Thursday, December 22, 2016

The establishment of some local Red Cross units

During the Great War, many of the women in the local community spent their time raising funds and working for the War Effort through organisations such as the Red Cross.  The Cranbourne Red Cross was established at  a meeting held on August 17 1914. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal of August 27 1914 reported on this meeting A meeting of the ladies of Cranbourne was convened by Mrs A. Nash...and it was decided to work for the Red Cross Society.  Mrs Nash had already collected 20 pounds in monetary donations and most of this had been spent on material that her 60 to 70 enthusiastic workers would make up into shirts and socks etc. The items were then forwarded to Red Cross Headquarters in Melbourne where they were shipped off  to the seat of war where they will be used for the benefit of Australian, British and troops of the allies. You can read the full article on Trove,  here.

Mrs A. Nash was Mary Maud Nash wife of Albert, who owned the grazing property Ballarto at Cranbourne. Maud was well connected. She was the daughter of  Theodotus Sumner and his wife Sarah (nee Peers). Her sister Annie was married to James Grice, who was the brother of Richard Grice, land owner in Berwick and Cranbourne, after whom Grice's Road is named - you can read about him here and another sister, Alice, married Charles Ryan - they were the parents of Lady Casey who owned Edrington at Berwick - you can read about Lady Casey here. In spite of being socially well connected it doesn't seem like it was  'happy families' all the time as there was a family dispute over Theodotus Sumner's will - you can read about this here.

Back to the Red Cross - the Berwick Red Cross was also established by the women who were socially prominent (or their husbands or fathers were).  I am not denigrating them at all by saying that, but the reality of life was that at the time, women who came from solid middle class households would likely to have had a good education, have good connections in the town and more spare time to devote to community causes than poorer women. The early records of the Berwick Red Cross were destroyed in a house fire, but I believe it started around September 1914 and it is still going, which is  a remarkable achievement. The Berwick Shire News has a report of the Berwick Shire Council meeting of  September 12 1914 and amongst the correspondence was a letter from Lady Stanley asking for the co-operation of the Council in forming a branch of the British Red Cross Society. The action was listed as 'Attended to'  [Lady Stanley was the wife of the Victorian Governor]

The original members of the Berwick Red Cross (pictured below in front of Kippenross House) were President Mrs Scott Sharp, Secretary Mrs A.E Thomas, Mrs L.D Beaumont, Mrs W. Wilson, Mrs C. Griffiths, Mrs J.B Pearson and Mrs John Brown. As is quite common in reporting from times past women were referred to by their husband's names - Scott Alexander Sharp is listed in the Electoral Rolls as a grazier and his wife is Beatrice May (nee Wimble); Mrs A.E Thomas is the wife of Albert Thomas the founder of the Berwick Shire News which later became the Pakenham Gazette, she was born Elizabeth Cox Southern.  Mrs Lewellyn David Beaumont was Ellie Buchanan, daughter of the Hon. James Buchanan, M.L.C. and his wife Anne (nee Wilson) The Buchanans lived at Ardblair in Berwick and their son Norman was one of the authors of Early Days of Berwick. He writes about his parents in the book.  Mrs W. Wilson was the wife of William Wilson (1860-1936) the owner of the Wilson Quarry. She was Anne Buchanan, a sister of Ellie Beaumont. Mrs C. Griffiths was the wife of Dr Christopher Griffiths and was born Annie Lawry Parkes. Mrs J.B Pearson was the wife of  John Benward Pearson, a grazier, who built Kippenross House  (now part of St Margarets School) in 1911. She was born Olive Gooch and married John, who was the son of William Pearson, M.L.C., in November 1895. Finally Mrs John Brown was the wife of the Berwick Shire Rate Collector. I believe she was Frances Elizabeth Barr, but that's all I know about her.



This fantastic photograph of the original seven members of the Berwick Red Cross comes from the book Berwick Nostalgia:  a pictorial history of Berwick, published by the Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society in 2001. 


The Pakenham Red Cross was formed at a  meeting held on November 26, 1915. You can read the report on the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 9, 1915 here. The meeting was convened by Cr Close who started the meeting by saying that all the other townships in the Shire of Berwick had their Red Cross branches and it was time for Pakenham to fall into line and do what it could, as a town, to help those who are so nobly serving their King and Country at the Front. Office bearers were Mrs Greenwood, President; Mrs Wilson, Secretary and Miss Cissie Hagens, Treasurer. The Committee were Mesdames Close, Chisholm, Maher, Ritchie, White and the Misses Thewlis and Mulcahey.

Once again I will try to give these women a name - Cr Close and Mrs Close were William and Agnes, he was a grazier. Mrs Alice Greenwood was the wife of Auctioneer, Arthur Greenwood. I don't know who Mrs Wilson was and Cissie Hagens may be the sister of Marie and Louise Hagens, both listed in the 1914 Electoral rolls as being teachers, or else Cissie might be her nick name and she may actually be either Marie or Louise. Mrs Chisholm is presumably Alice Chisholm, wife of James, a grazier. Mrs Maher is possibly Bridget Maher, the wife of local policeman, Stephen. The Mahers had three sons serving overseas - you can read about them here. Mrs Ritchie may be Elizabeth Ritchie, wife of William. I don't have any information on Mrs White. Miss Thewlis would be the daughter of James and Susannah Thewlis and the sister of Syd Thewlis, who was a Berwick Shire Councillor. Miss Mulcahey  (more likely spelt Mulcahy)  would be connected to early Pakenham landowner, Thomas Mulcahy.


The Koo-Wee-Rup Red Cross was formed on July 7, 1915. It is still going and you can read a history of the Unit, written by long serving member Don Jewell,  here.

 This is a Red Cross Rally in Koo-Wee-Rup, in front of the Royal Hotel which opened September 1915, so this is probably 1916 or 1917.
Photo: Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society

I don't know when the Lang Lang Red Cross was established specifically but it was going strong in September 1915. There is an interesting article in the Lang Lang Guardian of September 15, 1915 about the activities of this branch - they are anxious to send Christmas cheer to our boys  and would be glad of donations of tobacco, tooth brushes, bought puddings (as these pack better), cake, biscuits, lollies, and games of any kind, handkerchiefs, or small presents for the boys of whom we are all so
proud.  They also wanted to fill some billies and send them to the soldiers with something to eat, something to smoke, something to use and something to amuse. 



Lang Lang Guardian  September 15, 1915

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered - now online

We have spoken about the book Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour: Servicemen remembered before in this blog (click here for the link) and the good news is that this book is now fully available on-line on the Beaconsfield Progress Association's new website - this is the direct link to the on-line version of the book http://beaconsfield.org.au/beaconsfield-avenue-of-honour/

The book covers the lives of  the 65 men who were honoured with trees in the Beaconsfield/Berwick Avenue of Honour which runs along High Street/Princes Highway, from the top of the hill down to the Cardinia Creek.  This on-line version makes this well researched information even more widely available and, like the trees in the Avenue, is another permanent reminder of the sacrifice that the 65 men and their families from the Beaconsfield area made one hundred years ago.

Some of the entries  have photographs of the soldiers - here are three  of them 


Private Alec May


Signaller James Adamson



Private Edward Dineley


Monday, December 5, 2016

Vincent Daly and his connection to Nar Nar Goon

This copy of  a post card of Vincent Daly was kindly donated to us from the Traralgon and District Historical Society*   We know from the verso of the card that Vincent was Killed in Action in 1916, that he was a  cousin of Tom Fitzgibbon** of Tyers (near Traralgon) and that he had a  connection to the Pakenham district.  Naturally I wanted to know what this connection to the local area was.




I started at the National Archives of Australia to discover the official information from his service record. His Service record (service number 2848) shows that Patrick Vincent Daly enlisted on July 2, 1915 at the age of 19. He was born in Dalyston and his next of kin was his father, also Patrick Daly, of Cloverdale, Dalyston. He had to get permission from his parents to enlist and this means we discovered his mother was Mrs E.C Daly.  Less than one year after he enlisted Vincent (it seems he was known to the family as Vincent rather than Patrick) was Killed in Action in France on May 15, 1916. 


Vincent's obituary from The Advocate of June 10, 1916

So now we know the official information what we need to discover is what his Pakenham District connection is.  I looked up the Index to the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriages (access this here) and found Vincent was born in 1896 to Patrick James Daly and Elizabeth Catherine Dore. Once I found this out I was pretty sure that Elizabeth must have been connected to the pioneering Dore family of Nar Nar Goon, so then I did a search in the on-line newspapers on Trove and found the article reproduced below about the Will of John Dore, which clearly links Elizabeth Daly to John Dore and thus makes young Vincent John Dore's grandson. Lucky for us that there was no privacy issues 100 years ago and newspapers regularly reported the contents of Wills! I also found the lovely obituary of Vincent in The Advocate, (reproduced above) which gives us a fuller picture of him. 

Elizabeth was the daughter of John and Betty (nee O'Connor) Dore of Mt Ararat at Nar Nar Goon. In 1844, John Dore and Michael Hennessey took up the Mount Ararat Run at Nar Nar Goon of 1,900 acres. The partnership existed until 1855 when Hennessey moved to Dandenong. In the 1860s, Dore purchased the 640 acre Mt Ararat pre-emptive right. He later purchased another 387 acres and his son Thomas 300 acres so they held a total of 1,300 acres. The property was later bisected by the railway line when it was built in 1877. You can read more about  the Dore family here.

When John Dore died in 1895, his son-in-law who was also Vincent's father, Patrick Daly was one of the executor's of his will. John Dore's estate was left as a life interest to his son Patrick and his wife Kate and then after their death to his four daughters including Vincent's mother, Elizabeth Daly. Elizabeth was also left a block of land (it was 26 acres) in the Parish of Wonthaggi, where Dalyston is located.


Table Talk May 24, 1895


*The post card of Vincent is part of the Eva West collection at the Traralgon & District Historical Society.  Eva (1888 - 1969)  became the Assistant Shire Secretary at Traralgon in 1924, and the Shire Secretary in 1935 and held this position until 1946.  She was awarded an MBE in 1958. I found this snippet of information on Trove from the Traralgon Record of December 29, 1916 -  At the Accountancy examinations  recently at the Melbourne University, Miss Eva West, of Traralgon, succeeded in passing  the last of the series of examinations necessary to qualify for admission to the Institute of Accountants, this being the first time that any lady in the State has obtained this qualification.....We heartily congratulate Miss West as right throughout the examination she maintained a position amongst the leading candidates. She was a real pioneer in her field.

**Thanks to Gippsland Historian, Linda Barraclough, for the following information - Tom Fitzgibbon of Tyers, who died in 1974 aged 90, is the son of the Ellen Fitzgibbon nee Dore, also mentioned in the will. A number of other photographs of soldiers in the collection appear to have originated from him, but seem more to be locals at Tyers, rather than family.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Celebrating the Armistice at Emerald in 1918

In this third post looking at how people in this region celebrated the end of the Great War in 1918, we will see how the townsfolk of Emerald marked the occasion. The following article is from the Camberwell and Hawthorn Advertiser of November 22, 1918. The article is on Trove and you can read it here and I have transcribed it, below.  To see how Nar Nar Goon, celebrated the Armistice, click here. To see how the Cranbourne Shire celebrated the Armistice, click here.


Camberwell and Hawthorn Advertiser  November 22, 1918


CELEBRATIONS AT EMERALD
At Emerald on Wednesday evening, November 13, a large number of the residents assembled in the local hall to celebrate the recent signing of the armistice. The gathering was most enthusiastic, and a programme of speeches and patriotic songs was gone through. The meeting opened with the doxology and the National Anthem. Messrs. Fairley and Dombrain spoke to the motion: -  'That this assemblage of Emerald citizens and loyal subjects of the British empire give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for our deliverance from the enemy, and do express our great joy and delight at the success of the Allies and celebration of peace.' This was carried with acclamation.

Cr. Butcher moved, and Mr. Wilson seconded the following motion: -  'That we proclaim our loyalty to the King.' Further resolutions were also carried as follow: -  On the motion of Cr. Nobelius and Mr. McGibbon - 'That we extend our heartiest congratulations to the army and navy' ; on the motion of Messrs. Simpson and Hall - 'That we express our deepest sympathy with those who have lost relatives in this Great War' ; on the motion of Messrs McGibbon and Pascoe - 'That the best thanks of the meeting be tendered to the ladies of the Emerald Red Cross.'

In speaking to a motion of thanks to he chairman (Cr. Butcher), Cr. Nobelius impressed on the audience the desirability of bearing in mind our obligation to the men at the Front, and of making some fitting recognition of their services when the boys come home. The meeting closed with the National Anthem and cheers for the King.

I was surprised to find an article on Emerald  in the Camberwll and Hawthorn Advertiser, but Emerald was part of the Shire of Fern Tree Gully at the time, so it was more closely connected to the eastern suburbs.

This post looks at how Emerald celebrated the end of the Great War. To see how Nar Nar Goon, celebrated the Armistice, click here. To see how the Cranbourne Shire celebrated the Armistice, click here.

Celebrating the Armistice in the Cranbourne Shire in 1918

We are looking at how people in the area celebrated the end of the Great War.  In this post we will see how the children in the Shire of Cranbourne celebrated the momentous day.  To see how the Nar Nar Goon community celebrated Armistice Day, click here. To see how the people of Emerald celebrated, click here.

There was a full report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of December 5, 1918 on the 'great day for juveniles' held to celebrate the signing of the Armistice.   The article is from Trove and you can read the full article here, but I have transcribed it below. It must have been an amazing experience for the children, many of whom would hardly have remembered  the time before Australia was at War and most of whom would have had  a soldier in their extended family.



South Bourke and Mornington Journal December 5, 1918


PEACE CELEBRATIONS.
At Cranbourne
A Great Day for the Juveniles.

To celebrate the signing of the armistice,and the consequent cessation of hostilities between the Allies and their foes, the President of the Cranbourne Shire Council (Cr D. M. McGregor) decided to give a picnic to all the children in the shire on Wednesday, November 27. For this purpose the Shire was divided into three sections, centres being established at Cranbourne, Kooweerup and Lang Lang. The following schools attended at the Cranbourne centre :- Cardinia, Currum Downs, Clyde North, Cranbourne, Devon Meadows, Lyndhurst, Lyndhurst South, Pearcedale and Tooradin; a few children from Clyde were also present.

At 11 a.m. the young folk assembled at the Shire hall, and were lined up in fours to take part in the procession, which was headed by the Langwarrian Military band. The march was down Sladen street, along Codrington and Childers streets and up High street back to the Shire hall. This was well carried out, and the teachers were complimented on the fine display made. 

On returning to the Shire hall the children formed three sides of a hollow square round the Union Jack, which was flying from the recently erected flag-pole. The flag was saluted, the declaration made, and cheers given for our King, our Empire, our Commonwealth, and our own soldier boys. All present solemnly bowed their heads in silent remembrance of the lads who can never come back to us - our honored dead.

The Shire President then gave a short address, briefly stating the reasons for the rejoicings. He then introduced Chaplain Captain Gates, who gave a very interesting address on many phases of the war. The National Anthem and ‘Our Splendid Men’ were sung by the whole assemblage, the band leading the singing.

The children were then marched to the picnic-ground, where they were arranged in rows of fifties. A handsome medallion, bearing the inscription, ‘Shire of Cranbourne. Signing of Armistice, Nov. 11, 1918’ was handed to each child. 

Dinner was served, the good things provided were of first-class quality, and the local caterers, Messrs J. Taylor and J.Thorpe, were complimented, on all sides for the excellent viands supplied. 

After dinner, games and sports were indulged in during the afternoon. Races of all kinds for boys and girls were spiritedly contested and the judges, Messrs Callanan and McKenzie, had their work cut out to separate the winners from the rest. The sports were managed by representatives of the various school committees and teachers, with Mr J. H. White as starter. It was unanimously agreed that the kiddies had had a great afternoon.

Shortly after 4 o'clock all again wended their way to the picnic ground, where tea was  heartily partaken of. After enjoying a splendid meal each child was presented with a bag of sweets. Before dispersing ringing cheers were given for President McGregor for his kindly thoughtfulness in giving the children such an enjoyable time.  The President, in a few words, gracefully acknowledged the compliment. 

The merry-go-round was a great source of pleasure, not only to the juveniles, but also to ‘the children of a larger growth’, many elderly folk seeming to enjoy a ride as much as the little ones. 

The Langwarrin Military band played some very fine selections during the day, and added greatly to the enjoyment of the gathering. 

The picnic was a great success in every way. All the arrangements for the festivities were made by the local committee, of which Mr J. H. White was chairman and Mr D. A. Schulze, hon. secretary. The organization for the day was highly praised. All the details had been carefully planned beforehand, consequently everything worked with the most smoothness. The ladies of the town and district again proved themselves to be willing and efficient workers.

President McGregor was delighted with the success of the day's rejoicing, and no doubt feels exceedingly grateful to all, who in any way, helped to make the event what it truly was - a red letter day in the history of Cranbourne.

In this post we looked at Armistice celebrations in the Cranbourne Shire. To see how Nar Nar Goon celebrated the Armistice, click here. To see how Emerald celebrated the end of the Great War, click here.

Celebrating the Armistice at Nar Nar Goon in 1918

I thought we would have  look at how Armistice Day was celebrated in 1918. In this post we look at celebrations in Nar Nar Goon and in  two other posts we will look at how the Cranbourne Shire celebrated the end of the Great War (click here to read) and how the township of Emerald celebrated the Armistice (click here to read) 

This short article was in the Pakenham Gazette on November 29 1918

Pakenham Gazette  November 29, 1918

The following week's edition (December 6)  had  a full report of the activities. The article is on-line on Trove and you can access the article here and I have provided a transcription, below. The day was highly successful with over 1,000 people attending the event, a huge amount of people, nearly everyone in the district must have attended.



Pakenham Gazette  December 6, 1918


NAR NAR GOON
A PEACE CELEBRATION
Wednesday last was a red letter day in the history of Nar Nar Goon, the occasion being a public demonstration  and picnic in connection with the celebration of peace. 

The day was observed as a public holiday, all business places being closed, and it may be safely asserted that most of the residents of the district not only took part in the demonstration but did their best towards making it a success. 

About a fortnight ago the towns people decided that it was desirable that something should be done to mark their appreciation of the glad news that an armistice had been declared and that there was every indication of an early and lasting peace. An appeal was made for funds to meet the expenses of the celebration, and this met with a most generous response, about £50 being raised. 

Wednesday's event was a credit to the town and district, and it will always be looked back upon with interest. Both young and old entered into the spirit of the day, and as a result everything worked smoothly and all had an enjoyable outing.

The day's proceedings opened with a monster procession, which completely eclipsed anything of the kind ever seen in the district, comprising 130 vehicles and numerous horsemen. A number of the vehicles, including buggies, jinkers and lorries, were nicely decorated with greenery and flowers, and there was a profusion of flags, all the Allies being represented. 

An effigy of the Kaiser, the handiwork of Mr Mappin, of Tynong, was mounted on a horse. This was safe guarded by Master J. Ede, in the character of ‘ John Bull’,  and was a special attraction.

Space will not permit of a description of the various vehicles, but it may be said that all were  attractive, those of Mr E. Oram, representing ‘The Day’ and Mr J. Spencer, representing ‘Peace’ being worthy of special mention.

Amongst those with decorated vehicles were :- Messrs A. Harris, M. Dore, J. Mortimer, J. Mulcare, T. Eves, A. Thorn, J. Kenny, J. Gray, S. Collins, T. Garrett, J. Latta, R. Brooke, T. Grigg, E. Oram, J. Spencer, jun., and J. R. Spencer, the last named driving a fine team of four greys in a buggy. There was also a decorated motor, driven by Mr Donald. Some of the riders were in fancy costume. amongst the number being Miss M Raftis (Ireland) and Master Wadsley (England). 

The procession was formed into line at about 11 o'clock, and, headed by the Richmond Juvenile Brass Band, marched from the township to the place chosen for the day's picnic. 

Four returned soldiers, viz., Ptes. W. Comely, P. Neilsson and H. J. Lennon, of Tynong, and Pte. G. Bjursten, of Cora Lynn, held a prominent position in the procession. 

On arrival at the ground judging took place for prizes in connection with the procession, and the awards were as follows: 
Best decorated vehicle: Mr E. Oram, Tynong, ‘The Day’. 
Best Group: Nar Nar Goon. 
Most original character: Master Ede, Tynong, ‘John Bull’.
Special prize: The Kaiser. 

There were about 1,000 persons on the ground, and a sports programme was carried through, providing plenty of enjoyment for young and old.  A merry-go-round was provided for the children. 

Thanks to the excellent management of the committee and the cordial cooperation of all present, the celebrations throughout were a decided success.

In this post we looked at Armistice celebrations in Nar Nar Goon. To see how the Cranbourne Shire celebrated the end of the Great War,  click here. To see how the Emerald township celebrated the Armistice, click here

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Irwin Brothers of Harkaway

This is another post about Brothers who enlisted - these are the Irwin Brothers of Harkaway. They were all born in Carlton to David Gray Irwin and Hannah Purser, who married in 1894. David and Hannah were farming at Harkaway but in 1918 moved to the suburbs (St Kilda, Caulfield areas) and he became a tramway employee, according to the Electoral Rolls. David died in 1928 aged 65 and Hannah died in 1934.


Dandenong Advertiser April 25, 1918

Irwin, James Purser (SN 5035) James enlisted on January 20 1916 at the age of 20. He was a warehouseman. James served in France but  Returned to Australia on  August 27, 1917 and was medically discharged in January 1918 - he suffered from Psoriasis. In 1918 he married Daphne Idina (known as Ida) Mickle and they are  listed in the Electoral Rolls as living at Brighton for twenty years and then various other Melbourne suburbs, he was a Clerk.  James died in 1986. James' dairy recording his experiences in the War is held at the State Library of New South Wales and can be accessed here. He donated the diary to the Library in 1920. The Trustees of the Mitchell Library (as the State Library of N.S.W is known) started the Soldiers' Diaries Collection in 1918 - we are fortunate that they had the foresight to start this collection when many soldiers were still in possession of their diaries..

Irwin, Horace Mark  (SN 967) Horace enlisted on February 9, 1915 at the age of 18 years 8 months. He was an Orchardist.   David Returned to Australia on July 8, 1919. After the War, Horace married Mina Slater in 1922 and they lived in St Kilda and other suburbs.   Horace was a tramways employee, like his father, and died in 1972.

Irwin, Walter Gray (SN 968)  Walter enlisted on March 3 1915 at the age of 18 years and 7 months. He was  a farmer. Walter served at Gallipoli and Returned to Australia  February 8, 1916 and was discharged on medical grounds in the July of the same year. He suffered from 'Neurasthenia' which is now described as an obsolete term to cover lassitude, inability to concentrate, mental and or physical fatigue. Walter married Lena Petersen in 1918 and died in 1968. Walter and Lena lived in Bendigo and Tatura then in the mid 1930s moved back to Melbourne to Oakleigh. Walter was a 'traveller' or salesman.


Berwick Shire News July 12 1916

A 'complimentary social' was held at Harkaway on July 8, 1916, with over 200 people present, to honour new recruits and also to welcome home Private Walter Irwin.

I can't quite work out the ages of Horace and Walter - according to the ages on their enlistment papers they were born two months apart which is clearly unlikely and the  Index to the Births, Deaths and Marriages says that Walter was born 1897 and Mark in 1896, so there was possibly  a mistake on the enlistment papers - if anyone knows the answer to this, I would love to find out.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sister Norah Lehman and Sister Aileen Lehman

The Cranbourne Avenue of Honour was officially opened on August 9, 1919. The Avenue represented 59 men and two women, Sister Norah Lehman and Sister Aileen Lehman. Norah and Aileen  both enlisted on July 17, 1915 into the Australian Army Nursing Service. They were the daughters of George John Lehman and Kate Mary O'Connell who married in Adelaide in 1877. George and Kate had five children in Burra (South Australia) - Stanley Hocking (born) 1878, George Reginald 1879, Norah Blanche, 1882, Ethel, 1884 and Aileen 1886. The next daughter  Cathleen Kate was born in 1888 in Queensland, then daughter Ada was born in  1892 in Dandenong and their last child, Sidney James was born in 1893 in Adelaide.

George Lehman took over the licence of the  Bridge Hotel in Dandneong in February 1889. There was an article in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of May 10, 1893 saying that the Lehmans had resigned their interest in the licence of the Bridge Hotel. Mrs. Lehman's name was synonymous with attention, civility and good liquor- It is not improbable that they may return to Dandenong. This was prophetic as the same paper reported on July 1, 1896 that the Lehmans had returned to the Bridge Hotel which had been thoroughly renovated.  I presume, as their last child. Sidney, had been born in Adelaide that they had returned to South Australia in the intervening three years. In December 1897 the licence of the Hotel was granted to Kate Lehman (not sure how she had the time to run a hotel as she had eight children ranging in age from nineteen to four!) They operated the Hotel until the end of 1901.

The family was later living in Malvern East where John  was a 'stock dealer' and they were in East Caulfield when Norah and Aileen enlisted in July 1915. In the  1917 Electoral Rolls  George and Kate were at 'Springmeadows' Cranbourne and his occupation was grazier. At some stage they went back to Malvern East and that's where George died on July 27, 1932 at the age of 77. Catherine died on January 1, 1941 at her son's house in Moonee Ponds. It was her youngest son's house, Sid, who was a Doctor.

So back to Norah and Aileen. Aileen was 27 years old when she enlisted, in Egypt. She had trained and worked at the Melbourne General Hospital and also worked at the Albury Hospital.  Aileen served in France and then had a few bouts of pleurisy. Aileen was sent back to Australia on medical grounds, as 'exposure to cold' made her condition worse and she Returned to Australia on July 17, 1917.  On November 17 of the same year she married Cecil Paul Best at Kew. I believe it was a short lived marriage as by 1919 (according to the Electoral Rolls) Aileen (but not Paul)  is listed with her address as care of her parents in Cranbourne and from 1924 she is living at various addresses in Malvern East with her sister, Norah and sometimes other family members. Aileen died in December 12, 1953 aged 68. The death notice in The Argus listed her as 'late first A.I.F and the mother of Dr Jim Best and the grandmother of three and no mention of the husband.



This lovely tribute to Aileen appeared in the Dandenong Advertiser.
Dandenong Advertiser October 17, 1918

Norah had also trained at the Melbourne General Hospital and had been Matron at Albury Hospital before she enlisted in Egypt with her sister. She served in France and was Mentioned in Despatches for distinguished and gallant service and devotion to duty, this was promulgated on June 29 1917. Norah Returned to Australia  on April 19, 1919.  On her return to Melbourne Norah, as I said before, was living in the Malvern East area and hre occupation from 1924 was listed as 'Inspectress'  - she was a Health Inspector. I have found references to her working at the City of St Kilda around 1930 (see below)


Notice how Sister Lehman earns 240 pounds per annum and the male Health Inspector earns 400 pounds per annum!

Prahran Telegraph October 11 1929



Sister Lehman died on May 24 1949 and this obituary appeared in the Dandenong Journal.
Dandenong Journal June 8 1949


I have created a list of newspaper articles from Trove about the Lehman family, click here to access this list.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

St Patrick's Catholic School, Pakenham, Honour Roll

The following article appeared in the Pakenham Gazette of April 26 1918 about the recent unveiling of the Honour Board at St Patrick's Catholic School in Pakenham.  The Board is described as a very handsome one, the panel being of blackwood, with a massive  frame of Queensland figured oak. I don't know if it is still there. You can read the full article from the Pakenham Gazette here and another report about the unveiling of the Honour Roll in The Advocate of May 4, 1918 here.


Pakenham Gazette April 26 1918

Here are the 22 names listed on the Honour Roll including their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service record at the National Archives of Australia

Rhoden, Norah Sister. Sister Rhoden is listed as Norah in the report but her first name was spelt as Nora  on her enlistment papers. Nora enlisted in Ismaila in Egypt on March 15, 1916. She was 35 years old and served in France and England and Returned to Australia February 2, 1919. Nora was the daughter of John and Kate Rhoden, who were obviously at Pakenham during Nora's school years. Nora died on July 22, 1952 and her obituary appeared on page 2 of The Age of July 24, 1952. 


The Age July 24, 1952


Bourke, James Harrison  (SN  2781)    James enlisted on  November 11, 1914 - he was  28 years old and an Auctioneer.   He  Returned to Australia August 17, 1916 and was discharged on medical grounds on October 9, 1916 due to a 'recurrent high inguinal hernia'
Bourke, Robert Ievers (SN 1885)  Robert enlisted on June 16 1915 aged 28. He was also an Auctioneer. Robert was wounded in action in August 1916, gun shot wound to back and chest, which he recovered from and he returned to fight again and gained a promotion to Lieutenant.  Robert was wounded again in May 1918 - a gun shot wound to the left leg where his tibia and fibula was fractured and was sent back to Australia in November 1918.
Robert and James were the sons of Daniel Bourke and Frances Ievers, who were living in Stratford when their sons enlisted. Daniel had previously owned 400 acres in Pakenham, Mt Bourke, which was part of Thomas Henty's Pakenham Park. Daniel's parents were Michael and Kitty Bourke who took up the 12,800 acre Mintons Run property in 1843 and in 1849 built the La Trobe Inn (also known as Bourke's Hotel for obvious reasons) on Toomuc Creek.

Clancy, Arthur John (SN 557) Arthur was a 31 year old labourer when he enlisted on February 16, 1916. He was Wounded in Action in Belgium and died four days later on October 8, 1917.
Clancy, David Edward  (SN 11927)  David enlisted on November 6, 1915 at the age of 21. He Returned to Australia on September 25, 1919.
Arthur and David were the sons of William Bailey Clancy of Wyuna, Pakenham.

Dwyer, Thomas Kelly (SN 7243) Thomas enlisted on November 20, 1916 in Blackboy Hill in Western Australia. He was a 26 year old Hospital Attendant. Thomas was Killed in Action in Belgium on March 12, 1918.
Dwyer, William Joseph (SN 7233) William enlisted in Sydney, on January 25, 1917. He was a 25 year old Coal Lumper. He was Wounded in Action in France in May 1918 (Gun shot wound to left buttock) but recovered and rejoined his Battallion and Returned to Australia July 23 1919.
Thomas and William were both born in Pakenham. Thomas' next of kin was his father, John Kennedy Dwyer, of Claremont in Western Australia and William's next of kin was his mother, Mary Dwyer, also of Claremont.

Fahey, Edward Joseph (SN 1671A) Edward was 21 when he enlisted on May 4, 1915. He was born in Pakenham and was a grocer. He Returned to Australia March 28, 1919.
Fahey, James  (SN 1695) James enlisted at the age of 31 on August 10 1915. He Returned to Australia December 18, 1918. He was born in Carlton according to  his enlistment paper, but the Victorian Births, Deaths and Marriage Index have him listed as being born in Pakenham.  His occupation was labourer. James died in 1954 aged 65.
Fahey, Patrick (SN 2316) Patrick enlisted at the age of 24 on November 16, 1915. His occupation was a wheeler and he was born in Pakenham. Patrick Died of Wounds received in Action in Belgium on October 16, 1917.
Fahey, Thomas   (SN 3289B) Thomas was born in Pakenham and enlisted, at the age of 25,  on July 21, 1915 in Liverpool in New South Wales. He was Killed in Action in France on November 18, 1916.
Fahey, William Alexander  (SN 377)  William enlisted on January 22, 1915, he was a 26 year old labourer. He was born at Pakenham. William was awarded the Military Medal - For most conspicuous gallantry in action at Mouquet Farm on 26th August, 1916, in continuing to fire on the enemy after he had been wounded in both arms.  William Returned to Australia on March 13, 1918 and was discharged ion medical grounds in July - he had Tachycardia - an abnormally rapid heart beat. William died in 1956 aged 65.
The Fahey brothers all had their mother Margaret  of Carlton as their next of kin. She was listed variously as  Margaret Christopherson, Margaret C Fahey or Margaret Christopherson Fahey. I think we can assume that their father John Fahey was deceased (I believe he died in  1895 aged 45 and is  buried at the Pakenham Cemetery)   but I cannot find a marriage of Margaret to Mr Christopherson, although I did find her death in 1927 at the age of 64 where she was listed as Margaret Christopherson.  John and Margaret (nee Kelly) Fahey had six boys - there was also a John, born in 1886, so he was the second eldest. I don't have any information about him.
So far, the Fahey Brothers are the only set of five brothers that I have come across from our local area who enlisted, but I have written about other sets of three or more brothers who enlisted in various other posts.

Fennell, James Patrick (SN 33181) James enlisted on October 25, 1916 aged 25. His occupation was a driver and his next of kin was his father, Michael, of Pakenham, He Returned to Australia July 8, 1919.

Halloran, Timothy  (SN 3134) Tim was the son of John and Joanna Halloran of Pakenham and they were both listed as his next of kin when he enlisted on July 19, 1915 at the age of 33.  Ironically, he was Killed in Action in France, exactly one year later on July 19, 1916.

Hayes, John Edward (SN 2451) John enlisted on May 10 1916 and said he was 18, born in Pakenham and an orphan - he also said his name was Robert Campbell Pattison. In reality, as he said in his Statuary Declaration of October 29, 1917, he was actually John Hayes and had been born June 24, 1899, which would have only made him 16 when he enlisted.  John was the son of Jeremiah Joseph and Ellen Mary Hayes of Pakenham.  John Returned to Australia on October 8, 1919.

Hogan, Albert William (SN 14434) Albert enlisted on September 23, 1916 at the age of 22. He was a motor driver. He was born in Pakenham but living in Hawthorn when he enlisted, as was his father Charles, his next of kin. Albert Returned to Australia July 5, 1919.

Kelly, John  Patrick (SN 5388)  John was born at Nar Nar Goon and enlisted on March 10 1916 at the age of 36. His next of kin was his wife, Mary Kelly, of Carlton and he was a  rubber worker. He died of disease in England on October 26, 1918. I couldn't identify this John Kelly until I  found an entry for him in the Narre Warren & District Family History Group's book Sacrifice and Patriotism: a World War One walk in Pakenham Cemetery. John was a cousin to  the Fahey Brothers.

Keogh, Eustace Graham (SN 14516) Eustace was an 18 year old student when he enlisted on May 18, 1916. Eustace Returned to Australia on March 22, 1919.  His next of kin was his father, Dr Arthur George Keogh, who was listed in the Electoral Rolls at Pakenham in 1908 and 1909 and then at 14 Droop Street in Footscray, the same address as Eustace. We can't actually access his records on the Australian National Archives website as they have been 'amalgamated with this person's later service documents'

Keogh, F.A  Not sure who this is - is he a brother of Eustace, above? Eustace did have  a brother who enlisted, Basil Hewlett Keogh (SN 14353) but I don't see how B.H Keogh could be listed as F.A Keogh. I can't see any F.A Keoghs in any list. Apart form Dr Keogh at Pakenham, in 1909 there was also a  Constable Patrick Keogh in the Electoral Roll at Pakenham the same year, is this person connected to him?  I don't know.

The Advocate May 4, 1918

Mulcahy, Richard Lindley (SN 5129)   Listed as L. Mulcahy on the Honour Board. Richard enlisted at the age of 22 on January 18, 1915 - he has various enlistment papers - one of the others say he enlisted on July 14 1915;  his mother Bridget was his next of kin on one and his father John on another - but they did have the same address 133 Charles Street, Ascot Vale. His occupation was a joiner and he was  born in Nagambie, but presumably spent some time at St Patrick's School as a child. Richard Returned to Australia January 31, 1919. As you can see from this excerpt (above) from the article   in The Advocate about the unveiling of the Honour Roll, Mr Mulcahy of Ascot Vale had a son listed on the roll and another son who died of wounds received at Gallipoli. The son that died was Thomas Edward Mulcahy (SN 773) who passed away on August 14, 1915 at the age of 30 at the Alexandria 19th General Hospital - he had fractured ribs and gun shot wounds to the back and shoulder.

Maher, Thomas Francis (SN 50190) Thomas was 18 when he enlisted on October 22, 1917. His occupation was student and he was the son of Stephen and Bridget (nee Ryan) Maher of Pakenham. He Returned to Australia July 23, 1919. Thomas was granted  a Soldier Settler Farm (80 acres in the Parish of Nar Nar Goon). You can read his full Soldier Settlement Record on the Battle to Farm website, here.

Pakenham Gazette May 10 1918


Ward, Arthur  (SN 20154)  Arthur Ward was two months off the age of 42 when he enlisted at Blackboy Hill in Western Australia, on November 19, 1915. He was born at Ballarat and his occupation was a miner and his next of kin was his sister in law, Ellen Hawes of Cowwarr. As the article in the Pakenham Gazette, above, states he died of wounds on April 17, 1918. He had received a gun shot wound the previous day in the shoulder that penetrated the spine, fighting in France. I wonder how long he had been away from Pakenham.



This is St Patrick's Catholic Church at Pakenham, built in 1872. It would have been a familiar sight to all the men listed on this Honour Roll. The School opened in 1888.
Photo from North of the Line: a pictorial record, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lambis Engelzos and the lost soldiers of Fromelles

Yesterday I attended the Korumburra Historical Society 50th anniversary celebration where Lambis Engelzos, AM, was the guest speaker. Lambis was one of a team of  amateur (in the sense of being unpaid, nothing to do with the excellent standard of their work) historians who discovered the mass grave site of 250 Australian soldiers who were 'missing' after the Battle of Fromelles in 1916. It's  a fascinating story and Lambis is a fantastic speaker.  You can read about the discovery and the subsequent reburial of the these soldiers in the Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery here and about his quest here.

Anyway, amongst the many interesting things that Lambis said was that there were around 60,000 soldiers who died whilst serving in the AIF but around the same number died in the 15 years after the War, due no doubt to the trauma (both physical and mental) that they suffered during the War. Many of the returned soldiers are lying in unmarked graves in cemeteries around Australia and like the Fromelles soldiers they also deserve recognition.  This made me wonder about my own great uncles and where they are buried - I'll have to find out*. I'm not saying that we should all go out and place  elaborate head stone on these graves, but it did make me think about how we are honoring and recognizing these returned soldiers (and the returned military personnel from later wars)

Lambis spoke at the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society last year, so this is the second time that I have heard him speak and if you ever get the opportunity then go along and hear him. Tim Whitford, was part of the same team as Lambis, who discovered the Fromelles grave site - I have also heard him talk, at the Warragul RSL,  and he is equally interesting,  as his great uncle, Private Harry Willis, from Alberton was amongst the missing soldiers. Harry was indentified by DNA supplied by his niece, Marjory Whitford, who is Tim's aunty. In fact, 150 of the 'missing' soldiers have been positively indentified through DNA and other means. You can read about  Harry Willis here  and listen to podcast of a talk Tim did at the State Library of Victoria during Family History Feast in 2013.


Aerial photograph showing the site of the mass grave beside Pheasant Wood, the northern end of the village of Fromelles, and the site of the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. The mass burial site, its access roads and facilities are shown to the right (eastern side) off the central road leaving Fromelles (the D22). The location of the cemetery site, its access road and carpark are marked on the left (western side) of the D22. [Australian Army]  From http://www.ww1westernfront.gov.au/fromelles/pheasant-wood.php#

*I have found out where they are buried and one of them Alf Weatherhead, who died in May 1976, is for some reason buried at Kangaroo Ground Cemetery even though we have no family connection to the area. His grave is unmarked so that's our project, to get a headstone on his grave, so I'll keep you posted. (19/9/2016)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Carter Brothers of Bunyip




The Age August 4, 1915

In this post, in our series of Brother who enlisted, we are looking at the Carter Brothers of Bunyip. You can read about the Cullen Brothers of Cockatoo here and the Maher Brothers of Pakenham, here.

William, Alfred and Frederick were the sons of William and Annie Carter (nee Saunders)  of Maidstone House in Bunyip. The Brothers came from Maidstone in  Kent in England, hence the name of their property in Bunyip. William had already died when the brothers enlisted as their next of kin was their mother. Annie died in 1924 aged 61 in Carlton. I believe there were at least two other children, George who died in 1962 aged 60 and the grandly named Victoria Georgina Augusta who was only 22 when she died in 1919 in South Melbourne.

Bunyip Free Press September 9 1915


Carter, Alfred Nathaniel (SN 2467)  Alfred enlisted on July 20 1915 at the age of 26. He was Driver. Alfred sustained  a Gun Shot  Wound to his right arm, which made him permanently unfit for service and thus he Returned to Australia  December 20, 1917 and was Discharged in July 1918. Alfred died on May 14, 1921 at the age of 32 and is buried in the Bunyip Cemetery.

Carter, Frederick Arthur (SN 1397)  Frederick, who was a baker,  enlisted at the age of 20 on July 28 1915. He did his training, was sent overseas to Egypt  and Returned to Australia on May 21, 1916 for discharge due to 'defective vision in right eye'  In the 1919 Electoral Roll, Frederick is living in Carlton, but not sure of what happened to him after that.

Carter, William (SN 2266) William enlisted on July 17 1915  - he was a 28 year old Labourer. William Died of Wounds received while fighting in France on August 6, 1916. William is listed on the Bunyip War Memorial.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Cullen boys of Cockatoo Creek

This is another post on brothers who enlisted, in the last post we looked at the Maher Brothers of Pakenham and we have also looked at the Carter Brothers of Bunyip, here, and in this post we will look at the four Cullen Brothers of Cockatoo Creek, as the town of Cockatoo used to be called. Interestingly, one of the enlistment papers has the address as Cockatoo Creek, Gembrook line, obviously referring to the 'Puffing Billy'  Railway line. The Cullen Brothers are the sons of Francis Patrick Cullen and Mary Jane Whitehead who married in New South Wales in 1883. They had seven children (there may be more)  the first three listed were born in Sydney, Francis (born 1884) Arthur Byrne (1886), Frederick (1888), Kathleen Mary (1890), Emily Margaret (1891) William Beechworth (1894) and Alfred Charles (1899). Mary Jane died in 1950, aged 91 and Francis died in 1942 aged 84.

The Argus May 26, 1915


Here are the four brothers, including their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service record in the National Archives of Australia, www.naa.gov.au

Cullen, Alfred Charles (SN 2629)     Alfred first enlisted on September 6, 1915 and said he was 18 years old, but this was untrue. There is  a letter in his file from his father saying that his signature must have been forged as he didn't give permission and his son was only 16 years, ten months old. So Alfred was discharged less than two months later on October 31 for 'being a minor and enlisting without parents consent', He enlisted again as Christopher Patrick Cullen on March 11, 1916 aged 18. His occupation was listed as grocer. It appears that he was  bit of  a 'lad', and was charged with Desertion in November 1917, after having been reported as missing, but found guilty of being absent without leave, sentenced to ten years gaol, which was later commuted to two years and then suspended.  Christopher Returned to Australia July 5, 1919. His real name was actually Alfred Charles Cullen and there is a note in his file saying that in 1922 he signed a Statuary Declaration saying that he wasn't really Christopher. Alfred died in 1969.



National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920


Cullen, Arthur Burns   (SN 1347 or 842) Arthur seems to have two Service Numbers and  is listed as having the same Service Number as his brother Frederick. Arthur enlisted on September 21, 1914 aged 25. His occupation was labourer. Arthur Returned to Australia on  December 3, 1918.

Cullen, Frederick  (SN 1347)   Frederick enlisted on the same day as his brother, William, November 11, 1914. He was a 26 year old Saw Mill hand. He was wounded in action - bullet wound to forehead, - and Returned to Australia in September 1915, but then obviously returned to serve overseas and he was  Killed in Action in Belgium on October 19, 1917. 



The Argus November 14, 1917


Cullen, William Beechworth (SN 1348) William enlisted on November 11, 1914 aged 21. His Occupation was sawyer. William Returned to Australia on  March 11, 1916 and discharged on medical grounds as he was suffering from nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) William died in 1957.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Maher brothers of Pakenham

I thought we would take  a look at some brothers who enlisted in the War, because it's an interesting to think about how their family back home must have felt - it would be stressful enough with one son enlisting let alone two or, in this case, three sons. We have found examples of three brothers enlisting before. Frederick, John and Julian Whiston were from Garfield, you can read about them here; Alfred, Charles and Norman Kent were from Narre Warren and you can read about them here.  Our post on the Yallock Honour Roll had four sets of three brothers - Alfred, Arthur and Claude Leeson from Yannathan;  Alfred, Norman and Thomas Light of Yallock; George, Robert and William Harker and David, George and Thomas Hatty. You can read about them here. Their were five Fahey Brothers who enlisted, they are on the St Patrick's Catholic School Roll - you can  read about them here.

This post looks at  three sons of Stephen and Bridget  (nee Ryan) Maher of Pakenham. Stephen was a member of the Police Force and he was stationed at Pakenham for a number of years from around 1912 until he retired in 1920, after 33 years of service.Stephen and Catherine had ten children, Rosaline (born 1886), Cathleen (1888), Florence Mary (1890), Olive Veronica (1893), Stephen Raymond (1894), John Thomas (1896), Thomas Francis (1899), Daniel Michael (1901) and Leonard Joseph (1903) Mary Monica (1905). According to a report in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal of June 17, 1920 after his retirement he planned to take up farming and grazing on a property he has acquired locally. Stephen died in April 1931 aged 70 and is buried at Pakenham and Bridget died in January 1939 aged 77 and is buried at Box Hill. You can read an obituary of Bridget in The Advocate here and her death notice from The Advocate is below.

The Advocate February 9, 1939

The three sons of Stephen and Bridget who served overseas were Raymond Stephen (called Roy on his enlistment papers), John Thomas  and Thomas Francis. Mrs Maher's obituary said that four sons enlisted in the Great War, three seeing active service so I presume that the fourth son must have been Daniel who was born 1901, but that would still have made him only 17 when the War ended, so not sure about that and Leonard would have been far too young.

Roy (Service Number (SN) 2228) enlisted on August 27 1914 at the age of 20, occupation Labourer. He served in Gallipoli and France and Returned to Australia October 8, 1918.

John Thomas  (SN 1049) enlisted at the age of 21 on June 14, 1915. He is confusingly called Thomas on the Embarkation Roll.  He Returned to Australia on July 3, 1919. John also served in World War Two, he enlisted in December 1940 and was discharged in June 1944, when he was nearly 48 years old.

Thomas Francis (SN 50190) was an 18 year old student when he enlisted on October 22, 1917.   Corporal Thomas Maher Returned to Australia on July 23, 1919. Thomas was granted an 80 acre Soldier Settlement farm on his return, you can read his full record here on the Battle to Farm website.


Pakenham Gazette  November 1 1918



Pakenham Gazette July 15, 1915

Roy sent a letter home to his parents in 1915, he makes it all sound rather pleasant as though he was on holiday and not just having survived Gallipoli,  but obviously was restricted in what he could write. It's  a lovely letter and interesting letter and I have transcribed it below. It was published in the Pakenham Gazette.

AT THE DARDANELLES..
Mrs Maher, wife of Constable Maher, Pakenham, has received the following letter from her son Ray, who is fighting the Turks and Germans at the Dardanelles.

I received your most welcome letter a little time ago. We are back again from the Dardanelles, as there is not space to get the horses off, and the mules can do better there, as the country is very hilly and rough. We have a nice camp out from Alexandria about nine miles, with a train running right through the camp, and the tram within 10 minutes walk. Best of all, the beach is only about a quarter of an hour's walk. We go down to swim the horses now and then, but go our selves every evening, It is where all the tourists come for their holidays, and there are a lot of English and French people there, so we have a good time with them.  I only wish I could speak French; I can only speak a little of it, also a little Egyptian just enough to be understood.  

The people here seemed to think Australia .only a little island, but they were surprised to hear that it is bigger than Europe, and that most of the inhabitants are white, instead of black, as they thought. I am writing this in the horse lines, as I am on stable guard, taking the place of my mate, who wanted to go to the races. The sun is about 200 in the shade - that is what it feels, at any rate; and the flies would drive a fellow mad.  

Most of our chaps are at the Dardanelles, but a lot of us had to come back with the horses. Many of our men who were wounded are going back in a day or two; they are getting well again.

I think Italy will make a difference when she comes into the war; she will make the war end sooner. 

I must bring this letter to a close, with love to all at home from Ray.

Monday, July 11, 2016

French Island Great War Service men and women

French Island is not part of any Local Government area - but it does border the old  Shire of Cranbourne and has historic connections to local towns through trade, sport, recreation and medical matters. There is a touching article in the Mornington Standard of August 22, 1895 about  a French Island settler who had an accident, he was then conveyed two and  a half miles on a stretcher to a  boat, where they had to wait until low tide when he was rowed across to Tooradin,  a voyage that took two hours. The Doctor from Cranbourne met him at Tooradin. He then had to wait until the next day before he could be sent to hospital  by train and the article ends with this sad note 'No hopes are entertained of his recovery' You can read the full report here

There are also accounts of injured Islanders being taken to Lang Lang for medical treatment. Other newspaper accounts relate to holiday makers staying at Tooradin and visiting French Island for the day and the French Island cricket team playing against Tooradin. In 1946 Ken Gartside established a regular barge service between Tooradin and French Island, previous to this Islanders had to use their own boats to cart goods. You can read an account in the Dandenong Journal about this barge here.

So because we have these historic connections to French Island I feel the soldiers and Matron Ross, an Army Nurse deserve a place in our blog. What follows is a list of French Island service personnel including their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service record at the National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au

Most of these  people are listed on the French Island Honour Board, located at the French Island Community Hall. You can see a photograph of the Honour Board on the Monument Australia website here. There may be more who should be in this list, feel free to let me know. The main towns on French Island are Tankerton and Fairhaven.


This article from the Powlett Express said that there were 19 men who had enlisted by 1916

Powlett Express  February 25 1916



Bayford, Hugh Staynes (SN 1878) Hugh was 25 years old when he enlisted on February 7 1916. His next of kin was his mother who lived in Moreland, but according to the Electoral Rolls Hugh had been  a farmer on French Island since 1909. Hugh was Wounded in Action on three occasions, including sustaining a gun shot wound to his right eye and Returned to Australia on November 8, 1918.

Bennetts, Albert Edward (SN 7029)  Albert enlisted on January 25, 1916 at the age of 34. He was a farmer from Fairhaven.  Albert Returned to Australia on June 2, 1919 and according to the Electoral Rolls returned to living on French Island.

Bond, Frederick William (SN 585)  Frederick was a 28 year old miner when he enlisted on September 5, 1914 at Rosebery Park in New South Wales. His next of kin was his father, James Bond, of French Island. Frederick was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on April 27, 1915.


The Argus June 8, 1915


Chapman, Albert Claude (SN 2790) A.C Chapman is listed on the Honour Board and there is an Albert Claude Chapman on the Electoral Roll at Fairhaven in 1918, occupation farmer so I presume they are the same people, however I cannot actually link Albert to French Island through any information in his service record. Albert enlisted on November 30, 1916 aged 32, his occupation was warehouseman, he was born in England and his next of kin was his father who lived in London. Albert Returned to Australia January 25, 1919.

Chilcott, Frank William Leslie  (SN 5673) Frank enlisted on February 7, 1916 aged 24. His next of kin was his mother, Margaret Chilcott, of French Island. Frank Returned to Australia on June 12, 1919.

Collinson, John Henry (SN Depot)   J.Henry is listed on the Honour Board and   the Electoral Roll lists  a John Henry Collinson at Fairhaven from 1918 until 1927. I presume this is the same John Henry Collinson who enlisted on May 22 1915 at the age of 21. He was an electrician. John was discharged as unfit for military service on July 5, 1915 due to 'overlapping toes', the 'first toe on both feet overlap the big toe' was the note on his record.
Collinson, Wilfred (SN 2210)  Wilfred was born in Hull, in Yorkshire in England, as was John, above, so I believe they were brothers. Wilfred enlisted at age of 19 on November 16, 1914. Wilfred Returned to Australia on April, 10 1919.There are two letters in Wilfred's file from Mrs Jean Harrop, 'Long View', Tankerton  one dated May 26, 1919 and the other dated June 5 1919 (see below) asking for information about Wilfred. In one letter she writes 'I am interested and would like accurate information' The response was that they didn't have an official report on Collinson but if they did they would communicate with his next of kin, his father. I wonder who Mrs Harrop was? She was also connected to Alfred Pocock, below.

Letter from Mrs Jean Harrop enquiring about the well being of Wilfred Collinson.

National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920


Cremin, J  The Honour Roll lists a J. Cremin and according to the National Archives there were only two Cremins who enlisted - John Francis Cremin (SN 593) and a Samuel Cremin (SN 369). There was however, a James Stuart Cremen (SN 838) who also enlisted. So if we eliminate Samuel then we are left with John and James. I think we can eliminate James Stuart Cremen as he was born, worked (as a crockery packer) and enlisted in Sydney, the surname spelling is irrelevant as I have seen lots of incorrect surnames on Honour Boards. That leaves us with John Francis Cremin (SN 593) John  was born in Scotland, his next of kin was his mother who lived in London. He enlisted on April 16, 1915 at Broadmeadows at the age of 21 and he was a Clerk. John married Ada May Lambourne in May 1917 when he was in England. John Returned to Australia on June 16, 1919 and the couple are listed in the Electoral Rolls in the 1920s as living in Prahran. Is John the J. Cremin listed on the Honour Roll? I can find nothing that connects him to French Island, but I feel that he's the most likely candidate,  but happy to be proven wrong.

Cuttriss, John  (SN 1135)  John was a 27 year old motor boatman of Fairhaven when he enlisted at the age of 27 on March 6, 1916. He Returned to Australia January 10, 1918 and was discharged on medical  grounds in August 1918, due to a gun shot wound to the right elbow.

Edhouse, Charles Edward (SN 333a)  Charles was a 21 year old farm hand when he enlisted on April 24, 1916. His address on the Embarkation Roll was care of R. De La Haye, Fairhaven, French Island. Charles Returned to Australia July 9, 1919.

Gillings, Robert (SN 19847)  Robert was a 22 year old labourer, from French Island,  and he enlisted on November 23, 1915. Next of Kin was his father who lived in England. He Returned to Australia on February 19, 1919.

Griffiths, Ivor (SN 5377) Ivor was born in Wales and he enlisted on January 15, 1916 aged 24. He was a farmer from Tankerton. Ivor Returned to Australia December 12, 1918.

Haward, Martin Francis (SN 17859) Martin  enlisted on April 3, 1917, he was a 24 year old telephone mechanic from Tankerton. Martin Returned to Australia June 16, 1919.

Hill, James (SN 2782) - see below under Charles Williams.

Iliff, George Robert (SN 1734) George enlisted on May 20, 1915, he was a 22 year old labourer. He served overseas but suffered  a number of bouts of disease and Returned to Australia on October 17, 1916 and was medically discharged in April 1917.
Iliff, Joseph Ludwig (SN 6334) Joseph was a 29 year old farm labourer when he enlisted on October 25, 1916. He Returned to Australia August 8, 1919.
Iliff, William Charles (SN 1137) William enlisted at the age of 24 on July 28 1915. He Returned to Australia April 8, 1919. William was granted a Soldier Settlement farm after his return on Eight Mile Road at Nar Nar Goon - you can read about this on the Battle to Farm website here.
George, Joseph and William were brothers and their next of kin was their mother, Bertha, of Tankerton. Their father, Joseph, had died in 1905.

Leppke, William. William Leppke is listed on Discovering Anzacs website as having enlisted in 1915 when he was living on French Island. His official record has not been digitised and is part of the National Archives Series 'Applications to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force' which covers 'records for those individuals who applied to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force, and were either rejected, discharged while still in training, or went on to serve within Australia only [usually as depot troops or camp guards]. The most common reason for rejection is on medical grounds'. So apart from the fact that he was 28 years old and born in East Prussia, that's all I know about him. 

Lovie, William Wallace (SN 14077) William enlisted on February 1, 1916 at the age of 21. He was from Fairhaven. He Returned to Australia on June 2, 1919.

Maddaford, Alfred (SN 2035)   enlisted on July 28, 1915 at the age of 26. He was discharged on medical grounds in June 1916 as he had 'chronic epilepsy'
Maddaford, Richard James (SN 2949) Richard enlisted at the age of 28 on February 18 1916. He was Killed in Action in France on April 24 1918. There was an article about his death in the Powlett Express, see below.
Richard and Alfred both had their sister Lily (sometimes spelt Lillie)  as their next of kin. When Alfred enlisted her address was Ballarat (where they were born)  but when Richard enlisted her address was Tankerton. However according to the Electoral Roll, in 1909 Richard and Lily were both on French Island and in 1912 Richard and Alfred were both living on French Island and Lily had moved back to Ballarat, but was obviously back on the Island by 1916.



Report on the death of Private Richard Maddaford

Powlett Express June 7 1918

Meade, Frederick John (SN 4730) Frederick was born in Cranbourne and was a 36 year old labourer and a widower and he enlisted on February 23, 1916. His address on the Embarkation roll is French Island and his next of kin was a friend, Miss Maggie D'Arth of Stony Point.  He was discharged on medical grounds in May 1916 due to multiple fistulas which caused an abscess. Frederick married Maggie and they had three children, Charles, Frederick and Vera and are listed on the Electoral Rolls at French Island, until at least 1936.

Nicholls, Richard Wilfred (SN 4154) Richard was only 18 when he enlisted on October 26, 1915. He was a farm labourer. His next of kin was his friend, Miss Nellie Bond, of Tankerton. Nellie was the sister of Frederick Bond, listed above, who was killed at Gallipoli and the sister in law to Ernest Sisson (see below).  Richard was awarded the Military Medal and Returned to Australia on January 18, 1919.

Pocock, Alfred James William (SN 6883)  Alfred  enlisted at the age of  18 on February 12, 1917. He was born in England, occupation was farming labourer and his next of kin was his father of The Grange in Dandenong (although his Embarkation record says his father lived in View Street, Mont Albert) Alfred went overseas and was wounded in action in May 1918 (gun shot wound arm and left thigh) and he Returned to Australia on January 22, 1920. We can connect Albert to French Island as his enlistment paper  has his address as C/O Mrs Harrop, Tankerton, French Island, the  same Mrs Harrop who wrote two letters enquiring after the well being of Wilfred Collinson (see above) - in fact it's the same writing so she must have filled out Alfred's application form.

From Alfred Pocock's enlistment papers

National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

Ratford, John (SN 2982) John enlisted on February 5, 1916. He was a 22 year old labourer. John Returned to Australia on March 5, 1919.
Ratford, William John (SN 1493)  William enlisted on  August 24, 1914 at the age of 23. He was a farmer. On August 2, 1915 William  received a Gun shot wound to his femur and he Returned to Australia on December 4, 1915 and was medically discharged on April 11, 1916.
John and William are the sons of John Ratford of Tankerton.

There is an interesting account of  a cricket match between French Island and Tooradin in the Mornington Standard of May 17, 1919, which mentions the return of John Ratford to the team 'after an absence of three years at a more strenuous game' You can read the full article here


Report on John Ratford's return to the French Island Cricket team

Mornington Standard May 17, 1919


Ross, Clara Louise.  Matron Ross was born on French Island and she enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service on November 4, 1914. She was 40 years old and had over 21 years of nursing experience. Matron Ross served in Egypt and France and was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal (O.B.E) on June 3, 1919 'in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the War'  Clara also received the Royal Red Cross Decoration, 1st Class 'in recognition of her valuable services in connection with the War' on June 21, 1918. Clara Returned to Australia on August 22, 1919. 

Report on Matron Ross' award

The Sydney Sun September 15, 1918


Sisson, Ernest William  (SN 6641) Ernest enlisted on February 17, 1916 at the age of 31. He was a farmer and a widower. Ernest had married Kathleen Bond in 1914 and she passed away in  April 1915. Kathleen was the daughter of James and Emma (nee Witts) Bond and the sister of Frederick Bond, listed above. Ernest remarried when he was in England to Evaline Gillins and he Returned to Australia on May 12, 1918. Ernest was Medically Discharged on August 14, 1918, suffering from 'Myelogenenus Leukaemia'

Thompson, William (SN 61937) William was 23 when he enlisted on December 17, 1917. He was a 23 year old farmer and his next of kin was his father, Joseph, of Tankerton. He embarked from Melbourne on October 5, 1918. arrived at Cape Town in South Africa in early November, where he was in hospital with the measles and then Returned to Australia on December 4, 1918.

Toebelmann, Arnold (SN 613) Arnold was born on French Island and he enlisted on March 25, 1916 at the age of 19. His next of kin was his father, Johann, of Moorooduc. Arnold was Killed in Action in Belgium on October 4, 1917.

Walden, Charles William (SN 20362)  Charles was a 23 years farm labourer when he enlisted on September 1, 1915. Charles got married when he was overseas in April 1919 and Returned to Australia on July 23, 1919. His wife's name was listed as Minnie Maria Walden, so did he marry a  cousin or was it just a coincidence that they had the same surname?
Walden, Henry (SN 6137) Henry enlisted on March 8, 1916 at the age of 21. He served overseas and sustained a gun shot wound to his right thigh on August 23, 1918 and Returned to Australia December 12, 1918.
Charles and Henry were the sons of  Charles Walden of Tankerton.

Williams, Charles (SN 5782) Charles enlisted on February 17, 1916, he was a 24 year old farmhand from Tankerton. Charles was Wounded in Action (Gun shot wound, right thigh) on December 22, 1916, which required his leg to amputated and he passed away on January 12, 1917. There is a Statuary Declaration in his military file where Charles states that his real name is James Hill, not Charles Williams. It would be interesting to know why he enlisted under  a false name.

Yeomans, J The French Island Honour Board lists a J. Yeomans, not sure who this is.  There is Joseph Yeomans (SN 332), John William Yeomans (SN Depot), Lieutenant Julian Clyde Yeoman, James Yeoman (SN Depot), James Yeoman (SN 1696) and Captain John Stanhope Yeoman. The most likely candidate in my mind is John William Yeomans (SN Depot) who was 19 when he enlisted on August 10, 1918. His occupation was a driver and his next of kin was his father, of Bakers Road, Blackburn. John was discharged on medical grounds on November 8, 1918 due to 'old injury to elbow and old infantile paresis' but I cannot connect him (or any of them) to French Island.