Eleanor Roosevelt in Australia, 1943. Credit:   John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Records of the Curtin Family. Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt on a visit to Australia, September 1943. JCPML00376/88.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1943
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[(Note to readers: The following exclusive report has been received by wireless from New Zealand. Mrs. Roosevelt on this trip is travelling as a representative of the American Red Cross. All of her receipts from her column will be divided between the American Red Cross and the American Friends Service Committee.)]

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, [delayed] — When we arrived in Wellington on Saturday morning, a battery of cameramen reminded me of home. Many of these boys wore Marine Corps uniforms and I discovered that they go into action with a gun in one hand and a camera or a pencil in the other. The history of this war should be well recorded in the service papers.

With the Governor General, our party was driven to Government House where we have been kindly asked to stay and where we are being most hospitably cared for. My first thought was a purely feminine one. I wanted to have my hair washed and this was arranged for at once, but gentlemen never quite understand the time it takes for a woman to dry her hair, so I was still in an unpresentable condition when the arrival of the press for an interview was announced. They waited patiently however and after our interview more photographs were taken on the terrace. His Excellency, his daughter who is acting hostess while her mother is in England, and four dogs joined me as victims before the camera.

After lunch I left my host and drove to the Parliament buildings where the Prime Minister, Mr. Fraser, met me and a state reception was held. After everyone had been fortified with tea, the Prime Minister welcomed me and said many nice things about my husband which were pleasant to hear.

On our return I tried to prepare a speech and before I knew it I had barely time to get ready to dine with many of the government officials as well as some of our own diplomatic, consular and military people. I always like to discover native dishes in any new country which I visit and I had a delightful soup made of mussels and some delicious whitebait which is smaller than any which I have ever seen at home.

The grounds about this house are lovely. The daffodils are in bloom. There are curious dark pine trees, many evergreens and palm trees. I am told that they are not called palms here but cabbage trees.

A very moving little ceremony took place this afternoon when representatives of an organization of disabled war veterans accompanied by Mr. Nash, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States, presented me with a lovely necklace made by the veterans. It is made of silver and polished shell of beautiful colors. It is token of the disabled veterans’ understanding and sympathy for the women of the United States who must suffer and wait side by side with the women of New Zealand for news of their men fighting side by side in distant parts of the world. When I get home I must have this necklace put on exhibition somewhere so that many women may see what lovely work these disabled men have learned to do.

On Sunday morning, we visited the American naval hospital. Silverstream, as it is called, is on high ground overlooking a stream and surrounded by hills. They have a few wounded men but the great majority of cases are malaria.

- E.R.

(Copyright 1943 by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)