Monday, February 15, 2021

Hallam War Workers' Association

In November 1939, the Hallam community formed the Hallam War Workers' Association. The object of the organization was to raise money for the Red Cross and other patriotic causes. One of their early functions, held on Saturday, November 11 1939 was a successful and profitable euchre party and dance (1). 

Formation of the Hallam War Workers Association
Dandenong Journal November 8, 1939

By the end of their first year of operation they had raised £76/14/3 - Dances, euchres, and concerts have been held, and members also make regular monthly contributions. Not only did they raise money but since July 22nd [1940], the following goods have been made by the industrious workers: 110 prs sox, 4 prs spiral sox, 4 pullovers, 5 scarves, 15 caps, 17 prs mittens, 16 helmets, 4 prs bed sox and 2 hot-water bottle covers (2).  

Advertisement for the Hallam War Workers' Grand Ball
Dandenong Journal November 22, 1944

A report of a Hallam War Workers' Association Fancy Ball, which attracted over 200 people, who were entertained by Miss Cheeseman's Rythym Rascals.
Dandenong Journal January 24, 1945

The Group also undertook other fundraising including the quintessential country activity of catering at clearing sales.

Clearing sale for Mr Murphy of Gunns's Road, Hallam who is retiring from the dairying. 
Luncheon was provided by the Hallam War Workers' Committee.

The War Workers' also fundraised in tandem with other groups such as the Hallam Yonger Set - a small group of, I would presume, people in their twenties; as well as the Mothers' Club and the Hallam Hall Committee (3). The money the Association raised went to a number of local and International causes such as the Red Cross, the British Empire Bombing Victims fund, the Blinded Soldiers Appeal and the  Red Cross comforts fund (4).

The Association also arranged send-offs to local boys. As the Dandenong Journal reported all local soldiers received a hand some gift on embarkation, and canteen orders and sox have also been sent overseas to them (5). They also arranged welcome-homes for their returning locals (6). 

Report of a send off to local man, Jack Poulton (7).
Dandenong Journal March 4, 1942

The Hallam War Workers' Association held their last meeting on May 20, 1946 - It was a grand climax to the activities of a small band of people, who, under the title of “The Hallam War-Workers’’ worked throughout the war years and raised hundreds of pounds for patriotic purposes and the welfare of their servicemen and women (8). The Association had raised over £600 in the six years they were together. At their last meeting a balance of approximately £l2 was voted toward the cost of an honor roll to be erected in the hall as soon as possible (9). I have no information as to whether the honor roll was ever installed and if it was, where it is now.

The small band of people who made up the Hallam War Workers' Association included Frank Kirkham, who was the President of the Association during the six years of its existance. Vice Presidents included Mr Kinrade, Mr A. Fraser, Mr Reedy and Mr G. Gatter. The role of the Secretary was filled by Mr Ehms and later Mr A. Fraser. The Treasurers were Miss Wallace and then Mrs Blackley. Mrs Kinrade and Mrs Kirkham are also mentioned in reports. 

I have checked the Electoral Rolls and other sources to find out more information about these tireless community workers.
Mrs Blackley - Elsie Mary Blackley, married to Daniel, a farmer. Their address was Kay's Road, Grassmere, an old name for the Doveton / Hallam region.

Mr O. Ehms - There is an Otto Ehms, a jeweller at 16 Dorothy Avenue, Glenhuntly in the Electoral Rolls at this time, seems unlikely to be him and I can't find a connection between him and Hallam. Mr Ehms resigned from the Association in 1943 owing to business ties (10). In 1950, there was a report of  a robbery at the Hallam Hotel where three employees were bashed, including an Otto Ehms (11) so I assume this is our Mr Ehms.

Mr A. Fraser - not sure who this is.

Mr Gatter - There is a George Francis Gatter and a James George Gatter in the Electoral Roll at Berwick Road, Hallam. They were both listed as gardeners. 

Mr & Mrs Kinrade -Alfred John and Clara Alice, of The Oaks, Hallam Road, Lysterfield. He was a market gardener.

Frank Kirkham - a man whose interest in all matters of local community welfare commands the respect of all (12). Frank was also the President of the Hallam Progress Association for 26 years (13) The Kirkham name is synonymous with the Hallam area and you can read about the Kirkham family, here.

G. Reedy - George Reedy was from another well known local family from the Hallam / Hampton Park area. You can read about the family, here. Mr Reedy died in June 1948, and you can read his obituary, here.  

Miss Wallace - Florence Emma Wallace, a school teacher at Hallam State School and the inaugural Treasurer, who resigned during 1942, as she was transferred to Hopetoun. She married Allan John 'Jack' Guthrie in 1943 (14). They are listed in the Electoral Rolls at Princes Highway, Dandenong in 1949.

We will finish this post with the tribute to the Hallam War Workers' Association from the Dandenong Journal.

The Dandenong Journal tribute to the Hallam War Workers' Association
Dandenong Journal June 5, 1946

Trove list - I have created a  list of articles on the Hallam War Workers' Association on Trove, access it here

(1) Dandenong Journal, November 15, 1939, see here.
(2) Dandenong Journal, December 18, 1940, see here.
(3) Dandenong Journal, December 2, 1942, see here.
(4) The Argus, May 30, 1941, see here; The Age, March 3, 1944, see here; Dandenong Journal, July 29, 1942, see here are some reports of their fund raising destinations.
(5) Dandenong Journal, December 18, 1940, see here.
(6) Dandenong Journal, June 5, 1946, see here.
(7) Jack Poulton - This is, I believe, John O'Loughlin Poulton, listed in the 1942 Electoral Road at Back Road, Hallam. Born in 1914 at Hopetoun. He was discharged January 25, 1946. The Dandenong Journal of March 8, 1944 published a letter that he had sent to his mother from Italy, read it here.  
(8) Dandenong Journal, June 5, 1946, see here.
(9) Dandenong Journal, June 5, 1946, see here.
(10) Dandenong Journal, August 11, 1943, see here.
(11) Weekly Times, September 13, 1950, see here.
(12) Dandenong Journal, August 5, 1942, see here.
(13) Dandenong Journal, April 13, 1949, see here.
(14) A report of Miss Wallace's impending wedding can be read in the Dandenong Journal of May 19, 1942, here

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