State: Victoria, Australia
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 17/08/1900
Number issued: 1
Gold medal, and purse of £24 sovereigns, to:
THE McGHIE TESTIMONIAL.
At the Eaglehawk Town Hall, last night, a presentation was made to Private J. McGHIE, a member of the Eaglehawk Rangers, who went to South Africa with the first Victorian contingent, and recently returned invalided. The mayor (Cr. Loudon) was in the chair, and there were also present, among a number of residents and members of the local contingent of Rangers, Mr H.R. Williams, M.L.A., Captain Curtain, Sergeant-Major Sissons, Sergeants Ross and Burnside, Crs. Hicks and Trevean. Mr H.R. Williams, in making a presentation of a gold medal and purse of £24 sovereigns to Private McGHIE, said it was quite a unique privilege to welcome back one of their citizens who had taken part in the cause of the vindication of the Empire's honour, and in showing that the subjects of her Majesty were not to be down-trodden or treated as serfs. And when they found one of their own citizens willing to take the risks in playing his part in the great cause of freedom and the integrity of the Empire, it was their duty to acknowledge his services. He was glad to know that Eaglehawk had been represented in the field of battle in South Africa. He did not think it could be said that Australians had not played their part equally with the British soldiers. He wished Private McGHIE every prosperity in life, and regretted that there was not a bigger demonstration. The little medal, however, would be something for him to hand down to his children as a memento of his services for Queen and Empire. It was the outcome of the affectionate regard of the people of Eaglehawk for him and his services. Three hearty cheers were given for Private McGHIE.
Private McGHIE, in acknowledging the testimonial, said he could not fully express his heartfelt thanks to the people of Eaglehawk for their kindness. If it were necessary at any future time he would again be ready to offer himself, and would go to serve in China if volunteers were called for. Speaking of the part the Australians had played in the campaign, he said, he and the others were placed in the front rank as scouts with General French, and he did not think they disgraced themselves in that position. He would always regard the medal as an emblem of esteem from his fellow citizens, and as a memento of his humble service on behalf of Queen and Empire (Applause).
The mayor regretted that the testimonial was not a larger one. They had not sent many men to the front, but they who had been sent had distinguished themselves in South Africa. Unless it was for the honour they got, a soldier’s life was not worth much. They fought for honour, and that was their best reward. He congratulated Private McGHIE on his soldierly spirit, and hoped the medal would be handed down and cherished in his family.
Captain Curtain, Crs. Hicks and, Trevean, Sergeant-major Sissons, Sergeant Burnside, Mr W.B. Apperly, Mr R.H. Burnside, also spoke in terms of praise of Private McGHIE.
Cheers were then lustily given for Lord Roberts and the officers and men serving under him, for Private McGHIE, the mayor, and Mr Burnside (secretary of the testimonial committee), and the gathering terminated by singing "God Save the Queen".