Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Recruiting Ready Reckoner for Married Men prepared top join the A.I.F

Here's an interesting 'ready reckoner' for men to calculate their fortnightly pay if they enlisted in the A.I.F. Sadly, or pragmatically,  it also listed the pension the family would receive if the man was totally incapacitated or Killed. At the time the average wage* for a man employed full time in a 'blue collar' type job was 60 shillings per week or 5 pounds, so this pay was about half the average wage, however they did get fed and clothed as the advertisement pointed out.


South Bourke & Mornington Journal  August 2, 1917

* Information from the Year Book Australia

Monday, July 17, 2017

Five Mile School Honor Roll

This report on the Five Mile School Honor Roll was in the Lang Lang Guardian of June 9, 1915. Five Mile, also known as Koo-Wee-Rup North, was a small township on the corner of the Main Drain and Five Mile Road (the road being five miles from the start of the Main Drain at Western Port Bay). The School opened in July 1894 and closed in November 1959 when school became part of Pakenham Consolidated School.




Lang Lang Guardian June 9, 1915

Who were these soldiers who were honoured? I  have included their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full record in the National Archives of Australia (www.naa,gov.au)

Backhouse, Bert (Herbert Arthur Burder) (SN 612)  Bert was 23 when he enlisted on April 20, 1914. Bert is listed in the 1913 Electoral Roll at Koo-Wee-Rup. His next of kin on his enlistment paper was his father, Talworth Backhouse, whose address is listed as Metropolitan Board of Works, Melbourne. Bert's mother was Emily A'Beckett, a daughter of W.A.C A'Beckett of The Grange in Harkaway, so they were a well connected family, socially. He Returned to Australia on May 4, 1917 and was discharged on medical grounds (septic knee)      

Bjurstrom,  Gustave Carl (SN 503)  I can only find one instance of a Bjurstrom enlisting and it is this one, so even though he is listed in the newspaper article as A. Bjurstrom I believe I have the right soldier.  Gustave was 19 when he enlisted on August 27, 1914 and his occupation was sawmill labourer and his next of kin was his father C.G Bjurstrom of Heyfield. Gustave Returned to Australia July 2, 1915. There are reports in various papers that he was wounded but we don't know the full story as we cannot access his service record as it has been combined with his World War Two record, as Gustave enlisted at the age of 42 in March 1940. His address at the time was Cora Lynn.  In the 1916 Electoral Rolls Charles and Agnes Bjurstrom are listed at Koo-Wee Rup, two years previously they were at Heyfield, so obviously moved after their son enlisted.

Burns, Joseph  (SN 1399)  Joseph enlisted on October 19, 1914 at the age of 33 and then was medically discharged in April 1916 due to receiving a Gun shot wound to the 'lower extremities' while fighting at Gallipoli. He rejoined April 27, 1917 and was discharged again in the May. Joseph was the son of Francis and Margaret Burns who are both listed as the next of kin, with an address in Moreland, however there was a Francis, Margaret and Joseph Burns in the Electoral Roll  at Koo-Wee-Rup from 1903 to 1913.

Chippindall, Robert Arthur (SN 375) Robert was a 23 year old painter when he enlisted on August 15, 1914. His next of kin was his mother, Sarah, of  South Yarra. Robert died of wounds on May 17, 1915.  What was his connection to the Five Mile region? His father was the grandly named Giles Tatlock Chippindall and his mother was Sarah Isaac Dawson. When Giles died at the age of 57 in 1900 his death notice said that he lived at Bunyip and was employed by the Lands Department. Giles had various government positions in Victoria and Queensland  - in 1893 he was appointed as a Crowns Land Bailiff.  I have found the notice below so I presume he was the Lands Department Inspector in the region.  Giles and Sarah had fifteen children altogether and she died in 1932 aged 80. Another son of Giles and Sarah's was Thomas and he is listed in the Electoral Roll in 1908  at Garfield,  his occupation is also Crown Lands Bailiff.  Yet another son, Giles, was the Director General of Post Masters General Department and had also headed the Department of War Organisation of Industry and was knighted in 1950.


Warragul Guardian  June 12 1896


Denham, Robert Alexander  (SN 392) Robert was born in Koo-Wee-Rup  and was living in Carlton and was  a fireman when he enlisted at the age of 28 on February 17, 1915 (that's the date according to the Embarkation roll and July 17, 1915 is the date according to the Enlistment papers).  His next of kin was his friend Annie Ritchie. Robert Returned to Australia July 10 1916 and was discharged on medical grounds due to a form of rheumatism. Robert was the son of John and Janet Denham. John Denham was the Cranbourne Shire Secretary from 1909 to 1911 and the Rate collector for nine years, he also had a store at Yallock and  a dairy farm at Koo-Wee-Rup. Janet's father, Alexander Dunlop, had the Harewood Mains property at Tooradin and had a successful cheese making business.

Emmott, Robert Edmund  (SN 1083) Edmund enlisted at the age of 19 of September 12, 1914. His next of kin was his mother, no name was given, but later papers show it was Alphina Emmott and she was living at Red Hill.   Edmund was Killed in Action in France on April 15, 1918. There is a letter in his file from the AIF Base Records Office asking Alphina  if her son had 'any nearer blood relations than yourself, for instance, is his father still alive'  - he wasn't, his father Joseph had died in April 1914. Alphina and Joseph were listed in the Electoral Roll at Koo-Wee-Rup from 1903 to 1914.

Garbellini, George  (SN 378)  George enlisted on February 3, 1915 aged 23. He was the son of Peter and Jane (nee Crombie)  of 'Five Mile Drain', Koo-Wee-Rup. He was Killed in Action in France on May 3 1917.

Gray, William Albert  (SN 218)  William was 22 when he enlisted on January 22, 1915. His occupation was farm hand and his next of kin was his mother, Margaret Gray, of Koo-Wee-Rup.  he Returned to Australia April 27, 1919.

Jenkins, Thomas Edward   (SN 188)  Thomas was a bricklayer and 19 years old when he enlisted on January 11, 1915. His next of kin was his mother,  Annabel Jenkins, of Boundary Road, Koo-Wee-Rup. Thomas had been born in Koo-Wee-Rup.  He Returned to Australia on April 5 1918 and was discharged in the July on medical grounds due to a Gun shot wound to the right arm, received while fighting in France.

Johnson,  Charles Tudor (SN 588).  Tudor, as he was known, was 19 when he enlisted on November 7, 1914. He was a farmer who lived at Cora Lynn and his next of kin was his mother,  Mrs Fanny (nee Bickford) Johnson, of Cora Lynn. Tudor had attended Dookie Agricultural College before he enlisted at Enoggera in Brisbane. His father was Henry George Johnson who for some reason was not listed as the next of kin, generally fathers are more likely to be the official  next of kin than mothers. Tudor Returned to Australia on December 23, 1918. Tudor is also on the Cora Lynn War Memorial.

Killeen, Patrick (SN 772)  Patrick was 24, a farmer and he enlisted on October 1, 1914. His next of kin was his father of Koo-Wee-Rup.  Patrick was the son of Thomas and Maria Killeen. Patrick Returned to Australia on July 3, 1919.

Marshall, George  (SN 1780)  George enlisted on January 11, 1915 at the age of 31. He was a carpenter and his address was Cora Lynn and his next of kin was Samuel Marshall who lived at Koo-Wee-Rup (a later paper had the address as Phillips Drain, Five Mile) George sustained two gun shot wounds at Gallipoli -  one to the left side under his arm and one in his left arm. He Returned to Australia on October 13, 1915 and was discharged on medical grounds in January 1916. There is an Statuary Declaration in his file from 1942 saying that he lost his discharge papers in the 1934 flood at Cora Lynn, he was then living at Bullumwaal, north of Bairnsdale.

M'Gregor, Robert  I am unsure who this is, there is a John and Josephine McGregor on the Electoral Roll at Koo-Wee-Rup from 1903 to 1905 so they may have had a son who the attended the school but I don't know. If  you have more information on Robert,  I'd love to hear from you.

Scanlan, Thomas  Patrick (SN 505) Thomas Scanlon - his surname is spelt as both Scanlan and Scanlon on official documents - is  the son of William and Ellen Scanlon of Cora Lynn. Thomas was 21 when he enlisted on January 12, 1915. He was a farmer. Thomas was awarded the Military medal and he Returned to Australia  April 5, 1919.

Watson, Percy I am not sure who this is - my best bet going on enlistment date, enlistment place, birth place and occupation is that it is Percy Kennedy Watson (SN 926) Percy was 29 and  a labourer when he enlisted on December 7, 1914. He Returned to Australia March 11, 1916 and was discharged on medical grounds (Asthma) in the November. Once again, if you can help identify Percy I would love to hear from you.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Knitting for the War effort

Australia entered the Great War on August 4, 1914 and it wasn't long before the local women began their work of supplying clothes and comforts for 'the use of our boys whilst doing their country's work' as Mrs Bickerdike wrote to the Lang Lang Guardian in August 11, 1914.



Lang Lang Guardian August 12, 1914



This was the 'list of articles most needed' that appeared in The Argus on August 11, 1914

There are a few unusual items on the list - a nightingale is presumably a night shirt; a Cholera belt is a band of flannel or silk worn around the waist supposedly to prevent gastrointestinal ailments.   A Crimean Shirt was a coloured flannel shirt.

A week later a 'successful sewing meeting' was held at the Yannathan Hall and the Lang Lang ladies also began organising sewing bees. 


Lang Lang Guardian August 19, 1914

By the end of the month the women and children of Yannathan and Lang Lang were well into the production of garments and supplies.


Lang Lang Guardian August 26, 1914

Elizabeth Alexina (nee Wastell) and her husband, Arthur Bickerdike had a farm at Yannathan and they left the area in September 1916 and moved to Hampton, according to a report in the Dandenong Advertiser of September 28, 1916. Mrs W. Currie was Annie Ellen (known as Nellie, nee Stillard) who was married to William Russell Currie, store keeper at Yannathan. Miss Hardy, Secretary of the Lang Lang guild, is possibly Elizabeth Charlotte Hardy who is listed in the Electoral Roll at Lang Lang in 1914, her occupation being dressmaker.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Patriotism and Nationalism at Emerald

This is an interesting article that encapsulates some of the underlying philosophies that the Great War brought to the fore. Clearly everyone mentioned here is patriotic, but some are more nationalistic than others and believe that an Honor Roll should only be made by a person of British birth or naturalisation. At this time all people who were Australian born were considered to be British subjects. I wonder who the 'local gentleman' was who was the first choice to manufacture the Honor Board?



Camberwell & Hawthorn Advertiser  December 15, 1916 


HONOR ROLL AT EMERALD
A Peculiar position has arisen in connection with the erection of a roll of honor at Emerald. At a meeting of the committee appointed by the subscribers held recently, Cr. Butcher Presiding, a motion was proposed that the board be made by British workmanship throughout. An amendment was carried by five votes to two, however, that the work be left in the hands of a local gentleman, who, it was alleged, was neither of British birth nor naturalization. This action caused considerable dissent in the township, with the result that the committee resigned in a body.  A meeting of the subscribers was then held, between 30 and 40 attending, when, after explanations, a new committee of nine was formed. Four of the old committee would not allow themselves to be nominated. Messrs Ferres, Stewart, Morgan, M'Gibbon, A. Nobelius and Davey and Mrs Mawlan were appointed. The Committee met subsequently and appointed Cr Ferres chairman and Mr M'Gibbon secretary. It was resolved that steps be taken to have the board made solely by British manufacture. A sum of about £25 is in hand for the purpose.

Who are these people mentioned in the article? Cr Butcher was Thomas William butcher, listed in the Electoral Roll as a Land Agent and he was a Emerald Riding Ward Councillor of the Shire of Fern Tree Gully from 1914 to 1928. Cr Ferres was Robert Ferres, whose occupation is listed as 'Gentleman' he was a Shire Councillor from 1915 to 1917. I don't know specifically who Mr Stewart was; Mr Morgan may have been Albert Morgan, a baker; Mr M'Gibbon was John Barker McGibbon, State School teacher; A. Nobelius was Archie Victor Nobelius, nurseryman, son of the founder of the Gembrook Nurseries, Carl Axel Nobelius and his wife Emily Brightwell;  Mr Davey may be George Davey, an orchardist. As for Mrs Mawlan, I believe that this is Margaret Ann Mowlan listed in the Electoral Rolls at Emerald in 1916 and 1917, her occupation was 'home duties' 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wanted - 100,000 pairs of socks!

Many women devoted themselves to the war effort and knitting was one thing they could do whilst still looking after their family and home. In June 1917, Mrs Chirnside of Edrington offered a prize of one pound for the best pair of knitted socks. Winifred Chirnside  was the daughter of Theodatus Sumner and Sarah Peers. Her sister, Alice, was the mother of Lady Casey,  another sister Annie was married to James Grice, brother of Richard Grice, after whom Grice's Road was named  and another sister, Mary, was married to Albert Nash, who owned Ballarto at Cranbourne. Mrs Nash helped establish the Cranbourne Red Cross. The Chirnside family had extensive landholdings including Werribee Park estate and it was Winifred and her husband, Andrew, who owned Edrington, They both died in 1934 and Edrington was left to Lady Casey and her brother, Rupert Ryan and their cousins Noel Sumner Nash and Doris Osborne.  I don't who won the prize for the best knitted socks.


Pakenham Gazette June 15, 1917

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Battle of Pozieres

The Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society had Mr Barry Gracey of the  Pozieres Remembrance Association as their guest speaker at their recent luncheon. Barry was a very passionate speaker and is devoting his life to gaining recognition for our Pozieres soldiers.  The Pozieres Battle took place between July 23 and August 7 in 1916 at the village of Pozieres in France. 6,848 men were killed and 16,000 wounded. Of the men killed over 4,000 were never found and still lie in the fields around Pozieres. Twelve percent of all Australian soldiers that were killed during the Great War died at Pozieres, and many of these men had survived the Gallipoli Campaign.

The Pozieres Remembrance Association believes these men are not adequately recognised and they have purchased some land that was central to the battle in Pozieres for a memorial garden and to help protect the resting place of the soldiers. To this end they are selling 7,000 bricks at $50.00 each to help raise money for the memorial.  If you are interested in supporting this cause then you can donate via their website http://www.pozieresremembered.com.au/

Some of our local men who were killed at Pozieres are John Leslie Christie, the son of William and Ada Christie of Beaconsfield (Service Number 3054).   John was Killed in Action on July 19 1917 and had no known grave. John has a tree in the Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour and is listed on the Beaconsfield War Memorial. Edward Francis Doherty (known as Frank, Service Number 1218)  was the son of John Doherty of Tynong.  Frank was Killed in Action on  August 4, 1916 and has no known grave. Frank is listed on the Cora Lynn War Memorial and the Bunyip War Memorial.


Pozieres - before and after the battle


Pozieres, c. 1910


Pozieres, France 1916. The main street of the town, now a mass of rubble,  destroyed during battle. 
Australian War Memorial image A057736    

Monday, May 1, 2017

Jack Morris - the Russian Finn of the Bunyip Swamp

It is not uncommon when researching First World War Soldiers to come across men  who enlisted in the Australian Army who were migrants from European countries. For instance, Nils Pederson was born in Norway and working at Cora Lynn when he enlisted. He was Killed in Action on September 1, 1918. Atolf Aleksanter Aalto is listed on the Nar Nar Goon Honour Roll and he was born in Finland.  Atolf  was awarded the Military Medal.

In this post we will look at John Morris (SN 1639) who was born on Odessa in Russia (now in Ukraine)  although when he was naturalized on August 8, 1937, his naturalization papers say he was born in Tobolsk, Siberia.  He has obviously selected an anglicised name - his real name is listed in the records as Alfronzia Morozoff. His next of kin is his mother Lokeria Oshipumna also of Odessa. Jack, as he was called, was a 37 year old bridge carpenter when he enlisted on May 8, 1915. His record said that he had spent seven years in the Russian Army.



Jack Morris' address on the Embarkation Rolls, 
Australian War Memorial www.awm.gov.au

The address on the Embarkation Rolls is listed as Scaple Simon, Russian Finn, Bunyip Swamp, Gippsland.  The Bunyip Swamp is the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and he no doubt lived at Bunyip (or more likely Bunyip South, the old name for Iona) I presume he was living with Scaple Simon - but was Scaple the Russian Finn or was John? What is a Russian Finn?  Finland was an autonomous Grand Duchy of Russia from 1809 to 1917, so presumably it was a Finnish person who lived in the Russian Grand Duchy.

Jack Returned to Australia September 9, 1915 and was medically discharged on April 12, 1916. What happened to him after that? In 1933 he wrote  a  letter to the Army and his address was Goondiwindi in Queensland, the same address as his naturalization papers in 1936. There is a later letter, from 1955 saying that his three medals had been handed in to the Public Curator in Brisbane and they were forwarded to the Central Army Records Base in Melbourne. By this time he was deceased. The letter, as you can see below, lists his real name. Incidently, the Public Curator is responsible for administration of deceased estates, estates of persons in care or disadvantaged, intestacies and insolvencies according to the Queensland Public Curator Office website.


Letter about Jack's medals, from 1955.
National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

I cannot find a marriage record  for him or a death record for him. I found a Alfronzia Morozoff in the Electoral Roll in 1954 and 1958. The address is Eventide, Sandgate North, a suburb of Brisbane. Eventide sounds like a retirement village or nursing home. In 1954 he would have been 78, an appropriate age for a nursing home. Is this Jack Morris? If so, why is he listed in the Electoral Rolls in 1958 after he had died (according to the letter reproduced above he was dead in 1955). My feeling is that this is our man and he just wasn't taken off the Electoral Roll.

1954 Electoral Roll

So why wasn't Alfronzia on the Electoral Roll before 1954? This time I looked for Jack Morris and found him in 1928 living at Dirranbandi in Queensland (south of St George) - as his occupation is listed as 'bridge carpenter' the same occupation as Morris' enrolment papers I am sure we have the same man. There are  a few other listings of Jack Morris in the same area (southern Queensland) but none with the same occupation to be able to be sure this is our Jack Morris. This raises another question - why did Jack revert back to his original name in the 1950s?

1928 Electoral Roll

The next question is who is Scaple Simon and what is his connection to Jack / Alfronzia?  I do not know. I cannot find Scaple on the Electoral Roll, in the Rate Books or any record of his death, so he is  a bit of  a mystery.  If you have any answers to my many questions or mysteries I would love to hear from you.