Waldron Nelson from Jamberoo.

Upon the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, German possessions and the German Fleet in the Pacific became of significant strategic importance. The German squadron was a menace to Australian shipping and seaboard towns.

Embarkation of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in Sydney.

Embarkation of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in Sydney.

Perhaps this was the trigger for Jamberoo local John Andrew Waldron Nelson to join up on 12 August 1914. He and 1500 others embarked on the troop ship Berrima on the 19th August 1914.This was the first force ever to leave Australia with its own ships, under the command of Australian officers.

The Berimma.

The Berrima.

The years leading to the war had seen Nelson employed in the Department of Electrical Engineers for Railways and Tramways, Sydney. At the outbreak of war, he was in business with his father, John.

Promoted to Corporal, in October 1914 Nelson returned to Sydney with 16 other members from the force, acting as an escort for 31 German prisoners, including the Deputy Governor of New Britain.

Kiama Independent. 6 March 1915.

Kiama Independent. 6 March 1915.

Nelson returned to Rabaul not long after, but not before there was a farewell for him and others at the Jamberoo School of Arts, where he was presented with a sheep skin vest from the local Red Cross Society.

Once back at Rabaul, Nelson was promoted to Seargent and secured a position with the First British Administration Treasury. Soon after he contracted malaria, with the rest of his military career being hampered by ill health.

Whilst still a soldier in the A.I.F., Nelson, then aged 29, married 20 year old Josephine Wyborn in September 1919, in Sussex.

Waldron Nelson had survived the Great War, but his son was not so lucky during the hostilities of 1939 – 1945. Lieut. Rupert Nelson was killed in action in Borneo, aged 18.

Service record of John Andrew Waldron Nelson.

Share & Scan @ Thirroul

Wednesday saw Illawarra Remembers host their first, of many, scanning day at Thirroul Library and Community Centre from 10am to 4pm. Despite the heavy rain the team was kept busy with 11 contributors sharing a variety of memorabilia, photos and records to scan and photograph.

Items seen on the day ranged from photographs to diaries and letters to ID bracelets, medals and a forage cap. All together 403 scans (259 og photographs and the rest documents) and 255 photographs of memorabilia.

Unexpected treasures were discovered on the day such as this book of sketches collected by WWI nurse E.Stewart at the 50th General Hospital in Greece signed 4.3.18. The sketches were done by patients at the hospital and bear their signatures on each page.

STEWA_R_01Kblog

STEWA_R_01IblogSTEWA_R_01Cblog

The day was a success and the team are looking forward to the next scanning day in the coming months. Keep a watch of the ‘Our Unknown Soldiers’ page for new material to be identified that was gathered at the scanning day.

Charles Vivian Ziems

Charles Vivian Ziems and unknown soldier

Sergeant Charles Vivian Ziems (standing) with another unknown sergeant. Possibly taken in Palestine. Members of the 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment.

Charles Vivian Ziems was a storekeeper at Albion Park and later Kiama. The Ziems family are well known in the Illawarra and have contributed greatly to the local community over many generations.

During his early life Mr Charles Vivian  Ziems was a member of the Illawarra Lancers and held rank of Lieutenant. As a private he embarked from Sydney on board the RMS Morea  in 1917 as part of the Camel Corps Reinforcements. He was 25 years old. He was fortunate to survive the war and returned to Australia July 1919 as sergeant.

 His obituary in the Kiama Independent 22 August 1972 said of Mr Ziems –

Mr Ziems was born at Albion Park and was the son of the late Mr and Mrs Henry Charles and Sophia  Ziems (nee Fryer). His father conducted a general store at Albion Park for many years and was later assisted by his son.

During his early life Mr Ziems was a member of the Illawarra Lancers and held rank of Lieutenant. In about 1910 he rode with the lancers then based in Kiama, to Canberra for the dedication of the site of one of the Houses of Parliament. The journey took about five days on horseback and the Lancers paraded before the then Prince of Wales, later King George V.

At the outbreak of WWI Mr Ziems was seconded by the Army to train recruits at Menangle. He wanted to fight overseas but Authorities ordered him to train recruits. Mr Ziems then resigned his commission with the Lancers and joined the AIF as a private. He served for three years in the Middle East and returned at the end of the war as a sergeant.

About two years after the war he opened a boot shop at Kiama in premises now included in the Grand Hotel. Later the store developed into a boot and clothing store which still traded under that name in 1975. 

Mr Ziems was associated with many organisations in Kiama. He was treasurer of the School of Arts and also treasurer of Kiama RSL. He was a excellent cricketer and in his youth was member fo the Kiama Cricket Club. He was also a good golfer and member of the Kiama Golf Club when it re-established at Minnamurra. Mr Ziems sold tickets at local balls when they were a weekly event in Kiama.

Mr Ziems married late in life but his wife Edith died less than two years after they were married, about 20 years ago. He is survived by brothers Selwyn of Leura and Alan of Kiama. Ziems store was closed on the day of the funeral as a mark of respect.

John William Donovan of Gerringong.

John William Donovan was a dairyman from Gerringong, born in 1893. His mother Eliza saw his boy enlist at Liverpool on 5 February 1915.

Private Donovan was a member of the 18th Australian Infantry Battalion which arrived at Gallipoli in August 1915.

The Battle of Hill 60 was the last major assault of the Battle of Gallipoli.  Hill 60 was a low knoll at the northern end of the Sari Bair range which dominated the Suvla landing. Capturing this hill along with Scimitar Hill would have allowed the Anzac and Suvla landings to be securely linked.

Hill 60 showing bones of members of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and New Zealanders, 1919. (From the CEW Bean Collection).

Hill 60 showing bones of members of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and New Zealanders, 1919.
(From the CEW Bean Collection).

On the afternoon of 21 August the first assault was made by Australians of the 13th and 14th Battalions together with the 5th Battalion of the Connaught Rangers. With no effective artillery support, under fire from Hill 60 and neighbouring Hill 100, the infantry were decimated. The undergrowth caught fire, burning to death many of the wounded. By nightfall the Indian Brigade had managed a foothold at the base of the hill.

On 22 August the attack was reinforced by the Australian 18th Battalion, of which Private Donovan was a member. The men were fresh and healthy, in stark contrast to the veteran troops, but were inexperienced and ill-equipped, even by Gallipoli standards. Attacking with bayonet only, they suffered 383 casualties in their first attack. [Taken from Wikipedia, “Battle of Hill 60 (Gallipoli)]. According to reports, Private Donovan was killed on the extreme left of this charge. One witness, who was only a few yards away, states that Private Donovan stood up on the parapet to get a better aim, and was killed instantaneously.

Soldiers Memorial Hall, Gerringong.

Soldiers Memorial Hall, Gerringong. Courtesy kcljd

According to an informant, “Burglar Miles”, on 24 August, 1915,  Private Donovan was seen lying dead near Suvla Bay, having been shot in the head. The back of his head had been shot away. There is no evidence of burial. Private Donovan does have a panel at Lone Pine Memorial, no.61., as well as the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Gerringong.

Australian Red Cross report into Private John William Donovan.

Lone Pine Memorial.

Lone Pine Memorial. Courtesy CWGC.

The Farquharson brothers of Kiama.

Private Frank Farquharson of the 33rd Battalion, was a draper from Kiama. Prior to enlistment, Pte Farquharson embarked with the 14th Reinforcements, 30th Battalion from

Private (Pte) Frank Farquharson

Private (Pte) Frank Farquharson

Sydney on HMAT Marathon on 10 May 1917. Later transferring to the 33rd Battalion, on 31 August 1918 he died of wounds which he received in action, aged 19, and was buried in the Daours Communal cemetery Extension, France.

Daours Communal Cemetery Extension.

Daours Communal Cemetery Extension. Grave reference: VIII. B. 53. Courtesy Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Australian Red Cross report into Private Frank Farquharson.

Frank’s brother, Sergeant Walter Farquharson, of the 19th Battalion, was a Post Office official from Kiama. Prior to enlistment, Sgt Farquharson embarked with the rank of Corporal (Cpl) with the 2nd Reinforcements from Sydney on HMAT Kanowna on 19 June 1915.

Sergeant  Walter Farquharson

Sergeant Walter Farquharson

Later promoted to Sergeant, he was initially reported as missing in action but a later Court of Enquiry determined that he had been killed in action on 3 May 1917. He is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

(Taken from Australian War Memorial).

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. Courtesy Commonwealth War Graves Commision.

Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. Courtesy Commonwealth War Graves Commision.

Sydney Morning Herald. 3 May 1919.

Sydney Morning Herald. 3 May 1919.

Australian Red Cross report into Sergeant Walter Farquharson.

Owen Glendower Howell-Price

Owen was born on 23 February 1890 at Kiama and was educated at Windsor Grammar School and Kogarah High School. A bank clerk before beginning training in agriculture at the Government Experiment Farm at Nyngan, he served for a period in the citizen forces and on 27 August 1914 was commissioned second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, A.I.F. The battalion left Sydney in October and arrived in Egypt in December. During this time he

Owen Glendower Howell-Price, (1890–1916)

Owen Glendower Howell-Price, (1890–1916). Australian War Memorial, P00267.003

was appointed assistant adjutant and when the adjutant was killed on the first day of the Gallipoli landing he succeeded him. He was promoted captain on 4 August 1915. During the fighting at Lone Pine he won the Military Cross and was also mentioned in dispatches. Casualties were heavy and on 5 September he was promoted temporary major and assumed temporary command of the battalion. He was wounded on 9 September but remained on duty. Having revealed his ability as a fine trainer and organizer, Owen was confirmed in rank on 1 December. For a short period in Egypt after the evacuation he was temporarily superseded in command.

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 1916.

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 November 1916. p.6.

The 3rd Battalion arrived in France on 28 March 1916 and Owen was promoted lieutenant-colonel on 12 May. In July and August the battalion fought bloody battles at Pozières and Mouquet Farm during which time Howell-Price set a magnificent example of courage, always visiting the most forward positions. For his leadership he was awarded the D.S.O. and mentioned in dispatches again. On 3 November 1916, near Flers, he was shot in the head and he died next day. His last words were ‘Give my love to the battalion’. He was buried at Ancre-side Wood, and a commemorative service was held at Flesselles attended by the whole unit. Probably because of his youth, Owen Howell-Price took his responsibilities too seriously to be popular with his officers and men, but underlying his sternness and austerity was a deep and single-minded loyalty to his unit.

(Taken from Australian Dictionary of Biography)

Australian Red Cross report into Lieutenant-Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price

Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-Labbe. V. A. 14.

Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-Labbe. Grave Reference: V. A. 14. Commonwealth War Graves Commission

March to Freedom.

Taken from The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser. 21 August, 1918.

The “Rat-a-tat-tat” of the side drum and the “skirl” of the pipes announced  the khaki passengers of the three train on Saturday afternoon and lining the station was a big crowd to welcome them as the advancing column of the South Coast “March to Freedom” and incidently the guests of Kiama for the week-end. They were met by the Mayor, Town Clerk, and Aldermen, and heading the procession, on which the little folk of the various schools in the district, took part , with a number of the town folk, marched via Terralong Street to the Town Hall, where an official welcome was given, the men lining up, in front of the steps, our bright-faced company of the boys and girls of to-day, and citizens to be surrounding them as a worthy guard of honour with a fine display of waving flags.

South Coast "March to Freedom". 17 August, 1918. In front of the Kiama Council Chambers.

South Coast “March to Freedom”. 17 August, 1918. In front of the Kiama Council Chambers.

The Mayor (Ald.Cornford) said in welcome: Lieut. Healy, officers and men – Our comrades all – of the South Coast March to Freedom. We extend to you to-day the heartiest welcome to Kiama – glad to have you as our guests at the prettiest place you will admit, visited since you started on your tour. We sincerely hope your stay will be enjoyable and profitable in the object of your visit, and glad to hear of your success in gaining recruits, tha twe all know are badly wanted – such success must be gratifying to you all. He was glad to know abusive methods were not practised, but in kind and reasonable terms, the duty and responsibility was pointed out in service to the Empire in this her time of need and it was left with the men that heard to decide, whether they were in duty bound to enlist or in duty bound to stay at home. In conclusion, the Mayor again assured the Column of the hearty welcome the townspeople accorded them, and expressed his best wishes for a happy and profitable stay in their midst. The ladies of Kiama wished to entertain them at afternoon tea in the School of Arts, and the townspeople had provided accommodation during their stay.

The Federal Member, Mr. Hector Lamond, was then asked to  “Break the Flag” and as he did so the band played the National Anthem after which “Advance Australia Fair” was sung by the school children.

18 August, 1918. Open air service at the Kiama Showground.

South Coast “March to Freedom”. 18 August, 1918. Open air service at the Kiama Showground.

Lieut. Healey, who relinquished command of the Column at Kiama, was greeted with  cheers by the lads in khaki, and it was evident he had found favour in their sight. He, on behalf of the Column, extended sincere thanks for the courtesy shown and welcome given by Kiama.  As for the men he was indeed proud of them. They had started out in three or four feet of snow at Ninnitybelle in adverse conditions, but there had never been a growl from one of them – the whole time they had played the game to a man they had made a lasting impression by their conduct and the recruiting figures left behind them. The Mayor had laid claim to Kiama being the loveliest spot on the coast, but as the recruiting officer for the Eden Manaro district, he must uphold the beauty belonging to it, Narooma, for instance, He spoke of the pleasant comradeship of the Parliamentary representatives that accompanied them. Mr. McGarry had got such an adept in the marching he could change step in the air. He was sorry to leave the lads of the Column, a finer lot he had never met. He only wished he could go the “whole hog” with them, go back to the other side and help in the work they were setting out to do for their country.

Private Richard McDonald of Kiama.

Private Richard McDonald (SN 5182), joined the Australian Army in 1915 via the famous “South Coast Warratah March”. A quarryman as well as a member of the 37th Infantry Band at Kiama, Private McDonald enlisted at Liverpool with the 1st Australian Infantry Battalion on 20 December 1915.

Before he left Australia, the Kiama Salvation Army presented a bible to Private McDonald. Two weeks after arriving in Pozieres he was killed by a gunshot wound in July 1916, aged 33.

Private McDonald's Bible.

Private McDonald’s Bible.

Private McDonald’s Australian Imperial Forces record shows he had no known next of kin, with his few belongings being sent to a friend of his, Miss A.M. Morrow of Dapto. She said of Private McDonald:

                                    “He was absolutely without a living relative”

Miss Morrow died in 1949, also with no next of kin. The bible was then found in a box of secondhand books bought at Sydney’s Surrey Hills in 2006.

The bible was received on behalf of Kiama by the Mayor, Sandra McCarthy, at a small ceremony at Kiama Library on July 7 2011. 95 years after the death of the Aboriginal soldier.

Private McDonald is buried at Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetry Extension in France.

Private McDonald's Headstone. V. E. 22.

Private McDonald’s Headstone. V. E. 22.

 Private Richard McDonald Service Record.

Share & Scan!

Sharescan WEB Small

Do you have family treasures from 1914 – 1918?
Would you like to share your precious family
stories, photographs or documents with the community?

Wollongong City Libraries has contracted a professional scanning company to assist us with collecting local information for our Illawarra Remembers project.

Our first public scanning day will be held at

 Thirroul District Library
26 June 2013
10am – 4pm

We will also have a consultant present on the day who can advise you on the best way to preserve your heirlooms.

 Future scanning days are planned for
Dapto District Library in August
and Wollongong Central Library in November