Sunday, 24 August 2014

First volunteers in Broadmeadows camp

The second batch of volunteers for the Expeditionary Force for Europe from the Maryborough district left by the 10.25 a.m. train yesterday for Broadmeadows. They numbered slightly over 20, this tally bringing the district's total up to 45, which must be regarded as a fine contribution. Capt. Raitt saw this second detachment to their train, and they went off amid the hearty cheers of a large crowd that had assembled, and the playing of the West State school boys' bugle band. As was the case last week, the school boys paraded to the station along the principal streets, and all marched very creditably. From letters received by friends of the men in camp, it appears that they are doing well, though leading a strenuous life. Writing to a friend at Avoca, Lieut. Gus Ebeling says:-
" We got down to town all right, and are quite settled in camp. They are a splendid lot of men; the Avoca and Maryborough men who travelled together were the best behaved lot of young soldiers that I have had anything to do with, and I feel sure they will do credit to their respective districts. They are all well and happy, although they have had a very rough time."
(MARYBOROUGH'S PART. (1914, August 26). Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 3. Retrieved August 18, 2014, from

Broadmeadows was a military camp established on 19 August 1914 at Broadmeadows, sixteen kilometres north of Melbourne city. Land for the camp was lent to the government by Mr R. G. Wilson. The government later bought it.

From the Embarkation rolls of October 1914, it appears that most of the men who enlisted from Avoca served together. There was a deliberate policy of keeping locals together. Gus Ebeling, Matthew Rafferty, Arthur Summerfield, William French, Dave Summers and Rege Johnson were all in the 8th Infantry Battalion, F Company. Ebeling was Lieutenant, the officer-in-charge of this company. Alfred Golder was assigned to 8th Infantry Battalion Headquarters.

Charles Willmott was assigned to the 7th Battalion and Ike Webster to the 6th.

The 8th Battalion was recruited from rural Victoria within the first two weeks of war being declared. The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Battalions were recruited from Victoria and formed the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Australian Imperial Force.

Group portrait of members of F Company, 8th Battalion. Although it is not possible to give names to faces, the Embarkation Roll for the 8th lists all the members of the company at time of departure from Melbourne. It is very likely that the three officers are: Lieutenant Gus Eberling , aged 43, a farmer and grazier from Avoca, Victoria, and a veteran of the Boer War (centre) and Lieutenant William Thomas Yates, aged 29, Dairyman of Newminster Park, Camperdown, Victoria, and 2nd Lieutenant Maurice Leslie McLeod, aged 20, a tailor of 405 Gregory Street, Ballarat, Victoria, on either side of him. McLeod was later killed in action at the landing at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.The F company embarkation roll lists the two buglers in the front row, far left as 635 Bugler David Summers from Moonambel, VIC and 636 Bugler Phillip Joseph Palmer from Mildura, VIC however it is not known which man is which. Summers was killed in action at Fleurbaix (Pozieres), France on 19 July 1916 and Palmer returned to Australia on 4 August 1915. AWM ID number DAX2563; Photographer Darge Photographic Company; Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Broadmeadows; Date made c 1914. Retrieved from