Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mont Park Military Hospital photo collection

Patients playing cards, 16th Australian General Hospital, Mont Park ca 1918 (Alice E. Broadhurst Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library)

The Yarra Plenty Regional Library has announced the acquisition of a unique set of photographs taken by Red Cross Nurse Alice Elizabeth Broadhurst from 1918 to 1920, probably while working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment at Mont Park Hospital. 

The photos have been digitised and can be accessed at Yarra Plenty Local History Flickr and via Trove Pictures.

The Yarra Plenty Local History Flickr also includes other albums with WW1 photos and postcards, and well worth a visit.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

'A sharp attack was made by the enemy....'

A lighthorseman with his mount.
Following on from his story about Charles Murray Bloomfield who died at Pozieres, Rod Martin brings us the preceding awful news for the Bloomfield family - the death of their eldest son, Walter. He had been a South African War veteran, having served there with the Australian Commonwealth Horse.  He continued in WW1 as a mounted trooper with the 8 Light Horse Regiment in the gruelling Sinai campaign, which Rod outlines for us in the story of Walter Bloomfield.

The Bloomfields gave their eldest and youngest sons to the cause of the Empire within a few short months.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Probably A Company, 37th Battalion, 1915

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Macvean.

This photo is thought to include Private Albert Edmond Hickson who had grown up and gone to school in Essendon.  Albert joined the AIF in July 1915 and embarked on the Wandilla in November 1915.  He was one of the 'Fair Dinkums' who enlisted in full knowledge of the disaster at Gallipoli, and went to help their mates.  The two officers in the centre are probably 2 Lt William Sharp to the left with a swagger stick, and Captain Charles Mills on the right.  This company were involved in the disaster at Fromelles in 1916.  Sharp received a gunshot wound to the hip, and Mills, also wounded, was taken prisoner of war.  If you can identify any of the soldiers, please get in touch.  See a larger copy of the photo on Albert Hickson's webpage.

Darge tent at Seymour camp, c 1915

This is interesting - I guess we are all familiar with the Darge photos of soldiers, but I came upon this by accident searching for something else at the Seymour Camp.  The photo also shows other facilities laid on for the recruits - the YMCA tent and a Dentist.   From the AWM Collection, DAODS00043.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Beloved by all who knew him

Ceramic leaving Port Melbourne, 23 November 1915  (AWM PB0284A)
Charles Murray Bloomfield, the son of a former Councillor of Essendon, was only 19, as the song goes, when he embarked with the 12th reinforcements of the 6th Infantry Battalion.  They left on the Ceramic in November 1915.  His was not the only loss suffered by the Bloomfield family.   Rod Martin tells the story of this young soldier.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wedding of a munitions worker, 1918

Photo courtesy of Trevor Wilson.

The wedding was that of George Stanley Smail (standing, right) and Olive Ella Davey (seated right) which took place in London on 15 December 1918.     The soldier on the left is George's brother Ernest Smail.  George had been discharged as 'not fit for general service'  from the AIF in London in 1917 to take up work in the Munitions industry.  The workforce had been greatly depleted after the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and British Munitions workers had been moved to fill the ranks of the army.   The date of the wedding might have been brought forward to allow George and Olive to take advantage of a free passage home to Australia. You can read more of George's story by clicking here

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soldier vows to change his name

John Mitchell Stuart, a well-known member of the Essendon Harriers, is pictured above in the centre row, second from the right, with the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association team selected to compete in Tasmania in 1909. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection, H31349.

"The secretary of the Melbourne club, A. M. Gordon, together with H. S. Stiles and J. M. Stuart, of the Essendon club, left for Egypt last week. The latter, before leaving, affirmed his intention of changing his name to Abercrombie or a'Beckett, the reason being that when about to leave with the rest of his company on a previous transport the alphabetical position of his name had, when the steamer proved to be overcrowded at the last moment, been the cause of him waving a farewell to the transport instead of from it. 

A valuable tropical outfit was contained in his luggage, well stowed away in the hold, and though ordinarily a pronounced optimist,   Stuart, when recounting the experience, most emphatically insisted on materially altering that favorite memoriam consolation of 'Not lost but gone before'."

ATHLETICISMS. (1916, January 5). Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917), p. 9. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from

The Melbourne sporting newspaper, The Winner, kept a close eye on Stuart and other harriers from suburban clubs throughout the war.  Stuart, from Moonee Ponds, served in the 31 Inf Bn.  Further stories are included on his webpage.