‘News from the Nile’

In 1915 Private Tom Dalton sent two letters to the Leader, a newspaper published in Orange, New South Wales. In the first, dated four days before Christmas Day he wrote about his arrival and first impressions of life in Cairo: “I received a letter of yours dated October 19. It is lovely weather here, nice warm days, and cool nights. We are about 12 miles … Continue reading ‘News from the Nile’

Private Ernest Donald Gow

Private Ernest Donald Gow 4th Bn, Australian Infantry, A.I.F. Died: 03.02.15 (Double Pneumonia, Mena Hospital, Cairo, Egypt) Age: 24 Headstone Inscription: ‘At Rest’ Son of William and Minnie Gow, of Ulmarra, New South Wales. Born at Wollongong. Ernest Donald Gow (Service No. 1207) was one of the first men from the Illawarra to die in World War 1. He was born in Wollongong in 1890, … Continue reading Private Ernest Donald Gow

‘These Kings of the Feathers, they steal your bread’

While most of Australia’s Imperial Force went to France in 1916, the bulk of Australia’s mounted forces remained in Egypt to counter to Turkish threat at Suez. After 1916  when the threat to the canal was over and victory at Romani had been secured the Light Horse advanced into Turkish territory. In 1917 they entered Palestine and by 1918 had advanced into Jordan and Syria. … Continue reading ‘These Kings of the Feathers, they steal your bread’

The Roos That Went To War

In the shadow of the great pyramids amid the piles of kitbags and Lee-Enfield rifles, an iconic image held by the Australian War Memorial shows an Australian Imperial Force infantryman encountering a kangaroo. Image Credit: The Australian War Memorial Members of the 9th and 10th Battalions regularly smuggled mascots from home aboard transport ships as reminders of home. The above photo, which was taken by Chaplain … Continue reading The Roos That Went To War

Stories from the Hadra War Cemetery (Egypt): Staff Nurse Ella Cooke

In the winter of 1914, Ella Cooke was looking forward to a grand adventure. The Auckland-born nurse and her twin sister Lily had just departed New Zealand in a boat bound for Vancouver, New York and finally England. She was looking forward to seeing the sights, and eventually a working holiday in London, or maybe Paris. The outbreak of war in July 1914 dashed all … Continue reading Stories from the Hadra War Cemetery (Egypt): Staff Nurse Ella Cooke

‘A gallant and erudite Soldier’ – The Funeral of Major William Throsby Bridges

William Throsby Bridges was born at Greenock, Scotland, on 18 February 1861. As a youth he moved to Canada, where he later entered the Royal Military College but failed to graduate. In 1879 Bridges moved to Australia and joined the civil service, working in Braidwood, Murrurundi, and Narrabri. He returned to military life in 1885, taking a permanent commission in the artillery, and that same … Continue reading ‘A gallant and erudite Soldier’ – The Funeral of Major William Throsby Bridges

Sister Selina Lily (Lil) Mackenzie – 1st Australian General Hospital (Heliopolis)

The Victoria Museum holds a small collection bequeathed by Rosemary McArthur in 2010 commemorating the life of Sister Selina Lily ‘Lil’ Mackenzie which provides an interesting insight into the role of women (in this instance nurses) serving in Egypt during World War I.  Portrait of Sister Lil Mackenzie with a Friend, Egypt, 1915-1917 Lil returned to her hometown after the outbreak of war, and on 5 October 1915 … Continue reading Sister Selina Lily (Lil) Mackenzie – 1st Australian General Hospital (Heliopolis)