Eulogy: Aunty Ally

Ally was our gracious and sweet, warm, clever, fun Aunty; a “fine lady” as my brother Steve Edwards said; and in my sister Francie’s words: “Ally always gave me a warm feeling; the image of her welcoming soft laughing blue eyes is as clear as if she were walking around my beautiful garden with me right now.”

Ally has always held for me, such a sense of our Dad, her much loved older brother Tony, who died far too young at age 39 in 1966. The love she held for him was profound. Each time we talked of Tony, Ally’s eyes would fill and a tremble would enter her throat – she adored him and grieved him, quietly and deeply, as she did for her mother Esther, and her father, Adrian.

My brother Pete and his wife Deb remember what a loyal sister Ally was to her and Tony’s brother David … whenever she entered the room in his later life, Dave’s eyes would light up and he would beam with delight. Bob, and Ally supported him when he lost his beloved wife Margery very suddenly and during the trials of the ensuing years in New York and stayed closely in communication during Dave’s return and final years in Sydney.

Living as we did, in her Australian homeland ‘across the ditch’, we didn’t have a lot of contact as kids, more so as adults; but we all remember Jolly visits as embodying the very best of our Edwards family; our Mum Susie dearly valuing the chance to keep alive our Edwards family connection and her own loving relationship with Ally.

I clearly remember spending a special day with them both laughing and crying together at Papa ‘Teddy’ Edwards’ home in Sydney, sorting out his lifetime possessions, around the time Ally took him home to NZ nurse him in 1976, before his death aged 79.

Uncle Bob has facilitated my spending really quality time with Ally in the last 10 years and together they have honoured me with the gift of holding the Edwards history, including a fascinating driving trip to the family properties from Goulburn to Bombala in southern NSW. My promise to them both is to further impart that history for our wider family, particularly the vital role that our Edwards and Wilson families have played in the shaping of Australia, including tales of men with big vision and tenacity, of gold rush days and chasing bushrangers, horsemen and settlers, surveyors, station managers, graziers, landholders, and more recently, doctors, scientists and lawyers.

In a phone conversation with Ally, just some 10 days before she died, discussing the diary of our ancestor Louisa Edwards (nee Battye), we talked of the line of independently intelligent, warm and gregarious Edwards and Wilson women we come from. What I know and observe (as one lucky enough to be a member of Ally’s wider family), is that she has most assuredly passed on her legacy to her warm, intelligent, loving and gregarious children and grandchildren … some of whom are pictured here at her gentle wake, following her loving funeral service, which I was honoured to attend in Palmerston North, last Tuesday September 11, 2018.

Ally was hugely loved, utterly loving and always, so very very lovable. She will stay alive in our hearts forever. RIP Aunty Ally…

Trevor to Win, Fromelles 19.7.16 Cptn Trevor Francis MC 8/6/1890-14/3/17

On this day, July 19, 1916, 100 years ago at the Battles of Fromelles on the Western Front in Belgium, my Great Uncle Trevor (53rd battalion) won a Military Cross at the Battle of Fromelles “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in action. Though severely wounded when leading his platoon in the attack, he continued for four hours to command the party protecting the exposed flank of the main body against a heavy attack.”

Trevor was my grandmother (Ruby) Win Francis’ second of four beloved brothers. Shot in the leg and arm he was taken from the Battle two days later. He was evacuated to England and during this period of convalescence, Trevor had a brooch made and sent to his sister Win – a replica of his Military Cross – with the engraving: TREVOR TO WIN, FROMELLES 19/7/1916

Trevor rejoined his battalion on 27/10/1916 and was made Captain on 11/11/1916. He was killed-in-action in France on 14/3/1917.  He was 28. Ironically he was probably shot by a sniper when on adjunct duties, as he and his Seargeant were originally buried 1 mile east of Henin sur Cojeul, five and a half miles south east of Arras which is behind the lines and not a battleground. He was later reburied in Guards Cemetery (Les Bouefs, France FR.374) where I visited his grave with my son Ned Reilly in 2008. His Seargeant was buried beside him. Trevor Francis’ name is included on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

A gifted sportsman with a high intelligence, Trevor Francis grew up in Southern Qld, attended Ipswich Grammar School and studied Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland.

Trevor was the first of his brothers to sign up on 24/8/1915. He received his commission as Second Lieutenant on 16/3/1915.  Trevor’s older brother Vincent and younger brother Eric were also both officers in WW1 – their stories will follow as anniversaries of the battles in which they fought arrive. His youngest brother Stan drew the ‘short straw’ literally and was forced to stay home, against his will, to help his father on the family property. I was fortunate to meet both my great uncles Stan and Eric Francis at their respective homes in Qld in 1974 when they were old men.

RIP Trevor … I would love to have met you as an old man too, many many years later … It’s a bugger you had to go to war … but today is your day and somehow I reckon there’s a bit of you in all of us.

Article from The Guardian re Fromelles asks the question … sacrifice or butchers shop?


Transcript of original diary from the NSW Goldfields by John Wilbraham Edwards, Turon River (Sofala), October 5th, 1851

Wednesday 17th September 1851

Our trip to the diggings commenced, by Durham and I setting off for Parramatta at 10 minutes past 12 noon by the Steamer, where we arrived at 20minutes past 2 the distance being 15 miles. We found Charley (who had been sent out of Sydney with the cart the night before) waiting for us, with the pleasant news

“That we should have to get the tires of both wheels cut … the heat of Sydney has caused the wood to shrink, and they’re both coming off”

Here was a pretty go, our first mishap only 15 miles from Sydney, just by way of a taste of what might be in store for us, without loss of time we started off to Coleman (a wheelwright) who on inspection said he would not have our wheels at a [gift & etc], this all in the way of [treads]; but the man was quite right, the heat had shrunk the wood to that degree, that the wheels weren’t worth a curse; he luckily had a pair of new ones by him which just fitted our cart, these ones took and paid (five pounds) for; at half past 4pm and left Parramatta, and camped out a mile and a half from the town, ready for a good start in the morning.

18th Thursday

Got up at half past 5 and started from our first camp at 20mins past 8, got to Penrith 16 or 17 miles off about 6 in the evening, but were too late to get a place in the punt for crossing the Nepean that night, consequently we went back for a quarter of a mile and camped in a field with capital feed in it; soon after tea, one of our horses which had not been well for 3 days, we found was getting worse (more luck) so we determined if he was no better next day, we would not go on, but give him a dose and a day’s rest —-

19th Friday

The Horse much the same, got a dose for him at Penrith, which has just been given him if he gets better towards the afternoon, we intend crossing the Nepean and camping 2 miles on the other side — 4pm the horse much better, but not well enough to start.

20th Saturday

The horse well, but rather weak, started from our camp at 8am got over Lapstone hill with some difficulty we are beginning to find the strongest of our horses is a confounded jib, he trys his breeching, directly there is any hard rock, we only went 9 1/2 miles today as our youngest horse Farmer (Dick is the name of the jib) is still weak, and camped at James’ Public House; Durham, Charley and I went down to a small creek and had a real good wash all over, a comfort only to be appreciated by walking over dusty roads good part of a day, there was not sufficient water in the creek for a swim that would have been too great a luxury —-

Sunday 21st Sept

Left the camp at 10mins to 8, Dick began jibbing immediately in front of the Public House, and at the end of our days journey jibbed awfully in going up a Sandy Hill, called Wilsons Hill, close to Wilsons Public, 11 1/2 miles from where we started and 21 from Penrith, however as there was a party we knew (Fred Foster’s) in front of us, by their assistance we partly shoved and Farmer doing his best, partly dragged the cart up the hill and we camped 200 yards from the Public; our load is as nearly as we can tell 17cwt, more or less rather too much for two horses, where one so often jibes, and also taking into account the extremely sandy pinches in different parts of the road, hitherto almost all the road has been excellent, but we are told that now the road begins to be bad ——————

22nd Monday

On starting this morning, our brute of a horse jibbed again; we managed to get him part of the way up a low long sandy hill, when again he came to a stand, and this time devil a bit, would he budge, neither the whip (and by jove he got plenty of it) nor coaching would make him move so at last it was determined that C. would ride this confounded brute to his Father’s at Bong Bong (which by a near out, across from Penrith to Camden is about 120 miles off) and bring another horse, a remarkably fine one called Captain, and that we should go to our last camping place only 1/4 of a mile off, and wait his coming, we expected him to be away 6 days, so we made ourselves as comfortable as we could, put Farmer in Wilson’s paddock, repacked our dray, as the weight was rather too much behind and then D.and I went down to a creek and had a good wash, this was in the afternoon, on our return, we found, in spite of our man John’s remonstrances, our camp fire occupied by a lot of blackguards who were going to the diggings, there they were, perfectly at home all their pots on and taking up the whole of our fire, and lying all around it; this was rather too much, we had to go a long way for wood, and these rascals were too lazy to make a fire for themselves, as soon as their tea was boiled, they moved off a short distance leaving an immense potion which took up nearly the whole of our fire, so I went and told one of them, not in the most measured terms or gentlest manner, that if one of them did not soon take it off I would for them, consequently in five minutes one of them walked off with it, and we were troubled with them very little more except by hearing very beautiful and complimentary remarks, made about us, which we treated with the contempt they deserved; it was not worth while quarrelling with such brutes. D. told them soon after I spoke, that were were not going to cut wood for them, and as one of them had been abusing the fire (merely for the sake of provocation) that if the fire was not good enough we did not want him at it, as we only made it for ourselves; these brutes are in the habit of “chumming up” as they call it, with each other, on the road, and going to the one who has first fire, this you may be sure we did not want, neither did we want to gross remarks and abominable familiarity such “chumming up” entails upon us —-


Tuesday 23rd

D and I went down to the valley above which we were camped, and found 3 trickling waterfalls any of which would afford a beautiful shower bath, the first had a fall of about 10ft, the second of 3 ft and the third of about 30 ft, this last fell into a beautiful dell completely surrounded on three sides with high rocky cliffs, and the fourth side by which it had vent, was a large deep rocky gully a continuation of the valley above which we were camped, we had just had a bathe, so made up our minds to have a showerbath there tomorrow, the county here is very wild, we are in part of the blue-mountains; on our return we found C. with a lot of men round our fire, one or two of them were his Fathers tenants and all neighbours, it appears he had met them at the Punt at Penrith, and they would not for a moment hear of his going home for a horse, one of them called McFadgeon offered to lend him a capital horse and take Dick in exchange ’till we got to Bathurst, this he gladly acceded to. D.andI instantly got dinner, packed up our traps, harnessed the horses, and all set off together we are now in all three teams so no hills can stop us, our exchanged horse pulls capitally, and even Dick who is now placed in the shafts of McFadgeons dray behind two good horses, is obliged to pull, he appears to have given up jibbing for the present, and pulls as well as could be wished; on our road this afternoon we passed about 1 1/2miles from one of those places I have so often heard of, where on of the Mountains appears to have been cut in two, to the depths of between 500 and 1000 ft by some convulsions of nature; the sold rock rises to about that height nearly perpendicular, and even at a distance looks rather grand, we were too far off, and besides had not time to visit this place which I should much like to have done, I have heard of one of these places 2000ft in height, tonight we are camped at a placed called the Weatherboards 4 1/2 miles from where we started at 2pm today.

Wednesday 24th.

Left our Camp a little after 7am all day passing through very fine scenery, saw several of those immense perpendicular walls of Rock, and ended with going down Mount Victoria the descent of which is about 2 miles, from this mountain you have a splendid view, the road down it is so steep, you have to fasten a skid to the wheels and hang on behind to prevent your dray going down to fast,.We camped at the bottom about 3 miles from Hartley.

Thursday 25th

Passing through very fine scenery all day, camped in a beautiful spot, with perpendicular rocks towering 300 ft above us immediately in front of our Camp. D.,C., and I as usual when we were able to do so, went down to the Creek and indulged in a bathe – P.S. at 11 this morning passed the Town? of Hartley consisting of some eight or ten houses!—

Friday 26th

Left the Camp in good time, crossed some high long hills, heavy pulling for the horses and finally came down Mount Lambie, got of of the Blue Mountains, and camped 3 or 4 miles from the foot of them —–

Saturday 27th

Road tolerably level; in the morning passed a small place where Oranges were to be sold, D.and I went to ask what was the price of them, a dirty fat woman who was washing, wiped her hands and said some 1, and some 1 1/2 they were miserable looking ones scarcely as large as apricots and all shrivelly, so without taking any we moved off and before getting out of hearing were told “You’ll get plenty when you come back with plenty of Nuggets, you “d…..d rascals”, so much for the civility of the Australian lower classes the second or third specimen we had received of it on the road —- Today we turned off for the Turon determining to go there first, in crossing a small creek 2 miles from the Green Swamp, where we turned off, Dick, our shaft horse (for we had just got him back from McFadgeon) made a leap, dragged the cart after him and upset it on the opposite bank, luckily scarcely any damage was done; and as we were at the place where we intended to camp, we quietly unloaded the dray, reloaded it, and made ourselves perfectly comfortable, determining to rest the horses the whole of the next day (Sunday). D.and I made up our minds to walk into Bathurst to post letters etc. We are now 14 miles from there and 28 from the Turon —-                (crosswritten) At the bottom of the hill today a few miles from the Green Swamp, we passed a fallen tree lying on four horses; they had been crushed to death; on a windy day a short time ago, a man left them at the bottom of the hill while he went to the top to speak to someone, he was away only a few minutes, and on his return he found them all quite dead, and horribly crushed by a large tree.

Sunday 28th

D. and I started from the Camp at 20 minutes to 3pm walked into Bathurst a distance of 14 miles in 3 hours and 20 minutes, and were much  pleased with the town it seems to be rather larger than Goulburn and much more compact, it is difficult to judge of the relative sizes of the places, Goulburn appears to be more of an oblong shape Bathurst more of a square. McIntosh, a friend of D’s was out of Town, but expected in at night. Went to the Royal Hotel (not as good as the hotel of the same name and Maudlesohn’s (sp?) in Gouldburn), met with Johnson the commissioner, first had some brandy and water, then ordered tea, at which meal, we two (D.&I) managed to dispose of a Dish of Chops, ditto of Ham & Eggs, 1/3 of a loaf of bread, 5 or 6 cups of tea each, besides sugar, milk and butter, proving that a sharp walk of 14 miles, though good for the health is not much to the benefit of the Inn you stop at, where there is a fixed charge for each meal. We both of us had thought of being ashamed of our selves, and were rather afraid of being charged double. Soon after tea McIntosh came in, from him we heard the last news from the Turon and the other diggings, then finished the letters we were engaged writing on his entry and went to bed.

Monday 29th

Finished the little business we had to do, by 25mins past 11 and set off to walk to the Turon, by a road we were told would lead on to the one from the green swamp, stopped in the middle of the day to eat some dinner we brought with us, walked till 7 o’clock but could not meet with the drays. Crossed Wiagdon Hill, with about as wretched a road over it as there is in the Colony, it is a high steep hill covered with stones, and where the road passes over it, is, what is called “sidling”, came up with some drays but not our won, and decided on going no farther, erected a Gunyah close to one of their fires, and put in plenty of leaves for a bed, this was nothing and only what one might expect now and then, travelling in the Bush; but we could get no water and were parched with thirst, the men belonging with the drays got their half a mile off, down a steep gully and it was now too dark to get any, so we were obliged to go to sleep as we were, or I should say to our Gunyah, sleep was out of the question devil a bit could not get any for the cold; we were in and out first in the Gunyah then at the fire nearly the whole night, towards the morning I got quite worn out, and threw myslef down beside the fire, with my head on my arm and the sky for a covering and fell fast asleep…

Tuesday 30th

Woke soon after rise, when Kelly (who owned one of the drays) gave us a pannikin of tea and some biscuit, which put us all to rights, we neither of us caught the least cold or new the least stiff or in any way the worse for our rough night’s lodging . We were now only 7 mile from the Turon having walked 21 the day before; we arrived at the diggings at nine a.m. found out Thompson who took us to his tent and gave us a good breakfast. D. went back with him to the P.Office, while I remained in the tent on account of having blistered feet caused by foolishly having nails put in my boots; which I have found out is the worst plan possible, when you have to walk day after day for several days together; mine had been blistered for the last 5 days, at night we had good beds with a nice tent to cover us which for my part and I think D. too made the most of, repaying ourselves in a great measure for our bad lodgings of the previous night.

Wednesday 1st October

Went with D. to the post office to look for Charley, examined some of the excavations as we passed along; this certainly is a most extraordinary place, some of the holes are carried to a great depth, 12, 20, 30, ay & even 40 or 50ft, while some are tunneled a great way into the bank, all the people here who are doing at all well are very civil, and will show you their gold as they get it out of their cradles, answer questions tote (sp?)_the accounts in the papers I consider to be a good deal exaggerated, some few here are making fortunes, some doing well, some only paying their expenses, and very many scarcely doing anything at all; on arrival at the P.O. we ere told that C. had been there for us, in a few minutes we found him, and went out to our dray camped 2 miles from the Township of Sofala on the Turon Hills; it seems they had taken a road called the LimeKiln road, after they left the Green Swamp, thus accounting for our missing them. In the afternoon for amusement we went down to the Creek below the Camp, prospecting, and C. was lucky enough to find 3 or 4 spangles of gold; even on the tops of the hills about the Turon you can find gold in small quantities they (the hills) are mostly of a reddish colour, like our Ironstone Country, and some of it a yellowish brown, covered with Blue Gum and Box trees (with the latter particularly on the side of the hills sloping towards the River,) stringy bark and common gum but not nearly so plentiful as the other two; and the banks, or more properly the flat of the River with large oak trees; the stones on the Hills appear principally or certainly in a great proportion to be of a Schistose formation (this term is applied to any rocks that have cleavage) and now and then of Igneous origin or at any rate, bare as far as my poor judgement can guide me, marked traces of fire, and what is an extraordinary feature is that Quartz is by no means plentiful; on the flat of the the River the stones are in great number and appear to be principally trap and some kind of Winstone, also lots of bluish kind of stones with a vein of quartz running through them, very much waterworn, the vein where the gold is found in the bank diggings appears to be a yellowish gravelly clay greenish loose kind of clay but in some parts it is of a dark brown colour, a regular mass of concrete with large stones imbedded in it, in some of the diggings on the hills the washable stuff is different being a light coloured loose earth with many water worn stones amongst it, this latter kind appears to wash very easily; whether you get a good claim or a bad one seems to be, in fact people say, entirely a lottery, geological knowledge and indications are of very little use, some of the richest claims are in places where scientific men would suppose gold could not be found except in small quantities, and in some few cases the best claims are where people stuck in their shovels in their despair of getting any others place to work in….

Thursday 2nd

Got our dray down to the river, the hills so steep we were obliged to use a skid and a drag and in some places so sidling as to oblige us to hold on by ropes to the upper side of the dray to prevent its being capsized. Pitched our tent close to Thompsons 1 1/2miles (1.5miles ed.) from the P.O….

Friday 3rd

Spent the day in making a tent of our tarpaulin to keep our stores, provisions in & @…

Saturday 4th

Looking about the river for a claim fixed upon one close to Ellis’s 1/2 mile from here; his claim is on the side of a sloping hill, in 5 weeks he has turned out 452ozs, this is an immense quantity, he is one who took his claim entirely on chance and for want of knowing a better; it is now one of the very best on the River, so good that some of his neighbours in the night used to go and take the earth from it, he found it out, and said if any one went to his claim again in the night, he would take him for a ghost and shoot him, since then he has not been troubled with any more of these ruffians.

Sunday 5th

Nearly the whole of the day in the tent writing up this journal to today, from notes I had taken previously. Ellis dined with us – a warm windy day …

Monday 6th

Went and opened our claim but were obliged to leave off at one o’clock on account of it coming on to rain; so went to our tent and added some small improvements to the slanting board of the cradle, while John & C. made two grooves for it to rock in.

Tuesday 7th

A very wet day, all hands reading and in the Tent, cleared up a little in the afternoon. The River a little higher than yesterday.

Wednesday 8th

Worked the claim nearly the whole day, washed a little of the top stuff but only 3 grs Troy out of it.

(side note) A large black snake killed in the tent.

Thursday 9th

Working at the claim in the morning, obliged to knock off at 11 as it commenced to rain hard; no one at the cradle, as it requires 1/2 an oz to make it with washing, perdium.

Friday 10th

Went to work at the claim, but obliged to leave off at 11 on account of the rain which came down in torrents, it cleared up in the afternoon. D., C. and I went to the township to try and get letters; none for us.

Saturday 11th

Left our first hole as there was nothing in it, worked lower down in the claim, but only got the dirt out; down to the bed rock only 2 ft below the surface.

Sunday 12th

Writing nearly all morning, went to Sofala in the afternoon, with Galbraith to post letters.

Monday 13th

Working hard all day, got nothing to speak of out of the part of the claim we were working in the morning, so changed to another part of it a little higher up, and by night had got a hole of 3ft sunk.

Tuesday 14th

Got down to the washable stuff by 10 o’clock a.m. but out of several buckets full only obtained a very few specks; gave it up and went to a partly begun hole, 30 years to the left of our first claim; passed 25 buckets of earth through the cradle in the afternoon; only a few specks again.

Wednesday 15th

Working at the hole all day, undermined a tree, and passed a few buckets of earth through the cradle with the usual luck.

Thursday 16th

Removed the trunk and root of the tree from over our hole, and took off a large quantity of red clay and earth and got the claim ready for cradling; some of our neighbours tried to encroach most of them round us thinking from the colour of the earth and other signs that we are in a good place; as yesterday, the party in the hole nearest us got 24ozs, within a mere trifle dwk or two.

Friday 17th

Working hard all day with our usual luck, we are beginning to get puzzled as to the whereabouts of the gold vein, all tell us they are certain we shall find plenty of gold in some part of our claim, but the difficulty seems to be, where that plenty is …

Saturday 18th

Working all day, at right angles to where we were working yesterday, in hopes of striking (by Monday) right across the vein and then following it up, had our dispute (with some sailors who are working above us) settled by the commissioner Mr King, and got about 4 yards more ground allotted to us that they wanted, before dinner today, the men who are working the claim next to us, got 16 1/2 oz; they will have got nearly 2 1/2lbs weight by the evening, more I believe than has been got out of any dry digging before on the Turon.

Sunday 19th

Went to Sofala to post letters.

Monday 20th

Working at the claim all day at 4 in the afternoon (after trying several bags of earth at different times in the day) we suddenly got to some different stuff; sent down 2 buckets of it to the cradle to be tried and got out of it 2 dwts thinking we had struck the vein at last, we sent down 2 buckets more and again got bout 2 dwts … which was given to Galbraith as was tried in his cradle.

Tuesday 21st

C. and Galbraith went before breakfast to the claim to get some earth ready for washing; today 22 buckets of the washable stuff were passed through each cradle; being all we had ready; our yeild was 1.7.12 (1oz7dwts12grs); this is considered a large quantity out of so little earth; in the afternoon we began cutting away some more of our claim in order to reach the vein, having only just got to a very small portion of it in one corner, and which only took us about an hour and half to wash . PS. today we found several specimens of gold in Iron stone, slate, etc and also imbedded in hard dark brown clay, bearing the appearance of having been at one time exposed to the action of fire; these specimens were got out of the hopper of the cradle, after the earth had been washed off them.

Wednesday 22nd

Went on clearing and scraping the rocks, as far as the claim was opened, passed 35 buckets though the cradle, this was not at all good stuff and we only got 3dwts12grms. Todd, Spry and Terry arrived today.

Thursday 23rd

Cleared off some more of the claim, at the shallow end, where the rock is only from 1 foot to 18 inches below the surface; this was no good; washed 21 buckets of soil scraped from the crevices and pockets of the rock at the other end and got 11 dwts12grms.

Friday, 24th

Washed some of the soil (8 buckets) of what we cleared yesterday from the upper end of the claim; this was totally useless stuff consequently our yield was nil.

Saturday 25th

Working hard clearing off a third part of the claim, at the deep end, close to where we got the rich earth on Tuesday; obliged to go home in the afternoon by having a head ache.

Sunday 26th

Writing home in the morning, in the afternoon walked to Sofala.

Monday 27th

Working hard at the claim all day, cutting down, at the deep end.

Tues 28th

Raining hard nearly all day, no work done.

Wednesday 29th

Working all day, at the deep end of the claim, and lost a great deal of time by having to build up the wall again, which we had made to keep the earth, thrown out, from falling back again; and which had given way on account of last night’s rain.

Thursday 30th

Cut down some more of the claim; in the afternoon washed 31 buckets of earth and got out of it 3ozs,4dwts, 22grs.

Friday 31st

Passed 56 buckets of soil through the cradle, our yield was 2oz,7dwts,22grs – this was for the greater part only indifferent stuff, but some of it was very good.

Saturday, 1st November

Licence day. to his cradle late, on account of that and of there being a good deal of rain in the afternoon with two heavy squalls. We only washed 38 buckets of soil, which yielded 1 oz,7dwts,19grs.

Sunday 2nd

Writing and reading all day.

Monday 3rd

Cutting out and pounding stuff for washing sufficient for the two next days.

Tuesday 4th

Washed 56 buckets of soil which yielded 16dwts5grs. Terry, Todd and Spry left

Wednesday 5th

Washed 74 buckets which yielded 12dwts6grs. opened a claim opposite Golden Point

Thursday 6th

cutting out sufficient for the two next days, at 2pm I was obliged to go home owing to a slight attack of diarrhoea.

Friday 7th

washed 94 buckets which yielded 18dwts

Saturday 8th

An awfully hot day, carrying down bags of earth in the morning, washed 63 buckets in the afternoon which yielded 14dwts9grs.

Sunday 9th

Writing a letter in the morning; went to Sofala in the afternoon.

Monday 10th

A very wet day; at the claim only for about an hour in the afternoon. Received a letter from home and answered it.

Tuesday 11th

Cutting out soil in the morning, washed 47 buckets which yielded 1oz7grs

Wednesday 12th

Clearing off some more of the upper end of the claim, David Galbraith meantime looking about for some new claims, and bought four at sheep station point for only 20pounds – the party who had been working them having quarreled was the cause of their getting them so cheap (Dry diggings)

Thursday 13th

Working at the new claims, washed upward of 40 buckets and only got 2dwts 3grs; the party of whom we bought the claim considered the part they had opened (not above a fourth) to be nearly worked out.

Friday 14th

Washed 75 buckets from the new claim which yielded 1.9dwts. The gold from this hole is very fine, and in some places stones were picked out covered with specks. Two of our party were working at the old claim today.

Saturday 15th

Raining heavily in the morning till 11o’clock. Helped Galbraith and C to move to our new claim as it was necessary some of us should be there.

Sunday 16th

Reading all day

Monday 17th

Washed 90 buckets of earth which yielded 13dwts. We also got a nugget weighing 7dwts 12grs making 1oz 12grs total. The nugget Durham picked up in the hole.

Tuesday 18th

Cutting out washable stuff all day, hired 2 men to commence working tomorrow morning, bought Dr Sherwin’s claim which he was kind enough to offer Durham for 100 pounds to be delivered next Monday – it is one of the best on the Turon, a bed and bank claim on Golden Bar. He was obliged to leave or he would not have sold it. Gave Foillard notice to quit Bangalore, enclosed in a letter to Tom Gibson.

Wednesday 19th

Durham and I went to the claim on Thomson’s hill (the old one) and found that M & D had scarcely done anything; tried some of what they had ready which was no good. Washing at sheep station point included in next day’s work.

Thursday 20th

Tunnelling and washing at sheep station point. Yesterday’s and today’s work, conjointly amounts  to 1oz 1 dwt 17grs.

Friday 21st

clearing off all day. C picking and clearing the rock.

Saturday 22nd

M and I finished the old claim washed 46 buckets which yielded 12dwts 19grs and from sheep station point 8dwts 23grs washed by the others (1oz 1dwt 18grs total); the new clearing off in the meantime.

Sunday 23rd

Writing and reading all day.

Monday 24th

Clearing off all day at Sherwin’s claim and sheep station point.

Tuesday 25th

Clearing off all day at sheep station point, discharged the 2 men we hired, having had them a week. At Sherwin’s claim they were washing and go 2oz 11dwts 11grs.

Wednesday 26th

Cutting down at sheep station point, and washing at Sherwin’s claim yeild 1oz 4dwts 9grs.

Thursday 27th

washing at both claims, Sherwin’s yielding 18dwts 23grs; sheep station gold not brought home – to be included in tomorrow’s work.

Durham and Galbraith found or rather took out some new claims 4miles up the river.

Friday 28th

washing at Sherwin’s claim and sheep station point, only one working cradle at the former which yielded 1oz 3dwts 18grs and two days work at the latter yielding 15dwts 10grs.

Saturday 29th

Helping Galbraith to remove from sheep station point to the new claims, our own men at Sherwin’s clearing out the …. (river?)

Sunday 30th

Reading and writing all day

December 1st, Monday

sank to the bedrock at Golden Bar to see if there was gold on it, but there was not sufficient to pay.

Tuesday 2nd

Clearing off the bank of the claim at Golden Bar

Wednesday 3rd

A very wet day cleared up in the afternoon just long enough to allow D. and I to go and see Galbraith up the river.

Thursday 4th

The men clearing off at Golden Bar, while D. & I went to sheep station point.

Friday 5th

Washing at Golden Bay, with one cradle in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. Got 1..4..15

Saturday 6th

The river very high owing to the rain in the back country, today Sherwin Claim yielded 1..15..19 and the week’s work from sheep station was 4..9..12

Sunday 7th

Had a beautiful bathe in the morning before breakfast, reading and writing the rest of the day.

Monday 8th

From the Golden Bar claim today we got 17..13 C. clearing off at sheep station point.

Tuesday 9th

From the Golden Bar claim only 15..4

Wednesday 10th

From Golden Bar 1..0..16; for the last days the bank has been turning out so badly, we have determined not to try the upper part of the bed and tomorrow (having borrowed a pump) we are going to prepare a partly opened hole for working as soon as possible, the stuff we washed today was the best we could get out, and this has scarcely given us a decent return.

Thursday 11th

Got the pump into the hole, but could not make use of it on account of the pump wanting clamps, to prevent it bursting.

Friday 12th

Got the pump in working order, but could not get the hole cleared out on account of the other claims being so full of water, and no-one else to join with us in emptying them.

Saturday 13th

Washing with 2 cradles in the morning and with one in the afternoon, yield 13dts.5grs. Charley has been clearing off at sheep station nearly all the week, and from there he only brings us for 2 days work 1.5.12. Greenaway who works the next claim to us at Golden Bar got his pump in today all ready for a fair start with us on Monday. Our head man tried another claim, a deserted one, on the hill a little farther up the river than Trappit’s store, but with only poor success, however if we can keep it he is to try it again next Monday.

Sunday 14th

Reading and writing in the morning, took a walk in the afternoon with Durham and Galbraith up Oakey Creek.

Monday 15th

Had a hard struggle in the morning to try and pump the water out of our hole, but could not manage it, as it came in as fast as it was pumped out.

Tuesday 16th

Trying the new hole we took possession of 2 or 3 days ago, but got very little indeed, our overseer picked up a small nugget of between 2 & 3dwts which Durham gave to him. The hole up the river deserted, no good.

Wednesday 17th

Tried the water claim again and managed pretty easily, obliged to leave off in the afternoon, on account of having nothing to put round the bottom of the pump to keep it from sucking up the gravel.

Thursday 18th

At the pump again, saw several specks of gold, tried a quarter of a trio dish full of yellowish green clay from the bottom of the hole, and got 5grs weight out of it. This is very rich and I have no doubt we shall yet do well out of it; we had a thunderstorm in the afternoon and big Oakey & little Oakey Creek came down with fearful rapidity causing the river to rise higher than it has been yet, and carrying away lots of cradles, three men, a woman & child were drowned in little Oakey, the body of one, a Captain Robinson was found in the evening, one at Sheepstation point next morning and the others are still missing (& I am writing this on the 21st).

Friday 19th

The river down nearly as low as ever, little Oakey Creek having ceased running, and big Oakey lowering very fast, in fact last night at 6 o’clock the river had fallen nearly 2 ft. Today we were trying the claim on Trappits hill but got nothing to signify.

Saturday 20th

Our three men opening another hole just above the one on Trappits hill. The river lower than ever, but we can not yet work our bed, as the holes round about are rather too full – wrote to Dwyer of Bungendore about 3 of our horses being pounded there, but am afraid too late to save them being sold. Had an awful attack of rheumatism in both shoulders at night, never was in such pain before.

Sunday 21st

Reading and writing all day.

Monday 22nd

Working the bed of the claim, lots of gold to be seen, but the water rushed in so fast as to render it impossible to get much of the gold out. I tried 3/4 of a tin dish full of soil and got between 2 & 3dwts; we washed with our cradle in the afternoon but only got between 13 & 14dwts.

Tuesday 23rd

Getting out as much stuff as possible to be able to wash the whole of tomorrow; plenty of gold to be seen, but not able to get more than a fourth of it out on account of the great rush of water; we and the men as well were very tired at night owing to the fearful hard work, four of us had been pumping from 7 in the morning till 7 in the evening; pumping is most fearful work, at least with such a huge pump as we have. Two men must be constantly at it, if you leave off for a minute the water begins to gain on you, and as soon as one couple are tired the other 2 have to take their places, thus changing backwards & forwards between 2 couples nearly all day, whilst the others are in the hole getting out soil.

Wednesday 24th

Washing what we got out yesterday but only got between 13 & 14dwts, this is from the bottom vein below the blue clay & on the bed rock, the labour is so awfully great to get at it that we have determined on trying to work the vein above the blue clay; the ground is so full of water that it is perfect waste to work the bottom of our bed at present,

Thursday 25th Christmas Day

Reading all day.

Friday 26th

The men employed in clearing off a new piece in order to work the top vein.

Saturday 27th

Owing to a thunderstorm in the night the … [?river] was several inches higher in the morning, found it useless to attempt working even the top vein with the water as it is at present, left off pumping for good ’till our neighbours should join in. Set the men to work to clear off the part nearest the bank that is unopened.

Sunday 28th

Reading and writing all day.

Monday 29th

Found that the part the men were opening on Saturday was no good; so we walked into the bank part of Turley Jones’s claim, next to us on the right hand. They had not worked it for upwards of 3 weeks, and 10days is the longest time a claim may be kept possession of untouched. One of the commissioners was called in and he decided in our favour, so the men went to work to clear off.

Tuesday 30th

The men clearing off at Jones’s claim (that was).

Wednesday 31st

After being puzzled a good deal to find what the gold vein was, and how deep we had to go to it, we struck it in the afternoon and washed about 30 buckets which yielded 7dwts.16grs. – today our mutual agreement expires.

Thursday 1st January, 1852

New Years Day, consequently a holy day with us & the men too, went to see some races on the flat above Sofala.

Friday 2nd

Washing at Jones’s claim and got 1oz.8dwt.18grs, read a rumour in the Herald of a nugget being found on Maneroo wg 22oz…

Saturday 3rd

From Jones’s claim we got for this my last day on the Turon 1oz.9dwts.5grs. Durham and I made up our minds some days ago to leave on Sunday the 4th – Charley to be left Superintendent – and walk by Razor back to Sydney on to Parramatta and take the Steamer from there.

Sunday 4th

Durham and I left the Turon on foot this morning a little before 7 and walked to Keenan’s which instead of being as we expected 28 miles from Sofala was 35. We thus walked (as our tent is a mile nearer than the township 34 instead of 27 miles to the detriment of my feet which were fearfully sore at night.

Monday 5th

Set off at 6 in the morning from Keenan’s intending to walk to Hartley, but owing to my feet being so fearfully sore and blistered I could only walk to McCoy’s a public house 15 miles from Keenans. Durham left me here and walked on by himself. He was very leg-weary and intended to take the coach from Hartley on [?to] Penrith if could manage to walk as far.

Tuesday 6th

Left McCoys early in the morning with the purpose of walking to Hartley to meet the Mail at noon, but owing to my feet getting sorer I could only reach Waltons public house 8 1/2miles from Mc Coys – a coach happened to come there at 10o’clock from Hartley and returned at 2, so I got a seat in it to that place 10 or 12 miles from Waltons.

Wednesday 7th

[?The] Escort day from the Turon, no passengers allowed in the Mail, but Kendall at whose public house I was at, happened to have a fine Team nearly empty going to Sydney so I was offered a place in it to Penrith from whence I could reach Sydney either per Mail or Coach. Went to Weatherboards public house on our days journey 23 miles from Hartley. I travelled very comfortably that whole day, sitting or lying down at pleasure on some Hay covered with a white canvas Tarpaulin.

Thursday 8th

Left the Weatherboards at 6 in the morning and the dray left me that night at Penrith 25 miles from where I started. I took my place in the Coach for Sydney, unfortunately my bedroom was a double bedded one, and I was awoke after being two hours in bed by some more people being shown in, this was not enough, 3 persons in a small bedroom, they wanted to put some fellow in bed with me which I would not listen to for a minute.

Friday 9th

Left Penrith at 5 in the morning and arrived at the Glebe at 10, changed my things & got into Sydney at 1/4 to 12 thus finishing my journey from the Turon & also my first gold-digging trip.




24th January 1852.



Description of claim on Thompsons hill.

The first layer of soil (though dug up by the people who had the claim first and who took a considerable quantity of gold out of it) consisted of a light loose earth; the 2nd at which we commenced, was a stiff red clay, & the 3rd hard yellowish gravelly clay, intermixed with large stones much water worn, and large pieces of round rotten peastone, right down to the washable stuff, which was a yellowish dusty kind of earth with a thin coating of Iron stone above it with stones intermixed, looking as if it had been melted together, and in which we often found gold – bed rock, a light blue slated kind of schist, easily chipped up, a little gold sometimes in it. Gold very coarse and junkey and of a deep rich colour with little pieces of Iron stone often sticking to it. Sometimes gold itself found in the Iron stone – sunk on the side of a hill, depth at the deep end between 9 & 10feet.


Description of claim on Sheepstation point hill.

1st layer, light loose earth, yellowish white colour

2nd red clay

3rd extremely hard, light coloured clay, with stones intermixed water washed

4th a very curious layer – I scarcely know how to describe it, very easily worked; chipped up quite dry and dusty, in good sized pieces, appeared to be a cross breed between clay and rotten free stone, and of a pale dirty yellow colour.

5th layer Red gravel, with large water washed stones mixed with it, at the bottom of this layer gold was found, but in greater quantities in the cracks at the rock in a soft red clay, and on top of the rock in a thin coating of light greenish earth apparently part of the rock much decomposed Red Rock; what I understand to be Gneis ie. a soft greenish kind of Granite, with lots of black spots in it like little pieces of coal, to the depth of a foot it is easily chipped up and pounded. Gold, very fine like river gold; with an occasional nugget out of the last gravelly layer. Nuggets have been formed in some of the claims on this hill of 2&3lbs weight Troy, they are now and then knocked out of the red gravel in the same way that a stone is – situation of claim, platform of a hill, distance from the water about 200 years – depth from 8 to 10 feet

Description of Bank and red claim at Golden Bar

Bank first – Alluvial soil at the top soft and easy to work of a dear brown colour gradually got harder, lighter and more clayey till it reached the washing stuff which was very hard dark clayey kind of soil with large water washed stones amongst it, the bottom of this nearly on a level with the river was dark brown loose gravel; the bed rock (which by way of trial we sunk to,  though the washable stuff of any good ended 3ft above it) was light blue slate schist exactly like the rock on Thompson’s hill – gold, very bright and beautiful but very fine – Depth 10 to 11ft to the end of washing stuff, 13 or 14 to bed rock.

Bed part of the claim –

Nothing but loose rubble to sink to till the washing stuff was reached, which was much the same as the upper stuff only harder and of a dark brown colour; after this, a vein of blue clay with very little gold in it & after this some light yellowish brown loamy kind of rubble with a good deal of gold in it; immediately on the bed rock; which latter was just the same as the bed rock on Thompson’s hill (at least in our claim) ie. light blue schist easily chipped up; just on top of this last vein there were lots of very large stones …


Eulogy: Farewelling Uncle Pete


In 2012 I was companion to my 86 year old Uncle Pete on a trip to the UK to go sailing across the English Channel. For me it had the added bonus of stepping away from a difficult year of menopause and see my sister Fran, but for Uncle Pete it was pure and simply the chance to go for one last big sail with her and her husband Ed; a tradition he had done annually with the support of his children for many years in the latter part of his life.

So this journey was a significant drop in the ocean of his extraordinary life – where sailing, skiing, swimming, camping, and tramping were just some of the important balances to being a busy physician and sometimes farmer. For a boy from Bondi, who later became a Bathurst beef and sheep farmer, Uncle Pete brought as much commitment and enthusiasm to taking 9 kids and a dog in the old EH stationwagon to the beach for a body surf every summer Sunday morning, as he did in doing the rounds of his patients at RPAH or Bathurst Hospital, and teaching some of today’s finest physicians.

So on our UK trip together, I’m not sure who companioned who …I know he put up with me babbling on; but together with Fran and Ed, we took on the Navy hornets, coastguard helicopters and massive cargo ships; the wibbly wobbly sealanes and streets of the Channel Islands… we walked and talked; sailed and salvaged; laughed and learnt stuff; and we slept alongside each other … on bumpy planes, in the Crooked Cottage, below deck on the beating ocean in BettyAlan; and Peter even slept around the streets and towns of Essex. Sharing sleep with Pete was an honour I’ll cherish for the rest of my days, for he had mastered sleep, as he mastered life, with a laid back pace and an ability to (almost) instantly get his act together when called upon. Right to the very end, he’d seem to be asleep then a compliment would come his way, and he’d beam that grin with his crooked teeth and open his eyes and give you a twinkle. He taught me how to slow down on that trip, same way as he taught me so many things in his long life …by example.
On Monday, our Uncle Pete Harvey died, his big old heart gave up pumping at 89 and his big old feet won’t ever wear his new pair of crocs. What a big life we will celebrate this weekend back in Sydney; and what a family we will celebrate with…none better in my book. I can’t wait to be amongst Bill and Phil, Anna, Caro and Dave – to stand alongside with my Edwards siblings, Pete, Fran and Steve, as we send off our dear old man, our last elder.

Peter Harvey was so many things to so many people, but to me he was the best ever uncle who’s wasn’t our uncle; the perfect godfather who wasn’t my godfather; and truly the second dad who was my Dad’s best mate and took up duties to look out for us and our Mum, after Dad died in 1966 … forever onwards. To me, as the youngest of the big old Harvey-Edwards, he was a rock … one of my two Pete’s. He did many of the things Dad would have done: he included me always (only forgot me once on the Sunday surf trips); he introduced me to skiing as a teenager (took me to the top of the mountain and told me to follow him down … the first time – thank god for Dave); he took me and mum and Fran to Indonesia in 1973 along with all his kids and a few other strays – 18 of us on his medical tour haha; he gave the speech at my 21st when he coined the “bushwalk through life” – the analogy I still live by; he and Bertie stood alongside me at my graduation; they vetted my Gerry when he came into my life (and he got the big tick phew); and they came to see us at the birth of our kids. Together they both backed our dreams and our journey in glass and most recently, he backed the Pete Harvey artist residency/retreat at Zani Place, in honour of his namesake, his dear grandson and artist. And that’s only the landmark moments; I start to think about the ever-open-door the Harvey’s gave me after Mum died in 1979; putting up with a restless teenager every holidays; the countless student houses – thankyou Bertie – the never-ending love; and I start to cry. I have always had a clan of companions in my ‘bushwalk’ alongside the Harveys. Two of my old friends commented in the last 24 hours at how lucky I have been to have Peter and of course, Bertie and the whole Harvey family in my life, alongside me all the way. Such warmth and generosity and laid back love; and one of my cherished thoughts is that they did it for Mum and Dad, as much as for me. When I think about true friendship, companionship and family, I think about Uncle Pete, and though his heart may have stopped beating, the ripple effect will live on in our family forever.
Your bushwalk through life had so many meandering turns Uncle Pete … you held my hand and welcomed me to walk alongside. Thankyou. May your last journey be with sails full, and the view from over the horizon limitless.
with all my love to you and your beloved family

Margie x

Uncle Pete mastered sleep as he mastered life, with a laid back pace, and an ability to get his act together (almost) instantly whenever called upon …
Giving his Journey through Life speech at my 21st in 1983, with his inimitable style!
Graduation in Bathurst 1985


Travel companions – Channel Islands 2012
Bertie and Pete with Annie and Ned at Osborne 1996

Far Away and Long Ago

Transcript of a memoir by our Grandfather Hugh McCubbin, about his memory of the Anzac Landing at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915:


‘In my bookcase in the breakfast room is a well thumbed volume, “Far Away and Long Ago” by W.H.Hudson. It once held a front rank position in the sitting room bookcase because the children were interested in natural history but to me it was just a book about bird life in the Argentine, and because of the lack of living contacts the Pampas has always been so inaccessible and remote that I have never felt the urge to read it. But it’s title expresses for me the attitude of an Anzac towards ANZAC.

The landing, and all the subsequent operations have been to an extent smothered by other wars and the tumult of events and because we, the Anzacs of the original landing, are now such select few it is difficult to get a quorum of old-timers together to keep the memory alive. The Reunions only serve to remind us that we belong to a lost generation. It is seldom now that you come across one of your old tent mates, there were no Diggers or Cobbers in those days.

In spite of all these things each of us probably has a very vivid recollection of that day. Like a muted sunbeam capturing a glimpse of stored apples in a dark hayloft, to me the events of April 25th, 1915, appear in vivid, colourful outline. The silent convoy of the night before – each troopship following the faint glimmer of a guiding light from the stern of the ship ahead – the suppressed excitement – the checking of equipment. The coastline revealed in the cold dawn light with the ever so faint crackling of rifle fire where the covering brigades had already landed. The creneling of every vantage point to watch the bombarding by the war ahead and the answering salvos from the Turks’ shore batteries. The long rows of life boats. The shock of seeing the first wounded coming back. The high excitement of embarking in the boats ourselves. The long tow into the shore with the 13 year old midshipman at the rudderlines. He had been in and out under the curtain of shrapnel three or four times already and spoke of it with premature maturity. The Navy is a hard mother to her baby sons.

The casting off and drifting in to the beach, jumping out into the water with our impossibly heavy kit, rifle held high. Forming up on the beach. The shell from Gaba Tepe that burst over our heads and brought shrapnel and death to the platoon behind us. The first souvenir hunters jumping into the shallow Turkish trench to retrieve empty cartridge cases.

The single file of men snaking over the gullies and up the hillside. The “Pass the word along” messages being mutilated within earshot – the system never was any good! The breathless assembly and taking off packs in the dead space at the top of Shrapnel Gully. The forming up for the advance under the cover of the brow of the slope. The high exaltation of the advance in sharp short rushes into the teeth of Mustafa Temel’s counter attack. The crippling weight of a bullet in the right arm. The long lying out in the cover of the stunted shrubs. The complete separation of the mind in those hours of duress. First, the consciousness of the frail body pitifully exposed to the raw torment of rifle and machine gun fire and shrapnel that sent the leaves trickling down from the shrubs on to one’s head. Then the completely detached repression of the all pervading peace of a perfect Spring day, and last, the philosophical attitude of a portion of the mind that remained above the battle as it observed its tortured body with almost cynical appraisal.

The agony of a second wound – in the leg this time. The desperate stumbling back to shelter over the hill. The kindly hands that attended to the wounds. The stiff and broken trek to the beach. The long wait for stretchers and boats. The marvellous camaraderie and tenderness of the naval ratings. The ‘hell ship’ four days to Alex. The haven of a soft bed with white sheet and English nurses.

It is far away and long ago. You can’t take part in the March any more because your leg is crook. You feel sometimes that you have no right to be reasonably fit and well with all the good fellas gone. You wept silently when you saw your old Unit colours on the 2nd A.I.F., and had an eerie sensation that you were witnessing your own youth. You feel sometimes that being an Anzac does not mean much anyway. Maybe at this time some shrill voiced seven year old will pipe up at (sic) “My Grand-daddy was an Anzac!”‘

Original transcript p1
Original transcript p1
Original transcript p2
Original transcript p2

From Gallipoli to Alexandria

April 1915 ….with a bullet or two on board

Transcript of a letter my Grandfather Hugh McCubbin (2nd division Australian Anzac Force) wrote to a close friend about his experiences via a hospital troopship, after being shot on April 25, during the first charge at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli in 1915.

Mon Aug 30, 1916                                                                                           Australian Base Depot

Monte Video Camp,

Weymouth, Dover


My Dear Arc,

Thank you so much for your very interesting letter (dated Melb 3rd July) which I have just received – from the look of the envelope it seems to have had some difficulty in digging me up. I may also mention that I received another very interesting epistle from you just about two days before we landed at Gallipoli owing to certain circumstances I was unable to answer it at the time – I am indeed sorry to hear that my left-handed letter from Alexandria did not come up to expectation but considering the fact that I wrote it lying down and I had an enormous contrivance called a McEntire splint on my left leg and my right arm was fractured  just below the shoulder – not to mention two bullets, which had not been removed at that time – I think I did fairly well – even though it did take me three days to write it. Just before I got your letter I had one from Ginger describing in glowing terms the magnificent success of his carburettor – his description is as follows:

I have recently “evolved” (straight … sp?) a new petrol carburettor which works very satisfactorily, except for one incident here it is – I had attached it to the motor car (less one of its essentials) to give it a good test before “patenting”. I got splendid results (I might say that it’s a stinking car for backfiring). Anyhow it backfired on the second demonstration, and blew up the tank and set the car on fire. “Gee whizz” you should have seen the flames go up to the roof of the old stable. I thought all was over for the moment. Anyway good for the car the (?) a lot of (?) pictures. There happened to be a great big lump of rag and a bag of bran handy (this portion of the narrative is somewhat involved). “We had not a little difficulty in extinguishing it. After all there was not much damage done except that my patent tank had gone with the fire. A really amusing experience!”

You can just imagine how I laughed when I got your version of the above – poor old Ginger (could you give me in confidence an accurate description of the car – in one letter it was described as being a beautiful dove grey. Piggy describes it as being all body and no engine.

(a line missing here)

…last Saturday and yesterday we motored over to Dorchester – my youngest cousin is a sergeant in one of the London Regts and we took two other 5th Battalion boys with us, both of them had Australian uniforms on, so all the “Tommies” we passed thought we were officers, we acknowledged some really perfect salutes. I will tell you all about my doings at Gallipoli when I return to the land of my birth. People pester the life out of you about it and ask all sorts of silly questions – I have gone over the same old tale so often, that the very thought of repeating it again is too much for me – I was asked the other day if I had seen the Turk who shot me, or if it was a German. And when I was up at Manchester a dear old lady asked me if the shell was still in my leg (perhaps she meant one of “Lizzies”).

Since I left Alexandria I have only stayed in one place for more than a fortnight once, so as you say in your letter, I have been wandering around a bit. These are my movements since I first left Egypt the first time.

We left (… words missing in scan) and on Sunday (25th) We landed at Gaba Tebe at about half past eight in the morning. The name of our transport was The Novian – I was wounded in the arm at about half past 9 o’clock and a machine gun got me a bonza in the leg at about two o’clock in the afternoon. I then retired and after having my wounds dressed at a dressing station, reached the beach at about three o’clock. Then I was again attended to, but there was a shortage of stretchers. I was left on the beach until about 9 o’clock. I was taken off in a cutter and after various adventures more or less exciting was hauled on board a transport called the Siang Thun (Seang Choon ed.) – on board that boat I think I had the worst time of all. We had 600 wounded on board and only about a dozen AMC orderlies and two doctors. There were some terribly serious cases on board in fact we lost 20 on the way across. I had my wounds dressed once or twice but did not see a doctor until I arrived in Alexandria. I was lying on the troop deck with a couple of blankets over me and one (…?) first night on a stretcher. I was so exhausted from loss of blood that I slept soundly – despite the groans of some of the really bad chaps cases.

When I woke up next morning and tried to sit up I found that I had no strength in my back and whenever I moved my arm gave me hell. I did not know that it was fractured at the time. I was feeling very stiff and sore and my clothes which been drenched with blood were beginning to stink horribly. I was lying on the deck besides one of the (…?) tables (which were also used as beds) so I asked one of the orderlies to help me sit up on one of the forms so that my clothes could be taken off. He sat me up after some difficulty, but the effort was too much for me and I fainted. The chap who was lying on the (…?)table just managed to catch me in time; when I came to the stretcher had been taken away and I was lying on the hard deck. They had also removed (…missing in scan) …for over four hours and when they cut my sleeve off at the dressing station it was full of blood. The next day (Tues) I was a bit delirious so I don’t remember much but I know we set sail for Alexandria at midday. On Wednesday a chap died just opposite me after passing a terrible night. Luckily the weather was perfect… if it had been rough we would have had more consignments for the deep I am afraid.

The bullet in my arm was now beginning to give me hell, and I would willingly have consented to have it cut out without an anaesthetic – but luckily as it proved afterwards, the Doctors had more serious cases than mine to engage their attention; there were a good few chaps out of my Company on board and most of them were able to get about – Ashley ( F?) was amongst them (Y.C.L brother in law) he was wounded rather badly in the shoulder. Bitterly disappointed because I was not taken ashore that night.

The next day was spent in unloading the wounded but I was one of the last to be taken off so I did not leave until about 6 o’clock in the evening. Finally however I was lifted on to a stretcher and carried out into the open air again – down a long gangway, and then into a waiting motor ambulance with solid tyres (needless to say it was not an Australian Ambulance) then a ten mile drive, part of the way over cobble stones right through the main streets of Alexandria.

My boots which were lying on the foot of the stretcher fell out on the road; a fat old Greek picked them up and chased after the car, people started yelling out for the driver to stop, but he did not know what the disturbance was about and drove straight on, finally however he was induced to stop and amidst much enthusiasm the kindly Greek arrived …….(full line cut off in scan copy) …. in due course we arrived at the hospital after passing several detachments of French Lonaves, who cheered and got excited generally as we sped past them.

We came to a stand still in front of what seemed to be the entrance of an hotel (afterwards it proved to be such). Some (Judes sp?) orderlies hurried up and unstrapped the stretchers and I was carried inside the building by two turbaned bearers – through a spacious hall and up two flights of marble steps, and into a (…….?) room containing 3 beds. I was gently lifted from the stretcher and placed on a sprung mattress – between snowy white sheets – talk about paradise.

Well this is enough for one letter – next week I will give you an account of happenings on Gallipoli itself.

Trusting that you are all well and with kindest regards to the family

Always and your sincere friend

Hugh McCubbin

Ps. I expect a four page letter in return for this …

banner pic – Alexandria, Egypt. c. 1915-05. Sick and wounded Australian and British troops watching seriously ill stretcher cases being loaded into ambulances lined up on a wharf. Note the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) personnel grouped at left. The casualties had recently been evacuated from Gallipoli.
image below – Gallipoli, Dardanelles, Turkey, 1915. Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) personnel and Royal Navy (RN) sailors transferring a stretcher bearing a wounded Australian soldier from a long boat to a hospital ship. The long boat has evacuated a number of wounded Australian soldiers from Gallipoli.

Link to transcript – Hugh McCubbin’s Gallipoli story

Far Away and Long Ago