ALL SERVICEMEN AND SERVICEWOMEN WHO HAVE SERVED AUSTRALIA
Acknowledgment of support from
The Victorian Government
Victorian Veterans Council
ANZAAC Centenary Community Grants Program
Publication of the Beaconsfield Progress Association Incorporated 2015
Beaconsfield 3807 Victoria Australia
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Our Sincerest Appreciation
Appreciation and thanks go to the many people who worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition. Victorian Government and Victorian Veterans Council who provided the grants and project supervisor Cathy Nash; the family of Tony Rushton; Betty Whiteside; Graeme and Ann Taylor and members from the Beaconsfield Progress Association Inc. who oversaw the project. Penny Harris Jennings for research; John Jennings for photography; Sam Jennings and the team at Print Professionals for production of the plaques, booklet and digital material; John Grbic for proofreading and checking; Cardinia Shire and Cr Brett Owen, Cr Tania Baxter and Cr Leticia Wilmot; Neil baker of City Wide, installers of the plaques; and the many members of the Community who shared their stories and memories.
Beaconsfield Avenue Honour Plaques
After World War I, towns in Victoria honoured their servicemen by erecting memorials-Honour Boards, Cenotaphs and Avenues of Honour. Beaconsfield placed an Honour Board in their local hall in 1916 adding the names of other soldiers who were connected to the District after the duration of the war. A Cenotaph was erected in 1920 on the corner of Woods Street and Old Princes Highway. The Beaconsfield Progress Association applied to the Roads Board for permission to plant an Avenue of Honour after the main road through Beaconsfield was completed in 1928 (The Argus – 6th July 1928).
Ada Armytage, a local philanthropist of Holm Park, generously donated funds for the planting of the 123 Hybrid Black Poplars in 1929. The Avenue of Trees has been well preserved and still stands proudly along the roadside from Beaconsfield at Cardinia Creek Bridge to the hillcrest of Berwick.
Individual metal name plaques were made for each serviceman but for various reasons were never displayed near the trees. Extensive research has discovered that these plaques were found stored in Adamson’s old Hardware Store in Woods Street then handed over in the 1980’s to the City of Casey.
When the trees were first planted the area was part of the Shire of Berwick (established in 1868). This area extended from Dandenong Creek to Bunyip. On 1st October 1973 the Shire of Berwick was split, forming the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham with the boundary located at the Cardinia Creek. The trees of the Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour were now in the City of Berwick, which later became the City of Casey in 1994.
The late Tony Rushton, a local Beaconsfield resident, located the original metal plaques at the City of Casey Depot. He was responsible for initiating the project that would see the names of the 65 servicemen being displayed on new plaques within the Beaconsfield area.
The Beaconsfield Progress Association Inc. decided to ensure that the new plaques were made and displayed. With support from the Victorian Government and Victorian Veterans Council a ‘Restoring Community War Memorials Grant’ was received in 2013. Penny Harris Jennings undertook the research to ensure the servicemen’s names and service numbers were accurate. We are indebted to Penny for the many hours she spent ensuring the accuracy of the information, painstakingly checking service records and service numbers of each serviceman. Her commitment revealed some discrepancies in spelling of names on the old plaques, which have now been corrected to ensure the information displayed on the BEACONSFIELD AVENUE OF HONOUR PLAQUES new plaques is correct.
The original Honour Board shows the names of 33 servicemen from the Beaconsfield District. Nine of these soldiers made the supreme sacrifice and their names are also listed on the Cenotaph. The Avenue of Honour list includes these 33 servicemen from the Honour Board as well as 32 other servicemen from the Beaconsfield District or servicemen who had moved to the Beaconsfield District after the war. Servicemen from the Armytage family are also included on this list.
In 2014, new bronze plaques were made by Print Professionals and installed by Cardinia Shire and CityWide at Beaconsfield Park, on the corner of Beaconsfield Emerald Road and Old Princes Highway. The Beaconsfield Park Sign and Entrance Gate were originally built in 1939 as a memorial to the soldiers who served in the Great War (WW I). This memorial was generously donated by the Craven sisters of Beaconsfield. (The Argus 24 January 1939 p.6)
The Beaconsfield Park was beautified and the Gateway restored in 2011 by Cardinia Shire utilising a Federal Government Grant and contribution from Cardinia Shire making the Park an excellent place to display the new Avenue of Honour plaques.
After 85 years these 65 servicemen have finally been recognized with plaques on display within the Beaconsfield District. In 2014 the Beaconsfield Progress Association Inc. with support from Victorian Government and Victorian Veterans Council received an ‘Anzac Centenary Community Grant’ to enable the publication of the booklet and digital material for the information and stories about the 65 servicemen whose names are on the plaques.
Much of this information had been unavailable until the research was done for the new plaques.
A BATCH OF TWENTY
Beaconsfield Soldiers 1915
South Bourke and Mornington Journal (30th September 1915)
“Great preparations were made by the committee appointed to entertain the local volunteers at the Beaconsfield Hall on Friday evening, and the people in the town and district joined in the movement in an enthusiastic manner, the result being that the function reflected credit upon all concerned, and passed off in a manner that was most gratifying. Mr E Williams the Hon Secretary worked energetically and the residents subscribed liberally. In this connection the irrepressible Harry May gained the highest list amongst the collectors. The ladies deserve special mention for the tasteful manner in which the interior of the hall was decorated with flowers, flags and evergreens, the effect being most pleasing to the eye. Mr Chirnside supported the movement in a very generous way. He engaged four pipers for the occasion and in the evening at about 8 o’clock the pipers, attired in their attractive costumes, arrived at Beaconsfield, having marched from Mr Chirnside’s place. The bagpipes soon aided in attracting a crowd of about 300, and selections were played in front of the hall. Mr Chirnside also donated 20 Barling pipes for the local volunteers. Proceedings started with the National Anthem, followed by a few words of welcome by the Chairman Mr Rozier who expressed his pleasure at seeing so many present.
Mr Jennings Jnr played a first-class pianoforte selection, which was followed by selections by the pipers, who then left for Melbourne on the evening train. Cheers were given for the volunteers, and the company joined in singing “They are Jolly Good Fellows”. Little Miss D Currie sang The Australian Kangaroos; Mr Hurditch, Molly the Marchioness; Mr F Richardson, Your Country Calls You; Mr E Williams, The Powder Monkey; Mr M Kelly (in costume) Up, Up Early in the Morning, and the Roaming and the Gloaming; Little Miss Lily Richardson, Only One of the Toys; Mr Harding, Asleep in the Deep; and Mr Jennings Snr and Mr Williams, The Battle Eve. The Rev. W. Whiteside said he was pleased to be present to say good-bye to the volunteers, and to wish them God speed; he felt proud of them, was glad they were going to the front, and would be pleased to welcome them home again. It was said that Corporal Jacka’s mother didn’t want her son to go to the war, but the lad while insisting, remarked that he may gain a V.O. and he got it, too (Applause).
The young men with them tonight might do the same; they were going to fight for the freedom of the world, and the good, old flag. Britain had always come out of any serious war in the past, well, and at the moment, although the outlook was black he believed she would emerge from the present struggle just as successfully as she had in the past. He hoped their volunteers would return victorious (Applause).
The Rev. J. Wilson said that their young friends must go, for duty called them, but the deepest desire in his heart was the delightful pleasure of welcoming them back again. He felt it keenly that so many of the young men had to leave and engage in the conflict, but he was glad of the opportunity to say farewell to them. At Beaconsfield meetings were regularly held, when prayers were offered for men at the front, and these would be continued with especial interest under existing circumstances. His last words were God be with you till we meet again (Applause).
Mr Jas Gibb expressed his pleasure at being present to honour the young men leaving for the front. The district, which he had known for 50 years, had reason to feel proud of them. From his place in New South Wales eight of his best men were leaving to engage in the fight for liberty, as their grandfathers had done years ago. He hoped the young men would return safe and sound, and trusted to be present when they are welcomed home (Applause).
Mr Crozier also joined in wishing the men God speed and a safe return. He had known the district in the early days, and considered during recent years gratifying advancement had been made, he asked the young men to always be gentlemen, paying regard to the language they used, and would ask them to live clean lives in order that the country would eventually benefit. Beaconsfield would then indeed have reason to be proud of them when they returned (Applause). Mr Keast said he had accepted the invitation to be present that evening with a twofold pleasure – he had been with the people of the district in their pleasures and joys, and he was with them at the present time while they were honouring the young men who were going to the front. He wished them God speed and a safe return. At the present time the British Empire was engaged in the biggest fight it had ever been in and in this respect he was proud to say that the Australian lads in Gallipoli had put their names on a roll of honour; no men had ever done better on a battlefield (Applause). We are now fighting for our very existence, and against a powerful nation, but we’ve got to win the day, and the boys with them tonight were going to help do it. We had to win the day for the peace of the world, and praise God, we will win the day (Applause). Although he did not believe in preference, if there was to be any preference in regard to employment, it should be given to those who returned after fighting for their country. Fathers and mothers of the brave lads fighting at Gallipoli had every reason to feel proud of their sons and what had already been accomplished. At present the outlook was serious; Bulgaria was mobilising troops and it looked as if she would fight with Turkey, but, in that case no doubt Greece and Romania would join the Allies. We will win this war, but our troops must be prepared to fight, not only at Gallipoli, but wherever they were required. Great Britain has raised an army of 3,000,000 also 800,000 for making munitions and he had no doubt the boys with them tonight will do their duty, and maintain the honour of Australia. It would be found that the British soldiers were as good as ever and it not be forgotten that the Germans hadn’t touched the Navy yet (A voice – they can’t touch it). It was the mothers, however, who were making the biggest sacrifice in regard to the volunteers, and they had his sympathy. Beaconsfield had sent the largest proportion, according to population, than any other part of Australia, and he felt proud of the fact. He felt that a great destiny awaited Victoria, but the people must economise and live within their income, for 20,000,000 pounds had been borrowed and in the near future 25,000,000 would be required. Before concluding he wished to refer to the public spirited generosity of Mr Chirnside, who had set a splendid example by donating a motor ambulance, and had also liberally contributed to the function that night, for which he (the speaker) desired to thank him (Applause).
Mr Keast on behalf of the residents of Beaconsfield presented the following with wristlet watches – Privates Alex May, Jas Adamson, H Harbour, D Tulk, John Tucker, Tom Sterry, L Paternoster, Whiteside, F White, A Childs, A Bragg, J Rix, J Osborne, A Bryman, H McNaughton, Sweeney, L Christie, John Adamson and Corporal Luke. And, on behalf of Mr Chirnside, each was presented with a Barling pipe. Three hearty cheers were then given for the volunteers, three more for their mothers and fathers, and another round of cheers for Mr and Mrs Adamson, who have three sons with the expeditionary forces.
Corporal Barnett, who briefly responded, returned thanks for the presentations made, and also acknowledged the splendid manner in which they had been treated by the people of the district. A flashlight photo of the assemblage was taken by Mr Luke. Mr Keast on behalf of the residents, extended a welcome home to Private Gardiner, recently returned from Gallipoli. Private Gardiner said that, although he was glad to be amongst his friends again, he hoped to recover from the wounds he received, so that he could once more take his place in the firing line. He would never forget the experience he had gone through, and it could scarcely be imagined how much help was needed two days after the troops landed in Gallipoli. Acclamation from the audience took the form of singing He’s a Jolly Good Fellow. The chairman on behalf of the members of the congregations of the Church of England, Congregational Church and the Methodist Church, presented Mr John Adamson with a silver pencil, a notebook, and a testament. Mr Adamson Snr responded on behalf of his son, who was unable to be present. On the motion of Messrs H May and Thompson, a vote of thanks was accorded Mr Keast, Mr Chirnside and the performers. Mr Keast suitably replied. At about 11 o’clock Corporal Rix and Private Childs put in an appearance, it appears that when they reached Melbourne, from Seymour, they were too late to complete the journey by train, so a taxi was requisitioned. Thus it was that they were enabled to be present at the send-off, and they were hailed upon the platform to address a few words to their Beaconsfield friends. An elaborate and abundant supper was provided by the ladies and the large attendance did full justice to the good things provided. The hall was then cleared for dancing and an enjoyable programme of dances was indulged in to the strains of excellent music supplied by an efficient band.”
AVENUE OF HONOUR HISTORY
Avenues of Honour
Gippsland Times (25th April 1918)
“Professor Ernest Scott, of the Melbourne University, says:- Every little township set in the great plains or homed in the quiet hollows of the hills, every place of whatever kind from which men have gone, should have its avenue or grove, each tree bearing a metal plate – perhaps also the enamelled Battalion colours – with the name, corps, recital of the battles, honours won, the full tale of the heroes’ accomplishments in war, engraved upon it. It might be worthwhile to distinguish merit by particular trees, say, oaks for the Victoria Cross men, beeches for the Military Cross men and so forth. It should be known to every man serving, or about to serve, that somewhere in his own country – in the place where he is born, or where he lived when he enlisted – there would grow a tree telling his tale of honourable service to generations to come, a tree which would grow nobler with the years, beneath whose shade some would often gather, and look up to the bronze plaque, and read the name and record respectfully a tree where in the birds would sing his praises from season to season down the long avenue of time.”
EXTRACTS FROM DR ALLAN CORREY (THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, 1994)
“Nearly all cultures have found ways of remembering wars and honouring the war heroes. The first conflict in which Australia was involved was the South African War of 1899-1902 and memorials to those who served were erected. However it was the Great
War of 1914-1918, which affected the lives of so many people, that fostered an enormous community need to establish lasting memorials than any other country. Originally memorials were monuments of stone; buildings and arches were favoured at first. Planting trees was seen as a symbol of hope for the future but above all it was seen as something tangible, which ordinary people could become personally involved with.
The idea of planting trees as war memorials appears to have originated in Great Britain in 1918 when the office of the Kings Highway issued a pamphlet titled “Roads of Rememberance as War Memorials”. The two objectives of this program were to transform suitable existing highways “to the dignity of Roads of Remembrance adorned with trees” and to organise the building of highways “of exceptional dignity and beauty with open spaces at intervals as special memorials in the Great War”. The first and most famous avenue of honour was the one planted between 1917 and 1919, at Ballarat in Victoria.
Plants have long been associated with specific symbolism. Trees which are vertical or pyramidal such as poplars and cypress are often used to symbolise “the elevation of the soul from worldly concerns and focusing heavenward on the external” (Professor James Stevens Curl, Architectural Historian).”
South Bourke and Mornington Journal (10th July 1919)
“A social was held in the Public Hall on Friday night to welcome home several “diggers” who had recently returned. The hall was tastefully decorated with gum leaves and flags of the Allies. Almost 200 people were present, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Cr Martin officiated as chairman and welcomed the boys home on behalf of the residents of Beaconsfield. Cr Anderson also welcomed them back, and said the council would stand by the soldiers and see that they got a fair deal. A short musical programme arranged by the secretary Mr Williams was greatly appreciated, the following contributing – Mrs F Richardson, Miss G May, Miss E Anderson, Messrs Kerr, Paxton and Meeking. Mrs Cliff and Miss Williams played the accompaniments. The boys got a very warm reception when they were asked to come on the platform to receive a gold medal each, given by the residents. Cr Groves M.L.A. made the presentations, and in a stirring speech, roused great enthusiasm. Following are the names of those who received the medal: – Sgt G
Grant, Cpls C Whiteside and Barnett, Ptes Luke, Bryant, R Adamson, Jack Adamson, J B Adamson, N N Warmbrunn, Brown, R Williams, F F Williams, Pettit, Sweeney and M (William) NcNaughton. Cpl Whiteside responded on behalf of the “diggers”. Supper was
then handed around, after which dancing was indulged in until the wee small hours.”
Jack (John) Adamson
M McNaughton, William was known as Mick.
ROLL OF HONOUR BOARD HISTORY
South Bourke and Mornington Journal (14th October 1915)
“A sufficient amount of money remains in the hands of the soldiers’ farewell committee to purchase a Roll of Honour board, to be hung in the public hall. Photographer Luke is preparing an enlargement of the flashlight photo with the individual photos of the “boys” which he intends to present to the hall committee as a memento of the historical event.”
ROLL OF HONOUR BOARD HISTORY
Originally the Roll of Honour was a list of local war volunteers displayed in a public area usually on notice boards at community clubs, churches or schools. The list was written to acknowledge the local men who had volunteered for the First World War. A town community group would instigate the idea and a list would be written of the known local people.
Discussion then led to the want of a permanent memorial in the form of a “Roll of Honour Board”.
The first known board was erected at South State School, Castlemaine on the 11th February 1915.
The erection of Honour Boards became popular all over Australia including large and small towns. Community groups held their meetings, nominated a person, usually the secretary, to compile a list and then a board would be made and hung with great pride at the establishment of choice.
AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL
“Honour boards and rolls were erected in many local schools, halls, churches and offices as a means of acknowledging the commitment made by the community to the Military forces.
The criteria used for inclusion of the names on an honour board were determined by those creating the board and can vary. For example, the board may only include those who were born in the town, those who enlisted in the town, those who were living or working in the town when they enlisted or veterans who became associated with the area after the war when the honour board was being created. Some honour boards include all those who served and others only list who died in the war. In most cases an individual may appear on more than one honour board”.
ADA ELIZABETH ARYTAGE
Ada was born in 1859 at Balmoral, Victoria, Australia. Ada’s mother Mrs Caroline Armytage purchased Holm Park, Beaconsfield in 1884. After Caroline’s death in 1909, Ada continued to live predominantly at Beaconsfield. Ada worked for the Returned Soldiers, Red Cross and the Comfort Fund; doing “her bit” for the war effort.
WEEKLY TIMES (23RD FEBURARY 1918)
“SPECIAL EFFORT MADE
Headed by Miss Ada Armytage and Miss A Craven, the Beaconsfield Patriotic League will make a special effort this month to raise funds for the Australian Comforts Fund. Misses Craven, who have charge of the post and telegraph office at Beaconsfield, have converted one of their residential rooms into a shop for the sale of clothing, household goods, and novelties. These goods command a ready sale and as there is no scarcity of donations the organisers intend to conduct sales until Easter. Another attraction is an entertainment to be given at the Beaconsfield Hall on Friday evening, when a returned soldier, under the theatrical name of “Haroldi” will do a conjuring turn. “Haroldi” has no fewer than twenty-seven wounds as a result of his experiences in the present war, one of his scars being received at Lone Pine. Many interesting curios have been forwarded for exhibition. These include a pre-reformation gold cross, a Queen Elizabeth sampler, bits of mosaic from Pompeii and Rome, a cameo of the George III period, and other relics. At the close of the entertainment various articles will be sold by auction.”
THE ARGUS (6TH JULY 1928)
The progress association has applied to the Country Roads Board to plant an avenue of honour on the Princes Highway.
The Avenue of Honour was initiated by the BPA. Ada Armytage philanthropist donated the funds and instigated the tree planting. The original avenue consisted of 123 Hybrid Black Poplar Trees. They were planted in 1929 to honour the Beaconsfield locals who had served in the First World War.
The original plaques were made by local men; not only were local men commemorated others have been included such as Ada’s relatives.”
THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY (29TH JANUARY 1935)
“Miss Armytage was the founder of the Pass it on Club, and has always been busy with philanthropic work.
Early in 1914 she had innumerable tiny Belgian flags made and sold them in aid of the Belgians, and out of her charming idea grew the flag days, and later, the button days, that raised such huge sums during the war.”
Ada died on the 2nd September 1939 at Beaconsfield, Victoria. She was cremated on the 5th September 1939 at Springvale Botanical Cemetery.
“Honouring and celebrating Life”
The people who served:
- ADAMSON James Randle
- ADAMSON John
- ADAMSON Robert Syme
- ARMYTAGE Charles Morel
- ARMYTAGE Clive Norman
- ARMYTAGE Edward Oscar
- ARMYTAGE Gerald Mostyn
- ARMYTAGE Neville Fairburn
- BARNETT Thomas Fredrick
- BAUSCH Frederick William
- BINKS James
- BONETTE Francis Leonard David
- BRAGG, Arthur Robert +
- BRAIN Albert John
- BROWN Percy Charles
- CAMERON Duncan
- CAMERON Hugh Allan
- CAMERON Richard Bruce
- CAMERON William Wallace
- CHANDLER Stanley Wilfred
- CHILDS Albert George +
- CHRISTIE John Leslie +
- COULSON Harold +
- CROWLEY John
- DINELEY Edward Bernard +
- FERGUSON Henry
- FOX Robert Henry
- GILBERT John Hand
- GLEDHILL Richard
- GORDON Richard Samuel Stewart
- GRANT Cecil Henry Bell
- GRANT George Thomas
- HARBOUR Herbert Joel +
- HARBOUR William
- HILL Clarence Juan
- HOUSE Herbert
- HUTTON Henry
- LAMB Harold Kent
- LAWRENCE George Douglas
- LUKE Victor Mason
- MADDOCKS Alfred Edward Leslie
- MANNING George William Harold +
- MARSDEN Edgar John
- MAY Alexander Leslie
- McALPIN Ronald
- McNAUGHTON Hugh +
- McNAUGHTON William Charles
- NIXON Henry
- OSBORNE James Patrick +
- PETTIT Thomas John
- RIX James Henry
- ROBERTS Herman
- ROBERTS Leslie Alfred
- SCOTT George Wilfred
- STERRY Thomas William Fell
- STEVENS William Charles
- THOMAS Alonzo Guy
- TUCKER John Frederick +
- TULK Richard Stephen
- WARMBRUNN Alfred Earnest
- WHITE Sydney Pleno
- WHITESIDE Thomas Clair
- WILLIAMS Frederick John
- WILLIAMS Rupert Earnest
- WITHAM James Albert
+ Supreme Sacrifice
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
AUSTRALIAN ELECTORAL ROLL
AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL
BERWICK CEMETERY, VICTORIA
FAWKNER CEMETERY, VICTORIA
NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA
SPRINGVALE BOTANICAL CEMETERY, VICTORIA
STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA
VICTORIAN BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES
IMAGES FROM THE PERIOD
Home of Ada Armytage
J D Adamson’s Hardware Store
Built by James Adamson
Beaconsfield District Picnic 1909
Unveiled March 1920
L/R Pte Frederick John WILLIAMS, Thomas Clair WHITESIDE, George Thomas GRANT, William HARBOUR, Robert Syme ADAMSON, Henry NIXON, ?, John ADAMSON, James Randle ADAMSON, Clarence Juan HILL, Alexander (Alec) Leslie MAY, Rupert Ernest WILLIAMS, Thomas John PETTIT
Beaconsfield Park Opening 1939
Beaconsfield Park 2014
Four Brass Plaques mounted on the stone wall
New bronze plaques installed in 2014
Beaconsfield Roll of Honour
Unveiled Beaconsfield Hall 1916. Photography by Edmund Luke
The original Roll of Honour included 23 servicemen. A further 10 were added after the War.
Beaconsfield School About 1910
Beaconsfield Railway Station 1910
Elizabeth Whiteside holding her father’s original name plate
Thomas Clair Whiteside
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