The Priest and the Bushranger
By M.V. SHEEHAN.
The glory of spring was sweeping over the little town of Ballinhassig, near the city of. Cork, in Ireland. In the garden of his home sat a handsome, strongly-built young mail named Timothy McCarthy. For three years he; had ‘patiently followed his legal studies. He had made. his decision. To-morrow he would commence his studies; for this priesthood in preparation for the missionary work he intended to undertake in the then strange country, of Australia.
The years slipped away on velvet feet until his ecclesiastical training, was completed at Carlow College. In 1852 at the age of twenty-three he was ordained priest and in October of the same year he sailed for Australia. The voyage was long and tedious, so that it was not until March 2 that the ship anchored in Port Jackson. For a short time he was stationed in Sydney. Then came his appointment to missionary duty with Armidale as his headquarters. His parish was extensive enough to daunt the bravest, for this same parish now comprises the two Dioceses of Armidale and Lismore. The parish embraced all the territory to the Queensland border and extended to the Pacific Ocean. When on his periodical visits, which lasted three months, he would travel from the Tweed to the Richmond, thence to the Clarence and on to Walcha; then across the Liverpool Plains to the Gwydir and back by way of Glen Innes and Tenterfield to Armidale. Only a man of exceptionally fine physique could have successfully managed such a parish, for the horse was practically his only conveyance. But he was a fine horse man and wherever a soul was to be found, no matter how far away or isolated from civilised centres, the priest would come. Over the silent, lonely plains of the interior: in the heart of the brooding bush; along the shelves of tracks which skirted awesome precipices; round the bases of lofty mountains which nodded to valleys, whose floors were thick with forest growth; across creeks swollen by recent rains; along tracks which led to the ethereal beauty of far distant ranges and on to the grey horizons, he rode, bearing his triage of spiritual hope.
In the dark of night when the stars were his only companions; when the castellated crags were lit by the flashes of lightning and the thunder stumbled among the hills “like a breaking stick,” he brought the sweetness of Christ to the sick and anxious of mind. He was a mighty hunter, for he hunted the souls of men. People of all denominations loved and honored him. A contemporary Anglican gentle man writing some years ago said: “Father McCarthy was familiarly known as ‘Father’ Tim.’ He was everybody’s friend— to the smallest urchin in the gutter as well as the stateliest dame— he was Father Tim.” As he moved about on his pastoral duties he was generally supplied with horses from the different stations, the Protestant squatters vying with each other in treating him with uniform kindness. Wherever he was needed Father McCarthy came. His generosity was on the big side. The following true story was characteristic of the man and helped to explain his wonderful popularity. One day he was riding over the plains to pay a friendly call at a station. It was a time of drought. The sun swept down from a cloud less sky and flamed over the stricken country. The cracked earth, tortured with its awful thirst, crept away into the thin line of stunted scrub: the mirages danced with feverish allure and over everything hung that terrible silence which adds so much to the horror of drought. The miles slipped away and the station homestead appeared as a tiny speck on the horizon when the priest met a swagman painfully limping over the scorched earth. He was without boots, but had tried to charm the heat from his feet by wrapping them in dirty rags. It was obvious that the man was nearing the limit of his endurance, and the nearest town was 20 miles away. Without question or sermon Father McCarthy dismounted and made the swagman put on his new boots, which proved a comfortable fit. He then gave the man some money and finally placed him on the horse he had been riding, with the request, “When you reach town, leave the horse with Mr. Black. I shall get it later.” The priest then painfully walked along over the hot earth in his socks to meet an astonished host, who was told that his guest had met a man “whose need was greater than mine.” In 1863 he was transferred to Carcoar in the Bathurst Diocese. He had plenty of extra work in this district for the bushrangers roamed over the countryside. The gold discoveries of the 50’s had spread like a plague over the State. Everyone was anxious to make a fortune at the diggings. Others were content to take it from the diggers at the point of the pistol. Some of the bushrangers who preyed on the diggers, gold escorts and travellers were complete villains. Others were young bushmen who had been attracted by the tinsel of romance which helped to cloak the evil of bushranging life. The priest was responsible for stopping a number of young men from joining the various bushranging gangs and was able to help others to retrieve the early steps they took as outlaws. While he was stationed at Carcoar many gangs and their friends were operating in the district, but none of them ever interfered in any way with the priest. One day he was riding along a rough bush track that led to the Abercrombie Ranges when he met a young man named Vane who was a prominent member of the Ben Hall gang. Although Vane and his people were Presbyterians they were well acquainted with the priest. As the two men rode along Vane opened his heart. He had recently quarrelled with the other members of the gang after the attack on Mr. Keightley’s place at Dunn’s Plains near Rockley. Burke’s death and the insecurity of his own life had fanned his dissatisfaction. The priest talked and showed what the end of his hunted existence would be if he remained an outlaw. He urged Vane to amend his life. On the same day Mrs. Vane met her son and urged the entreaties of a mother with that of the priest. Vane once more met the priest and promised to accompany him to Bathurst and surrender. So at eleven o’clock the two horsemen set out on one of the most unique rides in our history. As they rode through the night the priest spoke encouragingly, and as Vane said later, “The advice and good counsel then given me by Father McCarthy sank into my mind and heart, and had a marked influence on my future life, both while I was in prison and after my release.” They reached Bathurst in the early morning and rode up Keppel-street to the Deanery where Dean Grant, the priest in Bathurst, lived. Their knock was answered by Mrs. Looby, the Dean’s housekeeper for many years, who died several years ago. Before her death she told the writer of the Incident. Evaded Police “Vane,” she said, “was a nice look ing young bushman, and appeared al together different to the wild look ing man everyone thought he was. It was hard to realise that this young man evaded all the police for so long. He was looking very thoughtful as he walked down to the church (the present Catholic Cathedral) with Father McCarthy. “They met the Dean at the church and had a long talk, after which Father McCarthy and Vane rode down to the police headquarters. The officer at the station thought Father McCarthy was joking when he told him that his companion was Vane. In fact he took quite a lot of convincing.” Although Vane received a long sentence he served it, and later became a good citizen. He was more fortunate than his companions who came to a miserable end after a hunted life. Mr. C. White, in his “History of Australian Bushranging,” writes of this surrender: “It is right that a word or two should be said concern ing the subsequent action of the good priest through whose instrumentality the district was freed from the presence of this member of the notorious gang. Father McCarthy was en titled to the reward of £1000 which the Government had offered for the capture of Vane. “He did not accept that reward. In his ministerial capacity he had effectively preached repentance to the sinner, and the consciousness of hav ing done his duty was reward sufficient. In another case in which a bushranger not connected with Hall’s gang was concerned, he was instrumental in recovering for one of the banks some £2000 in notes which had been stolen from one of the Western malls. “The bank had offered £100 reward for the recovery of the notes, but Father McCarthy refused to accept that reward also. The act was characteristic of the man who in his priestly office labored for something more precious and more enduring than earthly treasure.” In 1865 he returned to Sydney and was appointed senior priest at St. Benedict’s Church. After five years there he was promoted to St. Mary’s Cathedral, of which he was appointed Dean early in 1874. The strenuous years of working in the country parishes soon exacted their toll. His health failed, and he was ordered to leave Australia on a health trip. It was then found that owing to his boundless charity he was penniless. When this fact became known his friends of all denominations held a meeting. Within a few days £1000 was subscribed to pay his expenses to the old country and back. As the address read at the presentation of the gift said, “During more than a quarter of a century you uniformly succeeded in fulfilling the duties of your sacred office without wounding the religious feelings or impugning the conscientious convictions of those who do not belong to your communion; and hence men of all shades of opinion and of conflicting political views, have joined in paying this tribute to your enlightened and un-sectarian philanthropy.” He reached Ireland, but his health did not improve. After all his adventures by fire, water and drought in Australia, and his experiences with the outlaws of the bush, he came home to die in 1879 in his native town, in, which, years before, he had nobly resolved to dedicate his life to God.
Source: The Priest and the Bushranger (1933, November 12). The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 – 1954), p. 41. Retrieved February 28, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article230201833
I found these articles published in the Mudgee Guardian.
Another wedding is to take place next Monday week, when Miss Maggie Parker, of Leadville, is to be joined in Holy Matrimony with Mr. Reginald Thomas, of Coolah, who is well known here. The ceremony is to take place at St. Andrew’s Church of England at 10.30 am.
Source: Mudgee Guardian and North-Western representative (NSW: 1890-1954), Thursday 22 July, 1926 page 26. Accessed from Trove website 3 April 2019.
Note: The wedding actually took place in St Matthew’s Church of England, Leadville as per the marriage certificate.
SOME VALUABLE PRESENTS
The kitchen tea, organised by the Misses Dougherty and Bratby for Miss Maggie Parker, and Mr. Reg Thomas, was well attended. A large number of baluabel presents were conributed by the visitors and others. The presentations was made on behalf of the towns people of Leadville, by M. F. F. Hoddinott, Mr Reg Thomas suitably responding. Miss E. Scoble presided at the iano , and Mr. A. Corliss was M. C. Dancing was kept up until midnight.
Source: Mudgee Guardian and North-Western representative (NSW: 1890-1954), Thursday 5 August,1926 page 24. Accessed from Trove website 3 April 2019.
The event of the week is the marriage of Mr. Reginald Thomas, eldest son of Mr. Thomas, of the Telephone Construction Branch, Coolah, to Miss Maggie Parker, youngest daughter of Mr. Thomas Parker, Leadville,
The event took place at St. Andrew’s Church of England, Leadville, on Monday morning last, the ceremony being performed by the new Rector of Coolah Parish the Rev. C. H. Searle in the presence of a crowd of friends and well wishers of the bride and bridegroom.
The bride’s dress was of georgette and silver lace with wreath and veil, white stocking and silver shoes. She carried a bouquet of white lilies and chrysanthemums, interspersed with ferns, with white satin streamers. Miss Dot Bratby was bridesmaid, and she wore pink georgette with gold lace trimings black picture hat, and champagne shoes and stocking. She also carried a boquet of white lilies and ferns, with pink satin streamers.
The ceremony over, the party adjourned to the residence of the bride’s parents, where the health of the bride and bridefroom was proposed by the Rev. C. H. Searle, and drunk with musical honors. Mr. Urias Scoble proposing the health of the bride and bridegroom’s parents, which was similarly dealt with. Later some thirty or forty guests partook of the wedding breakfast.
Bride and bridegroom left for Sydney by the afternoon train. The bride’s travelling dress was of biscuit brocaded moriccan with hat to match. There was a large crowd on the railway platform to wish them bon-voyage, the train moving off to the accompaniment of friendly explosions.
Source: Mudgee Guardian and North-Western representative (NSW: 1890-1954), Thursday 5 August, 1926, page 27. Accessed from Trove website 3 April 2019.
The bride’s present to the bridegroom, was a pocket wallet. The bridegroom’s present to the bride and also the bridesmaid were handbags.
While I was perusing the website of Trove I found some very descriptive articles in the Mudgee Guardian. I thought this one gave a beautiful illustrative view of the dedication of our forebears back in 1923.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.
EMPIRE DAY PICNIC.
Empire Day at Leadville was celebrated on Saturday, 26th May, by a picnic, athletic sports for children and presentations of prize books, on the local recreation ground. The refreshments were given by the residents. Flat, long distance, three-legged, sack, and obstacle race, constituted the athletic part of the programme. During the day the machine gun, presented to Leadville by the Commonwealth Government, was unveiled, and then placed in the local public school.
The gun is a German one, and was captured by the 20th Battalion of Australian infantry at Warpsee, Aboncourt, on the Somme, on the morning of 18th August, 1918. Mr. H. M. R. Tomlinson, of ‘The Lighthorse,’ Leadville, loaned for the day a trench hat; also a German helmet and war trophies captured at Gallipoli and in France. A descriptive chart, which accompanied Mr. Tomlinson’s loan, proved very interesting. Among the souvenirs was a piece of a wrecked British aeroplane.
Mr. W. R. Matchett, head-master of the local school, was secretary of the functions, and was assisted by a willing band of, workers. Messrs. John Scoble and Thomas Parker rendered great assistance in preparing for the day’s functions. Mr. J. G. Drummond made a suitable stand upon which the gun is mounted. He also printed the inscription describing the gun’s capture. Messrs. W. F. Dunn. M.L.A., John Scoble, P. Russell, J. Cam pie, P. Tonkin, Harold Horne, J. G. Drummond, and J. Healy were prominent in running off the various children’s events. Mesdames W. Matchett, P. Barrett, A, Rayner, Jas. Smith, C. Lonard, John Scoble and W. Corliss, assisted by a willing band of young girls, attended to the refreshments.
At 2.30 p.m. the school children assembled and marched, four-deep, to the saluting base, where the addresses were delivered. Mr. W. R. Matchett introduced the speakers, Mr. W. F. Dunn, M.L.A., and- Mr. H. E. Horne, M.L.C., to the assembled people and children. Mr. Dunn said he was very pleased to have the opportunity of addressing the children and presenting the Empire Day prize books. He thanked the residents for their kind invitation to be present. He was a teacher once, and always appreciated the opportunity of addressing children because they would be the future men and women who would control the destinies of this grand Australia land. The day was, from a weather point of view, an ideal one for a picnic but he hoped a change to wet weather would follow quickly for the benefit of the district. This was Empire Day for Leadville; Australia was a part of the greatest Empire the world ever knew. The British Empire was great in area ‘and great’ in population. It was also renowned for its justice and freedom, and it humane treatment of conquered races. Other Empires had been great but, lacking the freedom and justice practised by the British- Empire, they had passed into insignificance. Australia was the grandest country in the world. She had more miles of railways, more sheep, more cattle, more production, and more commerce per head than any other country. Continuing, Mr. Dunn said: It is your duty to become true Australian men and women and, further improving your glorious country, pass it on to your successors, a better place than you found it. Now let me take you to another aspect of the question wherein Australia proved her greatness. During the late Great War Australia transported across thousands of miles of ocean four hundred thousand soldiers without a single sea casualty. That in itself is a wonderful achievement. Napoleon and other great war horses that you read about never performed any deed to measure with that. To be a good citizen you must be prepared to make sacrifices. To my mind the women made the greatest sacrifices in the war because their part as mothers, wives, and sweethearts was to wait anxiously, although fearing that any mail might bring the worst tidings.
The early Australian settlers were great men and women. They penetrated, years ago, the unknown bush, and willingly, took risks from blacks, fire, drought, floods, and lack of medical comforts, in order to found a new country for their children. Think well of the great land you have, capable of producing all manner of necessities: Mr. Dunn exhorted the children to be loyal to Australia because, if they were, it followed they must then be loyal to the British Empire, as Australia was the grandest -heritage within that Empire. Mr. Dunn then hoisted the Union Jack amid cheers from the children. The speaker then presented each school child with an Empire Day prize book. The children appreciated the complimentary remarks which accompanied each presentation. At the conclusion of the presentation the children gave three cheers for Mr. Dunn and were then dismissed. Every child under school age received a picture book. Mr. Dunn said it was one of the best school presentations he had ever witnessed.
Mr. Horne thanked the people for the honor of being allowed to unveil the presentation machine gun. He was very pleased to be present. He said that Captain Dunn had given a practical demonstration of his loyalty to the Empire, and as a result had spent nearly two years in the Randwick military hospital. He was sure Leadville would value the gun, not only as a trophy of victory, but as a constant reminder of the great part Australians had played in the war. He need not remind them how their boys had distinguished themselves, or what they had endured and suffered. ‘When that gun had rusted away and disappeared, their great achievements would still be remembered with pride and gratitude by the people of Australia. Mr. Horne expressed the hope that the children attending Leadville school, when they looked at the gun, would sometimes think of the sixty thousand heroic young Australian soldiers whom graves lie over the sea. It was impossible to express what we owe to them. They had given up their lives and all their hopes of happiness for the sake of Australian freedom. They had died that we should remain free. We could not repay them for their logs and suffering, but we should endeavour in every way to make our land worthy of their great sacrifice. Mr. Horne then drew the Australian flag aside and showed the gun with Union Jack alongside. Mr. Reg, Brooks, a returned soldier settler on Pine Ridge, thanked Messrs. Dunn and Horne, on behalf of the residents, for their attendance and addresses. He called for cheers for them, and these were heartily given by the assembled people. Visitors were present from Merotherie, Moreton Bay, Coolah Bridge, Denison Town, Pine Ridge, Mudgee, and Inverell. It was the best Empire Day gathering held at Leadville for many years.
Mid-day lunch was served at noon and afternoon tea at four. At night a juvenile plain and fancy-dress ball was held in Healy’s Hall. The fancy costumes were : Merleen Barrett (Maid of Mountains), Lorna Ballard -Queen of Diamonds), Thora Scoble (superstitious), Lily Martin (Poppy), Ena Hobbins (Night), Mary Dougherty (Christmas Cracker), Dulcie Dougherty (Daffodil), Mona Dougherty (Flower Girl), Dorothy Scoble (Egyptian Lady), Iro Lonard (Fairy), Laura Scoble (Fairy), Ma bel Lonard (a Rose), Olive Oldfield
(Bluebell), Bert. Smith (Sailor), Alick Barrett (Jack Frost), Hilton Scoble (Burlington Bertie), Norman Lonard (Golliwog), John Scoble (Golliwog), Dave Parker (Tramp),Floyd Green (Tramp), Ray Martin (Tramp), Irvine Hobbins (Tramp)..
The juveniles danced from 7 to 10, p.m., and the adults from 10 to 12 p.m. The music was supplied by Miss Scoble (piano), – extras being played by Misses V. Field, Grace Bratby, Mary Dougherty, Thora Scoble, Mrs. Brooking (piano), and Mr. L. Charlton (accordeon). The dance was a great success and was the best of its kind ever held here.
Mr. Healy kindly gave the hall free. Mesdames Matchett, Barrett, A, Rayner, Lonard, J. Scoble, and W. Corliss had charge of the refresh, meats. Mr. W. Bratby also rendered assistance. Messrs, P. G. Tonkin and J. Donoghue acted as M.C. Mesdames C, Lonard and W Corliss collected the handsome amount which purchased the children’s presentation books. Councillor Ronald Bowman (McRotherie), of Wyaldra Shire, who attended, donated £1 towards the day’s entertainment.Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative (NSW : 1890 – 1954), Thursday 31 May 1923.
“Lost on the Montevideo Maru”
Researched by Margaret Hope 2012.
Arthur “Toss” Parker was eighteen years and one month old on 4th April 1941 when he enlisted in WWII.
He was too young to join the A.I.F., so he volunteered for the Anti Aircraft Anti MilitaryLanding Craft Defence Force, Rabaul. After his compulsory training and pre-embarkation leave, he embarked on HMAT Neptuna on 7 August 1941 and disembarked Rabaul on 16 September 1941along with two officers and fifty-two other comrades of his unit later known as A.A. Battery,
Rabaul. These boys had been too young to be sent beyond the bounds of Australia with the regular army but had been sent to the supposed safety of an Australian territory.
Once in Rabaul, they took their gun position, with two 3-inch guns and obsolete ring-sight telescope,
at Frisbee Ridge, silhouetted as it was against both north and southern skylines. For Rabaul lay in what was virtually a gigantic crater; only from this ridge could the guns command anything like the requisite 360 degrees angle of traverse. This position was also conspicuous from land, sea, and air.
After the outbreak of war in the Pacific began on 7th December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, Malaya, and the Philippines with the Japanese already having bases in their Micronesian colonies, there was nothing between the Japanese and New Guinea. By January 1942, the Japanese had over 20,000 troops to the north of Australia – from Malaya and Singapore through Java, Ambon and Timor to New Guinea. With most trained units in the war against Germany, the Australians could do little to support the men in New Guinea facing the advancing Japanese.
On 4th January 1942, the Japanese dropped their first bombs on Rabaul and other raids followed.
On 22nd January 120 Japanese aircraft attacked Rabaul. Both the bravery and the ineffectiveness of the Australian pilots in their Wirraway’s (normally used as trainers), against modern fighters were obvious. Heavy pre-invasion bombing continued on 23rd January. That night at 11.40pm the Japanese landed barges of 5,000 forces. As dawn broke, the Australians could see the harbour and the channel dense with Japanese shipping. Any sign of Australian resistance or movement attracted low-flying Japanese aircraft and naval fire. The Australians were told there would be no retreat.
However, overwhelmed by numbers and firepower, the group’s cut-off and communications breaking down, the order changed to ‘every man for himself’.
The Japanese gathered over 1,000 prisoners of war and civilian internees in Rabaul. Apart from knowing that Rabaul had ‘fallen’, the Australian public knew almost nothing of what happened in Rabaul. Then in April, newspapers began publishing reports from the men who had escaped.
These were alarming as they made public the killing of over 150 Australian prisoners of war at Tol Plantation, south of Rabaul. Then the Australians were surprised when Japanese aircraft over Port Moresby dropped bundles of letters from prisoners in Rabaul. Most of the prisoners – including nurses and civilians – said ‘they were being treated reasonably’. The Australians now had contradictory information; some men were killed and because of a strange act of enemy chivalry, others were known to be alive. That was all most Australians were to know for another three years.
War reports state that on 22 June 1942, the civilian and military prisoners in Rabaul, except the officers and nurses, were loaded on the Montevideo Maru. Just before they left, they were able to tell the officers that they were on their way to Hainan Island. Off the Filipino coast near Luzon, early on the morning of 1 July, she encountered the torpedoes of the American submarine “SS Sturgeon”. Not one of the 845 prisoners of war or the 208 civilians survived. Most of the crew and guards reached the shore in the Philippines where Filipino guerrillas killed many. Only 3 Japanese guards and 17 crew had survived.
Japanese authorities received confirmation of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru early in 1943 but never advised Australian authorities. It was October 1945 when the translated nominal roll was received by the authorities in Canberra. Telegrams were sent to the families confirming the deaths of the men and boys from the 2/22nd Battalion, 1st Independent Company, the Fortress Artillery, Signals Units, Number 17 Anti-tank Battery, the Anti Aircraft Artillery, Number 19 Special Dental Unit, detachments from New Guinea Volunteer Rifles, 2/10 Field Ambulance, Ordnance Corps units, the 8th Division Supply Column, the Canteen Services Headquarters New Guinea Area, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Australian Navy and Australian civilians.
By the end of October, 1945 families of those named on the Montevideo Maru nominal roll received correspondence stating; “It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that the transmission of the nominal roll of the Japanese vessel Montevideo Maru which was lost with all personnel after leaving Rabaul in June 1942 shows that [name] was aboard the vessel and I desire to convey to you the profound sympathy of the Commonwealth Government for External Territories.”
It is unknown how Toss lost his life, whether he was one of those massacred at Tol Plantation, perished in the jungle of New Britain whilst trying to escape, or drowned due to the sinking of the Montevideo Maru. The nominal roll retrieved from Japan cannot be confirmed, as there are many discrepancies. Some families of civilians were told that their loved one was on the nominal roll but after returning to Rabaul and talking to their native friends they were told of his execution.
The sinking of the Montevideo Maru is the greatest single disaster suffered by Australian’s in World War II. However, until recently, it was rarely referred to on Anzac Day or other days of national remembering.
In at least two ABC TV presentations, it was stated that the tragic loss of HMAS Sydney, with the deaths of 635 Australian, was ‘the greatest single loss’ of the war. Family members who lost someone among the 1035 Australians who died when the Montevideo Maru sank feel, when they hear this, that their sense that no one has heard of this event has been confirmed yet again.
There is a disappointment, frustration, and even anger that a situation that has had such a profound impact on their own families, and the families of more than one thousand other Australians should be unrecognised, forgotten, or ignored by most of their compatriots. They feel that they have not been included in Australian history and wonder why this should be so.
For those who have links with that community which was lost from the islands of New Guinea in 1942, there is a common desire to have the story made known to the wider public. In a speech in 1992, at a service of remembrance in New Britain to mark the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru, it was stated, ‘The history of those months deserves to be far better known.’
The majority of the ‘A A Battery, Rabual’ was young boys under the age of 20 years old. Their lives cut short! They never had the privilege of marrying and having a family of their own or to be reunited with their loved ones.
There was no confirmation of the names of those who lost their life.
After the events in Rabaul, it would more than 3 years before the family of those killed were to find out their fate. How tragic this must have been for all concerned. Not knowing whether their son, brother, father, uncle or grandchild was alive or dead!
During 2011 the “Rabaul and MVM Society” in Australia, were pro-active in seeking recognition for all those who lost their lives and constructed a Memorial in Canberra. Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neal contributed $100,000 towards a work, that will be constructed at the Memorial next year.
My role, as our family historian, is to preserve Toss’ existence in our family history.
Arthur “Toss” PARKER’S parents were Arthur John PARKER and Rhoda Prudence ‘Winifred’ GREEN.
To my knowledge, Arthur and Winifred never married although through the Electoral Rolls I have found them living together 1930 and 1933 at 44 Selwyn Street, Paddington. After this date, they separated. Arthur was then living at 30 Bellevue Street Arncliffe with Alice’ Eva’ PARKER and
Winifred is living at 32A Burton Street, Surry Hills. Although Winifred married Vladimir Faddeyeff in 1943, she continued to live at the same address until, according to the electoral roll, 1963. Toss had stated this address as his residence on his enlistment papers. Perhaps Winifred could not bear to leave her address in case Toss came home looking for her!
My mother, Joan Thomas, remembers the boys visiting their father and Eva at Arncliffe. She also recalls visiting Winifred. My grandmother, Margaret Thomas, Arthur’s sister, often visited Winifred who worked in a cake shop or cafeteria in Sydney.
Toss also had a brother Eric Parker who joined the forces on 5 January 1942, he was discharged 19 December 1945. Eric married Kathleen Little on 22 September 1945 at Auburn. I believe they had two daughters, Janette and Aileen. Eric and Kathleen divorced in October 1958.
Toss’ father died on 12th April 1946 aged 50 years, and I wonder if it was the stress and or the news of hearing that his son was never to return, caused his death!
Lest we forget!
Selby, David. Hell And High Fever. 1956 Currawong Publishing Co. P/L. Sydney.
Alpin, Douglas. Rabaul 1942. 1994 Pacific Press. ISBN 1 875150 02 01
Reeson, Margaret. Whereabouts Unknown. 1993 Albatross Books. Sutherland ISBN 0 7324 1033 7
Reeson, Margaret. A Very Long War. 2000 Melbourne University Press ISBN 0 522 84909 1
Remembering The War In New Guinea
Lost Lives-The Second World War and the islands of New Guinea
The Montevideo Maru. Lost at Sea, Lost from Australian History.
Statement by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Alan
Griffin, MP. Statement on the loss of the Montevideo Maru 21 June 2010
Arthur John PARKER. Regimental Number: 1687A- WW1.
UTAS Families at War Assignment HAA 007 April 2017. Marg Hope.
This photo was taken overseas about 1917. Arthur Parker centre.
Arthur John Parker was born in March 1896 at Carcoar, New South Wales. He went to war as a young adventurous boy. He seized the opportunity to see the world and gain a lifetime experience he would never be able to afford.
Just hours after Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 The Sydney Morning Herald told their readers that Australia would support the British. The headlines read; “Australia’s Offer. 20,000 Men. An Expeditionary Force.”i Arthur knew where his future was to unfold. He was just eighteen years old, and his parents were prepared to sign his enlistment papers, but he was too short to enlist. He was a country boy born in Carcoar, New South Wales. Arthur craved adventure and yearned excitement of the unknown. He had a mission, but he did not meet the height regulations, yet.
Finally, during June 1916 height restrictions came within his limits. Aged nineteen years and nine months he had reached five feet two inches. Arthur’s dream had come true; he lost no time with enlisting on December 16, 1915, at Lithgow, New South Wales. ii
Arthur’s enlistment papers were signed by both parents, giving him permission to join the Army. He marched off to Bathurst, New South Wales for training and was later assigned to 45th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement unit.
After six weeks of training, the excitement was aroused in Arthur when news came of his embarkation for active service abroad. He was on board the HMAT A40 Ceramic when it sailed from Sydney on 14 April 1916 with 2,096 comrades iii. As per his records, Arthur disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt to join the British Expeditionary Forces on 6 June 1916. It is here he would have trained in preparation of active service.
It appears that Arthur had a setback when he reported sick from the 12th Training Battalion to Codford Hospital, suffering from scabies. For the next eight months, Arthur was in and out of hospital fighting his infectious disease. iv.
He celebrated Christmas 1917 in England and two days later Arthur proceeded overseas to France. The next day he marched into Havre, France.
“Australian soldiers arriving in France, whether reinforcements or “casuals” (those returning from hospitals), went to Base Depots before deployment to the front. All drafts, although they had already passed in England as fully trained, were subjected to further tests, a strict medical check, and at least ten days of additional training.”v
On New Year’s Eve Arthur was taken on strength with 56th Battalion and marched into camp at Panehem, Tigry, France. Here the troops were trained and lectured while entertaining themselves with games of football and other competitive sports until they received their move orders on 28 January 1918. They proceeded to Hollebeke Sector, Belgium where they relieved the 3rd Battalion on 31 January. Here, they stayed in the trenches until they were relieved on 20 February by the 53rd Battalion. Two days later Arthur was admitted to an Australian Dermatological Hospital Station with Trench Fever.
He re-joined his battalion on 8th May at Villers-Bretonneux Sector. On 20 May, his Battalion relieved 54th Battalion in the trenches at the Hamel Sector. On 26 June 1918 Arthur was appointed to Water Point Duty.
On 10 July Arthur’s Battalion was involved in the successful action against the enemy around the Somme as per the 56th Battalion war diaries. The next entry in his dossier states he re-joined the 56th Battalion on 17 July at Bray Sector where there was enemy action taking place. By the end of July, the Battalion was on the move again and on 1 August they were at Poulainville where the men were being allowed to rest as much as possible when; “During the evening warning order was received to the effect that the brigade would move forward on the 4/5 August. On 6 August, they arrived at their destination in dug-outs and shelters in a bank along the east of the river Somme near Daours at 1.30 a.m.” vi
On the morning of September 1, they were at Peronne. The order came to attack. They gained ground on the Germans until 7 a.m. the next morning, September 2, when machine-gun fire barraged the advance. They suffered heavy casualties. Arthur was ‘WOUNDED IN ACTION’. vii.
He suffered shrapnel wounds to his arms, legs, head and right foot. The following day he was transferred to the 6th General Hospital, Rouen in France. From here, he was transported to England via the hospital ship H.M. Grantully Castle. The next day he was admitted to the War Hospital, Exeter, England where he stayed for approximately three months recuperating.
It is while he was in the hospital he sent a postcard, viii, to his youngest sister, my grandmother, showing a photo of ‘Knightshayes Court’, Tiverton, a stately home taken over by the Military to accommodate the wounded. In part, his correspondence read;
“the photo on the front of this card is the house I am in the hospital and it is a lovely house too, I have been enjoying myself since I came here, the town is about a mile and a half away but I walk it nearly every day. I am getting quite well now, those bad Germans wounded me, but I will go back and give them some more.”
Mid-December 1918, he was ready for discharge and transferred to the Third Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford. Here, he was granted furlough on 17 December 1918 and was to report to No. 1 Command Depot, Sutton Veny on 2 January 1919.
It is apparent that he overstayed his leave and was listed AWL, in Bristol.
He forfeited three days pay.
i. ‘Australia’s Offer’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 1914, p. 9.
ii. Service Record of Arthur John Parker, p. 1, B2455, National Archives of Australia.
iii. Australian War Memorial, ‘WW1 Embarkation Rolls’. https://www.awm.gov.au/people/roll-search/nominal_rolls/first_world_war_embarkation/, Accessed 26 April 2017.
iv. Service Record of Arthur John Parker, p. 25.
v. Springfield College Digital Collections, ‘Australian General Base Depot in Havre, France’, http://cdm16122.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15370coll2/id/2931 Accessed 29 April 2017.
vi. Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force Unit War Diaries, 1914-18 War, 56th Infantry Battalion August 1918, Item number: 23/73/31, p. 2. https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/bundled/RCDIG1007063.pdf
vii. Service Record of Arthur Parker, p. 14.
viii. Arthur J Parker to Margaret J Parker, postcard, October 1918, Margaret Hope, Private Collection, Tasmania.
Arthur left England to return to Melbourne, Australia per H.M.T. Delta on 24 January 1919. On 9 May 1919 Arthur was discharged from the A.I.F., medically unfit.
There is no paper trail, like his war records, that traces his life from then on, but it appears he becomes restless. He married Ruth Williams in October 1920. They later separated, but evidence has not been found indicating they divorced. He then lived with Rhoda Green, who was a local girl from his childhood town in Leadville, New South Wales. Arthur adopted two boys who lived in this relationship. One of these boys was also named Arthur. He enlisted in World War 2 aged 18 years old. He did his service in New Guinea, and when the Montevideo Maru sunk, he was listed on board and drowned.
Arthur found out about his death in September 1945. The family believe he died of a broken heart on 12 April 1946.
Lest We Forget!
AIF Project, ‘Australian ANZACS in the Great War 1914-18’, https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/index.html
Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force Unit War Diaries, 1914-18 War, Infantry, Item No: 23/73/25 Title: 56th Battalion. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/RCDIG1000545/
Fitzsimons, Peter, Fromelles & Pozieres, North Sydney, Random House Australia Pty. Ltd, 2015.
Service Record, B2455, National Archives of Australia.
Springfield College Digital Collections, ‘Australian General Base Depot in Havre, France’, http://cdm16122.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15370coll2/id/2931 Accessed 29 April 2017.
The Sydney Morning Herald.
Times Books, Atlas of the World, London, Times Books, 2001.
Assessment Task 4: Research Plan.
Above Image: Port Arthur 2018
My great-great-great-uncle William PARKER (No. 1 on pedigree chart), was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1835. The same year his father John, and brothers, Ambrose and John arrived in New South Wales as convicts. His brother Thomas, was also sentenced and transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1841. I have evidence that Ambrose and Thomas worked together, and are both buried at a property called ‘Jerula‘, in Cowra, New South Wales. His other brother, John, my great-great-grandfather, lived and died at Cowra and married at Carcoar, New South Wales. (Refer family group sheet).
Main Research Question:
What happened to William PARKER after his release?
- Did he reunite with his father and three siblings?
- Did he marry and have children?
- Where did he die?
Records and Resources I Have Used to Date:
- I have found William PARKER’s convict records, and this tells me about his prison term and that he became a free man via Conditional Pardon on 20 September 1845.
- I have my great-great grandfather’s convict records stating that he and his brother, Ambrose, and father John (the elder), stole eight pieces of cotton from a warehouse in Lancashire. John was sentenced seven years and his father and brother were both sentenced fourteen years. These documents also told me that William PARKER had been previously sentenced and transported to Van Diemen’s Land. I have evidence that John (the elder) arrived in New South Wales on 14 July 1835 onboard Mary Ann andJohn (the younger) and Ambrose arrived New South Wales on board John Barry on 21 September 1835, and evidence of all three receiving their ticket of leave.
- Thomas Parker, a younger sibling of William PARKER, was also transported to Van Diemen’s Land. Thomas’ sentence was seven years and he arrived on board the Egyptian on 5August 1839. Records show he received his Ticket of Leave October 1843 and Certificate of Freedom in 1845. Thomas eventually made his way to New South Wales and found his brother Ambrose in Cowra, New South Wales. They were both shepherds on the same property in Cowra. I have evidence for Thomas and Ambrose being admitted to Cowra hospital in 1882 and 1884, respectively
Repositories and Records that I Plan to Use:
- Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office:
Explore the online Convict Portal to get a better understanding of records that may assist me further with William PARKER’s life after his release.
- State Records New South Wales:
Read the following Archive in Brief sheets to assist my search for William PARKER and his brother Thomas, entering New South Wales. Peruse Electoral Rolls for the brothers living in the vicinity of one another. Refer the Colonial Secretary’s papers for any mention of either father or sons that may give me a lead.
AIB No. 1 – Shipping and Arrival Records.
AIB No. 24 – Shipping and arrival records – additional sources.
AIB No. 5 – Electoral Rolls
AIB No. 104 How to search the Colonial Secretary’s papers 1788-1900.
- New South Wales Birth, Death, and Marriage online database.
Search for and purchase a death of William PARKER within the area of Cowra, New South Wales
- National Library of Australia Trove Newspaper online portal
Search newspaper articles for William PARKER residing at Jerulai n the Cowra, New South Wales district.
Whilst evaluating the records I have used to date I have found that I have been very untidy in recording repositories and sources. This has made my research unreliable. This research plan has made me realize I must be thorough whilst collecting information I must become more methodical whilst researching, by planning ahead and compiling family group sheets, pedigree charts, timelines and recording where to search prior to carrying out further investigations.
I must learn to concentrate on one person at a time to avoid surfing the repositories and resources and becoming waylaid with collateral relatives. Although, in stating this, there have been times when I have had to research collateral relatives to get the next piece of the puzzle to allow me to continue to the next generation.
My work has been verified by way of starting with myself and working backward and finding the original records to further confirm that the person is the correct piece that fits the puzzle. I have always used the principle of sourcing, at least, two primary records and various secondary records to verify the person in question is, in fact, the correct person.I have always confirmed family history research that has been passed on to me rather than accepting it as accurate work and I have always shared my research with others, to assist with their research and hoping that it will further preserve my family history.
Copying and pasting information into my family tree records have been a bad habit in the past. This is an important lesson that I have learned through doing this course. Although I have been aware of copyright, plagiarism was not part of my vocabulary. I was aware of repositories, referencing, footnotes, endnotes, but citing sources using the correct method has been a difficult learning curve. In saying that, I know it will become second nature with practice and will also be beneficial to my work.
All of these lessons I have learned over the past weeks will improve my research skills and prevent me wasting precious time going over the same information I have sourced in the past.
The most difficult question in this course was where to look for the answer to my problem when I feel I exhausted repositories. But, I have come to realize that I have lacked in reading directive information within the repositories. Instead, I have just jumped in and searched names. I will now go back and explore the Tasmanian LINC online convict portal and the Archives in Brief sheets before I continue with my search of William PARKER’s life after release.
My intention is to now complete a timeline of all the brothers in the hope that I can establish gaps within my research which in turn will give me a favorable outcome.
- Cowra Family History Group Library, Cowra District Hospital 1881-1884 Register LIN. HOSP. 2794.02 Thomas Parker May1882 and Ambrose Parker April 1884.
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/: accessed 17 March 2016), John Parker, 19 July 1816, Burnley, Lancashire, England, reference; FHL microfilm 0093654, 0093664.
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1910, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/: accessed 17 March 2016), William Parker, 20 January 1820, Christening, St Peter’s, Burnley, Lancashire, England, volume, Lancashire Record Office, Preston; FHL microfilm 1,517,690.
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1910, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/: accessed 17 March 2016), Thomas Parker, 3 January 1825, Christening, St Peter’s, Burnley, Lancashire, England, volume, Lancashire Record Office, Preston; FHL microfilm 1,517,690.
- Great Britain. Home Office, & State Library of Queensland. (1948). John Parker (the elder), one of 306 Convicts Transported on theMary Ann, 06 July 1835., Criminal: Convict transportation registers [HO 11].
- Great Britain. Home Office, & State Library of Queensland. (1948). John Parker (the younger), one of 320 Convicts Transported on the John Barry, 07 September 1835., Criminal: Convict transportation registers [HO 11].
- Great Britain. Home Office, & State Library of Queensland. (1948). Ambrose Parker, one of 320 Convicts Transported on the John Barry, 07 September 1835., Criminal: Convict transportation registers [HO11].
- NLA Trove. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8754164 Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas; 1828-1857), Tuesday 31 October 1843, p4. Ticket of Leave Thomas Parker,
- NSW Death Certificate 1886/8039 District of Cowra Thomas Parker.
- NSW Death Certificate 1890/4663 District of Cowra Ambrose Parker.
- Society of Australian Genealogist. New South Wales Government Gazette 1832 – 1863 Transcriptions. Ticket of Leave, 16 December 1839, John Parker, Mary Ann (4)at Inverary.
- Society of Australian Genealogist. New South Wales Government Gazette 1832 – 1863 Transcriptions. Ticket of Leave, 25 February 1840, John Parker (the younger), John Barry at Carcoar.
- Society of Australian Genealogist. New South Wales Government Gazette 1832 – 1863 Transcriptions. Ticket of Leave, 14 August 1843, Ambrose Parker, John Barry at Muswellbrook.
SRNSW: Convict Records; Ref, NRS 12202, [4/4135] Reel 935, No. 39/2300 Principal Superintendent of Convicts, Ticket of Leave butts, 1839 – 1840 Mary Ann 4, John Parker.
SRNSW: Convict Records, Ref, NRS 12202, [4/4171] Reel 947, No. 43/71 Principal Superintendent of Convicts, Ticket of Leave butts, 1842- 1843 – John Barry, Ambrose Parker.
TAHO, CON14/1/51 Indent William Parker No. 1160 Aurora1835.
TAHO, CON18/1/7 p476 Thomas Parker No. 1520 Egyptian 1839.
TAHO, CON27/1/2 p15 Appropriation List William Parker No. 1160 Aurora1835.
TAHO, CON31/1/35 p 213 Convict Conduct Record William Parker Aurora1835.
TAHO, CON18/1/4 p115 Description List William Parker No. 1160 Aurora1835.
TAHO, CON31/1/36 p74 Conduct Record Thomas Parker No. 1520 Egyptian 1839.
TAHO, CON14/1/48 p23 Indent Record Thomas Parker No. 1520 Egyptian1839.
- a pedigree chart.
- a completed family group chart for the individual identified in the question.
NOTE: In March 2018 my sister and I visited Port Arthur. We discovered that William was an inmate at the Children’s Prison, Point Puer. I have submitted a request to have William’s records transcribed and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.