The news of 28 August 1916 was typical of the time. It was two years into WW1, with the Battle of Fromelles in July and then Pozieres. By the end of August, Australians were fighting at Mouquet Farm, France. Newspapers were full of war news, departures and casualties and the Portland Guardian of 28 August 1916 was no different.
Mrs Thomson of Lower Cape Bridgewater had heard the news her son Private G.E. Thomson was wounded in France. Families of the 37th, 38th and 40th Battalions were able to send their parcels for the front to 380 Bourke Street, Melbourne. The parcels were then forwarded to the various Battalions at a cost of one penny per pound.
I would like to think the next article was about my 1st cousins 3 x removed, Frederick James and Arthur Leonard Holmes (aka Lennie) of Casterton. However, while Arthur was still in Australia, not embarking until 21 October 1916, Fred was in France and wounded by this time.
I searched the WW1 Embarkation Roll and Mapping our Anzacs trying to identify the two Holmes boys, presumably brothers. The venue of the social was not mentioned in the Editorial, so I assumed it was in Portland. The closest I found was Frederick Noah Holmes of Wallacedale and Leslie Holmes of Homerton via Heywood, however, Leslie embarked on August 1.
The Haines family from idyllic Sandy Waterhole on the Glenelg River received news of their son’s passing as a result of wounds.
The Mulholland family of Portland also received bad news from France.
I hope Mrs Carnie got her letters from the front.
Mrs Newman of “Ulymah” Gawler Street Portland, was doing her part for the war effort. She was the Portland contact for Mr Herbert Daly, an Australian in Paris. Herbert was collecting socks for those displaced by war, particularly old men.
Newly re-elected Portland Mayor Mr Wyatt received a letter from local boy W.H.J.Baker, serving in France. Corporal Baker mentions “France is such a beautiful place” and “No wonder Germany wants this beautiful country”. Read the letter in full here.
Corporal Baker enclosed some of his poetry with the letter. Read the full poem here.
Back in Portland, which must have felt a million miles away from the war, unsettled weather prevailed.
Wattle Day, on 1 September was fast approaching. The first Wattle Day was in 1910 and the outbreak of war saw the day celebrated with extra vigour.
Canadian born silent screen star Mary Pickford was appearing in “The Dawn of Tomorrow” at the Portland Pictures.
As mentioned, Cr James Lewis Wyatt was unanimously re-elected Mayor of Portland. He was Mayor from August 1914 to August 1917.
Victorians, along with the other states, were preparing for their first dose of Daylight Savings. The timing was not exactly how the Act had set out. Clocks went forward on 1 January 1917 and back on 25 March 1917. Daylight Savings did not occur again until WW2 with the years of 1942/3 and 1943/4 each having an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.
In 1914, the Duke of Portland of England announced that the skeleton of racehorse Carbine would return to Australia for the National Museum. The following article, two years later, announced the skeleton was ready for shipping to Australia. Finally, in December 1919, the skeleton was ready to leave England, arriving in February the following year.
I have seen the skeleton of Carbine at the former Racing Museum at Caulfield Racecourse and its current home at the National Sports Museum at the MCG. While standing beside Carbine’s skeleton is not as moving as visiting Phar Lap at Melbourne Museum, it is still an imposing sight.
A video of Carbine’s skeleton being reconstructed when it moved to the National Sports Museum can be seen at the link – http://tinyurl.com/8w4w5pv
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