Charles Edward Street

Charles Edward Street was born on January 31, 1886 in Corrimal; he was one of seven at that point in time.

Charles’ brother owned a farm in Yanco/Leeton where he would often go to work as a farm hand. According to family, he smoked a pipe and had a very cheeky nature.

When war was declared in 1914, Charles was probably back in Corrimal to visit his family when he and his younger brother, Edwin, decided to enlist on June 22, 1916. He was thirty years old at the time.

He sailed from Sydney on October 7, 1916 to disembark at Plymouth, England on November 21, 1916.

Charles Edward Street

Charles Edward Street

The battalion trained for months before they were allowed to leave for France. Charles was a trained sniper.

Postcards sent from Charles.

Postcards sent from Charles.

He was in hospital on numerous occasions with scabies and high fevers of unknown origins. After one such stay, he re-joined his units and was given orders to head to the front line. It was an area 4 miles (6.4 km) south-west of Passchendale. By the time he had reached it, the password had been changed and he was shot and killed by Allied troops on September 30, 1917.

His body was tagged for burial but it was never found.

His parents were notified of his death by telegram approximately six weeks later.


Charles was awarded the British War medal and the Victory Medal. His name is on the Corrimal Memorial as well as the Menin Memorial Gate at Ypres, Belgium.

Victor Dalziel

Victor Dalziel was born at the Gold Rush town of Steiglitz, Victoria on October 7, 1898 and was one of eleven children. His early years were spent in Queensland working as a farmer until he enlisted in June 1918. His brother, Henry Dalziel had been on service in Gallipoli after enlisting in 1915.

He and his brother are credited with discovering tin samples which led to the opening of Boulder Mine near Emuford. This mine was one of the largest mines in the area and remained in production until the 1960s.

Victor Dalziel

Victor Dalziel

He served in the 9th Battalion while on service.

When he returned from the war (1919), he received the nickname ‘Plugger’ as he was regarded as a ‘crack’ rifleman. He married Maud and they had four children, only two of which survived.

They moved to Fairy Meadow with the family and eventually moved to Corrimal where Victor resided until his death from cancer in 1972.

"The Shack." Single handedly built by Victor - one huge room with a fireplace.

“The Shack.”
One huge room with a fireplace; single-handedly built by Victor himself.

He worked as an engineer on the ‘Main Roads Board’ but there were times where he worked in Papua New Guinea as a plantation overseer.

Victor had a saying which he always repeated to his children:

‘An old soldier never dies, he only fades away.’

Victor Dalziel, second from left.

Victor Dalziel, second from left.

These stories and photos have been generously shared with Wollongong City Libraries by Victor’s family.

Alexander Davidson

Alexander Davidson was one of the many men that enlisted in the war. Born on February 19, 1890 to James Davidson and Lousia Pugh, Alex enlisted in 1916 at the age of 26.

He was a carpenter in Sydney before he enlisted.

Group photo with Alexander Davidson.

Group photo with Alexander Davidson.

Whilst on service, he was in the 56th Battalion and was appointed Lance Corporal in 1917.

Alex regularly wrote postcards to his sister, Lucy (Louisa) from the front.

Postcard addressed to Lucy.

Postcard addressed to Lucy.


Postcard from Alexander Davidson.

Postcard from Alexander Davidson.

He was wounded four times in action and each time he re-joined his battalion.

He returned to Australia in 1919 after filling out a demobilisation form stating that return to Australia was desired because his “parents are dependent.”



Following his return, he married Bella Kirkpatrick in 1920.

Davidson died in August, 1978 in Newcastle, NSW.

Alexander’s family are local, Illawarra residents and have kindly shared his story and photos with Wollongong City Libraries.




We need you

To commemorate the centenary of World War 1, Wollongong City Libraries will develop an innovative online resource – Illawarra Remembers 1914-1918 – which will include information and photographs that tell the stories of the Illawarra’s brave men and women who went to war. We need your help.

We will be asking you to share treasures from your family’s history for this period. Over the coming months the project partners will be collecting and recording stories and scanning photographs and original documents.

You can share in person at Wollongong library, during our share and scan days or on our contact page.

For more information contact the reference library on:
(02) 4227 7414

Alfred Smith

Alfred Smith was born on September 10, 1892 in Hartley Valley NSW. His address at enlistment was Harbord St, Thirroul where he lived with his wife, Doris Irene Smith. He was a coal miner prior to the war.

Alfred enlisted in Kiama NSW on the 1st November, 1916 at the age of 24 and joined the 8th Reinforcements, 45th Battalion.


Alfred’s reminiscences from the front has been shared with Wollongong City Libraries –  a typed transcript which contains a detailed account of Alfred’s service. It covers his departure, the voyage, training, the battle and his wounds, visiting his family in Cornwall on leave, his departure and voyage home.

One very interesting thing happened during this period. On 23rd April (1917) all the able men at the camp at Codford were marched to a place called Bulford. I don’t know the distance but it took us all day to get there. The purpose of the exercise was to be reviewed by the King. It was claimed there was 40,000 Australian troops the day of the review. We stayed there over-night and the next day we marched back to Codford. The interesting thing was that each way we travelled, we had our lunch at Stonehenge.

While fighting at the front line he received bullet wounds in his right shoulder, through the back of the neck, right shin and right elbow and was subsequently transferred to a rest camp in Weymouth. He stayed he until he set out on October 20, 1917 from Plymouth back to Australia.

On Alfred’s return to Australia Alfred wrote:

13th December, 1917.

We arrived at Sydney early this morning. The State Governor came on board and gave us a welcome home. When I went ashore I was met by my wife. I had to go to Victoria Barracks for certain formalities then we got a train to Thirroul where I was greeted by the Thirroul Brass Band (of which I was a member) and a large number of other people who then escorted me to my home on Mountain Road Austinmer. I was discharged from the Army on 17th January, 1918.

On his return, Alfred continued his work as a coal miner and later became a mine manager until his retirement.

He died at the age of 97 on October 6, 1989.

Alfred Smith on his 90th birthday.

Alfred Smith on his 90th birthday.


Archibald Lewis Parsons

Archibald Lewis Parsons was born in Wollongong. His father, Lewis Parsons lived in Fairy Meadow and his mother and his sister, Lily May Parsons lived in Miller St, North Sydney. Archibald was working as a local fireman when he enlisted in Casula, NSW on 31 December 1915 at the age of 27. Records on the Australian National Archives state that he was a widow; he married Rhoda Mary Smith (nee) in 1915 but passed away on December 8, 1915 just weeks prior to his enlistment.

Service photo of Archibald Lewis Parsons.

Service photo of Archibald Lewis Parsons

He embarked on 29 July, 1916 from Sydney on HMAT Orsova on ship A67. He was a Gunner for the 5th Artillery Brigade (AWM).

A.L Parsons was killed in action on 22 August 1917 at Hill 60 (Zillebeke). Many witnesses state that he was killed by a shell and death was instant. He was buried the next day where his Sergeant-Major, placed a cross on his grave.

Newspaper notice of Parsons' death.

Newspaper notice of Parsons’ death.

He is buried at Voormezeele Enclosures No 1 and No 2, Belgium- Plot 1, Row J, Grave 13. His name is located at panel 13 at the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial.

His sister Lily, as his next of kin received a letter from the A.I.F listing all of the possesions which were to be returned. Many of these items have been preserved.

Identity bracelet.

Identity bracelet.

The medals were delivered to his sister in 1922 and included: 1 British War Medal, 1 Victory Medal and a memorial plaque also known as ‘Dead Man’s Penny.’

The Dead Man’s Penny is a commemorative medallion which was presented to the next-of-kin which were accompanied by a letter from King George V, stating:

“I join with my grateful people in sending your this memorial of a brave life given for others in the Great War.”

Dead Man's Penny.

Dead Man’s Penny.



Edward George Chamberlain

Edward George Chamberlain was born on 18 April, 1893 in Richmond, Victoria.  He was living in Woonona with his family during the time of his enlistment.

Edward George Chamberlain, c 1915.

Edward George Chamberlain, c1915.

Chamberlain embarked at Melbourne, Victoria on 7 March 1918 on the ship: R.M.S “Omronde.”

A story was shared by his son on the Thirroul scan and share day (June 16, 2013):

E.G Chamberlain left & the officer referred to in the story. c1918.

E.G Chamberlain left & the officer referred to in the story. c1918.

At some point of the excursion, they had approached a religious building of some sort and the officer accompanying my father had approached the building’s gate in hope of passing through. The Sister who had come to the gate to answer the bell did not speak English and dismissively waved him away. He called out after the Sister and showed her something he was wearing around his neck on a gold chain. The Sister grabbed the item around the officer’s neck and and seemed to be worshipping it. As they rode along, my father enquired:

“What was all that business about what you have around your neck about?”

His companion replied,

“That is a piece of the original Cross. As long as I am wearing it, no harm can befall me.”

Sometime later, the Officer’s camel shied at a wind-caught piece of paper and he took a heavy tumble.

“Little wooden Jesus wasn’t much help that time,” remarked my father.

His companion just laughed,

“It does not protect me for small matters.”

As a member of the 14th Battalion, they landed in France in September 1918.

They slept on the ground in the open on their first night at the front. The next morning, their hair was so stiff with frost that they could snap the hairs off but they were so tough after training in Egypt that nothing worried them.

Shelling started at day-break; the officer from the photograph caught a huge German shell all to himself. They had nothing to bury. He must have been wearing his protective cross when he was vaporised as it was not found among his kit.

There are records of Edward George Chamberlain at the Bulli Black Diamond Heritage Museum as well as the Illawarra Historical Group.

Photoalbum from "Duntroon" - series of photos taken during officer training.

Photoalbum from “Duntroon” – series of photos taken during officer training.

"C & D" Comapny, 14th Battalion AIF.  "Xmas - New Year 1918-1919."

“C & D” Comapny, 14th Battalion AIF.
“Xmas – New Year 1918-1919.”

Reginald Robert Morris

Reginald Robert Morris was born in Wollongong, c1896 to Annie (nee Warr) Morris, also known as Annie Combellack. His father passed away before he enlisted. Reginald grew up in Keira St, Wollongong with his family where he was a carpenter prior to enlisting.

He enlisted in Newtown on 11 July, 1915 at the age of 18 years and 8 months and served in the 11th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion – Infantry. He embarked on 2 November, 1915 on the HMAT Euripides A14 from Sydney.

Reginald Robert Morris c.1915

Reginald Robert Morris c.1915

He was wounded in action in France on July 21 and died the following day (22 July 1916). Records state that the men were resting in a support trench when an enemy shell hit the area killing several men straight away. Morris was hit in the head; his mates got him out of the trench into a make-shift dug-out where his wounds were attended to by the doctor. Regardless of ample efforts, Morris died around 10am having remained unconscious the entire time. He was buried that night by the “padre,” Capt. Wilson at about 8pm in a shell crater behind the line; two others shared his grave.

Morris has a memorial located at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, panel 27 in the commemorative area and the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

Sister Annie Combellack c.1880

Sister Annie Combellack c.1880

His mother Annie, who practiced as a nurse in Urunga Parade, Wollongong from c1915-1945 was subsequently known as Sister Combellack. She received a package of Reginald’s possessions on December 19, 1916 which contained two identity discs, eleven coins, a fountain pen, two wallets, a Bible, letters, cards, photos and a notebook – some of which have been kept all of these years and were recently shared at the August scan and share day.

Lists service number, name, unit and next of kin.

Identity tags which list Morris’ service number, name, unit and next of kin.


Francis Henry Pugh

Francis Henry (Frank) Pugh was born in North Sydney, 1893, to George Horatio Nelson Pugh and Annie Sparkes (nee). Prior to the war he was a farm labourer.

Frank Pugh, seated.

Frank Pugh, seated.

He enlisted on 19 May, 1915 at Bogan Gate at the age of 22 years and 11 months. He embarked on 25 June, 1915 from Sydney on HMAT Berrima, ship A35.  Frank was in the 20th Infantry Battalion.

Frank Pugh, back left. Fred Pugh, front right.

Frank Pugh, back left.
Fred Pugh, front right.

Frank suffered from a medical condition and was admitted to hospital multiple times while on active service. He was deemed medically unfit and was officially discharged from the A.I.F at Sydney on 23 August, 1916.

Hospital in Heliopolis. Frank sitting in front, hands crossed.

Hospital in Heliopolis.
Frank sitting in front, hands crossed.

He settled in Bellambi after the war and then moved to 29 Daisy St, Fairy Meadow. He married Lucy Harriett Birch (nee) and they had two children, George and Joyce Annie. Frank subsequently worked as a miner.

He died in Wollongong, 1983.

Frank’s family have preserved not only photos and postcards from his service but personal possessions, letters and trinkets which were sent to his parents and wife-to-be.

Frank's identity tag.  Engraved with name, battalion, religion and servive number.

Frank’s identity tag.
Engraved with name, battalion, religion and servive number.

Made in 1916 by Egytian ladies; Frank sent it home to his mother.

Made in 1916 by Egytian ladies; Frank sent it home to his mother.