War Memoir of Robert Ellwood

Ellwood: Have you heard of the battle of the Wazza? You’ve heard of the Battle of the Wazza, well that was a very interesting thing too. Well, there’s no need for me to tell you about it if you’ve heard of it.

Turnbull: Well, I’d like to hear what you’ve got to say about it too.

Ellwood: Well there was what they called the ‘blue light’ area, and young fellas would be young fellas of course and there were two types of girls in the blue light area. There were the good naughty girls and there were the naughty bad girls and the naughty bad girls had the habit of taking the soldier down and going through his pockets if he happened to be drunk or slept there that night and that sort of business, and doing that sort of thing with the result there was a feeling of resentment grew amongst the soldiers towards some of these girls, you see. Well, the, what’ll I call them, the provos [military police], who were English people, they were , anyhow some of the boys went there this night with the intention of cleaning these girls up, not doing them any hard, but cleaning the places up that they were plying their profession in. And it wasn’t long before the Provos got wind of it and they sent down a troop amongst foot police, sent down a troop of mounted yeomanry to try and prevent these wild Australians from making too much of a noise about the place and it finished up by all sorts of things happening.

They were heaving jerry pots full of rubbish over the top of these yeomanry and the people underneath and on one occasion a piano was pushed over. The buildings used to have the upstairs portion of the landing would overstep the footpath, sort of business, you know and there was quite a scene there for quite a while. That was one of our minor escapades. There was a second battle of the Wassa but it was just an imitation of the first, but the first battle of the Wassa was really an interesting affair.

Turnbull: Were you actually involved in that?

Ellwood: No, I was not.

Turnbull: Were there many blokes from the 2nd Light Horse there?

Ellwood: Oh, yes there would be a number of them.