Saturday, 31 May 2014

Cricket at Pascoe Vale South

In a previous post I noted that there was a great deal of post-war expansion in Coburg and surrounds due to the Soldier Settlement Housing Scheme. Pascoe Vale and Pascoe Vale South were just such areas.

Recently, I discovered a photograph in the Coburg Historical Society collection. It’s of a cricket team formed from returned soldiers living in the soldier settlement area of Pascoe Vale South and dates from the early 1930s. 

Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Only some of the men in the photo have been identified. They are:
Front row: 4th from left, Stan Hopper; 6th from left, George or Jim Marsh; 7th from left, Bob Grantham.
Back row: 2nd from left, Alf Rocard; 3rd from left Jack Paternoster; 4th from left, Jeffcot; 6th from left Andy Anderson; 7th from left, Hyland; 8th from left, Rousseau.

I was curious to see whether these men had connections to the area prior to their period of service. I also wondered  whether they remained in the area.

I could not locate the service record of Andy Anderson, but a search of electoral rolls revealed that he was a printer who lived in Gallipoli Parade from the 1930s through to the 1960s.  An article in the November 1997 issue of ‘Search’, the Coburg Historical Society Newsletter, also revealed that Andy Anderson’s daughter Audrey married Jack, the son of Bob Grantham, another player in the cricket team.

690 Private Robert Edmund Ley Grantham MM served with the 31st Battalion. He enlisted in July 1915 as an 18 year old vigneron of Rutherglen. He applied for a War Service Home Loan in February 1926 from 18 Woolacott Street, Coburg. By 1933 he was living in Gezireh Street, Pascoe Vale but in the mid-1930s he moved his family to Footscray.

14633 Gunner Stanley Alexander Hopper served with the 6th Battery, 23 Howitzer Brigade. He enlisted on 20 May 1916 as an 18 year old tailor’s cutter from South Melbourne. In April 1925 he applied for a War Service Home Grant from the State Savings Bank of Victoria and in the early 1930s he was a wood machinist living at 623 Bell Street, Pascoe Vale. He did not remain there long and by 1936 was living in Henderson Street, West Brunswick where he remained for the next thirty years.

I could find no service record at all for Jeffcot. I searched the war records under Jeffcot, Jeffcott, Jeffcoat, but no result. Maybe somebody reading this might know more. If so, I’d love to hear from you.

I could find no reference to a Jack or John Paternoster in the war service records. The closest I could get was 6872A James Robert Paternoster of the 6th Battalion, who was a 42 year old clerk from Camberwell when he enlisted in November 1917. On his return, he and his wife Edie remained in the Camberwell area and he died in Chelsea in 1954. So far I have found no connection to Pascoe Vale. I wonder, therefore, whether the Jack Paternoster identified in the photo was an ex-serviceman at all. I have located a Henry John Norman Paternoster, living in Danin Street, Pascoe Vale in the 1930s, so maybe this is our man. If you know, please contact me.

4433 Sapper Alphonse Rocard served with the 8th Field Company Engineers. He was born in Dunedin, New Zealand  but enlisted in Melbourne in January 1915 as a 25 year old carpenter. His wife, his next of kin, lived firstly at Albert Park then Richmond. He was living in Clarence Street, East Brunswick when he applied for a War Service Home Grant in March 1925. The electoral rolls show that by 1931 he was a cabinet maker living in Gallipoli Parade in Pascoe Vale. He lived there until his death in 1953 and his widow, Maud, remained at that address until the 1970s.

1680 Private Samuel Joseph Rousseau served with the 1st Anzac Cyclist Battalion. Born in Granya in country Victoria, he enlisted in August 1915 as a 19 year old labourer. In January 1924 he applied for a War Service Home Grant from 66 Wilson Street, Brunswick West. By 1931 he was a carpenter living at 4 Gezireh Street, Coburg with his wife Gladys. They were still there in the mid-1950s.

This has been an interesting piece of research for me. I used the soldier’s war service records, available online through the National Archives of Australia website, and electoral rolls, which I accessed via Ancestry. I was not surprised to find that most of these men had no connection to Coburg or (Pascoe Vale) prior to their war service, but I was very surprised to find that about half of them left quite quickly. Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, by the time they were leaving it was the mid-1930s and these were the worst years of the Depression.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Another French connection to Coburg

494 Private Marius Giraud, Australian Flying Corps

Although Marius Giraud was born in Coburg, his father Honoré, a pastry chef, was born in Antibes, France in 1863. He sailed from London in November 1885 and after twelve months in New Zealand moved to Melbourne where he and his wife Annie settled in Donald Street, Brunswick.

Marius was born in Footscray in 1889 and applied to become an Australian citizen in 1911 but was told that there was no need because he had been born in Victoria. However, he stated that he had become a naturalised French citizen at the French Consulate in Melbourne in 1900 when he was eleven years old, hence the application. He made his declaration in the presence of W.E. Cash who was Mayor of the Borough of Coburg at the time. It’s possible that Marius was an employee of Cash, who had a plumbing and hardware business, but it’s just as possible that he’d approached Cash because Cash was a prominent citizen who also lived in Moreland. Frustratingly, the naturalisation papers do not give any reason for the change of citizenship in 1900 or for the change of heart eleven years later.

Palestine. Air Mechanics of No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, working on an SE5Q aircraft. 
Image courtesy Australian War Memorial. Image P01034.042.

At the time of Marius’ enlistment as a Signalman in the No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps in September 1914, the Giraud family was living in Glencairn Avenue, Coburg. Marius was a 25 year old coppersmith at the time, a trade he returned to after the war. An early enlistee, he was in hospital in Egypt at the time of the Anzac landing and did not rejoin his unit on Gallipoli until the end of October 1915. He later served in France before returning to Australia in 1919.

In 1921 Marius married Helen Warner, also of Moreland. He served again in World War Two, as did his sons Neil and John.

Like so many families who lived in the Moreland area in the borderland between Coburg and Brunswick, he lived variously in both suburbs. He is remembered on the Coburg Town Hall Honour Board, located at Coburg Town Hall and he is also listed on the Moreland State School Honour Board.

Marius Giraud died at Brunswick in 1957 and is listed in the Wills and Probate Indexes at the Public Record Office of Victoria as an ex-railway employee. His wife Helen died in 1980.

(Sources include soldiers’ attestation papers, births, deaths and marriages via Ancestry, electoral rolls, resources of the Australian War Memorial, naturalisation papers, newspaper articles)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

From France to the Channel Islands then Melbourne and France again

7016 Private Joseph Georgelin, 14th Infantry Battalion, 23rd Reinforcements

Joseph Georgelin was a 25 year old gardener working at Montague Dare’s property ‘Moreland Park’ when he enlisted at Broadmeadows on 20 October 1916. By this time, he had already made several journeys in his life.

View of Elizabeth Castle, St Helier, Jersey, before the alterations made during the German military occupation during World War Two.

Joseph Georgelin was born at Ploeux on France’s Côte du Nord on 20 May 1891 but by the time of the 1911 Census when he was 10 he was living on Jersey in the Channel Islands with his father Joseph, a farmer, mother Rosalie and younger siblings Jean, Honoré and Marie. He served his gardening apprenticeship with Philippe Corna on Jersey and arrived in Melbourne on 4 February 1913 aged 22. After three years working for the Weatherley family at the historic 'Billilla' mansion in Halifax Street, Brighton, he moved to Moreland and it was from there the left for the war.

'Billilla' Homestead, 26 Halifax Street, Brighton. 

You might be interested in this 1918 film from the National Film and Sound Archive showing the damage when a wild storm swept through Brighton and St Kilda. It includes footage of 'Billilla', where Joseph Georgelin had worked prior to his enlistment.

On his return from the war, Joseph Georgelin settled in the Moreland area, working firstly as a gardener and then as a florist.  He married Mary Humberstone and they lived in the area for the rest of his life. He enlisted again in World War Two, as did his son Leslie. His son Desmond continued the family trade of florist and also remained in the Moreland area. Joseph Georgelin died in 1970 aged 78. His wife died in 1976 aged 73.

Estate poster for Montague Dare’s Moreland Park Estate.
Image courtesy State Library of Victoria. 

On his return from the war, Georgelin gave his employer as Mrs Macgregor of ‘Moreland Park’. Mrs May Macgregor was the only daughter of Montague Dare, property developer, who died in November 1919. May Dare had travelled to London during the war, an unusual journey, given the wartime circumstances. She had done so to marry Essendon man Captain William Macgregor, a veterinary surgeon who was serving with the Veterinary Corps. When the couple returned to Australia in February 1919, they lived with Montague Dare until his death and remained on the property for some time with Georgelin as their gardener.

Colonel Charles Moreland Dare (left) and Lieutenant Harold Robert Harris (right) aboard the HMAT Ulysses.
Image courtesy AWM. Image A01222.

May McGregor’s only sibling, Captain (later Colonel) Charles Moreland Montague Dare, also lived at Moreland Park in this time period. Charles Dare served with distinction in the 14th Infantry Battalion and is listed on the Town of Coburg Honour Board at Coburg Town Hall as is Joseph Georgelin.

Thousands of miles away, Joseph Georgelin’s family continued to live on Jersey. His father died in 1929 but his mother and siblings lived through the German occupation of Jersey during World War Two when as non-British residents they had to register as aliens. Interestingly, Joseph Georgelin did not become a naturalised Australian until 1921, years after he had served as an Australian in World War One and two years after he had first voted in an Australian election.

(Sources include soldiers’ attestation papers, births, deaths and marriages via Ancestry, electoral rolls, resources of the Australian War Memorial, naturalisation papers, newspaper articles)

Monday, 19 May 2014

Paul Ham's '1914'

In my last entry, I wrote about Margaret MacMillan's recently published book The war that ended peace.

Another writer, Australian historian Paul Ham, has written about the same thing and reached many of the same conclusions. 

You can listen to Paul Ham talking about his book, 1914, on the Random House website.

And if you want to explore more deeply the significance of the year 1914, I highly recommend Eric Hobsbawn's 1994 book The Short Twentieth Century in which he argues that the twentieth century began with the first year of WW1 and ended with the fall of the Soviet bloc. 

You can watch Eric Hobsbawn talking about The Short Twentieth Century here. It's about the whole of the period but it gives us another way of putting World War One and the years that followed into a wider context.

Friday, 16 May 2014

The war that ended peace

The enduring lesson of 1914 is that people are not predestined to mutual slaughter. "There are always choices."

Margaret MacMillan, The War that Ended Peace

This recently released book is high on my 'must read' list. When most of us think of the origins of this so-called 'War to End All Wars' we vaguely recall school lessons about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in June 1914 and think no more deeply than that.

Margaret MacMillan asks us to consider a different proposition altogether: that this war was not necessary or inevitable but was a deliberate choice on the part of all the European powers. And so 37 million people were killed or wounded, a generation of young men were lost to the world, the political map of Europe was irretrievably changed, Germany was humiliated and just over 20 years later the world was thrown into a second world war.

So, what might the world have been like if the political leaders of the day had been less irresponsible and more capable? It's an interesting thought and if you think about the effects (and after effects) the war had on small communities like Coburg, you start to imagine that it might never have developed in the way it did. 

Before 1914, Coburg was a small outlying area of Melbourne, still considered rural in many ways, with farms and market gardens aplenty. Pentridge Prison was a major employer as were the Tramways (and the Council, of course). 

Before 1914, there was little development north of Gaffney Street/Murray Road or to the west in Pascoe Vale. These areas were transformed by the Soldier Settlement Housing Scheme introduced in the 1920s. 

Then street names like Gallipoli Parade, Le Cateau Street, Lemnos Avenue, Gezireh Street and Heliopolis Street in the Coburg West/Pascoe Vale area began to appear. 

In the north streets were named Krithia Street, Anzac Avenue and Suvla Grove after places of wartime significance. 

In Merlynston, returned soldier, Coburg Councillor, real estate agent and property developer Captain Donald Bain named streets after ships that carried soldiers to and from the war, Galeka Street, for example. He even named his home 'The Dug Out'.  

Generals were remembered, too: Foch Avenue and Haig Avenue, for example, although who would want to remember General Haig is questionable. 

Other war heroes were honoured: Jacka Avenue after Albert Jacka, winner of the Victoria Cross, for example.

These streets, and others like them, are permanent reminders of that first catastrophic world conflict. It's one hundred years this year since that war began and still we live with its legacy, even if we don't recognise it as such.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

From the Coburg Boys' Naval Brigade to the defeat of the Emden

Coburg Boys' Naval Brigade, c. 1908.

Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Norman Hunter, son of John and Lavinia Hunter of Mayfield Street, Coburg, was an old boy of Coburg State School and is featured on the Town of Coburg Honour Board, located at Coburg Town Hall.

He joined the Navy in 1912 as a boy of 16. Before that he’d been a member of the Coburg Boys’ Naval Brigade, along with Wen Shore, who was the subject of my last blog entry. Norman Hunter’s RAN service record shows that he served from 1 June 1912 until 19 June 1921. When he left, he took with him £18/15/0 which was his share of the Naval Prize Fund, basically a prize paid out on account of the sinking or capture of an enemy ship.

By 10 June 1914 Norman Hunter was working as a telegrapher on HMAS Sydney, and served on board that ship until the end of September 1917. Like Oriel Ashton, another Coburg man who served in the navy (on HMAS Australia), Norman Hunter saw action before most servicemen had even left Australia.

Sinking of the Emden. Coburg Youth Takes Part.

F.W. Shore (see previous blog entry) wrote that one of the crew of HMAS Sydney when it defeated the Emden was Norman Hunter of Coburg 'who from its inception had been a petty officer in the Coburg Boys' Municipal Naval Brigade.' Brunswick and Coburg Star, 27 November 1914, p.1.

Another newspaper report added that he’d been a petty officer in the Boys’ Naval Brigade since its inception in 1908.Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 27 November 1914, p.2.

1914. The wreck of the German light cruiser SMS Emden after her action with HMAS Sydney. From the Naval Historical Collection, AWM.
Image courtesy AWM. Image 305436.

If you are interested in discovering more about the naval  men who served in New Guinea in 1914, you should check out the entry on missing embarkation rolls on The Empire Called and I Answered blog and this second entry.

After he left the Navy in 1921, Norman Hunter moved to Newmarket where he worked as a mechanic. By the 1930s he was married and living in Bentleigh. He died at Clayton in October 1966 aged 70. His wife Queenie Beatrice died in 1979 aged 78.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Felix Wentworth Shore

This one’s for you, Harvey.

189 Private Felix Wentworth Shore, 7th Infantry Battalion, A Company.

Known as Wen or Wentworth, Felix Wentworth Shore, son of Edwin and Annie of Waterfield Street, Coburg, was a nineteen year old clerk working for the Coburg Council when he enlisted on 18 August 1914. Even though it was only eight days after voluntary recruitment began, already a number of Coburg men had joined up. Wen Shore joined at a Patriotic Meeting at the Public Hall in Coburg, called by Major H.J. Richards. He was the first Council employee to enlist.

Wen Shore left with the first contingent of the AIF on 19 October 1914 on board HMAT Hororata. 

The 1st AIF boarding HMAT Hororata, Port Melbourne, October 1914.
Image courtesy AWM. Image C02491.

Wen Shore had been in the Coburg Boys’ Naval Brigade since its inception in 1908. The boys travelled to Williamstown to learn rowing and seamanship, not really skills he would be asked to employ during his war service. After his three years with the Brigade, he spent four years in the Commonwealth Military Forces in the 60th Infantry. He had also spent three years as a buglar in the 1st Senior Cadet Corps. So he was better prepared than many young men who joined up.

Coburg Boys’ Naval Brigade, c. 1908. Wen Shore is in the second row from the front, fourth from the left  in the dark cap.
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

No amount of preparation could help him once he arrived at the war. Although he had passed his medical with flying colours, Wen was plagued by ill health from the time of his arrival. He spent long spells in hospitals in Malta, France and England and on various hospital ships off the coast of the Dardanelles suffering from chronic bronchitis and influenza. Eventually, at the end of August 1916, he was returned to Australia and discharged.

At some stage Wen Shore's medals were put up for sale on EBay. These images courtesy A. Silverson.

In September 1917 Wen resumed his career as Coburg’s Assistant Town Clerk.

Wen Shore, Assistant Town Clerk, Coburg, c.1920. 
Images courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

In 1948 he was promoted to Town Clerk, a position he held until 1958. 

Wen Shore, c.1950. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Coburg librarian H.A. Gregory, deputy librarian Mrs Purves-Smith, Town Clerk Felix Wentworth Shore. Coburg Library, 1955. 
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society. 

Wen Shore did not marry and after his retirement moved to St Kilda. He died of stomach cancer at Heidelberg in 1970.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Peter Stanley’s Lost Boys of Anzac

Lost Boys of Anzac has only just been released and it promises to be a very interesting read. So much has been written about the war fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula but what I like about Peter Stanley’s approach in all his books is that he looks at the stories of the men who were there and shows us the human face of war.

In this book, Stanley looks at the men who died on 25 April 1915, a day writ large in our national psyche. He reveals that 101 men died that day.

I have already written in this blog about one of them, Ernest Smith. 

Ernest Smith. Image courtesy AMW. Image PO5248.123.

Three other Coburg men, all members of the 7th Battalion, died that day: Archibald Alexander (who was shot and fell into the water as they attempted to land), Frank Kiely (who was at first reported MIA) and Clement Lane (son of local Anglican clergyman H.W. Lane). Alfred Love (of the 14th Battalion), whose diary can be read online at the State Library of Victoria, died on the 27 April.

Another man who died that day was  418 Lance Corporal Arthur Mueller (Joe) Pearce, 7th Infantry Battalion, D Company. Although he was from Bendigo, Joe Pearce played cricket for Coburg and was remembered in the local paper for his contribution to the Club.

Image from Wikipedia

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 18 June 1915, p.2. In memory of Arthur Mueller Pearce, killed in the landing of the Australian Expeditionary Forces at Gallipoli, aged 30 years. Inserted by fellow members of the Coburg Cricket Club.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 18 June 1915, p.2. 'Corporal Pearce was a playing member of the Coburg club and his presence with the team was always hailed with delight by his club mates. Being a total abstainer and a strong adherent of the Church of England, was unreservedly a general favourite of all denominations of the club.'
Another article on the same page:
'The flag was flying half-mast on the Coburg cricket ground last Saturday, in memory of Arthur Pearce, who was killed in action at the landing of the Australian troops in Gallipoli. Pearce was a member of the Coburg Second Eleven in the year prior to the outbreak of war, and rendered valuable service both with bat and ball. He will be remembered by football followers as Melbourne's full back over a period of 10 years, and in his last year he captained the side. Pearce was a vestryman of the Anglican Church, Jolimont, and a member of the AMP staff for 13½ years. His father is Mr A.J. Pearce, the well-known principal of the Bendigo Grammar School.'

A tribute to Joe Pearce can be found on the Shrine of Remembrance website.