Kiama Scanathon

The day which was held on Tuesday 10th September was a great success with our volunteers made very busy with a raft of locals bringing along their WW1 treasures.


Flag belonging to Private Edward William Stewart of Kiama.

Flag belonging to Private Edward William Stewart of Kiama.

Included was a card signed by twelve Australian Victoria Cross winners, original maps, many postcards, and a flag signed by soldiers and nurses in a hospital.

We thank all who turned up on the day, sharing their memorabilia. We also thank our volunteers for giving up their time and showing great enthusiasm. This is of course an ongoing project, with many people who were unable to attend the day, bringing along material to be scanned.


Charles Walter Cornford

Charles Walter Cornford was born at Kiama, New South Wales on 29 October, 1893. He was the youngest son and seventh child of Walter and Ester Cornford. He was raised and educated along with his siblings at Kiama. After leaving school Charles started work with New South Wales Government railways, initially as a porter. His job took him away from home where he boarded with families close to his place of work. Charles was stationed at Waterfall, working as a railway signalman when he enlisted in the army in 1915, at age 21.

Charles Walter Cornford

Charles Walter Cornford

Charles served in the Australian Army from 26 July, 1915 until the first of November, 1917. He was a driver in the 5th Machine Gun Company, 20 Infantry Battalion. He served in France, departing from Sydney on 6 September, 1915 on HMAS Ballarat. After being discharged from the army medically unfit in 1918, Charles returned to work for the New South Wales Government railways.

Kiama Independent. 23 June 1917

Kiama Independent. 23 June 1917

Charles married Ruby Hall on 15 June, 1918 at   Petersham, New South Wales. They went on to have four children, Dorothy Jean, Roydon Charles, Melva Joy and Yvonne Olive between 1919 and 1934. In the early years of their marriage the family lived in New South Wales country areas where Charles was stationed with the railway.

The family returned to the Illawarra area in the early 1920’s where Charles continued his employment with the railway. He purchased land and built the family home in 1924 and lived there with the family throughout his working life and into his retirement. He spent many years working at Wollongong railway station where he went on to become supervisor of the goods shed, a position he held until his retirement.

Charles joined the Masonic Lodge in Portland, New South Wales in 1919. He was presented with his 50 years Freemasonry Medal in 1969.In 1979 he travelled to Norway to receive a medal marking 60 years as a member of the Illawarra Lodge; he was also honoured with Life Membership. Charles also served as both secretary and treasurer of the Druids Lodge for many years, retiring at the age of 90.

Community service was a big part of his life. Charles served on Wollongong Municipal Council as an alderman from 1930 to 1947, including one term as Deputy Mayor. Throughout his life he was involved in community groups. He was a Life Member of both the Wollongong Agricultural and Horticultural Societies. He exhibited both flowers and poultry at shows throughout the local area and was known for the magnificent dahlias that he grew. His garden was his pride and joy into his early nineties.

Charles passed away on 6 May, 1988 at Helensburgh after a short illness, at age 94. His life was celebrated at a service at Wesley Uniting Church, Wollongong where he was a long standing member of the congregation. Following his funeral service Charles was cremated and laid to rest at the Wollongong Memorial Gardens.

Kiama’s Joseph Thomas Cooper.

Private Joseph Thomas Cooper (SN 5067), born in Gerringong, was a labourer from Barney Street Kiama, who took part in the famous Waratah March of 1915. His parents, Thomas and Mary did not stop the 19 year old, who showed great patriotism and heart.

Corner of Barney and Shoalhaven Streets at the time Joseph Cooper enlisted.

Corner of Barney and Shoalhaven Streets, Kiama, at the time Joseph Cooper enlisted.

Cooper embarked at Sydney on SS Makarini on 1st April, 1916 as part of the 1st Australian Infantry Battalion.

Troops on board SS Makarini prior to departure.

Troops on board SS Makarini prior to departure.

Disembarking at Marseilles the day after his birthday, on 17th May 1916, Private Cooper reported to 1st Australian Division at Base Depot, Estaples.

Private Cooper was involved in the Battle of Pozières, primarily remembered as an Australian battle. The cost had been enormous, and in the words of Australian official historian Charles Bean, the Poziers ridge

 “is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.”

The Battle Of Poziers.

The Battle Of Poziers.

Here, Private Cooper was wounded somewhere between 22nd and 25th July 1916. He died of these wounds to his arm, face and leg, a few days later, on 29th July 1916, at No.1 Stationary Hospital. Thomas and Mary, like many at the time, found it difficult to obtain information regarding their son’s death. This was until an Australian nurse, Sister Fairland, wrote to the family, informing them of the last days of their son.

Kiama Independent. 4th October 1916.

Kiama Independent. 4th October 1916.

According to the Kiama Independent at the time, Private Cooper was the first of the Waratahs to fall.  Returned to his family were a cigarette case, testament, metal watch, wallet and cotton bag.

Kiama Independent. 9th August 1916.

Kiama Independent. 9th August 1916.

Private Cooper is buried at St. Sever Cemetry, Rouen.

St. Sever Cemetry, Rouen. Grave reference B. 34. 21.

St. Sever Cemetry, Rouen. Grave reference B. 34. 21. Courtesy CWGC.

A touching poem dedicated to Private Cooper was published towards the end of the war in 1918.

Kiama Independent. 31st July 1918.

Kiama Independent. 31st July 1918.

Private Joseph Thomas Cooper.

Private Joseph Thomas Cooper.

Tragically, soon after the news of the death of their son Joseph, the Coopers were to receive further bad news when their ten year old son Frank, died of meningitis. A favourite of Kiama Public School, Frank was a clever scholar, always at the head of his class.

Kiama Independent. 19th August 1916.

Kiama Independent. 19th August 1916.

A Victory Medal was awarded to Private Cooper’s Father, Thomas, in 1923. The Victory Medal was authorised in 1919 to commemorate the victory of the Allied Forces over the

Victory Medal.

Victory Medal.

Central Powers. Each of the Allied nations issued a ‘Victory Medal’ to their own nationals with all of these having the figure of Victory on the obverse as a common feature. Australians were awarded the medal issued by Great Britain.

P.S. From my research, it appears Joseph Thomas Cooper was the cousin of John William Donovan (also mentioned in this blog), who died at Gallipoli in 1915.

Document showing the possible relationship between Cooper and Donovan.

Document showing the possible relationship between Cooper and Donovan.

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.

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.