Leongatha History

Read about Leongatha's links with the ANZACs

We pulled up at Mrs Harris's old ...

New email address

February 22nd, 2015

The Leongatha and District Historical Society has a new email address at leongathahistory@gmail.com

Edwin Isaac Barrett DCM

November 10th, 2015

Barrett Edwin 3

Name Edwin Isaac Barrett DCM

Number   Private 5119

Battalion      21st Battalion

Place of Birth Buln Buln
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Reginald Woorayl Barratt

November 10th, 2015

Name Reginald Woorayl Barratt

Number   Private 2186B

Battalion      5th Battalion

Place of Birth Koonwarra

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Robert Banks

November 10th, 2015

Trooper R. Banks

Name Robert Banks

Number   Trooper 2150

Battalion      4th Light Horse

Place of Birth Yarraville

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William Armstrong

November 10th, 2015

Armstrong William


Name William Armstrong

Number   Private 2327

Battalion     59th Battalion

Place of Birth Footscray
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Cecil Harry Andrews

November 10th, 2015

Name Cecil Harry Andrews

Number   Private 2554

Battalion      22nd Battalion

Place of Birth Newmarket

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George Alexander

November 10th, 2015

Name George Alexander

Number   Trooper 701

Battalion    2nd reinforcement, 4th Light Horse and goes to the 1st Anzac Light Horse

Place of Birth Richmond 1872

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Men from our area lost at Gallipoli

June 20th, 2015

 William McKenzie McHarg was 27 when he enlisted in Wonthaggi on August 20th 1914 soon after war was declared. He was the teacher at Pound Creek and his parents lived in Korumburra. William was simply reported missing on May 1st. A court of enquiry held in 1917 declared that he was killed in action on April 25th.

William McKenzie Mcharg

Arthur Wildens  aged 26 worked in the Meeniyan area. He was never seen again after April 25th.

Robert Brown was the son of Catherine Brown of Leongatha. He enlisted in Western Australia when he was 19 years and 10 months old. He was missing in action soon after the landing and was later determined to have been killed in action.

James Garrett  aged 18 was killed on May 29th in the German Officers’ Trench. He was born in Outtrim and his parents lived on McCartin’s Rd Foster. He is on several honor rolls in the area.

Some other local men such as Joseph McIlwaine of Koonwarra and Roy McLean of Meeniyan died of wounds on hospital ships. John Joseph Sperling, also of Koonwarra died of enteric fever on Lemnos . Albert Chennery a young Englishman working for the Greys on Garvies Rd died of wounds in Malta.

Saddler Sargent Harris Goller saw the Gallipoli landing from a very different perspective. He remained on board a ship out at sea off the Gallipoli coast. His job was to mind the horses and he observed the battle that raged for four days from that position. The bombardment started at 4 am and the Turks then dropped bombs all around their ships so they had to move further away. Not being able to help those on shore was frustrating. The terrain was too rough for the horses to go ashore. Men had to move the artillery up the hills by hand.  Eventually Harris had to be returned to Egypt. He later served in France, always with his beloved horses. Harris eventually returned from the war and in 1920 came to Leongatha to set up as a saddler with a wartime mate who came from here. He was a founding member of the Leongatha Sub branch of the RSL serving as Treasurer from 1922 until 1930.

Hariis Goller 1

Local Nurses 

Ruby and Mary Carmichael were from Stony Creek. They attended the local school.

The girls had been nursing for three years when they passed the Royal Victorian Trained Nurses” examination in 1915.  Ruby enlisted in the Australian Nursing Service on May 4 1917. Mary enlisted on June 5 of the same year.  It was reported in the Great Southern Star that both young women were at a Euchre party and dance at the Dumbalk Hall on Friday June 8. 1917. Members of the community gathered to say farewell to the girls who were to leave the following Tuesday to take up their duties in Mesopotamia and then France. They embarked on the “Mooltan” on June 12 and disembarked in the Middle East on July 19.  A German U boat sunk the “Mooltan” on July 26, so they were very lucky. By August 14th both were working in the British hospitals in Salonika Greece.  The area was freezing cold in winter and burning hot in summer. There were flies, lice, ants, centipedes, scorpions and mosquitos to contend with. The Salonika  Campaign was a little known campaign fought on the border of Greece and Turkey. The Australian nurses at Salonika were the only Australians to be involved in that  campaign.

Some stories of local men from World War 1

June 20th, 2015

There are over 150 names on the Black Marble Honour Roll in the Memorial Hall Leongatha. These men died as a result of the war. There are familiar names  Wightman, Bellingham, Beilby, Edney, McIlwaine, Matthies, Sperling.  Locals Phil Bellingham and the late Jack Edney were named after their uncles who never returned. Our community played its part like rural communities all over Australia.

Some of the early enlistees from the area had familiar names also The Gywthers Llew and Leo, Horace Bair, Carl Due, Leslie Rump. Former High School woodwork teacher Bill Colvin was also on the first convoy he enlisted in his home town of Rutherglen  Alan Robertson, had attended Leongatha State school. He survived all those terrible battles from 1915 only to lose his life on April 14 1918, so close to the end

One ship contained men going to England to join their old regiments, one of these was William Hyghgate from Mt Eccles. He was a Boer war veteran who went back to join his Royal Sussex Regiment and lost his life . He survived all that horror until September 24th 1918.

The Anzac Project and Display

June 20th, 2015

Over 500 men from the Shire of Woorayl enlisted for World War 1. Of these around 160 died in the war or as a result of it. The Society has managed to find photographs of 58 of these men.  These photos have been mounted and placed in the hall way. The front room has an exhibition of memorabilia from the War. One  special item is the Mother’s Medal of Catherine Dicker. She has two stars on her medal indicating she lost two sons. Her boys Charlie Dicker and Jim Darling were killed in France. We also have the medals and plaque of Fred Bond of French Island. Another item is a sweet heart brooch which was given to Fred’s sister.

Gippsland History awards

June 20th, 2015

At the recent meeting of the Gippsland Association of  Affiliated Historical Societies (GAAHS) the Annual Gippsland History Awards are presented. This year three of our members were presented with an award for their personal contribution to our Society. Congratulations to Lola Bailey, Pat Spinks and Ian Lester.  Ian’s award also included his contribution to Coal Creek Park.  The other recipients were Roslyn Carstairs (Boolarra), Lloyd Wicks (Yinnar), Rob Waycott (Mirboo and District), Louise Hill Coleman (Heyfield), Margery Missen, (Yarram), Lindsay Peddle(Yarram) and Colin Silcock (Warragul).  John Adams was not present but he will receive and award for his  wonderful contribution to the recording of Gippsland History. The awards were presented by Cr Bob Newton who is Korumburra Society’s President.


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