Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Courtney of Courtney’s Post


Until very recently I was unaware that Colonel Richard Edmund Courtney of Courtney’s Post fame had a connection to Coburg.


Then I read the reminiscences of Dr Randolph Mathew in an article in an old Coburg Historical Society Newsletter (February 1977). The Mathew family lived in The Grove, Coburg during the early years of the twentieth century. Dr Mathew and his brothers Alexander, John and Mungo all served in the First World War. Theirs was an interesting family. Their father John was the Presbyterian minister at Coburg and a well regarded anthropologist.  He was also a great patriot and on the first big Armistice Day celebration in November 1919, he flew the Union Jack from the tower of his home, held a brief ceremony and all present wrote their names on the tower door. 

Further into the article, Dr Mathew made reference to Charlie Dare, son of the developer of the Moreland Park Estate, Monty Dare, and Charlie's friend – ‘a man named Courteney’.




Charlie Dare was Colonel Charles Moreland Montague Dare of the 14th Battalion. In fact, he was the Battalion’s war diarist.

Despite the incorrect spelling of his surname, a little detective work reveals that the ‘man named Courteney’ was in fact Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Edmund Courtney, who had been the first commander of the 14th Battalion. On 27 April 1915 he had brought the 14th up to a position at Gallipoli that then took his name - Courtney's Post.

The two men had been comrades in arms, had probably known each other before they left for the war and clearly maintained their friendship on their early returns from the war (Courtney in 1916 due to heart strain and Dare in 1917 to take up staff duties in Australia). Why else would they lay out a field telephone between their two houses?


Lieutenant William Hugh Hamilton (left), a Graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon ACT, of Ballarat, Vic, who was killed on 18 May 1915 at Gallipoli. Colonel Charles Moreland Dare sitting in a chair, smoking a pipe in centre and Colonel Richard Edmond Courtney sitting in a deck chair outside a tent at the Heliopolis Camp. Taken in 1915 at Heliopolis in Egypt.
Image courtesy AWM. Image A01228.



Courtney, a solicitor in civilian life, died in October 1919 of health problems aggravated by his war service. He is buried at Coburg Cemetery. His name has only recently been added to the Debt of Honour Register by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, thanks to the efforts of Essendon’s Lenore Frost. Interestingly, his medal group and war papers have been purchased  by the Maryborough Military Museum in Queensland, so you will have the perfect excuse for a holiday in the sun if you want to look at them in person!

Although the Courtneys had strong connections to the Cheltenham area, the family had lived in Coburg since around the turn of the century and Courtney’s unmarried sister Isabella, who was his next of kin, remained in the area until her death in 1954. Several brothers also served with distinction: one was Colonel J.H. Courtney and the eldest brother was Brigadier-General Thomas John Courtney.

There are other interesting stories to tell of residents of The Grove during the WW1 years and they will be the subject of future blog entries.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Chaplain William Devine of St Paul’s, Coburg


4th Class Chaplain Major William Devine, Chaplains



 Advocate, 24 July 1915, p.16


Twenty-seven year old Irishman William Devine enlisted as an army chaplain in July 1915. Born in Castlederg, County Tyrone, he gained a BA and BD in Ireland and came to Australia in 1914. He had been assistant parish priest to the elderly Fr Matthew Hayes at St Paul’s, Coburg for twelve months at the time of his enlistment. His older brother George (who signed as de Vine) served with the British forces. He attested in February 1916 with the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery, having previously served with the Royal Army Medical Corps for twelve months.

Usually we see parents or siblings or other family members listed as next of kin, but as he was a Roman Catholic priest Chaplain Devine listed his next of kin as the Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne and Archbishop Carr, Chaplain General, recommended him as a military chaplain.

Fr Devine served with distinction and was awarded the Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre. The Australian Dictionary of Biography records that he spent most of his time with the 48th Battalion and that he wrote about the Battalion’s war experiences just after the war ended.


Image courtesy AWM. Image C04450. Group portrait of the Bishop of Amiens and a party of Australian officers. Back row, left to right: Chaplain Reverend W. Devine MC, 12th Australian Infantry Brigade; Lieutenant Henderson, 48th Battalion, 12th Australian Infantry Brigade; unidentified (hidden); Lieutenant Colonel S. L. Perry DSO MC, 48th Battalion; Brigadier General Sydney C. E. Herring DSO, 13th Australian Infantry Brigade; unidentified (hidden). Front row: Major W. Fowler-Bunnsworth MC, 4th Division; Major General (Maj Gen) John Gellibrand CB DSO, commanding 3rd Australian Division; Bishop of Amiens; Maj Gen E. G. Sinclair-Maclagan, commanding 4th Australian Division; Captain A. Nicholson, 18th Australian Infantry Brigade; Capt C. Bartlett, 4th Division. (Donor Herring)


In February 1919 he became seriously ill with broncho-pneumonia and was hospitalised in London. After his return to Australia in May 1919, he organised for fourteen Victoria Cross winners to act as Archbishop Mannix’s guard of honour in the famous 1920 St Patrick Day’s procession.

St Patrick’s Day Procession, 1920.  Australasian, 27 March 1920, p.51


You can read more about the 1920 St Patrick’s Day Procession here.

Here are the 14 VC winners, some Catholic and some Protestant:

Image courtesy AWM. Image P01383.018.
This is a restored version of P01383.017. The original is is a framed composite photograph presented to Lieutenant John Hamilton VC by his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne and the Irish citizens of Victoria on the occasion of the Saint Patrick's Day celebrations in Melbourne, 17 March 1920. The composite photograph comprises portraits of fourteen Victoria Cross winners (ten Roman Catholics and four Protestants, all presumably with Irish backgrounds) with portraits of his Grace Dr Daniel Mannix (the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne) and the entrepreneur John Wren in the centre. The VC winners comprise Private (Pte) William Currey, Sergeant (Sgt) George Howell, Corporal (Cpl) Walter Peeler, Pte John Jackson, Lieutenant (Lt) Joseph Maxwell, Lt John Dwyer, Sgt Maurice Buckley (he was accidentally killed the following year) Pte George Cartwright, Cpl Thomas Axford, Cpl John Carroll, Pte Edward Ryan, Sgt John Whittle, Lt John Hamilton, Lt Lawrence McCarthey. It was probably financed by John Wren.


You will find more information on the image here


And another image showing the 14 VC winners:

Courtesy State Library of Victoria. Image  H2010.179 

The State Library of Victoria’s notes for the image read: This image shows Archbishop Daniel Mannix in a car in front of a large house, possibly his residence Raheen. The car is surrounded by 14 VC heroes, most on white horses and some seated beside Dr. Mannix in the car, forming a guard of honor for Dr. Mannix, St. Patrick's Day Celebration, 17 March 1920. Victoria Cross winners (ten Roman Catholics and four Protestants, all presumably with Irish backgrounds) comprise Private (Pte) William Currey, Sergeant (Sgt) George Howell, Corporal (Cpl) Walter Peeler, Pte John Jackson, Lieutenant (Lt) Joseph Maxwell, Lt John Dwyer, Sgt Maurice Buckley (he was accidently killed the following year), Pte George Cartwright, Cpl Thomas Axford, Cpl John Carroll, Pte Edward Ryan, Sgt John Whittle, Lt John Hamilton, and Lt Lawrence McCarthey. A lady is seated on a white horse draped in a green blanket with a banner titled "Old Kilmore" and a shamrock on it. 

Now back to Fr Devine …


Fr Devine later returned to Ireland but moved on to serve in China in 1927, where he stayed for three years before returning to Ireland. He died in Dublin in 1959.
The following article from the Advocate, 12 May 1917, gives an insight into William Devine the man, something that cannot be conveyed in the official record.





Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Anzac Day service, Gallipoli, 25 April 1921

c 6 May 1916. Studio portrait of Lieutenant (Lt) Joseph Edward Thomas Catron, 8th Battalion from Coburg, Victoria. Image courtesy AWM. Image DA15235.


In my last blog entry I noted that Joe Catron and his wife Zoe attended an Anzac Day service at Gallipoli in 1921. I now know that this was the third such ceremony but only the first attended by women.

You can read more about this early Anzac Commemoration on the New Zealand Government's World War One websiteOn the website you will also find a pdf of the original dispatch relating to the event. The following images were part of that dispatch.


Anzac Cove altar, 25 April 1921. Courtesy of Archives New Zealand: AAYS 8638, AD1, 15/93, R22430140.


Anzac Day service at Gallipoli, 25 April 1921. Courtesy of Archives New Zealand: AAYS 8638, AD1, 15/93, R22430140



Representatives of British, Australian, and New Zealand Armed Forces at the Anzac Day service at Gallipoli, 25 April 1921. Courtesy of Archives New Zealand: AAYS 8638, AD1, 15/93, R22430140.



Monday, 1 December 2014

More on the Catron brothers


Since I wrote about the Catron brothers in March this year, I have been in contact with several members of the family who have provided information and images that add to the story of the Catron family during World War One and beyond.

Most importantly, since making contact with one of Joe Catron's three granddaughters, I would like to add some information to an image I posted at that time.

The following is a photograph taken at the time of Joseph Catron's marriage to Zoe May in 1916.

Image courtesy AWM. Image DA15125. 


This photo is of the Joseph and Zoe Catron's wedding party. On the bride's right is maid of honour Ivy Catron (wife of Joseph's brother William, who was killed in action in March 1917) and William and Ivy’s daughters Muriel and Unity are sitting on the blanket in the foreground of the photo. (Information provided by one of Joseph Catron’s three granddaughters.)

Joe Catron married Zoe May in 1916 while convalescing in Australia from injuries received at the Dardanelles in May 1915. He later returned to serve in France and spent a short time in the Indian Army before returning to Australia and resuming his career as a teacher. The couple had a daughter and son. Their son, William, a Lancaster pilot based in England, was killed during WW2, aged 19. Their daughter Virginia served as an army nurse during WW2. She married an army chaplain in 1943, went on to have three daughters, and passed away in 2006. 

Joe’s wife Zoe lost her brother Alan May at Gallipoli and Joe later lost his brother William in France. All three men left Australia together with men and friends of the Geelong area in the 8th Battalion and served together at Gallipoli.

I have since learned from another source that Joe and Zoe Catron travelled to the battlefields in 1921 to attend an Anzac Day service. Up until then, I had not realised that ceremonies were being held as early as this and I am now trying to find out more about these early commemorations.

There is more to tell about the Catron family's war, but I will leave that for another time. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Stanley Grattan Gould's war



2044 Private Stanley Grattan Gould, 26th Infantry Battalion then 7th Machine Gun Company. Image courtesy AWM. Image DA10564.


Stanley Gould was the younger brother of John Gould, the subject of my last blog entry. Both brothers are featured on page 7 of the Coburg State School Soldiers' Book, which is available online on the Moreland Library Services Local History Catalogue. 

Stanley enlisted in July 1915 aged 19 and sailed for the Front in September that year. He served briefly on the Gallipoli Peninsula before heading for France where he was wounded at Pozieres in August 1916 and evacuated to England with a mild gun shot wound to his arm. He rejoined his unit in October 1916. 

After his return to Australia in April 1919, Stanley returned to the family home at 5 Young Street, Coburg until the early 1930s when he and his younger brother Allan crossed the continent and tried their luck as farmers in Carnamah, Western Australia. 

You can read much more about Stanley (Dick) Gould on the award-winning Carnamah website, which is worth a visit even if you are not interested in the history of the area. It is a good-looking, easy to navigate site that will keep you interested for hours. The blog, the virtual museum, the Biographical Dictionary, the photo collection and all the other treats in store are there to remind all of us how 'alive' history can be.


Allan Gould, known as Angus, was born in Coburg in 1898, tried to enlist in 1916 when he was 18, but was rejected on account of poor eyesight. He tried again in January 1918 and was again rejected. Later, he served in World War Two, enlisting from Carnamah, Western Australia.

The Carnamah website provides more information on Allan (Angus) Gould's life in the West.

A fourth brother, Frank, born at Coburg in 1908, was too young to serve in WW1 but served as a Lieutenant in WW2, having enlisted from Wiluna in Western Australia. He moved to the West in 1926 to join his brothers on their farming venture at Carnamah.

By 1937, Stanley and Allan's partnership had broken up and Stanley was back living in the family home at 5 Young Street, Coburg.


West Australian, 28 June 1937, p.19


Stanley married Beryl Colman in 1939. They lived variously at Port Melbourne and Kew. He died at Kew in 1975 aged 79.










Thursday, 27 November 2014

John Gould of Young Street, Coburg visits Paris

The foyer of LĂ“pera, Paris. I found this postcard in an antique shop in Oatlands, Tasmania. It was dated March 1918.



Le Gare d'Est, Paris. Another postcard found in the same antique shop in Oatlands, Tasmania. It was sent home to someone called Earnest. The writing in pencil on the back of both cards is faint but I can just make out that they are from Earnest's brother Alf. I wonder what Earnest made of the splendour of the Opera House, in particular. A far cry from Oatlands, or Young Street, Coburg for that matter. 



It's a long way from Young Street, Coburg to Paris, France, but in November 1918 Sergeant Fred John Gould (known as John) found himself on the streets of Paris at the time of the Armistice. What an experience it must have been!


5387 Sergeant Fred John Gould. The photo is taken from page 7 of the Coburg State School Soldiers' Book, available online through Moreland Libraries' Local History Catalogue. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.



The eldest child of Frederick William and Adelaide (Pegler) Gould of 5 Young Street, Coburg, John Gould was a bank accountant when he enlisted in the 8th Infantry Battalion in January 1916 aged 22. As noted earlier, he was on leave in Paris from 2 November 1918 until 15 November 1918. We will never know what he thought of that experience, as it is noted in his entry in the Coburg State School Soldiers' Book that his diary was stolen from him in England, but the following photos will give you a bit of an idea of the scenes he must have encountered at the Peace Procession held in Paris to mark the end of the war.


Image courtesy AWM. Image H18147. Paris peace procession. Paris, France. 1918. Soldiers from many countries who fought with France in WW1 gather around a war memorial after the Peace Procession. (Donor French Official Photograph) 


Image courtesy AWM. Image H18132 Paris, France. 1918. American Army soldiers with flags flying in the Peace Procession. (Donor French Official Photograph)

Perhaps John Gould visited the Maxime Bar while he was in Paris.

Image courtesy AWM. Image H03656. Paris, France. 1918-08-20. A group of Australian, New Zealand and South African soldiers and a lady from the New Zealand Volunteer Service relaxing on leave with a drink outside the Maxime Bar. 

It is likely, too, that he visited the soldiers' club known as a 'Corner of Blighty in Paris'. It was a voluntary organisation for British soldiers, headed by Miss Lily Butler, CBE but it was frequented by Australians, too.

Image courtesy AWM. Image A01190. An informal group portarit of unidentified Australian soldiers outside 'A Corner of Blighty in Paris.

Image courtesy AWM. Image A01192. Soldiers relaxing in the lounge of the 'Corner of Blighty in Paris'. Some of the men are reading, while others enjoy the music being played on the piano. Four women are gathered around the piano. Note the elaborate chandelier.


Image courtesy AWM. Image A01193. Unidentified soldiers and civilian women enjoying the tea rooms in the 'Corner of Blighty in Paris'. A desk and chair are to the left, on the desk is a book, a newspaper, a clock and a bottle, probably an ink bottle and a vase of flowers. The woman in the centre of the photo in the extraordinary hat is Miss Lily Butler, CBE.








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.