Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Bromley brothers of Munro Street, Coburg


Charles (known as Charl) and Roy Bromley were the sons of William and Annie Bromley of ‘Leeds’, 101 Munro Street, Coburg. Roy was a clerk, Charl a fitter. Their father, an accountant, married Annie Phillips in Hamilton and there were eleven children in the family, born between 1875 and 1893, the last two being Roy and his twin sister Nellie who were born at Yarrawonga in July 1893. Their father died in Feburary 1918, only five months after Roy died on the Western Front. Their mother remained in Coburg, where she died in 1942.

207 Private Charles Edward Bromley, 7th Infantry Battalion

Twenty-five year old Charles Bromley enlisted on 15 August 1914 and served on the Gallipoli Peninsula and later on the Western Front. In 1917 he married English nurse Elsie Edwards. They returned to Australia and lived out their lives in the suburbs of Melbourne.


2813 Acting Corporal Roy Phillips Bromley, 29th Infantry Battalion, D Company

Roy Bromley enlisted on 4 October 1915 aged 22. He served in France where he was slightly wounded in 1916. He recovered quickly and returned to his Battalion, only to be killed in action in France on 26 September 1917. He was buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery, two miles east of Ypres. 

After the war, a tree was planted in his memory at the Memorial Avenue of Trees at Coburg Lake. You can still visit the Memorial Avenue of Trees and although a number of the original trees have long gone, the Moreland City Council has recently planted new trees to complement those that remain. The Council has also erected two large interpretive panels at each end of the walk that include a plan of the original plantings. The Avenue is well worth a visit and is highly recommended.



Image courtesy Bruce and Sue Garrett.




Last year I visited the State Library of Victoria, where a collection of letters, postcards, photographs and other items relating to Roy’s war service are kept in the Manuscripts Collection, MS BOX 4406/6, 4409/15. If you are interested, you can see the catalogue record here.

I’ve included the description here, in case it is of interest to you: There are four letters from him plus 37 photographs. Comprises four letters from Roy Bromley to his family, 4 Sept. 1916-9 Aug. 1917 and undated (three in postcard form); one letter from mother to Roy, 27 Nov. 1916; one letter from Lieutenant H.S. Gray reporting the death of Roy; thirty-seven photographs of Roy and his brother Charles, Roy's grave in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Gallipoli and Britain, and a view of the troopship Anchises; Roy's identity disc; a ring made on the Somme and a ribbon with star sent to Roy's mother on his death; and a press clipping from the Weekly Times, 26 May 1917, containing a photograph of Roy. Biography. Roy Phillips Bromley, a clerk whose family lived in Coburg, Vic., enlisted on 4 Oct. 1915 (no. 2813); served as a corporal with the 29th Battalion; and was killed in action on 26 Sept. 1917. Charles Edward Bromley (Charl), a fitter, enlisted on 15 Aug. 1914 (no. 207) as a private with the 7th Battalion; rose to the rank of sergeant; and was repatriated to Australia on 26 Nov. 1918.
As I worked through the collection, I extracted some details, which give us an idea of what the war was like for the Bromley family:
1. Letter from Roy, 20 September 1916, D Company, 29th Batn. Written 'In my dug out'. The letter begins ' Your welcome letters to hand ... believe me they were the most welcome ones I have ever received. I read them in my dug out under very heavy shell fire.'  He says ' Well parents, I am still well but the weather is not to my liking, too cold, the past two days it has been raining. You ought to see the mud etc ...' He also mentions Charl [His brother Charles Edward]. He goes on to say  'At present there is a very heavy shell bombardment. Hope it won't interfere with my letter writing. You ought to see me in my steel and gas helmet, you would not know me.'  Then 'Well Parents, I must close and take some cover from schrapnel.'
2. Letter from his mother, 101 Munro St., 27 Nov 1916. Wrote to say they were praying for a good recovery from being wounded - 'Poor poor old darling boy'. She ended: 'Will the war never end it is dreadful all the cruel things that are being done.'
3. Letter to his parents from Roy, France, 9 August 1917 and 8 page letter on YMCA Paper undated, saying he left France on 25 August 1917 for 10 days leave around London. He gives details of what he did and who he saw.
4. Very tattered page from 'The Weekly Times', 26 May 1917  'Cheerful Australians among the ruins'. Roy front - 4th from left in helmet holding gun. (You can see it below, taken straight from TROVE. It's a very poor quality image, but in the copy in the MS collection, Roy has identified himself as the man at the very front, holding the gun.)


And here is the same image in the Australian War Memorial Collection, Image E00361. Once you've read the description, you'll see the dilemma. Is Roy in the photo, or not?


The description reads: Members of B Company, 30th Battalion (in support) amongst the ruins on the Cambrai Road, Bapaume, during the day on which the Australians entered the town. Left to right: Unidentified; 358 Corporal (Cpl) C Boland; 5796 Lance Corporal R McKinnon (standing); Private (Pte) Page; 3848 Cpl F McDowell (back); 2267 Cpl Cecil Edward Alcorn Belgian Croix de Guerre (foreground); 341 Sergeant Max Kenneth Dick Arkell (standing) (later killed in action 28 August 1918); 792 Pte A C Walker MM (standing); 466 Cpl W H Linsley. Taken on 17 March 1917 after Aussie occupation.

5. Letter from Lt H.S. Gray, France, 27 Dec 1917 to Roy’s mother.
'It is with very much regret that I now have to inform you that your son has been now reported Killed in Action on the 26th September.I have been hoping against hope that he would turn up alright, but we have just recieved word from a wounded man who says that both he and your son Roy were together when a shell burst close to them. This man Private H.A.L. Davies was wounded but your son was killed. ...There is nothing I can say about Roy that is too good for him, both as a soldier and a man. He was one of the most dependable men in the company and one who could always be relied on, no matter what the circumstances were.When Bapaume fell on the 17th March, I had to go out, well in front of our line to reconnoitre the position. It was a particularly trying and dangerous task and I selected Roy to come with me. He worked splendidly there and it was largely due to his courage and initiative that I gained much information for further operations. Since then he has proved his worth too.Not only was he a fine soldier but he was most popular among the Company. I am sure I am expressing the feelings of the whole company, officers, NCOs and men alike when I offer you our deepest sympathy.'

6. Postcard - France. Photo of soldiers of 29th Bn. Roy’s note is dated 6 Oct 1916. He says it's a photo of the Fire Brigade Staff and he says he's a fireman.
7. Postcard, France, 4 Sep 1916 to his twin sister Nellie. It has embroidered flowers on it.
8. Postcard, France, 10 March 1917 to his mother. This is also embroidered.
9. Photo of Roy's grave in a card issued by Australian Graves Section to Mrs A. Bromley, 54 Wellington Street, Coburg. He was interred at Hooge Crater Cemetery, Plot 11, Row D, Grave 15. The nearest railway station is Ypres.
10. Photo of Roy in uniform.
11. Photo of HMAT Anchisis, 24 March 1916. You can just make out the soldiers on the deck.
12. Photo of five soldiers on camels, Egypt, 1915. Sphinx in background. Charl Bromley, #207, 7th Btn, 2nd from right. Two native men sitting in front - the camaleers?
13. Photo of Charl, Egypt 1915. Other soldiers looking on. Same day and place as the previous photo.
14. Photo of three soldiers. Roy on left. Probably taken before they left – their uniforms look pristine. There is no Rising Star badges on hat.The man in the middle has 'Vic' on his hatband.
There follows 5 pages (10 sides) of photos taken from a photo album.
Side 1. Charl in hospital. Charl in camp in England.
Side 2. Salisbury Plains, under snow. Salisbury Plains. (It's a big map of Australia with 'Australia' written on it on the hill behind.)
Side 3. Top: Photo of Charl, Harcourt and Has. Harcourt in civilian clothes. Has looks older and has a big moustache. Below: several photos of Charl, probably in England. [Has and Harcourt are their much older brothers.]
Side 4. One photo without caption. One photo of Charl in Egypt. One photo of Charl with daughter coming home. One photo of two soldiers, the one on the right is Roy.
Side 5. Photos of Charl a) in Egypt and b) probbaly in England.
Side 6. The landing at Gallipoli. With the Australians at Gaba Tepe. Both commercially produced postcards.
Side 7. Charl on camel in Egypt. Charl in camp, England (seated at front).
Side 8. 4 photos - Roy in Egypt, Charl in Egypt, Charl (left) and Roy with Egyptians.
Side 9. Charl (standing 2nd from right) in snow. Loch Lomond.
Side 10. Roy top left. Charl in Ruins, Egypt and on the boat home(?)


So, if any of these items sound of interest to you, don’t forget that you can find them in the State Library’s Manuscript Collection, where many more WW1 related collections can be found.



Sunday, 2 August 2015

More on Roy and Rosie's wedding

Remember Roy and Rosie and the wedding photo they sent to Auntie Annie? The photo that was bought at a Trash'n'Treasure in Coburg in June 1992?

Just in case, here it is again:



Thanks to those who responded to my previous post on Rosie and Roy’s wedding. The mystery of Roy and Rosie has been solved, thanks to all the detectives out there who got on the case!

I firstly followed up on Colin’s mention of the overseas service chevrons and found a very interesting article on how to make sense of the parts of a soldier’s uniform. You can read it here.

The most useful part is the paragraph that reads:
‘In January 1918 the AIF also approved the wearing of the overseas service chevrons which had been adopted by the British Army. These were embroidered or woven inverted chevrons worn above the cuff on the right arm. Due to a shortage of supply, some men had chevrons privately made. For each year of war service a blue chevron was awarded and those men who had embarked in 1914 received a red chevron to indicate that year’s service.’


It then became clear that Roy was an early enlistee and left Australia in 1914. There are four blue chevrons, meaning he served from 1915-1918, so it seemed probable that the wedding took place in 1919, on Roy’s return from overseas.

Lenore also noticed the pips on Roy's epaulettes, so I knew he was an officer, rank of Lieutenant. 

The colour patch on his sleeve was a little harder to make sense of, especially as the image is in black and white. Colin suggested it might be the 49th or 50th Battalion’s patch. The 49th Battalion’s patch was circular with dark green horizontally divided over light blue. The 50th Battalion’s was circular with purple horizontally divided over light blue. So either of these would work. 

While I was taking another look at this photo of Roy and Rosie from the Coburg Historical Society collection, I noticed in the bottom right hand corner the words ‘Dease Perth’. A quick visit to Mr Google and I discovered that the Dease Studios operated out of Barrack Street, Perth from the late 1890s and took many photos of WW1 service personnel.

The State Library of Western Australia has digitised a large collection of Dease Studios photographs taken between 1900 and 1927 and these can be viewed online. I started to look through them thinking I might find Rosie and Roy that way, but there are just too many of them, even for me!

Since then, though, others have got to work and we now have a much better idea of the story behind the photo. 

It was Paul who came up with the brilliant thought of posting the photo to the Great War Forum and within hours, we not only knew who Roy and Rosie were, but I had a link Roy's war service record and another to a newspaper article about their wedding which gave the names of the wedding party, including the other servicemen in the photo.

So thank you, Paul. I never would have thought of doing it!

Firstly, Roy's war service: He was Francis Roy Brown, who enlisted at Blackboy Hill in Perth and left in 1914 with the 11th Battalion and served on the Gallipoli Peninsula. With the evacuation of the Peninsula, the 11th was disbanded and many of the men in this battalion became members of the newly formed 51st Battalion and went on to serve on the Western Front until the end of the war. These were both West Australian battalions. Roy Brown's rank at the end of the war was Lieutenant. You can read his war record here.

As a member of the 11th Battalion, he appears in the iconic photo of the 11th Battalion on the Cheops pyramid.  He's near the very top middle of the photo and is reasonably distinctive because he's holding a white bag/shirt/hat or something. He is identified as number 70 in the photo. Even if you don't have any interest in the 11th Battalion, you should check out the website here

More than that, again through the Great War Forum, Paul supplied me with a link to a newspaper article that gives details of Roy's wedding to Primrose Mary (Rose) Barrington at the Wesley Church in Perth on 30 July 1919. The person who gave the information said they had been engaged since 1916. The two servicemen in the photo have been identified as 4727 Sgt Arthur Victor Royal Barrington, 48th Battalion (at the centre back) and 4380 Lt Charles Thomas Britt, 28th Battalion (on the right at the back). I'm not sure of Arthur (Roy) Barrington's place in the family, though, because the birth indexes show that he and Rosie were not siblings, so perhaps they were cousins. In any case, Roy Barrington remained in Perth after the war.

You can read the newspaper article here but I've published it below, too.


The Daily News, 11 August 1919, p.3.



Thank you Paul for taking the trouble to post the photo to the Forum and thank you so much to everyone who responded. 

So now we know that although Roy was born in Carlton, he married Rosie in Perth. Roy later lived in Sydney, but did make occasional visits to Melbourne, as this letter found in his war service file shows:



I have also discovered through looking at electoral rolls that the bride's parents moved to East Melbourne in 1919 and lived there until 1926. By 1933, when Rosie's father died, he was living in Hawthorn. Roy's parents remained in Perth, where his father died in 1941 and mother in 1956. They had been residents of Perth since the early 1900s.

Francis Roy Brown, son of Francis Henry Brown and Annie Sholl, was born in Carlton in 1894. He and Rosie had one daughter, Selma, who was born in 1921 but who died at the Children's Hospital the following year aged four and a half months. If the electoral rolls are to be believed, the marriage didn't last and by 1936 Rosie and Roy were living at different addresses in Perth and Rosie was making her living as a typist. She remained in Perth until her death in 1971.

Frustratingly, I cannot locate Francis Roy Brown on any later electoral rolls, but it seems that he died at Granville, NSW in 1943, the same year that he wrote the above letter where he says he ran a General Store at Maroubra Beach in Sydney. 


So where is the family's connection to Coburg? Maybe it was through Auntie Annie? Then again, maybe they had no connection to Coburg whatsoever and the photo's presence in the Coburg Historical Society collection is just a coincidence.

Back to square one …


Friday, 24 July 2015

When Rosie married Roy




The wedding of Rosie and Roy. Courtesy Coburg Historical Society.


In June 1992 someone found this photo at a Coburg Trash'n'Treasure sale and donated it to Coburg Historical Society. 

On the back are written the words 'To dear Auntie Annie. With best wishes from Rosie and Roy.'

But who are Rosie and Roy? And what is their connection, if any, to Coburg?

There are three men in uniform in the photo. Roy and one other are wearing officer's uniforms and a younger man, centre back row, is wearing a slouch hat. 

Roy has stripes on his uniform sleeve, and someone with a better knowledge of patches will be able to tell me who he served with. This detail from the larger photo shows the patch and stripes quite clearly:



The woman on the left of the photo is wearing some sort of service badge. I think she must be the mother of either Roy or Rosie, so I'm guessing it's a mother's badge, but I'm sure someone will let me know!




No one in the photo seems very happy, so perhaps Roy was about to sail for the Front. 

I have already eliminated all the servicemen with Roy in their names who had connections to Coburg.

They are:

6470 Private Roy Beattie, 14th Infantry Battalion. KIA, 11 April 1917, France.
8166 Private Percival Roy Bridger, 2nd Australian General Hospital.  Member of Coburg Harriers Club. 
7549 Sapper Roy Marcus Bright, 2nd Divisional Signal Company.
2813 Acting Corporal Roy Phillips Bromley, 29th Infantry Battalion, D Company. KIA 26 Sep 1917, France. Memorial service for the fallen, Coburg, February 1918. Memorial Avenues of trees, Coburg Lake. Memorial Avenue of Trees plan. Tree # 9.
2342 Albert Royston Chapman, 21st Infantry Battalion, 5th Reinforcements then 67th Infantry Battalion.
7362 Roy Rupert Davis, 8th LIght Horse Regiment.
Roy Cavanagh Downs.
16332 Private Alan Samuel Roy Ferguson, Hospital Transport Corps.
3390 Private Cecil Roy Hambridge, 58th Infantry Battalion..
5153 Private Alexander Roy Main, 8th Infantry Battalion.
626 Sapper Roy Gustav Nilsson, Tunnelling Company.
Roy McCowan Russell.
2nd Lieutenant (MGS) Roy Blamire Sewell, HQ Staff of 22nd Infantry Battalion.
Roy Booty (or Botty) Watson.
1187 Private Alfred Roy Werner, 38th Infantry Battalion, D Company.
2476  Private Walter Roy Wilson, 5th Infantry Battalion. KIA 18 August 1916.
2920 Signaller Roy Yorke, 6th Infantry Battalion. 


I am hoping that I will eventually be able to identify this couple, and the other servicemen in the photo, so any help you can offer will be very much appreciated!


Monday, 20 July 2015

Adela Pankhurst, the anti-conscription movement and Pentridge Prison



Not long ago, my attention was drawn to several articles relating to a crowd of ‘no conscriptionists’ who had gathered outside the Women’s Prison at Pentridge to protest the imprisonment of Adela Pankhurst, daughter of English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and sister of Christabel and Sylvia. Estranged from her family, she had arrived in Melbourne in 1914.



Image of Adela Pankhurst from Wikipedia 



On 7 January 1918, about 50 supporters, mostly women and ‘understood to be socialists’, gathered at the entrance to Pentridge and sang to Adela, who was now Adela Walsh, having married Tom Walsh while on remand in September 1917. She was serving a four month term for repeatedly defying a ban on public meetings. The sounds of ‘Solidarity Forever’, ‘The Red Flag’ and ‘We’ll keep Australia Free’ rang out along Champ Street. Enthusiastic Cooees, meant to send support to Adela on the inside, were heard. Soon a crowd of 300 had gathered.


Front gate of Pentridge Prison c1930. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.


The police dispersed the crowd quickly, but Carlton couple Richard and Lilias Mary Land were arrested, charged with ‘offensive behaviour’.  Many in the crowd followed the couple to the Coburg Police Station where they were charged, and while their supporters waited for the Lands to be bailed, they continued singing into the night.

The following articles outline the story:

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 11 January 1918, p.2.


Weekly Times, 12 January 1918, p.10.



Tribune, 10 January 1918, p.5. 



Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 11 January 1918, p.1. 



Adela (Pankhurst) Walsh was released on 22 January 1918. Not long afterwards she and Tom Walsh moved to New South Wales.


Punch, 4 April 1918, p.32.



These events at Coburg should be seen against the backdrop of bans on peace or ‘no conscriptionist’ meetings that had been in the news for the previous twelve months. There is little coverage of these meetings in the local newspapers, especially in Coburg where there appears on the surface to have been little support for the anti-conscription or the peace movement. Yet there must have been others in the area who supported the same anti-war and anti-conscriptionist stance as Pankhurst, who was an organiser for Vida Goldstein’s Women Political Association and Women’s Peace Army.



Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 1 June 1917, p.4. 




Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 20 April 1917, p.1 



You can read more about the peace movement, the anti-conscription campaign and other aspects of the Moreland area during World War One on the Moreland Remembers World War 1 exhibition banners.


Let me know if you can add to this story.





Sunday, 12 July 2015

1915’s War Census



'Australia has promised Britain 50,000 more men. Will you help us keep that promise?’ Poster courtesy AWM, ARTV00021. The poster depicts the national symbol of the kangaroo against a backdrop of advancing soldiers.


In the notes that accompany the above poster, the Australian War Memorial records that:
Towards the end of 1915, a War Census  of the Australian population showed that 244,000 single men of military age were available for enlistment. Accordingly, on 26 November 1915, the government with W.M. Hughes as its new leader, promised Britain 50,000 more troops - in addition to the 9,500 per month being sent as reinforcements for the 60,000 Australians already overseas.

To view the details of the War Census Act of 1915, click hereTo read more about the Census and its role in the recruitment campaign, click here.





Courtesy Coburg Historical Society.


Francis Greenwood was 49 when he filled out the census cards in September 1915. The cards show that he was a resident of Sydney Road, Coburg and was a produce merchant with assets worth £2,351.

Frederick Greenwood was the son of Coburg pioneer Abel Greenwood who had been a Coburg Councillor and a Shire President. 
It was Abel Greenwood who started the Sydney Road business.

Greenwood’s Produce Store, c1900. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.


And just to show yet again how one piece of research leads into another, I was interested when I was researching the 1915 War Census to come across the following article in The Mirror of Australia, 11 December 1915, p.16.



And this one from the Sydney Mail, 8 December 1915, p.30.





I wondered whether the Victorian branch of the National Council of Women had taken up the issue, but it seems not:


Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December 1915, p.5.










Friday, 10 July 2015

Harold Swanson, a Coburg conscientious objector, comes under suspicion


A little while ago, I wrote about a local man, Harold Swanson, who came before the Coburg exemption court in October 1916 claiming he was a conscientious objector.


Age, Thursday 19 October 1916, p.8.

Since I wrote that blog entry, I have found out much more about Harold Swanson and about anti-conscription meetings in Coburg and Brunswick. The research goes on, but some interesting stories have begun to emerge.

Swanson's stance as a conscientious objector must have been well known to his local community, as the following newspaper clipping suggests:

Brunswick and Coburg Star, Friday 4 August 1916, p.3.

The newspaper article also makes clear that although Swanson's opinion of war was well known and clearly not supported by the St. Augustine's congregation, it was not considered an impediment to him taking the role of secretary of the vestry. It seems that although Swanson was anti-war, he still felt able to attend this welcome home to the St. Augustine's 'Anzac heroes'. So it wasn't a case of immovable object meets immovable object.

Whether this was still the attitude six weeks later, as anti-conscription meetings in Coburg and Brunswick met resistance from the local Councils, is unclear, but as the first conscription referendum drew nearer, there were signs of tension everywhere, as the following extracts from the local press reveal.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 15 September 1916, p.2.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 29 September 1916, p.3.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 20 October 1916, p.2.


And such times of great tension provide the perfect opportunity for neighbour to inform on 'suspect' neighbour, just as they did in the days of the Cold War. The World War One Intelligence files held at the National Archives of Australia reveal one such story from Brunswick.

On 20 October 1916, the very week that Harold Swanson appeared in Coburg Court, a report was filed at Brunswick Police Station on Otto Draeger, a 56 year old watchmaker of Sydney Road. Constable R.R. Dugdale was requested to provide a report on Draeger who was 'said to be a full blooded German canvassing for the Anti-Conscription Party.' Constable Dugdale found no evidence of this and said that Draeger was a 'quiet man and does not take any part in public matters'.  He went on to say that Draeger had been born at Emerald Hill in 1860 of German parents. He then listed some of Draeger's nephews who were away at the war. (National Archives of Australia, MP16/1. 1916/1273)

What isn't mentioned here is that one nephew, 33449 Driver Clarence Norman Draeger, 11th Howitzer Battery, 11th Brigade Australian Field Artillery, had enlisted the week before the report was written. An old boy of Coburg State School who lived in Bell Street, Preston during his school days, Clarrie Draeger was a resident of Blackburn at the time of his enlistment. He was killed in action in France on 22 June 1918 and is remembered on the Preston Cenotaph.

Uncle Otto, a quiet man from a respected family of local jewellers, a private man who 'does not take part in public matters', must have been mortified at being questioned about his loyalty. And he was just one of many.

Over six months passed before the tensions around Harold Swanson's anti-war stance re-emerged. A World War One Intelligence File dated 2 May 1917 reveals that Harold F. Swanson, of 98 Blair Street, Coburg, had been working as a munitions worker, but this appointment was about to be cancelled. (National Archives of Australia, MP16/1. 17/394)

The attack on Swanson was two-pronged. 

Firstly, the family's loyalty was called into question. It was said that Harold's father, A.E. Swanson, a patent attorney, had visited Paris 'and was known to travel towards the German frontier.' It was also claimed that 'his business was primarily to exhibit some patents; one being on a submarine ... This invention is now in use by the Germans, and since the return of Mr Swanson he appears to be much better off financially.' UK Inward Passenger Lists reveal that Albert Swanson did indeed travel to Europe, reaching London on 9 December 1911, three years before war was declared, so he could hardly be accused of selling secrets to the enemy.

Secondly, of Harold Swanson it was claimed that he was 'a socialist to the backbone' and 'states that he would not volunteer or be a conscriptionist, and would sooner be placed in front of a barrack wall and shot.' And just as bad - 'He helps break up recruiting meetings at Coburg.' Not only that, but the mother of the informant against Harold Swanson said that she had 'asked him before the referendum [the October 1916 referendum]  if he intended to vote for the KING or the Kaiser, and he said the Kaiser.' She had then asked him to leave the house!

None of this is new information, of course, but  the case against Harold Swanson was such that his appointment as a munitions worker was cancelled. Swanson's own voice is not heard in the files, but given his previous public statements, he probably did not protest.

Finally, in the week leading up to the second conscription referendum on 20 December 1917, the Swanson family re-appeared in the local press. 

This time it was Harold's older brother Albert, a Brunswick printer, who made the news.


Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 14 December 1917, p.1.

Both local men, Judd, of De Carle St., Brunswick North and Goding, of The Grove, Moreland, were both teachers and as such might be expected to set an example to others. Clearly the heat of the moment had got the better of Judd and his taunt of 'cold-footed rotter' moved Albert Swanson to action. He might have been an anti-conscriptionist, but he certainly was not averse to using force if he deemed it warranted.

It is here that I will leave this short exploration of a turbulent period on the home front. There is much more to be said about the anti-conscription movement and of the way those with foreign names, especially German sounding names, were treated.

There are over 7,000 files in the WW1 Intelligence Section Case Files at the National Archives of Australia, covering the time period 1914-1920. Only a handful of these files have been digitised, Otto Draeger's file being one of them. Here, then, is a relatively unknown source of rich information about Australians' attitudes to 'otherness' during a period of great tension and it's right on our doorstep!