QUEEN STREET SCENE SPONTANEOUS HILARITY The bellowing of a powerful foghorn near the Ferry Buildings opened a ' cacophony of sirens, hooters and factory and train whistles all over the city. This was how the majority of Aucklanders received first news of victory. There was a general exodus from shops, offices and factories, although in some cases the initial reaction seemed one of bewilderment — was it really true? There were spontaneous outbursts-of emotion —one group of girls formed a aircle and danced on the footpath in front of the Chief Post Office —but many people were at first content to stand and watch. It took some minutes before these warmed to the first flush of enthusiasm, but from then on the joyous tempo in Queen Street knew no bounds. As if by arrangement, rainclouds. which had earlier hung over the city, parted, giving way to a burst of sunshine.
"Good old China!" yelled a waitress, who rushed headlong from a cafe at the foot of Queen Street and seized the hand of a broadlv smiling Chinese. He responded in 'a similar spirit. Not far away was a small Chinese college boy whose Soviet flag blended with his red cap. From church towers bells pealed out their victory message. The sky above the harbour was dotted with puffs of smoke — some servicemen back from overseas thought in terms of flak—but it was just the smoke from ships' rockets fired by jubilant crews. Tumultuous Cresccndo Horns of motor cars, buses, trucks, the clanging of tramcar bells; cheering crowds with whistles, squeakers, bells, tip cans—in fact, anything that would produce noise—reached a tumultuous crescendo. A traffic officer in his car, aided by a loudspeaker, did his best to control the traffic, while at the same time, he contributed to the din with his car's siren. Another traffic man joined the noisemakers as he drove down Queen Street, siren screaming.
Bunting prepared for the occasion ran out on city buildings and victory signs appeared. There was hardly a pole without a flag. Paper streamers were draped across overhead wires and bands of confetti-throwers roamed at large in search of victims. Hand flags—most of them bought in the first rush on city department stores —appeared as if by magic. Girls from one commercial house swarmed down Queen Street, with their hair tied with red, white and blue ribbons, and ribbon badges with the inscription "Victory Over Japan —August, 1945," displayed. Hundreds of secondary school pupils flocked to the city and formed singing and marching groups, each shouting its particular school "warcry.". Near the Power Board Building, a dozen or so young men and women formed a "La Conga" snake and went ; from one side of the street to the other. Paper showered from office buildings soon littered the streets. Among the objects thrown from upper windows were dozens of used cotton reels. Befiagged cars and trucks attempting to pass along Queen Street were besieged by crowds of merry-makers who stole short rides on the running boards. One U.S. station wagon carried no fewer than 14 servicemen and their friends, all clinging precariously to the sides of the, vehicle, the tyres of which had flattened almost to the rims of the wheels.
A post-girl who was on her round when the sirens started took off her uniform cap, replaced it with a paper hat and continued on her round, merrily blowing her 'whistle. Many Empty Bottles The- total of seven tons of glass collected from city streets following VE day is likely to be far exceeded to-morrow, judging by the hundreds of empty beer bottles lying about the streets and in doorways at an early hour this afternoon. As bottles were emptied they were dropped on to the pavements, with a total disregard for .consequences. Hotels were popular, but it was obvious that most people were doing their drinking outside. Bottle departments did a roaring trade.
As the afternoon wore on every tram, bus, train and ferry brought, full quotas of passengers to add to the milling throngs in the city.
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JOYFUL THRONG, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 192, 15 August 1945
JOYFUL THRONG Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 192, 15 August 1945
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