GREAT SOUTHERN LINE ANZAC STORIES SOUTHERN TABLELANDS ARTS Research Report Historical background and stories 1914 -1920 Dr Mary Hutchison
CONTENTS Introduction Historical context Part one: Working on the great southern line 1914-1930s Part two: NSWGR - wartime and repatriation Part three: The experience of leaving and returning home The stories of returning soldiers on the great southern line: Goulburn, Moss Vale, Picton Conclusion Appendices i i(a) i(b) ii
iii iv v vi vii viii ix
Memories and Memorabilia collected through STARTS story workshops Stories workshop flyer Memories and memorabilia consent form Examples of work, uniforms and tools in Traffic, Per Way and Mechanical (Loco) departments in Robert McKillop Thematic History of NSW Railways http://www.transportheritagensw.com.au/#thematic-history/c1jyt Jobs at NSWGR 1914-1920s collected from promotions lists and other personnel notices NSWGR wartime policies: Chief Mechanical Engineer’s circulars and annual reports Statements of heritage significance: Goulburn, Picton, Moss Vale railway station precincts Sydney Loco organisation chart 1931 Goulburn Loco organisation chart 1931 Hugh Millen, ‘Australian veteran’s health: WW1’, October 2012. Medical Association for Prevention of War: www.mapw.org.au Marina Larsson, ‘Unsung healers: disabled Anzacs and their family caregivers after the First World War’, Memento, issue 38, 2010, National Archives of Australia
INTRODUCTION BRIEF In summary, the research brief from Southern Tablelands Arts (STARTS) was to provide historical background and personal stories to inform public art work at Goulburn, Moss Vale and Picton railway stations that would honour and reflect the coming home experience of First World War railway worker veterans. It included the provision of local workshops with STARTS to share stories of the experiences of veterans of the aftermath of war. Discussions about the research with STARTS highlighted the value of a project that would link several Local Government Areas in the STARTS region. They also highlighted the potential for the material collected to provide a basis for future activities generated by STARTS or other interested organisations (eg Rocky Hill Museum).
RESEARCH PLAN Key aspects of the research plan developed in response to the brief were to: • Identify and investigate subjects that critically frame the personal experience of railway workers returning to work from the First World War • Seek material that gives insight into and makes connections with as wide a range as possible of the varied and shared personal dimensions of the experience • In the absence of living memory seek details that speak for and bring the experience to life • Consult with researchers, archivists, curators and local people with relevant knowledge and research expertise • Establish a manageable time frame for collection of historical context from 1914-1920s
THE PROJECT AREA: THE THREE ‘HUB’ STATIONS An important element of the project for STARTS was the common link between its constituent Local Government Areas (LGAs) provided by the Southern Division railway line, formerly known as The Great Southern Line. The stations selected have been and are now, in various ways, stations that play a central role on the line in their districts. Picton was an early terminus of the line from Sydney as it began its extension south. It served the farming and orchard enterprises in the district and became a busy station with a locomotive depot. Picton is now the site of a large volume of commuter traffic between Sydney and outer suburban areas. Moss Vale became an important stop on the line between Melbourne and Sydney and famous for its refreshment rooms. Goulburn was a principal depot on the line with extensive locomotive workshops. It continues to be a principal station on the line. (see stories summary, appendix v statements of significance and http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=4806291 http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=4806253 http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=4806271)
MATERIAL PROVIDED IN THE REPORT
3 The material in this report focuses on the experience of World War One veterans who returned to work on the Great Southern Line or found employment on it after their return. It includes personal stories gleaned from archival records as well as family memories. Relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources extends this material by providing important insights into the personal experience of working on the Great Southern Line, enlisting and returning home from the front as well as a grounding in place and time. The breadth of material is intended to function as an informed basis for specific ideas for the present public art project and for future projects. Potential images and themes for the public artwork are highlighted through the report but it is expected that the artist will also respond to the wider information.
SOURCES - STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS Community members were a vital source in the quest for stories. Their interest, memories and memorabilia made a powerful contribution (appendices I; i(a); i(b) Memories and memorabilia spreadsheet; stories workshop flyer; memories and memorabilia consent form). There was strong community participation in Goulburn where the railway has had a significant long term role in community life and where there is a railway as well as a war memorial museum, an active band of museum volunteers and a professional museum officer employed by the Goulburn-Mulwaree Council. The process of seeking out family members in Moss Vale and Picton through broader research networks continues and it is anticipated that the artwork itself will prompt further interest and engagement. Wider historical research sources were archives, other researchers and secondary sources. Employment and war service records provided insight into individual experiences of war and railway work. Newspapers of the time often filled out aspects of the individual’s community and family life. Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW) records and railway union records were particularly useful in providing context for the personal experience of working on the southern line, enlisting and returning to work. Railway war researcher Trevor Edmonds was generous in sharing his sources and papers. Researcher for the exhibition The Southern Highlands 1200, Linda Emery provided similar assistance as did the Wollondilly Heritage Centre, particularly through Doreen Lyon and the exhibition, Her War. The period of time researched was primarily 1914-1920s but included material about NSWGR and social life (eg the Great Depression) into the 1930s. I have checked my understanding of information about working on the Southern Line as far as possible. Queries about NSWGR organisational information would be best answered by Trevor Edmonds.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT PART ONE: WORKING ON THE GREAT SOUTHERN LINE 1914-1930S
The managing organisation - New South Wales Government Railways (and Tramways) The Great Southern Line was part of the huge network of New South Wales railway lines managed by the New South Wales Government Railway (NSWGR). NSWGR was one of the world’s first staterun railway corporations and played a vital role in the state’s agricultural and industrial economies well into the twentieth century.
4 The organisation was established as a commission in 1855 and by the time of the First World War, was managing 3930 miles of railway track (Bulletin in Gunn 274), as well as maintaining and manufacturing locomotives and rolling stock. At this time it was also responsible for tramways. It employed 45,000 people. The Great Southern, Northern and Western lines and their extended branches were built during the 19th century. In the early 20th century the suburban network was expanded while country railway construction into the 1920s focused on duplications, deviations and additions to address inadequacies (Gunn 271). With NSWGR’s size and importance to everyday life and the state, went a sense of grandeur in its central offices and top managerial roles. Under war-time and 1920s conditions of reliance on industrial self-sufficiency, the organisation ‘expanded into a huge vertically integrated empire that manufactured most of the items it required for its extensive range of operations’ (McKillop 3) The grand role of NSWGR continued until well after the Second World War with the workforce swelling to 56,000 in the 1950s to make it ‘Australia’s biggest business’ (McKillop) despite the rise of road transport. The system of a commission responsible to the government took various forms until 1972 when a single Public Transport Commission was established and the State Rail Authority became an entity within it. Workforce structure and regulation NSWGR’s organisational structure consisted of divisions and departments (also known as branches). Divisions were based on the main railway lines and their branches – southern, northern, western and metropolitan. Departments were based on the wide range of work necessary to construct and maintain locomotives, rolling stock and railway lines as well as run trains and manage goods, mail and passengers. (Trains moved everything – including as necessary, corpses.) Departments included: • Traffic - station staff, porters etc • Loco/Mechanical - locomotive and rolling stock maintenance, crew • Per Way - maintenance of the network – fettlers, gangers etc • Signals and Telegraph • Electrical • Stores The pecking order The NSWGR workforce was managed on the basis of a strict bureaucratic hierarchy. Bob McKillop describes it as ‘a gigantic paternalistic organisation in which the chief commissioner was the “big daddy”’. Authority operated from the chief commissioner, through divisional heads, to departmental heads and through a further chain of command to the most junior and lowly levels. Work was carried out according to highly detailed rules and regulations for specific positions. The chain of command kept a strict eye individual performance. Passing tests on rules and regulations as well as technical requirements was the basis for promotion according to a set scale of seniority. It often meant a move to another location. Poor work performance could lead to stepping back in seniority through reversion to a lower position and pay rate. This ‘punishment’ might be preceded by a warning, then a caution, then a
5 reprimand – depending on the severity of the issue. Punishments could be appealed and the relevant union usually played a role in taking the appeal to the Appeals Board. Pay and conditions Railway workers were paid for overtime above the 8-hour day and had access to the NSWGR superannuation fund which most of the men in the stories joined as soon as they were permanently employed. The retirement age was 65 and a means tested government age pension was available for men over this age. A government invalid pension for disability was also available. Permanent employees were often initially employed on a casual basis and permanent employment began with a period of probation. Employment records show that there were allowances for working outside in all weathers. In difficult economic times, including during wartime and the Great Depression, casual employees were the most vulnerable to losing their jobs and permanent employees could be put off on holidays and often had to work short hours. Strikers could also lose hours and seniority. Types of work NSWGR employed people in an enormous range of occupations. In combination with the pay and promotional structure of the time within occupational areas, there were hundreds of job positions, ranging from salaried to waged within their own trade and professional hierarchies. Many of these positions no longer exist. A list of jobs collected from promotions lists of the period gives an embodied idea of the working world of the men who feature in the Great Southern Line stories (see appendix iii). Bob McKillop’s description of some of the work, uniforms and tools in Traffic, Per Way and Mechanical (Loco) departments in Thematic History of NSW Railways gives further substance to this (http://www.transportheritagensw.com.au/#thematic-history/c1jyt) (See appendix ii - an update of Thematic History is in process.)
Railway Guard’s signal lamp, 1916. Inscribed J.J. Eddy, Goulburn. Goulburn and district Historical Society. An essential tool for safe operations on the railway with attachment to particular employees. They were used mainly by train guards and shunters. They had three colour aspects: clear, red and green which communicated directions to locomotive crew at night. (notes from Powerhouse Museum object H7621 http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collections/database/?irn=248891)
Work organisations The Railway Institute The Railway Institute was NSWGR’s official social and educational organisation for its staff. It had branches around the state and provided technical classes, meeting rooms and a raft of social interest activities from music to sports. An important constituent was the Railway Ambulance Corps which provided first aid training and regular proficiency tests. A Rifle Club, which in Goulburn was part of the Railway Ambulance Corps, played a role a bit like Citizens’ Militia or Reserve forces. Both provided skills useful in wartime and railway workers with this background were strongly represented in the First Railway Supply Detachment. Sports teams of the Railway Institute were part of local sports calendars and also supplied district teams with members. Rugby league and cricket matches were often reported in the local press whether district or Institute. During the war the
6 Railway Institute established a war effort fund which regularly contributed to larger war funds. ( See Picton Railway Institute event in PP 3 March 1915 p4, for picture of the local Institute at the time as well as local issues such as getting produce to market in time.) Trade Unions Many railway workers belonged to trade unions and work associations. There were unions for many trades and grades of work and a certain competition between them as well as continuing attempts to work together and to cover a wider range of workers (eg the All Grades Railway and Tramway Service Association which became the Australian Railways Union in 1920). Another important railway workers’ union was the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen which many Loco workers belonged to. Unions supported railway members’ appeals to the Commissioners about pay and position and worked for better conditions and wages. During the War they took up cases of railway employees experiencing difficulties with enlisting – eg ensuring they received the difference between work and military pay. The All Grades set up a War Distress Fund which include funds for men/their families who lost jobs because of the war and a contribution to hospital accommodation overseas and support of wounded railway workers. After the War they sought to ensure equity for their members in a context coloured by the impact of the 1917 strike and returning soldiers.
Working on the Great Southern Line in and around the three hub stations Southern Division stretched from Sydney to Albury and as far west as Narrandera and Griffith. Goulburn District Loco Department was responsible for relevant activities at stations from Moss Vale to Cooma. Sydney Loco, through Enfield, was responsible for Picton. It is understood that other departments such as Traffic and Per Way were organised on a similar district basis. (Based on 1931 organisational structure – probably no dramatic changes from 1914. See appendices vi – Loco Sydney- and vii – Loco Goulburn)). Employment cards show that railway workers moved to other locations on the Line and to other Lines in response to job vacancies and that this was often necessary for promotion or a result of demotion. Those involved in driving trains regularly travelled between locations along the Line and gangers and fettlers could work at a number of locations along the Line within their district. During the War duplication and deviation works were carried out around each of the hubs. In the Moss Vale region the development of fruit trade was referred to in relation to the achievement of greater efficiency. The works brought numbers of workers, accommodated in work camps, into the localities, where, especially around smaller centres like Moss Vale and Mittagong, they played an important role in town life and were farewelled when they enlisted, and acknowledged as generous donors to war fundraising efforts (local newspaper reports). At Moss Vale the works included remodelling of the station and improvements for traffic management and ‘additional conveniences’ for passengers.
PART TWO: NSWGR - WARTIME AND REPATRIATION
NSWGR contribution to the war effort NSWGR’s contributions to the war effort included the provision of recruitment trains to support enlistment, transportation of leaving and returning troops and the and the refitting of 25 suburban carriages as ambulance trains to take wounded soldiers from ports to hospitals and home towns (McKillop 78).
7 NSWGR also raised two railway companies from amongst its employees whose commanders and a number of members had connections with the Goulburn District of the Great Southern Line. One was the First Railway Supply Detachment (originally known as the Railway Transport Corps) formed at the end of 1914. It numbered 61 men who were largely picked by District Superintendent (later Commissioner) E. Milne and commanded by his son E.O. Milne, Traffic Inspector, Goulburn and member of Goulburn Ambulance Rifle Club (well documented NSW Transport Heritage website). Commissioner Milne was a collector of Aboriginal artefacts and he presented the company with two silver boomerangs mounted on a stand as a farewell gift. (photo Railway and Tramway Budget 1 Nov. 1914 p75). (Where is this object? Not in the National Museum’s Milne collection). The Railway Supply Detachment served at Gallipoli and in France. The second company was one of what became six companies formed by Australian railwaymen for service in France. Amongst these were three light railway operating companies and three ‘broad gauge’. The NSW Vompany was the 6th (broad gauge) Railway Operating Company (ROC). It was commanded by Captain William James, a member of Goulburn Ambulance Rifle Club who started his career at Goulburn and returned there to work after the War. It consisted of around 269 men and included a number from Goulburn district (Edmonds, Australian Railway History Dec. 2010). Overall, NSWGR’s greatest contribution was railway worker servicemen. Of the 45,000 strong workforce, 8,447 enlisted. In the general divisions of the First Australian Imperial force (AIF), their particular work skills often led to positions in transport units including Field Ambulance, and in specialist services such as Signals. NSWGR paid the difference between military pay and the servicemen’s railway pay (including pay rises due in the normal course of events). (A number also served in home defence – this may be in addition to the number of those who enlisted)
NSWGR Enlistment and repatriation policies There were no reserved occupations as such during the First World War – those who wanted to enlist had to get permission from their employer. NSWGR policy was to grant leave of absence to their permanent employees, to pay them the difference between military and railway wages and as far as possible keep their former jobs open for them if they were capable of taking them up (Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Circular 2962, 1914). The Chief Mechanical Engineer’s (CME) Circulars regarding policy and administration show how NSWGR addressed the management of this policy as soldiers returned from the front and the War came to an end (appendix iv): •
Employees returning during the War with satisfactory discharges to be re-employed with priority to those with dependents. Those rejected or exempted from war service also eligible (CME Circular 3712, 1917) Employees invalided home through war injuries and unable to resume former position will be paid difference between former remuneration and re-employed rate plus any military pension received (CME Circular,3858 1917) Temporary employees who enlisted, although not on the same wartime footing as permanent employees, were to be kept on the books for any vacancies that arose. ‘Sympathetic consideration will be given to each case’ (CME circular 4055, 1918) Returned employees leaving work for further medical treatment – payment while absent (CME circular, 4056 1918)
Permanent and temporary employees unable to take up former positions: every effort to find position for returnees across all branches of work; lower salary to be made up to old; if possible retain seniority for previously temporary employees. In addition, ‘If to find him employment it is necessary to dispense with the services of another person who is his junior [and has not served], then such a course is to be followed’. (CME circular, 4119 1918) Special leave for returned workers to welcome home returned Anzacs and holidays in connection with peace celebrations (CME circular, 4256 1919) Returned soldiers not previously employed by NSWGR. Must pass vision, colour vision and hearing tests but may be exempted from other usual fitness tests subject to further examination. Certificates to be issued concerning what employment fit for. (CME circular 4491, 1919)
(policy details appendix iv. NSWGR wartime policies, CME Circulars and Annual Reports)
Impact of war period on NSWGR employees Of the 45,000 employed by NSWGR at the beginning of the First World War, 8,447 men enlisted and 1,210 died as a result of their service. Hundreds of those who enlisted were working on the Great Southern Line in what are now the Goulburn-Mulwaree, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly Local Government Areas. The impact of war on railway business and the contribution to employees’ military pay, as well as drought, had a serious impact on NSWGR finances 1914-1919. The Commissioner’s annual report of 1919 shows the total expenditure on the difference between military and railway pay as expected in June 1919 to be 918,137 pounds. The Chief Mechanical Engineers’ policy circulars during the war show the measures taken for economic stringency including restricting employees’ hours and setting priorities on support for enlisting workers (examples appendix iv NSWGR wartime policies, CME Circulars and Annual Reports). The 1917 strike During the first part of the 20th century there was considerable industrial unrest. The strike of 1917, which started at the Eveleigh railway workshops and spread to other divisions and departments as well as to other industries, had a long term impact on NSWGR and its workers – particularly the more industrial and unionised workplaces such as Loco. The workforce was divided between strikers, many of whom were initially dismissed and ‘loyalists’ – both existing and new employees taken on during the strike. The particular impact on the three hub stations is not known but the reverberations of the strike and the government and management’s response to it would have been felt across the organisation. Many of those who went out on strike, even if allowed to return to work, were punished by losing seniority (see example of Chifley in Gunn 287). The impact of this wide scale of loss of seniority had a negative impact on relationships between workers, particularly with employees returning to work from the War who, provided they were fit enough, were placed in the highest position for which they were eligible (CME Lucy, evidence to Royal Commission into the management of NSW railways, 1920).
PART THREE: THE EXPERIENCE OF LEAVING AND RETURNING HOME
Mowbray Park, known as Waley Home in the post war years, donated by the Waleys for the care of shellshocked soldiers. C1920. Photograph at Picton School of Arts. (School of Arts 048 (6) Wollondilly Heritage Centre.) Roy Howard met his wife when he was convalescing at Waley Home after the War.
Family and community support for soldiers during the War Across Australia families and communities contributed to the overall war effort as members of fund raising and support organisations and groups on the ‘homefront’. These included a wide web of branches of the Red Cross, ‘comforts funds’ established to support individual fighting units and a mass of local fund raising initiatives. Many of these activities were predominantly the province of women. Women also volunteered for the Voluntary Aid Detachment which took them into various areas of homefront war work including helping in hospitals and convalescent homes. Local newspapers provide insight into the range of homefront activities in individual localities. Berrima Museum’s exhibition, The Southern Highlands 1200, Wollondilly Heritage Centre’s exhibition, Her War, and the memorabilia copied and documented for the Great Southern Line Anzac stories project by STARTS, substantiate newspaper descriptions with examples of photos and objects. Information here focuses on examples of activities particularly relevant to the experience of railway workers and the role of railway stations, at the three hub localities.
Farewells and welcome homes – the role of the railway station Farewells and welcome homes were an important ritual and could involve occasions held by several groups – family and friends, workmates etc. These were held in family homes and public meeting places. The railway station was also an important site of farewells and welcome homes whether of large numbers of troops such as from the military camp in Goulburn, or of several local residents. These might be accompanied by the town band, speeches by the mayor and other dignitaries, and a procession to or from the station. They took place at relevant stops, small or large, all along the line with the support of citizens’ groups and organisations. At stations with Loco departments (Goulburn, Picton), the loud ‘cock-a-doodling’ of engine whistles set off by the workers was a frequent feature of departure and return. This was especially the case where fellow railway workers were concerned. The following description of a farewell at Goulburn highlights the progress along the Southern Line of a troop train transporting soldiers from the Goulburn military camp:
10 The Light Horse Band played the men to the station… A tremendous crowd of people assembled at the railway station and the gallant soldiers were given a rousing farewell as the train sped on its way. Detonators were exploded and the engines shrieked their cock-a-doodle doos. The detachment arrived at Moss Vale at about 11.am where a small crowd of people assembled to wish them bon voyage. (Scrutineer and Berrima District Press 28/10/1916 p 2) Farewell and welcome home gifts Gifts were often given at farewells and welcome homes. Common gifts were wrist watches – luminous ones sometimes - shaving outfits, smoker’s outfits, safety razors, wallets and belts. Less usual – a balaclava hat and a sheepskin vest. The idea of the boomerang (returning, an Australian icon) was highlighted in Milne’s presentation of two mounted boomerangs to the First Railway Supply Detachment and was also present more generally – for example a special farewell present from a young lady to one soldier in the Southern Highlands described as a ‘boomerang mascot’ (a pin perhaps?). A typical expression wishing for a safe return: and that at the termination of this dreadful war they would return to their friends again (Southern Mail 18/4/1916 p.2). Knitted socks from the local Red Cross were given at a Mittagong farewell. Gifts could become treasured mementos of return or as representations of soldiers who did not return. The silver welcome home badges presented to Bob Curtis and Bill Guthrie at the welcome home event for them at the Guthrie home at Big Hill as a commemoration of the occasion, embody not only the mens’ experience of war but also that of their families (see memorabilia from Curtis family, photos and scans of objects, STARTS). Different examples in the Southern Highlands 1200 exhibition at Berrima are a silver cigarette case with the two cigarettes from Cairo presented as a farewell to a soldier who did not return, and a silver sugar bowl bought by another soldier killed in action to send to his new baby sister. Ambulance trains As the war continued ambulance trains transporting wounded returning soldiers became a more familiar site. Goulburn’s Welcome Home Committee played a role in meeting these returnees and at Moss Vale where trains stopped for refuelling, the Blue Gum Girls, started by Mrs Ethel Tomley who managed the refreshment rooms across the road from the station, were always on hand. They distributed flowers, cups of tea and chocolates. They also provided meals in association with the Red Cross. As well as meeting ambulance trains they were a familiar part of welcome homes at the station and having formed their own choir could also turn their hand to entertainment.
Fund raising and the provision of ‘comforts’ Fund raising and other work to support the troops was part of homefront activities in every locality. Red Cross branches played a key role in this as well as in farewells and welcome homes and the provision of ‘comforts’ to send to troops. Comforts funds were created to support particular fighting units with items such as clothing and non-perishable food. Goulburn was home to a branch of the comforts fund that supported the 6th Railway Operating Company which included a number of Goulburn Loco workers. The fund was established in Sydney by Tamar James, sister of the Company commander, Captain William James. In Goulburn the president was Thomasena Moore, mother-in- of Company member James Donald, whose wife Jessie also served on the Committee. In August 1918 the GEPP reported that Mrs Moore had knitted 112 pairs of socks for the Company. Violet Day Moss Vale
11 One of the ways the Red Cross in the Moss Vale area raised funds was through the sale of violets on Violet Day. In June 1918 sales of violets accompanied by afternoon teas, sales of fruit etc raised funds for the Soldiers’ Club. In Moss Vale itself, violets were sold by members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment at the Moss Vale railway station, raising 10 pounds and 5 shillings (Scrutineer and Berrima District Press 19 June 1918, p2.).
Convalescent homes - Moss Vale and Picton Several large early pastoral settlement houses in the Moss Vale and Picton areas became convalescent homes for soldiers. These played an important part in regional Homefront activities with local organisations raising funds for them and VADs assisting in the care of patients. Moss Vale, Picton and small stations on the line served the homes.
Honouring and supporting those who served War memorials Honour Boards in localities and work places were a form of honouring those who served from early in the War and in Goulburn and Picton railway honour boards were erected at the respective stations. Goulburn’s board remains at the station. The plans for a more substantial railway war memorial on the lawn in front of the station on Sloane Street, if the Railway Commisioners approved, did not materialise (GEPP 3/4/1917, p4). The Picton Post reported on the erection of the Picton Board on 3 March 1915 (p3) but its whereabouts are unknown. Citizens also raised funds for town war memorials. The Bowral War Memorial is on land donated by NSWGR. In Picton, Porter, Alexander Ingleton, contributed to fund raising for the Picton Memorial School of Arts as a musician (see stories summary). Anzac day commemorations Anzac Day commemorations became an important part of the yearly calendar and NSWGR gave employees leave to participate (CME circulars). Events such as a large group of original Anzacs stopping at Moss Vale on the way between Melbourne and Sydney, attracted crowds of well wishers. Practical support for returned soldiers Community organisations were active in providing support and raising funds for soldiers and their families in need. Soldiers’ clubs and leagues advocated on behalf of returnees particularly in relation to issues such as employment and financial hardship. Government ‘repat’ hospitals and private homes for soldiers who were in need of constant medical care became features of community landscapes. Workforce groups, including from NSWGR, as well as other organisations including schools (Goulburn eg) got involved in voluntary activities such as building homes for returned men and their families.
The peace bonfire built in the Moss Vale area July 1919, National Library of Australia 3919215
Banners, flags and illuminations were bright and heartfelt aspects of welcome homes and peace celebrations. Hand made welcome home banners were especially poignant (eg William Wilson photo of welcome home STARTS memorabilia). A welcome home banner made by a mother is on display in Her War at the Wollindilly Heritage Centre. Another example is the sign Murleen Brouwer (nee Smith)’s grandmother put up on a board above the garden gate of the family house near the North Goulburn Railway Station. Her three sons were able to see it as they came back into Goulburn on the train (Memories of Goulburn 2013) Peace celebrations in Sydney included streets ‘ablaze with light and colour’, brilliantly illuminated buildings. Warships in the harbour were outlined with electric lights and there was a display of rockets and searchlights. Central station was decorated and illuminated (Scrutineer and Berrima District Press 23/7/1919 p.4) In Picton, as sin Goulburn, the news of Armistice arriving at the telegraph station was greeted by piercing whistles from engines at the Loco Depot. In Picton the following day there was a procession, floral arches were erected and flags and banners were flown (Red Poppies and the White Waratah 115)
Returning to work with NSWGR Although NSWGR had generous repatriation policies in place and a number of the men whose stories have been collected returned to work and continued until retirement, this was probably not as easy for them as it might seem. Stories of those who were not able to continue in their position, resigned early or changed from their original job suggest the complexities of returning to work after years of living in a world of horror incomprehensible to those who had not been part of it; after living long term with death, injury, sickness and survival. With the passage of time there would have been changes in the work environment that were difficult to adjust to and the ongoing tensions in some areas of the workforce as a result of the strike, may have produced further adjustment difficulties. In addition railway work was physically demanding, requiring good eyesight, good hearing, strength and stamina. The stories show that a number of our returnees retired before the statutory 65 years or died, either on the job or after retirement, below the age of 69 which was the average life expectancy for men of the generation who served in WW1. On the other hand, the hierarchy and regulation of railway work, and the camaraderie between men in certain areas of the railway workforce, may have offered a degree of security after years in the military (not Robert Muir who later ran a general store). Perhaps working in relative isolation, outdoors, in fettling gangs may also have suited some of those who returned – for example Roy Howard who became a railway employee after the war and went on to become a much valued member of the workforce who as a ganger ‘held the Bowral length’.
The experience of returning railway workers, or of those who were employed by NSWGR as returned soldiers, may be gleaned from the individual stories and the context of the more general experience of repatriation in the aftermath of a long global war.
Repatriation and the legacy of war (see appendix viii: ‘Australian veteran’s health WW1’, MAPW; appendix ix: Marina Larsson ‘Unsung Healers’, Memento 38) Of a population of less than 5 million, 416,809 men aged between 18 and 44 volunteered for war service – not far off 40% of the population. Of these, 324,000 served in the field of battle. Overall there were around 60,000 deaths, 150,000 wounded and 87,865 grave illnesses (Millen; Larsson). A new form of wound which was not well understood at the time was produced by chemical warfare. Officially 16,496 AIF troops were exposed to gas attacks. Death rates were low but this masked long term health effects such as long term upper and lower lung damage that worsens over time (Millen). (eg Robert Curtis story ). Thousands of returned soldiers died slowly during the 1920s and 30s (Larsson p.235). By 1920, 90,000 ex-servicemen were receiving war disability pensions. The War itself had ended. The return of soldiers was a new chapter – the ‘aftermath’. Bill Gammage writes of the difficulties returned men had in adjusting to civilian life. A gap opened up between returned soldiers who had shared an intense and largely incommunicable experience far from home, and those who had no first hand knowledge of it. On both sides there were misunderstandings and perceived injustices, often particularly felt in relation to the legal support for returned soldiers’ preferential access to employment. There was a tendency for returned soldiers to seek each other’s company exclusively, looking for the mateship and camaraderie that had been central to surviving a shared experience of horror. Marina Larsson and others have focused on the ‘aftermath’ in relation to the family and community experience of caring for loved ones who had been physically and mentally injured. For families this was often an intense and long term experience with little Government support apart from a rigorously assessed pension. The stigma of physical disability and the lack of understanding psychological trauma meant that much of this experience was essentially private. An important aspect of the post-war context was the lack of public discussion about the difficult, horrific and life changing impact of war and the extent to which they continued into peacetime. With key government supports in place, and forms of commemoration such as ANZAC days established, ‘grin and bear it’ as Rod McLean said, was the accepted way forward. There were few words for the long term effects of the grief, loss and trauma resulting from war. Official language spoke of ‘disability’. Families spoke of men being ‘changed’. Some didn’t speak of it at all as examples of our stories show. (William Wilson, Robert Curtis stories). This situation shaped what Larsson sees as the ‘social’ wounds of war which affected those connected to servicemen with long term physical and psychological wounds and ‘touched the lives of successive generations of Australian families after 1918’ (Larsson p. 18)
THE STORIES OF RETURNING SOLDIERS ON THE GREAT SOUTHERN LINE: GOULBURN, MOSS VALE AND PICTON
The stories The stories of railway workers who enlisted in the First World War are based on information gathered from families and official war records. References to information collected are included. Summary information about each railway hub station and the character of its location is provided as context to each set of stories.
Goulburn hub Character of Hub Goulburn hub was a principal railway depot on the Great Southern Line. It played an important role in town and district life as a major employer and contributor to social life. Its identity centred on the industrial work of running and maintaining trains. Its large Locomotive Department (from the 1930s identified as ‘Mechanical’ on employment cards) carried out major overhauls and regular service work on locomotives and rolling stock. ‘Loco’ employees included engine crew as well as tradespeople such as boilermakers and fitters as well as labourers. A barracks was provided for crew resting between shifts. They were called to work by a Call Boy. By the end of the First World War a 42 road Roundhouse had been added for Loco work. The head of Loco was the Steam Shed Inspector. Goulburn Loco district included Tallong, Canberra, Moss Vale, Queanbeyan, Bombala, Michelago and Cooma stations. Homefront character The whistles of engines stabled at Loco contributed to wartime events such as farewelling railway workers off to the front and greeting returning soldiers. On Armistice Day they signaled the news and the beginning of peace celebrations (GEPP 9/11/1918 p2). The station, like others on the line, was the site of welcomes and farewells which included the local band. Goulburn railway management erected an honour board at the station for railway workers who served in the War. Stories
15 The detailed Goulburn stories collected to date are about Loco employees. Bob McKillop notes the industrial nature of Loco work and the strong role of unions in its workforce. He identifies overalls as the usual ‘uniform’ with ‘a driver’s cap or a battered Akubra for locomotive crew and collar and tie for supervisors’. Shunting work also appears on the employment cards of Goulburn loco workers. Marshalling goods wagons was particularly dangerous and bonds between members of gangs were strong. They generally wore ‘shorts and singlet and a battered greasy hat’ (see appendix ii). The additional story of Charles Leslie Newman who was clerk to the District Superintendent at Goulburn, highlights the district-wide role of Goulburn and its importance on the Great Southern Line.
The Goulburn Loco Five
Back l-r: Robert Curtis, Robert Muir Front l-r: William Guthrie, Joseph Wade, John Wade Album photo courtesy Kate Olsson (granddaughter Robert Curtis) Photo full length courtesy Judith Guthrie (granddaughter William Guthrie), also held by Robyn Cummins (granddaughter Robert Muir) Five young men working up the ladder of engine cleaner, fireman, loco driver at Goulburn loco depot, enlisted together in Sydney in 1916 and had their photo taken together to mark the occasion. They were connected by work and family. Two were brothers – Joseph and John Wade – born in the region. Two were British migrants – Robert Muir and Robert Curtis. William Guthrie’s family had several generations of history in the area. After the War Robert Curtis married William Guthrie’s sister, Daisy. They all returned from the War to work on the Southern Line in their positions at Goulburn Loco. Three of them stayed. John Wade and William Guthrie left the Southern Line but continued to work as drivers for NSWGR until they retired. Robert Curtis retired early as a result of his war injuries. Joseph Wade died suddenly on the job at the age of 58. Robert Muir exchanged railway work in Goulburn for managing a general store in Hornsby.
Name, railway station/s, key records, contact
employment and war service summary
Images/ memorabilia/stories held (file links)
Themes of story Notes
16 Robert CURTIS Cleaner, Fireman, Driver Goulburn See photo of five Goulburn railway enlisters War Service record: NAA B2455, CURTIS R (Service no. 25576) NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no. 37742
Granddaughter: Kate Olsson
Casual Cleaner Goulburn 1913. Permanent 1914. Enlisted 1916 with four others from Goulburn railway. Served in France as Gunner and Driver in Field Artillery. While at war promoted to Fireman 6 August 1917. Returned to work as Fireman Goulburn 1918 after gassed and discharged as medically unfit. Collapsed at work 1937 and returned to light duties as cleaner but continued as Shunting Fireman and Shunting Driver until retirement in 1945 aged 54 after being off duty due to illness.
Born 1891 in Yorkshire England. Aged 25 and single when enlisted. He married Daisy Guthrie, the sister of his friend and fellow Goulburn railway worker, Bill Guthrie, who enlisted at the same time (see photo of five) Suffered from effects of gas poisoning for much of his life. Retired early (aged 54) as a result and worked part-time when he could. He died as a result of the damage to his lungs after getting a cold. He was 69 when he died in 1959. Robert’s early life was on an estate in rural Yorkshire where his father was an estate manager. It seems that working the land was important to him. He passed on the ‘gardening bug’ to his son who provided the current generation with a direct link to this aspect of Robert’s character.
Images and memorabilia, including letters, held by granddaughter Kate Olsson (also relevant to William Guthrie) STARTS images and memorabilia Story information from Kate Olsson provided to Mary Hutchison. No additions provided by Kate Story file Additional story information STARTS images and memorabilia
Darkness, silence, treasures Silence – private lives The legacy of silence about difficult and painful events has deeply affected members of the second and third generation of the family – experienced as darkness Treasures (light and hope shed by these) Kate has inherited her grandmother’s box (identified as a railway tucker box) of treasured possessions which includes the photo of the five railway soldiers. The box provides evidence of a story that was never spoken about. (other sad and difficult family stories also rarely mentioned) Impact of war on health Long term ill health Early retirement from railway work Resilience, independence The ‘gardening bug’ Working when he could
17 William James GUTHRIE Porter, Cleaner, Fireman, Driver Yass, Mittagong, Goulburn (Narromine) See photo of five Goulburn railway enlisters War Service record: NAA B2455, GUTHRIE, WJ (Service no. 25661) NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no (2nd). 38838 Great niece: Kate Olsson Granddaughter: Judith Guthrie
Robert Lewis MUIR
Joined NSWGR in 1912 when he was 19. Started as a junior porter at Yass, then worked as a gatekeeper at Mittagong. He resigned and then joined the Loco Dept at Goulburn in 1914 as a casual and then permanent engine cleaner. Enlisted 1916 with four others from Goulburn Railway. Served as a Driver in the Field Artillery in Belgium and France. Promoted to Fireman while at war 6 August 1917. Resumed railway work at Goulburn after discharged in 1919. After 1920 moved to the Western Division and became an engine driver on the Peak-Hill-Narromine and Dubbo lines. After several moves (cartage paid by Railways), settled in Narromine. Retired in 1953 aged 60 (pension age 65)
Born 1893, near Goulburn. Family second generation on land at Big Hill. War service record shows that he was a qualified Fitter – probably completed training before seeking railway employment. He was 22 when he enlisted and single. Gassed repeatedly in 1917 and wounded in the stomach 1918. Returned to the front each time. Discharged 1919 after hospitalization for haemorrhoids. Married Mary Morrisey in 1922. Family included sons Victor and Norman. Died in 1957 aged 64, four years after his retirement
Started work for NSWGR in Goulburn as a casual engine cleaner in 1915 at the age of
Born in Glasgow 1893. Family emigrated to Australia in 1912 when he was 19. He worked
Images and memorabilia, held by granddaughter Judith Guthrie and great niece Kate Olsson. STARTS images and memorabilia Story information including news items Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, CONTACT military magazine (issue 37 2009) Story file STARTS images and memorabilia Additional story information Kate Olsson’s public family tree on Ancestry.com
Pride in military service Serving in the armed forces has continued to third generation (grandson William Guthrie). Public/Private (another kind of silence) Grandchildren express pride in his service but no information has been provided about his war experience and its impact on his life (see grandson article in CONTACT) Moving on or moving away? Left Goulburn with its family and early friendship connections (eg Robert Curtis and Robert Muir) Newspaper articles show that he had some status in Narromine as engine driver, cricket player etc
Played cricket for Railway Cricket Club. Cricket a theme in family.
Images and memorabilia held by family including Robert’s small diary
Critical view of society injustice
18 Cleaner, Fitter’s Assistant Goulburn See photo of five Goulburn railway enlisters War Service record: NAA B2455, NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Granddaughter: Robyn Cummins
22 and enlisted in early 1916 with four others from Goulburn Loco Dept. Served in France and Belgium as Driver in Field Artillery, Motor Transport and Field Ambulance. After his discharged in 1919 he was employed as a Fitters labourer in Goulburn Loco Dept. In 1935 he was promoted to Fitters’ Assistant and held this position until he resigned in 1947 so that he and his wife could visit family in England. Note that as a casual employee he may not have been eligible for the difference between military and railway pay, nor would his position have been held for him. It is likely that he was re-employed rather than reinstated by NSWGR.
on the construction of Burrinjuck Dam from 1913 until employment on Railway. He was 22 and single when he enlisted. Robert was not hospitalised during his service but like his co-driver in the field Ambulance was exposed to mustard gas. Like many he did not want to delay his repatriation with medical tests, and there is no record of this on his service record. His death from pneumonia in 1963 at the age of 70 suggests the lung damage he suffered. Robert and his co-driver in Field Ambulance met their future wives in Pozieres – two friends who were serving with the UK forces, officially as cooks but often helping the wounded. Robert and Jean’s son Ron was born in Wales in 1920 after Robert had returned to Australia. Ron remained with Jean’s family when Jean joined Robert in Australia and married him in 1922. They had three
recording important dates and events. STARTS images and memorabilia Story information from Robyn Cummins and her sister Jeannette, written and in conversation with Mary Hutchison and Susan Conroy Story file
Grandchildren have a strong connection to their parents’ war time experiences. Robert talked about his wartime experiences and both Robert and Jean conveyed the injustice of wartime hierarchies in which officers had far better accommodation than the men in the trenches. Robert was prepared to stand up for himself in situations he considered unfair – eg instance of hesitating to obey an officer noted on his service record. Community service Robert and Jean also worked voluntarily to help people in civilian life – eg supporting World War Two soldiers in Goulburn. Robert attended Anzac day marches and participated in events that went with it. Jean did not wish to recall the war in this way. Resilience, independence Moving on and doing what you can for the best – see details of story and memorabilia such as
19 daughters. Family and financial circumstances made it impossible for Ron to come to Australia as planned. During the Depression Years Robert’s hours as a fitter’s Labourer were reduced During the Second World War Robert and Jean ran the ‘Daffodil café’ in Auburn Street for troops on leave in Goulburn.
the diary and items that Robert made Family and community Ensuring a good family life for children and grandchildren Daffodil Café More in stories
Joseph WADE Cleaner, Fireman, Driver Goulburn See photo of five Goulburn railway enlisters War Service record: NAA B2455, WADE, Joseph (Service no. 27203) NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no 52791 No family contact. Garry White, Goulburn and District Historical
1914 joined NSWGR Goulburn Loco where his older brother John was already employed. Casual engine cleaner. Not clear whether still on probation when enlisted in 1916 at age of 21 – file note that he would be granted difference between railway and military pay. Enlisted with brother and three others from Goulburn Loco. Promoted to Fireman during War August 1917 and resumed duties as fireman on return in 1919. Became engine driver and worked mainly at Goulburn. Died suddenly in 1952 aged 58, while still employed. His widow was provided with his retiring leave as a compassionate allowance.
After the War they visited England to see Ron and when they returned they settled in Hornsby and ran a general store until retiring in 1957. Born 1894 in Goulburn-Yass region (father’s address Bookham when enlisted). Father Frank Wade. Enlisted when 21 and single. Served as Driver in Field Artillery and Second Division Ammunition Column in France. Wounded in Action 1917 and hospitalised for various illnesses that reveal life in the trenches – scabies, tonsillitis, measles and diarrhoea. Died suddenly aged 58. Obit notice shows that he married Barbara and had two children and four step children. Also refers to ‘a wide circle of friends’
Story file Includes news items from Goulburn Evening Penny Post
Community and work Life centred around Goulburn. His brother John moved to Dungog.
21 Society is researching his life.
John WADE Cleaner, Fireman, Driver Goulburn (Dungog) See photo of five Goulburn railway enlisters War Service record: NAA B2455, WADE, John (Service no. 27202) NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no 31597 No family contact.
Started work at Goulburn Loco as a casual engine cleaner in 1912 aged 20. Permanent from 1913 when became Fireman. Enlisted 1916 and resumed railway work as Fireman in Goulburn in 1919. Promoted to Engine Driver 1920. Worked briefly in Junee in 1920 and returned to Goulburn. Moved permanently to the Broadmeadow Mechanical branch in Dungog in 1932. Retired 1953 aged 60.
Born 1892 in Goulburn-Yass region (father’s address Bookham when enlisted). Father Frank Wade. Enlisted when 23 and single. Served as Driver and Bombardier in Field Artillery and Second Division Ammunition Column in France. Wounded in Action 1918 when he received shrapnel and gunshot wounds to his chin and hand. Returned to front. Discharged 1919.
WILLIAM JAMES AND BILL WILSON (insert welcome home Wilson photo) William James and Bill Wilson were at opposite ends of the railway hierarchy. William James had risen from fitter’s apprentice at Goulburn to Steam Shed Inspector at Eveleigh when the War began. Bill Wilson had risen from engine cleaner to fireman and then resigned from the railway to work elsewhere in Goulburn. The War and its aftermath brought them together. Bill Wilson enlisted in 1915 and initially served in an ammunition column where the main work was transporting artillery. William James was appointed commander of the New South Wales Railway Unit which formed at the end of 1916 and served in Belgium and France from 1917. At that time Bill Wilson transferred to the railway unit. During Bill’s service in the unit William James recommended him for a bravery award which did not eventuate. William returned to work at Goulburn as Steam Shed Inspector. Bill was re-employed by NSWGR and worked at Eveleigh as an engine cleaner. After resigning from this position he was re-employed again at Goulburn Loco where William was manager. Bill’s family knew him as a violent alcoholic. For nearly 10 years he had steady employment as a cleaner and acting fireman at Goulburn Loco. His suicide coincided with William’s promotion to Divisional Locomotive Superintendent. Name, key railway station/s, key records, contact William JAMES Fitter, Steam Shed Inspector, Divisional Loco Superintendent Goulburn (Junee, head office, Eveleigh) War Service record: NAA B2455, JAMES William (service No. Major)
employment and war service summary
Started work for NSWGR on the Southern Line as a boy fitter in the Permanent Way Department in 1889. By 1899 he was a fitter having completed his apprenticeship and worked in the positions of fitter’s improver and junior turner. He was appointed to the Loco department in Goulburn and then other stations on the line. By 1914 he had been promoted to
Born Sydney 1875. Family moved to Goulburn during 1880s. He married Ethel Gordon in 1901 two years after completing his apprenticeship. They had four children, one died in infancy. By the time he enlisted the marriage had broken up and divorce proceedings were in train. He and the children were living with his sister Tamar in Sydney. His eldest daughter (Rita Ethel) is listed
Images/ memorabilia/stories held (file links) Story file Newspaper articles, Goulburn Evening Penny Post, includes speeches by William at farewells and welcome homes Notes from conversation with Trevor Edmonds Trevor Edmonds, ‘A Railway War’, Australian Railway History, December 2010
Themes of story Notes Duty, public life and responsibilities, support for others. In a speech to the railway unit in 1918, William James declared that he would do his best for every one of the men in the unit when they returned to their railway work (GEPP, 11 June 1918 p2). It is understood that in his role as Steam Shed Inspector at Goulburn Loco from 1919 – 1934 that he did his best for William Wilson (see story)
NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no 1959
Steam Shed Inspector and had worked for the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) in the head office in Sydney. He was at Eveleigh workshop when he volunteered for the NSW railway unit in 1916 and was appointed its Commander. When he returned to Australia in 1919 he was appointed Steam Shed Inspector at Goulburn. In 1934 he was promoted to Divisional Locomotive Superintendent. He retired in 1940.
at Tamar’s address as his next of kin. With enlistment there was pressure to finalise the divorce which raised issues of custody and from this time William had little contact with his children. Before the War, William had been a member of the Australian Light Horse (like army reserve). He was promoted to Major during his war service and Mentioned in Despatches by Douglas Haig. Was highly regarded as an officer. He remarried in 1924 while working in Goulburn (Millie Stewart). A daughter, Norma, was born in 1927. (note that Rita also had a daughter called Norma – surname James as she was not married). Tamar James was the president of the railway unit comforts fund in Sydney. It is not clear whether she was also the sister ‘Nurse’ James mentioned in GEPP. William was 65 when he retired in 1940 and 91 when he died in 1966. His sister
from the time Wilson was reemployed at Goulburn in 1925 until 1934 when James was promoted and Wilson committed suicide. A tangible connection to his public role Transport Heritage NSW has acquired two of William James war service medals – only tangible connection with him. A keen cyclist One of the newspaper articles mentions that he was a keen cyclist in his youth.
24 Tamar died the same year. (personal information from Trevor Edmonds) Much personal info researched by Trevor Edmonds. Only descendants traceable are in New Zealand and have no interest in the story. (second marriage) William Charles (Bill)WILSON Cleaner, Fireman, Cleaner Goulburn (Eveleigh) War Service record: NAA B2455, WILSON WC ( Service no.9104) NSWGR Employment card: Grandson: John Wilson
Engine cleaner promoted to Fireman 1909 – 1914. Resigned and applied unsuccessfully for reemployment in 1915. At this time he enlisted in Divisional Ammunition Column (artillery transport). Transferred to 6th Railway Operating Company in 1917 under Command of Captain William JAMES (see separate listing). Served as engine driver in Belgium and France. Recommended by James for a Distinguished Conduct Medal which was not approved. Discharged 1919 and re-employed that year as cleaner at Eveleigh (Lower level than before. As not employed on railway when
Born 1892 near Goulburn. Twenty four years old and married with one child when he enlisted. Pattern of resigning from railway and reapplying for work. The first time he did this his wife, Elsie, applied to have his payout paid directly to her. This was refused by the railways and by the local MP Story of bravery leading to medal recommendation When driving a troop train between Passchendale and Ypres averted a collision with 20 runaway wagons of ammunition by reversing his train and so allowing the
Images and memorabilia, Welcome home image and letter re Distinguished conduct held by family STARTS images and memorabilia Original image of William Wilson in uniform Rocky Hill Story information from Trevor Edmonds and grandson, John Wilson Notes of interviews with John Wilson by Mary Hutchison and Susan Conroy Excerpt from Trevor Edmonds, ‘A Railway War’, Australian Railway History, December 2010 Story file
A troubled life Disappointments Hidden story Silence - shame Family coping alone Bringing the story to light Seeking connections with an unknown grandparent John knew very little of story until Trevor Edmonds did research on members of 6th ROC. Grandfather’s alcoholism and violence had a serious impact on family. Regrets about not knowing the story. John noted that he, like his father, is good with his hands and able to draw well. He wonders whether his grandfather was the same.
25 enlisted his original position not guaranteed). Resigned 1922 but re-employed at Goulburn as cleaner with work as acting fireman from 1925 until suicide 1934 aged 42. Note that as he had resigned from the Railways before he enlisted he would not have been eligible for the difference between military pay and railway work pay unless provided by his later employer. Despite his resignation he was reemployed by NSWGR
wagons backing towards his train at speed to come to an orderly stop at point of connection. This required significant manual strength and skill After his return to Australia Bill applied for and was approved for re-employment with NSWGR. After working mainly at Eveleigh as a cleaner for several years he resigned. He was again re-employed, this time at Goulburn where his war time commander, William James, was employed as steam shed supervisor. His record shows that while he was appointed as cleaner he also acted as fireman at Goulburn. He shot himself in his woodshed not long after James was promoted to Divisional Superintendent. (It seems possible that the new Steam Shed Supervisor was not as supportive as James.) By then Bill’s son (John’s father) having completed his apprenticeship, was also working for the railways at Goulburn.
Bravery and unsuccessful recommendation for medal. Not on Rocky Hill or Railway honour lists. Impact of war on health Cause or exacerbation of troubles with alcohol
In Goulburn Elsie worked for many years as a cleaner at the railway station Family understands Bill suffered from mustard gas poisoning. Not on service record but if no hospitalisation not recorded. Family experienced Bill as a violent alcoholic. Trevor Edmonds’ research covered inquest records which indicated ‘lack of sobriety’. No lapses in Bill’s work are recorded on his employment card. This and the timing of his suicide suggest that James provided Bill with lifeline support. Bill’s wife, Elsie, moved into the first home in Legacy Lodge, Goulburn, 1966.
ADDITIONAL STORIES Charles Leslie NEWMAN
27 Enlisted in September 1914 and served in the First Railway Supply Detachment under the command of Captain E.O. Milne (Traffic Inspector Goulburn – lots on Transport Heritage website about him, father was a Railway Commissioner and both sons served in War). Newman was clerk in the district Superintendent’s office at Goulburn and had served in the Citizen’s Military Force. There is a photo of him with 5 other members of the Detachment in the NSW Railway and Tramway Budget (1 Sept. 1915 p 13 – on CD). Other items in Railway Budget (The Milnes were big news). Commissioner Milne (father) was a great collector of Aboriginal artefacts and at the farewell of the Detachment he presented the unit with a ‘come-back’ boomerang and a fighting boomerang (details Budget 1 Nov. 1914 p75). Unmarried when he enlisted. His mother is listed as Next of Kin and her address as Mittagong. Information from NAA: B4255 NEWMAN CHARLES LESLIE. Service no. 2554. POB: Goulburn (story file) NSW Railway and Tramway Budget: Dec. 1 1914 pp108-9; Jan. 1 1915 p13, p138 (photos and lists); Nov. 1 1914, p75 (CDs from ARHS) (print outs in story file) Daniel Augustine McKINNON Started permanent work as a cleaner at Goulburn Loco in 1914. Enlisted in Goulburn 1915 at the age of 30 and described himself as a trainee engineman. He was single. Had served in Citizens’ Military Force. Served in several Divisions including Signals. Gassed in France. Discharged as medically unfit with eye infection. Returned to work at Goulburn in 1919 as Fireman. Served at several different railway depots during the 1920s and returned to Goulburn in 1926. Promoted to Driver in 1938 and retired in 1946. Born in 1884 and died in 1964. Information from Rod McLean’s summary of war service record NAA: B2455 DANIEL AUGUSTINE MCKINNON. Service no. 5421 (story file) NSWGR employment records State Records NSW. Staff no: 37756 THOMAS VICTOR STEVENSON Born in WA 1897. Joined the Australian Navy at the age of 14 and was serving as a signal boy on HMAS Sydney when it went into battle with and sank the SS Emden November 1914 (first Australian engagement in WW1 – in PNG area). On return went to Goulburn joined NSWGR, married and worked as an engine driver. Enlisted in Navy in Second World War. Information from Facebook post sourced by Giselle Second World War Naval record records his earlier service. NAA: A6770 STEVENSON T V.
STORIES SUMMARY – MOSS VALE HUB
Moss Vale Refreshment Rooms 1890 (left) and 1935 (right). Berrima Image Library, Berrima and District Family Historical Society.
Character Moss Vale Hub was a central location in the southern highlands farming district. Its identity centred on goods and passengers but most particularly passengers. It was an important refueling stop between Goulburn and Sydney and so one of the major stops between Melbourne and Sydney. It was also an important stop for holiday makers in the Southern Highlands including successive Governors of New South Wales. Accordingly station amenities including Refreshment Rooms, waiting rooms and Vice-Regal waiting rooms were a significant part of the station, its work and character. Moss Vale gained refreshment rooms when Mittagong lost theirs. As with all other stations, the refreshment rooms were initially managed privately but taken over by NSWGR during the War and following years. Moss Vale refreshment rooms were taken over by NSWGR in 1917. Electric lighting was installed in 1912 (ARHSNSW lunch club notes). Duplication of the line was completed in the early years of the First World War. Railway workers camped adjacent to the town played an important role in War fundraising activities (Trove newspapers). A goods yard was also an important feature of Moss Vale traffic activities. Moss Vale was within the Goulburn Loco District and employment cards suggest that this was the same with Traffic and Per Way Departments. Homefront character
Moss Vale station like others on the line, was the site of welcomes and farewells which included the local band. But it was also a major stop on the Great Southern Line for Troop Trains and those carrying wounded soldiers. The Blue Gum Girls regularly met troops and provided concert entertainment as well as gifts to wounded soldiers. Another homefront character of the Moss Vale area with its large early pastoral settlement houses, was that it included several convalescent homes for soldiers. Moss Vale and smaller stations on the line were stops for these. Stories
29 The few stories collected from Moss Vale and nearby stations are about employees in the Traffic department (porters, signalmen) and fettlers. Fettlers worked along the line rather than at stations. They were employed by the Per Way department according to district – eg Goulburn, Metropolitan – though they lived in a particular location, hopefully as close to their work as possible. One story fragment concerns a bridge carpenter whose address when he enlisted in 1915 was ‘Railway works, Moss Vale’. Bob McKillop notes the elaborate uniforms of porters which included indications of rank (caps, braid etc) coupled with their predominantly manual service work; sweeping platforms, unloading luggage, assisting passengers and ‘doing any chore beneath the dignity of those directing them’. He also notes that fettlers, by contrast, worked in isolated conditions and were relatively independent. Their hard physical work included replacing sleepers and rails and shoveling and packing the ballast (often blue metal) that supported them. ‘their tools were round-mouthed shovels, hammers, adzes and crowbars, a jigger to bore the sleepers, and rail tongs’ (see appendix ii).
AN EXAMPLE OF YOUNG RAILWAY WORKERS KEEN TO SERVE LESLIE WILLIAM SMITH
Name, railway station/s, key records, contact
employment and war service summary
Started work as a porter at Mittagong in c. 1915, at c. 15 years of age (based on photo information). Enlisted in Mittagong at the age of 18 years and 7 months 14
Born in Bowral in 1900. Died in 1971. Father: Walter Albert SMITH.
Images/ memorabilia/stories held (file links) Berrima District Historical and Family History Society Image Library http://www.berrimadistricth istoricalsociety.org.au/
Themes of story Notes These photos can stand for other young railway workers keen to serve in the first world war They show:
30 Leslie William SMITH porter
August 1918. Did not serve as the War ended. Discharged 31 December 1918.
A 15 year old in his railway porter’s uniform (1915) most likely on his first day of work Three years later,18 years old, in his military uniform, having gained consent to enlist from his parents, and just a couple of months from the end of the war.
Mittagong War Service record: NAA B2455, SMITH L W (no service no. allocated)
They also give insight into: Working as a porter in 1915 The role of uniforms in rites of passage the experience of railway work aspirations of a young man in Moss Vale during the period of the First World War.
No family contact
TWO FETTLERS ON THE SOUTHERN LINE
ALBERT VOLLER AND ROY HOWARD
Railway Ambulance Corps Efficiency Medal 1927 awarded to Albert Voller Name, railway station/s, key records, contact Albert Alfred George VOLLER Fettler Bundanoon War Service record: NAA B2455, VOLLER Albert Alfred George (service No. 5410) NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no Grandson: Rod McLean
employment and war service summary
First work for NSWGR was as a ballast packer, then a relief fettler. One of his early jobs was on the Bundanoon fettling gang that cleared the railway after the Exeter disaster March 1914. He was a permanent fettler based at Bundanoon when he enlisted in 1916. Served as a sniper in the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion and promoted to Corporal. He was diagnosed with flat feet in 1917 but unlike others was not immediately discharged. He then served as an instructor at a base camp in England and was discharged in 1919. Returned to his work as a
Born 1888 in Landport (Portsmouth vicinity) England. Migrated to Australia in the early 1900s. First work was on the Transcontinental railway. Aged 27 and single when he enlisted. Had been corresponding with Pearl Phillips who lived in the Berrima-Bundanoon area for some time since arriving in Australia and they married when he returned in June 1919. They had four children. One died in infancy. Albert was a keen member of the New South Wales Railway and Tramway Ambulance Corps. This included a Rifle Club. It is not known whether he was a member of this but it could
Images/ memorabilia/stories held (file links) Two New South Wales Railway and Tramway Ambulance Corps efficiency medals 1923;1927. ‘Australia’ epaulette (scanned?) held by Rod McLean STARTS images and memorabilia
Themes of story notes
No photos held by family
Capacity and skill not discharged immediately for flat feet but retained as instructor. RSL sub branch treasurer
Story information provided by Rod McLean (notes and story compiled for workshops) Story file
Community service – civic responsibility commitment to ambulance corps foundation member of RSL sub branch role in Penrose fire Rod’s feeling that Albert was always helping his mates.
impact of war on health suffered from problems with his feet last years in need of care provided by wife
32 fettler based at Bundanoon. In 1939 he was awarded a bonus of 10 shillings for his services in saving the Penrose railway station when a bushfire destroyed much of the township as well as houses around Bundanoon and threatened the main southern line. Rod’s mother had vivid memories of the roaring fire and concerns for their house.
account for his skill as a sniper (though the club’s members may have been salaried rather than wage staff). He had trench foot and suffered from this after the war. He also carried stomach injuries as a result of being buried by shell fire for three days. This was not recorded on his war service record as he was not hospitalized and, keen to get home quickly when discharged, did not report for medical tests. He retired at 60 rather than 65 – the ‘burntout’ pension. On the honour board at Bundanoon. Foundation member of Bundanoon RSL sub branch and treasurer. Played the piano at Anzac day luncheons. Rod recalled him as always helping his mates. Also his delight in Rod joining the school band and Rod’s memories of his grandfather showing him photos of war time locations.
no record of being buried alive for three days so no access to repat support Independence Getting on with it Grin and bear it
33 Roy James HOWARD Fettler (Uadry) Goulburn, Exeter, Bowral War Service record: NAA B2455, HOWARD R J(service No. 2421) NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no Grandson: Peter Howard Daughter: Colleen Prest
Working as a farm labourer around Dalton when he enlisted in Goulburn in March 1916 (possibly kangaroo march) at the age of 19. Served as a private in 56th Battalion in France. Gassed several times in 1918 and invalided out at the end of the year. His employment record shows that he began work for NSWGR’s Southern Division in 1925 as a temporary labourer. He may have done some work for the railways prior to this, though his work in the remote area of Uardry (near Hay) on an ‘extra’ gang as recalled by his daughter, was probably within the southern division which stretched as far west as Narranderra. It is not clear whether his work for a blue metal mine which supplied ballast for the railway sleepers was part of his NSWGR work or preceded it. In 1928 he became a permanent fettler and then a ganger. Until 1933, when he was attached more specifically to the
Born 1896 in Dalton. Family had property ‘Woodside’ acquired as part of a government deal which involved clearing land in a certain time frame. He went to school at Felled Timber Creek Public School where he was a good student and strongly encouraged by his teacher who wrote him a letter emphasizing his potential when he left school in 1910 at the age of 14. His Parents reluctantly gave permission for him to enlist in 1916 when he was 19. The effects of being gassed, although recorded as a ‘slight disability not permanent’, were considerable. When he returned he stayed with an aunt in Exeter who found him a place at Waley convalescent home in Picton. There he met his wife, Martha Larkin, who was working as a nurse (VAD). (note Larkin’s Steam Mill at Picton) They married in 1922. She was 20. He was 26. Albert’s work for NSWGR took his wife and young family to remote locations first to
War badge and two medals Transcript of letter to Roy in 1910 from his teacher W? Bruce STARTS images and memorabilia
Impact of war on health Long convalescence at Waley Home (shell shock) Sleeping with the kero light on Disturbed sleep Difficulty with noise
Photograph in uniform, letters home from the front, ‘my dear mother’ Obituary by Secretary of NSWGR, Goode Other memorabilia Colleen Prest Peter Howard
Independence, overcoming difficulties A life time of hard manual work despite war injuries.
Story information provided by Peter Howard and Colleen Prest Story file
Private embodiment of war experience ‘The men didn’t talk about the war. It was something they couldn’t get out of their bodies’ (Colleen Prest daughter) Capacity and skill Noted by his primary school teacher and in railway obituary First employed by NSWGR as a returned soldier. As a Ganger in his later employment ‘he held the Bowral length’
34 Goulburn district, he travelled great distances for work. After that, from time to time he worked beyond the Goulburn district in areas of Sydney. When he died he had the position of Ganger who ‘held the Bowral length’ (obit. J Good Sec. Railways)
Uardry and then closer to Goulburn at Cullerin, a tiny place, ten miles from the nearest township, Gunning. There the family lived in a little house beside the railway line with Albert often working at other remote places on the line for weeks at a time. These were very lonely years for his wife. After 7 years with Albert getting a position specifically in the Goulburn District of NSWGR, they were able to move into Goulburn. The next move was to Exeter and then to Bowral where Albert bought the ex-gatekeepers cottage from the Railways. Payments towards the cost and interest were deducted from his pay. As a result of his war experience Albert slept badly and found it hard to spend time with his young children. He always slept with the kero light on. In the early years of his marriage his whole body sometimes jerked into the air as he slept. He was still working as a ganger for Ways and Works
35 (Per Way) when he died of a brain haemorrhage in 1959 (aged 63). He was a union member and voted Labor. His father had been involved in the Shearer’s Strike in the 1890s.
TWO TRAFFIC EMPLOYEES AND A BRIDGE CARPENTER
Robert Ellerslie YOUNG Porter Signalman (Sydney) Moss Vale War Service record: NAA B2455 YOUNG RE, (service No. 3086)
NSWGR employment card: State Records NSW Staff no: 22933
First employed by NSWGR in 1910 as a third class porter at Sydney stations. Promoted to leading porter in 1915 in the Goulburn District, mainly at Moss Vale Station. Several work injuries and went out on strike (1913) before the War. Enlisted May 1918 by which time he was a signalman at Moss Vale and had passed his Ambulance Certificate. He did not go out on strike in 1917 but received warnings about his performance in late 1917 early 1918. He joined Reinforcements for
Born Tenterfield NSW 1889. He was married with two children when he enlisted in 1918 at the age of 28. His wife was Dulcie Myrtle and their address was Browley Street Moss Vale. It’s possible that he moved to Moss Vale when he married. His refusal of promotions to other stations and districts suggests that it became his home and that his wife may have had family connections there. A handwritten note on his service record shows that his brother enlisted at the same time as he did and that the
Official records Story file
Personal information required to draw any strong conclusions from the official record. Note strong attachment to Moss Vale – see also Ingleton staying in Picton. Ingleton also employed by Trafffic and working as Porter and Signalman
36 No family contact
Roy Stanley HATTER Porter Goulburn district – Moss Vale (tbc) War Service record: NAA B2455, HATTER RS (service No. 1547)
the 2nd Australian Light Railway Company. He returned to work as a signalman at Moss Vale and held this position until he retired in 1950. Over this time he declined a number of promotional positions at other stations. He achieved 6th class signalman. His record shows examination passes and fails and regular eyesight tests a s well as a number of cautions and warnings concerning his work. Towards the end of his career he sustained a work injury resulting in 11 days off work. He was also award the Ambulance gold medal. First employed by NSWGR as a Junior Porter in Feb 1911 when he was 16. The station is given as Goulburn district. He enlisted four years later in 1915. His father’s address is noted as Exeter and his occupation is recorded as railway clerk though his employment card shows Porter. He served as a driver, later promoted to Corporal. He started with the
military accommodated his request for them to travel overseas together. Robert received a number of warnings and cautions during his career. He went out on strike in 1913 but not during the big strike of 1917. Perhaps the discomfort of the situation post strike prompted his enlistment. Nothing on his service record re injury – but the number of warnings and cautions and medical tests in the years immediately after his return to work suggest that he might have been unsettled/unwell. Born in 1894 in Goulburn. He was the youngest of seven sons in a very large Goulburn family (also several daughters). By the time of the First World War the family was based in Exeter and involved in dairying and farming. A number of the sons were involved in military service. (GEPP 20 July 1916 p4).
Official records and newspapers Story file
This story is valuable for three things: The experience of a young man who was unable to return to his pre-war job. Reference to disfigurement even if this was not a critical factor. The NSWGR procedure and response to his case. Personal information would shed more light – and perhaps a more detailed Trove search.
37 NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records Staff no 22435 No family contact
2nd Light Horse Reserve Regiment in Egypt (Maadi , Cairo, Alexandria). After transferring to the 15th field Artillery Brigade where he was appointed Driver, he was sent to France. He suffered an accidental back injury in October 1916 and was not discharged from hospital until November. Wounded in action in France and hospitalised in England 23/10/1917 for a Gun Shot Wound (later described as shrapnel wound) to his lower jaw. He was in hospital for a number of months and 15/2/1918 was charged with a military offence (‘whilst a patient in hospital returning to the hospital drunk’). ON the same day he was discharged on leave and returned to Command Depot at Sutton Veny. From there to AIF UK Depot at Tidworth. In November he was admitted to hospital at Bulford which specialised in VD and was taken over by the Australians in 1916 (‘due to demand’ – see hospital
Roy was living in Sydney as were two of his other brothers when his father died in 1937 (Scrutineer and Berrima District Press 23 June 1937 p2). He died in 1968 (death certificate on service record) His name was provided by Moss Vale historians. It is unclear whether he is on the Moss Vale memorial because of family residence or because of his railway work which is only recorded as Goulburn District and could certainly have included Moss Vale which was within the Goulburn district
38 list). 40 days later he was transferred to a convalescent hospital in Parkhouse which also specialised in VD. He returned to tidworth in January 1919 when he was appointed Corporal. Returned to Australia in February and on return in March was discharged as Medically Unfit because of his wound. He resigned from his job as Porter in November. As a result of a medical examination, NSWGR treated his resignation as ‘retirement due to ill health’ and a gratuity of ten days’ salary was payed to him for every year of his service – 42 pounds (decision made Sept 1920). Was working as a bridge carpenter on the Moss Vale Railway Works when he enlisted at the Goulburn Depot on 10 January 1916. He was 27 years old. He went to England in September- October 1916 and was forfeited his pay on
39 a number of occasions for ‘overstaying leave’ and being ‘absent from camp’. He then travelled to France in November 1916 with the 3rd Rifles, 55th Battalion and spent time in hospital in Etaples (France) between February to April in 1917. He was found in July 1917 to have ‘defective vision’ , was transferred as ‘permanently unfit’ to England and was then discharged . Returned to Australia and sent to the 4th Australian General Hospital at Randwick, NSW where his occupation is listed as ‘labourer’ (on 25.8.1917). He subsequently unsuccessfully tried for a pension which was rejected as ‘no incapacity as a result of warlike operations’ was listed. (Claire summary of war record)
40 John GOLDRICK Bridge Carpenter, Pickman, concretor Moss Vale (Picton, Mittagong, Port MacQuarrie)
Goldrick’s NSWGR employment card is for work in 1926 as a pickman and concreter at Cockle Creek near Lake Macquarrie. It indicates that he was previously employed at Picton and Mittagong. He resigned in August 1926
b.1889, Sligo, Ireland
War Service record: NAA B2455, GOLDRICK, J(Service No. 1905)
NSWGR Employment Card: NSW Public Records. Staff no. 368 no family contact
This story is valuable for two things: 1.reference to the major railway duplication work that took place in the Moss Vale area during the War. As there is no detailed record of this period of his work it may have been on a temporary rather than permanent basis. It is not clear whether the earlier work in Picton and Mittagong mentioned on the card is pre enlistment or post return work. 2. an indication of the position of manual workers without permanent employment when they returned from war – short term work, possibly few and far between, at a variety of locations, especially leading up to and during the Depression.
STORIES SUMMARY – PICTON HUB Character Picton hub’s identity is more metropolitan (80 ks from Sydney) than that of either Moss Vale or Goulburn but it shared characteristics with each of them. It was a major employer with a Loco Department managed by the Sydney railway district through Enfield and functioned as an important changeover stop for railway staff (Vincent, History of Picton 1996). It was also a centre in an agricultural district where producers relied on the railway to get their goods to local and central markets. In more recent times, as Picton’s attractions and proximity to Sydney have made it a major commuter district, its identity has come to
41 focus on the railway’s role in moving people. During the War work on a deviation from the original line from Picton to Mittagong brought additional railway workers to the town. It was completed in1918. Homefront character Picton station like others on the line, was the site of farewells to soldiers and welcomes to those returning. Railway workers also erected an honour board to those who served in the War (PP 29/11/1916 p4). Like Moss Vale the area had its share of large houses and one of these, Waley Home, (Mowbray Park) was provided as a gift for soldiers with its surrounding peaceful grounds seen as especially valuable for those suffering from shell shock (Camden News April 1920). (photo from Wollondilly Heritage Centre) Stories The small number of Picton stories collected, in keeping with the identity of Picton Hub, are from Loco and Traffic departments. They also reflect its agricultural location and proximity to Sydney.
Name, railway station/s, key records, contact Alexander Davie INGLETON Porter (shunter, guard, signalman) Goulburn Picton War Service record: NAA B2455, INGELTON ALXANDER DAVIES (service No. 114) NSWGR Employment:
employment and war service summary
Joined NSWGR in 1908 as temporary porter at Goulburn. Once permanent passed test as shunter and moved to Picton where he passed the guard’s and later signalmen’s tests. He declined several offers of promotion to Sydney stations and was awarded an Railway Ambulance corps certificate. Was working as an 8th class signalman when he enlisted at the end of 1916 to serve in the NSW railway unit (6thROC under
Born in 1887 in Goulburn. Started work for the railway at the age of 21 and enlisted when he was 29. His younger brother, Robert, also enlisted at much the same time and was killed in 1918. At the time of enlistment Alexander was moving up the levels in the traffic department of NSWGR, but after his return there were numerous occasions when he failed to carry out tasks properly. He complained of frequent bouts of giddiness but tests did not diagnose any
Images/ memorabilia/stories held (file links)
Themes notes Community service fundraising, RSL, war memorial Music social life NSWGR sporting and social activities Music Impact of war on work Unable to continue in higher levels of traffic work (did he just prefer music?)
42 NSW Public Records Staff no. 15559 No family contact
William James). Served in France and returned to work as a shunter after discharge in 1919. After a number of warnings, cautions, reprimands, eyesight tests and reviews he was regressed to porter in 1927. Worked at Goulburn and Harden before returning to Picton. He continued as a porter until his death in 1954. Long service paid to his widow.
‘disability’. By 1927 he was back to the position of porter and died on the job in 1954 at the age of 67. His widow, Eileen, living at 2 Campbell Street Picton, received his long service leave payment. Before the War Alexander was involved in sporting activities including cricket and the Railway Ambulance rifle club (a family tradition), and contributed to musical events (also others in the family). After the war he became more involved in community activities – served on the RSL committee, played the violin with the Picton Brass Band and was an early and active member of the Picton Musical Society. It is possible that this is how he met his wife Eileen. From the mid1920s they both performed at many community occasions including fundraising and events at the Picton Memorial School of Arts in which his sisters as Red Cross members were also closely involved. He seems to have had a strong sense of family and
See porter’s uniform (Leslie Smith images and Trainworks)
43 community and before the War refused promotion to several positions outside the district. Alexander was part of a Goulburn-Picton railway family who had migrated from Scotland in the 19th century. Three brothers worked for Goulburn loco. His father, John Ingleton Loco foreman at Picton until 1912 when he moved to Goulburn, was back in Picton by the time Alexander enlisted. One uncle was an engine driver and another who was an NSWGR employee was noted for his singing voice and singing Scottish songs. His grandmother lived well into her 90s and was a Goulburn ‘identity’. Obituaries, social notes etc in the local papers (Picton and Goulburn) and The Sydney Morning Herald indicate that the family had some standing in the community.
44 Reginald VANDENBERGH Engine Driver Picton Goulburn War Service record: NAA B2455, VANDENBERGH REGINALD (service No. 236) NSWGR Employment: NSW Public Records Staff no. 14952 Family contact to be followed up
Joined NSWGR in 1908 aged 17 as a shop boy at Eveleigh. After six months became a permanent employee and was promoted to engine cleaner at Picton. By the time he enlisted in 1917 in the NSW Railway Unit (6th ROC) he was an engine driver. His war service was cut short by illnesses and he was discharged in 1918 as a result of serious nephritis. When he returned in early 1919 he continued at Picton as a driver until 1925 when he moved to Thirroul and then to Goulburn in 1930. There he worked as steam driver for Mechanical branch until 1947 when reduced to ‘hostler’ (a helper in the mechanical workshop) in 1953 because of unspecified misdemeanor. He retired in 1954 aged 63.
Born in 1891 and grew up in Robertson on the family farm. The youngest son of parents who had migrated mid 19th century with their respective families originally from Germany. His father and elder brother Charles served in the Commonwealth Horse in the Boer War. Reginald and another brother were also members of the Light Horse militia. All three served in WW1. Their cousin Bert, also from Robertson, was killed. Charles worked for NSWGR and moved to Tramways after the war. Relatives in-law also worked for the Railways. Married Elsie Florence Burgess in 1915. (Roberston Advocate 14 Sept 1915 p2; Picton Post 8 September p4) Family moved to Goulburn in 1930 where Reg was involved in Goulburn Railway Ambulance rifle club for many years. In 1940s Ted Vandenbergh and Mrs Vandenbergh on Ladies Day
Post by family member on NAA Discovering Anzacs
Impact of war on work War an interruption rather than disturbance. Illness had serious effect on his war service Family contact may shed more light. Robertson farming family active in community life with a number of connections to railway work, militia and war service. His family was regularly mentioned in the paper in relation to sporting and community organization activities (not returned soldier organisations).
45 also mentioned. (GEPP 1930s40s).
Ernest George COULTER Engine Driver, Fitter’s Labourer, Assembler Picton, Eveleigh, Clyde War Service record: NAA B2455, COULTER E G (service No. 8611) NSWGR Employment: NSW Public Records Staff no. 16984 No family contact
Employed as a Cleaner at Eveleigh workshop in 1908 aged 17 (possibly earlier casual work. Promoted to fireman in 1912 and moved to Picton in 1913. Enlisted in 1915 and served in Field Ambulance. In 1917 transferred to 3rd Anzac Light Railway Operating Company. Promoted to lance corporal and 2/corporal. Contracted venereal disease on leave in Glasgow Christmas-New Year 1918/19 and admitted to Bulford hospital for 103 days 1/1/19. Later to Parkhouse. In July 1919 he went to France as part of Graves Registration Detachment. A relapse in VD in August and returned to Australia in October. He was discharged from the military in January 1920 and returned to work at Picton in April 1920. Appointed as Driver in July 1920 and for Seniority purposes this was back
Born in 1891 in Newtown. He was single when he enlisted and his next of Kin was an aunt, Annie Salter. In 1920 a change of address is noted for Military Records from Ashfield to Redbank. Picton. The note was sent from the Invalid and Returned Soldiers Branch of the Military which may suggest some impairment. There is nothing specific that suggests why he transferred from the responsible position of Driver to Fitter’s Labourer. The move back to Sydney to electric car repair may have been for lighter work or for many other reasons. His transfer to Eveleigh was noted in the Picton Post and he and a fellow transferee were presented with smokers outfits at the Picton Railway and Tramway Institute Ball in April 1927 (PP 6 april 1927 p2)
Impact of war on work Interesting that he made the move to a much less responsible position (and quite different sort of work) so soon after his return to work. More personal information required.
Patrick James PHELAN Call boy, cleaner, fireman, driver Picton, Thirroul War Service record: NAA B2455, PHELAN PATRICK JAMES (service No. 1816) NSWGR Employment: NSW Public Records Staff no.
dated to 1917. Despite this he became a fitter’s labourer in 1921, taking a considerable pay cut. By 1926 he was a boilermaker’s helper in Picton and then in 1927 moved as a fitter’s labourer to electric car repair at Eveleigh. In 1929 he was appointed Assembler and in 1933 moved to Clyde Railway Workshops. He died in December 1949 whilst working at Clyde as a C and W Assembler. Joined NSWGR at Picton Loco as a Call boy in 1913 when he was 16. He enlisted in 1915 in 2nd reinforcements 30th battalion. His service record describes him as a railway telephonist (interesting translation of call boy!). In 1916 his pay was raised to that of cleaner. He was captured by the Germans in France in 1916 and was a Prisoner of War in Germany until repatriated to England at the end of 1918. Discharged June 1919. When he returned to work he was appointed Fireman at
He was 58 when he died and left a widow – Amy Maud Coulter Coulter and fellow servicemen Matthews employed in Loco branch at Picton lost discharge papers in fire at Picton. Protracted correspondence between NSWGR and Defence to get copies of papers
Born in Picton in 1897. His father was living in Menangle Street Picton when he enlisted at the age of 18. He was 19 when he became a Prisoner of War for two years. When he returned to work he pursued his career in Loco with moves between Picton and other station. His final move to Thirroul led to his promotion to Driver where he worked for another 17 years until he retired. He is mentioned in the Picton Post as a member of the district rugby league team and
Resilience Community participation
47 No family contact
Temora. He returned to work at Picton in 1926. In he went to work at Dungog 1936, returned to Picton in 1938 and then to Thirroul in 1939 where he was appointed Driver in 1940. He continued in this position until retiring in 1957 at the age of 60.
as a member of the Picton railway cricket club team. His return to Picton from Temora in 1926 was noted as was his farewell at Griffith under headline ‘popular railway man’ (PP 5/5/1926 p2)
CONCLUSION Themes and elements of experience Theme – darkness and light The research process including community workshops and discussions with the artist, as well as the collected material, point to the single overarching theme of darkness and light – the darkness of war and its aftermath and the survival of both. (note that this is different from the light of the eternal flame which is a memorial – to remember sacrifice and the cost of war - ‘lest we forget’) In the context of the War and aftermath experience, darkness is the war itself, silence, nightmares, grief, loss of working identity, disability and ill health, suicide, violence, shame. It connects with inability to express the experience, a lack of voice, and in terms of the historical record, a lack of story. In the context of railway work of the period, darkness is the gloom of poorly lit stations, and of work at night. Light is manifested in several physical ways: the advent of electric light at railway stations during the period; the railway guard’s lamp (for details see types of work in historical context part1); peace bonfires and illuminations celebrating the end of war; the kerosene light Roy Howard needed to sleep by. It is also expressed in individual stories through music and other creative endeavours, sport and social activities, and community service. The stories themselves also shed light on the experience of coming home to civilian life that is not part of the popular Anzac memory, particularly through memorabilia, images and memories that have been kept as treasures of the person’s life and passed down over generations. In the Great Southern Line setting, the artwork itself can open windows on to that less known experience. By responding to particular, characteristic elements in the stories, it can give specific embodied meaning to the experience and so sharpen senses and awareness, and encourage reflection (itself a form of light). Note also that sound is connected to light – bands, train whistles – and voice.
Elements of experience The historical and personal material reveals a number of threads or elements of experience of returning from the First World War to work on the Great Southern Line - some shared, some less common and some that highlight the distinct character of individuals. Some of these are suggested in the stories summary. Further thinking about each individual story will help get to the critical fragments – eg from the idea of resilience to an image : ‘he held the Bowral length’; ‘he could get a tune out of many musical instruments and got great pleasure from me playing the cornet in the Municipal Band’
The Great Southern Line and the hub stations The historical personal material collected also suggests possibilities for working with the dominant commonality of the Line itself as a physical and metaphorical link between railway workers in different jobs and positions, and between the different hub stations; as a solid presence and a
49 movement that connects experience. The artwork itself is a way of ‘moving’ people and connecting with experiences of the past. In doing so it has the opportunity to draw on characteristics of the hub stations at the time and to take account of the built heritage that remains (see statements of significance) Hub station characteristics of work and place Goulburn hub may be characterised by its size and character as an industrial railway workforce in a large regional centre. Loco workshops are large. The work is physical and heavy and involves large machinery and engines. It is noisy. Work with boilers, steam and fire, steel and coal. The eight-hour day procession is a major feature of the year with sporting and social activities. The farewells and welcome homes at Goulburn station are large events with bands and train whistles. Because Goulburn oversees a railway district, staff at the station and workshops include people in high positions in the railway hierarchy – for example in the Loco Department, Steamshed Inspector and District Superintendent. Loco dominates in terms of our stories. In contrast to Goulburn, Moss Vale is genteel. It is characterised by its refreshment rooms and care for passengers, by the Blue Gum Girls’ choir and their care for wounded and other returning soldiers including the distribution of flowers, cups of tea and chocolates. Violet day at the station is a strong image. It is also characterised by its role as an important stopping place for refuelling (passengers and trains). It is a place that reflects the movement of trains, their role as transport. Stories here include those concerned with the arrival and departure of passengers – porters – and fettlers who work along ‘lengths’ of the railway. Picton has elements of both Goulburn and Moss Vale. Its Loco Department is supervised through Sydney but stories show the movement of personnel between Goulburn and Picton. Like Moss Vale it is concerned with the movement of agricultural produce to market. Stories highlight Traffic and Loco. In the post war context Picton is the stop for Waley Red Cross Home for shell shocked soldiers where Roy Howard convalesced and met his wife. The Picton Memorial School of Arts established by the community is another focal point for our stories. Alexander Ingleton, long term Picton resident and Porter, played an important role in fund raising for the Memorial as a musician – singer and violinist – as did his wife. As a pair they seem to characterise the social life and energy of Picton and perhaps the practical arts interests that fuelled the enthusiasm for a School of Arts as a memorial.
Future uses of material Initially it may be appropriate to consult Museums Officer Claire Baddeley about the potential for material to be used by Rocky Hill and St Claire Museums which have been, with Claire’s assistance, the source of important material for the project.
References Martin Crotty and Marina Larsson (eds), Anzac Legacies: Australians and the Aftermath of War, Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2010 (references from introduction) Trevor Edmonds, ‘A Railway War’, in Australian Railway History: Bulletin of the Australian Railway Historical Society, V.61, No. 878, December 2010 Bill Gammage, The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War, Melbourne University Publishing, illustrated edition 2010 (Available at Goulburn Library – see photos and last chapter ‘The outbreak of peace’)
50 John Gunn, Along Parallel Lines: A history of the railways of New South Wales 1850-1986, Melbourne University Press, 1989 Marina Larsson, Shattered Anzacs: Living with the Scars of War, University of New South Wales Press, 2009. (Insight into family experience, Government management of pensions, issues of focus on those killed in action rather than long term wounded, etc. Intro gives a good overview) Marina Larsson, ‘Unsung healers: disabled Anzacs and their family caregivers after the First World War’, Memento, issue 38, 2010, National Archives of Australia (copy provided - good summary of what she addresses in Shattered Anzacs) Robert McKillop, ‘Thematic History of NSW Railways’, Office of Rail Heritage, RailCorp, 2009 (http://www.transportheritagensw.com.au/#thematic-history/cljyt) (update in preparation) Hugh Millen, ‘Australian veteran’s health: WW1’, October 2012. Medical Association for Prevention of War: www.mapw.org.au (copy provided) Elizabeth Villy, Red Poppies and the White Waratah: Heroines of the Great War from Wollondilly, The Oaks Historical Society, 2016. Newspapers sourced from Trove, Goulbourn Evening Penny Post (GEPP), Picton Post (PP) Scrutineer and Berrima District Press, Southern Mail New South Wales Railway Budget 1914-1917, Archives Research Series No. XI, ARHS NSW New South Wales Railway and Tramway Magazine 1917-1920, Archives Research Series No. X2, ARHS NSW