Diary of the 1917 voyage of HMA Troop ship TSS Ulysses from Australia to Great Britain
We left Melbourne on Sunday May 6, 1917 at 12 noon by special train to Sydney for embarkation, stopping en route at Seymour where dinner was served and 1,000 troop reinforcements were picked up.
Next stop Albury at 5.30pm for tea and change trains for Sydney. Stopped at Moss Vale NSW at 6am for breakfast after a pleasant night and arrived at Sydney at 10.30am Monday.
We paraded with baggage then got conveyed by special trams to the Showgrounds Camp until transport was in order. At camp we were on soldiers’ tucker, drawing our rations and messing for beds. We had two blankets and a bag of straw and the Grandstand was our bedroom. I may say it was very cold! But what is that in war time?
During the day we were here we were free and had a good look around Sydney admiring its handsome buildings and narrow dirty streets, and [it] has a splendid tram service controlled by the NSW Government Railways. Sydney has many attractions. Needless to say we did not trouble our mess orderlies with dinner or tea. We got breakfast and cleared out and made the most of our visit.
On Wednesday morning, May 9, we were roused from our peaceful slumbers by bugle call at 4am and got breakfast and orders of embarkation. We were conveyed by special trams to the docks where we embarked upon “our ship”. We then numbered all told: 636 munitions workers, 75 Queenslanders, 175 Victorians and 386 New South Welshmen. Also on board was [sic] 66 nursing sisters, four doctors and eight AAMC orderlies, and 50 machine gunners reinforcements.
We cleared off from the docks at 12 noon and anchored in the harbour. There we saw the bounties and bustle of “our harbour”as the Sydneyites call it. It is beautiful!
We settled down that night to what was to be our quarters for the voyage. Good or bad.
More from George Kennedy’s diary in next week’s edition
George Kennedy pictured as a young man in the mid 1890s, second from left. In the picture are his mother, left, sisters Minnie (Jenny Speirs’ mum, born 1890) and Annie with older brother James on the right.