Harry's Cafe de Wheels
is a famous Sydney icon. Alan was commissioned
to paint the entire outside of the building with 1940's Australian
memorabilia. Here are the results!
Clicking on a figure will reveal that figure full-screen.
The two on the right are Roy Rene in makeup as his stage persona "Mo", and Hal Lashwood playing the innocent from the country. Mo's character was that of a big city larrikin / conman. This pair were huge in radio right through the 50s but Roy Rene was very successful on stage from the 20s onward. The skyline is much as it was then, Town Hall being the citys tallest building.
"Eternity" in chalk on footpaths all over Sydney was the work of Arthur Stace, who devoted his life to this simple spiritual message, always in the same impeccable copperplate hand.
The Sydney was lost with all hands in 1941, a terrible blow to the morale of the Australian nation. Only recently I learned details of the battle between the Sydney and the German raider Kormoran disguised as the Dutch merchantman Straats Malaca. A German veteran Lieutenant Messerschmidt tells the story. Sailing off the northwest coast of Australia the raider was challenged by Sydney. Apparently suspecting nothing amiss, Sydney came alongside and asked Kormoran to display flags with the days code. The raider had hoped the Sydney would inspect the ship and wish good morning and bon voyage. They could see the cook on deck with a white hat having a smoke, they were that close. The lack, naturally, of the days code spelled doom for the Sydney as well as the German.
At that point the Kormoran dropped the false side panels exposing their guns, first pouring machine gun and 20 mm cannon into Sydneys bridge to dispose of the Officers while heavy guns amidships fired into Sydney's side point blank and exploded inside. The Sydney did get off some shots, one shell going through the funnel which housed piping which cooled the oil for the diesel engines. This set the oil alight which fell into the engine room killing all below.
Mr Messerschmidt believes no survivors in the Sydney were possible. He is, of course, a very old man now and has been to Australia several times and has many friends here. I still don't know how the survivors of the Kormoran were saved, another story perhaps. Mr Messerschmidt says his Captain's leadership was responsible.