About Elizabeth Murphy

Here are my most recent posts

02 Dec

WW1 Casualties I: Lost in the Gunsmoke

Lost in the Gunsmoke: Charles Chandler & Walter Gammon. Boyhood Pals from Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

‘Privates Gammon and Chandler are now
among the honoured dead. Each of them
followed the path of duty and served
his country to the end. Today in heart
the whole district stands with uncovered
head before the memory of two of
this nation’s men.’i

These sentiments of grief and loss of families and of a community in mourning were expressed in an article in the Healesville Newspaper titled “Killed in Action’. It was printed during the Great War in 1917 when news of the death of two soldiers reached Healesville in Victoria. The soldiers mentioned in the article, Walter Gammon and Charles Chandler were from the same battalion and the same district. Charles was killed on the Somme near Bapaume and was an older brother of James Chandler who had already returned home having been invalided out of the army with shell shock. The report in the Healesville newspaper of 1917 noted that Walter Gammon and Charles Chandler were former residents of Long Gully and that the sad news ‘caused a general feeling of gloom throughout the district’. Long Gully is near Tarrawarra in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

12 Nov

Women of the home front during & after World War 1

‘The unprecedented scale of the trauma of loss and sorrow left an enduring legacy on those who remained to absorb the impact of individual and national tragedy’. – Joy Damousi

What follows is a brief portrait of the women who reared, sustained and supported the ten soldiers from our book, before and after the Great War. These women remained on the home front during the war however there were many women who went abroad to act as nurses in world war 1’s major theatres of conflict such as Gallipoli, France & Belgium. In the wake of the monumental changes which swept society during the war, women were able to take up professions such as teaching, from which they’d previously been excluded.

02 Sep

WW1 Troop Ships: Journeys Across the Indian Ocean

 

With the entry of Australia and New Zealand into the Great War in 1914, it became necessary for the respective Governments of these nations to requisition ships for the transport of their soldiers across the Indian Ocean to emerging battlefields in Europe and The Middle East. However, instead of using their own fleet of coastal liners they chose instead to secure British liners and cargo ships and altogether, 28 Australian vessels were procured. Each ship was given the class HMAT which stood for His Majesty’s Australian Transport, and also a troopship number starting with the ship ‘Hymettus’ (named for the mountain range above Athens) which became A1. The majority of the ships then had to be fitted out to accommodate large numbers of troops. The others were employed as cargo ships. A number of ships were requisitioned solely as horse transports and often their holds were fitted out with extensive stabling for equine transport.
12 Aug

Post War Australia: Trauma, Grief, Mourning

For many years it has been difficult to study material relating to the postwar lives of Australian ex-World War One soldiers. The war affected the families of all those who were killed or wounded and the process of finding out what happened to Australian society after World War One continues to be difficult for the uninitiated. However in recent years, the contents of Repatriation files have become available with the approach of the Centenary of the Great War and this has open the world of post war Australia up to keen researchers.