Sunday, 19 October 2014

Raising funds for the Glenroy Military Hospital

To begin with, in November 1915, Linda Davis organised a  bazaar and garden party at her home, 'Moreland Hall', and managed to secure Senator Pearce, the Minister of Defence, to open it. It was at this event that Senator Pearce spoke about the reason for the establishment of the Glenroy Military Hospital - for those who were taken ill before they went to the front.

From this point, Linda Davis worked tirelessly to support the Glenroy Hospital, in addition to other patriotic causes. No doubt she was involved in the Coburg Patriotic League Novelty Fair in April 1917, which featured a ‘lady with a hundred pockets’!

In March 1917, Linda was nominated by the St John’s Ambulance Society as its Queen of Soldiers. This was part of a great fund-raising effort – a Queen of Victoria competition. There were other Queens – of Sport, of Motorists, of Railways, of Music, of Peace and so on.

Linda Davis’ Queen of Soldiers’ fund-raising efforts began with a Military Pageant on 28 April 1917. One of the star turns was an equestrienne display by the Ladies of the Purple Cross and the Misses Crinnion of Rose Street, Coburg. The Remount Section AASC put on a display and there were races, drills, bomb throwing, semaphore displays and even a ‘balaclava melee’. 

Then came a Sports Carnival on 12 May  at the Coburg Recreation Reserve. It included many groups, including the Coburg Cowboys (who put on a wild west display), Oaklands Hunt Club and a ‘Pre-historic display’ by Coburg Harriers.

 Coburg Cowboys. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society

A Hard Times Ball in aid of Queen of Soldiers was held at Coburg Town Hall on 12 July and there were many other fund-raising events, the most spectacular of which were the raffles organised as part of Linda Davis’s Queen of Soldiers effort.

Mount Alexander Mail, 11 August 1917

Weekly Times, 4 August 1917, p.34

Finally, in late August, the results came in. At first there was great disappointment – Linda had been ‘beaten on the post at the last minute by a matter of £7.’ (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 24 August 1917, p.3) She had actually raised the most money (£1,700-2-9d), beating the Queen of Sport, Mrs Wheeler, but because the money had not gone in on time, she was deemed to have come second. (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 23 November 1917, p.2)

Leader, 4 August 1917, p.49

The matter did not rest there, however. The decision was overturned. Linda Davis, Queen of Soldiers, was victorious!

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 23 November 1917, p.2

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 30 November 1917

And here she is, Linda Davis, Queen of Soldiers, winner of the Queen of Victoria competition:

Table Talk, 2 August 1917, p.18.

And again, with her team:

Table Talk, 2 August 1917, p.18.

This ends the blog entries on the Glenroy Military Hospital.

I have been researching the Glenroy Military Hospital’s history for a while now and it has not been an easy task. The Broadmeadows Historical Society has generously allowed me to scan and publish the images you see on this blog of ‘Ashleigh’ and ‘Sawbridgeworth’ and for that I thank them. Coburg Historical Society has provided images of ‘Moreland Hall’ and I thank them. Just about everything else has been pieced together from newspaper articles that I located on TROVE. 

Every researcher with an interest in Australian history should thank their lucky stars that someone, somewhere conceived the idea of TROVE. It truly is a source of great treasure!


  1. But you can't leave it there? What became of Miss Linda Davis?

    1. Well, that'll be another story. It may be a little while coming, but I'll work on it. You do like to throw out challenges, don't you?!

  2. Trove is above rubies and diamonds. Thank you for the series so much out there to discover. We had a local woman from Maffra win one of these statewide carnivals - may have been the year before. her husband wrote a cheque right at the end.

    1. You are quite right, Linda. There IS so much to discover. Love the story of the cheque-writing husband. I thought Linda Davis's 2 raffle prizes weren't too bad, either! I wonder who won the house? Ah, another story to track down.

      By the way, when I was doing some research for a completely different reason, I came across another young woman from Coburg who was part of the Queen competition that year, so I've got yet another lead to follow. All thanks to TROVE, of course!