Beaconsfield’s World War One soldiers Honour Board

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 World War One. 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.

The Australian War Memorial said the following about Honour Boards:

“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”.

An article in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal on the 14th October 1915 stated:

“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.”

The Beaconsfield World War One Honour Board was unveiled on 21 September 1916 in the old Beaconsfield hall.

Beaconsfield Honour Board

After the war c1919 the Beaconsfield Honour Board was updated with the photos of all the 9 soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice moved to the top and a star added beside their name.

Photos of another 10 servicemen were added along the base of the board.

The Honour Board was proudly displayed in the Beaconsfield Hall until 1970 when the hall was demolished to make way for the Highway widening. The Honour Board was then moved to the Upper Beaconsfield RSL for safe keeping. In 1999 a replica Honour Board was made and displayed in the old Beaconsfield Community Centre in Beaconsfield Avenue. When the new Beaconsfield Community Complex in O’Neil Road was opened in 2004 the original Honour Board was returned to Beaconsfield to be displayed in a purpose built case and the replica is now on display at Upper Beaconsfield RSL.

Photographs of the soldiers listed on the Honour Board follow in alphabetical order. Details of each soldier’s service record are available by tapping on their photograph below.

Local resident Edmund Luke was a photographer for The Age and Leader newspapers and provided the photos of the 23 servicemen for the Beaconsfield Roll of Honour.