Friday, 21 November 2014

War related advertising

I've become fascinated by the way advertisers used the war to promote their wares.

For example, Havelock tobacco had a range of military themes, including this one directed at officers, or so it seems. Smoking Havelock was clearly going to make you a better officer.

Mount Alexander Mail, 28 June 1917

The Empire Cocoa people got in on the act, too, with their appeal to Australians' sense of duty (with a bit of guilt thrown in for good measure?):
Warrnambool Standard, 18 September 1916

The following ad for 'Bookstall' novels reminds us that soldiers often had free time to read and had a 'hankering for anything Australian':
Australasian, 4 August 1917

I found those ads in country or national newspapers and it made me wonder what sort of patriotic appeals were made to the people of Coburg and Brunswick.
I found no references to the war in local papers in the first months of the war. Some, like this ad for Tarran's Carriage Works, recalled a bygone era. The pastoral scene depicted here seems more suited to a Thomas Hardy novel than a Melbourne suburb at war.
Brunswick and Coburg Star, 8 January 1915, p.4

Then there was the Primrose Dairy ad, reminding us that despite the war, life went on as usual.
Brunswick and Coburg Star, 6 August 1916, p.4.

On the same page, though, was an ad from Green's Newsagency, bringing our attention back to the war and reminding us of the losses involved, with its reminder that it specialised in mourning cards and offered a 'nice assortment of Soldiers' Mourning Cards'.
Brunswick and Coburg Star,6 August 1916.

For those busily knitting garments to send to the front, Hutton's of North Carlton was the place to go.
Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 26 November 1915.

Motor cycle riders were not forgotten, either. Andrew Johstone of the Thistle Motor Garage (and Thistle Cycling Club). This rather splendid ad appeared in the Brunswick and Coburg Star on 21 May 1915 and I can't help wondering whether Andrew Johnstone had heard the news yet that his son Donald had been killed at Gallipoli earlier that month (on 8 May).

By Christmas 1916, Grundy's had organised sending gifts to the Front:
Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 22 December 1916 (and preceding three months)

Blakeley and Jackson catered for patriotic locals who could have their Christmas cards made up in their particular soldier's battalion colours. I wonder how families who had sons, brothers or fathers in different battalions decided on a colour scheme?
Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 19 October 1917

And an important patriotic duty was to ensure a steady supply of tobacco to the Front, as evidenced in this ad for the Southern Cross Tobacco Fund.
Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 28 June 1918

I'll give the last word to local builder Robert Irvine, who looked firmly to the future, even in 1916.
Brunswick and Coburg Star, 31 March 1916

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A widower decides to enlist: Hugh McLaughlin's story

Hugh McLaughlin was born in Monreagh, Ireland, but when he and his wife Bridget emigrated to Victoria, they did so from Scotland where their first four children were born. 

After their arrival in Melbourne, three more children were born. Sadly, one died young, then in July 1915 Bridget died, aged only 27, leaving Hugh to raise their six surviving children alone. Their eldest child was just seven years old and the youngest four months old.

In December 1916, when the family was living at 136 Barrow Street, Coburg, Hugh McLaughlin decided to enlist. His motivation for doing so is unclear, as to do so his children had to be placed in orphanages. 

Perhaps it was the regular income that motivated him? The Roll of Honour Circular gives his occupation as a 'bricklayer journeyman', suggesting that he did not have a steady source of income.

Mount Alexander Mail, 21 August 1917

After looking at this Ready Reckoner, I wonder what a widower with six children was paid per fortnight and whether that money was sent to the various institutions that were looking after his children.

Hugh McLaughlin left for the Western Front on 9 February 1917, giving his eldest son, William, of St Joseph's Orphanage, Surrey Hills, as his next of kin.

When he was killed in action in France on 9 August 1918, the news was sent to 10 year old William. Although I first read Hugh McLaughlin's file some time ago, it shocks me still that the wording of the correspondence to this child is in the officialese that went to all next-of-kin. There was no softening of words, so I only hope that one of the staff at St Joseph's Orphanage took pity on the young boy and broke the news gently.

Hugh McLaughlin is remembered in the Memorial Avenue of Trees at Lake Reserve, Coburg. His was the fourth tree planted on the day of the planting ceremony in 1919. Although his son William was invited to plant the tree in honour of his father, St Joseph's sent a letter saying he was too young to attend and the Mayor of the day, Mayor McAlpine, took his place.

The poignancy of the children's situation is brought home in the following letter that was in Hugh's attestation papers.

It is heartening to know that the children had some visitors, such as Mrs Brown, and that they were not completely forgotten. 

Some years later, William McLaughlin wrote from the Marist Brothers Juniorate, Our Lady of the Hermitage, Mittagong, NSW. William later enlisted in World War Two and was killed in action in Ambon in 1945.

I wondered what had become of the six children, orphaned at such a young age until I came across an elaborate and moving family grave at Coburg Cemetery. It's in the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery.

In this not very clear photo taken by me, the headstone makes it clear that the McLaughlin connection to Coburg was not severed with the death of Hugh and Bridget McLaughlin. The last surviving child of the family died in Coburg in 2005. 

The headstone also makes a proud statement about the McLaughlin family and there is a very strong suggestion that the children remained in contact and that they stood firm as a family. 

I hope so, anyway.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Whatever happened to Linda Davis, fundraiser extraordinaire?

I've been thrown the challenge to continue the story of Linda Davis, Queen of Soldiers, whom you will have read about often if you've been following this blog.

Linda Davis, Queen of Soldiers, Table Talk, 2 August 1917, p.18.

I can't tell you much, I'm afraid. I do know that she went on a 'health visit' to Western Australia in April 1918. (Punch, 11 April 1918, p.24) So perhaps she was exhausted after years of fundraising and organising patriotic events.

And I can tell you that she attended a novelty night at the Cooee Social Club dressed as a 'Turkish lady' in September 1920, so she was still on the scene then.

Table Talk, 9 September 1920

She disappears from the electoral rolls after 1919, so I'm guessing that she married at some stage before the 1924 elections. I haven't been able to locate her death anywhere in Australia, so I'm left knowing very little about what happened to Linda Davis next.

Perhaps there is someone out there reading this who can tell us?

And on another matter, is there anyone who can tell me more about the Cooee Social Club? I've been reading articles on TROVE and it appears to be a continuation of a fundraising group from the war years, but I can't find anything to confirm that. There appear to have been many Cooee Clubs and I'm wondering whether they were run under the banner of the Red Cross.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Linda Davis and Glenroy Military Hospital fundraising

Recently I posted a number of blog entries about the Glenroy Military Hospital. In the most recent entry on this topic, I mentioned that Linda Davis, of 'Moreland Hall' in Jessie Street, Coburg, was responsible for a number of fundraising efforts, including several raffles.

I've been trying to find out more about the house that was raffled. It was located in Croydon Road, Canterbury (now listed as Surrey Hills) and you'd think the winning ticket holder would have been over the moon at winning a house valued at £600.

However, by mid-October 1917 no one had come forward to claim the prize! The winning ticket number was advertised a number of times, but what happened to the house remains a mystery.

Argus, 19 September 1917

Yea Chronicle, 18 October 1917

I've checked TROVE for all of 1918 but then it becomes much more difficult to search the newspapers, because very few are online after the end of World War One.

So, if anyone out there knows what happened to the house, it would be wonderful to hear from you. Who did have ticket number 66,120, the winning ticket? And did they ever get to live in the double-fronted brick villa in Croydon Road, Canterbury?

Just to remind you, here is the advertisement for the house being raffled:

Weekly Times, 4 August 1917, p.34

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Researching World War 1 soldiers from the Moreland area

Moreland City Libraries has put together an excellent collection of resources on researching the World War 1 years and has an ever-growing collection of digital resources, including images and publications, which are available for you to download and read at home.

For example, by putting 'Soldier' into a search of Moreland's Local History Catalogue, I came up with this image of Leslie ('Swannee') Prior, who, it is claimed, was Brunswick's youngest soldier.

Image courtesy Moreland City Libraries.

When I used the search term 'war' a number of images came up, all related to Brunswick. This one is of a 1915 send off to soldiers at the Brunswick Town Hall. It is probable that some of the men pictured here were from Moreland, which is right on the border between Brunswick and Coburg.

Image courtesy Moreland City Libraries.

The following photograph shows a gathering held in Coburg (at the Public Hall) in 1919 to welcome home returned servicemen. It can be found online by searching TROVE, another invaluable source of images and newspaper articles, amongst other things. (Note that on this occasion, the image has been labelled  incorrectly as a recruiting dinner, dated 1914.)

Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society

Local libraries and historical societies depend on donations of images and memorabilia from family members and others to help build a picture of what a particular community was like. You may not wish to part with your precious family treasures, but do consider donating digital images of the material to your local historical society and/or library.

No matter which side your family member fought on, or which country they lived in at the time, if they settled in the Moreland area at any stage, please consider sharing the material you have so that we can build a more realistic picture of what our communities were like during and after the war years.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Raising funds for the Glenroy Military Hospital

To begin with, in November 1915, Linda Davis organised a  bazaar and garden party at her home, 'Moreland Hall', and managed to secure Senator Pearce, the Minister of Defence, to open it. It was at this event that Senator Pearce spoke about the reason for the establishment of the Glenroy Military Hospital - for those who were taken ill before they went to the front.

From this point, Linda Davis worked tirelessly to support the Glenroy Hospital, in addition to other patriotic causes. No doubt she was involved in the Coburg Patriotic League Novelty Fair in April 1917, which featured a ‘lady with a hundred pockets’!

In March 1917, Linda was nominated by the St John’s Ambulance Society as its Queen of Soldiers. This was part of a great fund-raising effort – a Queen of Victoria competition. There were other Queens – of Sport, of Motorists, of Railways, of Music, of Peace and so on.

Linda Davis’ Queen of Soldiers’ fund-raising efforts began with a Military Pageant on 28 April 1917. One of the star turns was an equestrienne display by the Ladies of the Purple Cross and the Misses Crinnion of Rose Street, Coburg. The Remount Section AASC put on a display and there were races, drills, bomb throwing, semaphore displays and even a ‘balaclava melee’. 

Then came a Sports Carnival on 12 May  at the Coburg Recreation Reserve. It included many groups, including the Coburg Cowboys (who put on a wild west display), Oaklands Hunt Club and a ‘Pre-historic display’ by Coburg Harriers.

 Coburg Cowboys. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society

A Hard Times Ball in aid of Queen of Soldiers was held at Coburg Town Hall on 12 July and there were many other fund-raising events, the most spectacular of which were the raffles organised as part of Linda Davis’s Queen of Soldiers effort.

Mount Alexander Mail, 11 August 1917

Weekly Times, 4 August 1917, p.34

Finally, in late August, the results came in. At first there was great disappointment – Linda had been ‘beaten on the post at the last minute by a matter of £7.’ (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 24 August 1917, p.3) She had actually raised the most money (£1,700-2-9d), beating the Queen of Sport, Mrs Wheeler, but because the money had not gone in on time, she was deemed to have come second. (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 23 November 1917, p.2)

Leader, 4 August 1917, p.49

The matter did not rest there, however. The decision was overturned. Linda Davis, Queen of Soldiers, was victorious!

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 23 November 1917, p.2

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 30 November 1917

And here she is, Linda Davis, Queen of Soldiers, winner of the Queen of Victoria competition:

Table Talk, 2 August 1917, p.18.

And again, with her team:

Table Talk, 2 August 1917, p.18.

This ends the blog entries on the Glenroy Military Hospital.

I have been researching the Glenroy Military Hospital’s history for a while now and it has not been an easy task. The Broadmeadows Historical Society has generously allowed me to scan and publish the images you see on this blog of ‘Ashleigh’ and ‘Sawbridgeworth’ and for that I thank them. Coburg Historical Society has provided images of ‘Moreland Hall’ and I thank them. Just about everything else has been pieced together from newspaper articles that I located on TROVE. 

Every researcher with an interest in Australian history should thank their lucky stars that someone, somewhere conceived the idea of TROVE. It truly is a source of great treasure!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Patriotic efforts of the Davis family of Moreland Hall, Coburg and others

'Ashleigh', one of the two Glenroy houses used to accommodate sick soldiers during WW1. Image courtesy Broadmeadows Historical Society.

You may have wondered why a Military Hospital in Glenroy has taken up so much space in a blog about Coburg's World War One experiences.

The answer is simple: Much of the fundraising was done in Coburg and the driving force was Miss Linda Davis, daughter of Cr Albert Davis of  'Moreland Hall' and granddaughter of William Davis of 'Nassau', who featured in earlier blogs. Her brother Rupert served in the war, which has also been the subject of an earlier blog entry.

'Moreland Hall', Jessie St., Coburg. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Linda Davis seems to have been a phenomenal fundraiser right from the start of the war. From September 1914, the local newspaper, the Brunswick and Coburg Leader, reported on Coburg's fundraising efforts, beginning with a Garden Fete at 'Moreland Hall', opened by Maurice Blackburn MLA, to raise funds for the Coburg Patriotic Fund and the Foundling Hospital. 

In early December, Linda Davis helped organise a grand patriotic concert at the Public Hall in Bell Street to raise funds for the Red Cross. 

In the following June, the Brunswick and Coburg Leader reported that Linda had ‘made a systematic canvass of Sydney Road, Coburg, during the week in quest of sweets, tobacco and cigarettes for our returned heroes, and succeeded in gathering a good supply.’

And on it went ...

Linda, her mother and her sister Myrtle were members of the Coburg Branch of the Red Cross. Linda organised a dance at the Public Hall to raise money for the Red Cross and for wounded soldiers. She co-ordinated the knitting of scarves for the troops. She organised a Plain and Fancy Dress Ball. She was responsible for a concert at the YMCA Hall in Broadmeadows that was attended by 1,500 people.

And then the Glenroy Military Hospital opened its doors and as its supervisor, Linda Davis really came into her own.

Fundraising for the Glenroy Military Hospital will be the subject of the next few blog entries...