State: New South Wales, Australia
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: bef. 21/09/1900, aft. 25/09/1900, 26/07/1901
Number issued: 3
Bef. 21/09/1900 presentation
126 Private John Edward MAHER
Aft. 25/09/1900 presentation (unrecorded)
1103 John James CLIFTON
Among the troops recently returned from South Africa was Mr J.E. MAHER, who came home in the Medic, and on arrival was met by his mother, Mrs Maher of the Meadows, and his brother, Mr Maher was one of the first to volunteer for service, and went with the Mounted Rifles in Col. Ian Hamilton's division, being sent to the front a few days after arrival, and were actively engaged during the whole of the campaign. Unfortunately, Maher fell a victim to enteric fever and was invalided home. The voyage has restored him to health. He says he likes the country very well, especially the Free State and the Transvaal and that he purposes to return and will probably join the police. Although hardships and escapes were common, he would not have missed the experience for anything, and many things that he saw and heard were indeed a revelation to him.
Upon arrival in Taralga a party of friends met Mr MAHER, and he was driven to the Commercial Hotel, where the whole party were most hospitably entertained at lunch by Mr and Mrs Rudge. Later on, some seventy or eighty gentlemen assembled in the large room of the Commercial, and Mr W.H. Whiting was voted to the chair. Mr Whiting said he was prouder to preside over that gathering than he had ever been on any similar occasion. He then proposed the toast of The Queen. The Governor wan next honoured.
Mr J.J. Walsh proposed the health of Our Guest. On behalf of Mr MAHER’s many friends he tendered him a hearty welcome home. By their presence in such large numbers that evening they showed their sympathy with soldiers who were at the front, and while they regretted that Mr MAHER had been stricken down in the execution of his duty they were pleased he was again almost restored to health. On behalf of Mr MAHER’s Taralga friends he had pleasure to presenting him with a gold medal as a memento of the occasion and as a slight recognition of their regard for him. Mr Walsh then handed over the medal which is most artistically designed and bears the following inscription: – "Honoris Causa. Presented to J.E. Maher by his Taralga friends on his return from the Transvaal war, Sept. 1900". On the other side is Mr MAHER's monogram.
The Chairman in speaking to the toast said he was particularly proud of Mr MAHER, who as a young fellow adopted the profession of a soldier. The experience he had gained would stand to him all his life, and when called upon to express an opinion on military matters, his opinion would be that of a man who had seen active service and knew what he was talking about.
Mr A. Butler pointed out the valuable assistance Australian soldiers had given during the campaign. British generals had recognised that their’s were ideal soldiers for that particular kind of warfare.
Messrs John Clifton (whose son in at the front), J.A. Rigg, and other gentlemen also spoke to the toast, which was honoured most enthusiastically.
Mr MAHER on rising was cheered for several minutes. He said he was not a good speaker; indeed this was hie first effort; but he could reassure them he was deeply sensible of the kindness and good-fellowship which prompted them to accord him that splendid reception. It was worth all the hardships and all the worries of the trip to know that your friends were interested in your well-being and were anxiously watching for news of your welfare. He had gained a lot of experience by his trip. He had received nothing but kindness and attention in the hospital and on board ship. He could assure them their beautiful medal and their kind expressions of regard would always be remembered.
Several other toasts were honoured, including the Host and Hostess, the Chairman, &c. Songs and recitations were given by Messrs C. Mackenzie A.E. Swan, R.A. Price, L.A. Swan, W. Oliver, and others.
Mr and Mrs Rudge provided the refreshments, &c., and to their admirable arrangements the success of the evening was largely duo.
Mr John CLIFTON, jun., a son of Mr and Mrs Jolin Clifton of this town, returned to his home on Friday last after several months’ active service in South Africa, where he went with the Imperial Bushmen’s Contingent. During his stay at the front Mr CLIFTON took part in several engagements, but fortunately on each occasion escaped injury, and he has returned to his home in splendid health.
Some time ago the residents of the town and district subscribed sufficient funds to present each returned soldier with gold medal as a memento of his services at the war, and on Friday evening a large number of Mr CLIFTON’s friends and admirers assembled at Rudge's Hotel to welcome him home again at a social and smoke concert.
Mr Whiting, J.P., presided, and after the toast of "The King" had been honoured proposed that of "Our Guest". Mr Whiting alluded in very complimentary terms to the pluck and patriotism of Mr CLIFTON, which had induced him to offer himself for active service in South Africa. He was very pleased indeed to hear on all sides that the behaviour of the Australians abroad had been such as to secure the highest commendation from their superior officers, and the admiration of their friends at home.
Messrs Butler, Powell, McKenzie, and Walsh also expressed their admiration of Mr CLIFTON's conduct and pluck, and all expressed themselves gratified at his safe return to his home.
The toast was drunk with enthusiasm, the company singing "For he's a Jolly Good Fellow".
Mr CLIFTON briefly expressed thanks for the kindness of his friends and admirers in assembling in such large numbers to welcome him home. He was also very grateful for their kindness in presenting him with such a nice medal. He could assure them that while at the war all the Australians endeavoured to do their work, and all the officers – English and colonial – gave them high praise, Lord Methuen in particular being especially kind to the Australians.