Slowly Tony walked to the edge of the platform. The Jap they called Rat-face made a long speech. Patiently, Tony listened. Suddenly Rat-face kicked him violently in the stomach - a silly thing to do, Tony thought in a detached way, to a man suffering from dysentery. Bent double with pain, Tony fell against the opposite bed platform and fouled the hut. At this there were angry outcries from the other Japs, who leapt from their beds and showered kicks on the now helpless Australian. Bruised and bleeding, Tony staggered out...It had been another normal day.
First published in 1963 here were some of the reviews at the time:
“It is a POW story that deserves to go around the world. It is so distinctively Australian and generally free of hate. The whole concept and significance of the tub is astonishingly original and enlivening.”
David Rowbotham, Brisbane Courier Mail
“Through the agony on the Burma railway the galvanised tub seemed the only permanent indestructible thing.”
Pat Burgess, Sydney Sun
“The tub is ‘a symbol of the prisoners’ endurance and ingenuity.”
Gavin Long, Canberra Times
“a well written and entertaining story”
Peter Blake, Bulletin
“An uncommon symbol of faith and survival’ through an ‘ordeal which one in three POWs did not survive”.
L. Peet, West Australian