Derham Groves

The Travels of Peter E. Sayers: Melbourne to Nandi

From time to time I’ll transcribe Peter E. Sayers’ travel diary:

Sunday 8th February 1959, Melbourne At 2.30 am (about) I took leave of Midge (80th time out) after spending the night before (Saturday 7th) at the Comedy seeing The Summer of the 17th Doll (4th season) and after at Scot’s supper dance with Hans & (Pam) and Barry & (Barbara). About 7.00 am Dad and Mum & I left in Armstrong for Goulburn. We had a cup of tea at H.P. Downs’ house at Benalla. We arrived Goulburn about 8.00 pm & stayed at AA Motel for night.

Monday, February 9th, Sydney
Got up at 5.00 am. Arrived Sydney outskirts 9.00 am. (At this time I should have been at Mr Hill’s office.) I proceeded to Dunkley Hat Mills, Waterloo (makers of Stetson hats in Australia) where I met the tour party for the first time. We were each given a hat after which we were shown over the mill. At 11.00 am we were received by the NSW Premier (J.J. Cahill) at his office. At 11.30 am we had a look at MLC building & had lunch with directors in the cafeteria which occupies a whole floor along with other staff amenities. 3.00 pm visited Harbour Bridge pylon (compliments of MLC). 3.45 visited ‘Unilever House’ (the building in front of where the new opera house is to be built). Tea in basement of Martin Hall with Mum & Dad.

Tuesday 10th National & General Insurance Co. Ltd. (Custom Credit) showed us the ground floor of their building in town, then they took us to the Rosebay flying-boat base where we saw the whole works. After that Custom Credit took us to Milano’s for a private luncheon (dinner in my book). 3.00 pm boomerang throwing in Domain. All given 2 boomerangs each, one to throw, one to give away to any important person. (Frank Donnellan gave the display & lesson, he holds all records.) 4.00 pm received by US Consul-General in Australia (Frank A. Waring). After that four of us (2 from NSW and one each from Victoria & South Australia) went to Channel 9 to go on the kids program. At night Mum & Dad & I went to Tom Holesgrove’s for tea with Tom, Robin & Louis.

Wednesday 11th 9.00 am visited Qantas building in town & maintenance plant at Mascot, also saw Super Constellation & other planes inside and out. Had lunch at Qantas staff cafeteria at Mascot. In the afternoon we looked over Sun-Herald. At night took Tom, Robin & Louis to dinner with Mum & Dad at basement of Martin Hall. Louis went to work after dinner & the rest of us went to The Big Country with Gregory Peck, Jeann Simmons & Burl Ives. A preview just for the typists & friends at a film company’s private theatre (smoking was OK).

Thursday 12th Went to Ford plant in the morning at Homebush, went to Marion’s in Russell’s car and saw their round the world slides plus Les’ New Guinea slides. Les took us home to Martin Hall.

Friday 13th Met Mayor Ald. Jensen at Town Hall. Later in afternoon Dad & I returned to Town Hall to say goodbye to Ted Holesgrove, he showed us over the place & I sat in the chair the Queen used in the Mayor’s room.

Saturday 14th Mum, Dad, Les, Marion, Tom & Louis saw us off at Mascot at 12.30 pm on our Super Constellation. At about 10.00 pm we touched down at Nandi (Fiji). Weather was mild & perfect with the stars out. We went to the hotel just next door to airport & had tea (the whole place was on native architecture if you could call it that). Richard Blaiklock lost his watch in the bathroom.