Tag Archives: Digby

Pack Up Your Troubles

They should have known something when I suggested we go to Nelson for a few days.   Like last year when we travelled to Portland, I had found a destination that would  covertly satisfy some of my family history needs while still appealing to the other family members.

Back in April, I received an email from Daryl Povey from the Glenelg & Wannon Settlers site.   Daryl had been at the Digby Hall for ANZAC day and spoke to an old school friend, Doug.  Doug had purchased a property near Digby some time ago and had found an army issue backpack hanging on a door in the house.  It was in good condition and had the name Pte E. H. Gamble  written on it.  Daryl  knew of my Gamble link and asked me if E.H. was a relative.  He most certainly was, he was my great-uncle, Ernest Hiram Gamble

Ernest Hiram Gamble was born in 1915 at Hamilton, the third son of Joseph Henry Gamble and Edith Diwell.  My grandfather, William Henry, was the oldest son, and was four years older than Ern.

The following photo is L:  Ern, Norm, Bill (my grandfather).  This is one of my favourite Gamble photos.

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There is a lot in the photo.  The boy’s shoes – aren’t they great?  The boy’s jackets – All different and probably all from different sources, but still Edith ensured her boys looked smart.   The garden – I have an interest in Australian gardening history and the photo offers a glimpse into a 1920s backyard.  The smiles – it is heartening to see this picture taken in the early 1920s.  The boys look so happy and pleased to be together.

In the years earlier, the boys went through a period of separation.  Joseph and Edith moved from Hamilton to Moonee Ponds for a short time, living not far from Josephs’ brother Albert.   My grandfather and possibly some of the other children, spent some time in Ballarat. He even appears on the Macarthur Street State School records.  The  family returned to Hamilton in the early 1920s and three more children were born.  Life was tough at times but Edith, with her happy spirit,  kept them smiling.

In 1940, Ernest married Jean Lillian Watts and they moved to Mt Gambier.   Ern had worked as a grocer in Hamilton with Moran & Cato Pty Ltd a leading Australian grocery chain of the time and he transferred to their Mt. Gambier store.  A keen musician, a love passed through the Diwell line, Ern got involved with  local dances playing with his friend Colin McKinnon. The duo also performed in Amateur Hours such as the following at Mt Gambier in 1942.

Last Amateur Hour on Tuesday. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118758

Last Amateur Hour on Tuesday. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118758

Advertising. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118780

Advertising. (1942, October 24). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78118780

On April 22,  1942, aged 27, Ern enlisted at Mt Gambier for service in WW2.  An appointment was made with The Arthur Studio in Mt. Gambier for a photo session for posterity.

ern

Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia. BRG 347/4359 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/arthur/04500/BRG347_4359.htm

Ern’s work place gave him a send off and he set off to Adelaide for training in early October 1942.

Presentation to Staff Member. (1942, October 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78117772

Presentation to Staff Member. (1942, October 3). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78117772

A month later, Ern was given leave to spend time with Jean before his posting.

PERSONAL. (1942, November 12). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78119426

PERSONAL. (1942, November 12). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved January 15, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78119426

At time of his discharge, Ern was a corporal with the 1st Australian Base Ordnance Depot that, from what I can work out, was in Brisbane.  By the end of the war there was an Ordnance Depot at Bandiana in Victoria and I have found this referred to as the 1st Ordnance Depot.  The role of the Ordnance Corps is detailed below:

Men Wanted For Militia.—No. 7. (1940, August 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40949865

Men Wanted For Militia.—No. 7. (1940, August 6). The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved January 17, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40949865

After the war, Ern and Jean welcomed a son, John Ernest.  They were living in Melbourne by that time.

This is another lovely Gamble photo.  Here Edith, surrounded by her family, and with a big smile,  looks so proud.  Ern is back right and my grandfather, back left.  This was from a series of photos taken on  a day the family managed to all come together from Melbourne, Ballarat and beyond.  My mum and Ern’s son John were only toddlers, so I think it may have been around 1948 and Edith was living at 18 Skene Street, Hamilton.

Gamblefamily

In 1960, Ern passed away at McKinnon, aged only 44.  Jean died in 1971 aged 54 and the following year, only child John passed away, aged 26.

So that was it,  I had decided.  We were off to Nelson with its great fishing and oh, did I mention we would just happen to pass right by Doug’s house on the way?

We met up with Doug and his wonderful farm dogs.  What a great bloke Doug is, realising the backpack might hold some special family meaning and for looking after it until the day he may find some one who knew Pte E. H. Gamble.

DSCN1372DSCN1375

For over 60 years, Ern’s backpack hung on a door in a farmhouse, waiting for its owner to return.  The story of how it came to be there is not yet clear.  The house was previously owned by Ronald Mabbitt, a Digby man.  He passed away in 2005.  Ron did enlist in WW2, and when discharged he was with the 2/32 Australian Infantry Battalion.    Maybe their paths crossed during the war or maybe Ron was a musician.  Ron must have thought a lot of Ern to keep his backpack so long, hoping one day his friend may return.

Thank you to Daryl Povey for contacting me and passing on Doug’s details.    Your help is always appreciated.

Now I have some homework.   I need to order Ern’s service records from the National Archives of Australia and I am going to ring my Great Auntie Shirl, Ern’s only living sibling.  I picked Mum’s brain for this post but I want to find about a little more about Ern and his family and the instrument he played.  My grandfather played the cornet and I assume Ern was a brass player too.  I will also continue the search for the link between Ern and Ron Mabbitt.


The McClintock Brothers

This is the second year I have participated in the ANZAC Day Blog Challenge.  It is a privilege to share the stories of my family members who went to war.  The stories of the men and women who served their country in each of the wars should never be forgotten.

Reading the World War 1 service records of  my 1st cousins 3x removed,  brothers, John, James and Albert McClintock one thing was obvious.  The great adventure of  war soon became a nightmare for the McClintock family of Grassdale near Digby.

Head of the family, John McClintock was born in Ireland in 1842.  He arrived in Victoria in 1865 aboard the “Vanguard“.  Somehow he ended up in the Digby area and in 1878 he married Sarah Ann Diwell, my ggg aunt and daughter of William Diwell and Margaret Turner.  The following year, daughter Margaret Ann was born and in 1880, son David was born.  Life seemed good for the McClintock family.

In 1882, the first  tragedy befell them.  Sarah passed away at just 31.  John was left with two children aged just three and four.

Help was close at hand.  In 1883, John married Sarah’s younger sister, Margaret Ann Diwell.  At 26 and 15 years John’s junior, Margaret went from aunt to mother to Margaret and David.

In 1885, the first of 11 children to John and Margaret McClintock were born.  A son, William Diwell McClintock died as an infant in 1887 but by 1902, when the last child Flora was born, Margaret and John had six girls and six boys.

In 1913, a seemingly harmless activity of chasing a fox, ended in another tragedy for the McClintocks.  Eighteen year old Robert died from heart strain and tetanus as a result of his fox chasing.

Next was the outbreak of war in 1914 which paved the way for the greatest tragedy faced by the family.  Three of the five McClintock boys, John, James and Albert, enlisted.  Of the remaining two boys, David was too old and Thomas was too young.

JAMES RICHARD MCCLINTOCK

James was the first of the McClintock boys to enlist.  In Melbourne on October 7, 1915, the 24 year old signed his attestation papers and effectively signed his life away.

At the time,  those of eligible age were  bombarded with  propaganda designed to drive recruitment.   The horrors of war had already been felt at home with the Gallipoli landing earlier in the year. The recruitment campaign went to a new level.  War was no longer the big adventure it was made out to be.  Rather men were urged to fight in honour of  their fallen countrymen who had died for them.

Recruitment posters were everywhere and articles such as this from The Argus of September 16, 1915 must have gone a long way to persuading James to enlist the following month.

A CALL TO THE FRONT. (1915, September 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1560597

On January 27, 1916, James was given a send off by the Digby community,

A Digby Recruit. (1916, January 27). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74484539

24th Battalion 10 Reinforcements. Australian War Memorial http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/DAX1243

James sailed on March 7, 1916 aboard the HMAT Wiltshire with the 24th Battalion 10th Reinforcement.  He arrived in England on July 26, 1916 and later France at “Sausage Valley” south of Pozieres on August 5, 1916.  The 24th Battalion had been in France since March after arriving from Egypt.  Previous to that the Battalion had been at the Gallipoli landing in 1915.

On the day of his arrival, the 24th had seen action with casualties.  They moved on from their position, making their way around the Somme before reaching Moquet Farm on August 23.  The Battalion settled in, digging trenches while they could.  The  noise of shelling was all around them.

THE FIGHT AT MOQUET FARM. (1916, August 31). Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved April 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58914119

The following day, the battle intensified . The 24th Battalion received an estimated 50 casualties.  James McClintock was one of those

CASUALTIES IN FRANCE. (1916, October 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1626549

Details surrounding his death were sketchy, so much so, his father employed the services of Hamilton solicitors, Westacott and Lord.  On his behalf, they requested details of the death from the defence department to finalise necessary paperwork.  As of November 1916, the final report on James’ death had not been received.  It was clear  his remains had not been  found.  He now lies below the former battlefields of the Somme with no known grave.

James is remembered at the Villers-Brettoneaux Military Cemetery.    The cemetery has the remains of soldiers brought from various burial grounds and battlefields when it was created after Armistice. It also has memorials for those missing and with no known grave.  James is one of 10, 885 listed with such a fate.

Anxiety at home must have increased after news of the death of James.  It was too late to talk John and Albert out of going to war. They had already arrived in England preparing to also travel to the battlefields of the Somme.  At least John and Margaret would have been comforted that 26 year old John would be there to look after his younger brother.

ALBERT EDWARD MCCLINTOCK & JOHN MCCLINTOCK

John and Albert McClintock shared their World War 1 journey.  They would have been spurred on by the enlistment of James and maybe envy that he was setting sail on March 7, 1916.  The recruitment drive was in full swing and what man would not have feelings that he was less of a man if he did not enlist?

No title. (1916, March 1). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2092485

Albert enlisted six days before his brother John.  At 19, he filled in his enlistment papers at Hamilton on February 25 1916.

STREET APPEAL AT HAMILTON. (1916, February 26). The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74502118

On March 2, John enlisted at Ararat.

The Ararat Advertiser. (1916, March 4). The Ararat advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved April 20, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75028814

John was married and living at Wickliffe with his wife Selina Miller Ford.  They had married a year earlier.  At the time of John’s enlistment, it is unlikely that the couple knew they were expecting their first child, due in December.  Maybe John knew by July 4, when he and Albert boarded the HMAT Berrima  and sailed for war with the 29th Battalion 7th Reinforcements.

John and Albert disembarked in England on August 23, 1916.  During December, back home, John’s wife Selina gave birth to their son, John James, his second name a tribute to his fallen uncle.

After time in England,  Albert and John arrived in Etaples, France on February 4, 1917.  On February 9, they marched out into the field.  The 29th Battalion unit diary notes their location on February 9 as Trones Wood near Guillemont and only 10 kilometres from Moquet Farm.

The Battalion was not involved in any major battles at the time.  It  had been at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 and later in 1917 would be a part of the Battle of Polygon Wood. John and Albert had arrived between campaigns.  During February 1917, some of the Battalion were laying cable in the area around Trones Wood.

What exactly happened, three days later on the 12th, is not clear, however the outcome saw both McClintock boys fighting for their lives with gunshot wounds to their faces.  John’s service record notes the injury was accidental.  He  also had shoulder injuries and a fractured left arm.  Albert lost his right eye and had an injured left arm and a fractured right leg.   They were relocatied over the next 24 hours to the 1st New Zealand Stationary Hospital at Amiens.

On February 17,  John and Albert’s war-time “adventure” together would end.  Albert was transferred to the 13th General Hospital at Boulogne, leaving John fighting for his life at Amiens.

On March 1, 1917, John McClintock passed away from his wounds.  He was buried at the St Pierre Cemetery at Amiens.  Both boys said goodbye to France on the same day, as it was that day that Albert sailed for England.  After only 20 days in the country, and no active fighting, one had lost his life and the other had suffered life changing wounds.

AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES. (1917, March 16). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 10. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1604104

On February 28, 1918, over 12 months after the incident,  Albert was discharged from Harefield House Hospital, north of London,  the No.1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital.  He remained in England until May when he returned to Australia.

Digby. (1918, July 25). The Casterton News and the Merino and Sandford Record (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3 Edition: Bi-Weekly.. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74221588

So Albert was home and the war had ended.  Life was expected to go on.  On the outside that is what it did.  There would have been some brave faces at the welcome at Digby.

Albert married Doris Hancock around 1920 and they raised a family of seven.  He died in Digby in 1970 aged 74.

Selina never remarried and remained in Wickliffe most of her life, finally passing away in Adelaide in 1960.  John jnr enlisted in WW2 but was discharged early.

Parents John and Margaret McClintock did not live long past the war.  The loss of one son would have been enough for any parents to bear, but two would be heart wrenching.  Another tragedy bestowed them with daughter Flora passing away in 1921 aged just 19.  John passed away in 1923 aged 80 and Margaret in 1932 aged 74.

On the inside,  these people could never have been the same as they were before the war.  In Albert’s case the loss of an eye and memories of  his short time as a soldier would have lived with him forever.  For the others, the deep loss each suffered must have been immense.

This story interested me in a number of ways.  In particular the timing and the locations of  the McClintock brothers while in France.  They were each there for such a short time and in similar towns and villages.

Maybe, in those last days before the departure of James, the brothers talked about  meeting up somewhere, sometime during their war adventure. They were very close.  James was killed only six months before John and Albert arrived in the same area of France he had fallen.  They marched the same roads.  Maybe at some time they did in some way pass each other by.  As John and Albert marched to Trones Wood they could well have passed the final resting place of their brother James.

Today, John and James lay around 40 kilometres away from each other in France.  Albert is buried at Digby, thousands of kilometres away from his brothers, but I am sure he left a part of his heart in France the day in left in 1917.

LEST WE FORGET

REFERENCES:

24th Battalion Unit Diary

29th Battalion Unit Diary

Australian War Memorial

Australians on the Western Front 1914-1918

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The AIF Project

The National Archives of Australia

The War Graves Photographic Project


New Year’s Day in the Western District

Less than a week on from Boxing Day, a popular day on the calendar for sports and racing, the Western District pioneers were back at it on New Year’s Day.  Most towns had a sports carnival or race meeting or both and the townsfolk flocked to them.

The Turf Inn, just north of Ballarat, had a busy day on New Year’s Day 1858 with sports and pony races held in the vicinity.

THE TURF INN. (1858, January 2). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 3. Retrieved December 29, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66045904

At Warrnambool, New Year’s Day 1859 was celebrated with games on Flagstaff Hill, including rounders.  A game of shinty, a Scottish game like hockey, was also enjoyed.

DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE. (1859, January 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved December 29, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64509933

The Caledonian games were a popular New Years Day outing for the people of Ballarat in 1861.  I can relate to the poor shop assistants watching the passing parade of happy people enjoying the public holiday.  I have worked more public holidays than I care to remember, in fact I am working today.  I must say while it is annoying at times, I don’t find myself  thinking as the 1860s employees did “wishing all manner of ills to the exacting master whose behests precluded them from mixing in the throng of light hearts and merry faces that swept past the doors…”

NEW YEAR'S DAY. (1861, January 2). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66336603

Smythesdale, just out of Ballarat, managed to attract three to four hundred people to their sports day in 1862, despite many other activities threatening to draw people away.  Some of the more interesting sports were catching the pig with the greasy tail and treacle and bread eating competitions.

SMYTHESDALE. (1862, January 3). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 2. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66330531

At Digby in 1863, the local school children held their annual festival and indulged in many cakes and other sweet treats.

DIGBY. (1863, January 6). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64627825

I could not imagine a government today, state or federal, holding an election between Christmas and New Year.  On December 30, 1865, a general election was held in Victoria, but the timing was not tactical, but due to the dissolution of the fourth government of Victoria on December 11.  New Year’s Day 1866 was spent enjoying the local cricket match and waiting for election results.

NEW YEAR'S DAY. (1866, January 4). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64635496

The church bells rang out over Portland at midnight on New Year’s eve 1866, with local boys out on the streets singing “Old John Brown”.  The first day of the new year was hot and outdoor activities were again popular.

NEW YEAR'S DAY. (1867, January 3). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6463696

In 1869, New Year’s Day saw al fresco dining at Bridgewater and Narrawong.  The correspondent reported he had not seen so many picnics on one day, including one held for the Baptist Sunday school children and a large gathering at Mr Henty’s paddock.

THE NEW YEAR. (1869, January 4). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64691465

The Australian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil ran a picture of Portarlington on New Years Day, 1879.

(1879, January 18). The Australasian Sketcher with Pen and Pencil (Melbourne, Vic. : 1873 - 1889), p. 172. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5739740

Finally an article from Port Fairy, a popular holiday place then and now for people of the Western District and a place I have celebrated New Year’s Eve on several occasions.  In 1927, visitors to the town had swelled, including a party of several hundred Koroit residents on their annual excursion.  Beaches, fishing, cricket and boat trips to Julia Percy Island kept the holiday makers entertained.

HOLIDAY RESORTS. (1927, January 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 23. Retrieved December 30, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article3831051

Happy New Year!


In the News – June 4, 1860

The Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser had a regular feature know as “Table Talk” presenting local news.  The June 4, 1860 edition demonstrates some of the rivalry which already existed between towns in the Western District.

Table Talk. (1860, June 4). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842-1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENINGS.. Retrieved June 3, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65443736

The writer is bemused that the Ararat newspaper, presumably the Ararat Advertiser, could compare Ararat with the three coastal towns, Belfast, Warrnambool and Portland.  Also at the time, money was being spent on the road from Ararat to Warrnambool.  The writer made it clear that while the Government described the road as the Ararat to Portland district road, Portland was in no way benefiting from the money which was being spent on the road.

Land sales were also making news.  The Government was releasing land in the Merino, Tahara and Digby raising concern that by the time the Land Sales Bill went through there would be little decent land to buy.  Further on in the paper several advertisements spruik the land opportunities including this one for acreage at Tahara

A  “superior class” of female immigrants were to making their way to Portland in the following week, the paper reports.  The women had arrived in Melbourne aboard the “Atalanta” and were considered to be “of timely benefit to this town”.

The mail was late in Mount Gambier on June 2, arriving at 2.40pm.  The correspondent surmises that something must have happened to the mailman because when he did arrive, his head was bandaged.


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