Friday, 31 May 2013

Mess Etiquette for A.A.W.M.S.

Found this great article at home in "Khaki and Green -with the Australian Army at home and overseas" published by The Australian Military Forces by the Australian War Memorial in 1943.  This book is one of a series published we have including "Active Service with Australia in the Middle East" in 1941 "Soldiering On -the Australian Army at home and overseas" in 1942,  "Jungle Warfare - with the Australian Army in the South-West Pacific" in 1944 and "Stand Easy - After the defeat of Japan, 1945" in 1945.  They include contributions by servicemen and women of short pieces, drawings, photographs and maps with most contributions noted by their service number.  There is in index to the contributors at the rear of "Khaki and Green" which includes the previous volumes.  Your relative may have made a contribution!

I was particularly interested in the article Mess Etiquette for A.A.W.M.S. as  Tom's mother Joan Foster Fisher (nee Miller) VFX127718 was stationed at Jacquinot Bay in 1945 and reflects her great sense of humour!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Agnes Fisher nee Jenkins (1865-1911)

Agnes, the wife of Joseph Fisher sadly died on 4 January 1911, at Elsternwick, aged only 45.  Her daughter Elsyian was at the time aged 22 and son Jenkinson aged 19.   My search of Trove newspapers particularly the Argus, and local Elsternwick and Brighton papers has yielded no death or funeral notice for her at that time.  Both Agnes and Joseph were buried nearby at Brighton General Cemetery,  

Brighton Historical Society have little on Joseph Fisher who appears in listings of rateable properties and in Sands and McDougall Directories around that time as a contractor at 169 Cochrane Street Elsternwick.  Electoral rolls in list him at times in Cochrane Street, also listing his sister-in-law Jane Helen Fisher.

Sometimes you need to look outside the square!  A search of Fisher at that time in Victoria yields a small notice of her death in The Northern Ensign, a Benalla paper on Friday 6 January 1911,

DEATH.  FISHER.—At her residence, Cochrane-street, Elsternwick, on the morning of the 4th January, Agnes, the dearly beloved wife of Joseph Fisher, builder.

In the same paper on that day under Obituary - Demise of Four Mothers appears an entry for Mrs Fisher.

MRS FISHER. News of the death of another lady well-known in Benalla reached here yesterday, the sad event happening at Elsternwick on Wednesday morning last. The demise alluded to was that of Mrs Agnes Fisher wife of Mr Joseph Fisher, the wellknown building-contractor, who carried out, an important enlargement of the Continuation School in Benalla West, and who, whilst doing the work alluded to attracted the notice of observant people as being a gentleman of unique kindness and integrity. The late Mrs Fisher, who formed an agreeable acquaintanceship with not a few people in our midst through her husband's business connection with Benalla, was a lady with a large heart, a true Christian spirit, and a most friendly disposition, so that her loss to her husband will be sadly felt, the news of her death to-day will be read with a feeling of regret in many quarters locally and much sympathy will be felt for Mr. Fisher in the loss of such an estimable partner-one who, however, goes to a happier sphere than that of earth ; the laud of God beyond the grave. 

This may explain why I haven't been able to find out much about Joseph Fisher the contractor!  I was not aware of the Benalla connection and if he is doing works on Schools this may mean there may be  more information in records at the Public Records Office - Victoria.

The Cat Empire - Steal The Light

Great images of Flinders Street station - Tom's great grandfather built the foundations!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mystery solved! Silver Cup won by Charles Ellis 1887

Morwell Narracan & Mirboo Agricultural Show
Presented by Society
C Ellis
Best 1cwt Potatoes
Reverse side:
MFD & PT..
Finally I have found out when Charles Ellis, my great grandfather, won the silver cup pictured! The cup is undated and Charles lived at Narracan and district from around 1887 to 1900.

In Trove today I found in The Maffra Spectator Monday 4 April 1887  reporting the upcoming Morwell, Narracan & Mirboo Agricultural Society Show.

On Thursday 7 April the first show of the Morwell, Mirboo and Narracan Agricultural Society will be held in the Society's grounds on the Hazelwood Road about a quarter of a mile from the railway station, when £350 will be given in prizes. ..."

After the Show this report appeared in the Morwell Advertiser and Weekly Chronicle Saturday 16 April 1887.  It seems that Charles Ellis was a successful exhibitor as was his daughter Miss C Ellis (though I am not sure which daughter that could be as none have names starting with C - maybe it is a courtesy title) with both being awarded a silver cup!

Morwell, Narracan & Mirboo Agricultural Society
A meeting of the committee was held in the Mechanics' Institute on 15th April. Present-Vice-president Porter in the chair, and 9 members of committee. 

A rough statement of accounts showed that the first show held on 9th inst. was a great success in regard to exhibits, attendance, and from a financial point of view. 

A protest by Mr E. Martin, against the award of Mr. G. A. Earle, for trotting horse in saddle, was not allowed on the motion of Mr. Murdoch, seconded by Mr. Fraser. 

A protest entered by Mrs. Smith on her daughter's account was held over pending further information regarding the identity of the work exhibited; and proof of age and attendance at school of Miss B.Howden. 

The President here put in appearance. 

A disputed matter regarding the award of lst prize between Mrs. Waldon and Mrs. Heeps was left to be settled according to judges' book on the motion of Mr. Porter, seconded by Mr Morell. 

The secretary was instructed to write to judges in beef cattle for information respecting special exhibits.

The special prize silver cup of Messrs. W Adamson and Co., was won by Mr G Bolding of Hazelwood, both by points, and the number of prizes obtained. 

Mr. Bolding was awarded the silver cup the gift of Messrs McCaw, McIlwrick and  Co., for best. 1cwt of cheese.   

Mr. C. Ellis, Narracan, silver cup for best 1cwt of potatoes, and to his daughter Miss C Ellis the silver cup, presented by Messrs. C. W. Grey and Co. 

Respecting the matter in dispute regard ing lateness of entry of Mr. Harper, Clydebank, it was moved by Mr Murdoch, seconded by Mr Rintoull, and carried, " That the judges' decision be upheld, and that the second prize be awarded to Mr. R Harper." Messrs. Porter and McNabb dissenting. 

Mr Murdoch and Secretary were authorised to have the track on Showground harrowed, suitable grass seed sown, and heavily dressed with superphosphate. The secretary was instructed to attend to se veral minor matters, and an alteration was made with respect to signature on Society's cheques to prevent inconvenience. The sum of £50 was voted to the secretary, Mr Waldon, for his services in connection with the Agricultural Society and his efforts were eulogised by the several members present. 

An adjournement was made till 2 p.m. on Wednesday next when a balance-sheet will be presented, and everything arranged in connection with the late show.

I haven't found any detailed reports of the second show with all prize winners, but Charles also won prizes at the third annual Morwell, Mirboo and Narracan Agricultural Society's Show in 1889 according to the Gippsland Times 18 March 1889.  His brother in law, Charles William Howlett also was a successful exhibitor at that show.  

The third annual show in connection with the above society, took place on Thursday last. As we mentioned in our last, the proceedings passed off very pleasantly, and the whole of the officials performed their various duties most satisfactorily. The following is the prize list: …..

Class H.-Dairy produce.-Judges: Messrs Vary Firnin and Nind. 

Fresh butter, as usually sent to Market in not less than 3lb rolls, First, 3 3s5 gift of D, Shaw, Esq.;second, £2 2s; third, £1 l--W. M'Nabb, 1; D. Shaw; 2,. C. Ellis, 3. 

Home made bread, 2 loaves not less than 2lbs each, to be made from home made yeast. First £1 10s, and second 10s W. M'Nabb 1; C. Ellis 2.  

Best fresh butter as usually sent to market in three one pound rolls, to be made by girl under 16 and entered in her own name. Prize, £2 2S-C. Ellis, 1; E Nadenhouch 2. 

Class I. Farm Produce.-Judges : Messrs Harper, Hortman and Barr
Best collection of potatoes, not less than 10lbs. each, . 5 varieties. First, £1 I--C. Ellis, 1. 

I am not sure how long the Agricultural Society ran shows as I found this information from a posting by Walter Savige

George Henry Wise was well known throughout Gippsland over a long period of time. His skill as a lawyer was shown on the occasion of the stormy ending of the Morwell, Narracan and Mirboo Agricultural and Pastoral Society during the depression of the 1890s. This Society used to hold Annual Shows at its showground at Morwell. Robert N. Auchterlonie, in "Glenaveril 1873-1973 - The Story of the Auchterlonie Family's 100 Years at Narracan" (1973) states: "Finance was raised locally by the issue of debentures ... Finally, the Society found itself in debt ... and was forced to close down. Most of the debenture-holders were content to accept their loss and make the best of it, but a few avaricious ones set up a clamour for repayment." Several disgruntled debenture-holders took legal proceedings against threeoffice-bearers whose signatures appeared on the face of each debenture. "To everyone's surprise, and due largely to the efforts of that skilled lawyer, Mr. G.H. Wise of Sale, the plaintiffs won the case."

So it it great to finally find out when Charles won the cup!  My mother Jean Ellis has the cup as my father Ian is now deceased. But I don't know where the second cup has ended least when it does we will know when it was awarded!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bonegilla 118 Australian General Hospital and Tragic Train-Bus Crash 1943

I know I am going backwards and forwards with bits and pieces about Joan's war service.  From Tom's dad's notes,  Pte Joan Miller (VFX127718) went to Bonegilla near Wodonga Victoria to join the 118 Australian General Hospital in January 1943.

The Argus on Tuesday 30 July 1940  reported...

129 In Australia
Eight new hutted camps, which are being constructed under the Govern- ment's ¿2,000,000 camp building plan, will be ready for occupation within six weeks.

Discussing camp accommodation for A I.F. troops in Australia and Citizen Force trainees who are to enter camp shortly. Brigadier Street, Army Minister, said yesterday that with the eight new camps there would be 129 military camps, including racecourses and show grounds, in Australia. Victoria's total of 35 camps included the two under construction at Bonegilla  (Hume Weir) and Darley (Bacchus Marsh). In New South Wales there were 31 camps. Including those being built at Tamworth, Dubbo, Cowra, and Bathurst. "The new camps will have hot showers installed and in operation when they are taken over, and all recreation and mess huts will have lined walls," Brigadier Street said. "Each camp will also have its own hospital block. The lay-out of the camps has been studied in the light of previous experience to give troops the greatest comfort and convenience."

It was long after Joan arrived at Bonegilla there was a tragic Train-Bus crash at Wodonga on 8 May where 25 people were killed.   I am sure she would have known some of the victims.   A small article in The Argus on  Monday 10 May 1943 reported the tragedy.

Wodonga Tragedy 
Twenty-four passengers and the driver of a motorbus were killed and 9 persons injured when the bus struck a light engine and tender in reverse at the racecourse level crossing, Bonegilla, at 6.25pm on Saturday. William Lord was the driver of the bus, but names of the passengers were not known tonight. They included soldiers and women. The engine was running on the Tallangatta branch line from Wodonga to Bandiana, and the bus was taking passengers to Wodonga.

More details about the crash was revealed at the inquest reported in The Argus on Tuesday 29 June 1943.

How 25 People Were Killed
WODONGA, Mon: An inquest was opened today by Mr F. W. Whan, acting deputy coroner, assisted by Mr I. W. Williams, PM, into the deaths of 25 persons who lost their lives in a crash between a light engine and tender and a motorbus on a level crossing near Wodonga on the night of May 8.

The victims were: Lieut Harry Parkinson, Lieut Lyle Brinsmead, W02 Robert Frewin, W02 Roscoe Mills, W02 George Rose, Act-Sgt Ernest Nairn, Act-Cpl RichardDunne, Sig George Nicol, Sig Adrian Try, Pte Keith Hurst, Pte Patrick Daly, Pte Frank Steele, Pte Albert Goddard, Tpr Roy Barnes, Pte Cyril Alderton, Pte Boyce McKenzie, Pte Ernest Johnson, Pte Arthur Neale, Pte John Quinn, Lieut Allan C. Harris, Pte Anne Anderson, Act-Cpl William H. Roberts, Lce-Sgt Alex P.McFarlane, Lce-Cpl Keith R. Bar- nett, and William Henry Lord, bus driver, of Victoria st, North Williamstown.

O. R. Midgley, manager of the Symons bus service between Wodonga and Bonegilla, said that Lord, the bus driver, was employed by Mr Samuel Symons, of Kew. The bus was licensed to carry 19 passengers. The lights and brakes were in good order. It was a good bus to drive, and did not impose any limitations on Lord on the number of passengers he carried. Lord was not running to time-table.

Replying to Mr J. V. Barry, KC (for Samuel Symons), Midgley said Lord was a most careful driver. He was not prone to speed. It was not possible for a driver to prevent passengers getting on a bus while there was room. There were 34 passengers on the bus that night. They would not prevent the driver from having proper control of the bus. Following the accident he examined the light- ing on the tender of the engine. There was only one lamp alight. It was at the top, and hard to see. A piece of brown paper was pasted across the glass for the brownout purposes. There was no lamp on the right of the tender. The light on the left of the tender was not functioning.
To Mr J. F. Mulvany (for the Railways) witness said he could not say whether the brown paper was inside or outside the lens.
T. A. Morton, mechanical engineer, of Hume Weir, said he left Wodonga about 6.30pm in a car with his wife and family. Before he reached the level crossing where the smash occurred 2 buses passed travelling ' toward Wodonga. About that time he heard an engine whistle approximately 6 times. He saw the lights of a third bus apnroaching the crossing. He estimated the engine was travelling toward the crossing at approximately 15 or 16 mph. The whistle was loud and continuous. He stopped his car about 60 yards from the crossing. Almost immediately he heard the crash. When he saw the engine it was approximately 200 yards from the crossing. The lights on the front were dull and heavy. There was no beam. He did not think the locomotive decreased speed from the time he first saw it until the crash occurred.
To Mr Mulvany he said he would not swear that there were not 3 lights on the front of the tender. It was clear to him that the lights were on part of the engine.
E. C. Maloney, soldier, said that he was walking on the roadway from Bandiana to Wodonga and heard the train whistle approximately 3 times. It was particularly dark at the time. The first time he heard the whistle he could not see anything. When the second whistle blew he heard the noise of the approach of the train. He then saw lights on the engine. They were fairly bright. The driver of the bus slowed down to take the crossing. The whistling was quite distinct. He estimated speed of theengine at l8 mph.
To Mr Barry: He would consider it impossible for the driver of the bus to see the lights of the engine with the street lights behind.
To Mr Mulvany: The lights in the background came, he believed, from the Wodonga railway yards.
To Mr H. T. Frederico (for the relatives of the dead persons), wit- ness said he was not sure of the number of lights he saw on the engine, but he did see lights.
The hearing is not concluded.

AAMWS worked 18-hour days

It pays to look under interstate papers when you are searching Trove newspapers!  I had been limiting my search to mainly The Argus a Melbourne newspaper and occasionally other Victorian newspapers.

This article was published in the Advocate in Burnie Tasmania on Thursday 17 May 1945 only a few days after Private Joan Miller (VFX127718) of Brighton Victoria arrived at Jacquinot Bay General Hospital in New Guinea.
Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), Thursday 17 May 1945, page 6

Passing-out Parade of AAMWS

The Argus, Thursday 17 September 1942
Until I can find where I have put Joan's army service's a bit more about the early days of the Australian Army Medical Women's Service (AAMWS).

This article in The Argus on 17 December 1942 under World of Women talks about the Passing-out Parade of the 2nd AAMWS camp.  This may have been the Darley camp where Joan did her rookie training. I think this may have been prior to Joan joining as she was in New Guinea by Christmas 1944 but I could be wrong!