GOLD MUSEUM HOSTS EXHIBITION ABOUT THE U.S. MARINES IN WARTIME VICTORIA 

Group of Marines on rest and recreation  Image: Bill Llewellyn Private Collection

Group of Marines on rest and recreation
Image: Bill Llewellyn Private Collection

A new exhibition at the Gold Museum examines the little-known story of the ‘friendly invasion’ of Victoria by the U.S. Marines during World War II.

Battle-weary and in poor health following the grueling Guadalcanal campaign, the men of the 1st Marine Division, United States Marine Corps, were shipped to Victoria in January 1943 for nine months’ recuperation leave. They were based in Melbourne, Mount Martha and Ballarat.

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, the Over-Paid, Over-Sexed and Over-Here? exhibition was co-curated by Professor Kate Darian-Smith and Rachel Jenzen from the University of Melbourne.

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