Diary of Herbert Austin Bailey, 1919

Accession Number AWM2018.19.41
Collection number PR90/018
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type File
Item count 1
Object type Diary
Physical description 63 Image/s captured
Maker Bailey, Herbert Austin
Place made At sea, Australia, South Africa, United Kingdom: England
Date made 1919
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Attached digital images and content are protected by copyright. They are reproduced here for research and study only. If you wish to use or quote from these images, please contact the Memorial’s Research Centre via info@awm.gov.au or 02 6243 4315.

Diary relating to the First World War service of 19636 Sapper Herbert Austin Bailey, 15th Field Company, Australian Engineers, England, At sea, South Africa and Australia, 5 July - 20 August 1919.

In this diary, Bailey documents his voyage from England to Australia aboard the transport ship HMAT Port Melbourne. Diary entries commence at Weymouth Station as Bailey proceeds to Devonport for embarkation to Australia. He describes the ship moving out to sea and passing other vessels with sailors and soldiers mustering on deck to cheer their departure. Bailey subsequently provides a summary of the facilities on board the ship, and regularly remarks on the activities of the troops such as sports, reading and letter-writing during the day, with concerts, cinema screenings and lectures occupying the troops during the evening.

After three weeks at sea, Bailey notes excitement amongst the troops as the ship approaches South Africa. He subsequently offers a detailed account of three days leave at Cape Town. He comments on the town, the reception of the locals and large numbers of Australian troops scattered throughout the town. He also describes joining a picquet group formed to monitor troops and maintain order before embarking on a visit to the mountains for his final day of leave. During the final leg of the voyage, Bailey regularly remarks on rough conditions at sea and growing boredom amongst the troops. Closing diary entries detail disembarkation at Adelaide and Melbourne amidst scenes of official receptions and reunions with family and friends.