Saturday, February 4, 2023


Military history

Cyril Brudenell White

While Sir John Monash rightly holds the distinction of being Australia’s greatest ever General, there was another Australian who came a close second to Monash in the annals of Australian Military History. And it was his humility which partially smoothed Monash’s bumpy road to command of the Australia Corp in 1918. But because of this, he is quite often overlooked when the Great War Generals are discussed.

The ‘V’ sign on Preece’s Hill

In November 1917 Maldon was bitterly divided over the question of military conscription. On 28 November the Tarrangower Times reported that the Maldon Anti-Conscription League had constructed a 20-foot long sign reading ‘VOTE NO’ on a hill off Parkins Reef Road. 

Naracoorte’s link to the Fields of Fromelle

Chris Oldfield. A bright red rose named Fields of Fromelle is one of Hynam hybridist George Thomson’s most famous roses. It is the first and only Australian bred rose ever to be planted in France.

Lest we forget our four-legged heroes

Kate Foran ... did you know that there are also purple poppies? These are worn to recognise the service of animals to our Australian Defence Force ... Most of the animals who served alongside our soldiers, whether officially in service, or casually in trench mateship, ended up losing their lives in both World Wars ... Lest we forget.

Broodseinde Ridge: Warwick O’Neill

The previous Battles of Menin Road and Polygon Wood had involved troops from 1st Anzac Corps. Those troops were still in place and because of the comparatively light casualties suffered they were good to go again at Broodseinde Ridge. The big excitement of this battle was the fact that 2nd Anzac Corps was going to be joining in as well ... This was going to be the first time where an Anzac Corps would have another Anzac Corps going into the fight alongside them.

Champ Camp for Maldon

You may have seen a bunch of military-style vehicles tooling around Maldon on the weekend. The cars in question are Austin Champs, a British army jeep-like vehicle that was manufactured in the 1950s.

New book – The Men of the 2/26 Battalion

A book by two authors, one of them an Allora local, delves into the war years of the brave men of the 2/26 Battalion. Read through the personal interviews, family stories and archive research of the military history and personal history of the men compiled by two dedicated women, daughters of two of the soldiers - Norm Newport and Bill Anderson - who were mates in the 2/26 Battalion.

Polygon Wood: Warwick O’Neill

Before we get too far into this battle, let me take this opportunity to advise you to banish all images of trees and lush undergrowth when you think of Polygon Wood. This may have been true in early 1914. But remember this is part of the Third Battle of Ypres.

Vietnam Vet’s Day, 18 August 2022

Nowadays, as a Vietnam Vet, I have come to notice that more people are acknowledging us for what we did as Australian soldiers representing our country ... Coming up is Vietnam Vets Day 2022 and even if your local RSL is not being involved, you can always contribute to this special day by saying g’day to a Vet. You know you know one, don’t do?

Riverina Express starts journeys

Riverina Express ran through the Narrandera area at the weekend. The Express is a full time tourist train to service the Riverina-Murray area. It is regarded as superstar in passenger train evolution, offering speed, comfort and air-conditioning.

Local WWII veteran receives centenarian memento

Emma Pritchard. After celebrating his 100th birthday earlier this year, Clarence Valley resident and World War II veteran George Smith enjoyed another distinguished occasion on July 29 when he was presented with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) commemorative memento to honour him as an RAAF centenarian. Born in Strathblane, Tasmania, on March 1, 1922, Mr Smith grew up on his family’s dairy farm and joined the RAAF as an 18-year-old following the outbreak of WWII.

Whatever could it be?

During Jumpers and Jazz the Allora and District Historical Society organised an amazing Military Display which was held in the Community Hall last Saturday. A piece of equipment that was exhibited created a lot of interest as it could not be identified.

Menin Road: Warwick O’Neill

You may or may not have guessed, but the Australian involvement in World War 1 is my personal area of interest. And the next three articles will focus on a series of battles from 1917 which, in my humble opinion, were the battles which cemented the reputation of the AIF on the Western Front. Sure, the previous years had shown that they were resilient, hard fighters and men who could be trusted to get the job done. But these three battles showed them to be among the best, if not the best, assault troops in the Allied armies.

The Battle of Cape Spada: the Australian Navy proves its mettle

Fergus O'Sullivan, History Guild. The Battle of Cape Spada was a short, violent encounter on the 19th of July, 1940 where the cruiser HMAS Sydney of the Royal Australian Navy sank one Italian cruiser and severely damaged another off the coast of Crete. In this article, we go over the events of that day, as well as what life was like for the crew of the ship.

Memorial to honour Empire Training Scheme officially opened

The official opening of the Empire Air Training Scheme Memorial at Wagga's RAAF Base took place at Wagga last week, conjuring up many memories for towns like Narrandera which were part of this scheme. Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack helped to officially open the memorial project.

The 39th at Kokoda

Warwick O'Neill. Imagine you’re a young 20 year old bloke. You’ve just struggled across sixty miles of some of the toughest terrain on earth. You’ve had bugger all training, your weapons are obsolete because you’re “just Militia” and all the best stuff is being used by the Second AIF in North Africa. But here you are on the pointy end of the attempt to defend Australia from direct attack.

First battle of El Alamein: Australia holds the line

Fergus O'Sullivan, History Guild. The North African campaigns of WW2 were two years of back and forth action across Libya and Egypt ... When the end eventually came to this seesaw action at El Alamein in 1942, again it was Australians were integral to carrying the day. In this article we’ll see this pivotal battle through the eyes of veterans from rural and regional Australia.

Tennant remembers our fallen soldiers

For a small town Tennant Creek always seems to have an excellent turnout for ANZAC Day. Community volunteers, service organisations, visiting serving Defence Force members, former service personnel and family members of those who had served gathered at the Transit Centre for the march to the RSL for the Main Service.

Know your local – Brian Fitzgerald

Born and raised in Shepparton, Brian joined the Army when he was just 16-years-old ... After returning to Australia and a couple of postings as a Major, Brian was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel before becoming Commanding Officer in March 1992 - Sixth Signalman Regiment in Simpson Barracks in Melbourne. Brian and his men were then sent on a secondment mission to Cambodia to assist the defence force with communications after a United Nations intervention.

Narrandera pays tribute to ANZACs

"Today we remember the men and women who never made it home - today is their day and that of their mates. We do not glorify war as it is certainly the darkest side of mankind. Today we honour those who died to protect our way of life - today is simply a day of remembrance" : Sgt Daniel Johnson, RAAF Wagga.

ANZAC Day 2022 – Koondrook Barham

“Some 2,000 Australians were killed or wounded on 25 April. It was a day of confusion and fear. One soldier called it ‘a day of sorrow’ as he remembered the dead and wounded ... In December, the Anzacs were evacuated. By then, about 8,700 Australians and almost 2,700 New Zealanders had been killed. They were some of at least 130,000 soldiers on both sides who lost their lives at Gallipoli” : Greg Hall, Barham RSL.

Centenarian returns to Sydney for ANZAC march

Coleambally resident John ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson made his annual pilgrimage to Sydney for the city’s annual Anzac Day march. The New Guinea veteran is now 101 years old and the last one left of his unit, Australia’s PNG Battalions during World War 2 ... There were 567 Australians spread over the three battalions and Wilko is the last survivor.

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