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

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The young Sergeant Young

Sergeant Alfred Thomas Young, courtesy of Liz Clarke.
Alfred Thomas Young, born in Moonee Ponds, was the son of a well-known local businessman and Essendon Councillor, A E Young. Aged 21, he was with the first volunteers who enlisted at the first Essendon Rifles Drill Hall.  He embarked as a Corporal with the first convoy of troops, and landed at Gallipoli on 25 April in the second wave of boats with the 7th Infantry Battalion.  Five days later he was promoted to Sergeant.

A severe wound to his arm took him off Gallipoli initially to Malta and later to England recover.  He rejoined his battalion in May 1916.  Rod Martin, in another well-told account goes on to describe what happened to Sergeant Young and the 7th Battalion as they became approached Pozieres.  You can read that account here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Wartime Wedding, 1914

Bill Tytler & Lillian Andrewartha's wedding,  21/11/1914.  Left to right: Hilary Watson, Stanley TytlerIna Tytler,  Bill Tytler (seated),  Richard Andrewartha, Lillian Andrewartha, Fred White, Nellie Andrewartha.    Courtesy of Heather Tytler.

In December 1914 Australian troops had already departed in two large convoys, and British troops were fighting in France.  The debacle at Gallipoli was still months away.  This pretty wedding was not overshadowed by imminent departures.  The situation changed dramatically after the Australian public became aware of the devastating losses in Gallipoli.  A groomsman, Richard Andrewartha, a law clerk from Newmarket, enlisted as a private on 26 July 1915.  His brother-in-law Stanley Tytler, a salesman of McCracken St, Kensington, enlisted a few days before the first anniversary of the Landings at Gallipoli in 1916.

Stanley served in the 22 Infantry Battalion, and returned from the war as a Sergeant with a Military Medal.  Richard served with the 8 Infantry Battalion, and returned as a Lieutenant with a Military Cross, and twice Mentioned in Despatches.

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.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Westgarthtown & World War 1

Click on the link below to go to the film, not on the image above.

In the comments section of the last post Liz Pidgeon, the Local and Family History Librarian at Yarra Plenty Regional Library, drew my attention to a short film about the people of German descent at Westgarthtown near Epping in Victoria.  It encapsulates the problems caused by xenophobia during WW1.  It is narrated by Adam Zwar.  It runs for 16 minutes and is well worth the time spent.  Westgarthtown & World War 1.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

What happens if you are an Australian Officer with a German name?

On the left is Leonard Seymour, and on the right is Henry Kaufman, winter 1916-17.
Henry Kaufman was born in Box Hill in 1884, the son of a naturalised German farmer and an English mother.  He served in the South African War with the 2nd Scottish Horse, and on returning to Australian joined the Citizens Military Forces. He spent 8 years in the Royal Australian  Artillery, 2 years on the Instructional Staff, and 2 years as a Military Clerk before enlisting in the AIF in mid 1916 with the 3rd Divisional Ammunition Column.

Henry arrived in France in time to suffer the extreme cold of the winter of 1916-1917, becoming ill in February and returning to England for a few months.  In June 1917 he returned to France and was engaged with his battalion in and out of front line duty for the next six months until he became seriously ill with pulmonary tuberculosis and Bronchitis. He returned to England, and then to Australia where he was discharged in April 1918.  Henry then resumed his previous job as a Military Staff Clerk.

But somewhere in darkest Queensland a Labor MP raised the question of enemies of birth or descent being employed in the Defence Department.   Henry got caught up in this net of suspicion.  You can read the full story on The Empire Called and I Answered website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5th Battery 2nd Field Artillery Brigade at Gallipoli

Group portrait of 5th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, in old gun pit, Gallipoli. Caption on rear: "This is a snap shot of some of our battery gunners in an old gun pit.  Notice some have no shirts on". Courtesy of the John Oxley Library, State Library of  Queensland Neg No:  OM65-30/50
A number of snaps taken by, or acquired by, Lance Corporal Burdeu of Mascoma St Ascot Vale, have been donated to the John Oxley Collection, State Library of Queensland.  The photos show him and his friends in camp at Mena, on excursions to Alexandria, Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt, and later some scenes at Gallipoli.  Cyril died after only 16 days at Gallipoli, though it may have seemed like a lifetime to him.

Cyril served in the 5th Battery, 2nd Field Artillery Brigade, and if you have any relatives who served in the 5th Battery (check the AWM Embarkation Roll to see the names of those who embarked with the 5th Battery) you might see them in some of the snaps.

You might also like to read the article on Driver Douglas Gibbs Baker, by Rod Martin, who served in the 6th Battery, 2 FAB at Gallipoli.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bert McDonald and a sprig of Wattle

A delightful cache of photos has come my way, courtesy of the kindness of the McDonald Family.  Pictured above is Bert McDonald, who enlisted in December 1917, but was discharged for medical reasons prior to embarkation.  Bert was a member of the Moonee Ponds Methodist Church, and photos of the groups associated with the Moonee Ponds Methodists, such as the Wattle Club and the Cricket Club, feature other young men who joined up.   Bert's particular friends were Alec Hosking, Arthur Hutchison and Bill Heathershaw    who appear in several of the photos.

If a relative is mentioned on the Honour Roll of the Church, he may be pictured in the McDonald photos.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scotch College - The School at War

The State Library of Victoria now has a digitised copy of the Scotch College memorial booklet The School at War.  A feature of the booklet are the photos of the former Scotch pupils who died in the war.  Quite a few of the Essendon-Flemington boys went to Scotch, and the photos have been very useful on the Empire Called website.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Can a recruit change his eye colour?

22 Battalion, newly arrived from Egypt, going into line at the southern part of Lone Pine, 6 September 1915  AWM A00847
When Davey joined the 22 Inf Bn in 1915 his eyes were blue, but when he re-enlisted in 1917 after being sent home wounded, his eyes were brown.   One of life's little mysteries.    Rod Martin tells this and other stories about the life and death of Private Davey of Moonee Ponds.  Once wasn't enough for Alman Davey - he enlisted twice, but wasn't so lucky the second time.   Read his story here.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Fair Dinkums, by Glenn McFarlane

In this recently published book, The Fair Dinkums, Glenn McFarlane examines a cohort of men from the 8th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion, who embarked on the Anchises in August 1915.  They were called the Fair Dinkums because they knew about the disaster at Gallipoli, and enlisted anyway,  knowing the risks.  Among this group was McFarlane's great-uncle Alf Layfield.

Also among the group was a name well-known to the folk of Moonee Valley - the renowned William Scurry whose invention of the drip-system of firing a rifle to aid in the evacuation of Gallipoli won him the Distinguished Conduct Medal and promotion to Commissioned rank.

McFarlane draws heavily on the letters Scurry wrote home to his mother at 70 Middle St, Ascot Vale, and mentions other local men, both with the 8th Reinforcements and other units.  

The one big hole in McFarlane's work is the lack of an index, so I have indexed references to our local men, and have put the page numbers on their web-pages in The Empire Called website.

McFarlane follows the service and fate of the above men, and others from the 8th Reinforcements of the 7th Battalion, including those who were transferred to other Battalions. Endnotes provide sources, though there is no bibliography.  McFarlane has provided a number of previously unpublished photos and portraits of the men.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Private Langham and the South Australian Red Cross

Private Langham taken at Broadmeadows in 1915, from the Australian War Memorial Collection.

Having another look at the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau files, I decided to do a search based on military units, so tried the 7th Infantry Battalion as a unit closely associated with the local area. Doing this I came upon a file mentioning Joseph Oswill Langham, a horse-trainer who gave his Next of Kin as his sister in Grafton New South Wales, and no particular address for himself.  However, his presence on the Essendon Town Hall Roll of Honour and various other local references made it clear that he was resident in the local area prior to the war.

Some small items of correspondence in the files for a Sergeant Pyke Evans of Adelaide gave some shape to Langham's pre-war activities.   He and Evans, a jockey,  had enlisted in the 7th Infantry Battalion together, having previously known each other at Scobie's Stables in Ascot Vale Rd, Flemington. They went into camp together at Seymour.  Evans had originally come from Adelaide, and Langham was attempting to discover Evans' mother's address as he wanted to write to her.  This caused a file to be raised in the South Australian branch of the Australian Red Cross.

We also learn from the letters that Langham was a 'cot case' on returning to Australia, that in June 1917 he was in the Caulfield Hospital, and that his mail address was care of G Jobson, Charles St, Ascot Vale.  George Jobson of Doncaster St, Ascot Vale was a horsetrainer.  No Jobson had a street address of Charles St in the Electoral Rolls during the war, but to throw another address into the confusion, a George Jobson was listed in the 1917 Sands & Mcdougall Directories in Morphett St, Ascot Vale and another at Charles St, Footscray.

Langham's informant of Evans' death was Mrs Power of 4 Newtown Pde, Moonee Ponds.  In the 1915 Electoral Roll Jeanie Power lived at 4 Newtown Parade.   The another resident at the address was Charles Power, jockey.

The Red Cross files from South Australia together with the Electoral Rolls, Victorian marriage index and the Sands & McDougall directories have enabled me to give a broader picture of Langham's life before and after the war, though there is no doubt plenty more to learn.

Another couple of men associate with the racing industry in Flemington also mentioned James Scobie in their records.  These can be found by clicking on the tags in Langham's pbworks file.

Friday, August 26, 2016

South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau, 1916-1919

 While browsing through the B2455 file of Harry Nightingale Kersey of Moonee Ponds, I noticed a note written at Broadmeadows to the effect that Kersey had married the day before, and another Attestation had been made up showing his new next of kin.  I noticed that the day of the marriage, 16 July 1915, was the day before Harry embarked on the Orsova with the AAMC Hospital Transport service on 17 July 1915.  

I idly wondered whether the last minute marriage had lasted the distance, and went to Ancestry for a quick result.  Of course there is never a quick result.  All of the available trees listed a different, presumably second wife, not the Eva Evelyn mentioned in the B2455.  I went to the online index of BDM for Victoria and found that Harry Nightingale Kersey had married Eva Evelyn Swindells in 1915.  By the same means I discovered Eva had died in 1931.   Turning to Trove with the intention of seeing whether there had been children of the marriage, I found that the death notices and 'In Memoriam's' indicated there had been no children.  But I did find that Harry had been a devoted husband.

KERSEY. — In loving memory of my dear wife,
Eva Evelyn, who passed away on 30th No
vember, 1931. Sadly missed.
— Inserted by her loving husband, H. N.

KERSEY.— In loving memory of my dear
auntie, who passed away on the 30th No
vember, 1931. Peacefully sleeping.
—Inserted by her loving niece, Florrie.

KERSEY. — Our loved and devoted friend,
Eva E., dear Auntie Birdie to Jean and
Gwenda, who passed away after long suf
fering on 30th November, 1931.
Sadly missed.
With love to-day and through the long to
We will remember you.
— Inserted by Mrs. Williams and family, 22
Orlando-street, Hampton.

Family Notices (1932, November 30). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved August 26, 2016, from

Harry put an In Memoriam in the paper in the next two years.  In 1936, five years after Eva's death,  he remarried.

Thinking I would like a photo of him, I did a general Google on his name, and to my surprise up popped the website at the top of this post, the South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau, 1916-1919.

This came up because Harry had made a witness statement about a South Australian comrade in the 5th Field Ambulance unit who had been killed by shellfire.   The witness statement was contained in the usual Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiries Bureau Correspondence available through the Australian War Memorial website. The South Australian Information Bureau has a different set of documentation held at the State Library of South Australia, and the volunteers who prepared and digitised the records also indexed the other names, particularly witness statements.  Otherwise I would never have found Harry's witness statement.

So while the records pertain particularly to South Australian soldiers, there is the chance that a soldier from another state was a witness for an enquiry made on behalf of South Australians, and would be worth a look.   Witness statements are a useful eye-witness account of the conditions at the time, and may be the only contemporary information you will find.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mont Park Military Hospital photo collection

Patients playing cards, 16th Australian General Hospital, Mont Park ca 1918 (Alice E. Broadhurst Collection, Yarra Plenty Regional Library)

The Yarra Plenty Regional Library has announced the acquisition of a unique set of photographs taken by Red Cross Nurse Alice Elizabeth Broadhurst from 1918 to 1920, probably while working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment at Mont Park Hospital, McLeod.

The photos have been digitised and can be accessed at Yarra Plenty Local History Flickr and via Trove Pictures.

The Yarra Plenty Local History Flickr also includes other albums with WW1 photos and postcards, and well worth a visit.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

'A sharp attack was made by the enemy....'

A lighthorseman with his mount.
Following on from his story about Charles Murray Bloomfield who died at Pozieres, Rod Martin brings us the preceding awful news for the Bloomfield family - the death of their eldest son, Walter. He had been a South African War veteran, having served there with the Australian Commonwealth Horse.  He continued in WW1 as a mounted trooper with the 8 Light Horse Regiment in the gruelling Sinai campaign, which Rod outlines for us in the story of Walter Bloomfield.

The Bloomfields gave their eldest and youngest sons to the cause of the Empire within a few short months.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Probably A Company, 37th Battalion, 1915

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Macvean.

This photo is thought to include Private Albert Edmond Hickson who had grown up and gone to school in Essendon.  Albert joined the AIF in July 1915 and embarked on the Wandilla in November 1915.  He was one of the 'Fair Dinkums' who enlisted in full knowledge of the disaster at Gallipoli, and went to help their mates.  The two officers in the centre are probably 2 Lt William Sharp to the left with a swagger stick, and Captain Charles Mills on the right.  This company were involved in the disaster at Fromelles in 1916.  Sharp received a gunshot wound to the hip, and Mills, also wounded, was taken prisoner of war.  If you can identify any of the soldiers, please get in touch.  See a larger copy of the photo on Albert Hickson's webpage.

Darge tent at Seymour camp, c 1915

This is interesting - I guess we are all familiar with the Darge photos of soldiers, but I came upon this by accident searching for something else at the Seymour Camp.  The photo also shows other facilities laid on for the recruits - the YMCA tent and a Dentist.   From the AWM Collection, DAODS00043.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Beloved by all who knew him

Ceramic leaving Port Melbourne, 23 November 1915  (AWM PB0284A)
Charles Murray Bloomfield, the son of a former Councillor of Essendon, was only 19, as the song goes, when he embarked with the 12th reinforcements of the 6th Infantry Battalion.  They left on the Ceramic in November 1915.  His was not the only loss suffered by the Bloomfield family.   Rod Martin tells the story of this young soldier.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wedding of a munitions worker, 1918

Photo courtesy of Trevor Wilson.

The wedding was that of George Stanley Smail (standing, right) and Olive Ella Davey (seated right) which took place in London on 15 December 1918.     The soldier on the left is George's brother Ernest Smail.  George had been discharged as 'not fit for general service'  from the AIF in London in 1917 to take up work in the Munitions industry.  The workforce had been greatly depleted after the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and British Munitions workers had been moved to fill the ranks of the army.   The date of the wedding might have been brought forward to allow George and Olive to take advantage of a free passage home to Australia. You can read more of George's story by clicking here

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Soldier vows to change his name

John Mitchell Stuart, a well-known member of the Essendon Harriers, is pictured above in the centre row, second from the right, with the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association team selected to compete in Tasmania in 1909. Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria Collection, H31349.

"The secretary of the Melbourne club, A. M. Gordon, together with H. S. Stiles and J. M. Stuart, of the Essendon club, left for Egypt last week. The latter, before leaving, affirmed his intention of changing his name to Abercrombie or a'Beckett, the reason being that when about to leave with the rest of his company on a previous transport the alphabetical position of his name had, when the steamer proved to be overcrowded at the last moment, been the cause of him waving a farewell to the transport instead of from it. 

A valuable tropical outfit was contained in his luggage, well stowed away in the hold, and though ordinarily a pronounced optimist,   Stuart, when recounting the experience, most emphatically insisted on materially altering that favorite memoriam consolation of 'Not lost but gone before'."

ATHLETICISMS. (1916, January 5). Winner (Melbourne, Vic. : 1914 - 1917), p. 9. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from

The Melbourne sporting newspaper, The Winner, kept a close eye on Stuart and other harriers from suburban clubs throughout the war.  Stuart, from Moonee Ponds, served in the 31 Inf Bn.  Further stories are included on his webpage.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Sapper at work

Sappers undertook a variety of military engineering duties such as bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences and general construction, including roads.  The sappers provided much of the infrastructure necessary for the infantry to do its job effectively.  On the Western Front, sappers also dug many of the narrow trenches that pointed towards the enemy’s line (‘saps’).  This, of course, was very dangerous work.  In the above photo the sapper on the left was helping to load a howitzer.   Rod Martin tells the story of Sapper Ernie Nickelson of Ascot Vale, who died of wounds in 1917.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

British Red Cross Volunteers

Over 90,000 people volunteered for the British Red Cross in Britain and overseas during the war.   Search for your family’s personnel records, and discover what Red Cross volunteers were doing in your local area 100 years ago.

Red Cross volunteers did a wide range of jobs, from the Voluntary Aid Detachments, pictured above, to nursing,  cooking, cleaning, searchers trying to discover the fate of missing men and so on, so the database includes men as well as women.

I find that if you pop 'Australia' into the location search box, it will bring up volunteers who gave an Australian bank as their address, or sometimes Australia in their address.  You can try other local names.  For instance, I found the following British Red Cross volunteer by putting 'Moonee Ponds' in the location:

Mrs Ivy Wilson Jenkins, nee Graham, is in the database, giving 2 Normanby St, Moonee Ponds, Australia as her address.  Ivy served from 01/09/1916  to  01/06/1918 as a VAD, engaged in Ward work, medical Surgical work, for twenty pounds per annum. She served at the following locations: Exeter War Hospitals Sept 1- 1916 - Aug 30; 1917 1st Southern General Hs Nov.5.1917 - June 7. 1918 Birmingham.

There are no Jenkins' at the Normanby St address in the Empire Called database, but further research may reveal more about Ivy Jenkins at a later date.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Sportsmen's Thousand recruit

Artist Will Dyson: 22nd Battalion men awaiting relief, near
Ville sur Ancre, 1918. (AWM ART 19603)
Benjamin Phillip James, a 40 year old labourer, was inspired to enlist in the Sportsman's Thousand in July 1917.    Rod Martin has taken up his pen again to relate the story of Private James from Broadmeadows to France.  Read Private James' story here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Irish Rising: 'A terrible beauty is born'

The State Library of Victoria has a free exhibition about the uprising which occurred in Dublin during Easter 1916.  See their website for associated events.

You can explore Stories from 1916   which is a Living History Project from Ireland.

Local boy Charlie Wright ended up in Dublin after being wounded in France in 1916, and wrote a postcard to his mother from the hospital.  He wasn't there during the uprising, but there must have been plenty of signs of it a few months afterwards.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Woman Haters' Club go to war

This photo shows members of the Women Haters' Club at their Dromana Camp.  The soldier in the centre is wearing sergeants' stripes on his sleeve.  The history of the club says that no camping was done on this campsite until the end of the war, so this may represent a Welcome Home by members.

The Honour Roll for the club had 32 names on it, reproduced in their history, Woman Haters' Club, Essendon - Dromana.  One Hundred Years, 1902-2002. 

Photos of members can be and the Roll of Honour can be seen on the Empire Called website, and also on the Time Travellers blog

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Wilsons of Moonee Ponds

Emily, Daisy and John Wilson, Leighton Studios, circa 1917. Courtesy of Nereda Shute.
Private John Wilson and his wife Emily took their little daughter Daisy to the Leighton Photographic Studio in Margaret St, Moonee Ponds, opposite the Moonee Ponds station.  They had this keepsake photo taken prior to John embarking with the 10 Machine Gun Company in June 1917.  After a period of training in England, John was transferred to the 37 Infantry Battalion and embarked for France. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Welcome Home digger!

Roland Ransome in the car on the right, 1918. Courtesy of Bronwyn Reid.
Returning convoys were met at the docks and volunteers came with their polished and decorated vehicles to convey the men through the city to receptions.  Roland Keen Ransom arrived back in Melbourne in November 1918 on special 1914 leave.   You can see the excitement as the cars push through crowded city streets.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gunner Lundmark of Kensington

A crew of the 3st Battery, Australian Field Artillery at Seymour in 1914.
Gunner John Patrick Lundmark of Kensington had been part of the compulsory Universal Training Scheme since its inception in 1912, his service record showing one and a half years in Senior Cadets and three years in the Royal Australian Field Artillery.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

From the Suburbs to the Trenches

I was  recently pleased to discover this book which describes the war service of two young fellows, one of them, Cecil Seccombe of Ascot Vale who served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, and the other Ralph Berryman of Hawthorn who served with the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade.  The author, Ralph Seccombe, is a relative of both young men, and relates his own thoughts and impressions as he traces their movements in Gallipoli and France.  The book is available through Amazon.  See also this webpage.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A litte trench art

Identity disc of George MacFarlane, courtesy of Vicki Moore.
This interesting piece of trench art, a hand-made identity disc belonging to George MacFarlane of Essendon, has lately been added to his webpage.  George was a British Army veteran when he joined up in 1915, having served for 16 years with the Black Watch.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

3rd Pioneer Bandsman identified

 Going through her grandfather Ern Crouch's photos, Judy Williams located the above photo, about which she said, "Grandpa had written on the back of this photo "One of the bandboys of the 3rd Australian Pioneer Batt".  The photo is signed "Yours Truly Moule 8 Aug 16"."  

Judy's first thought was that the signature said "Monte", but compared with the other letters in the writing veered towards the thought that the name was Moule. Unfortunately there was no Moule listed in the 3rd Pioneers.

I thought there might be a first initial in the signature - perhaps it said J Coute or Coule?  Wanting to get a better look at the signature, I did a little photoshopping, after which the signature looked like this.    
The first letter of the name did seem to be M, but I thought it would be unusual for someone to sign a card just with their surname - a first initial with a surname, or just a first name would be more usual  The other possibility was Judy's suggestion of a nickname, so taking Monte as being a nickname for Montgomery, I searched in the Embarkation Rolls for someone with the name Montgomery in the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, and found Montgomery Goodall Elrington.  Although born in Echuca,  he was living in Moonee Ponds when he enlisted, which was a bonus for me. 

The B2455 confirmed that Elrington was a bandsman with the 3rd Pioneers, but could I confirm his nickname was Monte?  It eventually occurred to me that Trove might help out here, so I did a simple search on "Monte Elrington" - and up came an immediate result:

"I am still alive, and doing tip top," Private Monte Elrington writes to his sister, Mrs. M'Cartney, Moama, from France on June 11. "We are just out on a few days' rest after a push our boys were in, and did well. I was stretcher bearing, and was up with them. Our casualties were light. Old Fritz had a rough time. A lot wore blown up with mines. I had a look at the, crater of one of the biggest, and it was surprising. There were Huns lying everywhere. It demoralised them. Our division took a lot of prisoners. Some of them are very weedy. Our infantry were like young lions, and would stop at nothing. I saw one small Australian taking five prisoners home across No Man's Land, and he did seem proud."

"LIKE YOUNG LIONS.". (1917, September 15). Echuca and Moama Advertiser and Farmers' Gazette (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4. Retrieved January 21, 2016, from

 Judy's grandfather and great-uncle, Ern and Bill Crouch of Murtoa had been in the Depot Band based at Victoria Barracks since December 1915, as had Monte Elrington.  It wasn't until February 1916 that all three had joined the 3rd Pioneer Battalion.   Ern had a photo of the Depot Band but it is difficult to identify Monte in that photo. 

Ern also had a long portrait of the 3rd Pioneer Battalion Headquarters Company, including the band, and I have made a provisional identification of someone I think is Monte Elrington, which you can see marked here

If anyone can help with this identification, or any of the others in the 3rd Pioneer Headquarters Battalion or the Depot Band, please get in touch.