Jack Halligan

When I contemplate the randomness of war, two concepts immediately come to mind.  During the Great War, a story of a battle-hardened sergeant was relayed back to Australia.  The tough digger believed there were only two sorts of days in the trenches: the one where it didn’t matter what you did, you weren’t going toContinue reading “Jack Halligan”

Daniel Robert Weeks

‘Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just.’ – William Shakespeare Dan Weeks had enjoyed a lifetime of adventure by the time he arrived in Australia. It was his plan to settle into a quieter life; but the world had other ideas… Born in the district of Poplar in London’s East End on 21Continue reading “Daniel Robert Weeks”

Douglas Barnes

There are multiple reasons most people from Ballarat would instantly recognise the name of F. W. Barnes – as one of the oldest funeral directors in the area, the company has been responsible for caring for people during the most difficult moments of their lives. As with all family businesses, there is always a storyContinue reading “Douglas Barnes”

Alfred William “Billy” Rachinger

Recently I wrote of a former director of the Department of Repatriation who courted controversy by suggesting that the war had not had a significant impact on the health of those who fought through those years. He maintained that hard work would overcome most problems, and that war service did little to change the agingContinue reading “Alfred William “Billy” Rachinger”

Nelson Wellington

What’s in a name? Well, it seems rather a lot – especially when that moniker brings to mind two giants of British military history. From the outset, Nelson Wellington lived with the expectation that his ‘name should surely be a forerunner of future greatness.’ Born in Ballarat East on 4 April 1889, Nelson Frederick WellingtonContinue reading “Nelson Wellington”

Sing Me to Sleep

A popular song of the time, “Sing Me to Sleep,” was re-worded by a Ballarat boy who had been severely wounded in action during fighting at Gallipoli. Private Percy Bannerman sent the piece home to his sister Lily, of Soldier’s Hill, Ballarat. The writer remained, however, anonymous. ‘…Sing me to sleep where my comrades fall,Continue reading “Sing Me to Sleep”