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Living Memories - Wartime memories

Wartime memories

Living Memories April 2018

Wartime Memories

April brings Anzac Day each year and a time to remember those who left from the Kinglake district, in both World War 1 and World War 2, to serve their country in places far from home and family. The following newspaper articles tell us of their willingness to sign up and the efforts made by the local community to bid them farewell.

World War 1:

1915 "It's a Long Way to the Town Hall": One very proud recruit slept at the Victoria Barracks last night. He had earned a night's repose for he had walked all the way from Kinglake to the Town Hall to enlist. This recruit was not flush of cash. In fact, he had not the wherewithal to purchase a ticket to town or a meal after the doctor had said "You're right, old man!" But he took the oath and the cigar at the door.

Then the secretary asked him what his arrangements were for the night. It was soon discovered that he would have to spend the night out of doors unless assistance was forthcoming. Mr Gordon Langridge happened to be on the spot and gave Mr Barry half a sovereign for a genuine case. The new recruit was promptly provided with a meal and a bed was arranged for him at Victoria Barracks. He will sleep in camp tonight.

From The Argus 14 July 1915.

1915 Kinglake East Volunteers: The war is claiming the pick of Australia's young men and Kinglake East has sent her share of recruits, there being very few available men left and these, due to various reasons, find it impossible to go at present. Kinglake East Cricket Club has dwindled in numbers as 7 of last year's players are either at the front or getting ready to go there - Messrs A. Jarvis (wounded), W. Plunkett, D. Chalmers, H. Chalmers, V. Lacon, F. Mills, W.S. Harris (South African veteran), also H. Bayliss (wounded), E. North and A. North.

From Evelyn Observer 10 September 1915.

World War 2:

1940 Kinglake's Big Night - Send-Off to 17 Soldiers

The hall at Kinglake last Saturday, although packed to its capacity, was not large enough to accommodate the crowd that gathered to farewell seventeen local lads, many people having travelled long distances to be present. The president of the committee, Mr J.R. Thom, introduced the Hon. W.H. Everard MLA and also Councillor McLellan of Eltham and Councillor Daley of Whittlesea.

With one exception (Pte P. Lorenz who was unable to be present), all the boys cheerfully answered the roll call. Just before supper, a passage way was formed from the front hall door to the stage and in marched the boys in khaki. They looked a fine body of men and Kinglake must feel proud of them.

The spirit of friendliness and jollity which prevailed throughout the evening reached its climax when these popular soldier lads marched through the hall and mounted the stage to be received and welcomed by members of the Send-Off Committee. Ranging themselves along the platform, the boys lined up for their presentations.

A gold medal suitably inscribed and £4 in notes were presented by Mr Everard to each soldier - Sgt H. Almond, L/Cpl W. Routley, Gnrs R. Wood and F.G. Ryan, and Ptes T. Russell, L. Russell, T. Guy, P.A. Pearson, R.L. Clarke, A. Guy, M. Nicholls, L. Turner, E. McDonald, W. McMinn, A. Almond and W. Findlay.

Addresses were given by Cr. Daley, who spoke on behalf of the President and Councillors of the Whittlesea Shire, and Cr McLellan, who presented certificates signed by the President and Councillors of the Eltham Shire to the soldiers who had enlisted from the Eltham Shire. Each presentation was received with rounds of applause from those present and terminated with the singing of 'For They Are Jolly Good Fellows'.

Pte Russell responded on behalf of the boys and thanked the residents of Kinglake for the splendid farewell and generous presentations.

Patriotic items were rendered during an interval by Misses Shirley Lawrey, Mavis and Loris Hatty and Master W. Thomson, and music for the evening was provided by Mrs Lawrey and her band.

It is of interest to note that the send-off committee have arranged farewells for 22 local boys and have made presentations to the value of approx. £112.

From Eltham & Whittlesea Advertiser 23 August 1940.

Deidre Hawkins

Kinglake Historical Society

(KHS can be contacted c/o of Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House, phone 5786 1301.)

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