996. Victorian Icon: The Royal Exhibition Building., 377-386 Pages

  • Keywords

    Correspondence, Royal Exhibition Building, Wars & Conflicts, World War II, 1939-1945