soldiers aboard the U.S.S. Republic
on the way to Brisbane (December 1941). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.
From Sunshine and Rainbows: The Development of Gay and Lesbian Culture in Queensland by Clive Moore (St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2001). Footnotes omitted.
Willing local youths joined the more seasoned camp men in competing with their sisters for American largesse in short and long term sexual liaisons. The phrase ‘cock sucker’ seems to have entered Australian English during the war. One Brisbane man who was a teenager in the 1940s remembers that Americans on leave stayed at the YMCA or in the People’s Palace:
You had to sneak in quickly when the staff at the front desk were turned away. The best way to get Yanks was to go into the showers. You’d walk around fully dressed, while they were naked under the open showers and wait for developments. Two shillings and six pence was the going rate for a head job.
One Townsville man who was fourteen in 1942 has fond memories of the free services he provided for the troops. Often when his mother thought that he had cycled off on a message to the shops, he was down at the tents providing relief to willing Americans. The gay Americans made sure they shared tents with servicemen of like mind, which left him no problem dealing with three in one blow (so as to speak). A Brisbane man of similar age tells stories of his youthful experiences when he took the tram to town to pick-up American servicemen in the city parks.
Crowd of boys at Ithaca Baths (26 February 1940). Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.