Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Some family background
Thomas Henry Allum was born at Acton, Middlesex in 1848. His younger brother William was born there two years later. In October 1853, the boys, with their parents William and Marianne (nee Sharp), arrived in Melbourne as assisted immigrants. They made their home in Brunswick where eight more children were born.
In 1878, Thomas Allum married a widow, Irish woman Margaret Matthew (nee Doyle). She had married her first husband Hannibal Matthew in Adelaide in 1861 and had eight children by her first marriage, three of them born in Brunswick.
In late August 1877 Hannibal Matthew, a Brunswick stone-carter fell trying to get his horse started and the wheel of his dray ran over his chest. The accident happened in Sydney Road. He died a month later at the Melbourne Hospital. He was only 36.
A year later his widow Margaret married Thomas Allum and they had two children, one of whom (a daughter) survived childhood.
These were the days before formal adoptions and it appears that the Allums fostered two sons: Robert, born about 1888 when Margaret was 35, and Joseph, born in 1894 when she was 41. There is some confusion about whether they were both foster sons, although I think this is likely, because I have yet to locate a birth record for Robert who is identified in a number of places as a foster son, and Joseph is identified as a foster son in his attestation papers.
Both of Margaret Allum’s foster sons enlisted in World War One, as did Matthew Matthew, a son from her first marriage.
Matthew Matthew (yes, that’s his correct name) enlisted in Perth in March 1916 claiming to be 43½ years old. His was a short war. He arrived in France on 1 December 1916 and three weeks later was in hospital in Etaples with rheumatism. He was evacuated to England in February 1917 where authorities discovered his real age – 52. He was returned to Australia and discharged on 12 July 1917.
Margaret Allum (formerly Matthew, nee Doyle) died at Coburg in 1918 aged 75. Her husband Thomas Allum died in 1925 aged 77. They are buried at Melbourne General Cemetery.
The Allum brothers and the war
The Allum family had been living in Moore Street, Coburg for a number of years when 1037 Private Robert Allum, 22nd Infantry Battalion (later transferred to Camel Corps), enlisted in February 1915. He served in the Imperial Camel Corps in Egypt for the whole of the war and was awarded the Serbian Silver Medal in September 1916.
Imperial Camel Corps members, Palestine, 1918. AWM. Image B00193.
Studio portrait of 1037 Private Robert Allum, 22nd Battalion, of Coburg, Vic., taken about May 1915. Image courtesy AWM. Image DA09088.
After the war, Robert Allum lived for a time in Glenlyon Road, Brunswick East, but by 1965 he was a resident of the Frank March Keira Diggers’ Rest Home at Mt Keira, NSW. (via Wollongong). His seems a sad story. By then he’d had a stroke and couldn’t write. He’d lost his discharge papers, medals etc. when his two suitcases (presumably holding all his possessions) were stolen from him in a similar place in Sydney. In a Stat Dec signed on 23 Sep 1965 when he was in Garrawarra Hospital at Waterfall (NSW State Hospital for those with chronic diseases and diseases of the ageing), he states that his next of kin at time of his enlistment was his brother Joe Allum of Moore Rd., Mooreland (sic). He said he’d had his suitcases stolen about 8 or 9 months before at a Residential near Central Station. ‘I asked a Residential Porter to mind my bags and when I came back the porter and the bags were gone.’ Robert died on 19 October 1969.
He is remembered on the Moreland State School (2837) Roll of Honour and on the Town of Coburg Honour Board, WW1, 1914-1918, located at Coburg Town Hall.
DEPOT 2544 Joseph Allum, enlisted in 5th Infantry Battalion but discharged.
Joseph Allum enlisted in July 1915. His foster mother Mrs M. Allum is listed as his next of kin. He was discharged at Broadmeadows because he enlisted without his parents’ consent. Margaret Allum wrote in January 1916 that she had lived in the Coburg/Brunswick area for 50 years and that Joseph had attended the Moreland State School. ‘I have always brought him up to be honest and truthful. I have had a great deal of trouble to rear him as he was not a healthy child.’ In another letter she says ‘He is not fit to go away and I find it very hard for to let a boy go to his certain death, especially when he has not had my consent.’ End of story. Joseph stayed home. He died in 1971 aged 75, quite possibly not knowing what had become of his foster-brother Robert.
Thursday, 21 May 2020
This photograph comes from the Winner, 19 August 1914. It's a photo of a motorcycle race in progress. It was a 25 mile race from a mile outside Craigieburn to Wallan and back. The article goes on to tell us that ‘Kelynack got away well in his little two-speed Sunbeam. The healthy cackle of his exhaust must have been sweet music to his ears’… but later we are told that ‘Kelynack, the limit man, led all the way out, and was first round the turn at Wallan, but was to be seen soon afterwards on the roadside suffering from magneto troubles.’
Saturday, 9 May 2020
He died on 4 October 1917 and is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium.
Saturday, 25 April 2020
The Australasian, Saturday 29 April 1916, p.49. The caption reads 'Anzac Day amongst the State Schools: Brigadier-General R.E. Williams addressing 1,400 scholars at North Park Reserve, Brunswick on April 20.'
This was the first Anzac Day and a number of newspapers reported on the Moreland State School commemorations. The Brunswick and Coburg Leader proclaimed it a 'colossal affair', and it seems that it was. The day started at the school with ceremonies on the school site then the teachers and students headed down to North Park Reserve for an impressive ceremony. The VIPs present included the Lord Mayor Sir David Hennessy, Brigadier-General R.E. Williams and Frank Tate, the Director of Education. That evening, back at the school, there was a musical evening for parents and relatives of past scholars who had enlisted.
There were ceremonies in other parts of what we now call Moreland. At 10.30 am that day, the recently opened Brunswick Technical School held its commemoration, with special guests the Mayor and Mayoress of Brunswick, Mr and Mrs Balfe. It was reported that Brunswick Tech was the only technical school in Victoria to celebrate Anzac Day.
Much further north, at Campbellfield State School, the children took part in what sounds like a celebration more than a commemoration. There were flags for each child, fireworks, sweets and nuts. The emphasis seemed to be on whipping up patriotic fervour rather than solemn reflection. (It was still three months before the huge loss of life at Fromelles.)
The Education Department took its role in supporting the war effort very seriously and struck an Anzac Medal for the occasion, planning to sell it to children on the day for sixpence then distribute it to the public at the cost of one shilling. The money raised would go towards the war effort.
Age, 19 April 1916
Australasian, 29 April 1916, 6 May 1916
Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 14 April 1916, 28 April 1916, 5 May 1916
Punch, 20 April 1916
Thursday, 16 April 2020
Arnold Vial and his brother Clarence both served in World War One, but as you see from this article, Arnold served with the South African Rifles and although I have not found proof, it seems likely that Clarence did, too. And because I have not found a post-war trail for Clarence, it may be that he died during the war, but I don't know that for sure.
The Vial brothers and their three sisters were born in the rugged tin mining area of Waratah on Tasmania's north-west coast to Samuel Vial and his second wife Harriet Bell. Not long after the birth of the fifth child, Clarence, father Samuel Vial disappeared to South Africa for a year or two before returning to Tasmania in November 1899.
Four years later the parents divorced and a month after that Samuel Vial left Melbourne for Cape Town with three of his children - Mabel, Lily and Arnold.
From then until the WW1 years there was a constant toing and froing of family members between Cape Town and Coburg. In 1910 Samuel married a third time in South Africa then his daughter Mabel also married there, so although the boys must have spent some of their school days at Moreland State School (their names are recorded on the school's Honour Board) their family ties were now firmly placed in South Africa.
After the war Arnold married and had four children. His father Samuel and step-mother Elizabeth lived in Witbank (now known as Emalahleni), in a coal-mining area east of Pretoria. Samuel died in 1946 aged 91. It is not known when either of his sons died.
Friday, 10 April 2020
Held at the Pavilion in Moreland Grove (now The Grove), the 'fayre' ran over three days and raised funds for the Coburg Branch of the Red Cross. Hopefully these stallholders had a very busy time and raised lots of money.
There were more photos of this event published in Punch, 27 December 1917. These are just some of them.
Mrs Lavinia Hunter's sons Norman and Leslie were in the navy. Norman served on HMAS Sydney and witnessed the sinking of the Emden. You can read about that here.