Thursday, 7 August 2014

Roy Rupert Davis of ‘Moreland Hall’

7362 Driver Roy Rupert Davis, 8th LIght Horse Regiment, enlisted on 14 June 1915 aged 20. He was from a well established Coburg family, his grandparents being William and Elizabeth Davis of ‘Nassau’.
At the time of Roy’s enlistment, his father Albert was Mayor of Coburg and he wrote his letter giving Roy permission to join up on official Town of Coburg letterhead.

Albert Thomas Davis. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Image from Roy Rupert Davis's attestation papers.
Image courtesy National Archives of Australia.

Roy’s early life was one of privilege. He lived in a grand home and attended Wesley College. Before enlistment, he had been in the Coburg Mounted Cadets for two years, under the command of Colonel Rushell. (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, Friday 4 June 1915, p.2) He was the only son of an influential citizen, but the Davis family did not take their good fortune for granted. His grandparents and his parents all contributed to the good of the local community in a number of ways.

During the war, for example, the Davis family were at the forefront of patriotic efforts in the area and opened their home, ‘Moreland Hall’, on many occasions for patriotic activities. Roy’s sister Linda was particularly adept at fund-raising, one of her main causes being the Glenroy Military Hospital, but more of that in a later post.

The following images of ‘Moreland Hall’, Jessie Street, Coburg, were taken in the mid-1920s when it was sold to the Wesleyan Central Mission as a place for the treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse. At that time it was known as The Bichloride of Gold Institute. Interestingly, today it is again used for a similar purpose. Coburg Historical Society holds more information on Moreland Hall and on the various Bichloride of Gold Institutes.

Images courtesy Coburg Historical Society

Roy Davis returned from the war in September 1919 and married Alice Robinson in 1924. By the mid twenties he was working on various family properties in the Casterton area of Victoria's Western District. By the end of the 1940s he returned to Coburg briefly and was working as a clerk, but soon moved to the southern suburbs of Mentone, then Sandringham and finally Beaumaris. He died at Dandenong in 1981 aged 85.

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