Sunday, 20 January 2019

Anzac Day breakfast at St Augustine's Moreland, 1933

One foundation: a parish journey in Moreland, Peter Sherlock, p.66. 

Rev Charles William Thomas Rogers was vicar of St Augustine's from 1932 until 1942. He served as a Chaplain, attached to the 57th Battalion during World War One. When he embarked in June 1917, he was vicar at North Carlton, the suburb where he was born 40 years earlier. He died in 1966 at Surrey Hills aged 89.

I've yet to identify Rev G. Hall, or Mr James or Major Douglas.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Ambler family of Moreland's contribution to the war

Widow Lizzie Ambler did not have it easy. Her husband died in his 40s, leaving her with four young children to raise. She managed, but it was a struggle as you can tell from this newspaper article in the Herald.

Herald, 12 May 1897

After her husband's death on their rural block at Kardella, near Korumburra in South Gippsland, Lizzie Ambler settled in Coburg and for many years the family lived at 'Blenheim',168 Moreland Road, Coburg West, on the border with Brunswick, in an area more commonly known as Moreland.

The family attended St Augustine's Church, then on the corner of Davies Street and Moreland Road.

Image taken from One foundation: a parish journey in Moreland by Peter Sherlock. The brick church was built in the early 1920s after the previous wooden building burnt down.

The girls were confirmed at St Augustine's in 1908.

Image taken from Peter Sherlock's One foundation: a parish journey in Moreland, page 28

Lizzie married George William Mateer in 1920 at St Augustine’s Church. She died in 1985 aged 91.

Rose married Leopold Beever in 1924. She died in 1976 aged 84.

Milanie trained as a nurse at the Children's Hospital and served as Staff Nurse Milanie Treleavan Ambler in Salonika during World War One. She did not marry, worked as a nurse all her life and died in 1970 aged 81. 

Adelaide, SA. June 1917. Group portrait of Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) sisters from Qld, NSW, Vic, Tas, and SA, bound for Salonica, Greece on the RMS Mooltan. Includes Milanie Treleaven Ambler of West Coburg, Vic (112). Image courtesy AWM. Image A01240.

Their only brother Llewellyn (Lew), a builder by trade, was one of a number of members of the Coburg Cycling Club who enlisted in World War One.

A send off was held for Lew and his mates at the Club. Mr Johnston (Andrew Johnston, club stalwart) gave ‘a fine speech’ and mentioned that so far 30 members of the Club had enlisted.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 3 September 1915

Andrew Johnston’s son Donald was one of the 30 who had enlisted. By the time his father Andrew made his speech farewelling Lew Ambler, ‘hero of 100 battles on the track’, Percy Power (Cycling Club secretary) and Richard Lawless, Don was dead, killed in action at Krithia on 8 May 1915.

Lew Ambler’s pals from Coburg Cycling Club, Richard (Dick) Lawless and Percival (Percy) Power placed In Memoriam notices in the newspapers for years after his death. They joined up at around the same time and the local paper (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 24 Sep 1915) commented 'and so the three will share the fortunes of war together.’ This was the case until Ambler’s death in June 1918 , but he was never forgotten by his friends. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Coburg Cricket Club and World War One

Recently I published a post featuring this picture that shows Gordon McKay with his cricket team members:

At the time I wondered whether it was taken at Coburg. 

And now, thanks to Paul Sumner, I know that it was!

Here's a picture featuring Paul's great-uncle Keith Harder and another Coburg man, Les Ward. Best mates, they both served in World War One. Les died of wounds on 12 March 1917. You can read more about them here.

Les is 2nd from left in the back row. Keith is 2nd from right in back row.

I haven't been able to identify any of the others in the photo and would be very pleased to hear from anyone who can do so!

Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year!

Thanks to Kylie McKay of Romsey for supplying this postcard. 

The writer is Elsie of Chandos Street, Coburg. Fanny McKay lived at Hill Croft Farm in Newlands. Elsie refers to two former students of Coburg State School - C. Phillips and L. Libbis - and there's been some sort of tiff because she's not speaking to them.

I'm not sure who C. Phillips was, but the Libbis family lived in Mayfield Street, Coburg between 1909 and 1912 when they moved to Nelson Street. Leslie and Bill Libbis both served in World War One (Bill was killed in August 1915). They had a sister Myrtle Lilian, so perhaps she was called Lilian. Otherwise, it appears Elsie's argument was with Leslie. We may never know!

Both Leslie and William Libbis are featured in my book The Old Boys of Coburg State School Go to War which is available from Coburg Historical Society.   

Monday, 24 December 2018

Season's Greetings!

Thanks to Kylie McKay of Romsey for providing this card. 

Fan is Fanny McKay of Hill Croft Dairy, Newlands. The Hugh she refers to is Hugh Hilliar and Will Geddes is his nephew. They, with Will's cousin William McKay, died in a boating accident at Tarwin in July 1917, just before the cousins were due to leave for WW1. You can read about it here

The stories of William McKay and William Geddes as well as that of Kylie's grandfather Gordon McKay, are told in my book, The Old Boys of Coburg State School Go to War. They were all members of the pioneering McKay family who owned some of the earliest quarries in the area and went on to be prominent dairy farmers.

William Geddes. Courtesy Cassy Twomey.

William McKay. Courtesy Cassy Twomey.

Gordon McKay. Courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Cricket - it's the season!

Cricket team - Coburg? I'm guessing it is, because of the logo/emblem on the caps. Gordon Alexander McKay is third from the left sitting down. But who are the others? And what year was the photo taken?
Image courtesy Kylie McKay, Romsey.

Current logo from the Coburg Cricket Club's Facebook page.

It's a cricket team again and I've guessed that it's taken at Coburg. Gordon Alexander McKay is third from the right in the front row.
Image courtesy Kylie McKay, Romsey.

I wonder if you noticed the woman looking on at the top right of the image. Sometimes these little extras provide a bit more 'personality' to a photo. I don't suppose anybody recognises her? Or could help date the photo from her clothes? (If it's Coburg, then it would have to be before Gordon McKay's enlistment in July 1915. If it's after the war, it could be anywhere up to April 1922 when Gordon McKay died. And if it's after WW1, then it's likely it was taken at Cowra, NSW, although he had big problems with arthritis in his knees from the time he joined up, which probably meant he couldn't play cricket any more.) 

I also noticed that homemade cakes and scones were on offer (close to lunchtime for me as I write this and it's just made me very hungry!) The curved opening of the building behind the players is also very distinctive and I'm hoping that someone reading this will recognise that feature.

Gordon Alexander McKay served in WW1. He married Annie Forbes in 1913 and was living in Preston with his wife and two children when he enlisted. 

Gordon Alexander McKay, courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

After the war Gordon McKay moved to Cowra, NSW with his brother-in-law Archie Sutherland. By now there were four children in the family, the last, a girl, born just two months before Gordon died in April 1922 of blood poisoning after his knee was injured when he was run over by a waggon. After his death, the farm was sold and Annie moved to Essendon brought up her four children. She remained in Essendon until her death in 1964.

Gordon McKay is featured in my book The Old Boys of Coburg State School Go To War, which is available from Coburg Historical Society.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Coburg RSL's Remembrance Day Service

This morning I was honoured to be the guest speaker at the Coburg RSL Sub-Branch's Remembrance Day Service as we reflected on the 100 years that have passed since the Armistice was signed at 11am on 11 November 1918.

The compere was Kathy Doyle. Sub-Branch President Michael Pianta spoke movingly about the war itself and its global and local impact. It was my turn then and I chose to look at how local people rebuilt their lives and found a way forward after the war was over. 

Music was provided by the 4th/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse Regiment Association Band under the baton of Ian Davidson; vocalist Hannah Desmond; buglar Gavan Stray and piper Ian Arrell. The catafalque party was made up of members of the 7 Transport Squadron.

A group of World War One re-enactors showed us what some of the equipment and a Casualty Clearing Station would have looked like.

And wreaths were laid as a moving tribute to all service personnel who have fought for Australia over the past 100 years.

The service was a time to reflect on the losses but also on the impact of that war on the local community.

I leave you now with my final words this morning:
'We are here today to remember those who died, those who returned, and their families, friends and the community. The individuals I have just spoken of looked their futures squarely in the face as they set about creating their new world. I would like to think that in the same situation, we would all do the same.'