It also took me a little time to recognise just what the uniform represented. It was a button-through dress with a belt and she wore a felt hat on her head. I recalled that the dress was dark green and the hat almost the same colour. I also recalled that it was the uniform of CUSA, the acronym for Catholic United Services Auxiliary.
I have tried hard to recall just where the CUSA rooms were located. I have the idea they were in King Street, Newcastle, either behind Winns or Scotts; perhaps someone can put me straight about the exact location and whether there was a building actually called CUSA House?
CUSA was a great organisation run by Catholic women to care for servicemen and women who were strangers in the city. The women wrote letters for soldiers, gave them necessities like warm socks and soap, cooked soup and biscuits and other homely fare and ran regular dances for the younger people.
Young girls from the parishes attended the dances which were supervised by the older members of CUSA. The CUSA meeting place was a home away from home for many a homesick soldier training locally, or waiting for transport for embarkation overseas.
There was a number of branches of CUSA in Sydney, but whether it was Australia-wide, I don’t know. There would undoubtedly be something in our archives, somewhere, and there might be a parishioner like myself, who had a mum who gave her services in such a wonderful voluntary capacity, as my mother did.
One of the funny things that also came to mind was the fact that when the acronym CUSA was written, a cross was inserted just above and between the “U” and the “S”, so instead of CUSA, it appears GUTSA! Eventually, it was used as a term of endearment.