12 March 2014

No. 41 -- 29 July 1932

The Great Depression, finances and the welfare of his loved ones continue to weigh heavily on George in this letter. The grim news concerning the Melbourne YMCA's finances continues, along with news about the Bendigo YMCA's troubles. While his three oldest children struggle to make ends meet and build careers, and news from his foster son, Rex Baker is scarce, the bright spots in George's life are so clearly his two youngest daughters -- Joyce and Edith.

Mr. N.A. Hughes,
C/o Y.M.C.A. College,
5315 Drexel Avenue,
CHICAGO. Ill. U.S.A.

My dear Noel,

One or two American mails have come in recently, but we have not had any letters from yourself. The next mail to arrive here is due on Monday, and as this mail closes today, I am afraid we shall not be able to await the arrival of your letter.

All the folk at home are reasonably well. Mother has had a very heavy influenza cold, but she is on the mend again. It left her particularly weak. Ruth is also picking up quickly now that she is on holiday. We expect her to be ready to return to work in about a fortnight’s time. Keith has not yet found anything to do, though he is trying hard in interviews with business houses and by replies to advertisements.

"The two kiddies are growing
 splendidly, and it is wonderful
to see the change in them.
You would hardly know Edith —
she is growing almost
while you look at her."
The two kiddies are growing splendidly, and it is wonderful to see the change in them. You would hardly know Edith — she is growing almost while you look at her. She was very tickled the other day when she got her certificate for passing her musical examination. This, of course, will have to be framed and ready for exhibition to her friends!

The Harrisons have moved in again to their house and Phil and Edith are tearing around like a pair of lunatics. They are as happy as they can be now that they are united. George Harrison is travelling in the country and only gets home once every few weeks. However, he is happy that he has got a job. His mother and sister are also living next door, so that it is quite a family affair.

We have not heard anything fresh from Rex Baker.

You will be surprised to hear that June Carr is married. Keith came home with the story the other day. You will be more surprised to learn that she married young Russell, who was for a time a friend of Keiths. I do not know much about the marriage, but I think it occurred just within the last week or two.

I suppose you had the opportunity of seeing the Australians play cricket at Chicago. According to the cables they were there for a match or two during the past week. You may have been some distance from the City and may not have been able to make the trip. I thought that if it were possible you would strain every effort to do so.

"Conditions in America, according
to the cables in our papers,
are not improving at all.
They seem to be more
bewildering than ever. I think
 there is a better spirit abroad
in business circles in Melbourne,
but we are still a long way
from solving our difficulties.
... 
the time back to prosperity
will be a very long, drawnout struggle,
and changes for the better
cannot come quickly.
" 
Conditions in America, according to the cables in our papers, are not improving at all. They seem to be more bewildering than ever. I think there is a better spirit abroad in business circles in Melbourne, but we are still a long way from solving our difficulties. Very earnest attempts are being made to deal with the problem of unemployment and all kinds of committees of citizens, backed by the Government Departments, are doing their best to find work for folk.

The distress is very serious, especially in the Industrial suburbs. The amount of fraud in connection with sustenance orders must be tremendous, judging from the large number of folk who are being proceeded against for fraudulent dealing with sustenance orders, etc. However, the time back to prosperity will be a very long, drawnout struggle, and changes for the better cannot come quickly.

"Here in the Association we are
right up against our bank position,
and were it not for the fact
that some of our Directors
have stood by us, we would
not be able to pay current
accounts this month."
Here in the Association we are right up against our bank position, and were it not for the fact that some of our Directors have stood by us, we would not be able to pay current accounts this month. It looks as if we shall have to face the position of very drastic economies in staff and expenditure, and I imagine that within the next week or two, the Board will have to take very decided action in these respects.

The Industrial work has been kept going in a very fine way by the firms concerned, but a week or two ago we received advice from Messrs. Lloyd Bros & Maginnis that they were making changes in their relationships with the Association, and from the end of this month their Hut will drop out from the Y.M.C.A. Industrial Scheme. Fortunately they are retaining Joe Norman, the Secretary, and making him a kind of Superintendent of Works, although he will still have the responsibility of conducting the Welfare Work, Diningroom, etc. We are glad that the change will not affect him, and can understand that the firm must economise in every way open to them.

Frank Wilkinson is doing a good job with the Billiard Room. It is splendid to notice the revival of interest among the men and the way in which they are supporting Frank’s plans. He has taken hold of the job in an excellent way and has shown definite ability in promoting tournaments and increasing trade. He has a plan for monthly exhibition games by leading amateurs. We have had two of these demonstration evenings, and they have brought together a fine crowd of men, and the games have been of a high order.

"The members of the National
Committee will be visiting Bendigo
over the weekend, to see
 if they can find a way out of
Bendigo’s troubles, specially
in connection with the disposal
of the Association building."
I have not much news to pass on to you concerning the other Associations. All of them are having a rather hard run, with perhaps the exception of Ballerat, where they have been able to raise money sufficient to meet their immediate needs. The members of the National Committee will be visiting Bendigo over the weekend, to see if they can find a way out of Bendigo’s troubles, specially in connection with the disposal of the Association building. As you know, the Bendigo Association owes the National Committee about £2,000, an advance made to them years ago, and the National Committee holds a mortgage for that amount over the Bendigo building. The solvency of the National Committee is bound up in the Bendigo building, and some plan must be evolved to solve the problem both for Bendigo and the National work.


For more about Camp Manyung see the post: 
You will be pleased to hear that Miss Edith Shaw, sister of Mrs. Thomas Baker, recently sent Ivor Burge a cheque for £20 towards the completion of the second bunk house at Manyung Camp. The fellows are going down over the week end and on subsequent occasions, and hope to complete the structure within the next few weeks. This will be a great help, specially during the week end camps which Ivor is organising each month.

I had a letter the other day from Harry White. He mentioned that he had been in conversation with Dean Ames concerning yourself. Harry is going to Indianapolis as General Secretary, so that you will not have him available to visit at Chicago. Also another letter from John Cook, who is now at Bailey Island for the summer holidays.

May Glover also mentioned in a letter to the girls, that there would be a re-arrangement for married students employed at the College, in that they would be expected to live in at the College in future. This may save expense to the College and for the students.

You will receive this letter towards the end of August. By that time you will have spent about six weeks with Dean Ames. I can only express the hope that you have had a very happy time and have found the contacts you have made of very definite value to you. I know you will regard the arrangements you have made as an opportunity to demonstrate your appreciation, and I am sure you will show the Dean every gratitude for his kindly interest in you. No doubt you will also be working at your highschool subjects so as to enter school with all arrears made up, and in regular standing as a student.

"I sincerely hope you will
 be able to carry on despite
 your present difficulties. The tide
will turn a little later on,
 but one needs to be sure
of one’s ability to hang on
until that occurs. We are praying
 for you, and we believe our
Heavenly Father will help us
 to see daylight through
 the present problems."
I must close now. We all unite, my boy, in affectionate regards. I sincerely hope you will be able to carry on despite your present difficulties. The tide will turn a little later on, but one needs to be sure of one’s ability to hang on until that occurs. We are praying for you, and we believe our Heavenly Father will help us to see daylight through the present problems.

With warm love,
Yours affectionately,
Dad.