Monday, December 29, 2014

Narre Warren War Memorial

The Narre Warren War Memorial was officially unveiled by Colonel George Knox on March 12, 1922 (1).  It was originally erected on the corner of the Princes Highway and the Narre Warren North Road at the recreation reserve. The original memorial had a lovely arch, which you can see in the photograph, below. The arch was removed in 1949 or 1950.  The War Memorial was moved in 1993 to a location near the Civic Centre at Narre Warren and is now located on the Bunjil Place forecourt.

Narre Warren War Memorial, erected 1923.

I have done some research on the men listed on the Narre Warren War Memorial, which has the names of 29 men.  It took a while to identify some of the men and there are still a few I still haven't been able to identify. If you know any information about these soldiers, then I would love to hear from you. It's interesting to note that seven of the men had a Narre Warren connection because their fathers were Victorian Railway employees and had been appointed to the Narre Warren Railway Station. What follows is the list of First World Soldiers who are listed on the War Memorial, their connection to Narre Warren and their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service records on the National Archives website,

I have also researched the 18 men on the Narre Warren North War Memorial and any other men not on either Memorial, but who have a connection to the area. You can read about them here.

Brown, J  This man is currently a mystery. There were two Mr Browns who had a Narre Warren address  and they were brothers -   Robert Woodside Brown (SN 3040) who enlisted July 21, 1915. He was a 24 year old farmer.  Robert Returned to Australia on May 18, 1919. His brother,  Alfred Hart Brown (SN 1217) was a 21 year old carpeneter and he enlisted on November 8, 1916.  Alfred Returned to Australia on December 11, 1918. They were the sons of Edward and Claudia (nee Kerr) Brown of Narre Warren North. Neither of them are J. Browns, so if anyone knows who this is, I would be interested to know.

Farewell to Alf Brown, Herbert Battersby and Walter Young.
Berwick Shire News May 3, 1916

Buchanan, Eric Alexander  (SN 1676) Eric was from Station Street, Berwick and enlisted on July 14, 1915. He was a 21 year old Clerk, the son of Charles and Christina (nee McPhail) Buchanan. Eric Returned to Australia on July 23, 1919.

Farewell function for Eric Buchanan
Berwick Shire News October 13, 1915

Burns, Charlie  I know this is Charlie Burns, as there are various reports in local papers at the time of his talents as a entertainer at local functions. At the annual cricket club concert held October 9, 1914, Charlie was again to the fore with his humourous songs, clog dances and spoon items (Berwick Shire News and Pakenham Gazette October 14, 1914)  There was  a report of his recent enlistment in the February 16, 1916 issue of the paper. The AIF Project website has five Charles Burns who enlisted from Victoria and going by occupation (he's  a labourer) and date of enlistment I believe (but I cannot confirm) that our Charles has the Service Number of 4373 and enlisted on December 24, 1915. He Returned to Australia May 29, 1919.

Charlie Burns enlists
Pakenham Gazette  February 16, 1916

Dewar, Alfred James (no SN listed) Alfred enlisted on July 20, 1915 and he died of 'cerebro spinal meningitis'  less than a month later on August 15, 1915. His father's address was Drouin on the enlistment papers. A report in the Berwick Shire News and Pakenham Gazette of August 18, 1915 said the  Dewar family of Drouin who have suffered so severely through the meningitis epidemic were some years ago residents of Harkaway. Mr Dewar owned a property on Hessell's Road near the old church. An earlier report in The Argus (August 13, 1915) said that Private Dewar had returned home suffering form what he thought was influenza, but it turned out to be meningitis and his mother, who was nursing him contracted the disease and died after 24 hours illness. A tragic story.

Duncan, D   I believe this may be David Baird Duncan  (SN 2366) based solely on his occupation of Orchardist. There were two other D. Duncans who enlisted from Victoria -  David John Duncan (SN 2292)  was a coach builder and David Francis Duncan (SN 6665) was a jeweller, both have a Melbourne address. The Bailey family has established  an orchard at Narre Warren North in the 1890s and this was the first of many orchards in this area, thus being an orchardist is a likely occupation for someone from Narre Warren, but I cannot find any actual connection to this area. David was born in Scotland and enlisted on May 10, 1915 at the age of 20. He Returned to Australia April 5, 1919.

Duncan, James Ramsay (SN 432) James was born in Berwick and he enlisted on September 28, 1914. He was a 30 year old commercial traveller.  James was a Lieutenant and he returned to Australia on April 15, 1918. He was discharged on medical grounds suffering from Pulmonary Tuberculosis.

Dunwell, Fred   (SN 1392)    Fred was from Narre Warren and he enlisted July 31,  1915. He was a 25 year old carpenter, born in Yorkshire, and his next of kin was his sister, Hannah, also of Narre Warren.  Fred returned to Australia on July 18, 1919.

Hillbrich, A  I am not sure who this is - There are only three Hillbrichs (or Hillbricks as they are spelt on the Nominal and Embarkation Rolls) who enlisted - Ernest and Harold are written about below and the other one was Norman (SN 5326) who enlisted on January 4, 1916 and Died of Wounds on May 6, 1917. He was the son of Gustav Wilhelm and Jessie (nee Neame) Hillbrich and born in Korumburra according  to his enlistment paper. His mother was living in Western Australia, which is where he enlisted. The Memorial lists A. Hillbrich as having returned, so that doesn't tally with Norman's record. 
Hillbrich, Ernest William  (SN 3989 and 1045)  Ernest was a  19 year old farmer from Narre Warren when he enlisted on March, 9, 1915. He was born in New South Wales, the son of Edward Gustave and Amy (nee Morton) Hillbrich. Ernest Returned to Australia on March 28, 1919.
Hillbrich, Harold Herbert (SN 11760)  Harold was born in Narre Warren to Ernst Johann Gottlieb and Maria Augusta (nee Schoppe) and enlisted on November 3, 1915. He was a 22 year old postman. Harold Returned to Australia on June 12, 1919.
The three Hillbrich boys are all descendants of Johann and Maria (nee Wagner) Hillbrich who settled in Harkaway in 1855. Norman and Harold were grandsons; Ernest was the son of Harold's older brother and he was thus a great grandson. (Some of this family information is from Early Settlers of the Casey Cardinia District, see here).

Ireland, Percy Markham De Courcy (SN 1116) Percy's parents, De Courcy and Margaret Ireland are listed in the Electoral Rolls at Narre Warren in 1903, so it is possible that Percy went to school at Narre Warren. In 1914 the family was living in Heidelberg. Percy enlisted on May 25, 1915; he was a 21 year old Electrical Engineer. Percy Returned to Australia on April 13, 1919.

Kent, Alfred Ernest (SN 3336). Alfred enlisted on August 2, 1915 at the age of 40.   Alfred is also on the Berwick Grammar School memorial in Church Street, Berwick.  Alfred was married to Alice Webb, the daughter of Sidney and Ann Webb.  Lance Corporal Kent was Killed in Action in France on May 5, 1916.
Kent, Charles Edward  ( SN 237)  Charles was a 36 year old farmer from Narre Warren and he enlisted on February 28, 1916. Charles Returned to Australia on April 5, 1918. 
Kent, Norman Archibald  (SN 1009) Norman enlisted on October 1, 1914. He was 32 years old and a farmer.  Second Lieutenant Kent Died of Wounds on April 12, 1917.
The Kents were from Narre Warren  and their parents, Anthony and Mary Kent, had arrived in Narre Warren around 1875 and purchased Granite Park, which they re-named Oatlands. 

The sad news of the Kent family
Pakenham Gazette, May 18 1917

MacKenzie, Dugald (SN 6069) Dugald enlisted on March 22, 1916. He 33 years old, was a widower and his occupation was 'nurseryman labourer'. His address on enlistment was Cecil Street in South Melbourne, but a Dugald MacKenzie is listed in the 1914 Electoral Rolls at Narre Warren, occupation Nurseryman, so I am sure that we have the right man. Dugald was Killed in Action in France on May 4, 1917. He left behind a daughter, Edna, who was being cared for by her grandmother, Kate O'Shea of Footscray.

I came across this note from the Upper Murray & Mitta Herald of May 31, 1917 about the death of  a Dugald MacKenzie. Firstly, the age does not tally with the age of 'our' Dugald, however Mr Stedman was the Station Master at Narre Warren in from 1898 until 1906 and his two sons are also on the Memorial. Mrs Stedman was Helen Jane Bell and Dugald was the son of Archibald MacKenzie and Jessie Bell. This means that Dugald was the first cousin of the Stedman boys, listed below.

McClure, Alexander David  (SN 516) Alexander enlisted on February 10, 1915. He was the son of Colin McClure. Alexander was a miner from Benalla when he enlisted and I found his connection to Narre Warren in a report in the Berwick Shire News and Pakenham Gazette of May 17, 1916. the report states that McClure, road foreman on the Victorian railways at Yackandandah, who was well known in this district as one of the prominent members of the Narre Warren Cricket Club, has had the sad misfortune to lose his son in the war. The article then has some reports from his friends about his death and his friend said that Alexander died as he lived, game and cheerful to the last. Alexander Died of Wounds, received at Gallipoli,  November 20, 1915.

Mouser, George.   Lieutenant George Mouser  enlisted on May 1, 1916. His next of kin was his father, John Mouser of Narre Warren. John was the Station Master at Narre Warren from July 1915 to August 1918.  He Returned to Australia on July 24, 1919. George is also listed on the Bunyip Methodist Church Honour Roll  His father was at the Bunyip Station around 1903.

Muffett, John Henry (SN 3104) He is listed as Muffit on the War Memorial.   John enlisted on January 6, 1917 and was Killed in Action on August 26, 1918. I believe that the connection to Narre Warren can be found in a report in South Bourke and Mornington Journal on April 8, 1903. The article reports that railway line repairer, Benjamin Muffit (sic) was killed on the railway line. Muffit resided in a gate house on Lalor's Road, about a quarter of a mile from the Narre Warren Station. He was 42 years old at the time of the accident and he left a wife and four children. There is a birth of a John Henry Muffett in 1892 to a Benjamin and Mary Muffett and his next of kin on his enlistment paper is his mother, Mary. I believe that John is the son of the deceased railway worker and may have went to school at Narre Warren.

The Narre Warren War Memorial at the Civic Centre.
Photograph courtesy of the  Casey Cardinia Remembers website

Neil,  W  No luck so far in identifying this soldier. There was a William Neill who was the Station Master at Narre Warren from April 1912 until he was transferred to Yarra Glen on June 1, 1914. Is this the connection? He had a son Wilfred Vivian born 1894 but I can't find any evidence that he enlisted.  Any help appreciated on this one.

Nutter, S  There were only four men who enlisted with the surname of Nutter - Alan and Lawrence are brothers from Killara in Sydney; John Nutter was from England and enlisted in Sydney and doesn't seem to have any connection with the area. There is also a William  Nutter Scott, born in England and enlisted in Sydney and once again I can find no connection between him and this area.

Sage, Louis Francis (SN 30437)  When Louis enlisted on March 2, 1916 his next of kin was his mother, Margaret Sage of Narre Warren North and he was 23 years old and  a farmer. He Returned to Australia on January 30, 1918. He was discharged on medical grounds, due to acute rheumatism.

Smith George Stephen (SN 3679).  George was born in Horsham and was living at Longwarry when he enlisted on  August 7, 1915. He was Killed in Action in France on March 31, 1917.  It took some research to identify George as, according to the Australian War Memorial website, there were 53 G. Smiths who did not return, of these 19 were Victorians, so I concentrated on these 19 and still could not find  a Narre Warren connection until I found a George Adolphus Smith listed in the 1903 Electoral Roll, where he was the Station Master at Narre Warren. Then I went back to my 19 soldiers and discovered that our George was the son of a George Adolphus Smith and that the elder George was listed as the Station Master at Longwarry in 1914 Electoral rolls, so it all fitted. George was 19 when he enlisted in 1915, thus born around 1896. An article in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of  June 23, 1909 reports that Mr George Smith was leaving Narre Warren after eight years as Assistant Station Master, so both young George and his brother, William (see below) would have attended Narre Warren State School. As a matter of interest, Colin McClure, the father of Alexander McClure, above, 'occupied the chair' for the Smith's farewell social.
Smith William Edward (SN 20121) William is also the son of George Adolphus and Alice Elizabeth (nee Bail) Smith and was born at Creswick and was living at Longwarry when he enlisted on April 4, 1917, just four days after his brother was killed. He was 18, thus born about 1899. William Returned to Australia July 18, 1919.

Stedman, Albert  (SN 3262) Albert enlisted on July 14, 1915 at the age of 18 years and 8 months, or so he said.  He was an 'asbestos worker' not an occupation that you hear of today. His father, also called Albert, was Station Master at Outtrim, was listed as his next of kin.  Albert was Killed in Action in France on July 28, 1916 and a newspaper report on The Herald said he was actually on 17 years and 8 months old, so he was only 16 when he enlisted. 
Stedman, Walter (SN 3909) Walter enlisted on November 4, 1915. He was 26 years old and a grocer. Walter Returned to Australia February 13, 1917 and discharged on medical grounds due to a gun-shot wound to his right foot. 
Albert senior was the Station Master at Narre Warren for eight years and he left in July 1906 as he was appointed to Port Fairy. A report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of July 11, 1906 says that Mrs and Mrs Stedman had a very enjoyable farewell  social at the Mechanics' Institute. The boys are the first cousins of Dugald MacKenzie, listed above.

Report of Albert Stedman's death.
The Herald November 29, 1916

Wanke, Arthur Robert (SN 1427)  Arthur enlisted on March 3, 1916. He Returned to Australia on December 12, 1918.
Wanke, Frederick William (SN 6379) Frederick enlisted on April 28, 1916 and Died of Wounds received May 17, 1918.
The boys were the sons of Emmanuel and Bertha (nee Aurisch) Wanke of Narre Warren.  Fred's death and this photograph was in the Dandenong Advertiser on July 4, 1918 - 

Quite a gloom was cast over the district of Harkaway when the sad news recently came to hand, that
Private Fred. Wanke had been killed in action "Somewhere in France," on 17th May. This young hero was born and educated at Harkaway, and took a keen interest in any movement that was likely to improve the district. He was a member of the Harkaway Young Men's Club, and was always a true sport. When in camp, while on many of the numerous expeditions with his mates, his motto was: "Age before honor," and he never could do too much for any of the older members of the party. "Fred" was of most genial and obliging disposition, and was 28 years of age. He left a good home and loving parents, to go forth and do his share with the boys in the trenches, where he made the extreme sacrifice. When on furlough he devoted his time to studying the different methodsof farming, and was keen on acquiring a knowlege of new ideas. Much sympathy is expressed by his many friends throughout the district, for Mr and Mrs Wanke and family, of "Hillcroft" who have lost a noble son, and brother. Private Arthur Wanke a brother of this fallen soldier, and who was also a member of the Harkaway
Young Men's Club, is on active service in France. (Dandenong Advertiser on July 4, 1918, see here)

Wauchope, Neil Andrew (SN 2239)  Neil was born at Narre Warren and he enlisted on July 9, 1915. He was 26 years old and a butter maker. He Returned to Australia on August 24, 1918 and discharged on medical grounds due to  cardiac insufficiency. Neil was the son of William and Maggie Jane (nee Brunt) Wauchope. 

Woodley, George Herbert (SN 4570)  George enlisted on August 18, 1915. He was a 32 year old salesman and his next of kin was his wife, Maggie, whose address was Powlett Street, East Melbourne. On July 3, 1919 George requested that he be discharged in London, rather than having to return to Australia, as he had a position waiting for me in Calcutta and my presence is necessary there in August.  This was granted. George's brother, Ernest Simmill Woodley, had enlisted on August 16, 1915 but  he was discharged due to being medically unfit on May 29, 1916 as he suffered from 'traumatic epilspsy'.  George and Ernest were the sons of Thomas and Hannah (nee Buckley) Woodley. Thomas operated a baker's shop on the corner of the Princes Highway and Webb Street (click here to see a picture of the shop). Thomas had died on New Year's Day, 1906, he had gone to Melbourne to watch an interstate cricket match and partook of a meat pie after leaving the cricket ground, and that the pie caused ptomaine poisoning, which, with a subsequent sharp attack of peritonitis, was the cause of death (South Bourke & Mornington Journal January 3, 1906).

This picture was taken in 1993, just after the Memorial was moved to the Civic Centre site.That's long serving Council Officer, David Westlake with a colleague.

(1) A short report of the unveiling can be found in the Box Hill Reporter, March 17, 1922, see here. You can read Colonel Knox's Australian Dictionary of Biography entry here. The City of Knox is named after him. 

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