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

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.