Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War

Sister Muriel Instone - Army Nurse

Sister Muriel Instone enlisted on May 5, 1915 as an Army Nurse and embarked on the Mooltan on May 18, 1915. She served in hospitals in England and France throughout the War and returned to Australia on the Konigen Luise in January 1920. Table Talk, a weekly Melbourne newspaper at the time, had a full page feature on Nurses who have recently left for the Front in their May 27 1915 issue, so we are lucky to have  a photograph of Muriel.
Table Talk May 27, 1915
Muriel's Embarkation record, from the Australian War Memorial,  is reproduced below. As you can see, her address at the date of her enrolment was Pakenham.  
 Australian War Memorial (click on image to enlarge it)
To find out where she lived in Pakenham I went to the Electoral Rolls, available through the Ancestry Family History database. In 1914 Sister Instone was living at IYU, a large property at Pakenham. 

This is the entry for Muriel Instone from the 1914 Federal Electoral roll.Source: Ancestry Family History database
The IYU run  in Pakenham was taken up in 1839 by Dr W. K. Jamieson. It was originally nearly 13,000 acres (about 5, 200 hectares).  In 1849, William Waddell took over the pastoral lease and after his death his widow, Annie purchased the pre-emptive right section plus other land. Mrs Waddell built a large brick house, pictured below,  on the property in 1858 and this would have been where Muriel was living when she was on the property. The property at that time was around 4,800 acres and some subsequent owners were George Watson, Steven and Samuel Staughton and  John Kitchin, who operated what is thought to be Australia's largest dairy farm on the property.

This is the IYU  Homestead. It was built in 1859 and destroyed by fire around 1929.Photograph from: In the wake of the pack tracks, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society.
According to the Shire of Berwick rate books, Robert and Constance Staughton took over IYU in 1913, which by then  was a mere 2,000 acres. I believe Robert was the son of former owner, Stephen Staughton. The Electoral Rolls indicate that  Muriel was in Melbourne until about 1914, so I am surmising that she took a job with the Staughtons - they had  four children between three and ten to look after and in March 1915 the entire family came down with ptomaine poisoning or food poisoning and needed medical assistance, so they were fortunate they had  an experienced nurse on hand. 

Dandenong Advertiser March 4, 1915
Muriel Instone was born in Riverton, New Zealand in 1878 to Matthew and Emily (nee Brodrick) Instone, so she was 36 when she enlisted in 1915. Muriel was in Victoria in 1903 as she is listed in the Electoral rolls at the Homeopathic Hospital in South Melbourne. The Homeopathic Hospital was renamed Prince Henry's Hospital in 1934. In 1909, Muriel and Daphne Instone were listed as living at 16 William Street, South Yarra. I am not sure of the relationship between Muriel and Daphne, but she was also a nurse. As I said before Muriel returned to Melbourne in 1920 but I cannot find any trace of her after that until her death on October 11, 1932 aged 54.

Her service record at the National Archives does tell us that after the war, when she was still in England and still with the Australian Army Nursing Service that she undertook a three month motor driving and workshop course at Mansions Motor Training Garage in London and she made good progress and passed satisfactorily.  Many of our Army nurses were single women who had to support themselves and make their own way in the world and this training just supports this idea, so that when Muriel returned to Melbourne she could drive her own car and have a basic knowledge of mechanics of it.

National Archives of Australia

Langwarrin Military Reserve

Before Federation each Colony was responsible for its own defence. The Victorian Volunteer Act 1854 allowed for the establishment of volunteer units. From 1860 many towns had their own Volunteer unit , including Dandenong which was the head quarters of the local volunteers.   From 1884, the Volunteer Forces were replaced by the Victorian Militia Force. The Militia forces were part-time like the Volunteers but they were paid.and they were obligated to attend a certain amount of training each year in the form of annual camps.

The Volunteers and the Militia  trained at various locations in Victoria, such as Werribee and Queenscliffe, but it became apparent that a permanent training ground needed to be established by the Victorian Government and,  in 1886, land at Langwarrin was set aside for this purpose. The land had gentle slopes, natural water supplies and  a variety of vegetation. The reserve eventually consisted of 549 acres or 222 hectares.

Encampment Langwarrin 1887State Library of Victoria Image H90.90/77
The first Langwarrin camp was held at Easter  in  1887.  The first buildings at the Reserve were stores for the Commissariat Corp; other buildings included caretakers quarters and  stables. Roads, Parade Grounds, and a  rifle range were other structures erected.  Numbers at some camps were large - in the 1890s some camps had over 3, 500 men, plus hundreds of horses. Langwarrin was used to train contingents of Victorians who went to the Boer war (1899-1902).

This is part of an article about the first camp held at LangwarrinAustralasian April 9 1887
Originally, access to the Reserve was by trains which stopped at Frankston - after that troops, all supplies , horses etc had to be carted or travel down bush tracks to get to the Reserve.  An extension of the Frankston line was established and this reached the Reserve, with the station being called Langwarrin,  in October 1888.

Langwarrin Camp Ground 1897State Library of Victoria Image H4457
There was, for  a short time, a School on the Reserve. It was the Langwarrin Railway Station School. No. 3023. This had opened in 1890 in the Presbyterian Hall and then moved to  a purpose built school in 1895 on  the south-west corner of the Reserve, near the corner of McClelland Drive and Robinsons Road. This School burnt down, around 1905 and children then attended the Mornington Junction  School which was built on the corner of McClelland and Golf Links Road , near the railway line. In 1919, the name changed to Baxter and it moved to its present location on the six cross roads in 1954. To be more precise, some children attended the Mornington Junction School, other children did not go to school, as this article from the Mornington  Standard tells us. The parents said that they are more than three miles from the school and thus not required to send their children to school,  unless they take  a short-cut through the Military Reserve, which is a bit dangerous on the days when rifle practice is carried out!

Mornington Standard December 16, 1905
The Reserve was handed over to the Commonwealth Government in March 1901 and various training camps were held  intermittently  and in declining frequency until World War One. The Reserve was not used to train men in World War One but it was used to house prisoners of war or internees i.e. German, Austrian and Turkish nationals that were in Australia after war was declared, and the crew of any German ships.  The Internment camp was first occupied at the end of 1914  Huts were built, a gaol was built for those that were deemed to need it. Most of these internees were removed to Liverpool in New South Wales in August 1915.

Victorian Infantrymen in camp at LangwarrinState Library of Victoria Image H4456

Langwarrin was then used to as a hospital for men infected with venereal diseases, as this was a problem amongst soldiers. At one stage, over 800 men were housed at the Langwarrin Reserve. The Hospital complex had an operating theatre, a dispensary, kitchen, engine house, dental surgery amongst other buildings.  The Langwarrin Camp was closed in February 1921. It was used occasionally for grazing, some training exercises during World War Two, the Frankston small bore rifle club had the lease of some of the land from 1960;  various sub-division proposals came and went and were never acted upon. In 1980 the Victorian Ministry for Conservation took over about 207 hectares of the land, in 1982 the remaining land was purchased and on December 11, 1985 the land became the Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve.

Most of the information in this post comes from the book Australian Aldershot: Langwarrin Miltary Reserve Victoria 1886-1980 by Winty Calder (Jimaringle Publications, 1987)  The Library no longer has a lending copy of this book, we only have  a  reference copy in the Local History collection, which can be accessed by appointment

Hastings Western Port Historical Society has  copies for sale, if you wish to acquire your own copy of this interesting book.

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This is an interesting article from the Berwick Shire News of November 10, 1915 and illustrates  the fact that the whole community had to make sacrifices during the Great War. As the article says Mr D.H. Rowe, a baker, of Narre Warren,  has been considerably inconvenienced by the quick changes in his staff but he has shown his patriotism in recognising that the needs of the Empire should have consideration before his personal requirements. Donald Hartley Rowe is listed in the Shire of Berwick Rate books from 1912 to 1922. His shop was owned by Sidney Webb

Berwick Shire News November 10, 1915Trove
Here is the list of Mr Rowe's eight employees who enlisted and their Service Number (SN), if I could find it - are Harry McGuire, Alf Rooney, Harold Johnstone, Jack Lyons, Fred Lewis, Vic Chitts, Reg Currie (SN 1840)  and George Forrester (SN 4810). As you can see I have only accurately identified two of the eight, click here for resources to help research World War One soldiers.

The Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance has a series of lectures and activities  relating to different aspects of World War One and other conflicts. Some of the topics include our submarine heritage; the lost boys of ANZAC which looks at the men who died on April 25 1915 at Gallipoli and The Other ANZACS - a look at women who served in the war. The full schedule can be down-loaded at
I attended one of these lectures, held at the Warragul RSL and heard Tim Whitford's talk on the Lost Diggers of Fromelles and it was fantastic, so based on this experience I can well recommend the series.

The Visitors Centre at the Shrine is being refurbished and will be opened in August 2014  and in November the new Galleries of Remembrance will open which will display exhibitions relating to Australian at War.

The Shrine of RemembranceState Library of Victoria Image H30150/16
The Shrine was constructed between 1927 and 1934. There was a competition to design this memorial to the soldiers of the Great war and it was won by Philip B. Hudson and James H. Wardrop. It was built by the Company Vaughan and Lodge and was officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester on November 11, 1934. If you want to read about all the architectural features of the Shrine, click here to access the citation on the Victoria Heritage Database

This is the headline in The Argus of November 12, 1934 about the opening ceremony of the Shrine - you can read the full report in The Argus click here on Trove

Before the Duke of Gloucester dedicated the Shrine, the Premier of Victoria, Sir Stanley Argyle, read the Ode, written by Rudyard Kipling especially for the occasion. The ode was a stately and dignified tribute to the Australian soldiers according to The Argus

Kipling's ode written for the opening of the Shrine - click on the image to enlarge it.This was published in the Sydney Morning Herald -
The Shrine is built of granite, quarried from Tynong. This was a fact that my grandma, who grew up in Tynong, was very proud of! The Visitor Centre which opened in 2003 was also finished in Tynong granite, sourced from a quarry close to the original one.

 The Argus of November 14, 1928
This is a not very clear photograph of the Tynong Quarry - so here is a  transcription of the headline and caption. Click on the picture to get a better view.

Headline: GRANITE FOR AN EVERLASTING SHRINE.Caption: Certain that the people of the State will approve fully, the National War Memorial Committee has now decided that the Shrine of Remembrance shall be built, not of freestone, which is subject to weathering, but of granite, the most lasting of structural materials. Beautiful silver-grey granite of an eminently suitable kind is available at Tynong, in Gippsland, and workmen are shown in the photograph hewing the blocks of granite from the hillside. Inset:-A fine heap of granite blocks ready for dressing. They measure from six cubic foot upwards.

Aerial of the Shrine of Remembrance, c.1946.State Library of Victoria Image H2009.12/48

A life beyond the trenches by Mavis Martin

As silence descended over the battlefields of Europe the 11th November 1918, soldiers laid down their weapons to prepare for their homeward journey and civilian life. Henry Thomas Williams of the 38th Battalion was one of the thousands of soldiers whose return to civilian life was marred by the memories of the battle field.  This is a story of how he found solace and a new beginning in the rural tranquillity of Iona.

Henry in uniform
Henry Williams was the cousin of my grandmother, May Rogers, and he enlisted on the 26th January 1917 in the 38th Battalion, aged 33 years.  His unit embarked from Melbourne, on board HMAT Ballarat on the 19th February 1917 and returned to Australia 22nd August 1919. He saw action in France wading through the muddy trenches that ulcerated his legs.

Henry and his bungalow at Little Road, Iona
Henry, like so many soldiers, never spoke of his experiences as he returned to civilian life as a cleaner at Mrs Dauber’s hotel in Lygon Street Carlton. Henry and alcohol became inseparable partners as he tried to erase the memories of war. His decision to seek solace in the country and live with us was beneficial to him as the strongest brew he then drank was coffee. Although he could not reform from every bad habit as the interior of his bungalow was always haze of cigarette smoke.

 Henry like so many soldiers overcame the adversity of war and settled into civilian life. They never forgot the mates that they left behind on the battlefield just as we will always remember their sacrifice.

Henry died aged 78 in 1961 and is buried at the Bunyip Cemetery. Every ANZAC day and Remembrance day we commemorate his memory by placing a token of the soldier’s sacrifice, an Anzac badge or a poppy, on his grave.

Henry working on the farm with Dick Rogers. 

Cora Lynn War Memorial

The Cora Lynn War Memorial was unveiled on Wednesday, February 22 1922. According to a report in the Pakenham Gazette of March 10, 1922  (reproduced left) the attendance was large, in spite of the showers which fell incessantly.The stone and the machine gun was unveiled by Cr Groves, M.L.A.  I don't know what happened to the machine gun but the memorial is still at Cora Lynn.

 There are nineteen names on the memorial for soldiers
 from the First World War.  I have researched their service number (SN) so if you are interested in finding out more about these soldiers you can look up their full service record on the National Archives of Australia site or their records on the Australian War Memorial site. I have also included their connection to Cora Lynn or the surrounding area.

Here are the soldiers
Clarkin, William. Service Number (SN) 1522. William was born at Bunyip and enlisted at Tynong in December 1914 at the age of 21. He died of wounds in France on August 26, 1916. His next of kin was listed as his brother L. Clarkin of Iona, although an annotation on his Attestation paper says it is his eldest brother, John Clarkin of Garfield.

Doherty, F (Edward Francis). SN  1218.
Doherty, Louis Michael. SN 12392.  They were the sons of John Doherty,  farmer of Tynong, both of the men also had their occupation listed as farmer. Frank was . Killed in Action on August 4, 1916. Louis returned to Australia in May 1919.

Evans, Harry. SN 5589. Enlisted at Warragul in March 1916 at the age of 37. Harry was from  Cora Lynn and his wife Edith Minnie was listed as hi next of kin. He embarked from Melbourne on September 25, 1916 on the HMAT Shropshire A9 and returned to Australia on December 31, 1916 having suffered continually form measles and pneumonia. He was discharged form the Army on February 12, 1917.

Fritz, L – I can find no information about this person.

Holian, John Mildred. SN 16160. He was a farmer from Cora Lynn. His next of kin  was his father, Patrick Holian, also a Cora Lynn farmer.

Huey, John Robert. SN 3168. John was born at Castlemaine and enlisted at Warragul at the age of 30 in November 1916. His occupation was listed as a labourer and he lived at Cora  Lynn at the time of enlistment.

Jeffers, Raymond Alva. SN 6290. Born at Strathbogie and enlisted at the age of 23 in  May 1916. He was a Cora Lynn farmer and the son of Alexander Jeffers, also a Cora Lynn farmer. Lieutenant Jeffers was awarded the Distinguished Conduct medal and the Military medal.

Johnson, Charles Tudor. SN 588.   He was a farmer who lived of Cora Lynn  and was 19 when he enlisted in November 1914. He was the son of Mrs Fanny Johnson of Cora Lynn.

Kinsella, Bertram Michael.  SN 3056.
Kinsella, Norman Francis.  SN 920. They were the sons of Michael Kinsella of Cora Lynn. Bertram was Killed in Action September 25, 1917. Norman returned to Australia after his overseas service in May 1919.

Milligan, Joseph Lewellen. SN 5376. Farm hand of Cora Lynn;  his mother was Catherin Milligan also of Cora Lynn. Joseph was Killed in Action on February 23, 1917.

Murdoch, Arthur Charles. SN 2634. Arthur was born at Iona but was living in Brighton at the time of his enlistment. George Murdoch, his father,  owned the Cora Lynn store from 1907 until 1922.

Pederson, Nils.  SN 1249. Nils was born in Norway and was working as a farm labourer at Cora Lynn at the time of his enlistment. He was Killed in Action on September 1, 1918.

Rigby, William Alexander.  SN 2350. A farmer from Mayfield  Cora Lynn. His father was Isaac Rigby also from Mayfield, Cora Lynn.

Roper, Thornton Graham. SN 61922. A mechanic from Cora Lynn. His father,  James Roper,  was also from  Cora Lynn.

Scanlon, Joseph Bernard.  SN 3452.
Scanlon, Thomas.  SN 505. They are also listed in some official records with the surname Scanlan. They were the sons of William Scanlon of Cora Lynn. Thomas was awarded the Military medal.

Smith, Beith.  SN 1436.  His first name was also listed as Bert and Berth in some documents but I believe that Beith is correct. He was Killed in Action May 9 or May 10 in 1915 at Gallipoli.  I had a hard time finding who B. Smith actually was until I  found out that Beith enlisted at Tynong on September 21, 1914. The Attesting Officer was William Carney, Shire of Berwick President. His occupation was listed as a labourer. He was born at Rochford, near Kyneton and that is where his father lived.

Sister Florence Vines - Army nurse

More than 3,000 Civilian nurses volunteered for service during the Great War and I wondered if any came from this area - so I went to Trove and typed in the keywords  'nurses' and 'Berwick', filtered the results down to the 1910 to 1919 period and came upon this article in a January  1919 South Bourke and Mornington Journal.

South Bourke & Mornington Journal  January 9, 1919  page 2.
So, now I knew that Sister Vines from Berwick had served in the War, but what else could we find out about her? I looked up the Electoral Rolls on Ancestry Family History database and found this entry for Sister Vines in the 1914 roll and discovered her first name was Florence. 

Then I did another search on Trove with the key words 'Vines', 'Shepton' and 'Berwick' to try to find out what Shepton was - I thought it may have been the name of a house - but then I found this advertisement which was in  Berwick Shire News  from January to March 1914, which told us that Sister Vines  operated a private hospital in Berwick with Sister Duigan and  the hospital was called Shepton.

Berwick Shire News March 4,  1914
The next step was to find out about  Florence Vine's war service and the National Archives of Australia ( was the place to look, as they have digitised all the service records of Australian who served in the Great War. Florence joined the Australian Army Nursing Service at the age of 29 on June 25, 1915. Her birth pace is listed as Geelong and it also tells us that she did her nursing training at the Ballarat Hospital. She left Australia on July 17, 1915 on the HMAT Orsova. Sister Vines suffered from various illnesses including dysentry and attacks of rheumatic fever and returned to Australian in 1916 to convalesce, went back on active service and left Australia again on June 12, 1917 for Salonika (now Thessaloniki) in Greece but was finally invalided back to Australia in April 1918.

This is Florence's enrolment paper  to join the Australian Army Nursing Service, from her service record at the National Archive (
What else do we know about Sister Vines? She was the twelfth and last child of Joshua Vines and Mary Nicholls and was born in Geelong in 1885. Her own mother, Mary,  died ten years later ate the age of 51 and her father died at the age of 72 in 1906. After the War I have traced Florence through the Electoral Rolls (available on Ancestry)  and it appears that she didn't return to live in Berwick but lived around Malvern, Armadale and Balaclava. In the 1924 rolls she is listed as living with her sister, Blanche, and her occupation is listed  as a Chiropodist (now called a Podiatrist). Florence remained  a Chiropodist until she retired. She died in 1979 at the age of 94.

Finally, we are lucky enough to have a photograph of Florence Vines. This is a photograph of  members of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) most of whom embarked from Australia on the Orsova during July 1915, outside the Ivanhoe Hotel in London, taken about 1916. Florence Vines is on the third row, second from left.  Australian War Memorial Image P03968.002

War Herald (web site)

There is an interesting resource developed by Cheryl Ward, called War Herald. This is how Cheryl describes her website - War and empire in Australian newspapers - one hundred years ago, today.  Looking back, the course of history appears inevitable, but how was it seen by the men and women of 1914? War Herald is generated from a daily search of Australian newspapers on Trove.

Cheryl has selected articles from newspapers around Australia from 100 years ago and they form a countdown to the Great War. You can subscribe by email so the stories from 100 years ago drop into your inbox on a daily basis.

Cheryl Ward is a playwright who has written a play, Through these lines,  based on the letters and diaries of First World War nurses. The War Herald is a research tool for Cheryl's play. There is more information about the play on the website,, but it does appear that the play is only touring New South Wales this year. More than 3,000 Civilian nurses volunteered for service during the Great War and in the next blog post we will look at the life of Sister Florence Vines from Berwick.

Researching World War One soldiers and other personnel

If you are interested in finding the role your relatives or members of the local community played in the War, here are some good resources.

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has digitised all the service records for World War One personnel. Just type a name into the search box and you will get a list of results which can then be refined down, if necessary. The records cover the enlistment papers, service records, medical history and any correspondence between the Army and the soldier or his next of kin. The records can be 2 pages long or over 70 pages and some have letters regarding pensions, lost medals etc up to the 1950s.

This is my great uncle, Frank Weatherhead (June 8, 1893 to September 26, 1970). Frank was born at Lyonville, the seventh child out of nine of Horatio Weatherhead and Eleanor Hunt. The family were living at Tynong when Frank
enlisted on July 7, 1915. His service number was 6960.

 Frank's record at the National Archives of Australia  is 34 pages long and includes his war service as well as a letter he wrote in 1955 asking if he could have new ribbons for the three medals he received during the War. The Army wrote back saying that if he sent them three shillings they would send him his ribbons!

This is the first page of Frank's Military record at the National Archives of Australia

This is Frank's letter he wrote in 1955 asking for his ribbons to be replaced.

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) has several sources of information. There are the Embarkation Rolls which have details of approximately 330,000 AIF personnel, recorded as they embarked from Australia for overseas service during the First World War. 

This is Frank's Embarkation Roll entry - it shows his number; name; rank (Gunner); age (22 years old), occupation (Engine driver); married or single; address at enrolment (Tynong); next of kin (his father Horatio Weatherhead); Religion (Wesleyan); date of enlistment (July 6, 1915); Australian Military Force Unit and pay details.

There are also the Nominal Rolls at the Australian War Memorial which have details of approximately 324,000 AIF personnel, recorded to assist with their repatriation to Australia from overseas service following the First World War.

This is Frank's Nominal Roll entry - It shows his Number - 6960; his rank; his name; his Battalion (4th Field Artillery Brigade); the date of enlistment (July 7, 1915)  and the day he returned to Australia (RTA) January 14, 1919.

You really need to check the NAA and the AWM records to find your soldier as, in my experience, not all names appear on each site. The AWM also has lists of those who received Honours and Awards and the Red Cross files which consist of approximately 32,000 individual case files of Australian personnel reported as wounded or missing during the First World War.

If you want to locate a soldier by birth place or place of enlistment then try You can also add your own information to this site. It’s not perfect and not all places are listed.  The information comes from the NAA records but sometimes the AWM records have different information, so just because your soldier or your town isn’t listed it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In that respect the site doesn't give a true picture of the full military activity of the area.  Cora Lynn has nineteen names on their World War One War Memorial and and thirteen had a Cora Lynn address at the time of enlistment, however Cora Lynn does not appear on the Mapping our Anzacs website, because no-one was born there (the name came into use in 1907) and apparently no-one enlisted form there. Frank Weatherhead appears under the Lyonville entry as that is where he was born, but even though he was living in Tynong when he enlisted, he actually enlisted in Melbourne, so he does not appear under Tynong. His brother Alf Weatherhead, does appear under Tynong as that is where he enlisted.

I don't want you to think that Mapping our Anzacs, is not a valuable site, because it is a great site and would be especially good for school children to use. I just pointed out some of the quirks of the site to illustrate that you may have to look at more than one source to find your soldier to get the full picture of their involvement in the Great War.

Anzac Centenary: Sharing Victoria's stories website

To commemorate the centenary of the Great War, the Victorian Government has invited  us to 'share Victoria's stories' to help honour the local World War One service men and women. They have established a website which includes information about grants, historical information and photographs and  resources to help research family and local history.  You can also add your family story to the website and this will be one way that the sacrifice and service that your family members made can be shared with the wider community. These stories will be searchable by both name and location. The site also has a list of upcoming events, from all over the State, which commemorate the centenary.

5000 Poppies: a community tribute of respect and remembrance

There are currently a number of blogs and websites in existence to commemorate the forthcoming centenary of the First World War or Great War - there are the official Government sites - some are listed in the links on the right and there are others created by community groups or  individuals such as the 5000 Poppies: a community tribute of respect and remembrance blog

This is what the 5000 Poppies blog is about: From its association with poppies flowering in the spring of 1915 on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli, the poppy has become a symbol of both great loss in war and hope for those left behind. As part of the 2015 Anzac Commemoration, the 5000 Poppies project will be “planting” a field of more than 5000 poppies in Fed Square Melbourne as a stunning visual tribute to Australian servicemen and women for more than a century of service in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. We are inviting all crafters to participate in this meaningful and heartfelt project.

People can hand make as many poppies as they wish  by crocheting, knitting, felting or sewing and the 5000 Poppies blog provides patterns and will provide details of workshops.

This is such a lovely idea which anyone could get involved with and it reminds me that 100 years ago, the women on the home front would have been busy doing the same sorts of home sewing and crafting - knitting socks and balaclavas for the men men serving overseas; knitting clothes for family members, crocheting rugs, making clothes for themselves and their children and even re-making clothes to fit - when times were tight 'hand me downs' were the order of the day.  All the information you need to participate is on the 5000 Poppies blog.

ANZAC - a history of the word

We call the Australian and New Zealand troops the Anzacz - but what does it mean and when was the word first used? The Department of Veteran Affairs has this explanation of the history of the word.

Historically, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) was an acronym devised by Major General William Birdwood's staff in Cairo in early 1915.  It was used for registering correspondence for the new corps and a rubber stamp was cut using the letters A.&N.Z.A.C.  Australia's Official War Historian of the Gallipoli campaign, Charles Bean, ascribed the origin of the acronym to a British Officer of the Army Service Corps, Lieutenant AT White.  Another British Officer, Major CM Wagstaff, suggested running the letters together – ANZAC – as a code word for the corps.

After the landing at Gallipoli, General Birdwood requested that the position held by the Australians and New Zealanders on the peninsula be called 'Anzac' to distinguish it from the British position at Helles.  Permission was also sought to name the little bay, where the majority of the corps had come ashore on 25 April 1915, ‘Anzac Cove'.  The letters now were upper and lower case, indicating that the original acronym had already found a use beyond that of a military code word or corps designation.  Not surprisingly, the word was soon applied to the men of the corps who became 'Anzacs'.  There is substantial contemporaneous documentary evidence such as diaries and letters from those soldiers showing that they used the term in upper and lower case.

The Anzac Book, which was published in 1916, was written in 1915 by the Anzacs themselves, while still at Gallipoli.  In their own writings and illustrations the word is frequently spelt as 'Anzac'.

By the time Charles Bean wrote his two volume official history of the Gallipoli campaign in the 1920s, the word 'Anzac', in upper and lower case, was well established.  Indeed, the histories were called The Story of Anzac, not ANZAC.  In the Glossary at the back of volume II, Bean outlined the various usages of the word during World War I.  After Gallipoli, it was again used to refer to the two large Australian and New Zealand units in France and Belgium – 1st Anzac Corps and 2nd Anzac Corps.  On the Western Front also, British soldiers used the term 'Anzacs' to describe the Australian and New Zealand soldiers, although strictly speaking the only men entitled to that description were those who had actually served at Anzac (Gallipoli).  That service was proudly denoted by a brass 'A' on a man’s unit shoulder flash.

Department of Veteran Affairs website

The earliest mention I can find of the word 'Anzac' in a local paper is from the Lang Lang Guardian of December 15, 1915. It is reproduced below.  It is interesting also because it gives us an glimpse of the sort of fund raising activities that were being undertaken by local communities to raise funds for the war effort.

Lang Lang Guardian December 15 1915  News-article119514977

World War One Digitised Newspapers

The State Library of Victoria has undertaken a project to digitise a number of World War One newspapers and these papers are now available on Trove -  With the centenary of the commencement of the War in 2014 it is expected that there will be a huge amount of interest in how our ancestors and our community lived during this time and the  local newspapers will  provide a wonderful resource to both local and family historians. The newspapers were selected to provide as  broad a coverage of Victoria as possible and the papers  for the Casey Cardinia region are the Pakenham Gazette and its forerunner the Berwick Shire News which  have now been digitised from 1914 until 1918 as has the Lang Lang Guardian. The Bunyip Free Press is available from 1914 to 1915. The South Bourke and Mornington Journal has also been digitised previously and also covers much of our region, as does the West Gippsland Gazette.

Berwick Shire News and Pakenham and Cranbourne Gazette  8 September 8,  1915, pg 3National Library of Australia
The papers recorded sad news such as the death of local soldiers including Private Frank Leigh A'Beckett, who was the son of the grandly named Edward Fitzhayley A'Beckett and his wife, Jane Deodata A'Beckett (nee Bourke). 

Pakenham Gazette and Berwick Shire News   June 15,  1917, page 2
The women also played their role in the War effort, some of course served as nurses overseas, but for the women who remained at home they worked on the family farms, fund raised for patriotic causes, joined the Red Cross, or as we can see from this report, knitted sock for the soldiers.

Australian Army War Diaries

The Australian War Memorial ( has digitised war diaries from the First War. They are the diaries of the Unit's administration, operations and activities and rarely contain information about individuals. However, they can give you a real feel for what was happening on a day-to-day basis and will be of immense interest if you had relatives serving in a particular unit. The soldier is my great uncle Alf Weatherhead , who was in the 23rd Battalion.  Alfred Herbert Weatherhead (September 20, 1895 - May 3, 1976)  was the son of Horatio and Eleanor (nee Hunt) Weatherhead and he enlisted on February 13, 1915; served mainly in France and was discharged June 29, 1919. Alf suffered from shell shock after the war, operated a saw mill at North Tynong and lived for  a time at Morwell.

The map, below,  is from the diary of the 23rd Battalion and it formed part of Battle Order 20 from July 20, 1916. The diaries are on the Australian War Memorial web site - follow this link. These are an amazing resource and well worth exploring.

Welcome to our new blog

Welcome to our new blog. The aim of this blog  is to be a  forum for commemorating and recording the impact of World War One on the people in the region now covered by the City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia - it will cover life on the home front, information about local soldiers and the development of local groups such as the Red Cross and Patriotic Groups. It will also look at the aftermath of the War and how communities commemorated their losses and service by the creation of Avenues of Honour and other memorials. This won't be a chronological work - it will be an eclectic look at the Great War and it's impact on our country.

Unveiling of the Cranbourne War Memorial. The Memorial was officially unveiled on August 27, 1939, ironically only about a week before Australia was once more at War, as it was on September 3 that the Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, announced we were at war with Germany. The picture is from the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society collection.
If you want general information about Australia and the Great War, then a good place to start is the Australian War Memorial website This site has a history of our involvement in all conflicts; information about the various Units that served in the War, including the Unit War diaries,  and the nominal rolls and embarkation rolls.

The full records for World War One service personnel can be found on the National Archives of Australia website  The Federal Government has established a website  Gallipoli and the Anzacs  which records information about Australia's involvement in the War especially the Gallipoli campaign. We also have a list of other relevant websites on the right hand side.