State: Victoria, Australia
Issued on: Return
Dates of presentations: 12/12/1900, 05/06/1902
Number issued: 13
Gold Maltese crosses, to:
18 Private Thomas Walker WHITWAM
350 Private Frederick PETTMAN
214 Trooper Patrick Michael O'ROURKE
1677 Private William COWARD
174 Trooper John Thomas ARNOLD (QSA roll remark: "Vic'n Bush'n ... Cannot verify V.B. Service here") J. Arnold letter dated 05/06/1901
31850 Trooper Samuel Thomas MAHER
Trooper Gregor McGregor
Trooper F. RINGHOLDT (possibly 78 Tpr F. Reinholdt, 5th Squadron, Cape Colonial Force)
Presentation made by the Mayor (Councillor Alex McDonald) at the annual smoke night of the Footscray City Rifle Club, at the Mechanics' Institute.
Reverse: "Presented by Footscray Citizens for Services rendered in Sth. Africa, 1902".
FOOTSCRAY’S SOLDIERS HONORED.
PROCESSION, PRESENTATIONS AND SMOKE NIGHTS.
THERE was a high time in Footscray on Wednesday afternoon when a procession and public demonstration was held for the purpose of welcoming back to Footscray, Private Thomas WHITWAM, of the First Victorian Contingent, Private Fred PETTMAN, of the Second Victorian Mounted Rifles, and Trooper O’ROURKE of the Victorian Bushmen's Corps, three Footscray residents who volunteered from this city to fight in South Africa. The arrangements for the welcome were necessarily hurried, nevertheless through the courtesy of the local Board of Advice, who granted the school-children a half-holiday for the occasion a brave show was made. The young folk were invited to take part in the procession and in response to this invitation some four thousand children met at the Town Hall at two o'clock, each one carrying a bright coloured flag, which they waved with all the vigour they were possessed of. From there, headed by the Rose of Denmark Life-boat Crew band and a drag containing the three Footscray soldiers, Trooper Shepherdson, a visitor from Korumburra, and the committee of management, the procession wended its way along Nicholson Street, and up Barkly Street to the Upper Footscray State School, the cadets taking part being warmly praised for their really splendid marching and smart appearance. Arrived at the school named a very pleasing ceremony took place, that being the hoisting t of the school’s Union Jack. When Sir Fedrick Sargood made his widely adopted suggestion that each school in the colony should possess a national flag, with the idea of inculcating feelings of patriotism in the hearts of the children, several of the old time scholars of this school decided to make an effort to obtain a flag for their old school. Messrs C. and G. McArthur, H. Punshon, J. Junner, J. and Smith, J. Clark, worked particularly hard in this direction, and the flag a Union Jack, eight feet by four with a staff 38 feet long, was purchased as a result of the subscription. The flagpole was only temporarily fixed on Wednesday afternoon, the intention being to have the pole fixed to the ridging so that the flag will be floating in the breeze twenty feet above the roof when Mr D. Robertson, who has kindly undertaken the work of fixing the pole, has completed his task. Anyway, there it was, bolted to the verandah on Wednesday afternoon, and Private PETTMAN, himself an old scholar of the school, unfurled it amidst the cheers of the vast assemblage. The band struck up the National Anthem, the cadets saluted in true military fashion and the procession managed splendidly by the head teachers and their assistants, assisted by the local police, marched off again to the Western Reserve, where a kind of impromptu picnic was held.
In the playing ground a spacious: platform had been erected, and here the most pleasing ceremony of the dry was performed – the t three fighting Footscrayites being each presented with a gold medal with gold bar attached and a purse containing ten sovereigns. The medals were very neatly designed, and bore the inscription – "Presented to Private T. Whitwam, F. Pettman, or Trooper O'Rourke, by the citizens of Footscray for services in South Africa, for Queen and Empire -- 1900". The presentations were made by the Mayor, Cr Geo. Hills, who remarked that he knew he voiced the feelings of the whole of the committee when he said that they were exceedingly grateful to the large concourse of people present that afternoon, for their attendance. It was far and away beyond his fondest expectations and beyond the anticipations of his committee, for which he had to thank the State school teachers who had evidently been working very hard to make the demonstration worthy of the occasion. Probably they were all aware what had led them to assemble that afternoon, but perhaps it might not be out of place to give a brief account of the whole affair. About fifteen months previously the British Government had war declared against them and the Boers invaded their territory. At once the cry went over the British Empire – "To Arms", – and even in distant. Australia thousands of men responded to the call, prepared to sacrifice their lives on behalf of Queen and Empire. Four of those brave fellows were with them that afternoon, but he had to deal more particularly with the three young fellows who were brought up amongst them, and who volunteered from Footscray. The war was, he felt pleased to say, now nearing conclusion, and it was quite evident that the only way of settling the South African question once and for all was to annex the two Boer Republics. The very fact of the cool reception tendered t to ex-President Kruger by the European powers showed that it was recognised that the only course Britain could pursue was to annex the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, as Britain had done. He sincerely hoped that in a short space of time the annexed States would become as prosperous and as a happy as their own colony was, and he hoped to see the day when the residents of those States would recognise that it was an advantage to be part and parcel of the greatest Empire the world has ever seen. Coming to the business of the afternoon he had a very pleasant duty to perform, and it was with great pride that he handed their guests, on behalf of the citizens of Footscray, a gold medal each and also a purse of sovereigns, for he felt that men who had gone to South Africa, knowing they would have to undergo innumerable hardships and risk their lives in the service of their country, were fully deserving of everything they could give them.
The presentations having been made, and numerous cheers having been given, the recipients briefly acknowledged the gifts.
Mr S. Mauger, M.L.A., was then invited to it say a few words. He was pleased to have the opportunity of joining them in their welcome to the soldiers of the Queen. He was pleased at the manner in which the young folk celebrated the relief of Mafeking, and he was still more pleased to see the splendid manner in which they had assembled to welcome their guests back to country and to kindred. He wanted the young people to remember that though they mightn’t be called on to go upon the battlefield they could still be soldiers of the Queen. They could show their loyalty to their country by good conduct, by at all times doing their duty under any trials or difficulties. On the 1st of January they would see the birth of a new nation, and the future of that nation depended upon the rising generation. He was one of those who believed that the federation of Australia was the prelude to the federation of the English-speaking races, which would mean that they would be able to dictate terms to the other nations, which would ultimately lead to a universal peace. (Applause).
Cheers were given for the Queen, and alter that the assemblage, at the request of Mr Mauger, uncovered their heads, as a mark of respect to those who fighting fell.
FOOTSCRAY CITY RIFLE CLUB.
PRESENTATIONS TO RETURNED SOLDIERS.
THE interior of the Mechanics' Institute on Thursday evening presented a gay appearance, decorated as it was with many bright-coloured flags, greenery, and palms, the occasion being the annual smoke night of the Footscray City Rifle Club, with which was incorporated the presentation of gold medals to recently returned local soldiers.
The chair was occupied by Mr W.B. Wilkes, president, and amongst those present were Mr S. Mauger, M.H.R., the Mayor, Cr McDonald, Mr D. Mitchell, J.P., and representatives of several suburban rife clubs.
The musical programme submitted was an excellent one, and was evidently appreciated by those present, the humorous songs by Mr H. Buck, comicalities by Mr Len. Le Mert, ballads by Messrs A.E. Thorley and W. Cuming, amusing songs by Mr R. Johnstone, sen., mock boxing bout exhibition of foils, single sticks, &c., by Messrs McDonald Bros., R. Johnstone jun., and T. Phelan, and instrumental contributions by Messrs W.B. Wilkes, J. McGinty, R. Borthwick, W.P. Smith, jun., R. Johnstone, jun., being of more than average merit.
Mr W.B. Wilkes proposed "The Army and Navy," and remarked that they were now supposed to be enjoying the piping times of peace, but a few days previously they were looking to their army to defend their Empire. Only a few years ago they looked upon the army as of less importance than their navy, but the war in South Africa had shown that both were necessary, and that both were ready and capable of upholding the honour and prestige of Great Britain. (Applause.)
The Mayor next proceeded with the presentation of medals to the following returned soldiers – Sergeant J.C. GANGE, Farrier Sergeant D. McLENNAN, Trooper Saddler T. DEARDEN, Troopers S. MAHER, G. McGREGOR, F. RINGHOLDT, Corporal C. MUNSOR, Privates W. COWARD and J.T. ARNOLD, and Trumpeter W.H. TICKELL (absentia).
In making the presentations the Mayor remarked that it gave him very great pleasure, on behalf of the citizens of Footscray, to wish the returned soldiers a very very hearty welcome home. There was no doubt that in common with the Australian troops they had shown by their actions and conduct on the field of battle that they were worthy descendants of a worthy race, and had shown the world that wherever, or whenever, Great Britain was in danger her sons were prepared to come to her assistance. (Applause.) He was sorry to say that they did not have sufficient medals to give each of the returned soldiers one, some of them came back after the medals were ordered, and one man had been inadvertently overlooked, but he had no doubt that their services would be suitably recognized later on (Applause.)
Trooper S. MAHER and Sergeant GANGE acknowledged the gifts on behalf of the recipients.