Extract from the archives, 1942: the day of America in the spotlight

Capt. JA Villamoor, the Filipino air ace, laid a wreath depicting the Philippine flag, as a sign of respect for fallen American and Filipino soldiers in the Philippines.

First Lieutenant Sanders, Chief Nursing Officer of the Johns Hopkins Nursing Unit (USA) in Australia, laid a wreath, in the form of a red cross and the Consul General of the United States, Mr. Ely Palmer, a crown depicting the Stars and Stripes, on behalf of American citizens in Australia.

American units made an impressive image by participating in the parade of colors. Troops and nurses were cheered as they left the ceremony.

United States Minister to Australia, Mr. Nelson T. Johnson, at the cornerstone laying of the United States Legation in Canberra on Saturday, said the project signified the faith of the United States government in his belief that Australia would endure and thrive as a great nation.

Prime Minister Curtin and Home Secretary Senator Collings joined Johnson in putting mortar on the stone. The legation site, on a hill with one of the best views in Canberra, was swept by an extremely cold wind throughout the short ceremony.

Mr. Curtin asked for three cheers for the king and the president. These were given vigorously.

The Governor General, Lord Gowrie, sent the following message to Mr. Johnson: “My wife and I are very sorry that we cannot be with you on this momentous occasion. We hope that the building, the cornerstone of which you are laying today, will not only add to the beauty and dignity of Australia’s capital, but will strengthen the bonds of friendship that unite the peoples of the United States and the Commonwealth, and will be a visible and lasting symbol of their common crusade for the cause of freedom and the future peace of the world.


US service members attended a gala outing hosted by the New South Wales Rugby League, in association with the American Society, at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday afternoon. An attractive program had been organized and was highly appreciated by an attendance of over 40,000 people.

Action from a basketball match between American and Australian servicemen at Sydney Cricket Ground on July 4, 1942. Credit:Charles Wakeford

An aerial review, with American airmen thrilling the crowd, was the most spectacular event.

Sydney football fans got their first taste of American touch football and a top class basketball team in action. A keen interest has been shown in these American games.

Later, the Americans were very impressed with the speed and action of the Rugby League Country v City game.

A large congregation attended the America Sunday celebration at St. Matthew’s Church, Manly, yesterday.

Mr. Spender, MP, and Chaplain Major Elliot, US Army, read the lessons. The Mayor of Manly, Alderman Miller and Aldermen, and Mr. AEEV Reid, MLA attended.

Reverend AR Ebbs dedicated an American flag presented by Mrs. Backhouse in memory of his son, a soldier of the last war.

On behalf of the Australian Native Association. Mr. HR Redding, Secretary General, sent a telegram to the United States Minister, Mr. Nelson T. Johnson, on Independence Day, expressing cordial greetings on behalf of the association.

“A strong interest has been shown in these American games.” The scoreboard shows the United States leading 2-0 and a “Mr Clancy Wanted at the Members Gate”. Credit:Charles Wakeford

spectators barracks player in basketball match
(of the sun)
Part of the crowd cheerfully barracked an Australian basketball player at the cricket ground.

“Send him back,” they shouted, as the Australian crashed headlong into an American player. The visitor had to be taken care of by an ambulance.


America won, 20 goals to 12.

The six-footers jumped in Australian Rules style to gain possession. The game changed up and down the field, the size of a tennis court, in an astonishing way.

The Americans had two outstanding players. Isanuk, a great forward representing Colorado, and McDaniels, an All States player from Kentucky.

Playing with an easier-to-handle schoolboy-sized soccer ball, teams from the US Navy and Army gave Sydney its first taste of “touch football”. One feature was the remarkably long overshoot. After each move, the defending players would meet in a “group” to discuss the next move.

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