Weekly Photo Challenge-Silhouette


My contribution for this week’s challenge…



On August 5, I paid a visit to Fort and Point Nepean to commemorate

firing the First Shot in World War 1.

silhouette_0148There was oodles of media in tow to cover the event.

We were told that it was to be reported internationally,

but not sure if this occurred.


silhouette_0340A young soldier is demonstrating how the Pfalz was signalled on that day in 1914.

silhouette_0047Down at Fort Nepean a silhouette of a soldier pushing carts which may have carried explosives.

silhouette_0114I would like to think that these ‘Diggers‘ are honouring the men who fought in all wars

and praying that it never happens again.



Weekly Photo Challenge-Texture


My contribution for this week’s challenge…



Found some good photos and textures at Fort Nepean last Tuesday.

fort_0084This sign is at the gun emplacement which fired the first shot of World War 1.


fort_0028Just hope this shell did not contain any…
fort_0029powder as described above.
fort_0031The texture of the bricks and rings was eye-catching even before this challenge.
fort_0032Fascinating to think that these guns were manoeuvred manually with ropes and pulleys…

fort_0030Ausing these rings which are still embedded in the wall.




Weekly Photo Challenge-Letters


My contribution for this week’s challenge…



 Last Thursday, April 24th, I was told by a government source (that sounds good doesn’t it?) that there is to be a ceremony to commemorate the centenary of the firing of the first allied shot in World War I, later in the year. This is of interest to me as my grandfather was part of the Gun crew which fired across the bow of the German steamer ‘Pfalz” as she tried to escape from Port Phillip Bay only hours after war had been declared in Europe.


The 1994 article on the left of this photo details how a group of volunteer students uncovered the gun emplacement, that fired this shot along with the gun emplacement from which the first shot of World War II is believed to have been fired.  Both sites had been buried under sand for more than forty years.



The photo on the right accompanies an article written about the firing of the first shot.  The officer standing in the left of the photo, Lieutenant Charles Morris, gave the order to fire.

About two months ago while listening to my favourite Sunday morning chat show on ABC radio I heard a guest talking about World War I.  After having many school children not believe me when I ascertained my connection with the start of WW I, I quickly tapped out an email and hit send….thinking that it would go into the ether and nothing would come of it.  But I felt better. 🙂

I quickly forgot my actions in favour of a Sunday morning breakfast.  However, about two hours after breakfast I answered a phone call from the grandson of Lieutenant Charles Morris.  One of his friends had heard my email being read by ‘Macca’ (the chat show host), phone calls were made and eventually Charles’ grandson contacted me.  At that stage he did not realise that my grandfather was part of the crew….just that I had an interest in the firing of the first shot.



The central typed page details how, when, where and why of the morning’s actions and was sent to me by Lieutenant Charles Morris’ grandson.  On ANZAC Day I phoned my auntie and told her of my conversation with the relevant government secretary.  She is eagerly looking forward to the commemoration and told me she would advise her sister and all families involved.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters






Several months ago I had cause to drive back to the Western District of Victoria to Branxholme, a small town not far from where I grew up.  Unless there was some more of the township situated off the main road, Branxholme consists of a typical country store which handles everything from mail to coffee.


While waiting for the other half of the meeting to arrive I noticed this memorial across the road.

branxholme_0463In all the small towns I have visited I have never seen a memorial like this one.


Most houses and outbuilding of that era were made of blue-stone pitchers such as these…

branxholme_0465a memorial to all those early settlers who pioneered the way for us today.


Branxholme, in all likelihood was settled by pioneers who struggled to create roads, communities and a lifestyle no-one would ever dream of these days.


The Branxholme timeline traces the history of the township, noting its population decline and the establishment of its school, Number 63, when the town’s population was listed as 221 and ‘probably included Condah’ another nearby town.  My home town’s school was numbered 766 which was always thought of as an early school.  Branxholme was established years before my home town if the two numbers are anything to go by.


Facing the memorial to the early settlers is another memorial those locals who have served in major conflicts around the globe.


 I could only think of the sacrifices made by Branxholme volunteers in all conflicts and how it has impacted this small district.


This morning, at Branxholme’s War Memorial, I am sure the gathering would have been as solemn as it was in other centres around Australia and New Zealand.  As well as Turkey (Gallipoli) and townships throughout France reports indicate that many other towns and countries observe ANZAC Day.

I would like to visit Courcelette, in France, sometime in the next few years as my Grandfather served on the Western Front and was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal at Courcelette during World War I.

Links to 2013 ANZAC  Day posts:

ANZAC Day – 2013

ANZAC Day Dawn Services – 2013

World War I Diary Extract – 2013


ANZAC DAY Dawn Services

imageWith a sky streaked with rose pink clouds I pulled my winter coat out of my car at 0600 prior to the Dawn Service to be held in the nearby and rapidly expanding town of Bannockburn.

The early morning start on April 25, 2013 (ANZAC DAY) had proven to be on the chilly side but far more comfortable to bear than the scorching summer we had just experienced.

imageA crowd of approximately three hundred gathered around the town’s memorial to all those who have served or fallen in the many theatres of war in which Australian men and women have served.

Ex serviceman who served in World War 2 veterans and veterans of more recent conflicts in which Australian soldiers participated were represented proudly wearing their decorations and service medals.


T-3As soon as the Bannockburn Dawn Service was completed we moved onto to the smaller community of Teesdale, about ten kilometres away, for a 0700 ANZAC Day service among a small planting of Cyprus pines which would nearly be as old as the event we were commemorating.

Once again all age groups were represented at this smaller, but no less respectful, gathering

Shel 4

Our final ANZAC DAY service was held at a smaller township of Shelford.

All age groups were represented with some of the teenagers electing to wrap themselves in beach towels. A somewhat unconventional, but no doubt effective manner of keeping warm.

Shel 2Even though Shelford is situated in a valley affording some spectacular views the sun, by now, had risen above the horizon and was playing its rays upon the the surrounding native foliages with dramatic results.

Shel 3

World War 1 – Diary extract

Below is an extract from Captain Dobson’s diary relating to Acting Bombardier Carlin’s actions whilst under fire around or on June 3rd, 1917.

Acting Bombardier Carlin’s records state that he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal on June, 3, 1917.

There is no recorded date on the diary extract below.

I can only surmise what “O.P.” and “S. 9” mean. My guess, based on context of the entry, is Out Post and a type of Artillery shell. A further entry relates to a ‘S. 9. landing in the courtyard’

Appreciate thoughts, comments or corrections on my interpretations.

One day of routine manning I left Carlin and another at the tap in with instructions that if the line went we’d mend it at our end as it always got out about 150 yards from the O.P. the Hun strafing that point every day for no reason whatever and doing no damage except to a few telephone lines.   Sure enough the Hun had his strafe and the line went.  Harper was with me and another man, probably Davis.  Of course they wanted to go out and mend it, but as the line was of no great importance at the moment told them to wait till the strafe stopped – we could see and hear shells bursting.  Next thing Harper got a buzz on the phone showing it was through and a little later old Carlin’s head appeared at the parade, beaded with sweat and much wind up.  I strafed him for coming out when he was told to stay in.  His reply was, “I saw the O.P. was getting it and thought someone might be hit.”  That did not prevent him stopping to mend the line amongst the S. 9.

I have always said that “Windy Bill Carlin” is the bravest man I have met and one of the windiest. The man who is not windy cannot be brave, but the man who does his job at all times and under all conditions and with the wind up all the time, is the man I admire.


Lest We Forget


Each year, as April 25 nears, Australian, and I suspect NewZealand, media of all varieties tend to fill their pages and radio waves reminding us about ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day.

On this day in many countries, all Australians remember those who fought and fell to preserve the freedom of our country in all wars, but particularly World Wars I and 2.  We often hear of many heroic stories of valour, of lives saved and lost, but we seldom hear of regular soldiers who have served and returned home to their ‘normal’ lives.

My grandfathers were two such men who fought in World War 1. Both my grandfathers returned from The Great War, however, my maternal grandfather (Nathan) was minus a leg and my paternal grandfather (Bill) had seen repatriation in London after he became a victim of chemical warfare – mustard gas.
When ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, Grandfather Nat was there.  Unfortunately he was not a great writer and I do not have any of his diaries.   When World War was declared for the second time on September 3rd, 1939, he sat on the local Post Office steps and cried.  Less than a year later, at only forty-six years of age, he passed away in August 1940.  Well before I was even I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye.
Grandfather Bill, Dad’s father, at sixty-four years of age, died about a week after this photo was taken in 1952.  It would appear that Bill was happier about being the subject of the photograph than his eldest grandson.
For several years of service on the Western Front, as a gunner, Bill was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for an act of bravery under enemy fire, at Courcelette, in France.
On August 5th, 1914, Bill became part of history while serving on with gun crew which fired the first Australian (and many sources believe the first allied) shot, from Fort Nepean at the mouth of Port Philip Bay.  Within minutes of receiving news that War had been declared shots were fired across the bow of the German ship the “Phalz” as it attempted to escape from Port Phillip Bay.  After being fired upon the captain turned the vessel turned around and sailed back to the Portsea where the crew was arrested.


Both my grandfathers died at what we now would call a young age.  Was this partly due to their involvement in World War 1?  How many other families have seen family members pass on at an early age leaving a partner to fend for themselves for many more years.  Yes, I did get to know both my grandmothers!
My son is going to the Dawn Service this year.  I would love to join him but it may have to wait a year.
I would love to have known my grandfathers, but I have only the memories which have been handed down to me.  They may be gone but they are not forgotten.
Lest We Forget
More information at:
World Wars
Although I have an enlarged copy of this photograph, I did source this one from the Wikipedia website.