This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Snapshots of the Home Front: the Mountain family and the Essendon Red Cross

This photo shows the ballroom at Federal Government House, Melbourne, turned over to Red Cross sorting and packing of goods to send to men in the trenches, hospitals, training camps and prisoner of war camps.  Not only 'comforts', but essential items of clothing like underpants, socks, pyjamas and more.  It was a vast operation to keep the army in the field taken on by volunteers.
Just who were the volunteers who kept this huge supply operation going?  Marilyn Kenny has made a study of one family's role in the Red Cross.  The Mountain family of Essendon made a huge commitment to help prosecute the war, from William John Mountain, the father, who also served as the Mayor of Essendon, his wife, Julia Mountain, who became a joint secretary of the Red Cross for the duration of the war, their  three daughters, Hilda, Marjorie and Doris, who served on various patriotic committees, to their son, William John Mountain junior who joined the AIF.

Although the Mountains, as leading figures in the local community, were perhaps not typical of the general population, their prominent position produced ample newspaper reporting to be able to produce a detailed study of their war activities.  You can read Marilyn's excellent account here:
Snapshots from the Home Front: the Mountain family and the Essendon Red Cross.


  1. Wonderful work Lenore, your presentation is very professional in appearance, top class.

  2. Hi Don, thank you for your kinds remarks - which actually apply to Marilyn Kenny who did such a wonderful job with the story. It is rare and valuable to get an insight into the struggles of the families left behind and who continued their war work despite grievous personal loss. Don't forget to look at Part 2 if you haven't already!

    Best wishes,