25 March 2014

No. 43 -- 15 August 1932

Finally, George has heard from Noel and it seems to have brought him a lot of relief. The tone of the letter has lifted compared to the previous few letters in which George fretted so much about finances. We learn more about Noel's summer work with Dean Ames on his farm, and the juicy information that the Dean is no longer with the college. We get a little information about what is going on in Chicago, plus updates about the Melbourne YMCA's programs. And most interesting to me, we see the first reference to my grandmother, Marion Smith. Noel seems to be pretty serious about her, although the reference is very cryptic.

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

My dear Noel,

Your letter of July 3rd reached me this week. I notice, though, that it bore the postmark of July 10th, which indicates that after you had written it you held if or approximately a week.

You may be surprised to learn that it is a month since you wrote to us. We were naturally anxious to know how you were getting along and thought that possibly you were either short of cash and could not provide the postage, or else that you were so busy with the Dean in his job that you had very few opportunities of doing so.

We were very glad to get the news concerning your work with Dean Ames, although we can see that you are having a heavy time with the work that you have to do.

"We are exceedingly sorry to learn
that Dean Ames has severed his
connection with the College.
... he mentions that Dean Ames 

had had a bit of a row with the
Faculty and I judge from that,
that there may have been some
reason behind it which the Dean
has not referred to in his
conversation with you.
You will, therefore, be
particularly careful that you
do not take sides in the matter."
We are exceedingly sorry to learn that Dean Ames has severed his connection with the College. He will be a distinct loss to the Movement. It is also a great regret that there is no place for him to fill in the Movement at the present moment. With all the fine experience he has had and the splendid teaching ability he has it seems a pity that he should now be without a job. According to the retirement plan he will receive the whole of the amount that he has paid in plus 4%, so that he will not be at a real loss over the matter, although of course, the loss will come in four years’ time when he would have had the retirement allowance.

Presumably your work with the Dean will make you quite an expert gardener!!

I had a letter from Laurie Bowen in which he mentions that Dean Ames had had a bit of a row with the Faculty and I judge from that, that there may have been some reason behind it which the Dean has not referred to in his conversation with you. You will, therefore, be particularly careful that you do not take sides in the matter.

When you return to the college there will surely be a number of enquiries concerning any conversations the Dean has had with you.

According to his obituary from the Monroe 
Evening Times on 5 March 1959, Dean Ames
did quite well as a farmer after leaving
the college. His obituary says:
"Despite his many years as an educator, 
college administrator and attorney,
Dr. Ames said he considered one of  his
greatest accomplishments was  in producing
132 bushels of corn  per acre on his farm
following retirement."
He is a fortunate man to have his flower farm, as this will no doubt help to keep the pot boiling until a job turns up.

Naturally we are getting a little concerned regarding your return to College as you will have hardly any resources on which to commence your new school year. I am making desparate attempts to dispose of that wretched amplifier in the hope that I may be able to send something to you in time to be of service in connection with your school work.

Johnny Walsh I understand is leaving Veall’s and is likely to take a job with the Vocaltone people, the same firm as that with which Rex Baker is connected. Rex has not returned from Sydney. We are expecting word from him any day.


USA Presidency
Complex Forces in Election.
(1932, August 6). 
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848-1957), p. 9. 
Retrieved March 24, 2014, from

Continue reading on the TROVE website.
Your reference to the condition of the Association in Chicago and the inability of the Association to pay its Secretaries indicates a very serious state of affairs. We have not yet reached that position I am happy to say, but we are still in very serious difficulties and it will be a considerable time before we will be able to see a way out.

We had quite a number of lengthy cables concerning the convention held in Chicago in connection with the political situation. Evidently, the affairs were of the brass band type and quite a lot of “bally hoo” went on.

The folk at home are keeping well on the whole. Ruth is picking up and we will soon have her ready to return to her job. I think I told you before that she will not be returning to the Homeopathic Hospital. We, therefore, must find another place for her where she can continue her training.

Edith and Joyce are going along quietly, that is, as quietly as Edith can go! You know quite well how full of life and vim she is. Joy has taken a turn in the same direction during recent weeks and we are surprised to notice she is coming right out of her shell and becoming quite voluble and excitable.

"Edith and Joyce are going along
quietly, that is, as quietly
as Edith can go! You know
quite well how full of life
and vim she is. Joy has taken
a turn in the same direction
during recent weeks and we are
surprised to notice she is coming
right out of her shell and
becoming quite voluble and excitable."
Keith has had a few days’ work with the Texaco Company but there is nothing permanent in sight for him. Mother is much better from her heavy cold and looks more like her old self again.

Alec Moodie has tried several jobs since he left the Renaldi people; he at present is running a bakery business in the Preston or Northerly area.

At the Association, things are moving along in much the same way as before. We had about 100 young people who went up to Warburton for the Viking Snow Trip on last weekend. They had a thoroughly happy time and I understand there was a great fall of snow, and on the top of Mt. Donna Buang there was four feet of snow altogether.

We are making certain adjustments in connection with the Boys’ and Physical Departments. We are asking Ivor [Burge] to hand a good deal of his detail to Alan Tassell, so that he might, in turn be able to spend more time outside in personal interviews especially with business men with the object of boosting up that section of our gym work. The classes that Alan has been running for the Boys’ Department will in future be conducted by honorary leaders of course, under the immediate direction of Ivor himself.

You will be delighted to learn that Charlie Jutsum has been appointed General Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. at Broken Hill. He will take over his new duties at the beginning of September. We shall miss Charlie greatly from our work here as you can well imagine, but it will be far better for Charlie to have a job of that kind than to have to leave Association service at this juncture.

The second bunk house at “Manyung” is practically completed and by next weekend, I think it will be ready for occupancy. There have been quite a number of work parties at “Manyung” during recent weeks, especially with the idea of getting the bunk house completed before the winter season is over, so as to have everything in readiness for the coming summer.

You will be pleased to learn that we are setting out upon a new job in connection with the Association. For some time past we have been wondering what action we can take in connection with the unemployed boys. As you know there are thousand of them without jobs in the Metropolitan area and we feel that we should take some special action in trying to fill up their leisure time in some profitable manner. We have, therefore, decided to co-operate with the Boys’ Employment Movement, a special committee that has been formed in the City for the last eighteen months, and we will be charged with the responsibility of seeing that these lads are adequately cared for at the Association building, especially during the mornings and on certain afternoons during the week.

We shall provide a programme of picture shows, lecture, talks, gym, swimming, etc. etc. and in this way help to keep many of them off the streets where they might become a menace to Society.

I have the job of organising this section of the work and it will take me quite a lot of time to have the thing working along the lines that I have in mind. We plan quite a big job in this direction and I am confident that with the backing of the committee concerned we shall be able to put over something worth while.

The Girl’s Guild at the Church held its Birthday Party (its 7th) last Thursday, and there was a splendid turnout of the young people and of course a big gathering of the church folk who came by invitation.

Under separate cover I have sent to you some newspapers which I though you would be interested in looking over.

Before the Public
(1932, June 17). 
News (Adelaide, S.A. : 1923-1954), p. 8. 
Retrieved March 25, 2014, from

While searching through the online newspaper archive
I found this reference to a few familiar names:
Clive Glover, Noel Hughes and Ern Saunders.
This article ties George to Glover and Saunders
from his years at the Adelaide YMCA.
I haven’t heard anything in recent weeks from Clive Glover, although I understand that they are to live-in at the college during the next year.

I had to drop you a line by hand during last week, as Dorrie Yates was away and I did not have anybody available to dictate to. I am afraid George Briggs and Alan Tassell, will have to think seriously about leaving next year. It looks to me as if it would be inadvisable for them to go to the States especially while conditions are as bad as they seem to be judging from all the reports that we receive. I should certainly advise them to remain here at any rate for another year.

You haven’t, so far, given us any information concerning how conditions are shaping up, and I shall be glad if you will drop me a line so that I may have a better conception of the arrangements you think will be possible as far as your future is concerned.

This is the first reference in the letters
to Marion Smith, whom Noel would marry
a few years later, and was
my grandmother. The reference is cryptic
because the woman taking dictation on
the letter was a good friend of Noel's
former girlfriend.

See: The girlfriend at home and other tidbits 
I would advise you to take your time as regards to Marion Smith, especially during these difficult times.

I must close off now. You know we all unite in our warmest love to you, and assure you that we look forward with eager anticipation to the receipt of other letters. There should be another mail in this week. So far you have not advised us whether you received the remittance I forwarded in early June.

With warm love, my boy,
Yours as ever,
Dad.