Doll kept inmates amused
JOEY was the only inmate of the Changi prisoner of war camp in Singapore that did not lose weight.
That's because Joey was a ventriloquist's doll that helped keep up the spirits of the inmates.
Joey's owner was Tom Hussey, who was born in Mackay.
He was orphaned and reared by the Salvation Army, and an old performer taught him ventriloquism.
Mr Hussey joined an amateur group known as the Snap Company which performed in the area.
In 1940 the male members of the company all enlisted in the army, although were assigned to different units.
Mr Hussey served with the 2/10th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.
When he was sent to Singapore Mr Hussey took the first of the Joeys he handmade with him.
He arrived in Singapore on February 18, 1941, and in October was detached from his regiment to serve with the AIF Concert Party.
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He was reported missing in Malaya in 1942, but it was later found that he was a POW
. He became a member of the Changi Concert Party.
Mr Hussey also spent 18 months working on the notorious jungle railway in Thailand.
The concert party created elaborate productions which were so popular with the Japanese soldiers they filled the front rows of the 78 concerts given in three years.
Mr Hussey was in the first group of POWs evacuated from Singapore in 1945.
He took with him his latest Joey, one of three he made in Changi and whose clothes were covered with the signatures of prisoners.
The last Joey was made from rubber tree, parts of aeroplanes, a nurse's cuff, a Red Cross parcel box, coconut fibre and other objects.
With only a knife, a hacksaw blade and a file, Joey took six months to make and was painted with a mixture of ground chalks and oil.
Joey's clothes also bore the signature of Lady Mountbatten, the wife of the Allied commander in the Far East.
She reportedly asked where she should sign, and Mr Hussey told her anywhere she liked.
"I will put it over his heart," she said.
Back in Australia the doll was put on display in the Mackay and Bundaberg districts.
Mr Hussey donated it to the Australian War Memorial in 1947.
Joey was a part of the War Memorial's display for years, but started to deteriorate.
It is no longer on display, but is still held in the War Memorial's collection.