Monday, June 4, 2018

The Dawes Brothers of Iona

In our series of Brothers who Enlisted are the Dawes' brothers of Iona - Albert, Clifford, Gladstone and Victor  - the sons of Alfred and Elizabeth Dawes. Or were they the sons of Alfred and Elizabeth? First of all we will look at their enlistment details, then I have done some research into their family tree.

Dawes, Albert (SN 736)   Albert was a 24 year old carpenter when he enlisted on October 20, 1914. His next of kin was listed as 'Father and Mother' Kirwan's Post Office, via Garfield and as 'Mr Dawes' on the Embarkation Roll.  He sustained a bullet wound in the left wrist and Returned to Australia on February 9, 1916 for a medical discharge. Albert was a Soldier Settler - you can read his file on the Battle to Farm website here.

Dawes, Clifford Gordon  (SN 5086) Clifford was an 18 year old farmer when he enlisted on January 26, 1916. His next of kin was his father, Alfred, of Iona. He Returned to Australia on July 21, 1917 for a medical discharge - 'Gun shot wounds  multiple' was the reason. Clifford is listed on the Bunyip War Memorial.

Dawes, Gladstone (SN 4178) Gladstone enlisted on July 20 1915 aged 18. His next of kin was his mother, Mrs A. Dawes of Iona, and his father was listed as Alfred Dawes, Senior. Gladstone was Killed in Action in France on June 17, 1918.

Dawes, Victor (SN 3080) Victor enlisted on July 20, 1915 aged 21 and his next of kin was his mother, Mrs Elizabeth Dawes of Garfield. He Returned to Australia on July 3, 1919.

Gladstone Morgan Dawes, standing.  
Photo possibly taken in Egypt. The  two seated soldiers are said to be Gladstone's cousins perhaps  Raymond Oswald Dawes (SN 430) and Edmond Withers Dawes (SN 2368)

Alfred and Elizabeth (nee Morgan) Dawes are listed in the Electoral Roll in 1914 at Iona. Were these boys brothers? According to the Indexes to the Victoria Births, Deaths and Marriages - Albert was born with the surname Morgan  in 1890 to Louise Morgan, unknown father, but the middle name was Dawes, so that's a clue. When he died in 1962 he had Dawes as a surname,  Alfred Henry as the father and Louise Morgan as his mother. Victor was born in 1896 at Bunyip South (old name for Iona), with Dawes as the surname,  to Alfred Dawes and Elizabeth Morgan. Gladstone was born with Morgan as the surname in 1898 to Louise Morgan, father unknown.  Clifford was also born in 1898 with Morgan as the surname to Frances Morgan and unknown father, however when he died in 1972 he was listed as a Dawes, father Alfred and mother Elizabeth Morgan. So what does all this tell us? I believe they were raised as brothers. However, there are a few unanswered questions such as - was Elizabeth also known as Louise and/or Frances? Why was the second child registered as a Dawes but the two born in 1898 registered as Morgans - or were Louise and Frances Morgan relatives of Elizabeth and she took the three boys in and raised them with her only child Victor? I don't know.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Gabbett brothers

In this post, in our series of Brothers who enlisted, we are looking at the Gabbett brothers who had an association with Garfield and Pakenham. Edward (b. 1880),  Ernest (1882) and Norcliffe (1896) were the sons of John Norcliffe Gabbett and Marion Auriol Lintott. There were also three daughters - Annie Auriol (1885) possibly a Denise (b. c. 1885) and Eda Marion (1892). John and Marion were married in Buln Buln in 1879 and the marriage notice in The Argus of December 29, 1879  states that he was the second son of the late Major R.P Gabbett, Royal Artillery, and she was the only child of Edward Lintott, Esq. Marion's parents were pioneers of the Brandy Creek (Warragul) area and in her father's obituary it said that the name of Captain Lintott could not be disassociated with that of Brandy Creek. You can read his obituary in the Warragul Guardian, here. Marion's mother came from equally illustrious stock, you can read her obituary in the Warragul Guardian, here.  Edward Linnott's obituary said that Marion's husband was Captain Gabbett of the Mounted Rifles. 

What else do we know about Captain Gabbett? He resigned his commission in the Victorian Mounted Rifles in November 1889 and the same year he was appointed Deputy Registrar of Births and Deaths in Drouin. In 1902 he was appointed as a Commissioner for taking Declarations and Affidavits at Toora. In September 1904, Captain Gabbett, went missing. He was on a fishing excursion and when he went to board the boat in the evening, it is believed that he slipped and possibly hit his head. A search was undertaken but his body was not found - I couldn't find an Inquest record or a death registration, so it's all a  bit of  a mystery. As for Marion, in 1926 she married Henry St Leger Skinner and died at the age of 90 in 1943.

By now you are probably thinking - what is the  Casey Cardinia connection? Here it is - Marion and her son Norcliffe were living in Pakenham when he enlisted. As well, son Ernest and his wife Eveline are listed in the Electoral Rolls at Garfield in 1914, his occupation was merchant, Marion was also listed at Garfield. They must have moved to Pakenham around 1914 and opened a drapers shop which Eveline operated when her husband was away at the War.   In 1919 Ernest and Eveline are in the Electoral Roll at Pakenham - his occupation is a tailor and Eveline was listed as a draper.

Gabbett, Edward Norcliffe (Service Number 845) Edward was 34 years old when he enlisted on July 8, 1915 and  his next of kin was his wife, Lilian, of Stratford. His occupation was Agent. Edward was wounded in action - gun shot wound to left leg - and had to have the leg amputated. He was sent back to England for recuperation and Returned to Australia November 25, 1917 and was medically discharged. In spite of this set back he lived until the age of 91 and died in 1972.

A report of the return of Ernest Gabbett, whose wife has conducted a drapery business here [Pakenham] during the greater part of Mr Gabbett's absence with the A.I.F abroad.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal November 28, 1918

Mrs Gabbett's advertisement from the Pakenham Gazette June 15, 1917

Gabbett, Ernest Poole (SN 2846) Ernest was a 32 year storekeeper when he enlisted on August 25, 1914. His next of kin was his wife, Eveline. He was wounded in action - shot in the arm - and after a time spent recuperating in England he Returned to Australia October 7, 1918. Ernest also lived to a good age and died in 1962 aged 80.

A welcome home to Ernest Gabbett and other Pakenham soldiers.
Dandenong Advertiser December 12, 1918.

Gabbett, Norcliffe Esca (SN 1167) Norcliffe was only 18 when he enlisted on March 15, 1915. His next of kin was his mother of Pakenham.  Sadly, only 8 months after he enlisted Norcliffe Died of Wounds on the Gallipoli Peninsula on November 5, 1915.  I have called him Norcliffe, but he seems to have been known as Esca and he is listed on the Drouin State School Honor Roll as Esca Gabbett. You can see the list of names from this roll, here.

A report of the death of Norcliffe Gabbett

Bunyip Free Press December 2, 1915

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tooradin State School Honour Roll

The Cranbourne Shire Historical Society is the custodian of the Tooradin State School Honor Board - you can view it at the Fishermans Cottage Museum, Foreshore Road, Tooradin. They are open Sunday afternoons 12noon to 4.00pm or by appointment. 

The Honor Board lists the names of men from Tooradin who served in the Great War who had an association with the Tooradin State School. Here are the soldiers, who are listed on the Board.  I have listed their Service Numbers (SN) so you can look up their full record on the National Archives of Australia  

Alford, J   According to the book Tooradin: 125 years of Coastal History* a Joe Alford was at the school around 1908 - 1910, so you would have to assume that this is J. Alford listed on the Honour Board. The 1908, 1909 Electoral Roll has a William Alford listed at Tooradin, so that fits in with Joe's commencement date at the School. There is a funeral notice in The Argus on March 23, 1909 for Annie Alford, 'late of Tooradin' this was most likely Ann Eliza Alford (nee Rogers) whose death was registered at Cranbourne - she was 72 years old. She was married to a William Alford, but at that age clearly was not the mother of a school age Joe, but possibly the grandmother. There are a number of Joseph Alfords who enlisted but none that I can find with a connection to Tooradin. Even allowing for the fact that the Joe Alford listed as a pupil in the book is a red herring, I still cannot find a J. Alford with a local connection.

Amos, Victor Anthony (SN 2868) Victor and his siblings, Cyril and Daisy enrolled at the school in 1893. Their brother, Eric,  started in 1900. Victor enlisted on June 13, 1916 at the age of 32. He was  a farmer and his next of kin was his wife, Margaret, and they were living at Leongatha. Victor Returned to Australia May 6, 1919.

Cole, William Preston (SN 3629)   William, a clerk,  enlisted on July 19, 1915 at the age of 25. His father was William Cole of Lang Lang. William Returned to Australia May 8, 1919. William's father, also called William, was a Police Constable and he was shifted from Tooradin to the newly established Police Station at Lang Lang in 1910. His mother was Charlotte Catherine Cole.

The Age April 30, 1910.

Duff, Charles Alexander (SN 859 and 237)  Charles enlisted on May 31, 1915 at the age of 19, then returned to Australia because of illness and the enlisted again May 16, 1916 when he was 20. Charles was Killed in Action in Belgium June 8, 1917. Charles was the son of  William Tucker Duff and the grandly named, Alice Laura Constance Beauchamp Hobart.  He was also the  grandson of the Reverend Alexander Duff and his wife, Annie Tucker.  

Duff, T - I can't find a T. Duff with a  connection to Tooradin. Charles' brother, William Vere Hobart Duff (SN 860) enlisted on January 6, 1916 aged 23. His next of kin was his wife, Brenda, of East Malvern. William Returned to Australia on January 10, 1918. 
Cardinia State School established a tree plantation in honour of local soldiers in July 1917 and both Charles and William were honoured with a tree, so he is  a likely candidate to also be on the Tooradin Honor Roll. You can read about the Cardinia plantation, here.

George Denham's Royal Navy enlistment paper  - you can download a copy from the Australian War Memorial website

Denham, George Dunlop.  George was a stoker in the Royal Navy, he enlisted in 1908
Denham, Robert Alexander  (SN 392) Robert was born in Koo Wee Rup  and was living in Carlton and he 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. 
George and Robert were the sons 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.

Evans, Matthew Lance (SN 7006) Matthew was 21 when he enlisted on October 27, 1916. He was a picture framer and his next of kin was his father, Lance, of South Melbourne. Matthew was Killed in Action in France on September 18, 1918. Matthew was the son of Lance and Mary (nee Petch) Evans and the grandson of Matthew Evans. Matthew Evans (1836-1909) was an early resident of Tooradin.  You can read more about Matthew Evans, here

The Age October 12, 1918

Hardy,  Horace Robert (SN 19995)   Horace enlisted on June 20, 1917 at the age of 21. He Returned to Australia July 13, 1919. Horace was the son of William John Hardy (c. 1855 - 1940) and  Sophia Wells Cadd (1856 - 1919) of Dalmore. His paternal grandparents, Emling and Emily (nee Gregory) Hardy took up land at Clyde North in 1856 - Hardy Road is named after the family. His maternal grandparents were Thomas and Sarah (nee Wells) Cadd who took up land at Clyde in 1862.

Henderson, Leslie Rupert (SN 369) I presume that as this man is listed as R. L Henderson that he was known as Rupert, so I will call him that. Rupert enlisted on September 15, 1914. He was a 27 year old tram conductor. His was born in Tooradin and his next of kin was his mother, Mrs D.M Henderson (Mrs David Metcalf Henderson, nee Christina McKay) of Tooradin.   Rupert Returned to Australia November 15, 1918.   

Irvine, H.R You would think this would be easy to find but I cannot find  a H.R Irvine or H.R Irving who enlisted; there are no Irvines/Irvings listed in the Tooradin: 125 years of Coastal History and I can't find an Irvine/Irving in the Electoral Rolls, so I am not sure who this is.

Lewitzka, Herbert John (SN  28415) Herbert was 18, a student,  when he enlisted on May 11, 1916. He was born in Beulah and his mother, Mary Schneider of Murrayville,  was his next of kin. Herbert Returned to Australia July 1, 1919. What was his connection to Tooradin? There are only two Lewitzkas who enlisted in the War, the other is his brother, Frederick James (SN 32297) who was a 24 year old farmer when he enlisted in September 1916. Mary Schneider was born Mary Jane Jeffrey and married Frederick Lewitzka in 1891, they were divorced in 1903 on the grounds of his 'habitual drunkedness' and she then married Johann August Schneider also in 1903.  Mary and Johann (or John as he was listed) are in the 1909 Electoral Roll at Tooradin, with his occupation as storekeeper.

McCulloch, David Stuart (SN 2107) David, who was born in Melbourne, was a 22 year old farmer from Parkes in New South Wales when he enlisted on June 26, 1917. His next of kin was his father, David, of Tralee, Parkes. David Returned to Australia May 11, 1919.  David McCulloch senior purchased the Tooradin Estate in 1880 and built the existing brick house, he was married to Janet Margaret McDonald Craik, the daughter of  Mr George Craik, owner of Kincraik in Beaconsfield Upper. Kincraik, opened in 1888, was a 32 room guest house, which had views to Western Port and the Morningon Peninsula.  The name was changed to Salisbury House in 1896 and after various changes of ownership it became a nursing home in 1989. You can read an account of their 1890 wedding, here

The obituary of David McCulloch senior, which lists his extensive land holdings including
 Tooradin Estate and Tralee, Parkes.
The Argus October 2, 1944

Milburn, John (SN 966) John was born in Tooradin and his next of kin was his mother, Emily, whose address was State School, Tooradin.  John's father, William,  was the Head Teacher at Tooradin from 1886 to 1917.  John enlisted on May 6, 1915. He was a 23 year old sleeper hewer. John suffered a severe bullet wound to the right arm in September 1918, recuperated in hospital in England and Returned to Australia March 31, 1919.

Moore, C Not sure who this is. There was a Cornelius and a Richard Moore at the school in 1893, but I cannot find a Cornelius who enlisted. There is a Thomas and Mary Moore listed in the Electoral Rolls at Sherwood (which is in the region of where the Tooradin-Baxter Road intersects with the South Gippsland Highway and along to Fisheries Road) in 1905 and 1906, so this person may be connected to them.

Mundy, William James  (SN 1637)  William was a 21 year old carpenter when he enlisted on May 8, 1916. His next of kin was his wife, Jessie, of Dandenong.  William was wounded in action - gun shot wound to the neck -  in September 1918 and after a period of time in hospital in England he Returned to Australia April 19, 1919. William was born in Hastings and he was the son of Henry and Amelia (nee Kernot) Mundy. Henry Mundy was a professional fisherman at Tooradin as were members of the Kernot family. You can read about the Kernot's family long connection to Tooradin, here

Porter, J.C Another mystery - I cannot find a J.C Porter who enlisted with any local connections, they are not in Tooradin: 125 years of Coastal History and no local Porters on the Electoral Roll.

Robins, Arthur Welsley Underwood (SN 35 and 2271) Arthur was a 19 year old sawmiller when he enlisted on October 5, 1914. He fought at Gallipoli, was shot in the left arm and sent back to Australia and was discharged on medical grounds  on April 28, 1916. Arthur then enlisted again on May 31, 1917 and Returned to Australia January 24, 1919. 
Robins, Rufus Roy (SN 64558) Roy, is what he seems to have been known as, enlisted on June 25, 1918. He was 20 years old and an orchardist. He was sent overseas in September 1918 and Returned to Australia July 10, 1919.
Arthur and Roy were the sons of Edwin and Alice (nee Underwood) Robins. Edwin was the licensee of the Bridge Hotel at Tooradin from 1909 to 1917. When Roy enlisted in 1918 the family were living in Glen Waverley. The Robins' had another son who went to war, Henry Albert (SN 5185), he was 28, an engine driver, when he enlisted in January 1916, so too old to have attended the Tooradin State School in the time frame the family was there. Henry was wounded in action - gun shot wounds to left arm and left thigh and Returned to Australia August 1917 and was medically discharged. Bit of family history:  Edwin and Alice had sixteen children between 1879 and 1905. Arthur and Roy were born in Barramunga, in the Otway Ranges, south of Forrest, and Henry was born in Sale, so the family shifted around a fair bit. Another son, Charles, married Molly Milburn in 1912, the sister of John Milburn, listed above.

Report of Roy Robins' enlistment in the Dandenong Advertiser June 13, 1918

Stredwick, Ralph Edmund (SN 35910)  Ralph was 22 when he enlisted on September 25, 1916. He was a labourer. Ralph Returned to Australia February 28, 1919. You can read a letter that Ralph sent back to his parents in 1918, published in the Benalla Independent on March 29, 1918, here
Stredwick, Roger Charles  (SN 218) Roger was a 21 year old dentist when he enlisted on August 19, 1914. Roger Returned to Australia July 7, 1916 and was discharged on medical grounds in February 1917 (Malaria). It appears that becoming  a dentist at that time was done as an apprenticeship as Roger was listed as an apprentice to Dr Vandenberg of Benalla.

Roger and Ralph, both born at Benalla,  were the sons of William Stredwick and Ada Mary Walter, who operated the Tooradin Store from 1906 to 1909, but were living in Benalla when the boys enlisted. Roger was born in 1893 so was his stated age of 21 when he enlisted, however Ralph was born in 1898, so was actually only 18 when he enlisted, not 22 like he claimed. 

Strudwicke, George Poole (SN 7305) Surname is listed as Stredwick on the Honor Board. George was a 29 year old farmer when he enlisted on October 7, 1916. He was born in Tooradin and his next of kin was his mother, Catherine Strudwicke, of Lang Lang. George was wounded in action and had his left leg amputated and was in hospital in England for over a year before he Returned to Australia December 13, 1918. George was the son of Mary Catherine Strudwicke (nee George) and her 'partner' George Poole. You can read about George Poole and his relationship with Mrs Strudwicke, here
Is there a connection between the Stredwick boys and George Strudwicke? They are both unusual surnames and perhaps one branch of the family changed the spelling. 

Warnes, William Edward (SN 505) William enlisted at the age of 24 on September 14, 1914. His next of kin was his mother, Elizabeth, of Cranbourne. William enrolled at Tooradin State School in 1900.  William Died of Wounds, whilst a Prisoner of War, on the Gallipoli Peninsula on August 8, 1915. 

From William Warnes' file
  National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

William Warnes was the adopted son of Elizabeth Warnes. She wrote this letter to the Army in August 1920 and she said, in part,  the Neglected Childrens Department at Royal Park handed him to my care at the age of about sight months and when he was seven years old I adopted him and he lived me with me and my family until he enlisted and went to the War.


From William Warnes' file
  National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

A touching letter written by William's friend James Pasmore to Mrs Warnes about William's death. James Pasmore (SN 486) enlisted on September 14, 1914 and Returned to Australia in February 1919.

*Tooradin: 125 years of coastal history - Blind Bight, Cannon's Creek, Sherwood, Tooradin North, Warneet 1875-2000 State school No. 1503 compiled by John Wells and the 'Tooradin Celebrates Together 125 Years of Education Committee', published by the Committee in 2001. The book has a list of students who attended Dalmore, Tooradin and Tooradin North State Schools.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Ellett Brothers of Pakenham South

In this post, in our series of Brothers who enlisted, we are looking at the Ellett Brothers of Pakenham South. Alfred, John and Robert who all enlisted in the Great War were the sons of John and Jane (nee Margaret Jane Webster) Ellett of 'Wattle Vale' Pakenham South. John and Jane had moved to McDonalds Drain Road in 1901 and they had fifteen children, of whom all except one survived to adulthood - Rosanna Jane (b. 1887), Robert Henry (1888), Jane (1889), William Edward (1890), John (1891-1892), Dora Mary (1892), John Alfred (1894), Maggie May (1895), Alfred (1897), Alice (1899), Edward (1900), Walter (1902), Harry (1904), Maude (1906) and Minnie (1907).

The family had been market gardeners in Springvale, before they came to Pakenham South and all the children were born there (although the births were registered in Oakleigh). According to the book Look to the Rising Sun: a history of Cardinia and District* the Ellett family  operated the Post Office and store and were involved in many community groups and activities.

Ellett, Alfred (Service Number 439) Alfred enlisted on January 21, 1916 at the age of 18. His occupation was farmer.  Alf  Returned to Australia January 8, 1919.

A report on Alf's enlistment to fight against the brutal rapaciousness of the unspeakable Hun. Alf was the third son the Ellett's had given to our Empire's cause.

South Bourke and Mornington Journal June 1, 1916

Ellett, John Alfred (SN 2773) Called John (or Jack as he was called in a newspaper report) enlisted on December 14, 1914 at the age of 20. He was also a farmer. Jack had been wounded whilst serving - gun shot wound to the right thigh - and had also suffered from Enteric Fever (typhoid).   Jack Returned to Australia December 3, 1918

Ellett, Robert Henry.  Robert, or Bert as he was called, enlisted twice firstly on October 20, 1914 (SN 2772) at the age of 26 and secondly on April 18, 1916 (SN 2407) The first time he enlisted he was sent overseas but Returned to Australia December 4, 1915 and was discharged on medical grounds in March 1916 - amongst the conditions mentioned were deafness, rheumatism and asthma. Bert then re-enlisted on April 18, 1916 and was wounded in action - gun shot wound to the right arm - and was  discharged again on medical grounds on December 12, 1917. Bert was granted a Soldier Settlement farm, you can read his file here, on the Battle to Farm website.

The Ellett's were clearly a patriotic family - in spite of the fact that both Bert and Jack had served overseas, been badly wounded, they still wanted to have another go at the Hun.
Dandenong Advertiser  May 17, 1917

This is part of  a letter Bert wrote home, which was published in the 
South Bourke & Mornington Journal of November 11, 1915. It was an account of  trip on Lord Brassy's yachh, which he had made available for wounded soldiers.
You can read it in full here

*Look to the Rising Sun: a history of Cardinia and District including Rythdale and Pakenham South by Eileen Williams and Jewel Beard (Back to Cardinia Committee, 1984)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Blackwood Brothers of Pakenham South

In this post, in our series of Brothers who enlisted, we are looking at the Blackwood Brothers of Pakenham South, the sons of John and Mary Anne Blackwood.

Mary Anne (nee Cadd) Blackwood owned 97 acres at Pakenham South - she is listed in the Berwick Shire Rate Books from 1910/1911. The name of the property was 'The Island'  Mary Anne (or Minnie as she was called in her husband's death notice) was the widow of John Blackwood, a railway ganger, who died in October 1902 at the age of 52. John and Mary Anne married in 1880 and had ten children - Isabella Helen (b. 1881) John (1883), Mary Ann (1885) James Allen (1887), Lucy Florence (1889), Lillian May (1891) Archibald McDonald (1893), David (1895), Andrew Joseph (1897) and Elizabeth Blanche (1900). The first four children were born (or registered) at Berwick, the next five at Stratford and Elizabeth, the tenth child was born at Beaconsfield.

Mary Ann was born at Clyde and was the daughter of Clyde pioneers Thomas and Sarah (nee Wells ) Cadd  who took up land in Clyde in 1862. Mary Ann died in July 1950, aged 88 years old.

A report of Andrew and Archie's enlistment in the Dandenong Advertiser, July 1 1915. The article mentions the 'Ellett boys' - you can read about them here

Three of John and Mary Anne's sons  enlisted in the Great War, Andrew, Archibald and James. In each case their mother was listed as their next of kin.
Blackwood, Andrew Joseph (Service Number 1207)
Blackwood, Archibald McDonald (SN 1206) Andrew and Archie both enlisted on July 13, 1915. They were both farmers and both Returned to Australia May 15, 1919. However, Andrew was 18 when he enlisted and Archie was 22 years old.
Archie was a recipient of a Soldier Settlement Farm after his return, you can read his file on the Battle to Farm website, here.

Blackwood, James Allen  (SN 33176) James was 29 when he enlisted  on October 25, 1916. He was also a farmer, like his brothers, and Returned to Australia July 8, 1919.

A report of James' departure to join his two brothers was in the 
Dandenong Advertiser February 8, 1917

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Gembrook World War One Avenue of Honour

The Gembrook Aveneue of Honour in Redwood Road was planted around 1946 by returned World War Two soldiers. This was quite unusual both in the way it was planted by returned soldiers and how long after the war that it was planted. I don't have the date it was officially opened or dedicated, however the Gembrook Progress Association requested assistance from the Berwick Shire in March 1946 to plant the Avenue, so it must have been around that time.

Dandenong Journal March 20, 1946.

Each tree has a plaque attached and the Narre Warren and District Family History Group have photographed the plaques, you can see them here, on their Casey Cardinia Remembers website. 

If you are interested in the history of Gembrook or want more information about some of the families mentioned then take  a look at the book Forest to Farming: Gembrook an early history  written by Genseric (Bill) Parker.

What follows is a list of the soldiers  who were honoured with  a tree in the Avenue. I have listed their Service Numbers (SN) so you can look up their full record on the National Archives of Australia website

Ball, John Lewis (SN 3012) John was 35 when he enlisted on July 22, 1915. He Returned to Australia May 11, 1916 and was medically discharged, his condition being  a 'irritable heart'. What was his connection to Gembrook? He was born at Portarlington and when he enlisted he was living in North Melbourne at the same address as his sister, Mrs Thomas, who was listed as his next of kin.  John (and wife Ethel nee Watsham) are in the Electoral Roll from 1918 at Gembrook, but the only link his personnel file has to him being connected to Gembrook is this annotation on a 1925 document in his file (see below)

From John Ball's file 
  National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

Dyson, Frederick George (SN 2459) Frederick was 21 when he enlisted on December 11, 1915. His next of kin was his father, also called Frederick, of Gembrook. Frederick Returned to Australia July 24, 1919.

Fry, George Vincent  (Lieutenant)  George enlisted at the age of 25 on May 12, 1915. His occupation was listed as 'Engineer and Farmer' however another form in his file said that he was an 'Investor and Farmer'. His next of kin was his mother,  Maria Annie Fry,  of 'Winander', Gembrook. George Returned to Australia October 18, 1917 and his 'appointment was terminated' in March 1918.  He suffered from 'Neurasthenia Cerebral Tubes' - a term apparently not used anymore but symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, palpitations and the like. George must have returned to England because he was married there on December 14, 1918 to Effie Louise Strong.  They lived in Yea when they came back to Australia, however the marriage ended in divorce in August 1937.

The Argus August 7, 1937

Fry, James Leslie Rood. (no SN listed)  James, a 23 year old farmer,  was the brother of George (above). He enlisted on May 12, 1915, same day as George, and was Discharged on June 26 1915 at 'own request' - a letter in his file said that he wanted to travel to England to join the King Edward's Horse - King Edward's Horse - The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment - made up of men from British Colonies, such as Australia and New Zealand. He served with this Regiment from August 1915 until June 1918. James returned to Gembook after the War and lived there until he died in 1961.

Hird, William Birkett (SN 1666) He was listed as B. Hird on the plaque, so I presume he was known as Birkett, so that's what we will call him.  Birkett enlisted on February 25, 1916 aged 21. His next of kin was his mother, Mary, of Gembrook. On October 12, 1917 Birkett was declared Missing in Action and a Court of Enquiry, held on April 4, 1918 declared that he had been Killed in Action, in France, on the day he went missing.

Hird, William Holmes  (SN 18468) This is Birkett's father, who was 44 years old when he enlisted on May 30, 1917. He was sent overseas and was in Egypt, had malaria and Returned to Australia August 30, 1918 and medically discharged.

Huby, Clarence Walter Percy (SN 11351) Clarence was a 22 year old sawyer when he enlisted on June 16, 1915. His next of kin was his mother who lived in Haxby in England. Clarence married Ada Elizabeth Hollick on August 18, 1919 and Returned to Australia November 7, 1919. Clarence and Ada lived in Gembrook after the War.

Ingram, Alexander Henry Brougham (SN 3540) Alexander enlisted on July 9, 1915 and was discharged in the October, due to 'pain in right foot, interferes with marching'. He re-enlisted on July 16, 1917 at the age of 38 and Returned to Australia July 23, 1919 - obviously whatever foot pain he suffered from had disappeared. Alexander's father, Robert, of Gembrook was listed as his next of kin.

James, Arthur (SN 3248) Arthur was only 18 when he enlisted on February 2, 1916. He was an orphan and his next of kin was his friend, Henry James of Gembrook North, same address as Arthur. Arthur Returned to Australia January 18, 1919.

Kermond, Edward (SN 10169) Edward was a Blacksmith and was listed in the Electoral Roll of 1914 at Gembrook, but was living in Balaclava in Melbourne when he enlisted on December 28, 1915. He was 28 years old and his next of kin was his wife, Ruby. Edward Returned to Australia June 12, 1919. Bill Parker described Ted Kermond as a 'kindly man who was a credit to his trade'.

Lloyd, Arthur Hubert (SN 12338)  Bill Parker mentions that Hubert Lloyd worked with his brother Lindsay at Lindsay's butcher shop in Gembrook. Hubert enlisted on August 5, 1915 at the age of 20. His next of kin was his father of Murrumbeena. Hubert Returned to Australia June 15, 1919.  Lindsay and Hubert were the sons of Arthur Charles Lloyd and Alice Mary Baldry.  Lindsay had bought out Fred Pitt's butchery, you can read about Fred, below.

Madigan, Timothy James (SN 3118) Timothy was 18 and a farm labourer, when he enlisted on June 16, 1916. His next of kin was his mother, Margaret, of Gembrook. Timothy Returned to Australia July 1, 1919.

McDonald, Alexander  (SN 3747) Alexander was a 21 year old orphan and he enlisted on October 9, 1917. His address was Gembrook - C/o Mr Pitt, Farmer, Gembrook. He had no next of kin on enlistment but that was later changed to Charlotte Buchanan of Gembrook, listed as his 'aunt'. Alexander was gassed when he was serving overseas and Returned to Australia December 12, 1918. To add interest to Alexander's case there is a form in his file from the 'Office of the Victorian Government Statist' and it stated that  a search had been done of the Indexes and there was no record  of  a birth of a Alexander McDonald in Victoria between the years 1895 and 1899. However I have discovered that there is a birth of an Alexander McDonald Buchanan to a Charlotte Buchanan (father listed as unknown) in 1896. I believe that this is our Alexander and that his 'aunt' Charlotte was really his mother. Did he know this then or later?  That would be interesting to know. I guess the best thing about this is that Charlotte had the opportunity to have contact with her son, most unmarried mothers at the time would have had the baby taken from them and given up for adoption.

McNulty, Bernard Viner (SN 1976)  Bernard was 19 when he enlisted on June 19, 1915 and his next of kin was his father, Patrick, of Panmure, although his address was later changed to Gembrook. Bernard suffered a number of gun shot wounds to his legs, arms and face and an operation was performed and after that his 'right arm suppurated'. Bernard Returned to Australia October 31, 1917 and was medically discharged.  However, he enlisted again on June 11, 1918 and this time his service ended when the War finished.

Mentiplay, Angus Phillip (SN 4439)  Angus, and his wife Sarah,  are listed in the Electoral Rolls at Gembrook  from 1921 - his occupation is a farmer. When he enlisted on Janaury 4, 1915 he was a 43 years old and his occupation was 'Herbalist.' His next of kin was his wife, Sarah, of Port Melbourne. Angus Returned to Australia September 9, 1916 and he was medically discharged in the December having had a 'nervous breakdown'.  Bill Parker mentions a William Mentiplay who took up 320 acres at Gembrook in 1874. The Berwick Shire Rate Books also list a William Mentiplay Jnr at Gembrook. Angus' father was a William Mentiplay, so they are possibly all connected.

Neville, Walter (SN 699) Walter enlisted on February 2, 1915. He was a 23 year old 'shoe hand' or bootmaker, as he was listed in the Electoral Rolls. His next of kin was his father, Ralph, of Gembrook. Walter Returned to Australia on February 7, 1919. Walter faced a Court Martial in October 1917 - he was charged with desertion, found not guilty of that but guilty of being absent without leave.

Pitt, Frederick (SN 1250) Frederick was a 38 year old Hotelkeeper (or Licensed Victualler as his Embarkation paper calls it) when he enlisted on April 8, 1915. Frederick Returned to Australia August 22, 1919. Fred's father, Howard, was the licensee of the Ranges Hotel in Gembrook from 1904 to 1921. I believe that Howard's brother, also called Fred, was also a licensee. Young Fred's next of kin was listed as his mother, who lived in England, which seems  a bit odd to me when it appears that he worked with his father in the Hotel. Bill Parker says that Fred worked in the butcher's shop after the War, which was built next to the Hotel by his father.

Pitt, J Can't work out who this is, I presume some connection to Frederick, above.

Gembrook Avenue of Honour
Photo credit: Casey Cardinia Remembers 

Raleigh, B  Mr Raleigh is another mystery.  He is listed as having died in the War and there are only two Raleighs on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour - James Alexander Raleigh (SN 688) Killed in Action August 1, 1917 - he was born and enlisted in Queensland and James Patrick Raleigh (SN 1736) Died of Wounds June 18, 1917 - he was born in Townsville and enlisted in Dubbo. There is no B. Raleigh on either the Nominal or Embarkation rolls.
The 1914 Electoral Roll has a William Thorp Raleigh, 'Goronga' Pakenham Upper and a Hilda Elizabeth Raleigh at Gembrook South. Given that the Pakenham Upper School was known as Gembrook South from 1879 to 1916, I feel we can assume they lived at the same address. William had married Matilda Hebden in 1873 and they had a number of children, including Hilda Elizabeth in 1884 and a George Hebden Raleigh in 1878. So, I googled him and it turns out he was Captain George Hebden Raleigh and he has an entry on the Imperial War Museum website -  Unit: Essex Regiment, Squadron Commander of the 4th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. Death: 20 January 1915 Dunkirk fell out of plane on ground Western Front. You can see a photo of him and read more about his career here. I don't know why he is listed as B. Raleigh, but as we can confirm a Gembrook connection I think he is the most likely candidate.

Russell, Edmund Henry Cecil (SN 1256) Sometimes listed as Edward in his personnel file.
Russell, John Hardness Cecil (SN 4899)  The boys were both born in New Zealand and were the sons of George Cecil Russell of 'Brooksby', Gembrook.  They were both farmers and Edmund was 22 when he enlisted on March 12, 1915 and John was 19, when he enlisted six months later on October 13, 1915.  Edward was discharged on medical grounds ('permanently unfit') on January 15, 1918 and his brother John was also discharged on medical grounds - gunshot wounds to both legs which caused one leg to be amputated - on April 3, 1918.

Bill Parker writes that the Russell family were 'immensely public spirited' and involved in much of the community life of Gembrook.  Cecil and Alice (nee Miles) Russell had three sons Evelyn Aylmer Cecil Russell (known as Bill); Edmund Henry Cecil Russell (known as Tom) and John Hardness Cecil Russell (known as Jack). Bill owned three sawmills and built the first garage in Gembrook, he was also a Berwick Shire Councillor.  As a matter of interest, Jack's wife Doris (nee Doris Marion Green) was a  World War One Nurse. Sister Green enlisted on September 21, 1914 at the age of 24 and she accompanied the first Australian convoy overseas, served at the Gallipoli landing and served overseas until she was discharged on April 20, 1920. Doris died in 1973.

Scott, Walter Adam (SN 1942) Walter was a 29 year old farm manager and he enlisted on August 4, 1915. His next of kin was his wife, Mrs W. Scott, of Gembrook (she later moved to South Yarra). Walter was awarded the Military Medal, suffered a 'severe' gun shot wound to the abdomen and Returned to Australia January 4, 1919.

Ure, James Buchanan (SN 960) James was born in Gembrook the son of John and Jane (nee Buchanan) Ure of Silver Wells, Gembrook.  James was 34 when he enlisted on February 25, 1916 and he Returned to Australia July 1, 1919. You can read more about the Ure family and their Silver Wells property, here

Wade, B  This is Herbert William Wade, who is listed in the 1919 Electoral Roll as a 'War Pensioner' He was the son of Richard and Alice (nee Seymour) Wade, born in 1890, so the brother of Leslie, listed below. However, he is not listed under that name in the Nominal Rolls, the Embarkation Rolls nor can I find his file on the National Archives website. However, his death notice (below) confirms everything I have found out.

The Argus August 13, 1951

Anyway I sent this mystery  of Mr B. Wade off to the President and Treasurer of the Narre Warren & District Family History Group and voila! a solution was found. It appears that Herbert William Wade enlisted under the name John Herbert Wade (SN 1128) on October 6, 1914. He was 25 and a Locomotive fireman. John was wounded at Gallipoli and also had Tuberculosis and Returned to Australia October 8 1915 and was discharged on medical grounds in  November 1916. Of interest, and to confirm these men are one and the same,  is this letter  (see below) in his file from his sister, Eva Elizabeth Lloyd, asking for his Gallipoli Medallion - she calls him Herbert William Wade, but the form is annotated at the top with 1128 John Herbert Wade. Edith was a sister of Herbert and Leslie, listed below. She was also married to Lindsay Lloyd, so the sister-in-law of Hubert Lloyd, listed above. The only mystery that remains is the person he listed as his next of kin - Mrs A.G Speed of Seymour - however this turns out to be his sister Ethel. Ethel was born to Alice Seymour in 1887, before her marriage to Mr Richard Wade and she married Alexander Govan Speed in 1906 (as Ethel Tanner) but her death record lists Alice Seymour as her mother, so it is Herbert Wade's sister.

 National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

Wade, Leslie Barton (SN 2200) Leslie, the brother of Herbert, listed above, was a Stock and Station Agent and he enlisted at the age of 26 on September 2, 1914. His next of kin was his farther, Richard, of Gembrook. He was wounded in action, gun shot wound to the head and later Returned to Australia October 23, 1918 and was discharged on medical grounds.

Wilson,  Robert Harold (SN 6909) The name on the plaque says A.H. Wilson, but I believe that it is Robert Harold Wilson, as I can't find an A.H. Wilson with a Gembrook connection.  Robert was a 20 year old saw miller when he enlisted on February 19, 1917. He was wounded in action including a severe gun shot wound to the eight eye and Returned to Australia October 19, 1918.

Wilson, Thomas William Fauntleroy (SN 7584) Thomas enlisted on June 8, 1917. He was a 23 year old engine driver. Thomas was Killed in Action in France on August 23, 1918.
Thomas and Robert were the sons of Thomas and Alice (nee Coombs) of 'Strathallan', Gembrook West.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Motor Car for Recruiting

Clearly, by March 1918 it was getting harder to get new recruits and it was suggested to the local Council that they fund  a motor car so the recruiters could more easily get around to talk to possible recruits  and 'fetch them in straight away.  This report is from the  Dandenong Advertiser March 14, 1918. It is transcribed below but you can read it on-line on Trove,  here.

Motor Car for Recruiting
The Berwick Shire Council, at its meeting on Saturday last, received a letter from Lieut. Bolton, asking for assistance for the purchase of a motor car for recruiting. Also, the Dandenoig Shire intimated that it had contributed £20, and hoped Berwick Council would do likewise.

Sergt Coyle said there were 110 towns to be visited, and they desired the car to facilitate recruiting by enabling them to get from one town to the other in quicker time, instead of being held up waiting for trains. The Cranbourne Council had donated £15 and two of its members had each given £5. The car is to be sold afterwards and the money distributed pro-rata between the councils. With a car they could enlist recruits in the outlying places and fetch them in straight away. It would cost approximately £250. 

Cr Pearson said that he did not believe if 40 cars came to his riding it would assist recruiting. It might give the officers more pleasure and enable them to attend another meeting. Their roads were in a bad state of repair, but if the car would bring in recruits, this should be put aside, and he would be prepared to support contributing. If it assisted recruiting it would be nothing for the Government to contribute £200.

Cr Henty agreed that with a motor no more recruits would be obtained.

Cr Douglas: Even with 50 cars they would get no more recruits. Only a block and tackle would pull them in. 
The President said that if they thought it would be of use they were justified in contributing.

Cr Sharp: Why don't the Defence Department provide a car ?

Sergt Coyle said that during Lieut Mayes' time more recruits were gained than at any other, which put Flinders second on the list of country electorates. This was due to his having a motor cycle, which was paid for out of his own pocket.

On the motion of the President and Cr a'Beckett, the matter was postponed till after the recruiting conference at Dandenong, at which the President will attend, and bring up a report at next meeting.

What happened in the end? At the next meeting the motion to donate £15 was put to the Council, however the motion was lost. This is the report of the discussion from the Dandenong Advertiser of April 18. 1918. You can read it on-line on Trove,  here

Motor Car for Recruiting
At a meeting of the Berwick Shire Council on Saturday Cr Bailey moved that L15 be donated towards the purchase of a motor car for recruiting purposes in Flinders electorate. 

The Secretary said that Berwick and Wonthaggi were the only two shires in the electorate that had not contributed. 

Cr a'Beckett seconded the motion.

Cr C. Pearson thought a car would not be the means of bringing in more recruits, and did not think other recruiting sergeants had motor cars. He would vote against the motion. 

Cr J. B. Pearson said a car was of great convenience in recruiting, so he had been told by officers. 

Cr C. Pearson said that when Mr Gardiner was recruiting officer he got in touch with all eligibles in the shire without a car. 

Cr Stephenson said there were plenty of  places in the Shire where a car could not go, while with a horse there was little difficulty in getting access to any place. 

The motion was lost, Crs a'Beckett, Henty, Bailey and J B Pearson voting for it, and Crs Stephenson, Cunningham, Walsh, Dore, Douglas and C. Pearson against