Over-Paid, Over-Sexed and Over Here? | U.S. Marines in Wartime Melbourne 1943
| Exhibition catalogue (pdf, 432kb)
Battle-weary and in poor health following the gruelling Guadalcanal campaign, the men of the 1st Marine Division, United States Marine Corps were shipped to Melbourne in January 1943 for nine months recuperation leave. Greeted with warm hospitality, these 15,000 young American men found a ‘home away from home’. They formed enduring friendships with Australian families and romantic attachments with young Australian women. Drawing on original research and incorporating oral histories, memoirs and letters, this exhibition examines the little-known story of the ‘friendly invasion’ of Melbourne by the U.S. Marines during World War II.
World War II is the biggest thing that ever happened to anybody that fought in it. For most people - let’s say 95 percent - it was the biggest thing that happened in their life, and it happened when they were very young. 1
Leon Uris, Marine veteran and author
1 Interview with Leon Uris, cited in Jones, Wilbur D., Gyrene: The World War II United States Marine, White Mane Books, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, 1998. p. xxxi. A Jewish Marine, Leon Uris is an internationally known author. His book Battle Cry, described the experiences of his own Marine
unit during WWII.
Professor Kate Darian-Smith is Professor of Australian Studies and History at the Australian Centre, School of Historical Studies, The University of Melbourne. Her publications on oral history, Australian society and war include the groundbreaking study, On the Home Front: Melbourne in Wartime 1939–1945 (second edition, Melbourne University Press, 2009).
Rachel Jenzen completed a Master of Arts in History at The University of Melbourne in 2000. Rachel travelled extensively in the U.S. for her research on the U.S. Marines in wartime Victoria, creating a substantial archive of letters, interviews, memoirs and photographs.
This website is designed to compliment Over-Paid, Over-Sexed and Over Here? U.S. Marines in Wartime Melbourne 1943, an exhibition showing at the City Gallery, Melbourne Town Hall, from 17 February to 30 April 2010, and to provide an introduction to the cultural impact of U.S. Marines on Melbourne in 1943. The exhibition was funded by the City of Melbourne, with additional funding awarded by the University of Melbourne’s Cultural and Community Relations Advisory Group (CCGRAG).