World War One

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* [[Ballarat Arch of Victory]]
* [[Ballarat Arch of Victory]]
* [[Ballarat Avenue of Honour]]
* [[Ballarat Avenue of Honour]]
* [[Ballarat East Avenue of Honour]]
* [[Ballarat East Loco Men]]
* [[Ballarat East Loco Men]]
* [[Ballarat Junior Technical School Honour Board]]
* [[Ballarat Junior Technical School Honour Board]]

Latest revision as of 02:38, 10 September 2022

Embroidered card from the Western Front. Courtesy Federation University Historical Collection, Gift of the Chatham Family. (Cat.No.20054)



From the Lucas's Staff Appreciation of Brave Men, 1919. Courtesy University of Ballarat Historical Collection [Cat.No.1279].

World War One took place between 1914 and 1918, with many families from Ballarat and district losing brothers, fathers and husbands on distant battlefields. Around 4000 men from the district went to war, with around 800 killed.[1]

The 8th Battalion AIF included many soldiers from Ballarat and district. At Gallipoli they received their 'baptism of fire' on 26 April 1915, repelling four counter attacks, while showing calm and bravado under fire. By December of that year 127 Ballarat men had lost their lives. Every day people scanned local newspapers or official lists posted at Town halls for deaths and casualties. [2]

On 22 April 1915 German troops unleashed their latest weapon, poisonous chlorine gas, near the town of Ypres on the Western front. [3]

Ballarat rejoiced at the news that World War One had ended on 11 November 1918. Thousands of people flocked into the city for a night of celebration while bells rang and whistles blew. [4]

When the servicemen returned home, friends and relatives often decorated their homes with bunting and coloured lights.[5]


' response to clamouring by women to contribute in a meaningful way, employers often organised female employees in the production of soldier comforts. Because Australian women were not drafted in large numbers into traditionally male sections of the workforce, they could not make the direct and meaningful contribution to the war effort of their British counterparts. Very few Australian women, apart from nurses, had the opportunity to serve overseas...'[6]

'...according to Phillips, one of the distinguishing aspects of the Australian home front was that despite often starkly different attitudes towards war, recruiting and conscription, the female population did not challenge the traditional feminine role and, in fact, ‘motherhood and maternity were elevated to a mythical, heroic and quasi-religious status’.’[7]

Unknown Australian Soldier, c1915 Photograph: Thornton Studios, Ballarat. If you can identify this soldier please email c.gervasoni at
‘Responding to the appeal of the State Recruiting Committee, splendid work is being done by the Ballarat East Recruiting Committee in advocating the cause and claims of the new Commonwealth War Loan, subscriptions for which close on Thursday next, 8th inst. Mr J. E. Ashley, manager of the Ballarat Woollen and Worsted Company, and Mr W. H. Gent addressed a meeting of employees of Cowley’s Eureka Ironworks Company at the works yesterday at midday. The duty of every citizen at this time in connection with the War Loan was pointed out by the speakers, whilst the financial advantages of investing money on such favourable terms as are offered were outlined and emphasised in a very practical and convincing way. Mr Ashley referred to the very satisfactory results achieved by the employees of his company, which facts made a deep impression in the minds of his audience. Subsequently Bridge street tradesmen were interviewed and requested to take an active interest in the canvassing for subscribers, and they responded in a most gratifying way. Representatives of the various trades readily consented to convene a meeting of all Bridge street tradesmen to be held at the Alfred Hall next Monday afternoon, at 3 o’clock, if Mrs Ellis, on her return to Ballarat, so consents. It is confidently felt that the outcome of such a meeting will be distinctly good. Addresses will also be given at other foundries and factories. ' [8]

‘Addresses were delivered on Tuesday at the railway workshops, Ballarat North, by Lts Smith and Day. Through the kindness of Mr J. Taylor, workshops manager…
Similar addresses were delivered on the same day at Geo. Farmer’s factory by Sergt-Mjr Sadler and Sergt Fry…
On Wednesday addresses were delivered at Cowley’s ironworks by Lt Day and Sgt Fry…
To-day (Thursday) addresses will be delivered at Jelbart’s engineering works to the employees of Jelbart’s and Benoit’s. Lt C. M. Smith and Sgt Fry will speak.’ '
Red Cross Receipt made out to the Ballarat School of Mines Science Club Wild Flower Show, and signed by Mrs F. Ham. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 7827)

Call to Arms

This being our national holiday, and in response to the appeal of the chair man of the State Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, I most seriously urge you to think of your duty to Commonwealth and Empire. In this titanic struggle every man is needed. 'To arms to arms." is the clarion call. We are in the throes of the most stupendous conflict in all history. Tremendous issues are involved. Your liberty, and all that you hold in glorious heritage are at stake. We appeal to your 'high, sense of honor, sacrifice and patriotism. The Empire demands that every man this day will do his duty. You will do yours by enlisting now.

Red Cross Work

Red Cross Work undertaken by the students of the Ballarat Junior Technical School,University of Ballarat Historical Collection (Cat. No. 1899 )

During World War One the Ballarat Junior Technical School manufactured items for soldiers at the front. Known as Red Cross Work, the students boasted making 250 stools and 200 foot warmers in 2 weeks, and appealed to the local community for materials to assist in the production.


17 April, 1916
The Secretary
Executive Committee
War relief Fund
Education Department
I beg to inform you that, Mr A.W. Steane, Head Master of the Junior Technical School, Ballarat, will be able to dispose of about one hundred (100) 'Anzac' Medallions and I shall be obliged if you will forward a supply to me as soon as possible.

Yours Faithfully

L.S.G.P. Austin

Ballarat Supply

Ballarat Jam Factory supplied jam to the Defence Department.

BUSY JAM FACTORY. It ia satisfactory to learn that the Ballarat Jam Factory has received from the Defence Department a large contract for the supply of jams for the troops overseas. The order will tax the running power of the factory for a long time to come, and: keep many hands in steady employment. Fortunately, the company has a substantial supply of tin plate in hand, and they make up their own tins.[12]

Wiles Mobile and Stationary Steam Cooker was invented and produced in Ballarat, and was used at the front.



Maurice Copland, Principal of the Ballarat School of Mines, Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 0340)

On 02 September 1916 the Ballarat Star recorded:

Free Instruction for Soldiers - The Council of the Ballarat School of Mines in February last adopted a resolution to the effect that applications from returned soldiers for free instruction at the School would be favorably considered. This matter was further discussed at the Council meeting held last week, at Colonel Bolton's suggestion, Major Lazurus, secretary of the Ballarat branch of the returned Soldiers' Association, was asked to co-operate with a sub-committee of the council in carrying out the proposal. Major Lazarus has enthusiastically accepted the offer, and has written to the general committee in Melbourne, with a view to leading other technical institutions to follow the local school's lead.

The Ballarat School of Mines was highly involved with Repatriation Classes for returned soldiers in 1918. "The School has continued to take an active part in connection with the vocational training of Returned Soldiers. About two years ago the Council offered free instruction to Returned Soldiers, and a considerable number of men availed themselves of this opportunity. During the present year, however, the Repatriation Department has taken over the responsibility of this work, and has authorised the establishment of classes in Turning and Fitting, Woodworking, Electroplate Work, Electric Wiring, and Commercial subjects. Recently fifty-two returned men were approved by the Vocational Training Committee, and were subsequently allotted to the various classes by the Principal (Mr Copland). It is anticipated that the instructors will be appointed and the equipment and material provided at an early date. [13]

The following year Returned Soldiers’ classes attracted the larger share of public interest, with the normal work of the School proceeding with characteristic effort and development. By 1919 it is being reported: "The establishment of these [repatriation] classes has undoubtedly been the greatest development in the School’s activities during the past year. It comples special consideration owing to its place in a great national undertaking, and to the fact that this Institution was the first to carry through successfully a decentralised scheme of vocational training. The classes were opened early in the year, the Principal (Mr M. Copland) having been appointed as Supervisor by the Repatriation Department. Although considerable difficulty was at first experienced in obtaining the necessary equipment and staff, the scheme has steadily developed under Mr Copland’s vigorous and tactful administration, until it becomes one of the largest and most successful organisations of its Kind in the State." [14]

The repatriation classes at the Ballarat School of Mines were closed in 1922 having fulfilled their purpose. "Since their inception, in October, 1918, over four hundred ex-service men have been trained in these classes and, with very few exceptions, have been placed in regular employment. The part of the Ballarat School of Mines and Industries has taken in this national movement will endure among the School’s best traditions, coupled with the name of the late Principal (Mr Maurice Copland), by whose courageous and self-sacrificing efforts the success of the undertaking at this centre was mainly due."[15]

MONDAY, JUNE 4, 1917.
'The difficulties connected with the repatriation of our soldiers are sometimes over-estimated. These men are not like immigrants who arrive amongst strangers to make a living in a country whose climatic and industrial conditions are entirely different from those of the land of their birth. Some of our men will return to their former occupations; many, perhaps the majority, will have no particular calling to follow; others will be incapacitated from following certain kinds of employment; but all will be amongst friends who will assist them in every way. Australia is capable of absorbing millions of workers, and the only difficulty is to place them in positions where they and the State will both be benefited. A man may be physically strong, intelligent, and energetic, and yet have no liking for a branch of industry which another would be delighted to follow. Many men would not accept a wheat field in the Mallee and reside on it, it it were offered to them; others again would not submit to an indoor city life, whatever the pecuniary inducement might be. We must, therefore take into consideration the habits acquired by our soldiers during the period of the war. Theirs has been a life of excitement and adventure, and of close and constant intercourse with myriads of their fellow men. It has been essentially an outdoor life, yet not one of loneliness of isolation. There is no parallel to it in civil life. Moreover, they have been constantly under the direction of their leaders; they have not been compelled to think and act on their own initiative; and everything they have required has been found for them. They have become habituated to a form of living that has no counterpart in time of peace, and these habits will cling to them until gradually replaced by others. Unity of action and the spirit of comradeship, engendered on the battlefield, will remain; and, if our repatriation schemes are to be successful these acquired characteristics must be taken into account. In very few instances would a returned soldier submit, at first, to a life of isolation, while, on the other hand, many would not be content with an indoor occupation in a large city. The feeling of fellowship will, of course, prompt our soldiers to remain in the most populous centres. This, however, would be to the advantage neither of the individual nor of the community. Obvious reasons for this conclusion present themselves to our mind, but one of the most important lies in the fact that our large cities are already overcrowded, and that if the returned soldiers should in large numbers obtain employment there, other men will be thrown out of employment. Even in this time of war, when there is an abnormal expenditure of Government money, many men are out of work, and therefore it is to be feared that for some time after peace is declared a better state of affairs cannot be expected. But the European nations will require for a considerable time an increased supply of mineral, agricultural, and pastoral products, and however many men are engaged in these industries the supply cannot exceed the demand. Our national debt also will have reached such immense proportions that a vast increase in our raw products will be indispensable in order to pay our interest bill. If, then, our soldier heroes could be turned into rural producers they would have a sure means of livelihood, and a regular income, and the community would again be served in the most profitable manner. The settlement of our soldiers on the land appears to be the best course, and perhaps the only practicable one to follow. But it is here that difficulties present themselves. A free, open-air life is provided, but social intercourse disappears. An agriculturalist of a fruitgrower, too, must be a manager as well as a worker, and many men are naturally unfitted to fill this dual position. These difficulties, being only superficial, are not insurmountable. The desire for anhy particular kind of life is the result of habit, which in its turn depends on environment. The human being can accustom himself to almost any mode of life, provided the change from one to another be not too violent. To begin with, large areas of rich land could, with advantage, be acquired by the State and cut into blocks, on which only soldiers should be placed. These areas might then be known as "soldier settlements" or "Anzac holdings;" and the soil being of the best quality, the men might be settled there so closely that they would not be depressed with the feeling of solitude that might be experienced on wide open expanses. Mildura, Nyah, Ardmona, and similar places are examples of close settlement, and are at the same time the home of happiness and prosperity. The traditions of the battlefield could then be kept alive, and frequent intercourse with old comrades would be uninterrupted. In the next place, the soldiers, as soon as they return, should receive genuine instruction in agriculture at various training centres. In this way the hand of fellowship could be maintained unbroken, while the period spent in the study of agriculture would be a transition stage from the battlefield to the farm. Just as the Broadmeadows Camp trained the civilian to become a soldier, so the agricultural course would be the means of turning the soldier into a peaceful and industrious civilian. But only genuine agriculture should be engaged in, and those studies which have filled the curriculum of agricultural schools (e.g. algebra, euclid, chemistry, physics, drawing, botany, surveying, blacksmithing, carpentry, bookkeeping, etc.) should be cast aside. The attempt to teach too many subjects will certainly be made, and, if carried out, will be detrimental to the welfare of our soldier-farmers. As each contingent is settled on the land a capable overseer should be appointed to give assistance and advice; and if lectures could be given at frequent intervals at some central place in the settlement, not only would the men become proficient in their new avocation, but the social side of life, so important in a soldier's estimation, would receive proper attention. With competent advisers at the head even the most incompetent man may become a successful cultivator, a fat which has been fully exemplified at Mildura. Already we read that a considerable number of officials will be appointed to carry out a scheme of land settlement, and that the Commonwealth Government will manage the undertaking. While, however, the Federal Government should find the necessary money, it might be better if each State Parliament controlled its own soldier settlement. By this means more direct supervision might be exercised, while the Government officials already employed in each State might, without any addition to their number or to the national expenditure, efficiently supervise and direct the work of settlement. With the example of Canberra and other Federal undertakings before our eyes there is every reason for desiring that land settlement, in connection with which many appointments may be made and tens of millions spent, should be placed under the control of the various State Governments, or even under that of expert business men. We must also learn from past blunders. We do not forget the "McIntyre" village settlements, where families were placed on ten acre blocks of poor, heavily-timbered land. These settlers built a hut, destroyed a few trees, and after drawing the £40 allowed by the Government returned to Melbourne. It is useless to place a man on poor land, and it is a bad plan to advance to any settler a sum of money unless full value for it is returned to the State. The size of blocks will depend on the locality, the nature of the water supply, and the kind of crop to be grown. Fruitgrowing, pig and poultry raising, and other rural pursuits can be successfully carried on on small areas, and those who have prospered most are men who have not been burdened with more land than they could bully cultivate. In the return of her men from the Front Australia is presented with a splendid opportunity of remedying her previous mistake of attracting population to the cities, while her fields be uncultivated; but where she possesses men with sufficient ability to turn to advantage this influx of the best band of "immigrants" that ever landed on any shore only the events of the future can reveal. We have the land, the climate, and we shall have the men. Have we the brains?' [16]

Australian Flying Corps

The Australian Flying Corps was established in 1912, though it was not until 1914 that it began flight training. [17] Military aviation was first pioneered during World War One. During that war, both the armies and the navies of all the major combatants operated aircraft. Late in the war, however, when it was realised that aerial fighting was a distinct form of warfare and not just an adjunct to land or sea operations, some nations formed specialist air forces. Combining the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, Great Britain formed the Royal Air Force in 1918. The four squadrons of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) remained part of the AIF. In 1920, the remnants of the AFC became the Australian Air Corps, which in turn became the Royal Australian Air Force on 31 March 1921.[18]

Some Ballarat men took part in the inaugural Australian Flying Corps. The Australian Flying Corps (AFC) was the branch of the Australian Army responsible for operating aircraft during World War I, and the forerunner of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The AFC was established in 1912, though it was not until 1914 that it began flight training.

The number of School of Mines students who have joined the Flying Corps has now risen to 10, viz., L.S. McConchie, H.C. Smith, J.F. Maughan, L.H. Vernon, R.O. Buchanan, F. Davis, C. Cunningham, F.T. Edwards, H.G. Bennett and W.B. Berry. They belong to one unit, and are now in camp at Laverton.[19]

The Ballarat and District men who served in the Australian Flying Corps included, but is not limited to:

Francis Luke Adams - Harold William Bate - Howard G. Bennett - W.B. Berry - R.O. Buchanan - N. Carmichael - Reginald J. Crick - Charles Cunningham - Francis T. Edwards - J. F. Maughan - L.S. McConchie - Francis G. Davis - Francis T. Edwards - George P. Merz - Frank H. Ronaldson - Harold C. Smith

Royal Flying Corps (RAF)

The men that served were including but not limited to:

Andrew A. James

The People

The Lucas Girls

Maurice Copland


Ballarat Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour

Arch of Victory, c1920, Courtesy Federation University Historical Collection [Cat.No.1279]

The Ballarat Avenue of Honour was commenced on 4 June 1917 and was completed on 9 June 1919 with 3,700 trees planted during that time. The 14 mile [22.5km] long avenue is 'a living monument to all loyal citizens of Ballarat who volunteered for active service abroad'.[20]

Money was raised by the 'Lucas Girls' to buy and plant almost 4,000 trees to honour all the local men who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces during the First World War. 'The Girls' commitment to raise money during tough times and plant thousands of trees on weekends showed a strength and determination that is admirable.'[21]

The Ballarat Arch of Victory was officially opened by the Prince of Wales on 3 June 1920. The Arch cost a total of £2,105, with funds raised by the Lucas Girls.[22] In total, the Lucas Girls raised £4,600 for the building of the Ballarat Arch of Victory and Ballarat Avenue of Honour.[23]

When Lord Burnham visited Ballarat with the Imperial Press Conference on 15 October 1925, '[he] and those with him had been greatly impressed with the magnificent idealism and the splendid execution of the memorial to the heroes of Ballarat. He had seen many soldiers memorials, but none had more impressed him than the one in which the girls had played so great a part in creating.'[24]

See also

ANA President's Medallion presented to Keith Rash,1979. Courtesy Federation University Historical Collection. [Gift of John Rash, 2014. Cat.No.15672]



  1. Families grieve for their loved ones IN Courier Supplement Celebrating the Century, 2000.
  2. Families grieve for their loved ones IN Courier Supplement Celebrating the Century, 2000.
  3. Courier Supplement Celebrating the Century, 2000.
  4. Courier Supplement Celebrating the Century, 2000.
  5. Courier Supplement Celebrating the Century, 2000.
  6. Burke, Peter. (2008). A social history of workplace Australian football, 1860-1939. Digital copy accessed May 18, 2012 via
  7. Hess, Rob. ‘Playing With ‘Patriotic Fire’: Women and Football in the Antipodes during the Great War.’ The International Journal of the History of Sport 28, no. 10 (2011): 1388-1408. Digital copy accessed May 17, 2012 via
  8. The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) Friday 2 February 1917, page 3.
  9. The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1914 – 1918) Thursday 21 June 1917, page 3.
  10. Ballarat Star, 31 January 1916.
  11. Ballarat School of Mines Letter Book, 17 April 1916.
  12. Evening Echo, 22 June 1918.
  13. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1918."
  14. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1919.
  15. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1922.
  16. The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1949 - 1918) Monday 4 June 1917, page 2. Digital copy accessed via Trove.
  17., accessed 21 Januarry 2019.
  18., accessed 21 January 2019.
  19. Ballarat Courier, June 1918.
  20. Lucas's Staffs Appreciation of Brave Men, final edition, Ballarat, June 1919.
  22. 'The Ballarat Avenue of Honour.'
  23. The Argus (Vic. : 1848 - 1956) Friday 2 May 1924, page 14. Digital copy accessed via Trove.
  24. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) Friday 16 October 1925, page 13. Digital copy accessed via Trove.

Further reading

External links


--C.K.Gervasoni 12:05, 29 May 2012 (EST); --Beth Kicinski 11:48, 23 July 2012 (EST); --Naomi Sutcliffe 10:39, 26 March 2014 (EST)

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