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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Call to Arms, 1916 digitised in full

I posted about this series of documents, B6525 in the National Archives of Australia back in 2014.  At the time, only some of the forms had been digitised.  Having another look at them today, I find the whole series digitised, as well as another series, B6526, which are the name index cards for Series B6525.   The cards are sorted alphabetically in four sections, according to whatever reason was, or was not given. Not too hard to match up with the folders in B6525.

Use the Advanced Search option and pop either number in the Series box.  In the results form, click on the number of records - ie, in B6525 you will see 29.  Click on that to get the full list.  B6526 shows 4 items.

James Boyne of 34 Eltham St, Flemington did not get away with a two line reason for not enlisting.   The Committee required a more detailed explanation.  His letter follows his form. 

Seeing that enlistment was still voluntary, these men could not be forced to enlist, but it all added to the pressure.

So if you are wondering why some people didn't enlist, the answer could be here.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Troopship Boonah and the Spanish flu

HMAT Boonah, courtesy of  Wikipedia article on the Boonah Crisis.
In 1919 a scandal erupted over the treatment of troops on the HMAT Boonah who had contracted the Spanish flu.  Sick soldiers were evacuated to Woodman Point Quarantine Station, Fremantle, but there was not even food for them, let alone medicine or adequate nursing and medical staff.  The Boonah contained men from several states. After leaving Fremantle a further group of soldiers were off-loaded at Adelaide to be taken to the Torrens Quarantine Station.  At Melbourne the rest of the troops disembarked, and in an eerie resemblance to the Ruby Princess, the troops travelling on to Sydney and Brisbane took the train, and no doubt spread the flu far and wide.    Marilyn Kenny tells the story of this  plague-ship in her article on The Empire Called.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Aftermath of Lone Pine - Private Leslie Oakley

Hospital Ship Neuralia 1915    (IWM ART 4405)
After the Battle at Lone Pine, Private Leslie Oakley of Kensington was put on board Hospital Ship Neuralia and taken to Malta.   Rod Martin examines Leslie's records, and relates the story of his war service and subsequent history after discharge. You can see the full story here.