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Queanbeyan, New South Wales 1 year 7 months ago #71992

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Now in Moore Park, Queanbeyan.

Soldiers' Memorial at Queanbeyan.

....Queanbeyan, Monday. - the principal event to-day was the unveiling of a monument erected to the memory of soldiers of the Queanbeyan district who lost their lives in the South African campaign. The ceremony was an imposing one. The Michelago Australian Horse, under the command of Major Granville Ryrie, formed part of the pageant, also the Volunteer Fire Brigade in full uniform. A large concourse of spectators filled the intersection of Monaro and Crawford streets, where the monument stands. It is a granite obelisk 12ft high, surmounted with a lamp and marble tablets to commemorate the names of the deceased and the engagements they fought in. Mrs. Granville Ryrie performed the ceremony of unveiling, after an address from the Mayor, Alderman Blackall. Other speakers were Mr. Chapman, Minister for Defence; Mr. O'Sullivan, Minister for Works; and Mr. Frederick Campbell, Yarralumla. The ceremonies included a patriotic song by the Public school children, and the singing of the National Anthem. The Volunteer Fire Brigade Band played during the proceedings.
Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Thursday 12th November 1903


Trooper Alexander D. Campbell
Trooper Michael J. Commins
Sergeant William G. Smith
Trooper James H. Swan
Trooper William J. Young

Photos above kindly supplied by the Queanbeyan RSL (The Returned and Services League of Australia).



....The following are extracts from a letter received by Mr. Patrick Commins, of Michelago, from his brother, Michael Commins, now serving in the ranks in South Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA..............
December 25, 1899.
.... We are awaiting reinforcements of infantry and better artillery, as the one big gun of the Boers is a great deal better than ours. Before we shall attack again we shall be in a position to force the enemy's retreat. There are about 3000 Boers, and they hold strong position. The sword or lance is of no use until they commence a retreat out into the open, when a charge would be sufficient to take the whole of the enemy's force. They are a lot of boys and aged men, with and without uniform, and have no discipline. They fight when they like and leave off when they like.
The Daily Telegraph [Sydney], Friday 9th February 1900

....There was a sensational rumour about town on Saturday to the effect that M. J. Commins, of the Michelago Australian Horse (whose letters have been published in the AGE) had been shot in the hip and mortally wounded. The news was said to have come by wire from the war office to the brave young fellow's parents. The parents, we understand, have not received any such wire. We are glad that the rumour has proved false, for expressions of profound regret were expressed on all sides by the rumour.
Queanbeyan Age, Wednesday 14th February 1900

Our Boys in Battle.
....Trooper M. J. Commins, of Michelago A.H. writes to his sister Nelly from the front. Apart from kind family wishes the letter runs: -
....Enteric Fever is raging here, out of the thirty odd A.H. there is now only eight in state of fitness for active service. I shouldn't be surprised if only a few of that number will see us through with victory. Pretoria is 270 miles from here, our move will be in that direction shortly, and if Lord Roberts and General French can only succeed in bringing us in to the Capitol of Transvaal as they did in this the Free State Capital we shall be crowned with good luck and fortune, which we have had undoubtedly a great amount of. I have had so many close goes for it that I am almost sure to get hit sooner or later.
....I make no doubt that we are to have three or four fights before we take the Transvaal and should our previous good luck attend us we would be thankful to our Protector. Trooper Taylor, who was shot through the shoulder, is back his Regiment. Captain Thompson has just handed in and recommended a number of us for Mounted Police duty for three months at 10s. per day; our duties will be disarming people with firearms in their possession and to prevent looting of any description. We have been supplied with our winter uniform. I candidly tell you it is impossible to describe the terrificness of the many engagements I have hitherto taken part in and the sight of seeing your gallant comrades by your side going to eternity, some and others wounded and rendered helpless, in many cases for life, is a trying sensation. I am glad that I am the only one of our family that is here, as the loss of a comrade is felt bad enough, much less that of a brother or family connection. I dare say you get stormy reports in the papers regarding the soldiers in the British ranks. Don't grieve after me, I will see you again before long, I hope. The whole world to-day is talking peace in connection with this matter, and Kruger is gradually coming to the terms offered to him by England and the sooner he comes to these terms the better for all. We are stationary at present but only for a few days, when the final march into the Transvaal will commence, followed by heavy losses of lives on both sides, of course that is if Kruger will not sign our peace treaty now. It's to be hoped he will give in for the sake of his people and ours, as our motto is equality to all. The old A.H. is very fortunate so far, up to now only one killed, five wounded, and four captured. It's to be hoped our good fortune stands to us until this is terminated, when you all will welcome the survivors return. A great number of men are dying from Typhoid Fever and Dysentry, as many as nine and ten or a dozen a day are going off. I have lost my old comrade Charlie Gilchrist, who was a year younger than myself. We celebrated our birthdays together on the Langton Grange; he was a grand fellow, and may God rest his soul. He was a victim to fever.
Queanbeyan Age, Wednesday 30th May 1900

....The first Queanbeyanite to sacrifice his life in the service of the empire is Trooper Michael John Commins, of the Michelago Company of the Australian Horse, who died from enteric fever in the Bloemfontein Hospital on Sunday. Mick was one who always took great interest in all branches of sport at Michelago. He was active in cricket, football, and cycling. When the Australian Horse was being formed at Michelago he was one of the first to join, and when the war in South Africa broke out he at once volunteered, and sailed away with the first contingent. He was wounded slightly in one of the engagements, and a rumour that he was killed in action was current about three months ago. He was of a quiet disposition, but showed real grit. It is the intention of hs comrades to perpetuate his memory by the erection of a memorial.
Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Thursday 5th July 1900



....The late Trooper Frederick Young, of whose untimely death a brief notice appeared in our last issue, was a native of the district of Queanbeyan (Canberra) of the third generation. His grandfather, Robert Young, now some years deceased, was one of the earliest settlers here, and farmed on the Queanbeyan River nearly opposite Yarralumla house. His father, the late Mr. William Young, farmed at Canberra, where the young soldier whose premature demise fills all who knew him with regret (his eldest son) was born, and where his widowed mother still resides and is rearing with credit her fatherless children.
....It is scarcely nine months since, in the flush of youth, and filled ardour for the Empire's honour, he left his birthplace and volunteered for active service in the South African wars. He was attached to the Bushmen's contingent which embarked at Sydney on January 14, 1900. He saw active service, and in one engagement received a slight wound in the hand. Shortly after that the enervating enteric fever laid him up in hospital, and then he was invalided back to New South Wales. With many other sick comrades he arrived in the Persic towards the end of August last; but being too prostrate to undertake the journey home, rheumatic fever and other complications supervening, he was taken for treatment to St. Vincent's Hospital. There he had the consolation of his mother's presence and that of other of his relatives. Neither they nor his friends and neighbours here were altogether unprepared for the fatal issue; and, indeed, a day or two before the end came, rumours were current of the young soldier's death. The end came on Thursday morning last, and was authenticated by wire received here the same day. Then, the day following, came the message that the remains would arrive by next morning's train for interment at Canberra.
....There would been a military funeral but for the disbandment some time ago of the half-company of local mounted rifles and the embryo state of the now-forming civilian rifle club.
....On arrival of the mail train on Saturday morning the railway hearse which contained the coffin was detached and shunted to a siding. It was shortly afterwards removed to the hearse of the local undertaker to whom the funeral arrangements were entrusted. Besides the immediate relatives of the deceased, a number of citizens in vehicles and an escort of police followed the coffin on its journey to its final resting-place, the following gentlemen officiating as pall-bearers: The Mayor (Dr Blackall, J.P.), Aldermen Pike, J.P., and Dixie, and Messrs. Cox, Hayes, and Ling. On the way to Canberra the cortege gradually increased in numbers, till on nearing its destination fully fifty vehicles and as many horsemen could be counted.
....On arrival of the procession at the Church of St. John Baptist, Canberra, the coffin, which was of highly-polished cedar with silver mountings, was taken into the church, where it was rested on trestles while the incumbent (the Rev. P. G. Smith, M.A.) read the portion of the Service for the Burial of the Dead which it is customary to read there; and the coffin being then removed to and placed in the grave, the other portion of the ritual was impressively read, and then the earth hid from view the remains of the second of the young men of this district who had laid down their lives in the Empire's noblest service. There he rests, side by side with the remains of his father and his father's father.
....The breastplate on the coffin b the simple record, "Frederick Young, died 4th October, 1900, aged 23 years."
....The pall-bearers at the church and the grave were - Trooper W. Cunningham (a returned invalided member of the Bushmen's Contingent), and Messrs. E. C. Campbell, James Cunningham, J. M. McIntosh, Wm. Pike (Js. P.), G. Rottenberry, W. Davis Wright, and W. Mathieson.
....Some beautiful floral tributes were laid on the coffin, several of them tied with red, white, and blue ribbons, emblematical of the colours of the British Ensign.
....Amongst the sympathisers at the funeral we noticed the following magistrates - the Mayor of Queanbeyan (Dr. Blackall), Messrs. F. Campbell, E. C. Campbell, F. A. Campbell, J. Cunningham, Wm. Pike, John M. McIntosh, and amongst the other gentlemen - R. Hayes, A. W. Child, P. Shumack, W. Jeffrey, W. Cunningham, C. M. Field, and others.
....Everywhere throughout the district deep regret is felt for the premature death of so promising a young man and the sincerest condolence with his sorrowing relatives.
The Queanbeyan Observer, Tuesday 9th October 1900

Death of Trooper James Swan.
....News was received in town yesterday of the demise, in Sydney, on Saturday night, of James, son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Swan, of Stony Creek. Deceased, who volunteered for South Africa and sailed with one of the first contingents, was invalided home and became an inmate of the Sydney Hospital and succumbed to an affection of the throat.
...."Jim," who was universally respected, was in his 30th year, and his untimely death is deeply deplored. The remains arrived by train this morning encased in a polished cedar coffin with silver mountings, and early as the hour was, about a hundred persons, including relatives, friends, the Mayor and leading citizens, followed the hearse to Mr. T. Penney's (deceased's uncle's), the bell at Christ Church tolling solemnly. The funeral takes place at 3 p.m. to-morrow. The secretary of the Rifle Club wishes us to state that all members are requested to march at the funeral.
....This is the second local soldier who has died after his return from the war.
The Queanbeyan Observer, Tuesday 2nd April 1901


....QUEANBEYAN, Tuesday. - The remains of Trooper J. Swan arrived at Queanbeyan railway station this morning, when a large number of the inhabitants of the town and district was present. Trooper J. Swan and his brother, Richard Swan, were members of the Permanent Artillery of New South Wales, and volunteered their services for the South African war. Before being accepted they were compelled to buy their clearance out of the permanent force. They left with the first contingent, and served in most of the principal engagements, and were present at the surrender of Cronje. The accident which caused the death of Trooper J. Swan occurred through his horse being shot under him and falling on his neck, thus causing a growth on the neck which caused his death. He was invalided from South Africa to England, and just returned to Sydney, where his death occurred in the Sydney Hospital. He was greatly esteemed by his many friends, was a native of this district, and a son of Mr. Richard Swan, senr., grazier, of Stony Creek, near Queanbeyan. On receipt of the news of his death yesterday, the flags in town were hung half mast high. His remains will be interred with military honors in Queanbeyan Cemetery to-morrow afternoon.
The Daily Telegraph [Sydney], Wednesday 3rd April 1901

A Soldier's Funeral.

....The funeral of Trooper James Swan, whose death was recorded in our last issue, took place on Wednesday, the remains being interred in the Church of England portion of the local cemetery. The cortege extended from Carrington Buildings to Christ Church and represented leading town and country residents, many travelling long distances to show their last token of respect to the bright young life so sadly cut off. The mounted police preceded the hearse, and the foot police walked behind; on either side marched members of the local rifle-club and the following gentlemen acted as pall-bearers. Messrs. R. Batty, G. J. Lesmond, S. Gibbs, E. G. Atkinson, J.P., J. T. Collett, J. Hopkins (returned soldier), A. H. Garraway and the Mayor (Dr. Blackall). Mr. Lazarus conducted the funeral arrangements, and the coffin and hearse were covered with beautiful floral tributes. A brief service was conducted at Christ Church by the Rev. W. White, who feelingly spoke of their departed comrade, [line obscured] and everywhere were visible evidences of deep sympathy and heart-felt regret at the loss of one so loved and respected. The scene at the grave was very impressive, the coffin, enveloped in the Union Jack, being borne to its resting place by old friends and fellow-soldiers of the lamented trooper. As soon as the service concluded, three volleys were fired by the riflemen, the grave was heaped with flowers and "poor Jim" was left to sleep "the sleep that knows no waking." The circumstances attending the death of Trooper Swan were pathetic. Whilst on active service in the Transvaal his horse fell on him, inflicting injuries to his neck which caused a serious growth. He was invalided to England and was in the Middlesex hospital for three months, undergoing a most painful operation. Not improving under the treatment, deceased asked to be sent ack to New South Wales and upon landing (a fortnight ago) was at once taken to the Sydney Hospital, but alas! he was beyond all human skill, and had but come home to die. The following, as far as could be ascertained, is the list of wreaths, the majority of which came from Sydney: - Mr. and Mrs. McPherson (adorned with M.I. ribbons); Royal Artillery, N.S.W., (deceased was a member of the Permanent Force); Mrs. Spencer, Mrs. Marshall and Miss Hopkin; Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Collett; Mr. and Mrs. Hungerford; Mr. and Mrs. . Pike; Mr. and Mrs. J. H. S. Dyer; Misses Oldfield; Mrs. W. Stear; Comrades of the R.A.A., N.S.W.; Mr. J. Dunlop; Rev. Mr. and Mrs. White; Mrs. Smallthorn and family; Miss Pooley; Mrs. Pooley and family; Mr. E. J. Clarke; Mrs. E. Wilson; Mr. and Mrs. G. McInnes; Mrs. G. F. Cole; Mr. and Mrs. Hudson; Miss Ella Brown; Mrs. Sims and daughters.
The Queanbeyan Observer, Tuesday 9th April 1901

A Soldier's Funeral.

....The remains of the late Trooper Swan were interred in the Church of England cemetery on Wednesday afternoon. There was an enormous string of vehicles and horsemen, one of the largest that has ever filed up Crawford street. The cortege left Mr. T. Penney's, and after a brief service at Christ Church, went on over the hill. The scene at the grave was a very painful and pathetic one. The circumstances of the death in Sydney, when so near his house, made the feelings of grief of the many relatives much more poignant. In the cortege the hearse, which was covered on top with wreaths, was preceded by two mounted constables, and had the Rifle club and Mayor and Aldermen as guards of honor, followed by two foot police. The flag was laid in the coffin. At the grave six members of the Rifle Reserve fired a salute of three rounds.
....A beautiful wreath was received from the deceased's late comrades of the Royal Australian Artillery, N. S. W. Other wreaths were also given in loving tribute by J. Dunlop, Miss A. and L. Oldfield, Mr. and Mrs. Dyer, Rev. Mr. and Mrs. White, Mrs. Smallhorn and family, Mrs. Hungerford, Ethel Pooley, Mrs Pooley and family, Mr A McPherson, Mrs. Spencer Marshall and Miss Hopkins, E. J. Clarke, Mrs. E. Wilson, Mrs. W. Stear, Mr. and Mrs. G. McInnes, Mrs. G. F. Cole, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Hudson, Mr. and Mrs. J. T. Collett, Miss Ella Brown, Mr. and Mrs. W. Pke, Mrs. Sims and daughters.
....The deceased served in the war in South Africa, and was invalided to England for the purpose of having the injuries he had received during the war operated upon. It is stated that his treatment in the hospital there was not by any means what it should have been - it is even said that deceased did not receive medical attention until he was almost in a choking condition. If this be true, then an investigation by the Imperial authorities should be asked for. Deceased and his brother had been members of the Permanent Artillery force of New South Wales, from which they had each to pay a clearance fee of £10.
Queanbeyan Age, Wednesday 10th April 1901


My thanks to the photographers - queanbeyan42 and Bel Payne - for permission to reproduce the above photos.

Death at the Front.
....There is reason to fear that the telegram received by the Premier, through the Lieutenant-Governor, reporting that No. 26,089, Alexander David Campbell, Kitchener's Fighting Scouts, was killed in action near Heilbron, October 3, refers to Mr. Alexander Douglas Campbell, of Tualla, Bungendore, a brother of Lieutenant Campbell, of the Bungendore troop of Australian Horse. Besides the change in the second name there was also some difference in the regimental numbers; but Lieutenant Campbell fears that it will be found that the message records the death of his brother. Trlegrams have been dispatched to obtain definite information. Mr. Alexander Douglas Campbell left for South Africa some time ago with the object of embarking in speculation, but found the country so disturbed that he volunteered for Kitchener's Fighting Scouts. He was a son he late Mr. D. H. Campbell, who will be remembered by old residents for his exploits in dealing with bushrangers, and was well known in the Goulburn district.
Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Thursday 10th October 1901

.... DEATH AT THE FRONT. - A wire was received in town yesterday morning reporting that Trooper Alexander Campbell had been shot. He was attached to Lord Kitchener's Scouts and left here some five months back. He is a brother of Mr. Harry Campbell of Acton, and of Mr. Nat Campbell, Nelango. - Oct. 10, 1901.
The Queanbeyan Observer, Friday 11th October 1901

...."The following casualties are reported among the 2nd Regiment of New South Wales Mounted Rifles......The following occurred mong the 3rd Regiment: - Died of enteric fever at Middleburg, Corporal William Smith...…"
The Maitland Weekly Mercury, Saturday 21st December 1901

Corporal W. Smith.

....We regret to have to state that the official report, stating that Corporal W. Smith, of Narandera, had succumbed to enteric fever in Middleburg Hospital, has at length been confirmed. On Wednesday Mrs Smith received a long, manly, and sympathetic letter from Major H. H. Browne, O.C., 3rd Imperial Bushmen, in whose Company "Ginger" was serving.
....It appears that Corporal Smith contracted enteric in November, but having a strong constitution, was unwilling to go on the sick list; but as he got worse he had to seek medical attendance and after doing well for a time suffered a relapse accompanied by complications of the disease, and fied in Middleburg Hospital on December 11th.
....After dealing with his Corporal's business affairs, Major Browne continues - "I desire you to rest assured that, apart from my appreciation of his intrepid courage and honest endeavour as a soldier, am too much indebted to his faithful service not to use every effort to wind up his affairs with the most satisfactory results to yourself......You will be glad to learn that he the respect of nearly every man in the regiment; who, to give practical expression of their appreciation of his many good qualities and numerous acts of kindness to so many of them, have already subscribed about £30 for a monument to be erected over his grave. I may add that personally I regarded your son as one of the most courageous and trustworthy men under my command; one who, but for his comparative youth, would have risen to the highest non-commissioned rank. As a soldier, he was brave, obedient and reliable; as a comrade, he won the esteem of all with whom he came in contact; and his loss felt by the whole regiment, more particularly by myself personally endeared by long association, mutual hardships uncomplainingly endured, and many acts of self-denying kindness. Again assuring you of my deepest sympathy, - Faithfully yours,
H. H. BROWNE, Major, …...
3rd N.S.W. Bushmen."
Narandera Argus, Friday 31st January 1902
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Queanbeyan, New South Wales 1 month 3 days ago #82798

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A well-documented and very interesting article. An excellent effort! Thanks for your article.

Some other Boer War Letters from the Front, for this district you have written about, can be found at the following linked site:.


A photo link that might be of interest to you, from the same district as your article, concerning Alexander Douglas Campbell follows:
(Photo of Memorial plaque for Alexander Douglas Campbell from St. Philip’s Anglican Church, Bungendore, NSW)

interested researcher

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Queanbeyan, New South Wales 1 month 2 days ago #82815

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Thank you for the compliment. I've just received from St Philip's Church, Bungendore, a photo of the memorial to Trooper Campbell, so will be posting that.

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