Centenary of the Great War

We'll be there: Members of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles who fought alongside the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East. Photo: The Digger's View by Juan Mahony.

We'll be there: Members of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles who fought alongside the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East. Photo: The Digger's View by Juan Mahony.

Extracts from The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate for 18-24 September 1916. 


The statue for the Gardner Memorial has arrived in Newcastle from Italy, and is at present at Brown's Monumental Works, Newcastle West, where it will remain until the unveiling ceremony takes place. Mr. Frank Gardner inspected the statue on Saturday, and expressed himself well satisfied with the workmanship. A meeting is to be held today to decide when the unveiling shall take place. Mr. Gardner has given further proof of his admiration for the Newcastle soldiers by donating to the Voluntary Workers Association two allotments of land at Dudley, on which to erect cottages for men who have returned disabled.


The Newcastle District Voluntary Workers Association has so far completed arrangements for the commencement of practical work that a start will be made on Saturday, upon the erection of a cottage in Ida Street, Mayfield. The site for the building has been given by Messrs. M. Roe and Son, and the land is in a good position. Practically the whole of the material for the cottage has been given. Work will commence on Saturday morning.


The ladies of the Minmi branch of the Red Cross were occupied on Tuesday packing parcels to be forwarded direct to 13 Minmi soldiers at the front. Each parcel contained a flannel shirt, a pair of socks, and a quantity of cigarettes, the cost being defrayed out of the comforts fund set apart for the purpose. The parcels also contained a greeting from the ladies. This is the fourth lot to be dispatched, 40 parcels in all.


The Flying Corps has applied to General Birdwood for 200 Australians to become flying officers. General Birdwood has consented to select the men.


The home for convalescent soldiers which the Newcastle Red Cross Society is establishing will be taken over by the home committee on Friday next. At present there is no home of this kind between Sydney and Armidale, and the homes in Sydney are overcrowded.

The Red Cross Home ("Woodlands," Church-street) has a fine recreation room, which will be furnished with chairs, lounges, piano, billiard table, gramophone, writing and card tables. A large dining-room adjoins the recreation room, and wards to accommodate 50 beds will be arranged. Already liberal response has been made to the appeal of the committee for help. Gifts of "Lister" beds with maintenance for one year are acknowledged.


Senator Pearce, the minister for defence, announces that an additional flying squadron has been offered to the Imperial authorities, and has been accepted.


Brigadier-General Ramaciotti, State Commandant, has been directed by Senator Pearce, the Minister for Defence, to request the State Recruiting Committee to resume activities immediately, and to ask recruiting agencies and centres to obtain 11,200 men in New South Wales during September, this being the number of reinforcements required. The Minister, in his communication to the commandant, emphasises the fact this this will be the final opportunity for men to offer their services voluntarily.


Senator Pearce, the Minister for Defence, has announced that the War Office authorities have intimated their acceptance of an offer made by the Commonwealth Government of three auxiliary mechanical transport companies in the Australian Imperial Force.

The department will shortly be inviting applications in this direction, and intending candidates are informed that only thoroughly qualified men who can produce evidence of their ability will be passed for examination by the Director of Motor Transport, Colonel Tarrant, who will receive applications from September 4th, at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne. The establishment of the three companies will be approximately 500, and the personnel will be raised in the several military districts in the Commonwealth, eventually concentrating in Melbourne.


The Commonwealth military authorities are getting ready for another winter campaign in Europe, by placing large orders for warm clothing.

The Defence Department has commandeered all the rabbit skins needed for the military hat makers, and the Minister says that the trade in skins can be now resumed under ordinary conditions.

The fashion for long hair, which is so popular with the modern youth, does not meet with the approval of the military authorities, and the practice followed with soldiers in all camps is to keep the hair closely cropped. Addressing a meeting of more than 400 senior cadet officers recently, the acting State Commandant of Victoria condemned the fashion for long hair, which, he said, seemed to have been introduced by the crews of the American fleet, and had ever since been gaining in popularity. Not only for the sake of appearance, but in the interests of cleanliness, he favoured short hair.


Nurse A. Mathews, of Hamilton, who is staff nurse on the No. 1 hospital steamer Karoola, was recently presented by the returning men of D2 Ward with a folding writing desk. Nurse Mathews is now on her way from Sydney with the ship to England.


Senator Pearce, the Minister for Defence, stated today that the praise given to the horses used by the Australians in desert warfare was the best answer to the criticism as to the quality of Australian horses purchased for active service by the department. The Minister, referring to the statement by Mr. Lloyd George as to the premature bursting of British shells in France, said the department were aware of that fact at the time, hence their insistence on the necessity for field shell inspection.


A meeting for the purpose of forming a branch of the Y.M.C.A. Snapshot From Home League was held on Thursday evening. The object of the league is to provide snapshot photographs of the homes and families of soldiers who have gone away into service, and give copies of these to the relatives for forwarding to soldiers at the front. It was decided to form a branch. It was also arranged that any Wallsend residents desirous of obtaining a photograph to send to relatives at the front should make application and their wishes would receive attention.


The commercial travellers of the district have entered upon a schema for the establishment of an Anzac Memorial Cot Fund. The object is to raise funds to install and subsidise memorial cots in hospitals of Newcastle, Wallsend, Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Cessnock, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Murrurundi, Scone, Taree, Gloucester, Dungog, and Merriwa, and in the Newcastle Anzac Home for wounded soldiers.

David Dial OAM is a Hunter Valley-based military historian. Follow David's research at facebook.com/HunterValleyMilitaryHistory

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