"SCREAMERS"
THE WHITE ENSIGN CLUB

The Club provided these "dongas" or cabins, (pictured left) for short or long term rent. Most often they were used by sailors on short leave during their weekend sojourns to Melbourne from Flinders naval Depot..

It was not uncommon for groups of 6 or 8 sailors to 'pool' their money and all share one cabin for the entire weekend. Thus saving more money for beer. Can you imagine 6 or 8 sailors sharing one of these? I am not sure what the record is for the number of occupants but I am sure double figures was reached on many occasions.

The walls were thin, decor was sparse and one can only imagine the sounds and smells of hundreds of intoxicated sailors piled on top of one another in something reminiscent of the Black Hole Of Calcutta -"

It's a poor seaman what can't handle his shipmate's breath!" (Butch Berry, Cerberus Rifle Range Circa 1979)

In an unusual quirk of circumstance - wherever matelots did happen to gather - so did certain members of the opposite sex - Every nice girl loves a sailor, as the song goes. Some of these were not ordinary young ladies and could match many a bold, thirsty matelot beer for beer or blow for blow whatever his fancy was, either to drink or fight! Sailors being what they are had nicknames for them all, like, 'Anna The Spanner' and her mate, 'Toolbox', 'Rocky', 'The Beast', etc etc. They wore their sailor given nicknames with pride and possessed an unbelievable fondness for all things navy.

 

 


The picture above describes the bar scene as 'convivial' - Let me assure you that is somewhat of a gross understatement and since when does a bunch of beer soaked matelots enjoy a quiet chat?

Thabove shot is taken from the small bandstand/stage at the end of the room. On Sunday afternoons a live rock and roll band would see the place packed to the gunwales with merry makers and Rock'n Rollers..

Jack was also partial to a cheap feed and these clubs generally provided such arrangments

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