Access to goods and services
Although the military personnel from Australia and the United States usually enjoyed a cooperative and convivial relationship, there were tensions between the two forces that sometimes resulted in violence. Many factors reportedly contributed to these tensions, including the fact that U.S. forces received better rations than Australian soldiers, shops and hotels regularly gave preferential treatment to Americans, and the American custom of "caressing girls in public" was seen as offensive to the Australian morals of the day. Lack of amenities for the Australians in the city also played a part. The Americans had PXs offering merchandise, food, alcohol, cigarettes, hams, turkeys, ice cream, chocolates, and nylon stockings at low prices, all items that were either forbidden, heavily rationed, or highly priced to Australians. Australian servicemen were not allowed into these establishments, while Australian canteens on the other hand provided meals, soft drinks, tea, and sandwiches but not alcohol, cigarettes, and other luxuries. Hotels were only allowed to serve alcohol twice a day for one hour at a time of their choosing, leading to large numbers of Australian servicemen on the streets rushing from one hotel to the next and then drinking as quickly as possible before it closed.
Differences in pay
Of major concern was the fact that U.S. military pay was considerably higher than that of the Australian military[note 1] and U.S. military uniforms were seen as more appealing than those of the Australians. The US Army provided silk stockings and candy to American troops which they handed out to Australian Women, as well as US Army rations, in a time where Australians were on a poor diet due to rationing of food to civilians. This resulted in U.S. servicemen not only enjoying success in their pursuit of the few available women but also led to many Americans marrying Australian women, facts greatly resented by the Australians. In mid-1942, a reporter walking along Queen Street counted 152 local women in company with 112 uniformed Americans, while only 31 women accompanied 60 Australian soldiers. That it was thought necessary for the media to report this situation indicates the effect of the American presence. (About 12,000 Australian women married American soldiers by the end of the war.) "They're overpaid, oversexed, and over here" was a common phrase used by Australians around this time and is still an anecdote recognised by some in modern generations.
The Americans had the chocolates, the ice-cream, the silk stockings and the dollars. They were able to show the girls a good time, and the Australians became very resentful about the fact that they'd lost control of their own city.
— Sergeant Bill Bentson, U.S. Army
In mid-1942, a reporter walking along Queen Street counted 152 local women in company with 112 uniformed Americans, while only 31 women accompanied 60 Australian soldiers.
Sounds like some of the Yanks had more than one woman and some of the Australian women had more than one Aussie with them... menage a what?