James “Judy” William Masters

“It’s not what you gain but what you give that measured the worth of the way you live.”

James William Masters known as “Judy” Masters or “The Little Master” was recognised as Australia’s best soccer player during his time.[1] Born on 21 May 1892 in Balgownie, Judy was the 7th of 13 children; eight brothers and five sisters, all of which were educated at Balgownie School. His father, Alexander George Masters was a miner from Nova Scotia, Canada and his mother, a Sydney born woman, Frances Eliza nee Campbell.[2]

Judy Masters' service photo

Judy Masters’ service photo

Judy began school at the age of 5 and although he came from very humble beginnings, over the next seven years he became a member of the ‘Bally Boys Band,’ playing solo cornet as well as displaying precocious talent at soccer (football). He joined the Balgownie Rangers soccer team which is still in existence and according to a report Judy wrote for the club in 1946, “Balgownie Soccer Club is one of the oldest soccer clubs in N.S.W… During the 1920’s the following players constantly were playing for Australia…”[3] Judy was at a disadvantage, he was not tall and lightly built and to overcome the “heavies” in that era he mastered the art of agility and ball control; he was very young when selected in the first team and was soon given the key position of centre forward.[4]

At the age of 13, he commenced working with his father and older brothers at Corrimal Coal Mine. In 1915 he joined the army at the age of 23[5] and embarked on HMAT Ceramic A40.[6] His service included: Egypt, Gallipoli and France where he became a stretcher bearer and bandsman.

He joined the 19TH Battalion 1st AIF. He was promoted to Sergeant on 11 May 1918 and on 27 February 1919 was transferred to the 20th Battalion (late 19th Battalion).

19th Battalion Band. Playing in South of England following the end of the First World War.

19th Battalion Band. Playing in South of England following the end of the First World War.

After receiving a shoulder wound at Poizeres,[7] Judy was allowed leave in England for rehab where he met his English wife to-be, Annie Barraclough.


A love which flourished in a time of peril, Judy and Annie’s story is one which can be traced through their correspondence. Judy first mentions Annie to his family whilst on leave:

…Mr and Mrs Baraclough have a fine home, it was just lovely… I used to take my little friend Annie to work of a morning… [sic]

Subsequently, his letters to Annie evolved romantically.

30 September 1917:
To my dearest little girl, “So near and yet so far, heart speaks to heart,” from yours with tons of love…

15 August 1917:
“Ma Cherie Annie,”

21 September 1917:
Dearest Annie, Another card while at leisure, dinner times, having a sun bath somewhere in France. Dear, with sweet thoughts of you… Au revoir, L’amour Parfait (goodbye, perfect love).

15 October 1917:
Dearest Annie, a set of cards for that album of ours. …pleasant recollections of our midnight rides to Darlington, some night that dear to me never to be forgotten. Your mention of just returning from the dance, ah dear, don’t wake it up.


After returning following six years of service, he married Annie in Wollongong, 1920 and together they had two daughters and a son who passed away at 7 months. He received the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory medals. On his return, he saved most of his earnings, buying land and building a modest cottage while the rest was kept aside to give to his youngest brother, Dave, a rare opportunity. Dave was able to gain the family’s first formal qualification as a surveyor.[8]

Judy also resumed his sports career and from 1923 to 1928, he captained Australia in 22 international soccer games against New Zealand, China (twice), Canada, English professionals and Czechoslovakia.

Judy (1930) at Arlington Oval.

Judy (1930) at Arlington Oval.

From the age of 15, he played 401 club matches and scored 351 goals. In over 400 games, he was never cautioned.

Following his retirement from soccer, he maintained an interest in all local matters. He was Bandmaster of Balgownie Brass Band for many years and always supported soccer in coaching and management positions; he continued this for the remainder of his life.

Judy also enlisted in the Second World War on 17 May 1942. He was discharged on 17 April 1944 as his “services were no longer required.”

He and his wife Annie visited Britain to see the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Football Association Cup final and the annual world championship for brass bands at the Crystal Place, London in 1953.[9]

Judy passed away on 2 December 1955 at his home town of Balgownie at the age of 63.

The Balgownie soccer ground was named in his honour: Judy Masters Park.


In 1981, he was inducted into the Hall of Champions at Homebush[10] and in 1999 he was honoured in the Australian Soccer Hall of Champions.

Soccer Hall of Champions:

“James (Judy) Masters – 21.5.1892 to 2.12.1955. Known as “The Little Master” he was recognised as Australia’s best player before and during his time. Born in in 1892 at Balgownie, NSW he joined Balgownie Seniors at age 15 and progressively captained Balgownie, South Coast, NSW and Australia.”

Homebush hall of Champions NSW Book:

“JUDY MASTERS 21.5.1892 TO 2.12.1955 James William (Judy) Masters was the first of Australia’s great soccer centre forwards and is a sporting legend in the Illawarra district. Born in Balgownie, he played from 1908 until 1927 with that famous club, except for short spells with Newtown and Granville and during his absence on active service with the AIR in World War 1, when he served in Gallipoli and France. Judy played 22 internationals and was captain on each occasion He represented against New Zealand (1923), China (1923 & 1027), Canada (1924), English Professionals (1925) and Czechoslovakia (1927). Against the famous English professionals he scored what is claimed to be the quickest goal ever, virtually from the kick off. Judy represented NSW at 16 years of age and played 401 club matches (then a record) scoring 351 goals. A master strategist and schemer, Judy had a powerful snap shot with either for. Whilst only slimly built, he was noted for his toughness and, although relentless, his career was without blemish. A coal miner, Judy’s achievements in sporting and civic affairs were acknowledged when the Balgownie village.”

N.B. Article in Sydney telegraph was written by Chris Masters, great nephew of Judy Masters; he is the writer and presenter of The Years That Made Us: Australia Between Wars, a three-part series which was shown on ABC1 last June, 2013. The DVD is available for loan from Wollongong City Libraries.





[1] Sydney Olympic Park, Honour Roll- Soccer, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, 2014, <http://www.sports-centre.com.au/nsw_hall_of_champions/honour_roll/soccer&gt; viewed 9 April 2014.

[2] Mosely P, Masters, James William (1892 – 1955),Australian Dictionary of Biography, Canberra, 2014,<http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/masters-james-william-11084&gt; viewed 2 April 2014.

[3] Balgownie Rangers Football Club, History 1883-1920s,Balgownie Rangers Football Club, Balgownie, 2008 <http://www.balgownierangers.com.au/?page_id=5&gt; viewed 2 April 2014.

[4] ibid

[5] Australian War Memorial, AIF – Nominal Roll, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_LARGE/RCDIG1067562/RCDIG1067562–23-.JPG&gt; viewed 9 April 2014.

[6] Australian War Memorial, Embarkation Rolls- James William Masters, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1845725/&gt; viewed 9 April 2014.

[7] Masters C, ‘A young nation framed by war,’ Sunday Telegraph, 26 June 2013, p.106.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Mosely P, Masters, James William (1892 – 1955),Australian Dictionary of Biography, Canberra, 2014, <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/masters-james-william-11084&gt; viewed 2 April 2014.

[10] Sydney Olympic Park, Honour Roll- Soccer, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, 2014, <http://www.sports-centre.com.au/nsw_hall_of_champions/honour_roll/soccer&gt; viewed 9 April 2014.

Martin Luther Dyer

Martin Luther Dyer’s photos and memoir have been shared with Wollongong City Libraries by his relatives. The memoir was written following his retirement and contains a great deal of information regarding his service at the front as well as details of his life. Below is and excerpt of the memoir.


Life Story of Martin Luther Dyer Born at Cables Siding (Penrose) On the 30th August, 1893.

At the age of four my parents moved to Woonona, after a short stay moved to Bulli and Wollongong, for a period of approx. 28 [?] months. Thence leaving for Blayney, where I commenced school at the age of six. In 1901 we moved to Lithgow for a short period again returning to Woonona, where my father died at the age of 50. I left Woonona Public School at the age of 13 years and 9 months. With my mother, sister and two brothers, again moved to Lithgow where I commenced my first employment in a store at a weekly wage of 2/6.

After twelve months, I transferred to […] Store. Nathan Basser, who shortly after secured the contract for the supply of foodstuff to the 400 navvies, constructing the ten tunnels to replace the Great Western Zig-Zag for the Department of Railways. I was given the job to collect and deliver all goods over a period of 3 years. This entailed riding on horseback & driving through rugged mountain country in all weather. I had two attempts on my life while carrying money from the camps, but came through without injury. One occasion, a stout rope had been tied to two trees across a mountain track. I was riding a powerful horse through driving snow, the horse saw the rope and threw his head down suddenly, pulling me on to his neck, the rope scraped along my back but otherwise it was my lucky break, saved by my horse.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War I, I moved once again to Wollongong where I set up in business. In 1916 I arranged for a brother to take over, and I enlisted in the War in the 7th Australian Light Horse. After a short period of training we embarked on the [HMAT] Boorara en-route for Egypt. Owing to a submarine scared put into Port Melbourne for a few weeks. It was a nightmare voyage. The Captain stated it was the roughest trio he had ever made, mountainous seas and no lights at night and everyone on the alert. Before reaching Egypt an epidemic of mumps broke out, and I was one of the unfortunate ones. In my case it took a serious turn and I was taken off by stretcher and placed in the Egyptian Gov’t hospital at Port Tewfik, with little hope of survival. However, I pulled through and was sent to the Moasca[sic] training camp in the desert.

Shortly after, we moved to the combat area to make our acquaintance with the enemy…

Martin Luther Dyer in uniform.

Martin Luther Dyer in uniform.

Eventually the Authorities decided to form a train of mule and horse transport to speed up supplies. They selected a number of expert horsemen to return to Moasca[sic] where wagons, mules and horses were awaiting. I was one of the Company… A lot of the time had to be done at night for fear of air raids. Pulling through the deep sand taxed the animals but they stood the test well. We first made contact with our Companies near the Sinai Peninsula.

Our Unit was named the Anzac Mounted Divisional Train… Our first encounter with the front line was near Beersheba where some fierce fighting was taking place. We had to drive at night without lights, which was most hazardous, enemy dead were laying everywhere. Next village encountered was Gaza and from there on we entered the fertile country. Orange groves, vineyards and olive grove were plentiful. After existing on very little but tin ‘Bully beef’ and biscuits for months, a change of fruit and some vegetables plus an issue of wine worked wonders with the health of the troops. Village after village fell to our troops in quick succession – Richon Le Zion, Jaffa, Ludd (or Lydda). Here we had a respite for some weeks as the enemy were entrenched in the hills ahead.

Martin Luther Dyer on his horse.

Martin Luther Dyer on his horse.

Finally, we started the ascent towards Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Here we encountered heavy rain and cold weather. It snows in the mountains at Winter. Being unprepared coming off the desert, colds and pneumonia were prevalent. We took every opportunity to see as much as possible of the Ancient Biblical Scenes…

"Souvenir de Jerusalem " Souvenir book: cover made of wood and contains various images and dried, pressed flowers.

“Souvenir de Jerusalem “
Souvenir book: cover made of wood and contains various images and dried, pressed flowers.

Tragedy struck in another form. Dysentery and malaria broke out, and took a heavy toll. I became a victim and was taken by ambulance to a hospital at Jerusalem and the by hospital train back to the 14th Australian General Hospital at Port Said, where I was a patient for 3 months. Leaving hospital I was sent back to Moasca[sic], prior to going back to the front line. Meanwhile, word arrived from Cairo and the principal City of Egypt for someone with clerical and story ability to go and make an inventory of surgical supplies and equipment. I was selected and arrived at Cairo and completed the job. Just prior to finishing, the War ended, so for a few weeks I had the opportunity to visit some of the principal places of historic interest the great Pyramids, Sphinx, Ali Mohommed Mosque, one of the most beautiful in the world, also many others. Leaving Cairo I returned again to Moasca[sic] to await embarkation for home.

"Rachel's Grab."

“Rachel’s Grab.”

In early February 1919, the long awaited word arrived and we proceeded by Lighter to board the City of Exeter. We had a good top home, called at Colombo for a day and inspected some tea plantations in Ceylon and other interesting sites, arrived in Sydney 19th March and realised there is no place like home…

I went back to business after a brief holiday and on the 13th September 1919, was married at Lithgow by Rev. RC Oakley. On the 3rd July 1920, our first child was born, Winifred Lily and soon gave up the business and moved to Nowra as a representative of a Sydney Firm. On the 9th of May 1922, our second child was born, William Morris. After some months we returned to Wollongong where I entered business until 1924 when I took a position with the Wollongong City Council as a Traffic Inspector and Ranger.

…I became absorbed in various additional positions as years went by, Clerical Assistant, Health Inspector, Building Inspector etc. On the 25th October 1929, James Henry was born. I finally retired on 29th August 1959 after 35 years with the Council. I received a beautiful presentation and a testimonial dinner on retiring.

Martin on his retirement from Wollongong Council.

Martin on his retirement from Wollongong Council.

I was a foundation [sic] member of Wiseman Park Bowling Club and have been in Office for 12 years in nearly every position up to President.

According to the Illawarra Mercury, Martin owned a grocery business on Crown St Wollongong. The article also states that he was the sole supporter of his widowed mother and sister and that he had two brothers, one being in Queensland and the other was his business partner.

Martin Luther Dyer died in April 1971.

"Flowers of Mount Olive."

“Flowers of Mount Olive.”

Charles Duff Irwin

Charles Duff Irwin, son of Thomas Kennedy Irwin Senior, was one of the Irwin sons that enlisted in the First World War. His father and brothers, Thomas Kennedy Irwin (jnr) and William McIntosh Irwin participated in the war.

He was born on 29 March, 1898 at Wollongong and lived at Campbell Street with his family. Charles attended Wollongong Public school and subsequently worked as a ‘dealer.’[1] Charles was also a member of the North Wollongong Surf Life Savers, ‘Water Rats.’

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin.

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin (front).

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin (back).

Surf Life Saving medal awarded to Charles Irwin (back).

According to the National Australian Archives, Charles Irwin enlisted twice. He initially enlisted on 3 March 1916 and was sent to the AIF 53rd Battalion Depot, Bathurst. He was discharged on 25 April 1916 on the grounds of being ‘medically unfit.’ Reports coincide with his discharge, stating that he was in Bathurst Hospital with appendicitis, March 1916.

He enlisted again on 4 October 1916 and was accepted, joining the 13th Battalion 22nd Reinforcements. Charles’ medical examination records state that he had a scar from the appendicitis operation. He embarked on 8 November 1916 from Sydney aboard SS Port Nicholson.[2]


(Left to right) William McIntosh Irwin, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr, Charles Duff Irwin.


His service ranged from Etaples, Havre as well as Passchendaele where he received shell wounds in both knees and back resulting in the amputation of his left leg at the 10th CCS (Casualty Clearing Station). Charles died of wounds on 16 October 1917; he was only 19 years of age. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium: Plot 21, Row 2, Grace E3.[3]

Grave of Charles Duff Irwin

Grave of Charles Duff Irwin

He received the British War and Victory medals as well as a Memorial Scroll and Plaque, all which were sent to his father. He is commemorated at the Australian War Memorial: Commemorative Area, panel 69.[4]

An obituary was published in Illawarra Mercury under a roll of honour; many family members had their messages published.

Illawarra Mercury: Roll of Honour 1919.

Illawarra Mercury: Roll of Honour 1919.


Charles Duff Irwin is commemorated on a number of local memorials including: Wollongong Primary School, City Church (formerly Presbyterian Church), Wollongong War Memorial as well as the North Wollongong Surf Club.






[1] Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force – Nominal Roll – continued, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_LARGE/RCDIG1067492/RCDIG1067492–145-.JPG&gt; viewed 26 March 2014.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Embarkation Rolls – Charles Duff Irwin, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1903432/&gt; viewed 26 March 2014.

[3] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1631204/&gt; viewed 26 March 2014.

[4] Ibid.

[5] ‘Obituary,’ Illawarra Mercury, 10 October 1919, p.2.

Thomas Kennedy Irwin (Senior)

Thomas Kennedy Irwin was born c. 1856/7, Antrim, Ireland to James Irwin and Ellen Thompson (nee). He was known as ‘Tom’ by his family and friends. In his youth he moved to Glasgow where he married Elizabeth McIntosh. Shortly afterwards, they immigrated to Australia aboard Bann and upon arriving in Australia, lived in the Bathurst district where Tom had some relatives. However, around c. 1890 he and Elizabeth moved to 1 “Boston Terrace” Campbell St. Wollongong.[1]

Thomas Kennedy Irwin, seated.

Thomas Kennedy Irwin, seated with his sons William McIntosh Irwin (left) and Charles Duff Irwin (right).

Tom Irwin enlisted on 9 January 1901 in the Boer War (1899-1902).[2] He embarked from Sydney to Western Transvaal, South Africa in February 1902 and was listed in Colonel P.L Murray’s book as ex. No 9 Gunner 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry B Company[3] as well as ex. No 876 1st Australian Commonwealth Horse[4]. Tom Irwin returned to Sydney, Australia in July 1902 following the end of the war. The unit officially disbanded on 19 August, 1902. Subsequently, he received the award: Queen’s South Africa Medal.

In the days of the Garrison Artillery at Wollongong, Irwin was a warrant officer and served with the regiment for many years.  He had been an expert in the treatment of animals and when the Veterinary Surgeon’s Act was passed, he registered as a Veterinary Surgeon.

Irwin family (left to right). William McIntosh Irwin, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Jnr, Charles Duff Irwin.

Irwin family (left to right). William McIntosh Irwin, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Jnr, Charles Duff Irwin.

Relatives have told Wollongong City Library that Banjo Paterson asked Tom to enlist to look after the horses. On 24 September 1915, Tom complied and enlisted; he registered as 50 years of age when in fact, he was much older. Relatives still have the whip which was given to him by Banjo Paterson.  He was accepted into the army and went to Egypt as part of a Remount section to look after the horses of the Light Horse Regiment whilst they were fighting in the trenches at Gallipoli.


Thomas Kennedy Irwin Jnr and Snr.

Irwin was the oldest returned soldier at the age of 62. He was sent home after the men returned and could take care of the horses. He disembarked on 22 April 1916 aboard HMAT Seeang Bee and was assigned home defence duties until he was discharged on 17 June, 1916. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star Medal, Victory Medal and British War Medal. According to H.W (Herbert Wrigley)  Wilson in The Great War, Sir General John Maxwell was the Commander of troops in Egypt 1915. Thomas Kennedy Irwin Senior was attached to the first embarkment of men and equipment for Mena Camp in Egypt on 17 October, 1915. These operations were kept secret and lasted five days. The equipment included 9 000 horses, 70 large guns, 3 Infantry Brigades, 2 Light Horse Squadrons, 2 Field Artillery Brigades, Engineers and Signal Companies, Ammunitions and Field Ambulances. [5]

Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr at Waratah March.

Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr (marked) at Waratah March.

Tom and his wife had twelve children together although only nine survived. Many followed their father’s steps and enlisted in the First and Second World Wars.

He died on 9 May, 1930 at the age of 74. On the day of the funeral a gun carriage was taken up and down Kenny St. Thomas Kennedy Irwin is buried at Wollongong cemetery.

His obituary states that he was a man of very fine personality, straightforward and manly in all his dealings as well as a good friend. He was always ready to do a good deed, and was never known to have done anything dishonourable or dirty.[6]

Illawarra Mercury, 9 May 1930, p.10.

Illawarra Mercury, 9 May 1930, p.10.


[1] ‘Obituary,’ Illawarra Mercury, 16 May 1930, p.5.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Australia and the Boer War 1899-1902, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/boer/&gt; viewed 5 February 2014.

[3] Australian War Memorial, Boer War Nominal Roll – Thomas Irwin, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1446219/&gt; viewed 29 January 2014.

[4] Australian War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1439891/&gt; viewed 29 January 2014.

[5] Wilson, Herbert Wigley, The Great War: The Standard History of the all-Europe conflict vol. 5, Amalgamated Press, London, 1916.

[6] ‘Obituary,’ Illawarra Mercury, 16 May 1930, p.5.

David Cowie

David Cowie was born on 19 May 1895 to John and Jane Cowie. He worked as a Wheeler prior to the war and once he enlisted, he joined the 1st Battalion 16th reinforcements on 9 December 1915 according to the Australian War Memorial[1]. His records show that he was 20 years of age living at Russell St Balgownie and he was a Waratah.[2] David was not the only member of his family to enlist, his brother Alexander Cowie joined in 1916.

David Cowie

David Cowie

During his service, David was wounded in action three times. The third time (11 April 1917), he received gun-shot wounds to the arm and leg and subsequently returned to Australia on 10 September 1917. David was officially discharged from the AIF on 11 May 1918 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals due to his service.

David Cowie's discharge certificate.

David Cowie’s discharge certificate.

He married a woman by the name of Annie and worked at Dunlop Perdriau Rubber Company as a storeman and packer from 8 August 1918 to 7 February 1930. He became redundant due to a company merger and later with war service and wounds found work as a lift driver at a university building in Sydney. Lastly, he worked as a caretaker.

He is mentioned in the Illawarra Mercury in 1937 after his father’s death. It is stated that at the time he lived in Sydney at the time.[3]







[1] Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force- Nominal Roll, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_LARGE/RCDIG1067362/RCDIG1067362–169-.JPG&gt;, viewed 19 February 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] ‘Death of Mr. Cowie,’ Illawarra Mercury, 14 May 1937, p. 7.

Alice Jane Thompson

Alice Jane Thompson of Balgownie enlisted as a nurse at the age of 23. She subsequently embarked from Sydney aboard RMS Mooltan on 9 June, 1917.[1]

Alice Jane Thompson

Alice Jane Thompson

The following extracts come from the Illawarra Mercury after her departure:

Nurse. Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs T. Thompson, Balgownie, is now en route for Salonika to take up duties in the military hospital there.[2]

Nurses at the front – Information received from Nurse A. Thompson shows that forty of the three hundred nurses who left Australia on the ill-fated Mooltan were selected to proceed to Salonika, she being one of them. She states that most of the cases so far are sickness owing to the terrible heat, which is bad at this time of the year. However, she is satisfied with her lot and says she is not sorry that she came and if she had to choose over again she would do the same, as too much cannot be done for the boys who are fighting and bleeding for us all.[3]

Records state that Nurse Thompson was kept in quarantine due to influenza. She married Dr Theo Allen in England, 16 January 1919 which resulted in her discharge from the AANS; they then returned to Australia.

Nurse Thompson1

Apart from receiving the British War and Victory medals, Alice Thompson was awarded a Greek Medal for Military Merit. [4]

A letter was written by her mother to the Base Records Office which states that, Alice Jane Thompson died on 6 June 1922 and was buried at Wollongong.





NAA: B2455, Thompson A J

[1] Australian War Memorial, First World War Embarkation Rolls – Alice Jane Thompson, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/nominal_rolls/first_world_war_embarkation/person/R1985185/&gt;, viewed 12 February 2014.

[2] ‘The Searchlight,’ Illawarra Mercury, 15 June 1917, p2.

[3] ‘District News – Balgownie,’ Illawarra Mercury, 26 October 1917 p5.

[4] Australian War Memorial, Honours and Awards – Alice Jane Thompson, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/honours_and_awards/person/R1536305/?roll_type=Awards >, viewed 12 February 2014.

Honour Roll

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.

There are a number of Honour Rolls and Memorials across the Illawarra which commemorate the men and women involved in the war. Below is a photograph of the Roll of Honour at Woonona Presbyterian Church [1] (NB. The rolls and memorials may have changed location since the time the photograph was taken).


Dapto Public School






If anyone has any information about the names on this Honour Roll (or any other), please let us know either through the contact page, in person at Wollongong Reference Library or by calling the Reference Library on (02) 4227 7414.

[1] Compiled by Illawarra Family History Group Inc, Illawarra Remembers: War Memorials of the Illawarra, Printed by University of Wollongong Printery, Wollongong NSW, August 1995.

Agnes Alexina McRae Jolly

Agnes Alexina McRae Jolly was 31 years of age and head nurse at Bulli Hospital when she enlisted on 16 June, 1915. She joined the 1st Australian General Hospital and the Illawarra Mercury subsequently printed an article:

Nurse for the front- Sister Jolly, of the nursing staff of the Bulli Hospital, left on Tuesday to go as a nurse to the front. During her residence here she made many friends, and her nursing abilities were highly spoken of.[1]

The NAA records state that she partook in training for three years at the Coast-Hospital, Sydney and held medical and surgical nursing certificates.

Nurse Jolly fell susceptible to illness quite often, particularly on ships due to the rapid spread of disease; she was even given three months leave due to paratyphoid.

She was discharged on 14 June, 1918 and returned to Australia 6 August, 1918 and was subsequently awarded with the Star, British War and Victory medals for her service.

Nurse Jolly died on 20 July, 1952. Her address at the time was Snails Bay NSW; this is a modern suburb name for the house where her parents lived, therefore, it is possible she was living at her parents’ house at the time of her death.


[1] ‘Bulli-Woonona,’ Illawarra Mercury, 11 June 1915, p.2.

James Dobing

James Dobing was born to Christopher and Elizabeth and raised in Keiraville. He attended Keiraville Public and lived with his parents at Parson St, Zlotkowski via Wollongong.

He was a wheeler prior to enlistment.

James Dobing

James Dobing

James enlisted on 19 January, 1916. He enlisted with and joined the same battalion as Matthew Tubman: 36th Battalion, Infantry. They were both embarked on 5 July, 1916 from Sydney upon HMAT Ajana 31.[1] James, along with Matthew was subsequently killed in action on 22 January 1917.[2]

According to the Australian War Memorial, James was only 24 at his death.  He is buried at the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery.

An obituary was subsequently posted in the Illawarra Mercury:

DOBING-IM 9 FEB 1917 P2[3]

Memorial Service- A largely attended and impressive service was conducted in the Keiraville Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon in connection with the death of Privates Mat Tubman and James Dobing. The Honour Roll, on which the names of the two heroes are inscribed, was draped in black. The Rev. F. Duesbury’s remarks were appropriate to the occasion and special hymns were rendered by the choir. The member of the Glen Wollongong Druid’s Lodge, of which Private Tubman was assistant secretary, were present in regalia.[4]

[1] Australian War Memorial, First World War Embarkation Rolls – James Dobing, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/nominal_rolls/first_world_war_embarkation/person/R1987134&gt;, viewed 29 January 2014.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour – James Dobing, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/roll_of_honour/person/R1725619/&gt;, viewed 29 January 2014.

[3] ‘Roll of Honor,’ Illawarra Mercury, 9 February 1917, p. 2.

[4] ‘Keiraville,’ Illawarra Mercury, 23 February 1917, p. 2.


Edward Clifford

Edward Clifford was born in Dapto on 17 January, 1894 to Joseph and Mary Clifford. Prior to the war, he worked as a fisherman.

Edward enlisted on 11 September, 1916 and joined the 12th Light Horse Reinforcements as did his brother, Thomas Clifford. Edward did not get the chance to embark as he fell gravely ill with meningitis.

Edward Clifford

Edward Clifford

Edward Clifford died on 9 October, 1916 at Prince Alfred Hospital; he was only 22 years old. He is buried at Brownsville (St Luke’s) Cemetery, NSW and is located on the Roll of Honour at panel 186 in the Commemorative Area.[1]


On his circular, it states that he had a cousin named Abraham Joseph Clifford who was killed in France, 11 November 1917.[2]

[1] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour – Edward Clifford, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/roll_of_honour/person/R1712434/&gt;, viewed 29 January 2014.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Circulars – Edward Clifford, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1068859–670-.PDF/&gt;, viewed 29 January 2014.