Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015/1915


Happy New Year, Byters!

As mentioned yesterday, January is named after the god Janus, who looks both forward and backward. So as we look forward to the year 2015, let’s also have a look backward. Sherman, set the wayback machine to 1915, Australia.

Some things that were happening in Australia 1915:
  • World War 1
  • Gallipoli
  • King George V reigned
  • Prime Ministers Andrew Fisher and Billy Hughes
  • BHP steelworks opened
  • The first of the Cooee Marches
  • Father and son scientists William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Albert Jacka becomes the first Australian to win the Victoria Cross during the First World War
  • Australian submarine AE2 sunk in Sea of Marmara
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During World War I, the date of Australia Day was not formalised. In 1915, during the Gallipoli campaign, 30 July was termed Australia Day, and used to raise funds for the war and celebrate the military action in Gallipoli. It is likely that this image depicts a parade on the corner of Collins Street & Russell Streets on 30 July 1915. The soldiers in the charabanc (the term for an open motor coach) may have been amongst those who had returned to Australia due to injuries or being otherwise unfit for service. Meanwhile, the Australian Natives Association had for years been campaigning for 26 January to be celebrated as Australia Day, known then in Victoria as 'Foundation Day'. It was not until 1935 that all Australian states finally agreed on a single date for Australia Day - 26 January.

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Soldiers from the 11th Battalion posing on the Great Pyramid of Giza, 1915.

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Members of the 7th Battalion in a trench at Lone Pine, 6 August 1915

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First car in the Walpeup District, Victoria, 1915. It was a Model T Ford.

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Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick assisting an unidentified soldier, Gallipoli, circa May 1915

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Women members of the Batesford Tennis Club having tea, 1915, Batesford Vic.

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Postcard from Duke Kahanamoku to Sydney sportsman E S Marks, after whom E S Marks Field is named, 1915

Hhawaiian Duke Kahanamoku introduced surfboards to Australia during a tour of the Austaralian east coast in the summer of 1914-1915. The Duke didn't bring his own surfboard with him but instead got a slab of sugar pine from a North Sydney timber mill and carved it into shape. It was shorter than boards back in Hawaii, used on long ocean swells, but better suited to the local conditions, especially at Sydney's Freshwater (Harbord) Beach, near Manly, where the Duke gave popular surf riding demonstrations. 


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Members of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions in a captured trench at Lone Pine, August 1915

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Lance Corporal William Beech and his creation, the periscope rifle, at Gallipoli, May 1915.

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Angus and Robertson booksellers, 89 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, 1915

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Sydney road looking south from Bell St showing horse drawn tram rails being replaced late 1915

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Australian half penny, 1915, showing George V on the face side. For the benefit of younger readers, a halfpenny was equivalent to about one half cent (Australia went metric to dollars and cents on 14 February 1966) and it was pronounced “hape-penny”. The threepenny coin (prounounced "thrup-penny" or "thrip-penny" and "thrup-pence"/"thrip-pence") appears below.


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Corporal Albert Jacka on Mudros, 1915
The first Australian winner in World War 1 of the Victoria Cross, the highest medal for gallantry. The citation for the award read: “Lance-Corporal Jacka, while holding a portion of our trench with four other men, was heavily attacked. When all except himself were killed or wounded, the trench was rushed and occupied by seven Turks. Lance-Corporal Jacka at once most gallantly attacked them single-handed, and killed the whole party, five by rifle fire and two with the bayonet.”

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Heavy losses and disillusionment associated with Gallipoli and the campaign in France in later 1915 caused enlistment figures to fall. The Cooee marchers walked from Gilgandra to Sydney, recruiting enlisters as they went and using the Australian bush call “Cooee” as their symbol. Pictured above is the original 26 man contingent setting off from Gilgandra. Originated by a local Gilgandra butcher and plumber, brothers by the name of Hitchens, the walkers became known as “coo-ees”. The distance walked was 514 kilometres (320 miles) When they reached Sydney their number was 263. Below: passing through Springwood in the Blue Mountains.


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Harwood Lane, Pyrmont, 1915

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Australian submarine AE2, lost in 1915. The boat was assigned to the Dardanelles Campaign and was the first submarine to successfully penetrate the waterway and enter the Sea of Marmara. With orders to "run amok" inside Turkish territory, AE2 operated for five days before mechanical faults forced her to the surface, where she was damaged by the torpedo boat Sultanhisar. The submarine was scuttled by her crew, all of whom were captured. AE2 was the only RAN vessel lost to enemy action during World War I.

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Wartime crowd attends the Royal Show at RAS Showground, Moore Park in Sydney, 1915

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Wilhelm Adena, placed in internment camp in Sydney, 1915

Many of the more than 100,000 Germans living in Australia during the outbreak of World War I were jailed without trial in three main centres in New South Wales: Berrima in the Southern Highlands, Trial Bay on the North Coast and Holsworthy, in Liverpool in Sydney's west.

Holsworthy was the largest and longest-running internment camp, remaining open until the last internees and prisoners of war were repatriated in 1920. Germans, Italians and Slavs were housed at the camp, along with naturalised British and Australians of German descent. Beginning as a collection of tents, the camp grew into a small town featuring theatres, restaurants and other small businesses, along with an orchestra and sporting and educational activities. Detainees experienced difficult living conditions with overcrowding and basic sanitary facilities. Most inmates were ultimately deported in 1919. 

Below: A view taken from the north-eastern corner of the German internment camp at Holsworthy, showing tennis courts and some of the buildings in the compound, circa 1916.


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1915 recruitment poster

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Alexandra Club billy, 1915, one of thousands distributed to troops by The Alexandra Club in Melbourne. 

The Alexandra Club, a private club for women based in Melbourne, instigated a program providing billies (a lightweight cooking pot or used to make tea) to private citizens in Australia to fill with gifts for soldiers at Gallipoli. By September 1915, almost 20,000 had been distributed. 

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