1821 Info 11f1 for Walter John Thomas Blackman (Tom)
Before the war

His early life

Walter John Thomas (Tom) BLACKMAN was the eighth child and fourth son of Frances Emily BLACKMAN née CROMPTON and William BLACKMAN of 709 McArthur Street, Ballarat, his father's retirement home from 1914.

He was born at Miners Rest, Victoria on 22 December 1887 perhaps at his father's farm at Bald Hill about 10km from Miners Rest. He died in Bundoora Repatriation House, Melbourne on 28 November 1967.

Miners Rest was the family home of his grandfather Caleb (op cit), who arrived in 1852.

His great niece, Heather Schoffelen, who as a young girl recalls meeting Tom, described him before his war service as an intelligent man, a school teacher, cricketer, Sunday school teacher and good citizen.

Right: Tom circa 1913 aged 26, whilst a teacher at Gravel Hill State School
Tom Blackman's portrait c.1913 - jpg

The Australian Electoral Roll records Tom's parents at:

Ballarat Star 01 January 1898 banner - 19kB jpg
Right: Ballarat Star 01 January 1898 page 1

At the age of ten Tom received the third prize at the Miners Rest school prize from his uncle Donald M'DONALD (MacDONALD), Maralena Louisa's husband. It is assumed the Board of Advice are non-teaching members of the community who support the school with their experience. Source: Trove
  Ballarat Star 01 January 1898 - 46kB jpg
1821info11f1, sheet 2
Blackman family Ballarat 1914 - 41kB jpg
Above: Blackman family Ballarat 1914, with Tom standing to the right of the uniformed Lyle Source: Memoirs 1913-1954, Pat Wellington with permission Geoffrey Hutson

By 1917 Ida May had left home. Though 709 MacArthur Street remained the family home until about 1918, it was later demolished in favour of a Bunnings store.

Pat Wellington writes: The loss of Leslie [in the war] and the virtual loss of Thomas, whose health never improved [...] led to serious depression in my Grandmother Blackman. After the war her health deteriorated very quickly as she grieved over these losses and eventually she was hospitalized in Elsternwick and according to the family died of a 'broken heart' in 1923. 1

1821info11f1, sheet 3
Wellington wedding 14 November 1911 - 43kB jpg
Above: Tom Blackman, far right, as groom at the wedding of Nelson Wellington and his sister Ida May, 14 November 1911 Source: Memoirs 1913-1954, Pat Wellington with permission Geoffrey Hutson

In her 'annual' letter of 08 October 1952, to the Medical Superintendent of the Bundoora Psychiatric Repatriation Hospital, Tom's sister, Emily Cox neé CROMPTON, explained Tom relationship with the groom, Nelson Wellington. She writes that:

Tom and Nelson were friends from boy-hood. 2

I wonder whether they met whilst playing Aussie Rules?

Hoverbox Photo Gallery - 709 MacArthur Street, Ballarat and typical houses either side - Author: November 2015
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1. 709 MacArthur Street, Ballarat, the present Bunnings
2. 705 MacArthur Street, Ballarat to the east
of Bunnings
3. 801 MacArthur Street, Ballarat to the west of Bunnings
1   2   3  
709 MacArthur Street, Ballarat - 24kB jpg 709 MacArthur Street, Ballarat - 24kB jpg 705 MacArthur Street, Ballarat - 56kB jpg 705 MacArthur Street, Ballarat - 56kB jpg 801 MacArthur Street, Ballarat - 35kB jpg 801 MacArthur Street, Ballarat - 35kB jpg
1821info11f1, sheet 4
12 Baird Street, Ballarat - 51kB jpg Tom gave his MacArthur Street address on his attestation papers.

At some point the Blackman's moved to 12 Baird Street, Ballarat; the Baird Street being marked on an attestation paper of 16 May 1918.

Left: 12 Baird Street, Ballarat - Author: November 2015

Tom the teacher

On 12 October 1954, in the her 'annual' letter to the Medical Superintendent of the Bundoora Psychiatric Repatriation Hospital, Tom's sister, Emily COX, gave a potted history of Tom's early life:

We [her husband Joseph] both have very nice memories of him in his young days for he was a fine type, clever and talented. He was a junior teacher in the country school of which I was Head Teacher, and it was there that I met my husband. Later Tom served as Assistant in town schools and also as a Head Teacher in country schools. He was superintendent of Sunday Schools in different places, and successfully trained choirs. He played the violin well & would play the piano and organ by ear. I wonder if his violin is still at the hospital. 3

Tom's teaching record accounts for all the teaching posts he held: 4

For a period of time Tom's teaching record lists him as a Monitor at Pyalong, where his sister Emily was head teacher.

Pyalong School - 73kB jpg
Above: Pyalong School in 2021 showing the original building
1821info11f1, sheet 5

Tom returned to Ballarat where he was appointed as a P[robationary]T[eacher] on probation from 01 Aril 1904.

He remained at Ballarat East where he obtained his Third Class, Second Class and First Class certificates, the latter awarded on 12 July 1906.

The Education Gazette and Teachers' Aid for 18 February 1916 records Tom aged 16 years in 1904, as a junior teacher in Ballarat East State School number 1493 (State School 1493 is now Golden Point).

There Tom was described as 'An earnest and industrious pupil-teacher. A very promising young teacher. Gives good assistance in the lower classes.'

Right: Golden Ponds School of unknown date
Golden Ponds School - 35kB jpg

As a fully qualified assistant teacher, Tom transferred to:

Here he taught the seventh class but his assessments did not live up to the early promise. Although 'A good teacher' who 'Gives nevertheless some promise' and scores 78. Good', there were comments of concern and indicators to the future. His discipline had 'not a strong power of control' and he was 'a little lax in discipline & somewhat stiff & formal in teaching. His method lack maturity & his work is not sufficiently thought out'.

Right: Maryborough School 1880
Maryborough School 1880 - 45kB jpg

Tom was considered good enough to be appointed head teacher at

Whilst the assessment questioned Tom being 'wanting in force' he was 'a quiet but earnest teacher. His methods are good. Shows commendable zeal in his efforts'. Tom scored a good 78.

1821info11f1, sheet 6

On 01 January 1911, at the age of 24, Tom transferred as head teacher to

The Australian Electoral Roll confirms this:

Wodonga & Towong Sentinel banner 07 July 1911 - 24kB jpg
Wodonga & Towong Sentinel 07 July 1911 - 24kB jpg   Wodonga & Towong Sentinel suggests that Tom's school had difficulties as soon as he arrived with the school's correspondent writing to the Shire Council and State Education Department to say that apart from being too small for the 24 pupils, the insanitary wooden 40 year old school was badly eaten by white ants amongst other things.

Although basic repairs were authorised the matters were in the hands of officers of health. It is unknown whether Tom saw the improvements.

Left: Wodonga & Towong Sentinel of 07 July 1911 Source: Trove (Accessed: 30 August 2021)

Tom's seven month assessment on 18 September 1911, by H Tomas, records: 'This teacher says that he has been {…mily} unwell. I think this {col….}. The school is not well managed & the work is somewhat slipshod. The school has not progressed much this year. It was one of my best schools 2 years ago. It is now the worst. He does not attend properly to his duties as regards {..ain} {……} if he {lar.ey} {…. .ace} & thoroughness. His school is in an unsatisfactory state'. H Thomas also records Tom reporting that he had been unwell, but with no details. He was assessed as 'A fair teacher' scoring 62. On 21 December 1911, Tom was Fined £2 5 for negligence in the discharge of his duty. Warned against giving cause for {…….} report in future.

1821info11f1, sheet 7
Tom Blackman's Lenvea report - 18kB jpg
Above: Tom Blackman's Lenvea report transcribed above, recording his illness

At this point, Tom was appointed acting head teacher of Tallandoon School (see newspaper article below) for three months, perhaps as a means of rehabilitation.

On 25 May 1912, H Thomas made what are illegible comments, later scribed through with the note 'Amended by DF.' On 3 June 1912 H Thomas again visited Lenvea and was as critical in his appraisal of Tom, however there are many illegible phrases. Giving Tom a score of 61, he comment 'A fair teacher. His work is not satisfactory [...] he has no application. He is careless in his {a……se} [...] his heart is not in his work [...]'.

Wodonga 21 April 1911 banner - 20kB jpg
Wodonga 21 April 1911 - 53kB jpg    

1821info11f1, sheet 8
Wodonga 29 Sept 1911 banner - 25kB jpg
Wodonga 29 Sept 1911 - 100kB jpg   It is known that Tom played cricket and from the photograph below he taught fencing, but, in the winter, he played Aussie Rules football.

Trove records several articles involving the 1912 team selection for Wodonga's football team, including married men v single men and Gordon's team verse Blackman's team in September 1911. This suggest that Tom had some sporting skills and standing as shown by his contribution to his team's score. Gordon's team scored 10.12 winning with 72 points against Blackman's team 8.13 equalling 61 points Six points are scored for the first score when the ball goes between the centre posts and one point when the ball goes between the posts either side of the goal. Tom's team scored (8x6) 48 + (13x1) 13. Tom contributed 24 points.

Left: Wodonga & Towong Sentinel of 29 September 1911 Source: Trove (Accessed: 30 August 2021)

Wodonga 26 July 1912 banner - 17kB jpg
Wodonga 26 July 1912 - 16kB jpg   On 26 July 1912, the Wodonga & Towong Sentinel announced Tom's departure from Leneva West to the Bendigo district.

Left: Wodonga & Towong Sentinel of 26 July 1912 Source: Trove (Accessed: 30 August 2021)

Teaching in the Wodonga district had further significance to his later life. When he 'escaped' from Bundoora Repatriation Home in June 1938, perhaps to a familiar location in a place of memories. He was returned by Wodonga Police in September 1938. 6

1821info11f1, sheet 9
In June 1912, Tom was appointed as an assistant teacher at Gravel Hill School, Bendigo. The same month he was again fined £2 for 'Neglect of duty', which the assessor expands with words that can not be transcribed.

The 1914 Electoral Roll confirms Tom had moved to Bendigo and was recorded as a state school teacher.

This remained his electoral address throughout the war.

Albury 01 November 1912 banner - 33kB jpg
Albury 01 November 1912 - 53kB jpg   A letter in the Albury Banner suggests the pupil at Gravel Hill, Bendigo was an old pupil who had lived at Tallondoon, Towong: a series of isolated farms in the Mitta Mitta Valley with children walking or riding horses to school.


Being a larger school and more than the single teacher school, which Tom experienced as a head teacher, Tom would receive support from colleagues. By 29 September 1912, Inspector H Drew's comments suggest a growth in Tom's confidence. He writes: 'A good teacher but rather mechanical in manner. He seems {.e…ed} on his work {Ex…..es} to do his best. He has worked well & kept his grade on a {a.ly} {.a.i.ine …y}.' Tom received a 72 grade. In May 1913, H. Drew was equally positive with a score of 73 and comments which included: 'An earnest teacher somewhat plain in speech and manner. He seems as having good ability but needs to make more preparation for his work. He is trying to improve & may do better as he grows in experience. The discipline in his grade is good and may be classed as a good teacher.'

Tom's final assessment, on 21 June 1914, by H. Drew records: 'A good teacher who is not sufficiently formal in speech. As a consequence he has not got through as much work in a given time as most teachers. As a consequence he does not get {hardly} encouraging enough. He uses good methods and works hard but does not {s…..} to improve {……}. The discipline in his division is good. 73'

1821info11f1, sheet 10
Tom Blackman's Bendigo report - 22kB jpg
Above: Tom Blackman's Bendigo report transcribed above
Hoverbox Photo Gallery - Gravel Hill State School
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1. Gravel Hill State School - ref: H2006 165.84
2. Gravel Hill State School - ref: H2006 165.84
3. Gravel Hill State School - ref: HO967
1   2   3  
Gravel Hill State School - undated - 26kB jpg Gravel Hill State School - undated - 26kB jpg Gravel Hill State School - undated - 39kB jpg Gravel Hill State School - undated - 39kB jpg Gravel Hill State School - modern - 54kB jpg ravel Hill State School - modern - 54kB jpg

Gravel Hill State School 2, dating from 1875, was located at 65-71 Mundy Street Bendigo and became Primary School No.1566 before closing.

Bendigonian banner 01sep14 - 85kB jpg
Bendigonian 01sep14 - 27kB jpg   The Bendigonia of 01 September 1914, announced that the staff of Gravel Hill State School had bid farewell to Mr Blackman who was off to war in the Army Medical Corps. (AMC) (Trove accessed 24 October 2019)

Public Records of Victoria hold Tom's Teacher Record Book Ref: Teachers ID 15060 TRB unit 650, dated 1902. (Accessed: 24 October 2019)
1821info11f1, sheet 11
Tom's fencing class - 83kB jpg
Above: Tom's (centre) fencing class. Did fencing account for the scar on his forehead? Source: Heather Schoffelen

Bendigo map - 99kB jpg Left: Bendigo map locating Gravel Hill State School (A) and what is now Barkly Street, Tom's residence in the 1914 Electoral Roll (B).
1821info11f1, sheet 12
Bendigo Advertiser banner 05sep14 - 18kB jpg
Bendigo Advertiser 05sep14 - 56kB jpg   The opportunity to give Tom a patriotic farewell was reported on 04 September 1914 when the school presented him with a case of pipes and a wristlet watch. It is interesting to note that the article refers to Tom being on the first step of the 'ladder of promotion'. There is no indication of this within his service record. Source: Trove (Accessed 24 October 2019)

Map of Tom's schools - 91kB jpg Map of Tom's schools - 91kB jpg
Above: A map showing locations in Victoria associated with Tom's early life
Click on the map to open a scalable pdf map in a new window
1821info11f1, sheet 13
Tom's teaching record - retirement - 12Kb jpg
Above: The last entry in Tom's teaching record marking his retirement, with the politically correct term of the day 'Mental case'. Suggest O[rder] in C[ouncil]

In conclusion

It is my view that Tom’s teaching record is an indication to his future experiences in World War 1 and may have accounted for his shell-shock and subsequent residency of Mont Park and Bundoora Psychiatric Repatriation Hospitals.

Tom’s teaching career falls into three parts:

In the early years, whilst the Inspectors felt that Tom had promise, there was concern about his lack of discipline, his stiff and formal methods and lack of preparation. This does not suggest the confidence of a natural teacher with a vocation.

There is a marked difference between his early promise, which must have been such that it was considered appropriate to appoint him as head teacher of a single class rural school. Tom appears to have been successful as head teacher of his first school but there was a marked fall in performance at his second school. In this case, he appears to not to have coped with the professional and geographical isolation of a single teacher rural school. Perhaps, these schools lacked candidates, with young bachelors being the predominant applicants.

On 18 July 1911, the inspector noted Tom he had been unwell, which corresponded with the worrying fall in standard of his schools. This period may correspond to his Latchmere House medical report when it is reported Tom had a nervous breakdown at the age of 21. It is my contention that this date should have been 1911 with Tom aged 24 years: a confusion which is understandable with Tom being in a shell-shocked state.

Whilst Tom seems very keen on his sport and had some success at local level, this keenness does not appear to extend to the early promise to his profession. Every indication is given in the appraisal reports that Tom did not always dedicate himself to his school or to the preparation and presentation of his lessons. However, this and class discipline did improve, especially when he had the support of colleagues in the larger Bendigo Gravel Hill School.

It should be noted that Toms keenness in sport extended after World War II when he declared that he was training for the Stawell Gift: the premier Victorian handicapped footrace: this at an approximate age of 58.

Whilst Tom’s class discipline improved at Gravel Hill, there are several comments about his lack of discipline and a stiff classroom attitude and I wonder how this transfers to being an officer in 55/Battalion at war.

End notes

  1. Wellington p.8
  2. Bundoora Hospital Patient file p.77
  3. ibid p.73
  4. All teaching records are from PROV
  5. Equivalent to A$231 in 2020 on a CPI conversion. See Measuring Worth (Accessed: 30 August 2021)
  6. NAA p.76


1821info11f1, sheet 14

Enlistment and embarkation

Tom signed his attestation papers 4 on 19 August 1914 in Melbourne, though Ballarat has been crossed out. As the vast majority of the first attestation papers were dated 18/19 August 1914, I wonder whether Melbourne was a generic location: the recruits being gathered at Broadmeadows training camp 5. At the time of Tom’s enlistment, he gives his address as 709 McArthur Street, Ballarat though he was registered on the Electoral Roll at Barkly place, Bendigo. At the age of 26 years and 7 months, he was described as being 5’10”, 11 stone 2 lbs with brown eyes and hair and a fair complexion. He had a scar on his forehead.

Tom's papers already identified the fact that he had been allocated to the specialist Australian Medical Corps (AMC). When it came to select men for specialist units, such as the Field Ambulance, previous experience in medicine was usually expected. Men who held a St. John’s Certificate or had hospital experience were allocated to the Tent Subdivision, which was able to sustain an aid post or wards on a hospital ship. Why Tom was selected for the AMC and to the Stretcher Bearer subdivision of 2nd Australian Field Ambulance (2/AFA) is unknown at this time.

After attestation and medicals 2000 troops marched the 12 miles from Victoria Barracks to the newly created training camp at Broadmeadows.

Argus banner 20 August 1914 - 14kB jpg
    Yesterday morning Mel-bourne witnessed the march of the thousands of young men who make up Victoria's portion of the expeditionary force. They were on their way from the Victoria Barracks to the camp at Broadmeadows. In a sense it was only a dress rehearsal of the real farewell that is to come when the troops march through town on their way to the transports. Nevertheless those who took part in the march through the city streets yesterday were in a measure saying good-bye to the friends and the associations of their civil life. From now onwards they will sink their identity, their occupation, their rank, and their social status in the common service of their country. […] The majority of the men were still in mufti so the contrast between the different men in the ranks was very noticeable.
  From an early hour in the morning the crowds began to assemble in the streets. Women and children were there in over-whelming numbers; Union Jacks and Australian ensigns were displayed on all sides. As the hour for the approach of the troops drew nigh every window seemed to fill up with eager faces. It was a
  curious crowd, and one the like of which has not been seen in Melbourne since the South African war.
  […] It was well on in the afternoon before Broad-meadows was reached. The men came into camp weary, but in good fettle, and satisfied that the first stage of their 'great adventure' had actually and satisfactorily begun.
  Once clear of the city streets the men were marched at ease and frequent halts were made on the way. Even so, the march discipline of the troops was admirable. […] As far as could be ascertained in the evening, there were very few cases of sore feet among the men.
  The troops were announced to leave the Victoria Barracks at 11 o clock but it was not until some time later that the head of the column actually passed through the gates and it was nearly 12 when it crossed over Prince's Bridge. […] As the men came into view, the spectators broke into a spontaneous burst of cheering and intermittent applause was kept up as the whole of the procession passed by. […]

  With a few scattered exceptions all the
   men who are to form the Victorian quota of the expeditionary force are now under canvas at Broadmeadows and they will immediately enter upon their training. […] Few of them have had previous experience of camp life and despite the late hour at which they marched into the line, they quickly settled down to the routine and by night-fall everything appeared to be in perfect order.
  On every hand there is ample evidence of the keenness of the men and their realisation of the big work in front of them. There is in entire absence of that suggestion of "holiday spirit" with which over-exuberant members of the forces have occasionally marked the annual camps of their various units. […] Everyone has come into camp with a full knowledge of what is required of him and is correspondingly anxious to carry out his duties to the full.
   […] Late in the afternoon when the dusty battalions swung through the main entrance to the lines, they found everything ready for them and judging by the silence of the tents at an early hour in the evening, everything of importance to their comfort had been more than adequately arranged.
1821info11f1, sheet 15
Map location Broadmeadows in 1998 - 119kB jpg
Above: Map location the Broadmeadows training area in 1998

Setting sail

HMAT Wiltshire c.1915 - 34kB jpg On Sunday 18 October 1914, 2/AFA boarded a Broadmeadows train that took them to a Melbourne railway station. From there the unit marched to the pier and boarded the armed transport HMAT Wiltshire (A18), a ship of 10,390 tons built in 1912. The ship weighed anchor at 4pm 19 October 1914, part of the first convoy. An hour later was anchored off the Gellibrand light. She sailed the next day for Albany, Western Australia, which was reached, after a calm voyage, on 24 October. On 1 November the convoy, escorted by the Japanese warship Ibuki sailed for Egypt arriving Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 15 November, Aden on 25 November, Suez five days later and Port Said on 2 December. Wiltshire eventually reached Alexandria on 9 December, where 10% of the men were granted leave.

Left: HMAT A18 Wiltshire 19 October 1914 at Port Melbourne the date 2/AFA sailed for Egypt AWM PS0006
1821info11f1, sheet 16
HMAT Wiltshire c.1915 - 24kB jpg Left: HMAT A18 Wiltshire c.1915 at sea


4/AFA stretcher bearers - 32kB jpg By 10.30pm on 12 December the ambulance and wagons had reached Cairo and after unloading the equipment and having cocoa and a hot roll, trams took the men 10 miles to their camp at Mena, where they were met by the transport section that had arrived on HMAT Karro (A10) several days earlier.

The Broadmeadows training continued: route marches, advanced splinting, retrieving wounded under fire and establishing dressing stations to receive wounded brought in by stretcher bearers (SBs) and ambulance wagons. By the time of the first desert exercise with ambulances on 12 January 1915, desert uniforms had been issued, with the Battalion's brown colour patch issued towards the end of March. Within Mena House, the base for 2nd Australian General Hospital, 2/AFA established a ward to treat venereal diseases.

Mena Camp became a small city facing the pyramids, for 1st Australian Division. Laundries, hot baths, a YMCA and three cinemas were established. On the main street, Egyptians established shops that did a brisk trade in newspapers, fruit and vegetables.

Left: 4/AFA stretcher bearers Source: Australian War Memorial (AWM) P01815.005
182111f1, sheet 17

Hoverbox Photo Gallery - Mena Camp ten miles from Cairo
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  1. 2/AFA tent line on the left - 01 January 1915 AWM C01654
  2. Tent lines - 02 February 1915 AWM H044206
  3. 2/AFA exercise - Spring 1915 AWM C01678
  4. Approaching 2/General Hospital - 1915 AWM J02139
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Mena Camp 01 January 1915 - 30kB jpg Mena Camp 01 January 1915 - 30kB jp Mena Camp 02 February 1915 - 36kB jpg Mena Camp 02 February 1915 - 36kB jpg 2/AFA Mena Camp Spring 1915 - 50kB jpg 2/AFA Mena Camp Spring 1915 - 50kB jpg 2/General Hospital Mena 1915 - 48kB jpg 2/General Hospital Mena 1915 - 48kB jpg

The unit's departure from Mena was described as: After being nearly four months at Mena we packed up on Sunday, April 4th, at 10.30 pm. We marched to Cairo a distance of 8 miles, where we caught a train to Alexandria. 1 After reaching Alexandria at 2 am on 5 April, the unit boarded the HMAT Mashobra (A47), which finally sailed on 7 April. The voyage was uneventful until the island of Lemnos was reached and where HMS Queen Elizabeth and the ill-fated Australian submarine AE2 were anchored in Mudros harbour. Over the coming days attempts were made to keep the men fit by undertaking route marches through the small Greek villages.

The new training emphasised climbing down the ship's rope ladders into the life boats, rowing to shore and once landed to embark on a brisk route march. By changing stretcher squads from 6 to 4 men, the carrying capacity increased to nine stretcher squads in each Bearer Subdivision.

Pte Powell noted down the events of those eventful April days:

9 April. We were issued with two days iron rations to be kept until we land, each consists of 8 big biscuits, one tin of beef, and grocery tin consisting of tea, sugar and bovril. Each day we have disembarkation practice, so as to be perfect in the hour when it will be necessary to climb over the side and down into the lifeboats, then to land at some particular spot...
24 April. It was a beautiful night and there was great excitement on board, for at daybreak we were to make an attack on the Turks. 2

End Notes

  1. Austin, Ron, Wounds & Scars - From Gallipoli to France, The history of the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance, 1914-1919, Slouched Hat, McCrae p.29
  2. Austin p.29

1821info11f1, sheet 18

More information 1
Return to text Maryborough East Primary School

Maryborough East Primary School No 2828 was built in 1886-7 in response to the overcrowding at Maryborough School No 404. The new two roomed school was designed by the Education Department architect Henry Bastow, and opened in 1887. The design was based on one of the winners from the school design competition of 1873. In 1890 an extra classroom, as well as the top half of the tower, were built. In 1893 schools 404 and 2828 amalgamated, and classes three to six moved from 2828 to 404, while classes one and two remained at 2828. The overcrowding problems continued, and became a serious problem when infectious diseases such as scarlet fever, typhoid, diphtheria and measles appeared in the town. In 1909-1910 the school was doubled in size with three new classrooms, two cloak rooms and toilets added. At the beginning of 1911 school No 2828 was made a complete school rather than an adjunct school to 404. In the 1950s various buildings were added to the site to cope with the growing post-war population. The school was closed at the end of 2005.

Primary School No 2828 is historically significant as a reflection of the economic boom in Victoria in the 1880s and of the growth of Maryborough to the east following the arrival of the railway in 1874.

Source: Victoria Heritage database (Accessed: 20 December 2019)

Hoverbox Photo Gallery - Maryborough East Primary State School No 2828
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  1. Maryborough School SS 2828, unknown date
  2. Maryborough School SS 2828 26 July 2007
  3. Maryborough School SS 2828 26 July 2007
  4. Map locating Maryborough School 2828
1   2   3   4  

1821info11f1, sheet 19

More information 2
Return to text Mount Hooghly State School

In 1877 the local District Inspector of the Victoria Education Department received an application for a school to be built at Mount Hooghly. The recommended State School number 2211 opened in November 1879 at a cost of £350. It was a 24ft x 16ft wooden schoolroom with two attached dwellings. It had a chequered history, being temporarily closed in 1893 and then from May 1897 until 1901, when the school operated half time with a teacher share with Natter Yallock East. In 1926, it operated part time with Dunluce School, before closing in February 1927.

Although 365km to the west, Ross McMullin, in his biography of Harold Pompey Elliot describes Charlton School: a similar rural school:
A shy, rosy-cheeked youngster, Harold [(Pompey)] began his formal education at an isolated one-teacher school that materialised only after persistent and vigorous lobbying. A group of West Charlton residents, including Thomas Elliott, had initially approached the government in 1879, pointing out that over 30 children in their district needed a school and the nearest one was five miles away. When their agitation had produced nothing tangible by April 1881, Thomas put his name to a joint letter calling once again for action:
for the last two years we received different letters from the Education Department telling us we would get one but we do not see it comming, [sic] there is not a school in all West Charlton ... and some of the children will soon be past school age.
Eventually a school was built at the lobbyists' preferred site, a location east of the Elliott farm known as the Rock Tank..
The Rock Tank school was a timber structure containing a solitary classroom with another room attached to serve as a teacher's residence. Facilities were extremely basic, although the farm dwellings in the vicinity were generally no different — freezing in winter, and unbearably stifling during the dusty, baking days of summer when the soil was as parched as the farming communities and everyone was desperate for rain. For teachers consigned to this isolated spot four miles away from even the modest civilising influences afforded by the Charlton township, it was a cultural desert, hardly a congenial environment where the fruits of education could flourish. The first teacher was resilient enough to last six years, but there was a rapid turnover thereafter. Her successor applied for a transfer only two months after arriving at Rock Tank; the accommodation was 'miserably small', he complained with justification, and 'altogether inadequate for the comfort of a married man'. When one of the most significant figures in the development of education in Victoria, Frank Tate, began a stint as a school inspector based at Charlton, he was amazed by 'the intellectual poverty of country life and depressed by the farmers' tolerance of their squalid living conditions'.
Harold, however, had known nothing else. Accompanied by his brothers and sisters and children from surrounding farms, he walked over a mile to and from school along rough bush tracks that were sometimes almost impassably boggy and sometimes wreathed in clouds of stinging dust. At school he grappled with the fundamentals of reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and arithmetic.
McMullin, Ross, Pompey Elliott, Scribe Publications, Carlton North, 2002, pp.10-11
1821info11f1, sheet 20

More information 3
Return to text Gravel Hill State School

‘There must be very few schools anywhere in the world where gold has been a problem of some serious concern, yet Gravel Hill did have a gold problem.’ The writer lists the site of a shaft in the playground which teachers feared was a hazard for children and the desire of someone to remove the gravel from the school ground to extract its gold.

The origins of the school go back 120 years to the Myers Street School which was established by the Presbyterians in 1855 under the Denominational Board. It became a Common School in 1863 and in 1873 became a State-leased school, though continuing its church affiliation. The school building itself was constructed of double brick walls, with timber floors resting on Harcourt granite blocks.

This school closed on 30 June 1875, the day before the opening of Gravel Hill State School Number 1566 in Mundy Street. The site for the Gravel Hill School was originally reserved in 1862 for the use by Council for extracting gravel and stone – it is this connection which gave the Hill its name. Under the Education Act, education was made compulsory in Victoria and the immediate result was nearly a 50% increase in attendances.

Abridged from Bendigo Advertiser 24 October 2013 (Accessed: 24 October 2019)
Gravel Hill State School c.2013 - 46kB jpg

1821info11f1, sheet 21

More information 4
Return to text Enlistment
Individual Australians held this dual loyalty to Britain as well as to their own nation in varying proportions.

The rush to enlist reflected a conviction that the cause was worthwhile as well as the widespread expectation that the war would soon be over. Most Australians combined nationalistic allegiance to their own country with a fervent attachment to Britain. They felt affectionately sentimental about the land of their forebears and proud of the pre-eminence of the British Empire, which they regarded as the standard-bearer of civilisation around the world. At the same time they felt uncomfortably vulnerable about Australia's security; they looked apprehensively to Britain, its navy in particular, to protect them. In that context any genuine threat to British power was a serious danger to Australia, and it was infinitely preferable to deal with the ominous situation overseas rather than on Australian soil. Another possible influence on the early impetus to enlist was the notion that this conflict represented a superb opportunity for a newly federated nation to make its mark internationally as a worthy member of the British Empire.
Source: McMullin, Ross, Pompey Elliot, Scribe Publications, North Carlton, 2002, p76

More information 5
Return to text Broadmeadows Camp
On 19 August [Pompey] Elliott's [7th Battalion], having reached about half its nominal strength, joined the other three fledgling battalions of the 2nd Brigade for an arduous march from Victoria Barracks to Broadmeadows. They were in motley clothes, their marching was primitive, and many of them found twelve miles of 'dusty, foot-wearying trudge' a gruelling challenge, but they were buoyed by the ovation they received from thousands of enthusiastic onlookers along the way.

The Broadmeadows training camp on first acquaintance was 'a green plain rather high and wind-swept, with rows of pine trees and an old homestead'. A privately owned property of some 150 acres located about half a mile from the main road to Sydney, it had been offered by its owner to the Defence authorities, and was in the process of being rapidly transformed. The local shire had been trying unsuccessfully for years to obtain a decent water supply in the area; the army managed to have over four miles of pipe laid and water flowing within five days. A telephone connection was hastily installed, post and telegraph facilities were established, and even the nearest railway station a mile away was swiftly upgraded.

Elliott lost no time in getting down to the business of producing a different kind of transformation. His aim was to mould the hundreds of individualistic civilians under his charge into the makings of a cohesive fighting unit in a few short weeks. […] The notion that Australians were not amenable to military discipline was nonsense, he insisted. On the contrary, provided the reason for discipline was given and understood, they would submit to it eagerly. He assured them he would be imposing the strictest discipline, which would not only maximise the battalion's proficiency but also, he believed, make the 7th Battalion second to none as a unit within the whole AIF.
Source: McMullin, Ross, Pompey Elliot, Scribe Publications, North Carlton, 2002, p82

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