Thursday, 27 February 2014

Brunswick Town Hall Honour Board

Image courtesy B. Garrett

This Honour Board is located in the foyer of the Brunswick Town Hall, corner of Sydney Road and Dawson Street, Brunswick. If you are looking for a WW1 soldier with connections to either Brunswick or Coburg, you should check it out, as people often moved between the two suburbs a number of times over their lifetimes.

There are names on this honour board, for example, that appear in the Coburg Memorial Avenue of Trees at Lake Reserve, Coburg. Hector Batt is one of those. Others, such as Reginald Bartram, appear on both the Coburg and Brunswick Town Hall Honour Boards. Bartram is also remembered in the Frankston Avenue of Honour where most of his family lived, reminding us that some men’s service is commemorated in a number of places, so it is always worth looking at the area where a man was born or went to school, as well as where he lived (or where his parents lived) when he went to war or where he lived on his return.

Some of the men listed here were connected to Coburg through their sporting associations. For example, Leslie Agnew and Roderick Aitchison, both Brunswick men, were members of the Coburg Harriers Club.

Victor Aldred lived in Brunswick when he enlisted, but his family once lived in Coburg and he attended Coburg State School then Coburg High School. He is remembered in those places, as well as at the Brunswick Town Hall.

And so it goes.

Apart from anything else, the Brunswick Town Hall Honour Board is a beautiful piece of work in an elegant foyer. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a look just to remind yourself that, despite all the changes to the landscape wrought by the massive high-rise buildings springing up all around us in the suburbs of Coburg and Brunswick, there are still some buildings that retain a sense of continuity and a feeling of serenity and dignity for those who venture inside. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Old Boy Profiles in Coburg High School magazines

The Scribe, Volume 1, number 1, August 1916.

Thanks to a collaboration between the Coburg High School Historical Group and Moreland City Libraries, you can now view all the Coburg High School magazines from 1916 to 1990 online.

Once you have found your way to the Moreland City Libraries Catalogue, go to the Local History Catalogue and type in ‘Coburg High’. You will see that all the Coburg High School magazines are listed there as electronic resources. In the catalogue information you’ll see a link that says ‘Download the PDF’. Click on that and as long as you have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you will be able to read the magazine online.

This is a fantastic resource and a wonderful example of how groups working together make it possible for researchers to have ready access to previously underused resources.

The Scribe, Volume 1, number 1, August 1916. 

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Old Boys of Coburg High School go to war

Image of Coburg High School Honour Board, courtesy Coburg High School Historical GroupThis Honour Board lists past students who served in both World Wars.

The Victorian Education Department only became a provider of secondary education in the early years of the twentieth century and not many children continued their education after they finished Grade 8 at their local primary school.  Those who showed academic promise got their chance at further education, but the fact that parents had to pay £6 a year to send their children to secondary school was a factor and many children had to go to work to help the family. 
Coburg High School opened in 1912, although the school building (opposite the State School and now demolished) was not occupied until 1916. 
These are the old boys who served in World War One. I have added their given names. Most of them were in the first intake of pupils into the school in 1912, just a few years before hostilities began. The rest (Bowen, Buzaglo, Groves, Head, Jarvie, Scott, Sherlock, Tait, Templeton and Walker) began at the school in 1913. Some, like Buzaglo, Dailey, Fedderson, Finchett, Groves, Jarvie and Smith had been old boys of Coburg State School and feature in the Coburg State School Soldiers Book.
V.W. Aldred (Victor)
R. Anderson (Robert)
J.N. Bartley (teacher)
C. Bowen (Cyril)
L. Buzaglo (Leslie)
W.T. Dailey (William)
L. Delaney (Leslie)
H.N. Edwards (Harold)
J.J. Fedderson (John)
C.E. Finchett (Charles)
R.H. Floyd (Robert)
W. Forbes (Wallace)
R.J. Groves (Robert)
A. Head (Arthur)
W. Hill (William)
K.W. Jarvie (Keith)
C. Priestley (Clive)
V. Rapley (Victor, KIA)
A. H. Reynolds (Arthur)
V. Rogers (Victor)
S. Scott (Stephen)
F. Sherlock (Frederick)
F. Smith (Frederick)
C.F. Sullivan (teacher – died on service)
C. Tait (Charlie)
W. Templeton (Wallace)
J.A. Walker (James)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Town of Coburg Honour Board

Image courtesy B. & S. Garrett.

The Honour Board is located in the foyer of the Coburg Town Hall, Bell Street, Coburg. There are over 1,000 names listed there. The database I have been building for the past twelve months began with the names on this Honour Board. Since then, of course, I have collected much more information and added many more men who had connections to Coburg.

Not surprisingly, given Coburg's close geographical relationship with Brunswick, many families lived at various times in both Coburg and Brunswick, so if you are researching a soldier who lived in both suburbs, it is always worth checking out the Honour Board at the Brunswick Town Hall, which lists many more names than the Coburg Honour Board.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to know more about any of the men listed on the Town of Coburg Honour Board.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Coburg’s little known Memorial Avenue of Trees.

Tucked away behind the Coburg State School Infant School (located on the south side of Bell Street, opposite the main school) once stood an Avenue of Honour, dedicated to the memories of 35 old boys of the school who enlisted in the 1st AIF.

The trees no longer exist, although a Memorial Garden was planted in the grounds in 1991 to honour those 35 old boys.

Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

The old boys remembered there are:

Tree 1: 5375 Private Edwin William Dunstan (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 2: 4188 Private Charles Henry Skiller (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 3: 13365 Private Leslie Thomas Ward (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 4: 3861 Private Rupert James Scott (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 5: Corporal Thomas Francis Quirke (died before embarking; also Soldiers Book)
Tree 6: 4520 Private Henry William Phair (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 7: 182 Lance Sergeant Ernest James Orr (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 8: William McKay (died before embarking; also Soldiers Book)
Tree 9: 1643 Private Allan Douglas McAskil (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 10: William Malcolmson (possibly 2743 Private William Frederick Malcomson)
Tree 11: 1989 Private William Thomas Libbis (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 12: 4006 Private Cyril Allen Jolly
Tree 13: 234 Private Donald William Johnson (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 14: 2659 Private John Norman Hartley (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 15: N. Gates (possibly 125 Private Norman WIlliam Gates)
Tree 16: 1060 Private Robert Gordon Duncan
Tree 17: 6767 Bombardier Phillip Frederick Dix (also Soldiers Book)
Tree 18: 3479 Gunner Raymond Cary (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 19: 6420 Private Frank Dawson Pridham (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 20: 411 Gunner Alfred Williams (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 21: 2781 Lance Corporal Stanley Victor Ray (also Soldiers Book)
Tree 22: 2742 Private William George Pollock (aka William Grieve Pollock, later a Lieutenant)
Tree 23: William Pinney
Tree 24: 4497 Acting Corporal James Nicol (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 25: 3208 Lance Corporal Kenneth Fraser
Tree 26: 1554 Private John Francis McCormack (also Soldiers Book)
Tree 27: 3651 Driver Archibald Angus McAskil (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 28: 2864 Private Thomas Oscar Meredith (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 29: 1047 Private Frederick Charles Kiellerup
Tree 30: 883 Private Frederick Walter Janes (also Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 31: 234 Signaller Lance Corporal Thomas Atherton Johnston (also Soldiers Book)
Tree 32: 1910 Private John Vincent Standen
Tree 33: William Geddes (died before embarking)
Tree 34: 2180 Sergeant Charles James Durham (also Soldiers Book & Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve)
Tree 35: 5364 Private John William Doig (also Soldiers Book)

Some of these old boys are not mentioned on any other Coburg Memorial, making this a very important local place of remembrance.

If you can help with information on any of these men and their families, I would be very interesting in hearing from you.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Coburg State School Soldiers Book

The book contains profiles of the following old boys of the school:

Adams, Rupert William Edwin, Pte, #4351. Died 1920 as result of war service.
Aitken, John Eadie, Cpl, #7471.
Barrie, George, Pte, #477.
Boyd, Thomas Meredith, Sgt, #160.
Broadbent, William Charles, Pte, #3035.
Brown. Arthur Charles (‘Bobbie’), MM, Cpl, #1344.
Bull, George Henry, Pte, #3769.
Buzaglo, Frederick William, Spr, #2971.
Buzaglo, George Leslie, Pte, #55339.
Cail, Robert B., Pte, #4379.
Callaghan, Clive Steward, Pte, #3377.
Callaghan, Frank, Pte, #7464.
Carr, Claude Thomas, Lance Cpl, #2821.
Cash, Arthur, Driver, #4028.
Clark, Victor, Pte, #1414. Died.
Clough, Ronald Alfred Charles, Sapper,#6104.
Clough, William, Staff Farrier Sergeant, #7942.
Crump, Dudley, Lieutenant.
Dailey, William Thomas, Pte, #6003.
Dix, Phillip Frederick, Bombardier, #6767. Died.
Dix, Leslie Gordon, Driver, #3064.
Doig, David James Cairns, Pte, #61964.
Doig, John William, Pte, # 5364. Died.
Duncan, Albert, Gunner, #1182.
Duncan, William, Pte, #55360.
Durham, Charles James, Sgt, #2180. Died.
Endersbee, Charles, Pte, #2900.
Fedderson, John,Gunner, #4570.
Finchett, Charles Edgar, Cpl, #111728.
Fisher, James, Cpl, #2618.
Francis, Leonard Harry, Pte, #2149.
Gould, Fred John, Sgt, #5387.
Gould, Stanley Gratton, Pte, #2044.
Grattidge, Joseph, Pte, #5828.
Groves, Robert Joseph Carleton, Pte, #2165.
Hallam, Vernon Godfrey, Cpl, #15333.
Harder, Howard Keith, Pte, #13295.
Harder, John Charles Victor, Lieutenant. Died.
Hartley, John Norman, Pte, #2659. Died.
Hodgens, Robert Leeds, Pte, #4459.
Howse, Charles William, Sgt, #130.
Howse, James Leslie, Bombardier, #10647.
Hurtig, Daniel Henry, Sgt, #5018.
Irons, William George, Cpl, #3656.
Jackson, Harold le Plastrier, Cpl, #596. 
Jarvie, Leslie Reid, Sgt Major, #10774.
Jarvie, Walter Keith, 2nd Air Mechanic, #2515.
Johnston, Donald William, Pte, #234. Died.
Johnston, Thomas Atherton, Signaller Lance Cpl, #2845. Died.
Jukes, Albert Leo, Cpl, #10872.
Kitching, Henry James, Gnr, #777.
Lane, Jack, Pte, #2175.
Libbis, Leslie Fookes, Pte, #9025.
Libbis, William Thomas, Pte, #1989. Died.
Lynch, John Bernard, Pte, #6890. Died.
Mahlstedt, Albert Charles, Pte, #61193.
Malcolmson, Thomas James, Dvr, #103.
Marshall, David Ronald, Gnr, #39670.
McCormack, John Francis, Pte, #1554. Died.
McKay, Gordon Alexander, 1st Class Warrant Officer. Died 1922 as result of war service.
McKay, William Henry. (Did not serve. Died in accident before embarkation.) Died.
Meredith, Thomas Oscar, #2864. Died.
Orr, Ernest James, Sgt, #182. Died.
Percival, Clifton Eric, Pte, #1379.
Phair, Henry William, Pte, #4520. Died.
Quirke, Thomas Francis, Cpl. (Did not serve. Died in accident before embarkation.) Died.
Ray, Stanley Victor James, Lance Cpl, #2781. Died.
Rose, William George, Cpl, #1332.
Scott, Rupert James, Pte, #3861. Died.
Sheehan, John Patrick, Sgt, #3515.
Skiller, Charles Henry, Pte, #4188. Died.
Smith, Frederick Thomas, Cpl, #1029.
Templeton, Keith Richard, Pte, #4212.
Thomson, William Charles, Pte, #408.
Walker, Donald Stuart, Pte, #271.
Ward, Leslie Thomas, Pte, #13365. Died.
Westhorpe, Walter Cyril Roy, Signaller, #1655.
Westhorpe, William Wilson, Pte, #18755.
Whittley, Leslie William, Dvr, #1808.
Whittley, Sidney, Dvr, #5669. Died.
Williams, Alfred (‘Laddie’or ‘Little Gunner’), Gnr, #411. Died.
Williams, Arthur Ernest, MM, Dvr, #207.
Wilson, Walter Roy, Signaller, #2476. Died.
Yorke, Roy, Signaller, #2920.

Coburg Historical Society is developing biographies of these men to supplement the information in the Soldiers’ Book. Please contact me if you can help.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A magpie hero on and off the field

Peter James Martin, Collingwood footballer

Image courtesy Cheryl Griffin

A while ago while wandering around Coburg Cemetery, I came across this headstone. From this we know that Peter Martin played 15 games for Collingwood in 1901 and 1902. But behind the rather splendid headstone lies a sad tale.

3399 Private Peter James Martin sailed with the 6th Infantry Battalion (later 8th Infantry Battalion), leaving behind his wife Lavinia who lived firstly in Moonee Ponds, then in North Melbourne. In 1917 at Pozieres he sustained a severe gunshot wound to the head and right eye and had to have his eye removed. He returned to Australia, but died on 24 July 1918 as a result of those wounds, aged 42. He was buried at Coburg Cemetery and for a short time at least, his wife remained in the area, living in Main Street, Coburg in 1921.

Because he lived in Moonee Ponds and North Melbourne, you will find more details on Peter James Martin on the Empire Call website.

If you have information you can add to this brief profile, you may wish to contact Friends of Coburg Cemetery who are always interested in hearing more about the people buried in the Cemetery. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Coburg Municipal Health Officer joins up

Carl Dyring goes to war

Dr Carl Dyring. 
Image courtesy Coburg HIstorical Society.

As a researcher I’ve become accustomed to seeing the faces of the young when I search the Australian War Memorial website looking for photos of the Coburg men who served in World War One. Often I want to cry for them and their families. They look (and were) so young.

But as I’m learning, there were quite a few men in their forties who were accepted into the AIF and some, like Captain Carl Peter Wilhelm Dyring, who was a doctor, were even older. Dr Carl Dyring joined the Army Medical Corps on 14 August 1915 aged 55. Like some of the other men I’ve featured recently, he was of non-Anglo heritage. His father Peter Frederick was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1832 and arrived in the colony with his parents and siblings in the 1850s. The family settled in the Beechworth district and although Carl had long since left the area, he is listed on the Ovens and Murray Advertiser’s Roll of Honour as one of the ‘lads’ from the district who had enlisted. (Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 19 February 1916, p.1)

Dr Carl Dyring's Residence, 2 Walsh Street, Coburg, circa 1890. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.  

Dr Dyring was a man of substance, as can be seen by his grand home in Walsh Street, Coburg. In some ways, Dyring represented what was already becoming a bygone age. It’s said, for example, that he called on patients in a high English dog cart and always wore a bell topper and frock coat. 

He was also a man with influential connections. His second wife Dagmar was the daughter of one of the Cohn Brothers, old family friends and pioneer beer makers who were men of considerable influence in Bendigo where they had settled. His farewell was held at the prestigious Menzies Hotel in the city and organised by property developer and friend Montague Dare. An evening at Her Majesty’s Theatre followed. (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 23 July 1915, p.2)

In 1911, he had performed the medicals for the boys who’d registered as cadets under the recently passed Defence Act and witnessed their first parade at the Moreland school. (Broome, Coburg, between two creeks, p.190) Now he was heading off to Egypt where he might well meet these boys again, this time in the hospitals of Cairo where he was based.

Unusually, his wife Dagmar joined her husband in Cairo, serving as hospital matron and leaving their children (13 year old Carl, 10 year old Rosa and 5 year old Moya) with her family in Bendigo. By joining her husband, Dagmar drew the interest of the Intelligence Forces and there is a file on her dated 1915 at the National Archives of Australia. Unfortunately, it has not been digitised, so I’ve been unable to check it out.

Carl Dyring’s war was not a long one. By December 1916 he’d been invalided home with heart disease and emphysema. On his return he moved to Brighton where a fourth child, Patricia, was born in 1920. He died at Brighton in 1931 aged 71.


When I began this research, I wondered whether Dagmar Dyring was related to Ola Cohn, the sculptor whose Fairies Tree in Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens I used to visit as a child. They were sisters. While doing the research for this entry, I was very excited to learn that an autobiography, A way with the Fairies: the lost story of sculptor Ola Cohn, ed. Barbara Lemon, will be released in February 2014. It’s already made its way to my ‘must read’ list!

The artistic talent in the family did not end there. Carl and Dagmar’s daughter, Moya Dyring (1909-1967), was one of the first women cubist painters to exhibit in Melbourne. She married fellow artist Sam Atyeo, was involved in the Heide School, moved overseas and eventually settled in France. Divorced from Atyeo in 1950, she visited Australia regularly until the early 1960s. (AustralianDictionary of Biography)

Grave of Laurence Cohen, Coburg Cemetery.
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

And in the way of all such research, I’ve now come across another example of synchronicity. Several years ago when doing the research for a Friends of Coburg Cemetery heritage walk, I discovered that Laurence Cohen, monumental mason and trade unionist, had been apprenticed to George F. Atyeo. Three of Cohen's sisters married three of Atyeo's sons and his sister Olivia and her husband Alfred Atyeo (who are buried in the same grave) were the parents of Sam Atyeo, who married Moya Dyring.

And so the world goes round!