bedlam, drunks in various stage of intoxication were everywhere: some were completely unconscious, many others being in a dangerous fighting mood.
Altho' not actually on duty I stayed about doing what I could to straighten matters, getting men to carry some down to the troopdeck, others to induce mates to go down with them, & so on. Several times I had to interfere in fights, none of the other officers being about, & tho' my face had splatters of blood on it when I afterwards looked, I was not at all touched or even hustled.
This work kept me going until after we had cast off at 5 o'clock: when we were several yards out there was a rush on the wharf (so I heard afterwards) & a N.S.W. soldier, who turned out to be one of the 14th Rfts of the 2nd Battn burst thro': he was thrown a rope, & swinging out against the ship's side was hauled up on deck a bruised & I hope a sadder man.
By the time something like order was restored on the 2nd saloon deck & I was able to go up on the 1st deck, Australia was 4 or 5 miles distant, & I watched it until abt 6.45 it was no longer visible: it was a thoughtful time.
I forgot to mention that while going out on picket the "Cairnleith" telegram with good wishes was handed to me but I had to put it in my pocket at the time, suddenly remembering it about mess time, which is now altered to 7 pm.