The Cast of Characters

The family at Camp Manyung in January 1932.
Pictured are George (back row, from left), Kath Lilford and Mother,
and Joyce (front row, from left) and Edith.

The immediate family

Dad, aka George, aka Geo. W. W. B. Hughes -- Our letter writer. In 1931, when his son Noel left Australia and embarked on his journey to North America, he was 52 years old. He worked as General Secretary of the Melbourne, Australia, YMCA. For more about George, see  Who Was George WWB Hughes?

Mother, aka May Hughes, aka Harriet Adelaide May McLaughlin Hughes -- In 1931, she was 52 years old. She and George together raised five children.

Keith, aka Keith Willis Bagot Hughes -- The older brother. In 1931 he was 25 years old and having a hard time finding employment. For more about Keith, see Who Was Keith Hughes? and Excerpts: News About Brother Keith.

Noel's photo from his 1931 passport.
Noel, aka Noel Alexander Hughes --  The son on the journey. The person to whom all these letters are addressed. In 1931 he was 21 years old and on his way to the United States to attend two international YMCA conferences, then to attend college in Chicago.

Ruth, aka Ruth Hughes -- The eldest daughter. In 1931 she was 19 years old and starting her nurses training.

Joy, aka Joyce Hughes -- The eldest of the "two little ones at home" or "kiddies". In 1931 she was 13 years old.

Edith, aka Edith May Hughes -- The youngest of the "two little ones at home" or "kiddies". In 1931 she was 11 years old.

Me, aka this writer, aka Haley Hughes -- The granddaughter of Noel Hughes and the great-granddaughter of George and May Hughes.

The family of George Wall Wall Bagot Hughes

Recurring names in the letters

Marion Smith -- Noel's new American girlfriend. Later, they marry.

Alec Moodie --  An old friend of George's who is working out of the Brisbane YMCA and traveling with Noel to the North American YMCA conferences.

Clive Glover -- A friend and former associate of George's from his days at the Adelaide YMCA. An Australian, Glover and his wife, May, are living in Chicago while Clive studies at the Chicago Y College. May's mother in Australia is Mrs. Mackinnon.

Ern Saunders -- A friend and former association of George's from his days at the Adelaide YMCA. In 1931 he is working in Montreal, Canada, but in 1932 relocates back to Australia at the Perth YMCA.

Norman Weston -- A good friend of George's from his days at the Adelaide YMCA. He worked as Physical Director of the Evanston, Illinois, YMCA, (just outside of Chicago) in 1931. He was a 1915 graduate of the Chicago Y College.

DY, aka Dorrie Yates -- She's present in almost every letter, although usually in the background. She's the typist, and I presume George's secretary. (The GH/DY at the top of the letter indicating GH, aka George Hughes, dictated the letter, and DY typed it.)

Kath Lilford -- Noel's girlfriend in Australia in 1931. For more about Kath, see The Girlfriend at Home and Other Tidbits.

Rex Baker -- A friend and foster brother of Noel's in Australia. He is a young English man who lived with them as a boy and helped with yard work. Rex is helping to sell Noel's amplifier by shopping it among his contacts at regional movie theaters. For more about Rex, see Treasure! -- Rex Baker and the Wireless.

The Willis Family -- Cousins in Sydney. Henry Willis, Noel's great-uncle, was a member of Australia's First Commonwealth Parliament, 1901-10. Calliope and Urania are Noel's first-cousins, once removed. The Willis home in Sydney, Innesfallen, is a replica of a castle in Ireland. In the family history that Noel compiled, he credits the Willis family and Innesfallen with being central to keeping various branches of the extended family together.

The Herberts -- Cousins in Sydney. Noel's mother's sister, Grace McLaughlin, married a Herbert, and Irven Herbert is Noel's first cousin.

Uncle Will -- Noel's mother's brother.

The Nitschkes -- Cousins in Adelaide, South Australia, through Noel's grandmother's sister, Harriet C Willis. Dick and Holmesdale are Noel's second cousins. According to the family history that Noel compiled, the family was well-to-do and in the business of hotels, grazing sheep and cattle, and breeding race horses.  They also maintained a home in the St. James district of London, England.

The Harrisons -- George's neighbors near his home on Currajong Road, Hawthorne East, Victoria. The Harrison's son Phil is a playmate of George's daughter Edith. The Harrisons stayed with the Hughes family for over 6 weeks in 1931 while Mr. Harrison looked for a job.

Dean Ames -- Dr. John Q. Ames, the dean of the Chicago Y College (George Williams College) until 1932.