Returned soldiers at Hawkesbury Agricultural College

By Anzac Day 1918, Hawkesbury Agricultural College had provided agricultural training for sixty returned soldiers in the fields of horticulture, pig raising, poultry farming and dairying. Many of the men had permanent injuries and were selected under an arrangement between the State War Council and Department of Agriculture. It was reported in the HAC Annual Report in 1916 that ‘Fifteen soldiers have taken advantage of this…many of them are maimed and injured to such a degree that it is impossible for them to pursue occupations incurring strenuous labour.’ By 1919 it was reported that ‘there has been a continuous stream … Continue reading Returned soldiers at Hawkesbury Agricultural College

William Thomas Charley and the Wallaby Sniping Cage

Few people in the Hawkesbury would know that William Thomas Charley invented the concept of the Wallaby Sniping Cage at Gallipoli in 1915. The cage was used mainly for night firing and held a rifle in a fixed position after aiming, enabling it to be fired again without re-aiming. William Charley was born in 1868 in Ballarat, Victoria. His mother, Catherine, died when he was two years of age and his father neglected the children to the extent that from 1871, he and some of his siblings were made Wards of the State and placed in various institutions. His brother … Continue reading William Thomas Charley and the Wallaby Sniping Cage

John William Vance

This is a tribute to a young soldier in our family who died nearly 100 years ago during the freezing winter on the Western Front in December 1916. John William Vance is my daughter’s third cousin – first cousin of her grandfather Archibald Pitt Vance – and his Service No was 3962. He was the son of Joseph Edward and Mary Ada Vance (nee Fallon) and was working as a carpenter in Maryborough (Queensland) when he first enlisted on 24 August 1915. John stated that he was 18 years on his enlistment form, but his actual age was 17. It seems that he may have … Continue reading John William Vance

My Anzac Day Heroes

Our family was fortunate in that, of the family members who served in World Wars I and II and in Government or Defence Service, only one was killed in action. That one was my grandfather, Private Walter Cammack 203661 who was killed on 1 April 1918, aged 33, in France while serving with the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, 1st/5th Battalion. He is buried in the Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, in France. As mentioned in an earlier blogpost, I was approached by the Horncastle (Lincolnshire) Civic Society two years ago to provide information and photographs about my grandfather (who came from Horncastle) … Continue reading My Anzac Day Heroes

‘With heaps and heaps of love and kisses’: the Boulton brothers’ war

‘With heaps and heaps of love and kisses’: the Boulton brothers’ war Brothers in Arms: The Great War Letters of Captain Nigel Boulton R.A.M.C. & Lieut Stephen Boulton, A.I.F. Compiled and edited by Louise Wilson 425pp, $39.95 Available from the author at On reading the first of the Great War letters written by the Boulton brothers, Nigel and Stephen, it became obvious that this was going to be an emotional, poignant and at times, disturbing journey. The content of the letters will appeal strongly to anyone who has family who served during the Great War and in my own … Continue reading ‘With heaps and heaps of love and kisses’: the Boulton brothers’ war