State: Victoria, Australia
Issued on: Departure and Return
Dates of presentations: 27/06/1901, 15/08/1901
Number issued: 2
27 June 1901 presentation
571 Trooper John Joseph MOYLE
Presentation made in the Athenaeum, Tallangatta.
92 Lance-Corporal John O'REILLY
Presentation made by Captain McIntosh, in the Old Courthouse, Tallangatta.
Lance-Corporal O'Reilly was returning to South Africa, where he was appointed warder at Pretoria Gaol.
SEND-OFF TO LANCE-CORPORAL J. O'REILLY AT TALLANGATTA.
A large gathering of friends assembled at the old court-house, Tallangatta, on Thursday night last to bid farewell to Lance-corporal J. O'REILLY, who had decided to return to South Africa and join his regiment. The night previous he received word to put in an appearance in Melbourne on Saturday morning next, so it remained with the Returned Soldiers Committee to do the best they could in the time.
Captain McIntosh occupied the chair, and Mr W.H. Hawley the vice-chair. Among the audience was Mr Charles Dyson, a visitor from the city, who, before the completion of the programme, proved to be the "star" of the evening. We have in our town as reciters and elocutionists men of no mean type, but this young gentleman fairly took the palm; in fact, the general opinion reigned supreme that he was an ideal of the first-water.
After the toast of "The King", which was duly honoured, was drunk, the Chairman, on rising, said it gave him great pleasure to be there that evening to do honour to the departing guest. They had all along being welcoming home returned soldiers, but this was a double event, viz., to welcome and farewell. No doubt there were others in the room that knew him longer than he (the speaker), but there was one thing he could say, which was that he was a worthy son of a worthy sire. He proved himself a soldier, and was now returning. (Loud cheers). His regiment was noted to have done well, and all leading officers had spoken highly of them. He was pleased to see so many present owing to the short notice only being given out in the morning paper. However, the residents had made up their minds to make some tangible reimbursements for his services. It was O'REILLY's wish not to receive anything but leave his share to Trooper SMITH and G. REID and "Toby" BARTON. He wished to thank all present for the kindness to him. It was not its gold value, but the value between one and the other. He was tired of talking about his adventures. Then he thought it was too much like blowing his own whistle. He had been on the British side and also on the Boer laager, and had come to the conclusion that the British were right, hence his return, though he had been dangerously wounded in the Wilmansrust disaster. He now had great pleasure in presenting him with a gold locket, suitably inscribed, and addressing him said: "Lance-Corporal John O'REILLY, allow me, on behalf of Tallangatta's residents, to present you with this locket. We know and recognise the hardships which you have endured, and we trust that you will be spared again to return to your native shores, and long live to wear this locket". (Ringing cheers).
Mr Bruton then sang "The British Flag" in good style, followed by Mr Dyson, who fairly convulsed the house with a recitation, "How McDougall topped the score".
Mr Toby Dyring, in speaking to the toast, said, in common with others, he had great pleasure in being present that evening. He thought the chairman was a bit premature in springing on to him, as he had had no time to have a drink yet. (Laughter). However, he would not have much to say, more than he was pleased to see their boy again returning to South Africa. He thought this was true soldiering in the extreme. He thought the war would last some considerable time yet, owing to the manner in which the guerrilla fighting was being carried out. He knew the family from his boyhood, and wished them all success.
Messrs. Geo. Hill, and J. Brown also spoke.
The GUEST, in responding, said he was not a Geo. Reid or a Toby Barton, but he thanked one and all for their kind reception and farewell. He would be pleased to look upon the locket in the future to reflect sweet remembrances of Tallangatta. It would not be the gold value that he would treasure, but the value between himself and friends. (Hear, hear). He was tired of talking about the war, and it was too much to him like skiting. He had seen the British side of the question, also the Boer laager, and came to the conclusion that the British were right. Hence his reason for returning. Paul Kruger, he condemned — in fact, he was mortgaged. On his return he was surprised at not seeing a mounted detachment formed at Tallangatta. What finer men or horses could they get? He again would thank them from the bottom of his heart.
Song, "Just Break the News to Mother", Mr J. Hindle, followed by the immortal Dyson with his descriptive number, "An Amateur Rider", which helped to wipe the tear from every eye, caused by the previous singer.
Mr Heeps proposed "The Mounted Rifles in South Africa". He thought he knew little about them, as he had never seen active service; he was only playing soldier. They had learnt many things by the war; in fact, they all knew now where South Africa was. Who knew anything about veldts, kopjes and bill-tongs before? He heard a yarn about a woman whose son was in South Africa, and was asked what he was in the ranks, when she said he was a 'ral of some sort, but whether it was corp-ral, or cap-ral, or gen-ral she didn't know. (Laughter). He would ask them to drink to the troops in South Africa, which they did to the chorus "They are jolly good fellows".
Mr Lamden then gave "Saur Kraut", and Mr Jno. Brown "Hearts of Oak", both numbers being well received.
Mr Hawley then feelingly proposed the health of the father, Mr M. O'Reilly, which was responded to.
Mr. O'Dea recited in his usual stirring manner "Cricket at Killaloe", and as an encore gave "And how it was played".
Mr Lamden proposed the chairman, secretary (Mr Law), Mr Fortescue and the visitor, Mr Dyson. He (Mr Lamden) on hearing of the latter coming made it his business to meet the train.
Mr Dyson, in responding to the toast, said it gave him great pleasure to be there. It was his first trip to Tallangatta, and he hoped it would not be his last. He was rather surprised, although his conscience acquitted aim, on being met at the station by a man in blue; but as everybody knew these sort of gentlemen were looking for clean shaves, he must have naturally concluded he had Sparkes in one piece. He had met some brilliant sparks there that evening, and in conclusion he thanked them heartily for their kind toast.
Each of the other gentlemen responded, and the party broke up with singing "Auld Lang Syne".