Tuesday, 30 April 2019


StateLibQld 2 179687 Military parade of the 1st Contingent, marching in Queen Street, Brisbane, 1914.jpg


The image above portrays crowds in Queen Street, Brisbane, gathering to farewell and cheer on soldiers heading to war. Though we can't see their faces, we can imagine the mixed feelings that encompassed the crowd.

Mothers, fathers, siblings, wives, children.. engulfed with pride and sadness, happiness and fear... but no doubt, along with so many other emotions, the one thing they would be trying to push to the back of their mind... would this be the last time they would see their loved ones?

Then, not least of all, the emotions of those young, and not so young men, heading off to the unknown. Many looked on it as an adventure.. going overseas, for most, the only chance they would get. They dreamed of far off lands, not really allowing themselves to think of the reality of war. My maternal grandfather was just 17, full of bravado and excitement and wanting above all, to get to Paris... *see end of post

The results of war, this and so many other conflicts, can be read in numerous places. Reality hit home well and truly when the Casualty Lists were published...I can't imagine the fear of finding a loved one's name in these, hoping if it did appear, that it would 'only' be in the injured list, preferably with a comment 'returned home'. 

The following is just a small selection of these lists, courtesy of TROVE. There are casualty lists for various states as well as Australia in general. 
Please click to enlarge... N.B. the names aren't in any particular order, so you need to search through. You can always use the URL listed above the page to find the actual article.

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), Friday 8 October 1915, page 4
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article176923574

Image: An Australian soldier in the trenches near Bois Grenier 5 June 1916. 
Source: Australian War Memorial EZ0052.
Australian First World War troops were issued identical khaki woollen greatcoats (which weighed about 3kg) and often doubled as bedding.
Further reading: Australian War Memorial and SBS

Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934), Friday 16 November 1917, page 31
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article188093040

Artillery in action at Heilly, France, during World War I (4040757837)

Source: Australian troops wearing gas masks. Image coloured by The Diggers View
The use of poisonous gases caught the allied forces off guard in the First World War. To protect themselves, soldiers were instructed to use a urine-soaked cloth over their face. It wasn’t until about 1917 that gas masks with filters were provided to the troops to protect them from about 30 different noxious gases being used.  Further reading: History Learning Site

My grandfather suffered all his life from the effects of mustard gas.

Image: Behind the enemy lines a British solider removes a note from a German messenger dog.
Over 20,000 dogs served with allied forces in the First World War, both as messengers and to help lay telegraph wires. Dogs serving with Australian troops were supplied by the British and tended to be medium sized breeds such as Airedales, collies and German shepherds. Smaller dogs like terriers were often adopted as companions or battalion mascots, and could be put to work hunting rats.

The casualty lists included all who fought with Australian troops... Though many indigenous soldiers were included and have been recognised for bravery, their history may not be as well known. 
You can read some of their stories in the following...

Qld Indigenous Soldiers WW1


These are just three of them ... 
James McBride, Harry Baker, Frank Fisher
Short summation of their enlistment... more to be found on PIN HISTORY link above.

McBRIDE James 

SERN 2438


BAKER Harry #Q19600
Private Harry Baker enlisted age 21 at Barambah, during a recruiting drive by the Queensland Recruiting Committee in May 1917. Born in Coen, Harry was employed as a labourer, living on the Aboriginal Settlement at Barambah, now known as Cherbourg.

All 15 recruits enlisted that day were discharged just 30 days later on Wednesday, 13 June 1917, for “having been irregularly enlisted”.

Service Record

Baker Harry : SERN DEPOT 19600 : POB Coen QLD : POE Barambah QLD : NOK S Baker Rosie
Contents range
circa 1914 - circa 1920
Series number
Control symbol
Access status



Fisher Frank : SERN Depot : POB Sydney NSW : POE Brisbane QLD : NOK B Fisher James
Contents range
1914 - 1920
Series number
Control symbol
Access status


Tuesday, 23 April 2019


N.B. very approximate location

Ever wanted to circumnavigate Australia? We still have a way to go...we'll be going on quite a journey, at least virtually, and clockwise. So as to make sure all states and territories are covered, we started in Western Australia and explored a little of the early history of a small part of this massive state via TROVE...from Rottnest Island to Broome..then across to Katherine Gorge, then Tennant Creek, from there to Darwin on the way to the Tiwi Islands, Bathurst and Melville.

We've had to travel back to Darwin, before leaving the Northern Territory, then across to Cairns, in North Queensland... but we didn't stop there, instead headed to the tropical north, to one of the most beautiful areas you can imagine... isolated yes, but perfect for that great getaway... to Cape Tribulation. It seems you loved that area so well, that Cairns was the obvious place to travel to next... not too far south. That was another very popular place...as was our visit to Fraser Island...

We then headed inland, on an approximately 6 hours flight to a place steeped in history.. what a contrast to the sub tropical island of Fraser ...no waterfalls or clear lakes or rainforest, but Longreach has so much to offer.

We then returned to Hervey Bay, by plane, and then took a short drive of approximately 25 minutes to a town founded in 1847... the charming historical town of Maryborough. So many of you loved that place as I do.

What a contrast the next destination was, though it is also very much steeped in history... a beautiful place, but it was a place of horror, of deprivation and loneliness... St. Helena Island. To get there, we left on a ferry from Manly, across to the island. 

Then we returned to Brisbane, to explore the beautiful, sub tropical capital city of the Sunshine State. Brisbane today, is the third largest city in Australia and growing rapidly... 

It has come a long way from it's beginnings as the Moreton Bay convict settlement, with such an interesting history. In an earlier issue, we explored some of the history of Brisbane, then visited Brisbane of a later period. There is so much to see and do in this beautiful city, once known as the biggest country town in Australia...

After a break, we resumed our travels...  heading in to New South Wales... not too far over the border, to a place that literally stands out, begging to be noticed. It was first given a European name by Captain James Cook...  he recorded seeing " a remarkable sharp peaked mountain lying inland". That place was the very imposing Mt. Warning.. you can refresh your memory here

The New Year saw us travelling again, refreshed and ready to go to yet another beautiful place. Many of you will have stopped there, if only to get a photo taken on the border between Queensland and New South Wales..Coolangatta one side, Tweed Heads on the other. Hard to believe that this was only known as Point Danger in times past, as indeed it was... the lighthouse is a clue... 

That place brought back many wonderful memories for so many of you...it was lovely to read your comments and receive your emails..

We moved south again, to a place that means a lot to my family, but also has a very colourful past. It is beautiful, a popular tourist place, the centre of a very busy district, steeped in Australia's colonial history.. it's the bustling town of Port Macquarie. It is around 5 hours drive south of Point Danger.

I concentrated on the convict history of Port Macquarie, perhaps we will return another time to see how the city has changed.

We then headed down the coast a bit, then inland, to another town connected to my family.. the country town of Aberdeen, where my father and five of his brothers were born, him being the youngest. It seems many of you have driven through this town, but never explored it. You would have passed my family's old home .. on the north side of town, just over the bridge on the left hand side heading north.

After backtracking a few hours and heading back to the coast, we explored the bustling city of Newcastle. It was great to hear that a number of you who thought you knew Newcastle reasonably well found a few new places to check out on your next visit.

It was only a relatively short drive, just a couple of hours away from Newcastle, to our next destination... Wiseman's Ferry. Heard of it, but never been there? It took me many years to actually visit, but I'm glad I did. This is another place that has a family connection for me... this time, on my maternal line...and so many of you enjoyed the visit also, going by your comments and emails. Thank you.

From there, we headed to a place that I'm sure most of have heard of, once a year at least... a reasonably thriving place which has the best New Year's Eve fireworks in the world.

Ok, I could be slightly biased and yes, it is Sydney, capital of New South Wales, site of the oldest settlement in Australia and another place which is linked to my family. We explored a few of the heritage listed places and some of the landmarks, but there is so much more to see. 

We can't cover it all, but one place which is well worth exploring is Botany Bay... the proposed site of the first settlement. Lieutenant James Cook first landed there on April 29, 1770. 

To quote from Wikipedia... 
"Lieutenant James Cook first landed at Kurnell, on the southern banks of Botany Bay, in what is now Silver Beach, on Sunday 29 April 1770, when navigating his way up the east coast of Australia on his ship, HMS Endeavour. Cook's landing marked the beginning of Britain's interest in Australia and in the eventual colonisation of this new "southern continent".[6] Initially the name Stingrays Harbour was used by Cook and other journal keepers on his expedition, for the stingrays they caught.[7] That name was also recorded on an Admiralty chart.[8] Cook's log for 6 May 1770 records "The great quantity of these sort of fish found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Stingrays Harbour". However, in the journal prepared later from his log, Cook wrote instead: (sic) "The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place occasioned my giving it the name of Botanist Botany Bay".[8]
Eighteen years later, in 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip sailed the armed tender HMS Supply into the bay on 18 January. First contact was made with the local indigenous people, the Eora, who seemed curious but suspicious of the newcomers. Two days later the remaining ships of the First Fleet arrived to found the planned penal colony. However, the land was quickly ruled unsuitable for settlement as there was insufficient fresh water; Phillip also believed the swampy foreshores would render any colony unhealthy as the bay was open and unprotected, the water too shallow to allow the ships to anchor close to the shore, and the soil was poor.[9]"
You can read more here  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botany_Bay

Somehow Stingray Bay doesn't have the same appeal.

Botany Bay, 1788 watercolour by Charles Gore   Public Domain

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842), Sunday 10 March 1805, page 2  National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article626666

From Botany Bay, explorations around the area were made...

Hobart Town Gazette 15 Apr 1826

The beauty of the area was apparent to all, it was the water supply that was the concern. What a great contrast to the English countryside left behind.

The Sydney Gazette & New South Wales Advertiser 2 Jan 1813


Black-eyed Sue and Sweet Poll of Plymouth, England, mourning their lovers who are soon to be transported to Botany Bay, 1792 Public Domain  NLA

The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser 25 Feb 1815
 Where there are settlements....

  • This engraving titled - A View of Botany Bay - is from The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, by Arthur Phillip, published in London in 1789. A footnote states - "The annexed view of Botany Bay represents the SUPPLY. etc. at anchor, and the SIRIUS with her convoy coming into the bay".
          Robert Cleveley, 1747 - 1809      The Australian National Maritime Museum

Powerhouse Museum Collection   Gift of Elizabeth Bullard, 1967

Kyogle Examiner (NSW : 1912; 1914 - 1915; 1917 - 1954), Friday 18 May 1934, page 3
National Library of Australia http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article235323356
Please click to enlarge

BOTANY BAY by Harold Denning

This gives an idea of the size of the bay...

Aerial photograph taken on a flight from Newcastle to Melbourne. 
Taken by Tim Starling   CC BY 2.0

Back in 1936...

Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 - 1954), Sunday 29 March 1936, page 2
National Library of Australia   http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230831913

Without the arrival of the English in the exact time in 1788, which was planned "to get rid of 717 convicts", the country may well have been destined to be under French rule.. an interesting article.

Botany Bay Coastal Walk    CC BY 3.0  Attribution: Maurice van Creij

The following are from a series entitled BOTANY BAY and published in sequence in The Australian Women's Weekly.
Though I won't publish the lot here, I will add the links for you to follow... just click on the url, in bold to read the rest of this first instalment..

Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), Saturday 9 January 1943, page 3
National Library of Australia  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46447301

The rest of the articles are at

Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), Saturday 16 January 1943

Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), Saturday 23 January 1943

Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), Saturday 30 January 1943

Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), Saturday 6 February 1943

Monument at La Perouse.  J Bar   CC BY-SA 3.0 

Bicentennial Monument at Brighton-Le-Sands  J Bar     CC BY-SA 3.0

The mouth of Botany Bay as it meets the Tasman Sea, as viewed from the air, above Kurnell
Botany Bay entrance, NSW, 26th. Nov. 2010 Phillip Capper

Botany Bay, a beautiful area, with so much history

Tuesday, 9 April 2019


Have you ever wondered what was happening 100 years ago? Thanks to the ever giving TROVE, we can travel back in time and see just what life was like, albeit in a small way. We can read the headlines, get a feeling for what was happening in various areas, discover what was all important on this date, April 9, a century ago.

Australia, as was much of the world, was still finding it's footing again, post World War I. The population was still mourning so many of their loved ones, many who had fallen in foreign lands and in all probability, would remain there. The economy had suffered greatly, the workforce was depleted and industry that had geared up for war, had to find a new source of income. Many had survived with female workers, but now the men were returning and wanted their jobs back. This was quite unsettling for many families, those who had been kept going by women, whether in factories, on farms, in commerce, or in small business... Suddenly they were torn between looking after the women who had kept them going, or fulfilling promises of a job waiting for those who had returned. Most chose the latter, women weren't fully recognised for their abilities till much later, post WWII.*

Glasgow seemed to have a different outlook.

Recorder Port Pirie 9 Apr 1919

One year post war and the economy was improving.

The Lockhart Review and Oaklands Advertiser NSW Wed Apr 9 1919

The coal shortage was easing...
Barrier Miner Broken Hill  9 Apr 1919

The cost of living was rising, but not as much as that in many other countries...

 Families were still waiting for news of loved ones, or waiting for their return...
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miner's Advocate 9 Apr 1919

The Gloucester Advocate NSW 9 Apr 1919

Daily Telegraph Launceston 9 Apr 1919

The Register Adelaide 9 Apr 1919

 Riverina Recorder (Balranald, Moulamein. NSW} April 9, 1919

Life went on as usual.. headlines still alarmed .... 

NSW Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime 9 Apr 1919

Influenza spread throughout the country... 
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miner's Advocate NSW 9 Apr 1919

Daily Advertiser Wagga Wagga 9th April 1919

Quarantine areas were set up, often preventing people 
from going about their daily business... 
as noted in this last paragraph, p. 2.
As always, please click to enlarge...

Daily Examiner Grafton PERSONAL 9 Apr 1919

some headlines still amused....
The Daily Mail Brisbane 9 Apr 1919

Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser QLD 9 Apr 1919

and even then, advertorials were used...

Northern Star Lismore NSW 9th Apr 1919

and everyday matters were discussed..

The Argus Melbourne 9 Apr 1919                                  The Border Morning Mail and Riverina Times Albury NSW 9 Apr 1919

yet poignant reminders of years that had passed still made the papers..
Cairns Post The Soldiers' Postbag April 9, 1919

Bega Budget  A Bega Soldier's Experience as a POW April 9, 1919

Stevens Raymond Edward : SERN 3219 : POB Bombala NSW : POE Warwick Farm NSW : NOK F Stevens Benjamin

To read Private Stevens full record, please go to SODA... http://soda.naa.gov.au/record/1923203/1

See Above.. *women in wartime

* https://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/women-in-wartime