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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Norval Dooley and St Thomas' Harriers

St Thomas' Harriers pre 1914
Following up the many sportsmen from the Essendon area in Winners, as mentioned in the previous post, I had a look to see if Norval (Pat) Dooley who features in the ABC Drama Anzac Girls, had a mention.  And he did!  It turns out Pat was a notable walker with the Melbourne University Athletics Club, and he was also a member of St Thomas' Harriers of Moonee Ponds.  I wonder if Pat is in the photo above, which probably dates to 1913?  Pat Dooley of course went on to marry the Anzac Girl Sister Olive Haynes.


  1. Great photo Lenore,
    Another example of leisure activities being organised around churches. What do you think the little mascot in the front has in his bag?

    1. Paper! And he is not so much a mascot as a 'hare'. Harriers was basically a game of Hare and Hounds. Hares laid a paper trail, and after a head start, the 'hounds' had to follow the trail. Good description on Wikipedia here:

  2. And ... how much peer pressure was exerted on these young men to enlist? It must have been difficult to resist when all the lads in your social circle, be it church, footy or running club, enlisted. You would start to feel lonely or like a shirker. It must have been terrible.

  3. On the case of the St Thomas' Harriers, I think there was probably not so much pressure - they were pretty much all involved in the Citizens Military Force, which of course was compulsory - but quite a few had been involved in the earlier voluntary militia. The fact that they trained together and played together, and went to church together, made the decision to enlist for this group of young men an easy one. The pressure began in 1916 when enlistments dropped off. In 1914 the pressure would have been from not wanting to miss out.

  4. The Dooleys lived in Ivanhoe after the war

  5. They did indeed, and before they lived Ivanhoe, Pat and Olive lived in Essendon, and their names appear on the Christ Church Essendon Roll of Honour. Before the war, and before the family moved to Ivanhoe, they lived in Moonee Ponds, hence the connection with the St Thomas' Harriers, St James Church. Pat's name appears on the Essendon Town Hall Honour Boards, and attended the official Welcome Home at he Essendon Town Hall in November 1918.